Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 23rd April 2024

National News 

1. PM inaugurates 2550th Bhagwan Mahaveer Nirvan Mahotsav on occasion of Mahaveer Jayanti 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 2550th Bhagwan Mahaveer Nirvan Mahotsav on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi. 
  • During the event, the PM released a commemorative stamp and coin to mark the occasion. 
  • Bhagwan Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankar, illuminated the path of peaceful co-existence and universal brotherhood through Jain principles like Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (Non-Stealing), Brahmacharya (Chastity) and Aparigraha (Non-attachment). 

PM Modi in News 

  • PM Modi has inaugurated 15 airport projects, including the revamped Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, worth over Rs.9,800 crore. 
  • PM Narendra Modi has launched the Mahtari Vandan Yojana in Chhattisgarh. 
  • PM Modi unveiled a 125-foot bronze statue of ‘Ahom general’ Lachit Borphukan (Statue of Valour) in Assam’s Jorhat 
  • PM Modi lays foundation stone of “Experience of Spirituality at Chitrakoot Ghat” project in Chitrakoot 
  • PM Modi dedicated the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh to the country 

2. SC allows termination of pregnancy of minor rape survivor 

  • The Supreme Court on Monday used its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to do "complete justice" to permit the medical termination of pregnancy of a 14 year-old rape survivor in Maharashtra. Her pregnancy is nearing 30 weeks. The minor became aware of her condition only at a very late stage. 
  • The relief is rare as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act caps the upper limit for termination of pregnancy at 24 weeks for married women as well as for those in special categories, including rape survivors, and other vulnerable women, such as the differently abled and minors. 
  • In this case, even the First Information Report (FIR) of the crime was registered only on March 20, after the 24-week limit permissible for abortion. 
  • The FIR has recorded the commission of offences under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. 
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and J.B. Pardiwala agreed with the recommendation of a medical board that the "continuation of pregnancy against the will of the minor may impact her physical and mental well-being". 
  • State to take expenses The State government has agreed to take the expenses for the procedure, after care and transportation. 

3. Khasi Tribe’s Seng Khihlang Festival Concluded in Meghalaya 

  • The 34th Seng Khihlang festival concluded in Wahiajer, Meghalaya. 
  • The Seng Khihlang festival holds immense significance for believers who follow the Khasi Indigenous Faith. It is a time of unity and celebration, and is under the stewardship of the Seng Khasi Sein Raij. 
  • The Khasi people are an indigenous ethnic group residing in the eastern part of Meghalaya, in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of north-eastern India. 
  • They also have a significant population in the bordering state of Assam and in certain parts of Bangladesh. 

Recent Fair / Mela in News 

  • Janakpurdham Cultural Festival – Nepal 
  • Chapchar Kut Festival – Mizoram 
  • Tawi Festival – Jammu 
  • International Puppet Festival – Chandigarh 
  • Divya Kala Mela – Agartala, Tripura
  • Ethnic Mamani Festival – Ladakh 

4.First ever Hindi radio broadcast started in Kuwait 

  • The first-ever Hindi radio broadcast has started in Kuwait. 
  • The Indian Embassy in Kuwait lauded Kuwait’s Ministry of Information for starting a Hindi programme on Kuwait Radio on FM 93.3 and AM 96.3 every Sunday.
  • This step taken will further strengthen the ties between the two nations. 
  • India and Kuwait have long-standing trade ties, with the Indian rupee serving as Kuwait’s official currency until 1961.
  • The year 2021-22 commemorated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations. 

