Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 17th April 2024


National News 

1. Central government has prepared a new digital platform ‘CDP-Suraksha’ to provide subsidy to horticulture farmers. 

  • The Central Government has created a new platform ‘CDP Suraksha’ to provide subsidy to horticulture farmers under the Cluster Development Program (CDP). CDP-Suraksha is essentially a digital platform. SECURITY means "systems for integrated resource allocation, knowledge and support for safe horticulture." 
  • The platform will allow farmers to credit subsidies instantly to their bank accounts using e-RUPI vouchers from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). 
  • Additionally, four banks – HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda – have been included on the platform. These banks will generate e-RUPI vouchers for fund distribution. 
  • A farmer can login using his mobile number and place orders for planting material like seeds, seedlings and saplings based on his requirement. 
  • An e-RUPI voucher will be generated after the farmer makes his contribution. This voucher will then be received by a vendor, who will provide the required planting material to the farmer. Can be redeemed at merchants accepting e-RUPI without card, digital payment app or internet banking access. 

CDP-Suraksha 

  • It has features like database integration with PM-Kisan, cloudbased server space from NIC, UIDAI verification, eRUPI integration, Local Government Directory (LGD), content management system, geotagging and geo-fencing. The platform allows access to farmers, vendors, implementing agencies (IAs), and cluster development agencies (CDAs), and officials of the National Horticulture Board (NHB). 
  • Details of around 8,400 farmers have been uploaded on the CDPSuraksha platform so far. These included 8,000 farmers from Sahyadri Farms Pvt Ltd, which is implementing a grape cluster in Nashik, Maharashtra. The remaining 400 farmers are from the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA), which is implementing the turmeric cluster in Meghalaya. 


2. Amid heightened Iran-Israel tensions, U.S. NSA Sullivan puts off visit to India 

  • As tensions between Israel and Iran grow, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan canceled his plan to travel to Delhi for talks, officials announced on Tuesday. 
  • Mr. Sullivan, who was going to lead a delegation to hold an annual review of the India-U.S. initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), was also expected to be accompanied by the U.S.'s second-most senior diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, and was due to land in Delhi on Tuesday ahead of talks with NSA Ajit Doval and other officials, including External Affairs Minister S. 
  • Jaishankar on Wednesday. The talks were expected to closely follow Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra's visit to Washington on April 10-12, and would have been the highest level visit since the U.S. filed charges in the alleged assassination plot against Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, which implicate Indian security officials. 
  • NSA Sullivan has postponed his trip to India this week," the U.S. Embassy spokesper-son announced on Tuesday, indicating it was a last- minute decision necessitated by renewed fears of conflict in the region. 
  • "NSA Sullivan looks forward to holding the ICET annual review at the next earliest possible date and remains personally com- mitted to advancing our deeply consequential and multifaceted partnership with India," he added. 
  • This is the second time this year that Mr. Sullivan has put off plans to come to Delhi. He had earlier planned to hold iCET review talks and discuss other bilateral issues in February this year, but that visit was also put off due to tensions in West Asia, and talks around a possible Israel-Hamas ceasefire that did not fructify. 
  • Briefing the media ahead of the planned trip, a senior White House Administration official had said that during his visit Mr. Sullivan planned to "to celebrate elements of [the India-U.S.] bilateral relationship, compare notes on the Indo-Pacific, and also talk about the next steps in technology cooperation", and hoped to take ties "to the next level". 
  • The Sullivan-Campbell visit was also expected to take forward the Quad prolo cess, which is at an impasse at present due to election cycles in India and On the U.S. 


3.Centre says it does not maintain record of CAA applications 

  • The Union Home Ministry has said that the government does not have the provision to maintain the record of applications received under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). 
  • In a Right to Information query, Ajay Bose, a resident of Amravati in Maharashtra had sought information about the total number of persons who had applied for citizenship after the CAA Rules were notified on March 11. 
  • In response to the RTI application on April 15, The Ministry said, "The records are not being maintained as desired by you because the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the Rules made there under does not have the provi- sion to maintain the records of citizenship application received. Further, as per the RTI Act, 2005, CPIO [Central Public Information Officer] is not authorized to create information. Hence the information sought may be treated as NIL." 
  • The reply assumes significance as the total number of people who would benefit from the CAA is not known. 
  • Then the legislation was passed in Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said "lakhs and crores" of people would benefit whereas Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress mentioned that the Director of the Intelligence Bureau had said in a report that around 31,000 people would be the immediate beneficiaries. 
  • The Home Ministry notified the CAA Rules on March 11. 


