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58th Jnanpith Award

Renowned poet Gulzar and Sanskrit scholar Jagadguru Rambhadracharya honored with the 58th Jnanpith Award.

  • Gulzar, known for his contributions to Urdu poetry and Hindi cinema, receives recognition for his versatile works.
  • Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, a prolific writer and spiritual leader, awarded for his extensive literary contributions in Sanskrit and other languages.
  • The Jnanpith selection committee highlights Gulzar's significant impact on poetry, literature, and cinema.
  • Rambhadracharya's remarkable linguistic skills and literary achievements earn him this prestigious accolade.

Recipients of Bharat Ratna 2024

On 9th February, 2024, the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, was bestowed upon former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, along with agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan in a significant recognition of their immense contributions to the nation.

  • The Bharat Ratna awards, conferred on these eminent personalities, underscore their profound impact on India's socio-economic fabric. The recognition of their exemplary service comes as a tribute to their enduring legacies and transformative contributions to the nation's progress.

Recipients

Chaudhary Charan Singh

  • Recognized for his steadfast dedication to the welfare of farmers, Chaudhary Charan Singh, the fifth Prime Minister of India, was honored posthumously.
  • Prime Minister praised Singh's unwavering commitment to democracy and his lifelong advocacy for farmers' rights, lauding his pivotal role in shaping the nation's agricultural landscape.

PV Narasimha Rao

  • PV Narasimha Rao, India's 10th Prime Minister, received acclaim for ushering in a transformative era of economic development through bold reforms.
  • PM credited Rao with pioneering measures that opened India to global markets and commended his multifaceted leadership, which left an indelible mark on India's foreign policy and cultural heritage.

MS Swaminathan

  • Revered as the 'Father of the Green Revolution,' Dr. MS Swaminathan was honored for his visionary leadership in revolutionizing Indian agriculture.
  • PM Modi Swaminathan's pivotal role in achieving agricultural self-reliance, modernizing farming practices, and ensuring food security for the nation, highlighting his invaluable contributions as an innovator and mentor.

Recent Awardees

  • The announcement follows the recent conferral of the Bharat Ratna upon BJP stalwart LK Advani and the late socialist icon Karpoori Thakur, reaffirming the government's commitment to honoring exceptional individuals who have left an indelible mark on the country's history and development.

Kendriya Grihmantri Dakshata Padak

Recently, the Centre amalgamated four existing Home Minister's medals to establish a new one, named "Kendriya Grihmantri Dakshata Padak."

Key Points

  • Merged Medals: The new medal incorporates the Union Home Minister's Special Operation Medal, Medal for Excellence in Investigation, Asadharan Aasuchana Kushalata Padak, and Awards for Meritorious Service in Forensic Science.
  • Conferment Criteria: The "Kendriya Grihmantri Dakshata Padak" will be conferred on members of Police Forces, Security Organizations, Intelligence Wings/Branches, and Forensic Science entities nationwide.
  • Operational Excellence: Recognizing excellence in operations, including Counter Terrorism, Border Action, Arms Control, Left Wing extremism, Narcotics Smuggling Prevention, and Rescue Operations.
  • Design and Composition: The circular medal, 38mm in diameter and 3mm in thickness, features the face of Sardar Patel on the obverse, with "Jai Bharat" inscribed below. The reverse side includes the Ashoka Chakra, "Satya Seva Suraksha," and "Kendriya Grihmantri Dakshata Padak" inscriptions.
  • Language Inclusions: Hindi and English inscriptions are separated by a star on either side.
  • Significant Operations: The medal is awarded for the successful conduct of operations with a significant impact on the security of the state, UT, region, or country. Areas include counter-terrorism, border action, arms control, left-wing extremism, narcotics smuggling prevention, and rescue operations.
  • CBIC Personnel Inclusion: Personnel of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) may be considered for the "Prevention of Narcotics Smuggling" category.
  • Outstanding Performance: Recognition for outstanding performance in investigations, intelligence services combating terrorism, militancy, insurgency, and meritorious work in Forensic Science.

PM Announces Bharat Ratna for LK Advani

On 3rd February, 2024, Prime Minister used the microblogging platform X to declare that veteran BJP leader LK Advani, the former Deputy Prime Minister, will be honoured with the Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civilian award.

