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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 25th April, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 25 April 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

India’s biggest Climate Clock activated at CSIR Hq to celebrate Earth Day

India’s biggest Climate Clock activated at CSIR Hq to celebrate Earth Day

  • Council of Scientific &Industrial Research (CSIR), as a part of the Earth Day Celebrations on 22nd April 2024, installed and activated India’s biggest Climate Clock on the CSIR Headquarters Building in Rafi Marg, New Delhi. 
  • The event signifies CSIR’s aim to spread awareness about climate change and its ill effects.
  • The CSIR Accelerating Modern Research, Innovations and Technologies (AMRIT) Lecture Series aims to learn from the ideas and thoughts of India’s foremost S&T leaders that can help pave the way for actions by R&D organisations in general and CSIR in particular.

Karnataka, Gujarat lead India’s clean energy transition race: Report

Karnataka, Gujarat lead India's clean energy transition race: Report

  • Karnataka and Gujarat continue to lead the race to clean energy transition, but states like Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh need to step up efforts, according to a new report released. 
  • The joint report by research organisation, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), and clean energy think tank Ember evaluates the clean electricity transition preparedness at the sub-national level.
  • The report’s authors said Karnataka and Gujarat continue their strong performance across dimensions, effectively integrating renewable energy sources into their power sectors, making strong strides in decarbonisation.
  • But states like Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh need to improve. While these states are in the early stages of their transition, they now need to focus on increasing renewable energy deployment, enhancing short term market participation and strengthening their distribution companies.

Gurugram Police ropes in Truecaller to enhance safety in digital communication

Gurugram Police ropes in Truecaller to enhance safety in digital communication

  • Gurugram Police has joined forces with Truecaller, the global caller ID and spam blocking app, to build safety in digital communication, combating cybercrime, and raising cyber safety awareness among citizens. 
  • Through proactive measures against evolving fraud and scams in the digital space, this partnership seeks to collectively work towards establishing a safe cyberspace for citizens. 
  • This collaboration includes CyberWise training sessions led by Truecaller in partnership with Gurugram Police to educate citizens on preventing cyber fraud and reporting online harms.

KPMG Innovation Kaleidoscope Insights Centre inaugurated in Bengaluru

KPMG Innovation Kaleidoscope Insights Centre inaugurated in Bengaluru

  • KPMG in India launched its second KPMG Innovation Kaleidoscope Insights Centre in Bengaluru. 
  • This collaborative workspace fosters a dynamic environment where our people, clients, start-ups, and strategic alliance partners can engage to co-create solutions to solve dynamic business challenges.
  • The centre also displays state of art solutions in specific sectors, insight driven solutions demonstrated through AR-VR devices, tax technologies, Digital solutions for ESG, Gen AI solutions across sectors and domains that will address the digital innovation needs of GCCs and clients across sectors.

C-DOT, IIT Jodhpur sign MoU for automated service management in 5G networks using AI

C-DOT, IIT Jodhpur sign MoU for automated service management in 5G networks using AI

  • C-DOT, the premier telecom R&D center of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), and Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur (IIT-J) signed an agreement for automated service management in 5G and beyond networks using AI.
  • The agreement has been signed under the Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) of the DoT, which is designed for providing funding support to domestic companies and institutions involved in technology design, development, commercialization of telecommunication products and solutions to enable affordable broadband and mobile services in rural and remote areas.
  • The primary objective is to develop AI frameworks for automated network management, fault detection, and diagnostic techniques by utilizing continuous information generated within the network like 5G.

ADIF, IIT Guwahati Technology Incubation Center sign MOU to boost startup ecosystem

ADIF, IIT Guwahati Technology Incubation Center sign MOU to boost startup ecosystem

  • The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) and IIT Guwahati Technology Incubation Centre (IIT Guwahati TIC) have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote entrepreneurship and provide support to technology startups.
  • The two-year MOU aims to strengthen the startup ecosystem by facilitating collaboration between ADIF’s network of startups and entrepreneurs, and IIT Guwahati’s pool of innovators, faculty, and incubation facilities.
  • Under the agreement, ADIF will provide alliance membership to IITG TIC’s portfolio startup companies, giving them access to ADIF’s startup toolkit of discounted services, resources and mentorship opportunities.

