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

National News 

1. VP Dhankhar inaugurated Prerna Sthal to honor Indian icons 

  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has inaugurated the Prerna Sthal. 
  • It is a dedicated area in the Parliament complex for statues of freedom fighters and other icons of the country. 
  • The main objective of the construction of Prerna Sthal is that these statues within the Parliament complex should be installed at one place. 
  • That is why it was decided to create a designated spot to ensure that the visitors could come and pay their respects to these great leaders. 

2. India ranked 176th in Yale and Columbia Center's Environmental Performance Index 2024 

  • India is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the overall Environmental Performance Index released by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia Center for International Earth Science Information Network, above Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. This is a marginal improvement over the previous EPI, in which India was ranked at the bottom. 
  • The number one country in the index, based on all 58 indicators, is Estonia, which has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 59% compared to 1990 levels. 
  • Only five countries - Estonia, Finland, Greece, Timor-Leste and the UK - have cut GHG emissions at the rate needed to achieve net zero by 2050. 
  • The 2024 EPI has 58 indicators including biodiversity, air pollution, air and water quality, waste management, emission growth rate, projected emissions, etc., under three main headings of ecosystem vitality, environmental health and climate change. This year, the EPI introduced the Biodiversity and Habitat category. 
  • The EPI is released once every two years, to assess the performance of countries in achieving the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement 2015 and the recent Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework 2022. 


  • India's performance lags behind in many indicators, mainly due to its heavy dependence on coal, which not only contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but also has high air pollution levels. 
  • In air quality, India is ranked 177th, only above Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, and in projected emissions by 2025, it is ranked 172nd. 
  • The report said India has achieved a better rank (133) in climate change, mainly because it has made progress towards its goal of investing in renewable energy and transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2070. 
  • Categories such as solid waste management, forestry and agriculture are where India has performed relatively better. However, poor scores in the air quality, emissions and biodiversity categories brought down its overall performance. 

3. Rahul Gandhi to retain Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat, Priyanka Gandhi to contest by-election from Wayanad 

  • In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi won both the Rae Bareli seat in Uttar Pradesh and the Wayanad seat in Kerala. 
  • On June 17, 2024, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced that Rahul will represent the Rae Bareli seat, while Priyanka Gandhi will contest the by-election for the Wayanad seat. 
  • Rahul Gandhi has been elected from two (Lok Sabha) seats. Since the rules allow retaining only one seat, he had to opt out within 14 days of being elected an MP. The deadline to do so is June 18. 
  • She has received love from the people of Wayanad, and people there want her to retain the seat, but the rules do not allow it. If Ms Vadra wins the Lok Sabha byelection, all three members of the Gandhi family will be in Parliament for the first time. 
  • Since the first general election, the Congress has won the Rae Bareli seat 18 times so far, with Feroze Gandhi being the MP from there twice in 1952 and 1957. 
  • Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the MP from Rae Bareli between 1967 and 1977. After Rahul contested from Amethi, Sonia Gandhi moved to the adjacent Rae Bareli seat and was the MP from there from 2004 to 2024. Earlier this year, she moved to the Rajya Sabha. 
  • When Indira Gandhi had won both Rae Bareli and Medak seats in 1980, she had given up her UP seat and contested from Medak in Andhra Pradesh. 44 years later, her grandson retained the Rae Bareli seat and decided to vacate his seat in South India. 

4. First direct flight service started between India and Cambodia 

  • The first direct flight between New Delhi, India and Phnom Penh, Cambodia started on 16 June 2024. The flight was officially inaugurated by Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Neth Savoeun and Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Khobragade. 
  • The flight between the two capitals will be operated four times a week by Cambodia's national flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air. 
  • This air travel will make the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site Angkor Archaeological Park more accessible to Indian tourists and provide Cambodian patients better access to medical treatment in India. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted cultural and linguistic connect, citing India's participation in the restoration of Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear temples in Cambodia. 
  • The move marks the beginning of the first tourism year and will boost tourism and people-topeople contact, the Indian Embassy in Cambodia said in a social media post. 
  • The Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh described the development as a “historic moment”, citing India’s “Act East” policy. Before the Covid pandemic, around 75,000 people from India visited Cambodia every year, and as per 2021 data, the number is around 45,000 per year. 

