Daily Current Affairs and GK | 11 and 12 April 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 18:02 PM IST

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Topic: Defence

1. Indian Army started the induction of control and reporting systems under 'Project Akashteer’.

  •  The induction of control and reporting systems will enhance air defence capabilities.
  • The main aim of the project is to deliver an unprecedented level of situational awareness and control for the force.
  • It will ensure the safety of friendly aircraft and keep a check on hostile aircraft in contested airspace.
  • The deployment will start with the launch of the first batch of control centers from BEL-Ghaziabad.
  • It is developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative.
  • This project will significantly enhance the operational efficiency and integration of the Army's air defense mechanisms.
  • 'Project Akashteer’ is designed to enhance the operational efficiency and integration of the Army's air defense mechanisms.
  • It will enable swift engagement of hostile targets, significantly reduce the risk of fratricide, and ensure the safety of friendly aircraft in contested airspace.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

2. IIT Bombay secured the 45th rank in Engineering and Technology of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

  • With an overall score of 79.1 out of 100, IIT Bombay has been kept in 45th position in Engineering and Technology of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject for 2024.
  • The ranking of IIT Bombay has improved by two places as compared to last year.
  • IIT Bombay has been ranked in 4 out of 5 broad subject areas, which include Engineering & Technology, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Management, and Arts and Humanities.
  • The QS World University Rankings by Subject identifies the world’s strongest universities in individual subject areas, covering 55 disciplines.
  • IIT Bombay has been ranked 25th for Minerals and Mining, 30th in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, 42nd for Civil and Structural Engineering, and 57th for Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering.
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati bagged a spot among the world’s top universities for the study of two subjects - Data Science and Petroleum Engineering.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is India's highest-ranked university for development studies.
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad is among the top 25 institutions for business and management studies.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in the first position QS World University Rankings 2024.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

3. India ranked third with 67 unicorns worldwide, the US has 703, and China has 340 unicorns.

  • As per the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2024, India has recorded a decline in unicorn creation for the first time since 2017.
  • According to the latest Hurun Global Unicorn Index, there were 67 unicorns in India in 2023, one less than 68 such startups last year.
  • The US leads the list with 703 unicorns, which is 37 more than 2022, and China is second on the list with 340 unicorns.
  • The UK and EU are ranked fourth and fifth respectively on the list.
  • The total value of the world's unicorns has reached US$5 trillion, which is equivalent to Japan's GDP last year.
  • The main reason for the slowdown is the lack of investment in start-ups despite the stock market's recent record highs.
  • However, the report said India has produced more offshore unicorns than any other country, with 109 unicorns co-founded outside India compared to 67 in India.

Topic: Banking System

4. HDFC became the first private bank to open a branch in Lakshadweep.

  • To become the only private sector bank to have a branch in Lakshadweep, Private lender HDFC Bank opened a branch in Kavaratti island.
  • The objective of this branch is to upgrade the banking infrastructure in the Union Territory by offering a wide range of services focusing on personal banking and digital banking.
  • Its objective also includes customized digital solutions for retailers including QR-based transactions.
  • HDFC Bank has branches in the cold regions of Kashmir, the southern tip of Kanyakumari and now Lakshadweep, a major tourist destination.
  • As of December 31, 2023, HDFC Bank's distribution network stood at 8,091 branches and 20,688 ATMs across 3,872 cities or towns.
  • While as of December 31, 2022, it stood at 7,183 branches and 19,007 ATMs across 3,552 cities or towns.
  • About 52% of HDFC's branches are in semi-urban and rural areas.
  • Apar from this, it has 15,053 business correspondents, mainly operated by Common Service Centers (CSCs).

