Current Affairs 20 February 2024 & Test | Latest News & Updates

Current Affairs 20 February 2024 & Test
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Test - 20 February 2024

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एक करोड़ भारतीय परिवारों को 300 यूनिट बिजली प्रतिमाह देने के लिए प्रधानमंत्री सूर्य घर मुफ्त बिजली योजना कब शुरू की गई है? / Prime Minister Surya Ghar to provide 300 units of electricity per month to one crore Indian families, When has the free electricity scheme been launched?

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अलास्कापोक्स बीमारी किस कारण से होती है ? / What causes Alaskapox disease?

3 / 10

विश्व प्रसिद्ध विसुवियस ज्वालामुखी कहाँ स्थित है? / Where is the world famous Vesuvius volcano located?

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खाद्य एवं कृषि संगठन का मुख्यालय कहां है? / Where is the headquarters of Food and Agriculture Organization?

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हाल ही में सुमित नागल ने चेन्नई ओपन एटीपी चैलेंजर का एकल वर्ग का खिताब जीता है। इसका आयोजन कहां हुआ था? / Recently Sumit Nagal has won the singles title of Chennai Open ATP Challenger. Where was it organized?

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हाल ही में बुडापेस्ट में विश्व एथलेटिक्स चैंपियनशिप आयोजित की गई है। इसमें किस भारतीय ने स्वर्ण पदक जीता? / Recently the World Athletics Championships have been held in Budapest. Which Indian won the gold medal in this?

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हंगरी में डेन्यूब नदी के किनारे स्थित घास के मैदान को क्या कहते हैं? / What is the grassland situated on the banks of the Danube river in Hungary called?

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जटलैंड प्रायद्वीप के ऊपर कौन सा देश स्थित है? / Which country is situated on the Jutland Peninsula?

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Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) का मुख्यालय कहां है? / Where is the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)?

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हाल ही में हंगरी की राष्ट्रपति कातालिन नोवाक ने अपने पद को त्याग दिया। इसका क्या कारण था? / Recently Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigned from her post. What was the reason for this?

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Some lines of current affairs 20 February 2024 news

National

  • HAL plans to replace aging Mi-17s with medium-lift helicopters.
  • Twelve cheetahs have arrived at Kuno National Park (KNP), Madhya Pradesh, and have been placed in quarantine enclosures.
  • The India Meteorological Department has issued the first heatwave warning of the season for the Konkan and Kutch areas of Gujarat.
  • ISRO reports that the ‘Chandrayaan-3’ lander has successfully undergone a key test for satellite functionality in space.
  • Tata Sons-owned Air India and Vistara have initiated the integration process.
  • The Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has introduced a new liquor policy, ordering the closure of all bars.
  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is set to launch India’s first virtual shopping and recharge app for the metro.

The Khalistan Tiger Force and the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force have been labeled as terrorist organizations

The government banned two groups and labeled an individual as a terrorist due to their activities against India. One group, the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF), includes members from terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The other group, Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), seeks to reignite terrorism in Punjab.

The DAC has approved an acquisition worth Rs 84,560 crore to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces and the Indian Coast Guard

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Union Minister Rajnath Singh of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), has approved several capital acquisition proposals totaling Rs 84,560 crore. Here are the key points:

  • Approval under the Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured) or Buy (Indian-IDDM) category for the procurement of New Generation Anti-Tank Mines equipped with seismic sensors and remote deactivation capabilities, enhancing safety features.
  • Approval under the Buy (Indian) category for the acquisition of:
    • Active Towed Array Sonar capable of operating at low frequencies and various depths for long-range detection of enemy submarines.
    • Heavy Weight Torpedoes with the capability to target Kalvari Class submarines.

About the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

It serves as the highest decision-making body in the MoD, responsible for setting new policies and approving capital acquisitions for the Indian Defence services (Army, Navy, Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.

  • Chairman: Union Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh.
  • Established in: 2001.

The Indian Air Force holds Exercise Vayu-Shakti 2024 in Pokhran, Rajasthan

The Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted the Vayu-Shakti 2024 demonstration exercise on February 17, 2024, at the Pokhran Air-to-Ground Range near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The exercise showcased the offensive and defensive capabilities of the IAF during both day and night operations.

