Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 23rd September 2023


National News

1. PM Modi Attends International Lawyers Conference in New Delhi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘International Lawyers’ Conference 2023‘ at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan today. This conference, organized by the Bar Council of India, has brought together legal experts from across the globe to deliberate on the theme "Emerging Challenges in Justice Delivery System."
  • The event, scheduled for September 23 and 24, marks the first of its kind in India and aims to facilitate discussions on pressing legal issues of both national and international significance. The primary objective of the International Lawyers’ Conference 2023 is to serve as a platform for meaningful dialogue and discussion on various legal topics.
  • The conference is designed to foster the exchange of ideas and experiences among legal professionals and strengthen international cooperation while enhancing the understanding of legal issues. Throughout the two-day event, experts and participants will delve into a wide range of topics that are shaping the legal landscape. 

2. Prime Minister Modi To Launch 9 Vande Bharat Express Trains On 24th Of September 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to flag off nine Vande Bharat Express trains on Sunday, September 24th, according to ministry officials.
  • Among these nine trains, the Indian Railways is launching two trains for West Bengal’s Howrah and Tamil Nadu’s Chennai, with one each for Kerala, Odisha, Telangana, Gujarat, and the pollbound state of Rajasthan. These semi-high-speed trains are configured with eight coaches and are expected to offer a significant boost to the country’s rail connectivity. 
  • The nine new routes that will be inaugurated on Sunday are as follows:

International News 

3. China And Syria Announce Strategic Partnership 

  • In a significant diplomatic development, China and Syria have formally announced the establishment of a strategic partnership. This announcement came during a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Hangzhou, China, as the city prepared to host the Asian Games.
  • Amid the backdrop of an unstable international environment, Xi Jinping emphasized China’s commitment to supporting Syria and vice versa. The leaders pledged to strengthen their cooperation, not only to bolster their own interests but also to uphold international fairness and justice. This move aligns with China’s strategy to position itself as a counterbalance to the U.S.- led international order. 

4. I2U2 Group Of India, Israel, UAE & US Announces Joint Space Venture

  • The I2U2 group comprising India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States has unveiled an ambitious joint space venture. This collaborative initiative aims to create a groundbreaking space-based tool with wide-ranging applications for policymakers, institutions, and entrepreneurs.
  • The announcement follows India’s recent successful lunar mission, marking a significant milestone for the quartet’s space exploration efforts. Against the backdrop of India’s triumphant lunar soft-landing, the I2U2 group, consisting of four nations deeply engaged in space exploration, has come together to pioneer a unique space-based tool.
  • The core of this project revolves around harnessing the space-based observation data and capabilities possessed by the four I2U2 partner nations. The objective is to leverage this data to create a distinctive tool with applications spanning multiple domains. 

5. India and Pakistan attended the meeting of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Vienna regarding the Indus Water Treaty

  • According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), a delegation from India participated in the meeting of the Neutral Expert Proceedings in the case of Kishanganga and Ratle Project at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Vienna, Austria on 20 and 21 September 2023.
  • The meeting was convened by the neutral expert appointed at the request of India under the auspices of the Indus Waters Treaty. Representatives of India and Pakistan participated in it. The Indian delegation at the meeting was led by the Secretary, Department of Water Resources 
  • Senior advocate Harish Salve joined the case as lead counsel for India. The Ministry of External Affairs said that India’s participation in the meeting is in line with India’s principled position. In the present situation, hearing from an impartial expert is the only valid option in this case.
  • The ministry said that India did not participate in the parallel proceedings of the illegally constituted arbitration court on issues related to Kishan Ganga and Retal Hydro Electric Project. The formation of the so-called arbitration court is a violation of the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty. India cannot be forced to recognize or participate in illegal and parallel proceedings 

Indus Water Treaty:

  • India and Pakistan signed the IWT in September 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank also being a signatory to the treaty. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of information between the two parties on the use of the waters of the Indus River and its five tributaries Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab. 

