Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 8th October 2023


National News

1. Sexual harassment charges false: ex-WFI chief to court 

  • Former Wrestling Federa tion of India (WFD chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Saturday refuted allegations of sexual harassment levelled by six women wrestlers, terming the accusations as “false and motivated”. 
  • Advocate Rajiv Mohan Mohan, who appeared for Mr. Singh in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal, made the submission during the hearing on the framing of charges in the case.
  • The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 16. 
  • Advocate Mohan said one of the complainants, who had alleged that she was groped by Mr. Singh during her tour to Kazakhstan in 2012, did not disclose the incident till April 2023.
  • On the complaint of another wrestler who had alleged that Mr. Singh had pulled her towards himself; the defence counsel said the alleged incident took place in Karnataka’s Bellary, which is outside the jurisdiction of Delhi.
  • In the light of Section 178 of the CrPC, no trial can take place of such an offence in Delhi, he said. 

2. Budget deficit in MGNREGS shows deep rural distress’ 

  • The MGNREGS budget has been exhausted within six months of 2023-24 is an indication of “deepening rural distress” and “rising inequality’’, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said. The Hindu on Saturday reported that the MGNREGS has run out of funds. 
  • “This not only clearly indicates the deepening rural distress and rising inequality but also demonstrates the Modi government’s priorities which is indirectly suppressing demand for MGNREGA work,” he said. 

3. Ganga-Ghagra basin canals pose a threat to dolphins: study

  • A recent publication by scientists and researchers has revealed that 19 Gangetic river dolphins had been rescued from the irrigation canals of the Ganga Ghagra basin in Uttar Pradesh between 2013 and 2020.
  • The publication, “Rescuing Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica) from irrigation canals in Uttar Pradesh, North India, 2013-2020”, not only highlights the capture and relocation methods but also describes the behavioural and demographic details of rescued animals and locations of the canals where the animals had been trapped. 
  • The paper points out that 24 rescue operations had been conducted from 2013 to 2020 and five dolphins had died. “There were 19 successful rescue operations and 14 dolphins were identified as female and 10 as male. The TBL (total body length) of these dolphins was found to be between 128 cm and 275 cm. The size of male dolphins ranged from 128 cm to 195 cm, whereas the females ranged from 190 cm to 274 cm. Of the five dolphins that died, three had a length over 243 cm,” the paper said. The publication said dams and barrages had severely affected this habitat as dolphins moved into irrigation canals where they were at a risk of injury or death from a multiple factors, such as rapidly receding waters, heat stroke and human interferences. 
  • The Ganges river dolphin is in Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Appendix 1 of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
  • The species, also considered the national aquatic animal, is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List. 
  • Though the species is not known to be gregarious, the researchers observed and handled at least one adult male and female together on five occasions. “Furthermore, adult females have been seen with a calf on two occasions. These observations suggest that they may prefer to live and/or hunt in the pod. The dolphins may either stray into the canal while following prey upstream or get flushed into the canal by a sudden discharge of water from the barrage gates,” the paper said. 
  • The researchers also pointed out the higher proportion of females to males, and said larger animals and pregnant females look for an easier prey base in the canal system. 
  • Over 70% of entrapments were reported either post monsoon or during peak winter. This suggests straying incidents are directly related to the release of water into canals during or after the monsoon. 
  • “The other 30% of dolphins were rescued during peak summer when water levels fall and the minimum water flow is maintained. Among the rescued dolphins, females were found trapped between September and May with maximum occurrence during peak winter (December to February). In contrast, males have mostly recorded post monsoon and during the summer season, with least occurrence in peak winter,” the paper says. 
  • Shailendra Singh of the Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation India, one of the lead authors of the paper, said that the paper gives data for eight years but from 2013 to 2023, 28 dolphins had been rescued. He explained that the rescue of dolphins required expertise as it was a delicate animal. Keeping them alive after the rescue was also a challenge. 
  • “This is a big issue; on an average, we rescue two or three animals and another two or three animals may die in the canal network of Gangetic basin every year without timely information. Considering that the dolphins are found in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta, this is a huge problem to monitor this huge area and canal system,” he said. 
  • The other authors ofthe paper are Arunima Singh, Sreeparna and SanjaySrivastava, a senior forest official of the Uttar Pradesh cadre. 