Vayu-Shakti 2024 featured joint operations with the Indian Army, emphasizing the seamless coordination between the two branches of the armed forces. The exercise was themed “Lightning Strike from the Sky.”

Key dignitaries included General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Defence Staff, who graced the event as the Chief Guest.

A total of 121 aircraft participated in the exercise, demonstrating the IAF’s offensive capabilities. Various fighter aircraft, including the Rafale, Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Tejas, and Hawk, engaged simulated enemy targets with precision, both on the ground and in the air. The indigenous Tejas aircraft showcased its swing-role capability by successfully neutralizing both aerial and ground targets. Additionally, advancements in combat technology were exhibited through the demonstration of a long-range unmanned drone.

Combat support operations included the deployment of a Containerised Delivery System by the C-17 and an assault landing by the C-130J, which carried IAF Special Forces, Garuds. The Apache attack helicopter made its debut in the exercise, engaging targets with air-to-ground guided missiles.

Joint operations between the IAF and the Indian Army’s weaponized version of the Advanced Light Helicopters Mk-IV resulted in the destruction of simulated enemy targets using rockets and swivel guns. Furthermore, the IAF Chinook helicopters demonstrated rapid deployment by airlifting the Indian Army’s M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers for the first time.

Night events showcased the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand,’ which neutralized designated targets with rockets. Additionally, Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft dropped heavy caliber and area weapons, highlighting the IAF’s strategic bombing capability. Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) conducted live bomb damage assessment, which was streamed to the operations center and the audience.

Key points of the event included a free fall drop by the Akashganga team and flare dispensing by the C-130J at night. The indigenous Air Defence Systems, Akash, and SAMAR missile systems were also demonstrated, successfully destroying multiple aerial targets. Approximately 50 tonnes of ordnance were dropped within a 2-square-kilometer area over the course of two hours.

Exercise Vayu Shakti is a triennial exercise conducted by the IAF to demonstrate its ability to conduct full-spectrum operations, encompassing both day and night scenarios. The previous edition of the exercise took place on February 16, 2019.

India and Taiwan inked an MoU to facilitate the employment of Indian workers in Taiwan

The Governments of India and Taiwan have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the employment of Indian workers in Taiwan, aimed at bolstering bilateral labor cooperation between the two nations.

Signatories: Manharsinh Laxmanbhai Yadav, Director General of the India-Taipei Association (ITA), and Baushuan Ger, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India, signed the MoU during a virtual ceremony.

  • The MoU opens doors for skilled Indian workers to access employment opportunities in Taiwan.
  • India will emerge as a new source country for migrant workers in Taiwan, alongside Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, which are currently the main source countries for migrant workers in Taiwan.

International

The EU has officially prohibited the sale of gas and diesel cars starting in 2035

The European Parliament has passed a law aiming to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) by prohibiting the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the EU from 2035 onwards. This legislation paves the way for achieving zero CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 2035.

Qatar has lifted its prohibition on frozen seafood imports from India

Qatar has ended its temporary freeze on importing frozen seafood from India, which sets the stage for increased exports and better diplomatic ties with the Middle Eastern nation. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced this development, explaining that the ban, initiated in November last year just before the FIFA World Cup, was prompted by the purported discovery of Vibrio cholera in some shipments from India.

State

The Punjab government hosted its inaugural state-level ‘Shrimp Festival’

The Punjab Government recently hosted its inaugural state-level ‘Prawn Fair,’ also known as the Shrimp Mela. This event is part of the government’s initiative to raise awareness about shrimp farming, an aquaculture practice aimed at producing shrimp for consumption. As of 2022-23, approximately 1,212 acres of land in southwest Punjab have been dedicated to shrimp farming, resulting in a total production of 2,413 tonnes of shrimp.

Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, inaugurates the Asha Kirana Eye Care Scheme

Karnataka’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah introduced the ‘Asha Kirana – Eye Care at Your Doorstep’ initiative during an event in Haveri. This scheme, falling under the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI), is aimed at providing free eye care services to families across the state.

Key Points about Asha Kirana:

  • It offers comprehensive eye care services, including doorstep eye check-ups for people of all ages.
  • Services provided include diagnosis, treatment, distribution of spectacles, and free cataract surgeries for eligible beneficiaries.
  • Health personnel and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers conduct primary eye check-ups at people’s homes.
  • Those identified with eye problems during screening are referred to Primary Health Centers (PHCs) for further examination.

