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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 20th April, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 20 April 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

India develops indigenous bullet train, targets over 250 km/h speeds

India develops indigenous bullet train, targets over 250 km/h speeds

  • India has begun the development of an indigenous bullet train expected to exceed speeds of 250 kilometres per hour (km/h), reported by  a senior government official.
  • The official stated that this train would surpass the speed of any current trains within the Indian Railways network. It is constructed on the Vande Bharat platform, which currently reaches a maximum speed of 220 kilometres per hour. 
  • The design process is currently in progress at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, under the supervision of Indian Railways.
  • Globally, high-speed trains are those operating at speeds over 250 kilometres per hour, such as the French Train à Grande Vitesse and the Japanese Shinkansen.

Russia-India Signs Agreement to Operate Large Research Hub in New Delhi

Russia-India Signs Agreement to Operate Large Research Hub in New Delhi

  • The Higher School of Economics, located in Russia, and the University of Delhi signed an agreement on strategic cooperation and joint actions, and a large research hub will begin operating at the partner university. 
  • New Delhi hosted the Indo-Russian Education Summit , becoming the largest event of its kind in the history of India-Russia bilateral relations, according to the Russian embassy in India. About 60 Russian universities arrived in the national capital from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Siberia, Crimea, the Urals and other regions.
  • The summit brought together rectors of Indian and Russian universities, diplomats, politicians, scientists, and businessmen to explore new opportunities for cooperation in education, science and innovative technologies as well as professional training.

India Delivers BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missiles To Philippines

India Delivers BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missiles To Philippines

  • India has delivered the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines as part of the USD 375 million deal signed between the two countries in 2022.
  • The missiles have been delivered at a time when tensions between Philippines and China have escalated owing to frequent clashes in the South China Sea. Three batteries of the BrahMos missile system would be deployed by the Philippines in the coastal areas to guard against any threat in the region.
  • The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, is said to be one of the most successful missile programs in the world. Acknowledged as the foremost and swiftest precision-guided weapon on a global scale, BRAHMOS has played a pivotal role in enhancing India’s deterrence capabilities.

India’s Commitment to Debris-Free Space Missions by 2030

India’s Commitment to Debris-Free Space Missions by 2030

  • India has made a declaration to achieve debris-free space missions by 2030. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S. Somanath made the declaration at the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) annual meet.
  • This initiative aims to achieve debris-free space missions by all Indian space actors, governmental and non-governmental, by 2030. India encourages all state space actors to follow this initiative for long-term sustainability of outer space.
  • With India planning to set up its own space station ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ by 2035, ISRO would like to look at the agreements of all the space stations and space actors, including private ones. 

Permanent Education Number (PEN) Required for Students Starting Academic Year 2024-25 in Andhra Pradesh

Permanent Education Number (PEN) Required for Students Starting Academic Year 2024-25 in Andhra Pradesh

  • The School Education Department in Andhra Pradesh has made mandatory the use of Permanent Education Number (PEN) from the academic year 2024-25. 
  • PEN is a unique identification number assigned to every student provided by the Union Ministry of Education, through the UDISE+ (Unified District Information System for Education Plus) portal that covers more than 14.89 lakh schools, 95 lakh teachers and 26.5 crore children. 
  • Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh School Education, S. Suresh Kumar said that implementation of PEN would pave the way for streamlining and simplifying the process of the students’ transition from one school to the other in the new academic year.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Sweden Becomes 38th Signatory to the Artemis Accords

Sweden Becomes 38th Signatory to the Artemis Accords

  • Sweden has officially joined the Artemis Accords, becoming the 38th country to pledge its commitment of outlined principles such as transparency, interoperability, and the peaceful use of space.
  • The Artemis Accords are a set of principles and guidelines for international cooperation in space exploration. They were announced by NASA in May 2020 and named after NASA’s Artemis program which is aimed at returning humans to the Moon by the mid-2020s.
  • The accords aim to implement key obligations from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, promote responsible behavior, ensure the public release of scientific data, and reinforce existing space agreements.

World Future Energy Summit 2024 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

World Future Energy Summit 2024 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

  • The World Future Energy Summit and Exhibition (WFES) took center stage at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), drawing renewable energy leaders from across the MENA region. This prestigious event served as a hub for global PV companies to unveil the latest advancements in solar technology and products.
  • Hosted by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), the three-day summit aims to promote innovation and investment to bring about a global transition to clean energy, and lay down plans to build a sustainable future by attracting investors and providers of advanced energy solutions.
  • Drawing in over 30,000 visitors from around the world, WFES is a world-class future energy and sustainability event, with its role encompassing a drive to accelerate the global energy transition and align the efforts of industry leaders, policymakers and startups, setting in motion a collaborative drive to secure a more environment-friendly future.


