Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 20th November 2023

National News

1. WHO and Ministry of Ayush signed the Traditional and Complementary Medicine 

  • The Ministry of Ayush and World Health Organization (WHO) have signed the Traditional and Complementary Medicine ‘Project Collaboration Agreement’ in Geneva. 
  • The main objective of this agreement is to standardize Traditional and Complementary Medical Systems, integrate their quality and safety aspects into the National Health System, and disseminate them at the international level. 
  • Through this cooperation agreement, efforts will be made to connect Traditional and Complementary Medical Systems with the mainstream of the National Health System. 
  • To fulfil this objective, Traditional Medicine Global Strategy 2025-34 will be prepared by WHO with the support of the Ministry of Ayush. 
  • Other major objectives of the agreement include efforts to strengthen the system of training and practice in the field of Complementary Medicine System ‘Siddha’, formulation of guidelines for the listing of Traditional and Complementary Medicines, safety and related efforts, etc. 
  • An International Herbal Pharmacopoeia of herbs found in South-East Asia will be developed by the Ministry in collaboration with WHO. Efforts will be made under this agreement to integrate evidence-based Traditional and Complementary Medicines with the National Health System, conservation and management of biodiversity and medicinal plants, etc. 


2. 2-day Global Fisheries Conference 2023 begins in Ahmedabad 

  • Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala has inaugurated the two-day Global Fisheries Conference India 2023 in Ahmedabad. 
  • Theme 2023 – Celebrating Fisheries and Aquaculture Wealth
  • The conference aims to bring together key stakeholders on one platform for fruitful discussions, market insights and networking and serve as a platform to forge partnerships with national and international stakeholders and chalk out a roadmap for sustainable growth of India’s fisheries sector. 
  • Delegations from more than 10 countries, including France, Norway, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Greece, Spain, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, have confirmed they will physically participate in the conference. In addition, more than 50 other foreign diplomats are anticipated to join the meet virtually. 
  • Similarly, representatives from around 10 international organizations, including Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialists of the Asian Development Bank and the India Head of Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, will also attend the conference. 
  • The event is anticipated to attract 5,000 visitors, including farmers, vendors, representatives of cooperatives, and start-ups.


3. 54th International Film Festival of India opens in Goa 

  • The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) begins in Goa. The opening ceremony was held at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Bambolim. 
  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur has inaugurated the 9-day event, which will showcase 270 films. 
  • While the British film ‘Catching Dust’ is the opening movie, ‘The Featherweight’ from the US will be the closing film of the festival this year. 
  • Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to legendary Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas. 
  • The IFFI has started OTT Awards from this year, to recognize excellence in OTT series and films. 


International News 

4. UK Stance On Agri GI Items Remains Hurdle In FTA Talks With India 

  • The UK and India are in ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), with a major point of contention being the level of protection for Geographical Indication (GI) products in the agricultural sector. 
  • Once a product receives GI status, others cannot sell a similar item under the same name. The UK seeks heightened safeguards for its GIs, including renowned items like Scotch whisky, Stilton cheese, and Cheddar cheese. 
  • Notable Indian goods with GI tags include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving. 

 

5. India Dispatches Second Round Of Aid To Gaza Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict 

  • India has once again demonstrated its commitment to providing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip amidst the escalating conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists.
  • The second batch of aid, carried by the Indian Air Force’s C17 aircraft, comprises 32 tonnes of essential supplies. The aircraft is destined for the El-Arish Airport in Egypt, approximately 45km away from the Rafah crossing, the sole entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza. 
  • India’s consistent efforts to provide aid underscore the global call for solidarity in addressing the urgent humanitarian needs.


6. India-Bound Ship Hijacked By Yemen’s Houthi Rebels In Red Sea, Says IDF 

  • A cargo ship named “Galaxy Leader,” en route from Turkey to India, has been hijacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. 
  • Approximately 50 crew members from various nations were on board. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) confirmed the hijacking but clarified that the ship is not Israeli. 
  • The Washington Post reported ongoing US-mediated talks for a five-day ceasefire to facilitate aid shipments. 
  • Earlier reports on Qatari mediators seeking a deal for a three-day ceasefire in exchange for 50 hostages. 


7. Putin To Participate In Virtual G20 Meeting On November 22

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to participate in a virtual G20 leaders meeting on November 22, as reported by Russian state television. 
  • Notably, Putin has refrained from attending such meetings in person since the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 
  • The upcoming virtual meeting aims to build on the outcomes of the September session, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasizing its significance. 


