Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 29th March 2024


National News 

1.Easily provoked India is not showing confidence about Its own democratic record 

  • New Delhi and Washington appear to be squaring off for a fight over the U.S. expressing its concerns about the Modi government's actions ahead of the general election. After the US. State Department spokesperson first made a comment on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, jriwal, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned the acting Deputy Chief of the U.S. mission in Delhi and sternly called on the U., to desist from interfering in India's internal affairs. A dressing down was also handed to a German diplomat for a similar statement by Germany. However, while the German government appeared to tone down its remarks subsequently, the U.S. administration seems to have doubled down repeating statements on the need for "fair, transparent, timely legal processes'', and adding the freezing of the Congress Party's accounts during the election campaign amongst its concerns, prompting yet another rebuke. 
  • The ments, galling U.S's statements, for the government, are not new, and its concerns over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, farmers' protests, actions against NGOs, and legal action against Opposition politicians have been growing. 
  • The Modi government may wish to introspect about whether any of these interventions are valid concerns, and it may be of significance to probe whether this brinkmanship is a symptom of a larger problem in the India-U.S. relationship. Since the U.S. announced an indictment into an alleged assassination plot against a Khalistani separatist and India critic, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, claiming a link to a top Indian national security official, the quality of public engagement appears to have suffered a setback, even though trade, technology sharing, and military and strategic cooperation remain strong. 
  • The decision by U.S. President Joe Biden to decline India's invitation as Republic Day chief guest and to attend the Quad summit, and the cancellation of U.S. NSA Jake Sullivan's visit, even as the post of Indian Ambassador to Washington lies vacant, merits close examination. 
  • Given the kerfuffle over Mr. Kejriwal's arrest, New Delhi has a few choices: it can choose to continue this high-decibel, public and unseemly spat; it can pay the U.S. back in the same coin by commenting on its internal developments; or it can refuse to be provoked. The last option may seem the least attractive to this government, which has made a habit of pugilistic public diplomacy, but in fact would come from a place of strength and security. 
  • Global leadership, of the kind that India aspires to, requires broad shoulders, and a thick skin when it comes to criticism, along with a quiet confidence that its democratic record should speak for itself. 

2.Karnataka HC steps in, helps NRI couple adopt Ugandan child 

  • Tackling a peculiar situation, arising in the case of a cross-border adoption of a child, which is not envisaged in Indian laws, the High Court of Karnataka directed the Union government to stretch its magnanimity and validate the adoption of a Ugandan child by a non-resident Indian (NRI) couple, who adopted the child with the approval of the High Court of Uganda. 
  • Though the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) told the court that it would issue "support letter" as per the Regulation 41 of the Adoption Regulations, 2022, the court noted that the letter would place the petitioners or the child neither here nor there, as this was a cross-border adoption. 
  • Stating that "situation in this case requires ironing out creases in the laws without disturbing the content of the statute", Justice M. Nagaprasanna directed the Union of India "not to restrict its magnanimity to only issuance of a support letter; it should stretch for issuance of an approval or a no objection certificate under the Regulations". 

3.NHPC inks pct with JBIC for 20 billion 

  • The State-owned hydropower giant NHPC has inked a loan agreement of JPY 20 billion (around Rs 1,100 crore) with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) for developing a 300 MW solar project in Bikaner, Rajasthan. 
  • This is the first kind of loan syndication by NHPC with JBIC for the financing of renewable energy project. 
  • JBIC’s loan is co-financed with MUFG Bank Ltd., Japan and Bank of Yokohama Ltd, Japan. 
  • The facility is extended under JBIC’s GREEN Operations (Global Action for Reconciling Economic growth and Environment Preservation) which ensures preservation of global environment. 

