Current Affairs April 2024

Read this post to know about Weekly Current Affairs in short for the Week April 09 to 15, 2024. If you’re getting ready for entrance exams in India, it’s really important to know what’s happening around you. Whether you want to study UPSC, SSC, Bank Exams, Defence Exams or something else, keeping up with current events is a must. The exams often have questions about what’s going on in the world – like news about our country, other countries, or new discoveries. Being aware of these things not only helps you do well in the exams but also makes you smarter in general. It’s like having a wider view of the world, which is good for interviews and discussions too. So, it’s not just about passing the exams but also about being informed and ready for whatever comes your way.

In this post, you can see the headlines of current happenings categorised for your convenience. The categories of weekly current affairs of Week 2 of April are given below:


Weekly Current Affairs Update

For the Week: April 9 to 15, 2024




Section A: INDIA

  • Centre orders probe into foreigners receiving organs
  • rebuts Lancet’s doubts on accuracy of Indian data on births and deaths
  • iPhone users receive alerts on mercenary spyware threat
  • EC cracks down on anonymous hoardings
  • Candidates have a right to privacy from voters, rules SC
  • Right against climate change a fundamental right, says SC
  • Supreme Court cautions against Centre-State governments’ disputes
  • PMLA Authority upholds ED’s 2023 attachment of assets of National Herald
  • IAF kicks off plan for ‘smart’ perimeter cover at 30 air bases
  • Army successfully conducts field trials of anti-tank guided missile system
  • HAL bags biggest-ever indigenous military hardware order
  • Indian Army celebrates 40 years of ‘Operation Meghdoot’ on Siachen Glacier
  • Indian Army conducts Anti-Tank Guided Missile firing exercise in Sikkim
  • Navy chief inaugurates new facilities at Karwar naval base
  • National Motherhood Day observed in India on April 11
  • Justice Aniruddha Bose to head National Judicial Academy at Bhopal
  • Sachidananda Mohanty appointed UGC member
  • Former bureaucrat-journalist BS Raghavan dies at 96



  • Second batch of Indian military personnel leave Maldives: President Muizzu
  • Maldives signs deal with China for redeveloping airport
  • World Cybercrime Index: India ranks number 10 in cybercrime
  • Plastic Overshoot Day report by Swiss non-profit EA Earth Action
  • Taliban regime to restore private land rights to Afghan Hindus and Sikh minorities
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seizes container ship near Strait of Hormuz
  • India, Mauritius sign protocol to amend tax treaty; principal purpose test introduced
  • India, US to reactivate observation system for Indian Ocean
  • World University Ranking by Subject 2024 released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)
  • India, EU Launch Initiative For EV Start-Ups
  • To comply with FDI laws, BBC splits India ops, sets up new co
  • India-Uzbekistan Joint Military Exercise Dustlik
  • Cochin Shipyard signs ship repair agreement with the U.S. Navy
  • Indian PM comments on China border issue in Newsweek
  • Supreme Courts of India and Singapore hold conference
  • Myanmar: India relocates staff in Sittwe consulate to Yangon
  • Chief of Greece National Defence General Staff visits India
  • Indian Army gets Russia-made Igla-S MANPADS
  • Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visits US
  • Lindy Cameron named next High Commissioner to India
  • India’s nominee re-elected to International Narcotics Control Board
  • Avantika Vandanapu named South Asian Person of the Year by Harvard University
  • Indian PM to feature on Newsweek cover


Section C: WORLD

  • Iran fires missiles, drones at Israel, 99% shot down
  • Ecuador court calls officials’ raid on Mexico embassy ‘illegal’ and ‘arbitrary’
  • SAG-AFTRA union secures AI protections for artists in deal with major record labels
  • German parliament approves payment cards for asylum-seekers
  • Military trainers from Russia arrive in Niger
  • Italy’s digital nomad visa is now open for applicants
  • Study finds voters skeptical about fairness of elections
  • South Korea opposition wins landslide parliamentary vote
  • Ukraine’s parliament passes controversial conscription law
  • European Parliament approves overhaul of EU’s asylum and migration rules
  • Higher salary threshold for UK Family Visa comes into force
  • N. climate chief says two years to save the planet
  • WHO 2024 Global Hepatitis Report released
  • Swiss women win climate case at European Court of Human Rights
  • World experienced hottest March ever: EU climate agency
  • Notre-Dame rises from the ashes five years after fire
  • Superman’s 1st appearance comic sells for record $6m
  • International Day of Human Space Flight celebrated on April 12
  • World Homeopathy Day observed on April 10
  • World Chagas Disease Day observed by WHO on April 14
  • World Quantum Day celebrated on April 14
  • Kristalina Georgieva selected for 2nd term as IMF managing director
  • Simon Harris sworn in as Ireland’s youngest PM
  • UN chief appoints Julie Bishop as UN special envoy for Myanmar
  • Norway’s health minister resigns over allegations of having plagiarized academic work
  • Peru’s oldest resident turns 124 years old, eyes Guinness World Record
  • Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has died at the age of 83
  • J. Simpson, American football player turned murder defendant, dies at 76
  • Oldest living conjoined twins, Lori & George Schappell, die at 62
  • Emmy-winning filmmaker Eleanor Coppola dies at 87



  • Tata’s military-grade satellite successfully placed into orbit
  • China launch of relay satellite Queqiao-2 for lunar probe mission successful
  • Russia test launches new heavy-lift rocket Angara-A5
  • Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the ‘God particle,’ has died at 94
  • Gopichand Thotakura to be 2nd Indian citizen in space


Section E: AWARDS

  • Chandrayaan-3 team receives US award for space exploration
  • Gagandeep Kang wins John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award
  • Lokesh Muni presented with US President’s Gold Volunteer Service award



  • SBI refuses to disclose electoral bonds’ details under RTI Act
  • Banks asking questions on source of funds sent under Liberalised Remittance Scheme
  • HDFC first pvt bank to open branch in Lakshadweep
  • FSIB selects IFCI MD as SIDBI head, Sanjay Shukla for NHB MD


Section G: ECONOMY

  • Online sellers to remove beverages such as Bournvita from ‘health drink’ category
  • CBI books officials of MEIL, Steel Ministry on corruption charge
  • Moody’s retains India’s rating with stable outlook
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves at a record high of $648.56 bn
  • Govt extends deadline for comments on draft digital competition bill till May 15
  • SWAMIH fund helps in completion of 28,000 homes since 2019
  • India now 4th largest exporter of digitally delivered services
  • Consumer inflation declines to 4.85% in March
  • Industrial production rises to a four-month high of 5.7% in February
  • Govt asks all gas-based plants to be operational from May 1 to June 30
  • Centre tells States to enforce weekly stock disclosure of pulses
  • Labour ministry issues advisory to states to mitigate effect of high temperature on labourers
  • ADB pegs India’s GDP growth at 7% in 2024-25, 7.2% next year
  • Sensex closes above 75000 for the first time
  • Manoj Panda appointed new member of the XVI Finance Commission



  • SC quashes ₹7,687-crore award against DMRC as ‘patently illegal’
  • SC declines second apology by Ramdev, Patanjali
  • Stellantis to make India a hub for exports of electric vehicles
  • Godfrey Phillips to exit retail business division ‘24Seven’
  • Adani Group to set up think tank Chintan Research Foundation
  • Zoho foraying into manufacturing
  • Konkan farmers launch Alphonso brand Aamoré for global markets
  • Hyundai, Kia partner with Exide Energy
  • Hindujas enter MF space with Invesco deal
  • Bharti Hexacom listed
  • Ex-SpiceJet COO Kashyap launches aircraft charter co






Section I: STATES

  • Buddhism separate religion; Hindus must seek permission to convert: Gujarat govt circular
  • Karnataka HC quashes Centre’s circular banning 23 breeds of ‘dangerous’ dogs
  • ECI simplifies voting process for Kashmiri migrants
  • Raaj Kumar Anand quits Aam Aadmi Party, Cabinet post
  • Politician and Tamil film producer R M Veerappan dies at 98


Section J: SPORTS

  • Asian Wrestling Championships 2024
  • 2024 Badminton Asia Championships held in China
  • Billie Jean King Cup 2024: India to remain in Group I
  • Arjun and Jeevan clinch Challenger title in Mexico
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Monte Carlo tennis
  • S. Men’s Clay Court Championship
  • Charleston Open tennis
  • Tennis: Novak Djokovic becomes world’s oldest ranked men’s singles player
  • Palak Gulia clinches bronze in women’s 10m air pistol
  • Hockey: Indian men lose series in Australia 0-5
  • Mary Kom steps down as Paris Olympics Chef-de-Mission
  • Football: Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga title
  • Russ Cook first to run entire length of African continent
  • World Athletics to award $50,000 prize money to Olympic winners
  • Indian athlete’s bronze in women’s 400m at 2023 Asian Championships upgraded to silver
  • Former NZ spinner Alabaster passes away aged 93
  • Irish football player & coach Joe Kinnear passes away at 77


Section A: INDIA


Centre orders probe into foreigners receiving organs

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which is worried over the surge in the number of organ transplants linked to foreigners in the country, called for close monitoring of such transplants by authorities of States and Union Territories concerned and action on the hospitals found to be violating the rules.


The Centre had expressed concern over reports of “commercial dealings” in organs being transplanted on foreigners. Data in the registry of the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) revealed the substantial increase in foreign nationals getting organs through private hospitals.


The centre has written to Director of Medical Education/Director of Health Services of all States and Union Territories to direct the appropriate authority appointed under the Transplantation of Human Organs & Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, to investigate transplants in respect of foreign nationals. He also called for action on complaints or any breach of any provision of the Act or any of the rules made thereunder.


State level health authorities have been urged to ensure that a unique NOTTO-ID for both the donor and recipient of organs is generated by the hospital concerned in all cases of organ transplants.


In case any violation under the THOTA was made out, the authorities were told to take appropriate action, including suspension of registration for performing organ transplants, of the hospitals involved in illegal activities.


To prevent commercial dealings in organ transplants, the Health Ministry issued an alert to the Ministry of External Affairs in February this year about many foreign nationals coming to India for organ transplants and possibility of violations of visa rules.


On June 12, 2018, The Hindu newspaper had published the report titled, “In Chennai, the hearts beat for foreigners”, exposing alleged irregularities in the allocation of organs to foreign nationals bypassing Indian patients battling end-stage organ failure and on registered waiting list.


Weeks later, NOTTO revised the guidelines of organ allocation making it difficult for foreigners to get organs from donors or brain-dead patients. After the new guidelines came into force, the number of Indian patients getting life-saving organs went up by 56% compared to the previous years as per the data shared by Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu.


Govt. rebuts Lancet’s doubts on accuracy of Indian data on births and deaths

In a sharp rebuttal to Lancet’s claim about lack of accuracy and transparency in sharing data on health indices, govt officials April 13, 2024 said India has a robust system of documenting births and deaths under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, through the Civil Registration System. “It provides a unified process of continuous, permanent, compulsory, independent and universal recording of births and deaths,” they said, adding that more than 90% of births and deaths are registered online on the state or national portals.


The Lancet, a global medical journal, claimed in an editorial titled ‘India’s elections: Why data and transparency matter’ that accurate and up-to-date data are essential for health policy, planning, and management, but the collection and publication of such data in India have undergone serious setbacks and impediments in recent times.


The editorial raised questions on India’s claim that only 4.8 lakh people died because of Covid pandemic saying that WHO and other estimates are six to eight times higher (including excess deaths, most of which will be due to Covid-19) — a claim govt has repeatedly rebutted. The editorial also claimed that the govt spending on health had fallen.


According to the government, the share of govt health expenditure has increased over time — from Rs 1,39,949 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 4,34,163 crore (provisional data) in 2021-22, as per latest National Health Accounts Estimates. Out of pocket expenditure, as share of total health expenditure, reduced from 62.6% in 2014-15 to 39.4% in 2021-22.


iPhone users receive alerts on mercenary spyware threat

Apple on April 11, 2024 sent a fresh round of threat notifications to some of its users in India, along with 91 other countries, warning them that their iPhones could have been potentially attacked by mercenary spyware, including Israel’s Pegasus spyware.


This time around, Apple did not attribute the attack to any entity. In October 2023, several Indian journalists and opposition politicians received a warning from the company of a “potential State-sponsored attack.”


Apple added that mercenary spyware attacks, such as those from Pegasus from the NSO Group in Israel, are extremely rare and vastly superior to typical cybercriminal activities.


Israeli-backed Pegasus, which was an example that Apple cited as one of the mercenary spyware behind the attack, has routinely been used by governments for surveillance and cybercrime against activists and opposition politicians.


In 2021, the Pegasus Project revealed that the Indian government had used this spyware against opposition leaders, journalists, members of the judiciary, the Electoral Commission, and activists.


