Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 9th April 2024

1. Air India, BIAL sign agreement to develop Bengaluru airport as hub 

  • Air India and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) have signed a pact to develop the Bengaluru airport as an aviation hub, encompassing the construction of a dedicated domestic lounge, expansion of international services, and establishment of a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility. 
  • Air India (along with other Tata Group airlines – AIX and Vistara) and BIAL will collaborate to enhance international connectivity, operational efficiency, and passenger experience over the next five years. 
  • Air India is wholly owned by the Tata Group, while AIX Connect and Air India Express are its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Vistara, a 51:49 joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is currently undergoing a merger into Air India. The Bengaluru airport is operated by Fairfax-run BIAL. 

2. Najmi Waziri appoints as head of committee to protect Delhi’s forests 

  • The Delhi High Court has appointed its former judge, Justice Najmi Waziri as the head of the internal departmental committee tasked with protection of forests in the national capital. 
  • This decision follows concerns about various government departments not fully cooperating with efforts to protect these vital natural resources. 
  • On December 21, 2023, the high court had while observing that the “deemed and protected forest area needs to be protected” said that it is the “responsibility of this committee to do so”. 
  • The high court had then directed that the “Internal Departmental Committee, as proposed, may be constituted and put into operation immediately”. 

Recent Appointment 

  • CEO of Wipro – Srinivas Pallia (replace Thierry Delaporte) 
  • Chairman of National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India Ltd – Meenesh Shah 
  • DG of Electronics & Mechanical Engineers – J S Sidana 
  • CMD of Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. – Santosh Kumar Jha 
  • Chief Business Officer of Perfios – Sridhar Narayan 

3. INS Sharda awarded “On The Spot Unit Citation” for anti-piracy ops 

  • Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar has awarded an ‘On-the-spot Unit Citation’ to INS Sharda for successful conduct of anti-piracy operations at sea. 
  • The ship was involved in the safe release of all 19 crew members (11 Iranian and 8 Pakistani) of Iranian fishing vessel “Omari” which was held hostage by pirates off the east coast of Somalia. 
  • The ship was tasked to investigate the Iranian fishing vessel “Omari” that was likely hijacked by pirates. 

Recent Awards 

  • American Surgical Association (ASA) Fellowship – Dr Raghu Ram 
  • 15th CIDC Vishwakarma Awards 2024 – SJVN Limited 
  • SKOCH ESG Award 2024 in Renewable Energy Financing Category – REC Limited 
  • International Culture Award 2024 – Meena Charanda 
  • Times Power Icon 2024 Award by The Times Group – Vijay Jain 

4. Indian Coast Guard inaugurates Aquatic Centre in Tamil Nadu 

  • Indian Coast Guard’s DG Rakesh Pal has inaugurated the Indian Coast Guard Aquatic Centre at ICGS Mandapam, Tamil Nadu. 
  • This is as part of his four-day visit to the maritime force’s bases in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Puducherry. 
  • The visit aimed to review operational preparedness and infrastructure development in the region, with a focus on ensuring safe, secure, and clean seas. 

5. New Zealand teams win men’s and women’s titles at the Hong Kong Sevens 

  • New Zealand won the men’s and women’s titles at the Hong Kong Sevens to cap off a tournament that sets a scene for rugby at the Paris Olympics. 
  • The All Blacks Sevens scored the first two tries in a 10-7 win over France in the men’s final to successfully defend their title. 
  • New Zealand’s 36-7 win over the United States lifted the women’s title. 
  • For the New Zealand men, it was the 68th tournament title in the world series. 
  • The Australian women won bronze with a late 24-21 win over France. 

Mohammedan win maiden I-League title 

  • Mohammedan Sporting won its first I-League title by defeating Shillong Lajong FC 2–1 at the SSA Stadium. 
  • They have garnered 52 points from 23 matches. 
  • Mohammedan Sporting Club is an Indian football clun based in Kolkata, West Bengal. 
  • Currently, the club competes in I-League and Calcutta Football League. 

6. Sumit Nagal becomes first ever Indian to win main draw match in Monte Carlo Masters 

  • Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal stuns 35th ranked Matteo Arnaldi and becomes first ever Indian to win main draw match at Monte Carlo Masters. 
  • He defeated Arnaldi. The unseeded 95th-ranked Nagal, is only the third Indian to feature in the main draw in Monte Carlo after Vijay Amritraj in 1977 and Ramesh Krishnan in 1982. 
  • He became the first-ever male Indian singles player to win a Masters 1000 match on clay 

7. 9 April – CRPF Valour Day 

  • Every year April 9 is celebrated as Bravery Day (Valour Day) to pay tribute to the brave soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 
  • This year, CRPF is celebrating its 59th Bravery Day. 
  • In 1965, a group of Pakistani soldiers attacked some other Indian soldiers near the Rann of Kutch. The Indian soldiers were unaware of this sudden attack, as they did not know that the attack was going to happen. 
  • During this attack, a CRPF officer named Bhavana Ram had saved a place called Sardar Post from infiltrators. in a fight. 
  • This was the first time that a special group of police fought directly with Pakistani soldiers and they won. Six police officers died in this fight. 

About Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 

  • Headquarters- New Delhi 
  • Formation – 27 July 1939 
  • Motto- Service and Loyalty 
  • Director General- Anish Dayal Singh 

8. 9 April – National Mature Women’s Day 

  • National Mature Women’s Day is observed every year on 9 April. 
  • It’s a special holiday for the special older women in our lives — a day to recognize mature and confident women. 
  • This day is all about reminding women that they are special regardless of their advancing years. 
  • It was celebrated since 2021. 

9. Cinematographer Gangu Ramsay passes away 

  • Veteran filmmaker, producer and cinematographer Gangu Ramsay passed away at the age of 83. 
  • Ramsay Brothers were known for making horror films in Hindi. 
  • Gangu Ramsay’s illustrious career spanned decades, leaving an indelible mark on the Indian film industry. He lent his creative vision to over 50 films under the banner of Ramsay Brothers, including classics like “Veerana”, “Purana Mandir”, and “Bandh Darwaza”, “Do Gaz Zameen Ke Niche”, “Samri”, “Tehkhana”, “Purani Haveli”, and “Khoj” with Rishi Kapoor. 

10. Maritime security agencies of India conducted coastal security exercise 'Sagar Kavach' in Lakshadweep 

  • The two-day maritime security exercise involving all maritime security agencies of India was conducted off Lakshadweep Islands from 1-2 April 2024. The exercise named Sagar Kavach 01/24 aims to validate the effectiveness of the coastal security mechanism in dealing with asymmetric threats from the sea. 
  • Assets from Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Police, Fisheries, Customs and other security agencies participated in the exercise. Officials said the exercise demonstrated enhanced preparedness, response mechanisms, surveillance capabilities and coordination among coastal security stakeholders. 
  • Officials said the exercise witnessed enhanced preparedness, response mechanisms, surveillance capabilities and coordination among coastal security stakeholders. The objective of the exercise was to assess the efficacy and robustness of the coastal security mechanism while dealing with asymmetric threats emanating from the sea.
  • Earlier, in March, the first edition of this year's state-level biennial coastal security Exercise Sagar Kavach (01/24) was conducted from March 20 to 21, 2024, for the State of Kerala and Mahe Union Territory. Indian Navy's maritime security operations continue under 'Operation Sankalp'. 

11. 6th International Rapid FIDE Rated Chess Tournament held at IIT Madras 

  • The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has hosted the International Chess Federation (FIDE)-rated rapid chess tournament. This is the sixth Shastra Rapid FIDE rated chess tournament held in Chennai. 
  • IIT Madras is the only IIT in the country to organize Open Rapid Rating Tournament every year. More than 35 players from IIT Madras have participated in this event. Players from different countries including Australia, England, America and Singapore are participating in this tournament. 
  • Six Grandmasters, sixteen International Masters, three Woman Grandmasters and one Woman International Master will participate in the '6th Shastra Rapid FIDE Rated Chess Tournament'. 
  • The total prize money of the tournament is ₹ 5,00,000. The first prize in this is ₹65,000. This tournament not only offers ample prize money but also attracts a wide variety of players.
  • Chess Tournaments Tamil Nadu is the chess powerhouse of India and Chennai is at its centre. The hosting of FIDE-rated tournaments such as Shastra Rapid Chess events provides participants with the opportunity to test their abilities. 
  • Professor V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, "With the introduction of sports quota for UG admissions at IIT Madras, these events will further strengthen our commitment to ensure holistic development of students as envisioned in the National Education Policy 2020." 

International Chess Federation (FIDE) 

  • The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is the governing body of the game of chess. It was established on 20 July 1924 in Paris, France. FIDE is currently headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

12.Sam Pitroda's new book 'The Idea of Democracy' released 

  • Renowned author Sam Pitroda has written a new book titled 'The Idea of Democracy', which explores the current state of democracy and its potential challenges in countries like India and the United States. 
  • Pitroda's book addresses the paradox of so-called democratic success as well as its liberal downfall. It provides a detailed analysis of the essence of democracy, its functioning, the values and forces and safeguards necessary to encapsulate it. 
  • The book aims to encourage dialogue, especially among youth, on the meaning of democracy and their role in its survival and prosperity in the coming era. 
  • Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected telecommunications innovator, entrepreneur, development thinker and policy maker who has spent 50 years in information and communications technologies (ICT) and related global and national development. 
  • Credited with laying the foundation of India's telecommunications and technology revolution in the 1980s, Pitroda has been a leading evangelist in helping bridge the global digital divide. 
  • During his tenure as advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, he led six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, vaccination, dairy production and oilseeds. Pitroda is a serial entrepreneur who has started several companies in the United States. 
  • He holds approximately 20 honorary PhDs, approximately 100 worldwide patents, and has published five books and numerous papers. 