International News 

4.India at G20 2nd Employment Working Group Meeting at Brasilia 

  • The two-day 2nd Employment Working Group (EWG) meeting under the Brazilian Presidency commenced in Brasilia, Brazil. 
  • The G20 EWG’s mandate is to address labour, employment and social issues for strong, sustainable, balanced and job-rich growth for all. 
  • As India is a member of the G20 Troika, represented by Ms. Sumita Dawra, Secretary, Labour & Employment, India is co-chairing the 2nd EWG meeting, along with Brazil and South Africa. 

5.Saudi Arabia to participate in Miss Universe event in historic first 

  • Saudi Arabia officially joined the Miss Universe pageant with Rumy Alqahtani as the Islamic country’s first-ever representative. 
  • This is another step for Saudi Arabia, which has been shedding its conservative cloak under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. 
  • Rumy Alqahtani, a 27-year-old model, would be the first participant from the country in the international beauty pageant. 
  • Last year, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023. 

6. Thailand becomes the first Southeast Asian country to pass Same-Sex marriage bill 

  • The lower house of Thailand's parliament, led by Prime Minister Shretha Thavisin, has passed an unprecedented bill to legalize gay marriage, making Thailand the only Southeast Asian country to recognize same-sex unions. The 500-member House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the "marriage equality" bill. 
  • 400 MPs supported the legislation, while 10 opposed it, and five abstained or voted after three hours of debate. The bill is now put up for review by the upper house, the Senate, on 2
  • April 2024, followed by royal assent and publication in the Royal Gazette. The amendments will take effect 120 days after publication. 
  • The Constitutional Court ruled in 2021 that Thailand's current marriage law, which only recognizes heterosexual couples, recommended expanding the law to ensure rights for other genders. 
  • In 2019, Taiwan's parliament became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. It will become the third in Asia and join more than 40 countries around the world to recognize same-sex marriage, along with Thailand, Taiwan and Nepal [which passed the law in November last year]. 
  • Key provisions of the bill Same-sex partners aged 18 and over will be able to register their marriage, giving them the right to inheritance, tax benefits and child adoption. 
  • The law changes the legal definition of marriage from "one man and one woman" to "two persons" and changes the status from "husband and wife" to "married couple". 
  • Thailand already has laws that ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation and hence, it is seen as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in Asia. 

7. USA declares emergency in Maryland after Francis Scott Bridge collapse 

  • Following the collapse of the 'Francis Scott' Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland (USA), Maryland Governor Wes Moore declared a state of emergency on 26 March 2024. The 'Francis Scott' Bridge was constructed in 1977. 
  • The ship that collided with the Francis Scott Bridge in Baltimore was a container ship, the DALI. The container ship Dali is approximately 300 meters (984 ft) long. Its width is approximately 48 meters (157 ft).
  • The huge container ship, capable of carrying approximately 130,000 tons of cargo and supplies, breached the protections designed into the 47-year-old Key Bridge. 
  • Marine tracking website MarineTraffic showed the Singapore-flagged ship had docked in Baltimore. From where he was leaving for Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was to reach Sri Lanka on 22 April. 
  • This bridge was opened on 23 March 1977. It is named after Francis Scott Key, the composer of the US national anthem. The bridge was located over the Patapsco River. The 1.6-mile, 4-lane bridge was the second-longest continuous-truss bridge in the United States and the third in the world. 
  • The bridge was 8,636 feet (2,632 m) long. According to an estimate, more than 11 million vehicles used to travel on this bridge annually. 

8. The first nuclear energy summit was held in Brussels, Belgium. 

  • On 21 March 2024, leaders of 34 countries gathered in Brussels, Belgium for the first nuclear energy summit. The summit discussed the use of nuclear energy to reach net-zero emissions and promote sustainable development. 
  • The summit was arranged by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Belgium. The event included a series of speeches by prominent leaders including those from China, France, Japan and the US. 
  • The declaration states their commitment to nuclear energy as a key element in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from both the power and industrial sectors, ensure energy security, promote long-term sustainable development and facilitate the transition to clean energy. During the COP28 conference, more than 20 countries signed a declaration to increase the use of nuclear energy between 2020 and 2050. Countries on four continents signed the declaration, including the United States, Canada, France, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. 
  • At the summit, a declaration was signed by the IAEA Director General and representatives of 32 countries. 
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came into existence in 1957 as a result of widespread concerns and expectations in the wake of unprecedented progress and diverse applications of nuclear technology. 
  • The IAEA has its origins in the "Atoms for Peace" speech delivered by United States President Eisenhower to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 8 December 1953. IAEA is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. 

