Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 26th March 2024


National News 

1.PM Modi Inaugurates State-of-the-Art Medical Facility in Thimphu 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay jointly inaugurated a modern hospital in the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuk Mother and Child Hospital is a shining example of the strong development cooperation between India and Bhutan. 

2. Iconic Indian Brand Amul Launches Fresh Milk in the US 

  • In a significant move, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the organization behind the iconic Amul brand, is set to launch its fresh milk products in the United States for the first time. This expansion marks a major milestone for the brand, as it aims to cater to the Indian diaspora and Asian population in the US. 

3. Election Commission launches 'Saksham App' for persons with disabilities 

  • The Election Commission has launched ‘Saksham App’ for persons with disabilities to facilitate easy voting and avail facilities at polling stations. It is also pushing for permanent Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) in schools as a gift of the election process to students. The minimum facilities ensured include drinking water, toilets, signage, ramps or wheelchairs, helpdesk, voter convenience centre, adequate lighting and sheds. There will also be polling stations managed by persons with disabilities, polling stations exclusively managed by women and model polling stations. 
  • The Election Commission has always focused on accessible voting as its motto is to leave no voter behind. 
  • The Election Commission has announced that voters above 85 years of age and persons with disabilities having 40 per cent benchmark disability can vote from home. Volunteers and wheelchairs will be available at every polling station. The polling body is also arranging transport facilities for disabled persons and the elderly. 
  • There will also be polling stations that will be managed by persons with disabilities, and exclusively managed by women and model polling stations. 

International News 

4. China launches 'Queqiao2' relay satellite to support lunar missions 

  • China launched its Queqiao-2 relay satellite on a Long March 8 rocket to support upcoming lunar remote and south polar missions. Queqiao2 was placed in its predetermined orbit with a perigee of 200 km and an apogee of 420,000 km. 
  • The 1,200-kilogram satellite carries a 4.2-meter parabolic antenna and is part of China's plans for future lunar exploration and a step toward building a lunar base in the 2030s. 
  • After reaching the Moon, the spacecraft will enter a highly elliptical lunar orbit inclined at 55 degrees. It is specifically designed to support China's Chang'e-6 lunar remote sample return mission, scheduled to launch in May. 
  • The spacecraft will later change its orbital period to better support the Chang'e-7 and Chang'e-8 missions to the lunar south pole later in the decade. The far side of the Moon never faces Earth, because the planet's gravity has slowed the Moon's rotation over time. 
  • Queqiao-2, or "Magpie Bridge-2", is a more capable follow-up to Queqiao, launched in 2018. The earlier satellite had facilitated the Chang'e-4 mission – the first landing on the lunar far side. 
  • Queqiao-2 will use the X and UHF bands to communicate with the Chang'e spacecraft. It will use S and Ka-band for communication with Earth. It features multiple data rates and reconfigurable software. 
  • The launch also carried a pair of small, experimental satellites named Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2. These will fly in formation in the lunar orbit and conduct tests for navigation and communication technology validation. 

5. 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland 

  • The 148th Assembly of the InterParliamentary Union-IPU was held on 23-27 March 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland. All IPU statutory bodies, including the Governing Council, Standing Committees, Committees on Human Rights of Parliamentarians and Middle East Questions, the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians participated. 
  • An Indian parliamentary delegation led by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh has participated in the 148th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, in Geneva, Switzerland. 
  • The delegation participated in the meetings of the IPU Asia Pacific Geopolitical Group, the APG BRICS Parliamentary Coordination Forum and the IPU Forum of Women Parliamentarians. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Thai parliamentary delegation. During the meeting, both sides discussed issues of mutual interest and ways to enhance bilateral parliamentary cooperation. 
  • The overall theme of the general debate – Parliamentary Diplomacy: Building bridges to peace and understanding and providing a forum for delegates to deliberate, exchange ideas and inspire parliamentary action in this area. 
  • The Assembly will adopt resolutions on the emergency item and on the topic of addressing the social and humanitarian impact of autonomous weapons systems and artificial intelligence raised by the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security and the Partnership for Sustainable Development. 

