Current Affairs Daily Digest – 27 Feburary 2024

PM Narendra Modi inaugurated 9th Raisina Dialogue in New Delhii.From February  21-23, 2024, the 9th edition of the Raisina Dialogue was held in New Delhi, Delhi which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister (PM) of Narendra Modi, and PM of the Hellenic Republic (Greece), Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the theme ‘Chaturanga: Conflict, Contest, Cooperate, Create’.
ii.The PM of Greece was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session.
iii.It is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), with a support from number of institutions, organisations and individuals.
iv.As a part of Dialogue, Union Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam (S.) Jaishankar  unveiled a logo in New Delhi, commemorating the 75th anniversary of India’s diplomatic ties with Finland and Denmark.
About Finland:
Capital– Helsinki
Currency– Euro
President–  Alexander Stubb (from March 1,2024)

Dharma Guardian: 5th Edition of the India-Japan Annual Military Exercise Commenced in Rajasthan‘Dharma Guardian’ the 5th edition of the India-Japan joint annual military training exercise commenced on 25th February 2024 at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan.

  • The exercise is scheduled to be conducted from 25th February to 9th March 2024.

Aim: To strengthen bilateral Military Cooperation between India and Japan and combined capabilities to execute joint operations in the semi-urban environment under Chapter VII of the United Nations (UN) Charter.
The exercise is conducted between the Indian Army (IA) and the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF).

  • IA contingent, comprising 40 personnel, is being represented by a Battalion from the Rajputana Rifles.
  • The Japanese contingent, comprising 40 personnel, is being represented by troops from the 34th Infantry Regiment.

5th Dharma Guardian:
i.The Dharma Guardian exercise is conducted alternatively in India and Japan.
ii.The exercise also aims to develop inter-operability, bonhomie and camaraderie between IA & JGSDF.
iii.The Exercise would focus on a high degree of physical fitness, joint planning, joint tactical drills and basics of special arms skills.
iv.The Tactical drills include establishing of Temporary Operating Base, creating an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Grid, setting up a Mobile Vehicle Check Post, executing Cordon and Search Operations in a hostile village, Heliborne operations and House Intervention Drills.
v.There is also a plan to organise ‘A Weapon and Equipment Display’ to showcase the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative and the growing defence industrial capability of India.
vi.The exercise will also strengthen bilateral relations between India and Japan and enhance the level of defence cooperation between the two forces.
Additional Info:
i.Lieutenant General Togashi Yuichi, Commanding General, of Eastern Army, JGSDF will be visiting Mahajan Field Firing Ranges on 3rd March 2024 to witness the Combat Shooting demonstration, Special Heliborne Operation (SHBO) & House Intervention Drills.
ii.The 4th edition of Dharma Guardian was held at Camp Imazu in the Shiga province of Japan in 2023.
About Indian Army(IA):
Chief of the Army Staff – General Manoj Pande
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Established in – April 01, 1895

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates 2 Institutes of Ministry of Ayush in Jhajjar & Pune Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated 2 institutes of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) namely the ‘Central Research Institute of Yoga & Naturopathy’ (CRIYN) in Deverkhana Village, Jhajjar, Haryana, and the National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN) titled ‘NISARG GRAM’ in Pune, Maharashtra.

  • The 2 major hospitals and research centers related to Yoga and Naturopathy in Maharashtra and Haryana are aimed at advancing the holistic healthcare landscape in India.

Note: NIN Pune which came into force in 1986, is an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH.
Central Research Institute of Yoga & Naturopathy (CRIYN) – Jhajjar, Haryana:
i.This is an Apex-level Yoga and Naturopathy research and education facility.
ii.A tertiary level Yoga and Naturopathy healthcare infrastructure will be created through this project.
iii.Facilities include a 200-bedded Hospital, Outpatient Department (OPD), Treatment Block, Academic block, Hostel, Residential Block, Yoga Block, and Diet Block.
Estimation: The 19-acre project has been built with a total cost of Rs. 63.88 crore.
National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN) – ‘NISARG GRAM’ in Pune, Maharashtra:
i.It is a 250-bed hospital with a Multi-disciplinary Research and Extension Service Centre.
ii.It houses a Naturopathy Medical College offering Undergraduate/Post Graduate (UG/PG)/Para Medical Courses.
iii.The college also features residential & non-residential facilities including a Boys & Girls Hostel, Auditorium, Yoga Hall, Cottages, and the iconic Gandhi Memorial Hall.
Estimation: This 25-acre project has been built with a total cost of Rs. 213.55 crore.
Significance of the Institutes:
i.These institutions represent significant milestones in promoting holistic healthcare through Traditional Healthcare systems.
ii.Utilisation of diverse approaches such as hydrotherapy, massage, clinical nutrition, and yoga therapy.
iii.Addressing the growing prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
iv.State-of-the-art infrastructure and educational programs empower individuals to prioritise health and well-being.