State News 

9.Manipur govt. order al declaring Easter as working day revoked 

  • A Manipur government order declaring March 31, which is Easter Sunday, a working day for all public offices in the conflict-ridden State, ignited public outrage on Thursday, following which the government was forced to modify the order and clarify that Kunboth Good Friday and Easter Sunday would remain holidays. 
  • On Wednesday, the Manipur government issued orders in the name of the Governor, declaring that March 30, Saturday, and March 31, Sunday, would be working days for all government offices in the State. 
  • According to the 2011 the Census, 41.2% of Manipur's population is Christian. 
  • The move drew sharp reactions from the Scheduled Tribes in the State, especially the Kuki-Zo community, which has borne the brunt of the fatalities in the ongoing ethnic conflict. 
  • Many called it another attempt to target them by a "Meitei-majority" government. Christian rights groups such as the United Christians Forum (UCF) also called for the order to be withdrawn. 
  • Congress leader Shashi Tharoor reacted to the order, saying, "It is surprising and worrying. It has come in the aftermath of a devastating year in Manipur where it happened." violence 
  • Soon afterwards, BJP MPs such as Prakash Javadekar and party leaders such as Kerala unit president K. Surendran posted statements on X accusing the Congress of "spreading falsehoods". 

10.'Child accused of POCSO offense to be tried as per the JJ Act’ 

  • The Kerala High Court has held that a child charged with the offenses under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is to be prosecuted as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (JJ) Act. 
  • Justice P.G. Ajithkumar made the observation while disposing of a petition filed by a 13-year-old boy seeking to quash the case registered against him under the POCSO Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • The prosecution case is that the petitioner had sexually assaulted another boy. Counsel for petitioner submitted that prosecution of a child for an offense under the POCSO Act or sexual offenses under the IPC was not possible as the offender, being a child, could not be attributed with the criminal intent. Therefore, the investigation against the petitioner was illegal. 
  • The court observed that "Child' was not defined in the POCSO Act whereas it is defined in the JJ Act, 2015. 
  • Section 2(12) of the JJ Act, defined a child to be a person who has not completed 18 years of age. 
  • The court directed that the investigation against the petitioner be completed in two months. 

11.Govt. extends AFSPA in parts of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh 

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for another e six months. 
  • As per the notification, the AFSPA has been extended in the whole of e eight districts and 21 police stations in five other districts of Nagaland. In Arunachal Pradesh, it has been extended in three districts and areas falling under the e jurisdiction of three police stations in Namsai district. 
  • In Nagaland, the notification issued under Section 3 of the AFSPA for a period of six months with e effect from April 1, "unless withdrawn earlier", will be effective in Dimapur, Niu- land, Chumukedima, 
  • Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek and Peren districts and in Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kenosha police stations in Kohima district; Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-I, Longdo, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki 'C' police stations in Mokokchung district; Yanglok police station in Longleng district; Bhandari, Champagne and Ralan police stations in Wokha district; and Ghatashi, Pughoboto, Satakha, Suruhuto, Zunheboto and Aghunato police stations in Zunheboto district. 
  • The AFSPA has been extended in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai, Mahadevpur and Chowkham police stations in Namsai district along the Assam border for another six months. 

