Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 16th September 2023

National News

1. India Launches UPAg: A Revolutionary Unified Portal For Agricultural Statistics 

  • In a significant development for India’s agricultural sector, the government has unveiled the UPAg (Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics). This groundbreaking initiative is aimed at tackling the complex governance challenges that currently beset the country’s farming industry. 
  • The UPAg portal promises to empower stakeholders by providing them with real-time, reliable, and standardized information. This newfound accessibility to data is expected to pave the way for more responsive and efficient agricultural policies. 
  • The UPAg portal aims to consolidate data into a standardized format, ensuring easy access and comprehension for users. It will amalgamate real-time information on prices, production, area, yield, and trade from diverse sources, offering a holistic assessment of agricultural commodities. 

2. The platform will assess the 'top' 50 judges before appointment in SC: CJI 

  • Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said on Friday that the top court with a young team of Distinguished scholars, interns, and law researchers had prepared a “broad platform” to assess every one of the “top 50 judges” in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court. 
  • “One of the criticisms about the collegium system is that we have no factual data to evaluate people who we are considering for appointment to the Supreme Court,” the Chief Justice noted. He was speaking at the Ram Jesmalani Memorial Lecture’s centenary edition when he unraveled the “work in progress” to make the system “more transparent”.
  • “I have a Centre for Research and Planning headed by an officer of the Haryana Judicial Services with two very distinguished young scholars and a number of young people — interns, and law researchers who worked with us for two years. We have I prepared a dossier… I should not say "dossier", However, a broad platform in which we have assessed every one of the top 50 judges in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice disclosed to an audience Of Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, serving and retired judges, jurists like Fali S. Nariman, senior advocates and law students. 
  • He said the idea was to make the process of appointments to the court transparency by identifying definite parameters of selection even though the process cannot be held in the public realm. The team would sift through the candidates’ judgments, their quality, and so on. 
  • However, he did not specify whether the “top” Judges would be identified from the first 50 of the most senior High Court judges or whether the candidates would be picked based on their merit and performance. The appointments are now made on the basis of seniority, regional representation and merit while following a Memorandum of Procedure mold-ed through the Three Judges Cases.

3. Govt. notifies 31 Benches of GST Appellate Tribunal

  • The Finance Ministry notified the constitution of 31 to Appellate Tribunals across 28 States and eight Union Territories for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) late on Thursday night, setting the stage to resolve a growing number of taxpayer-cent disputes with the Revenue Ecked Department. 
  • The establishment of these tribunals envisaged at the time of the immedal implementation of the GST with the regime from July 1, 2017 dam got a final clearance from the GST Council this July, and was much awaited by the hospital, and industry players. 
  • As of June 30, the uncovered number of pending appeals from taxpayers over Cenorted to tral GST levies had increased sharply to over 14,000.

International News

4. Fashion designer Rahul Mishra was honored with 'Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France 

  • On behalf of the French government, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain presented the insignia of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) to fashion designer Rahul Mishra. 
  • This distinction comes in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of art as a designer and her deep commitment to promoting Indian crafts and know-how internationally. 
  • Rahul Mishra made his debut in the fashion capital of the world with his prêt-à-porter collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2014. This was also the year he became the first Indian designer to win the International Woolmark Award, which inspired then-editor Suzy Menkes. Vogue International called him a "national treasure".
  • In 2020, he was invited by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode to showcase his creations as a guest designer at the prestigious Paris Haute Couture Week, which famously only allows 16 haute couture houses presented to its members.

State News

5. Unity Mall will be established in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh

  • The Central Government has announced to give a total of three Unity Malls to Uttar Pradesh which will be established in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi. Chief Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra has given instructions to identify land in connection with the proposed Unity Mall in Varanasi, while land has been identified in Agra. 
  • Food courts will also be opened to provide food and drink facilities to the people visiting the mall. It is noteworthy that in the Union Budget 2023-24 of the Government of India, a provision has been made to establish Unity Mall in all the states of the country. 
  • Unity Mall in Lucknow will be built in Awadh Shilp Gram, but before that this mall will be started in 35 air-conditioned showrooms present there. Arrangements will be made by the states for exhibition and sale of their ODOP products, GI products, handicraft products and ODOP products of other states in Unity Mall.
  • The main objective of Unity Mall is to promote national unity, Make in India, ODOP efforts and local handicraft products and local employment generation. A joint committee will be formed for the operation of the unity mall. The committee will include Housing Development and MSME departments. 
  • One District, One Product is a government initiative that aims to make regional markets easier to access, as well as provide products to manufacturers. Earlier, approval was given to build the country's first Unity Mall in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

