Daily Current Affairs for 27th Jan 2024

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India-France defense ties take a bigger leap

Why in news?

  • French President Emmanuel Macron arrived 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 CEO had accompanied President Macron.
  • India and France have announced a “defence industrial roadmap” for cooperation on defence production, for future collaboration on “co-design and co-development” of military hardware, as well as key agreements on space cooperation, officials said.
  • The roadmap was part of a number of agreements between the two countries that were sealed during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Jaipur on January 25, that will also bring some parity with the India-U.S. defence production plan finalised last year.  

What are other deals?

  • India and France finalized their defence industrial roadmap and a slew of other strategically important agreements.
  •  To enhance space situational awareness, preventing collisions in space and other activities like earth monitoring and remote sensing. 
  • New Space India Ltd (NSIL) also signed an MoU with France’s Arianespace on satellite launch capabilities.
  • Kwatra also announced that Tata and Airbus are set to establish a final assembly line (FAL) to make H125 helicopters in India.
  • The two firms also hope to export the helicopter to neighbouring countries. Airbus stated that the move was a push forward the “Make in India” campaign.
  • The ongoing Red Sea crisis and the Ukraine war also featured in the discussions.  
  • An agreement was reached on mobility for young professionals and stated that a five-year Schengen visa provision for Indian students completing their Masters in France will be activated.
  • The two sides inked a total of nine agreements that would provide for cooperation in a large number of areas including defence-space partnership, sate. satellite launches boosting engagement in the healthcare sector and scientific research.

India- France relation:

India-France Strategic Partnership

  • With France, we have a special relationship. Firstly, the visit caps a milestone year of the 25th anniversary of our strategic partnership.
  • India-France Strategic Partnership, the first that India signed with any Western country, has seen all round progress – in bilateral, regional and international context.
  • India and France have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations and share a deep and enduring Strategic Partnership covering all aspects of bilateral cooperation which involves a strategic component.
  • Launched on January 26, 1998, the Strategic Partnership that was the first-ever for India among the Western countries and a first for France outside the EU, embodies the core vision of both countries to develop their respective strategic independence by drawing on a concrete bilateral cooperation.
  • Defence and security, civil nuclear matters and space constitute principal pillars of this partnership that now includes a strong Indo-Pacific component.
  • In recent years, this partnership has broadened to domains including counter-terrorism, maritime security, climate change, renewable and sustainable development, digitalisation and cyber security among others.
  • The salience of the partnership is growing in the changing world, complex geo-political environment and in pursuit of respective national ambitions.
  • Modi and Macron are also expected to deliberate on expanding maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, the situation in the Red Sea, the Hamas-Israel conflict and the war in Ukraine.




Aadhaar no proof of citizenship, birth date.

Why in news?

The 12-digit resident ID is not a proof of citizenship or date of birth, and Aadhaar cards and downloads now include that disclaimer on the ID itself as said by Government.

Importance of Aadhar:

  • New Aadhaar cards and PDF versions of the identity document have started including a more explicit and prominent disclaimer that they are “a proof of identity, not of citizenship or date of birth,” signalling to government departments and other organisations to not use it for those purposes.
  • Aadhaar has never been proof of citizenship — foreign nationals are eligible to obtain one if they have been living in India for half a year — but different government departments accept it for purposes reserved for citizens or adults.

Why this debate?

  • Earlier in January, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation said it will no longer accept the Aadhaar card as proof of date of birth.
  • This decision was made with the approval of the Central Provident Fund Commissioner.
  • In 2018, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had said that Aadhaar is “per se … not a proof of date of birth.”
  • In 2023, the Bombay high court dismissed a petition by Maharashtra state seeking direction to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to disclose information regarding the Aadhaar card of an accused who submitted two cards with the same number but with different birth dates noting that Aadhaar was not proof of date of birth.

What is Aadhaar?

  • The Aadhaar Act 2016 is a law passed by the Indian government to establish a unique identification system for residents of India.
  • It was enacted to provide individuals with a unique 12-digit identification number called Aadhaar.
  • The Act was introduced to address the need for a robust and reliable identity verification system in various government and private sector services. 
  • The Aadhaar Act aimed to streamline and simplify accessing government services and welfare programs.
  • It also aimed to prevent identity fraud and improve the efficiency of service delivery.
  • The Act established the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as the governing body responsible for issuing and managing Aadhaar numbers.
  • It also outlined the legal framework and procedures for collecting and storing biometric and demographic information. 