4. Pilot paucity stalling aviation’s flight 

  • A kasa Air’s initiation of legal action seeking 21.6 crore as compensation from 43 of its former pilots for leaving without serving their six month notice period, and India’s youngest airline consequently suffering significant flight cancellations 600 in August and about 700 in September have again spotlighted a core issue airlines in the country are facing: pilot shortage. 
  • India is now the third largest aviation market, with the UDAN Yojana (the Regional Connectivity Scheme) playing a role.
  • India’s airlines are also making periodic announcements of aircraft deals, fleet inductions and pilot additions Air India (AI) recently inducted a few hundred pilots who include expatriates beyond the headlines, the hard truth is a mismatch between aircraft and availability of (experienced) crew. As an aviation expert says, ‘It is easier to get planes than pilots.’ 
  • Data by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show a gradual rise in the issuance of commercial pilot licences (CPL): from 640 in 2018 to 1,061 in 2022. In FY22, there were 8,508 pilots flying in India. 
  • A single aisle aircraft requires 12 to 14 pilots and a twin-aisle about 25 pilots for an airline to ensure regular operations. Given Indian airlines’ 1,100-plus new aircraft orders (a mix of single and twin aisle), the number of flight crew needed is estimated to run into a few thousand. 
  • As of November 2022, there were 34 DGCA approved Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) at 52 bases being run under central or State authority, and the private sector. 
  • Also, about six aviation training centres operate 40 simulators. The difference now is that private flying academies are also getting licences. Airlines too are going ahead with their training plans. In an interview in May, AI CEO Campbell Wilson highlighted plans for a pilot training academy and creating an aviation ecosystem that looks at flying schools. In- diGo too has its own plans for an academy. 
  • Aviation consultants have highlighted the need for more flying institutes, airlines having their own he asserts. Training and even enhancing a tried and tested third route, namely, hiring foreign pilots. As of now, there are less than a 100 foreign nationals flying in India as per DGCA data. 
  • While the plans look rosy, senior crew and cadet pilots highlight the serious issues dogging industry. 
  • “The present shortage of pilots is because it is so difficult to run a flying training centre as the corrupt officials throw the book at you that was published way before Independence,” says Captain Sam Thomas, President, Airline Pilots Association of India. “The medical standards are managed by Indian Air Force doctors, grounding quite a lot of civil pilots. Airlines have also begun to charge cadets for type rating. A course that costs 18 lakh jumps to almost 1 crore with airlines charging fees under one pretext or the other. [And] the airlines pressurise the DGCA to promulgate rules that are blatantly Illegal,”
  • Captain A. (Mohan) Ranganathan, a former airline instructor pilot and a former member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, says the pilot shortage is most acute in the captain’s category. There are many commercial pilot licence holders who can be trained as copi- lots, but this requires detailed planning. Airlines are cutting corners in training and safety measures. The civil aviation requirements for scheduled transport were written when flying was a lot less and air-craft numbers were low. Another issue is gaps in training and a shortage of qualified trainers. 
  • The next area of impact is in operations and training. Another senior commander (close to 20,000 hours of flying, with 5,500 on the Airbus A320 simula- tor as trainer/examiner) says that with a pilot shortage, attempts have been made to reduce the minimum requirements for a copilot to commander upgrade, resulting in a less experienced pilot, which in turn could seriously impact safety. An opinion seconded by another senior commander (16,000-plus hours in 35 years of flying). 
  • With more aircraft induction and thereby higher costs in terms of training, there is pressure from airlines on the regulator to reduce pilot flight duty time limitations “to achieve higher output in terms of hours’’. That the expansion of the aviation industry should be structured, planned and regulated is a point echoed by the commander. Training facilities in India, adds the commander, can be described in one word: ‘inadequate’. The senior pilot also adds the point that pilot cadet programmes need to be strictly monitored, with a transparent break-up of the money being charged. “It is unfair they can land. And immoral for huge airlines to profit out of trainees who take loans to start a career.”
  • The cadet pilot in general also faces many issues, as two cadet pilots training in the private sector (one with close to 140 hours and the other who has finished 185 flying hours) highlight. The core issues are the average cost of pilot training close to 1 crore; flying clubs raising their flying charges without any notice and the DGCA having no norms on training costs. 
  • The Airports Authority of India has introduced an integrated flight planning website where cadets have to pay for every flight plan filed for cross country flights and checks to controlled aerodromes. Earlier, they say, flight planning was free for general aviation and flight schools. 
  • On the ground, the instructor-student relationship needs to be on an even keel or else there are many unpleasant repercussions. Examinations are, most of ten, conducted without proper planning. But the DGCA’s e-governance platform, they add, has made handling issues easier especially when it comes to licence issue and renewal. 
  • Both cadet pilots also highlight that foreign training is very different from what it is in India: while a cadet pilot overseas has much freedom in planning their flying, cadets here face restrictions in certain manoeuvres and where Most training bases too operate from uncontrolled aerodromes which do not have established navigation aids, forcing cadet pilots to depend on controlled aerodromes for instrument training. And these aerodromes in turn face pressures from commercial flights. 
  • The aviation ecosystem needs clear visibility and a runway to viable solutions. 

5. India stands in solidarity with Israel’ after attacks, says Modi 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed solidarity with Israel as Hamas launched land, sea and air attacks from the Gaza Strip. 
  • Following the sudden outbreak of conflict, the Indian embassy in Israel has urged Indian nationals to remain vigilant. 
  • Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma has said that at least 27 persons from the State visiting Christian holy sites in Beth- lehem are “stuck”. 
  • “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour,” Mr. Modi said hours after thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip slammed into south and central Israel. 
  • The Indian embassy in the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv, has urged nationals to maintain security protocol and “stay close to safety shelters”. 
  • India and Israel have close relations covering security, defence and technology. 
  • Apart from a significant number of Indian-origin Jewish citizens, a sizable number of Indian professionals and students are known to be in Israel at the moment. 
  • “In case of emergency, please contact us at +97235226748, or leave a message at,” the em bassy said. 
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet spoken about the threat that the conflict is posing to Indian nationals in Israel. 
  • Mr. Sangma said that at least 27 persons from the State are stuck in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, where they had gone on a pilgrimage. 
  • “I am in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure their safe passage back home,” the Meghalaya Chief Minister said in a post on social media. 
  • Kanta Rijal, Nepal’s ambassador to Israel, has told the news agency ANI that at least seven Nepalese students in Israel were injured in the attack by Hamas and 17 were held captive. 
  • Reports also suggest that a Sri Lankan, Sujith Priyankara, was injured and admitted to the Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon. 
  • Israel has a large number of Bnei Menashe members from India’s northeastern Region who were granted citizenship of Israel under a special scheme which aimed to bring back tribes that were believed to have links to ancient Israel. There are concerns about their safety as many of them are known to be serving in the border areas 
  • Saturday’s eruption of conflict has led to the cancellation of Air India’s New Delhi-Tel Aviv flight as the airspace over Israel remains an active conflict zone. 