EC cracks down on anonymous hoardings

Cracking down on anonymous political hoardings, the Election Commission (EC) on April 10, 2024 sought the disclosure of names of their publishers and printers for traceability and accountability.


Disclosure of the identity of publishers was crucial for “regulating campaign financing and fixing of responsibility in case the content is found unbecoming of the Model Code of Conduct or the statutory provisions”, the poll body said.


In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories, the EC directed them to ensure clear identification of printers and publishers on printed poll-related material, including hoardings.


The EC issued the directive after it received complaints stating that anonymous hoardings had been found in spaces controlled by municipal authorities.


Names of publishers and printers should be clearly mentioned in campaign material, poll body tells States


Candidates have a right to privacy from voters, rules SC

The Supreme Court on April 9, 2024 held that an election candidate has a right to privacy from voters and need not lay out every scrap of his or her personal life and possessions, past and present, for the electorate to examine with a magnifying glass.


A Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Kumar said a candidate’s choice to retain his privacy on matters which were of no concern to the voters or were irrelevant to his candidature for public office did not amount to a ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act, 1951. Such non-disclosure would not amount to a “defect of a substantial nature” under Section 36(4) of the 1951 Act.


Justice Kumar, who wrote the judgment, observed there was no compulsion on a candidate to lay his life threadbare for the electorate to prod and scrutinise.


“It is not necessary that a candidate declare every item of movable property that he or his dependent family members own, unless these items are of such value as to constitute a sizeable asset in itself or reflect upon his candidature, in terms of his lifestyle, and require to be disclosed,” Justice Kumar distinguished.


But the Court said every case would turn on its own peculiarities on what would amount to a non-disclosure of assets of a substantial nature. Suppressing information about a collection of expensive watches from voters would be a substantial defect.


The judgment came in a petition filed by Arunachal Pradesh MLA Karikho Kri challenging a Gauhati High Court decision in July last year declaring his election to the 44-Tezu Assembly Constituency of Arunachal Pradesh void for not declaring three vehicles as his assets in his affidavit filed in Form No 26 appended to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.


Kri had won the elections on May 23, 2019 as an Independent candidate. The vehicles in question were a Kinetic Zing Scooty, a Maruti Omni van used as an ambulance and a TVS Star City motorcycle. The scooter was sold as scrap in 2009. The other two vehicles were also sold.


Ruling in favour of Kri, the Supreme Court agreed with Kri’s lawyers that vehicles, once sold, could hardly be considered as “assets” of the candidate.


The court said voters have a right to the disclosure of information which was essential for choosing the candidate for whom a vote should be cast.


Right against climate change a fundamental right, says SC

The Supreme Court has recognised the right against the adverse effects of climate change as a distinct fundamental right in the Constitution.


“It is yet to be articulated that the people have a right against the adverse effects of climate change. This is perhaps because this right and the right to a clean environment are two sides of the same coin. As the havoc caused by climate change increases year-by-year, it becomes necessary to articulate this as a distinct right. It is recognised by Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life),” the Supreme Court observed in a judgment released on April 6.


The judgment came in a case connected with the survival of the endangered Great Indian Bustard species.


An order was pronounced in open court on March 21, constituting an expert committee to examine the problem faced by the bird species whose natural habitat and flight routes collide with power transmission lines in Gujarat and Rajasthan.


The case had been posted for further hearing in August. However, the court, unannounced, uploaded a judgment during the weekend. The text of the judgment has several paragraphs on climate change and its adversities.


Linking the right against climate change to Articles 21 and 14, Chief Justice Chandrachud said the rights to life and equality could not be fully realised without a clean, stable environment.


Supreme Court cautions against Centre-State governments’ disputes

The Supreme Court on April 8, 2024 directed the central government to respond to the Karnataka government’s plea seeking release of drought relief funds.


A division bench headed by Justice BR Gavai verbally observed that various state governments are directly approaching the top court seeking similar reliefs while there should be no contest between the Centre and states.


In its plea, the Karnataka government alleged that the Centre was not extending financial assistance to the state to tackle the drought situation in certain areas and accused the Centre of “arbitrary actions” resulting in denial of fundamental rights of the people of Karnataka.


The state government also alleged that the Centre has not yet acted upon an inter-ministerial central team report on the disaster for nearly six months now and the same has been aggravated due to the withholding of National Disaster Response Fund benefits to the state.


Appearing on behalf of the Centre, solicitor general Tushar Mehta questioned the timing of the petition at the cusp of Lok Sabha elections. He also said that instead of moving a plea under Article 32 of the Constitution, the state government could have communicated its grievances to the Centre directly.


PMLA Authority upholds ED’s 2023 attachment of assets of National Herald

The PMLA Adjudicating Authority on April 10, 2024 upheld the Enforcement Directorate’s attachment of about Rs 752-crore worth assets of Congress-promoted National Herald newspaper and companies linked to it in a money laundering case. The authority said in its order that it believes that the movable assets and equity shares that were attached by the ED are proceeds of crime and linked to the offence of money laundering.


The central agency had attached these properties in November 2023 by issuing a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) and Young Indian (YI).


The National Herald is published by AJL and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are majority shareholders of Young Indian with 38 per cent shares held by each one of them.


IAF kicks off plan for ‘smart’ perimeter cover at 30 air bases

With the threat of terror attacks on military establishments remaining a clear and present danger, IAF has now kicked off a plan to upgrade ground perimeter security of an additional 30 of its air bases across country. The new comprehensive multi-layered, multi-sensor, hitech surveillance and intrusion detection systems at the 30 air bases will follow the ongoing installation of a similar integrated perimeter security system (IPSS) at 23 “crucial and sensitive” air bases.


Of the 23 high-priority air bases, IPSS with command and control centres is now functional at 17-18 of them after some delay. Now, the plan is to install IPSS, with some additional features and upgrades, at 30 more air bases.


Govt had approved IPSS for the first 23 air bases, with Bharat Electronics (BEL) as the lead contractor and several foreign sub-contractors, after Jaish e Muhammed (JeM) terrorists had attacked the Pathankot airbase in Jan 2016 to expose gaping holes in security set-up of military installations in the country. As per request for information (RFI) now issued to Indian companies, IAF wants IPSS at the 30 air bases to have five layers for intrusion detection and monitoring, which will all be integrated with AI-enabled software and automation network, for “a composite surveillance picture with video analytics to generate decision-making solutions”.


Army successfully conducts field trials of anti-tank guided missile system

The Indian Army has successfully carried out field trials of indigenously-developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) weapon system, paving way for its induction into the force’s armoury. The weapon system has been designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


The overall system consisted of the MPATGM, launchers, target acquisition device and a fire control unit.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has complimented the DRDO and the Indian Army for the successful trials of the system, terming it as an important step towards achieving self-reliance in advanced technology-based defence system development.

The MPATG weapon system has been field evaluated in different flight configurations several times with an objective of proving the technology with high superiority, the defence ministry said.


“The warhead flight trials were successfully conducted at the Pokhran Field Firing Range on April 13. Missile performance and warhead performance were found to be remarkable,” it said on April 14, 2024.


It said an adequate number of missile firing trials have been successfully conducted towards achieving compliance of complete operational envelope as stipulated in the General Staff Qualitative Requirements.


“Penetration trials of the tandem warhead system of MPATGM have been successfully completed and it is found capable of defeating modern armour protected main battle tanks,” it said.


The weapon system is well-equipped for operation in both day and night.


“The dual mode seeker functionality is a great value addition to the missile capability for tank warfare. With this, technology development and successful demonstration have been concluded and the system is now ready for final user evaluation trials leading towards its induction into the Indian Army,” the ministry said.

Chairman DRDO Samir V Kamat congratulated the teams associated with the trials.


HAL bags biggest-ever indigenous military hardware order

In the largest ever order for indigenous military hardware placed by the Indian govt, a Rs 65,000 crore tender has been issued by the Defence ministry to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for made-in-India 97 LCA Mark 1A fighter jets.


LCA Mark 1A is the advanced version of Tejas aircraft.  The tender was issued by recently and HAL has been given three months to respond to it. The new fighters will enable the Indian Air Force (IAF) to replace its aging MiG fleet, which will be phased out. The last order for LCA Mark1A was for 83 aircraft. From that order, the first delivery is yet to be done.


The LCA Mark 1A boasts of more advanced avionics and radars than the initial 40 LCAs that the IAF will get. According to official statements, local content in the new LCA Mark 1As will be more than 65 per cent.


Indian Army celebrates 40 years of ‘Operation Meghdoot’ on Siachen Glacier

The Indian Army marked a significant milestone as it commemorated 40 years since the commencement of its presence on the strategically vital Siachen Glacier. Known as ‘Operation Meghdoot’, this operation has been a remarkable journey of technological progress and logistical advancements.


Operation Meghdoot, launched on April 13, 1984, by the Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF), marked a pivotal moment in securing the Siachen Glacier, a strategically crucial region dominating Northern Ladakh. The operation involved airlifting Indian Army soldiers, with IAF helicopters operating in the area since 1978.


The need for Operation Meghdoot arose due to Pakistan’s cartographic aggression in Ladakh, allowing foreign mountaineering expeditions in Siachen. Intelligence inputs about impending Pakistani military action prompted India to secure strategic heights on Siachen, deploying troops via airlifts and air-dropping supplies to high-altitude airfields.


Indian Army conducts Anti-Tank Guided Missile firing exercise in Sikkim

Trishakti Corps, Indian Army, conducted a training exercise on Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) firing at a Super High-Altitude Area of 17,000 Feet in Sikkim. Missile Firing Detachments from Mechanized and Infantry Units of the entire Eastern Command participated in the training exercise. The training exercise encompassed comprehensive continuity training and live firing from different platforms on moving as well as static targets, depicting battlefield conditions.


Navy chief inaugurates new facilities at Karwar naval base

Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar inaugurated a 350-m-long major pier for Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and a residential accommodation at Naval Base, Karwar on April 9, 2024. These infrastructure developments are part of the ongoing Phase IIA of Project Seabird, which will accommodate 32 ships and submarines, 23 yard craft, a dual-use naval air station, a full-fledged naval dockyard, four covered dry berths and logistics for ships and aircraft. “The Pier 3 OPV Pier is 350m long, capable of berthing OPVs, large survey vessels and mine counter measure vessels. The pier would also provide various shore-based services,” the Navy said in a statement.


National Motherhood Day observed in India on April 11

National Motherhood Day was observed on April 11, 2024. Every year on April 11, National Safe Motherhood Day is observed in India to raise awareness about the importance of proper healthcare and maternity services for expectant mothers.



Justice Aniruddha Bose to head National Judicial Academy at Bhopal

Justice Aniruddha Bose retired on April 10, 2024 after a five-year tenure as judge of the Supreme Court. He will head the National Judicial Academy at Bhopal to train judges.


Sachidananda Mohanty appointed UGC member

Sachidananda Mohanty, former Professor and Head of the Department of English, University of Hyderabad and former Vice­ Chancellor of Central University of Odisha, has been appointed as Member, University Grants Commission (UGC) for three years with immediate effect. The Ministry of Higher Education, Government of India, issued a gazette notification on the appointment.


Former bureaucrat-journalist BS Raghavan dies at 96

Former bureaucrat, speaker and columnist, Bahukutumbi Srinivasa Raghavan, who served as a Chief Secretary of West Bengal, passed away on April 10, 2024 at the age of 96. Raghavan was a regular columnist with newspaper businessline and contributed greatly to the paper’s creation in 1994. Raghavan, an Indian Administrative Service officer of the West Bengal cadre, served the country between 1952 and 1987.




Second batch of Indian military personnel leave Maldives: President Muizzu

The second group of Indian military personnel operating a helicopter has left the Maldives on April 9 under a bilateral agreement with India, President Mohamed Muizzu has announced. Muizzu announced this on April 12, 2024.


The agreement between Maldives and India is to replace the Indian military personnel stationed in Maldives to oversee the operations of the military aircraft the country has gifted with trained civilians also from India.


Muizzu added that the Indian soldiers on the last platform would also leave the Maldives before May 10 and that would mark the fulfilment of his pledge to remove Indian soldiers from the island nation.


According to the Maldives government, 88 Indian soldiers were stationed in the Maldives to operate helicopters in Addu and Laamu Kadhdhoo and a Dornier aircraft in Hanimaadhoo. The figure also includes doctors at the Senahiya military hospital.


The first group of Indian soldiers left the Maldives on March 11. The Defence Ministry said 26 soldiers based in Addu were replaced by 26 Indian civilians. India also replaced the old helicopter in Addu with a new one.


Relations between Maldives and India have deteriorated since Muizzu came to power in November 2023 while closer ties are maintained with China. He also travelled to China in January and met top Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping.


