Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 23rd March 2024

National News 

1. India doubled assistance to Bhutan to ₹10,000 cr. 

  • India has decided to double Bhutan's assistance over the next five years, from ₹5,000 crore in 2019-2024 to ₹10,000 crore for the period till 2029, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Thimphu on Friday. 
  • Mr. Modi made the announcement after he was awarded Bhutan's highest honor, the 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo', which was announced in 2021, to acknowledge India's role in ensuring Bhutan's success in managing the COVID-19 pandemic". After meeting Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, India and Bhutan inked seven agreements on energy, food safety, sports and research, as well as a space collaboration roadmap. 
  • "We will work on new possibilities for connectivity, infrastructure, trade and energy sectors between India and Bhutan," said Mr. Modi, while expressing his gratitude for the award from the Bhuta- nese King. "We will soon see our initiatives for a new airport for better connectivity, rail links between Kokrajhar-Gelephu and Banarhat-Samtse, and water-ways navigation on the Brahmaputra. To strengthen trade infrastructure, we will build integrated check posts," he said. 
  • Mr. Modi's specific men- tion of India's support to the 'Gelephu Mindfulness City', which he called a "visionary project" launched by Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wang- chuck in 2023, is significant, as it indicates the project would be a beneficiary of India's latest assistance to Bhutan. 
  • Audience with the King Mr. Modi landed in Bhutan's Paro valley on Friday morning. He was received at the airport by Mr. Tobgay, who welcomed him on X referring to him as his "elder brother". After driving to Thimphu, he received a ceremonial welcome, an audience with the King and then with his father and former King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who is believed to be still influential in matters of Bhutan's foreign policy. 
  • Speaking at the award ceremony held at the Tendrel Thang Festival Ground, the King said Mr. Modi was a "true friend" of the Bhutanese people and "a firm supporter of Bhutan's national vision to achieve self-reliance and become a developed nation". 
  • The visit by Mr. Modi, after the Model Code of Conduct has been put in place, is considered unusual, given that in the past Prime Ministers haven't made bilateral visits or made major policy announcements with financial implications during this period. 
  • Sources said the Ministry of External Affairs had received permission from the Election Commission to make the announcement for the grant of ₹10,000 crore, indicating the special relationship the two countries share. 

2. First Foreign Office Consultations held between India and Mauritania 

  • The first Foreign Office Consultations between India and Mauritania were held in Nouakchott on 21 March 2024. During the consultations, both delegations had constructive discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. 
  • India opened its mission in Nouakchott in June 2021. The Government of India has provided a Line of Credit (LOC) of $21.8 million to Mauritania for agroindustries (milk processing plants) and drinking water projects in the country. 
  • The meeting was co-chaired by Sewla Naik Mude, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India, and Mohamed El Hanchi Kettab, Director General of Bilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mauritania. 
  • Bilateral trade between India and Mauritania has grown steadily over the last three years from US$ 108 million in 2021-22 to more than US$ 378 million during 2022-23. 
  • India's exports to Mauritania include various goods such as cereals and related products, tanning and dyeing extracts, plastic products, cotton, ceramic items, iron and steel products, boilers and related mechanical equipment and non-railway vehicles. 
  • Mauritania mainly exports iron and steel, ore, slag, ash, cotton and copper articles, aluminium, electrical machinery and other related goods to India. 


  • It is a country located on the Atlantic coast of Africa. Mauritania forms a geographical and cultural bridge between the North African Maghreb (a region that also includes Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) and the westernmost part of Sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • Mauritania was administered as a French colony during the first half of the 20th century and became independent on November 28, 1960. By the terms of the constitution, Islam is the official state religion, but the republic guarantees freedom of conscience and religious freedom to all. 
  • Arabic is the official language; Fula, Soninke and Wolof are the national languages. The capital, Nouakchott, is located in the south-western part of the country. 

