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Read the most important current affairs of 04 January 2024. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on Online Schengen Visas, Ind-Ra FY’24 Growth Forecast, M S Swaminathan Award, World Braille Day 2024, New Women’s 5 km Marathon Record.
Top 27 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 04 January 2024
1.Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II to Step Down After 52 Years on Throne
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, in her New Year’s speech, revealed her decision to abdicate the throne after 52 years of rule. The announcement, made on the 14th of January, marks the anniversary of her own accession to the throne at the age of 31, following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.
- Queen Margrethe II’s legacy is one of resilience, adventure, and unwavering dedication to her role as a monarch. Her decision to abdicate the throne adds a new chapter to Denmark’s royal history, making way for her son, Crown Prince Frederik, to assume the responsibilities of the monarchy.
2.Oman To Host FIH Hockey5s World Cup Qualifiers
- Oman is set to unveil its latest sports marvel—a cutting-edge complex designed to host the FIH Hockey5s World Cup qualifiers, scheduled just ahead of the Summer 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
- The FIH Hockey5s World Cup qualifiers promise to be a thrilling spectacle, attracting eight international teams vying for a chance to secure three coveted tickets to the upcoming Olympics.
- The newly constructed stadium boasts a remarkable capacity, accommodating over 5,000 spectators during the tournament. Built in adherence to the latest standards and designs approved by the International Hockey Federation, the stadium promises an unparalleled viewing experience for fans and players alike.
3.France Takes Digital Leap with Online Schengen Visas for Paris Olympics
- In a pioneering move, France has become the first European Union member to introduce fully digital Schengen visas for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.
- Commencing on January 1, 2024, the newly launched “Olympic Consulate” system operates through the France-Visas portal, streamlining the application process for 15,000 international athletes, 9,000 journalists, and foreign delegations.
- Applications for the 70,000 visas will be exclusively processed online, preventing them from being inundated among other visa requests. This groundbreaking initiative aligns with the EU’s digitalization plans for Schengen visas, marking a significant shift in visa application procedures.
4.PM Inaugurates Rs 400 Crore Fast Reactor Plant In Tamil Nadu
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Rs 400 crore Demonstration Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (DFRP) at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, to the nation.
- The DFRP boasts a unique design, crafted entirely by Indian scientists. This facility is capable of reprocessing both carbide and oxide fuels discharged from fast reactors, setting it apart as the only one of its kind globally.
- This facility is a significant step towards advancing India’s nuclear capabilities, designed to reprocess fuel from Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR).
- The fast reactor power generation company, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), based in Kalpakkam, is at the forefront of this initiative.
5.Uttar Pradesh Leads In Implementing ICJS
- For the third consecutive year, Uttar Pradesh has achieved the highest entry rate on the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) platform, showcasing the state’s commitment to leveraging technology in the administration of justice.
- The ICJS platform, a brainchild of the Supreme Court’s e-committee and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, plays a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency of the criminal justice system in India.
- The Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) platform is a revolutionary concept initiated by the Supreme Court’s e-committee and executed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The primary objective of ICJS is to facilitate seamless data exchange among key components of the criminal justice system, including police, jails, courts, and forensic science labs.
6.PM Modi Inaugurates ₹1,156 Crore Projects in Lakshadweep
- In a significant development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated projects worth ₹1,156 crore during his visit to the Lakshadweep islands. Among these projects is the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Cable, a ₹1,072-crore initiative providing 100 Gbps internet connectivity to the islands.
- The undersea cable link, executed by Japanese firm NEC and laid by BSNL, promises 100 times faster internet for the residents of Lakshadweep. Covering 1,868 kilometers, it connects Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Chetlet, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Androth, Kiltan, Bangaram, and Bitra. This initiative allows telecom companies to offer 4G, 5G, and high-speed broadband for the first time in the archipelago.
7.Gujarat Government Inks Agreements Worth $86 Billion Ahead of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit
- In preparation for the upcoming biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the Indian state of Gujarat has sealed preliminary investment deals totaling 7.17 trillion Indian rupees ($86.07 billion) with 58 companies spanning sectors like energy, oil and gas, and chemicals.