Objectives:

  • Reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness.
  • Ensure access to essential eye care services without financial barriers.

Eligibility:
Permanent residents of Karnataka with eye problems are eligible for the scheme.

Additional Notes:
Spectacle dispensing centers have been set up at all Primary Health Centers (PHCs) to assist those in need.

Phases:

  • The Asha Kirana program has been successfully implemented in 8 districts across 2 phases.
  • Positive outcomes have been reported in districts like Chikkaballapur, Kalaburagi, Haveri, and Chamarajanagar in the 1st phase.
  • The 2nd phase included Chitradurga, Mandya, Raichur, and Uttara Kannada districts.
  • Upcoming phases target Ramanagara, Yadgir, Kodagu, and Gadag for 2024-25, and Chikkamagaluru, Bidar, Kolar, and Bagalkote in 2025-26.

Appointments & Resignations

Ayushman Khurana appointed National Ambassador for child rights by UNICEF India

In India, Ayushman Khurana has been appointed as the National Ambassador for UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). His role was announced by UNICEF, where he will collaborate with the organization to ensure that every child’s rights to life, health, and protection are upheld. Additionally, he will work towards amplifying children’s voices and empowering them in issues that concern them.

Some key points for competitive exams:

  • UNICEF Executive Director: Catherine Russell
  • UNICEF Headquarters: New York, United States
  • UNICEF Founded: December 11, 1946

Ruchira Kamboj has been elected to lead the 62nd session of the UN Social Development Commission

Ruchira Kamboj, India’s UN ambassador, has been selected to lead the 62nd session of the UN Commission for Social Development. At the session’s opening in New York, she was unanimously elected as chair. Additionally, Thomas Lammar of Luxembourg, Jon Ivanovski of North Macedonia, and Carla Mara Carlson of the Dominican Republic were chosen as vice chairs for this session.

Meghana Pandit has been appointed as the CEO of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a leading teaching hospital in the UK, has appointed Professor Meghana Pandit as its CEO. Professor Pandit, a highly respected physician of Indian heritage, is the first individual of Indian descent to hold the CEO position within any National Health Service (NHS) trust in the Shelford Group, which encompasses several prominent teaching hospitals in the country. Additionally, her appointment marks a significant milestone as she becomes the trust’s inaugural female chief executive.

The IRDAI has reformed an expert committee to oversee the implementation of Ind AS/IFRS in the insurance sector

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has announced the reconstitution of the Expert Committee on the implementation of Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the insurance sector.

The reconstituted committee, chaired by Member (Finance & Investment)(F&I), IRDAI, Rajay Kumar Sinha, consists of 13 members including:

  • Amarjit Chopra, Chairman of the Accounting Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
  • R Arunachalam, President of the Institute of Actuaries of India
  • Shyama Prasad Chakraborty, Chief General Manager (CGM) & Head of Department (HOD), Actuarial Department of IRDAI

Other members include Ashutosh Pednekar, Murtuza Vajihi, Parminder Kaur, Kunj Maheshwari, Prasun Sarkar, Garth Jones, Sharad Ramnarayanan, Shatmanyu Shrivastava, and G. Rambabu (Member Convener).

The committee’s objectives include:

  • Working on steps for the effective implementation of Ind AS/IFRS with phase-wise timelines.
  • Providing recommendations on proforma financial statements, which forecast a company’s expected future performance.
  • Offering suggestions on financial disclosures compliant with Ind AS/IFRS, including immediate mandates.
  • Addressing key issues and concerns arising from transition activities.

About Ind AS:
Ind AS are standards/rules prescribed under Section 133 of the Companies Act, 2013, determining how Indian companies prepare and present financial statements.

About IFRS:
IFRS, issued by the IFRS Foundation, aims to develop high-quality, understandable, enforceable, and globally accepted accounting and sustainability disclosure standards. The foundation has two standard-setting boards: the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

About the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
IRDAI is a statutory body regulating and developing the insurance industry in India. Established in 1999 and incorporated in 2000, it operates under the chairpersonship of Debasish Panda and is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Economy

The 49th GST Council meeting convened in New Delhi

The 49th GST Council Meeting took place on February 18, 2023, in New Delhi, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This meeting occurred just three weeks after the presentation of the Union Budget 2023. In attendance were the Union Finance Minister, Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, as well as finance ministers from states and Union Territories (with legislature), along with senior officials from both the Union government and states, as announced by the finance ministry’s official communication channels.

