Daily Current Affairs for 20th Jan 2024

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Boeing’s largest facility

Why in news?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the new Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre (BIETC) campus in Bengaluru.

What is Boeing facility?

  • Built at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore, the 43-acre state-of-the-art Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre (BIETC) campus is the plane maker’s largest such investment outside the US.
  • The new state-of-the-art Boeing India Engineering & Technology Centre (BIETC) campus at Aerospace Park in Devanahalli, near Kempe Gowda International Airport.
  • Boeing’s new campus in India will become a cornerstone for partnership with the vibrant startup, private, and government ecosystem in India and will help develop next-generation products and services for the global aerospace and defence industry,

Boeing Sukanya programme

  • The Prime Minister also launched the Boeing Sukanya Programme that the company said aims to support the entry of more girl children from across India into the country’s growing aviation sector.
  • The programme will provide opportunities for girls and women from across India to learn critical skills in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and train for jobs in the aviation sector.
  • For young girls, the programme will create STEM Labs at 150 planned locations to help spark interest in STEM careers. It will also provide scholarships to women who are training to be pilots. Investments will support flight training curriculum, obtaining certifications, funding for simulator training.



French President Macron to arrive in Jaipur

Why in news?

  • French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to arrive in Jaipur on January 25 for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day ahead of the 75th Republic Day celebrations where he has been invited as the chief guest this year.
  • A 50-member delegation including officials and CEOs will accompany President Macron.

About the visit?

  • President Macron will receive a royal welcome upon his arrival.
  • His bilateral meeting with PM Modi will cover various sectors including defence, space, energy, maritime security, education, indigenous manufacturing of defence equipment, migration and mobility and Indo Pacific.
  • Some announcements are expected to be made by the end of the day and MoUs will be signed,”
  • Ahead of President Macron’s visit, his diplomatic advisor Emmanuel Bonne and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met in Delhi last week, working out details for his trips to Jaipur and then to Delhi.
  • Meanwhile, a French contingent is expected to take part in the parade on January 26 on Kartavya Path. It may be recalled that a 269-member Indian contingent took part in the Bastille Day parade in France last year.
  • Discussions are likely to be held on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra.

India France relation

  • “A major announcement is expected to be made in the education sector.
  • France has been encouraging Indian students to study in their universities and in order to make the courses more attractive many courses are being offered in English.
  • Besides, under the migration and mobility partnership extended visas for Indian students are also likely to be issued,”
  • PM Modi and President Macron have met four times in the past six months — during the former’s visit to France on Bastille Day, the G20 Summit, COP 28 and the G20 Virtual Summit.
  • India and France’s bilateral trade last year 2022-23 was $13.5 billion and this is expected to increase further. The two countries are celebrating 26 years of their strategic partnership

What are the Major Areas of Cooperation between India and France?


  • In January 1998, India and France signed a “strategic partnership” following the end of the Cold War.
  • France was one of few countries who supported India’s choice to test nuclear weapons in 1998.
  • Defence Cooperation: France has become India’s second largest defence supplier between 2017 and 2021.
  • Joint exercises include Exercise Shakti (Army), Exercise Varuna (Navy), and Exercise Garuda (Air Force)
  • Economic Cooperation: Bilateral commerce between two countries hit a new peak of USD 13.4 billion in 2022-23, with India’s exports exceeding USD 7 billion.
  • France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India, with a cumulative investment of USD 10.49 billion since April.
  • France supports India’s bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council and admittance into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Climate Cooperation: Both countries are worried about climate change, with India supporting France in the Paris Agreement and expressing strong commitment to minimizing its impacts.
  • In 2015, both countries established the International Solar Alliance to collaborate on climate change initiatives.



Ram Mandir at Ayodhya

Why in news?