7. ‘1,000-year-old alien bodies’ displayed in Mexico’s parliament 

  • Mexican journalist and longtime UFO expert Jaime Mouson presented two alleged “non- human” bodies to the Mexican Congress in September 2023, displaying characteristics such as three-fingered hands, an elongated skull, and light bones.
  • He said in the presentation that the samples were recovered near Peru’s ancient Nazca Lnon-humanities and were carbon-dated by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and concluded that they were about 1,000 years old. Mawson claimed that he had no connection with any species on Earth.
  • These “non-human” bodies are studied by Naval Forensic Doctor Jose de Jesus Xalce Benitez at the Noor Clinic Laboratory. Dr. Benitez concluded that the purported bodies were from a single skeleton and had not been assembled.
  • He also said that laboratory tests showed that there was no evidence of assembly or manipulation of the skulls. His team found that it was alive, intact, organic, and in utero. Pointing to large lumps inside the abdomen, he suggested that they might contain eggs. 

Mexico City

  • The remains of an alleged ‘non-human’ creature were seen on display during a briefing on unidentified flying objects, known as UFOs, at Mexico’s San Lazaro legislative palace. The extraordinary claim is that these cadavers have a genetic makeup that is 30 percent different from that of humans.
  • This is not the first time that Jaime Moussan has unveiled alleged “alien” bodies. In 2015, he presented another mummified body, claimed to be of alien origin, which was discovered near the Nazca Lines, a series of geoglyphs in Peru known for their enormous size and mysterious nature. 

State News 

8. Biswanath Ghat In Assam, Has Been Chosen As The Best Tourism Village Of India In 2023

  • The Ministry of Tourism has declared Biswanath Ghat in Assam as the Best Tourism Village of India for the year 2023. This recognition comes after an extensive selection process that involved reviewing 791 applications from 31 different states and union territories across the country. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his delight at this achievement, highlighting the immense efforts made by the government to promote rural tourism in the state.
  • Biswanath Ghat, situated to the south of Biswanath Chariali Town, is famously referred to as ‘Gupta Kashi.’ This name is derived from the ancient Biswanath temple in the town and draws a parallel with Kashi during the illustrious Gupta Empire era. This picturesque ghat is adorned with a collection of temples dedicated to various deities. Notably, a Shiva temple graces the confluence of the Bridhaganga (Burigonga) River with the Brahmaputra. 

9. 6-time MLA Pramila Malik becomes the first woman Speaker of Odisha Assembly

  • Binjharpur MLA Pramila Malik has created history by becoming the Assembly Speaker unopposed in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government of Odisha on 22 September 2023. She has become the first woman president of the state. 
  • A six-time MLA, Malik has played various important roles in the government. She thanked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his selection and promised to ensure fair functioning of the Assembly.
  • The post was vacant following the resignation of Bikram Keshari Arukh after he joined the state cabinet in May this year. BJD has a clear majority in the House with its 112 MLAs. 
  • The six-time MLA had contested the state assembly elections for the first time in 1990 on a Janata Dal ticket. She later won elections in 2000, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019 on BJD ticket.
  • The upcoming monsoon session of Odisha Assembly will start from 22 September 2023, it will continue till 4 October. The election of the Odisha Assembly Speaker was held on 22 September. 

Defence News

10. Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) Has Officially Approved The Indigenous Dhruvastra Missile 

  • India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given the green light to several capital acquisition proposals, including the indigenous Dhruvastra short-range air-to-surface missile. 
  • This precision-guided weapon is designed for deployment on the indigenously built DHRUV MK-IV helicopters and is poised to elevate India’s combat capabilities against enemy tanks and armored vehicles significantly. 
  • The Dhruvastra missile is a third-generation, fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system, renowned for its versatility in engaging and neutralizing enemy tanks and armored vehicles. With a range spanning from 500 meters to an impressive 7 kilometers, Dhruvastra can engage targets across a wide spectrum. This extensive reach ensures that enemy tanks and armored vehicles are within its striking distance.