  • PFRDA now allows NPS subscribers to make partial withdrawals with a T+2 settlement, shortened from the previous T+4 settlement.
  • Former Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar predicts a 6% growth for the Indian economy.
  • Under India’s presidency, finance ministers and central bank chiefs of G-20 nations will convene for the first time in Bengaluru.
  • In January, India’s import of Russian oil reached a record high of 1.4 million barrels per day.

Business

Philips Domestic Appliances has been rebranded globally as Versuni

Philips Domestic Appliances is now known as Versuni, marking a significant milestone since the business became independent in September 2021. Despite the change in name and visual identity, the company’s core mission remains unchanged: to transform houses into homes. As a licensee of Royal Philips, Versuni will retain the use of the Philips consumer brand, along with Saeco, Gaggia, and Philips Walita, across its range of products and services. Consumers can still rely on products from its other trusted brands, including Preethi, L’OR Barista, and Senseo.

Banking & Finance

Business celebrated its 89th anniversary by unveiling 89 new products

On February 8, 2024, Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) marked its 89th Business Commencement Day as “Maha Parivartan Diwas 2.0” in Pune, Maharashtra, where it unveiled 89 new digital products and services. Key individuals including A S Rajeev, the Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BoM, Asheesh Pandey, Executive Director of BoM, alongside General Managers, customers, and staff members of BoM, graced the occasion.

Launched Products & Services:

  • BoM introduced the Mahabank Equipment Finance Scheme to support Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Corporates in financing construction equipment purchases.
  • A special cluster scheme was launched to provide concessionary interest rates and service charges to the glass bangle industry in Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh).
  • The bank incorporated a Straight-Through Processing (STP) Journey in Mudra Loans of up to Rs 50,000 to foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • BoM facilitated instant digital Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans (up to Rs 1.60 lakhs) for farmers in Karnataka.
  • To extend a Line of Credit (LoC) to employees of the Government of Rajasthan, BoM introduced the “Earned Salary Advance Drawals Scheme.”

Additionally:

  • BoM enhanced features on its WhatsApp banking service (+91 – 7066036640), including the implementation of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).
  • Access to income and expenditure audit information was granted through a Third Party Administrator (TPA) portal.
  • An Electronic One-time Settlement (E-OTS) platform was launched to expedite debt resolution in NPA accounts.

About Bank of Maharashtra (BoM):

BoM was formally registered under the Indian Companies Act on September 16, 1935, and commenced operations on February 8, 1936. The bank was nationalized in 1969. A S Rajeev serves as the Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with headquarters in Pune, Maharashtra. The bank’s tagline is “Ek Parivaar, Ek Bank” (One Family One Bank).

Policybazaar has received approval from IRDAI to upgrade to a Composite Insurance Broker

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has given initial approval to Policybazaar Insurance Brokers Private Limited, based in Gurugram, Haryana, to upgrade its license from a direct insurance broker (Life and General) to a composite insurance broker.

This approval enables Policybazaar to offer reinsurance products in addition to its existing role as an insurance purchasing platform. It enhances insurance accessibility by introducing more technology-driven processes and data analytics to reinsurance capacity.

Policybazaar operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of PB Fintech Limited, headquartered in Gurugram.

PayNearby introduced the Digital Naari platform to empower women in rural and semi-urban areas

Nearby Technologies Private Limited, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, has introduced the Digital Naari platform with the aim of creating viable self-employment opportunities for women. Aligned with the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ initiative, launched in 2023, this platform aims to empower approximately 100,000 women in rural and semi-urban regions by 2025. Through offering a range of financial and digital services, the platform enables women to acquire the necessary tools and expertise to thrive as entrepreneurs.

Awards & Recognitions

Karthik Subramaniam, an Indian-origin photographer, clinches National Geographic’s ‘Pictures of the Year’ award

An Indian-origin software engineer turned hobbyist photographer clinched the top spot in National Geographic’s prestigious “Pictures of the Year” contest. Karthik Subramaniam, who resides in San Francisco, California, started exploring photography during the 2020 quarantine period, inspired by the epidemic’s lockdown measures.