AFMS & ICMR join hands to undertake biomedical research for Armed Forces

AFMS & ICMR join hands to undertake biomedical research for Armed Forces

  • Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaborative research and training with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
  • The aim of the MoU is to undertake cooperative and collaborative activities, in the field of biomedical research and academics, which will address multidisciplinary scientific, technological and educational problems of relevance to the country and the Armed Forces.
  • AFMS and ICMR have joined hands for health research in High Altitude, Battle related trauma/Post-traumatic stress disorder, Aerospace medicine, Infectious diseases and other health issues faced Armed Forces Personnel.
  • Under the ambit of this MoU, various joint academic activities are also planned, including opportunity for AFMS officers to register for PhD under ICMR-AcSIR PhD programme.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Indian passport ‘second cheapest’ in the world, next only to UAE

Indian passport ‘second cheapest’ in the world, next only to UAE's

  • A recent study has revealed that the Indian passport ranks as the second cheapest passport to obtain worldwide. It holds the distinction of being the most cost-effective in terms of “cost per year” of validity. Notably, an Indian passport holder can travel to 62 nations visa-free.
  • The UAE passport clinches the top spot as the most affordable passport globally, surpassing all others in terms of both acquisition cost and the number of countries offering visa-free access.
  • According to a press statement from the Australian firm, the Indian passport incurs a cost of $18.07 for a validity period of 10 years, whereas the UAE passport requires a fee of $17.70 for a 5-year validity period.
  • While the Indian passport boasts a lower cost, its visa-free access is comparatively limited. This stands in contrast to countries like Australia, the USA, and Canada, where passports come at a higher expense but offer greater passport power with broader visa-free access.
  • In its study, Australian firm Compare the Market AU conducted comparison of passport acquisition costs across various countries. It evaluated their cost-effectiveness per year of validity and their value based on the number of nations offering visa-free access.

US Remains Top Choice For Indian Students Pursuing Higher Education Abroad: SGMI Report

US Remains Top Choice For Indian Students Pursuing Higher Education Abroad: SGMI Report

  • Oxford International’s Student Global Mobility Index (SGMI) report revealed that the United States emerged as the top choice among Indian students aspiring to study abroad.
  • The SGMI report published stated that 45 per cent of students surveyed cited the quality of education as one of the prime factors while considering higher education destinations abroad. Among the surveyed Indian students, 69 per cent of them sought higher education in the US while 54 per cent of them opted for the United Kingdom.
  • The third spot was occupied by Canada with 43 per cent opting for it as a location to pursue higher education while 27 per cent of respondents voted for Australia. 
  • The report further suggested that 71 per cent of Indian students consider their parents or guardians as the primary influencers who significantly contribute to making the final decision about pursuing education abroad. A similar trend was observed in students from other countries, including Nigeria (72 per cent), Pakistan (71 per cent) and Vietnam (62 per cent).

EU Parliament Adopts New Rules To Improve Air Quality By 2030

EU Parliament Adopts New Rules To Improve Air Quality By 2030

  • The European Parliament adopted stricter legally-binding air pollution limits that must be complied with by 2030.
  • Air pollution causes 300,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said the tougher EU rules could reduce that number by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • Europe’s air quality has improved over the last decade, but the EU has still taken more than 10 countries to court for breaching its limits. The European Court of Justice has found countries including France, Poland, Italy and Romania guilty of illegal air pollution.

Saudi Arabia To Host World Economic Forum Special Meeting

Saudi Arabia To Host World Economic Forum Special Meeting

  • Saudi Arabia will host the World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development on 28th-29th April, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
  • This two-day event will bring together over 1,000 global leaders, including heads of state, government officials, and influential figures from various sectors, as well as representatives from international organizations, academic institutions, and NGOs. The goal is to address some of the most urgent global development challenges we face today.
  • The WEF Special Meeting will feature sessions aimed at fostering productive dialogues and encouraging international collaboration to find sustainable solutions. The agenda will revolve around three key themes: Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development.