13.Olympic champion Valerie Adams named ‘International Event Ambassador’ for TCS World 10K 

  • Shot putter and two-time Olympic medalist, Valerie Adams has been named the International Event Ambassador for the 16th edition of the Tata Consultancy Services ‘TCS World 10K’ Marathon to be held in Bengaluru on April 28, 2024. 
  • The 39-year-old New Zealand player is the most successful female shot put player ever. In her five Olympic appearances, She has won two gold medals (in 2008 and 2012), one silver (in 2016), and one bronze medal (in 2020). Adams is also a four-time World Champion, fourtime World Indoor Champion and three-time Commonwealth Games winner. 
  • She is the only woman to win World Championships at the youth, junior and senior levels and the first woman to win four consecutive individual titles at the World Championships. In 2014, Adams was awarded the title of IAAF World Athlete of the Year. 
  • As International Event Ambassador for the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2024, Valerie Adams will bring her wealth of experience and dedication to inspire and engage participants, promoting the event and the sport of running on a global scale. 
  • Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Marathon race was started in Bengaluru in the year 2008. Awarded the Gold Label by the governing body of World Athletics, the road races have a prize pool of US$210,000. 
  • This game-changer was Procam International's third race property after the stupendous success of Mumbai Marathon in 2004 and Delhi Half Marathon in 2005 

14.Uttarakhand government formed two expert panels to monitor 'glacial lake outburst flood' in the Himalayas. 

  • The Uttarakhand government has formed two teams of experts to evaluate the threat posed by five potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the region. These lakes are prone to glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), the type of events that have resulted in several disasters in the Himalayan states in recent years. 
  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), functioning under the Union Home Ministry, has identified 188 glacial lakes in the Himalayan states that could potentially break due to heavy rainfall. Thirteen of these are in Uttarakhand. 
  • These include Vasudhara Tal in the Dhauliganga basin in Chamoli district and four lakes in Pithoragarh district – Maban Lake in the Lassar Yangti Valley, Pyungru Lake in the Darma Basin, an unclassified lake in the Darma Basin and another unclassified lake in the Kuthi Yangti Valley. 
  • GLOFs occur when water levels in glacial lakes suddenly rise due to various glacial activities, posing a significant threat to surrounding areas. GLOFs are formed primarily by glacial melting and subsequent eruptions, which can cause devastating floods downstream. 

‘Glacial Lake Outburst Flood’ 

  • In response to the increasing risk of GLOFs, advanced radio technologies have been employed to enhance early warning systems. The 'Extended Line of Sight' (ELOS) method uses ground wave signals to transmit warning signals to remote stations such as Uttarakhand. 
  • These systems play a critical role in alerting authorities and communities about potential GLOFs, enabling rapid response to mitigate impacts and prevent disasters. 
  • GLOF events in Uttarakhand, including significant events such as the 2013 event in the Kedarnath Valley and the recent Chamoli event, underline the region's vulnerability to climate changeinduced risks. 

15.NTPC permanently closes 220 MW Barauni Stage-1 project of Bihar 

  • State-owned power company NTPC has permanently closed its 220 MW Barauni Thermal Power Station Stage-I in Bihar. 
  • According to its official website, NTPC is India's largest power utility with a total installed capacity of 75,418 MW (including JVs). Established in 1975, NTPC aims to become a 130 GW company by 2032. 
  • NTPC acquired Barauni Thermal Power Station (720 MW) in Begusarai district of Bihar from Bihar State Power Generation Company on December 15, 2018. 
  • At the time of acquisition, the 720 MW coal-based power station had 2 units of 110 MW (under R&MRenovation and Modernization) and 2 units of 250 MW (under construction). 
  • The plant consisted of Stage-I (2x110 MW) and Stage-II (2x250 MW). Union Energy Minister RK Singh dedicated to the nation the Stage-II 500 MW (2x250 MW) of NTPC Barauni Thermal Power Station in November 2021.

