Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 18th April 2024

National News 

1. Centre tweaks Green Credit Programme norms, to focus on restoration of ecosystem 

  • Amid concerns that the Green Credit Programme (GCP), which encourages organisations and individuals to invest in afforestation projects in 'degraded' t forest lands for 'green credits', may encourage tree -- planting for financial gains, the Union Environment Ministry-the overall coor- dinator of the programme - has clarified that primacy must be accorded to restoring ecosystems over merely tree planting. 
  • So far, The Hindu has learnt, forest departments of 13 States have offered 387 land parcels of degraded forest land worth nearly 10,983 hectares. 
  • Individuals and companies can apply to the In- dian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an autonomous body of the Environment Ministry, to pay to "res- tore" these forests. 
  • The actual afforestation will be carried out by State forest departments. 
  • Two years after planting and following an evaluation by the ICFRE, each such planted tree could be worth one 'green credit'. These credits can be claimed by the financing organisation and used in two ways: either using it to comply with existing forest laws that require organisations, which divert forest land for non-forestry purposes, to recompense by providing an equivalent amount of land elsewhere; or be used for reporting under environmental, and governance leadership norms or to meet corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements. 
  • In its latest update on April 12 this year, the Un- ion Environment Ministry had issued guidelines that States must rely on to calculate what it would cost to restore a degraded forest landscape. 
  • The Ministry has changed the earlier requirement that there be a minimum of 1,100 trees per hectare to qualify as reforested landscape and left it to States to specify them. 
  • "Not all degraded for- ests can support that kind of density. Thus, in some places, shrubs, herbs, and grasses may be suitable for restoring the ecosystem," Nameeta Prasad, Joint Secretary in the Environment Ministry, told The Hindu. 

2. India and USA to reactivate Indian Ocean Observation System ‘IndOOS 

  • India and the US plan to relaunch the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), a network of 36 buoys deployed in the open ocean. These buoys will collect detailed data on ocean and atmospheric conditions to help improve weather forecasts. 
  • To address this issue, Earth Sciences Secretary M Ravichandran discussed with US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Rick Spinrad about reactivating IndOOS. 
  • NOAA has agreed to provide the equipment, while India will provide ship-time from July to restart the RAMA programme. This process will require ship-time of approximately 60-90 days. 
  • The IndOOS series, an important source of weather data, was neglected and degraded during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a lack of observational data, which is essential for weather forecasters. This is particularly important because the Indian Ocean Dipole phenomenon is linked to the monsoon. 
  • IndOOS are part of the Research Moored Array for African-AsianAustralian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) programme, which was established in 2008 through collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and NOAA. 
  • RAMA needs to be replaced every year as the sensors become less accurate and the batteries drain. This maintenance is usually performed by research vessels from Indonesia, India, and South Korea in cooperation with NOAA. 
  • Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, these research cruises remained suspended for more than two years. According to meteorologists in the BAMS article, only one servicing cruise in January 2022 was able to rotate two buoys in the south-west Indian Ocean. 

3. IIT Madras launches India’s 1st mobile medical devices calibration facility 

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has launched India’s first medical devices calibration facility on wheels. 
  • The facility can calibrate up to 45 different life-saving medical devices including defibrillator analyser, electrical safety analyser, gas flow analyser, and dialysis reference meter. 
  • The calibration of medical devices on a regular basis is must to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients. 
  • This vehicle will go to the doorsteps of labs and calibrate life-saving medical equipment. The equipment will be tested in just a few hours.

IITs in News 

  • SJVN partners with IIT-Patna to improve tunneling project performance 
  • IIM Mumbai and Starburst collaborate to boost aerospace, defence startups 
  • IIT Madras hosts the 6th Shaastra Rapid FIDE Rated Chess Tournament 
  • Starburst Accelerator SARL partners with IIT Madras to establish €100 million startup hub 
  • IIT Madras develops customisable ‘Electric Standing Wheelchair’ 