- With NTPC and Torrent Power leading the charge, these strategic investments signal a robust push by Gujarat to attract both foreign and domestic investors. This move is pivotal as Prime Minister Modi aims to bolster investment in the country ahead of the national elections, where he seeks a third term.
8.Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh Assumes Command of Western Naval Command
- In a ceremony held at INS Shikra, the naval air station in Colaba, Mumbai, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh took charge as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command.
- Before assuming the prestigious position as the FOC-in-C of the Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh held the position of Vice Chief of the Naval Staff at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi.
- The ceremony marked the transition of leadership from Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, who had been serving as the FOC-in-C. The change in command also sees Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi taking on the role of Vice Chief of Naval Staff at the Naval Headquarters.
9.Ind-Ra Raises India’s FY’24 Growth Forecast to 6.7%: Factors and Challenges
- India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised its GDP growth estimate for the current fiscal year upward to 6.7% from the earlier 6.2%.
- The upgrade is attributed to the resilience of the Indian economy, sustained government capex, a deleveraged corporate/banking sector balance sheet, and the potential for a new private corporate capex cycle.
- The Reserve Bank of India anticipates a sequential slowdown in GDP growth in the last two quarters of FY24, projecting an overall GDP of 7%.
10.PMI Manufacturing Hits 18-Month Low at 54.9 in December Amid Festival Demand Slowdown
- The HSBC India Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing dropped to an 18-month low of 54.9 in December, down from 56 in November, signaling a slowdown.
- Despite this, the sector remains in expansion mode, marking 30 consecutive months with the index above 50, indicative of growth. The decline was attributed to a weaker rise in new orders and output.
- The manufacturing sector continued to expand in December, albeit at a softer pace, maintaining growth momentum despite a decline. New business gains, favorable market conditions, fairs, and expositions contributed to a sharp increase in manufacturing during December.
11.Fitch Forecasts Strong Growth for Asia Pacific Emerging Markets in 2024
- Fitch Ratings released its report ‘APAC Cross-Sector Outlook 2024’, affirming robust economic growth in the Asia Pacific region.
- The forecast highlights a 5% GDP growth in India and various emerging markets, indicating positive trends in the banking sectors of India and Indonesia.
- Fitch anticipates a sustained economic upswing in Asia Pacific, with GDP set to expand by or above 5% in key nations such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Notably, China is expected to maintain a strong performance relative to global standards.
- The Indian economy, which grew by 7.2% in the 2022-23 fiscal year, is projected to achieve GDP growth rates of 6.9% and 6.5% in the current fiscal year and 2024-25, respectively.
12.PNB Housing Finance’s NCD Ratings Upgraded by India Ratings to IND AA+ with Stable Outlook
- India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has upgraded PNB Housing Finance Limited’s non-convertible debentures (NCDs) to ‘IND AA+’ from ‘IND AA’ with a stable outlook.
- PNBHF is a major housing finance player with an AUM of INR 674 billion, focusing on retail loans and boasting over three decades of operational experience.
- PNBHF has diverse funding sources, including deposits, banking lines, and external commercial borrowings, ensuring flexibility and stability in its resource profile. The company’s focus on a low-ticket, granular mortgage portfolio has contributed to improved profitability, with a return on assets of 2.2% in 1HFY24.
13.Vodafone Idea Director P Balaji Movies to Air India
- P Balaji, Director (Regulatory and Corporate Affairs) at Vodafone Idea, has tendered his resignation, marking the end of his nearly decade-long association with the telecom giant.
- This move has garnered attention due to Balaji’s pivotal role in liaising with government officials, considering Vodafone Idea’s status as the largest shareholder in the loss-making company.
- Air India has announced the recruitment of P Balaji in a newly created role as the Group Head for Governance, Regulatory, Compliance, and Corporate Affairs. The Tata Group-owned airline revealed that Balaji is scheduled to assume his responsibilities on January 11, reporting directly to Air India’s CEO and MD, Campbell Wilson.
