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SM Current Affairs APRIL 2022 Set 03, Current Affairs Notes By Success Mantra Coaching Institute GTB Nagar Delhi

SM Current Affairs APRIL 2022 Set 03

Diksha Sharma 20 MINUTES

PREFACE

It gives us great pleasure to release the monthly edition of the PRAVAHINI - Monthly e-Compendium & Weekly e-Periodicals of Current Affairs. The magazine’s members have shown considerable cooperation as well as devotion. We at successmantra.in work tirelessly to create this magazine and bring it to you with a great sense of gratitude.
The PRAVAHINI April-2022 eBook covers the current events that happened in the month of April. Current Affairs is a crucial component of any competitive exams including CLAT, AILET, DU-LLB, HM, CAT, IAS, PCS, SSC, Banking, MBA and various other competitive examinations.

Current Affairs play the bigger role in many competitive and government exams. It holds the power of making or breaking your chance of success. Therefore, the candidates should cover the Current Affairs thoroughly and smartly.

The PRAVAHINI April-2022 eBook is divided into different sections keeping in mind the need of various exams. The sections covered namely International, National, Economy, Ecology and Environment, Science & Technology, Legal Affairs, Sports, States News Makers and few others.

We would also be pleased to receive any suggestion that could assist us with the upcoming editions.

Success Mantra (GTB Nagar, Delhi)
Website: www.successmantra.in
Mail Id: [email protected]


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. National Affairs

2. International Affairs

3. Economic Affairs

4. Appointments

5. Awards & Honors

6. Important Dates & Sports

7. Reports & Indexes

8. Science & Technology

9. Miscellaneous


NATIONAL AFFAIRS

AMENDMENT REQUIRED IN ANTI-DEFECTION LAW

 Recently, the Vice-President has said that the time has come to amend the anti-defection legislation in the country to plug existing loopholes.

 What is Anti Defection Law?

 The anti-defection law punishes individual Members of Parliament (MPs)/MLAs for leaving one party for another.

 Parliament added it to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule in 1985. Its purpose was to bring stability to governments by discouraging legislators from changing parties.

 The Tenth Schedule - popularly known as the Anti-Defection Act - was included in the Constitution via the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.

 It sets the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party. It was a response to the toppling of multiple state governments by party-hopping MLAs after the general elections of 1967.

KARNATAKA SOCIAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGN 'SAANS'

 Health and Medical Education Minister of Karnataka, Keshava Reddy Sudhakar has launched the ‘Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia successfully’ (SAANS) Campaign.

 SAANS is a campaign that has been launched to ensure early detection and greater awareness of pneumonia in children under the age of five.

 As per SRS 2018, Karnataka’s under-five mortality is at 28 per 1000 live births.

 Pneumonia is a lung infection that is caused due to viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. By 2025, the state’s goal is to reduce the under-five mortality to 23 per 1,000 lives.

 Also, to achieve the National Health Policy goals, pneumonia mortality has to be reduced to less than 3 deaths per 1,000 live births.

INDIA'S 1ST CARBON NEUTRAL PANCHAYAT

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a 500 KV solar plant to the nation in the unassuming hamlet of Palli in Jammu and Kashmir’s border region of Samba making it the country’s first ‘carbon neutral panchayat.’

 Palli, according to the Prime Minister, has shown the country the way by becoming carbon neutral. Palli residents have assisted with the project.

 They’ve also fed those who are working on the project. Officials added that under the national government’s ‘Gram Urja Swaraj’ programme, 1,500 solar panels with a total area of 6,408 square metres will provide clean electricity to 340 homes in the model panchayat.

 As India’s first carbon-neutral solar village, the village has made history. Officials said the project was finished in record time for a cost of 2.75 crore. The electricity generated will be distributed to the village through the local power grid station, which has a daily need of 2,000 units.

KWAR HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWER PROJECT

 On 27th April 2022, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to invest Rs 4,526.12 crore for the 540 MW Kwar Hydro-electric project that is located on Chenab River, Kishwar district, Jammu & Kashmir.

 This upcoming hydroelectric project is a part of the Indus basin. This project is a part of one of the four projects that are coming up in the district.

 The projects include the 624 MWs run-of-the-river Kiru hydroelectric project and the 1,000 MWs Pakal Dul hydroelectric project.

