Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 5th October 2023


National News

1. WHO approves malaria vaccine ‘R21/Matrix-M’

  • ‘R21/Matrix-Malaria Vaccine’ has been developed by the University of Oxford and Serum Institute of India by leveraging the supporting technology of Novavax. 
  • It has recently been recommended for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 2 October 2023 after meeting the required safety, quality and effectiveness standards. 
  • The R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine is licensed for use in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Showed good safety and high efficacy in places with seasonal and perennial malaria transmission in these four countries.
  • The vaccine was developed by the Jenner Institute of Oxford University and the Serum Institute of India in collaboration with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership ('EDCTP'), the Wellcome Trust and the European Investment Bank ('EIB'). 
  • It became the world's second WHO recommended vaccine to prevent malaria in children. Earlier ‘RTS,S’/Mosquirix brand of GSK PLC was recommended by the United Nations agency in the year 2021. 


  • It is a deadly disease that is mainly found in tropical countries. It is both preventable and treatable. Malaria is not contagious. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the most effective anti-malarial drugs available today. 
  • This disease is spread by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. Five species of parasites can cause malaria in humans and 2 of these species – Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax – pose the greatest threat. There are more than 400 different species of Anopheles mosquitoes and about 40 known as vector species.

2. Ministry Of Tourism Inaugurates PATA Travel Mart 2023 In New Delhi

  • The Ministry of Tourism, India, took center stage as it organized the inaugural ceremony for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2023 in the vibrant city of New Delhi. 
  • The 46th edition of this prestigious event is being held at the magnificent International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) within Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Running from October 4th to 6th, 2023, this event serves as a global gathering of tourism professionals and business stakeholders. Importantly, this physical edition marks the return of the Travel Mart after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. 
  • This year’s event boasts a diverse range of activities, including the prestigious PATA Gold Award, the PATA Youth Symposium, and the PATA Forum on Sustainability. In addition to these enriching experiences, the event remains a vital platform for business-to-business (B2B) interactions.

3. GoI Notifies Establishment Of National Turmeric Board

  • The Union government of India has notified the constitution of the national turmeric board, which will focus on the development and growth of turmeric and turmeric products in the country. 
  • The board will help in setting up processing units and aid in its export. The board will lay stress on exports, R&D and develop traditional value-added turmeric products, while also giving importance to quality and food safety as per established standards.
  • India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric in the world. It enjoys 62 per cent share in the global turmeric market. Turmeric is majorly cultivated in Tamil Nadu, Telangana state, Karnataka, MP, Odisha, Bengal and Gujarat. With the focused activities of the board, it is expected that turmeric exports will reach `one billion by 2030. 

4. Strict measures will be taken, says CBFC chief on corruption charges 

  • The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chairman, Prasoon Joshi, on Wednesday said processes would be further streng- thened at the organization- al level to eliminate any thirdparty interference, in the wake of corruption allegation made by actor producer Vishal. 
  • Mr. Joshi clarified that the persons mentioned by the complainant were not CBFC officials, but “unauthorized third-party intermediaries”. “However, immediate cognisance of the feedback has been taken, and the issue is being investigated with immense gravity. We will get to the root of this, and strict action will be taken accordingly,” he said. 
  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has already deputed a senior official to conduct an inquiry. 
  • The CBFC chief said an aggressive digitisation process, automation, and minimal manual intervention were already in place, but now more measures will be taken. To begin with, every document would have to be uploaded at the time of online application only. Submission of any physical document in person at a later stage by the applicant/ said. Representatives would not be allowed. Copies of certificates would be scanned and shared on the registered email ID of the respective applicant. The physical copy of the certificate would be dispatched, if requested. There would be no in-person collection of the certificate. 
  • As regards e-delivery of encrypted digital cinema package (content) for examination, Mr. Joshi said it would help content security and track the online content status of the applicant. “Till the new system is implemented, the present practice of sealing shall continue across all regional offices under CCTV surveillance,” he said.
  • A redressal mechanism,”, soon on the CBFC website. “If any third party claims they represent or have access to the CBFC, demand a sum or amount, or at- tempt to subvert the due process, they should be immediately reported to the grievance cell. The official film bodies/producers shall be communicated the details of the above measures and pertinent points shall be discussed,” he release dates of their will be made available. 
  • “Simultaneously, we “As the Chairman of the pect all filmmakers and producers to ensure that the due digitized process through e-Cinepramaan is stringently followed. No individual or group purporting to be intermediaries or agents in the process should be sought or tolerated,” he said. He also said the application for the certification of a film should be made within the earmarked norms and not rushed at the last minute.
  • “Between 12,000-18,000 films are certified. Annually by the CBFC, which involves human time to view their screenings. Many a time, the committees, with sincerity, accommodate the fervent and urgent requests of the producers to meet the crucial. 
  • The unrealistic pressure of these collapsed timelines and the CBFC’s diligent support are often un- derappreciated yet dutifully provided,” said the CBFC chief. 
  • Mr. Joshi said keeping the schedules in mind, the stipulated time required for the certification process needed to be respected and appropriately planned for by the producers.
  • Board, I have completed two terms with utmost sincerity and transparency, and on an absolute pro bono basis. Sensitive and complex issues have been dealt with in a fair, nuanced, and balanced manner. Feedback has been welcomed and the best practices incorporated in managing the Board and the body. Any and every measure will be taken to ensure that the functioning is unmitigated,” he said. 
  • “Corruption being shown on the silver screen is fine…. And even worse happening in #CBFC Mum- bai office. Had to pay 6.5 lacs for my film #Mark Antony Hindi version,” Mr. Vishal had alleged earlier. 