8. Argentina Elects ‘Shock Therapy’ Libertarian Javier Milei as President 

  • Argentinians have elected Javier Milei as their next president. Mieli, known for his wild appearance and sensational rhetoric, pledged economic shock therapy and vowed to slash the size of the state during his campaign. 
  • With 55.8% of the votes, Milei’s victory marks the widest margin since Argentina’s return to democracy in 1983, defying all poll predictions. 
  • Drawing parallels with Trump, he also indicated a potential move of the Argentina embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, echoing a controversial move by the Trump admiWHO launches commission to foster social cohesion and loneliness 
  • The World Health Organization has announced a new Commission on Social Connection, to address loneliness as a pressing health threat, promote social connection as a priority and accelerate the scaling up of solutions in countries of all incomes. 
  • The Commission will consider how connection enhances the well-being of our communities and helps foster economic progress and social development. 
  • Running for three years, it will analyze the central role social connection plays in improving health for people of all ages and outline solutions to build social connections at scale.

About World Health Organization (WHO) 

  • Formation – 7 April 1948 
  • Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland 
  • First President – Andrija ┼átampar
  • Director General – Tedros Adhanom (Ethiopia)
  • Deputy Director General – Soumya Swaminathan (Indian) 
  • Member Countries – 194 


9. Administration Delegation from Palestinian Authority, Muslim nations to visit China amid Gaza war 

  • Top foreign policy officials from the Palestinian Authority and four Muslim-majority countries will visit China on Monday and Tuesday, Beijing announced, as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas claims thousands of civilian lives. 
  • The visiting delegation is set to include the Foreign Ministers of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Indonesia, as well as the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. 
  • will have in-depth communication and coordination with the joint delegation of Foreign Ministers of Arab and Islamic countries to promote a de-escalation of the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, protecting civilians, and justly resolving the Palestinian issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in a statement on Sunday. 
  • Following the outbreak of the war last month, Chinese officials, including Fo- "During the visit, China reign Minister Wang Yi, have called for an imme- diate ceasefire and a "cooling down" of the situation. 
  • China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians and supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
  • China has criticised U.S. support for Israel and denounced the veto of a UN Security Council resolution by the United States, which wanted a call for Israel's right to defend itself. 
  • Beijing's diplomatic presence in West Asia has grown in recent years, as it makes efforts to play pea- cemaker in a range of long- standing regional disputes. 
  • This year, China brokered a deal that saw long- time rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran agree to restore ties and reopen their respective embassies. 


State News

10. Modi has 'stolen' Congress's guarantees to face elections in five States: D.K. Shivakumar 

  • Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "stolen" the guarantees offered by the Congress to face the elections in five States, Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar on Sunday said that the BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) will withdraw the guarantees if votes are cast in their favour in the Lok Sabha elections. He also announced that a committee would be set up on November 28 to study the im- plementation of the guarantee schemes. 
  • "Both the BJP and the JD (S) had opposed the guarantees. The two parties will bring law to withdraw the guarantees. People should be made aware of their anti-people stance," the Deputy Chief Minister said at KPCC office here during the birthday celebration of former Prime Minister the late Indira Gandhi on Sunday. 
  • Stating that the fifth guarantee of financial assistance to unemployed graduates will be rolled out in December, he said: "The Congress will neither withdraw the guarantees nor reduce it. Mr. Modi has stolen Congress' guarantees to face the elections in five States." 
  • Mr. Shivakumar said that the government will set up a committee to study the reach of guarantees among people on November 28, which also happens to be the foundation day of the Congress. 
  • Urging people not to lose a golden opportunity, he said: "Nobody knows who will be there in the next four years. Every Congress worker should convince people that every family is saving more than *5,000 owing to the guarantee schemes." 
  • He also urged his partymen not to be bothered about who is made the BJP president or the Leader of Opposition. "The Congress's office-bearers should mandatorily understand the pros and cons of guarantees, and bring them to the notice of the government.” 