 About Indus Water Treaty

 Under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) that was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, both countries share the waters of six rivers in the Indus basin flowing through India towards Pakistan.

 Out of these, India has complete rights over the three eastern rivers which are Beas, Sutlej, and Ravi, while Pakistan has rights over Jhelum, Chenab, and Indus which are the western rivers. However, India can build run-of-the-river projects on the western rivers whose rights are with Pakistan.

 This project will be implemented by the Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd (CVPPL). It is a joint venture between Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) and NHPC Ltd having an equity contribution of 49 percent and 51 percent respectively.

SCORPENE CLASS SUBMARINE 'VAGSHEER'

 The Indian Navy launched the sixth and last submarine, Yard 11880, of the French Scorpene-class under Project 75, at the Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

 The submarine has been named ‘Vagsheer’. The submarine will now undergo rigorous harbour trials and sea trials, before being commissioned in the Indian Navy.

 These submarines are designed by French naval defence and energy company ‘DCNS’ while Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai has manufactured them.

 List of other submarines under Scorpene-class submarines:

• First submarine: INS Kalvari- commissioned on 14 December 2017.
• Second : INS Khanderi – September 2019
• Third: INS Karanj – March 2021
• Fourth: INS Vela – November 2021
• Fifth: INS Vagir- launched in November 2020 and is undergoing sea trials.

PROJECTS WORTH RS. 22000 CRORE LAUNCHED IN GUJARAT

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and inaugurated the various projects worth 22,000 crore rupees at a function organized at Dahod in Gujarat.

 Dahod District Southern Area Regional Water Supply Scheme, constructed at Narmada River Basin (Rs 840 crore); Dahod Smart City (Rs 335 crore).

 These projects include Integrated Command & Control Centre (ICCC) Building, Stormwater drainage system, Sewerage works, Solid Waste Management System and Rain Water Harvesting System.

 Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, benefits worth Rs. 120 crore were provided to 10,000 tribal of Panchmahal and Dahod districts.

 Prime Minister also inaugurated 66 KV Ghodia substation, Panchayat Houses, and Anganwadis, among others. Manufacturing project of 9,000 HP Electric Locomotives at the Railway Production Unit in Dahod. 10,000 tribals of Panchmahal and Dahod districts (provided Rs 120 crore under PMAY).

TAMIL NADU 'MINORITIES RIGHTS DAY'

 The state government of Tamil Nadu has decided to observe the 18th of December annually as Minorities Rights Day at the state level. Around Rs 2.50 lakh will be earmarked by the state government for the purpose of observing this day.

 This day is being observed at the district level of Tamil Nadu under the concerned collectors.

 Henceforth, it will also be observed at the state level. Education aid to minority girl students.

 Also, in order to ensure that the minority girl students who are residing in the rural areas of the state are able to pursue their studies without any hindrance, the government of the state will be providing Rs 500 as education aid to the students studying classes 3 to 5 and Rs 1,000 to those in Class 6.

 A sum of Rs 2.75 crore will be provided by the state as an aid to the minority students. Guidelines regarding this will also be framed for providing minority status to various educational institutions of Tamil Nadu.

PHONE TAPPING LAW IN INDIA

 Recently, a political leader claimed that the Centre is protecting an Indian Police Service officer who is facing a First Information Report (FIR) in Mumbai and is being probed for allegedly tapping the phones.

 What is Phone Tapping and how are Phones Tapped in India?

 Phone tapping or cell phone tracking/tracingis an activity where a user's phone calls, and other activities are tracked using different software. This procedure is majorly carried out without the targeted person being notified of any such activity.

 It can be done by authorities making a request to the service provider, which is bound by law, to record the conversations on the given number and provide these in real time through a connected computer.

 However, Article 21 of the Indian Constitution says that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

 The expression ‘personal liberty’ includes ‘right to privacy’. A citizen has a right to safeguard his personal privacy and his family, education, marriage, motherhood, childbearing, and procreation, among other matters.

 Who can Tap Phones?

 State Level: In the states, police have the power to tap phones.

 Central Level: Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, National Investigation Agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence, Delhi Police Commissioner.

 What are the Laws that govern Phone Tapping in India?

 The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885: According to Section 5(2) of the Act on the occurrence of any public emergency, or in the interest of public safety, phone tapping can be done by the Centre or states.

