Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 22nd April 2024

National News 

1. India signs MoU with Bulgaria to enhance collaboration, exchange auditing expertise 

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SAI (Supreme Audit Institutions) Bulgaria, the Bulgarian National Audit Office, in Sofia. 
  • The agreement, inked by the two Supreme audit institutions, aims to enhance collaboration and the exchange of expertise in the field of auditing between the two nations. 
  • Through this MoU, a platform will be established for the exchange of knowledge and experience amongst auditing professionals and technical teams through collaboration in training programs, and mutual assistance in conducting audits. 

Recently India signed MoUs with others countries  

  • India and Nepal agree to promote Sanskrit research and education
  •  India & Singapore sign MoU on Law and Dispute Resolution 
  • a and Bhutan signed MoU in the field of Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Measures 
  • India and Dominican Republic signs protocol for establishment of Joint Economic and Trade Committee 
  • India and Colombia signed MoU on Cooperation in the field of Sharing Successful Digital Solutions 

2. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates 2550th Bhagwan Mahavir Nirvana Mahotsav in New Delhi 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 2550th Lord Mahavir Nirvana Mahotsav at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on the auspicious occasion of Mahavir Jayanti on 21 April 2024. Shri Modi said that the dedication and commitment of the youth towards the values of Lord Mahavir is a sign that the country is moving in the right direction. 
  • He said that amid the global conflict with warring countries, the teachings of India's Tirthankaras have become even more important. Prime Minister Modi said that India confidently puts forward the principles of truth and non-violence on the global stage and also tells the world that the solution to global problems lies in its ancient culture and tradition. Shri Modi said that this is why India is making its place as 'Vishwa Bandhu' in the divided world. 
  • The Prime Minister said that for India, modernity is its body and spirituality is its soul. He said that if spirituality is removed from modernity then anarchy is born. Mr Modi also released a commemorative postage stamp and coin on the occasion.
  • Mahavir Jayanti: Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth of Vardhaman Mahavir. Vardhaman Mahavir was the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism, who was the successor of the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanath. 
  • According to Jain scriptures, Lord Mahavira was born on the 13th day of the half moon in the month of Chaitra. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day usually falls in the month of March or April. 
  • Lord Mahavir was born in 540 BC to King Siddhartha of Kundgram in the Vajji Kingdom and Licchavi Princess Trishala. Vajji Sangha comes under Vaishali region in modern Bihar. Lord Mahavira belonged to the 'Ikshvaku dynasty'. 
  • He gave up worldly life at the age of 30 and at the age of 42 he attained 'Kaivalya' i.e. omniscience. Mahavira taught his disciples to follow non-violence, truth, asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (detachment) and his teachings were called 'Jain Agamas'.
  • Due to the use of Prakrit language, even the common people were able to understand the teachings and teachings of Mahavir and his followers. 
  • Mahavira attained Nirvana (liberation from the cycle of birth and death) at the age of 72 in 468 BCE at a place called Pawapuri near modern Rajgir in Bihar. 

3. Unique ID must be generated for organ donation: Centre 

  • All cases of organ transplants, whether from a living or deceased donor, will be allocated a unique National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)-ID for both the donor and the recipient. 
  • It must be generated by the hospital from the NOTTO website ( The Union Health Ministry has issued the directive to eliminate commercial dealing in organs, especially those involving foreign citizens. 
  • The latest order, issued to all States and Union Territories, comes following reports of malpractice and a surge in the number of organ transplants related to foreigners in the country, the Ministry said. It has also called for stricter monitoring of such transplants by the local authorities. 
  • Earlier this month, the Ministry had said that the Appropriate Authority of the State, appointed according to the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994 should investigate transplants in respect of foreign nationals in the State, apart from any complaints concerning the breach of any provision or rule of the Act, with appropriate action to be taken whenever such violations come to light. 
  • The Union Health Ministry has issued the directive to eliminate commercial dealing in organs 
  • "NOTTO-ID is mandatory for considering allocation of organs in case of deceased donor transplant, this ID in case of a living donor transplant, shall also be generated at the earliest, maximum within 48 hours after the transplant surgery is done," the communication said.
  • egular inspection The Ministry has also called for devising a system of regular inspection of the registered hospital for transplant/retrieval by the appropriate State authority, and to monitor them on-site on the quality of transplantation, post operative folloAny violation of the THOTA, 1994 and its rules have to be probed, and appropriate action includes the suspension of registration for performing organ transplants if hospitals are involved in activities. 