Aadhar Act, 2016



Rare Golden Tiger Spotted in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park

Why in news?

  • A rare Bengal tiger morph (the golden morph), taking a stroll, was recently spotted in Kaziranga National Park.
  • Assam Chief Minister’s Office shared a video on its social media platform, showing the tiger strolling in the park before disappearing into the field.

Who spotted the tiger?

  • Wildlife photographer Gaurav Ramnarayanan from Coimbatore photographed the tiger with a rare golden coat during a safari in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park on January 24.
  • “The male adult golden tiger was sighted around around 3.30 – 4 p.m. when I was taking guests from Australia for a safari.
  • Initially it was around 800 metres away and then it walked towards the safari vehicle, as close as about 80 metres, while moving along its own path,”

What is rare Bengal tiger?

  • More than one tiger with the golden coat are believed to be in Kaziranga, but the exact count is not known. The photograph of a golden tiger, said to be taken in 2019, is of a different tiger.
  • Professor Uma Ramakrishnan of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, whose team studied the black or pseudomelanistic tigers in the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha, is conducting a study on the golden phenotype of Kaziranga using scat samples.
  • “This tiger looks golden because it has a mutation or a genetic variant. Basically, tigers have three colours: black, orange, and white. In this tiger, the black colour is missing, and it is slightly faded. Even the orange is faded,” said Ms. Ramakrishnan.



Tradition revived: Murmu, Macron arrive in a buggy on Republic Day

Why in news?

  • Amidst the historic commemoration of India’s 75th Republic Day, President Droupadi Murmu and French President Emmanuel Macron adorned the grand parade at Kartavya Path in New Delhi, breathing life into a long-forgotten tradition.  
  • Replacing the usual armoured limousine, the distinguished leaders rode in a beautifully revived horse-drawn carriage for the short, decorous trip, adding a layer of richness to the occasion reminiscent of the colonial era. 

Features of President’s Buggy

  • This six-horse-drawn carriage was owned by the Viceroy of India during British rule.
  • Its black exterior with gold-plated rims and red velvet interiors gives it a luxurious look, while the elegantly embossed Ashoka Chakra symbolises its heritage.
  • A symbol of timeless elegance, the presidential buggy is drawn by a mix of Indian and Austrian horses.
  • It is not merely a mode of transportation but also a part of a significant historical narrative. 

Dispute and toss for President’s Buggy

  • After gaining independence, India and Pakistan disputed ownership of the buggy, which became the centre of a unique decision-making process.
  • A coin toss, led by Colonel Thakur Govind Singh of India and Sahabzada Yaqub Khan of Pakistan, determined the fate of a luxury carriage. In a fortunate twist of fate, Colonel Singh was able to secure the buggy.
  • Following years of ceremonial use, the open-carriage tradition faced discontinuation in 1984 due to security concerns after the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, giving way to modern bullet-proof cars.
  • However, a nostalgic resurgence occurred in 2014 when President Pranab Mukherjee chose the historic buggy for the Beating Retreat ceremony. In 2017, upon taking the oath, former President Ram Nath Kovind also utilised the buggy while inspecting the Guard of Honour.
  • The 75th Republic Day celebrations witnessed a grand return to tradition as Presidents Murmu and Macron, escorted by the venerable President’s Bodyguard, “Rashtrapati Ke Angrakshak”, made their way along the newly redeveloped Kartavya Path. 

When was buggy found?

  • Founded in 1773, the President’s Bodyguard (PBG) is the senior-most regiment of the Indian Army. The unit played a pivotal role in this momentous occasion while celebrating 250 years of service.  
  • PBG comprises skilled cavalry horse riders, paratroopers, and an armoured fighting vehicle crew, who showcased their expertise during this momentous parade. 

President Droupadi Murmu arrives for the parade with Emmanuel Macron in the presidential buggy on Friday. (PTI)

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