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI asks Kotak Mahindra Bank to stop issuing fresh credit cards, onboarding fresh customers via mobile banking

Kotak Mahindra Bank acquires 100% stake in Sonata Finance for Rs 537 crore

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asked private-sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank to stop onboarding new customers through its online and mobile banking channels and barred it from issuing fresh credit cards.
  • The regulator said the action was necessary as the bank failed to plug gaps in its information technology (IT) systems. There were frequent outages in the bank’s core banking system and online channels in the last two years which inconvenienced the customers, the central bank said.
  • The bank can continue to provide services to existing customers, including credit card customers, the RBI added.

Razorpay launches ‘UPI Switch’ in partnership with Airtel Payments Bank for faster transactions

Razorpay launches 'UPI Switch' in partnership with Airtel Payments Bank for faster transactions

  • Fintech company Razorpay launched its own UPI infrastructure with ‘UPI Switch’, a cloud-based innovation in partnership with Airtel Payments Bank, and said the solution is geared to ensure smoother and faster transactions. 
  • Boosting success rates by 4-5 per cent, the solution is designed to handle up to 10,000 transactions per second (TPS) at any given time. 
  • The ‘UPI Switch’ will also enable 5 times faster access to UPI (Unified Payments Interface) innovations for businesses. 

PayU gets RBI’s in-principle nod to operate as payments aggregator

PayU Introduces Industry-First Downpayment EMI Solution for Online Retail

  • Digital financial services provider PayU announced that it has received in-principle authorisation from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a payments aggregator (PA) under the Payment Settlements Act, 2007.
  • This approval will now allow PayU to onboard new merchants on its platform.
  • Moreover, the company said the RBI’s in-principle approval underpins PayU’s mission to build a world-leading digital payment infrastructure that originates from India, for India and the world, accelerating its next growth phase in the country.

RBI comes out with FEMA regulations for direct listing on international exchange

RBI comes out with FEMA regulations for direct listing on international exchange

  • Listing of an Indian company on international stock exchanges got a push with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) coming out with regulations under Foreign Exchange Management (FEMA). Experts believe new regulations will help companies utilise foreign exchange more effectively.
  • Regulations have been made public through two notifications. First set of regulations deals with mode of payment and reporting of non-debt instruments.
  • The proceeds of purchase / subscription of equity shares of an Indian company listed on an International Exchange shall either be remitted to a bank account in India or deposited in a foreign currency account of the Indian company. 
  • Further, the sale proceeds (net of taxes) of the equity shares may be remitted outside India or may be credited to the bank account of the permissible holder. Reporting about transaction in foreign exchange will be done by the investee Indian company through an authorised dealer. 
  • The second set of regulation is related with foreign currency accounts by a person resident in India. In case the fund has been raised through External Commercial Borrowings (ECB), American Depository Receipts (ADRs), Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) or through direct listing of equity shares of companies incorporated in India on International Exchanges but yet to be utilised or repatriated, then it will be held in foreign currency accounts with a bank outside India.

REITs, InvITs mobilise Rs 1.3 lakh crore in four years: RBI data

Govt keeps interest rates on small savings schemes unchanged for Q1 FY25

  • Investment vehicles for realty and infrastructure sectors REITs and InvITs have garnered Rs 1.3 lakh crore in the past four years till March-end, and are expected to facilitate more pooled funds, Reserve Bank said in a report.
  • Experts and stakeholders are of the view that with India growing at a fast pace, REITs and InvITs are emerging as alternative investment instruments, especially for high net-worth individuals.
  • India has been a late adopter of real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs). However, the market is flourishing – REITs and InvITs have mobilised Rs 1.3 lakh crore since 2019-20 (up to March 2024), said an article on ‘State of Economy’ published in the RBI’s April Bulletin.
  • To further develop this space, the market regulator notified regulations for small and medium REITs on March 8, 2024.