International News 

3. Simon Harris set to be Ireland's youngest PM 

  • Simon Harris, set to become Ireland's youngest ever taoiseach (Prime Minister), will hope his social media skills and fresh face can save his party's flagging fortunes as elections loom. 
  • Already dubbed by media the "TikTok Taoiseach" (pronounced "Tee shock"), the 37-year-old beats the previous record holder, predecessor Leo Varadkar, who was 38 when he took the top job in 2017. 
  • After Mr. Varadkar's shock resignation on Wednesday, Mr. Harris leapt from the blocks in the race for leader of the center-right Fine Gael party and by default Prime Minister. 
  • By Thursday lunchtime he had secured endorsements by a majority of party colleagues, prompting rivals to rule themselves out and effectively end- ing the leadership contest before it had even begun. 
  • With no other candidates expected to emerge before nominations close on Monday, pundits described Mr. Harris's apparent uncontested procession to the leadership as a 'coronation'. 
  • "I'm in, I'm ready to step up, and I'm ready to serve," he told the public broadcaster RTE's evening news programme after officially announcing his candidacy. 
  • Harris's inevitable election as taoiseach when the Dail (Irish Parliament) returns from recess on April 9 crowns a meteoric ascent. 
  • Mr. Harris's prominence on social media, especially TikTok has made him one of the most visible politicians in Ireland. 
  • With 1.4 million "likes" on TikTok, and hundreds of thousands of followers on both X and Instagram, he posts content almost daily to his audience. 
  • With his youth and slick communication skills his opponents jibe that he is "Leo 2.0". 

State News 

4. Elusive tiger dies in Kannur 

  • A two-year-old tiger, which was caught on Thursday at Adakkathode in Kelakam panchayath of Kerala, died shortly after its capture in Kannur. 
  • The tiger, which had been elusive for over two weeks, was caught after veterinarians chemical employed immobilization to the weakened animal, which bore injuries on its face and chest from porcupine attacks. Initial findings suggested that the tiger was anemic. 

Defence News 

5. Trilateral exercise ‘Tri Lateral – 2024’ started between IndiaMozambique-Tanzania 

  • The second edition of the joint exercise ‘Tri Lateral (TRILAAT)’ organized between IndiaMozambique-Tanzania (IMT) from 21-29 March 2024 has started. The first edition of the IMT TRILAT exercise was held on 22 October.
  • Indian ships INS Tir and INS Sujata will represent India in this exercise. The current edition of this exercise is planned in two phases. 
  • As part of the port phase scheduled from 21-24 Mar 24, Naval Ships Tir and Sujata will conduct exercises with the respective navies at the ports of Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Maputo (Mozambique). 
  • This phase will begin with a planning conference followed by joint port training activities such as damage control, fire fighting, visit board search and seizure procedures, medical lectures, casualty evacuation and diving operations. 
  • The sea phase of the exercise is scheduled from 24-27 Mar 24 which will include practical aspects of countering asymmetric threats, visit board search and seizure procedures, boat operations, maneuvers and firing exercises. 
  • A joint EEZ monitoring is also planned during the sea phase. The exercise will conclude with a joint briefing scheduled in Nacala (Mozambique). 
  • During their port stay, Indian Naval ships will be open to visitors and participate in sports and cultural exchanges with the host navies. Training tours to the respective ports have also been planned for the sea trainees of 106 Integrated Officer Training Course. 

6. India launches 'Operation Indravati' to evacuate its citizens from Haiti 

  • India has launched 'Operation Indravati' to evacuate its citizens from Haiti, Dominican Republic. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar said in a social media post that 12 Indians have been evacuated on March 21, 2024. 
  • He said that the Government of India is fully committed to the safety and well-being of Indian citizens abroad. Dr. Jaishankar also thanked the Government of the Dominican Republic for its support. 
  • Under this, India is bringing back 90 of its citizens in view of the deteriorating security situation in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. India does not have an embassy in Haiti and the situation in the country is being monitored by the Indian Mission in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. 
  • Criminal gangs have taken over the streets of Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and hundreds more have died in Haiti amid widespread reports of rape, arson and kidnappings for ransom, while food prices have soared and hospitals have become short of vital supplies such as blood and oxygen. 
  • The UN agency said Port-au-Prince has been turned into "a bubble" where gangs control the streets, the port and airport are closed and no one can get in or out. 