 The order can be issued if they are satisfied it is necessary in the interest of public safety, “sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence”.

WHAT IS 'ENTERPRISE INDIA' INITIATIVE?

 Narayan Rane, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises inaugurated the MSME Ministry’s Mega Event titled “Enterprise India” on the 27th of April 2022. This event is in line with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

 It is a series of entrepreneurship development activities and events that are being organized from 27th April 2022 to 27th May 2022 with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship culture and generating awareness about the initiatives and schemes of the MSME Ministry across the nation.

 Aim of the event: The event’s aim is to create synergies between various concerned departments, ministries, and the Industry Associations.

 This event is aimed at ‘Jan Bhagidari.’ Some key activities that will be organized under this event include organizing entrepreneurship awareness programmes through various field offices, conferences with Industry Associations, special campaigns on Udyam Registration, demonstration of Nukkad Nataks in the country’s aspirational districts.

100% HOUSEHOLD COVERED UNDER ABPMJAY-SEHAT SCHEME

 In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Samba district of the Jammu division has become the first district in India to cover 100% of households under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (ABPMJAY)- SEHAT scheme.

 The district achieved this milestone after the conclusion of a special registration drive organized by the State Health Agency (SHA) from April 11 to April 21 in all BDO offices across the district which was aimed to cover all families under the ABPMJAY SEHAT scheme in the district.

 The Samba district has a total of 62,641 families with 3,04,510 people eligible for ABPM-JAY SEHAT golden cards.

 However, 100% family coverage for the Ayushman Bharat Golden card in the district is a major achievement for the UT Government.

 About the ABPMJAY SEHAT scheme:

 The ABPMJAY SEHAT scheme is the world’s largest health insurance scheme fully financed by Government and the people with Ayushman Bharat Golden Card get free treatment up to Rs. 5 lakh in all government and empanelled private hospitals across India.

AIR ASIA MERGER WITH AIR INDIA

 The Tata Group has been attempting to improve Air India’s performance since its takeover in January 2022. That includes its on-time performance.

 Tata's most recent job is to consolidate their aviation operations. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already been notified of Air India’s intention to merge with AirAsia India.

 In December 2020, Tata increased its stake in AirAsia India to 67 percent. AirAsia India, which began operating in June 2014, provides scheduled passenger, cargo, and charter flight services throughout the country.

 It does not operate on a global scale. In January of this year, Tata acquired Air India and Air India Express.

 Vistara Airlines is also owned by the Tata group, although it has opted out of the merger plan so far. Singapore Airlines, a Vistara joint venture partner, is rumoured to be interested.

 Vistara Airlines is also owned by the Tata group, although it has opted out of the merger plan so far.

 Tata Group, which includes Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia, has a combined market share of 9%, making it the second-largest domestic airline business behind IndiGo.

4 YEARS OF UNNAT BHARAT ABHIYAN (UBA 2.0)

 Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 (UBA 2.0) has successfully completed four years on 25th April 2022. On this day in the year 2018, UBA 2.0 was launched with the aim of bringing transformational changes in the processes of rural development processes.

 About Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

 The Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) is a flagship programme that falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Education and aims to link the country’s Higher Education Institutions with a set minimum of five villages so that these higher institutions can help in contributing to the social and economic betterment of the communities of these villages by using their knowledge base.

 The National Coordinating Institute of the UBA programme is the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi).

 UBA’s objective is to engage the students and the faculties of the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) to understand the country’s rural realities.

 Under this scheme, the students and the faculties help in identifying the developmental issues that are being faced in the rural areas and coming up with sustainable solutions.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UK PM BORIS JOHNSON VISIT TO INDIA

 Recently, the UK Prime Minister (PM) visited India. In this visit, both the countries agreed on a joint statement titled 'Towards shared security and prosperity through national resilience'.

 Respecting India-Russia Relations: In the context of the Ukraine Crisis and India’s neutral stance, the UK PM asserted that India’s position on Russia is ‘well known’ and is not going to change.

 India has a historic relationship with Russia and everybody respects it.

 Cooperation on Indo-Pacific: The two countries had a shared interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open, particularly in the face of growing threats of Chinese coercion in the South China Sea.

 Recently, the UK and India have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the maritime domain as the UK will join India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a major partner on maritime security issues in Southeast Asia.

 India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) is an open, non-treaty-based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region.