6. National Green Tribunal bans the operation of boats in 'Bhoj Wetland' of Madhya Pradesh 

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had recently ordered the Madhya Pradesh state government to stop the operation of cruise ships as well as other motorized boats in the Bhoj wetland due to the huge damage they cause to water bodies. 
  • The order came after environmentalist Subhash Pandey approached the tribunal, pointing out that a cruise ship has been allowed to moor in the "Bhoj wetland" by the Madhya Pradesh government. 
  • The Bhopal Master Plan, 2005 stated that no recreational activities should be allowed in the water of the Upper Lake as it is basically used for drinking. 

Bhoj Wetland

  •  Also known as Bhopal Lake, it is a designated Ramsar site and therefore a wetland of international importance (Ramsar Convention 1971). It mainly includes the Narmada River and its tributaries. 
  • It consists of two contiguous man-made reservoirs. "Upper Lake" – was formed by the construction of an earthen dam on the Kolans River in the 11th century. "Lower Lake" – It was formed about 200 years ago, mainly due to seepage from the upper lake. It is surrounded by the Bhopal city. 
  • Spread over approximately 31 km (about 19.26 mi), the upper lake is an important source of drinking water for the city. About 12 lakh people of Bhopal depend on this water body. More than 2,500 migratory birds from around the world regularly visit this wetland for breeding and seed dispersal.

National Green Tribunal 

  • It was established on October 18, 2010, under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. India became the third (and first developing) country in the world to establish a special environmental tribunal. Before this, only Australia and New Zealand had established such a body.
  • The headquarters of NGT is in Delhi, while the other four regional offices are in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai. The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. 

7. Shivraj Singh Chouhan To Inaugurate 108-Feet Tall Statue Of Adi Shankaracharya In Omkareshwar 

  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is set to unveil a majestic 108- feet-tall statue of the revered philosopher Adi Shankaracharya in Omkareshwar on September 18. This monumental project is named “Eaktmta Ki Pratima” (Statue of Oneness). 
  • The towering structure is a tribute to Adi Shankaracharya, an influential and revered figure in Hinduism, known for his profound philosophical contributions. He left Omkareshwar at the tender age of 12, embarking on a transformative journey across the country to propagate the Advaita Vedanta philosophy and elucidate its core principles to the masses.

8. Odisha CM Launches ‘Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana’ 

  • Odisha’s Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, has unveiled the “Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana.” along with the complementary “Pada Pushti Yojana,” to address the nutritional needs of mothers, adolescent girls, and children in the state. The launch of These programs demonstrate the government’s commitment to enhancing the nutritional status of its citizens and fostering a healthier future. 
  • The Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana is a comprehensive program aimed at tackling malnutrition and improving the nutritional well-being of the most vulnerable groups in Odisha—mothers, adolescent girls, and children.
  • Complementing the Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana, the “Pada Pushti Yojana” focuses on delivering top-notch cooked food to youngsters living in rural and tribal areas within their enclaves and villages.

Ranking and Report News

9. UNFCCC releases 'first global stocktake' report on climate change 

  • The first ‘Global Stocktake’ synthesis report was released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The synthesis report presents 17 key findings, painting a worrying picture of the world's progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. 
  • The primary objective of the ‘Global Stocktake’ is to assess the efforts of individual countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transition to renewable energy sources. 
  • Stocktake is designed to hold countries accountable and encourage them to increase their climate ambitions over time. 

Key points 

  • Much greater ambition is needed to reduce global GHG emissions by 43% by 2030 and by 60% in 2035 and to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 globally. 
  • Renewable energy must be increased, and all unabated fossil fuels must be phased out rapidly. Deforestation and land degradation must be stopped and reversed, and agricultural practices must be encouraged to reduce emissions and conserve and enhance carbon sinks.
  • Support for adaptation and financing mechanisms to prevent, mitigate and address damage from the impacts of climate change needs to be rapidly scaled up from expanded and innovative sources. 
  • It noted the need for US$5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and US$4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies by 2030. 

Global Stocktake

  • The Global Stocktake is a periodic review mechanism established under the Paris Agreement in 2015. 
  • The first-ever stocktake began in 2022 and is scheduled to conclude at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in late 2023. Since the global stocktake is scheduled to be completed every five years, this phase will happen again in 2028. 
  • In 2015, when countries committed in Paris to limit global temperature rise above 2 °C by the end of the century and "as far as possible" to below 1.5 °C, they agreed to periodically review or Also agreed to take stock of the efforts made. 

10. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, Rio Summit or Rio Conference.
  • UNFCCC came into force on March 21, 1994. This is the basic treaty of the Paris Agreement of 2015. UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. The UNFCCC Secretariat is located in Bonn (Germany).

11. Infosys In TIME’s .The World’s Best Companies Of 2023’ List

  • Infosys, the Bengaluru-headquartered IT services provider, has secured a coveted spot on TIME magazine’s ‘The World’s Best Companies of 2023’ list. Infosys stands out as the only Indian company to make it into the top 100 rankings, claiming the 64th position with an impressive overall score of 88.38. 
  • The company has earned a ‘very high’ growth rate, a testament to its commitment to excellence. On sustainability, Infosys ranked 135, and 103 for employee-satisfaction. 
  • TIME, in collaboration with Statista, conducted a comprehensive evaluation of 750 firms from around the world to compile this prestigious list. The rankings were determined through a rigorous assessment that considered several key factors, including revenue growth, employee-satisfaction surveys, and extensive analysis of environmental, social, and corporate governance data. 

12. India Ranks First Among 154 Nations In Grassroot Adoption Of Crypto 

  • India has achieved the top rank among 154 nations in grassroots crypto adoption, displaying remarkable resilience in the face of challenging regulatory conditions, as revealed by Chainalysis’ 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index. 
  • India has secured the first position in four critical parameters: 1) Centralized Service Value Received. 2) Retail Centralized Service Value Received. 3) DeFi Value Received and 4) Retail DeFi Value Received. This impressive ascent from fourth place last year underscores India’s growing embrace of cryptocurrency among everyday citizens.
  • India’s pioneering position is followed closely by: Nigeria, ranking second in the index. Vietnam, securing the third spot. United States, holding the fourth position and Ukraine, coming in fifth.

13. Stray dogs a serious issue, must be dealt with urgently

  • The stray dog menace is a serious issue and needs to be addressed urgently by the city authorities, the High Court observed in an order last month. The court asked the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take appropriate action to deal with the issue of attacks by stray dogs. 
  • Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma made the remarks while quashing two FIRS against a woman, a philan- thropist and an animal lov- er, for allegedly feeding some dogs that attacked her neighbor and his father in 2014. 
  • Noting that the two parties have decided to "amicably settle all their disputes", Justice Sharma, in his August 24 order, said, "I do not see any reason to reject the settlement. However, the stray dog menace is a serious issue which needs to be addressed with urgency by the concerned authorities. Let a copy of this order be sent to the Commissioner, MCD, for appropriate action."

Defence News

14. DAC Approves Proposals Worth Rs 45,000 Crore, Including Procurement Of 12 Su-30MKIs 

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, gave the green light to nine acquisition proposals, amounting to a total of Rs 45,000 crore. These proposals encompassed various aspects of defense, from the Indian Air Force’s modernization to improving the Indian Navy’s capabilities and enhancing the overall indigenous content in defense projects. 
  • One of the key decisions made by the DAC was the approval of the procurement of 12 Su30MKI aircraft for the Indian Air Force. These advanced fighter jets will be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a significant step towards bolstering the nation’s indigenous defense production capabilities. 
  • In addition to the Su-30MKI procurement, the DAC approved avionic upgrades for Dornier aircraft, enhancing their accuracy and reliability for operations. Furthermore, the Dhruvastra Short Range Air-to-Surface Missile, a potent indigenous precision-guided weapon, will be provided for the indigenously built ALH Mk-IV choppers.

Economy News

15. Financial Inclusion Index Surges To 60.1 In March 2023 

  • In a recent announcement by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Financial Inclusion (FI) Index has shown significant improvement, reaching a score of 60.1 in March 2023, compared to its previous reading of 56.4 in March 2022. 
  • The boost in the FI Index can be primarily attributed to enhancements in the usage and quality dimensions, signifying a deepening of financial inclusion, as highlighted in the central statement released by the RBI.
  • The FI Index is designed as a comprehensive tool, encompassing insights from various sectors including banking, investments, insurance, postal services, and pension. The FI Index offers a single numerical value on a scale ranging from 0 to 100. In this scale, a score of 0 indicates complete financial exclusion, while a perfect score of 100 signifies full financial inclusion.