Topic: Important Days

5. World Parkinson’s Day 2024: 11 April

  • Every year on 11 April, World Parkinson’s Day is observed to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition in which involuntary shaking occurs in body muscles.
  • Parkinson’s can cause slowness of the movements, stiffness and shakiness of the body.
  • It is the world’s second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In 1817, the first person to discover the first case of Parkinson's disease was Dr. James Parkinson.
  • In 1997, 11 April of every year was declared as World Parkinson's Day by the European Association for Parkinson's Disease.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

6. India is now the fourth largest exporter of digitally delivered services.

  • India has now emerged as the fourth largest exporter of digitally delivered services, with its share now accounting for more than a fifth of international trade in services.
  • Data released by WTO in Global Trade Outlook and Statistics estimates India's exports of digitally delivered services were worth $257 billion in 2023, 17% higher than the previous year.
  • India has overtaken Germany and is just behind America, Britain and Ireland.
  • Digitally delivered services include using computer networks to provide professional services for education, gaming, and streaming music and video.
  • It has seen rapid growth over the past two decades, now accounting for a fifth of global services trade, compared to 14% in 2005.
  • Their exports are now 50% higher than pre-Covid levels, reflecting the declining trend seen in goods trade.
  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI), including models capable of generating content such as text, images, music or even video, has grown rapidly in 2023.  
  • These technologies are set to revolutionize various aspects of the economy, leading to increased efficiency, innovation, cost savings, personalization opportunities, creation of new jobs, and economic growth, thereby further boosting trade in digitally delivered services.
  • Overall, the WTO expects the global economy and trade to improve.
  • On April 10, the multilateral body projected growth of 2.6% in 2024, after a 1.2% decline in goods trade volume.
  • In value terms, world goods trade, measured by the average of exports and imports, is projected to fall 5% to $24 trillion in 2023, while commercial services will increase 9% to $7.5 trillion.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

7. KABIL and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) have signed an MoU.

  • The MoU between Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) and CSIR-IMMT is for technological and knowledge cooperation for critical minerals.
  • As part of the MoU, KABIL will use the technical services and expertise of CSIR-IMMT to carry out different projects.
  • The MoU will also facilitate the exchange of scientific information between KABIL and CSIR-IMMT.
  • This collaboration between KABIL and CSIR-IMMT will help in the development of the environment needed for exploration of critical minerals.
  • Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology is located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

8. Command Hospital, Pune has carried out successful piezoelectric bone conduction hearing implants.

  • Command Hospital, Pune has become the first government hospital across the country to procure and conduct such implants.
  • Two piezoelectric Bone Conduction Hearing Implants have been conducted by the Department of Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) at Command Hospital (Southern Command).
  • The implants have been conducted in a 7-year old male child suffering from congenital external and middle ear anomalies and one adult with Single Sided Deafness.
  • Patients with hearing impairments can have an implanted medical electronic device called an active piezoelectric bone conduction hearing implant system.
  • Its reach has always been constrained by the equipment's high cost.
  • The Command Hospital (SC), Pune, has been named the greatest hospital in the entire Armed Force Medical Services (AFMS) and has been awarded the renowned "Raksha Mantri" trophy.
  • The ENT division of Southern Command's Command Hospital has been accredited as an AFMS Neurotology Centre.

Topic: Indian Economy

9. Asian Development Bank has revised India’s GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7 per cent.

  • In the April edition of the Asian Development Outlook, Asian Development Bank increased India’s GDP growth forecast to 7 per cent from 6.7 per cent for the current fiscal.
  • ADB‘s estimates are in line with RBI’s projections for India’s FY25 growth.
  • The new edition of the Asian Development Outlook highlighted that inflation may continue its downward movement in line with global trends.
  • Earlier, RBI projected that GDP growth in the current fiscal is will be 7 per cent. 
  • The projection has been made based on sustained stimulus in services and manufacturing sectors, normal monsoons, and lessening inflationary pressures.
  • As per the ADB, exports will remain muted because development in major advanced economies will decline but it will get better in FY2025.
  • To boost exports in the medium term, India requires greater integration into global chains.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

10. Since 2016, 57 companies have been responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • After signing of Paris climate agreement, 57 oil, gas, coal and cement producers are responsible for 80% of the world’s global fossil CO2 emissions.
  • As per the Carbon Majors Database, out of 122 of the world’s biggest climate polluters, 65% of state entities and 55% of private-sector companies has increased their production.
  • Under the Paris Climate Agreement, governments pledged to reduce greenhouse gases but most mega-producers countries increased their output of fossil fuels and related emissions.
  • ExxonMobil of the United States produced 3.6 gigatonnes of CO2 over seven years which is 1.4% of the global total.
  • Shell, BP, Chevron and TotalEnergies, each of which were responsible for at least 1% of global emissions.
  • According to researchers, global temperatures are rapidly approaching the lower Paris target of 1.5C above the pre-industrial era.
  • In the recent period, China's coal's share of total CO2 emissions has increased to more than a quarter, while Saudi Aramco's production has increased to about 5%.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

