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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 1st Feb 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 1st Feb 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

H-1B Visa : Program To Renew

The U.S. State Department recently launched a program to renew the much sought-after H-1B foreign work visas domestically.

  • H-1B Visa is a non-immigrant visathat allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise for a specified period.
  • A speciality occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialised knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
  • The intent of the H-1B provisions is to help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorising the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorised to work in the United States.
  • Occupations that qualify for the H-1B visa are typically in fields such as technology, finance, engineering, architecture, or more.
  • The H-1B visa is valid for three yearsand can be extended one time for an additional three years. In general, the H-1B is valid for a maximum of six years.
  • There is no limit to the number of H1-B Visas that an individual can have in his or her lifetime.
  • H1-B holders can seek a Green Card or Lawful Permanent Residency for themselves and their families.
  • If the H1-B holder is changing jobs, he or she must reapply for a new visa.


In order to be eligible for the H1B visa, you will need:

  • A valid job offer from a U.S. employer for a role that requires speciality knowledge
  • Proof of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in that field
  • The US employer must show that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for the role.
  • The annual H-1B visa limit is 85,000. There are 65,000 regular H-1B visas each year, and an additional 20,000 visas are reserved for applicants with advanced degrees.
  • Some exceptions to the H-1B visa cap include people entering the U.S. to work in higher education or affiliated research/non-profit organisations.
  • Applicants are selected for adjudication via a lottery system

Snow Leopard : Survey

The first scientific survey of the snow leopard in India shows the country is home to 718 of the elusive cats, the government said recently.

  • Snow Leopard is a large, long-haired Asian cat, classified as either Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia in the family Felidae.
  • Snow leopards live across a vast area in northern and central Asia’s high mountains, including the Himalayan region.
  • In the Himalayas, they live in high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line and up to 18,000 feet in elevation.
  • They are found in 12 countries, including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.
  • In India, it is seen in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Measuring from nose to tail, the length of an average adult is 1000 to 1300 mm.
  • They have thick grey and yellow-tinged fur, with solid spots on their head, neck, and lower limbs and rosettes over the rest of the body.
  • They also have very long, thick tails that they use for balancing on rocks and wrapping around their bodies for protection from the cold.
  • They are solitary, and the only prolonged social contact occurs while females are raising their cubs.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I

Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2023:

India’s rank in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2023 has slipped to 93 out of 180 countries, with a score of 39.

  • Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is an annual index released by Transparency International, a global civil society organisation.
  • The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Highlights of CPI 2023:

  • CPI-2023 results show that most countries have made little to no progress in tackling public sector corruption.
  • CPI global average score remains unchanged at 43 for the twelfth year in a row.
  • Denmark topped the index for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Somalia was ranked last, other countries occupying the bottom spots included: Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen.
  • India has tied with Maldives, Kazakhstan, and Lesotho to rank at 93 out of 180 countries. In 2022, India was ranked at 85.
  • Pakistan scored 29 with a rank of 133 and China, scored 42 occupying rank 76.

New Kangaroo Lizard Species:

Scientists have discovered a new kangaroo lizard species from the Western Ghats.

  • Researchers named the new, scaly reptiles after the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered of Existence (EDGE) program through the Zoological Society of London.
  • The new species Agasthyagama edgeor the northern kangaroo lizard belongs to the Agamidae family.
  • A group of scientists discovered the new species from the southern Western Ghats at Kulamavu in Idukki.
  • The species is the second one of the Agasthyagama genus after A. beddomii or Indian kangaroo lizard that has been previously reported from Sivagiri hills in Tamil Nadu.

Bharat 5G Portal:

The Secretary, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications (MoC), launched the “Bharat 5G Portal- an integrated portal” on the sidelines of ‘Bharat Telecom 2024’.

  • Bharat 5G Portal is a comprehensive platform serving the interests of startups, industry and academia in quantum, 6G, IPR and 5G domains.
  • It also features the Future Tech-Experts registration portal in collaboration with PANIIT USA, aimed to help and advise the Indian Telecom ecosystem to advance the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • It acts as a one-stop solution for all quantum, IPR, PoCs/Pilot, 5G and 6G-related works capturing academic R&D developments, industry standards, OEMs, startups/MSMEs, and subject matter experts.
  • It aims to propel India’s 5G capabilities and foster innovation, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing within the telecom sector.

Lab-Grown Fish:

ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has entered into a collaborative research agreement with a private-sector start-up offering cultivated meat technology solutions to grow fish meat in the laboratory.

  • Lab-grown fish is merely a type of lab-grown or cultivated/cultured meat.
  • Seafood without the sea is ‘grown’ in the same way as other cultivated meats are grown without the need to raise and kill an animal.
  • Cultivated fish meat is produced by isolating specific cells from fish and growing them in a laboratory setting using media that is free of animal components.
  • The final product is expected to replicate the flavour, texture, and nutritional qualities of ‘real’ fish meat.
  • It will focus on the genetic, biochemical, and analytical work related to the project.
  • In its cell culture lab, it will carry out research on early cell line development of high-value marine fish species — a process that involves isolating and cultivating fish cells for further research and development.
  • It will initially focus on developing cell-based meat of fish such as pomfret, kingfish, and seerfish.
  • A number of countries have made great strides in this pioneering technology.

UNRWA Funding Pause Amid Gaza Conflict:

The US and eight other Western countries, which are major contributors to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA’s) 2022 budget, have decided to pause funding for the agency.

  • UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide aid to Palestinians who were displaced during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
  • It operates in Gaza, Israeli-occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, offering education, health, relief, social services, microfinance, and emergency assistance programs.
  • The agency currently serves around 5.9 million Palestinian refugees and plays a vital role in providing essential services to Palestinians in Gaza.
  • The halt of funding is the result of Israel accusing UNRWA staff of involvement in an attack on Israel on 7th October 2023 and has alleged that Hamas uses UNRWA facilities for military purposes and teaches anti-Israel sentiment in its schools.

Laughing Gull : Migratory Bird

A Laughing Gull, a migratory bird native to North America, has been sighted for the first time in India.

  • This discovery, verified by birding experts, increases India’s total bird species count.
  • The bird is known for its unique laughter-like calls, resembling human laughter.
  • The laughing gull’s presence in Kasaragod adds a new chapter to the region’s rich biodiversity.
  • Birdwatchers and researchers are eager to conduct further studies to understand the migratory patterns and the reasons behind this extraordinary visit.
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern.

Dhenkanal Magji : GI Tag

Dhenkanal Magji got the GI Tag.

  • Dhenkanal Magji is a type of sweet made from cheese from buffalo milk, with distinct characteristics in terms of appearance, taste, flavour, shape, and size.
  • It also has unique nutritional values that distinguish it from other cheese-based sweets.
  • Thousands of people were said to be earning their livelihood through animal husbandry, especially buffalo rearing, during the British era.
  • The region was the hinterland of buffalo milk production and cheese was the third largest produce, after milk and curd.
  • The Mandar-Sadangi area of Gondia block is believed to be the centre of origin of the sweet stuff, which has now been spread to the entire district.
  • The sweet is prepared by draining moisture from the cheese and then frying it, finally forming balls from the mixture.