India & Bangladesh Collaborated under ITHCP for Transboundary Tiger Conservation in SunderbansUnder the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program (ITHCP),  a people-centric engagement took place between India and Bangladesh at Joymoni, Bagerhat District, Bangladesh from 4th to 8th February 2024.

  • The initiative aims to mutually understand the tiger conservation process of India and Bangladesh in Sunderbans.

Note –
i.The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest spread over India and Bangladesh in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal.
ii.It supports the single largest population of tigers in the world.
iii.It was designated as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 1987.
Key Points:
i.It is a first-of-its-kind cross-border initiative which aims to preserve biodiversity in both India and Bangladesh by focusing on harmonious coexistence with tigers in the Sunderbans.
ii.The initiative is jointly done by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Lokamata Rani Rashmoni Mission, Joynagar (West Bengal) and WildTeam of Bangladesh.
iii.The initiative is attended by WTI’s primary response team (PRT) members, “Bagh Bondh’s” (friends of the tiger), teachers & students from India and Bangladesh.
iv.Shared Experience: Prevention of people from going into tiger’s territory to pick up firewood.
v.Indian side: Indian people are provided with smokeless cooking stoves and livelihood supports like poultry and goats.
vi.Bangladesh side: People were educated on growing paddy that could withstand the high salinity in water.
About ITHCP:
i.ITHCP is supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Germany’s KfW Development Bank.
ii.The program was initiated in 2014 and is set to run till 2027.
iii.The program consists of four phases that invest in high-quality projects in key Tiger Conservation Landscapes in countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar.

Outcomes of FATF’s 5th Plenary held in Paris, France from 21-23 February 2024The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded its 5th Plenary session in ParisFrance on February 23, 2024, under the presidency of T Raja Kumar of Singapore. The 3-day Plenary started on 21 February 2024 included discussions on key money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing issues.

  • The 5th Plenary also concluded the FATF Week (19-23 February 2024).
  • Ms. Elisa de Anda Madrazo of Mexico was appointed as the next President of the FATF for a fixed 2-year term, starting on 1 July 2024.
  • FATF suspended membership of the Russian Federation on 24 February 2023
  • Ukraine is not a member of FATF.
  • Black Listed countries as of February 24, 2024 –  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Iran, and Myanmar.
  • Grey List– Kenya and Namibia are newly added to the existing 23 countries.

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. This inter-governmental body sets international standards to prevent these illegal activities.
President– T Raja Kumar (Singapore)
Headquarters– Paris, France
Established in– 1989
Members– 39 Countries

Power Finance Corporation Partnered with Italy’s SACE to Secure ECA-backed Financing Facility
Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has entered into a partnership with Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero (SACE), Italy’s Export Credit Agency (ECA), to secure an innovative ECA-backed financing facility.

  • It marks PFC as the first government-owned Indian entity to engage with SACE under its “Push Strategy” initiative.
  • Under the partnership, PFC will benefit from an 80% guarantee by SACE on financing up to 200 million euros. HSBC will serve as the coordinating bank, lead arranger, and facility agent.
  • This finance facility will help Indian firms in the power and infrastructure sectors access cutting-edge Italian technology and strengthen collaborations with Italian firms.

Export credit agencies offer loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to help domestic companies limit the risk of selling goods and services in overseas markets.

Feleti Teo Set to be Appointed as 14th PM of TuvaluFeleti Penitala Teo, has won the 2024 Tuvaluan General Election and set to be sworn-in as 14th Prime Minister(PM) of Tuvalu (formerly known as the Ellice Islands), an island nation in South Pacific Region.

  • It is the first time in Tuvalu that a PM has been nominated unopposed.
  • He will succeed Kausea Natano, who has been serving the post since 2019.