International News 

4. North Korea tests 'super-large' cruise missile "Hwasal-1 Ra-3" 

  • North Korea has launched a "super-large" cruise missile "Hvasal-1 RA-3"/1 in the Yellow Sea in the western coastal region, expanding its military capabilities amid deepening tensions with the United States and South Korea. "Hwasal-1 RA-3" and a new antiaircraft missile "'Pyolzji-1-2'/ "Pyoljji-1-2" is tested. 
  • North Korean state media said the tests hit an unspecified 'definite target'. North Korea conducted similar tests in February, but did not specify the names of the cruise missiles or anti-aircraft missiles at that time.
  •  Pyongyang declared itself an "irreversible" nuclear weapons state in 2022. In early April, North Korea said it had test-fired a new medium-to-long-range solid fuel hypersonic missile. 
  • North Korean state media insisted that the tests were part of Pyongyang's regular military development activities. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest level in years, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un beginning a weapons display. 
  • The United States, South Korea, and Japan have responded by expanding their joint military training and intensifying their deterrence strategies built around strategic US assets. 
  • The announcement comes after Russia in March used a UN Security Council veto to effectively end UN monitoring of Kim Jong Un's government for violating sanctions over its nuclear and weapons programs. 
  • This year, Pyongyang has declared South Korea its "major enemy", isolated agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war even over "0.001 mm" territorial violations. 
  • Unlike their ballistic counterparts, North Korea is not banned from testing cruise missiles under current UN sanctions. Cruise missiles are jet-powered and fly at lower altitudes than more sophisticated ballistic missiles, making them harder to detect and intercept.

5. Australia to deepen ties with top-tier partner' India 

  • India is a top-tier security partner for Australia, stated its new National Defence Strategy-2024 released last week, and through the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and India, the government is continuing to prioritize practical and tangible cooperation that directly contributes to Indo-Pacific stability. 
  • "Australia will continue to support India's key role in the region by increasing the depth and complexity of our defense coopera- tion. The government will continue to seek opportunities with India to drive practical bilateral and multilateral cooperation, defense industry cooperation and information sharing," the NDS released on April 17 said. 
  • India is a "top tier" security partner for Australia, Australian envoy in India Philip Green said on X. 
  • Australia will also invest in deepening our defense relationships with partners across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as in the Indian Ocean and North Asia regions, the NDS said. 
  • The NDS also noted that the risk of a conflict is increasing, including on the border with India. 6. USA vetoed the proposal to make Palestine a full member of the United Nations 
  • The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have paved the way for full UN membership for Palestine. US allies France, Japan and South Korea supported the proposal. 
  • The resolution submitted by Algeria received 12 votes in favor in the 15-member Security Council, while two countries – Britain and Switzerland – abstained. Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised America for vetoing it and called it a shameful proposal. 
  • US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told the Security Council that the veto did not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood, but rather an acknowledgment that this would only come from direct negotiations between the parties. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the US veto in a statement, saying it is unfair, immoral and unjust, and disregards the will of the International C. 
  • Nearly 140 countries have already recognized Palestine in the 193- member UN General Assembly. If there had been no veto, Palestine would have become the 194th member of the United Nations. 
  • It is the Palestinians' second bid for full membership since 2011 and comes as the war in Gaza has brought the more than 75-year-old IsraeliPalestinian conflict into focus. 