International News

5. Eurozone Economy Faces Contraction In Q3 Amidst Sliding Demand 

  • Recent data and surveys suggest that the eurozone economy likely contracted in the third quarter of the year. Demand in the region saw a significant decline in September, marking the fastest pace of decrease in nearly three years.
  • The final Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by S&P Global and considered a reliable indicator of overall economic health, inched up to 47.2 in September, compared to August’s 46.7. However, this figure remained below the critical 50-mark, indicating a fourth consecutive month of economic contraction. While it slightly exceeded a preliminary estimate of 47.1, it still points to economic challenges.
  • Economists, such as Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics, are predicting that the eurozone economy could enter a recession in the latter half of 2023. The drop in retail sales in August and the weakness in the final PMIs for September support this view. 

6. U.S.Speaker Kevin McCarthy Pak ousted in historic House vote

  • Speaker Kevin McCar- thy was voted out of the job on Tuesday hat in an extraordinary showdown a first in U.S. history, forced by a contingent of hard-right conservatives and throwing the House out and its Republican leadership into chaos. 
  • It’s the end of the political line for Mr. McCarthy, Jk who has said repeatedly that he never gives up, but found himself with almost по options remaining. Neither the right-flank Republicans who engineered his ouster nor the Democrats who piled on seem open to negotiating.
  • Mr. McCarthy told lawmakers in the evening he would not run again for Speaker, putting the gavel up for grabs.
  • Next steps are highly uncertain with no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority. 
  • Action is halted in the House until next week, when Republicans try to elect a new Speaker 
  • Mr. McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Flori da orchestrated the rare vote on the obscure “motion to vacate,” and pushed ahead swiftly into a dramatic afternoon roll call. 
  • While Mr. McCarthy enjoyed support from most ties said Republicans in his slim madenying jority, eight Republican detractors many of those response who tried to stop him from becoming Speaker in Janu- ary essentially forced ghana him out.
  • A top McCarthy ally, 8,80,0 Rep. Patrick McHenry, R- status N.C. was named Speaker Pro Tempore, to serve in the office until a new Speaker is chosen. Agreed to a series of demands including a rules change that allowed any single lawmaker to file the motion to vacate.

7. The order comes as Pasine-“ “Afghan refugees are the kistan grapples with a rise

  • In attacks the government blames militants operating from Afghanistan, a charge Kabul routinely denies 
  • “The behavior of Pasince January. Kistan against Afghan refugees is unacceptable,” Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on social media site problems.” 
  • Mr. Bugti claimed Afghan nationals were responsible for 14 of 24 suicide attacks in Pakistan
  • Taliban authorities have been trying to tempt back those who left, despite the nation suffering from a massive scale back of aid following the collapse of the U.S.-backed 

8. Pak. Plan to evict Afghans is unacceptable, says Taliban

  • Pakistan’s plan to evict hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants is “unacceptable”, Taliban authorities said on Wednesday, madenying allegations by Islamabad its citizens were responsible for a string of suicide attacks there. 
  • Around 1.3 million Afghans are registered refugees in Pakistan and 8,80,000 more have legal status to remain, according to the latest United Nations figures. 
  • But caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said on Tuesday a further 1.7 million Afghans were in Pakistan illegally, giving a November 1 deadline to return home deportation.

9. US. Not to weigh in on Muizzu’s plan to remove Indian forces from Maldives 

  • The United States government, on Tuesday, did not weigh in on Maldives President-elect Mohamed Muizzu saying he would fulfill his election promise and begin the process of removing Indian military personnel from the country. “This is a matter between the Maldives and India of course,” the U.S. State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said at the daily press briefing. 
  • “We have never tried to imply one way or the other that any country is required to make any kind of decision about the kinds of exclusionary partnerships that it enters in through its bilateral relationships, whether it be with China or the United States or India or any other country,” Mr. Patel added. 
  • Mr. Muizzu is seen as pro-China, unlike the out- going Maldives president, Mohamed Solih is seen as pro-India.
  • Also, on Tuesday, the U.S. stuck to its position on the diplomatic discord between Canada and India, over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation that New Delhi masterminded the killing of a Canadian Khalistani separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia in June this year. Washington has been urging New Delhi to cooperate with Ottawa as it probe’s Mr. Trudeau’s allegation. 
  • On Tuesday, Mr. Patel reiterated that the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about Mr. Trudeau’s allegations and that it was “critical that Canada’s investigation” proceed and the perpetrators brought to justice. Privately and publicly, the U.S. government has urged the Indian authorities to cooperate with the investigation, he said.
  • Earlier on Tuesday, New Delhi had asked 41 Canadian diplomats to leave India by October 10.
  • Asked if the U.S. was concerned about Canada retaliating by expelling Indian diplomats en masse, Mr. Patel said that he did not want to get into hypotheticals (ie., about retaliatory action). The government, which has denied any role in Mr. Nijjar’s death and accused Canada of being soft on separatist activity. 
  • Asked whether a potential “avalanche” of retaliatory diplomatic expulsions would impact the U.S’s Indo Pacific strategy, Mr. Patel said the U.S. would con- tinue to maintain a focus on the Indo Pacific. 
  • “With India, we are partners with them in the Quad and in many other for a and we continue to work with them and other countries in the region on a number of important issues. But as I said at the top of this, we take these allegations very seriously,” Mr. Patel said, emphasizing the US’s request to New Delhi to cooperate with the probe. 

