Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 28th March 2024


National News 

1. Priests can give CAA eligibility certificates, says govt. helpline 

  • A local priest may issue an "eligibility certificate" under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 to validate the religion of an applicant, according to a response received by The Hindu through the Union Home Ministry's helpline on CAA. 
  • The certificate, a mandatory document, is to be enclosed along with an affidavit and other documents that the applicants are to upload on the CAA portal. "The reasons for which applicant wishes to acquire Indian citizenship" must also be stated. On March 11, the Ministry notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024, enabling the implementation of the CAA. On March Route to citizenship 
  • A brief outline of the application process under the CAA 
  • The entire process is online but applicants will have to present themselves on an appointed day before a committee, which will verify the documents 
  • The applicants have to submit a clutch of documents, 21, it launched the helpline number 1032 "for assistance and information" on the CAA, so that "applicants can make free calls from anywhere in India from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m". 
  • The certificate is to be issued by a "locally reputed community institution". 
  • When The Hindu called the helpline on March 26 to seek information on its format, the person attending which included an eligibility certificate to validate the religion of the applicant. Any local priest can certify the faith of the persons 
  • The reasons for which applicant wishes to acquire an Indian citizenship is also to be stated the call said, "It can be on a blank sheet of paper or on a judicial paper with a stamp value of ₹10." Asked who can issue the certificate, The Hindu was told that "any local pujari can be asked to issue it". 
  • When the rules were notified, the Ministry did not specify the authority or the body that can issue the certificate. A source said on Wednesday: "Any institution which has the trust of people can issue the certificate. The final decision to grant citizenship will be taken by the empowered committee, the local institution is only recommending that they belong to a particular faith." 
  • The form says that the person issuing the certificate will have to specify their name and confirm that the applicant belongs to one of the six communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and are known to them. They must certify that "to the best of my knowledge and belief, he/she belongs to Hindu/ Sikh/ Buddhist/ Jain/Parsi/Christian community and continues to be a member of the above-mentioned community". 

2. ISRO successfully reenters POEM-3 mission into Earth's atmosphere 

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced that its PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) re-entered the Earth's atmosphere without leaving any debris in orbit. ISRO has termed it as "another milestone". 
  • "The PSLV-C58/XPoSat mission has left practically zero debris in orbit," the space agency said. The operation took place on January 1, 2024. 
  • After successfully placing all the satellites in their designated orbits, the last stage of PSLV was converted into a 3-axis stabilized platform known as POEM-3. 
  • The stage was then deorbited from an altitude of 650 km to 350 km, accelerating the re-entry process. Additionally, measures were taken to deactivate the stage, including removal of residual propellants, to reduce potential risks associated with accidental break-up. 
  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) has taken the lead in conceptualizing and realizing POEM by enhancing the fourth stage of PSLV. PSLV-C58/XPoSat is the third mission in the series in which POEM has been successfully scripted every time. 
  • POEM-3 was configured with a total of 9 different experimental payloads to conduct technology demonstration and scientific experiments on newly developed indigenous systems. Six of these payloads were delivered by NGE via IN-SPACe. The mission objectives of these payloads were accomplished in one month. 
  • Through POEM, which serves as a very cost-effective platform to conduct short duration spaceborne experiments, ISRO has created new avenues for academicians, startups and NGOs to experiment with their new payloads. 

International News 

3. Bassirou Diomaye named as the next President of Senegal 

  • In Senegal, little-known opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye has been named as the country's next president, less than two weeks after being released from prison to run in elections. 
  • The former prime minister, who was the second frontrunner and was supported by incumbent President Macky Sall, conceded defeat based on preliminary results. 
  • In his first speech as president elect, the former tax inspector promised a new chapter after months of violence and numerous political arrests during the elections. 
  • More than 7 million people were registered to vote in the country, which has a population of about 17 million. To win, candidates had to secure more than 50 percent of the votes. This was Senegal's fourth democratic transfer of power since gaining independence from France in 1960. 
  • Faye's victory reflected frustration among youth in the West African nation with high unemployment and concerns about governance. In his first speech as president-elect, the former tax inspector promised to start a new chapter after months of violence and numerous political arrests during the elections. 