UN Security Council 

  • The Security Council was established by the United Nations Charter in 1945. It is one of the six major organs of the United Nations. The other 5 organs of the United Nations include – United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Trusteeship Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice and Secretariat. 
  • It is primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security. The headquarters of the council is located in New York. The Security Council has a total of 15 members: five permanent members and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
  • The five permanent members are the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China, and the United Kingdom. 

7. European astronomers discovered 'BH-3', the largest stellar black hole in our galaxy. 

  • European astronomers discovered 'BH-3', the largest stellar black hole in our galaxy Milky Way. This celestial monster named 'BH-3' has a mass 33 times more than our Sun and is located just 2,000 light years away from Earth. 
  • The existence of 'BH-3' was unveiled by the Gaia space observatory, a state-of-the-art mission operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Chile's Atacama Desert. Launched in 2013, the Gaia telescope is designed to map the positions, motions and characteristics of billions of celestial objects with unprecedented accuracy. 
  • Scientists discovered the presence of 'BH-3' when they noticed peculiarities in the rotation of a star in the 'Aquila' constellation. The supermassive black hole is locked in an orbital dance around itself, revealing its existence through its gravitational influence. 
  • "The surprising thing is that this largest black hole of stellar origin in our galaxy (the Milky Way) is not far from Earth," said Dr. Pasquale Panuzzo, an astronomer with the Gaia Space Observatory. 
  • 'BH-3' is the second black hole discovered closest to our planet. The nearest stellar black hole known to our galaxy is Cygnus X-1. 
  • Scientists estimate that there may be one billion stellar black holes like 'BH-3' in our galaxy. However, detecting them is a huge challenge, because most stellar black holes do not have stars orbiting them, making their presence difficult to discern. 

Defence News 

8. Indian Navy organized 'Exercise Purvi Lahar' off the east coast 

  • Indian Navy conducted 'Exercise Purvi Lahar' off the east coast. The objective of this exercise is to validate the processes towards assessing the preparedness of the Indian Navy to deal with maritime security challenges in the region. 
  • The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the exercise saw participation of ships, submarines, aircraft and special forces. It was conducted in several phases. 
  • Realistic scenarios during the tactical phase included combat training and successful conduct of various firings during the weapon phase to confirm the Indian Navy's ability to deliver ordnance on target. 
  • With aircraft operating from various locations, almost continuous maritime domain awareness was maintained throughout the area of operations. Apart from the participation of assets from the Eastern Naval Command, the exercise also saw the participation of assets from the Indian Air Force, Andaman and Nicobar Command and Coast Guard. 
  • The ministry said the successful completion of the exercise reaffirms the Indian Navy's resolve to deal with the growing security challenges in the maritime domain. 
  • The length of India's coastline is 7516.6 km, covering approximately 6100 km of mainland coastline, located in the Lakshadweep Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The total coastline of India touches 13 states along with union territories. 
  • The eastern coastal plain is located mainly near the Bay of Bengal and the western coastal plain is located mainly near the Arabian Sea. Both the Eastern Coastal Plain and the Western Coastal Plain touch Andhra Pradesh. 

