Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 13th May 2024

National News 

1.SAIL-Bhilai to set up Chhattisgarh’s first 15-Mw floating solar plant 

  • Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), the Chhattisgarh-based arm of the state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), will install the state’s first 15-megawatt (MW) floating solar project in its Maroda-1 reservoir to improve its carbon footprint. 
  • The steel major is undertaking various projects to reduce carbon emissions, conserve energy, and promote renewable energy. 
  • The project is being implemented through NTPC-SAIL Power Supply Company Limited (NSPCL), a 50:50 joint venture company of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and SAIL. 
  • The solar plant will be set up in Durg district. 

2. Govt. to spend ₹2 cr. per km on roads along China border 

  • The government is likely to spend over 12 crore on each kilometre of road to be constructed along the China border in Uttarakhand and Sikkim under the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP), according to the project's details. 
  • In the past five months, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned 113 roads under the VVP in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim to improve connectivity in areas. along the China border. While 105 roads have been sanctioned in Arunachal Pradesh, five roads in Uttarakhand, and three roads in Sikkim have also been approved. 
  • There are at least 168 villages along the border with China that do not have any road connectivity. 
  • According to the Ministry's sanction letter, 43.96 km of roads are to be built at a cost of 119 crore at Pithoragarh district in Uttarak hand. Each kilometer of road is expected to cost ₹2.7 crore. Once construct- ed, the "asset" will have to sure the installation of GPS system in key machinery and equipment engaged be maintained by the State government. 
  • In Sikkim, around 18.73 km of roads and 350 meters of steel bridges have been sanctioned under the VVP at the Chung thang and Mangan block in north Sikkim at a cost of 96 crore. Each kilometer of road construction will cost ₹2.4 crore. 
  • The Ministry has also asked State governments to monitor construction activity by installing GPS enabled vehicle tracking devices. "States shall endure the execution of road works under VVP," the Ministry said in a communication sent to the Uttarakhand government. The Union Cabinet approved the VVP programme on February 15, 2023, to cover 2,967 villages in 46 border blocks of 19 districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Ladakh. One of the stated objectives of the VVP is to stop migration in the population residing along the border. 
  • The MHA's report on demands for grants tabled in Parliament on March 20, 2023, stated that the objective is to motivate people to continue to stay there and "help to gather intelligence from the people of border villages". Around 68% of the total villages that will be covered in the first phase of the VVP are in Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • The number of villages that will benefit from the scheme in Ladakh is 35, while 75 villages in Himachal Pradesh, 46. villages in Sikkim, and 51 villages in Uttarakhand have been identified. Of the ₹4,800 crore bud- get allotted for the VVP for the financial years 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26, more than half, that is, about *2,500 crore is to be spent on road construction. As reported by The Hindu in December 2022, China is expanding its chain of model villages or Xiaokang ('moderately prosperous') villages close to the Line of Actual Control opposite Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. 

3. BSNL announces to start 4G services across India from August 2024 

  • In line with the “Atmanirbhar” policy, it will start 4G services across the country from August 2024 using completely indigenous technology. BSNL officials claim to have recorded a maximum speed of 40-45 megabits per second on the 4G network, which has been launched during the pilot phase in the premium spectrum band of 700 megahertz (MHz) as well as in the 2,100 MHz band. 
  • The company has launched 4G services in Punjab using technology developed indigenously by a consortium led by IT company TCS and state-run telecom research organization C-DOT and has onboarded around 8 lakh customers. 
  • The 4G core developed by C-DOT is performing very well in the BSNL network in Punjab. It was established in July last year. It takes 12 months to prove the success of such a complex technology but C-DOT Core has been stabilized within 10. 
  • Core network is a collection of network hardware, devices, and software that provides fundamental services in telecommunications networks. Telecom regulator TRAI in a recent paper explained the core as the part of a network that provides functionalities of aggregation, call control, switching, authentication, charging, gateway functionality etc. 
  • TCS, Tejas Networks and government-owned ITI have received orders worth around Rs 19,000 crore from BSNL to deploy 4G networks, which can be upgraded to 5G. In a recent earnings call, Tejas Networks Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Arnobh Roy said that BSNL's mobile network is being deployed in various areas. 
  • BSNL is in the process of installing 1.12 lakh towers for 4G and 5G services across India. The company has installed more than 9,000 towers for 4G service across the country, of which more than 6,000 are active in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, UP West and Haryana circles. 