About Feleti Penitala Teo:
i.In 1991, Feleti Teo was appointed as the first attorney general of Tuvalu.
ii.He served Forum Fisheries Agency as Director General(DG) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as Interim Secretary General & Deputy Secretary General.
iii.Feleti Teo served as the Executive Director (ED) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) from 2015 to 2023.
2024 Tuvaluan General Election:
i.2024 Tuvaluan General Election was conducted on 26th January 2024.
ii.The general election aims to elect a new 16-Members Parliament (MPs) from eight constituencies.
iii.It is to be noted that there are no political parties in Tuvalu; It indicates that all candidates run as independents.
iv.PM Kausea Natano lost his seat in the general election.
v.Feleti Teo, representing the Niutao constituency, has secured 581 votes.
vi.Paulson Panapa, belonging to the Vaitupu constituency secured the highest votes (585 votes) in the general election.
About Tuvalu:
Prime Minister –  Kausea Natano
Capital – Funafuti Atoll
Currency – Australian Dollar

Former MD & CEO of Bank of Maharashtra A S Rajeev appointed as Vigilance Commissioner 
Aeratu S. Rajeev, former managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), was appointed as Vigilance Commissioner in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

  • He served as MD and CEO of BoM from December 2018 until he voluntarily retired from the post on February 2024.
  • The CVC consists of a Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson and not more than two Vigilance Commissioners as Members.
  • As of February 2024, Praveen Kumar Srivastava is a Central Vigilance Commissioner, and Arvinda Kumar is the other Vigilance Commissioner.

About CVC:

i.CVC is an apex governmental body in India that is responsible for promoting integrity, transparency, and accountability in the country’s public administration.
ii.It was established in 1964 based on the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee on the Prevention of Corruption.

Indian-Origin Samir Shah set to be Appointed as BBC Chairman
Indian-Origin Samir Shah is set to be appointed as the chairman of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with effect from 4th March 2024 for a period of four years until March 2028.

  • He was born in Aurangabad, Maharashtra in 1952 and moved to England in 1960.
  • Shah was honoured with a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 for services to television and heritage.
  • He replaces acting BBC chairwoman Dame Elan Closs Stephens.

CCI Gives INSCO its Green Channel Approval for Acquisition of HNGIL
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has given INSCO (Independent Sugar Corporation) the green channel approval for proposed acquisition of Hindusthan National Glass & Industries Limited (HNGIL)

  • INSCO is a Madhvani Group company based in Africa.
  • The clean chit was given to INSCO after its competitive bidder, AGI Greenpac, filed a complaint with the CCI challenging the green channel approval granted to INSCO.
  • About HNGIL: It is India’s first fully automated Glass manufacturing unit founded by C.K. Somany in 1946.
  • The ‘Green Channel’ route provides for automatic approval of certain combinations without having to get formal approval from the commission.

India Wins 18 medals at BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2024
The Indian shuttlers won 18 medals (3 gold, 4 silver, and 11 bronze) at the BWF (Badminton World Federation) Para-Badminton World Championships 2024, held from 20th -25th February 2024 in Pattaya, Thailand.

  • The 14th edition of the bi-annual event organized by BWF PARA – Badminton Association of Thailand.

Indian Gold Medal Winners:
i.Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics silver medallist, won the gold in the men’s singles SL 4 category by beating Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan.
ii.Krishna Nagar won the gold medal in the men’s singles SH 6 category by beating China’s Naili Lin.
iii.Pramod Bhagat won the gold medal in the men’s singles SL 3 category by beating England’s Daniel Bethell.

  • He was the first Indian to win a gold medal in badminton at the Paralympic Games, winning a gold medal in the men’s singles SL3 class.