About Kuwait 

  • Capital- Kuwait City 
  • Currency- Kuwaiti Dinar 
  • Official language- Arabic 

International News 

5. Singapore announced implementation of 4-day work system in a week 

  • On April 16, 2024, the Tripartite Working Group (TWG) announced guidelines for 4-day week working arrangements (FWAs) for all Singaporeans, which will come into effect from December 1, 2024. 
  • his allowed Singapore workers to demand a four-day work week, more work-from-home days and different working hours. The guidelines will enable all employees to formally request flexible working. arrangements and all employers will be expected to process all requests accordingly fairly. 
  • The pandemic had set up a hybrid work model that remained in place for some firms, and which had "taken some of the pressure off" from employees demanding a four day work week. 
  • The TWG was formed in September 2023 to develop guidelines for FWA. Earlier, Germany has introduced a 4-day work week culture for six months from February 1, 2024. 
  • In 2022, Belgium became the first country in the European Union (EU) to make the 4-day workweek culture optional. In 2022, the United Kingdom introduced a 4-day working week. 
  • According to an OECD report, the Netherlands has the shortest average working weeks in the world. People there work only 29 hours a week. Denmark has the second lowest working hours with 33 hours per week. 

6. Sweden and Slovenia become the 38th and 39th countries to join the Artemis Agreement. 

  • Sweden and Slovenia became the 38th and 39th countries, respectively, to sign the Artemis agreement. "NASA welcomes Sweden and Slovenia to the Artemis Accords family," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press statement. 
  • ]The event in Stockholm comes on the heels of Switzerland signing the Artemis Agreement a day earlier. Greece and Uruguay were also included in February 2024. Nigeria, Rwanda become first African countries to sign Artemis Accords. 
  • The Artemis agreement comes at a time when a new space race is heating up. While the United States maintains its lead in space exploration, China is rapidly catching up. While Russia has inherited the status of the Soviet Union, it is failing to replicate the success of its predecessor, and this was evident during the failure of the Luna-25 mission and with the numerous issues on the Russian segments of the International Space Station. 
  • Both India and Japan are emerging as contenders in this new race as both the countries have managed to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon. 

Artemis Accords

  • It was launched by NASA and the US State Department on October 13, 2020, with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. So far 39 countries have signed the agreement. 
  • On June 21, 2023, India became the 27th country to sign the Artemis Agreement. It is based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. It aims to return astronauts to the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. NASA plans to return to the Moon before 2025 with its Artemis 2 mission, which will fly four astronauts around the Moon and return.
  • The Artemis program began on November 16, 2022, with the launch of the spacecraft, named "Orion", aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Scheduled for 2024, Artemis-II will be the first manned mission under the Artemis program. 

7. Qatar's Hamad International Airport wins title of world's best airport 

  • Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar has been named the best airport in the world, in a recent research conducted by London-based research firm Skytrax. It was named "Best Airport in the Middle East" for 10 consecutive years.
  • Singapore's Changi Airport got the second place and South Korea's Incheon International Airport got the third place. The 2024 World Airport Awards was held at the Passenger Terminal Expo in Frankfurt, Germany. 
  • Hamad International Airport's win marks its third time taking the top spot, having previously won in 2021 and 2022. Changi Airport regained the title in 2023, its 12th win as the world's best airport. 
  • Changi Airport continued its dominance in Asia and took home the title of Best Airport Hotel, its ninth win in the category. 

Other awards 

  • Supreme of Europe - Charles de Gaulle of Paris (CDG) Best Regional Airport in Europe – Paris' Orly (ORY) 
  • World's Best Airport Security Processing – Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) 
  • Best Airport in Africa – Cape Town Airport 
  • Best Airport in South America – El Dorado, Colombia 

