Daily Current Affairs and GK | 28 March 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024 17:22 PM IST

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Topic: National Appointments

1. Hansa Mishra (IA&AS) selected for appointment to the post of director in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

  • She has been chosen for an appointment under the Central Staffing Scheme, as per the Department of Personnel and Training's (DoPT) directive.
  • She has been elected for a term of five years from the date he assumes charge of the post or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • Mishra is a 2010 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) officer.
  • She was recommended for central deputation by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  • Central staffing program is a government implemented structure that ensures effective administration and allows transfer of officers between national and state governments.
  • This system provides for deputation of qualified officers to other central government agencies, promoting exchange of ideas and experiences.
  • Union Public Service Commission is a Constitutional Body under Articles 315-323 of the Indian Constitution. It was formed on 1 October 1926. Dr. Manoj Soni is the Chairman of UPSC.

Topic: International News

2. On 26 March, Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed.

  • A vast length of the 1.5 mile (2.4km)-long bridge collapsed after a container ship collided with a pylon, throwing the vehicle and eight people into the cold water below.
  • A container ship named Dali was heading towards Sri Lanka from the Patapsco River. There was a complete power failure and all its lights were extinguished.
  • Three minutes later, the container ship collided with one of the pylons of the bridge, causing almost the entire structure to fall into the water.
  • Two were rescued that day, the bodies of the other two were recovered and the search for the other four is ongoing, with all of them presumed dead.
  • All 22 crew members on the container ship, including the two pilots, have been identified, and no one was injured.
  • Francis Scott Key Bridge:
    • Handling 31,000 cars per day or 11.3 million vehicles per year, the Francis Scott Key Bridge was one of three ways to cross Baltimore Harbor.
    • The steel structure is four lanes wide and rises 185 feet (56 m) above the river.
    • Opened in 1977, the bridge crosses the Patapsco River in Maryland, USA.
  • Baltimore Port:
    • According to Maryland Port Administration data, Baltimore Port is the busiest US port for car shipments, handled at least 750,000 vehicles in 2023.
    • In 2023, the port was the second busiest port for coal exports.
    • It is also the largest US port by volume, handling agricultural and construction machinery as well as agricultural products such as sugar and salt.

Topic: National Appointments

3. Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi sworn in as a judicial member of the Lokpal of India.

  • Justice AM Khanwilkar, Chairman of the Lokpal of India, administered him the oath.
  • Shri Pankaj Kumar and Shri Ajay Tirkey took oath as Lokpal members.
  • On 27 March, the oath ceremony was organized at the Indian Lokpal Office in New Delhi.
  • On 26th March 2024, two existing Judicial Members, namely Justice PK Mohanty and Justice Abhilasha Kumari and three Members, namely Shri DK Jain, Archana Ramasundaram and Shri Mahender Singh, have completed their tenure in Lokpal.
  • Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi served as the Chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission of India before joining as Judicial Member of the Lokpal of India. Earlier, he was the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.
  • Shri Pankaj Kumar is a 1986 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre. Before joining as a member of the Lokpal of India, he was the Chief Secretary of Gujarat.
  • Shri Ajay Tirkey is a 1987 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre. Before joining as a member of the Lokpal of India, he was the Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Government of India.


(Source: PIB)

Topic: National Appointments

4. Sadanand Vasant Date has been appointed as Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA).

  • He is a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of 1990-batch.
  • He is presently serving as Chief of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
  • His appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for a tenure up to his superannuation on 31 December 2026.
  • The appointment of Rajeev Kumar Sharma as Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development has also been approved by ACC.
  • Rajeev Kumar Sharma is 1990 batch IPS officer of Rajasthan Cadre.
  • Piyush Anand has been appointed as Director General (DG) of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
  • He is an Uttar Pradesh cadre IPS officer. He is currently working as Special DG of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

5. Union Health Ministry released India TB report 2024 on 27 March.

  • According to the report, India has achieved a decrease of 16% in TB incidence and an 18% decline in mortality caused by TB since 2015.
  • As per the report, incidence (new cases emerging each year) rate had declined from 237 per lakh population in 2015 to 199 per lakh population in 2022.
  • As stated by the report, the mortality rate had fallen from 28 per lakh population in 2015 to 23 per lakh population in 2022.
  • India has fixed 2025 as the target for eliminating the TB.
  • In 2023, the private health care sector accounted for roughly 32% of all TB cases that were notified. This is a 17% rise over the last year.
  • The report states that during the last nine years, there has been an annual improvement of more than 50% in the overall notification of tuberculosis cases.
  • The state with the biggest increase in notifications was Uttar Pradesh (increase of 21% from the previous year). Bihar came in second place (15%).
  • According to the report, in 2023, the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) performed roughly 68.3 lakh nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) and 1.89 crore sputum smear tests.
  • Additionally, the report mentioned that about ₹2,781 crore was distributed to roughly one crore people.
  • Furthermore, the report stated that around 1.5 lakh Nikshay Mitras had committed to person with TB.