 Extraditing Economic Fugitives: India conveyed to the UK that bringing back economic fugitives to face justice was a "high priority" for the government.

 Britain responded that it is concerned about this and doesn't welcome people who want to use its legal system to evade the Indian laws.

EMMANUEL MACRON RE-ELECTED AS PRESIDENT OF FRANCE

 On 24th April 2022, Marine Le Pen was defeated by Emmanuel Macron to be re-elected as the President of France. Leaders across the world welcomed his re-election.

 Marine Le Pen is a far-right leader who was defeated by Macron. Macron is the first French sitting president in the past 20 years to have been re-elected.

 Both candidates did not receive any vote from one out of three voters. The turnout of the election was just under 72 percent which is the lowest since 1969.

 Over three million people had cast blank or spoiled votes. Macron received 51.5 percent of the votes while Le Pen received 41.5 percent.

 About Emmanuel Macron

 Since 14th May 2017, Emmanuel Macron has been serving as the president of France. During his presidency, he has overseen many reforms to taxation, labour laws, and pensions.

 Renewable energy transitions were also pursued by him. A proposed fuel tax by him resulted in the yellow vests protests in 2018 yellow vests protests. Since 2020, he has been leading the response of France to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rollout of vaccination.
 In his foreign policy, he asked for reforms in the European Union and also signed bilateral treaties with Germany and Italy.

CHINA & SOLOMAN ISLANDS SECURITY AGREEMENT

 A security pact has been signed between China and the Solomon Islands. This agreement has been signed to enhance the existing cooperation arrangements with the Solomon Islands.

 The pact was announced a day after the U.S. made plans to send a delegation to the South Pacific nation to convince them to break the deal with China.

 Manasseh Sogavare, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands stated that this pact was signed to improve security concerns in the nation.

 With the announcement of the pact, concerns are rising about the impact of this pact as it gives China a foothold in this South Pacific region.

 The details of the pact have not been released, but a draft that was leaked suggested that Chinese police will be deployed at the request of the archipelago to maintain social order and Chinese warships can stop at the Solomon Islands.

 Also, both parties will be requiring written consent from the other to disclose the details of the pact.

ISSUES AT JERUSALEM'S AL AQSA MOSQUE

 Recently, tensions flared up again at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque between the Palestinians and Israeli police.

 Over the decades, this site in Jerusalem’s Old City has frequently been a flashpoint for violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces and hardline groups and is at the heart of competing for historical claims. These recurring clashes are part of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

 What is al-Aqsa Mosque & Associated Conflict?

 The al-Aqsa Mosque is one of Jerusalem’s most recognized monuments. The site is part of the Old City of Jerusalem, sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims.

 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has classified the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls as a World Heritage Site.
 The mosque’s complex is the reason for the conflict between Israel & Palestine (Islam & Judaism).

 Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of Islam’s most revered locations, and the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. The Temple Mount is a walled compound inside the Old City in Jerusalem, and is the site of two structures:

 The Dome of the Rock to the north and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south. To the southwest of the Temple Mount, is the Western Wall, a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site in Judaism.

 In Islam, the Dome of the Rock is a seventh-century structure, an important Islamic shrine, believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

RUSSIA WITHDRAWAL FROM UN TOURISM BODY

 The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced that Russia has decided to withdraw from the UNWTO. The announcement was made by UN World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

 According to the UNWTO, Russia decided to withdraw from this organization ahead of a vote by the body to suspend Russia for its war against Ukraine.

 This development comes amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The UNWTO had earlier called the Russian aggression against Ukraine as being inconsistent with the United Nations Charter and being against the UNWTO’s fundamental aim.

 Even after Russia’s decision to withdraw, the UNWTO will go ahead with the vote. This is the first time the UNWTO has met to discuss the suspension of one of its member nations.

 About UNWTO

 The UNWTO is an organization of the United Nations that has been entrusted with the promotion of sustainable, responsible, and universally accessible tourism.

 The headquarters of this organization is located in Madrid, Spain. It is an international organization that promotes tourism to drive economic growth, environmental sustainability, and inclusive development.

ESTONIA HOSTS WORLD LARGEST CYBER EXERCISE

 The Tallinn, Estonia NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, abbreviated as CCDCOE, is organising the Locked Shields 2022, the largest and most complex annual international live-fire cyber defence exercise in the world.

