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CURRENT AFFAIRS BOOSTER : 24th & 25th DECEMBER 2023



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Current Affairs

 


24th & 25th December 2023




NATIONAL AFFAIRS

1)  QETCI & MeitY Organised NQSTS 2023 in New Delhi; QETCI Released Quantum Value Chain Report 

Quantum Ecosystems and Technology Council of India (QETCI) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) jointly organised the 1st edition of National Quantum Science and Technology Symposium (NQSTS 2023) at the Scope Convention Centre in New Delhi, Delhi from 14th to 15th December 2023.

·         During the event, QETCI released the Quantum Value Chain Report for India and Quantum Security Whitepaper for the Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) Segment.

·         The event also witnessed the launch of the Quantum Security Centre and Forum (QSCF) and a logo.

About Quantum Ecosystems and Technology Council of India (QETCI):
QETCI is a not-for-profit Section 8 company that aims to accelerate the quantum ecosystem in India.
Chairman– Vijay Kumar Saraswat
Headquarters– Hyderabad, Telangana


2)  MEA Notified Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules 2023 for Leasing Sites for Offshore Wind Energy Projects

On 19th December 2023, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) notified “ Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules 2023”, new regulations for the lease of sites of offshore wind project.
Term of Lease:
i.According to the new rules, the Lease shall be valid for a period of 3-year for conducting resource measurements and surveys and it can be extended for an additional 2 years. The lease expires this after 5 years.
ii.Post expiry of the lease, the leasee should submit the survey data to the National Institute of Wind Energy(NIWE), unless they have started the work to set up wind energy capacity.
iii.The lease shall be further extended for a period of 35 year for constuction and operation of the project. This can be further extended on case to case basis based on the functional viability and safety of the project.
Key Points:
i.Lease Area: 25 square kilometres (Sq Km) to 500 sq km (based on the project)
ii.Refundable Security Deposits: Rs 1 lakh per MegaWatt(MW) for wind energy project and Rs 50,000 per MW for wind transmission project.

·         The deposit amount will be returned upon successful project operation and decommissioning.

iii.Grant of Lease:
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) shall lease out offshore area within Exclusive Economic Zone for Offshore Wind Energy Project and Offshore Wind Transmission Project.
The selection process will be overseen by the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy.
iv.Regulatory mechanism: NIWE, an autonomous body under MNRE for matters related to wind energy.
Define Offshore wind power:
Offshore wind power is a renewable energy source which uses wind farms in bodies of water, usually at sea, to generate electricity.

 

3)  MoRD inks MoU with JioMart to Empower SHGs

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ecommerce platform ‘JioMart’ to empower the rural Self Help Group (SHG) artisans.
Key People:
The MoU was signed in the presence of  Raghvendra Pratap Singh, Director of National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), MoRD; Ravi Prakash Gandhi, President and Chief of Public Policy and Regulatory, Reliance Retail Limited.
About the Collaboration:
i.The partnership paves a way for SHGs of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana(DAY)-NRLM to on-boarded as sellers onto JioMart.
ii.The collaboration will increase market base and the visibility of the products of SHG.
iii.This alliance will also bring SHGs under MoRD’s SARAS collection brand onto JioMart.
SARAS collection:
i.SARAS collection was launched in 2020 by MoRD on Government eMarketplace(GeM) portal to showcase daily utility products made by rural SHGs.
ii.It is an initiative of GeM and  DAY-NRLM.
About JioMart:
JioMart is the online shopping platform by Reliance Retail Venture Limited (RRVL).
Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – Sandeep Varaganti
Headquarters – Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in – 2020
About Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD):
Union Minister – Giriraj Singh (Constituency- Begusarai, Bihar)
Minister of State(MoS) – Faggan Singh Kulaste (Constituency- Mandla, Madhya Pradesh); Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Constituency- Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh)

 

4)  BEL Bags Orders Worth Rs 2,673 Crore From GSL & GRSE

Bengaluru (Karnataka) Based Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a Navratna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), has received orders worth Rs 2,673 crore for the supply of 14 types of sensors for use on Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPV).