6. 320 feared dead as two earthquakes rock Afghanistan 

  • Two 6.3 magnitude earth quakes killed dozens of people in western Afghanistan on Saturday, the country’s national disaster authority said. 
  • The United Nations gave a preliminary figure of 320 dead, but later said the figure was still being verified. Local authorities gave an estimate of 100 people killed and 500 injured, according to the same update from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Dozens of houses have been damaged. 
  • The United States Geo- logical Survey reported the 6.3 magnitude tremblers. It said the epicentre was 40 km northwest of Herat city. There was an aftershock with a 5.5 magnitude. 
  • A map on the USGS website indicates seven earthquakes in the area. At least five powerful earthquakes struck the city around noon, a Herat city resident said. 

7. UN warns Pakistan against deporting Afghans forcibly 

  • Forcibly deporting Af- ghans from Pakistan could lead to severe human rights violations including the separation of families and deportation of minors, the United Nations warned. 
  • Pakistan recently announced a crackdown on migrants telling them to return to their home countries by October 31. 
  • The UN agencies said the Taliban-run Afghanistan is going through a severe humanitarian crisis, particularly for women and girls. 
  • They acknowledged Pakistan’s “sovereign prerogative” over domestic policies and said they are ready to help register and manage Afghan nationals. 

8. NewsClick arrests: activists hold protest against attack on press freedom 

  • Journalists, lawyers and activists gathered at the Press Club here at the call of The Network of Women in Media, India, on Saturday to protest against the raids and arrests of journalists of news portal NewsClick and condemned the targeted attack on press freedom. 
  • They raised slogans against the arrest and harassment of journalists and held placards that read ‘Don’t stomp on press freedom’; ‘Give up Harassment of journalists’; and ‘Defend press freedom’. 
  • Though reluctant to equate the current situation to the Emergency, Sashi Kumar, Chairman of Media Development Foundation and Asian College of Journalism, said similarities between both these pe- riods were becoming clearHe said the attack on the media was more like an ‘undeclared Emergency’. 
  • He further said that the government that came to power as champions of free speech, citing Emergency as the biggest disaster, now not only refuses to recognise the press but also hunts it down with vengeance. 
  • A.S. Panneerselvan, Fellow at the Centre for Study in Public Sphere, Roja Muthiah Research Library, noted that there was a need to create a network for legal defence to fight cases on behalf of journalists and protect their fun- damental rights. 
  • Condemning the attack on media fraternity, Suresh Nambath, Editor, The Hindu, said it was a brazen attempt to stifle any form of dissent against the government, invoking draconian laws like the UAPA. 

International News

9. Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas attack leaves 200 dead 

  • Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday, killing at least 200 people and claiming it had taken dozens of hostages in a surprise assault combining gunmen crossing into Israel and a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza. 
  • More than 1,000 people have been wounded, Israeli rescue service Zaka said. A Reuters photographer saw multiple bodies lying in streets of the southern town of Sderot. 
  • Israel said the Iran backed group had declared war as its Army confirmed fighting with militants in several Israeli towns and military bases near Gaza, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to retaliate. “Our enemy will pay a price the type of which it has never known,” infiltrate Israel by sea. In its jails. He said. “We are in a war and we Will win it.” 
  • The Israeli military said it had responded with the air Ministry. Strikes into Gaza, where witnesses reported hearing heavy explosions and multiple dead and wounded being carried into hospitals. The Israeli military and Navy forces killed dozens of militants trying to infiltrate Israel by sea. 
  • At least 198 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed and at least 1,610 wounded Israel’s retaliation, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. 
  • Hamas deputy chief Sa leh al-Arouri told Al Jazeera that the group was a large number of Israeli captives, including senior officials. He said Hamas had enough captives to make Th Israel free all Palestinians T in its jails. 
  • Hamas said the attack was driven by what it said were Israel’s escalated attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons. 

10.Why did Hamas launch a surprise attack on Israel? 