 This year’s exercise has particular importance as it takes place amid the rising threat of cyber-attacks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 Cyber experts practise the protection of national civilian and military IT systems and critical infrastructure in a large-scale cyber-attack. It is conducted under conditions of intense pressure, with teams countering a series of sophisticated cyberattacks.

 The exercise provides an opportunity to practice cooperation in a crisis situation between both civilian and military units, as well as public and private sectors, as in the event of a large-scale cyber-attack these tactical and strategic decision-makers must work together.

CONTROVERSY OVER 'KURIL ISLANDS'

 Japan has said that four islands near the Kamchatka Peninsula have been illegally occupied by Russia. The Japanese call these islands ‘the Northern Territories’ while Russia calls them ‘Kurils.’

 The islands stretch north across the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s Hokkaido to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula’s southernmost tip.

 These islands have been in the midst of a longstanding issue between Japan and Russia. The Japanese government led by Fumio Kishida has upped its ante over these islands’ ownership.

 For the first time in around 20 years Japan has called the islands to have been illegally occupied. This term was last used in 2003 by the foreign ministry of Japan.

 About the dispute

 This dispute dates back to the end of the Second World War when the Soviet Union, a part of the allied forces, won the war against the Axis powers of Japan, Italy, and Germany.

 Russia believes that since they won the Second World War the ownership of the islands is theirs as Japan lost the territory due to its loss in the war.

 Japan argues that the Japanese travelled to these islands in the 16th century which is nearly 200 years before the arrival of the Russians and hence, the islands are rightfully theirs.

 After the end of the Second World War, Japan signed the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty with the Allied Forces where Japan renounced all right, claim, and title to the Kuril Islands.

 This did not solve the issue as Russia was not a part of this treaty and the government of Japan has never recognised the four islands occupied by Russia as part of the Kuril chain.

 

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

IMF SLASHED GDP GROWTH FORECAST

 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed the gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for India in FY23 to 8.2 per cent in its latest World Economic Outlook report, released on April 19, 2022.

 Earlier in January report, this was estimated at 9 per cent. IMF has also cut India’s FY24 GDP growth forecast to 6.9 per cent. Earlier this was 7.1 per cent.

 In the case of the global economy, IMF has cut the growth forecast for the calendar year 2022 to 3.6 per cent from 4.4 per cent.

 FY23 forecasts by various institutions (in %)

• World Bank — 8% — 8.7%
• IMF — 8.2% — 9%
• Fitch — 8.5% — 10.3%

LAUNCH OF UPI IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)

 The international arm of the National Payment Corporation of India, NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) has announced that across the UAE, BHIM UPI is live on NEOPAY terminals.

 This initiative will be empowering the millions of Indians who travel to the UAE to make payments in a convenient and safe manner.

 The payments can be made using BHIM UPI across the NEOPAY-enabled merchant stores and shops. NEOPAY, Mashreq Bank’s payment subsidiary, and NIPL partnered in 2021 to create the UPI acceptance infrastructure in the country.

 NIPL has been consistently working to make digital payments simple by using the cutting-edge solutions of the organization.

 Reasons for this collaboration

 NEOPAY partnered with NIPL with the aim of providing innovative payment solutions for the customers of the country thus allowing them to make use of the UAE’s thriving digital economy.

 Millions of Indian travelers visit the UAE consistently and this collaboration with NIPL will allow the Indian tourists to access seamless monetary transactions.

 About UPI

 The NPCI developed the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) which is an instant real-time payment system that helps in facilitating inter-bank transactions.

 The safe, simple, and cost-effective mobile-based payments system has quickly become one of the country’s most used forms of digital payments.

 In FY22, 45.6 billion UPI enabled transactions worth USD 1 trillion were performed thus making it the world’s best performing real-time payment ecosystem.

ELON MUSK TAKEN CONTROL OF TWITTER

 In one of the tech world’s biggest deals, Elon Musk has taken control of the social media site Twitter.

 Through this deal, he will be acquiring the social network for around USD 44 billion with the shares of the company being valued at $54.20.

 On 14th April 2022, Musk announced his plans of taking over Twitter. Elon Musk has plans to make Twitter a private organization.

 Chairman Bret Taylor and Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal are still in their respective roles for now.

