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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 29th Feb 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 28th Feb 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Precision Farming:

Garuda Aerospace highlights Precision Farming with Kisan Drone at Krishi Darshan Expo.

  • Krishi Darshan Expo 2024 hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, served as a comprehensive platform for showcasing the latest agricultural technologies and innovations.
  • Precision farming also known as precision agriculture (PA), is a farming management strategy that leverages information technology to enhance agricultural production sustainability.
  • Precision farming involves observing, measuring, and responding to temporal and spatial variability within fields and livestock systems.
  • The goal is to optimize returns on inputs while preserving resources.

South Asia’s Largest Ammunition And Missile Complex:

Adani Group has inaugurated South Asia’s largest ammunition and missile complex in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh spanning 500 acres.

  • This facility is poised to become one of the region’s most extensive integrated ammunition manufacturing complexes, producing high-quality small, medium, and large-caliber ammunition for the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and police.
  • The complex has commenced production of small-caliber ammunition, with an initial batch of 150 million rounds, which accounts for approximately 25% of India’s annual requirement.
  • This unveiling coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Balakot airstrike, also known as ‘Operation Bandar,’ a landmark operation by the Indian Air Force that showcased India’s strategic assertiveness in countering external threats.

Inauguration Of Three Significant Space Infrastructure Projects By PM Narendra Modi:

The Prime Minister of India inaugurated three significant space infrastructure projects: SLV Integration Facility (PIF) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and Stage Test (SIEST) facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri and Trisonic Wind Tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, Thiruvananthapuram.

  • They will enhance India’s technical capabilities in the space sector and support its vision for space exploration.
  • The PIF will ramp up PSLV launches from 6 to 15 annually and support SSLV and other small launch vehicles.
  • The SIEST facility will develop semi-cryogenic engines, enhancing payload capacity, with capabilities to test engines up to 200 tons of thrust.
  • The Trisonic Wind Tunnel marks a milestone in aerodynamic testing for rockets and aircraft.
  • These facilities are also crucial for the Gaganyaan Mission.
  • Also, the Prime Minister announced the names of four pilots chosen for Gaganyaan mission and presented ‘Astronaut Wings’ to them.
  • The designated pilots for the Gaganyaan mission are Group Captain P Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S Shukla.

Amendment To Surrogacy Rules:

The Indian government has amended the Surrogacy (Regulation) Rules, 2022 and allowed married couples to use an egg or sperm of a donor in case one of the partners is suffering from a medical condition.

Recent Amended Provisions:

  • It allows surrogacy with donor gametes if either spouse in the intending couple is certified by the District Medical Board to require donor gametes due to a medical condition.
  • This implies that couples still cannot opt for surrogacy if both partners have medical issues.
  • For divorced or widowed women opting for surrogacy, it mandates the use of the woman’s own eggs alongside donor sperm.
  • This overturned a previous amendment made to the rules in March 2023 that banned the use of donor gametes.

Major Provisions of the Amended Surrogacy Rules:

  • The March 2023 amended rules only permitted the use of the intending couple’s own gametes, barring couples with specific medical conditions from having biological children through surrogacy.
  • These restrictions caused distress and challenged the right to parenthood for affected couples.
  • It faced legal challenges in the Supreme Court by a woman with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome, a congenital disorder causing infertility.
  • The Supreme Court expressed skepticism regarding the efficacy of these regulations, asserting that such rules undermined the fundamental objectives of surrogacy.

First Pey Jal Survekshan Awards:

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs announced the first Pey Jal Survekshan Awards.

  • Pey Jal Survekshan Awards consists of various categories;
    • Pey Jal Gold, Silver, and Bronze City Awards, where Gold signifies top performers in their respective population categories (1 to 10 Lakh, 10 to 40 Lakh, and More than 40 Lakh),
    • Silver denotes the 2nd position, and Bronze the 3rd.
    • The awards extend to commendations for Best Water Body, Sustainability Champion, Reuse Champion, Water Quality, City Saturation, and AMRUT 2.0 Rotating Trophy of the Year.
  • It encompassed diverse parameters, including access, coverage, water quality at treatment plants and households, sustainability regarding the health of water bodies, availability of SCADA/ flowmeters, and reuse of treated used water.
  • Cities will be graded on a star rating scale, ranging from 5 stars to No star, encapsulating their performance across these critical criteria.
  • Pey Jal Survekshan ensured clean water through independent NABL lab testing at the source and citizen end.
  • Using a GIS-enabled web portal, geo-tagging, and infrastructure mapping, the survey collected accurate and transparent data.
  • Its results are expected to drive ULB decision-making, enhance service delivery, and foster citizen engagement, instilling a sense of ownership and knowledge dissemination about water conservation and optimal use.

