Daily Current Affairs and GK | 14 and 15 April 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 17:00 PM IST

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Topic: Art and Culture

1. Bangla New Year ‘Pahela Baishakh’ Celebrated in Bangladesh.

  • ‘Pahela Baisakh’, Bangla New Year has been celebrated in Bangladesh with traditional enthusiasm and fervour.
  • The day began with a grand performance by the cultural group Chhayanaut at the ‘Batmool’.
  • The Bangla New Year celebration was started in 1967. It symbolises the inclusive and joyful culture of the Bengali people.
  • Baishakh celebration was organized at Dhaka including Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University, Hatirjheel, and Rabindra Sarobar.
  • Mongol Shobhajatra was recognised as an ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ by UNESCO in 2016.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

2. Government has come up with a new platform to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers.

  • Under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP), the Government launched a platform CDP-SURAKSHA to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers.
  • It will push the growth of India’s horticulture sector, which contributes nearly one-third to the agriculture gross value addition (GVA).
  • In recent years, the total production of horticulture crops has also increased. The production of horticulture crops has increased from 240.53 million tonnes in 2010-11 to 334.60 million tonnes in 2020-21.
  • The CDP-SURAKSHA is essentially a digital platform. SURAKSHA stands for “System for Unified Resource Allocation, Knowledge, and Secure Horticulture Assistance”.
  • It will allow an instant disbursal of subsidies to farmers in their bank accounts by utilising the e-RUPI voucher from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • The CDP-SURAKSHA has features such as database integration with PM-KISAN.
  • This platform will allow access to farmers, vendors, implementing agencies (IA), cluster development agencies (CDAs), and officials of the National Horticulture Board (NHB).

Topic: Sports

3. India's Udit won silver and Abhimanyou and Vicky won bronze at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024.

  • On April 11, India's 19-year-old Udit won a silver medal in the men's 57kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • On the opening day of the competition, Abhimanyou (men's 70kg) and Vicky (men's 97kg) also won bronze medals in their respective weight categories, taking India's medal tally to three.
  • On 14 April, Anju and Harshita also won two silver medals. Anju won the silver medal in the women's 53 kg weight category while Harshita won silver in the women's 72 kg.
  • Apart from this, Manisha and Antim also won bronze medals in women's 62kg and 65kg weight categories respectively.
  • As of April 14, India's total medal tally at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 is nine, including four silver and five bronze.
  • The 20th edition of the 2024 Asian Wrestling Championships is being held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 11 to 16 April.

Asian Wrestling Championships 2024

(Source: DD News)

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

4. A hydrogel has been developed by IISc researchers that can remove microplastics from water.

  • According to IISc, Microplastics are a major threat to human health. These tiny plastic residues can enter our bodies through the water we drink and increase the risk of diseases.
  • Microplastics are an environmental threat and are also found in remote areas such as polar ice caps and deep-sea trenches, threatening aquatic and terrestrial life.
  • Designed by researchers, the durable hydrogel features a unique intertwined polymer network that can bind contaminants and degrade them using UV light radiation.
  • Earlier, scientists have attempted to use filtering membranes to remove microplastics.
  • However, membranes can become clogged with these small particles, making them no longer durable.
  • Instead, under the leadership of Suryasarathi Bose, Professor at the Department of Materials Engineering, the IISc team decided to turn to 3D hydrogels.
  • The novel hydrogel developed by the team consists of three different polymer layers – chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyaniline – linked together, forming an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) architecture.
  • The team has combined this matrix with nanoclusters of a material called copper substitute polyoxometalate (Cu-POM).
  • These nanoclusters are catalysts that can use UV light to degrade microplastics.
  • The combination of polymers and nanoclusters resulted in the formation of a strong hydrogel that has the ability to adsorb and destroy large amounts of microplastics.
  • The hydrogel was found to be highly efficient – it could remove approximately 95% and 93% of two different types of microplastics in water at nearly neutral pH (∼6.5).

Topic: Defence

5. Indigenous Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile Weapon System successfully tested by DRDO and Indian Army.