 But, Musk has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the board of Twitter and the running of the company. After a change in a company’s ownership, management changes are a common thing but Musk is already CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, so his capacity to function as the CEO of Tesla could be limited.

 Musk plans to utilize this platform as a haven for free speech. He also has plans of turning the headquarters of the company into a homeless shelter. Ads will be removed for the paid users and there will be better authentication checks.

 

APPOINTMENTS

APPOINTMENT OF NEW PRINCIPAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR

 Ajay Kumar Sood, an eminent physicist has been appointed as the central government’s principal scientific advisor (PSA).

 He is a member of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council to the prime minister. He has been appointed to the post for a three-year period.

 He is known for his work on graphene. Also, he is a physics professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

 The appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

 He will be succeeding renowned biologist K VijayRaghavan. In 2018, K VijayRaghavan was appointed as the PSA. He played a crucial role in leading the vaccine and the drug development task forces as well as the management of the pandemic.

 In 2021, his term ended but he was given an extension.

 The PSA’s office has the aim of providing objective and pragmatic advice to the cabinet as well as the prime minister on matters that are related to the fields of technology, science, and innovation with a special focus on the application of technology and science in economic and social sectors and critical infrastructure in cooperation with the various government departments, industries, and institutions.

SUMAN BERY APPOINTED AS VC OF NITI AAYOG

 The government-run organisation, Niti Aayog’s Vice Chairperson, Rajiv Kumar has resigned due to a government order. Suman Bery, an economist, will take over as the new head of the planning agency.

 The government has authorised Rajiv Kumar’s resignation and Suman Bery’s appointment, according to an order issued by the Cabinet Appointments Committee. Rajiv Kumar will be relieved of his duties, according to the ruling.

 The reason for Rajiv Kumar’s resignation was not stated in the order. After Arvind Panagariya resigned from the job in August 2017 to return to academia, Rajiv Kumar, an economist, was named vice chairman of the Niti Aayog.

 Suman Bery previously worked for the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi as director-general (chief executive).

 He also served on the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, the Statistical Commission, and the Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy of the Reserve Bank of India.

 Suman Bery formerly worked for the World Bank in Washington before joining the NCAER. Macroeconomics, financial markets, and public debt management are among his specialties, with a concentration on Latin America.

ANDY JASSY TO BECOME NEW CEO OF AMAZON

 Andy Jassy will officially become the CEO of Amazon on July 5th, the company announced at a shareholder meeting.

 Amazon announced that Jassy, who is the current CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), would replace Jeff Bezos as CEO of the entire company in February.

 Bezos will become executive chair of Amazon’s board.

 Jassy joined the company in the late ’90s and was tasked with exploring what would become AWS around 2003.

• Amazon.com Inc Founded: 5 July 1994.
• Amazon.com Inc Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, United States.

 

AWARDS & HONOURS

CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH AWARD 2021

 The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has named Sir David Attenborough, English natural history broadcaster and naturalist, as the recipient of the Champions of the Earth Award 2021 under the Lifetime Achievement category.

 This award is given to him for his dedication to research, documentation, and advocacy for the protection of nature and its restoration.

 Sir David Attenborough is well known for his innovative educational television programs, especially the nine-part Life series forming the Life collection.

 His well-known documentaries include The Green Planet and A Plastic Ocean. He was knighted twice by Queen Elizabeth II in 1985 and again in 2020.

 He has won 3 Emmy Awards and 8 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards.

UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT AWARDED JOHN F KENNEDY AWARD

 The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, for the first time ever, awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award 2022 to five individuals.

 The award will be presented by Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg on May 22, 2022, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA.

 These five individuals are:

• Ukrainian President: Volodymyr Zelenskyy
• United States (US) Representative: Liz Cheney
• Michigan Secretary of State: Jocelyn Benson
• Arizona Representative: Russell “Rusty” Bowers
• Fulton County, Georgia, elections worker: Wandrea “Shaye” Moss

 Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President is named for his valour to protect the Ukrainian people during the Russia-Ukraine Conflict.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY: 23RD APRIL

 Every year on April 23, World Book and Copyright Day is observed to promote the love of reading. April 23 is significant in world literature because it commemorates the death on this date of prominent writers such as Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.

 23rd April 2022 World Book And Copyright Day Importance:

 This date was an obvious option for UNESCO’s General Conference, which was convened in Paris in 1995, to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors on this day, urging everyone to read.