List of Indian Silver & Bronze Medallists:

National Award-winning Indian Filmmaker Kumar Shahani Passed AwayRenowned Indian filmmaker, and screenwriter Kumar Shahani, who won 3 National Awards passed away at the age of 83 in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was born on 7 December 1940 in the Larkana district in Sindh, British India (now Pakistan).
National Awards of Kumar Shahani:
i.He directed his first long feature movie, Maya Darpan in 1972, which won a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi in 1973.
ii.In 1984, he directed his first full-length movie Tarang, for which he won the 2nd National Award in Special Mention.
iii.In 1991, he directed the movie Bhavantarana, which made him win the 3rd National Award for Best Biographical Film.
International Recognition:
i.Kumar Shahani’s work found acclaim at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), in Rotterdam Netherlands, where some of his films earned recognition like:

  • Var Var Vari (IFFR, 1988); Char Adhyay (IFFR, 1998).

ii.His film Khayal Gatha (1989) secured the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) prize at IFFR in Rotterdam in 1990.
iii.He also won the 1998 Prince Claus Award for the invention of a new cinematic idiom.
iv.In 2019, his early works were showcased at the Pingyao International Film Festival.
Other works of Kumar Shahani:
i.His other notable works include A Ship Aground (1988), Kasba (1990), and As The Crow Flies (2004), which is the only digital film directed by him.
ii.He was a key member of the advisory council of the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF).

Bihar Govt Presents Rs 2.79 Lakh Crore Budget for FY 2024-25Samrat Chaudhary, Deputy Chief Minister(CM) cum Finance Minister of Bihar, presented a budget of Rs 2,78,725 crore for the fiscal year 2024-2025(FY25) in the Bihar Assembly.

  • The budget expenditure has increased by Rs 16840.32 crore from Rs 2,61,885.40 crore in FY24.

i.The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Bihar is estimated to grow by 15.5%.
ii.Expenditure (excluding debt repayment) in 2024-25 is estimated to be Rs 2,56,333 crore.
About Bihar: 
Chief Minister– Nitish Kumar
Governor– Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar
Tiger Reserve– Valmiki Tiger Reserve
Wildlife Sanctuary– Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary; Rajgir Wildlife Sanctuary

Himachal CM presents Rs 58,444 crore budget for 2024-25i.On February 24, 2024, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh (HP), who also holds the finance portfolio, presented budget estimates of Rs 58,444 crore for the Financial Year 2024-25 (FY25).
ii.It is 9.1% higher than the budget of Rs 53,413 crore in FY24.
iii.The government did not propose any new tax for FY25.
iv.It was a rural-oriented Budget focused on strengthening farming and animal husbandry sectors, and to make the HP self-reliant.
v.Total estimated receipts for FY25 is Rs 61438.71 crore.
About Himachal Pradesh (HP):
Chief Minister– Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Governor– Shiv Pratap Shukla
National Parks– Great Himalayan National Park, Pin Valley National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries– Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary , Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

BSTF and SIDBI signed an MoU to enhance the Startup Ecosystem in BiharBihar Startup Fund Trust (BSFT), the Department of Industries, the Government of Bihar, and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to administer the Rs. 50 crore Bihar Startup Scale-up Financing Fund (BSSFF) to transform Bihar into a startup hub.

  • The collaboration will provide a conducive environment for startups to contribute to economic growth and by focussing on innovation, the BSSFF addresses the challenges faced by the economy and society.

The agreement was formally signed by Pankaj Dixit, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Director Industries at the Department of Industries, Government of Bihar; and Arijit Dutt, General Manager representing SIDBI.
Fund Structure:
The BSSFF operates as a Fund of Funds, a unique model managed by SIDBI, where the fund doesn’t directly invest in startups. Instead, it invests in other venture capital funds, and these funds, in turn, make direct investments in startups.
Bihar Start-Up Fund Trust (BSFT):
i.BSFT serves as a nodal Agency, constituted by the Department of Industries, Government of Bihar, to implement Bihar’s Start-Up Policy of the Government of Bihar.
ii.This policy is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, fostering an ecosystem conducive to startup growth in the state.
Impressive Corpus:
i.Under Bihar’s start-up policy, the Government of Bihar established BSFT, with an initial corpus of Rs. 500 crores, to provide robust support for startups.
ii.Out of this fund, BSSFF has been set up with an initial Rs. 50 crores for scaling up funding support to startups.
UGC Granted Category 1 University Status to CUSB, 1st time for a University in Bihar
The University Grants Commission (UGC) granted Category-I University status to the Central University of South Bihar (CUSB), the 1st time for a university in Bihar.

  • The UGC examined CUSB at its 577th meeting on February 13, 2024, and officially approved Category-I University status.
  • This recognition aligns with the UGC (Categorisation of Universities (only) for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2018.
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