International News 

4. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will resign after two decades 

  • After leading Singapore for two decades, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will step down on 15 May 2024 and hand over leadership to his deputy Lawrence Wong. 
  • Mr Lee, 72, will formally advise the city-state's president to appoint Mr Wong, who is currently deputy prime minister and finance minister, as his successor, his office said in a brief statement. 
  • It said Mr Wong, who has the unanimous support of lawmakers in the long-ruling People's Action Party, would be sworn in at the National Palace later the same day.
  • Lee has led Singapore and the People's Action Party since August 2004 and has overseen significant developments and challenges during his tenure. Last November, Lee announced his intention to retire this year, naming Wong as his designated successor. 
  • Mr. Lee originally planned to step down before he turned 70, but those plans were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Mr Wong came to prominence while helping coordinate Singapore's fight against COVID-19. He will be the fourth leader of the city-state since independence in 1965. 
  • Mr Lee is the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, who became Singapore's first prime minister and transformed the resource-poor city-state into one of the richest countries in the world during his 31-year tenure. 
  • Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah – New Prime Minister of Kuwait 
  • Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Mishaal AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has appointed Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as the new Prime Minister of Kuwait. The decision was taken following the resignation of former Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. 
  • Sheikh Ahmed earned a bachelor's degree in Finance, Banking and Investments from the University of Illinois. The new Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed is a Kuwaiti economist and served as Minister of Finance and Communications from 1999 to 2005, before serving as Minister of Health, Minister of Oil, and Minister of Information from 2006 to 2011.


5. Kristalina Georgieva will start her second term as Managing Director of IMF. 

  • Kristalina Georgieva has been reappointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a 5-year tenure starting October 1, 2024. She was the only candidate nominated for the post this year. 
  • Ms. Georgieva, a citizen of Bulgaria, has joined as Managing Director with effect from October 1, 2019. Georgieva is the second woman to head the IMF and the first from an emerging market economy. She is the 12th Managing Director of the IMF since its establishment in 1944. 
  • The Managing Director of the IMF is appointed by the Executive Board, which may select the Managing Director through voting or consensus. In 2004, the IMF adopted a policy of appointing a managing director through consensus. 
  • The Board of Governors is the highest decision-making body of the IMF, consisting of one Governor and one Alternate Governor from each member country. The Executive Board, with 24 directors elected by member countries or groups of countries, handles the day-to-day business of the IMF. The Managing Director serves as the Chairman of the Executive Board. 

International Monetary Fund 

  • It was established in the year 1945 with the Bretton Woods Conference. The IMF Global Financial Stability Report and World Economic Outlook Report are published twice a year in the months of April and October. The IMF is headquartered in Washington D.C., United States. 
  • IMF member countries are allocated quotas reflecting their position in the world economy, expressed in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The United States has the largest quota and voting share. India has the eighth largest quota in the IMF. 


6. International Humanitarian Conference on Sudan held in Paris, France 

  • An international humanitarian conference for Sudan and neighboring countries was held in the French capital Paris on 15 April 2024 to raise funds for the people of Sudan trapped in the war between the Sudanese army and the rebel paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. 
  • The conference was held in response to a United Nations funding appeal for 7 February 2024. France, Germany and the European Union organized an international humanitarian conference for Sudan and neighboring countries. The conference was attended by ministers and representatives of more than 58 states, including neighboring and regional countries and donors. 
  • It was also attended by representatives of various regional organizations such as the African Union, several United Nations programs and agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Arab Development Bank. 
  • At the Paris conference, international donors announced that they would provide more than 2 billion euros, with the EU pledging 350 million euros, while co-sponsors France and Germany pledged 110 million euros and 244 million euros respectively. The United States pledged $147 million and the UK $110 million. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Sudan needs at least $2.7 billion this year to provide food, health care and other supplies to the 24 million people in Sudan, who make up almost half of the 51 million Sudanese population. 