China and the Maldives recently signed a defence cooperation agreement and several other infrastructure development projects.


The Maldives is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in its initiatives like ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of the Narendra Modi government.


Maldives signs deal with China for redeveloping airport

The Maldives has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China for redeveloping an airport, days after it reached out to India for ensuring daily supplies.


The Maldives government signed the MoU with China CAMC Engineering Co Ltd on April 11, 2024 for the redevelopment of Maldives Kadhdhoo Airport.


The redevelopment of Kadhdhoo domestic airport into an international airport entails a 2.45-km runway with a terminal capable of handling 300 passengers during peak hours, according to a press release by the Maldives President’s Office.


Maldivian foreign minister Moosa Zameer had on April 6 said that India’s gesture to renew the quota to allow the export of certain quantities of essential commodities for his nation signifies the long-standing bilateral friendship and the commitment to further expand trade and commerce. A major tourism body in the island nation has also announced that it will hold roadshows across Indian cities to woo back Indian tourists.


Chinese presence in the Maldives has been expanding within days of President Mohamed Muizzu entering office in the last quarter of 2023, much to India’s discomfort.


This March, China signed a defence cooperation agreement with the Maldives. As part of the deal, China would provide the Maldives with free military assistance to foster “stronger” bilateral ties. China has also gifted 12 eco-friendly ambulances and 10 civil vehicles to the Maldives.

World Cybercrime Index: India ranks number 10 in cybercrime

India ranked number 10 in cybercrime, with frauds involving people to make advance fee payment being the most common type, according to a new research that surveyed cybercrime experts around the world. An international team of researchers has compiled the ‘World Cybercrime Index’ that ranks roughly 100 countries and identifies key hotspots according to various categories of cybercrime, including ransomware, credit card theft and scams.


Russia topped the list, and was followed by Ukraine, China, the US, Nigeria and Romania. North Korea was at the seventh position, while the UK and Brazil were at the eighth and ninth positions, respectively, according to the research published in the journal PLOS ONE on April 10, 2024.


Through the survey, the researchers asked the experts to consider major types of crime in the virtual world and nominate countries that they thought contributed significantly to each of them.


The major categories that the researchers identified were – technical products and services such as malware and compromising systems; attacks and extortion including ransomware; data and identity theft including hacking, compromising accounts and credit cards; scams such as advance fee fraud; and cashing out or money laundering involving illegitimate virtual currency.


Invites to respond to the survey were sent out from March to October 2021. The team received 92 complete survey responses.


The top six countries appeared among the top ten countries under each cybercrime category, the researchers found. They further found that countries that are cybercrime hubs “specialise” in particular categories.


“Russia and Ukraine are highly technical cybercrime hubs, whereas Nigerian cybercriminals are engaged in less technical forms of cybercrime,” the authors wrote in the study.


Among the top ranking countries, while some may “specialise” in cybercrime types with middling technical complexity – such as those involved in data and identity theft – others may “specialise” in both high-tech and low-tech crimes, they said.


India was found to “specialise” in scams. Further, while Romania and the US were found to “specialise” in both high-tech and low-tech crimes, India was found to be a “balanced hub”, “specialising” in mid-tech crimes.


“In short, each country has a distinct profile, indicating a unique local dimension,” the authors wrote.


Plastic Overshoot Day report by Swiss non-profit EA Earth Action

India’s per capita plastic waste production is among the lowest in the world, according to a new report. The Plastic Overshoot Day report by Swiss non-profit EA Earth Action also said global plastic waste generation has risen by 7.11 per cent since 2021. The world is estimated to have generated 220 million tons of plastic waste this year, 70 million tons of which will end up polluting the environment.


The report comes ahead of the fourth meeting of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in Ottawa, Canada, as the world leaders attempt to develop a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.


“Twelve countries are responsible for 60 per cent of the world’s mismanaged plastic waste: China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, the United States and Turkey,” it said. Though the report classifies India as a “low-waste-producing” polluter due to its low per capita plastic waste production (8 kg per capita per year), it said the country’s expected mismanaged waste in 2024 will be 7.4 million tons, which is “very high”.


Still, India’s mismanaged plastic waste will be less than one-fifth of China and one-third of the US.


The report also claimed India is estimated to release an average of 3,91,879 tons of microplastics into the environment and 31,483 tons of chemical additives into waterways.


People living in Belgium are the top generators of plastic waste, with a yearly waste production of 147.7 kg per person. This is 16 times higher than in India.


The report said that by April 2024, almost half of the world’s population will be living in areas where plastic waste has already exceeded the capacity to manage it. On September 5, it said, that the plastic waste produced worldwide will surpass the planet’s waste management systems and will be called “Plastic Overshoot Day”.


Each country has its own “Plastic Overshoot Day”, determined by the amount of plastic waste generated and the country’s capacity to manage it. India will reach its Plastic Overshoot Day on April 23, it said.


Taliban regime to restore private land rights to Afghan Hindus and Sikh minorities

India on April 12, 2024 described as “positive development” the move by the Taliban regime to restore private land rights to Afghan Hindus and Sikh minorities. According to reports, the Taliban administration has taken steps to restore property rights of the Hindu and the Sikh communities.


“We have seen reports on this issue. If the Taliban administration has decided to restore property rights to their citizens belonging to the Afghan Hindu and Sikh community, we see this as a positive development,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.


His remarks came in response to a question on the matter during his weekly media briefing.


The Taliban regime has reportedly set up a commission to ensure return to owners the rights of private land which were seized by warlords during the tenure of the previous dispensation in Kabul.


The latest move by the Taliban dispensation comes weeks after India’s pointsperson on Afghanistan J P Singh met senior members of Afghan authorities in Kabul.


Singh, the joint secretary heading the division for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), held talks with Taliban’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi last month.


India has not yet recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.


India has been pitching for providing unimpeded humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.


In June 2022, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” in its embassy in the Afghan capital.


India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power in August 2021 following concerns over their security.


Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seizes container ship near Strait of Hormuz

Commandos from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard rappelled down from a helicopter onto an Israeli-affiliated container ship ‘MSC Aries’ near the Strait of Hormuz and seized the vessel April 13, 2024. The incident occurred in the Gulf of Oman off Fujairah. Of the 25 crew members aboard the container ship, 17 are Indian.


The Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries is a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime which is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. The MSC Aries had been last located off Dubai heading toward the Strait of Hormuz. The ship had turned off its tracking data, which has been common for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region.


EAM S. Jaishankar spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and sought early release of the Indian crew members.


India, Mauritius sign protocol to amend tax treaty; principal purpose test introduced

India and Mauritius have signed a protocol to amend the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA), which included a principal purpose test (PPT) to decide whether a foreign investor is eligible to claim treaty benefits. The amended protocol was signed on March 7 and made public now.


The introduction of the PPT aims to curtail tax avoidance by ensuring that treaty benefits are only granted for transactions with a bona fide purpose.


The amendment represents a move by India to align with global efforts against treaty abuse, particularly under the BEPS Action 6 framework.


Historically, Mauritius has been a preferred jurisdiction for engaging in investments in India due to the non-taxability of capital gains from the sale of shares in Indian companies until 2016.


In 2016, India and Mauritius signed a revised tax agreement, which gave India the right to tax capital gains in India on transactions in shares routed through the island nation beginning April 1, 2017.


India, US to reactivate observation system for Indian Ocean

India and the US have decided to reactivate the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), a network of 36 moored buoys in the high seas to collect high-resolution ocean and atmospheric data for weather forecasts. The IndOOS array of buoys fell into neglect and disrepair during the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to gaps in observational data considered crucial by weather forecasters, particularly since the links between the Indian Ocean Dipole phenomenon and monsoon were established.


The reactivation of IndOOS was discussed recently during a meeting of Earth Sciences Secretary M Ravichandran with Rick Spinrad, Administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US.


The moored buoys are part of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) programme that was born out of a collaboration between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and NOAA in 2008.


Observations of the ocean are essential for operational services such as cyclone warnings, storm surge alerts, initial conditions for monsoon predictions and climate forecasts, tsunami warnings and harmful algal bloom detection. The RAMA moored buoys also provide important verification data for air-sea flux products and satellite measurements.


Marine observations are crucial in monitoring and forecasting weather and climate over the Indian Ocean and the surrounding rim countries. They also help maintain long-term continuous maritime records, provide information on the ocean’s health and are critical for establishing baselines to assess natural variability and human-forced climate change.


World University Ranking by Subject 2024 released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)

The World University Ranking by Subject 2024 by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), was released on April 10, 2024 featuring the world’s top universities that are leading in various parameters. QS is a London-based higher education analytics company.


The category ranks universities under the following parameters: Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per paper and H-index citations.


Under the Development Studies section, University of Sussex, University of Oxford, SOAS University of London, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and University of Cambridge grabbed the top 5 positions. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) secured the 20th position in the category with an overall score of 81.3. JNU secured 87.4 for Academic Reputation, 58.7 for Employer Reputation, 82.7 for Citations per paper and 70.3 for H-index citations.


Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad has been ranked among the top 25 institutions globally for business and management studies. IIM-Bangalore and IIM-Calcutta have been ranked among the top 50.


Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences (deemed to be university) secured the 24th spot globally in dentistry.


India, EU Launch Initiative For EV Start-Ups

The European Union (EU) and India launched an Expression of Interest (EoI) on April 9, 2024 for startups working in Battery Recycling Technologies for Electric Vehicles (EVs) for a matchmaking event.


The matchmaking aims to enhance the cooperation between European and Indian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and startups in the clean and green technologies sector.


The intended exchange of knowledge and expertise will be instrumental in advancing the circularity of rare materials and transitioning towards carbon neutrality in both India and the EU.


This initiative takes place under the India-EU Trade & Technology Council (TTC), announced by India and the European Commission in New Delhi on 25th April 2022.


This event is also part of a broader effort to promote a sustainable agenda, foster innovation, and forge stronger economic relations between the European Union and India.


Twelve innovators, six each from India and the EU will be selected and get a pitching opportunity during the Matchmaking Event, scheduled for June 2024.


Six finalists (three from the EU and three from India) will be selected following their pitching presentations and awarded the possibility to visit India and the EU, respectively.


To comply with FDI laws, BBC splits India ops, sets up new co

The BBC split up its news operations in India into two on April 10, 2024 and four former BBC India staff set up a new Indian company to produce its six Indian language services.


BBC said the establishment of “Collective Newsroom” — an independent, Indian-owned entity was done so it could cover stories on India in compliance with Indian foreign direct investment laws. In Aug 2019, Centre had created a cap of 26% FDI in digital news services in India.


Published from India, Collective Newsroom will create programmes and produce content for BBC, its first and only client, but will be available to produce content for other news providers across India and the globe.


India-Uzbekistan Joint Military Exercise Dustlik

The fifth edition of India-Uzbekistan Joint Military Exercise Dustlik will commence at Termez District in Uzbekistan from April 15 onwards, the Indian Army said in a statement on April 12, 2024. It will conclude on April 28. The fourth edition of the joint military exercise between the Indian Army and Uzbekistan Army was held on February 20 last year at the Foreign Training Node, Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. According to the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, Indian Army said that the 14-day joint training exercise had focused on sharing best practices in subconventional operations under UN mandate. The first edition of the exercise was held in Uzbekistan in November 2019.


Cochin Shipyard signs ship repair agreement with the U.S. Navy

As India and the U.S. look to expand cooperation in ship repair and maintenance to turn India into a regional hub, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) became the third Indian shipyard to enter into a Master Shipyard Repair Agreement (MRSA) with the U.S., which will enable to repair U.S. Navy ships. The MSRA is a non-financial agreement and is effective from April 5, 2024. The State-run shipbuilding facility in Kochi is the latest in the line after Larsen & Toubro and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL) L&T shipyard in Kattupalli near Chennai was the first Indian shipyard to sign the agreement in July 2023.


Indian PM comments on China border issue in Newsweek

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments about tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are “highly significant”, according to Indian foreign affairs experts. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reacted to his remarks on April 11, 2024, calling for India to work with China to “put the bilateral relations forward on a sound and stable track”. In an interview to the U.S.-based magazine Newsweek, published on April 10, 2024, Modi had called for the two sides to “urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us”.


Supreme Courts of India and Singapore hold conference

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in modern processes, including court proceedings, raises complex ethical, legal and practical considerations that demand a thorough examination, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said on April 13, 2024. He was speaking at a two-day conference on technology and dialogue between the Supreme Courts of India and Singapore. Chief Justice of Singapore Justice Sundaresh Menon, and several other judges and experts were also present during the conference.


