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11 and 12 April 2024 Daily Current Affairs


1. India's Economic Outlook: Steady Growth Forecast by ADB

Strong Growth Expected, But Slight Slowdown Predicted

  • India's economy is projected to remain robust over the next two years, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

  • GDP growth is expected to slow down slightly from 7.6% in 2023-24 to 7% in 2024 and then pick up to 7.2% in 2025-26.


Inflation Set to Ease

  • The ADB report - Asian Development Outlook forecasts a decline in inflation, with retail inflation dropping to 4.6% this year and 4.5% in 2025-26.

  • Food inflation is also expected to fall as farm output returns to normal levels.


About ADB: -


The ADB, or Asian Development Bank, is a regional development bank focused on improving social and economic development in Asia. Established in 1966, it has its headquarters in Mandaluyong, Philippines with 31 field offices around the world. Here's a quick summary:

  • Mission: Reduce poverty and improve living standards in Asia and the Pacific.

  • Focus: Provides loans, grants, and technical assistance to developing member countries.

  • Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines

  • Founded: 1966

  • Membership: 68 members, including most Asian countries and developed economies like the US and Japan.


The two countries with the highest share in the ADB, as of December 2020, are:

  • Japan and the United States, each holding around 15.57% of the total shares.


2. Apple Changes Wording in Spyware Attack Notifications

Key Points:

  • Apple is now calling attackers "mercenary hackers" instead of "state-backed attackers" in email alerts and website documentation.

  • This change follows reports of pressure from the Indian government after Apple alerted users about potential Pegasus spyware attacks on their phones.

  • Pegasus is a spyware tool reportedly acquired by the Indian Intelligence Bureau.

  • Media reports suggested a new wave of alerts to users in India and 91 other countries, but users haven't publicly confirmed receiving them.

  • Similar discrepancies occurred in November 2023 with alerts reportedly sent to 150 countries, but only users in India came forward.

  • Human rights groups are offering support to individuals targeted by these attacks.

Possible Reasons for Change:

  • Reduce political pressure from governments accused of using spyware.

  • Make alerts more generic to avoid pointing fingers at specific countries.

Unresolved Issues:

  • Confirmation of new alerts sent to users outside India.

  • Apple's official explanation for the language change.


3. About Syed Abdul Rahim


Syed Abdul Rahim, also known as Rahim Saab, was a legendary figure in Indian football. Here's a quick rundown of his achievements:

  • The Architect of Modern Indian Football:He's widely considered the driving force behind the "golden age" of Indian football in the 1950s and 60s.

  • Coach and Manager: Rahim served as the manager of the Indian national team from 1950 until his death in 1963.

  • Playing Career: Before becoming a coach, he also played football himself.

  • Achievements: Under his leadership, the Indian team achieved several milestones:

  • Won the gold medal at the 1951 Asian Games.

  • Became known as the "Brazil of Asia" due to their impressive playing style.

  • Reached the semi-finals of the 1956 Olympics.

  • Legacy: The "Syed Abdul Rahim Award" is given to the best coach in the I-League each season, honoring his contributions.


  • Maidaan Movie: The recently released Bollywood film "Maidaan" tells the story of Rahim and this golden era of Indian football, with actor Ajay Devgn portraying him.


4. Statue of Valour


Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 125-foot bronze statue of 'Ahom general' Lachit Borphukan in Assam's Jorhat.


Lachit Borphukan, an Ahom general known for his role in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671.


Lachit Borphukan was a legendary army commander of the Ahom kingdom (1228-1826).


He is known for his leadership in the 1671 'Battle of Saraighat' that thwarted a drawn-out attempt by the mighty Mughal forces, led by Raja Ramsingh-I, to take back Assam.


5. Made in India CAR-T Cell Therapy: A Beacon of Hope


Affordable CAR-T therapy developed in India for treating B-cell malignancies

  • Dr. Alka Dwivedi and her team collaborated to develop a novel CAR-T cell therapy called NexCAR19.

  • NexCAR19 is a cost-effective alternative to existing CAR-T therapies, making it more accessible to Indian patients.

  • The therapy targets CD19, a protein on the surface of B-ALL and B-lymphoma cells.


