Table of Contents
Read the most important current affairs of 02 January 2024. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on China’s New Defense Minister, Global Family Day 2024, David Warner Retires from ODI cricket.
Top 21 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 02 January 2024
1.Felix Tshisekedi Named President of The Democratic Republic of Congo
- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is once again in the spotlight as President Felix Tshisekedi secures victory in the highly contested December 20 election.
- President Tshisekedi emerged victorious with approximately 73% of the vote, leaving his closest rival, Moise Katumbi, with 18%. Felix Tshisekedi, the son of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, secured his first term in 2019.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), located in Central Africa, is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa with a diverse landscape and rich natural resources. Despite its potential wealth, the country has a history marked by political instability, conflicts, and the exploitation of resources contributing to humanitarian crises.
2.BRICS group to double in 2024 after Saudi, Iran, UAE, Egypt, Ethiopia join ranks
- BRICS, the group of emerging-market nations comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is poised to undergo a significant expansion on January 1.
- South Africa’s envoy to the bloc revealed that Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Egypt have accepted invitations to join, effectively doubling the organization’s membership.
- In August, the existing BRICS members extended invitations to six nations, including the aforementioned, aiming to combine leading energy producers with major consumers among developing countries. Argentina, the sole decline, reversed its membership bid under the new presidency of Javier Milei.
- Representatives from the new invitees participated in a recent BRICS sherpa meeting in Durban, South Africa, indicating their acceptance of the invitation. The five countries are set to send officials to the next sherpa meeting in Moscow on January 30.
3.Surat Hosts 12th Divya Kala Mela 2023
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, organised ‘Divya Kala Mela’ in Surat, Gujarat.
- This event aimed at showcasing the products and craftsmanship of Divyang entrepreneurs and artisans from across the nation spans from December 29, 2023, to January 7, 2024. The primary objective of the ‘Divya Kala Mela’ is to contribute to the economic empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwD)/Divyangjan.
- This initiative provides a unique platform for marketing and exhibiting the diverse products and skills of Divyang entrepreneurs. The event in Surat marks the 12th in the series that began in 2022, with previous editions held in various cities across India.
4.Gujarat Sets Guinness Record In Mass Surya Namaskar
- Gujarat, known for its rich cultural heritage and commitment to health and wellness, achieved a remarkable feat on New Year’s morning by making an indelible mark in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- The state hosted the largest simultaneous Surya Namaskar performance, involving over 4,000 participants from 108 locations across 51 categories.
- The chosen number of 108 holds special significance in Indian culture, and the venues for the mega event included the iconic Modhera Sun Temple. In Vedic culture, esteemed mathematicians regarded 108 as a symbol of complete existence, linking it to the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
5.India-UAE Joint Exercise ‘Desert Cyclone 2024’ Kicks Off In Rajasthan
- The collaborative military exercise ‘Desert Cyclone 2024’ between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is scheduled to take place in Rajasthan from January 2 to January 15. This joint manoeuvre aims to enhance interoperability through the exchange of knowledge and best practices, particularly in urban operations.
- The robust friendship between India and the UAE is deeply rooted in enduring cultural, religious, and economic interactions that span millennia. In recent times, the collaboration in defence between India and the UAE has witnessed significant enhancement.
- The cooperation extends to various aspects, including defence training, the supply of defence inventory, and the implementation of regular exchange programs. One notable milestone in this collaboration was the inaugural India-UAE Joint Air Forces exercise held in September 2008 at the Al-Dhafra base in Abu Dhabi.
6.DRDO Celebrates Its 66th Foundation Day
- India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) commemorated its 66th Foundation Day on January 1, 2024, marking a significant journey of innovation and self-reliance in the country’s defence sector. The day was celebrated with great enthusiasm and a renewed commitment to bolstering India’s defence capabilities.
- Dr. Kamat stressed the importance of Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) in defence production. He highlighted the record-breaking Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) accorded in 2023 for DRDO-developed systems worth over Rs. 1.42 lakh crore.
- DRDO Chairman Dr. Samir V Kamat also launched the Quantity-Distance Software developed by HEMRL Pune. This software automates the siting of explosives and related buildings, enhancing efficiency and safety in the armed forces.
7.Strong Growth in GST Collections: December 2023 Records ₹1.65-lakh crore
- In a significant economic development, Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections for December 2023 reached ₹1,64,882 crore, marking a notable 10.28% surge compared to the ₹1,49,507 crore collected in the same month the previous year.
- This accomplishment underscores the seventh consecutive month in the fiscal year where average GST collections have exceeded ₹1.6-lakh crore. Notably, November 2023 witnessed GST collections at ₹1,67,929 crore, contributing to the overall positive trend.
- During the period of April-December 2023, Gross GST collections reached ₹14.97-lakh crore, exhibiting a commendable 12% increase from the ₹13.40-lakh crore recorded in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year (April-December 2022).
