Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 2nd June 2024

National News 

1.NSE Indices launches India’s first EV index to facilitate 

  • Index provider NSE Indices launched a new thematic index called Nifty EV & New Age Automotive index. 
  • The 33-stock index will track the performance of companies which form a part of the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem or are involved in the development of new-age automotive vehicles or related technology. 
  • Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki are the top four components of the index. 

2. Railways to install optical fibre-based system to detect elephant crossing 

  • The Railways will soon install an optical fiber-based intrusion detection system (IDS) along the elephant infested 33-km stretch between Kottekkad and Madukkarai to prevent elephant deaths on the tracks. The Southern Railway is installing the system for the first time after its successful implementation in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR). 
  • Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Arun Kumar Chaturvedi said the ₹15.4- crore work would be done on a war footing. "We expect to finish the work by this December," Mr. Chaturvedi told The Hindu. 
  • According to railway officials, the project is likely to be costlier as it involves laying of optical fiber cable along both sides of the A and B rail lines between Kottekkad and Madukkarai. In effect, the cable network has to be laid for about 130 km. 
  • The optical fiber network will detect the presence of animals, big and small, through vibrations and send real-time alerts to the intrusion monitoring cell, stationmasters and loco pilots. "We will soon calibrate the signals for a variety of animals as well as vehicles. If it's a deer, the signals will say it. And if it's a jeep, it will be identified," Mr. Chaturvedi said. 
  • There will be no cameras for the IDS. It will rather be depending on acoustics and optics. The exact location of the encroaching elephants will be passed to loco pilots and stationmasters. 
  • Ideally the cable has to be laid about 100 meters wide of the tracks on both sides. However, officials are worried about the lack of enough railway land. "If the fiber is laid close to the tracks, then loco pilots may not get enough time to respond to an alarm. Elephants sometimes step onto the tracks out of nowhere," said Mr. Chaturvedi 

3. BFI agrees to become a member of World Boxing 

  • The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has agreed to become a member of World Boxing, the International Federation established to ensure boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement.
  • The membership application has been approved by the BFI’s General Assembly, and will be ratified by World Boxing’s Executive Board. 
  • World Boxing was launched in April 2023 and aims to ensure that boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement. 
  • The BFI president, Ajay Singh, recently met with World Boxing’s President and Secretary General to discuss ways in which India can support the International Federation in growing its member base in Asia where FBI is one of the largest National Federation.

4. Adani Ports signs 30-year concession pact to operate Tanzania Port Terminal 

  • Marking its third foray into international ports, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) will operate and manage Container Terminal 2 at the Dar es Salaam Port, Tanzania, through its subsidiary Adani International Ports Holdings Pte Ltd. 
  • The concession agreement for 30 years has been signed with the Tanzania Ports Authority. 
  • Through a joint venture formed with Abu Dhabi Ports Group and East Harbour Terminals Ltd last year, India’s largest port operator has also bought the Hong Kong-based SPV which employs the manpower and equipment at the terminal for $39.5 million. 

Intetnational News 

5. 'War with China neither imminent nor unavoidable’ 

  • United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin told a gathering of top security officials on Saturday that war with China was neither imminent nor inevitable, despite rapidly escalating tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, stressing the importance of renewed dialogue between him and his Chinese counterpart in avoiding "miscalculations misunderstandings." 
  • Mr. Austin's comments at the Shangri-La defense forum in Singapore came the day after he met for more than an hour on the sidelines with Chinese De- fence Minister Dong Jun, the first in-person meeting between the top defense officials since contacts between the American and Chinese militaries broke down in 2022 after the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, infuriating Beijing. 
  • Neither side budged from their long standing positions on Taiwan which China claims as its own and has not ruled out using force to take and on China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which has led to direct confrontations between China and other nations in the region, most notably the Philippines. 
  • While declining to detail the specifics of their con- versation, Mr. Austin said the most important thing was that the two were again talking. 
  • Addressing the same forum on Friday night, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. bluntly outlined what could be at stake, saying that if a Filipino were killed as China confronts his country's coast guard and merchant fleet to press its claims in the South China Sea, it would be "very, very close to what we define as an act of war and therefore we will respond accordingly." 
  • Mr. Marcos added that he assumed the Philippines' treaty partners, which include the U.S., "hold the same standard.” 

Banking and Financial 

6. RBI cancels 10-year green bond auction for first time 

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cancelled the auction of 10-year green bonds as traders refused to pay greenium. 
  • Greenium signifies the premium investors are willing to pay for green bonds because of their sustainability impact. 
  •  Funds generated via the sale of green bonds will be allocated to public-sector projects aimed at decreasing the carbon footprint of the economy. 
  • Diverging from the pattern of issuing green bonds in the latter half, the government plans to issue green bonds worth Rs 12,000 crore in the first half of the current financial year. 
  • The green bonds were planned to be issued in two tranches of Rs 6,000 crore each for a period of 10 years. 

