Today’s Current Affairs: 6th Jan 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection Project:
The Prime Minister of India in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, inaugurated Kochi-Lakshadweep islands submarine optical fiber connection (KLI-SOFC) project.
- Kochi-Lakshadweep islands submarine optical fiber connection project is the submarine cable connectivity project from Mainland (Kochi) to eleven Lakshadweep Islands namely, Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Chetlet, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Androth, Kiltan, Bangaram and Bitra has been extended.
- The project is funded by Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecommunication.
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was the Project Executing Agency and the work was awarded to M/s NEC Corporation India Pvt Ltd through Global Open Tendering process.
- The major activities related to the project include Marine Route Survey, Submarine Cable laying, Civil Construction of CLS stations, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of End Terminals (SLTE).
- The KLI-SOFC project will lead to an increase in internet speed unlocking new possibilities & opportunities.
SMART 2.0 Program:
The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) along with National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM) has launched ‘SMART 2.0’ program.
- Scope for Mainstreaming Ayurveda Research among Teaching professionals (SMART) program promotes robust clinical studies in priority areas of Ayurveda with Ayurveda academic institutions/hospitals across the country through mutual collaboration.
- The objective of ‘SMART 2.0’ is to generate a tangible evidence to demonstrate efficacy and safety of Ayurveda interventions using interdisciplinary research methods and translating it into public health care.
- The study aims at safety, tolerability and adherence to Ayurveda formulations in the priority research areas of Bal Kasa, malnutrition, insufficient lactation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, Osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and Diabetes Mellitus (DM) II.
Fog Pass Devices : Indian Railways
To ensure smooth rail operations, Indian Railways have provisioned 19,742 Fog Pass Devices during the foggy weather.
- Fog Pass Devices is a GPS based navigation device that helps the loco pilot to navigate during dense fog conditions.
- It provides on-board real-time information (Display as well as voice guidance) to Loco Pilots regarding location of fixed landmarks such as Signal, Level Crossing gate (Manned & Unmanned), Permanent Speed Restrictions, Neutral Sections etc.
- It displays approach indications of next three approaching fixed landmarks in geographical order accompanied with voice message approximately 500m on approach.
- General features of Fog Pass Device:
- Suitable for all types of sections like single line, double line, electrified as well as non electrified sections.
- Suitable for all types of electric and diesel locomotives, EMUs/MEMUs/ DEMUs.
- Suitable for train speeds up to 160 KMPH.
- It has built-in re-chargeable battery back-up for 18 hrs.
Swadesh Darshan 2.0 Scheme:
The tourism ministry has included Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in the Swadesh Darshan 2.0 scheme.
- Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to develop sustainable and responsible tourism destinations in the country.
- It is 100% centrally funded scheme.
- Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance to State governments, Union Territory Administrations or Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
- Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of the projects sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan Scheme is the responsibility of the respective State Government/UT Administration.
- Swadesh Darshan 2.0 for development of sustainable and responsible tourist destinations covering tourism and allied infrastructure, tourism services, human capital development, destination management and promotion backed by policy and institutional reforms.
- The objective for the Swadesh Darshan 2.0 scheme envisage increase in private sector investment in tourism & hospitality.
- It may help in increasing Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the field of tourism and operation and maintenance of the created assets under the scheme.
Northeast African Cheetah : Appeal To Reclassify The Status
A group of experts have appealed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to reclassify the status of the Northeast African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) to ‘endangered’ from ‘vulnerable’.
- Northeast African Cheetah:
- It is found in the Horn of Africa.
- It is also known as the Sudan cheetah.
- This subspecies is more closely related to the Southern African cheetah than to Saharan cheetah populations.
- Threat: The subspecies’ cubs are being heavily trafficked across the Red Sea to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
- Conservation status
- IUCN: Vulnerable
Bab el-Mandeb Strait:
Explosions were reported near a cargo ship in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait .
- According to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
- The ship was travelling between the coasts of Eritrea and Yemen.
- A strait is a narrow, naturally formed waterway that connects two larger bodies of water, typically seas or oceans.
- They can be formed by a variety of geological processes, such as tectonic activity, erosion, or the submersion of land.
- The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb is a crucial maritime chokepoint, connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Rani Velu Nachiyar Birth Anniversary:
The Prime Minister of India has paid tributes to Rani Velu Nachiyar (3rd Jan 1730 – 25th Dec 1796) on her birth anniversary.
- Rani Velu Nachiyar, also known as Veeramangai, was the princess of the Ramnad Kingdom of Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu.
- She is revered as the first queen to fight against the British colonial power in India.
- She was a scholar in languages like French, English, and Urdu.
- Nachiyar became queen of the Sivaganga estate (present-day Tamil Nadu) in 1780 after her husbands death.
- She ruled until 1790.