Humanitarian crisis in Sudan 

  • Since independence in 1956, Sudan has been plagued by civil war and political instability. The latest civil war began in 2023. One faction, the Sudanese Armed Forces led by General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, engaged in a brutal war with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a powerful paramilitary force led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo "Hemedti". 
  • In December 2022, a peace agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States was signed, under which the RSF was to merge with Sudan's armed forces and power was to be transferred to a civilian government. However, the peace agreement broke down. 


7. Donald Trump becomes the first former US President to face criminal trial 

  • Former President of the United States Donald Trump has become the first former US President to face a criminal trial. Donald Trump served as the 45th President of the United States from January 20, 2017, to January 20, 2021. 
  • The case could hamper Donald Trump's attempt to win the US presidential election in November 2024. This is the first criminal trial of a former US commander-in-chief. The trial is the first of four impeachments against former US President Donald Trump. 
  • At the beginning of court proceedings on 15 April 2024, Judge Juan M. Merchan rejected the defense's request to recuse himself from the case. In this court process, it is necessary for Trump to participate in the trial. The process is expected to last until May 2024. 
  • New York prosecutors had accused him of falsifying records to hide a $130,000 payment in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Additionally, porn star Stormy Daniels was ordered to remain silent regarding a 2006 sexual encounter. 
  • But if even a single decision goes against Trump, it will jeopardize his independence and also raise doubts about his ability to lead the country. If found guilty, he may have to remain in jail for four years. 
  • For the third time in American history, an impeachment motion was brought against the then President Trump. However, there was no threat to President Trump's government, as the ruling Republican Party had a majority in the Senate at that time. 
  • Before Trump, the impeachment process had started against Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. However, both the times the President could not be removed from power. 
  • In 1974, President Richard Nixon was accused of spying on one of his rivals. It was named the Watergate Scandal. 


Defence News 

8. Will hold 96 Recruitment rallies this year: Army 

  • The Army is scheduled to carry out 96 recruitment rallies across the country in the fiscal year 2024-25 for –≥ecruitment of Engineers. Eleven of the rallies will be exclusively for the selection of women Engineers into the Corps of the Military Police. 
  • "The Army has scheduled an online combined entrance examination that will span 174 locations nationwide. The examination window, set from April 22 to May 7 is expected to witness participation from an unprecedented 12.8 lakh registered candidates," an Army official said. 
  • The entrance examination would be followed by physical and medical examination, after which shortlisted candidates would be declared. 
  • Agniveers, on comple- tion of four years, will get an opportunity to join the regular cadre and up to 25% would be taken in. 


Ranks & Reports News 

9. According to the report of Global Forest Watch, 2.33 million hectares of tree area has been destroyed in India since the year 2000 

  • According to the latest data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring project, India has lost 2.33 million hectares of tree cover since 2000, equivalent to a 6 percent decline in tree cover during this period. 
  • GFW data showed that 60 percent of total tree cover loss between 2001 and 2023 occurred in five states. 
  • Assam suffered the highest tree loss at 324,000 hectares compared to an average of 66,600 hectares. 312,000 hectares of tree cover was destroyed in Mizoram, 262,000 hectares in Arunachal Pradesh, 259,000 hectares in Nagaland and 240,000 hectares in Manipur. 
  • The data shows that 35,900 hectares of trees were lost due to fires in India from 2002 to 2022, with the highest tree loss (3,000 hectares) recorded due to fires in 2008. 
  • From 2001 to 2022, Odisha had the highest rate of tree loss due to fires, with an average loss of 238 hectares per year. 198 hectares of land was destroyed in Arunachal Pradesh, 195 hectares in Nagaland, 116 hectares in Assam and 97 hectares in Meghalaya. 
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the deforestation rate in India was 668,000 hectares per year between 2015 and 2020, the second highest worldwide. 
  • Loss of primary forests – those untouched by people and sometimes known as old-growth forests – led Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bolivia to top the ranking of tropical countries with the most primary forest loss. 