Forbes India’s “30 Under 30” list for 2024 showcases 38 promising young individuals

Forbes India recently revealed its 11th edition of the Forbes India 30 Under 30 List: Class of 2024. This list celebrates the achievements of talented professionals and entrepreneurs who have made noteworthy impacts in various domains.

Comprising 38 exceptional individuals under 30 years old across 19 different categories, the list was curated by expert panels. It includes co-founders and individuals who have been recognized previously.

Forbes India:

  • Editor: Brian Carvalho
  • Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Science & Technology

ISRO triumphantly launches meteorological satellite ‘INSAT-3DS’ into space aboard GSLV-F14 mission

On February 17, 2024, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The GSLV-F14 rocket placed the INSAT-3DS meteorological satellite into both a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and later into a geosynchronous stationary orbit (GSO) in space. This mission represents the 16th flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the 10th flight, including the 7th operational flight, utilizing the Indigenous Cryogenic stage.

Key points about the GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission:

  • Fully funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • GSLV is a 51.7-meter-long three-stage launch vehicle capable of lifting a mass of 420 tonnes.

Primary objectives of the mission include:

  • Monitoring Earth’s surface and conducting oceanic observations.
  • Providing vertical profiles of various atmospheric parameters.
  • Offering data collection and dissemination capabilities.
  • Furnishing satellite-aided search and rescue services.

About INSAT-3DS:

  • It is a third-generation meteorological satellite positioned in geostationary orbit, succeeding INSAT 3D and INSAT 3DR.
  • Designed to enhance meteorological observations, land and ocean surface monitoring, weather forecasting, and disaster warning.
  • Equipped with advanced payloads, including a 6-channel imager, 19-channel sounder, Data Relay Transponder (DRT), and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue transponder (SAS&R).
  • Controlled from tracking centers in Brunei and Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar).

The meteorological data obtained from INSAT-3DS will be utilized by various institutes under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, such as the India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), to advance meteorological research and services.

About the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):

  • Chairman: Sreedhara Panicker Somanath
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Established: 1969

SpaceX launched Intuitive Machines’ lunar lander named Odysseus

On February 15, 2024, SpaceX successfully launched the Odysseus (Nova-C), a robotic lunar lander built by Intuitive Machines Inc., based in Houston, Texas. The launch took place aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

The mission, named IM-1, aims to deliver Odysseus to a lunar transfer orbit. It is scheduled to make a soft landing near the moon’s south pole on February 22, 2024, specifically targeting the area near Malapert A crater.

If successful, this mission will mark the first-ever private moon landing, surpassing NASA’s last moon landing during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Odysseus is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and the Artemis campaign. The IM-1 mission carries six payloads provided by NASA, including instruments such as Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator (LN-1), Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA), Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), Radio Frequency Mass Gauge (RFMG), Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath (ROLSES), and Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies (SCALPSS). These instruments will conduct scientific research and demonstrate technologies to enhance our understanding of the Moon’s environment and improve landing precision and safety for future Artemis astronaut missions.

After launch, the Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth, achieving a vertical touchdown at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This successful landing marks the 18th launch and landing for this booster.

Environment

New Crustacean Species, Parhyale Odian, Discovered in Odisha

Researchers at Berhampur University (Odisha) have identified a new crustacean species, named ‘Parhyale Odian,’ in Chilika Lake, located in Puri, Khordha, and Ganjam districts of Odisha. The species is named in honor of the Odia language, the official and native language of Odisha.

Parhyale Odian, a shrimp-like amphipod, belongs to the Parhyale genus. The discovery has been documented in an article titled ‘A new species of amphipod of the genus Parhyale from Chilika lagoon, India,’ available in the online edition of the Zootaxa journal.

The specimens are now housed at the Zoological Survey of India’s Estuarine Biology Regional Centre in Gopalpur-on-Sea, Ganjam, Odisha, for further study.

One notable feature distinguishing Parhyale Odian from the other 15 species is the presence of a stout, robust seta—a spine-like structure—on the surface of the propodus of the male gnathopod (the first pair of legs).