  • The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has indigenously designed and developed this Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) Weapon System.
  • The technology has been evaluated several times in various flight configurations with the aim of proving its high superiority.
  • A substantial number of missile firing trials were successfully conducted toward achieving full operational envelope compliance as prescribed in the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (Infantry, Indian Army).
  • On April 13, 2024, warhead flight tests were successfully conducted at Pokhran Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
  • The performance of the missile and warhead was found to be remarkable.
  • Penetration capability testing of the MPATGM Tandem Warhead System has been successfully completed and has been found to be capable of defeating modern armor-protected main battle tanks.
  • The ATGM system is equipped with day/night and top attack capability.
  • Its ‘Dual Mode Seeker’ functionality is a significant value addition to this missile capability in tank warfare.
  • With this trial, the technology development and successful demonstration have been completed and the system is now ready for end-user evaluation trials, leading to its induction into the Indian Army.

Topic: International News

6. Hundreds of missiles, and drones launched by Iran in the first direct attack on Israel.

  • Hundreds of drones and missiles have been launched against Israel in an unprecedented attack by Iran in response to the Israeli attack on the Iranian Consulate in Syria two weeks ago.
  • Israel's devastating war on the Gaza Strip has been going on for more than six months, killing more than 33,000 Palestinians and pushing the besieged territory to the brink of famine.
  • The war has escalated tensions in the region, spilling over to the fronts in Lebanon and Syria and sparking long-range shelling of Israeli targets as far away as Yemen and Iraq.
  • On 14 April, the Israeli military said that the Iranian attack involved more than 300 "killer drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles", but that 99% had been stopped with the help of the forces of France, the UK, and the USA.
  • The launches came from Iran as well as Iraq and Yemen and set off air raid sirens in cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, with explosions heard when air defenses intercepted the projectiles.
  • Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed the attack.
  • The IRGC said it launched drones and missiles as part of Operation True Promise as punishment for "the Zionist entity's crime of targeting the Iranian Consulate in Syria on April 1."
  • The attack in Damascus killed 13 people, including two senior generals from the IRGC's elite Quds force.
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Topic: Indian Economy

7. India now has record-high foreign exchange reserves of USD 648.562 billion.

  • Based on the most recent data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), this is the eighth week in a row that there has been an increase in foreign exchange reserve.
  • Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) increased by USD 549 million to USD 571.166 billion, causing the growth in foreign exchange reserves.
  • Moreover, reserves of gold increased by USD 2.398 billion to USD 54.558 billion.
  • Following a cumulative fall of USD 71 billion in 2022, the RBI increased the foreign exchange reserves by roughly USD 58 billion in 2023.
  • The reserves have increased by almost USD 28 billion so far in 2024.
  • Foreign exchange reserves reached last time a peak in October 2021.
  • The majority of foreign exchange reserves are kept in reserve currencies like the US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, and Pound Sterling.

Topic: Important Days

8. World Quantum Day: 14 April

  • The World Quantum Day is observed annually on April 14.
  • It aims at encouraging understanding among the public of Quantum Science and Quantum Technology around the World.
  • It is a testament to how quickly advances have been made by applying quantum ideas to real-world problems.
  • World Quantum Day has its origins in the year 2022.
  • On April 14, 2021, the World Quantum Day was inaugurated. The first celebration took place on April 14, 2022.
  • The National Quantum Mission aims to stimulate industry and scientific R&D with an expenditure of Rs 6003.65 Crore spread over eight years, building a strong ecosystem for quantum technology (QT) in India.
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is leading the NQM.
  • National Quantum Mission was approved by the Union Cabinet on 19th April 2023.
  • A vital part of improving security measures for vital industries like infrastructure and banking is quantum cryptography.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