BANKING & FINANCE

Amazon Pay ties up with NPCI to introduce credit services on UPI

Amazon Pay ties up with NPCI to introduce credit services on UPI

  • Amazon Pay is planning to kick off credit services on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform as part of a deal with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • This initiative aims to enhance customer experience and value propositions, Vikas Bansal of Amazon Pay India. 
  • Recently, Amazon Pay tied up with RBL Bank for UPI payments, ICICI Bank for FASTag recharge, and the introduction of the Amazon Pay ICICI co-branded credit card.
  • In February of this year, Amazon Pay was granted a payment aggregator license by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), thereby broadening its array of financial services. Previously, it had secured approval from the central bank for a prepaid payment instrument (PPI) license.

Airtel Payments Bank Launches NCMC-enabled Debit and Prepaid Cards

Airtel Payments Bank Launches NCMC-enabled Debit and Prepaid Cards

  • Airtel Payments Bank has announced the launch of its NCMC (National Common Mobility Cards) enabled debit and pre-paid cards in association with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). These cards are powered by RuPay.
  • Airtel Payments Bank said these cards are in line with the bank’s commitment to India’s One Nation, One Card vision.
  • The bank will offer NCMC-enabled debit cards for savings account holders and NCMC-enabled prepaid cards for wallet users. These cards are crafted from eco-friendly e-PVC material, certified for their environmental sustainability.
  • The bank said customers can use any of the cards to make payments at all merchant establishments, online (e-commerce), as well as offline NCMC transit transactions at metros, buses, parking, etc across the country.

CRED Secures In-Principle Approval for Payment Aggregator License

CRED Secures In-Principle Approval for Payment Aggregator License

  • CRED has received the in-principle approval for a payment aggregator license in a boost to the Indian fintech startup that could help it better serve its customers and launch new products and experiment with ideas faster.
  • The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, valued at $6.4 billion, received the in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the payment aggregator license. 
  • The RBI has granted in-principle approval for payment aggregator licenses to several companies, including Reliance Payment and Pine Labs, over the past year. Typically, the central bank takes nine months to a year to issue full approval following the in-principle approval.

RuPay Launches ‘Link it, Forget it’ Campaign at IPL 2024 to Promote Credit Card on UIIC 

RuPay Launches ‘Link it, Forget it’ Campaign at IPL 2024 to Promote Credit Card on UIIC 

  • The ‘RuPay – Link it, Forget it’ campaign was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) during the Indian Premier League (IPL). Created by DDB Mudra Group, the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about RuPay Credit cards, which can be seamlessly linked to a UPI ID, enabling secure and convenient payments. 
  • The ‘Link It, Forget It’ campaign, featuring the dynamic Shankar Mahadevan and others, playfully suggests that leaving your physical wallet behind is no longer a worry.
  • Currently, 16 banks are live to link RuPay Credit Card on UPI. These banks are Punjab National Bank, Union Bank, Indian bank, HDFC Bank, Canara Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, BOB Financial Ltd, SBI Cards, ICIC Bank, AU Small Finance Bank, IDFC Bank, Federal Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank.

Bandhan Life Insurance Unveils New Identity and Growth Strategy

Bandhan Life Insurance Unveils New Identity and Growth Strategy

  • Bandhan Life Insurance, formerly known as Aegon Life Insurance, has rebranded itself with the tagline ‘Bharat Ki Udaan, Bandhan Se’, reflecting its commitment to empowering the aspirations of India. 
  • Bandhan Life will recruit 1,000 new employees in its immediate phase of an “aggressive growth strategy,” reinforcing its commitment to expanding its customer base and service Excellence, says the company.
  • Satishwar B., MD and CEO of Bandhan Life, emphasizes the transformative nature of this transition as the company joins the renowned Bandhan Group. With a vision set for the next five years, Bandhan Life aims to emerge as a leading multi-channel insurance provider, focusing on digital innovation, robust distribution, and service excellence.
  • The revamped product names, such as Bandhan Life iTerm Prime, signal a shift towards a more comprehensive and customer-centric approach.The new logo, depicting a growing bud, symbolizes the company’s dedication to nurturing the dreams and aspirations of India. 


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s electronics exports increase 23.6% to $29.12 billion in FY24

India's electronics exports increase 23.6% to $29.12 billion in FY24

  • India exported electronics goods worth $29.12 billion in 2023-24 (FY24), up 23.6 per cent compared to a year ago, even as the country’s total exports contracted 3 per cent. 
  • According to commerce department officials, the top five export market of electronics good are – the US, United Arab Emirates, Netherland, United Kingdom, and Italy. 
  • During FY24, exports also ventured into new markets, such as Montenegro, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, Honduras and St Vincent. 
  • This impressive growth not only signifies India’s strengthening position in the global electronics market but also underscores the potential for further expansion into new and emerging markets. The diversification of export destinations showcases India’s commitment to embracing new opportunities and enhancing its global trade footprint.


