Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2024

Mar 08, 2024

Current Affair 1:
Frontier Tech Labs (FTL): NITI Aayog



In an effort to democratize future technologies and empower youth to innovate, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and Meta have announced the launch of Frontier Technology Labs (FTLs).

Atal Innovation Mission and Meta will partner to set up FTLs in schools of strategic importance to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds across India will have equal opportunities to learn and engage with frontier technologies.

Till date, AIM has established 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) in schools across 722 districts in India. The objective of ATLs is to foster curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, physical computing etc.

The FTL is an advanced version of Atal Tinkering Lab equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, including all components of the Tinkering Lab to empower students to innovate using technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Robotics, 3D Printing, and Internet of Things.

The labs support the Government’s focus on equipping youth with digital skills to succeed in the evolving landscape of technology and the global economy.

The FTLs will be funded by Meta and Atal Innovation Mission will be the knowledge partner.

The FTLs are a part of Meta’s Education to Entrepreneurship initiative, launched in September 2023, to seamlessly connect students, youth, workforce, and micro-entrepreneurs with futuristic technologies, taking digital skilling to the grassroots. The initiative aims to advance the government’s agenda of digital inclusion, skilling and growth.

Establishing these labs aligns with the vision of the Atal Innovation Mission to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in schools across India, marking a significant step forward in building a skilled workforce to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. Meanwhile, these labs will be managed by Meta’s partner 1M1B (One Million for One Billion).

Current Affair 2:
Importance of pine needles


Every year as summer comes, pine trees in forests all around us start to shed needles and leaves.

  1. The flammability of pine needles, a major fire hazard in the coniferous forests of India’s vast sub-Himalayan belt, makes them an abundant source of renewable energy.
  2. Pine needles can be easily compacted into high calorific value briquettes that can be used for any thermal application or processed to yield high-quality biofuel through chemical processes.

  1. Through pyrolysis — a process that involves heating organic matter in the absence of oxygen — pine needles can be converted into bio-oil and used in blended fuels for internal combustion engines or as furnace oil.
  2. Alternatively, briquettes made from the needles can be used in brick kilns or to fire boilers that generate electricity as well as provide a clean, affordable fuel for domestic cooking.
  3. Pyrolysis of pine needles also produces biochar which is an ideal material for soil carbon sequestration and can contribute to mitigating climate change.
  4. The dense layer of pine needles also stops sunlight from reaching the ground, preventing the growth of grass and making it difficult for local villagers to graze their cattle

Recognizing the potential of pine needles as a source of renewable energy and their role in causing forest fires, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mandi, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, runs a special programme at its Uplifting Himalayan Livelihoods centre.

Current Affair 3:
Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Project



Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Project was approved by the Cabinet in October 2020, to be implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme.

After signing of the Loan Agreement, the STARS Project became effective on 23rd February 2021 for a period of five years i.e. up to FY: 2024-25.

The STARS Project is being implemented in six identified States viz. Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.

Aligned with the Government of India's Samagra Shiksha scheme, STARS is supporting the operationalization of key tenets of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Program objective:

The Program Development Objective (PDO) of STARS is to improve the quality and governance of school education in selected states of India. STARS will leverage best practices in learning and teacher development to strengthen learning assessment systems, achieve higher school completion rates and greatly improve service delivery of education.

The STARS Program has two results areas: a national component and state component:

Current Affair 4:
Living Animal Species (Reporting and Registration) Rules, 2024.


The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), provides the legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals, management of their habitat and also for the regulation and control of trade in the products derived from various parts of wild animals.

The Act was last amended in 2022. The Wild life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022 has come into force since 1st April 2023.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change notified the Living Animal Species Rules 2024 stating, every person who is in possession of any animal species (in schedule IV) shall report the details and make an application for registration electronically to the Management Authority or the authorized officer within a period of six months from the date of commencement of these rules and thereafter within thirty days of possession.

The notification also puts the onus of providing necessary import/export documents.

The application shall be accompanied with copy of import licence, CITES export permit or certificate granted under the Convention in case of acquisition through import.

CITES is an international agreement between governments to prevent international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants.

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