11. Israel Unveiled Its Cutting-Edge Main Battle Tank, The Merkava Mark 5 

  • Israel unveiled its cutting-edge main battle tank, the Merkava Mark 5, known as “Barak,” signifying a significant leap in technological advancement and military capability. The development of the Barak tank involved collaboration between the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Armored Vehicles Directorate, the IDF’s Ground Forces, Armored Corps, and multiple Israeli defense companies, including Elbit Systems, Rafael, and the Israel Aerospace Industries’ subsidiary, Elta.
  • The Barak tank represents a remarkable achievement in the field of armored warfare, showcasing Israel’s commitment to advancing its defense capabilities. This 5thgeneration tank builds upon the legacy of earlier Merkava models, incorporating cutting edge technologies and innovations. 
  • The Barak tank is equipped with a network of sensors designed for target detection. This sensor data can be seamlessly shared with other military units, facilitating improved enemy detection and coordination on the battlefield. 

Economy News

12. JP Morgan To Add Indian Government Bonds To Emerging Market Benchmark

  • JP Morgan Chase & Co. is set to include Indian government bonds in its renowned benchmark emerging-market index. This long-anticipated move is expected to attract substantial foreign investments into India’s debt market.
  • The inclusion of Indian government bonds in the JP Morgan Government Bond IndexEmerging Markets is scheduled to take effect from June 28, 2024. India will have a maximum weight of 10% on this index, as outlined in a statement. 
  • JPMorgan’s decision to include Indian government bonds in its index is attributed to India’s introduction of the FAR (Fully Accessible Route) program in 2020 and its substantial market reforms aimed at facilitating foreign portfolio investments. A survey conducted among benchmark investors revealed that nearly three-quarters of respondents supported India’s inclusion in the index. 

Banking News

13. Axis Bank Launched ‘NEO For Business’ Banking Platform For MSMEs 

  • In a strategic move to cater to the evolving needs of Indian Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Axis Bank has recently unveiled its groundbreaking Transaction Banking platform, ‘NEO for Business.’ This innovative digital offering is designed to comprehensively address the real-time requirements of MSMEs, marking a significant milestone in the landscape of business banking in India. 
  • “NEO for Business” is built to create a distinctive first Transaction Banking platform for MSMEs. It has a contemporary UI/UX along with bank-grade security features. NEO for Business, will transform the Transaction Banking landscape for MSMEs by creating a strong digital ecosystem to solve all the evolving needs of MSMEs. 
  • NEO for Business’ offers a resolution to their diverse requirements by offering a wide range of products and services through a unified platform. This platform, originally designed for corporate banking clients, delivers a full array of digital banking products and services. 

14. The Finance Ministry Predicts 6.5% Real GDP Growth For India In FY24

  • The Union Ministry of Finance recently released its Monthly Economic Review for August 2023, confirming its confidence in a 6.5 percent real GDP growth projection for FY24, characterized by balanced risks.
  • The report starts by celebrating India’s robust economic growth in the first quarter of FY24, with a remarkable 7.8 percent increase in real GDP. This growth was primarily fueled by strong domestic demand for both consumption and investment. The government attributed this to improved corporate profitability, increased private capital formation, and a surge in bank credit growth. 
  • The report also highlighted the government’s effective measures in controlling inflation. Core inflation reached a 40-month low, and both core inflation and food inflation eased from the July figures. Consumer food price inflation, a critical concern for households, decreased to 9.9 percent in August. 