4. ISRO successfully tests liquid rocket engine 'PS4' manufactured with 3D printing technology in Tamil Nadu 

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced a major achievement, saying that it has successfully tested the liquid rocket engine 'PS4' manufactured using Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology or 3D printing in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. 
  • Private partner Wipro 3D joins hands with ISRO to successfully complete hot testing of 3D printed PS4 engine. ISRO redesigned the conventionally manufactured PS4 engine to make it compatible with additive manufacturing technologies, a process known as Design for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM). 
  • This newly redesigned PS4 engine has reduced the number of parts from 14 to one piece and eliminated 19 weld joints. This will result in significant savings in raw material usage per engine, reducing metal powder from 565 kg to 13.7 kg and reducing production time by 60 percent. 
  • As a result, the new engine now saves 97 percent of raw materials and reduces production time by 60 percent. 
  • The PS4 engine, which uses a bipropellant combination of nitrogen tetroxide as oxidizer and monomethyl hydrazine as fuel, was developed by ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC). 
  • This newly designed engine will also be used in the fourth stage of the PSLV launch vehicle and the reaction control system of the first stage in PSLV. 

International News 

5. S. Korea to set up $7-bn aid package for chip industry 

  • South Korea will set up an aid package worth more than $7 billion to support its chip industry, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday, as part of its drive to boost its critical semiconductor sector. 
  • This initiative follows its pledge last year to build the world's largest chip center using $240 billion of private investment, primarily from Samsung Electronics. 
  • The package could be created through "a new fund financed by private and public financial institutions", Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok said. 

6. An exhibition named 'Swadesh' showcasing the tribal art traditions of India was organized in Dubai. 

  •  A unique exhibition titled 'Swadesh' showcasing the diverse and vibrant folk and tribal art traditions of India was held in Dubai, United Emirates. Organized under the banner of Vidisha Creations, the event aims to bring greater recognition to lesserknown art forms from different regions of the country. 
  • Nearly 4,000 art works from 60 countries were displayed at the exhibition cum sale held at Zabeel Hall of Dubai World Trade Centre. 
  • The 'Swadesh' exhibition gave special attention to lesser-known art forms such as Manjula art and Gond art, which are often influenced by the more famous Mithila painting. Curator Vidisha Pandey said, "In a single state like Bihar, we have many rich artistic traditions like Tikuli art and Manjusha art apart from Mithila art."
  • The exhibits displayed a diverse range of folk and tribal artefacts, including vibrant Mithila paintings from Bihar, intricately designed Kolam artefacts from Tamil Nadu, fascinating Warli tribal art from Maharashtra and the famous mural art tradition of Kerala, mythology of Therapeutic Mandal. 
  • In addition to the exhibition, the "Swadesh" program also included interactive workshops that allowed visitors to learn traditional techniques directly from master artisans and art sales. 

7. Nepal climber Kami Rita Sherpa climbs Mt Everest for 29th time 

  • Nepali Sherpa climber Kami Rita has scaled Everest for the 29th time, surpassing his own record of 28 ascents. 
  • He now holds the record for the most ascents of the world’s tallest peak in its 71-year climbing history. 
  • Kami Rita Sherpa, also known as ‘Everest man,’ embarked on the Spring Season Everest expedition from Kathmandu, accompanying a team of approximately 28 climbers. Seven Summit Treks organised the expedition to conquer the world’s highest peak. 
  • He completed his first ascent of Everest in 1994, at 24.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Kami Rita has scaled Everest nearly every year since his first climb, totalling 29 ascents now.
  • In 2020, the south side of Everest in Nepal was closed to climbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a partial reopening in 2021 allowed Kami Rita to achieve his 25th summit in May 2021. 

About Nepal 

  • Capital- Kathmandu 
  • Currency- Nepalese rupee 
  • President– Ram Chandra Paudel 
  • Prime minister– Pushpa Kamal Dahal 

Appointment News

8. Idashisha Nongrang appointed first woman DGP of Meghalaya 

  • Senior IPS Officer Idashisha Nongrang has been named first woman Director General of Police (DGP) of Meghalaya state. 
  • A 1992 batch Indian Police Service officer, she will replace Lajja Ram Bishnoi who will retire on May 19. 
  • She will serve as the State’s police chief till May 19, 2026. 
  • Nongrang is also the first tribal woman to ascend to this prestigious rank. 