State News 

4. Gujarat Education Minister launches online learning platform ‘Shiksha Sudhar’ 

  • In a significant step towards modernization of education, Gujarat Minister of State for Education Prafulla Pansheriya launched the online learning platform, Shiksha Sampada in Surat. 
  • Renowned educationist Deepak Rajguru, as well as trustees and principals from leading schools, attended the launching ceremony at The Amore Hotel. 
  • Kimmo Nikkanen from Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and academician Antti Isovita were also present. Education Reform is a collaborative effort with Microsoft and a leading Finnish university and is set to deliver high quality courses. 
  • Rajeev Soni and Paresh Chalodiya, co-founders of Shikha Reform, said the platform is offering short-term courses in cutting-edge areas such as artificial intelligence and cyber security in collaboration with Microsoft and a Finnish university. 
  • Students can study various courses on the online learning platform by paying a nominal fee. Education Reform is a European credit course that will be useful to students looking at educational opportunities in Finland and Europe. Education reforms equip students with critical technical skills, thereby boosting their careers. 
  • The platform's Skills for Jobs program provides learning pathways to students, technology professionals and others interested in enhancing their technical skills. 

Schemes & Committees News 

6. Goyt, notifies revised wages under the MGNREGS 

  • The Union government on Wednesday notified the revised wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Employment Scheme (MGNREGS), with States reporting a hike in wages by eight to 10%. 
  • The hike ranged from ₹7 in Uttar Pradesh (from ₹230 in 2023 to ₹237 in 2024) to ₹34 in Goa (from =₹322 to ₹356). Significant jumps in wages have been reported by Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattis garh, Gujarat, Madhya Pra 1desh Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa, where the hikes varied from 8% to 10.5%. Bihar follows behind, where the wages have been revised by ₹17. 
  • Haryana continues to offer the best wages at ₹374 per day, and Uttar Pradesh at 237 has one of the lowest wages. The revised l rates will be applicable from April 1. The Union Rustral Development Ministry d had to seek permission from the Election Commission to issue the notification. There are a total of 14.34 crore active workers. 

Ranks & Reports News 

7. According to the report of Brand Finance-2024, LIC becomes the world's strongest insurance brand. 

  • In the latest Brand Finance Insurance 100, 2024 report, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has strengthened its position as the strongest insurance brand worldwide while maintaining a stable brand value of Rs 816 billion. 
  • With a Brand Strength Index score of 88.3 and a AAA Brand Strength Rating, LIC demonstrates its unparalleled prominence in the industry. Cathay Life Insurance stands as the second strongest brand, with a significant increase of Rs 408 billion in brand value. 
  • China's Ping An has remained the world's most valuable insurance brand (brand value increased 4% to US$33.6 billion) for six consecutive years. 
  • Among the 74 brands whose brand value has increased from the 2023 ranking, Australia's NRMA Insurance (brand value up 82% to USD1.3 billion) and Denmark's Trigg (brand value up 66% to USD1.6 billion) are the fastest growing . 
  • In the insurance sector, Allianz has the highest sustainability perception value of USD3.7 billion and the highest positive difference value of USD299 million. Allianz's highest positive differential value implies that it has the potential to generate an additional USD299 million of value given the brand's continued and broader sustainability efforts. 

