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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

14 Feb 2024


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NITI Aayog Launches GROW Initiative to Transform India's Wastelands through Agroforestry

  • NITI Aayog unveiled the Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal, aiming to bolster efforts in environmental conservation and sustainable land use across India.
  • Utilising cutting-edge remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies, the report offers a comprehensive state-wise and district-wise analysis, providing crucial insights to government departments and industries engaged in greening and restoration projects.
  • The GROW initiative includes the launch of the "Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW)-Suitability Mapping" portal on 'Bhuvan', ensuring universal access to state and district-level data. This portal is expected to significantly boost the promotion of agroforestry initiatives by government bodies.
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India Signs MoU to Interlink UPI with UAE's Instant Payment Platform AANI

  • In a significant move towards enhancing bilateral ties and fostering economic cooperation, India and the United Arab Emirates exchanged multiple memoranda of understanding (MoUs). Among these agreements was a notable MoU on linking the instant payment platforms of both nations, namely India's UPI and UAE's AANI.
  • The exchange ceremony took place in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, underscoring the importance of the collaborations between the two nations.

Visa Appoints Shruti Gupta as Vice President, Head of Commercial and Money Movement Solutions

  • In a move reflecting its commitment to the India and South Asia markets, Visa, the global leader in digital payments, appointed Shruti Gupta as Vice President and Head of Commercial & Money Movement Solutions (CMS). This announcement signals a new chapter in Visa's regional operations.
  • Shruti Gupta, an industry veteran with over two decades of experience in commercial solutions, risk management, and strategy, will be spearheading Visa's CMS division. Her role will encompass overseeing business and corporate solutions, including Commercial Solutions, Integrated Money Movement, and Visa Government Solutions.

Wipro Acquires Aggne to Boost Capabilities in Insurance Sector

  • IT major Wipro acquired a 60 per cent stake in US-based insurtech Aggne Global for $66 million to strengthen its competitive advantage in the insurance sector, particularly in the property and casualty (P&C) insurance space.
  • Founded in 2019, Aggne is incorporated in the US and India, with offices in Tampa, Florida, and Hyderabad, India.
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Amit Shah Inaugurates Gandhinagar Premier League

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated Gandhinagar Lok Sabha Premier League, a cricket tournament for the people of his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Shah was joined by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya as well.
  • The cricket tournament was organised with an objective of 'Khelo Gandhinagar' and the inauguration took place at SGVP, Chharodi on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway in Ahmedabad.
  • The night cricket tournament was open to people of the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, which consists of seven assembly constituencies — Vejalpur, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Sabarmati, Gandhinagar North, Mansa and Sanand. More than 1,000 teams and 15,000 players have registered for the tournament.

World Wrestling Body Lifts Wrestling Federation of India Suspension with Immediate Effect

  • United World Wrestling (UWW), the apex body of wrestling in the world, lifted the suspension placed on Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) with immediate effect. UWW had suspended the WFI in August 2023 for failing to hold the elections in due course. The suspension, however, was revoked under some conditions.
  • UWW, however, asked WFI to re-convene the elections to its Athletes Commission before July 1.
  • The candidates for this commission shall be active athletes or retired for no longer than four years. The voters shall be exclusively athletes. These elections shall take place during trials or any senior national championships where this operation can take place.
  • The WFI has to immediately provide UWW with written guarantees that all wrestlers will be considered for participation without any discrimination in all WFI events, in particular trials for the Olympic Games and any other major national and international events. This non-discrimination includes the three athletes who protested against alleged wrongdoings by the former President.
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Rajya Sabha Polls: BJP Renominates Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw from Odisha, L. Murugan from MP

  • The BJP named Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and L. Murugan as its Rajya Sabha candidates from Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, respectively.
  • If elected, a near certainty, it will be the second Rajya Sabha term for the two leaders from these states.
  • Railway Minister Vaishnaw is likely to get elected with the support of the state's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), as was the case during the former IAS officer's election for the first term in 2019.
  • From Madhya Pradesh, the BJP named three more candidates besides Murugan, the MoS in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, for the five vacancies from the state.
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67th All India Police Duty Meet: RPF Hosts in Lucknow