Ranks & Report News 

9. According to S&P Global Report, SBI got 20th position in Asia-Pacific region. 

  • According to a report by S&P Global Market Intelligence released on April 18, 2024, three Indian banks, SBI, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, have been included among the top 50 banks in the Asia-Pacific region. 
  • In this list, SBI has been ranked 20th, HDFC Bank 33rd and ICICI Bank 48th. Only two Indian banks, SBI and HDFC, featured in the top 50 Asia-Pacific region by their assets in the 2022 list. 
  • ICICI Bank was included in this list for the first time this year. The total assets of these three top Indian lenders are expected to grow by 50.5 per cent to $1.51 trillion in 2023. 
  • India's largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, was the topranked bank in the 2023 list. Stateowned SBI's ranking improved from 21 in 2022 to 20 in 2023. In 2023, SBI's assets will increase to $780.05 billion. 
  • India's largest private sector bank, HDFC Bank, was the second highest ranked Indian bank in 2023. In 2022, it was ranked 46th, while in 2023, it rose to 33rd. 
  • Of the top 10 banks in the AsiaPacific region, 6 were Chinese banks. The world's largest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., remained the region's largest bank at the end of 2023. Agricultural Bank of China Limited stood at second place. In third place was China Construction Bank Corporation. 
  • Japanese and South Korean banks suffered the biggest declines in the annual rankings. The combined assets of Japanese lenders are expected to fall 2.5 percent to $10.53 trillion in 2023. 

10. Sobering assessment The richer nations must show more support for the poorest countries 

  • A specter of a debilitating recession, with the IMF last week raising its forecast for worldwide aggregate growth in 2024 to 3.2%, from the 2.9% it had projected in October. The IMF has underlined the fact that the global economy has, with surprising resilience, ridden out several adverse shocks as well as 'significant central bank interest rate increases aimed at restoring price stability' and sustained the growth momentum, largely on the back of advanced economies led by the U.S. undergirding demand. However, the Fund has also pointed to a growing gulf between the economic north and south by observing: "A troubling development is the widening divergence between many low-income developing countries and the rest of the world. 
  • For these economies, growth is revised downward, whereas inflation is revised up." These poorest countries, in Africa and including some Latin American, Pacific island and Asian nations, had also suffered the most scarring from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of estimated drop in output relative to pre-pandemic projections, and were struggling to recover. To compound their woes, these economies were now saddled with a mounting debt service burden that was severely impairing their ability to spend on vitally needed public goods including better education, health care and social nets to improve food security. 
  • The IMF's twin development lender, the World Bank, has, in a separate report, pointed out that for the first time in this century, half of the world's 75 poorest countries were experiencing a widening income gap with the wealthiest economies, marking a "historic reversal" of development. 
  • As the World Bank Group's Chief Economist Indermit Gill observed in a blog post on the lender's site, "[the 75 poorest countries] are home to a quarter of humanity-1.9 billion people... and are home to 90% of people facing hunger or malnutrition". More distressingly, while these countries were midway through what he termed, potentially 'a lost decade', Mr. Gill averred that the rest of the world was "largely averting its gaze" even as the governments in at least half these nations were mostly paralyzed by debt distress. 
  • Citing the examples of South Korea, China and India as countries that had transitioned from being borrowers of low-interest loans from the World Bank's International Development Association into economic powerhouses that were today IDA donors, the Bank's chief economist stressed it was imperative that the world's richer countries financially support the poorest nations. Given that the world needs to tap every reserve of economic potential to achieve universal peace and prosperity, it can ill afford to turn its back on a quarter of its people. 

11. Net direct tax collections exceed 2023-24 target 

  • India's net direct tax collections grew 17.7% in 2023-24 to hit ₹19.58 lakh crore, marginally sur- passing the revised esti mates for the year, thanks to a surge in personal in- come tax whose share of the tax kitty rose to 53.3% from 50.06% in the pre- vious year while corporate taxes' contribution dipped to 46.5% from 49.6%. 
  • Provisional data leased by the Finance Ministry on Sunday also showed that the uptick in net tax collections over the final fortnight of the financial year was driven by personal income tax (PIT) and securities transaction tax (STT) collections, while the net corporate tax kitty shrank a little. PIT and STT receipts also grew at almost double the pace of corporate taxes last year. 
  • As of March 17, net direct taxes had risen 19.88% to 18.9 lakh crore, with PIT and STT accounting for 51.4% of the receipts and corporate tax yielding ₹9.14 lakh crore. 
  • By March 31, PIT and STT inflows had increased Although gross corporate tax collections increased from 10.98 lakh crore as of March 17 to 11.32 lakh crore by the close of the financial year, the net tax receipts from corporates, calculated after adjusting for refunds, dropped from ₹9.14 lakh 0.67%, respectively 
  • Net personal income tax collections (including STT) amounted to 110,44 lakh crore, showing a growth of 25.23% 
  • Net corporate tax collections amounted to 19.11 lakh crore, showing a growth of 10.26% crore on March 17 to 19.11 lakh crore. 
  • The gross direct tax kitty for 2023-24 stood at 23.37 lakh crore, reflecting a growth of 18.5% over the 19.72 lakh crore tally in 2022-23. 
  • Of this, gross PIT and STT receipts accounted for 12.01 lakh crore, rising 276,000 crore between March 17 and 31. 