5.'Digi Yatra could be expanded to hotels, rail travel, public places’ 

  • Digi Yatra, a check in service at airports based on facial recognition technology, may be implemented at hotels and public places such as historical monuments, says the chief executive officer of the Digi Yatra Foundation, Suresh Khadakbhavi. A prototype for this use-case has been developed and discussions are ongoing with government agencies such as the Tourism Ministry, he adds. 
  • "The vision is to create a travel stack for seamless movement across India," Mr. Khadakbhavi said in an exclusive interview with The Hindu while talking about the future use-cases of Digi Yatra. 
  • "This would enhance travel experience for a tourist who has to produce a passport for check-in at a hotel or at police stations for verification," he said. Digi Yatra could also be used for rail travel, and an initial discussion has also been held with the Railway Ministry. Nationals of certain countries such as Pakistan are required to report their arrival and intended departure at each place of stay within 24 hours at the nearest police 
  • A passenger using the Digi Yatra faces right, CEO of Digi Yatra Suresh Khac station. Tourists of other nationalities who hold a visa for a period of more than 180 days, are also required to register at the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO). 
  • Mr. Khadakbhavi explained that extending Digi Yatra to hotels and public places would prevent data leakage as people often tend to share unencrypted form of identity documents through photocopies and screenshots, whereas Digi Yatra ID does not carry any personally identifiable information. 
  • The Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem only saves a hash value or a numerical value that identifies the content of the file so that none of the four data items shared by passengers at the time of registering on the app (name, Aadhaar, face scan, and passport number) canLaunched in 2022 ensuring more efficient airport operations, alongside physical expansion of airports in the country. But the proposed use-case for hotels and other public places implies that the role for Digi Yatra could extend beyond air travel. 
  • The Digi Yatra Foundation itself is a not-for-profit private company which is a consortium of five private airports that have a combined shareholding of 74%, and the Airports Authority of India which holds the remainder The Digi Yatra initiative is digital processing of air travellers which uses their biometrics such as a facial scan instead of a boarding pass to enable paperless movement through various checkpoints at an airport. The initiative was rolled out at airports in December 2022, and today covers 14 airports while 15 more airports will be included by the end of 2024. 
  • The primary aim of the initiative at the time its policy document was launched in 2017 was to improve passenger throughput (or number of passengers passing through various checkpoints) at airports. This would achieve the objective of enhancing airport infrastructure needed to cater to an increased 26% share. 
  • At airports, so far Digi Yatra e-gates were deployed primarily at entry gates outside airports as well as security screening queues inside the passenger terminal building. Now, they increasingly can be seen at more touch-points such as boarding gates as well as baggage drops. "Digi Yatra was envisaged for all the touchpoints, such as airport entry gates, check- in, baggage drop and boarding gates. But airports rolled them out for airport entry gates and security checkpoints, and some have started to also implement it at baggage drop," Mr. Khadakbhavi said explaining this would eliminate the need for producing boarding passes wherever passengers are required to do so. On the issue of privacy concerns raised by its policy document, such as access to data for third-party vendors and the circumstances under which its mandatory data purge within 24 hours can be set aside, the CEO said that the foundation will soon be releasing a revised policy document to address language issues that have raised concerns over possible misuse. 
  • On concerns over lack of consent from users at airports where enrolments are being carried out on the day of travel, Mr. Khadakbhavi blamed "over enthusiasm" among private staff in enrolling travelers and that they were in conversation with airports to ensure their staff is adequately sensitized. 