 Books have long symbolised humanity’s ability to conjure up worlds, both real and imagined, and to give voice to the diversity of human experience.

 They provide far-reaching kinds of conversation between individuals beyond distance and time by allowing us to share ideas, receive information, and inspire admiration for diverse cultures.

 Guadalajara, Mexico, will be the World Book Capital in 2022, with a year-long programme focusing on the role of books and reading in inspiring social change, combating violence, and cultivating a culture of peace.

 On World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO encourages its partners to spread the message that books can help people address current issues, grasp political and economic realities, and battle inequities and disinformation.

EARTH DAY OBSERVED ON 22ND APRIL

 On 22nd April 2022, the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated. Earth Day is an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection.

 The theme for Earth Day 2022 is "Invest In our Planet".

 Earth Day was first observed in 1970 when 20 million took to the streets to protest environmental degradation on the call of US Senator Gaylord Nelson.

 The event was triggered by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, as well as other issues such as smog and polluted rivers.
 In 2009, the United Nations designated 22nd April as ‘International Mother Earth Day.

 It recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration (Earth Summit), to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.

 The landmark Paris Agreement, which brings almost 200 countries together in setting a common target to reduce global greenhouse emissions, was also signed on Earth Day 2016.

 What are some Other Important Days?

• 22nd March: World Water Day
• 22nd April: Earth Day
• 22nd May: World Biodiversity Day
• 5th June: World Environment Day
• Earth Overshoot Day

12TH NATIONAL PANCHAYATI RAJ DAY

 India commemorates the 12th National Panchayati Raj day on 24th April 2022.

 The Prime Minister has launched the distribution of e-property cards under the SWAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme on the Day.

 The first National Panchayati Raj Day was celebrated in 2010. Since then, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on 24th April every year in India.

 The day marks the enactment of the 73rd amendment of the constitution in 1992.

 Awards Presented on the Day:

• The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been awarding the best performing Panchayats/States/UTs across the country in recognition of their good work.
• Awards are given under various categories namely,
• Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar,
• Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar,
• Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award,
• Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award and
• e-Panchayat Puraskar (given to States/UTs only).
 What are the Salient Features of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment

 The 73rd Constitutional Amendment added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” to the Constitution. Basic unit of democratic system-Gram Sabhas (villages) comprising all the adult members registered as voters.

 Three-tier system of panchayats at village, intermediate block/taluk/mandal and district levels except in States with population is below 20 lakhs (Article 243B). Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections (Article 243C (2)).

INT. DAY OF MULTILATERALISM & DIPLOMACY

 On December 12, 2018, the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace was established.

 To promote and maintain the UN’s three pillars of peace and security, development, and human rights, it is critical to preserve the values of multilateralism and international cooperation that underpin the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 To address the rising challenges of protectionism and isolationism, the international norms and rules-based system that have guided states for seven decades must rise to the occasion.

 Climate change, geopolitical conflicts, humanitarian and migration crises are global concerns that cut beyond states’ beliefs and interests, necessitating collective attention and action.

 The political and socio economic landscape, as well as inter-state interactions, have all been influenced by technological growth.

WORLD MALARIA DAY OBSERVED ON 25TH APRIL

 Annually on the 25th of April World Malaria Day is observed across the world to highlight the need for sustained political commitment and continued investment so as to prevent and control malaria across the world.

 The World Health Organization has continuously highlighted the need for and also called for innovations and investments to bring in new vector control approaches, antimalarial medicines, diagnostics, and other tools that will help in fighting against malaria.

 The theme of World Malaria Day 2022: The theme for this year’s world malaria day is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.”

 History of this day

 In 2007, WHO got the idea of observing this day from Africa Malaria Day, which has been observed by the African government since 2001.

 At the WHO-sponsored World Health Assembly’s 60th session it was proposed to change the Africa Malaria day to World Malaria Day. This was done with the aim of generating greater awareness regarding the fight against malaria.

WORLD IMMUNIZATION WEEK 2022

 Recently, World Immunization Week 2022 was celebrated from 24th to 30th April 2022.

 The theme of 2022 is Long Life for All and it aims to unify people around the idea that vaccines make it possible for us to follow our dreams, protect our loved ones and live a long, healthy life.

 What is World Immunization Week?

 World Immunization Week is a health campaign coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and celebrated in the last week of April, every year.