·         Order Details: BEL has received the order from Goa based Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) for Rs 1701 crore and from Kolkata(West Bengal) based Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Limited for Rs 972 crore.

Note:  Both GSL and GRSE are ‘Miniratna Central Public Sector Undertaking’ under MoD.

 

BANKING & FINANCE

5)  WB approved USD 300 Million Loan to Boost Urban Water, Sewerage Systems in TN

The World Bank(WB) has approved a loan of USD 300 million to the Ministry of Finance(MoF), Government of India(GoI), for the project ‘Tamil Nadu Climate Resilient Urban Development Program (TNCRUDP)’.

·         The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to strengthen urban management and improve access to efficient and climate-resilient urban water and sanitation services in 21 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Tamil Nadu (TN).

WB approved USD 100 Million Loan to Boost Skill Development & Employment in Sikkim
World Bank approved USD 100 million for the project ‘‘Sikkim: Integrated Service Provision and Innovation for Reviving Economies (INSPIRES)’ Operation to support Sikkim’s efforts to train, upskill, and provide jobs for 300,500 women and youth in high-growth and priority sectors.


6)  RBI Report: States’ Gross Fiscal Deficit below Budget Estimate for 2nd Consecutive Year

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the report titled “State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2023-2024”.
RBI allows card-on-file tokenization through issuer banks, card networks
RBI has allowed card-on-file tokenistation (CoFT) through issuer banks or institutions, card networks.

·         It will provide cardholders a facility to tokenise their cards for multiple merchant sites (e-commerce sites) through a single process.

·         Earlier, RBI had announced to extend this tokenization service to issuer banks and financial institutions as part of the Statement on Development and Regulatory Policies in October, 2023.

RBI’s model pegged India’s FY25 GDP growth at 6.0%
RBI developed Dynamic Stochastic General Equilbrium(DSGE) model has projected GDP growth for India at 6.0% for FY25(2024-25).
RBI’s model projects FY25 retail inflation at 4.8%
RBI’s Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium(DSGE) model has projected retail inflation for India will be moderated at 4.8% for FY2025.
RBI tightens norms to check evrgreening of loans by lenders through AIFs
RBI has introduced new norms in order to curb “evergreening” of loans by lenders through Alternate Investment Funds(AIFs).
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Established: 1 April, 1935
Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor: Shaktikanta Das(25th Governor of RBI)


7)  HDFC Life & NKGSB bank Enters into a Corporate Agency tie-up

 HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (HDFC life) and NKGSB Co-operative bank Limited, a leading multi-state scheduled co-operative bank, have entered into a Corporate Agency tie-up to enable the customers of the bank to avail the products of HDFC Life.
Key Points:
i.Under this partnership, customers of NKGSB Bank will get access to life insurance products like solutions for protection, pension, savings, investment and annuity.
ii.This is in line with the bank’s commitment to ensure the well being and financial security of its customers.
iii.Under this partnership, HDFC life will leverage its bancassurance expertise and product propositions.

·         This will support the efforts towards achieving India’s vision of “Insurance for all” by 2047 set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

About HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited:
i.It is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd., and Standard Life Aberdeen.
ii.It is promoted by HDFC Bank Limited.
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – Vibha Padalkar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in  – 2000
About NKGSB Co-operative bank Limited:
Chairperson – Himangee C. Nadkarni
Managing Director– Panse Sunil 
Headquarters –  Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in – 1917
Tagline – Trusted over a century

 

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

8)  National Sports Awards 2023 Announced by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports 