Key Points

  • Grassroots to Deputy Prime Minister: Highlighting Advani's journey from grassroots to the Deputy Prime Minister's position, PM expressed his joy at the veteran leader being honoured with the prestigious award.
  • Praise for Advani's Leadership: The Prime Minister lauded Advani's role as the BJP's longest-serving president, credited with steering the party's growth during the 1990s when it formed coalition governments under PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Exemplary Parliamentary Contributions: PM Modi commended Advani's parliamentary comments, considering them as exemplary and insightful contributions to the political discourse.

Indian-Origin Researchers Honored with Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK

Three Indian-origin scientists, Professors Rahul R Nair, Mehul Malik, and Tanmay Bharat, are among the recipients of the prestigious Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK, recognizing their contributions to transforming medicine, technology, and scientific understanding.

Key Points

  • Laureate in Physical Sciences & Engineering: Professor Rahul R Nair, a materials physicist at The University of Manchester, awarded for developing novel membranes based on 2D materials, enabling energy-efficient separation and filtration technologies.
  • Additional Laureates: Professor Anthony P Green, an organic chemist, and Nicholas McGranahan, a computational biologist, also named Laureates.
  • Advancements in Quantum Communications: Professor Mehul Malik, a finalist, recognized for pioneering techniques in harnessing high-dimensional entanglement for quantum communications, ensuring robust and high-capacity quantum networks.
  • Cutting-edge Techniques in Electron Cryotomography: Tanmay Bharat, PhD, from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, awarded for developing advanced techniques in electron cryotomography, providing atomic-level images of cell-surface molecules in bacterial communities.
  • Significant Biomedical Implications: Bharat's work offers insights into biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria, with implications for understanding cell-to-cell interactions and the evolution of multicellular life.
  • Award Ceremony: The recipients will be honored at a black-tie gala dinner in London on February 27 and will collectively receive grants totaling £480,000.
  • Foundation and Recognition: The Blavatnik Family Foundation and The New York Academy of Sciences sponsor the awards, acknowledging transformative scientific breakthroughs by early-career scientists.

Former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur Posthumously Awarded Bharat Ratna

Recently, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, conferred the nation's highest honour, Bharat Ratna, posthumously upon former Chief Minister of Bihar, Karpoori Thakur, marking 35 years since his passing in 1988.

Key Points

  • Recognition for a Social Justice Icon: Karpoori Thakur, renowned as "Jan Nayak," served as Bihar's Chief Minister and has been honoured for his enduring commitment to social justice and empowerment of marginalized sections.
  • PM Modi's Commendation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed delight at the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Karpoori Thakur, recognizing his efforts as a champion for the marginalized and a symbol of equality.
  • Brief Stint as Chief Minister: Karpoori Thakur served as the Chief Minister of Bihar for short periods, from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979.

Meghalaya Clinches Top Performer Award at National Startup Awards 2022

On 16th January, 2024, Meghalaya secured the prestigious title of Top Performer State at the National Startup Awards 2022, reinforcing its consistent commitment to fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Key Points

  • Demographic Dividend: Meghalaya, with over 72% of its population below 35, faced a challenge of limited employment opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurial Vision: Chief Minister implemented innovative measures to transform the youth into job creators, leading to the Meghalaya Startup Policy 2018.
  • PRIME Initiative: Launched in 2020, the Promotion & Incubation of Market-driven Enterprises (PRIME) program catalyzed the startup revolution.
  • E-Champion Challenge: A recurring annual event under PRIME, providing a platform for young entrepreneurs to pitch ideas to industry experts.
  • Impact: Currently supporting 5,500 entrepreneurs and 200 startups, with many receiving seed funding and zero-interest scale-up loans.
  • Incubation Centers: PRIME Hubs offer state-of-the-art workspaces, infrastructure, and market access for entrepreneurs.
  • Success Stories: GI-tagged Khasi mandarins sold in Bangalore's 'Zest Fest,' and exports of Kew Pineapples and Lakadong Turmeric to the Middle East.
  • Matrilineal Society: Recognizing Meghalaya's matrilineal society, 20% of PRIME program funding is reserved for women entrepreneurs.

Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel Economics Prize for Research on Gender Gap

On 9th October, 2023, Harvard University professor Claudia Goldin has been awarded the Nobel economics prize for her groundbreaking research that has enhanced our understanding of the gender gap within the labour market.

Key Points

  • Goldin's Research on Gender Gap: Claudia Goldin's research spans two centuries of women's participation in the workforce.
  • Despite women gaining higher education levels than men, her research revealed that the gender pay gap persists, and women's wages don't continuously catch up to men's.
  • Goldin's work highlights the importance of understanding the connection between family, home life, and employment in achieving gender equality.
  • Policy Implications: While Goldin's research doesn't provide specific solutions, it offers policymakers valuable insights into addressing the gender pay gap.
  • Economist Randi Hjalmarsson, a member of the Nobel committee, emphasizes the complexity of the issue and the need for tailored policies to bridge the gap.
  • Understanding the underlying reasons for the gender gap is crucial for effective policy formulation.
  • The Role of Individual Decisions: Goldin's analysis suggests that a woman's role in the job market and her pay are influenced not only by broader societal changes but also by her individual decisions, including educational choices.
  • Young girls often base their career decisions on their mothers' experiences, contributing to the slow progress in reducing gender gaps.
  • Impact on Gender Equality: Goldin highlights the connection between women's work choices, family life, and gender equality.
  • Efforts to promote couple equity and more balanced family roles can contribute to greater gender equality.
  • Nobel Prize and Gender Disparity: Claudia Goldin's Nobel win is a significant step in addressing the gender disparity among Nobel laureates.
  • She is only the third woman to receive the Nobel economics prize out of 93 laureates.

Jon Fosse Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature for 2023

On 5th October, 2023, Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2023, as announced by the Swedish Academy on Thursday.

Key Points

  • Recognition for Innovative Works: Jon Fosse received the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his innovative plays and prose, which give voice to the unsayable."
  • His body of work, primarily written in Norwegian Nynorsk, encompasses plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children's books, and translations.
  • Prestigious Literary Award: The Nobel Prize in Literature, considered the world's most prestigious literary accolade, carries a prize of 10 million Swedish krona ($915,000).
  • This marks the 116th time that the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded, with 120 Nobel laureates between 1901 and 2023.
  • Fosse's Versatility: While renowned as one of the world's most frequently performed playwrights, Fosse has gained recognition for his prose, translated into over 40 languages.
  • The Swedish Academy recommended starting with any of his plays for their readability, and they described his prose as offering moments both in the morning and evening.
  • Notable Works: Fosse's debut novel, 'Red, Black' (1983), delves into the theme of suicide.
  • His first play, 'And We Will Never Be Parted,' was produced and published in 1994.
  • His unique style, known as "Fosse minimalism," simplifies narratives to their essence.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023 Awarded for Quantum Dots Discovery

On 4th October, the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was bestowed upon Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus, and Alexei I. Ekimov for their groundbreaking discovery and synthesis of quantum dots, as declared by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

Key Points

  • Revolutionary Quantum Dots: Quantum dots, hailed for their unique properties, are now ubiquitous, illuminating television screens and LED lamps, catalyzing chemical reactions, and aiding surgeons in visualizing tumor tissue.
  • These tiny particles have primarily been employed to generate colored light, but they hold promise for diverse applications in the future, such as flexible electronics, miniature sensors, thinner solar cells, and potentially encrypted quantum communication.
  • Nanotechnology Pioneers: The 2023 Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry have been pioneers in exploring the nanoworld, and their work with quantum dots has become a vital tool in nanotechnology.
  • In the early 1980s, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov independently succeeded in creating quantum dots, nanoparticles where quantum effects govern their characteristics.
  • Chemistry laureate Moungi Bawendi revolutionized quantum dot manufacturing methods in 1993, significantly enhancing their quality, a crucial requirement for their current nanotechnology applications.
  • Enormous Potential: Quantum dots are viewed as a technology that holds immense promise for humanity, with potential applications spanning various fields.
  • They are expected to contribute significantly to fields like flexible electronics, miniature sensors, thinner solar cells, and secure encrypted quantum communication, marking the beginning of the exploration of these minuscule particles' potential.
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