RBI issues Master Direction for Asset Reconstruction Companies

RBI issues Master Direction for Asset Reconstruction Companies

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued Master Direction to the Asset Reconstruction Companies. An Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) is a financial institution that buys the Non Performing Assets (NPA) or bad assets from banks and financial institutions so that the latter can clean up their balance sheets.
  • According to the directions, to commence the business of securitisation or asset reconstruction, an ARC is required to have a minimum net owned fund (NOF) of Rs 300 crore and thereafter, on an ongoing basis.
  • Additionally, before commencing the business of securitisation or asset reconstruction, an ARC shall apply for registration and obtain a certificate of registration (CoR) from the RBI. 
  • The directions also state that no ARC shall invest in land or building, except for investment for its own use up to 10% of its owned funds.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Gems, jewellery exports in FY24 dip by 12.17% to Rs 2.65 lakh cr: GJEPC

Gems, jewellery exports in FY24 dip by 12.17% to Rs 2.65 lakh cr: GJEPC

  • Gems and jewellery exports declined by 12.17 per cent to Rs 2,65,187.95 crore (USD 32,022.08 million) during 2023-24, compared to the previous financial year due to high interest rates in the US and slow recovery in China, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) data showed. Gems and jewellery exports in FY23 stood at Rs 3,01,925.97 crore (USD 37,646.17 million), according to GJEPC data.
  • Meanwhile, the overall exports of Cut and Polished diamonds declined by 25.23 per cent during FY24 to Rs 1,32,128.29 crores (USD 15,966.47 million) compared to Rs 1,76,716.06 crores (USD 22,046.9 million) for the same period of previous year.
  • Provisional gross export of Polished Lab Grown Diamonds dipped by 13.79 per cent Rs 11,611.25 crores (USD 1,402.3 million in FY24 compared to Rs 13,468.32 crore (USD 1,680.22 million) of FY23.
  • However, according to the provisional export of total gold jewellery witnessed a growth of 20.57 per cent at Rs 92,346.19 crore (USD 11,140.780 million) in FY24 against Rs 76,589.94 crore (USD 9,538.84 million) in the previous year.

Air India enters into codeshare pact with Japan’s All Nippon Airways

Air India enters into codeshare pact with Japan's All Nippon Airways

  • Air India has entered into a codeshare partnership with Japan’s All Nippon Airways. With the codeshare, effective for travel from May 23, Air India and All Nippon Airways passengers can fly to their desired destination by combining those flights between India and Japan with a single ticket.
  • Air India will add its ‘AI’ designator code on ANA’s flights between Tokyo Haneda and Delhi as well as Tokyo Narita and Mumbai. ANA will add its ‘NH’ designator code on Air India’s flight between Tokyo Narita and Delhi. 
  • Both airlines are considering further expanding their cooperation on additional routes. Now, Tata Group-owned Air India, which is expanding its presence, has codeshare partnerships with 15 airlines, including ANA .

HAL, NAL sign tech transfer pact for Tejas engine day door production

HAL, NAL sign tech transfer pact for Tejas engine day door production

  • Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said it has signed a Transfer of Technology agreement with National Aerospace Laboratories for the manufacture of the Bismaleimide Engine Bay Door for the series production of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mk1A. 
  • Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A is an indigenous 4.5 generation, all-weather and multi-role fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
  • With the signing of the technology transfer for Bismaleimide (BMI) Engine Bay Door (EBD), HAL can directly produce these high temperature resistant composite parts for the series production of LCA Mk1A aircraft meeting the initial requirement of IAF squadrons, a joint statement said.

Morgan Stanley forecasts strong Indian GDP growth amid robust domestic demand

Morgan Stanley

  • Morgan Stanley, a global investment banking firm, has expressed optimism about India’s economic growth prospects, citing robust domestic demand. The firm remains positive about the growth outlook, expecting India’s GDP to grow at 6.8% in the current financial year 2024-25 and 6.5% in 2025-26.
  • Inflation and Current Account DeficitMorgan Stanley predicts that inflation will remain around 5% in the second quarter, before easing to 4.1% in the second half of 2024. For the next financial year, it anticipates retail inflation to average 4.5%. 
  • The firm expects the current account deficit to stay within 1-1.5% of GDP in 2025-26, supported by strong service exports.