Inter-Parliamentary Union 

  • The 147th Assembly of the IPU was held in Luanda, Angola from 23-27 October 2023. What began in 1889 as a small group of parliamentarians dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue has grown into a truly global organization with 180 members and 15 associate members. 
  • Slogan: For democracy. For everyone. Vision: We want a world where every voice counts, where democracy and Parliament are at the service of the people for peace and development. The headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland. There are also offices in New York, United States, and Vienna, Austria. 

State News 

6. The Chipko Movement: A 50-Year Legacy of Environmental Protection 

  • The Chipko Movement originated in the Uttarakhand region of the Himalayas in early 1973. The name “Chipko” means “to hug” in Hindi, referring to the practice of embracing trees to protect them from being cut down. 
  • The Chipko movement, which began in Uttarakhand, a state in the Himalayas, in early 1973, marks its 50th anniversary. 

7. Allahabad High Court Strikes Down Madrasa Education Act 

  • The Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench has declared the UP Board of Madarsa Education Act of 2004 as unconstitutional. The court ruled that the act violated the principle of secularism, as well as several articles of the Constitution, including Articles 14, 21, and 21-A. 
  • Additionally, the court found that the act also contravened Section 22 of the University Grants Commission Act of 1956. 

8. Modi Government Allocates Rs 6212.03 Crore For Strengthening Regional Rural Banks 

  • The Modi government has allocated Rs 6212.03 crore to Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) as part of the recapitalization scheme on March 6. RRBs, established in 1975 and owned by the Indian government, function at the regional level across various states. 
  • They were set up with the objective of offering fundamental banking and financial services to rural regions, specifically targeting small and marginal farmers, agricultural laborers, artisans, and small entrepreneurs. 

Defence News 

9. ‘Operation Sankalp’ launched in the Indian Ocean region of the Indian Navy 

  • Indian Navy has conducted maritime security operations 'Operation Sankalp' in the Indian Ocean region from 23 December 2023 to 23 March 2024, Indian Navy has completed 100 days under this mission. 
  • The Indian Navy played a vital role as a first responder and preferred security partner in maritime operations in the Indian Ocean Region. 
  • The Indian Navy responded to 18 incidents during this period and played the role of first responder. The Indian Navy conducted maritime security operations in three areas: Gulf of Aden and surrounding areas, Arabian Sea and East of Somalia. 
  • For the last 100 days, naval ships, aircraft and special forces went on display and pledged to 'secure the seas'. In the present scenario, the Indian Navy has taken the lead in responding to the security situations arising from myriad threats in the region. Operation Sankalp helped safeguard India's interests and counter maritime threats and thwart the resurgence of piracy. 
  • From December 2023, the Indian Navy's effort played a transformational role as a key hub in enabling information exchange in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy also coordinated interoperability of missions and services with the Indian Air Force. 
  • The year 2008 saw an increase in warships from regional and extraregional navies in the Indian Ocean region, with the emergence of piracy in the Indian Navy. Indian Navy proves that 'Safety of Life at Sea' is responsible towards protecting maritime interests. 

Award News 

10. Bina Aggarwal and James Boyce honored with the first "Global Inequality Research Award" 

  • Bina Agarwal and James Boyce have been awarded the first "Global Inequality Research Award" (GiRA) for their significant contributions to understanding global inequalities, particularly in the areas of social and environmental inequalities. 
  • Award winners will be invited to receive their awards and present an overview of their work at conferences in Paris in the fall and spring of 2024. These conferences will be organized in conjunction with Sciences Po's Socio-Ecological Transition (SET) initiative. 
  • Global Development Institute (GDI) of the University of Manchester for Bina Agarwal and The award has been announced by the University of Massachusetts Amherst for James Boyce. 
  • The GiRA Award seeks to acknowledge leading scholarship in the field of global inequality understood from two major perspectives: first, the perspective of inequality research being conducted in all corners of the world; And second, a perspective on inequality as a complex phenomenon that requires light from all angles to be fully understood, comprehended, and ultimately mitigated. 

GiRA Awards 

  • To acknowledge important contributions to understanding global inequalities, the World Inequality Lab (WIL) and Sciences Po's Center for Research on Social Inequalities (CRIS) have joined forces to launch the first edition of the Global Inequality Research Award (GiRA). 
  • The GiRA Prize aims to recognize researchers from all disciplines who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding of global inequalities. It will be awarded every two years.