Ranks & Reports News 

12. International Labor Organization released 'India Employment Report 2024' 

  • The International Labor Organization (ILO) has released the 'Bharat Employment Report 2024' in collaboration with the Institute of Human Development (IHD), which brings light on the challenges faced by the Indian job market with the coming close to the financial year. 
  • Chief Economic Advisor V. Anant Nagswaran unveiled the report, which outlines significant changes in employment patterns and education levels between unemployed by 2022. 
  • The 'Employment Status Index' has improved between 2004-05 and 2021-22. But some states - Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and UP - were at the bottom of this period, while some others - Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Gujarat - topped. 

Key findings 

  • The share of secondary or higher educated unemployed youth has been almost doubled from 35.2% in 2000 to 65.7% in 2022. In 2022, unemployed youth had 82.9% of the total unemployed population. 
  • Despite the steady increase in employment and minorizers from 2000 to 2019, the years of epidemic declined. The study stated that the labor force participation rate (LFPR), labor population ratio (WPR) and unemployment rate (UR) saw a long -term decline between 2000 and 2018, but the improvement was seen after 2019. 
  • Also, about 90% of the workers are engaged in informal work, while the part of the regular work, which increased continuously after 2000, decreased after 2018. The report states that there are broader livelihood insecurities, only a small percentage is under social security. 
  • India's large youth workforce is a demographic dividend, the report said that they do not have the skill to work - 75% of the youth are unable to send emails with the attachment, 60% are unable to copy and paste files, and 90% of the youth are unable to copy and paste the workforce. 
  • Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are still lagging behind in terms of access to better jobs. Agriculture's share in total employment fell from 60% in 2000 to about 42% in 2019. 
  • Women's Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is the lowest in the world in India. Between 2000 and 2019, the Women LFPR declined by 14.4 percent marks (compared to 8.1 percentage for men). 
  • This was followed by the trend reversed, between 2019 and 2022, the female LFPR increased by 8.3 percent marks (compared to 1.7 percent of the men's LFPR). In 2022, women's LFPR (32.8%) was 2.3 times lower than men (77.2%). 

13. Households across the world waste C 1 billion meals a day, says UN report 

  • Households across the of globe wasted over one billion meals a day in 2022, even as 783 million people The struggle with hunger and a third of humanity faced food insecurity, according to the Food Waste Index y Report 2024, a study jointly authored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), a U.K.-based non-profit. 
  • The report, released ahead of the International Day of Zero Waste (March 30), noted that in 2022, there were 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste generated (including inedible parts), amounting to 132 kilograms per capita and almost one-fifth of all food available to consumers. "Out of the total food wasted in 2022, 60% happened at the household level, with food services responsible for 28%, and retail 12%," the report observed. 
  • The report stressed the importance of expanding and strengthening data infrastructure to enable the tracking and monitoring of food waste, pointing out that "many lower and middle-income countries continue to lack adequate systems for tracking progress to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of halving food waste by 2030, particularly in retail and food services". At present, only four G-20 countries (Australia, Japan, U.K., U.S.) and the European Union have food waste estimates suitable for tracking progress to 2030. 
  • Contrary to popular perception, food waste was not a "rich country problem", the report stated, with observed average levels of household food waste for high-income, upper-middle, and lower middle-income countries differing by just 7 kg per capita. "Hotter countries appear to generate more food waste per capita in households, potentially due to higher consumption of fresh foods with substantial inedible parts and a lack of robust cold chains," the report noted. 
  • Detailing the link between food waste and climate change, the report found that food loss and waste generated "8%-10% of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions almost five times that of the aviation sector and significant biodiversity loss by taking up the equivalent of almost a third of the world's agricultural land". It estimated the toll of both food loss and waste on the trillion. 
  • Another trend revealed by the data was that compared to urban areas, rural ones generally wasted less food, due to "greater diversion of food scraps to pets, livestock, and home composting". The report urged governments to "raise climate ambition by integrating food loss and waste" into their Nationally Determined Contributions. 