Myanmar: India relocates staff in Sittwe consulate to Yangon

India on April 12, 2024 said it has relocated its staff from its consulate in Myanmarese city of Sittwe to Yangon in view of the precarious security situation in that region of Myanmar. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said India is closely monitoring the security situation in that country. “We are closely monitoring the security situation in Myanmar, particularly in the Rakhine State. Necessary steps have been taken to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said at his weekly media briefing. “We have temporarily relocated our staff at CGI (Consulate General of India) Sittwe to Yangon. Our Consulate in Mandalay remains fully functional,” Jaiswal said.


Chief of Greece National Defence General Staff visits India

The Chief of Greece National Defence General Staff General Dimitrios Choupis received the Guard of Honour at South Block Lawns in Delhi on April 8, 2024. Earlier, Gen Choupis laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Delhi and paid respects to the fallen soldiers.


Indian Army gets Russia-made Igla-S MANPADS

The Indian Army has received the first batch of 24 Russia-made Igla-S Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), along with 100 missiles, as part of a larger deal that includes domestic production in India. The Igla-S system is being acquired to enhance the Indian Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) capabilities.


Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visits US

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visited Washington, DC, from April 10 to 12, 2024. The visit was aimed to bolster the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. He met with senior US officials and discussed defence, commercial ties, and regional developments. His engagements also included meetings with key officials at the National Security Council, Department of Defence, Department of Commerce, and Department of Energy, highlighting the strategic Indo-Pacific partnership. The visit underscores the commitment to advancing the bilateral relationship.


Lindy Cameron named next High Commissioner to India

Head of the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre Lindy Cameron was on April 11, 2024 appointed British High Commissioner to India. Cameron replaces Alex Ellis.


India’s nominee re-elected to International Narcotics Control Board

India’s nominee Jagjit Pavadia has been re-elected to International Narcotics Control Board at elections held in New York, for the term 2025-2030, after receiving the highest number of votes in the elections conducted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Lauding the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations and the team at the Ministry of External Affairs, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said “good work.”


Avantika Vandanapu named South Asian Person of the Year by Harvard University

Avantika Vandanapu has been named the South Asian Person of the Year by Harvard University on April 10, 2024. The Indian-American actor, who was recognised for her outstanding achievements, recently appeared in ‘Mean Girls’ and the Indian OTT series ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’.


Indian PM to feature on Newsweek cover

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to become the second prime minister of India to feature on the cover of Newsweek after Indira Gandhi. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi featured on the cover of Newsweek’s April 1966 issue. The New York-based magazine has interviewed PM Modi who addressed Newsweek’s written questions and followed up with a 90-minute conversation.


Section C: WORLD




Iran fires missiles, drones at Israel, 99% shot down

On 13 April 2024, Iran launched attacks on Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, with drones, and cruise and ballistic missiles. The retaliatory attacks, codenamed Operation True Promise, were in response to the Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus on 1 April that killed 16 people. It was Iran’s first direct attack on Israel and the first direct conflict since the start of the Iran–Israel proxy conflict.


Several countries in the Middle East closed their airspaces a few hours before Iran launched a massive standoff attack against Israel around midnight 13 April 2024. Iran’s attack involved around 170 drones, over 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles. Israel said that 99 percent were shot down, most before entering Israeli airspace.


In a statement addressed to his people, President Ebrahim Raisi focused on what he said was the country’s capacity for a “decisive and even stronger response” should Israel strike back.


Ecuador court calls officials’ raid on Mexico embassy ‘illegal’ and ‘arbitrary’

Ecuador’s National Court of Justice ruled on April 12, 2024 that the seizure and arrest of former Vice-President Jorge Glas from inside Mexico’s embassy in Quito was “illegal and arbitrary.”


The high court ruling said the arrest was illegal since security forces had no warrant to enter the embassy. But the court added Glas would remain in a high security prison in the port of Guayaquil pending two other cases of corruption.


Mexico broke diplomatic relations with Ecuador following the arrest of Glas on April 5, carried out by security forces who stormed its embassy, a rare incursion on foreign diplomatic territory.


Glas, who served as Vice-President of Ecuador from 2013 to 2017, faces graft charges stemming from his time in office.


The raid came hours after Mexico granted a request by Glas for political asylum.


Mexico had on April 11, 2024 appealed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to suspend Ecuador from the United Nations unless it apologised for violating international law.


SAG-AFTRA union secures AI protections for artists in deal with major record labels

Hollywood performers and media professionals have reached a tentative deal with major record labels such as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment that includes increases in minimum salaries and protections against the use of AI.


The deal covers the five-year period from 2021 to 2026 and has been unanimously approved by the executive committee of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), which represents roughly 160,000 actors and other media professionals, the union said in a statement on its website.


AI has emerged as a big concern in the entertainment industry and the issue was at the center of talks between SAG-AFTRA and major studios last year, which finally culminated in a contract in November after a months-long strike.


The music industry is especially grappling with songs created by generative AI – a technology that makes it easy for internet users to mimic artists’ voices, often without their consent.


The SAG-AFTRA union said the tentative deal with the record labels requires both consent and compensation before a song is released that uses a digital replica of an artist’s voice.


It added the terms “artist”, “singer” and “royalty artist” could only refer to humans under the agreement.


German parliament approves payment cards for asylum-seekers

The German parliament on April 12, 2024 approved legislation introducing payment cards for asylum-seekers, a system that is meant to limit benefits paid in cash and make the country less attractive for migrants.


The bill was approved by a large majority in parliament’s lower house, or Bundestag. It calls for asylum-seekers to receive their benefits on a card that can be used for payments in local shops and services. They will only be able to withdraw limited amounts of cash and will not be able to transfer money outside Germany.


The aim is to prevent migrants sending money to family and friends abroad, or to smugglers. The legislation gives local authorities latitude to decide on exemptions and on how much cash asylum-seekers can withdraw.


Military trainers from Russia arrive in Niger

State television in Niger has broadcast footage of Russian military trainers arriving in the country aboard a plane equipped with military supplies to boost its air defences amid deteriorating relations between Niger and the U.S.


Two Russian trainers were filmed in front of the plane wearing military uniforms, caps and face coverings. The plane arrived on April 10, 2024 night, the report said, and carried military supplies to help Niger improve its air defences.


“We are here to train the Nigerian Army to use the military equipment that is here,” one of the Russian trainers said in French in April 11, 2024’s broadcast. “We are here to develop military cooperation between Russia and Niger.”


Until recently, Washington considered Niger a key partner and ally in a region swept by attempted coups in recent years.


Italy’s digital nomad visa is now open for applicants

Italy has rolled out its digital nomad visa, signalling a welcome to professionals from around the globe.


The Italian government defines digital nomads as individuals who are non-European Union or Swiss citizens possessing high skills and capable of working remotely, whether as self-employed individuals or as employees collaborating with a company.


The applicant needs to demonstrate an income of three times the minimum level required for exemption from participation in healthcare costs, equivalent to approximately €28,000 annually or about $30,400. Also required is evidence of health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay, proof of accommodation, and demonstrate a track record of at least six months as a remote worker or digital nomad.


Once granted, the residence permit is valid for up to one year and can be renewed without restrictions as long as the digital nomad continues to meet all the requirements. This pathway also offers the opportunity to obtain a permanent EU residency card. Additionally, the digital nomad can sponsor his/her spouse, minor children, or elder parents under the general family reunification pathway. However, individuals with a criminal conviction within the past five years may face rejection.


Study finds voters skeptical about fairness of elections

Voters in 19 countries, including in three of the world’s largest democracies, are widely skeptical about whether their political elections are free and fair, and many favor a strong, undemocratic leader, according to a study released on April 11, 2024 by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, or International IDEA.


The study concluded that “democratic institutions are falling short of people’s expectations.” In 17 countries, fewer than half of the people are satisfied with their governments, International IDEA found. The survey included three of the largest democracies — Brazil, India and the United States.


The surveys were carried out by YouGov and GeoPoll and were done either by telephone or via the internet in 2023, except for India where it was carried out in January.


International IDEA was founded in 1995. It was designed to “identify important but often neglected differences between various groups’ assessments of and attitudes related to democracy.”


South Korea opposition wins landslide parliamentary vote

Legislative elections were held in South Korea on 10 April 2024 to elect all 300 members of the National Assembly.


Executive power in South Korea is heavily concentrated in the president, but the prime minister is the No. 2 official and leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.


The main opposition Democratic Party and its satellite party won a combined 175 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, dealing a resounding blow to President Yoon Suk Yeol and his conservative party. Another small liberal opposition party obtained 12 seats under a proportional representation system.


President Yoon’s People Power Party and its satellite party won 108 seats.


The final voter turnout for South Korea’s 44 million eligible voters was tentatively estimated at 67%, the highest for a parliamentary election since 1992, according to the election commission.


Regardless of the results, Yoon will stay in power and his major foreign policies will likely be unchanged. But the elections were widely seen as a midterm confidence vote on the former top prosecutor who took office in 2022.


The incoming parliament is to begin meeting on May 30 for a four-year term. Of the 300 seats, 254 were elected through direct votes in local districts, and the other 46 by the parties according to their proportion of the vote.


Ukraine’s parliament passes controversial conscription law

Ukraine’s parliament on April 11, 2024 passed a controversial law on how the country will call up new soldiers at a time when it needs to replenish depleted forces that are increasingly struggling to fend off Russia’s advance.


The law will make it easier to identify every draft-eligible man in the country, where many have dodged conscription by avoiding contact with authorities.


Under the law, men aged 18 to 60 will be required to carry documents showing they have registered with the military and present them when asked. Also, any man who applies for a state service at a consulate abroad will be registered for military service.


Ukraine has also lowered the draft-eligible age for men from 27 to 25.


European Parliament approves overhaul of EU’s asylum and migration rules

The European Parliament on April 10, 2024 approved a landmark overhaul of the European Union’s asylum and migration rules.  The reforms address the questions of who should take responsibility for migrants and asylum seekers when they arrive and whether other EU countries should be obliged to help


The package involves establishing border facilities in the EU to host asylum seekers and screen and quickly send back applicants found not to be ineligible.


The legislation requires all EU member states to take some form of responsibility for managing asylum applications.


If an EU country does not want to accept people applying for asylum, then that member state must give alternative assistance, like financial contributions to a support fund.


Also, EU member states experiencing significant spikes in applications for asylum may call for the applicants to be distributed to other EU countries.


Higher salary threshold for UK Family Visa comes into force

The minimum income required for British citizens and residents, including those of Indian heritage, wanting to sponsor their relatives on a Family Visa increased by over 55 per cent from April 11, 2024, as the incremental increase in salary thresholds announced by the government last year are enforced.


Starting April 11, 2024, for someone to be sponsored to come to the UK on a Family Visa, they must have a minimum annual salary of GBP 29,000, up from GBP 18,600. By 2025, this will have increased two more times to match the Skilled Worker visa salary threshold of GBP 38,700.


The UK Home Office said it marks the final measure in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary James Cleverly’s package to reduce legal migration and “ensure those arriving here do not burden the taxpayer”.


U.N. climate chief says two years to save the planet

Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the next two years are “essential in saving our planet”.


Governments, business leaders and development banks have two years to take action to avert far worse climate change, the U.N.’s climate chief said on April 10, 2024, in a speech that warned global warming is slipping down politicians’ agendas. He was speaking at an event at the Chatham House think-tank in London.


Scientists say halving climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is crucial to stop a rise in temperatures of more than 1.5 Celsius that would unleash more extreme weather and heat.


Yet in 2023, the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions increased to a record high. Current commitments to fight climate change would barely cut global emissions at all by 2030.


WHO 2024 Global Hepatitis Report released

The Geneva-based World Health Organisation on April 9, 2024 flagged that the number of lives lost due to viral hepatitis is increasing with the disease being the second leading infectious cause of death globally — with 1.3 million deaths per year – the same as tuberculosis.


The WHO 2024 Global Hepatitis Report said new data from 187 countries show that the estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis increased from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022. Of these, 83 per cent were caused by hepatitis B, and 17 per cent by hepatitis C.


“Every day, there are 3,500 people dying globally due to hepatitis B and C infections,” the report released at the World Hepatitis Summit said.


Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia and Vietnam collectively shoulder nearly two-thirds of the global burden of hepatitis B and C.


Achieving universal access to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in these 10 countries by 2025, alongside intensified efforts in the African Region, is essential to get the global response back on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN health agency said in a statement.


“This report paints a troubling picture: despite progress globally in preventing hepatitis infections, deaths are rising because far too few people with hepatitis are being diagnosed and treated,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “WHO is committed to supporting countries to use all the tools at their disposal – at access prices – to save lives and turn this trend around.”


Updated WHO estimates indicate that 254 million people lived with hepatitis B and 50 million with hepatitis C in 2022; half the burden of chronic hepatitis B and C infections is among people 30-54 years old, with 12 per cent among children under 18 years of age. Men account for 58 per cent of all cases, the statement said.


