General Knowledge Current Affairs

Wednesday, July 17, 2024



General Upendra Dwivedi, PVSM, AVSM, takes over as the 30th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) from General Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, who superannuated after more than four decades of service to the nation on 30 Jun 2024.

General Upendra Dwivedi is an accomplished military leader, with 40 years of service in the Armed Forces. An alumnus of Sainik School, Rewa (MP), he was commissioned into the Regiment of Jammu & Kashmir Rifles in 1984. The General officer has a unique distinction of balanced command as well as staff exposure across Northern, Eastern, and Western theatres, in varied operational environments.

He takes over as the COAS, at a time when the global geo-strategic environment remains dynamic, with the challenges in the security domain becoming more pronounced due to technological advancements and the ever-changing character of modern warfare. Operational preparedness to counter security threats to a rising nation, therefore would figure prominently, as a key focus area for the COAS. Concurrently, a focused response strategy, to myriad non-traditional security challenges, too shall be a priority, towards augmenting the nation’s defence.

General Dwivedi brings with him, a wealth of experience and a proven track record, of effectively planning and executing for the unexpected. He has tenanted critical appointments and played a pivotal role in combating grey zone manifestations in the national security canvas.

The General officer has a deep understanding of modern and emerging technologies in the security domain and possesses a thoughtful approach to harnessing and integrating cutting-edge technologies into military systems to enhance operational effectiveness. This vision finds congruence with the ongoing pursuit of the Indian Army to fulfill its modernization and capability development needs through Atmanirbharta. His impetus would be to augment the infusion of critical technologies by leveraging the nation’s vibrant, capable, and productive technology ecosystem.

DRDO hands over Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket to Indian Navy

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over the Medium Range-Microwave Obscurant Chaff Rocket (MR-MOCR) to the Indian Navy at a ceremony held in New Delhi on June 26, 2024. Microwave Obscurant Chaff (MOC), a niche technology developed by DRDO’s Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur, obscures radar signals and creates a microwave shield around platforms and assets, thus reducing radar detection.

A special type of fibres, with a diameter of few microns and unique microwave obscuration properties, have been assembled in the medium-range chaff rocket. The rocket, when fired, forms microwave obscurant cloud in space spreading over a sufficient area, with adequate persistence time, thus creating an effective shield against hostile threats having Radio Frequency seekers.

The Phase-I trials of MR-MOCR were successfully conducted from Indian Navy ships, demonstrating the MOC cloud blooming and being persistent in space. In Phase-II trials, the Radar Cross Section (RCS) reduction of an aerial target to the extent of 90 per cent has been demonstrated and cleared by the Indian Navy. The number of MR-MOCR, meeting all the qualification requirements, have been successfully handed over to the Indian Navy.

World Hydrography Day 2024

On 21 June every year, the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) celebrates World Hydrography Day to raise awareness about hydrography and how it plays a vital role in improving knowledge of the seas and oceans. The theme for 2024 is "Hydrographic Information - Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Marine Activities" in consideration of the ongoing transformation in navigation, such as e-navigation, autonomous shipping, and reduction of emissions leading to a profound evolution of hydrographic services.

The Indian Naval Hydrographic Department (INHD) functions under the Indian Navy as the nodal agency for Hydrographic surveys and nautical charting in India. The department has the mandate to undertake hydrographic surveys and publish navigational charts. Till date, more than 650 electronic and paper navigation charts covering the national and international waters have been published for utilisation of merchant mariner and navies of the world. Last year, the department has distributed over 6.5 Lakh Electronic Navigational charts to seafarers operating in these waters and has earned a revenue close to 8000 Lakh rupees to the exchequer which is estimated to grow further in the future.

The department as NAVAREA VIII coordinator, covering an area of 26 Million sq. km of Indian Ocean, shares information concerning the safety of navigation at sea through the web portal "India WINS - Indian Warning Information and Navigation Services". This module provides near-real-time information and since its launch in Dec 2022, it has crossed over 3.5 million views with an average of over 3500 visitors per day in keeping with the Digital India initiative of the Government.

The National Institute of Hydrography (NIH) at Goa is the centre for imparting training in Hydrography and is accredited by International Hydrographic Organisation for National and International Trainees for the award of Cat A and Cat B certificates. Till date, more than 800 trainees from 41 different countries have been trained at NIH.

In line with the Government of India's SAGAR initiative, the survey ships of the Indian Navy have conducted various joint survey operations with friendly foreign nations covering an area of 89000 sq. km in the last five years and have produced 96 charts. The department has also assisted them by capacity building and knowledge sharing. These efforts are undertaken by indigenously built survey ships mapping the vast Indian Ocean Region.