16. Goods trade deficit hits a 10-month high 

  • India's foreign trade hit a fresh trough in August, with goods exports shrinking for the seventh successive month, services exports estimated to have dropped for the first time in well over a year, and the goods trade deficit hitting a 10-month high. 
  • The extent of the decline in outbound shipments eased to 6.86% in August from double-digit contractions in recent months, to hit a three-month high worth $34.5 billion.
  • Services exports, after growing at a sharp 26.7% rate in 2022-23, were reckoned to have shrunk 0.4% in August to $26.39 billion, stoking fears about a widening current account deficit in this quarter. 
  • India's exports shrank by 6.86% in August 2023, for the seventh consecutive month compared with the year-earlier period. A look at the year-on-year % change in exports (in $)
  • The merchandise import bill for August dropped 5,23% year-on-year to $58.64 billion but was 10.85% higher than July's $52.9 billion import tally, lifting the goods trade deficit for August to $24.16 billion, just 2.8% below August 2022 numbers and almost 17% over July's $20.67 billion gap. 
  • Aditi Nayar, chief economist and head of research at ICRA, said that the sharp sequential uptick in imports in August had widened the trade deficit to a 10-month high.

Banking and Financial News

17. RBI Imposes Monetary Penalties On Four Cooperative Banks 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently took action against four cooperative banks, imposing monetary penalties due to various rule violations. 
  • They are as follows: 
  1. 1. Baramati Sahakari Bank – Rs 2 Lakh Penalty (Violation: Failure to Credit Interest to Inoperative Savings Accounts). 
  2. Becharaji Nagarik Sahakari Bank – Rs 2 Lakh Penalty (Violation: Breach of Prudential Inter-Bank Counter-Party Exposure Limits).  
  3. Waghodia Urban Co-operative Bank – Rs 5 Lakh Penalty (Violation: Breach of Prudential Inter-Bank Counter-Party Exposure Limits and Non-Payment of Interest on Recurring Deposits and Term Deposits). 
  4. Viramgam Mercantile Co-operative Bank – Rs 5 Lakh Penalty (Violation: Not Specified in the Release)

Important Days News

18. International Day For Interventional Cardiology 2023

  • The International Day for Interventional Cardiology, celebrated annually on 16 September, is a significant occasion dedicated to recognizing the crucial field of interventional cardiology and its impact on heart health worldwide.
  • Interventional cardio-angiology improves health, increases life expectancy and improves the quality of life. The first coronary angioplasty was performed by Dr. Andreas Grüntzig on 16 September 1977. Since then angioplasty has been the procedure that has saved the most grams of myocardium at risk worldwide.
  • In September 2022, the General Assembly decided to proclaim 16 September as International Day for Interventional Cardiology and invited stakeholders to observe annually the International Day for Interventional Cardiology in order to raise public awareness of cardiovascular diseases and procedures, related complications, as well as prevention and care, including through education and the mass media. 

19. World Ozone Day 2023 

  • World Ozone Day, also known as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is observed annually on 16th September. This day serves as a reminder of the critical role played by the ozone layer in safeguarding our planet Earth. The ozone layer, primarily composed of Trioxygen molecules (O3), acts as a shield against harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. 
  • The theme for World Ozone Day 2023 is “Montreal Protocol: Fixing the Ozone Layer and Reducing Climate Change.” This theme emphasizes the pivotal role of the Montreal Protocol in not only protecting the ozone layer but also mitigating climate change. 
  • World Ozone Day finds its origins in the alarming discovery of the depletion of the ozone layer. During the 1970s and 1980s, scientists uncovered a significant hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. This discovery raised urgent concerns about the potential consequences for human health and the environment.

21. World Patient Safety Day 2023 Observed On 17 September 

  • World Patient Safety Day, observed on the 17th of September every year, serves as a global platform to emphasize the importance of patient safety in healthcare systems worldwide. The day aims to create awareness and inspire countries to make patient safety a top priority, ultimately striving to eliminate avoidable errors and negative practices within healthcare settings. 
  • The theme for World Patient Safety Day 2023 is “Engaging patients for patient safety.” This theme highlights the vital role that patients, their families, and caregivers play in ensuring safe healthcare practices. It underscores the importance of involving patients in their care and decision-making processes.
  • World Patient Safety Day was established in May 2019 following the resolution for global action on patient safety adopted by the World Health Assembly. This initiative was the result of the Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety conducted annually since 2016. It was driven by strong advocacy and commitment from major international stakeholders. 