14.Core sector output growth H spurts to 6.7% in February 

  • India's eight core sectors' output growth spurted to a three-month high of 6.7% in February, led by double-digit upticks in coal, natural gas and cement even as fertilizers' production fell 9.5% to record the sharpest contraction since May 2021. 
  • January's Index of Core Industries (ICI) was revised to reflect a 4.1% rise, compared with the previous estimate of 3.6%, but that remained the slowest growth in 15 months. This is the second month in a row that fertilizers' output dipped year-on-year, and marks the first such streak in two years. 
  • In absolute terms, overall output levels were at a three-month low and 4.9% Core growth 
  • The output growth of India's eight core sectors rose to a three-month high of 6.7% in February Pre-poll splurge lifts fiscal deficit Coal, natural gas and cement had a double-digit growth 
  • Signaling a sharp rise in spending ahead of the fiscal year-end, the Centre's fiscal deficit soared from 64% of the revised estimates in January to 86.5% by the end of February. The deficit hit 15 lakh crore in the first eleven months of below January's levels, which had marked a ten month high. In sequential terms, the only segment to record an uptick over January's production level was cement (up 1.74%). 
  • In year-on-year terms, crude oil production grew at an all-time high pace of 7.9% in February, although that was aided by base effects as output had dropped 4.9% in the same month last year. Natural gas output grew 11.3%, which was the highest in two years. The upticks in February also marked a four-month peak for cement (10.2%), electricity (6.3%), and coal (11.6%). While steel production growth eased slightly to 8.4% in February, refinery products recovered from a 4.3% contraction in January to rise 2.6%. 
  • As the ICI has a weight- age of slightly over 40% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), economists expect industrial output expl growth to recover from the 3.8% 

Appointment News 

15. Sadanand Vasant has been appointed as Director General of NIA and Piyush Anand has been appointed as Director General of NDRF. 

  • The Government of India has announced important appointments of Director Generals of security agencies National Investigation Agency (NIA) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). 
  • Sadanand Vasant Date, a distinguished 1990 batch IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre, has been appointed as the new Director General of NIA. He will serve in this role till his superannuation on December 31, 2026 or until further orders.
  • Date has wide-ranging experience in law enforcement and will replace outgoing NIA chief Dinkar Gupta, who is retiring on March 31. Maharashtra cadre officer Sadanand Vasant Date, who was awarded the President's Medal for gallantry for saving lives and combating terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. 
  • In December 2008, former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram introduced the National Investigation Agency Bill. The agency came into existence on December 31, 2008 and started its functioning in the year 2009. 
  • Piyush Anand - NDRF Chief Piyush Anand, a 1991 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been given the responsibility of chief of NDRF. Presently working as Special Director General of CISF. 
  • He has been given the charge for a period of two years or until further orders, replacing current NDRF chief Atul Karwal, who retires on March 31. 
  • NDRF was constituted as per Section 44-45 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. This bill was passed in the Parliament in the year 2005. The President of India gave his assent to the bill in 2006. 
  • Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi - new judicial member of Lokpal Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi has taken oath as the new judicial member of Lokpal on 27 March 2024. The current Lokpal Chairman is Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar. 
  • Before joining the Lokpal, Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi served as the Chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission of India. He was previously the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. 

16. Sita Ram Meena appointed as India’s next ambassador to Niger 

  • Sita Ram Meena has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Niger. 
  • Meena currently serves as Director in the Ministry. 
  • The bilateral activities between the two nations gained momentum after India’s Mission in Niamey was opened in May 2009. Niger opened its Embassy in New Delhi in 2011. 

About Niger 

  • Capital- Niamey 
  • Currency- West African CFA franc 
  • President– Mohamed Bazoum 
  • Official language- French 
  • Continent – Africa 

Recent Appointment in Foreign 

  • Abhay Thakur appointed as India’s Envoy to Myanmar  
  • 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 Russi 

Awards News

17. Madhumita’s book shortlisted for Women’s Prize for Non-fiction 

  • Indian-British journalist and commentator Madhumita Murgia’s book which explores the impact of AI on human society has been shortlisted for the 2024 inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction. 
  • The six books in the shortlist are Murgia’s “Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI”, “Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life and Sudden Death” by Laura Cumming, “Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World” by Naomi Klein, “A Flat Place” by Noreen Masud, “All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake” by Tiya Miles, and “How to Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir” by Safiya Sinclair. 
  • The six books cover a broad range of subjects – from life writing, religion, art and history, to AI, social media and online politics. 
  • “Code-Dependent”, published by Picador, explores the impact of AI – powerful, flawed, and often exploitative – on human society and exposes how it can strip away our individual and collective sense of agency. 