10.US. Conveys strong Support for media 

  • Reacting to the news of arrests of journalists and personnel associated with NewsClick, the U.S. State Department reiterated its support for the media. Responding to a question on the arrests as well as the report (from the New York Times) that alleged News Click was part of a Chinese influence operation, Principal Deputy Spokes- person Vedant Patel said the State Department could not comment on the “veracity of the claims'' that NewsClick had ties to the Chinese government. On Wednesday, a spokes- person conveyed U.S. President Joe Biden’s “strong support” for the media. 
  • The U.S. government has discussed with the Indian government and others, “the importance of respecting the human rights of journalists,” including the freedom of expression, Mr. Patel said during the daily briefing. 
  • “The U.S. government strongly supports the robust role of the media globally, including social media, in a vibrant and free democracy,” he said. 
  • The arrests occurred a little over a day after External Affairs Minister S. Jalshankar left Washington DC. After an official visit. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his team have, in the past, had rights dialogues with Mr. Jaishankar, including as part of the ‘2+2’ Foreign and Defence Ministers format.
  • Apart from discussions at the State Department level, Mr. Biden has discussed the issue of democratic rights and norms with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in private. 
  • “We have urged the Indian government to respect the rights of journalists, including freedom of expression both online and offline,” a spokesperson for Mr. Biden’s National Security Council told The Hindu on Wednesday, adding that the administration was aware of reporting on the media outlet’s alleged links to the Chinese government, but declined to comment “on the veracity of those claims”. 

State News

11.Glacial Lake Burst In Sikkim Causes Devastation 

  • At least seven people have lost their lives, and a significant number remain injured or missing in the wake of flash floods that struck Sikkim on October 4. These devastating floods were triggered when a glacial lake, formed by the gradual melting of a Himalayan glacier, unexpectedly overflowed, leading to the inundation of the Teesta river basin. 
  • The floods originated from the sudden overflow of the South Lhonak lake, located at an altitude of approximately 5,200 meters above sea level. This catastrophic event resulted in the destruction of the Chungthang dam, a critical component of Sikkim’s largest hydroelectric project, and caused extensive damage to highways, villages, and towns 
  • The Chungthang dam, a concrete-rock structure, was breached at its center due to the force and speed of the surging water, estimated at nearly 54 kilometers per hour. The suddenness of the event left little time for warnings or preventive measures. 

12.Arjun Munda Inaugurates 4th EMRS National Cultural & Literary Fest And Kala Utsav-2023 

  • Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda, inaugurated the 4th Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) National Cultural & Literary Fest and Kala Utsav-2023 in the picturesque city of Dehradun on the 3rd of October, 2023.
  • The event was graced by the presence of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami, and was hosted at the Maharana Pratap Sports College. This fest provides a national platform for tribal students to showcase their hidden talents across various spheres. 
  • The Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) Cultural Fest is an annual extravaganza eagerly anticipated by tribal students from all corners of India. This year’s four-day event, scheduled from the 3rd to the 6th of October, boasts participation from over 2000 tribal students hailing from 22 different states. It promises an array of more than 20 events, ranging from captivating dance and song performances to stimulating quizzes and vibrant visual arts presentations. 

13.Two-Day Literature Festival To Be Held This Weekend In Bengaluru 

  • The Neev Literature Festival 2023 is scheduled to take place on October 7th and 8th, 2023, at the Neev Academy in Yemalur, Bengaluru. This year, the theme of the event is ‘What is childhood without stories?’.
  • In the aftermath of the pandemic, children’s lives have undergone a significant transformation. They now grapple with issues such as artificial intelligence, globalization, mental health challenges, shifting values, and numerous other factors. Consequently, the festival endeavors to address and respond to these changes. 
  • The Neev Literature Festival was initiated in 2017, followed by the introduction of the Neev Book Award in 2018. The goal was to discover and present exceptional children’s books that center around Indian experiences and stories. Over the years, the festival has delved into thought-provoking themes such as ‘Partition: Memory and Memorialization’, ‘Peripheries: Boundaries on the Edge, Boundaries Within’, and ‘Embracing Diversity’. 

14.High Court stays suspension of licence of Amethi hospital 

  • The decision of the Lucknow Bench of Court on Wednesday to stay the Uttar Pradesh government’s order suspending the license of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in Amethi has brought relief to the facility’s staff and those indirectly dependent on it for their survival. 
  • A Division Bench of Justices Vivek Chaudhary and Manish Kumar said the inquiry against the hospital would go on, and asked the State government to file its counter affidavit. 
  • The Health Department had suspended the hospital’s license on September 18 and halted OPD and emergency services after a probe was launched into the death of a 22-year-old patient, following a surgery. The hospital, run by the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust headed by Sonia Gandhi, is one of the largest hospitals in Amethi. 
  • “About 800-900 patients daily avail of the OPD facilities at a nominal fee of *100,” said Sanjay Singh, President of the joint forum of doctors, paramedic staff and contract workers of the hospital. Following the court order, the forum called off its nine-day-long protest against the suspension of the license. 
  • In its report, the probe team had found laxity in treatment and said the patient’s life could have been saved by specialist doctors.