Appointment News 

7. Mariam Mammen Mathew to chair DNPA 

  • Mariam Mammen Mathew, Chief Execute Offer Маногата Online has been appointed chairperson of Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) for two years from April 1. She would succeed Tanmay Maheshwari, Managing Director, Amar Ujala.
  • A press release said Ms. Mathew served as fes chaît person during Mu Maheshwari's chairmanship. Ms. Mathew said she would aim to amplify the scale, influence and durability of digital news media entities. 
  • Puneet Gupt, Chief Operating Officer, Times internet, is the thew vice chairman. 

Award News 

8. COP28 President receives 'CERAWeek Leadership Award' for sustainable energy leadership 

  • Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28 (2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference) received the ‘CERAWeek Leadership Award’ by S&P Global “for building global consensus towards a sustainable energy future”. 
  • In the last decade, CERAWeek by S&P Global has honored Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and former President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto. 
  • This prestigious award recognized his extraordinary leadership in delivering the UAE Consensus, an unprecedented agreement that outlined a concrete pathway for countries and industries to transition to sustainable energy systems and keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
  • The UAE consensus, a product of COP28, prioritizes multilateralism, inclusivity and partnership. This includes a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources by 2030 and ambitious targets for renewable energy capacity. 

9. Famous Indian Dancer Dr. Uma Rele - Maharashtra Gaurav Award 

  • Dr. Uma Rele, the distinguished Principal of Nalanda College of Dance Arts, Mumbai, Maharashtra, has been honored with the prestigious Maharashtra Gaurav Award for her invaluable contribution to Bharat Natyam. The award was presented to him by Maharashtra Industrial Minister Uday Sawant and Minister Deepak Vasant Kesarkar. 
  • In 2001, she achieved another milestone by completing her doctoral research on ‘Naikas, Heroines of Indian Classical Dance’. An accomplished artist, theorist and guru, Dr. Uma Ryle's influence transcends geographical boundaries. 
  • He has trained countless students in India and abroad, conducted workshops and judged dance examinations in various countries including Doha, Mauritius and the United States. 
  • His performances with his troupe at prestigious stages like Khajuraho Dance Festival and Rajgir Mahotsav have enthralled the audiences. She is a popular teacher-choreographer and nattuvannar and has conceptualized many highly acclaimed dance dramas. 

10. PM Modi honored with Bhutan's 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo' award 

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded the 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo', Bhutan's highest civilian award, the PM has created history by becoming the first non-Bhutanese to receive the award. Apart from this, PM is also the first foreign head of government to receive this prestigious award. 
  • He received this prestigious honor from Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during his two-day state visit to Thimphu. The 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo' is a lifetime achievement award and is considered the pinnacle of Bhutan's honors system. 
  • Since its inception, only four eminent personalities have received this award. The award was given in acknowledgment of his "outstanding contribution to the development of India-Bhutan relations and his distinguished service to the Bhutanese nation and people". 
  • Previous recipients of the award include Her Majesty Royal Queen Dadi Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuk in 2008; His Holiness J Thrizur Tenzin Dendup (68th Je Khenpo of Bhutan) in 2008 and His Holiness J Khenpo Trulaku Ngwang Jigme Choedra in 2018. 
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is on a State Visit to Bhutan from 22-23 March 2024 in line with the Government's thrust on the Neighbor First Policy. 

Science & Technology News 

11. ISRO successfully tests its reusable launch vehicle 'Pushpak' 

  • Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO has successfully landed its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) LEX 02 ‘Pushpak’ at the Aeronautical Test Range at Challakere, Chitradurga in Karnataka on March 22, 2024. 
  • This landing is the second in the series of experiments conducted by ISRO. Named after the mythological 'Pushpak Vimana' of Ramayana, ISRO's modern aircraft is a symbol of prosperity and innovation. 
  • Microblogging site ISRO Chairman S Somnath has congratulated the team for the impeccable execution of operation, landing and energy management of the spacecraft in fully autonomous mode. 
  • With RLV-LEX-02, ISRO has validated its indigenously developed technologies in areas such as navigation, control system, landing gear and deceleration system, which are essential for making high-speed autonomous landing of the space-returning vehicle. 
  • A Chinook helicopter carried a smaller version of the reusable launch vehicle tied to a tether and dropped it in mid-air at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers. The 6.5 meter long winged vehicle descended towards the earth at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. 'Pushpak' is an all-rocket, fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit vehicle 
  • A reusable launch vehicle, its design approved in 2012, successfully flew for the first time in 2016. 
  • With an investment of more than Rs 100 crore, this project will help in achieving the ambitious target of establishing an Indian space station by the year 2035. 