As a part of World Hydrography Day, a maritime workshop was conducted at the National Hydrographic Office on - Hydrographic Information - Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Marine Activities on 20 Jun 24. The workshop was attended by guests and dignitaries from over 25 Indian ports and offices. In addition, this office has been conducting Hydrographic Survey Committee meetings in consultation with the Office of Joint Secretary Ports in New Delhi till last year. This year the Hydrographic Survey Committee meeting is being conducted at this office on 21 Jun 24 commemorating World Hydrography Day.

A new freshwater diatom genus discovered from the Eastern and Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered a new genus of the Gomphonemoid diatom found in the clean water river of the Eastern Ghats. The genus which has an interesting suite of features, distinguishing it from the other members in the group Gomphonemoid in terms of valve symmetry and other certain valve features, has been named Indiconema to value its restricted distribution in the country. The research underlines the importance of diatoms in shaping the biodiversity of India's diverse landscapes.

Diatoms are microscopic algae that play a crucial role in our everyday lives by producing 25 percent of global oxygen, approximately every fourth breath of oxygen we inhale. They serve as a base of the aquatic food chain. Due to their sensitivity towards any water chemistry changes, they are excellent indicators of aquatic health.

Diatoms are the first recorded microorganisms in India, with Ehrenberg's first report dating back to 1845 in his voluminous publication Mikrogeologie. Since then, several studies in India have recorded diatoms from freshwater and marine environments. A rough estimate counts that there are nearly 6,500 diatom taxa, of which 30 percent are endemic (restricted to a particular region) to India, suggesting India's unique biodiversity. Further, diverse biogeographic zones support various species with habitat diversity ranging from freshwater to marine, sea level to high mountains, and alkaline lakes to acidic swamps. Peninsular India includes Eastern and Western Ghats and has distinct physiographic, edaphic, and climatic gradients that cherish a wide array of habitats with unique geographic positions and supporting unique sets of diatoms.

Indiconema discovered by scientists of Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, differs in having a pore field at both the head and foot pole rather than having only at the foot pole. The evolution of monsoons structured the rainforest biome across the Indian Peninsula and the associated varying wetness, which has a direct role in shaping the diatom flora.

The research published in the journal Phycologia, reports one species of Indiconema from the Eastern Ghats and another from the Western Ghats. A similar pattern of sharing endemic elements between two mountain systems has been observed for other endemic-rich groups, such as reptiles.

Additionally, based on the morphological features of this group, the researchers have suggested that Indiconema is a sister to Afrocymbella, a genus endemic to East Africa. Early studies noted that similarities between Gomphonema species from India and those from East Africa and Madagascar are supported by the current study association. The discovery supported by the erstwhile SERB, now ANRF underscores the importance of ongoing research in unravelling the mysteries of diatom biogeography and their role in shaping the biodiversity of India's diverse landscapes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cabinet approves development of Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the proposal of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the development of Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi including the Construction of the New Terminal Building, Apron Extension, Runway Extension, Parallel Taxi Track & Allied works.

The estimated financial outgo will be Rs. 2869.65 Crore for enhancing the passenger handling capacity of the airport to 9.9 million passengers per annum (MPPA) from the existing 3.9 MPPA. The New Terminal Building, which encompasses an area of 75,000 sqm is designed for a capacity of 6 MPPA and for handling 5000 Peak Hour Passengers (PHP). It is designed to offer a glimpse of the vast cultural heritage of the city.

The proposal includes extending the runway to dimensions 4075m x 45m and constructing a new Apron to park 20 aircraft. Varanasi airport will be developed as a green airport with the primary objective of ensuring environmental sustainability through energy optimization, waste recycling, carbon footprint reduction, solar energy utilization, and incorporation of natural daylighting, alongside other sustainable measures throughout the planning, development, and operational stages.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

The Excitement Builds: A Look Ahead to the Forthcoming Paris Olympic Games


The Olympic Games are more than just a global sporting event; they're a celebration of human spirit, dedication, and international unity. Every four years, athletes from around the world come together to compete at the highest level, showcasing their skills and inspiring millions. The upcoming Paris Olympic Games promise to be a spectacular event, steeped in history and brimming with new possibilities.

Paris 2024: A Brief Overview

Paris is set to host the Olympic Games from July 26 to August 11, 2024. This will be the third time Paris has welcomed the Olympics, having previously hosted in 1900 and 1924. The city of lights will transform into a hub of athletic excellence, with events taking place at iconic locations such as the Stade de France, Roland Garros, and the Eiffel Tower itself.

The Vision for Paris 2024

The organizers of Paris 2024 have laid out a bold vision focused on sustainability, innovation, and inclusivity. They aim to create an event that not only dazzles in the moment but also leaves a lasting positive impact on the city and the world.