4. ISRO announced to make space missions debris free by 2030 

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman S Somnath announced on 16 April 2024 that India aims to achieve debris-free space by 2030. ISRO Chairman S Somnath made the announcement while addressing the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) annual meeting in Bengaluru. ISRO Chairman S Somnath is also the Secretary of the Department of Space. 
  • ISRO has developed a lightweight nozzle for rocket engines. The space agency said it has achieved a major breakthrough in rocket engine technology with the development of lightweight carbon-carbon (Si-Si) nozzles for rocket engines, leading to increased payload capacity. 
  • In 2022, ISRO established the System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management (IS 4 OM) to continuously monitor objects at risk of collision and reduce the risk. 
  • 'Project Netra' is an early warning system installed in space to detect debris and other threats to Indian satellites. The Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) is an international governmental forum on space debris issues that was established in 1993. 
  • Space debris includes spent rockets, defunct satellites, fragments of space bodies, and debris generated from antisatellite systems (ASATs). 
  • Even a 1 mm-sized broken particle from a spacecraft can kill a person. Can't stop or control debris because it moves so fast. Even if a piece of paint comes into space and hits a person, he can die. 
  • There are a total of 37,000 objects orbiting in space and 10,000 of them are active objects. By 2030, the number of operational objects will exceed the number of first objects, which we expect to be around 60,000. 

5. On the occasion of Ram Navami, a rare incident of 'Surya Tilak' happened in Lord Ram Lala temple of Ayodhya. 

  • A unique incident was witnessed on the occasion of Ram Navami on 17 April 2024 at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, when the forehead of the idol of Ram Lalla was anointed with sun rays, known as 'Surya Tilak'.
  • Ram Lalla's "Surya Tilak" was done in the afternoon through an elaborate system involving mirrors and lenses at the Ram temple. To achieve this phenomenon, sunlight was directed precisely onto the statue's forehead using a combination of mirrors and lenses. This was done exactly at 12 noon for about 3 minutes. 
  • Even when Ram Lalla was to be anointed with Surya Tilak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the historic occasion in his election rally in Nalbari, Assam. After a wait of 500 years, Lord Ram is seated in his grand temple. This is the first Ram Navami after the consecration of the idol of Lord Ram by PM Modi in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. Ram Navami is being celebrated with great pomp in the Ram Janmabhoomi temple with 56 types of Bhog, Prasad and Panjiri. 
  • Various temples across India perform 'Surya Tilak', each with its own distinct engineering and technique, such as Konark Sun Temple (Odisha), Suriyanar Kovil Temple (Tamil Nadu), Nanarayanaswami Temple (Andhra Pradesh), Mahalakshmi Temple (Maharashtra), Koba Jain Temple (Gujarat) and Unav Balaji Sun Temple (Madhya Pradesh). 

State News 

6. IISc, Bengaluru develops hydrogel to remove microplastics from water 

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru have created a sustainable hydrogel to tackle the problem of plastic pollution. The hydrogel has a unique polymer network that can bind and destroy microplastics found in water using UV light radiation. 
  • A team of researchers has developed a hydrogel made of three different polymer layers: chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyaniline. This hydrogel has the ability to absorb and destroy large amounts of microplastics. 
  • The team combined the hydrogel with nanoclusters of a material called copper substituted polyoxomellate (Cu-POM), which are catalysts that can use UV light to destroy microplastics. 
  • The hydrogel was found to be highly efficient – it could remove approximately 95% and 93% of two different types of microplastics in water at nearly neutral pH (∼6.5). 
  • Microplastics are tiny plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size and have spread all over the planet, from oceans to mountains. These tiny particles can enter our body through the water we drink, posing a serious threat to our health. 
  • Although scientists have attempted to eliminate microplastics through filtering membranes, the membranes become clogged with particles, making them no longer sustainable. 
  • As a result, the IISc team led by Professor Suryasarathy Bose, Department of Materials Engineering, turned to 3D hydrogels as a solution. 