Banking and Financial News 

12. Airtel Payments Bank launches NCMC-enabled Debit and Prepaid Cards 

  • Airtel Payments Bank has launched eco-friendly NCMC (National Common Mobility Cards) enabled debit and pre-paid cards. 
  • The bank has partnered with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch these interoperable cards that are powered by RuPay. 
  • The launch comes in alignment with the bank’s commitment to India’s One Nation, One Card vision. 
  • The bank has introduced NCMC enabled debit card for its savings account customers and NCMC enabled pre-paid card for the wallet customers. 
  • Both cards are being made from eco-friendly e-PVC material, which is certified for its environmental sustainability. 

Recent Facilities Launched in Banking & Insurance Sector 

  • SBI Life Insurance launched the 1st edition of ‘IdeationX’ to revolutionize the future of the insurance industry. 
  • BharatPe to launch a new app called ‘ZeroPe’, an app designed for medical loans. 
  • Bandhan Mutual Fund launched Bandhan Innovation Fund 
  • Canara Bank unveiled a series of new products Canara UPI 123PAY ASI, Canara HRMS Mobile App for Staff, Canara Angel, Canara Heal 

About Airtel Payments Bank 

  • Founded – 23 November 2016 
  • Headquarters – New Delhi 
  • MD & CEO – Anubrata Biswas 

Appointment News

13. MS Dhoni appoints Citroen’s new brand ambassador 

  • French carmaker Citroen has engaged cricketing legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador in India. 
  • Dhoni is likely to endorse the brand for two years, charging Rs 7 crore for a year. 
  • While Dhoni has endorsed other automobile brands in the past, including Ashok Leyland and TVS Motor, it’s the first time that he will be associating with a car brand. 

Recent Brand Ambassador 

  • Sanjana Sanghi – SPACE India 
  • Neeraj Chopra – Eveready Batteries 
  • Nayanthar – Slice (the popular mango-flavored drink) 
  • Neeraj Chopra – BPCL’s Speed Petrol Variant 
  • Katrina Kaif – Chennai Super Kings Team 
  • IRS Officer Narendra Kumar Yadav – Fit India Movement 
  • Hrithik Roshan – 3rd RuPay Prime Volleyball League 

14. Santosh Viswanathan appointed India Region Head of Intel 

  • Intel has appointed Santhosh Viswanathan to head the India region business as its Managing Director (MD). 
  • In March, the company announced India as a separate region within its SMG (Sales, Marketing, and Communications Group) organisation, to capitalise on the country’s rapid growth and business opportunities. 
  • Viswanathan holds an engineering degree in industrial engineering and management and a master’s degree in business administration. 
  • The company also announced the appointment of a new SMG leader for the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region. It appointed Hans Chuang as General Manager (GM) of SMG Asia Pacific and Japan. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Secretary of the Department of Posts – Vandita Kaul (replace Vineet Pandey) 
  • National Judicial Academy (NJC) Bhopal – Justice Aniruddha Bose 
  • As a Member of University Grants Commission (UGC) –Sachidananda Mohanty 
  • As member of 16th Finance Commission – Manoj Panda 
  • National women’s hockey coach – Harendra Singh (replace Janneke Schopman) 