Science & Technology News 

8. IIT Guwahati transfers 'Swine Fever Vaccine Technology' to Biomed Private Limited 

  • Indian Institute of TechnologyGuwahati (IIT-G) has transferred the first-of-its-kind swine fever vaccine technology to Biomed Pvt. Ltd. Biomed Private Limited is a company specializing in vaccine manufacturing. 
  • Through collaborative efforts between the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Guwahati and researchers from Assam Agricultural University in Guwahati, the vaccine technology was developed. 
  • The institute said the findings of their intensive research were featured in the journals Process Biochemistry and Archives of Virology. 
  • This revolutionary technology involves a recombinant vector vaccine specifically designed to combat the classic swine fever virus in pigs and wild boars. It fills a critical gap in India's vaccine landscape. 
  • Researchers have used Newcastle disease virus (NDV), which is traditionally studied for its pathogenicity in chickens, as a vector for essential proteins of classical swine fever viruses. 
  • The vaccine work was started in 2018-2019 through collaborative efforts between researchers at IITG's Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering and Assam Agricultural University in Guwahati. 
  • Classical swine fever is a highly contagious disease among pigs, which poses a serious threat with a very high mortality rate, although it does not affect humans. 
  • In India, cases of this disease have been seen most frequently in the North-Eastern states as well as Bihar, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. 

9. European Space Agency's Gaia telescope discovers two ancient star streams Shiva and Shakti 

  • The European Space Agency's Gaia space telescope has identified two ancient streams of stars – named after the Hindu deities Shakti and Shiva. The discovery was made under the leadership of Khyati Malhan of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Germany. 
  • The researchers said that Shakti and Shiva were formed from stars with similar chemical composition that formed 12-13 billion years ago. The mass of each structure is about 10 million times that of our Sun. Shiva and Shakti are now located within about 30,000 light years of the galactic center. 
  • In Hinduism, the union of Shiva and Shakti gave birth to the universe. The identification of Shakti and Shiva structures has helped bring into focus the turbulent early stages of the galaxy. 
  • Located toward the heart of the galaxy, these streams formed as separate fragments that merged into one galaxy early in its history, shedding light on the galaxy's early formation. 
  • While similar, the Shakti stars have slightly more distant orbits from the galactic center, featuring more circular paths than Shiva. 
  • The landing site of Chandrayaan 3's moon lander was named Shiv Shakti by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 August 2023, recently six months later, the Planetary System Nomenclature Working Group of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved the name 'Staio Shiv Shakti' for the landing site of Chandrayaan's Vikram lander. 

Gaia Space Telescope 

  • Launched in December 2013, Gaia, operated by the European Space Agency, has been surveying the sky for more than a decade, collecting extensive data to create a detailed 3D map of the Milky Way. In 2022, scientists using Gaia data identified what they call the "poor old heart" of the galaxy. 

Appointment News

10. Luis Montenegro named Portugal’s Prime Minister 

  • Portugal’s president has named Luis Montenegro, head of the centre-right Democratic Alliance (AD), as the country’s new prime minister and invited him to form a minority government after eight years of Socialist rule. 
  • The long-awaited results of the March 10 elections were published late on Wednesday after votes from abroad were counted, and saw AD win 80 seats in the 230-member parliament, while the Socialist Party and the far-right Chega party clinched 78 and 50 seats, respectively.
  • Montenegro, a 51-year-old lawyer and longtime parliamentarian, will succeed the Socialist Party’s Antonio Costa, who held office since 2015 and was forced to resign in November following corruption allegations. 

11. Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • President of Indonesia – Prabowo Subianto 
  • PM of Palestinian – Mohammad Mustafa 
  • President of Pakistan – Asif Ali Zardari (14th) 
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan – Shehbaz Sharif (2nd term) 
  • President of Indonesia – Prabowo Subianto 

About Portugal 

  • Capital- Lisbon 
  • Currency – euro 
  • Prime minister- Luis Montenegro 
  • Official language- Portuguese 
  • Continent- Europe, Africa 

12. Eveready Battery made Neeraj Chopra its brand ambassador.  

  • Eveready Industries India (EIIL) has announced its partnership with current Olympic gold medalist and world No. 1 in men's javelin throw, Neeraj Chopra, as its new brand ambassador. 
  • Neeraj Chopra joins Bollywood stalwarts like Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. The three giants will together endorse the brand with iconic campaigns like “Give Me Red. 
  • Through this collaboration, Eveready aims to strengthen its commitment to excellence and innovation by launching the new Ultima Alkaline Battery series. 
  • The brand hopes to enhance its connect with the youth by offering long-lasting and value-for-money solutions to high-drain appliances used by the new generation in India. 
  • Neeraj Chopra's remarkable journey to success has inspired millions of people around the world, which perfectly captures the essence of the new and improved Ultima Alkaline Batteries, which deliver 400% more power for longer-lasting toys and gadgets. 