6. Negotiating for peace India's decision to attend but not vote at the Swiss conference was right 

  • The two-day "Summit on Peace", that ended on Sunday in Burgenstock, met with mixed outcomes. Switzerland was able to bring together more than 90 countries, at least 56 were represented by leaders, and the final joint communiqué was signed by about 82 countries and organizations, with the exception of a few including India. The document made a strong call for an end to the "ongoing war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine" and a pitch for sovereignty, territorial integrity and adherence to international law. It cited three areas of broad understanding: nuclear safety, food security and the exchange of all prisoners of war, displaced and detained Ukrainians. 
  • The statement was not very ambitious in its scope, as the organisers were keen to bring as many countries, particularly from the 'Global South' on board which they managed to do to some extent. However, despite all these areas where Ukrainian President Zelenskyy hailed a "historic victory", there were shortcomings. Switzerland's decision not to invite Russia, and to build their negotiations on the basis of the Ukraine Peace Formula along with UN resolutions, made the event appear one-sided. 
  • The failure in convincing China, which arguably holds the most sway over Moscow, to even send a delegation was another blow. That no BRICS member, current and future, signed on to the statement indicates that it was a non-starter among the emerging economies. Switzerland, Ukraine and other western countries had made a special attempt to win India's fa- vour for the conference, including a last minute appeal by Mr. Zelenskyy when he met PM Modi at the G-7 outreach summit in Italy. As a close partner of Russia, a key Global South player, and a country that has kept a balance in the conflict, India's presence would have been a major win for the organizers. 
  • However, while New Delhi sent the NSA and Deputy NSA to two preparatory conferences in Jeddah and Davos, the Indian delegation here was led by the Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry. India has consistently abstained from every resolution at the UN, Security Council, IAEA, Human Rights Council and other multilateral fora that seeks to criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. 
  • While India may share concerns over much of the text released at the conference, it could not have gone ahead with its overtly anti-Russian slant. In its presence, however, New Delhi showed that it is willing to be part of the process, especially if it leads to a more inclusive future conference, with Russia and Ukraine at the table. As a result, India's decision to attend the conference, but not endorse its outcome, was probably a foregone conclusion. 

International News 

7. Mumbai is India’s most costly city for expats; Mercer report 

  • Mumbai, the financial capital of the country and home to the Hindi film industry, still remains the most expensive city in the country for expatriates, according to a survey conducted by HR consultancy Mercer. 
  • Mumbai is notably expensive in terms of personal care, energy and utilities, transportation, and housing rentals, as per Mercer’s 2024 Cost of Living survey. 
  • Globally, Hong Kong retained its position as the most expensive city. 
  • In the list, Mumbai has jumped 11 places to rank 136, while Delhi has risen by four spots to 164. Conversely, Chennai has dropped five places to 189, Bengaluru has decreased by six spots to 195, and Hyderabad remains unchanged at 202. 
  • Meanwhile, Pune saw a jump of eight spots to 205, and Kolkata has moved up four spots to 207. 
  • In Asia, Mumbai stands as the 21st most expensive city with Delhi in the 30th position among surveyed locations. 
  • On the global stage, the top five cities in terms of cost of living have seen no changes in rankings. Hong Kong maintains the top spot, followed by Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, New York City, London, Nassau, and Los Angeles. 

8. New species of 100-million-year-old pterosaur discovered in Australia 

  • Paleontologists have discovered a new species of pterosaur after analysing 100 million-year-old fossil bones discovered in western Queensland, Australia. The fossil remains belonged to a flying reptile and it lived among the dinosaurs. 
  • The latest study titled "Halischia peterseni, a new enhangurian pterosaur from the late Early Cretaceous of Australia" is published in Scientific Reports. 
  • A pterosaur is any of the flying reptiles that flourished during all periods (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) of the Mesozoic Era (2 million to 66 million years ago). 
  • Although pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, both are archosaurs or "ruler reptiles," a group to which birds and crocodiles also belong. They were not only the first reptiles capable of flight. They were also the first vertebrates to fly. 
  • Pterosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 65.5 million years ago, during the mass extinction known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (K-T extinction event). 
  • The Curtin University-led study is based on fossil remains discovered in 2021 by Kevin Petersen, a curator at the Kronosaurus Korner Museum in Richmond, Australia. The remains belong to Halischia peterseni, a new genus and species of enhangurian pterosaur. 
  • Several pterosaurs, including Quetzalcoatlus, said to be the largest flying animal ever discovered, were featured in Hollywood films such as Jurassic Park. 
  • The research team, led by PhD student Adele Pentland from Curtin's School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, identified the specimen as an enhanguruian. Enhanguruian is a group of pterosaurs found around the world, including in what is now Brazil, England, Morocco, China, Spain and the United States. 