Other facts 

  • Global Forest Watch, which tracks forest changes in real time using satellite data and other sources, said the country could lose 4,14,000 hectares of moist primary forest (4.1 percent) from 2002 to 2023, 18 percent of its total. Is the percentage. 
  • It said that between 2001 and 2022, India's forests emitted 51 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year and removed 141 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This represents a net carbon sink equivalent to 89.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. 
  • Tree loss in India resulted in an average of 51.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere per year. A total of 1.12 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted during this period. 


Sports News 

10.Jonathan Christie wins men's singles title in Asia Badminton Championship 2024 

  • Indonesian shuttler Jonathan Christie captured his first continental title by defeating home favorite Li Shi Feng in the men's singles final of the 2024 Badminton Asia Championships in Ningbo, People's Republic of China on 14 April 2024. 
  • The reigning All England Open champion was in great form, winning the match in straight games (21-15, 21-16) to convert the silver she won at Manila 2022 into gold. In the women's singles final, China's Wang Xi Yi regained her Asian title by defeating compatriot and Olympic champion Chen Yufei 21-19, 21-7. 
  • Wang lost her 2022 title shot a year ago in Dubai, where she lost in the quarterfinals against two-time world champion Akane Yamaguchi. The 41st Badminton Asia Championships was held in the coastal city of Ningbo, Zhejiang province of China from 9-14 April 2024. Badminton Asia Championships is a BWF Super 1000 event. 
  • It was also the last qualifying event before the Summer Paris Olympics, to be held from 26 July to 11 August 2024. 

Other Winner 

  • Chinese pair Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang ended the dream tournament of Goh Sze Fei and Noor Izzuddin with a 17-21, 21-15, 21-10 win in the men's doubles final. 
  • In the women's doubles final, Republic of Korea's Baek Ha-na and Lee So-hee defeated Zhang Shu Jian and Zheng Yu 23–21, 21–12. The mixed doubles title was won by Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping (China), who defeated Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung (South Korea). 

Badminton Asia 

  • It was founded in 1959 as the Asian Badminton Confederation. In 2015 its name was changed to Badminton Asia Confederation and eventually to Badminton Asia. Badminton Asia has 43 member associations. 
  • The Asian region is divided into five subregions: Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and SouthEast Asia. Its headquarters is in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. 


11.Wisden names England's Nat Sciver-Brunt the world's leading female cricketer 

  • Nat Sciver-Brunt has become the first England woman to be honored as Wisden's leading cricketer in the world. Joe Wisden has topped his awards list for Nat Sciver-Brunt. Sciver-Brunt has again regained the top spot in women's cricket after a stellar form in 2023. 
  • Australian captain Pat Cummins was included as the leading cricketer in the men's category. Under the leadership of Pat Cummins, Australia enjoyed success in both the World Test Championship and the 50-over World Cup. 
  • Apart from this, the list of top-5 cricketers has also been released. Which includes Mitchell Starc, Usman Khawaja, Ashley Gardner, Harry Brook and Mark Wood. 
  • Pat Cummins will replace Ben Stokes, who has won the prestigious title three times in the last four years. Pat Cummins is the second Australian to be named as Wisden's leading cricketer, following Michael Clarke in 2012. 
  • Travis Head has been awarded the Wisden Trophy. Head has been awarded the Wisden Trophy for his innings of 163 runs against India in the World Test Championship final. 
  • Hayley Matthews has been named the world's leading T20 cricketer. Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the Wisden editors, a tradition dating back to 1889. 


12.New panel to address issues of LGBTQ+ community 

  • The Ministry of Law and Justice on Tuesday notified a six-member committee to address issues related to the queer community. The committee, to be headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will suggest measures to ensure that the queer community does not encounter any discrimination in accessing goods and services or face threat of violence among others. 
  • Last October, while hearing the plea on same-sex marriage, the SC had directed that such a panel be set up to address the challenges faced by the community in accordance with the statement made by the Centre in the court. 
  • The order comes with the Model Code of Conduct in force and ahead of the first phase of voting for the Lok Sabha election.

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