15.Police on alert after Khalistan graffiti in Dharamshala 

  • Himachal Pradesh police went on alert on Wednesday after “Khalistan Zindabad” slogan was found scrawled on the wall of a government building here and a video surfaced online, threatening to target the Cricket World Cup and “avenge” separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing in Canada. 
  • The slogan was spray painted in black on the wall of the Jal Shakti Department building in the city, which is set to host five of the matches, The World Cup begins from Thursday. 
  • The police said two suspects have been identified on the basis of CCTV footage from the area. An eight-member special investigation team has also been formed.
  • In a statement, the police said the video on social media refers to the graffiti in Dharamshala and carries a voice message reportedly from Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is based abroad and runs an organization called Sikhs for Justice.
  • The video threatened that the World Cup final, scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad, will be targeted. The police said there are references in the clip to “avenging” Nijjar’s killing, and proKhalistan graffiti and flags in Dharamshala. Case against MP for forcing hospital dean to clean toilet 
  • A case was registered by the Nanded Rural Police against Shiv Sena MP Hemant Patil for forcing S.R. Wakode, Acting Dean of the Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded, where 31 patients died within a span of 48 hours, to clean a toilet and urinals.
  • A video of Mr. Patil instructing the dean to clean the toilet went viral on social media. 
  • The Maharashtra chapter of the Indian Medical Association has threatened to launch a stir if the State government does not take action against the legislator. 
  • They submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde demanding necessary action against the MP for the treatment meted out to the dean. 

Defence News

16.IAF Receives First LCA Trainer From HAL, Seven More To Come By March 2024

  • State-run aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) recently delivered the first trainer version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Tejas trainer aircraft is part of an earlier order for 40 Mk-1 jets. 
  • Out of these 40 aircraft, the IAF has already inducted 32 single-seater jets and established two LCA squadrons. The remaining eight aircraft are trainers. HAL has committed to delivering seven more twin-seater aircraft to the IAF by March 2024. 
  • The Tejas trainer aircraft boasts modern concepts and technologies, including relaxed staticstability, quadraplex fly-by-wire flight control, carefree maneuvering, advanced glass cockpit, integrated digital avionics systems, and advanced composite materials for the airframe.

17.Army launches ‘Project Udbhav’ to rediscover ‘Indian heritage of statesmanship’ from ancient texts 

  • The Indian Army in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India has launched an initiative named ‘Project Udbhav’ to rediscover the ideas of “statesmanship, warfare, diplomacy and grand strategy” located in ancient Indian texts. 
  • In this regard, the Indian Army in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI) conducted a hybrid-panel discussion under Project Udhbhav on 29 September 2023.
  • Additionally, USI will organize a Military Heritage Festival on 21 and 22 October 2023 to introduce future thinkers to the broader national security dynamics. 
  • The project seeks to explore the rich historical narratives of India in the field of statecraft and strategic thought. It focuses on a broad spectrum including indigenous military systems, historical texts, regional texts and kingdoms, thematic studies and complex Kautilya studies. Project Udhbhav 
  • The aim is not just limited to rediscovering these narratives, but also to develop an “indigenous strategic vocabulary”, deeply rooted in India’s “multidimensional philosophical and cultural tapestry”. 
  • A study to compile Indian tips based on ancient texts has been ongoing since 2021, and a book has been released listing 75 sutras selected from the ancient texts. 
  • The first scholarly output of this initiative is a 2022 publication titled, Traditional Indian Philosophy… Eternal Rules of Politics and Leadership, to be read by all ranks of the Indian Army. Business News 

18.Coca-Cola India Rolls Out 100% Recycled PET Bottles For Small Packs 

  • Beverage company Coca-Cola India made a significant announcement on Wednesday, unveiling its latest sustainability initiative with the launch of fully recycled PET bottles for its flagship CocaCola brand.
  • These bottles are available in pack sizes of 250 ml and 750 ml, and they are set to be distributed across various markets in the country. The move comes as part of Coca-Cola’s global commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.
  • This initiative is part of the company’s broader sustainable packaging platform, which also includes a commitment to collect and recycle the equivalent of one bottle or can for every one sold globally by 2030. Furthermore, Coca-Cola aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025. New defense indigenisation list has futuristic weapons, systems 
  • Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday leased the fifth Positive Indigenisation List of 98 items to be procured by the three Services from domestic sources in a staggered manner on specified timelines. He also released the Navy’s updated indigenisation roadmap, “Swar lamban 2.0” 
  • The Department of Military Affairs compiled the Tist after several rounds of consultations with all staciders, the Defence Ministry said in a statement port substitution of components of major systems, forms, weapon systems, lays special focus on besides important plant sensors and munitions which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five to 10 years,” it said. 
  • At the plenary session of “Swavalamban 2.0”, the two-day seminar of the Naval Innovation and Indige ristic infantry combat vehi sought solutions to 75 chalnisation Organization (NJ- 10), Mr. Singh launched 76 challenges for the industry under the “10th Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC-10) and DISC 10 equipment for guided wea-PRIME of Innovations forDefence Excellence (DEX) and five problem state- ments under IDEX for Fas j’. In addition, two INDUS X challenges under “IN- DUS-X Mutual Promotion of Advanced Collaborative Technologies” (IMPACT) challenges jointly finalized by IDEX and the US. The Department of Defence was launched. A special interactive session for the industry to explain the nuances of the road map is planned on Day 2 of the seminar. 
  • The items on the indigenisation list include futude, articulated all-terrain vehicles, several types of unmanned aerial vehicles, medium-range precision kill system for artillery, test pon system for tanks, radars, armor plates for cabin nose section for Mi-17 helicopter, automated mobile test system for OSA-ARM air defense system, gravity roll- ers for MH-7VS helicopter and flares of P-81 and MIG 29-K aircraft. 
  • The department had earlier promulgated four such lists of 411 military items. This is in addition to the four lists for defense public sector undertaking. 
  • At the event, Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar said that last year, the Navy lenges, received more than 1,000 responses, declared 118 winners under DISC-7, SPRINT and SPRINT PRIME and concluded over 100 technology development agreements.” 