Description of the temple:

  • The temple, constructed in the Nagara style, stands on a solid stone foundation.
  • Notably, approximately two lakh bricks inscribed with Lord Ram’s name in various languages, collected over 30 years, are integrated into the temple structure.
  • The temple stands on a 12-foot jagati and an upper plinth known as the mahapeeth. The stepped shikharas rise high over the five mandapas and the one over the garba griha is the tallest at 161 feet. The kuda mandapa is three stories high. There will be 300 pillars across the mandapas and 44 teak doors.
  • The doors on the ground floor are gold plated.
  • The granite stones have been sourced from Karnataka and Telangana while pink sandstone has been sourced from Bans Paharpur in Rajasthan.
  • It was plan to make it zero-carbon, only 30 per cent of the land has been built up.
  • The rest is delegated to greenery. Waste management is also according to the zero-carbon policy and there are two sewage treatment plants.

Nagara style architecture

  • Vastu Purusha Mandala – The temple design at the core is the concept of Vastu Purusha Mandala, “a sacred diagram representing the cosmic man”. The Ram temple in Ayodhya has a length (east-west) of 380 feet, a width of 250 feet, and a height of 161 feet. It is three-storied, with each floor being 20 feet tall. It has a total of 392 pillars and 44 doors. No iron is used anywhere in the construction of the temple.
  • Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum): The garbhagriha, or the sanctum sanctorum, is where the principal deity resides. In this case, it will be the home of the childhood form of Hindu deity Ram, also known as Ram Lalla. It is this idol that will be consecrated on January 22.
  • Pradakshina patha (circumambulation): The sanctum sanctorum is surrounded by a circumambulatory path called the pradakshina patha. This allows visitors to walk in a clockwise direction around the deity. The principles of this particular temple architecture allow this path to be enclosed within the temple or form an outer pathway.
  • Vimana (tower): The crowning glory and the most visible of its features, the vimana, or tower, represents Mount Meru – the mythical abode of gods. This is the shikhara, which is the main spire of the temple.

Nagara Style or North India Temple style - INSIGHTSIAS Nagara Temple  Architecture

  • Mandapa (congregation hall): In simple terms, it is the space where visitors gather for rituals and special occasions. It has intricately carved pillars and is open in its design. The pillars can have sculptures depicting deities, mythological narratives, and celestial beings. At the Ayodhya temple, there are five such mandaps — Nritya, Rang, Sabha, Prarthna and Kirtan.
  • Antarala (vestibule): This acts as a “transitional space” between the sanctum sanctorum and the main hall, and has functional as well as symbolic purpose. This space is also adorned with deities or intricate sculptures.
  • Ardhamandapa (entrance porch): The article states that the ardhamandapa serves as the “threshold between the external world and the sacred interior”. It has ornate pillars and intricate carvings and is like a “visual prelude to the architectural splendour within”. The Ram temple entry is from the east, ascending 32 stairs through the ‘Singh Dwar’.
  • Peripheral structures: The central shrine is often surrounded by smaller shrines and subsidiary structures, creating a complex architectural ensemble. These structures are known as subsidiary shrines or parivara devatas and pay homage to various deities associated with the main deity.
  • At Ayodhya, the parkota (rectangular compound wall) with a length of 732 m and a width of 14 feet, surrounds the temple.
  • At the four corners are four temples dedicated to Surya, Bhagwati, Ganesh and Shiva. In the northern arm is a temple of Annapurna while the southern arm has a temple dedicated to Hanuman. Close to the Ram temple is a historic well known as Sita koop, most likely dating back to ancient times.



Great Indian Bustard

Why in News?

The Supreme Court emphasized the need for a government plan to protect the Great Indian Bustard from extinction due to collision with high transmission power lines in Gujarat and Rajasthan, their natural habitats.

Key Highlights

  • The Supreme Court has directed the Indian government to reveal its plans to save the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard by February.
  • The court emphasized the need to balance the preservation of the bird species with India’s global commitments to reduce carbon footprints and embrace alternative energy sources like solar power.
  • The court also noted that areas where the birds are natural habitats are India’s most prolific solar power producer areas, allowing the government to fulfill its anti-carbon footprint commitments.
  • The court also asked the government about the efficacy of bird diverters in key habitats, and whether the birds are migrating to Pakistan. The court also asked for authentic data or government-monitored studies on the efficacy of the bird diverters.