7. India’s fiscal deficit in FY24 improved to 5.6% of GDP: Govt data 

  • India’s fiscal deficit stood at Rs 16.54 lakh crore in FY24 as against the budgetary target of Rs 17.86 lakh crore. With this, the fiscal gap has reached 95.3 per cent of the budgetary target, data from the Comptroller General of Accounts showed. 
  • The central government’s fiscal deficit stood at 5.6 per cent of GDP in FY24, below the revised estimate of 5.8 per cent. 
  • The centre’s net tax receipts for FY24 were higher than projected at Rs 23.27 lakh crore, and 100.1 per cent of the year’s target. 
  • Meanwhile, the total expenditure came in at Rs 44.43 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of the targeted expenditure for that year. 
  • The government’s capital spending on infrastructure projects was Rs 9.49 lakh crore. 
  • In addition, fiscal deficit for April this year stood at Rs 2.1 lakh crore, or 12.5 per cent of the full year target. 

8. RBI imposes monetary penalty on SBM Bank (India) 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 88.70 lakh on SBM Bank (India) for non-compliance with certain regulatory norms. 
  • The central banks said the penalty has been imposed for non-compliance with licensing conditions imposed by the RBI, and specific directions to stop undertaking Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) transactions with immediate effect. 
  • The RBI said the bank was engaged business correspondents for establishing account-based relationship with customers from certain regions, despite its request being not acceded to by RBI. 

9. Recent Penalties imposed on Banks by RBI

  • HSBC (36.38 lakh) – for violating Fema regulations 
  • ICICI Bank (1 crore) – For non-compliance with certain directions on ‘Loans and Advances – Statutory and Other Restrictions’. 
  • YES Bank (91 lakh) – For violation of certain norms on ‘Customer Service in Banks’, and ‘Un-authorised Operation of lnternal/Office. 
  • Hero Fincorp Ltd (3.10 lakh) – For rule violations 
  • Lokmangal Co-operative Bank (5 lakh) – For rule violations. 

10. India’s GDP grows 8.2% in FY24 against 7% in FY23 

  • According to the provisional estimate of the National Statistical Organization (NSO), the Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 8.2 per cent in the financial year 2023-24. 
  • The Indian GDP growth rate in 2022-23 was 7 percent. This is the ninth time since 1960-61 the Indian GDP has grown by 8 per cent or more in a financial year. 
  • According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, real GDP or GDP at constant prices is estimated to attain a level of over 173 lakh crore rupees in the year 2023-24. 
  • The Reserve Bank of India had estimated a growth rate of 7.6 per cent for the Indian economy in 2023-24. The unexpectedly high growth rate of 8.2 per cent in 2023-24 was due to the strong performance of the economy in the fourth quarter (January- March 2024) of the financial year 2023-24. 
  • The Indian GDP grew by 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023-24 (January-March) compared to January -March 2023. 
  • Quarterly GDP Growth Rate in 2023-24 
  • The following are the growth rates of the Indian GDP in the four quarters of the financial year 2023-24. 

11. Quarter of Financial Year 2023-24 Growth Rate 

  • Q1(April – June 2023) – 8.2 % 
  • Q2(July to November 2023) – 8.1% 
  • Q3 (October -December 2023) – 8.6% 
  • Q4 (January- March 2024) – 7.8% 

Sports News

12. Bernadine Bezuidenhout retires from international cricket 

  • New Zealand cricketer Bernadine Bezuidenhout announced her retirement from international cricket. 
  • The 30-year-old appeared in 4 ODIs, and 7 T20Is for South Africa after that she switched to New Zealand. Bezuidenhout played 16 ODIs and 22 T20Is for the Kiwis in the international cricket. 
  • Bezuidenhout played her maiden international cricket in 2014 for the Proteas. 
  • In 2015, she relocated to Christchurch and was picked in New Zealand’s squad in 2018 after her end of a two-year residential stand-down in August 2017. 

Recently Retired Players 

  • James Anderson (England) – International Cricket 
  • Saurav Ghosal (India) – Professional Squash 
  • Collins Obuya (Kenya) – International cricket 
  • Matthew Wade (Australia) – First-class cricket 
  • Neil Wagner (New Zealand) – International cricket 

13. England’s Brydon Carse banned for three months for betting violations 

  • England paceman Brydon Carse has been banned from all cricket for three months for betting violations. 
  • Brydon Carse, who signed an England central contract in October, accepted the charges of placing 303 bets on various cricket matches between 2017 and 2019. 
  • Carse, who signed an England central contract in October, accepted the charges of placing 303 bets on various cricket matches between 2017 and 2019, though not on games in which he was playing. 

14. Indian-American Bruhat Soma wins Scripps National Spelling Bee 

  • Bruhat Soma, a 12-year-old Indian-American seventh-grade student from Florida, has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee after he spelt 29 words correctly in the tiebreaker, maintaining the dominance of the children from the small ethnic community in the prestigious competition. 
  • Bruhat emerged victorious in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, earning more than $50,000 in cash and other prizes. 
  • This year’s contest came down to a tiebreaker in which Bruhat spelt 29 words correctly in 90 seconds, beating Faizan Zaki, who managed to correctly spell 20 words in the lightning round. 

Important day

15. 1 June – Global Day of Parents 

  • The Global Day of Parents is observed on 1 June every year. 
  • The United Nations General Assembly established this day in 2012 to express international awareness about the importance of parenthood and to promote the healthy development of children by their parents. 
  • The day was established to highlight the parents’ significant role in their children’s development and promote their healthy growth and development. 
  • The General Assembly also emphasized the importance of parental support and involvement in the education and development of children. 

16. 1 June – World Milk Day 

  • World Milk Day is celebrated every year on 1 June. 
  • This day is dedicated to the dairy industry and the products they sell. It is a day to start a conversation about how accessible, affordable, and nutritious milk is around the world. 
  • World Milk Day, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, has been observed across the world since its inception in 2001. 
  • Milk is a staple of many cultures, and it is used in a variety of ways, including drinking, cooking, and making ice cream. It is also a significant source of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, which are essential nutrients for human health. 

Schemes and commmites News

17. Archaeologists, Sanskrit scholars tie up to decipher Rigveda text 

  • Taking forward the research to potentially establish a relationship between the Harappan civilisation and the people of the Vedic age, a group of archaeologists are now collaborating with Sanskrit scholars to decipher the text of the Rigveda. In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Vasant Shinde, archaeologist and former Vice-Chancellor of Deccan College, Pune, said that a clear understanding of what is mentioned in the Rigveda text is important in order to correlate archaeological evidence unearthed by his team in excavations of Ha rappan settlements at Ha ryana's Rakhigarhi and Ba nawali, at Kalibanga on the Haryana-Rajasthan boundary, and at Dholavira in Gujarat. 
  • The National Council of Educational Research and More research needed 
  • Mr. Shinde's work is now focussed on testing the hypothesis that the Harappans and the Vedic people were the same. The NCERT has added a disclaimer in the textbook that more research is required to establish this relationship. 
  • "While excavating the site of Rakhigarhi, we found evidence of ritual platforms and fire altars. Parallely, fire worship is mentioned in Rig Vedic texts. We now need to get more understanding about what is mentioned in Rig vedic text, and how much of that can be correlated with archaeological evidence. We have not done this in great detail, but now we want to do it," Mr. Shinde said. 
  • Training (NCERT) recently made a major addition to the Class 12 History textbook, Themes in Indian History Part 1, under a chapter titled Bricks, Beads and Bones-The Harappan Civilisation, based on DNA evidence from the 4,600- year-old remains of a wo man, indicating that the Harappans were an indigenous people. 
  • Currently, there is a debate about the period of origin of the Vedas, with one set of historians holding that the Vedas originated between 2,000 BC and 1,500 BC. However, another set of historians, including Mr. Shinde, believe that the Vedas date farther back to 2,500 BC or 4,500 years ago. This would coincide with the age of the genetic evidence from the erstwhile Harappan wo man's bone samples tested at the Rakhigarhi site. 
  • Mr. Shinde argues that nobody knows when theVedic texts were written, adding that people will only believe hypotheses if one has the archaeological evidence to prove or disprove them. 
  • "If you see descriptions in Rigvedic text of the area where people lived, there is frequent description of the Saraswati river. The mention of the river is recorded at least 71 times in the Rig Vedic text. During archaeological excavations, we discovered a majority of Harappan settlements along the banks of the Saraswati. Of the nearly 2,000 known Harappan settlements spread over the Indus basin and in Guj arat, almost two-thirds, at least 1,200, are located along the basin of the Saraswati," Mr. Shinde says.
  • Another point of reference which may link the Harappans with Vedic times is a set of animal bones found and studied by two archaeo-zoologists in the Surkotada region of Kutch, Gujarat. While a group of researchers from Hungary stated that these bones belonged to a proper domesticated horse, another group from Harvard University headed by Richard Meadow concluded that these were the bones of a wild ass. 
  • Mr. Shinde says that this opens up a point of debate. "Those who believe that the Harappans and Rigvedic people are the same cite the Hungarian reference of the animal bones being that of a horse, as horses find mention in Rig Vedic texts. However, those historians who date the Rigveda to after 2,000 BC, believe Richard Meadow's theory that the animal bones were that of a wild ass as some scholars say domesticated horses came to India only after 1,800 BC from Central Asia," he says. 
  • He further points out that some terracotta figurines of horse-like animals have been excavated from the Harappan sites of Lothal and Mohenjo-daro. 
  • Contrary to the theory that there was a large-scale immigration of Aryans from Europe to Central Asia and then to South Asia, the NCERT textbook revisions mention that the Harappans were indigenous to India, dating back to 10,000 BC. 

Genetic similarities

  • Mr. Shinde's group carried out DNA analysis from the blood samples of 3,000 modern South Asians from different linguistic and religious groups, and found that most of them from the Andaman and Nicobar islands to Ladakh and Kashmir, and from Afghanistan to Bengal carried genetic similarities to the Harappan skeleton. .

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