Ranks & Reports News 

12. Real GDP growth may hit 8% this fiscal year, signals FinMin 

  • India's economy may well end up growing by about 8% this fiscal, outstripping the 7.6% real GDP growth projected by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the Finance Ministry signaled on Friday, citing the continuing momentum in economic activity in the ongoing final quarter of 2023-24. 
  • Citing recent growth projections of 7.8-8% for FY24 from certain agencles, the Ministry said this inclination stemmed from the NSO's growth estimate, which implied a 5.9% pace in Q4. This "is likely to be an understatement given the continuing momentum of the economy". 
  • Despite risks such as "hardening crude oil prices" and "global supply chain bottlenecks to trade", the Ministry asserted the outlook for 2024-25 was bright with this fiscal closing on a positive note of 'strong growth, stable inflation and external ac- count and a progressive employment outlook. 
  • It noted that retail inflation had extended its stay inside the RBI's tolerance range of 2%-6% for a sixth month with core inflation continuing to ease. 
  • "Despite price volatility in certain specific food Outlook 'bright' 
  • Flags risk to goods exports outlook from Sees inflation view positive as pick-up In summer crops sowing likely to help pare food prices items, headline inflation stayed below 6% throughout this year except in July and August," the Ministry said in its monthly review, adding that spices and cereals had recorded the lowest inflation since August 2022 last month. For the coming months, the inflation outlook was positive, it said, citing the pick-up in the sowing of summer crops, which was likely to help reduce food prices. 
  • Arguing that robust investment activity was "clearly underway", the Ministry said that private consumption demand was strengthening as seen in indicators like "burgeoning air passenger traffic and sale of passenger vehicles, digital payments, improved consumer confidence and expectations of a normal monsoon". The Ministry, however, seemed to acknowledge that private consumption demand was backed by 'resilient urban demand while rural demand remained weak. 
  • "The recovery in rural consumption demand is expected to be strengthened by the forecast of a normal monsoon," it said. It also underlined that an increase in household savings would be necessary to finance private sector capital formation. 
  • "On the external front, the narrowing merchandise trade deficit and the rising net services receipts are expected to result in an improvement in the current account balance in 2023-24. However, in 2024 25, the current account deficit will bear watching," it averred, hinting at the risks to goods exports and possible oil price surges due to the Red Sea crisis and the drought in the Panama Canal 

Sports News 

13. India's Sathiyan wins men's singles title for the first time in Lebanon World Table Tennis Feeder Tournament 

  • In table tennis, India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran has won the men's singles title at the WTT Feeder Tournament in Beirut, Lebanon on 21 March 2024. World No. 103 Sathiyan defeated compatriot and World No. 74 Manav Vikas Thakkar 3-1 (6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4) in the final yesterday. 
  • Sathiyan has achieved a historic feat by becoming the first Indian to win the men's singles title at a WTT Feeder Series event. Earlier, Sathiyan defeated former world No. 3 and currently ranked 39th Chuang in singles 3-1 (11-8, 11- 13, 11-8, 11-9) in the semi-finals. 


  • Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sathiyan came back from a game down to win the decider. Manav Thakkar featured in all three finals in Beirut – men's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles – but lost all three matches. 
  • Overall, Indian paddlers performed well in the tournament and made three finals including two All India finals in the men's singles and mixed doubles categories. Indian paddlers finished the tournament with two titles and three runner-up finishes. 

Other winners 

  • Xia Lian Ni won her second WTT Feeder title in the women's singles, and produced an excellent performance to break Suh Hyo Won's defensive barrier 11-9 11-5 11-5. 
  • In the mixed doubles table tennis final, Diya Chitale and Manush Shah defeated Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath 3-1 (11-6, 10-12, 11- 6, 11-6) to become champions. 
  • In men's doubles, the Indian pair of Manav Thakkar and Manush Utpalbhai Shah had to settle for second place after losing 11-5, 7-11 11-13 12-14) against Andy Perera and Jorge Campos, who are the first pair.

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