Key milestones in the development of NexCAR19

  • Collaboration with NCI: The team sought expertise from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to overcome technical challenges.

  • Clinical trial success: The first patient was treated in June 2021 at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), with positive results.

  • CDSCO approval: In October 2023, NexCAR19 received approval from CDSCO for treating relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies.


Challenges and future directions

  • Side effects: CAR-T therapy can cause side effects like cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurotoxicity.

  • Accessibility: The therapy remains expensive despite its affordability compared to US counterparts. Efforts are underway to further reduce costs.

  • Infrastructure: Limited access to primary healthcare and specialized facilities in some regions may pose challenges.

Overall, NexCAR19 represents a significant advancement in cancer treatment in India, offering a new hope for patients with B-cell malignancies.


About Car T cell therapy: -


Car T cell therapy is a new way to fight cancer using your body's own immune system. Here's a breakdown:


Super soldiers: Imagine your immune system has special fighter cells called T cells. CAR T cell therapy takes these T cells and gives them a super power.


Spotting the enemy: Scientists add a special protein to the T cells called a CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptor). This CAR helps the T cells recognize cancer cells.


Attack!: Once the T cells with CAR are put back in your body, they find the cancer cells with the specific protein (like a target) and destroy them.


06. Japanese astronaut to be first non-American to set foot on Moon


Historic Announcement: U.S. President Joe Biden revealed that a Japanese astronaut will make history by becoming the first non-American to set foot on the Moon during an upcoming Artemis mission.


Strategic Partnership: The offer to Japan is part of efforts to strengthen ties with a key Asian ally, announced during Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's state visit to the United States.


Japanese Participation: Two Japanese

astronauts will join future American missions, with one slated to be the first non-American to land on the Moon. President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida emphasized the significance of this collaboration.


Mutual Benefits: Japan will supply a rover for the Artemis program in exchange for the opportunity for its astronaut to participate in the lunar mission, marking a significant achievement for both nations.


Artemis Program Goals: NASA's Artemis program aims to return humans to the Moon after over 50 years and establish a sustainable presence, laying the groundwork for potential missions to Mars.


Global Collaboration: The announcement reflects a shift towards international cooperation in space exploration, with NASA emphasizing the importance of diplomacy in advancing scientific discovery.


Future Missions: Artemis 3, the first mission to take astronauts to the lunar surface, is scheduled for 2026. Meanwhile, China has expressed its ambition to land humans on the Moon by 2030.


07. CDP - Suraksha


Why in the news?

Indian government has launched a new platform CDP-SURAKSHA. This platform will be employed for disbursing subsidies to horticulture farmers under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP).


About CDP-SURAKSHA

Description-It stands for System for Unified Resource Allocation, Knowledge, and Secure Horticulture Assistance. This is a digital platform which will allow an instant disbursal of subsidies to farmers in their bank account by utilising the e-RUPIvoucher from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).


Features of the CDP-SURAKSHA-It has features such as database integration with PM-KISAN, cloud-based server space from NIC, UIDAI validation, eRUPI integration, local government directory (LGD), content management system, geotagging, and geo-fencing.


What is the Significance of the CDP-SURAKSHA?

1) Boost to Horticulture sector-India’s horticulture sector contributes nearly one-third to the agriculture gross value addition (GVA). This platform will push the growth of horticulture sector.


2) Departure from old system-It will provide subsidies to farmers at the time of purchasing the planting material unlike old system where a farmer had to buy planting materials on their own and then had to approach the officials concerned for the release of the subsidy.


About Cluster Development Program (CDP)

Source-NHB

Description– It is a component of the central sector scheme of National Horticulture Board (NHB).

Launched by- It was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) in 2021.

Objective– To leverage the geographical specialisation of horticulture clusters and promoting integrated and market-led development of pre-production, production, post-harvest, logistics, branding, and marketing activities.


08. Curative Petition


Description– It is the final and last option for the people to acquire justice. The concept of curative petition originated from the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra and another case (2002). It may be filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed.


Objective– To ensure there is no miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process.


Criteria for admission:-

1) It can be entertained if the petitioner establishes that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice.2) It can be admitted where a judge has failed to disclose facts that raise the apprehension of bias.3) A curative petition needs a senior advocate’s certification that mentions a good number of reasons to consider it.