13. Hansha Mishra appointed as Director in UPSC 

  • Hansha Mishra (IA&AS) has been selected for the appointment as Director in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). 
  • He has been selected for the appointment under the Central Staffing Scheme for a period of five years from the date of taking over charge of the post or until further orders, whichever event takes place earlier. 
  • Mishra is an Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) officer of 2010 batch. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Chairman of Surat Diamond Bourse – Govind Dholakia (replace Vallabh Lakhani) 
  • Chairperson of Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) – Mariam Mammen Mathew (replace Tanmay Maheshwari) 
  • President of Indian Steel Association (ISA) – Naveen Jindal (replace Dilip Oommen) 
  • Mumbai Municipal Commissioner – Bhushan Gagrani 
  • CEO of P&G India – Kumar Venkatasubramanian 

14. Abhay Thakur Appointed as Next Envoy to Myanmar 

  • Senior diplomat Abhay Thakur has been appointed as the country’s next envoy to Myanmar. 
  • Abhay Thakur is a 1992-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). He is currently working as an Officer on Special Duty in the Ministry of External Affairs. 
  • He had served as the sous-sherpa (deputy representative) for the G20 process during India’s presidency of the influential group of 20 major economies. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Soumendu Bagchi appointed as India’s Ambassador to Iraq 
  • Abhilasha Joshi appointed as India’s Ambassador to Chile 
  • Vinay Kumar appointed as India’s Ambassador to Russia 


15. Michel Talagrand awarded Abel Prize 2024 

  • The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2024 to Michel Talagrand of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Paris, France. 
  • Talagrand received the prestigious prize “for his groundbreaking contributions to probability theory and functional analysis, with outstanding applications in mathematical physics and statistics.” 
  • The common theme in Michel Talagrand’s groundbreaking discoveries is working with and understanding the random processes we see all around us. 
  • It has now become apparent that a thorough understanding of random phenomena is essential in today’s world. The Abel Prize is named after Niels Henrik Abel, Norway’s greatest mathematician throughout the times. 
  • The Abel Prize was established by the Norwegian Parliament (The Storting) in 2002, on the occasion the 200-year anniversary of his birth. The Prize is 7.5 million Norwegian Kroner. 

Recent Awards 

  • 29th Devi Shankar Awasthi Award 2023 – Nishant (for Kavita Pathak Aalochna)
  • GEEF Global Environment Award 2024 – THDC India Limited 
  • Sangita Kalanidhi award 2024 – Thodur Madabusi Krishna 
  • PV Narasimha Rao Memorial Award – Ratan Tata 
  • Diana Memorial Award – Uday Bhatia & Manasi Gupta 

16. India's Pankaj Advani inducted into Billiards Hall of Fame 

  • Indian Pankaj Advani has added another crowning feather to his remarkable career by being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the World Billiards Museum in Shangrao city, China. 
  • Advani's unique skill, unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements have cemented his position as one of the greatest champions in the history of billiards. 
  • His journey to the Hall of Fame is a testament to his constant pursuit of excellence and his remarkable contributions to the game. Throughout his career, he has consistently showcased his skills, created records and won many titles. 
  • The 38-year-old Indian star won his 26th IBSF (International Billiards and Snooker Federation) title last November. He achieved this victory by defeating compatriot Saurav Kothari in a thrilling encounter, where Kothari had put up a strong challenge in the early stages of the long format billiards competition. 
  • Pankaj Advani has won a combined 26 world titles in snooker and billiards. In which Pankaj has 18 billiards and 8 snooker world titles in his name. Billiards Championships and has won a World Team Billiards Championship. 
  • In snooker, Pankaj has won the IBSF World Snooker Championship three times. He has won the IBSF World Six-Red Championship twice. Pankaj made his debut in billiards in the year 1999. Pankaj won his first world title of billiards in the year 2005. 
  • Pankaj has been honored with several awards: Arjuna Award in 2004, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2006, Padma Shri in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2018. 