14.Reliance Industries Achieves India’s First ISCC-Plus Certification
- Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first in India to produce ISCC-Plus certified chemically recycled polymers. The ISCC-Plus certification applies to RIL’s Jamnagar refinery, situated in the state of Gujarat.
- On December 29, RIL proudly declared that it had successfully shipped its inaugural batch of ISCC-Plus certified circular polymers, named CircuRepol (polypropylene) and CircuRelene (polyethylene), to an undisclosed client.
- Companies obtaining ISCC Plus certification commit to ensuring that the sustainability of their raw materials can be transparently traced from the field to the store.
15.SBI Raises $1 Billion from Overseas for ESG Financing Market
- State Bank of India (SBI) has successfully secured $1 billion (approximately Rs 8,300 crore) to address the growing demand in the domestic Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) financing market.
- This syndicated social loan issuance comprises $750 million, with an additional $250 million as a green shoe option, as disclosed in the regulatory filing made by SBI.
- The recently closed loan book, finalized on January 2, 2024, follows a similar move by SBI last year when it raised $1 billion through a syndicated social loan. The funds procured from this latest venture are strategically designed to bolster the bank’s commitment to the ESG financing market.
Important Days News
16.World Braille Day 2024
- World Braille Day, annually observed on January 4, is a profound tribute to Louis Braille, the visionary mind behind the transformative braille system.
- Born in 1809 in France, Louis faced the adversity of losing his sight in childhood. However, his resilience and determination led to the creation of one of history’s most revolutionary systems.
- World Braille Day aims to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with visual impairments, advocating for their rights and societal integration.
- It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of empathy and compassion towards those navigating a world without sight.
Summits & Conferences News
17.Czech PM to be Chief Guest at Vibrant Gujarat Summit
- The 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit (VGGS) is set to take place in Gandhinagar from January 10 to 12, 2024. The theme for this edition is “Gateway to the Future.”
- This biennial event serves as a crucial platform for global policymakers, diplomats, business leaders, and investors to foster collaborations, partnerships, and explore investment opportunities.
- As many as 28 countries and 14 organizations have confirmed their participation as partners in VGGS 2024. These partners, including the UAE, Czech Republic, Australia, Japan, and the UK, play a pivotal role in strengthening bilateral relations and contribute significantly to the success of the summit.
18.Nadia Calvino Appointed as New President of the European Investment Bank
- In a historic move, Nadia Calvino has been named the new president of the European Investment Bank, taking office on January 1.
- She succeeds Werner Hoyer to become the eighth president of the EU bank. Notably, Calvino is the first woman and the first Spaniard to lead this prestigious institution, marking a significant milestone in the bank’s history.
- Before ascending to this prominent role, President Calviño had a noteworthy tenure as the first vice-president of the government of Spain and minister of economy, trade and enterprise. Her extensive experience extends to various influential positions within the European Commission.
19.Puneet Chhatwal Appointed Chairman of FAITH
- Puneet Chhatwal, the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited, has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH). This move comes as he succeeds Nakul Anand, the retired Executive Director at ITC Hotels.
- Chhatwal, a prominent figure in the hospitality sector, will also continue in his capacity as the President of the Hotel Association of India (HAI), a position he was re-elected to in 2022. This dual role positions him strategically in guiding and representing the industry on both national and broader association levels.
20.Randhir Jaiswal Takes Over As MEA Spokesperson From Arindam Bagchi
- In a significant transition at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson, has passed on the baton to Randhir Jaiswal.
- This move comes after Arindam Bagchi’s appointment as India’s next Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva in October 2023.
- Mr. Bagchi, a seasoned 1995-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer holding the position of Additional Secretary in the MEA, had taken over as the spokesperson in March 2021.
- His term witnessed the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, India’s successful hosting of the G20 Summit in September, and an intensified pace of diplomatic engagements with various global partners.
21.Adani Ports Elevates Karan Adani To MD, Appoints Ashwani Gupta As CEO
- Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), recently declared that CEO Karan Adani would be stepping into the role of Managing Director, succeeding Gautam Adani.