9. India is among the twelve countries that are responsible for 60 percent of the earth's mismanaged plastic waste.

  • The Plastic Overshoot Day report has been released by the Swiss non-profit EA Earth Action.
  • The global plastic waste production has increased by 7.11 per cent since 2021.
  • This year, 220 million tons of plastic waste will be generated globally, 70 million tons of which will pollute the environment.
  • Twelve countries- China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, the United States and Turkey are responsible for 60 per cent of the world's mismanaged plastic waste.
  • The report declared India as a "low-waste-producing" polluter due to its low per capita plastic waste production (8 kg per capita per year).
  • In India, the mismanaged waste in 2024 will be 7.4 million tons, which is very high.
  • India's mismanaged plastic waste will be less than one-fifth of China and one-third of the US.
  • As per the report, India is estimated to release an average of 3,91,879 tons of microplastics into the environment.
  • Oman tops the list of countries in terms of mismanaged plastic waste.
  • People living in Belgium are the top generators of plastic waste, with a yearly waste production of 147.7 kg per person.

Topic: International Appointments

10. Bjarni Benediktsson has been appointed as Prime Minister of Iceland.

  • After the resignation of Katrín Jakobsdottir, Bjarni Benediktsson is appointed as Prime Minister of Iceland.
  • Benediktsson previously served as foreign minister. Katrín Jakobsdottir stood down following more than six years in office.
  • Benediktsson previously served as finance minister under Jakobsdottír and was prime minister for 10 months in 2017.
  • Iceland’s next parliamentary elections are due to be held next year.
  • The prime minister leads the government in Iceland. The prime minister is appointed formally by the president.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

11. Dr. Gagandeep Kang has been selected for the prestigious John Dirks Prize in Global Health.

  • She is the Director of Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is the most recognized global health award.
  • The Gairdner Foundation in Canada awards the John Dirks Award in global health.
  • She is the first Indian woman to receive this award.
  • The focus of Dr. Kang's work has been on a wide range of studies, including work on childhood diarrheal disease and vaccines.
  • She also became the first Indian woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Established in 1958, the Toronto-based Gairdner Foundation was with a donation from philanthropist James A Gairdner.
  • The award has become Canada's most prestigious award for globally significant research in the biomedical sciences.

Topic: Important Days

12. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: 13 April

  • April 13 is remembered every year as Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Day.
  • The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, one of the darkest moments of India's colonial past, remains etched in the nation's collective memory even after 105 years.
  • On this day in 1919, the unarmed Indian public was killed in Jallianwala Bagh, located in Amritsar.
  • On 9 April 1919, Indians raged over the arrest of two nationalist leaders, Saifuddin Kichlu and Dr. Satyapal, who protested on 10 April 1919 to show solidarity with their leaders.
  • The protests soon turned violent, killing some protesters. The government enforced martial law to prevent any such protests in the future.
  • On the day of Baisakhi on 13 April 1919, a large crowd of people unaware of martial law gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.
  • Brigadier General Dyer, arriving at the scene with his men, surrounded the assembly blocked the only gate to go out, and opened fire on the unarmed mob. More than 1000 unarmed men, women, and children were killed.
  • Later, the Hunter Commission was set up by the government to investigate the massacre.

Topic: Space and IT

13. Russia successfully launched first Angara-A5 space rocket.

  • Russia successfully test-launched its Angara-A5 space rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East.
  • This launch comes after a series of technical setbacks that led to the cancellation of two previous attempts.
  • Angara-A5 space rocket is designed to carry heavy payloads into low Earth orbit. It has been designed to carry payloads exceeding 20 tonnes into orbit.
  • In recent years, Russia's space programme has been hit by a number of high-profile setbacks.
  • The Angara family of rockets has been developed to replace the Soviet-designed Proton rockets.

Topic: National Appointments

14. Sanjay Shukla will be the new Managing Director (MD) of the National Housing Bank (NHB).

  • Centrum Housing Finance's Sanjay Shukla is appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the National Housing Bank (NHB).
  • Financial Services Institutions Bureau scrutinised 16 candidates for the post.
  • This appointment assumes significance against the backdrop of NHB's plans to raise capital by issuing bonds.
  • NHB is planning to raise ₹3,000 crore through bonds with a unique maturity period of three years.
  • Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) has also recommended the name of IFCI Managing Director Manoj Mittal as SIDBI Chairman.
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