Summits and Conferences

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Launched the SemiconIndia Conference

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Railways, officially opened the ‘SemiconIndia Conference on Electronics Manufacturing Supply Chain Ecosystem.’ Alongside him were notable figures such as Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary of MeitY, Ajit Manocha, President of SEMI and Member of the Advisory Board of ISM, Amitesh Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary of MeitY & CEO of ISM, as well as other senior officials from MeitY, state governments, delegates from the global semiconductor industry, potential investors in the semiconductor sector, and academic experts.

Schemes and Committees

The government has established a committee to oversee the effects of increasing temperatures on the wheat crop

The government has established a committee to monitor the effects of increasing temperatures on the wheat crop. This decision follows a forecast by the National Crop Forecast Centre (NCFC), indicating that maximum temperatures in key wheat-producing regions, excluding Madhya Pradesh, were above the seven-year average during the first week of February. Additionally, the Meteorological Department has predicted above-normal temperatures in Gujarat, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand over the next two days.

Sports

India secures Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 6-wicket victory over Australia in the 2nd Test. Saurashtra clinches Ranji Trophy title, beating Bengal by 9 wickets.

Saurashtra won their second Ranji Trophy title by defeating Bengal in the 2022-23 season

Saurashtra secured their second Ranji Trophy title by defeating Bengal with a nine-wicket victory at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens in the 2022-23 season. This victory marked Saurashtra’s second triumph in the Ranji Trophy, with their inaugural win occurring in the 2019-20 season.

Virat Kohli joins the elite club of batters to achieve 25,000 runs in international cricket, becoming the sixth player to do so

Virat Kohli achieved a significant milestone during the second Test against Australia, becoming the sixth player and the fastest ever to amass 25,000 runs across all formats. He reached this feat in his 492nd match, needing just 52 runs to reach the milestone. Kohli contributed 44 runs in India’s first innings but was dismissed for 20, bringing his total runs tally to 25,012 as India secured a six-wicket victory.

Ben Stokes sets a new record for the highest number of sixes ever scored in a Test match

In a match against New Zealand, England Test captain Ben Stokes broke the record for the most sixes in Test cricket history, surpassing former New Zealand cricketer and current England coach Brendon McCullum. Stokes achieved this milestone during the first Test between England and New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, where he scored 31 runs off 33 balls, including three fours and two sixes.

In 2024, the Indian Women’s Badminton Team clinched the Badminton Asia Team Championships title for the first time

The Indian Women’s Badminton Team, led by PV Sindhu, secured gold at the 2024 Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) in the Women’s event, triumphing over Thailand with a score of 3-2 in the finals held at the Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. This achievement marks the team’s inaugural podium finish and also represents India’s first gold medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships. BATC 2024, the fifth edition of the biennial championship, took place from February 13th to 18th, 2024, in Malaysia. It’s worth noting that previously, the Indian Men’s team clinched bronze medals in the 2016 and 2020 editions of BATC.

Here’s a simplified version of the provided information:

  • Teams losing in the semifinals received a shared bronze medal.
  • The Indian Men’s Team, led by HS Prannoy, lost to Japan in the quarterfinals.
  • Women’s final highlights:
    1. The Indian women’s team won 3 out of 5 matches against Thailand.
    2.  PV Sindhu won the first singles match, and Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand won the first doubles.
    3. Ashmita Chaliha and Priya Konjengbam-Shruti Mishra lost in the second singles and doubles.
    4. Anmol Kharb, the Indian national champion, defeated Thailand’s Pornpicha Choeikeewong, securing the title for India.
  • Members of the Indian Team:
  • Men: HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Lakshya Sen, MR Arjun, Dhruv Kapila, Suraj Goala, Pruthvi Krishnamurthy Roy, and Chirag Sen.
  • Women: PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa, Ashmita Chaliha, Priya Konjengbam, Shruti Mishra, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri Gopichand, Anmol Kharb, Tanisha Crasto, and Tanvi Sharma.
  • About BATC 2024:
    1. BATC 2024, officially known as the SELANGOR Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024, was organized by Badminton Asia and the Badminton Association of Malaysia.
    2. It was sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
    3. The top four teams (women and men) qualify for the Uber Cup (women) and Thomas Cup (men) scheduled for April-May 2024 in Chengdu, China.