Important day 

18. 28 March – World Piano Day 

  • World Piano Day is celebrated annually on the 28th March. 
  • This day serves as a global platform to recognize the beauty, cultural significance, and enduring appeal of the piano, fostering appreciation for its rich legacy across generations and cultures. 
  • World Piano Day, the annual event, is observed on the 88th day of the year. This day was chosen in correspondence to the number of keys available on a piano. And according to this, it falls on March 28 in the year 2024. 
  • During the Middle Ages, Hammered dulcimers were the very first string instrument used in Europe. The 17th century saw the development of the clavichord and harpsichord mechanics, which were the result of numerous attempts to manufacture string instruments. 
  • Later, German pianist and composer Nils Frahm started World Piano Day in 2015. 

Science & Technology News 

19. Skyroot Aerospace successfully test-fires stage-2 of Vikram-1 launch vehicle in A.P's Sriharikota 

  • Leading space-tech company Skyroot Aerospace on Wednesday successfully test-fired stage-2 of its Vikram-1 launch vehicle at the propulsion testbed of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. 
  • Launch vehicles comprise multiple stages. Stage-2, called Kalam-250, is critical during the ascent of the launch vehicle since 
  • Kalam-250, the second stage of Vikram-1 launch vehicle, being test fired by Skyroot Aerospace at Sriharikota in A.P. on Wednesday. 
  • It will propel the rocket through the earth's atmosphere and into the vacuum of space. 
  • The Vikram-1 launch will be a landmark event for the Indian space sector as it will be the country's first private orbital rocket launch. 
  • It follows the suborbital launch of India's first private rocket the Vikram-S by Skyroot in November 2022, said an official press release. 
  • The test, which lasted 85 seconds, recorded a peak sea-level thrust of 186 kilonewtons (kN), which will translate to a fully expanded vacuum thrust of around 235kN in flight. The Kalam-250 is a high strength carbon composite rocket motor, which uses solid fuel and a high-performance Ethylene-Propylene-Diene terpolymer Thermal System. Protection 
  • Stage-2 of the launch vehicle houses a carbon ablative flex nozzle along with high-precision electro-mechanical actuators for thrust vector control of the vehicle, which helps the rocket achieve the desired trajectory. 
  • The solid propellant in Kalam-250 was processed by Solar Industries at their Nagpur facility. 

Education News 

20.UGC proposes NET for PhD admissions; students slam move 

  • Bringing a marking system in the National Eligibility Test (NET) and taking a step towards ending the entrance examinations conducted by universities for PhD programmes, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to make the NET as "one national entrance test" for PhD admissions. 
  • UGC Chairman M. Jaga desh Kumar said on Thursday that from the upcoming academic session of 2024-2025, the universities in the country will have the opportunity to utilize NET scores for admissions to PhD programmes, replacing the need for separate entrance tests conducted by individual universities and higher education institutions (HEIs). 
  • UGC Secretary Manish Joshi said in a public notice sent to all HEIs that the UGC had constituted an expert committee to review provisions of NET and based on its recommendations the UGC decided on March 13 that the NET score could be used for PhD admissions. He said NET candidates will be declared eligible in three categories, such as admission to PhD with Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), eligible to be appointed as Assistant Professor and only for PhD programmes. 
  • Professor Joshi added in the notice that the NET result will be declared in percentile along with marks obtained by a candidate to utilize the marks for admission to PhD. Students who qualify for NET and PhD eligibility will get 70% weightage for test scores and 30% weightage for interview for admission to PhD programmes. 
  • The students' organizations, however, said the notice was exclusionary and made NET mandatory for PhD admissions. "This centralized mandate of making NET a compulsory criteria for PhD across the country in all the institutions, is likely to see the removal of university level entrance tests for PhD," the Students Federation of India (SFI) said. 