  • Just last week, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said Gaza was in a state of “stable instability”. Yet, on Saturday morning, Israel witnessed the largest attack from the enclave and perhaps the worst security crisis in 50 years when dozens of Hamas militants, using motorcycles, pickup trucks, boats, paragliders and mid-range rockets, launched a highly coordinated attack, infiltrating Israeli cities, hitting military bases and killing and taking hostage soldiers and civilians. The attacks, reminiscent of the 1973 Yom Kippur holiday attack by Egyptian and Syrian troops, took Israel by surprise, raising questions on intelligence failure. Israeli media reports say at least 200 people were killed. 
  • While it’s too early to draw conclusions on the possible impact of the at- tack on Israel’s continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories, one question that demands urgent attention is why did Hamas launch such a massive incursion into Israel knowing that the response would be disproportionate. At least three factors Palestinian, Israeli and geopolitical factors could have influenced Hamas’s thinking. 
  • Deepening occupation Firstly, Palestine-Israel relations have steadily deteriorated in recent years. Israel has been carrying out military raids in the occupied West Bank almost on a daily basis. At least 200 Palestinians and some 30 Israelis have been killed so far this year. In April, Israeli police raided Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest place of worship, triggering rocket attacks from Gaza, which were followed by Israeli air strikes. In July, Israel carried out a major raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. 
  • Currently, there is no peace process. Violence is perverse. And anger has been building up among Palestinians against both the Israeli occupiers as well as the Palestinian Authority, the provisional administration of the West Bank that is led by President Mohammad Abbas’s Fatah. By launching such a massive attack from Gaza (which is controlled by Hamas) and asking “all Arabs of Palestine”, including the Israeli Arab citizens to take up arms against the state of Israel, Hamas is both trying to cash in on the public anger against occupation and emerge as the sole pole of the Palestinian cause. 
  • Divisions in Israel Secondly, Israel is also going through a difficult phase. The country is ruled by its most rightwing government whose key domestic agenda is to overhaul the structures of power so that the elected government would be more powerful than other institutions. The government has already pushed one part of its ambitious legislative agenda seeking to curtail the powers of the judiciary through Parliament, which triggered massive protests. Thou- sands of military reservists, the backbone of the IDF, had joined the sitins and threatened to resign in protest against the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul plan. So the government’s focus was on its legislative agenda, rights groups are up in arms showing deep divisions in society, and there were re sending voices even within the military, Hamas might have thought that Israel was at a weak moment internally, which provides an opportunity for it to launch an unprecedented attack from Gaza and trigger more violence in the occupied West Bank.
  • Lastly, it is unlikely to be a coincidence that the Hamas attack came when Is strike: Smoke rises from an explosion caused by an Israeli and Saudi Arabia are in an advanced stage of normalisation talks. Recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview that both countries were making progress every day. If Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two holiest mosques of Islam and arguably the most influential Arab country, normalises ties with Israel (a deal which is being pursued actively by the Biden administration), it would not only reset West Asian geopolitical dynamics but also put Hamas at a further disadvantageous position. 
  • Such a realignment is also not in the interests of Iran (which backs the Islamic Jihad and Hamas) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has its own problems with Israel, Iran and Hezbollah were quick to welcome the Hamas operation, describing it as “heroic”. As Gaza is set to witness massive Israeli retaliation in the coming days, if not weeks, the prospects for an immediate normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be further complicated. 

11.U.S. decries attack on Israel, Egypt calls for restraint, Iran backs Hamas 

  • The U.S. on Saturday “unequivocally” condemned el attacks by “Hamas terrorists” against Israel and promised to ensure the key to U.S. ally has the means to ed defend itself. 
  • President Joe Biden was briefed on “the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel”, the White House said in a statement, adding that he was in close contact with Israeli partners as the situation developed.
  • “The U.S. unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding that “there is never any Justification for terrorism.” 
  • “We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Ms. Watson said. 
  • Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the U.S.’s “unwavering” commitment to ensuring Israel was able to enforce its right to defend itself. 
  • “Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to law. Defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism,” Mr. Austin said. 
  • U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also spoke to his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi on Saturday and will continue to stay in touch, according to the White House statement. 
  • French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he “strongly condemns the terrorist attacks that are currently striking Israel”. 
  • “I express my full solidarity with the victims, their families and their loved ones,” he said. 
  • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the taking of Israeli civilian hostages by Hamas as a violation of international 
  • Egypt, which shares border with Gaza, urged the Palestinians and Israel to “exercise restraint, while a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for the Hamas attack. 

12.ITBP on alert, conducting patrols along China border: Home Ministry 

  • The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) conducted 2,899 patrols along the China border between April and December in 2022, according to the 2022-23 annual report of the Union Home Ministry published on Friday. 
  • The Ministry said, “ITBP ensured security of border and remained vigilant during heightened security scenario along Indo-China Border.” It added that the patrols were conducted to keep a “strict vigil”. 
  • The number of patrols, around 300 a month, are said to have increased after the latest border row with China began in 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in eastern Ladakh on June 15, 2020. 
  • There are at least 26 patrolling points out of the 65 such points in eastern Ladakh that are not being patrolled by Indian troops since April-May 2020, though the two countries have held several rounds of talks to resolve the border issue. In eastern Ladakh, several areas that were being patrolled earlier have been turned into “buffer zones,” with the Chinese also not send LAC. troops. 
  • Patrolling points are often used to assert territorial claims along the undefined Line of Actual Control (LAC). There is no mutually agreed border on several stretches. 
  • In September 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had informed Parliament that face-offs with the Chinese PLA happened because “patrols were in- terrupted”, and there was no commonly delineate 
  • The ITBP man’s 180 border outposts along the 3,488-km border with China in the western, middle and eastern Himalayas, January 2020. 
  • Starting from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh in the west to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh in the east. The ITBP conducts short and long-range patrols, special missions, and joint patrols to dominate unmanned gaps along the China border. 
  • An official said that depending on the weather and operational requirement, each border outpost typically sends up to 10 patrols a month according to its “perception of the border”, The long-range patrols could last up to 30 days, the official added. 
  • India has been stepping up its vigil along the China border, and on February 15, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved raising seven new ITBP battalions, comprising 9,400 personnel, for deployment. At least 47 new border outposts and 12 staging camps are under construction in the State. The outposts were sanctioned in January 2020 