9.Petrodollar deal’ between USA and Saudi Arabia ends 

  • The US-Saudi Arabia petrodollar deal, a key arrangement in global finance, has ended after 50 years. Introduced on June 8, 1974, this landmark deal facilitated the exchange of US dollars for crude oil exports, leading to the dominance of the dollar. 
  • The term “petrodollar” refers to US dollars earned by oil-exporting countries through the sale of oil. The concept emerged in the early 1970s and has played a key role in global economics and geopolitics. 
  • Initially, the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement established the US dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, pegged to gold. This facilitated international trade and economic stability after World War II. 
  • However, in 1971, US President Richard Nixon ended the dollar's convertibility to gold, leading to volatile exchange rates and currency volatility. 
  • The following year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an oil embargo in response to US support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War, causing oil prices to skyrocket. 
  • The US struck a deal with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to stabilize the situation, under which oil would only be traded in US dollars. In return, the US provided military protection and economic aid. 
  • With the expiration of the deal, Saudi Arabia is now free to sell oil for currencies such as the yuan, euro, ruble, and yen, and is considering digital currencies such as bitcoin. 
  • This shift could accelerate the trend to use alternative currencies for international trade, potentially weakening the global dominance of the US dollar.
  • A decline in global demand for the dollar could lead to higher inflation, interest rates and weaken bond markets in the US, reflecting a significant change in global financial dynamics. 

State News 

10. Maharashtra farmer Siddesh Sakore named ‘Land Hero’ by UN agency 

  • Siddesh Sakore, a farmer and founder of Agro Rangers from Maharashtra, has been recognised as a Land Hero by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The announcement was made during an event in Bonn, Germany. 
  • UNCCD celebrated its 30th anniversary by recognising 10 individuals from various countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Mali, Moldova, Morocco, Philippines, US and Zimbabwe along with Siddesh Sakore from India. 
  • Sakore, who hails from a farming family, has a degree in mechanical engineering. He has developed several cost-effective mechanical devices for converting organic waste into compost and is committed to natural farming and waste management. 
  • His initiative focuses on solving soil degradation issues and empowering small and marginal farmers through innovative agroforestry models. UNCCD praised Sakore’s dedication to address the economic and environmental challenges faced by farmers in Maharashtra. 
  • UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw emphasised the urgency of addressing land degradation, with projections showing a significant increase in the global population’s dependence on land resources by 2050. 
  • The secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is based in Bonn, Germany. The UNCCD has 197 parties (196 countries and the European Union) by 2024, making it one of the most universally supported international agreements. 

11. Oracle and Tamil Nadu to empower youth with IT skills under ‘Naan Mudhalvan Programme’ 

  • Oracle has joined hands with Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation to enhance IT skills among the youth of the state through the ‘Naan Mudhalvan Programme’. 
  • The initiative aims to provide training and certification in cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, data science, AI, ML and blockchain, providing employment opportunities to over 200,000 students. 
  • The training will be delivered by teachers and academicians directly on campuses, complemented by digital modules available on Oracle MyLearn. 
  • Over 60,000 students from various streams across 900 colleges in Tamil Nadu have already enrolled in the programme. The initiative not only focuses on foundational training but also offers professional-level certifications and personalised learning paths tailored to individual educational goals. 
  • Oracle MyLearn, the platform used for digital learning, will provide flexible training modules. These modules will cater to various learning levels, ensuring comprehensive skill development in modern IT technologies. 
  • This initiative underlines Oracle's commitment to skilling the youth and enhancing their employability in the emerging job market. 
  • Oracle Corporation was founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates. Oracle is headquartered in Redwood City, California, USA. 
  • It is a multinational computer technology corporation primarily known for developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems, and enterprise software products. 

12. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma inaugurates ‘Janata Bhawan Solar Project’ 

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma inaugurated the Janata Bhawan Solar Project, a grid-connected rooftop and ground-mounted solar PV system with a 2.5 MW power generation capacity, at a function held in Guwahati. 
  • The project will generate an average of 3 lakh units of electricity every month and the investment amount of Rs 12.56 crore is estimated to be recovered in a period of 4 years, leading to a saving of around Rs 30 lakh every month. 
  • The launch of the solar power project makes the Assam Secretariat complex the first civil secretariat in the country to be completely dependent on solargenerated power for daily consumption. 
  • With a lifespan of 25 years, this solar plant will cut down 3,060 metric tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Speaking at the event, the chief minister called the launch of the project a landmark moment in the state’s move towards adopting green energy.
  • The new rule will help the electricity board reduce its losses. In a video posted, the Assam CM said that from July 1, all government employees, government officials, employees and ministers will pay their bills themselves. 
  • The Assam CM further said that the government has initiated a programme to automatically cut off power at 8 pm in all government offices except the CM secretariat, home and finance departments. The initiative has already been implemented in 8,000 government offices, schools and other institutions across the state. 

Banking and Financial News

13. Indian Bank organizes MSME credit camp 

  • Indian Bank has organized a credit camp for the MSME sector in Chennai. 
  • The event was chaired by MD & CEO of the Bank SL Jain. During the camp, 440+ sanction tickets amounting to over Rs 500.00 crore (Approx.) were distributed to MSME customers. 
  • The event featured presentations on the bank’s MSME and FOREX schemes and was attended by senior bank executives. 

About Indian Bank 

  • Founded – 1907 
  • Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
  • MD & CEO – Shanti Lal Jain 
  • Tagline – Your Own Bank 

Appointment News

14. GWEC India appoints Suzlon Group’s Girish Tanti as new chairman 

  • Suzlon Vice Chairman Girish Tanti has been elected as the Chair of Global Wind Energy Council India (GWEC India). 
  • The position plays a key role in driving GWEC India’s work with national and State Governments that assist efforts for building the right momentum and establishing policy frameworks to ensure the country delivers on its wind energy and supply chain potential, both onshore and offshore. 
  • As the world’s fourth biggest wind market, with 46 GW of onshore wind and one of the world’s most prominent wind energy manufacturing hubs, Tanti’s leadership at GWEC and GWEC India shall help further catalyse momentum. 

Recent Appointment 

  • President of the Asian Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons – Dr Kapil Dua 
  • Principal Secretary to PM – Dr PK Mishra (reappointment) 
  • National Security Advisor – Ajit Doval (reappointment) 
  • Advisors to the Prime Minister – Amit Khare and Tarun Kapoor (reappointment) 
  • MD and CEO of SBICAP Ventures Limited – Prem Prabhakar 
  • DG of FICCI – Jyoti Vij Books 

15. Alia Bhatt launched children’s book 

  • Actor Alia Bhatt debuted as a children’s book author with “The Adventures of Ed-a-Mamma: Ed Finds A Home.” 
  • The book is inspired by her kidswear brand Ed-a-Mamma, featuring illustrations by Tanvi Bhat. 
  • Alia shared the book release on Instagram, highlighting her new role beyond acting, linked to her personal life as a mother. 

Recent Book 

  • India’s Trade Policy; The 1990’s and beyond – Arvind Panagariya 
  • An Anchored Vision – Karumuttu T Kanan 
  • India and The Indian Ocean World Trade and Politics – Ashin Das Gupta 
  • A Fly on the RBI Wall – Alpana Killawala 
  • The Scam That Shook a Nation: The Nagarwala Scandal – Prakash Patra and Rasheed Kidwai 

Important day 

16. 17 June – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 

  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on 17 June. 
  • Objective – To create awareness about the diminishing land cover on earth and urge people to come together to address the pressing issue 
  • Theme 2024 – United for Land. Our Legacy. Our Future 
  • During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, desertification, loss of biodiversity and climate change were recognised as the greatest challenges to sustainable development. 
  • In 1994, The UN General Assembly established the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – the legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and sustainable land management. 
  • In 2007, the UN General Assembly declared the decade of 2010 to 2020 as the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification. 

17. 18 June – Sustainable Gastronomy Day 

  • World Sustainable Gastronomy Day is celebrated on June 18 across the world to draw the attention towards the importance of gastronomy, which is sometimes called the art of food. 
  • Gastronomy can also refer to a style of cooking from a particular region. Often it refers to local food and cuisine. 
  • Sustainability is the idea that something is done in a way that is not wasteful of our natural resources and can be continued into the future without being detrimental to our environment or health. 
  • In 2016, the UN General Assembly designated June 18 as Sustainable Gastronomy Day to acknowledge gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world. The first Sustainable Gastronomy Day was officially observed on June 18, 2017. 

Obituary News

18. Former Odisha Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare passes away

  • Former Odisha Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare passed away at the age of 95. 
  • Bhandare was a senior Congress leader from Maharashtra and a former Rajya Sabha member for three terms. 
  • He also practised as a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and served as Governor of Odisha from August 2007 to March 2013.

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