Sports News 

21. Sunil Chhetri became the first Indian player to play 150 matches in international football 

  • Sunil Chhetri became the 8th player in the world and the first Indian footballer to play 150 or more international football matches. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo tops this list with 205 international matches. 
  • Indian men's football team captain Sunil Chhetri's 150th international match ended in disappointment. India lost to Afghanistan 2-1 in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Assam on 26 March 2024. 
  • Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal for India in the match against Afghanistan, which was his 94th international goal. Among the active players, Sunil Chhetri is the third highest goalscorer in international matches. 
  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo currently leads the scoring with 128 goals, followed by Argentina's Lionel Messi with 106 international goals. Sunil Chhetri is the fourth highest goalscorer in the overall list. 
  • Overall, in 511 club and international matches, Sunil Chhetri has scored 251 goals. India's defeat against Afghanistan has dented its chances of making it to the third round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 preliminary joint qualifiers. 
  • World football governing body FIFA released a documentary featuring Sunil Chhetri titled 'Captain Fantastic' in 2022. 
  • Sunil Chhetri He made his professional debut with Mohun Bagan club in 2002. Sunil Chhetri played his first international match for India in 2005 and scored his first goal for the senior India national football team against Pakistan. 
  • He has been named AIFF Men's Player of the Year seven times. Sunil Chhetri has been a part of the Indian men's football team that has won the Nehru Cup (2007, 2009, 2012) and the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship (2011, 2015, 2021). 
  • He played a key role in India's 2008 AFC Challenge Cup victory, helping them qualify for the first AFC Asian Cup (2011) in 27 years. 

22. Sunrisers Hyderabad made the highest score ever in Indian Premier League history 

  • Sunrisers Hyderabad recorded the highest team score in the history of the Indian Premier League. Orange Army scored 277-3 against Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad on 27 March 2024. 
  • Heinrich Klaasen's unbeaten 80, coupled with quick half-centuries from Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head, provided a consistent attack against the five-time IPL champions. 
  • Travis Head, playing his first IPL 2024 game, scored 62 runs in 24 balls, while Abhishek Sharma laid the foundation with 63 runs in 23 balls. 
  • Abhishek scored the fastest halfcentury for Sunrisers Hyderabad by beating Head. While Head took 19 balls to reach the milestone, Abhishek reached the mark in just 16 balls. 
  • The previous highest score was 263 runs by Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors India in Bengaluru in 2013. In which Gayle scored unbeaten 175 runs at the MCA Stadium in Pune, which is also the highest individual score in the history of the league. 
  • Despite their best efforts, Pandyaled Mumbai Indians fell short by 31 runs in their chase, finishing at 246/5 in their 20 overs. 

Other Records 

  • The total of 523 runs, including Sunrisers Hyderabad's 277 and Mumbai Indians' 246 runs, is the most runs ever scored in a T20 match in cricket history, surpassing the 517 runs scored in the match between West Indies and South Africa at Centurion in 2023. A record of hitting 38 sixes in a match was also made. SRH hit 18 sixes in their innings, while MI hit 20 sixes. 
  • The previous record was 33 sixes in a match, made by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings in 2018. 

23. Sri Lanka to host Women’s Asia Cup 2024 

  • The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has announced the upcoming Women’s Asia Cup 2024, scheduled to take place in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, from July 19th to July 28th 2024. 
  • The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced the upcoming Women’s Asia Cup 2024, scheduled to take place in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, from July 19th to July 28th, 2024. 
  • The tournament will feature eight teams, one more than the previous edition in 2022. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh will be joined by the semifinalists of the Women’s Premier Cup 2024 – UAE, Malaysia, Nepal, and Thailand. 
  • The tournament will also feature all female referees and umpires, following the successful implementation of the same in the previous edition. 