Apart from talking about global progress and gaps in diagnosis and treatment, the WHO 2024 Global Hepatitis Report also pointed out disparities in pricing and service delivery, and said, funding remains a challenge.


The report outlined a series of actions to advance a public health approach to viral hepatitis, designed to accelerate progress towards ending the epidemic by 2030.


These include: expanding access to testing and diagnostics; shifting from policies to implementation for equitable treatment; strengthening primary care prevention efforts; using improved data for action; and engaging affected communities and civil society among others.


Swiss women win climate case at European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) at Strasbourg, France ruled on April 9, 2024 in favour of a group of elderly Swiss women who had argued that their government’s inadequate efforts to combat climate change put them at risk of dying during heatwaves. Court President Siofra O’Leary said the Swiss government had violated the human right to a private and family life, by failing to put in place sufficient domestic policies to tackle climate change. She also noted the Swiss government had failed to meet its past greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, by not putting in place measures to ensure the goals were achieved.


World experienced hottest March ever: EU climate agency

The world experienced the hottest March ever, making it the tenth month in a row that is the warmest on record, the European Union climate agency said on April 9, 2024. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said that the average surface air temperature was 14.14 degrees Celsius globally which was 0.73 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for March and 0.10 degrees Celsius above the previous high set in March 2016.


Notre-Dame rises from the ashes five years after fire

Five years after being ravaged by fire, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has returned to its former splendour months ahead of its planned reopening. The fire at the UNESCO-listed cathedral, which used to welcome 12 million visitors a year, shocked the world on April 15, 2019. The monument already had a key moment in February when scaffolding came off around its spire, which authorities say will be fully visible by the time the Paris Summer Olympics kick off in July. The spire has been covered in lead. Initially, President Emmanuel Macron promised the building would be fully restored by the time the Olympics open, but the date was pushed back after restoration work hit several snags.



Superman’s 1st appearance comic sells for record $6m

A 1938 copy of the comic that first “introduced Superman to the world” has sold for a record-setting $6 million. According to Heritage Auctions, the rare copy of Action Comics No. 1 was sold to an anonymous buyer on April 11, 2024. The $6 million price tag makes the book the most expensive comic to ever sell at auction. The previous titleholder of the most expensive comic book was another Superman-starring comic: Superman No. 1, sold privately for $5.3 million in 2022.


International Day of Human Space Flight celebrated on April 12

The United Nations on April 12, 2024 commemorated the International Day of Human Space Flight to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight, which ushered in the beginning of the space era for mankind. The International Day commemorates the historic space flight that Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen, took on 12 April, 1961.


World Homeopathy Day observed on April 10

World Homeopathy Day was observed on April 10, 2024. Every year, April 10 is observed as World Homeopathy Day, commemorating the birth anniversary of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. The theme of World Homeopathy Day 2024 in India is “Homeoparivar: One Health, One Family”. This theme highlights the importance of homeopathy in promoting the health and well-being of the entire family and community.


World Chagas Disease Day observed by WHO on April 14

World Chagas Disease Day was observed by the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 14, 2024. The aim is to raise public awareness of this neglected tropical disease (NTD) that affects mainly poor people. The theme for 2024 is ‘Tackling Chagas disease: detect early and care for life’. Chagas disease, also known as “silent or silenced disease”, affects mainly poor people without access to health care or people without a political voice. The disease progresses slowly and often shows an asymptomatic clinical course. Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal.  Raising awareness of the disease is essential to improve the rates of early treatment and cure, together with the interruption of its transmission. The World Chagas Disease Day was celebrated for the first time in 2020.


World Quantum Day celebrated on April 14, 2024

World Quantum Day was celebrated on April 14, 2024. Quantum Mechanics, the study of atoms and sub-atomic particles, has now advanced to such an extent that it has now moved to the engineering domain and is leading to novel and varied applications. To advance the awareness and appreciation of quantum science and technology among the public worldwide, an international initiative was taken in 2022, commemorated annually as the World Quantum Day on April 14th.



Kristalina Georgieva selected for 2nd term as IMF managing director

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board on April 12, 2024 selected Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva to serve as managing director for a second five-year term, starting on Oct. 1 this year.


European Union finance ministers had earlier endorsed Georgieva for a second term at the helm of the lender of last resort, virtually assuring her approval. Traditionally, European countries recommend the managing director of the IMF and the United States recommends the head of the World Bank.


Georgieva is the second woman to head the IMF and the first person from an emerging market economy. She is the IMF’s 12th managing director since its founding in 1944.


Simon Harris sworn in as Ireland’s youngest PM

Simon Harris was elected Ireland’s prime minister by a vote in parliament April 9, 2024, becoming at 37 the country’s youngest-ever leader. Harris takes over as head of Ireland’s three-party coalition government from Leo Varadkar, who announced his surprise resignation in March 2024. Harris, who served as higher education minister in Varadkar’s government, was the only candidate to replace him as head of the center-right Fine Gael party.


Lawmakers in the Dáil, the lower house of Ireland’s parliament, confirmed Harris as taoiseach, or prime minister, by a 88-69 vote. He was formally appointed to the post by President Michael D. Higgins in a ceremony at the president’s official residence in Dublin. Harris was first elected to parliament at 24. Leo Varadkar was the previous youngest-ever premier when first elected at age 38.


Harris has said he plans to keep the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party coalition government going until March 2025, when an election must be held.


UN chief appoints Julie Bishop as UN special envoy for Myanmar

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed former Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on April 12, 2024 as his special envoy for Myanmar, a post that has been vacant for 10 months as the country’s conflict escalated into the worst violence since the military takeover in 2021. Bishop will replace Noeleen Heyzer, a former U.N. undersecretary-general for Singapore who left after 20 months at the end of her contract in June 2023. In a grim assessment to the U.N. General Assembly before leaving, Heyzer said the impact of the military takeover has been “devastating,” with violence continuing “at an alarming scale.”


Norway’s health minister resigns over allegations of having plagiarized academic work

Norway’s health minister resigned on April 12, 2024 amid allegations of having plagiarized academic work. Ingvild Kjerkol resigned a day after a probe by Nord University in Bodoe in northern Norway, where Kjerkol, handed in her master thesis in 2021, concluded that “there is a not insignificant amount of plagiarism in her master’s thesis.” “We have come to the conclusion that Ingvild should resign as minister,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said. He said the probe had concluded the plagiarism was “intentional.” The 48-year-old Kjerkol has been in office since October 2021.


Peru’s oldest resident turns 124 years old, eyes Guinness World Record

Peru’s Marcelino Abad, a resident of the Andean region who celebrated his birthday on April 5, 2024, is claimed to be the world’s oldest person at 124 years old, born in 1900. The Peruvian government is assisting him in applying for verification by Guinness World Records. The Guinness World Records currently lists the oldest living man as a 111-year-old Briton who got the title this month after the death of a Venezuelan man who was 114. The oldest living woman is 117, while the oldest person ever verified reached 122.


Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has died at the age of 83

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli died at the age of 83 in Florence on April 12, 2024. The designer, who founded his label in the early 1970s and was known for his animal prints. The Florence-based fashion group Roberto Cavalli is owned by Auriel Investment SA, controlled by Dubai’s Hussain Sajwani, who rescued it in 2019.


O.J. Simpson, American football player turned murder defendant, dies at 76

O.J. Simpson, the American football star and actor who was acquitted in a sensational 1995 trial of murdering his former wife but was found responsible for her death in a civil lawsuit and was later imprisoned for armed robbery and kidnapping, died at the age of 76 in US on April 10, 2024. Simpson avoided prison when he was found not guilty in the 1994 stabbing deaths of former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. Simpson later served nine years in a Nevada prison after being convicted in 2008 on 12 counts of armed robbery and kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel.


Oldest living conjoined twins, Lori & George Schappell, die at 62

Conjoined twins, Lori and George Schappell, died on April 7, 2024 in Pennsylvania (US). The twins, listed by Guinness World Records as the oldest living conjoined twins, were 62. The twins had distinct brains but were joined at the skull.

Emmy-winning filmmaker Eleanor Coppola dies at 87

Emmy-winning filmmaker Eleanor Coppola, wife of Hollywood veteran Francis Ford Coppola, died on April 12, 2024 at her home in Rutherford, California (US), at the age of 87. Coppola won an Emmy award in 1992 for documenting the making of her husband’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now in the documentary ‘Hearts of Darkness’. It emerged as one of the most popular documentaries on filmmaking and was also published as a book in 1979 titled Notes: On the Making of Apocalypse Now, chronicling Coppola’s intimate journey through the chaos and creativity behind The Godfather director’s legendary film.




Tata’s military-grade satellite successfully placed into orbit

India’s first military grade geospatial satellite manufactured in the private sector has been successfully launched and placed in orbit, with full functionality expected to be achieved within a few months.


Built by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) at its Vemagal facility in Karnataka, the TSAT-1A was onboard the Bandwagon-1 mission launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in Florida.


The sub-metre resolution imaging satellite has given a signal that it is in the right orbit and tests will be run on it for the next few weeks before it is fully functional, TASL said.


The satellite will provide military grade imagery with high resolution of less than one metre per pixel that will be downloaded and processed at a ground centre in India that is being built by TASL.


While India has a few military spy satellites built by ISRO, this if the first such initiative in the private sector. The company plans to put up a constellation of such satellites in the future and its manufacturing facility is geared to produce up to 25 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites annually. The satellites are being manufactured in collaboration with Satellogic Inc, a leader in sub-metre resolution earth observation satellites.


China launch of relay satellite Queqiao-2 for lunar probe mission successful

China National Space Administration (CNSA) said on April 12, 2024 its launch of a key signal relay satellite was a “complete success” and it would serve as the communication bridge for its future lunar probe missions for years to come, state media reported.


China launched the satellite Queqiao-2, which was named after a mythological bridge made of magpies, and two miniature satellites, Tiandu-1 and Tiandu-2, on March 20.


Queqiao-2 will be used as a communications bridge between the ground operations on earth and upcoming lunar probe missions on the far side of the moon until at least 2030.


The moon’s near side always faces earth. That means data transfers from the far side are impossible because there is no direct line of sight. Queqiao-2 researcher and developer Xiong Liang described the satellite as “the main switch” of the whole fourth phase of lunar missions. “Only when the main switch is flipped on, all the communications can kick off,” Xiong said.


Queqiao-2 will orbit the moon and relay signals to and from the Chang’e-6 mission, which expected to be launched in May. The robotic Chang’e-6 probe will seek to retrieve samples from an ancient basin, acquiring lunar material from the moon’s hidden side for the first time.


Russia test launches new heavy-lift rocket Angara-A5

Russian space agency Roscosmos successfully test launched new heavy-lift rocket Angara-A5 from Vostochny spaceport on April 11, 2024. The new Angara family of rockets has been developed to replace the Soviet-designed Proton rockets.



Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the ‘God particle,’ has died at 94

Nobel prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called “God particle” that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang, died at age 94 on April 8, 2024. Higgs was emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Higgs predicted the existence of a new particle, which came to be known as the Higgs boson, in 1964. He theorized that there must be a sub-atomic particle of certain dimension that would explain how other particles — and therefore all the stars and planets in the universe — acquired mass. Without something like this particle, the set of equations physicists use to describe the world, known as the standard model, would not hold together.


Higgs’ work helps scientists understand one of the most fundamental riddles of the universe: how the Big Bang created something out of nothing 13.8 billion years ago. Without mass from the Higgs, particles could not clump together into the matter we interact with every day.


But it would be almost 50 years before the particle’s existence could be confirmed. In 2012, in one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics in decades, scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced that they had finally found a Higgs boson using the Large Hardron Collider, the $10 billion atom smasher in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel under the Swiss-French border.


The collider was designed in large part to find Higgs’ particle. It produces collisions with extraordinarily high energies in order to mimic some of the conditions that were present in the trillionths of seconds after the Big Bang.


Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, alongside Francois Englert of Belgium, who independently came up with the same theory.


Gopichand Thotakura to be 2nd Indian citizen in space

US-based Gopichand Thotakura will become the second Indian citizen in space after Rakesh Sharma in1984. He will be sent into space by Blue Origin (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space company) later this year. Thotakura will be part of a six-member crew that will blast off into space on the next New Shepard mission. Thotakura, 30, was born in Vijayawada and is currently the co-founder of Preserve Life, a wellness centre being developed on the outskirts of US’ Atlanta, but has retained his Indian passport. Joining him on the mission will be venture capitalist Mason Angel, French entrepreneur Sylvain Chiron, US tech entrepreneur Kenneth L Hess, retired accountant and adventurer Carol Schaller, and former US Air Force captain Ed Dwight. The latter was selected in 1961 as the first US black astronaut candidate but could not be part of a mission.