  • The 67th All India Police Duty Meet (AIPDM) organised by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is being held in Lucknow from February 12 to 16, 2024. This esteemed event, entrusted to the RPF by the Central Coordinating Committee of AIPDM, aims to foster excellence and collaboration among police officers, enhancing internal security through scientific crime detection and investigation.
  • Competitions and Activities:
  • Featuring competitions in Scientific Aids to Investigation, Police Photography, Computer Awareness, Special Canine Unit contests, Anti-sabotage checks, and Police Videography.
  • Provides a platform for law enforcement personnel to refine skills and exchange best practices.
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Renowned litterateur and Padma Shri awardee Usha Kiran Khan Passes Away

  • Renowned litterateur and Padma Shri awardee Usha Kiran Khan passed away. She was 78.
  • Khan's literary contributions earned her widespread recognition, including prestigious honours such as the Padma Shri in 2015, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Mahadevi Verma Award, the Dinakar National Award, and the Bharat-Bharati, among others.
  • Usha Kiran Khan was celebrated for her versatile contributions to literature, penning several influential novels in Hindi and Maithili.
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Govt. Introduces National Creator's Awards for Modern Influencers

  • The government of India unveiled the prestigious 'National Creators Award', a groundbreaking initiative aimed at acknowledging and celebrating the remarkable contributions of new-age influencers and creators in shaping India's digital landscape.
  • The 'National Creators Award' endeavours to shine a spotlight on the myriad voices and talents that are instrumental in propelling India's growth trajectory while simultaneously enriching its cultural fabric.
  • According to the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), this initiative seeks to recognise those individuals who have not only fostered innovation and creativity but have also driven positive social change through their digital endeavours.
  • The 'National Creators Award' acknowledges outstanding creativity and innovation across more than 20 categories, spanning from storytelling and social change advocacy to environmental sustainability, education, gaming, and beyond.
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PM Modi Launches 'Muft Bijli' (Free Electricity) Scheme

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the PM 'Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana' with an investment of over Rs. 75,000 crore, for installing solar rooftops for households. This project aims to light up 1 crore households by providing up to 300 units of free electricity every month.
  • To familiarise the scheme among Indians, the government will incentivise Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats to promote the installation of rooftop solar systems in their jurisdiction.
  • The government will also ensure that there is no cost burden on the common man by dispersing subsidies directly to the beneficiary's bank account and heavily concessional bank loan. Also, all stakeholders will be integrated into a National Online Portal which will further convenience.
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CBSE to Open Office in Dubai, Announces PM Modi

  • Emphasising the commitment to provide the best education in the UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that a new Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) office will soon be established in Dubai.
  • Addressing the gathering at the 'Ahlan Modi' diaspora event in Abu Dhabi, PM Modi highlighted the significant achievements in the education sector, stating that more than 1.5 lakh Indian students are studying in UAE schools. The master's course was started at the IIT Delhi campus in Abu Dhabi in January and a new CBSE office will be opened soon in Dubai.

IIT Madras, Jharkhand University Partners to Boost Deep-tech Disciplines in Jharkhand

  • IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation entered into a strategic partnership with the Jharkhand University of Technology (JUT) in Ranchi. The objective is to boost education, innovation and skill development ecosystems in deep-tech disciplines in Jharkhand.
  • The key focus on this partnership is on innovation, skill development, industry-academia collaboration and incubation support for nurturing start-ups.
  • This MoU will establish the groundwork for fostering the development of Jharkhand University of Technology's Research Park, facilitating collaboration between academia and industry, promoting research, innovation, and incubation. Together, we aim to contribute to the advancement of Jharkhand and moving towards Viksit Bharat 2047.
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Delhi High Court Judge Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav to Head UAPA Tribunal on SIMI Ban Extension

  • Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav of Delhi High Court was nominated as the Presiding Officer of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal to adjudicate whether there is sufficient cause for declaring Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) an 'unlawful association' under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • Justice Kaurav was elevated as a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in October 2021. He was transferred to Delhi High Court later and was sworn in as a judge of the Delhi High Court in June 2022.
  • SIMI was founded in 1977 in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh with Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi as its founding president.
  • The organisation was banned for the first time in September 2001 citing its involvement in promoting terrorism and unlawful activities.
  • In January 2024, the ban was extended for a further period of five years.

Supreme Court Appoints 10 Additional Judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court as Permanent

  • The 10 additional judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court were appointed by the Supreme Court collegium as permanent judges.
  • The judges who have been elevated to position include Justice Kuldeep Tiwari, Justice Singh, Justice Deepak Gupta, Justice Amarjot Bhatti, Justice Ritu Tagore, Justice Manisha Batra, Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan, Justice Sukhvinder Kaur, Justice Sanjiv Berry and Justice Vikram Aggarwal.
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