Topic: Science and Technology

6. India has applied to the International Seabed Authority for permission to explore two areas of the Indian Ocean seabed.

  • These areas are outside of India’s jurisdiction. One of them is Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount). 
  • It is a cobalt-rich area in the Indian Ocean that India seeks to explore.
  • It is a structural feature in the Central Indian Basin. It is 150 km wide and 400 km long. It is almost 3,000 kilometers from the coast of India.
  • It rises to roughly 1,200 meters from an oceanic depth of about 4,800 kilometers.
  • Deposits of copper, nickel, manganese, and cobalt are abundant in this area.
  • It is a part of the open sea. No country is able to claim sovereignty over the open ocean's air, surface, or its seabed.
  • Approximately 60% of the oceans on Earth are open oceans.
  • No country has yet harvested resources from open oceans at commercial level.
  • Up to 200 nautical miles and the underlying sea floor beyond their borders, countries have exclusive rights.
  • Only with ISBA approval can a nation investigate and perhaps utilize resources in an area that extends beyond 200 nautical miles.
  • Typically, this doesn't go farther than 350 nautical miles from the coast.
  • However, Sri Lanka has asserted its claim on up to 500 nautical miles by utilizing a separate rule that applies to nations bordering the Bay of Bengal.
  • India has also applied for permission to search for polymetallic sulphides in the Carlsberg Ridge.
  • This 3,00,000 square kilometer area is found in the Central Indian Ocean.
  • Large smoking mounds known as polymetallic sulphides are said to be rich in copper, zinc, gold, and silver. These are found close to hydrothermal vents.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) established ISBA as an independent international organization. It was founded in 1994. It is headquartered in Jamaica.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. Army Commanders’ Conference 2024 started in hybrid mode.

  • Army Commanders’ Conference 2024 is being organised in virtual mode on 28th March 2024.
  • On 01st and 02nd April 2024, it will be organised in physical mode in New Delhi.
  • The conference provides a crucial platform for the Indian Army's top leadership to discuss issues and evaluate and appraise the country's security situation.
  • On the first day of conference, General Manoj Pande will have interaction with Army Commanders taking part in virtual mode from their Command Headquarters.
  • Intensive brainstorming sessions of the Army’s top leadership on 1st April will be followed by a meeting of the Investment Advisory Committee of the Army Group Insurance.
  • On the last day of conference (2nd April), the gathering will be addressed by Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar and the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari.
  • Army Commanders' Conference is an apex-level biannual event.
  • In 2023, Army Commanders' Conference was held from 17 to 21 April 2023 and from 16 to 20 October 2023.

Topic: International Appointments

8. Bassirou Diomaye Faye is said to be the next President of Senegal.   

  • Bassirou Diomaye Faye is the name of opposition leader in Senegal.
  • Faye was released from the prison almost two weeks ago to run in the election.
  • Official results of the vote of 24 March 2024 were not yet available.
  • The former Prime Minister conceded defeat on the basis of preliminary results.
  • The former Prime Minister (Amadou Ba) was the other frontrunner candidate in the election.
  • The former Prime Minister was backed by Macky Sall, who is the incumbent President. Sall also named Faye as the winner.
  • It was fourth democratic transfer of power of Senegal since it got independence. Senegal got independence from France in 1960.
  • Faye will become Africa’s youngest elected president.
  • Senegal:
    • It is the westernmost country in continental Africa. Its capital is Dakar.
    • It is bordered by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east and Guinea to the southeast. It is bordered by Guinea-Bissau to the southwest.
    • Sidiki Kaba is its Prime Minister.  Its government is unitary presidential republic.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

9. Revised wages under MNREGA notified by the government.

  • On March 27, the revised wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) were notified by the Central Government.
  • In this, many states reported an increase in wages of 8 to 10%.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, the hike ranged from ₹7 (2023- ₹230 to 2024 rate of ₹237) to ₹34 hike in Goa (2023 wages ₹322 to 2024 wages ₹356).
  • A significant jump in wages has been recorded in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Goa, where the increase ranged from 8% to 10.5%.
  • Bihar is lagging behind, where wages have been increased by ₹17.
  • Although it is a routine process that must be done every year as per the governing act, the Union Rural Development Ministry had to seek special permission from the Election Commission to issue the notification.
  • Under MGNREGS, there are a total of 14.34 crore active employees.
  • According to the latest data from the government, in the financial year 2023-24, the nationwide average days of employment provided per household were 51 days, while a guarantee of 100 days of work was promised.