Genie : AI Model

Google DeepMind has just introduced Genie, a new model that can generate interactive video games from just a text or image prompt

  • Genie AI Model is a foundation world model that is trained on videos sourced from the Internet.
  • The model can “generate an endless variety of playable (action-controllable) worlds from synthetic images, photographs, and even sketches.”
  • It is the first generative interactive environment that has been trained in an unsupervised manner from unlabelled internet videos.
  • When it comes to size, Genie stands at 11B parameters and consists of a spatiotemporal video tokenizer, an autoregressive dynamics model, and a simple and scalable latent action model.
  • These technical specifications let Genie act in generated environments on a frame-by-frame basis even in the absence of training, labels, or any other domain-specific requirements.
  • Genie can be prompted to generate a diverse set of interactive and controllable environments although it is trained on video-only data.
  • It makes playable environments from a single image prompt.
  • It can be prompted with images it has never seen.
  • This includes real-world photographs, and sketches, allowing people to interact with their imagined virtual worlds.
  • It is trained more on videos of 2D platformer games and robotics.
  • Genie is trained on a general method, allowing it to function on any type of domain, and it is scalable to even larger Internet datasets.
  • The standout aspect of Genie is its ability to learn and reproduce controls for in-game characters exclusively from internet videos.
  • This is noteworthy because internet videos do not have labels about the action that is performed in the video, or even which part of the image should be controlled.
  • It allows you to create an entirely new interactive environment from a single image.

37th African Union Summit:

At the 37th African Union Summit member countries took the initiative of forming Africa Club.

  • Africa Club is the Alliance of African Multilateral Financial Institutions which are African-owned and controlled is launched at the African Union summit.
  • The initiative aims to amplify Africa’s influence in the global financial system by aligning its functions with the SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
  • It seeks to introduce innovative financial instruments, provide a venue for debt management discussions and foster collaborative efforts to address the specific needs of African countries.
  • Its members include the African Export-Import Bank, Trade and Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, African Reinsurance Corporation, African Trade and Investment Development Insurance, Shelter Afrique Development Bank and ZEP – RE (PTA Reinsurance Co).

African Union:

  • The AU is an intergovernmental organization consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.

General Agreement On Trade In Services:

Around 72 nations have agreed to take on additional obligations in services under the-General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to ease non-goods trade among themselves and extend the similar concessions to all other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

  • General Agreement on Trade in Services is a treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It was created to extend the multilateral trading system to the service sector, in the same way, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides such a system for merchandise trade.
  • It was signed at the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations’ conclusion and entered into force on January 1, 1995.
  • All WTO members are at the same time members of the GATS including India.
  • Basic obligations under the GATS may be categorized into two broad groups:
    • General obligations that apply to all members and services sector.
    • Specific commitments: These are obligations that apply only to the sectors inscribed in a member’s schedule of commitments. Such commitments are laid down in individual schedules whose scope may vary widely between members.
  • The GATS applies in principle to all service sectors, with two exceptions.
    • Services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority: These are services that are supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with other suppliers. These include social security schemes and any other public service, such as health or education that is provided at non-market conditions.
    • The Annex on Air Transport Services exempts from coverage measures affecting air traffic rights and services directly related to the exercise of such rights.

Steadfast Defender 2024:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started its largest military exercise in Europe, the Steadfast Defender 2024, recently.

  • Steadfast Defender 2024 is NATO’s most extensive military exercise since the Cold War era.
  • It involves 90,000 forces from 31 member countries and NATO partner Sweden and is conducted across various NATO nations.
  • The exercise will feature an impressive array of military hardware, including over 50 naval vessels ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers, and a formidable air contingent of more than 80 units comprising fighter jets, helicopters, and drones.
  • The ground forces are equally robust, with at least 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles, demonstrating NATO’s ground capabilities.
  • The purpose of Steadfast Defender 2024 is to put NATO’s new regional defense plans to the test.
  • These plans, the first of their kind in decades, outline the alliance’s response mechanisms to potential threats, notably addressing concerns regarding Russian aggression.

Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar : Chairperson Of Lokpal

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was recently appointed as the chairperson of Lokpal.

  • Lokpal statutory body established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013.
  • Mandate to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.
  • The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
  • The Chairperson should be either the former Chief Justice of India, or a former Judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfils the eligibility criteria as specified.
  • Out of the maximum eight members, half will be judicial members.
  • The judicial member of the Lokpal should be either a former Judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court.
  • A minimum of fifty per cent of the Members will be from SC / ST / OBC / Minorities and women.
  • The Chairperson and the Members are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a selection committee composed of the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a Judge nominated by him/her, and one eminent jurist.
  • They hold office for aterm of five years from the date on which they enter upon the office or until they attain the age of 70 years.