SPORTS

Rohit Sharma becomes 2nd player after MS Dhoni to play 250 matches in IPL

Rohit Sharma becomes 2nd player after MS Dhoni to play 250 matches in IPL

  • MI opener Rohit Sharma became only the second player in the history of the Indian Premier League to appear in 250 games. Sharma matched MS Dhoni’s elite feat when he was selected to play for MI in their fixture against PBKS at the Mullanpur Stadium.
  • Rohit has been nearing his destructive best in the IPL 2024 and has already hit a hundred in the tournament. Sharma is closely followed by Dinesh Karthik in the list of most matches played in the IPL. In fact, Karthi and Rohit, known as close friends outside of the field, were tied at 249 matches before this game. 
  • After the duo, Virat Kohli is on the fourth position in the list with 244 games to his name. Only 10 players have passed the threshold of 200 games in the IPL and all of them have been Indian players so far.


APPOINTMENTS

Santosh Viswanathan Appointed India Region Head of Intel

Santosh Viswanathan Appointed India Region Head of Intel

  • Intel, the renowned computer chip manufacturer, has appointed Santhosh Viswanathan as the Managing Director (MD) for its India region business. With a commendable 21-year tenure at Intel, Viswanathan brings a wealth of experience to his new role.
  • This strategic decision to establish India as a separate region within Intel’s SMG shows the country’s burgeoning growth and expansive business prospects. With this move, Intel aims to capitalise on the rapid development and promising opportunities prevalent in the Indian market.
  • In addition to the appointment of Santhosh Viswanathan as the head of the India region, Intel also announced the appointment of Hans Chuang as the General Manager of the Sales, Marketing and Communications Group (SMG) for the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region.

Nalin Prabhat Appointed as Director-General of NSG

Nalin Prabhat Appointed as Director-General of NSG

  • Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Nalin Prabhat has been appointed as the Director-General of National Security Guard (NSG), the country’s counter-terrorism and counter-hijack force. The Cabinet has approved his appointment as the chief of NSG till the date of his superannuation, August 31, 2028.
  • Mr. Prabhat is a 1992 batch IPS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre. He is currently posted as Additional Director-General, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Additionally, the committee has also approved the appointment of Sapna Tewari as the Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Ms. Tewari, a 1992 batch IPS officer of Odisha cadre, is currently working as Additional Director in the IB.


AWARDS

Ananth Technologies Founder Pavuluri Subba Rao Conferred with ASI’s Aryabhata Award

Ananth Technologies Founder Pavuluri Subba Rao Conferred with ASI’s Aryabhata Award

  • Ananth Technologies Founder, CEO and Chairman Pavuluri Subba Rao has been conferred with the ‘Aryabhatta Award’ instituted by the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI). He was also presented with ASI’s ‘Distinguished Fellow’ title.
  • He received the award recognition of Rao’s “tremendous lifetime contribution to the promotion of astronautics in India.”
  • A former ISRO scientist, Rao incorporated Ananth Technologies Limited in 1992 to indigenously design and develop some of the country’s most sophisticated avionics for ISRO and the Defence sector. 

Deepika Soreng Honoured with Asunta Lakra Award

Deepika Soreng Honoured with Asunta Lakra Award

  • Deepika Soreng, the promising forward of the India Women’s Hockey Team, has been honoured with the prestigious Hockey India Asunta Lakra Award for Upcoming Player of the Year during the Hockey India 6th Annual Awards 2023.
  • The award recognizes her outstanding performance and immense potential as a rising star in the sport.
  • The year 2023 marked a significant milestone in Deepika’s hockey career as she made her debut for the Indian team during the Women’s Junior Asia Cup. Her exceptional skills and goal-scoring prowess were on full display as she emerged as the second-highest goal-scorer for the side, netting an impressive 7 goals in 6 matches.

Kaushik Rajashekara Honored with International Fellowship by the Engineering Academy of Japan

Kaushik Rajashekara Honored with International Fellowship by the Engineering Academy of Japan

  • Renowned Indian engineer Kaushik Rajashekara has been conferred with the prestigious International Fellowship by the Engineering Academy of Japan (EAJ). 
  • This esteemed recognition highlights his significant contributions to the field of engineering, particularly in the realm of electric transportation systems.
  • His election as an International Fellow specifically honours his “outstanding scientific research and scientific-technical developments in the field of energy,” which promote greater efficiency and environmental security for energy sources worldwide.
  • Rajashekara, 73, stands among an elite group of fewer than 10 fellows from the United States, out of a distinguished group comprising 800 fellows and 15 international fellows. This prestigious recognition is a testament to his exceptional contributions and the impact of his work on a global scale.