7. Himachal Pradesh's Dharamshala Cricket Stadium gets India's first 'hybrid pitch' 

  • Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA)'s Dharamshala Stadium has become the first BCCIrecognised venue to install a stateof-the-art 'hybrid pitch'. Netherlands-based 'SISGrass', part of the SIS Pitches group of companies, has been roped in for the hybrid pitch installation for the first time. 
  • 'The Universal' machine used in Dharamshala for the hybrid pitch will be taken to Ahmedabad and Mumbai to make more such pitches. It will remain in India for future projects. 
  • This cutting-edge technology will change the game by providing a more durable, consistent and highperformance playing surface. HPCA President R P Singh said, "The arrival of unprecedented hybrid pitch technology in India marks a game-changing moment for our national cricket." 
  • SIS's foray into India follows the success of installing hybrids in English cricket grounds after the ICC allowed the use of hybrid surfaces for T20 and 50-over competitions. 
  • The surface consists of natural turf inside cricket stadiums with a small percentage of polymer fibres. This structure is believed to be more resilient to the stresses generated during play, as well as increasing the life of the pitch, guaranteeing uniform bounce and reducing pressure on the groundstaff. 
  • The completed installations are still predominantly natural grass, with only 5% polymer fibers used to ensure that the completely natural pitch characteristics are maintained. 

8. Mini-tornado' kicks up a political storm in Jalpaiguri 

  • Storms are a norm in West Bengal during summer. But this election season, a 'mini tornado' has taken centre stage in the State's political theatre. On April 2, a storm, termed a 'mini-tor- nado' by the Regional Me- teorological Centre in Kol kata, ravaged Barnish village in Jalpaiguri's May naguri, killing five people and leaving hundreds homeless. The Trinamool Congress has now latched onto the calamity as a rallying point ahead of the April 19 first phase of the Lok Sabha election when Jalpaiguri votes. 
  • Within hours of the storm, Chief Minister Ma Banerjee visited Bar- nish and met the affected villagers. She said since the Model Code of Conduct is in force, she cannot get the damaged houses repaired immediately. West Bengal BJP leaders, including the local MP Jayanta Roy and Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, too vi- sited the area, but the Tri- leaders asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi not fly down to console families. 
  • As the politics plays out at election rallies and on social media, at Barnish, Pinnabala Roy knows that she does not have a house any more. "Nothing is left. We do not even have a tumbler to drink water from," the wo man said, sitting beside a pile of rubble to which her house has been reduced to. Her younger son Sanjay, daughter-in-law Shampa, and grandson Rohit have been hospitalised after sustaining injuries in the calamity. A new makeshift structure is taking shape where once their house stood. 
  • "Some of my son's friends are trying to build this house for us," she said.For now, the State's Disaster Management Department has erected a tent where the elderly woman spends sleepless nights. 
  • "We have lost all documents including voter identity cards and bank passbooks," said Dina- bandhu Roy, Sanjay's brother. 
  • 'Polls are not a priority now' The Election Commission has promised that affected villagers will be able to cast their votes even without voter identity cards. But Mr. Roy said elections are not the family's priority now as it waits for the injured to recover. The three Roy brothers used to eke out a living by driving pick- up vans. Along with their modest dwelling, the storm has destroyed their vehicles. 
  • A few days after the calamity, several relief camps were set up at Barnish. The camps are being run by small organisations that are providing cooked food to the affected. A few members of the transgender community from Jalpaiguri district have come to distribute mats, saris, and mosquito nets. 
  • Many villagers said since political parties cannot provide relief under their banners because of the Model Code of Con duet, voluntary organisations are working on their behalf. 
  • Elsewhere, a war of words has erupted between the Trinamool and the BJP. 
  • Trinamool general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has said "no one can stop us" from helping the people. "I, along with our delegation, also met the storm- affected families of Jalpaiguri & assured them that regardless of the road blocks created by ECI & BJP, GoWB will provide 1.2 lakh to rehabilitate the shelterless. No one can stop us from serving our Ma, Mati, Manush! Jalpaiguri has made its choice clear, Mr. Banerjee posted on social media.
  • In response, Mr. Adhika- ri said the EC on April 9 had already granted ex- emption from the model code payment of ex-gratia and house building grant. "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," he said. 
  • In Jalpaiguri, the BJP's Jayanta Roy is pitted against the Trinamool's Nirmal Chandra Roy. The CPI(M)'s Debraj Barman is the joint candidate of the left and the congress. 