16.Households' debt surged s to new high by Dec. 2023 

  • In what may be construed as a sign of rising financial distress, India's household debt levels are reckoned to have touched an all-time high of 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by December 2023, while net financial savings had likely dropped to their lowest level at around 5% of GDP, as per a research report from leading financial services firm Motilal Oswal.
  • In September 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) estimated that households' net financial savings had dropped to 5.1% of GDP in 2022-23, a 47-year low, triggering a flurry of criticism that the Finance Ministry had refuted sharply. It had argued that households are adding fewer financial assets than in the past because they were taking loans to buy real assets such as homes and vehicles which is "not a sign of distress but of confidence in their future employment and income prospects". 
  • The first revised estimates of national income for 2022-23 published this February, raised the estimated net financial savings in households to 5.3% of GDP, which is still the lowest in 47 years, and weaker than the average of 7.6% of GDP recorded between 2011-12 and 2019-20. 
  • The revised estimates also scaled up household debt levels to 38% of GDP in 2022-23, second only to the 39.1% of GDP recorded 
  • "Our estimates suggest that household debt has risen to approximately 40% of GDP as of December 2023, reaching a new high. Based on banks' data, it is clear that unsecured personal loans continue to grow at the fastest pace within household debt, followed by secured debt, agricultural loans, and business loans," Motilal Oswal research analysts Nikhil Gupta and Tanisha Ladha said.
  • The report ascribed the dismal 2022-23 net financial savings numbers to weak income growth, robust consumption and growth in physical savings 

17.SC stays board exams for Classes 5, 8, 9, 11 in Karnataka 

  • The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Karnataka High Ganun onder of March 22, which allowed board ex- aminations to be conduct edi line Classes 5, 8, 9 and 1 in schools affiliated with the Stone Bound 
  • A. The Bench headed by Justice Bella Trivedi directed the State to keep in abeyance and not communicate or calculate the results of the examinations at any cost either to the students or parents. The petitioners had submitted that the Karnataka State Quality Assessment and Accreditation Council, following the High Court onder, had issued a direction to schools to publish the exam results on April 8. 
  • "The results declared by any school pursuant to the stated order shall be kept in abeyance, not be taken into consideration for any purpose whatsoever and nor it shall be communicated to the parents if not communicated so far," the Bench, also comprising Justice Pankaj Mittal, said. 
  • The Bench accused the State of trying to create confusion among parents and children. It said the State's push for board examinations and even the March 22 order were not in tune with the Right to Education Act. 
  • "The State seems to be bent on playing with the Af future of the students and has caused a lot of physical and mental agony and hardship to students, parents and their teachers as also to school managements,"the court remarked. 
  • 'Against RTE Act' The top court observed that the proposed board examinations were prima facie in the teeth of Sections 2(f), 16 and 30 of the Right to Education Act, which prohibited the exposure of children to the rigors of board examinations till they finish elementary education. The top court issued notice to Karnataka and listed the case on April 23 

18.Cochin Shipyard signs ship repair agreement with the U.S. Navy 

  • As India and the U.S. look to expand cooperation in ship repair and maintenance to turn India into a regional hub, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) became the third Indian shi-pyard to enter into a Master Shipyard Repair Agreement (MRSA) with the U.S., which will enable it to repair U.S. Navy ships. 
  • The State-run shipbuilding facility in Kochi is the latest in the line after Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL) 
  • L&T shipyard in Kattu-palli near Chennai was the First Indian shipyard to sign the agreement in July last year. Last month, a U.K. naval ship arrived for the first time at Kattupalli for repairs. "... The MSRA is a non-financial agreement and is CSL became the third shipyard to enter into a pact with the U.S. effective from April 5, 2024. This will facilitate repair of US Naval vessels under Military Sealift Command in CSL," the entity said in a disclosure to stock exchanges, adding: "CSL has been qualified for entering into the MSRA after a detailed evaluation process and capability assessment by the US Navy Military Sealift Command''. 
  • Both India and the U.S. are quite keen on expanding cooperation in ship maintenance and repairs as it benefits both countries, giving business and expertise to Indian shipyards while giving alternate options to the U.S. Navy for the smaller repairs of its ships without going faraway increasing their turnaround time and at a lesser cost. 
  • In a joint statement issued after bilateral talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden in Sep- tember last year, both sides recommitted to advancing India's "emergence as a hub for the maintenance and repair" of forward-deployed U.S. Navy assets and other aircraft and vessels. 
  • U.K. deploying its fleet On March 26, the U.K's Littoral Response Group (LRG) arrived in Chennai as the first engagement of its deployment to the Indian Pacific region. 
  • U.K. The High Commission said the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Argus and RFA Lyme Bay conducted maritime exercises with the Indian Navy as they entered the Arabian Sea and will undergo essential maintenance at L&T shipyard. 
  • "The visit of LRG attests to the U.K. 's capability and commitment to the Indo-Pacific. The sight of Royal Navy ships undergoing essential maintenance at an Indian shipyard is yet another example of the India-UK Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in practice," said Brigadier Nick Sawyer, Defence Advisor, British High Commission. 
  • Following the completion of its maintenance in India, the LRG will operate in the Indo-Pacific to conduct training, exercises, and wider engagement with allies and partners, the statement added.

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