State News 

13.Anti-dust drive launched two days before schedule 

  • The Delhi government launched a month-long anti dust campaign on Saturday, two days ahead of its schedule. 
  • A total of 82 road sweeping machines, 530 water sprinklers, and 258 antismog guns have been deployed across the city as part of the campaign. 
  • The development comes a day after Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) slipped into the “poor category”, prompting the enforcement of Stage 1 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the National Capital Region. 
  • CAs of 7 p.m. on Saturday, the air quality remained “poor” at 214. A reading between zero and 50 on the AQI is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’. 
  • Earlier in the day, Environment Minister Gopal Rai conducted a surprise inspection in Wazirpur, identified by the government as one of the city’s pollution hotspots. He said three major factors were causing pollution in the area: illegal parking, traffic congestion and construction work. 
  • The Minister asked officials from the departments concerned to ensure that all construction sites in the city adhere to the dust control measures.” 
  • Private construction and demolition projects of 500 sqm or more need to dust campaigns. Be equipped with dust control equipment and be registered on the Delhi government’s portal for remote monitoring of dust mitigation measures. 
  • “The officials concerned have been instructed to ensure that water is sprayed on roads in mornings and evenings in the areas identified as pollution hotspots,” Mr. Rai said. 
  • He added that 591 teams from 13 departments have been deployed throughout the city to monitor the implementation of the antitrust campaign. 
  • Mr. Rai also said the enforcement of the recently launched action plan to deal with air pollution on spots is being monitored through the control centre set up by the government.
  • According to the Delhi government’s winter action plan, specific measures have been designed for each of the 13 pollution hotspots based on real time air quality data Collected from 40 air quality monitoring stations in the national capital.
  • The Committee for Air Quality Management, a statutory body responsible for proactively implementing GRAP, said various agencies, such as the Delhi Pollution Control Board, have been directed to ensure strict implementation of the pollution control measures.
  • The measures include sprinkling water on roads, using anti-smog guns and ensuring proper disposal of construction and demolition waste. It imposes a ban on the use of coal and firewood in hotels, restaurants and open eateries in the city. 

14.Don’t change names of places, warns Manipur govt. 

  • The Manipur government has asked organisations and individuals in the State not to change the names of “districts, sub-divisions, places, institutions, and addresses of such institutions” on their own to create possible conflict between communities.
  • The order, issued by Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi, on Friday night, warned of “appropriate actions”. There have been instances of some organisations changing the names of districts, places, and institutions on ethnic lines after the conflict broke out on May 3. 
  • Such actions create problems for the authorities, the order said. “It has come to the notice of the State government that many civil society organisations, institutions, establishments, and persons are deliberately renaming or trying to rename districts, sub-divisions, places, institutions, and addresses of such institutions,” the order said. 

15.Investigation into job fraud case political conspiracy to denigrate govt., says Kerala CM 

  • Kerala Police’s investigation into the appointment fraud using Health Minister Veena George’s office as a front acquired a political dimension on Saturday. 
  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan suggested in Kannur that the case’s proportions went beyond a simple instance of swindling. He termed it “a political conspiracy” to denigrate the Kerala government. 
  • “Falsehoods are short- lived. It is not the first attack against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, nor will it be the last,” Mr. Vijayan said. 
  • The Chief Minister said an agent provocateur with expertise in planting fake news and a few media organisations had orchestrated the scandal. The group had sought to implicate the “main person” in the Health Minister’s office in the fraud falsely. However, the police probe proved otherwise. Another recriminatory campaign against the government has failed, Mr. Vijayan said. 
  • Ms. George’s staff, who supposedly took money for facilitating the appointment, was in a different location at the time of the offence, the CM said. 
  • CPI(M) State secretary The Hindu E M.V. Govindan said no CPI VIJAYAWADA (M) worker was involved in the appointment fraud. He demanded a police investigation into the political conspiracy angle. 
  • An elaborate hoax promising temporary employment as a homeo medical officer in the Ayush Mission for 1.72 lakh has metastasised into a broad inter the ar vestigation following the former arrest of the prime suspect Chandrab and expelled CPI(M) workSeptember Akhil Sajeev. 
  • He was arrested by police in Theni district in Tamil Nadu on Friday. The police booked u suspect that Sajeev also orchestrated a comparable appointment fraud, progrounds missing employment for place cash in the Spices Board. 
  • The police said the detections so far were the tip graves s of the iceberg. 