Sustainability and Innovation

Paris 2024 is committed to being the most sustainable Olympics yet. From eco-friendly construction practices to the use of renewable energy, the games will set new standards for environmental responsibility.

Inclusivity and Diversity

Inclusivity is at the heart of Paris 2024's mission. The games will feature more events for female athletes and are making strides to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are equally celebrated.

Major Sports and Events to Watch


Track and field events are always a highlight of the Olympics, and Paris 2024 will be no exception. Look out for thrilling races, high jumps, and record-breaking performances.


The aquatic events will take place in a state-of-the-art facility, with swimmers competing in a range of disciplines, from sprints to long-distance events.


Gymnastics always captivates with its blend of strength, agility, and grace. The competition will be fierce, with athletes aiming for perfection in their routines.

New and Returning Sports

Paris 2024 will see the return of sports like baseball and softball, as well as the introduction of exciting new events such as breakdancing, which promises to bring a fresh and dynamic element to the games.

Notable Athletes to Watch

Notable Athletes to Watch

Keep an eye on seasoned Olympians who have previously wowed audiences and are returning for another shot at glory.

Rising Talents

New talents are always emerging, and Paris 2024 will be a platform for young athletes to make their mark on the world stage.

Preparations and Challenges

Infrastructure Developments

The city of Paris is undergoing significant infrastructure improvements to accommodate the influx of visitors and ensure smooth operations during the games.

Security Measures

Ensuring the safety of athletes, spectators, and residents is a top priority. Paris 2024 will implement robust security measures to protect everyone involved.

Overcoming the COVID-19 Pandemic

The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic present unique challenges, but organizers are determined to host a safe and successful event with appropriate health protocols in place.

Cultural Impact of the Paris Olympics

French Culture and Heritage

The Paris Olympics will be a showcase of French culture, from its rich history to its contemporary arts and cuisine.

International Influence

The games will also be a melting pot of global cultures, bringing together people from all corners of the earth in a celebration of diversity and unity.

Economic Impact of the Games

Tourism Boost

The influx of visitors for the Olympics will provide a significant boost to the local tourism industry, benefiting hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

Job Creation

The preparations for and execution of the games will create numerous job opportunities, contributing to the local economy.

Long-term Economic Benefits

The improvements in infrastructure and international exposure will have lasting economic benefits for Paris, making it an even more attractive destination in the future.

Technological Innovations

Use of AI and Digital Technologies

Paris 2024 will leverage the latest in AI and digital technologies to enhance the efficiency of the games and the experience for spectators.

Enhancing the Spectator Experience

From advanced ticketing systems to immersive viewing experiences, technology will play a key role in making Paris 2024 unforgettable.

Environmental Initiatives

Green Building Standards

The construction of Olympic venues is being carried out with strict adherence to green building standards, ensuring minimal environmental impact.

Waste Reduction Programs

Comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs will be in place to manage the environmental footprint of the games.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games will be given equal prominence, with facilities and events designed to highlight the incredible talents of differently-abled athletes.

Facilities for Disabled Spectators

Efforts are being made to ensure that all venues are accessible to disabled spectators, promoting an inclusive environment for everyone.

Fan Experience

Ticketing and Attendance

The ticketing system for Paris 2024 aims to be user-friendly and accessible, allowing fans from around the world to easily secure their spots.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

For those who can't attend in person, virtual and augmented reality technologies will provide immersive experiences, bringing the excitement of the games to their homes.

Media Coverage

Broadcasting Partners

Leading broadcasters from around the world will provide extensive coverage of the games, ensuring that fans don't miss a moment.

Social Media Presence

Paris 2024 will have a strong social media presence, engaging fans with real-time updates, behind-the-scenes content, and interactive features.

Legacy of the Paris Olympics

Long-term Benefits for Paris and France

The legacy of the Paris Olympics will extend far beyond the closing ceremony, with lasting benefits for the city and country in terms of infrastructure, international reputation, and community engagement.

Inspiring Future Generations

The stories and achievements from Paris 2024 will inspire future generations of athletes, fostering a love for sports and the Olympic spirit.


The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are set to be a remarkable event that combines tradition with innovation, celebrating the best of humanity. From world-class athletic performances to groundbreaking sustainability initiatives, Paris 2024 promises to leave an indelible mark on the world.


Q. When are the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?
The games will take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024.

Q. What new sports will be included in Paris 2024?
Breakdancing is among the new sports added to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Q. How is Paris 2024 promoting sustainability?
The games will feature eco-friendly construction, renewable energy use, and comprehensive waste reduction programs.

Q. What measures are being taken for security at the games?
Robust security measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators.

Q. How can fans experience the games if they can't attend in person?
Virtual and augmented reality technologies will offer immersive viewing experiences for fans around the world.