Ranks and Reports News 

11. Hurun Research Institute Report: Mumbai Surpasses Beijing As Asia’s Billionaire Capital 

  • In a landmark shift, Mumbai has overtaken Beijing as Asia’s billionaire capital, according to the latest report from the Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute. 
  • This monumental achievement reflects Mumbai’s burgeoning economic landscape and underscores India’s rising prominence in global wealth distribution. 
  • Mumbai boasts 92 billionaires, securing its position as Asia’s third billionaire capital, trailing behind New York (119) and London (97). 

Books and Authors News 

12. ‘Phool Bahadur’ – The First Magahi Novel in English 

  • The Dibrugarh University International Literary Festival held on 19-21 March 2024 witnessed the launch of a remarkable literary work – the English translation of the first Magahi novel, ‘Phool Bahadur’. The translation was done by Abhay K, a renowned writer from Nalanda, Bihar. 

Science and Technology News 

13. Indian Scientist Prof Jayant Murthy Honoured with Asteroid Name 

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU), a global organization responsible for naming celestial objects, has bestowed a rare honour upon an Indian scientist. 
  • Professor Jayant Murthy, an esteemed astrophysicist, has been recognized for his remarkable contributions to the field by having an asteroid named after him – (215884) Jayantmurthy. 

14. Researchers Named after ISRO New species of Isopod Discovered in Kollam 

  • Researchers have made an exciting discovery off the coast of Kollam in Kerala. They have found a new species of deep-sea isopod, which is a tiny crustacean that feeds on fish. 
  • This new species belongs to the genus Brucethoa and was found living inside the gill cavity of a fish called the Spinyjaw greeneye. 

Science & Technology News 

15. IAU names an asteroid after Bengaluru professor Jayant Murthy 

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an asteroid after Professor Jayant Murthy, who was the acting director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) before his retirement in 2021. 
  • The asteroid, previously known as "2005 EX296", is now designated "(215884) Jayantimurthy" by the IAU's Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature. The announcement was made on 18 March by the IAU through its Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature. 
  • According to the IIA, “This working group is the designated body to assign official names to all asteroids, comets, and other small objects in the Solar System. 

Asteroid (215884) Jayantimurthy was discovered in 2005 by M.

  • It was discovered by M W Bui and is named after Professor Murthy in recognition of his work on the NASA New Horizons science team to observe ultraviolet background radiation. 
  • The asteroid revolves around the Sun in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter once every 3.3 years. New Horizons was launched by NASA and flew past Pluto in 2015. It studied it in unprecedented detail and has come a long way since then. 
  • Professor Murthy joins the ranks of former IIA directors – Prof M K Venu Bappu and Prof J C Bhattacharya – who also have asteroids named after them – 2596 Venu Bappu (1979 KN) and 8348 Bhattacharya (1988 BX). 
  • The International Astronomical Union was founded in 1919. Its headquarters is in Paris, France. Its objective is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects including research, communication, education and development through international cooperation. 

Sports News 

16. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz clinched victory at the Australian Grand Prix 

  • Australian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz of Ferrari emerged victorious, marking a remarkable comeback just two weeks after undergoing appendicitis surgery. The race was filled with drama, including the first retirement in two years for Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen. 

17. Virat Kohli Becomes First Indian to Score 12,000 T20 Runs 

  • Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has etched his name in history by becoming the first Indian cricketer to score 12,000 runs in the T20 format. 
  • Kohli accomplished this remarkable feat during the opening match of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. 

Schemes and Committees News 

18. Supreme Court Appoints Committee For Great Indian Bustard Preservation 

  • In response to the urgent need to protect the endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB) population from extinction caused by collisions with high-powered power cables in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Supreme Court of India has taken decisive action. 
  • A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra has appointed an expert committee to address this critical issue while balancing conservation efforts with renewable energy goals. 

Miscellaneous News 

19. ASI Begins Excavation in MP To Find India’s Oldest Temple 

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is conducting excavations at two mounds in Nachne village, located in the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. The goal of these excavations is to uncover what could potentially be the oldest temple in India.

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