Miscellaneous News 

24. Pharmaceutical company Acums Drugs launches the first indigenous Hydroxyurea oral suspension for the treatment of sickle cell. 

  • New Delhi-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Acums Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd has launched India's first indigenous Hydroxyurea Oral Suspension for the treatment of sickle disease in children at 1 per cent of the global price. 
  • This medicine can be stored at 25 degree Celsius room temperature. This new medicine eliminates the need for cold storage, making it more accessible and affordable for SCD patients across India. 
  • Hydroxyurea oral suspension will be used for the symptomatic management of sickle cell syndrome for the prevention of recurrent painful vaso-occlusive crises, including acute chest syndrome, in adults, adolescents, and children over 2 years of age. 
  • This product is manufactured in India and has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India. The current import price is around Rs 77,000 for a global brand of hydroxyurea solution, which requires storage at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. 
  • SCD is a genetic blood disorder that causes severe pain and complications. It is especially prevalent among the tribal population in India. 
  • 80 percent of the population of this disease (sickle cell anemia) is in Africa and India. PM Modi launches Sickle Cell Anemia Eradication Mission in 2023 in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh. Under this, a target has been set to eliminate sickle cell anemia by 2047. 

Indian Polity 

25. Election Commission of India is keeping an eye on complaints of violation of Model Code of Conduct through 'CVigil App 

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) is keeping a close watch on the election process through the CVigil app. The app allows citizens to report violations of model code of conduct and election expenditure by capturing photos and videos. 
  • Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said CVigil empowers citizens to report violations with assured action within 100 minutes. CVigil is a user-friendly app that connects alert citizens with the District Control Room, Returning Officer and Flying Squad teams. 
  • Citizens can instantly report incidents of political misconduct through the app without visiting the Returning Officer's office. Upon sending a complaint, the user receives a unique ID on his mobile to track the status of his complaint. 
  • CVigil application should be used only for registering cases related to MCC violations. Other citizens are encouraged to use the main website of the ECI or call the National Contact Center 1800111950 or the State Contact Center 1950 to lodge a complaint. 
  • The then Chief Election Commissioner Shri OP Rawat along with Election Commissioners Shri Sunil Arora and Shri Ashok Lavasa launched a mobile app called 'CVigil' on July 3, 2018 for citizens to report any violation of the Model Code of Conduct during elections. Launched. 

26. Govinda ends 14-year 'vanvas, joins Sena 

  • Actor and former Congress Lok Sabha MP Govinda on Thursday joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Mumbai. The actor's induction into the party marked the end of his 14-year hiatus from politics. 
  • Reflecting on his return to the political arena, the 60-year-old, whose acting career spans back to the 1980s, remarked, "I am back here after a 14-year vanvas (exile)". 
  • He expressed surprise at his decision, saying that after completing his first stint in politics, "I never thought I'd be back again".
  • Govinda, who entered politics in 2004 as a Congress candidate in the general election, was best known for defeating BJP stalwart Ram Naik in the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat. 
  • After completing his term as MP in 2009, he did not contest again. 
  • This time, the Shinde-led Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the BJP, is likely to field the actor from the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat.
  • The Chief Minister, however, denied suggestions that Govinda's 01306, on behalf of THG PUBLISHING PVT LTD., Chennai-600002. Editor: Suresh Nambath (Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act).entry was linked to the upcoming general election, and maintained that the actor had joined the party "without any preconditions” 
  • Govinda stands for progress. He is impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development policies and wants to do something for the welfare and progress of the film industry. He has joined us without any conditions," Mr. Shinde told the press. 
  • Meanwhile, Govinda lavished praise on Mr. Shinde. "Mumbai has begun looking more beautiful and developed since Shindeji became CM," he said.

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