Appointment News

9. Kuwait’s Emir appoints Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as PM 

  • Kuwait’s Emir has appointed Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as the new Prime Minister of Kuwait. 
  • Former Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah resigned in April only a few months after he was designated to form a government. 
  • His resignation was a procedural move after a new parliament was elected that month, the fourth since December 2020. 

About Kuwait 

  • Capital – Kuwait City 
  • Currency -Kuwaiti dinar 
  • Prime Minister – Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad al-Sabah 

Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • PM of Ireland – Simon Harris (youngest PM of nation, 37) 
  • President of Slovakia – Peter Pellegrini 
  • President of Egypt – Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (3rd term) 
  • PM of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Judith Suminwa Tuluka (nation’s first female PM) 
  • President of Senegal – Bassirou Diomaye Faye 

10. BharatPe appoints Nalin Negi as CEO 

  • Fintech major BharatPe has appointed Nalin Negi as its chief executive officer, after more than a year after he took over as interim CEO and CFO. 
  • Negi was appointed as its chief financial officer in 2022 after its then top executive Suhail Sameer stepped down in January 2023. 
  • He was was instrumental in driving the company’s significant growth and strategic advancements across key business segments. 
  • Under his leadership, BharatPe witnessed a remarkable 182 per cent increase in revenue from operations in FY23 and achieved its first EBITDA positive month in October 2023. 

Recent Appointment in Banking & Insurance Sector 

  • Additional Director Suryoday SFB – Deepak Kumar Sharma 
  • Independent director of RBL Bank -Murali Ramakrishnan 
  • Chief Distribution Officer of Future Generali India Insurance Company – Ramit Goyal (replace Raghavendra Rao) 
  • CFO of Punjab & Sind Bank – Arnab Goswamy (replace Mahima Agarwal) 
  • Chief Risk Officer of Bank of Maharashtra – Subhasish Roy 

11. Bramha Kumar appointed as ambassador to Zimbabwe 

  • Bramha Kumar has been appointed as India’s next Ambassador to Republic of Zimbabwe. 
  • He is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of batch 2005, Kumar is a Joint Secretary in MEA at present. 

Recent Appointment in Foreign 

  • Sita Ram Meena appointed as India’s Ambassador to Niger 
  • 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 Russia 

About Zimbabwe 

  • Capital – Harare 
  • Currency – United States Dollar 
  • Continent – Africa 
  • President – Emmerson Mnangagwa 

Ranks & Reports News 

12. Apple becomes the first company to export iPhones worth more than $10 billion from India

  • American company Apple exported a record $10 billion worth of iPhones from India in 2023-24 under the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI). This is almost double the export of last year. 
  • The iPhone export is the largest ever export of a single branded product by any company from India. Apple signed deals with three Taiwanese companies – Foxconn Hon Hai, Pegatron and Wistron (now owned by Tata) – as well as Korea's Samsung and India's FIH (a Foxconn company that makes devices other than iPhones). 
  • iPhone exports were to account for 70 percent of Apple's total production in 2023-24. Of the three iPhone suppliers in India, the highest contribution was from Foxconn. 
  • Foxconn aims to export 60 percent of its total iPhone production in 2023-24. Its other supplier, Pegatron, exported 74 percent of its total production and Wistron owner Tata Electronics exported 97 percent of its total production. In the financial year 2023-24, the cumulative export target under the PLI scheme for the three suppliers was $7.2 billion. 


  • The only Indian company to manufacture iPhone in India is Wistron. Wistron Company was acquired by Tata Electronics in 2023. Tata Electronics is building Apple's largest assembly plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. It has an existing plant at Malur near Kolar in Karnataka. 
  • Provisional data released by the commerce ministry showed that overall, electronics exports grew by nearly 24% to $29.12 billion in FY2024 from $23.55 billion in the previous year. However, merchandise exports witnessed a decline of 3.11% in FY24. 
  • The main buyers of Indian electronic goods, in descending order, were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Italy. 
  • For the first time, India exported electronic goods to Montenegro, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, Honduras and St. Vincent. 
  • The Government of India approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in March 2020 as part of its Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign to boost the manufacturing sector in India. The PLI policy was notified on 1 April 2020. India's Dixon, Lava, Bhagwati, UTL and Optimus are also eligible for the PLI scheme. 

