From UPSC Civil Services to SSC recruitment exams, and from college admissions to group discussions, general knowledge questions play a crucial role in almost every examination. For individuals preparing to succeed in an exam or those seeking a concise overview of current affairs, News18 provides a weekly column known as GK Capsule.
The UPSC Civil Services examination is well-known for its extensive evaluation of candidates aspiring to become civil servants in India. For the current year, the UPSC Civil Service Prelims exam is scheduled for May 26, with the Mains exam set to take place from September 20 onwards. To excel in the UPSC Civil Service Exam, candidates need a strong grasp of static general knowledge about India. The syllabus covers various subjects, including geography, history, economics, technology, and the environment.
Here is a compilation of this week’s major news stories to assist candidates in preparing for upcoming recruitment exams:
1. Interim Budget 2024: Semiconductors
The Union government has reiterated its commitment with a significant allocation of Rs 6,903 crore in the Interim Budget for 2024–2025. This announcement is a crucial part of the government’s sustained efforts to position India among nations excelling in semiconductor technology. The groundwork for this renewed focus was established through a Rs 76,000 crore incentive scheme introduced in December 2021.
2. Tax Benefits for Startups
On February 1, the Centre announced the extension of tax breaks for startups and investments by sovereign wealth and pension funds until March 2025, providing relief to the startup ecosystem. Certain tax breaks for startups and investments by sovereign wealth or pension funds, as well as a tax exemption on certain incomes for some International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) units, are set to expire on March 31, 2024. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed the extension to March 31, 2025, during the presentation of the Interim Budget.
3. Gyanvapi Mosque Basement
On January 31, the Varanasi Court ruled that petitioners from the Hindu side are allowed to perform puja in the ‘Vyas Tekhana’ or basement portion of the Gyanvapi mosque premises. The order directs the district magistrate to make necessary arrangements within seven days. The Kashi Vishwanath Trust will facilitate the prayers, as confirmed by Counsel Madan Mohan Yadav. Vishnu Shankar Jain, one of the advocates representing the Hindu side, described it as a “turning point” and a “historic verdict.”
4. Interim Education Budget 2024
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced during her Interim Budget 2024 speech that more medical colleges will be established, and a committee will be formed to investigate this possibility. Apart from medical colleges, Sitharaman stated plans for the “upgradation of aanganwadi centres” in the education sector. According to the minister, the Skill India Mission has trained approximately 1.4 crore youth, and 3000 new ITIs have been established. Several new IITs and IIMs have also been set up.
5. UPI Goes Global
India formally launched the UPI at Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower, fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of taking UPI global. This move follows the digital payments agreement signed between India and France in July 2023, allowing India’s unified payments interface to be used for retail payments in the European nation. In 2016, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) developed the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an Indian instant payment system.