 It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the worlds most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

 Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today.

 Why Does Immunization Matter Now More Than Ever?

 For over 200 years, vaccines have protected us against diseases that threaten lives and prohibit our development.

 For more than two centuries, vaccines have helped keep people healthy—from the very first vaccine developed to protect against smallpox to the newest vaccines used to prevent severe cases of Covid-19.

WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY: 26TH APRIL

 Every year on the 26th of April, World Intellectual Property Day is observed across the globe. This day is celebrated with the aim of raising awareness regarding the impact of how copyright, patents, designs, and trademarks affect our day-to-day life.

 Intellectual property (IP) rights are used to encourage creativity and innovation in societies across the world.

 The day looks to find the potential of the world’s younger generation to find a better solution for the transition to a future that is sustainable.

 About Intellectual properties

 Intellectual Properties refer to the creations of the mind and they can be in many fields like literary, inventions, artistic works, symbols, designs, images, and names. IP is a type of non-physical asset that is owned by an individual or a company.

 The theme of 2022 World Intellectual Property Day

 ‘IP and Youth innovating for a better future’ is the theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day. The theme is focusing on the positive changes that are being brought by young minds via energy, innovation, and creativity.

 

REPORTS AND INDEXES

SIPRI REPORT ON WORLD MILITARY EXPENDITURE

 A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on World Military Expenditure stated that India was the world’s third-highest military spender behind the US and China.

 The global defence expenditure in 2021 reached an all-time high and stood at USD 2.1 trillion despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Top 5 military spenders

 According to the SIPRI data, the top five military spenders in the world are:

• The United States
• China
• India
• The United Kingdom
• Russia

 Military spending of India

 According to the data released by SIPRI, the military spending of India stood at USD 76.6 billion in 2021, which is a 0.9 percent increase from 2020 and a 33 percent increase from 2012.

 India is facing ongoing border tensions and disputes with Pakistan and China that occasionally cause armed conflicts. Hence, India is constantly modernizing its armed forces and is increasing its self-reliance in the production of armaments.

 Military spending across the world

 In 2021, the US accounted for 38 percent of the world’s military spending. China accounts for around 14 percent and the UK has moved up two ranks as it spent USD 68.4 billion.

 According to the report, China’s military spending has increased for the 27th year in a row. The growing assertiveness of China in the region of the East and South China seas has become a major military spending driver in countries such as Japan and Australia.

 Russia also witnessed an increase in its military expenditure for the third year in a row.

 There was a decline in Russia’s military expenditure between 2016 to 2019 due to sanctions that were imposed by the West in response to the annexation of Crimea by Russia. In 2021, high gas and oil revenues helped the country to boost its military spending.

REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

 Recently, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended for the second year in the row to put India on a list (Countries of Particular Concern or CPCs) for the worst violations of religious freedoms in 2021.

 Earlier, the US State Department released a strong and critical report on human rights in India in 2021.

 What is USCIRF?

 USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.

 It is an advisory body to the US Congress. USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report provides recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad.

 It is headquartered in Washington DC. Established by the US government in 1998 after the inaction of the International Religious Freedom Act, recommendations of USCIRF are non-binding on the state department.

 Traditionally, India does not recognize the view of USCIRF.

 What are the Key Highlights of the Report?

The Report’s primary focus is on two groups of countries:

 Country of Particular Concern (CPC): It is a designation by the US Secretary of State of a nation engaged in severe violations of religious freedom under IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act of 1998).

 Special Watch List: A “Special Watch List” country is one that is deemed not to meet all the CPC criteria but engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom.

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

WHAT IS JUPITER'S MOON EUROPA?

 A team of researchers from Stanford University have found the possibility of water on one of Jupiter’s moons Europa, a prime candidate for life in the solar system.

 Earlier, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, dwarf planet Ceres, reportedly found salty water underground.

 Earlier, Scientists also found signatures of water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18b.

 What is Europa?

 Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and its diameter is about one-quarter that of the Earth. Even though Europa has a very thin oxygen atmosphere, it is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to find present-day environments that are suitable for life beyond the Earth.

 It is also believed that underneath Europa’s icy surface the amount of water is twice that on Earth.

 NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024. The module will orbit Jupiter and conduct multiple close flybys to Europa to gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface and its interior.



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