Education News 

17. Now, boys can learn Mohiniyattam at Kalamandalam 

  • Kalamandalam, a deemed university for arts and culture, has opened its doors for boys to learn Mohiniyattam. The Institution has lifted gender restrictions to enroll in its Mohiniyattam courses. 
  • The decision was taken unanimously in the governing council meeting of the Kalamandalam on Wednesday. The admission for the ald Mohiniyattam course will be open from next academic year onwards. 
  • The decision came in the wake of a controversy in which dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama allegedly made derogatory remarks against dancer R.L.V. Ramakrishnan. 
  • A Mohiniyattam performance of Mr. Ramakrishnan was organized at the Koothambalam of Kalamandalam by the Kalamandalam Students Union on Tuesday, 
  • The decision allowing boys to join the Mohiniyattam course came the very next day of the performance. Kalamandalam provides opportunity for learning 
  • Mohiniyattam up to the postgraduate level, The comments by Ms. Sathaybhama had sparked criticism from various fields across the State. 
  • The Kerala State Human Rights Commission and State SC/ST commissions have initiated cases against 
  • Ms. Sathyabhama. Meanwhile, Mr. Ramakrishan has lodged a complaint with the Chalakudy police against 
  • As the incident occurred in Thiruvananthapuram, the complaint will be transferred to the capital, according to the Chalakudy police.

Obituary News

18. Tamil Actor Lakshmi Narayanan Seshu passes away 

  • Actor Lakshmi Narayanan Seshu, lovingly called Lollu Sabha Seshu, died at the age of 60 in Chennai. 
  • Seshu made his film debut with the 2002 Dhanush film, Thulluvadho Ilamai. He became a household name after his character grew popular in hit comedy show, Lollu Sabha. 
  • Some of his memorable films include titles such as A1, Dikkiloona, Gulu Gulu, Naai Sekar Returns, Draupathi and Vadakkupatti Ramasamy among others. 

19. ICMR set to bring in evidence-based norms for lung cancer management 

  • Currently, evidence-based guidelines do not exist with respect to prevention, screening, diagnosis, management, and palliation of lung cancer in India, despite the fact that lung cancer is one of the commonest carniceria in India accounting for 10% of total cancer deaths in the country. 
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), understanding this gap, is now all set to launch a systematic review and metaanalyses which, it notes, will play a crucial role in synthesizing existing evi derice to inform decision making in the management of lung cancer to guide clinical practice and improve patients outcomes. 
  • The Council has launched an expression of Interest (Eofy from researchers who are interested in conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. 
  • "Prospective applicants will be tasked to conduct systematic reviews/meta analysis pertaining to the identified review questions (PICOs) and assessing the quality of evidence using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool," the ICMR said, adding that the process of generating such evidence would entail the compilation of systematic reviews from the existing literature, focusing on well-defined review questions. 
  • Grading methodology "Additionally, the evidence derived from these systematic reviews and meta analysis will be systematically assessed for its strength utilizing the GRADE. This grading methodology will serve to evaluate the quality of est dense, which will subsequently inform the formulation of recommendations following the application of the Evidence to Decision (EtD) framework," noted the ICMR. 
  • The Council also said that depending on the scope of the review, a team might be assigned more than one review question, including prevention, screening, diagnosis etc. 
  • According to the World Health Organisation, lung cancer is a significant public health concern, causing a considerable number of deaths globally. Smoking tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) is the primary risk factor for lung cancer, but it can also affect non-smokers. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, etc.

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