Economy News

19.India’s Diesel Exports To Europe Reached Their Peak In September 2023 

  • In September 2023, India witnessed a remarkable surge in its diesel exports to Europe, reaching their highest levels for the year. This surge was driven by a combination of factors. Data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa sheds light on this significant development. 
  • India’s diesel exports to Europe in September reached approximately 333,000 barrels per day (bpd), marking a substantial increase of nearly 47 percent from August. This surge was even more impressive when compared to the same month the previous year, with a year-on-year increase of 57 percent, according to data provided by Vortexa.
  • The primary drivers behind this resurgence were the constrained supplies from the Middle East and the US due to autumn refinery maintenance and robust demand in Europe. Serena Huang, Head of Asia-Pacific Analysis at Vortexa, emphasized these factors 

20.UNCTAD Raises India’s 2023 Growth Estimate To 6.6% 

  • In its latest trade and development report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has revised India’s economic growth forecast for 2023 upward to 6.6% from the earlier projection of 6%. 
  • However, the report also anticipates a slowdown in India’s growth to 6.2% in 2024. Furthermore, the UNCTAD highlights concerns about the global economic outlook, with a deceleration to 2.4% in 2023, followed by a marginal improvement to 2.5% in 2024.
  • UNCTAD emphasizes the importance of policy changes and institutional reforms to prevent a lost decade in the global economy. It also urges leading central banks and policymakers to adopt a new policy direction to address economic challenges. 

21.Government Maintains GPF Interest Rate At 7.1% For 15th Consecutive Quarter 

  • In a recent announcement, the government has decided to keep the interest rate on General Provident Fund (GPF) savings unchanged at 7.1% for the October-December quarter. This marks the 15th successive quarter where the government has maintained the status quo, ensuring stability for government employees’ retirement savings. 
  • The Finance Ministry officially notified the retention of the 7.1% interest rate. This rate is also applicable to other provident funds for government employees, including those serving in crucial sectors such as Railways and the Armed Forces. 
  • While certain small savings schemes have witnessed rate hikes for five consecutive quarters, the popular Public Provident Fund (PPF) has remained untouched at 7.1% since the first quarter of 2020 21. Notably, the returns on five-year recurring deposits were raised to 6.7% for this quarter, a slight increase from the 6.5% offered in the July-September period. 

Appointments News

22.RBI Appoints Muneesh Kapur As Executive Director

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the appointment of Muneesh Kapur as an Executive Director (ED) starting from October 3, 2023. This significant appointment brings Mr. Kapur into a key leadership position within the central bank. 
  • Before his promotion to the role of Executive Director, Muneesh Kapur held the position of Adviser-in-Charge within the Monetary Policy Department. Additionally, he served as the Secretary to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), where he played a crucial role in shaping the nation’s monetary policy.
  • In his new capacity as Executive Director, Muneesh Kapur will assume responsibility for overseeing the operations of the Department of Economic and Policy Research. This department plays a pivotal role in formulating economic policies and conducting research crucial to the RBI’s decision-making processes. 

23.Aditya Puri Joins Deloitte As Senior Advisor 

  • Former managing director and CEO of HDFC Bank Aditya Puri joined Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP as senior adviser. Puri would leverage his expertise and experience to help drive a tech-enabled transformation in the financial services sector and champion initiatives aimed at boosting financial inclusion across India. 
  • In September 1994, Puri took over as CEO of HDFC Bank, a position he moved on from in October 2020. His 26 years as HDFC Bank CEO make him the longest-serving head of a private bank in India. Before setting up HDFC, he spent more than 20 years with Citibank across India, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. His last role with Citibank was as CEO of its operations in Malaysia. 
  • A renowned and well respected name in the banking industry, he was, at one point, the country’s highest-paid banker. The former HDFC MD and CEO is a commerce graduate from Panjab University and a qualified chartered accountant. 

Awards News

24.Nobel Prize In Literature 2023 Awarded To Jon Fosse 

  • The Nobel Prize in Literature 2023 was awarded to Norwegian author Jon Fosse or Jon Olav Fosse, “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable”. 
  • The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded by the Swedish Academy, Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Prize amount for 2023 is set at Swedish kronor (SEK) 11.0 million per full Nobel Prize. 
  • Jon Fosse, born in 1959, is widely considered one of the most important writers of our time. For almost forty years he has written novels, plays, poems, stories, essays, and children’s books. His award-winning work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and his plays have been staged over a thousand times all over the world. 
  • The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 115 times to 119 Nobel Prize laureates between 1901 and 2022. The Nobel medal in literature was designed by Swedish sculptor and engraver Erik Lindberg and represents a young man sitting under a laurel tree who, enchanted, listens to and writes down the song of the Muse. 