State News 

8. Mukesh Dalal became the first MP to be elected unopposed to the 18th Lok Sabha from Surat, Gujarat. 

  • The BJP won its first seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on 22 April 9. Surinder Jodhka of JNU will receive the Malcolm Adisesia Award-2024. with the party's Surat candidate elected unopposed. After the nomination papers of Congress candidates were rejected and all other independent candidates withdrew from the fray, the certificate was handed over to BJP's Mukesh Kumar Chandrakant Dalal. 
  • With this, the first lotus has blossomed in Gujarat and the country. The last date for withdrawal of nominations before the Lok Sabha elections in Surat under the third phase on 7 May 2024 was 22 April 2024. 
  • The candidature was rejected under Section 36(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which allows the RO to scrutinize and reject nominations on the basis of valid objections. 
  • On 21 April 2024, the nomination papers of Congress party candidate Nilesh Kumbhani were rejected after his three proposers claimed in an affidavit to the District Returning Officer that they had not signed his nomination papers. 
  • The nomination form of Congress's substitute candidate from Surat, Suresh Padsala, was also invalidated, ruling Gujarat's main opposition party out of the electoral fray in the city. 
  • Returning Officer Saurabh Pardhi said in his order that except Mukesh Dalal, all the other eight candidates in the fray have withdrawn their nominations. 
  • In Gujarat, Congress and AAP are contesting the elections in alliance, Congress has fielded candidates on 24 out of 26 seats, while AAP is contesting from Bhavnagar and Bharuch. Voting will be held in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat on May 7. 

Defence News 

9. Rajnath Singh lauds bravery of soldiers deployed in Siachen 

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday visited Siachen glacier, the world's highest battlefield, and carried out on-the-ground assessment of the security situation and also interacted with soldiers deployed there.
  • In addition to the Base Camp, Mr. Singh also visited the Kumar post located at around 15,600 feet. 
  • Post the aerial reconnaissance, Mr. Singh landed at the Kumar post and was given a detailed brief on the operational readiness on the Siachen glacier and the prevalent security situation, a Defence Ministry statement said. 
  • He also discussed the aspects associated with the operational challenges with the Commanders on ground, it stated. "We are leading a peaceful life as we have an assurance that our brave soldiers stand steadfast at the borders. In the times to come, when the history of national security is written, the acts of bravery and iron-clad will of our soldiers in the icy cold glacier will be remembered with pride," Mr. Singh said addressing soldiers. He described Siachen as a symbol of India's sovereignty. and April 13, 2024 marked 40 years of Operation Meghdoot, which was launched by the Indian Army on Siachen, narrowly thwarting Pakistan's attempts to seize control of the icy heights of Siachen on the Soltoro ridge. 
  • Mr. Singh also laid a wreath at the Siachen War Memorial. 

Appointment News

10. OpenAI hires first India-based official Pragya Misra

  • OpenAI has hired Pragya Misra, 39, its first official in India, in order to handle government relations. 
  • Misra previously worked at Truecaller AB and Meta. 
  • An intermediary between U.S.-based AI companies and the Indian administration is key as the country has started voting in its 2024 general elections. 
  • The AI startup backed by Microsoft interacted with Indian tech policy and civil society representatives on February 12 as experts and activists flagged fears of generative AI being used to hurt India’s elections. 

Recent Appointment 

  • MD of Intel for India region – Santosh Viswanathan 
  • 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 

11. Pine Labs’ Setu names former SAP India executive Raisinghani as its CEO 

  • Pine Labs-owned API infrastructure company Setu has appointed Anand Raisinghani as the company’s new chief executive officer (CEO). 
  • Raisinghani, who succeeds Sahil Kini at the company, will work in the space of open banking, account aggregation, API platforms, embedded finance, and data gateway. 
  • He is a former executive at SAP India where he was the vice-president (VP). 
  • The company has also received a Certificate of Registration from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as an Account Aggregator.
  • Founded in 2018, Setu is an application programming interface (API) company offering services across account aggregation, data gateway, identity verification, embedded finance, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), WhatsApp Business, and BBPS. 

Award News

12. Ratan Tata receives prestigious KISS Humanitarian Award 2021 

  • Industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata, chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, was honoured with the prestigious KISS (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences) Humanitarian Award 2021. 
  • The award ceremony was held at his residence in Mumbai, marking a significant recognition of his commitment to social development and exemplary corporate leadership. 
  • The award was presented by the Founder of KIIT and KISS Achyuta Samanta. 
  • Initiated in 2008 by Achyuta Samanta, the KISS Humanitarian Award is the highest honour of KIIT and KISS dedicated to recognising individuals and organisations that embody the spirit of humanitarian an work worldwide. 