16.Karnataka caste survey report to be submitted soon: CM 

  • Firmly rejecting the charge that a caste census would divide the society, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Saturday that such surveys were needed to remove social, economic and political in- equities in society.
  • Talking to reporters at the airport in Mysuru, he said in 2018 the then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswa- my refused to accept the report of the caste survey conducted in Karnataka during Mr. Siddaramaiah’s earlier term as CM.
  • “The then Chairman of Karnataka’s Permanent Backward Classes Commission Mr. [H.] Kantharaj came forward to submit it. Now, we have a different Chairman. I have told him To submit the report,” he said, adding that Jayaprakash Hegde, the current Chairman, plans to submit it in November. 
  • With the Nitish Kumar- led Bihar government re- leasing findings of its caste survey, pressure is mounting on the Karnataka government to make the 2015 socio-economic and educational survey public. 

17.Himachal limping back to normalcy; govt. spending 4,500 cr. On restoration 

  • The southwest monsoon, triggering incidents of cloud bursts, flash floods, and landslips, has completely withdrawn from Himachal Pradesh, even as the hill State is limping back to normalcy. 
  • The monsoon withdrew from the State on Friday, after a delay of 12 days from its normal date of de- parture i.e. September 24, according to the India Me- teorological Department at Shimla. There was 21% excess rain this year. 
  • The monsoon left as many as 509 people dead in rain-related incidents. The State has suffered a cumulative loss exceeding *9,712.50 crore, according to the State’s Emergency Operation Centre. 
  • Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu last week announced a special relief package, raising the compensation amount by up to 25 times against the prevailing norms. The government is spending a total of *4,500 crore to deal with the disaster, of which 750 crore is being spent on restoration and rehabilitation, and 1,000 crore for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. 
  • With the estimates still coming in, the Chief Minister has pegged the State’s losses at over 12,000 crore. 
  • Meanwhile, the train service on the UNESCO World Heritage Shimla-Kalka track resumed earlier this week after remaining suspended for close to three months. 
  • Tourists have also started trickling in now. Rajesh Sharma, who runs a budget hotel in Totu suburban area of Shimla, said the situation is improving and business has started picking up. 

18.Delhi Police’s claims bogus, untenable: NewsClick 

  • The Delhi Police’s allegations against NewsClick in its August 17 first information report (FIR) are ex face untenable and bogus, the news portal said in a statement on Saturday. It added that these allegations have already been made, time and again, in Investigations by three government agencies: the Enforcement Directorate, the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police, and the income tax department 
  • “None of these investigations led to any chargesheets or complaints over the last three years. In fact, Prabir (Purkayastha] was granted interim protection in these investigations. The latest FIR has been registered only to circumvent this protection and carry out illegal arrests under the draconian UAPA,” the statement said. 

Defence News

19.Navy forms new appraisal mechanism for its officers

  • The Indian Navy has institutionalised a new ‘transformative initiative’ of ‘960 Degree Appraisal Mechanism’ for various promotion boards, which it said is aimed to address the short- fall in the present assessments by “encompassing large-scale surveys from suitably identified peers and subordinates for every officer being considered for promotion.” 
  • “The survey (under the new mechanism) comprises a spectrum of questions, encompassing aspects such as professional knowledge, leadership attributes, suitability in war/ crisis and potential for holding higher ranks. Inputs, thus obtained, are suitably qualified for independent analyses by a nominated Board of Officers, headed by a Flag Officer,” it stated. “This will also be provided as feedback to the officers to effect behavioural changes and improvements.”In the run-up to the poll, Rajasthan govt. orders Bihar-like caste survey dedicated vessel and diving team from the Indian Navy,” the ISRO said. 

20.Territorial Army inducts five Chinese language interpreters for border talks 

  • The Territorial Army (TA) has inducted five Chinese language interpreters in August to assist the Army at the Border Personnel Meetings (BPM) with China, defence sources said. Also, there are plans for the recruitment of cyberexperts. 
  • As part of the overall force reorganisation, the Army is in deliberations with the TA to convert some of the regular units, primarily logistics-related, into TA battalions, in order to bring down financial outflow, sources said. 
  • “The process for recruitment of Chinese language interpreters started in January and they were inducted in August. Five interpreters were recruited as per the Army’s requirement,” a defence source said. 
  • On the recruitment of cyber experts, the source said that deliberations were under way.
  • The criteria for selection have been finalised and approval taken, and sanction for the proposal is expected by the month-end. 
  • On the conversion of some regular Army units into TA battalions, the sources said talks are in preliminary stages and once the sanction is received, a pilot project would be undertaken with a few units. 
  • The TA, which is a citizens’ force raised by an Act of Parliament in 1948, currently has 60 units, of which 14 are deployed in counter-insurgency duties in support of the Army and two units are on the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It has departmental TA battalions funded by the Ministries of Environment and Forests, Jal Shakti, Railways and Petroleum. 
  • TA units were deployed to support the Army in eastern Ladakh as part of Operation Snow Leopard at the peak of the stand-off with China in 2020, sources noted. 
  • Similarly, in May, as the crisis unfolded in Manipur, the TA oil units stepped in and took control of oil installations that were not operational and augmented manpower in order to ensure supplies of essential petroleum and oil products and refuelling of aircraft. 
  • Two new ecological battalions are set to be raised in Maharashtra later this month on the request of the State government.