Topic: Indian Polity

10. Supreme Court said judges should not order accused persons to surrender their right to be politically active in return for bail.

  • In a recent order, a three-judge bench led by Justice BR Gavai said that forcing a person to stay away from politics by making his bail conditional is a clear violation of fundamental rights.
  • This was made clear by the apex court in a petition filed by a former mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation.
  • In 2022, Siba Shankar Das was granted bail in a criminal case.
  • According to one of the grounds established by the Orissa High Court was that he should not "create any unpleasant situation in public or indulge in any political activities directly or indirectly".
  • In early 2024, the High Court was approached by Mr Das to modify this bail condition, saying he wanted to participate in political activities ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
  • In January, the High Court rejected his petition. Subsequently, he moved to the apex court.
  • The Supreme Court said imposing such a condition would violate the fundamental rights of the appellant and no such condition could have been imposed.
  • Therefore, quash and set aside the condition imposed by the High Court.

Topic: Agriculture and allied sectors

11. IARI demands legal action against Pakistan for renaming and cultivating Basmati varieties protected by India.

  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has demanded legal action against Pakistan for renaming and Cultivating Basmati varieties protected in India.
  • Blockbuster Pusa-1121 and 1509 basmati varieties are being grown and marketed in Pakistan as "1121 Kainat" and "Kissan Basmati".
  • The illegal sales and cultivation of Basmati varieties started with Pusa Basmati-1121 (PB-1121). It is known for the extra kernel length of grains.
  • This variety has been officially registered as ‘PK 1121 Aromatic’ in Pakistan.
  • PB-1509 is another high-yielding basmati variety, which is registered and renamed as ‘Kissan Basmati’ in Pakistan.
  • Pusa Basmati-1847 (PB-1847), PB-1885 and PB-1886 are the improved version of PB-1509, PB-1121 and PB-6 respectively.
  • All these basmati rice are protected under the Seeds Act, 1966. These varieties can only be grown within India.
  • They are also protected under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

12. A new species of isopod discovered near kollam has been named after ISRO.

  • Scientist researchers named a new species of deep-sea isopod after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • This new species has been named Brucethoa ISRO. The name has been given in honour of ISRO’s successful space missions.
  • The tiny fish-parasitic crustacean has been discovered from the base of the gill cavity of the Spinyjaw greeneye. It belongs to the genus Brucethoa.
  • This new species was identified by P. T. Aneesh, who is an Assistant Professor at the Seto Inland Sea Carbon Neutral Research Centre.
  • Spinyjaw greeneye is a fish species, which is found at the depth of 250-450 metres off the Kerala coast.
  • Brucethoa isro is the second species within this genus to be documented in India.

Topic: Space and IT

13. Chandrayaan-3 landing site name 'Shiva Shakti' has been approved by IAU.

  • Chandrayaan-3 landing site name 'Shiva Shakti' has got approval from the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
  • The IAU’s working group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name 'Shiv Shakti' for the landing site of Chandrayaan-3.
  • The word “Shiv” stands for the welfare of humanity” and Shakti means strength to achieve the welfare of humanity.
  • Shiv Shakti point will be a symbol of unity from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari.
  • ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 was launched on July 14, 2023 and landed successfully on the Moon’s South Pole on August 23, 2023.
  • On 26 March 2023, PM Modi announced that the place where Chandrayaan-3's Moon lander touched down would be known as 'Shiv Shakti'.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 landing failure spot will be known as “Tiranga Point".
  • The day on which Vikram Lander reached the moon's surface will be celebrated as “National Space Day”.

Topic: Defence

14. Indian Navy’s maritime security operation ‘Op Sankalp’ ended on 23 March.

  • The maritime security operation ‘Op Sankalp’ was organized from 14 December 2023 to 23 March 2024.
  • During this time, the Indian Navy played a key role as the ‘First Responder’ and ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The Indian Navy conducted maritime security operations in three areas of operations: the Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas, Arabian Sea and off the East Coast of Somalia.
  • During this operation, 5000 personnel have been deployed over 450 ship days.
  • In the last 100 days, the naval ships, aircraft and Special Forces have demonstrated operations to secure seas and to protect the maritime community from various non-traditional threats.
  • The Indian Ocean Region has witnessed a steady increase in the presence of warships from regional and extra-regional navies.
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