Business News

15. Gautam Adani’s Ambitious Vision For Dharavi: Transforming Asia’s Largest Slum Into A Modern City Hub 

  • Gautam Adani expressed his commitment to transforming Dharavi into a modern city hub. He plans to support small industries, create new job opportunities, especially for young people and women, and establish training and research centers. Adani envisions an organized marketplace in line with India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce to be part of the redevelopment plan. 
  • Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, located in the heart of Mumbai, has long been a focal point for discussions on urban development and improving living conditions for its 1 million residents. 
  • In the late 1800s, Dharavi was home to potters, leather tanners, artisans, and embroidery workers who established trade and businesses in the region. Over time, slum dwellers settled here, constructing huts in an unplanned manner. 

Important Days 

16. International Day Of Sign Languages 2023 

  • The United Nations General Assembly has designated September 23rd as the International Day of Sign Languages to raise awareness about the crucial role sign language plays in upholding the human rights of individuals who are deaf.
  • Each year on September 23rd, the International Day of Sign Languages is observed as an opportunity to promote and safeguard the linguistic and cultural heritage of the deaf community. Sign language serves as a unifying tool, making it essential to acknowledge and commemorate this day. 
  • The theme for this year is “A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere!”. This theme underscores the unifying power of sign languages, emphasizing its importance for deaf communities, governments, and civil society organizations. 

Summits and Conferences News

17. Quad Foreign Ministers Meet On The Sidelines Of UNGA 

  • On the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Foreign Ministers from the Quad nations – India, Australia, Japan, and the U.S. – convened to discuss various important issues. The Quad ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region, emphasizing the resolution of disputes in accordance with international law. They also pledged allegiance to the principles outlined in the UN charter and voiced support for UN reform.
  • The Quad nations stressed the need for comprehensive UN reform, including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent representation on the UN Security Council. They also voiced concerns about attempts to undermine the international system, possibly alluding to Russia’s use of the veto in the Security Council concerning the Ukraine conflict. 
  • During the meeting, the Quad ministers discussed the findings of the Quad Counterterrorism Working Group’s Consequence Management Exercise, which focused on how the Quad could assist countries in the region that have faced terror attacks and plans for a future tabletop exercise in Hawaii were also on the agend. 

Schemes News

18. Government Unveils AI Chatbot For PM-Kisan Scheme

  • The Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, took a significant step towards enhancing the efficiency and reach of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme with the launch of an AI Chatbot.
  • The AI Chatbot introduced with the PM-KISAN scheme serves as a comprehensive guide for beneficiaries, offering timely and accurate responses to their inquiries related to the scheme. Developed and enhanced with the support of EKstep Foundation and Bhashini, the Chatbot aims to empower farmers with a user-friendly and accessible platform.
  • In its initial development phase, the AI Chatbot will assist farmers in obtaining information about their application status, payment details, ineligibility status, and other scheme-related updates. Currently available in English and Hindi, the Chatbot will soon be accessible in Bengali, Odia, Telugu, Tamil, and Marathi. By October/November 2023, it is expected to be available in all 22 languages of the country.

Ranks and Reports News

19. The Zagorochoria, Nestled On Mount Pindos In Epirus Added To UNESCO’s World Heritage List 

  • A cluster of traditional, picturesque villages on Mount Pindos in Epirus, known as the Zagorochoria (or villages of Zagori), was recently inducted onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This momentous decision was made during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, marking a significant milestone in Greece‘s cultural heritage preservation efforts. 
  • Located in a remote rural landscape in northwestern Greece, Zagorochoria consists of small stone villages that sprawl along the western slopes of the northern part of the Pindus mountain range. A network of stone-arched bridges, stone-cobbled paths, and stone staircases seamlessly connects these charming villages, forming a system that once served as a political and social unit, linking the communities of the Voidomatis River basin. 
  • These traditional villages are typically organized around a central square, featuring ancient plane trees and surrounded by sacred forests meticulously maintained by local communities. What makes these villages truly remarkable is their architecture, perfectly adapted to the rugged mountain topography. 