Section E: AWARDS


Chandrayaan-3 team receives US award for space exploration

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission team has been presented with the prestigious 2024 John L. ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration in recognition of it raising the bar for space exploration. The award was received by India’s Consul General in Houston D C Manjunath on behalf of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) during the opening ceremony of the annual Space Symposium in Colorado on April 8, 2024.


As the first nation to land on the Moon’s South Pole in August 2023, Chandrayaan-3, a mission developed by the ISRO, extends humanity’s space exploration aspirations to new and fertile areas for understanding and cooperation, the Space Foundation said in a press release.


The John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration recognises extraordinary accomplishments by a company, space agency, or consortium of organisations in the realm of space exploration and discovery.


The award honours the memory of astronaut John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr., one of the inspirations for the creation of the Space Foundation. A Colorado native, Swigert served with retired U.S. Navy Captain James A. Lovell Jr. and Fred Haise on the legendary Apollo 13 lunar mission, which was aborted after the perilous rupture of an oxygen tank while en route to the Moon, the release said.


People around the world watched as NASA overcame tremendous odds and returned the crew safely to Earth. In that spirit of accomplishment, the Jack Swigert Award is presented annually at the Space Symposium by the Space Foundation.


In August, India made history as its Moon mission Chandrayaan-3 became the first to land in the uncharted south pole of the Earth’s only natural satellite.


Comprising the lander (Vikram) and the rover (Pragyan), India’s Moon mission Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the lunar south pole at 6.04 pm on August 23.


With this touchdown, India has become the fourth country to master the technology of soft landing on the lunar surface after the US, China and the erstwhile Soviet Union.


Gagandeep Kang wins John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

India’s Gagandeep Kang has been awarded the 2024 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for her achievements in global health research. This was part of the Gairdner Foundation’s announcement of its 2024 Canada Gairdner Award winners, that recognised some of the world’s most significant biomedical and global health research and discoveries.


Lokesh Muni presented with US President’s Gold Volunteer Service award

India’s Jain spiritual leader Lokesh Muni has been presented with the US President’s Gold Volunteer Service award in recognition of his contribution to the public good and humanity. Founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati and World Peace Center in India, Muni received the Presidential Award Golden Shield, and Certificate of Honour from senior Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman at the US Capitol in Washington on April 11, 2024.




SBI refuses to disclose electoral bonds’ details under RTI Act

The State Bank of India (SBI) has refused to disclose under the RTI Act the details of the electoral bonds furnished to the Election Commission (EC), claiming that it is personal information held in a fiduciary capacity, even though the records are in the public domain on the poll panel’s website. Holding that the electoral bonds scheme was “unconstitutional and manifestly arbitrary”, the Supreme Court directed the SBI on February 15 to furnish the complete details of the bonds purchased since April 12, 2019 to the EC, which would publish the information on its website by March 13.


On March 11, the court dismissed the SBI’s petition seeking an extension of the deadline and ordered it to disclose the details of the electoral bonds to the EC by the close of business hours on March 12.


RTI activist Commodore (retired) Lokesh Batra approached the SBI on March 13 seeking the complete data of the electoral bonds in the digital form, as provided to the EC after the Supreme Court’s order.


The bank denied the information citing two exemption clauses given under the Right to Information (RTI) Act — section 8(1)(e) that is related to records held in a fiduciary capacity and section 8(1)(j) that allows withholding personal information.


“Information sought by you is containing details of purchasers and political parties and hence, cannot be disclosed as it is held in fiduciary capacity disclosure of which is exempted under sections 8(1)(e) and (j) of the RTI Act,” the response furnished by the central public information officer and deputy general manager of the SBI said on April 10, 2024.


Batra had also sought the details of the fees paid by the SBI to senior advocate Harish Salve to defend its case against the disclosure of the electoral bonds’ records, citing that the records are held in a fiduciary capacity and the information is personal in nature.


Banks asking questions on source of funds sent under Liberalised Remittance Scheme

Banks have begun questioning the ‘source’ of money that individuals are moving abroad, particularly to acquire properties overseas. Sometimes they are scanning past income statements to figure out the origin of the fund while a few banks recently enquired whether the money that would be transferred out of the country was a ‘gift’ from a relative.


Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), resident individuals are permitted to transfer up to $250,000 a year abroad to invest in properties and securities, maintenance of relatives, among other specified purposes. Authorised dealer (AD) banks are undertaking greater scrutiny before clearing LRS remittances.


Total remittances under LRS rose from $12.68 billion in 2020-21 to $27.14 billion in 2022-23, after dipping to $19.61 billion in 2020-21. According to available figures released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which regulates the scheme, remittances crossed $27.4 billion for the April-January period of 2023-24.


HDFC first pvt bank to open branch in Lakshadweep

HDFC Bank has recently established a branch in Kavaratti Island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. This has made HDFC the only private sector bank with a branch in the region.



FSIB selects IFCI MD as SIDBI head, Sanjay Shukla for NHB MD

FSIB, the headhunter for directors of state-owned banks and financial institutions, has recommended the name of IFCI Managing Director Manoj Mittal as SIDBI Chairman and Managing Director. Besides, FSIB has suggested name to Sanjay Shukla as Managing Director of National Housing Bank (NHB). The Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) interviewed 21 candidates on April 9 and April 10, the Bureau said in a statement.


SIDBI set up in April 1990, under an Act of Parliament, acts as the principal financial institution for promotion, financing and development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector, as well as for coordination of functions of institutions engaged in similar activities.


NHB, created in 1988, is engaged in promoting a sound, healthy, viable and cost effective housing finance system to cater to all segments of the population and to integrate the housing finance system with the overall financial system. It supervises the housing finance sector.


The final decision on the FSIB recommendation for both the positions would be taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


FSIB is headed by former secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Bhanu Pratap Sharma. Other members of the headhunter are Animesh Chauhan, former chairman and MD of erstwhile Oriental Bank of Commerce, RBI’s ex-executive director Deepak Singhal, and Shailendra Bhandari, former MD of erstwhile ING Vysya Bank.


Section G: ECONOMY


Online sellers to remove beverages such as Bournvita from ‘health drink’ category

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued an advisory to e-commerce companies, instructing them to remove all drinks and beverages including Bournvita from the category of ‘health drinks’, on their portal and platforms.


“National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory body constituted under Section (3) of the Commission of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 after its inquiry under Section 14 of CRPC Act 2005 concluded that there is no ‘health drink’ defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd,” said a notification from the ministry dated April 10.


The advisory follows an inquiry by the NCPCR, which revealed that Bournvita contains sugar levels exceeding the acceptable limits.


Earlier, the NCPCR had called upon the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to initiate action against the companies that failed to meet safety standards and guidelines and were projecting power supplements as ‘health drinks’.


As per the regulatory body, ‘health drink’ has not been defined in the country’s food laws and to project something under the same violates the rules.


Earlier, the FSSAI also directed e-commerce platforms not to label dairy-based or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’.


In 2023, child rights body NCPCR asked Mondelez India-owned brand Bournvita to withdraw all “misleading” advertisements, packaging, and labels after a video claimed that the health drink has high sugar content.


The controversy over the potentially ‘unhealthy’ nature of Bournvita first arose after a YouTuber criticized the powdered supplement in a video, highlighting its high sugar content, cocoa solids, and harmful additives.


The video suggested that these ingredients could pose significant health risks to children, including the potential for cancer. Bournvita had rejected all these claims, termed the influencer’s video as unscientific.


The influencer, Revant Himatsingka later deleted the video from all platforms after being served a legal notice by Mondelez India.


The product’s labelling and packaging also fails to acknowledge the correct information regarding the contents used in the Bournvita health drink, the NCPCR had said.


CBI books officials of MEIL, Steel Ministry on corruption charge

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an alleged corruption case against Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), eight officials of the Steel Ministry’s NMDC Limited and NMDC Iron and Steel Plant (NISP) Limited, and two of MECON Limited, in connection with a work contract worth over ₹314.57 crore.


Through electoral bonds, MEIL had donated ₹584 crore to the BJP, ₹195 crore to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, and ₹85 crore to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), besides ₹37 crore to the YSRCP, ₹28 crore to the Telugu Desam Party, and ₹18 crore to the Congress.


Its subsidiary, Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited, donated ₹110 crore to the Congress and ₹80 crore to the BJP, as reported earlier.


The CBI registered the FIR on March 31.


It was alleged that a contract for the works of intake well and pump house, drinking water treatment plant, and cross-country pipeline, including five-year operation and maintenance, at Chhattisgarh’s Jagdalpur had been awarded to MEIL.


The CBI came across email communications which revealed that payments were made to the accused for various favours, including clearance of bills and invoices. The company allegedly prepared fake vouchers to show that payments were made to labourers. The agency also found details of the amounts which, as decided, were to be given to different officials.


Based on the findings, the CBI alleged that the eight officials of NISP and NMDC Limited had received ₹73,85,517 and two officials of MECON Limited got ₹5,01,735 as against the payment of more than ₹174.41 crore by NMDC Limited to MEIL with respect to 73 invoices raised by MEIL and its general manager Subhash Chandra Sangras till December 2018.


Moody’s retains India’s rating with stable outlook

Global rating agency Moody’s, April 12, 2024, retained India’s rating, maintaining a stable outlook and projecting over 6% growth over the next two fiscal years.


“The credit profile of India balances its large and diversified economy with high growth potential, a relatively sound external position, and a stable domestic financing base for government debt against high general government debt, weak debt affordability and low per capita income,” Moody’s said.


The rating agency kept the country’s long-term and short-term ratings unchanged at Baa3 and P-3, respectively, as it predicted a gradual improvement in fiscal metrics amidst robust growth prospects.


In its last budget before elections, the government reiterated its commitment to bringing the fiscal deficit down to 4.5% of GDP by FY26. The fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal year is set at 5.1%.


Moody’s predicted the Indian economy grew 8% in FY24, higher than the 7.6% projected by the government. It noted that the ongoing infra push helped growth.


India’s foreign exchange reserves at a record high of $648.56 bn

India’s foreign exchange reserves touched a fresh record high of $648.56 billion in the week ended April 5th, topping the previous high of $645.58 billion, latest data published by the central bank showed.


The reserves rose by $2.9 billion and were primarily driven by gold assets that climbed $2.4 billion. A spike in bullion (gold) prices has caused reserves to surge. This is the third time in the past two months where reserves have touched fresh highs.


Potential supply chain disruptions spawned by uncertain geopolitics in West Asia and Eastern Europe prompted central banks to increase their gold assets, helping mitigate the impacts of currency volatility and elevated interest rates in the US.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Shaktikanta Das, mentioned in the post policy meeting that the Central Bank has been building up its gold reserves.


Govt extends deadline for comments on draft digital competition bill till May 15

The government has extended the deadline for submitting stakeholder comments on the draft digital competition bill by one month to May 15. It has also extended the deadline for submission of comments by stakeholders on the report of Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL).


The initial deadline is to end on April 15.

Earlier, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had invited comments of stakeholders on the report of CDCL as well as draft digital competition bill under e-consultation module by April 15.


However, in a notice on April 9, 2024 the ministry said it had considered “the requests received from various stakeholders, and the last date of submitting the comments/ suggestions is extended till 15th May, 2024”.


It also said stakeholders could send in their comments via email, apart from the e-consultation module.


In March this year, fair trade regulator proposed digital competition bill which seeks to put in place several obligations for large digital enterprises, including news aggregators, as part of efforts to ensure a level-playing field and fair competition in the digital space.


After being set up in February last year, the Committee on Digital Competition Law came out with its report and a draft bill wherein the focus is on having ex-ante regulations to prevent possible anti-competitive practices.


The draft bill has put several obligations on Systemically Significant Digital Enterprises (SSDEs) in Core Digital Services (CDS) to operate in a fair and non-discriminatory way with end users and business users.


CDS will cover online intermediation services, which will include news aggregators.


For SSDEs, the panel has recommended various thresholds, including a base value of Rs 4,000 crore for Indian turnover, at least 1 crore end users or a minimum of 10,000 business users in India.


Among others, the gross merchandise value (GMV) should be at least Rs 16,000 crore and the global market capitalisation base value of USD 75 billion.


For unlisted companies, the committee has suggested that a value equivalent to a global market capitalisation that similarly indicates the financial position of unlisted companies is computed in a manner as may be prescribed by the central government.


In case of violations, the panel has proposed a penalty of up to 10 per cent of a company’s global turnover.


The bill has proposed ex-ante competition regulations for big tech players to ensure proactive monitoring of their behaviours and curb any possible unfair business practices.


SWAMIH fund helps in completion of 28,000 homes since 2019

The government backed SWAMIH (Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing) Fund has helped in the completion of over 28,000 homes and projected to deliver another 60,000 homes in the next three years.