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) announced the National Sports Awards 2023 which will be conferred on 42 sportspersons, coaches and entities under 5 categories on 9th January 2024 by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, Delhi.
i.Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2023 will be given to the Badminton duo Chirag Chandrashekhar Shetty and Rankireddy Satwik Sai Raj.
ii.Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar (Punjab) won the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2023 for the record 25th time.
iii.Arjuna Awards for outstanding performance in Sports and Games 2023 will be awarded to 26 Awardees.
iv.Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games 2023 will be awarded to 8 Awardees.
v.Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games 2023 will be awarded to 3 Awardees.
About the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS):
Union Minister– Anurag Singh Thakur (Constituency- Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS)– Nisith Pramanik (constituency- CoochBehar, West Bengal)

 

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS

9)  Sony Sports ropes in Actor Kartik Aaryan as Brand Ambassador for Football

Sony Sports Network (SSN), owned and operated by Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), has appointed Bollywood Actor Kartik Aaryan as its official brand ambassador for football.
i.As the brand ambassador, he will feature on SSN’s ‘Your Home of Football’ campaign.
ii.He will promote a diverse portfolio of football offerings that includes the live telecast of over 900 football matches.

·         This includes the UEFA(Union of European Football Associations) European Championship (UEFA EURO 2024), UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Conference League, UEFA Nations League, Bundesliga, Emirates FA Cup, Durand Cup, and Roshn Saudi League, amongst others.

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

10)       MoT Launches “Paat-Mitro” App To Empower Jute Farmers

Ministry of Textiles(MoT) has unveiled the ‘Paat-Mitro’ mobile application(app) to provide important information about Minimum Support Price (MSP) and agronomy to jute farmers.

·         The app was developed by Jute Corporation of India Limited (JCI), a central public sector undertaking(CPSU) under MoT.

·         The app was launched during the Jute Symposium held in New Delhi, Delhi on 21st December 2023.

Paat-Mitro app:
i.The free app, available in 6 languages, provides access to Jute Gradation Parameters, Farmer-centric schemes like ‘Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise for Jute (Jute – ICARE)’, weather forecasts, JCI’s Purchase Centers’ locations, Procurement Policies.
ii.The app comes with features like ‘Chatbot’ and offers facility to track track the status of their payments made for the raw jute.

 

ENVIRONMENT

11)       Pantoea Tagorei: Visva-Bharati Researchers Named New Bacteria after Rabindranath Tagore

The researchers from Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal(WB) have discovered a new species of ‘good’ bacteria with unique properties beneficial for plant growth.

·         The new species is named “Pantoea Tagorei”, after Rabindranath Tagore, who won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

·         This is the 1st time any living thing has been named after Tagore.

·         The discovery has been published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology.

Pantoea Tagorei:
i.The new species was discovered from soil samples collected in the Jharia coal mines of Jharia in Jharkhand.
ii.The new species solubilizes Potassium (K) and Phosphorus(P), and replenishes Nitrogen (N).
Note: Rabindranath Tagore was the 1st non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

SPORTS

12)       Asian Youth Chess Championships 2023: India’s Kiyana Parihar (U-8 Girls) and Harsh Suresh (U-16 open) won gold medals

Indian chess players Kiyana Parihar (Under -8 Girls) and Harsh Suresh (U-16 Open) won gold medals (Standard – category) in the Asian Youth Chess Championships 2023 held at Al Ain City of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from December 12 to 22, 2023.
i.The 25th edition of the Asian Youth Chess Championships 2023 featured three events, including Standard, Rapid, and Blitz Championships
ii.Grandmaster (GM) Gukesh Dommaraju (India) won the inaugural Chennai Grand Masters 2023 title, which was held at Chennai (Tamil Nadu) from 15th to 21st December 2023.Indian chess players GM Arjun Erigaisi and GM Pentala Harikrishna secured second and third positions, respectively.
About Asian Chess Federation (ACF):
President – Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan
Headquarters – Al Ain,Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates(UAE)

 

13)       Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Launched Official Jersey, Logo, and Mascot of the 6th KIYG in Tamil Nadu

Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports(MoYAS) unveiled the official logo, jersey, and theme song of the 6th Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG 2024) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

·         The mascot of 6th KIYG named “Veera Mangai” and the ceremonial torch named “Thamizh” were also unveiled during the event.