13. Surinder Jodhka of JNU will receive Malcolm Adisesia Award-2024. 

  • The Malcolm and Elizabeth Adisesia Trust has announced the annual Dr Malcolm Adisesia National Award 2024 for two professors. 
  • Professor Surinder S Jodhka, School of Social Sciences, JNU, was selected for the Malcolm Adisesia Award (₹ 2 lakh and citation), while Associate Professor Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University, will receive the Elizabeth Adisesia Award (₹ 1 lakh and citation). 
  • It is a prestigious award instituted by the Malcolm and Elizabeth Adisesia Trust during the year 2000, the Malcolm Adisesia Award and the Elizabeth Adisesia Award for Distinguished Contribution to Development Studies. 
  • The Elizabeth Adisesia Citation (established in 2018) is presented to a young scholar under the age of 45 on 1 January of the year of the award for recognized contributions to development studies. 
  • The name of the award winner was announced on 18 April 2024, Malcolm Adisesia's birthday. Both awards are open to Indian and foreign scholars generally resident in India. The first Malcolm Adisesia Award was given in 2001 and to date we have given 21 awards. 
  • Malcolm Sathiyanthan Adisesia (1910 – 1994), was an Indian development economist and teacher. In 1976 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. 

14. Padma awards: Venkaiah Naidu, Mithun Chakraborty, Usha Uthup honored. 

  • Former Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, actor turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty, singer Usha Uthup and tennis player Rohan Bopanna were among a host of prominent personalities who were conferred with Padma awards by President Droupadi Murmu on Monday. 
  • Along with Mr. Naidu, Sulabh International's founder Bindeshwar Pathak and Bharatanatyam dancer Padma Subrahmanyam were conferred with Padma Vibhushan. Pathak was given the award posthumously and it was received by his wife, Amola. 
  • Apart from Mr. Chakraborty, popularly known as Mithunda, singer Usha Uth up, former Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and industrialist Sitaram Jindal were conferred with the Padma Bhushan. 
  • Gujarat-based cardiologist Tejas Madhusudan Patel, veteran Marathi film director Dattatray Ambadas Mayaloo, alias Rajdutt, and Chandreshwar Prasad Thakur, a physician known for his contribution to research and policy on Kala Azar, were the other notable Padma Bhushan recipients. Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union 
  • Home Minister Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar were present at the function.
  • Padma Shri awardees include master carpet weaver from Uttar Pradesh Khalil Ahamad, Madhya Pradesh's folk singer Kalu-ram Bamaniya, Bangladeshi singer Rezwana Choudhury Bannya and Chikankari embroidery artist from Uttar Pradesh Na-seem Bano.

Ranks & Reports News 

15. According to UNFPA report, India is the top country in the world with an estimated 

  • According to a recent report by the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, India's population is estimated to reach 144 crore, of which 24 percent is in the 0-14 age group. 
  • The report – titled “Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Disparities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” – revealed that India's population is projected to double in 77 years. 
  • According to the report, India leads globally with an estimated population of 144.17 crore, followed by China with 142.5 crore. During the last census conducted in 2011, India's population was recorded at 121 crore. 
  • The report further states that an estimated 24 percent of India's population is in the age group of 0- 14 years, while 17 percent is within the 10-19 age range. It is estimated that the 10-24 age group is 26 percent, while the 15-64 age group is 68 percent. 
  • Additionally, 7 percent of India's population is aged 65 years and above, with life expectancy for men at 71 years and for women at 74 years. 
  • According to the report, the percentage of child marriage in India was 23 between 2006-2023. The report said maternal deaths have declined significantly in India, which accounts for 8 percent of all such deaths worldwide. 
  • UNFPA said recent research in 640 districts in India showed that about one-third had achieved the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing the maternal mortality ratio. At 70 per 100,000 live births, 114 districts still have a ratio of 210 or more. 
  • The highest per 100,000 births – 1,671 – is seen in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. "Women and girls with disabilities, migrants and refugees, ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ people, people living with HIV and disadvantaged castes face greater sexual and reproductive health risks and also face unequal access to sexual and reproductive health care," the report said. 