According to the National Real Estate Development Corporation (NAREDCO), the fund also played a critical role in the growth of many ancillary industries in the real estate and infrastructure sector having successfully unlocked liquidity of more than Rs 35,000 crore.


A joint report by property consultant Anarock and industry body Naredco also found that housing inventory overhang has seen a significant drop over the last 10 years.


The pan-India housing inventory overhang stood at 15 months at the end of 2023 – displaying a positive decline from 41 months in 2017, when available inventory was at its peak.



India now 4th largest exporter of digitally delivered services

India has emerged as fourth largest exporter of digitally delivered services, whose share has now increased to more than a fifth of international trade in services.


Data released by WTO in the Global Trade Outlook and Statistics estimated India’s digitally delivered services exports at $257 billion in 2023, 17% higher than the previous year. Having pipped Germany, India lags the US, the UK and Ireland.


Digitally delivered services — using computer networks to provide professional services to education, gaming and streaming music and videos — itself has seen a sharp increase over the last two decades, now accounting for over one-fifth of global services trade, compared with 14% in 2005.


Overall, the WTO expects the global economy and trade to improve. After a 1.2% decline in goods trade volume, the multilateral body on April 10, 2024 forecast a 2.6% increase in 2024. In value terms, world goods trade, measured by the average of exports and imports, fell 5% in 2023 to $24 trillion, while commercial services expanded 9% to $7.5 trillion.


Consumer inflation declines to 4.85% in March

India’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation, also called the retail inflation, eased to 4.85% in March versus 5.09 percent in February 2024. The inflation is slowly moving to RBI’s comfort level of 4%. While CPI Urban inflation came in at 4.14%, CPI rural inflation was at 5.45%. The Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) inflation was reported at 8.52% versus 8.66% in February. Among the food categories, eggs, pulses, vegetables, and spices continued to exhibit double-digit inflation.


Industrial production rises to a four-month high of 5.7% in February

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in India rose 5.7 per cent in February as against 3.8 per cent in January, revealed the data provided by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on April 12, 2024. IIP in December 2023 was recorded at 4.2 per cent. The factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) witnessed a growth of 6 per cent in February 2023. The previous high of IIP was recorded at 11.9 per cent in October 2023, which slowed to 2.5 per cent in November, 4.2 per cent in December and 4.1 per cent in January 2024.


Govt asks all gas-based plants to be operational from May 1 to June 30

The government has directed all gas-based power generating stations to operationalise their plants from May 1 to June 30 in view of rise in electricity demand due to a likely prolonged heat wave this summer. A significant portion of Gas-Based Generating Stations (GBSs) is currently unutilized, primarily due to commercial considerations. The ministry has projected 260 GW peak power demand this summer (April to June 2024). Peak power demand had touched an all-time high of 243 GW in September last year. The decision to operationalise GBSs is part of a series of measures taken by the Centre to ensure that electricity demand in the summer is met. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted above-normal maximum temperatures over most parts of the country during the 2024 summer.


Centre tells States to enforce weekly stock disclosure of pulses

The Centre on April 10, 2024 directed all States and Union Territories to enforce weekly stock disclosure of pulses by all stock-holding entities and verify the stocks declared by them. Stocks in warehouses located in major ports and in pulses industry hubs should be verified from time to time and strict action should be taken on the stock-holding entities found to be reporting false information on stock disclosure portal, an official statement said. Apart from the five major pulses — tur, urad, chana, masur and moong — the States/UTs have been asked to monitor the stock position in respect of imported yellow peas.


Labour ministry issues advisory to states to mitigate effect of high temperature on labourers

Following the seasonal outlook by the Indian Meteorological Department for above normal maximum temperatures during April-June, the labour ministry on April 12, 2024 directed states to put in place effective measures to minimise the impact of heat wave on factories and mine workers, construction workers and brick kiln workers across the country. Some of the suggestions made by the ministry include rescheduling of work hours for workers in different sectors, regulating piece rate and requirement for undertaking physical work during summers, ensuring adequate drinking water facilities, providing for emergency ice packs and heat illness prevention material and ensuring regular health check-up of the workers.


ADB pegs India’s GDP growth at 7% in 2024-25, 7.2% next year

India’s economy is expected to remain robust over the next two years even though headline growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is forecast to slow from 7.6% in 2023-24 to 7% in 2024-25 before improving to 7.2% in 2025-26, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its Asia Development Outlook report released on April 11, 2024.


Sensex closes above 75000 for the first time

On April 10, 2024 the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex surged 354 points or 0.47% to settle at 75,038. The broader NSE Nifty gained 111 points or 0.49% to end at 22,754.



Manoj Panda appointed new member of the XVI Finance Commission

The Centre has notified the appointment of economist Manoj Panda as a full-time member of the Sixteenth Finance Commission, tasked with formulating recommendations on the revenue sharing formula between the Centre and States for the five-year period beginning April 2026.


The Government had constituted the Commission on December 31, and named former Niti Aayog vice chairman and Columbia University professor Arvind Panagariya as its chairman. Other members of the Commission — Ajay Narayan Jha, Annie George Mathew, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha and Soumya Kanti Ghosh — were notified a month later.


While the Commission had held its first meeting on February 14, the Finance Ministry had informed a few days later that it will appoint a new member to the Constitutional body as Dr. Rajadhyaksha, noted economist and executive director of Artha Global, had expressed his inability to take up this responsibility due to unforeseen personal circumstances.


With the appointment of Panda, a former director at the Institute of Economic Growth, the Commission is now back to full strength and can get to work to meet its deadline of October 31, 2025.




SC quashes ₹7,687-crore award against DMRC as ‘patently illegal’

The Supreme Court on April 10, 2024 quashed an arbitral tribunal award directing the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to pay ₹7,687 crore to Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle of Reliance Infrastructure Limited and Spain’s Construcciones Y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA.


A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud exercised the top court’s rare powers under Article 142 of the Constitution in a curative petition filed by the DMRC to lift the “exorbitant” liability off the public utility’s shoulders.


Chief Justice Chandrachud, who authored the 39-page judgment, said DMRC had suffered a “grave miscarriage of justice” from the arbitral award of 2017.



DMRC and DAMEPL in 2008 signed agreement to design, install, commission, operate and maintain the Airport Metro Express Line starting from New Delhi Railway Station to Sector 21 Dwarka for 30 years. This line was to run through the Delhi Airport.


DAMEPL suspended operations after certain defects were found in the viaduct and served a notice to DMRC, which was in-charge of this aspect, to fix the problem, in July 2012


Authorities conducted inspections in November 2012 and line was cleared for operations in January 2013


The Line was restarted in January by DAMEPL, but gave up the project within five months in June 2013. DMRC invoked the arbitration clause in the contract


Later on, the arbitral tribunal ruled in favour of DAMEPL and asked DMRC to pay Rs 2,782.33 crore in 2017


After this, DMRC moved Delhi High Court, but a single bench there dismissed the petition. However, the division bench later on set aside the arbitral tribunal’s order, terming it ‘in conflict with the public policy of India.’


Following this, the Anil Ambani-led company’s arm moved Supreme Court. In 2021, the SC ruled that arbitral tribunal awards cannot be challenged and upheld the award.


It is after this decision that the DMRC filed a curative petition, which was allowed by the apex court on April 10, 2024.


The original arbitral award swelled to Rs 7,045.41 crore till end of 2021 when the DAMEPL asked Delhi HC to enforce the 2017 order. DMRC had paid Rs 1,000 crore by then, and informed the court that it was not in a position to pay the arbitral award. It said that the Delhi government and the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry should pay.


Today, the amount has increased to Rs 8,000 crore.


Amount to be refunded

The judgment ordered the discontinuation of execution proceedings before the High Court for enforcing the arbitral award. It directed any amount deposited by DMRC, following the 2021 judgment, to be refunded.


SC declines second apology by Ramdev, Patanjali

The Supreme Court on April 10, 2024 refused to accept a second round of apologies from self-styled yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Patanjali Ayurved Limited, and its managing director Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case, flagging concern about fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies playing with the health of the gullible public while government fails to crack the whip.


“The victim is always the public. We are concerned with all those FMCG companies who are taking their consumers and clients up and down the garden path, showing them very rosy pictures about what their products can do for them. People who pay good money for these products finally end up suffering at the cost of their health… That is absolutely unacceptable,” Justice Hima Kohli observed.


The Bench also flagged the objectionable and misleading advertisements of “cures” by Patanjali Ayurved.


The apex court had initiated contempt proceedings against Patanjali Ayurved and Mr. Balkrishna on February 27 for violating an undertaking given to it in November 2023 that they would refrain from advertising “cures” in violation of the 1954 Act.


The court faulted the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for choosing to turn a blind eye to the misleading advertisements. The court directed the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority officers-in-charge, the present one and his predecessor, to file detailed affidavits on why action had not been taken against Divya Pharmacy under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act. The court listed this part of the case on April 23.


The court listed the contempt case for April 16.


Stellantis to make India a hub for exports of electric vehicles

Global automotive major Stellantis plans to make India a hub for exports of electric vehicles initially targeting Southeast Asian markets, according to a senior company official. Stellantis India on April 11, 2024 commenced exports of its Made in India ‘E-C3’ electric car with the shipment of 500 units to Indonesia and is seeking to leverage on India’s cost competitiveness in manufacturing to increase its overseas shipments. Stellantis, which was formed after the merger of Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French PSA Group, currently sells its Jeep and Citroen brands in India.


Godfrey Phillips to exit retail business division ‘24Seven’

Tobacco manufacturer Godfrey Phillips India Ltd on April 12, 2024 announced that the company has decided to exit from carrying out the business operations of its retail business division, which is operated under the name 24Seven. The retail chain, 24Seven, owned by the KK Modi Group firm, was operating 150 stores as on December 2023. Groceries for everyday needs, prepared meals, drinks, cosmetics and personal hygiene items, music and film, and magazines are all available at 24Seven stores. Godfrey Phillips India is the principal business of Modi Enterprises. It produces well-known cigarette brands, including Tipper, Cavanders, Red & White, Four Square, and North Pole. The company also produces and markets the Marlboro brand under licence from Philip Morris.


Adani Group to set up think tank Chintan Research Foundation

Gautam Adani-led Adani Group is setting up a think-tank called Chintan Research Foundation with an initial funding of ₹100 crore to focus on 3 issues: energy transition & climate change, economics & trade and geopolitics & strategic affairs


Zoho foraying into manufacturing

Software as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zoho is foraying into manufacturing. Zoho founder and entrepreneur Sridhar Vembu said on April 10, 2024 that a team of engineers have created a new line up of power tools that are ready for commercial production. The brand name is Karuvi, the Tamil word for instrument or tool.


Konkan farmers launch Alphonso brand Aamoré for global markets

The Konkan Ratnagiri Bhoomi Agro Producer Company has launched a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, Aamoré for Alphonso mango, owned by smallholder farmers.


Hyundai, Kia partner with Exide Energy

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation have signed an agreement with Exide Energy Solutions Ltd, an Indian battery company, to localise electric vehicle batteries in India. This strategic cooperation with Exide Energy marks the beginning of Hyundai Motor and Kia’s efforts to expand its exclusive battery development, production, supply and partnerships in the Indian market, according to a company statement.


Hindujas enter MF space with Invesco deal

The Hinduja Group is foraying into the mutual funds segment. The group’s IndusInd International Holdings (IIHL) will acquire a 60% stake in Invesco Asset Management India, Invesco’s India subsidiary. IIHL is the promoter of private sector lender IndusInd Bank. IIHL had recently secured NCLT approval to acquire Reliance Capital and its subsidiaries, which has businesses in life insurance, health and general insurance, asset reconstruction, and research and securities broking sectors.


Bharti Hexacom listed

Shares of Bharti Hexacom on April 12, 2024 made a strong listing at the bourses. The stock, after listing with a premium of 32.45 per cent at ₹755.20 against the IPO price of ₹570, closed at ₹813.75, up 42.76 per cent over the issue price. On the NSE, the stock made its debut at ₹755 and ended at ₹814, a jump of 42.80 per cent.


The ₹4,275-crore initial public offering was subscribed nearly 30 times. The QIB portion was subscribed 48.57 times, while the respective quota for non-institutional investors and retail investors was subscribed 10.52 times and 2.83 times.


The company’s IPO was entirely an ‘offer for sale’ (OFS) of 7.5 cr equity shares by Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd.



Ex-SpiceJet COO Kashyap launches aircraft charter co

Former SpiceJet COO Arun Kashyap has launched an aircraft charter company — Sirius India Airlines. The startup has tied up with Dubai-based Transworld Group to bring the latter’s luxury private air travel brand Airavat Aviation to India. Airavat Aviation is already present in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Sirius India Airlines said, The JV aims to provide charters and fractional ownership in India, and globally.