·         The mascot “Veera Mangai” is the replica of the legendary freedom fighter Tamil queen ‘Velu Nachiyar’.

Note:  The 6th KIYG is scheduled to be held from January 19 to 31, 2024 in 4 cities of Tamil Nadu namely Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, and Coimbatore.
Key People:
i.Udhayanidhi Stalin, Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu was also present during the event.
ii.Grand Master and former 5-time World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand; Tokyo Olympian (Fencing) CA Bhavani Devi; Joshna Chinappa(squash) and 2022 Asia Cup (Hockey) bronze medalist S. Mareeswaran were also present at the event.
Note: CA Bhavani Devi became the 1st Indian woman fencer to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.
Points to Note:
i.Over 5,000 athletes from all over the country will participate in the Olympic, non-Olympic as well as indigenous games at KIYG 2024.
ii.Silambam, a form of Indian martial arts, has been included as a demo sport in the KIYG 2024.
Khelo India Programme:
The ‘Khelo India’, the national programme for development of sports’ was launched in October 2017 to enhance India’s sporting culture by engaging with children at the grassroots level.

·         The programme includes Khelo India Youth Games; Khelo India University  Games; and Khelo India Winter Games.

Khelo India Youth Games:
i.The 1st edition of the event was held in 2018 as “Khelo India School Games” in New Delhi, Delhi.

·         It was renamed as Khelo India Youth Games in 2019.

ii.It is a multi-disciplinary sports competition for India’s under-18 young talents. At present, 27 sports listed for the KIYG.
The last edition (5th) of KIYG was held in 2023 across Delhi, Pune(Maharashtra), Guwahati(Assam), Panchkula(Haryana), and Bhopal(Madhya Pradesh).

 

OBITUARY

14)       Robert M Solow, Nobel-winning American Economist Passed Away

American Economist Robert Merton Solow, who won the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics has passed away at the age of 99. He was born on 23 August 1924 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
About Robert Merton Solow:
Career:
Robert M Solow joined the Department of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) Cambridge, Massachusetts, the United States of America (USA) in 1949.

·         He reitred in 1995 as an Institute professor, the highest title at the MIT.

·         After his retirement, he was named the Institute Professor Emeritus of MIT.

Key positions:
i.From 1961 to 1962, Solow served on the Council of Economic Advisors in the administration led by then President of USA John F. Kennedy.
ii.He has served as member and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1975 to 1980.
iii.He was one of the founding directors and Chairman of the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a non-profit research group.
iv.He has also served as the president of the American Economic Association(AEA), and the Econometric Society.
Noted works: “A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth” (1956); “Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function” (1957), and “Investments and Technical Progress” (1960); “Nature and Sources of Unemployment in the USA” (1964).
Nobel prize:
In 1987, he won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to the theory of economic growth.
Other Awards/Honours:
i.John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by AEA to the best economist under the age of 40, in 1961.
ii.President’s National Medal of Science in 2000
iii.Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the USA, in 2014
iv.He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the British Academy

 

IMPORTANT DAYS

15)       National Farmer’s Day or Kisan Diwas 2023- December 23

 National Farmer’s Day, also known as Kisan Diwas, is annually observed across India on 23rd December to highlight the significance of farmers’ contribution to the overall social and economic development of India.
The day also marks the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh, a champion of the Indian farmers’ community, who served as the 5th Prime Minister(PM) of India from 1979 to 1980.

·         23rd December 2023 marks the 121st birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh.

Background:
i.In 2001, the Government of India (GoI) declared 23 December, the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh, as Kisan Diwas or National Farmer’s Day to recognize his contribution towards the agriculture sector and the welfare of the farmers.
ii.The 1st Kisan Diwas (National Farmer’s Day) was observed on 23 December 2001.

 

 














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