- She went on to produce the first human bomb as well as establish the first army of trained women soldiers in the late 1700s.
Production Linked Incentive Scheme : Extended
The Ministry of Heavy Industries has recently extended the tenure of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile and Auto Components by one year, with incentives now applicable for five consecutive financial years starting from 2023-24.
- This decision has been made after receiving the approval of the Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS).
- Companies failing to meet the first year’s sales increase threshold will not receive incentives for that year.
- However, they remain eligible for future benefits by achieving a 10% year-on-year growth over the first year’s threshold.
- Production Linked Incentive Scheme is a government initiative in India that offers financial incentives to companies based on their incremental sales of products manufactured in India.
- The scheme aims to drive domestic manufacturing, spur job creation, bolster exports, facilitate technology transfer, and diminish import reliance.
- The scheme is currently active in 14 key sectors: mobile manufacturing, manufacturing of medical devices, automobiles and auto components, pharmaceuticals, drugs, specialty steel, telecom & networking products, electronic products, white goods (ACs and LEDs), food products, textile products, solar PV modules, advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery, and drones and drone components.
- The incentive rate varies depending on the sector and product category, but can range from 4% to 6% of incremental sales.
Bharatmala Pariyojana : Phase I Extended
The Government has extended the deadline for completion of the flagship highway development project Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I to 2027-28.
- The move follows an over 100% increase in the estimated cost of the mega project and reflects the slowing of implementation, and financial constraints.
- Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella programme launched under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- The first-phase of Bharatmala was announced in 2017 and was to be completed by 2022.
- Bharatmala focuses on enhanced effectiveness of already built infrastructure, multi-modal integration, bridging infrastructure gaps for seamless movement and integrating National and Economic Corridors.
- There are six key features of the programme:
- Economic Corridors: Integrating the economic corridors facilitates larger connectedness between economically important production and consumption centers.
- Inter-corridor and Feeder routes: This would ensure first mile and last mile connectivity.
- National Corridor Efficiency Improvement: Through this, the greater actionable goal is to undertake lane expansion and decongestion of existing National Corridors.
- Border and International Connectivity roads: Better border road infrastructure would ensure greater maneuverability, while also boosting trade with neighboring countries.
- Coastal and Port connectivity roads: Port-led economic development is further boosted through connectivity to coastal areas, encouraging both tourism and industrial development.
- Green-field Expressways: Expressways have higher traffic configuration and choke points would benefit from green-field expressways.
India’s Steel Sector : 2nd Largest Producer
The Steel Sector has witnessed tremendous growth and India has emerged as a global force in steel production and the 2nd largest producer of steel in the world after China.
- India’s steel output has been 125.32 million tonnes (MT) of crude steel and 121.29 MT of finished steel production in FY23.
- Steel is one of the widely used materials all over the world. The iron and steel industry is the bottom line producer industry.
- The steel industry plays a pivotal role in crucial sectors such as construction, infrastructure, automobile, engineering, and defense.
- Steel is a key sector for the Indian economy (responsible for 2% of the country’s GDP in FY 21-22).
- India’s major steel-producing states include Odisha, which leads among all steel producing states, followed by Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and West Bengal also play crucial roles.
Savitribai Phule Jayanti:
Every year on January 3rd, India celebrates a special day called Savitribai Phule Jayanti.
- Savitribai Phule born in a small village in Satara district of Maharashtra on January 3, 1831, Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer, poet, and powerful voice in the Indian freedom struggle.
- She was an active participant in the women’s liberation movement.
- Established two educational trusts: the Native Female School, Pune, and the Society for Promoting the Education of Mahars, Mangs, and others from downtrodden castes.
- In 1852, the British government acknowledged the great work of the Phule family in the field of education and honored Savitribai by naming her the best teacher.
- She, along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, actively worked against the caste-based discrimination prevalent in society.
- She played a crucial role in grooming Jyotirao Phule’s pioneering institution, Satyashodhak Samaj (1873) that fought for equality of all classes.
- In 1852, she initiated the Mahila Seva Mandal, a platform aimed at creating awareness about women’s rights. Notably, this platform brought together members of all castes, challenging entrenched social hierarchies.
- Savitribai organized a barbers’ strike in both Mumbai and Pune to demonstrate their opposition to the practice of shaving the heads of widows.
- In 1863, Jyotirao and Savitribai began Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha, India’s first home prohibiting infanticide, helping pregnant Brahmin widows and rape victims.
- Savitribai Phule wrote two books, Kavya Phule in 1854 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1892, which are collections of her poems.
- She wrote the famous poem ‘Go Get Education’ to encourage backward and oppressed class people to get an education.
- Her birth anniversary, celebrated as Savitribai Phule Jayanti, is a day to commemorate her legacy and contributions to education and social equality.