Science and technology News

25.IISC scientists discover ‘mimetic enzyme’ for waste 

  • Scientists at the Materials Research Center (MRC) of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a new type of enzyme ‘mimetic’ called NanoPTA that can effectively destroy toxic chemicals in industrial waste water in the presence of sunlight. 
  • Nano-sized enzyme mimetics or “nanozymes” created in the laboratory can mimic such natural enzymes. The IISc team synthesized a platinum-containing nanozyme called NanoPTA, which can be converted into powder form for industrial use. 
  • When NanoPtA comes in contact with wastewater, the benzene rings and long alkyl chains present in the molecule form numerous non-covalent interactions. Individual NanoPtA molecules join together to form tape-like structures that begin to emit light, which is the origin of its oxidation ability. 
  • The team found that the nanozyme could degrade even small (micromolar) amounts of common wastes such as phenol and dyes within ten minutes when exposed to sunlight. The researchers also found that the nanoPTA complex was quite stable, lasting up to 75 days at room temperature. The team believes the nanozyme may also have applications in health care and could be a potentially useful diagnostic tool for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Indian Institute of Science 

  • The brainchild of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was conceived in the late 1800s. It was established in the southern city of Bengaluru on 371 acres of land donated by the Mysore Durbar, through a vesting order passed by the Government of India on 27 May 1909. 

Ranks and Reports News 

26.Global Infrastructure Faces Staggering Annual Losses Of $300 Billion Due To Worsening Climate Impacts 

  • The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) has released a biennial report highlighting the alarming annual losses in global infrastructure due to the worsening impacts of climate change and disasters.
  • This report underscores the critical challenges faced by low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) in maintaining resilient infrastructure systems. 
  • The global annual average loss (AAL) in principal infrastructure sectors due to disasters and climate change stands between USD 301 and USD 330 billion. When including health and education infrastructure, along with building stock, this range increases significantly to USD 732 to USD 845 billion. 

27.In first election since 2019, Ladakh queues up, registers 77.61% voting 

  • With Pakistani peaks overlooking the polling booths in once-war-battered zones of Kargil, the fifth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council- Kargil (LAHDC-K) elections witnessed a a massive 77.61% turnout on Wednesday, in the first ever ever polls since Ladakh was Union was carved out as a Union Territory in 2019. 
  • The polling, which started at 8 a.m. and ended by 4 p.m., marks a quantu- m jump from polling record recorded during the 2018 Council elections, according to an official.
  • In all, 85 candidates are in the fray for the 26-member Hill Council, with Congress fielding the highest number at 22, followed by 17 each from the National Conference (NC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 
  • The BJP is facing an uphill task against the NC- Congress combine. There are 24 candidates who are contesting as Independents in these elections which will reflect the mood of the people on the Centre's move to grant UT status to Ladakh, compris ing Leh and Kargil districts. Kargil has a population of 1.08 lakh and around 65,878 voters, with a Shia Muslim population in an agreement between India majority. 
  • Polling booths were abuzz with men and wo men since morning at Kar- He is Gil's Kaksar village, located at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Muzaffar Ali, 51, a voter in Kaksar, described the first ever polls held under the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh, carved out from J&K in 2019, as "significant and decisive". 
  • During the 1999 Kargil war, Kaksar village saw the dislocation of the entire local population "because of incessant Pakistan shelling from the peaks nearby, overlooking the highland plateau. "The ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan has brought relief to locals. We welcome it,"Mr. Ali said 
  • However critical of the Centre's move to separate Kargil from Kashmir right "it was not the says ``it move". 
  • "We believe Statehood and the provisions of Article 370 should be returned to us," Mr. All added. 
  • Bilgees Nasreen, 19, a student who is also a first- time voter from Kaksar village, which has over 600 voters, said she voted for "a strong Hill Council that upgrades the poor education sector by getting more professional colleges to Kargil''.
  • A majority of voters in Kargil district expressed resentment over the Centre's decision to bifurcate J&K into two UTs. 
  • I am an Indian. People of Drass helped the Army fight the Pakistan Army in 1999. But Drass sees its identity closer to Kashmir, where we have centuries-old links. Restoring Article 370 will help in protecting our identity," Gayas-ud- Din, a shopkeeper at the world's second coldest place Drass, said. 
  • In Hunderman, overlooking the villages of Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Bal tistan, voters say the government is unmoved by the water crisis faced due to the dip in snowfall. 