Recent Appointment 

  • President of Larsen and Toubro – R Shankar Raman 
  • Director in Ministry of Ayush – Subodh Kumar 
  • Country Manager for Visa India – Sujai Raina 
  • DG of National Institute of Solar Energy – Mohammad Rihan 
  • Head of GST Appellate Tribunal – Sanjaya Kumar Mishra (for 4 years) 

About Meghalaya 

  • Capital – Shillong 
  • Chief Minister – Conrad Kongkal Sangma 
  • Governor – Phagu Chauhan 

9. Vivek Kolhe elected as IFFCO Director 

  • Vivek Bipindada Kolhe has been elected as a director of IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizers Co-op Ltd.) New Delhi. 
  • He is currently working as the Chairman of Sahkar Maharshi Shankarao Kolhe Co-operative Sugar Factor. 
  • Kolhe’s extensive experience in the cooperative sector, coupled with his past role as RGB of IFFCO, positions him as a formidable advocate for farmers’ rights and interests. 
  • With Kolhe assuming his new responsibilities, the future of cooperative farming in Maharashtra looks bright. 
  • IFFCO, the cornerstone of India’s agricultural landscape, stands as a beacon of support for farmers nationwide. 

About IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Corporation) 

  • Founded- 3 November 1967, New Delhi 
  • Founder- Udaybhansinhji Natwarsinhji Jethwa 
  • Headquarters- New Delhi 
  • CEO- Udai Shanker Awasthi 
  • Director – Vivek Bipindada Kolhe 

Awards News

10. Hemant Khatri receives PSU Samarpan Award 

  • Hindustan Shipyard Limited’s (HSL) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Hemant Khatri has been honoured with the esteemed ‘PSU Samarpan Award’ by Gov Connect at the award ceremony held in New Delhi. 
  • The ‘PSU Samarpan Award’ acknowledges the significant contributions of Public Sector Undertakings to the country’s progress. 
  • ‘PSU Samarpan Award’ by Gov Connect, an initiative by ilouge Media, recognised the exemplary leadership of HSL’s CMD for driving the transformation of the shipyard and inspiring countless individual within the industry. 

Recent Awards 

  • Global Pride of Sindhi Award 2024 – Pawan Sindhi (Social worker) 
  • Best Employer’ 2023 by Kincentric – DBS Bank India 
  • Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize 2024 – Bhavi Mehta (for The Book Beautiful) 
  • UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano World Press Prize 2024 – All Palestinian journalists 
  • Whitley Gold Award (Green Oscar) 2024 – Dr Purnima Devi Barman (Assam) 

11. Dr Soumya Swaminathan to be awarded honourary doctorate by Canada’s McGill University 

  • Dr Soumya Swaminathan, most recently WHO’s Chief Scientist, has been named among the 10 exceptional individuals who will receive honorary degrees from Canada’s prestigious McGill University as part of the Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies. 
  • More than two centuries old, McGill, a public research university in Montreal, grants honorary degrees to individuals “who have lifetime records of outstanding scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or of exceptional contributions to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity. 
  • In 2017, Swaminathan joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Deputy Director General (Programmes), and, in March 2019, was named its first Chief Scientist, a role she filled through the Covid-19 pandemic until late 2022. 

Sports News

12. Aman Sehrawat’ becomes the first Indian male wrestler to qualify for Paris Olympics, 2024 

  • Aman Sehrawat has become the first Indian male wrestler to secure a quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Earlier in the day, Deepak (97kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) had early exits after losing their first-round bouts. 
  • Asian champion Sehrawat secured a Paris quota in the men's 57kg freestyle category at the World Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey. The Istanbul competition is the last opportunity for wrestlers to earn quotas for the upcoming Summer Games. 
  • Sehrawat defeated Korea's Chongsong Han 12-2 in the semifinals to clinch India's sixth quota in wrestling for the 2024 Olympics. All five of the previous quotas were won by Indian women wrestlers. 
  • Final Panghal (53kg) clinched India's first quota from the 2023 World Wrestling Championships, while Vinesh Phogat (50kg), Anshu Malik (57kg) and Ritika Hooda (76kg) secured quotas at the Asian Qualifiers in Bishkek last month. 
  • Earlier, acting on the provisional suspension of Bajrang Punia by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for 'refusing' to provide a urine sample, United World Wrestling (UWW) has suspended the world and Olympic medalist wrestler till December 31, 2024. 