SPORTS

Saurav Ghosal Announces Retirement From Professional Squash, To Continue To Play For India

Saurav Ghosal Announces Retirement From Professional Squash, To Continue To Play For India

  • Two-time Asian Games gold medallist Saurav Ghosal has announced his retirement from professional squash. Ghosal, 37, said in a lengthy statement posted on social media that he is stepping away from the professional tour but would like to continue playing for India. 
  • Ghosal was the only Indian to enter the top 10 of the Professional Squash Association world rankings, rising to world No 10 in April 2019. Ghosal held the ranking for six months. 
  • The veteran won 10 PSA titles with his last victory coming at the Malaysian Open Squash Championships in November 2021. Overall, Ghosal reached 18 finals and won 281 of his 511 matches on the PSA tour.


APPOINTMENTS

Naima Khatoon becomes first woman in over 100 years to be appointed Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University

Naima Khatoon becomes first woman in over 100 years to be appointed Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University

  • Naima Khatoon has been appointed as Aligarh Muslim University’s Vice Chancellor for the next 5 years. She is the first woman to hold post in over 100 years. 
  • Before Khatoon, the only woman to have held a top post at AMU was Begum Sultan Jahan who was appointed the Chancellor in 1920.
  • The notification also mentioned that the university had sought permission from the Election Commission of India in view of the imposition of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) due to the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. 

India’s Gita Sabharwal appointed UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia

India's Gita Sabharwal appointed UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Gita Sabharwal of India as the United Nations resident coordinator in Indonesia.
  • Sabharwal, who took up her post on Monday, brings close to 30 years of experience in development supporting climate transition, sustainable peace, governance and social policy, while leveraging digital technology and data to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN said. 
  • Previously, Sabharwal served as the UN resident coordinator in Thailand and as peacebuilding and development adviser for the United Nations in Sri Lanka.
  • Before joining the UN, Sabharwal was The Asia Foundation’s deputy country representative for the Maldives and Sri Lanka and held positions as the poverty and policy adviser for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development in India and Vietnam.

T Rabi Sankar re-appointed as RBI DG for one year

T Rabi Sankar re-appointed as RBI DG for one year

  • The government has re-appointed T. Rabi Sankar as Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India for a period of one year with effect from May 3, the central bank said. 
  • Sankar, a career central banker who joined the RBI in 1990, was initially appointed as Deputy Governor on May 3, 2021 for a three-year period.
  • Prior to his elevation as Deputy Governor, Sankar was an Executive Director with the RBI from December 2019 onwards.


AWARDS

Novak Djokovic Wins Fifth Laureus Sportsman Award

Novak Djokovic Wins Fifth Laureus Sportsman Award

  • Tennis great Novak Djokovic won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year honour for a record-extending 5th time after 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019, while Spain’s World Cup-winning football star Aitana Bonmati won the World Sportswoman of the Year award at a star-studded ceremony in Madrid. 
  • Spain’s FIFA World Cup-winning team were voted as the Laureus Team of the Year when the biggest sports stars took centre stage in the prestigious awards ceremony.

Laureus Sports Award

  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award: Novak Djokovic
  • Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award: Aitana Bonmat­
  • Laureus World Team of the Year Award: Spain Women’s Football Team
  • Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award: Jude Bellingham
  • Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award: Simone Biles
  • Laureus Sport for Good Award: Fundacin Rafa Nadal
  • Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award: Diede de Groot
  • Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award: Arisa Trew


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

NASA launches solar-powered spacecraft

NASA launches solar-powered spacecraft

  • NASA successfully launched its Advanced Composite Solar Sail System spacecraft from New Zealand. Riding atop Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, the innovative spacecraft aims to utilise sunlight for propulsion.
  • Scheduled to orbit 1,000 kilometres above Earth, the solar-charged craft boasts an impressive 80-square-meter measurement post-deployment, which occurs approximately 25 minutes after liftoff.
  • Initially slated for a two-month mission duration, NASA anticipates the solar sail’s eventual descent following its primary phase of operation.
  • After launch, the mission crew will perform a series of pointing movements to show the CubeSat’s orbit rising and lowering with sunlight. If the solar-powered spacecraft is perfectly oriented, it will be visible as the brightest star in the night sky, similar to Sirius.


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