Miscellaneous News

28.Media bodies write to CJI, call for norms on interrogation of journalists 

  • Over a dozen media bodies оп Wednesday sought Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud's intervention on the issue of searches against those linked to NewsClick, a digital news platform. Media persons and activists also turned up in large numbers at the Press Club of India in protest against the police action. 
  • In a letter to the Chief Justice, the media organizations urged the courts to consider framing norms to discourage the seizure of journalists' phones and laptops on a "whim"; and to develop guidelines for the interrogation of journalists and for seizures from them, to ensure that "these are not undertaken as fishing expeditions with no bearing to an actual offense". 
  • They also requested the courts to consider finding ways to ensure the accountability of state agencies and individual officers who were found overstepping the law or wilfully misleading courts with vague and open-ended investigations. 
  • "The developments over the past 24 hours have left us no option but to appeal to your good conscience to take cognisance and intervene before it is too late and an autocratic police state becomes the norm," said the letter, adding that as journalists and news professionals, they were always ready and willing to cooperate with any bona fide investigation 
  • The raids also evoked protests in several parts of the national capital. Over a hundred journalists, activists and public intellectuals gathered at the Press Club of India in solidarity 
  • Addressing a large crowd, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who was interrogated by the police on Tuesday, said that he was one of the few people who had received back both his SIM card and press in the country. phone after the Delhi police had seized it from him. "They asked me if I knew Neville Roy Singham to which I informed them that I did not. Further they asked me if I had spoken to S. Bhatnagar from the United States, to which I told them that I had, because he is my brother in law Mr. Guha Thakurta said. The senior journalist was further asked whether he had covered the Delhi riots and the farmers' agitation, and whether he used the Signal social media platform.
  • Referring to the arrests of Mr. Purkayastha and Mr. Chakravorty, Mr. Guha Thakurta said that this was a black day for press freedom in India. "It is a clear signal that they are coming for every journalist in this country," he said.
  • Standing in solidarity, writer Arundhati Roy said that the BJP-led Union government has once again used the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) to limit the freedom of the press in the country.
  • Seema Chisti, editor of The Wire, said that such actions by the government do not create fear in the minds of those who are speaking truth to power. 

Sports News

29.Asian Games 2023, Indian Team Wins Gold In Men’s 4x400m Relay

  • The Indian quartet won gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China. The team comprising of Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammad Ajmal Variyathodi finished with a time of 3:01.58. 
  • India qualified for the finals by clocking the fastest time of 3:03.81 minutes in the heat 1 ahead of Qatar, Japan and Iraq. India also holds the Area Record in the event achieved by the same quartet at the recently concluded Athletics World Champions in Belgium. 
  • The team clocked 2:59.05 minutes to qualify for the finals behind the eventual champion USA in that event. While Qatar finished second, it were the Sri Lankans who took home a bronze after finishing third. 

30.Asian Games 2023, Neeraj Chopra Wins Gold In Javelin Throw 

  • India celebrated a remarkable 1-2 finish in the Men’s Javelin Throw competition at the Asian Games 2023, held at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Park Main Stadium in the People’s Republic of China. Neeraj Chopra secured the gold medal, while Kishore Kumar Jena clinched the silver, showcasing their exceptional talent on the grand continental stage. 
  • Neeraj Chopra, the reigning champion, delivered an outstanding performance by achieving a season’s best throw of 88.88 meters. This remarkable feat not only secured the gold medal for him but also marked his second consecutive gold at the Asian Games, following his victory in Jakarta 2018. 
  • Kishore Kumar Jena, a rising star in Indian javelin throwing, led Neeraj Chopra and registered an impressive 87.54 meters with his fourth throw, Kishore Kumar Jena secured the silver medal in Hangzhou. 

31.Jyoti Surekha and Ojas Deotale won the first gold medal for India in the archery event in the 19th Asian Games. 

  • In the archery event of the 19th Asian Games, the pair of Jyoti Surekha Vennam and Ojas Deotale won the gold medal by defeating Korea’s So Chaewon and Joo Jahoon 159-158. This is the first gold for India in archery.
  • Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in men’s javelin throw with a throw of 88.88 meters in Hangzhou, China. Kishore Jena won the silver medal.
  • The quartet of Amoj Jacob, Muhammad Anas Yahiya, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammad Ajmal Variyathodi won the gold medal, the 18th for India in the men’s 4x400m relay. 
  • Apart from this, earlier in athletics, Anurani won the gold medal in women’s javelin throw with the season’s best throw of 62.92 meters. Annu Rani had created history by becoming the first Indian female javelin thrower to win a bronze medal at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. 
  • Lovlina Borgohain won a silver medal after losing 0-5 in the women’s 75kg boxing final. Harmilan Bains finished second in the women’s 800 m final in a time of 2:03.75, winning her second silver medal in the event. 

Indian Polity News

32.Land-for-job Scam: court grants bail to RJD leaders

  • The Rouse Avenue court on Wednesday granted bail to Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav in a case pertaining to the landfor-jobs scam in the Indian Railways 
  • The bail orders were passed by special CBI Judge Geetanjali Goel who cited a Supreme Court judgment that says that if an accused was either not arrested consciously by the prosecution or arrested and enlarged on bail, there is no need for further arrest. The court granted bail to 14 persons, including the Prasad family, on furnishing a personal bond of *50,000 each with surety of like amount. 
  • The accused were summoned in the matter as the court took cognisance of a fresh charge sheet filed by the CBI on July 3. 
  • The FIR in the matter was filed in May 2022 in which it was alleged that during 2004-2009, the appointment of several substitutes on the Group "D" posts was done in different zones of Railways in exchange for land parcels. 

33.ED arrests AAP MP Sanjay Singh 'in excise case

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh following several hours of questioning in connection with its money laundering probe linked to the Delhi excise policy case. The agency has not yet disclosed the specific grounds of arrest.
  • The Rajya Sabha MP becomes the third prominent AAP leader to be arrested in less than a year and a half after Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain. 
  • AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the arrest "totally illegal". "They will arrest many more Opposition leaders before the election," he said in a post on X. 

34.ED should give copy of the grounds of arrest: SC 

  • The Supreme Court has held that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) should provide a person a written copy of the grounds of his or her arrest. 
  • A Bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Sanjay Kumar noted that Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, which deals with the procedure for arrest, has been ambiguous about this aspect, saying only that the ED need to "inform" the arrested person about the grounds of arrest.
  • The ambiguity had led to the ED following different procedures in different parts of the country. In some places, the ED officers shared a written copy, while in others, they would orally read them out to the accused being placed under arrest. Justice Kumar, who authored the judgment for the Bench ordering the release on bail of two directors of Gurugram-based realty group M3M, held that the ED should furnish the grounds of arrest to the accused in a written form "as a matter of course and without exception". 