Travel: In search of the great Indian bustardAbout Great Indian Bustard

  • The most critically endangered bird in India is the Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), which is also the state bird of Rajasthan.
  • It is regarded as the flagship species of grasslands, symbolizing the ecosystem’s overall vitality.
  • Most of its people live in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra all have small populations.

Threats to the Great Indian Bustard:

The Great Indian Bustard faces persistent threats, including the risk of collisions and electrocution from power transmission lines, ongoing hunting (especially in Pakistan), habitat loss, and modification resulting from widespread agricultural expansion.

Protection Status:

  • The conservation status of the Great Indian Bustard is critical:
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List (IUCN): Critically Endangered
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
  • Conservation Measures:

Several initiatives have been undertaken to protect the Great Indian Bustard:

Species Recovery Programme:

Inclusion in the species recovery Programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

National Bustard Recovery Plans:

Ongoing implementation by conservation agencies to support the recovery of the species.

Conservation Breeding Facility:

Collaboration between MoEFCC, Rajasthan government, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Establishment of a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.

Objective: Develop a captive population of Great Indian Bustards and release chicks into the wild to boost the population.

Project Great Indian Bustard:

Launched by the Rajasthan government.

Aims to construct breeding enclosures and develop infrastructure to alleviate human pressure on the bird’s habitats.

Eco-Friendly Measures:

Task Force dedicated to recommending eco-friendly measures to mitigate the impacts of power transmission lines and other related infrastructures on wildlife, including the Great Indian Bustard.



India will be among the world’s top 3 economies

Why in News?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged India’s future as one of the world’s top three economies, addressing corruption in previous governments’ poverty-alleviation programs. He laid the foundation for eight AMRUT projects and dedicated 15,000 houses to the Raynagar Housing Society in Solapur. Modi claimed 25 crore people have escaped poverty in the last decade.

Key Points:-

Shaping India’s Future:

  • India, with a developing market economy and a robust middle-class population, aims to shape its future through strategic leadership.
  • Ranked as the fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), India is poised for significant growth.

Growth Projections and Reforms:

  • Anticipated growth of 7-8% over the next decade, potentially reaching 9-10%, propelled by four major government reforms.
  • Predictions suggest India becoming the third-largest economy by 2030, supported by strong democracy and global alliances.

Economic Milestones and Key Takeaways:

  • Projected Indian economy worth USD 8.4 trillion by 2030, up from USD 2.7 trillion in 2021.
  • Expected growth of 6.7% in 2022–2023, with manufacturing and infrastructure identified as crucial pillars of growth.

Sectoral Impact and Internet Access:

  • E-commerce sector drives India’s faster growth, alongside digitization impacting manufacturing, construction, and services industries.
  • Forecast of 1.1 billion Indians having internet access by 2030, influencing attitudes, foreign policy, and global perceptions.

India’s Position in Global Economy:

  • Analysts predict India surpassing the UK to become the third-largest economy by 2030, moving up global power rankings.
  • Recognition of India’s economic achievements and its emergence as a major economy with the fastest growth rate globally.

Economic Victory and International Influence:

  • India’s second economic victory against the UK, emphasizing strategic efforts in capital spending and reduced revenue expenditures.
  • Positive influence on global perceptions, particularly regarding India’s economic strength compared to the struggling UK.

Growth Rate and Technological Advancements:

  • India’s economy positioned as the fastest-growing over the next decade, driven by technological advancements in infrastructure and startups.
  • India expected to be a significant long-term growth market for various sectors, including manufacturing, banking, insurance, and healthcare.

Challenges and Future Strategies:

  • Challenges include addressing lower land acquisition costs, open borders for trade, and establishing large-scale, labor-intensive manufacturing.
  • Emphasis on the need for a free trade agreement with the EU and strategic approaches to support the majority employed in low-wage jobs.

2030 Vision:

  • India focuses on ensuring lower land acquisition costs, open trade borders, and large-scale manufacturing for global competitiveness.
  • Recognition of the need for free trade agreements, with the EU considered a crucial market. Political incentives essential for supporting agriculture and MSMEs.

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