Important day 

13. 18 April – World Heritage Day 

  • World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites (IDMS), is celebrated annually on April 18 to honour and preserve our heritage. 
  • Theme 2024 – Discover and Experience Diversity. 
  • In 1982, The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) proposed the idea of observing World Heritage Day on April 18 every year. The following year, the proposal was approved at UNESCO’s General Conference. 
  • Since then, the special day is observed every year on April 18. Heritage monuments and sites are often victim to human activities, natural disasters and urbanization. The day reinstates the importance of protecting and preserving them. 

14. World Haemophilia Day 2024 celebrated on 17 April 

  • 'World Haemophilia Day' is celebrated every year on 17 April. The occasion aims to educate people about rare bleeding disorders and support those suffering from this condition on a large scale. 
  • The theme of this year's World Haemophilia Day is 'Equal access for all: Recognizing all bleeding disorders'. World Haemophilia Day was first observed on 17 April 1989. It marks the birthday of Frank Schnabel, founder of the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH). 
  • Cases of hemophilia have been found in ancient Egypt. This disease is known as 'royal disease'. Queen Victoria became a carrier of hemophilia B, also known as Factor IX deficiency, during the 19th century. 
  • The term hemophilia is an abbreviation of the term hemophilia which was coined by Professor Dr. Schönlein of the University of Zurich and his student Friedrich Hopf. 
  • Hemophilia is a rare genetic disease that affects the blood's ability to clot. This can have a huge impact on people suffering from haemophilia. Under this, there may be problems related to bones, joint pain, swelling and internal bleeding. 
  • Hemophilia A and B are the most common. It is caused by changes or mutations in the F8 or F9 genes respectively on the X-chromosome. The genes associated with hemophilia A and B, F8 and F9, provide instructions for the production of clotting factors VIII and B, respectively. 
  • Since males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY), and females have two X chromosomes (XX), hemophilia primarily affects males. 

Sports News 

15. Stefanos Tsitsipas won Monte Carlo Masters title for the third time 

  • Greece's 25-year-old tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas won his third ATP Monte Carlo Masters 1000 title by defeating Norway's Casper Ruud in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. They also won the title in 2021 and 2022. 
  • Two-time French Open runner-up Casper Ruud later apologized to the crowd for not being able to challenge Stefanos Tsitsipas. Stefanos Tsitsipas joins the list of tennis greats, including Björn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase, to have won a major clay court ATP Masters. 
  • Rafael Nadal has won the Monte Carlo Masters a record 11 times. With the win in Monte Carlo, Stefanos also moved into the top 10 ATP rankings. 
  • Belgian pair Sander Gil and Joran Vliegen won the men's doubles title by defeating Brazil's Marcelo Melo and Germany's Alexander Zverev 5- 7, 6-3, 10-5. This was the pair's first ATP Masters 1000 title win. 

ATP Monte Carlo Masters 1000 

  • The ATP Monte Carlo Masters 1000 is one of three Masters 1000 tournaments played on clay courts. It was started in 1906. The Monte Carlo Open is held in Monaco. 
  • ATP Master means the winner receives 1000 points, which is used by the Association of Tennis Professionals to rank professional male tennis players. The ATP Tour consists of the Masters 1000, ATP 500 and ATP 250. 

Obituary News

16. Legendary English Cricketer Derek Underwood passes away 

  • Derek Underwood, England and Kent’s legendary spinner, has passed away at the age of 78. 
  • The slow left-arm orthodox spinner was known for his pin-point accuracy during his playing career. 
  • Regarded as England’s best spinner in the post-World War II era, legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar hailed Underwood as one of the toughest bowlers the Indian batting legend ever faced. 
  • Underwood bagged 297 wickets in 86 Test matches between 1966 and 1982. The spin-bowling icon dedicated his entire first-class career to Kent. 
  • Underwood was 21 when he made his Test debut in 1966. He played his final Test for the Three Lions in 1982.

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