11. WHO report states that India is second only to China in the cases of Hepatitis B and C.

  • According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, India had the second highest number of hepatitis B and C cases after China with 35 million infections in 2022.
  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause a variety of health problems and can be fatal.
  • Globally, 254 million people were infected with hepatitis B, and 50 million were infected with hepatitis C in 2022, according to WHO's 2024 Global Hepatitis Report released on 9 April.
  • In terms of viral hepatitis, India was second only to China, with 29.8 million hepatitis B cases in 2022 and 5.5 million hepatitis C infections.
  • China has recorded 83 million cases of hepatitis B and C, accounting for 27.5% of the total disease burden.
  • According to the report, India accounted for 11.6% of the total disease burden globally that year with a total of 35 million cases.
  • There are five main types of hepatitis viruses, called types A, B, C, D, and E.
  • Although they all cause liver disease, they differ in important ways, including methods of transmission, severity of disease, geographic distribution, and methods of prevention.
  • The report released at the World Hepatitis Summit said that 3,500 people are dying globally due to hepatitis B and C infection every day.

Topic: India and its Neighbours

12. After the Chabahar port in Iran, India has secured the right to operate its second foreign port at Sittwe in Myanmar.

  • A proposal for India Ports Global (IPGL) to take over the operations of the entire port located on the Kaladan River has been approved by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) is a joint venture between Deendayal Port Trust (erstwhile Kandla Port Trust) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
  • In January 2015, IPGL was formed and incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013, as per the directions of the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) for the development of ports overseas.
  • Currently, the Ministry of Shipping has entrusted IPGL with the equipment and operation of container/multi-purpose terminals at Chabahar Port, Iran.
  • Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project.
  • The aim of the project is to connect the eastern Indian port of Kolkata with Myanmar's Sittwe port by sea.
  • Sittwe port is to be further connected to Paletwa in Myanmar through the Kaladan River waterway, and Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram through a road component.
  • This link will provide an alternative route to send goods to the Northeastern states, and will also significantly reduce the cost and distance from Kolkata to Mizoram and beyond.
  • In May 2023, Deputy Prime Minister of Myanmar Admiral Tin Aung San and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal jointly inaugurated the Sittwe Port and welcomed the first Indian cargo ship.    

Topic: Indian Polity

13. Candidates have a right to privacy from voters: Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court (SC) said that candidates contesting elections need not disclose every moveable property owned by them or their dependents.
  • The court said that candidates need to disclose information about property that is of substantial value or represents a luxurious lifestyle.
  • The Supreme Court said that a voter had no absolute right to know about every asset of a candidate.
  • As per the Supreme Court, there is a need to distinguish between substantial and insubstantial issues while considering the validity of a nomination.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling came during a hearing on a case belonging to Independent MLA Karikho Kri from Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The court upheld the election of Karikho Kri from Tezu in the 2019 Arunachal Pradesh Assembly election.
  • While hearing a petition filed by Congress candidate Nuney Tayang, challenging the declaration of the 2019 Assembly election result, the High Court declared his election null and void.

Topic: Sports

14. Harendra Singh was appointed as coach of Indian women's hockey.

  • After Janneke Schopman quit as the head coach of Indian women's hockey, Harendra Singh was appointed as coach of Indian women's hockey.
  • Harendra Singh winner of the Dronacharya award has coached various Indian teams, including the senior men's hockey team.
  • Harendra was serving as coach of the USA men’s hockey team.
  • As a coach, Harendra started his career with Indian men's hockey in 1997. under him, India has won 11 gold medals including the 2016 men’s junior World Cup, 2017 women’s Asia Cup and 2018 Asian Champions Trophy (men).
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