Science & Technology News 

16. India’s Commitment to Debris-Free Space Missions by 2030 

  • India has made a declaration to achieve debris-free space missions by 2030.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S. Somanath made the declaration at the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) annual meet. 
  • This initiative aims to achieve debris-free space missions by all Indian space actors, governmental and non-governmental, by 2030. 
  • With 54 spacecraft in orbit and numerous non-functional objects, ISRO has been actively taking measures to dispose of or remove space debris. Efforts include deorbiting spacecraft once their mission is complete and designing systems to minimize debris creation. 
  • With India planning to set up its own space station ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ by 2035, ISRO would like to look at the agreements of all the space stations and space actors, including private ones. 

Important day 

17. 22 April – International Mother Earth Day 

  • World Earth Day, also known as International Mother Earth Day, is observed every year on 22 April. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness and promoting the sustainability of our planet. 
  • Theme 2024 – Planet vs. Plastics 
  • The late 1960s saw a rise in public debate about environmental issues, with Rachel Carson’s influential book ‘Silent Spring’ (1962) and ‘the Santa Barbara oil spill’ (1969) raising awareness of environmental destruction. This was the beginning of the concept of Earth Day. 

18. 21 April – World Curlew Day 

  • World Curlew Day is observed every April 21 by various environmental organizations to raise awareness about the problems faced by curlews. 
  • Curlews are a group of birds comprising nine species from the genus Numenius. 
  • Long, slender, downcurved bills and mottled brown plumage are characteristics that can easily help identify the bird. 
  • Mary Colwell started the day in 2017 as a grassroots initiative to help protect the species. 
  • The plight of the bird is mostly man-made, and it is our primary responsibility to make the planet a safe place for not just humans, but all other living beings as well. 

Sports News 

19. Balraj Panwar won India's first Paris Olympic quota in men's single scull event in rowing. 

  • Balraj Panwar secured India's first Paris Olympics quota in rowing by finishing third in the men's single scull event at the 2024 World Asian and Oceanian Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Chungju, South Korea. 
  • The 25-year-old sailor from the Indian Army performed remarkably well in the 2000 meters race by clocking 7 minutes and 1.27 seconds and achieving the quota. In the men's single scull category, the top five finishers earn Olympic berths. 
  • Kazakhstan's Vladislav Yakovlev won the race with a time of 6:59.46, while Indonesia's Memo won the bronze medal with a time of 6:59.74. Meanwhile, Tokyo Olympians Arvind Singh and Ujjwal Kumar also finished with bronze medals in the men's lightweight double sculls (LM2x). Only the top two in this event received Paris 2024 quotas. 
  • Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik and Ritika Hooda - Paris Olympic Quota In wrestling, India's star women wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Anshu Malik and Ritika Hooda secured Paris Olympics 2024 quotas at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 
  • Phogat defeated Kazakhstan's Laura Ganikyazy 10-nil in the 50kg category, while Anshu defeated Uzbekistan's Laylokhon Sobirova 11-nil in the 57kg category. Ritika defeated Hui T. Chang of Chinese Taipei 7-0 in the 76 kg category. Obituary News 20. Kenya’s military chief killed in helicopter crash 
  • Kenya’s military chief, General Francis Ogolla, was among 10 people killed when their military helicopter crashed shortly after take-off. 
  • Ogolla, 61, a trained fighter pilot, had only been in the post for a year but was shortly due to mark 40 years of military service. 
  • Under Kenyan military regulations, the defence chief normally retires at 62 or after four years in the post, whichever comes first. 
  • Ogolla joined the KDF in April 1984, rising through the ranks to command the Kenyan Air Force in 2018, a post he held for three years before becoming vice chief of the defence forces in 2021. 

About Kenya 

  • Capital- Nairobi 
  • Currency- Kenyan Shilling 
  • Continent – Africa 
  • President- William Ruto 
  • Official languages- Swahili, English

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