Schemes News

22. Tamil Nadu CM Stalin Launches Kalaignar Women’s Rights Fund Scheme 

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on the birth anniversary of Dravidian icon C N Annadurai unveiled a groundbreaking initiative aimed at uplifting women across the state. The initiative, named the “Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai Thittam” scheme, holds the potential to bring about a significant positive change in the lives of countless women in Tamil Nadu.
  • The heart of this visionary program is to provide monthly financial assistance of ₹1,000 to eligible women beneficiaries across Tamil Nadu. The initiative is named after another Dravidian stalwart, late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, popularly known as “Kalaignar,” which means an artist of eminence. This name was chosen to honor his immense contribution to the state and the party. 
  • The state government has identified an impressive 1.06 crore women (approximately 1,06,50,000) as beneficiaries under the plan. The financial assistance of ₹1,000 per month will be disbursed through the Direct Benefit Transfer system, making it a seamless and efficient process. 

Agreements News

23. Ashok Leyland Signs MoU With UP Govt To Set Up Bus Plant At ₹200 Cr 

  • The commercial vehicle industry, Ashok Leyland, a flagship company of the Hinduja Group, announced on Friday, September 15, its plans to invest ₹1,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh. This substantial investment is geared towards establishing a state-of-the-art bus manufacturing facility, marking the company’s maiden venture in the state.
  • The proposed manufacturing facility is set to be located near Lucknow, positioning it strategically within the state. This hub will serve as a beacon for clean and eco-friendly mobility solutions, in line with Ashok Leyland’s mission to address environmental concerns and embrace sustainability. 
  • To kickstart the development of this facility, Ashok Leyland is allocating an initial investment of ₹200 crore. This initial phase will lay the foundation for the larger project, which is expected to reach ₹1,000 crore in investment over the next five years. 

Appointments News

24. Rahul Navin Takes Charge As Director Of Enforcement Directorate

  • IRS (Indian Revenue Service) officer Rahul Navin assumed the role of In-Charge Director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), succeeding the outgoing Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra. This transition marks an important development in the leadership of the ED, a crucial agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and regulations in India. Mr. Navin is currently serving as the Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate. 
  • The official order further stated that the tenure of Sanjay Kumar Mishra as the Director of Enforcement in the Enforcement Directorate concluded on the 15th of September, 2023. This event follows a series of legal developments and extensions that ultimately led to the conclusion of Mr. Mishra’s tenure. Sanjay Kumar Mishra was initially appointed as the Director of the Enforcement Directorate for a two-year term on November 19, 2018
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a specialized law enforcement agency in India responsible for enforcing economic laws and regulations in the country. It is primarily tasked with investigating and prosecuting cases related to financial crimes, money laundering, foreign exchange violations, and economic offenses. 

25. Srinivasan K. Swamy Elected Chairman Of The Audit Bureau Of Circulations (ABC) For 2023-2024 

  • Srinivasan K. Swamy, the Executive Chairman of R.K. Swamy Hansa Group, has been elected as the Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for the term 2023- 2024. Alongside Mr. Swamy, other prominent figures were also elected to key positions within the Bureau for the upcoming year. 
  • Srinivasan K. Swamy is a highly regarded figure in the advertising and media world. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations and has held pivotal leadership roles in numerous prominent organizations 
  • In addition to Mr. Swamy’s election as Chairman, several other distinguished individuals have been appointed to crucial positions within the Audit Bureau of Circulations: Deputy Chairman: Riyad Mathew, Chief Associate Editor and Director of Malayala Manorama. Secretary: Mohit Jain, Executive Director of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Limited. Treasurer: Vikram Sakhuja, Partner & Group CEO Media & OOH of Madison Communications Private Limited.

Awards News

26. Karachi’s Erica Robin becomes the first Miss Universe Pakistan 2023

  • Erica Robin, a model from Karachi, has been crowned “Miss Universe Pakistan 2023”, becoming the first-ever woman from the country to win the title. 
  • Jessica Wilson, a 28-year-old cyber security engineer, was named the first runner-up while Hira Inam (24), Malyka Alvi (19), and Sabrina Wasim (26) were the other finalists.
  • Robin will be the official representative of Pakistan at the Miss Universe pageant, is scheduled to be held in El Salvador later this year. Pakistan will be sending five models to compete in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant. This landmark moment marks the first time Pakistan has always represented the world’s most esteemed beauty competition. 

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