8.UPI ends 2023 with record transactions worth ₹18-lakh crore, up 42% y-o-y
- In December, UPI transactions soared by an impressive 42% year-on-year, reaching an astounding value of Rs 18 lakh crore. The transaction volume witnessed a substantial 54% rise, totaling 1,202 crore. Remarkably, the month-on-month growth in UPI transaction volume was a substantial 7%.
- Fastag transactions experienced notable growth, with a volume of 34.8 crore in December, marking a 13% YoY increase. The value of these transactions also saw a substantial uptick, rising by 19% to Rs 5,861 crore compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, this figure is 10% higher than the recorded Rs 5,539 crore in November 2023.
9.FinMin allows 30th tranche of electoral bonds
- The Indian government has granted approval for the release of the 30th tranche of electoral bonds, set to go on sale from January 2 to January 11, 2024. Electoral bonds serve as an alternative to cash donations, aiming to enhance transparency in political funding.
- The inaugural sale of electoral bonds took place in March 2018. The State Bank of India (SBI) is the sole authorized bank for issuing and encashing electoral bonds.
- Indian citizens and entities established within the country are eligible to purchase electoral bonds. Registered political parties securing a minimum of 1% of votes in the last Lok Sabha or legislative assembly elections are eligible to receive funding through electoral bonds.
10.Mudra loans show record growth to ₹3-lakh crore in Q3 FY24
- In a promising New Year development for small businesses, loans disbursed under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) have soared to an unprecedented ₹3-lakh crore in December 2023, showcasing a remarkable 16% year-on-year growth.
- The latest figures reveal that sanctioned loans have reached ₹2,99,457 crore a week before the close of the third quarter in the current financial year on December 22, 2023. This surpasses the ₹2.58-lakh crore mark during the same period in the previous fiscal year.
- Provisional data indicates that the milestone of ₹3-lakh crore was crossed by December 29, marking a robust performance. Government data highlights that women applicants have been instrumental in driving the growth of Mudra loans, with approximately 70% of loans sanctioned to women.
11.RBI Significantly Raises Bulk Deposit Limit for Large UCBs to ₹1 Crore and Above
- In a significant move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to substantially increase the bulk deposit limit for large urban co-operative banks (UCBs). The new limit now stands at ₹1 crore and above, a notable surge from the previous threshold of ₹15 lakh and above.
- The enhanced bulk deposit limit is specifically applicable to UCBs falling within the Tier 3 category, characterized by deposits ranging from ₹1,000 crore to ₹10,000 crore, and Tier 4 category, encompassing UCBs with deposits exceeding ₹10,000 crore.
- Previously, a deposit of ₹15 lakh and above was considered a bulk deposit across all UCBs, allowing discerning customers to negotiate interest rates with the banks. However, with the revised threshold set at ₹1 crore and above, customers depositing amounts below this limit will now earn a uniform rate of interest.
Important Days News
12.Global Family Day 2024
- Global Family Day, celebrated annually on January 1, marks a universal commitment to peace, unity, and the shared values of humanity. Also known as World Peace Day, Global Family Day is more than a symbolic observance.
- It’s a call to action for harmony and understanding amidst a world often divided by conflicts and strife. Celebrating this day involves raising awareness of global issues, promoting peace, and fostering a sense of global community.
- The theme for 2024, “Embracing Diversity, Strengthening Families,” is a call to celebrate our differences while acknowledging the fundamental bonds that connect us. It’s an invitation to recognize the diverse tapestry of human experience and how it contributes to the strength of familial bonds worldwide.
13.ITC Collaborates with Microsoft and Skymet to Shield Tobacco Farmers from Climate Challenges
- In a noteworthy alliance, ITC, a prominent Indian conglomerate, has joined forces with Microsoft and Skymet to address the escalating challenges faced by tobacco farmers in India due to climate change.
- The adverse impacts of climate change on agriculture are well-known, and the tobacco sector is no exception, suffering an estimated loss of ₹800-900 crore in export revenues.
- The program’s overarching goal is to enhance the climate resilience of tobacco crops, enabling farmers to better navigate the biotic and abiotic stresses induced by climate vagaries. By leveraging technology and strategic partnerships, ITC aims to empower farmers and reduce the impact of extreme weather events on tobacco cultivation.
14.Vivek Srivastava Named DG Of Fire Service, Civil Defence & Home Guards
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has recently approved the appointment of Vivek Srivastava, a seasoned 1989-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, as the Director General of Fire Service, Civil Defence & Home Guards under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Vivek Srivastava has a distinguished career as an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, with extensive experience spanning over three decades. Having entered the service in the year 1989, he has served in various capacities, showcasing leadership skills and dedication to public service.