Economy News

21.GST Council affirms 28% tax on online betting from Oct. 1 

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Saturday lowered the tax rates on certain millet based products, tweaked the age-related norms for members of the much awaited GST Appellate Tribunals, and ceded the taxation rights on extra neutral alcohol to the States, while clearing several long hanging issues. 
  • The council also signalled that there would be no backpedalling on the 28% levy to be imposed on bets made in online gaming, casinos and horse racing from October 1, despite 13 States not having passed the enabling laws yet. Tax demands worth an estimated 1.5 lakh crore served on e-gaming firms for the prior period were also discussed, but it was asserted that the amended GST law is not retrospective in nature. 

Appointment News

22. RBI appoints Muneesh Kapur as new Executive Director 

  • The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Muneesh Kapur as the Executive Director. 
  • Prior to being promoted as ED, Shri Kapur was Adviser-in-Charge, the Monetary Policy Department and Secretary to the Monetary Policy Committee. 
  • He also served as Adviser to the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund during 2012-15. 
  • As Executive Director, Kapur will look after the Department of Economic and Policy Research. 

Recent Appointment in Banking & Insurance Sector 

  • MD and CEO ICICI Lombard – Sanjeev Mantri (replace Bhargav Dasgupta) 
  • Vice-president for Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Market Solutions – Bhargav Dasgupta 
  • MD and CEO of HDFC Bank – Sashidhar Jagdishan (reappointment for 3 year) 
  • Chairman of Mastercard India- Rajnish Kumar (Former SBI Chief)
  •  Statutory auditor of Paytm – S.R. Batliboi 

23. Ramaswamy N appointed as CMD of GIC Re 

  • Ramaswamy N has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re). 
  • This appointment follows the decision by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. 
  • Ramaswamy, a veteran in the insurance industry, has diverse experience of over three decades at GIC Re.
  • He began his journey with GIC Re in 1988 as a direct recruit officer. Over the years, he managed a wide spectrum of non-life insurance classes, including Fire, Engineering, Miscellaneous, Motor, Liability, Aviation, Marine, and Agriculture. 

Recent Appointment in Banking & Insurance Sector 

  • MD & CEO of South Indian Bank – PR Seshadri 
  • Part-time chairman of Dhanalakshmi Bank – KN Madhusudanan 
  • Country head of Wholesale Banking at Yes Bank – Manish Jain (replace Ravi Thota)
  • Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Yes Bank – Pankaj Sharma 
  • Deputy Governor of RBI – M. Rajeshwar Rao (reappointment for 1 year) 

Banking and Financial News

24. Recent Facilities Launched in Banking & Insurance Sector 

  • PhonePe launched its own app store platform Indus Appstore 
  • Utkarsh Small Finance Bank launched of Interoperable Cardless Cash Withdrawal (ICCW) Using UPI on ATMs 
  • Axis Bank Launched ‘NEO For Business’ Ban Platform for MSMEs 
  • Ujjivan SFB launched Maxima Savings Account & Business Maxima Current Account 
  • ACKO Insurance introduced the ‘Platinum Health Plan’ 

Important day

25.6 October – World Cerebral Palsy Day

  • World Cerebral Palsy Day is observed every year on 6 October. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about Cerebral Palsy, support those living with the condition, and advocate for greater inclusion and understanding. 
  • It also emphasizes that when individuals, families, caregivers, and communities come together, they become a powerful force for positive change and inclusion. 
  • Theme 2023 – Together Stronger. 
  • Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. 

26.6 October – World Smile Day

  • World Smile Day is an annual celebration observed on the first Friday of October. This year it falls on October 6.
  • World Smile Day aims to promote goodwill and positivity by smiling at others and performing acts of kindness while serving as a reminder of the power of a simple smile to brighten someone’s day and improve the world around us. 
  • Theme 2023 – Radiate Joy 
  • The first World Smile Day celebration was held in Worcester, MA in 1999 as a way to encourage people to do acts of kindness and spread happiness by simply smiling, and has continued each year since then. 