Neeraj Chopra – Silver Medal in Doha Diamond League

  • India's star javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra finished second at the Doha Diamond League 2024 at Qatar Sports Club. With an unusually slow start, Chopra's javelin fell at 88.36 metres, just 2 centimeters short of event topper Jacob Wadledge's 88.38 metres. 
  • Former world champion Anderson Peters came third with an effort of 86.62 metres, which also came in his last attempt. The windy conditions in Doha played an unfavorable role in Chopra's attempt to win her second consecutive Doha season. 
  • Meanwhile, India's teenager Jena, who won a silver medal at the Asian Games last year with a personal best of 87.54m, made a disappointing start in the Diamond League, finishing ninth with a best throw of 76.31m. 

13. English fast bowler James Anderson announced his retirement. 

  • England's legendary fast bowler James Anderson has announced that he will retire from cricket this year. The upcoming domestic season for England will be the last for cricket's most successful fast bowler. England is set to play Tests against West Indies and Sri Lanka at home this year. 
  • Anderson, who has played 187 Tests for England, including 194 ODIs and 19 T20Is, in a career that began in May 2003, joins Warne (708) and Sri Lanka as the all-time highest wicket-taker with 700 wickets in Test cricket. Muttiah is at third place after Muralitharan (800). 
  • New Zealand's Colin Munro retires from international cricket New Zealand's top-order batsman Colin Munro has announced his retirement from international cricket after being overlooked for the upcoming T20 World Cup. During his international career, Munro scored a total of 3,010 runs in 1 Test, 57 ODIs and 65 T20Is. 
  • Born in Durban, South Africa, Munro has scored a total of 10,961 runs in 428 T20 International matches at an average of 30.44 and a strike rate of 141.25. 
  • Munro's career is adorned with many notable records and milestones. His 2016 off-ball 50 against Sri Lanka at Eden Park is the fastest T20I half-century by a New Zealand batsman and the fourth fastest half-century of all time. 
  • He also has the distinction of scoring a century against West Indies in 2018 in 47 balls, which was the fastest T20I century by a Kiwi at that time. Additionally, Munro became the first player to score three T20I centuries. 

14. Neeraj Chopra finishes 2nd with 88.36m throw in Doha Diamond League 

  • Neeraj Chopra finished second with a best throw of 88.36m throw while India’s Kishore Jena’s best was 76.31m in Doha Diamond League. 
  • Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic, who finished first with a best effort of 88.38. while Anderson Peters claimed the third spot. 
  • Meanwhile, India’s Kishore Jena, who claimed the silver medal at the Asian Games last year with a personal best of 87.54m, endured a disappointing Diamond League debut, finishing ninth with a best throw of 76.31m. 

15. Japan defeated Pakistan to win the 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy 

  • Japan has won its maiden Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey trophy by defeating Pakistan 4-1 in the penalty shoot-out in the final. 
  • The final was played at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia. 
  • Japan won the trophy, with Pakistan in second place. Malaysia was in third place, followed by New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada in last place. 
  • Six teams, Japan, Pakistan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and the host team, Malaysia, participated in the 2024 event. 
  • Sultan Azlan Shah is considered a prestigious Hockey tournament in Asia that has attracted the world’s top men’s national hockey teams. 
  • India has been a regular participant in the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament. India has won the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy 5 times in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009, 2010. 
  • This time, the Indian team skipped the tournament as they were more focused on preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which start on 26 July 2024. 

Important day 

16. 12 May – International Nurses Day 

  • International Nurses Day is observed every year on 12 May. 
  • This day marks the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale who laid the foundation of modern nursing. International Nurses Day aims to highlight the importance of nurses in the healthcare sector. 
  • It also acts as an opportunity to thank nurses for their efforts and for taking care of patients around the clock. 
  • Theme 2024 – Our Future. The economic power of care. 
  • The International Council of Nurses initiated the first International Nurses Day celebration on 12 May 1974, aiming to draw attention to the crucial role nurses play in modern healthcare systems. 

17. 12 May – International Day of Plant Health

  • The International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) is observed every year on 12 May. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the necessity of protecting plant health in order to prevent hunger, reduce poverty, safeguard biodiversity, and promote economic development. 
  • Theme 2024 – Plant Health, Safe Trade, Digital Technology 
  • The United Nations established the International Day of Plant Health (IDPH) to draw public attention to the necessity of safeguarding plant health in order to prevent hunger, reduce poverty, safeguard biodiversity, and promote economic development. 
  • The IDPH resolution was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly in March 2022. 