- In parallel, the company welcomed Ashwani Gupta, former global Chief Operating Officer at Nissan Motors, as its new CEO. Ashwani Gupta’s appointment strengthens APSEZ’s global port sector leadership. With nearly three decades of diverse industry experience.
- Karan Adani’s journey within APSEZ is notable. He began his career with the Adani Group in 2009 at Mundra Port and assumed the role of CEO in 2016. With Karan Adani assuming the position of Managing Director, Gautam Adani is now re-designated as the ‘Executive Chairman’ of APSEZ.
22.Justice Sanjiv Khanna Appointed As NALSA Executive Chairperson
- The President of India has appointed Justice Sanjiv Khanna as the Executive Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
- Justice Khanna, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, has taken over from Justice S. K. Kaul, who retired on December 25.
- The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body established under the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987. This organization plays a pivotal role in providing free legal services to the weaker sections of society and aims to organize Lok Adalats for the amicable settlement of disputes.
23.Prof B R Kamboj Honoured With M S Swaminathan Award
- Prof. B.R. Kamboj, the Vice Chancellor of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, has been bestowed with the prestigious M.S. Swaminathan Award. This recognition comes in appreciation of his significant contributions as a scientist and extension specialist in the field of agronomy.
- Prof. B.R. Kamboj, in his role as Vice Chancellor, possesses an in-depth understanding of the common problems, needs, and socio-economic conditions faced by farmers. His agricultural recommendations, stemming from collaborative research work and extension activities with university scientists, have consistently proven highly advantageous for farmers.
Books & Authors News
24.Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Launches Book on “Ram Mandir Rashtra Mandir Ak Sajhi Virast”
- The Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad, unveiled a book titled “Ram Mandir Rashtra Mandir Ak Sajhi Virast” at the Rang Bhawan Auditorium in Delhi.
- The launch event witnessed the convergence of individuals from various backgrounds, symbolizing the cultural and religious diversity of India. Governor Arif Mohammad, in his capacity as the chief guest, expressed the importance of preserving and understanding India’s rich heritage and cultural legacy.
- The book, “Ram Mandir Rashtra Mandir Ak Sajhi Virast,” explores the intricate relationship between the Ram Mandir and the national heritage. Authored by a distinguished writer, the book delves into the historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects associated with the construction and significance of the Ram Mandir.
25.Prime Minister Narendra Modi Receives Prestigious Book on Srirangam Temple During Tiruchi Visit
- During his recent visit to Tiruchi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was graced with a special presentation. BJP State President K. Annamalai presented him with a unique coffee table book titled “Srirangam – The Resplendent Kingdom of Rangaraja.”
- This significant work, published by The Hindu Group of Publications, was launched during the auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi festival at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam.
- The book “Srirangam – The Resplendent Kingdom of Rangaraja” is a comprehensive volume of 454 pages, detailing the marvels of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. As the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams, this temple is a beacon of spiritual and architectural significance in India.
26.Beatrice Chebet Breaks 5 km World Record in Barcelona Event
- In a spectacular display of athletic prowess, Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet concluded her remarkable year by smashing the world record for the women’s 5 km marathon at the Cursa dels Nassos in Barcelona.
- Clocking an astounding 14:13, Chebet outpaced her competitors and bettered the previous record by six seconds, setting the stage for a memorable achievement.
- The final showdown was between Beatrice Chebet and Ejegayehu Taye, the former record holder. In a thrilling sprint, Chebet surged ahead in the last 500m, securing her victory with a clear lead.
Science & Technology News
27.ISRO’s Satellite Set For Launch Aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket
- NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has announced its collaboration with SpaceX, to launch the communication satellite GSAT-20.
- This marks India’s first partnership with SpaceX, reflecting a significant stride in space exploration and satellite deployment.
- GSAT-20, now renamed GSAT-N2, is a high throughput Ka-band satellite designed to meet the growing broadband communication needs of India.
- With a weight of 4,700 kg, GSAT-20 offers a substantial HTS capacity of nearly 48 Gbps, specifically tailored to address the service requirements of remote and unconnected regions in the country.
04 JANUARY CURRENT AFFAIRS 2024 | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR