Current Affairs 2024

20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Jakarta [07 Sep 2023]

At the ASEAN-India Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive discussions with ASEAN partners on further strengthening of ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and charting its future course. Prime Minister reaffirmed ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the synergies between India's Indo-Pacific Ocean's Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). He also emphasized the need to complete the review of ASEAN-India FTA (AITIGA) in a time bound manner.

PSLV-XL launches India’s first Solar Mission [02 Sep 2023]

ISRO’s trusted workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) launched India’s first Solar Mission, Aditya L1 from Sriharikota Range. Earlier, ISRO confirmed the launch of Aditya-L1 by PSLV-C57 is accomplished successfully with the satellite placed “precisely” into its intended orbit. With this, India’s first solar observatory has begun its journey to the destination of Sun-Earth L1 point. Aditya L1 is the first space-based Indian mission to study the Sun. Through various orbit raising manoeuvres and the cruise phase over about the next four months, the spacecraft shall be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real time.The spacecraft carries seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic and particle and magnetic field detectors.

Smt. Jaya Varma Sinha takes charge as Chairperson and CEO, Railway Board [01 Sep 2023]

Smt. Jaya Varma Sinha took over the charge of the new Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Railway Board (Ministry of Railways) today in Rail Bhavan. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of Smt. Jaya Varma Sinha as Chairperson & CEO of Railway Board. She is the first woman to be appointed to this Apex post of Indian Railways. Prior to this, Smt. Jaya Varma Sinha has worked as a Member (Operations and Business Development) of the Railway Board. Smt. Sinha was responsible for the overall transportation of freight and passenger services on Indian Railways. Smt. Jaya Varma Sinha joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) in 1988. In her career of over 35 years in Indian Railways, she has worked on various important posts like Member (Operations & Business Development) of the Railway Board, Additional Member, Traffic Transportation, and Railway Board. She has worked on diverse verticals spanning operations, commercial, IT, and vigilance. She was also the first woman to be appointed as the Principal Chief Operations Manager of South Eastern Railway. She had worked as the Railway Advisor in the High Commission of India in Dhaka, Bangladesh during which the famous Maitri Express from Kolkata to Dhaka was inaugurated.

Singapore's Indian-origin ex-minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wins presidential election [01 Sep 2023]

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-origin Singapore-born economist, won Singapore's presidential election on Friday, defeating two other Chinese-origin contenders in the country's first contested presidential polls since 2011. Shanmugaratnam, 66, who served as Singapore's Deputy prime minister from 2011 to 2019, got 70.4 percent votes while his rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian bagged 15.7 percent and 13.88 percent respectively.

Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest [27 Aug 2023]

Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wrote his name in the history books yet again after winning the gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He became the first-ever Indian athlete to achieve this feat, marking a significant milestone for Indian athletics. This was Chopra's second medal at the championships, after he had won the silver medal at Eugene, United States in 2022.

PM conferred with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by the President of Greece [25 Aug 2023]

The President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou conferred PM Narendra Modi with The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour. The Order of Honour was established in 1975. The head of the goddess Athena is depicted on the front side of the Star with the inscription “ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE HONOURED”. The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour is conferred by the President of Greece to Prime Ministers and eminent personalities who by reason of their distinguished position, have contributed to enhancing the stature of Greece.

The citation says- "In the person of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an honour is bestowed upon the friendly people of India".

It also says, "On the occasion of this visit, the Greek State Honours the Prime Minister of India, a statesman who has tirelessly promoted the global reach of his country and who works systematically for India’s economic progress and prosperity, bringing about bold reforms. A statesman who has brought environmental protection and climate change among the top priorities of international activity".

69th National Film Awards for the year 2021 announce [24 Aug 2023]

The Jury for the 69th National Film Awards announced the winners for the year 2021. The Jury comprised eminent filmmakers and film personalities from across the Indian cine world. The awards were announced by Sh. Ketan Mehta, Chairperson, Feature Films Jury, Sh. Vasanth S Sai, Chairperson, Non-feature Films Jury, Sh. Yatindra Mishra, Best Writing on Cinema Jury in the presence of Ms. Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Best Feature Film award has been given to Rocketry: The Nambi Effect and the Best Non-Feature Film has been bagged by Ek Tha Gaon directed by Srishti Lakhera. The Kashmir Files has been awarded with Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, while RRR has bagged the Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Allu Arjun has won the award for Best Actor for his stellar performance in the movie Pushpa (The Rise Part I) while Alia Bhatt and Kriti Sanon have become joint winners of the Best Actress Award for Gangubai Kathiawadi and Mimi respectively.

Overall Mineral Production Increases by 7.6% in June, 2023 [24 Aug 2023]

The index of mineral production of the mining and quarrying sector for the month of June 2023 (Base: 2011-12=100) at 122.3, is 7.6% higher as compared to the level in the month of June 2022. The cumulative growth for the period April-June, 2023-24 over the corresponding period of the previous year is 6.3% percent. The production level of important minerals in June 2023 were: Coal 739 lakh tonne, Lignite 33 lakh tonne, Natural gas (utilized) 2845 million cu. m., Petroleum (crude) 24 lakh tonne, Bauxite 1991 thousand tonne, Chromite 399 thousand tonne, Copper conc. 9 thousand tonnes, Gold 101 kg, Iron ore 229 lakh tonne, Lead conc. 33 thousand tonnes, Manganese ore 303 thousand tonnes, Zinc conc. 140 thousand tonne, Limestone 373 lakh tonne, Phosphorite 126 thousand tonne, and Magnesite 10 thousand tonne. Important minerals showing positive growth during June 2023 over June 2022 include Manganese Ore (27%), Magnesite (21.6%), Gold (18.8%), Chromite (16.6%), Iron Ore (14%), Limestone (10.7%), Coal (9.7%), Lead Conc. (7.6%), Natural gas (U) (3.6%) and Bauxite (1.9%). Other important minerals showing negative growth include: Petroleum(crude) (-0.5%), Zinc Conc.(-1.5%), Copper Conc.(-3.5%), Lignite(-29.6%) and Phosphorite (-33.3%).

LCA Tejas successfully test-fires indigenous ASTRA Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile off Goa coast [23 Aug 2023]

Tejas, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) LSP-7 successfully fired the ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile off the coast of Goa on August 23, 2023. The missile release was successfully carried out from the aircraft at an altitude of about 20,000 ft. All the objectives of the test were met and it was a perfect textbook launch. The test launch was monitored by the Test Director and scientists of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) along with officials from Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA). The aircraft was also monitored by a Chase Tejas twin-seater aircraft. ASTRA, a state-of-the-art BVR air-to-air missile to engage and destroy highly maneuvering supersonic aerial targets, is designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and other laboratories of DRDO. The indigenous Astra BVR firing from home-grown Tejas fighters is a major step towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Four Indians shortlisted for 2023 Commonwealth Youth Awards [29 Jul 2023]

Four Indian young leaders are among 50 social entrepreneurs, environmental champions, innovators, and human rights activists from across the Commonwealth shortlisted for this year’s Youth Awards. The young people, aged between 15 and 29, are all involved in initiatives that make tangible contributions to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From India, Akshay Makar has been shortlisted under SDG13 Climate Action, Soumya Dabriwal SDG 5 Gender Equality, Kaushal Shetty SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Shrutika Silswal SDG 4 Quality Education.

Appointments in the OBC Commission after giving it constitutional recognition [26 Jul 2023]

The appointments of the Chairman and one Member have been made in the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir has been appointed as the chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes. National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) provides low-interest loans for income-generating activities including traditional occupations and agricultural farms to the members of Backward Classes (urban & rural) having annual family income up to Rs.3.00 Lakh. These low-interest loans are provided through its Channel Partners (agencies nominated by the States/UTs, various scheduled Banks etc.).

National Programme for Dairy Development [25 Jul 2023]

Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) is implementing the National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) scheme across the country since Feb-2014. The scheme has been restructured/ realigned in July 2021 for implementation from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the following two components and their respective objectives:

(i)Component ''A'' of NPDD focuses on creating/strengthening infrastructure for quality milk testing equipment as well as primary chilling facilities for State Cooperative Dairy Federations/ District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union/SHGs/Milk Producer Companies/Farmer Producer Organizations throughout the country.

(ii)Component ‘B’ of the NPDD scheme "Dairying through Cooperatives” aims to increase the sale of milk and dairy products by increasing farmers’ access to organized markets, upgrading dairy processing facilities and marketing infrastructure and enhancing the capacity of producer-owned institutions.

Component B of the NPDD scheme is implemented in 9 states namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal with a total outlay of Rs. 1568.28 Crore including Rs. 924.56 Crore as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Rs. 475.54 Crore as Government of India’s (GoI) contribution and Rs. 168.18 Crore as State/Participating Institution’s (PI) contribution.

S. Phangnon Konyak becomes first woman member from Nagaland to Preside over Rajya Sabha [25 Jul 2023]

Marking a significant moment in history, the first woman member from Nagaland in the Rajya Sabha, Smt. Phangnon Konyak presided over the House. Earlier she had created history by becoming the first ever women member to be appointed to the panel of Vice- Vice-Chairpersons on July 17, 2023. In a remarkable move to bring about gender equality, the Chairman, of Rajya Sabha, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar last week nominated four women members (50% of the total number) to the panel of Vice-Chairpersons.

It is also noteworthy that all women members nominated (Smt. P.T. Usha, Smt. S. Phangnon Konyak, Dr. Fauzia Khan, Smt. Sulata Deo) to the panel are first-term Parliamentarians. The panel reconstituted before the Monsoon Session contains a total of eight names, out of which half are women. This is the first time in the history of the Upper House that equal representation has been given to women members in the panel of Vice-Chairpersons.

New Chief Justice appointed in Andhra Pradesh and Bombay High Court [24 Jul 2023]

Vide Notifications of even number dated 24.07.2023, in exercise of power conferred by the Constitution of India, the President of India, after consultation with Chief Justice of India, is pleased to appoint the following High Court Judges as Chief Justices of High Courts:-

  • Shri Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, Judge of the Allahabad High Court - Appointed as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
  • Shri Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Judge of the Bombay High Court (PHC: J&K and Ladakh) - Appointed as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

India's First Under Water Metro Train Run in Kolkata [20 Jul 2023]

Kolkata MetiVhas achieved a significant milestone as it became the first metro rail in India to complete an under-river journey. The metro rakes passed through an underwater tunnel beneath the Hooghly River, with the general manager, P. Uday Kumar Reddy, traveling from Mahakaran to Howrah Maidan station in rake No. MR-612. Senior officers, including the Addi¬tional General Manager and MD of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.(KMRCL), H. N.Jaiswal, also accompanied him during the historic journey. After reaching the Howrah station, Reddy performed a puja, and rake No MR-613 was also taken to the Howrah Maidan station.

Ms. Nivruti Rai appointed as Managing Director & CEO of Invest India [19 Jul 2023]

Ms. Nivruti Rai joined as the Managing Director & CEO of Invest India on July 12, 2023. She has taken over the charge from Ms. Manmeet K Nanda, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), who assumed this additional charge of MD & CEO ad-interim in March 2023. Ms. Rai is the recipient of the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar for her remarkable contributions in the field of technology. Ms. Nivruti Rai joins Invest India after an illustrious 29 years at Intel as a global business and technology leader. She led Intel India as Country Head for the past seven years driving growth and investment of Intel in India. During her tenure at Intel India, she contributed significantly towards indigenous technology development, start-up ecosystem, electronics manufacturing ecosystem, and policy formulation, especially in critical and emerging technologies. She has been part of the leadership team in various industrial bodies and government committees and brings a wealth of experience in working closely with industry associations, business leaders, and government leaders.

DG Rakesh Pal appointed as 25th Director General of Indian Coast Guard [19 Jul 2023]

DG Rakesh Pal has been appointed as the 25th Director General of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). He is an alumnus of the Indian Naval Academy and joined the Indian Coast Guard in January 1989. He has undergone professional specialization in Gunnery & Weapons Systems at Indian Naval School Dronacharya, Kochi, and an Electro-Optics Fire Control Solution course from the United Kingdom. The Officer holds the recognition of being the First Gunner of ICG. In his distinguished career spanning over 34 years, the flag officer has held several key appointments, prominent among them are Commander of Coast Guard Region (North West), Gandhinagar, Deputy Director General (Policy & Plans), and Additional Director General Coast Guard at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi. Besides, he has held various prestigious staff assignments viz. Director (Infra & Works) and Principal Director (Administration) at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi. He has vast sea experience and commanded all classes of ICG ships namely; ICGS Samarth, ICGS Vijit, ICGS Sucheta Kriplani, ICGS Ahalyabai, and ICGS C-03. The Officer has also Commanded two Coast Guard bases of the forward area in Gujarat - Okha & Vadinar.

PM inaugurates New Integrated Terminal Building of Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair [18 Jul 2023]

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the New Integrated Terminal Building of Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair via video conferencing. With a construction cost of around Rs 710 crores, the new terminal building is capable of handling about 50 lakh passengers annually.

3rd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat [18 Jul 2023]

The Third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Indian Presidency was held from 17-18 July 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The meeting was jointly chaired by the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, and Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Shri Shaktikanta Das. Over 500 delegates, including Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from G20 member countries, Invitee Countries, and Heads of various International Organisations (IOs) participated in the meeting. The FMCBG meeting was preceded by the Third G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) meeting during 14-15 July 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Under the Indian Presidency’s theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, G20 Ministers and Governors pledged to prioritise the well-being of the people and the planet and reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing international economic cooperation, strengthening global development for all and steering the global economy towards strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth (SSBIG). The meeting was organised in five thematic sessions covering Global Economy and Global Health, Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure, International Financial Architecture, International Taxation, and Financial Sector & Financial Inclusion.

NTPC Wins ET HR World Future Skills Awards 2023 [17 Jul 2023]

NTPC has received the prestigious Economic Times (ET) HR World Future Skills Awards 2023 for “Best use of AI/AR/VR in Learning and Upskilling" and “Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Programme”. Director (HR), NTPC, Shri Dillip Kumar Patel received the awards on behalf of NTPC at a programme held in Gurugram on 13th July, 2023. These awards bear testimony to NTPC’s focus on the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality (VR) in Learning and Development (L&D). They reflect NTPC’s commitment to develop the competency level of its employees as well as outsourced workers through L&D initiatives such as iGuru which includes training based on Virtual Reality (VR). In addition, NTPC has also introduced several other innovative training initiatives such as GPiLearn, FutureSkills courses, and Samarth modules. NTPC has been adopting and institutionalising progressive and best HR practices, which has been recognised by various prestigious fora at national and international levels.

DAC approves proposals for procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft from France [13 Jul 2023]

A meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), held under the chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, approved three proposals on July 13, 2023. The DAC granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training, and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French Government based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA). The price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French Government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries. Further, the integration of Indian-designed equipment and establishment of a Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO) Hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations.

The DAC also granted the AoN for the procurement of three additional Scorpene submarines under the Buy (Indian) category which will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL). The procurement of additional submarines, with higher indigenous content, will not only help in maintaining the required force level and operational readiness of the Indian Navy but also create significant employment opportunities in the domestic sector. It will also help the MDL in further enhancing its capability and expertise in submarine construction. In addition, the DAC approved the proposal to lay down guidelines for achieving the desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases. It will help in achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in critical manufacturing technologies and the life-cycle sustenance of defense platforms/equipment through indigenous manufacturing.

Ajit Agarkar appointed chief selector [05 Jul 2023]

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Ajit Agarkar as chairman of the Senior Men’s Selection Committee. The other members of the senior selection committee are Subroto Banerjee, Salil Ankola, Sridharan Sharath and Shiv Sundar Das, who filled in as interim chairperson after Sharma stepped down.

Japan-India Maritime Exercise 2023 (JIMEX 23) [05 Jul 2023]

The seventh edition of the bilateral Japan-India Maritime Exercise 2023 (JIMEX 23) hosted by the Indian Navy, is being conducted at/ off Visakhapatnam from 05 -10 July 2023. This edition marks the 11th anniversary of JIMEX, since its inception in 2012. Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) units under the command of RAdm Nishiyama Takahiro, Commander Escort Flotilla One, and Indian Naval ships under the command of RAdm Gurcharan Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet are participating in the exercise. JIMEX 23 will witness the participation of INS Delhi, India's first indigenously built Guided Missile Destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenously designed and built Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette, fleet tanker INS Shakti, a submarine, maritime patrol aircraft P8I and Dornier, ship-borne helicopters and fighter aircraft. JMSDF will be represented by the guided missile destroyer JS Samidare and its integral helicopters. The exercise will be conducted over six days in two phases - a Harbour Phase at Visakhapatnam comprising professional, sports, and social interactions, after which, the two navies will jointly hone their warfighting skills at sea and enhance their interoperability through complex multi-discipline operations in the surface, sub-surface and air domains.

India lift the SAFF Championship 2023 by defeating Kuwait [04 Jul 2023]

India lift the SAFF Championship 2023 by defeating Kuwait which was held at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri won the Golden Boot award of the SAFF Championship 2023. He scored five goals in the 2023 edition.

Olympian Neeraj Chopra wins Lausanne Diamond League 2023 [01 Jul 2023]

Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra obtained the top spot in Lausanne Diamond League 2023 with a best throw of 87.66 m. The star Indian player is returning from a muscle injury he sustained during training.

Egypt presents 'Order of Nile Award', its highest state honor, to PM Modi [25 Jun 2023]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the highest Egyptian state honour 'Order of the Nile' award. The 'Order of the Nile' is conferred upon Heads of State, Crown Princes, and Vice-Presidents who have offered Egypt or humanity invaluable services since 1915. This is the 13th such highest state honour that various countries have conferred upon PM Narendra Modi. The 'Order of the Nile' is composed of a pure gold collar consisting of three-square gold units comprising Pharaonic symbols.

UNDP partners with DAY-NULM towards empowering women entrepreneurs [21 Jun 2023]

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) entered into a collaborative partnership aimed at empowering women to make well-informed career choices in the field of entrepreneurship. The partnership will provide support for women looking to start and expand their own enterprises, particularly in sectors such as the care economy, digital economy, electric mobility, waste management, food packaging, and more. Focused on fostering entrepreneurship development and accelerating enterprise growth, the three-year project, extendable beyond 2025, will cover eight cities in the initial phase.

Senior IAS officer Amit Agrawal assumes charge as CEO of UIDAI [20 Jun 2023]

Senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shri Amit Agrawal assumed charge as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Monday. He is an officer of the 1993 batch IAS from the Chhattisgarh cadre.

IPS Officer Ravi Sinha appointed as new RAW Chief [20 Jun 2023]

Senior IPS officer Ravi Sinha was on Monday appointed the new chief of India’s external intelligence agency RAW. The 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre is currently serving as Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Sinha’s appointment as Secretary, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for a tenure of two years.

Bhavani Devi scripts history, wins India's first ever medal at Asian Fencing Championships [19 Jun 2023]

India's top fencer Bhavani Devi on Monday scripted history as she secured a bronze medal in the women's sabre event at the Asian Fencing Championships. This remarkable achievement marked India's first medal at the continental meet. Bhavani defeated the reigning world champion and world No.1 Misaki Emura of Japan 15-10 in the quarterfinals of the women's sabre event. It was also the Indian's first win over the Japanese in four meetings.

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