- Srivastava’s roots lie in the Gujarat cadre, where he began his career. Over the years, he has navigated the complexities of law enforcement, tackling challenges with strategic acumen. His service in the IPS has been marked by a relentless pursuit of justice, earning him a reputation as a principled and effective officer.
15.Rashmi Govil to be Next Director (HR) of IOC
- Rashmi Govil, a seasoned HR executive with nearly three decades of experience at Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), is poised to step into the role of Director (Human Resources) at the state-owned firm. Govil, currently serving as Executive Director (HRD & ER) at IOC, will succeed Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra.
- Govil has played a pivotal role in various HR segments, including industrial relations, compensation management, performance management, staffing recruitment, policy formulation, succession planning, systems management, and audit
16.Arvind Panagariya Appointed Head Of Sixteenth Finance Commission By Government
- The government has appointed Arvind Panagariya, former Niti Aayog vice chairman and Columbia University professor, as the chairman of the Sixteenth Finance Commission.
- The Commission is entrusted with the crucial task of recommending the tax revenue sharing formula between the Centre and the States for the upcoming five-year period starting from April 2026.
- Arvind Panagariya, a distinguished trade economist, had previously served as the first vice chairman of the Niti Aayog from 2015 to 2017. The Niti Aayog, established to replace the Planning Commission, plays a pivotal role in formulating economic policies and strategies for the Indian government.
17.Dong Jun Named As China’s New Defense Minister
- China has recently named Dong Jun as its new defense minister. This move comes two months after the official removal of his predecessor, Li Shangfu, who was last seen in public in August.
- The announcement was made during a Standing Committee meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, highlighting the strategic importance of this decision.
- Dong Jun, a former navy commander, has been appointed as China’s new defense minister. At 62 years old, Dong previously served as the commander of the navy since August 2021.
- His extensive military experience includes holding the position of deputy commander of the Chinese military’s Southern Theatre Command, which operates in the contested South China Sea region.
18.David Warner Retires From One-Day Cricket Ahead of Test Farewell
- On New Year’s Day, Australian cricket stalwart David Warner officially announced his retirement from ODI cricket. This announcement came just before his final Test match against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
- In his illustrious ODI journey, Warner amassed 6,932 runs across 161 matches, boasting an average of 45.30 and an impressive strike rate of 97.26. His career highlights include 22 centuries and 33 fifties, with a personal best of 179 runs in a single match.
- Warner’s impact in the ICC Cricket World Cup is notable. He scored 1,527 runs in World Cup matches, averaging 56.55 and maintaining a strike rate exceeding 100. Among male cricketers, only five have scored more runs in World Cup history, with fellow Australian Ricky Ponting at the top.
19.World Rapid Chess C’ship: Koneru Humpy Wins Silver in Women’s Event
- India’s Koneru Humpy showcased her prowess in chess by clinching the women’s individual silver medal at the 2023 World Rapid Chess Championships held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
- Despite a valiant effort, the 36-year-old Grandmaster succumbed to Russian player Anastasia Bodnaruk in a tie-break sudden death on time.
- With this silver, Humpy completes a set of medals at the women’s world rapid championships. She had previously won the bronze in 2012 in Moscow, Russia, and was crowned the world champion in 2019 at Batumi, Georgia.
20.Indian Teenager Anahat Singh Bags Girls’ U-19 2023 Scottish Junior Open Title at Edinburgh
- Anahat Singh, a rising star in Indian squash, secured victory in the girls’ under-19 category at the 2023 Scottish Junior Open squash held in Edinburgh.
- Anahat Singh showcased her dominance on the squash court with a commanding performance in the final against home favorite Robyn McAlpine.
- The young talent claimed victory with a decisive scoreline of 11-6, 11-1, 11-5, leaving no room for doubt about her supremacy in the girls’ under-19 division.
- Shresht Iyer emerged victorious in an all-Indian boys’ under-13 final, defeating Shreyansh Jah with a scoreline of 11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8.
Science & Technology News
21.ISRO Launches XPoSat: India’s First X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite
- On January 1, ISRO successfully lifted off the XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) along with 10 other satellites from the Sriharikota spaceport, using the reliable PSLV-C58 rocket.
- The primary objective of XPoSat is to investigate the polarization of intense X-ray sources in space. XPoSat is India’s maiden X-Ray satellite designed for detecting X-rays emanating from exotic objects such as neutron stars and black holes.
- The PSLV-C58 Mission is pivotal in propelling the XPoSat Satellite into an eastward low inclination orbit. Following the injection of XPoSat, the PS4 stage will undergo two re-starts to reduce the orbit into a 350 km circular orbit.
- This adjustment aims to maintain the satellite in a 3-axis stabilized mode, facilitating Orbital Platform (OP) experiments, according to ISRO.