Section I: STATES


Buddhism separate religion; Hindus must seek permission to convert: Gujarat govt circular

The Gujarat government issued a circular clarifying that Buddhism is a separate religion from Hinduism and that for converting from Hinduism to Buddhism, any individual has to adhere to the procedure laid down for conversion to any other religion as per Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003.


The circular, dated April 8, said that the law and the rules under it are being arbitrarily interpreted across district magistrate offices and it has been noted that proper procedure is not being followed in case of permitting conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism.


At times the applicants as well as autonomous organisations also argue that no permission is needed for such conversion, the circular stated, adding that in some cases the applicants mention in their application that since India’s Constitution, in Article 25 (2), includes Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism in Hindu religion, the applicant need not seek any permission to convert.


The circular reiterated that Buddhism has to be considered as a separate religion and anyone converting from Hinduism to Sikhism, Buddhism or Jainism will have to obtain prior permission from the district magistrate. The magistrate will have to consider the legal provisions and government directives issued from time to time before responding to any application seeking permission for conversion, it said.


Gujarat Freedom Of Religion Act, 2003, states, “No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religion to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means nor shall any person abet such conversion.”


Karnataka HC quashes Centre’s circular banning 23 breeds of ‘dangerous’ dogs

The High Court of Karnataka on April 10, 2024 quashed a circular issued by the Centre on March 12 banning 23 breeds of ‘ferocious and dangerous’ dogs.


The court said that the Central government could not have imposed a blanket ban on dog breeds through a circular in the absence of any such power available under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 or the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Rules.


Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing a petition filed by King Solomon David and Mardona Jones, both residents of Bengaluru.


Meanwhile, the court said that the obliteration of the circular will not prevent the Centre from amending the rules for imposing the ban. However, the court also said that the Centre has to hear all the stakeholders, not all pet owners but all the organisations certifying dog breeds, and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals if it wants to amend the rules to ban the dog breeds.


ECI simplifies voting process for Kashmiri migrants

Kashmiri migrant voters based in Jammu and Udhampur districts of J&K would no longer be required to fill up ‘Form M’ to vote in Lok Sabha polls with Election Commission ordering changes to the existing voting scheme for displaced people, fulfilling their longstanding demand.


Earlier, the filling of ‘Form M’ was mandatory for displaced voters from the Valley ahead of every Parliamentary and assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir.


As for the migrants residing outside Jammu and Udhampur, they would continue to be required to submit ‘Form M’ but can now self-attest the certificate to be appended to the form. Earlier, this certificate was required to be attested by a gazetted officer.


The two decisions — aimed at facilitating voting by Kashmiri migrants displaced from the Valley — were taken by EC at its full commission meeting on April 12, 2024. Prior to this, J&K chief electoral officer has submitted his comments on the issue — raised in various representations received from Kashmiri migrant groups, projecting the difficulties they face in filling Form M in every election — after due consultation and in full agreement with the political parties.


According to the new arrangement, Kashmiri migrant electors in various camps or zones at Jammu and Udhampur, instead of having to fill ‘Form M’, shall be mapped with the special polling stations falling in the zones they are registered or residing in.


Form M procedure subjects Kashmiri migrant voters to additional bureaucratic hurdles compared to other voters, said EC.



Raaj Kumar Anand quits Aam Aadmi Party, Cabinet post

Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand has resigned from the Cabinet and from the Aam Aadmi Party. He is an MLA from the Patel Nagar constituency.


Politician and Tamil film producer R M Veerappan dies at 98

One of the pioneers of the Dravidian movement and prominent Tamil film producer R M Veerappan died in Chennai on April 9, 2024 at the age of 98. Veerappan had served as a minister in the former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran’s Cabinet and was also in the Cabinets of late Chief Ministers: Janaki Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa. He launched the MGR Kazhagam party after quitting the AIADMK.


Section J: SPORTS


Asian Wrestling Championships 2024

Anju and Harshita Mor won win two silver medals for India on April 14, 2024 at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2024 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Anju won the silver in the women’s 53kg weight category while Harshita finished second in the women’s 72kg. Anju was blanked by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Ji Hyang Kim 10-0 and settled for the silver medal. Harshita also suffered a 5-2 loss to Qian Jiang of China in the gold medal match of the women’s 72kg and secured the silver medal. Manisha Bhanwala and Antim Kundu also won bronze medals in the women’s 62kg and 65kg weight classes, respectively.


On April 13, Indian women managed a silver and a bronze medal. Radhika Jaglan bagged silver in 68kg while Shivanee Pawar secured a bronze in 50kg. Fighting the final against Japan’s Nonoka Ozaki, Radhika was convincingly beaten 15-2.


On April 11, Udit Kumar got men’s freestyle 57kg silver medal after losing to Japan’s Kento Yumiya 4-5. Indian men Abhimanyu (70kg) and Vicky Chahar (97kg) bagged bronze medals.


2024 Badminton Asia Championships held in China

Indonesian shuttler Jonatan Christie captured his first continental title by beating home favourite Li Shi Feng in the men’s singles final at the 2024 Badminton Asia Championships in Ningbo, People’s Republic of China on April 14, 2024 (14 April). The reigning All England Open champion was in fine form, winning the match in straight games (21-15, 21-16) to upgrade the silver he won in Manila 2022 to gold.


Wang Zhi Yi captured her second Badminton Asia Championships title after outclassing compatriot and overwhelming favourite Chen Yu Fei in a straight-game women’s singles final clash 21-19, 21-7 in 53 minutes. It was Wang’s first win over Chen since their first clash in 2020.


Home pair Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang defeated Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin of Malaysia with a 17-21, 21-15, 21-10 win in the men’s doubles final.


In the women’s doubles final, Baek Ha-na and Lee So-hee of South Korea ended China’s hopes of sweeping all five titles early on, beating Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu 23-21, 21-12.


Billie Jean King Cup 2024: India to remain in Group I

The Indian women’s tennis team ended its campaign in the Billie Jean King Cup 2024 Asia/Oceania Group I with a 2-1 defeat to New Zealand at the Moon Island Clay Park in Changsha, the People’s Republic of China on April 13, 2024.


With the loss, India finished third in Asia/Oceania Group I with three wins and two defeats. The top two teams in the group – China and the Republic of Korea – earned promotion to the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup Play-offs while India remained in Group I along with New Zealand, who finished fourth. The bottom two teams in Group I – Chinese Taipei and Pacific Oceania – have been relegated to Asia/Oceania Group II.


On April 13, 2024, Rutuja Bhosale gave India the early lead after winning her singles match but Ankita Raina suffered a straight-set defeat in her singles encounter. Raina and Prarthana Thombare also lost their tie-deciding doubles rubber.


Arjun and Jeevan clinch Challenger title in Mexico

India’s Arjun Kadhe and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan defeated Piotr Matuszewski and Matthew Romios 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final to win men’s doubles title of the $82,000 Challenger tennis at Cuernavaca (Mexico). The champion team collected $4665 and 75 ATP points while the runners-up got $2700 and 50 points.


Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Monte Carlo tennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece defeated Norwegian Casper Ruud in the final 6-1, 6-4 to win men’s singles title at Monte Carlo Masters tennis at Monte Carlo on April 14, 2024. Men’s doubles title was won by Belgium’s Sander Gillé & Joran Vliegen who defeated Marcelo Melo (Brazil) & Alexander Zverev (Germany) in the final 5–7, 6–3, [10–5].


U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship

Ben Shelton (US) defeated Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the final on April 7, 2024 to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.


Charleston Open tennis

Danielle Collins (US) won the women’s singles title at Charleston Open tennis in US on April 7, 2024 by defeating Daria Kasatkina in the final.


Tennis: Novak Djokovic becomes world’s oldest ranked men’s singles player

Novak Djokovic has surpassed Roger Federer to become the oldest man ranked No. 1 in men’s singles tennis in ATP Tour’s computerised rankings. Djokovic is 36 — he turns 37 in May 2024 — and is now older than Federer was on his last day atop the rankings in June 2018. India’s Rohan Bopanna, 44, was already the oldest player to hold World No. 1 rank in men’s doubles.


Palak Gulia clinches bronze in women’s 10m air pistol

Palak Gulia clinched the bronze medal in women’s 10m air pistol and secured India’s 20th Paris 2024 Olympics quota in shooting at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 14, 2024. The 18-year-old Palak finished with an overall score of 217.6 to finish third.  Elmira Karapetyan of Armenia won the gold medal with a score of 240.7 while Thailand’s Kamonlak Saencha won the silver with 240.5.


Hockey: Indian men lose series in Australia 0-5

The Indian men’s hockey team failed to avoid a 0-5 series whitewash after going down 2-3 in the fifth Test against Australia at Perth on April 13, 2024. All matches were played on the same venue.


Mary Kom steps down as Paris Olympics Chef-de-Mission

Six-time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom (41) on April 12, 2024 stepped down as India’s chef-de-mission for the upcoming Paris Olympics, saying she is “left with no choice” due to some personal reasons. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President PT Usha announced that Mary Kom had asked to be relieved from her position in a letter addressed to her. The boxer, who is also a bronze-medallist from the 2012 London Olympics, was to be the logistical in-charge of the country’s contingent at the July 26-August 11 Games.


Football: Bayer Leverkusen wins Bundesliga title

Undefeated Bayer Leverkusen secured its first Bundesliga title on April 14, 2024 with a 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen, breaking an 11-year stranglehold on the league by Bayern Munich. Xabi Alonso’s team, which has now gone a league-record 29 matches without defeat this season to secure its first trophy since 1993, has a 16-point lead over Bayern with five matches remaining.


Russ Cook first to run entire length of African continent

Russ Cook of Great Britain has become the first human being to run the entire length of the African continent. He took 352 days to complete over 16,000 kms running through 16 countries. Cook began the marathon named ‘Project Africa’ on April 22, 2023, in Cape Agulhas, South Africa, and ended his journey on April 7, 2024, in Ras Angela, Tunisia. During this challenge, he collected $870,000 (600,000 pounds) for two separate charities – the Running Charity, and the Sandblast. Running Charity is known for providing running and mental health programs to young homeless people, while Sandblast is a UK-based charity for raising awareness for the indigenous Saharawis of Western Sahara.


World Athletics to award $50,000 prize money to Olympic winners

Athletics has become the first sport to offer prize money to Olympic champions. The World Athletics on April 10, 2024 announced that the 48 gold medallists in Paris this year will earn $50,000 each to end a 128-year tradition. There would be no cash prize for silver and bronze until 2028. The announcement was made by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.


Indian athlete’s bronze in women’s 400m at 2023 Asian Championships upgraded to silver

Indian athlete Aishwarya Mishra’s 400m bronze medal at 2023 Asian Championships will be upgraded to silver as original second-place finisher, Farida Soliyeva of Uzbekistan, failed a dope test. “The AIU has banned Farida Soliyeva (Uzbekistan) for 3 years from 13 September 2023 for presence/use of prohibited substance (Meldonium). DQ (disqualify) results from 13 July 2023,” the Athletics Integrity Unit said. Soliyeva had finished second with a time of 52.95 seconds while Aishwarya was third in 53.07 seconds. Nadeesha Ramanayake of Sri Lanka had won gold (52.61).


51st National Carrom Championship held in MP

Rashmi Kumari beat K. Nagajothi 25-8, 14-20, 25-20 in the women’s final of the 51st National carrom championship organised by the Madhya Pradesh Carrom Association in Gwalior.  It was a record 12th national women’s singles title for Rashmi. The men’s title was bagged by K Srinivas as he beat S Aditya 25-0, 19-6 in the final. It was the fourth national men’s singles title for Srinivas.


Former NZ spinner Alabaster passes away aged 93

Former New Zealand leg-spinner Jack Alabaster passed away on April 9, 2024 at the age of 93 at Cromwell (UK). New Zealand Cricket (NZC) took to X to announce Alabaster’s death. He played 21 Tests from 1955-1972, including the first four victories New Zealand achieved, taking 49 wickets at 38.02.


Irish football player & coach Joe Kinnear passes away at 77

Former Ireland football player and coach Joe Kinnear passed away in London on April 7, 2024 at the age of 77. He played 26 matches in his international career for Ireland in 1967–1975. At the club level, he played for Tottenham Hotspur (1965–1975) and Brighton & Hove Albion (1975–1976) in England. His accomplishments include lifting the FA Cup in 1967, securing the UEFA Cup in 1972, and claiming the League Cup titles in both 1971 and 1973. In 1992, he assumed the role of Wimbledon manager, steering the club to a commendable sixth-place finish in the top flight during the 1993-94 season. Prior to his tenure with Wimbledon, Kinnear embarked on his coaching journey in Asia, where he worked in the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia before taking on roles in India and Nepal.