GMR Hyderabad International airport wins award for ‘best airport staff’

GMR Hyderabad International airport wins award for ‘best airport staff’

  • GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) has won the ‘Best Airport Staff in India & South Asia 2024’ award by Skytrax.  
  • The award was announced at a ceremony held at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany. Hyderabad Airport emerged as the number one airport among all participating airports in India and South Asia.
  • The award is based on the result of thorough audits and evaluations that analyse a wide range of factors. These include the combined quality of staff service (attitude, friendliness, efficiency) delivered across front-line positions at an airport. It includes all customer-facing staff working for customer help and information counters, immigration and security staff, shops, and food & beverage outlets. 

GI tag to Kashi’s Tirangi Barfi, 5 other items of UP

GI tag to Kashi’s Tirangi Barfi, 5 other items of UP

  • Nearly eight decades after India’s independence, the “Tirangi Barfi” of Kashi, a sweet treat regarded as the “sweet weapon” of freedom fighters during the Quit India Movement, has finally received the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • The GI Registry awarded GI certification not only to the Banaras Tirangi Barfi but also to five other Uttar Pradesh products. These include Banaras Metal Casting Craft, Lakhimpur Kheri Tharu Embroidery, Bareilly Cane and Bamboo craft, Bareilly Zardozi Craft, and Pilkhuwa Hand Block Print Textile
  • With these six new additions, Uttar Pradesh retains its position as the state with the most GI-tagged products in India, reaching a total of 75. Tamil Nadu follows behind with 58 GI products.

6-Year-Old Ahmedabad Girl Makes India Proud As She Sets New World Record for the Lowest Limbo Skating Over 25 Metres

6-Year-Old Ahmedabad Girl Makes India Proud As She Sets New World Record for the Lowest Limbo Skating Over 25 Metres

  • Takshvi Vaghani, a six-year-old from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has achieved the title of “lowest limbo skating over 25 m”, said Guinness World Records (GWR). 
  • The video, captioned “Lowest limbo skating over 25 m, 16 cm by Takshvi Vaghani,” gained widespread attention after being posted on the official social media handle of Guinness World Records. Takshvi’s attempt was initially made for personal accomplishment. 
  • The record was previously held by another Indian, Manasvi Vishal of Pune, with a height of 16.5 centimetres.

World’s first ‘Miss AI’ pageant to pick winners on social media following

World's first 'Miss AI' pageant to pick winners on social media following

  • The world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) beauty pageant has been announced where artificial models and influencers generated through the technology will compete for a prize money of $20,000. 
  • The world’s first AI beauty pageant has arrived to crown contestants based on their looks, how they command online and the technical skills that went into creating these AI models.
  • Citing a release from the World AI Creator Awards (WAICA), Forbes reported that the AI influencers’ popularity will be assessed based on their engagement numbers with fans, rate of growth of audience and utilisation of platforms.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

B’luru gets Asia’s first dedicated centre for space domain awareness

B’luru gets Asia’s first dedicated centre for space domain awareness

  • Bengaluru has become home to Asia’s first dedicated command and control centre for space domain awareness. The state-of-the-art facility was inaugurated at the newly opened global headquarters of Digantara, a space situational awareness (SSA) company.
  • The 25,000 sqft headquarters houses a first-of-its-kind command centre focused solely on monitoring and managing space traffic. 
  • This advanced facility of the centre will play a vital role in ensuring safety and sustainability of satellite operations around the world by tracking objects in orbit.
  • In addition to the command centre, the headquarters will serve as an assembly, integration and testing facility as Digantara prepares to launch a constellation of satellites dedicated to space-based space surveillance.


ENVIRONMENT 

Three New Archaeological Sites Discovered in Telangana

Three New Archaeological Sites Discovered in Telangana

  • A team of archaeologists claimed to have discovered a unique Iron Age megalithic site at Ooragutta near Bandala village in SS Tadvai mandal of Mulugu district, Telangana.
  • The site was discovered by a team comprising K.P. Rao, history professor of the University of Hyderabad, and Ch Praveen Raju, research scholar from Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, in the forested area of the tribal-dominated district.
  • Though the exact number of monuments could not be counted in the dense forest and slopes of the hill, there appears to be more than 200 megalithic monuments, says Prof. Rao, an active field archaeologist, who teaches ancient history, field archaeology, and pre and proto historic culture related subjects.
  • The side slabs are arranged with slabs following the shape of the cap-stone. Hence, each ‘dolmenoid cist’ has a unique shape as dictated by the cap-stone. These monuments can be dated around 1,000 BCE. 


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