Science & Technology News 

16. Microsoft announces VASA-1 AI model to turn images into videos 

  • Microsoft has introduced a new VASA 1 AI model, a framework designed to generate lifelike talking faces for virtual characters, boasting appealing Visual Affective Skills (VAS). 
  • With just a single static image and a speech audio clip, the company says its VASA-1 can create life-like short videos. 
  • The model also gives several options to make changes to the video. Here is everything you need to know. 
  • The VASA 1 can deliver high video-quality content with realistic facial and head dynamics. The model supports the online generation of 512 x 512 videos at up to 40fps with negligible starting latency. 

Important day 

17. 21 April – World Creativity and Innovation Day 

  • World Creativity and Innovation Day is celebrated every year on April 21. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the role of creativity and innovation in human development. 
  • Theme 2024 – Inspire 
  • The day is dedicated to showcasing how creativity can be used to drive economic, social, and sustainable development. It also aims to raise awareness about the role of creativity in the creation of future-ready products, services, and technologies. 
  • The foundation of World Creativity and Innovation Day was in Toronto, Canada. Its founder, Canadian artist Marci Segal, began her studies in creativity in 1977 at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, SUNY Buffalo. 

18. 23 April – World Book and Copyright Day 

  • World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on April 23rd.
  • This day is dedicated to the celebration of literature in all forms and to promote the enjoyment of books. It is also a day to reflect on the past and the future through reading. 
  • The idea for World Book and Copyright Day comes from a traditional celebration in Catalonia, which is a region in Spain. On April 23rd, people in Catalonia exchange books and roses as gifts. This tradition is called “La Diada de Sant Jordi” or Saint George’s Day. 

19. 23 April – World Table Tennis Day 

  • World Table Tennis Day is celebrated every year on 23 April. 
  • It is not just a game of skill but also a medium for social change. The game brings people together and provides them with a peaceful and fun common goal. 
  • The history of table tennis dates back to the British military, when officers in India learned to play the game during their time in the country. The game was originally played with a golf ball, and books were used as racquets. 
  • In 1901, James W. Gibb, a British table tennis enthusiast, discovered that the better-suited celluloid balls were more suitable for the game. The modern racquet was invented by E.C. Goode in the same year. 

Sports News 

20. D Gukesh becomes the youngest challenger to win the title of 'Candidates Chess Tournament’ 

  • In chess, 17-year-old Indian prodigy Dommaraju Gukesh has created 6. Hindustan Zinc Limited becomes the third largest silver producing company globally in history as the youngest player to win the FIDE Candidates Tournament in Toronto. 
  • Gukesh became the youngest Candidates Tournament champion, breaking the record held by Garry Kasparov, who was 20 years old when he won the tournament in 1984. 
  • In the final round on 21 April 2024, Gukesh held fellow title contender Hikaru Nakamura of the USA to a draw with black pieces, but his fate was decided on the other board, where Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana struggled for 109 moves before agreeing to a draw. 
  • After Viswanathan Anand, he became the second Indian to qualify for the World Chess Championship. The 17-year-old player had overtaken his mentor to become the country's top-ranked player in October 2023. 
  • Gukesh will have the opportunity to become the youngest world champion by challenging Ding Liren later this year. Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov were 22 when they became world champions. 
  • R Praggnanand and Vidit Gujrathi also finished 5th and 6th after impressive performances in their Candidates debut. 
  • Priyanka Goswami-Akshdeep Singh won Paris Olympics 2024 quota in bag marathon race walk mixed relay 
  • Priyanka Goswami and Akshdeep Singh have secured Paris 2024 Olympic quota for India in the marathon race walk mixed relay event. The Indian pair got the berth after finishing 18th at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships 2024 in Antalya, Turkey.
  • Akashdeep Singh and Priyanka Goswami clocked 3:05:03 to make the cut. A new addition to the race walk categories, the marathon mixed relay event will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024. The event is held in a relay format with teams consisting of one male and one female athlete.

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