Agreements News

20. TCS Partners with BankID BankAxept to Bolster Norway’s Financial Infrastructure 

  • In a strategic move, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a prominent player in the IT industry, has joined forces with Norway’s national payment and electronic identity system, BankID BankAxept. This collaboration is set to fortify Norway’s financial infrastructure, focusing on resilience, security, and availability.
  • Norway’s national payment system, BankAxept, stands at the core of the country’s payment ecosystem. Remarkably, 80% of card payments in Norway are processed through the BankAxept card. BankID is the go-to electronic identity verification solution in Norway. More than 90% of Norway’s population, financial institutions, public entities, and commercial enterprises rely on BankID for secure identity verification. 
  • TCS is committed to establishing a cutting-edge operations command centre in Oslo, Norway. This centre is poised to provide swift responses to any disruptions in services, security incidents, or client requests pertaining to Norway’s national payment and electronic identity verification systems.

Sports News

21. India Becomes No 1 Ranked Team In All Formats Of Cricket

  • After their 5-wicket win against Australia, India became the number 1 ranked team in all three formats i.e. Tests, ODIs, and T20Is. India displaced Pakistan from the top of the ODI rankings while they lead England in the T20I rankings.
  • India (116 rating points) displaced their arch-rivals Pakistan (115) at the top of the rankings after the win in the first ODI. Australia remain third but the gap between the top two has now widened after they dropped two points to 111.
  • Moreover, with the updated ODI rankings, India is now No 1 team in all three formats of the game. India are on top in the T20 rankings with a rating of 264 and 15,589 points, while in the Test format of the game India are on top with 3,434 points and a rating of 118. Indian cricket team became the second team in the history of cricket to achieve this wonderful feat after South Africa did this in 2014. 

22. Sports Minister Cancels Visit To Asian Games Due To China’s Denial Of Entry To Arunachal Players

  • Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has called off his trip to the Asian Games in protest of China’s refusal to grant entry to Indian Wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh. This decision has come amidst an official protest by the Indian government against China’s discriminatory treatment of these athletes.
  • Three players, Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu, were denied entry into China despite possessing valid e-accreditations from the event organizers. Ms. Wangsu couldn’t board her flight, while the other two were allowed to travel only up to Hong Kong. This casts doubt on their participation in the event scheduled for Sunday. 
  • The Indian Ministry of External Affairs accused China of “targeted and pre-meditated” discrimination against Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh. India firmly rejected differential treatment based on domicile or ethnicity. As a mark of protest, Minister Anurag Thakur canceled his visit to China for the Games.

23. PM Modi will lay the foundation stone of the International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi today 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of an international cricket stadium in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on 23 September 2023. Apart from this, PM Modi will also participate in the closing ceremony of the Kashi Sansad Cultural Mahotsav at Rudraksh International Cooperation and Convention Center and later, will inaugurate 16 Atal Residential Schools built across Uttar Pradesh. 

International Cricket Stadium

  • The international cricket stadium to be built in Ganjri, Rajatalab will be developed in an area of more than 30 acres at a cost of about Rs 450 crores. The Uttar Pradesh government has spent Rs 121 crore on land acquisition for the stadium, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India will spend Rs 330 crore on its construction. 
  • The thematic architecture of the stadium takes inspiration from Lord Shiva, with designs developed for the crescent-shaped roof cover, trident-shaped floodlights and seating arrangement on stairs inspired by the ghats. 
  • The stadium will have a seating capacity of 30,000 spectators. It is likely to be ready by December 2025. This will be the third international cricket stadium in Uttar Pradesh after Kanpur and Lucknow. 

Atal Residential School

  • 16 “Atal Residential Schools” built at a cost of ₹1,115 crore will be started exclusively for the children of labourers, construction workers and those orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to provide quality education and help in their overall development. 
  • Each school is built on an area of 10-15 acres which has classrooms, playgrounds, recreational areas, a mini auditorium, hostel complex, mess and residential flats for the staff. These residential schools are intended to eventually accommodate 1,000 students each. 

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