Obituary News

18. Punjabi poet Surjit Patar passes away 

  • Noted Punjabi poet Surjit Patar passed away at the age of 79 in Punjab’s Ludhiana. 
  • Patar’s notable achievements include receiving top honours like Padma Shri and the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work of writing in a regional language. 
  • Patar hailed from Patar Kalan village in Jalandhar and retired as a professor of Punjabi from Punjab Agricultural University. 
  • He received the Padma Shri in 2012 and served as the president of the Punjab Arts Council. 

Ranks & Report News 

19. According to the new report of the World Bank, China's agri-food system has the highest emissions 

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from agri-food systems more than doubled in 2020 from the five million tonnes of global emissions prevented by electric vehicles and solar panels, according to a new World Bank report 'Recipes for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood System'. 
  • The top ten agri-food system emitters are China, Brazil, India, the United States, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Russian Federation, Canada, Pakistan, and Argentina. 
  • Of these, two (Canada and the US) are highincome countries (HIC), one (Democratic Republic of Congo) is low-income country (LIC) and the rest are middle-income countries. 
  • The world's agri-food system emits approximately 16 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per year – about a third of all global emissions – and this is projected to continue rising. 
  • The countries with the highest agri-food emissions are also the most populous. Therefore, China and India rank high in total emissions but very low in per capita emissions. 
  • Adoption of renewable energy in the agri-food system in India could significantly reduce emissions from the sector. As of December 2020, more than 272,000 solar powered irrigation systems have been deployed in the country. 

Other facts 

  • India's population is almost four times that of the US, but it emits only 30 percent more GHGs. One reason for this is India has a larger share of vegetarians than any other country around the world. 
  • Cutting agri-food emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require annual investments to increase to $260 billion per year. 

20. Astronomers finally discovered a rocky planet with an atmosphere named '55 Cancri E' 

  • Astronomers have discovered rocky planets with atmospheres beyond our solar system. The planet, named '55 Cancri e or Janssen', is about 8.8 times more massive than Earth. 
  • It orbits its star at one-25th the distance between Mercury, the innermost planet in our solar system, and the Sun. As a result, its surface temperature is approximately 3,140 °F (1,725 °C/2,000 °K). 
  • It was discovered by two instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope. "The atmosphere is probably rich in carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, but it may also contain other gases such as water vapor and sulfur dioxide," said Renyu Hu, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech. 
  • This planet is located about 41 light years away from Earth in our galaxy. Four other planets, all gas giants, are known orbiting its host star. 

Powerful solar storm came after the year 2003 

  • After the year 2003, in May 2024, a powerful solar storm hit the Earth, due to which celestial lights became visible in the sky from Australia to Britain. The aurora is a luminous phenomenon seen near the north poles (Aurora Borealis) and the south poles (Aurora Australis). 
  • The Space Weather Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun have hit Earth and will continue into the weekend. 
  • The Sun is nearing the peak of its 11-year cycle resulting in increased activity. It was the first storm since the so-called 'Halloween storm' of October 2003 that caused blackouts in Sweden and damage to electrical infrastructure in South Africa. 
  • The most powerful geomagnetic storm in recorded history, known as the Carrington Event, occurred in September 1859, named after British astronomer Richard Carrington. 
  • Coronal mass ejections can reach Earth from the Sun in 15 to 18 hours. When these particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen in the Earth's magnetic field, they create light. 

Science & Technology News 

21. Thomas Cook India launches 'TCPay' for international money transfer 

  • Thomas Cook India has launched ‘TCPay’, a friendly digital service to simplify the process of international money transfer. Traditionally, sending money abroad was associated with tedious paperwork and limited tenure. 
  • With TCPay, customers can now enjoy 24×7 remittances with ease and efficiency. TCPay offers a simple and intuitive digital interface across Thomas Cook's digital platforms, including FXNOW (B2C app), portal, and call center for support. 
  • Introduction to Video KYC enhances security and speeds up transactions, enabling secure and instant remittances from the comfort of home. Thomas Cook Foreign Exchange is located in 69 metropolitan, tier 2-4 cities/towns across India. 
  • Thomas Cook Forex serves over 1000 corporate clients, over 1 million active Forex prepaid card users and over 1 lakh students using the company's fees and other remittance services.

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