35.Why AAP not made accused in liquor policy case: SC to ED 

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked why the ED had stopped short of making AAP an accused in the Delhi excise policy case despite claims that the party was a "beneficiary". 
  • "A political party is said to be the beneficiary of this, but it is neither an ac- cused nor implemented in the case. How do you answer that?" Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju.
  • The Bench, also comprising Justice S.V.N. Bharti, was hearing a petition filed by AAP leader and former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia against the cases registered against him by the CBI and the ED in the liquor policy case.
  • Justice Khanna further asked Mr. Raju whether it was possible to examine the Cabinet notes to decide a case.
  • The court wanted to know if Cabinet papers have the same kind of immunity as parliamentary proceedings. 
  • "I believe there are specific Constitution Bench judgments barring us from examining Cabinet notes. I do not know if it applies to Delhi, because it is a Union Territory," Justice Khanna said. The hearing will continue on Thursday. 
  • Enforcement Directorate. Mr. Sisodia has been in custody since February 2023 in connection with an alleged scam concerning the liquor excise policy.
  • The Delhi High Court had in May refused to grant Mr. Sisodia bailed after agreeing with the CBI's objection that he was an influential person who may use his power to influence witnesses and derail the case. 

36.Singh leaves house on a defiant note: I'm willing to die, but won't be afraid 

  • The arrest of Aam Aadmi er Party MP Sanjay Singh, after nearly 12 hours of d searches and questioning by the Enforcement Directorate at his residence, was accompanied by a flurry of activity on Wednesday. 
  • As part of its probe in the Delhi excise policy case, ED officials reached the Rajya Sabha member's house at North Avenue around 6.45 a.m. AAP workers soon started gathering in the area. 
  • The officials initially allowed Mr. Singh's father, Dinesh, to step out and go for a walk in a park nearby, but later asked him to come back. 
  • By 6 p.m., 70-80 AAP workers had assembled and started raising slogans against the BJP. Fifteen minutes later, the officials escorted Mr. Singh out and he too raised slogans along with the workers. 
  • Security forces accompanying the ED took away fear)." the AAP leader in a vehicle, but not before a supporter lay down in front of the car to unsuccessfully try and stop it. 
  • Meanwhile, AAP uploaded on X (formerly Twitter) a series of videos, showing scenes leading up to his arrest. 
  • In one clip, Mr. Singh was seen taking his mother's blessings before leaving with ED officials, telling her to be courageous. Another clip showed him telling party workers, "Marna manzoor hai, dar na manzoor nahi (I'm willing to die, but won't be afraid). 
  • Follow Mr. Singh's arrest, Delhi Ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj along with AAP chief spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar hit out at the central agencies during a press conference at the party headquarters. 
  • "For the past 15 months, about 500 officials have been working on this case. Ask them to show corruption of even one rupee," Ms. Atishi said. 
  • Referring to the searches at the homes of journalists, she said, "Yesterday, homes of well-known journalists were raided and their laptops taken. Today, they [agencies] reached Sanjay Singh's house and spent eight hours there and did not find anything. This shows the BJP's haar ki baukhalahat (anxiety of failure in the election)." 

Agreements News

37.Fintech Unicorn Slice To Merge With North East Small Finance Bank 

  • Indian fintech unicorn Slice has officially confirmed its merger with North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB). This announcement comes following the approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), marking a rare feat in the financial technology sector. The collaboration between Slice and NESFB aims to revolutionize banking services and expand financial inclusion in India. 
  • This strategic merger follows Slice’s earlier acquisition of a 10% stake in NESFB, setting the stage for a deeper collaboration between the two entities. Industry experts anticipate that this partnership will enable the newly formed company to enhance its product offerings and accelerate innovation.
  • Slice, renowned for its credit card-like offerings, previously issued over 400,000 cards monthly, surpassing other fintechs and banks. This merger with Guwahati-based NESFB is expected to amplify their ability to serve a broader customer base currently underserved by traditional banking institutions.

38.JICA and NIIF launch $600 million ‘India-Japan Fund’ in 51:49 partnership 

  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund-NIIF and Japan Bank for International CooperationJICA have launched the $600 million ‘India-Japan Fund’ (IJF). According to the Finance Ministry, the Government of India will contribute 49 percent to this fund and the remaining 51 percent will be contributed by JBIC. 
  • This joint initiative will promote cooperation and investment between India and Japan in the field of climate and environment. The fund will encourage Japanese investment in India with a focus on environmental sustainability and carbon reduction strategies. 
  • The fund will be managed by NIIF Limited (NIIFL) and JBIC IG (a subsidiary of JBIC) will support NIIFL in promoting Japanese investment in India. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) 
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India in the year 2015 to provide solutions to the financial problems of the infrastructure sector in the country and to ensure financing.
  • NIIF was established with a core corpus of Rs 40,000 crore. 49% stake in NIIF is held by the Government of India and the remaining stake is held by foreign and domestic investors. 
  • The Center manages over $3 billion of capital across its three funds – the Master Fund, the Fund of Funds and the Strategic Fund. Its registered office is at New Delhi.

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