Who hears Curative petitions?


1) A curative petition must be first circulated to a bench of the 3 senior-most judges, and the judges who passed the concerned judgment (If available).


2) It only gets listed for a hearing if most of the judges agree that it is necessary and, ideally, it is heard by the same Bench as before.


3) Curative petitions are usually decided by judges privately, unless someone asks for an open-court hearing. 


4) At any point, the Bench can ask a senior counsel to assist as amicus curiae during the curative petition review.


5) If the Bench decides at any point that the petition is baseless and without any merit, it can make the petitioner pay extra costs.




Editorial Analysis from The Hindu Newspaper


01. In In poll season, the perils of scorching bilateral ties


Introduction: The editorial discusses the intertwining of domestic politics and foreign policy in the era of populism, focusing on India's upcoming general elections.


Election Dynamics in India: Leaders prioritize foreign policies that align with domestic politics to gain votes, as evidenced by recent statements by Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar regarding the 1974 India-Sri Lanka agreement.


Impact on Bilateral Ties: Criticism of past agreements, particularly concerning Katchatheevu island, risks straining India's relations with Sri Lanka, impacting the goodwill built over the years, especially amid Sri Lanka's upcoming elections.


International Implications: Revisiting longstanding agreements raises questions about India's credibility as a partner, affecting agreements with other nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as India's standing in international bodies like UNCLOS.


Domestic Policies and Neighboring Relations: The notification of rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) affects India's relations with neighbors like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan due to its perceived discriminatory nature and potential implications for stateless citizens.


Opposition Concerns and International Scrutiny: Opposition parties raise concerns over India's stance on issues like the Line of Actual Control with China and alleged transnational killings, which draw international attention and challenge the government's position.


Discretion in Diplomacy: The editorial emphasizes resolving such issues discreetly through bilateral negotiations rather than airing grievances publicly, as they can have long-lasting consequences on bilateral ties.


Conclusion: While election seasons are short, sacrificing bilateral ties for domestic political gains can have enduring repercussions.


02. A battle to save Ladakh, and all of humanity


Introduction: Sonam Wangchuk, Ramon Magsaysay award winner and climate activist, addresses a crowd in Ladakh, highlighting the region's vulnerability to climate change and its broader implications.


Ladakh's Vulnerability: Ladakh, nestled between India's neighbors Pakistan and China, faces the detrimental effects of climate change, including floods, droughts, landslides, and pollution, which threaten the livelihoods of its indigenous tribes.


Himalayan Glaciers at Risk: The Himalayan region, often referred to as the Third Pole, houses around 15,000 glaciers crucial for the hydrological process. However, these glaciers are at risk of melting due to global warming, impacting both mountain residents and downstream communities.


Infrastructure Boom and Neglect: Despite the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE), launched to assess the Himalayan region's vulnerability to climate change, Ladakh has witnessed rapid infrastructure development, ignoring warnings from past disasters and climate change-related risks.


Disasters in the Himalayan Region: Several disasters since 2010, such as the Kedarnath flash floods and the collapse of the Silkyara tunnel project, highlight the human cost of environmental destruction in the Himalayas, exacerbated by inadequate risk assessment and safety measures in infrastructure projects.


Activist Frustrations and Recommendations: Climate change activists' recommendations have been overlooked, despite approaching courts and forming expert committees, resulting in scant due diligence in multi-crore mega projects in the mountains.


Protecting the Himalayas: The editorial emphasizes the importance of protecting the fragile Himalayan ecosystem and its biodiversity, stressing that development should not come at the expense of upsetting the ecosystem's balance.


Conclusion: Sonam Wangchuk's advocacy for Ladakh extends beyond the region, serving as a reminder of the collective responsibility to safeguard the Himalayas and ensure a sustainable future for humanity.


Note: - In 2008, the Centre launched eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).


One of these was under the Ministry of Science and Technology, i.e., the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE).


As the Department of Science and Technology (DST) website states, the “main objective of NMSHE is to develop a capacity to scienti•cally assess the vulnerability of the Himalayan region to climate change and continuously assess the health status of the Himalayan ecosystem”.



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