Science and technology News

27.ISRO plans Gaganyaan unmanned flight tests, gears for abort mission 

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation. which is plancommence unmanned flight tests for the Gaganyaan mission, has started to make preparations for the Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-I CIV-DU 
  • Preparations for the abort mission, which demonstrates the performance of the crew escape system, are underway," the ISRO posted on X (formerly Twitter) 
  • Though the space agency has not announced the dare, the abort mission is expected by Octoberend from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. 
  • The ISRO said the astronauts would remain in a pressurised earth-like atmospheric condition in the crew module during the Gaganyaan mission 
  • The CM for the Gaganyaan mission is in different stages of development. For the TV-DI, the CM is an unpressurised version that has completed its integration and testing and is ready to be shipped to the launch complex. This unpressurised CM version has to have an overall size and mass of actual Gaganyaan CM. It houses all the systems for the deceleration and recovery. With its complete set of parachutes, recovery aids, actuation systems and pyros. The avionics systems in CM are in a dual redundant mode configuration for navigation, sequencing, telemetry, instrumentation and power. The CM in this mission extensively instrumented to capture the flight data for evaluation of the performance of various systems. The CM will be recovered after touchdown in the Bay of Bengal, using a dedicated vessel and diving team from the Indian Navy," the ISRO said. 
  • "The test vehicle is a single-stage liquid rocket developed for this abort mission. The payloads consist of the CM and crew escape systems (CES) with their fast-acting solid motors, along with CM fairing (CMF) and interface adapters. This flight will simulate the abort condition during the ascent trajectory corresponding to a Mach number of 1.2 encountered in the Gaga nyaan mission. 
  • CES with CM will be separated from the test vehicle at an altitude of about 17 km. Subsequently, the abort sequence will be executed autonomously commencing with the separation of CES and deployment of the series of parachutes, finally culminating in the safe touchdown of CM in the sea, 10 km from the coast of Sriharikota," it added. 
  • The CM, after integration, underwent various electrical testing, at ISRO's facility, including ant The Man acoustic test and was dishas ask patched to the SDSC on Au and indisgust 13. It will undergo vit not to chobration tests and "district pre-integration with the CES, before final integration to the test vehicle attions'' the launch pad. This miscreate sion with this CM is a significant milestone for the place.
  • Pertanyaan programmes as a near complete system is interwarne granted for a flight test. The tions success of this test flight stanc will set the stage for the remaining qualification tests of di and unmanned missions, leading to the first Gagaafter nyaa mission with Indian astronauts. 
  • The mission aims to demonstrate the capability to launch human beings (three crew members) to low earth orbit and bring them back safely to earth by landing them in either the Bay of Bengal or the raw Arabian Sea. For the Gaganyaan mission, four pilots t are undergoing training at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru. 

Sports News

28.India wins gold in Trap men’s team event 

  • Indian shooters wrapped up their historic campaign at the Asian Games 2023 with gold and silver medal in the men’s and women’s trap shooting team events, respectively, in Hangzhou.
  • Kynan Chenai, Zoravar Singh Sandhu and Prithviraj Toindaman won the gold medal for India in the men’s trap team with an Asian Games record of 361. 
  • The women’s trap team of Manisha Keer, Preeti Rajak and Rajeshwari Kumari won silver with a combined score of 337.
  • Medals in the trap team events at the Shotgun Ranges were awarded on the basis of cumulative scores of the shooters from each country in the qualifying round. 
  • Kynan Chenai missed just three shots in the qualifying round and topped with 122/125. 
  • The 46-year-old Zoravar Singh Sandhu, who was a member of the Indian men’s team that won a silver medal 25 years ago in Bangkok, was second in the qualifying round with 120. Prithviraj Toindaman was 11th with 119. 

29.Boxer Preeti Pawar settles for bronze in 54kg Weight Category

  • India’s Preeti Pawar won the bronze medal in the women’s 54kg category in boxing at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou. 
  • She lost to China’s Yuan Chang 0-5 on points in the semi-final at the Hangzhou Gymnasium. 
  • Preeti became the second boxer to win the bronze medal after Nikhat Zareen. It’s pertinent to note that Chang is the reigning Asian Games gold medallist. 
  • She won silver and gold medals at the Khelo India Youth Games in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and a silver medal at the Youth Asian Championships in 2021. Her transition to the senior level began with a bang, earning her a bronze medal at the 2022 Asian Championships in her first event at that level. 

30.Table Tennis players won bronze medal in women’s doubles tournament 

  • Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee have won the bronze medal in the women’s doubles in table tennis in the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou. 
  • The Indian duo lost to the North Korean pair of Sugyong Pak and Suyong Cha 11-7, 8-11, 11- 7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 2-11 in the semi-final at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium Table 1. 
  • Aykhika and Sutirtha fought hard for 59 minutes before going down. 

31.Athlete walks 100 m on slackline in less than two minutes, sets world record 

  • An athlete from China broke the world record for the ‘fastest 100 metres slackline walk’. 
  • Shi Hailin accomplished this feat by walking on a slackline suspended 100 metres above the ground between two hills in only 1 minute 14.198 seconds.
  • With this, he surpassed the previous record of 1 minute 59.73 seconds held by Lucas Milliard of France in 2016. 
  • The world record took place 1,600 m above sea level at the Guanyindang camp in Mount Wugong, Pingxiang. Though Hailin walked more than 222 m in total, he was timed specifically within a marked 100 m area. 

32.Arjun Singh and Sunil Singh Salam win bronze in Asian Games 2023 

  • India won the bronze medal in the men’s canoe double 1000m event at the Asian Games. 
  • The India duo of Arjun Singh and Sunil Singh finished third with a timing of 3:53.329.
  • This was India’s second Asian Games medal in canoeing, following a bronze medal by Johnny Rommel and Siji Kumar Sadanandan in the same event in Hiroshima in 1994. 
  • Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan won gold and silver respectively. 

33.Sonam Malik bags bronze in women’s freestyle 62kg category 

  • Indian grappler Sonam Malik took home a bronze medal in women’s freestyle 62kg category by China’s Long Jia at the ongoing 19th Asian Games.
  • The 21-year-old Indian got the better of Long Jia 7-5 by a solitary point to claim a podium finish. 
  • This achievement marks India’s third wrestling bronze medal in this edition of the Asian Games. 
  • Earlier, Sunil Kumar had secured a bronze in the Greco-Roman category, and Antim Panghal had won a bronze in the women’s 53kg category.

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