Note: The first edition of BATC was held in 2016.

Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024 Medalists:

Medal  Women’s Winner Men’s Winners
Gold India China
Silver Thailand Malaysia
Bronze Japan and Indonesia Japan and South Korea

Defence

India and Uzbekistan held their fourth joint military exercise named ‘Dustlik’

The fourth DUSTLIK training exercise, scheduled for February 20 to March 5, 2023, in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, is part of a military exchange between the Indian and Uzbekistan Armies. The 14th Battalion, The GARHWAL RIFLES, from the Western Command, will represent India, while soldiers from Uzbekistan’s North Western Military Region will participate. Enhancing military capabilities for multi-domain operations in a sub-conventional context under a United Nations Mandate is the aim of this collaborative exercise.

Obituaries

Nandamuri Taraka Ratna, a Telugu actor and politician, has passed away

Telugu actor and politician Nandamuri Taraka Ratna passed away at 39 due to a cardiac arrest. He was the grandson of the legendary film actor and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, late NT Rama Rao, and the son of Nandamuri Mohan Krishna. Taraka Ratna made his debut in 2002 with “Okato Number Kurraadu” and appeared in films such as “Yuva Rathna,” “Taarak,” “Bhadradri Ramudu,” and “Amaravathi.” He also ventured into OTT platforms, making his debut last year with Disney Plus Hotstar’s “9 Hours” and was last seen in “S5 No Exit.”

Important Days

India observes the 8th Soil Health Card Day on February 19th

India marks Soil Health Card Day on February 19 annually, commemorating the initiation of the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme and promoting awareness of its benefits. 2022 marks the seventh year since the inception of the SHC Scheme. As part of the program, every two years, all farmers are provided with soil health cards. Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme on February 19, 2015, in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.

February 20th is recognized as World Day of Social Justice

World Day of Social Justice, observed yearly on February 20, aims to combat social injustice by uniting diverse communities worldwide against poverty, discrimination, and inequality. It’s a time for reflection on progress and areas needing more attention. This year’s theme emphasizes strengthening global solidarity and rebuilding trust in government, aligning with the recommendations of Our Common Agenda.

Key Points for Competitive Exams:

  • Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO): Gilbert Houngbo
  • Founded: 1919
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

World Pangolin Day 2024- February 17

Every third Saturday of February, people worldwide celebrate World Pangolin Day to raise awareness about these unique mammals known as pangolins or scaly anteaters. In 2024, it falls on February 17th, marking the 13th observance of the day. The 12th World Pangolin Day occurred on February 18th, 2023, while the 14th will be on February 15th, 2025. It’s worth noting that the inaugural World Pangolin Day took place in February 2012.

World

The US intends to implement additional export controls and sanctions on key industries in Russia.
The biennial military training Exercise DUSTLIK 2023 between India and Uzbekistan commences in Uttarakhand.
On February 19, Nepal observed Democracy Day.
North Korea has officially acknowledged the testing of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile.

Miscellaneous

Could avian flu become the next global pandemic in humans?

Globally, domestic poultry and wild bird populations are facing severe losses due to the largest reported outbreak of avian influenza. There are increasing worries about its potential threat to human health. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from the World Health Organization issued a cautionary message on February 8, advising readiness for a possible bird flu pandemic.

“Divya Kala Mela 2023: A 10-day event is being organized in Mumbai”

The Divya Kala Mela 2023, held in Mumbai, is a special event highlighting the talents and products of entrepreneurs and artisans with disabilities from all over India. Organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), this 10-day fair takes place at MMRDA Ground-1, Bandra Kurla Complex, from February 16-25, 2023. The inauguration was officiated by Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale.

The Delhi Metro has launched its first-ever Train Control and Supervision System

India’s first homegrown Train Control and Supervision System, known as i-ATS (Indigenous–Automatic Train Supervision), has been implemented on the Delhi Metro. It’s operational on the Red Line, spanning from Rithala to Shaheed Sthal. The launch ceremony occurred at the Operations Control Centre (OCC), Shastri Park, with Manoj Joshi, Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, inaugurating it. Vikas Kumar, Managing Director of Delhi Metro, and Bhanu Prakash Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), were also present along with other senior officials from BEL and DMRC.

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