11. Partisan mischief Governors rejecting Bills without ca undermines parliamentary demARTIC 

  • Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi's act of withholding assent to Bills concerning universities in the State is nothing but constitutional tyranny. It is gross abuse of the power granted by the Constitution to give or refuse assent to Bills passed by the legislature. The grant of assent is a routine function of the titular head of state, and the exceptional power to withhold it is not meant to be exercised unreasonably. Rather, incumbents in Raj Bhavan ought to use this veto rarely, and only in flagrant instances when basic constitutional values are at stake. The Bills for which Mr. Ravi has refused approval, seeking mainly to take away the Governor's power to appoint Vice-Chancellors of universities and vest it in the State government. 
  • There is nothing in these Bills for the Governor to disapprove of, save a vested interest to retain the powers conferred on him in his capacity as Chancellor. The rejection of the Bills appears to be a cantankerous response after the Supreme Court made well-justified remarks on Governors delaying assent to Bills pending with them. On its part, the DMK government quickly convened a special session of the Assembly and adopted the same Bills again. The question arises whether it was under the belief that the Governor is bound to grant assent, if the same Bills were reconsidered and passed again by the House. The statute position is that these Bills have failed to become law. 
  • There is no remedy in the Constitution for a House aggrieved by the rejection of its Bills. The provision to Article 200, which makes the Governor's assent mandatory for Bills passed a second time, does not apply to Bills for which asset has been 'withheld', a term that essentially means 'rejected'. If the government was aware of this position and still ventured to adopt them again, it is possibly meant as a political message that it will not yield in the matter of pursuing its legislative measures. The effect of their fresh passage is that the Governor may treat them as fresh Bills. 
  • This means he is free to withhold assent yet again. In a sense, the Governor's action has helped highlight an undemocratic and anti federal feature in the Constitution that creates an unguided power to reject pieces of legislation passed by elected representatives. In its observations in ongoing proceedings concerning the Governor's powers, the Court has drawn attention to the fact that Governors are not elected. 
  • The Court must examine whether vesting that office with a veto over legislation violates parliamentary democracy, a basic feature of the Constitution. An authoritative pronouncement is needed to end the scope for partisan mischief.


Defence News  

12. France test-fires long-range ballistic missile ‘M51.3’ 

  • France has successfully test-fired an M51.3 long-range ballistic missile, boosting the credibility of France’s nuclear deterrence capabilities. 
  • The missile, which did not carry a nuclear weapon, was fired from the French army’s Biscarosse missile testing site in southwest France and landed in the North Atlantic, “hundreds of kilometres from any coastline. 
  • The M51.3 missile is an upgraded version of the M51, a three-stage sea-land strategic ballistic missile designed to be launched from French Navy submarines. 
  •  The M51 was first test-fired from a ground base in 2006 and from a submarine in 2010, the year it was commissioned. 
  • The new M51.3 missile, which is expected to enter service around 2025, is developed by aerospace firm ArianeGroup, a joint venture between Arbus (AIR.PA) and French defence group Safran (SAF.PA) 
  • Ballistic missiles are similar to rockets and follow elliptic trajectories after launch, often leaving the earth’s atmosphere to reach lower space, unlike cruise missiles, which typically follow straight trajectories at low altitudes, powered by continuous thrust until they reach their target.


Business News 

13. Bengaluru Tops In Women-Led Startups, Followed By Mumbai And Delhi 

  • India’s startup landscape has witnessed remarkable growth, emerging as the thirdlargest hub in the world, following the United States and China. 
  • According to the data of Traxon, Bengaluru is at the forefront of women-led startups, with 1,783 ventures, followed by Mumbai (1,480) and Delhi (1,195). 
  • Noida, Kolkata and Ahmedabad also make notable contributions, ranking eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively, showcasing the geographic distribution of women entrepreneurs in India. 


Economy News 

14. Global Economy: Inflation Essay In US, UK; India’s Trade Gap Widens In Oct 

  • Both the United States and the United Kingdom are facing a slowdown in inflation, sparking speculation that central banks on both sides of the Atlantic may consider interest rate cuts by the middle of next year 
  • While expectations for economic growth in Europe are on the rise, there are disparities within the European Union. 
  • The economic recovery in the EU’s eastern region remains fragile, even as other parts of Europe show signs of improvement. 
  • In Asia, the economic recoveries in China and Japan are facing uncertainties, with factors such as slowing consumption contributing to shaky prospects. 


15. Steering road safety in India back onto the right lane 

  • India's roads are a paradox. They represent an enormous and growing opportunity to commute and connect, to transport and travel. They go hand in hand with the country's modernisation and impressive economic progress. In this context, India has some of the greatest opportunities to build a strong road safety management framework, with strong helmet producers, car manufacturers, big tech and large road investments. And yet, as in many countries, they are also the source of a silent but deadly pandemic. 
  • Each year, a staggering 3,00,000 people are estimated to be killed on the road in India, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO). That is equivalent to more than 34 people every hour of every day. And that is a conservative estimate. The number of people suffering life-altering injuries in road crashes is exponentially higher even than that. Beyond human suffering, there is a serious economic toll: In India, road crashes are estimated to cost between 5% and 7% of national GDP. 
  • India, and the wider region in which it sits, is far from alone. Road safety is a global problem, with 1.3 million people killed in road crashes every year. But almost one in every four road deaths around the world takes place in India. 
  • World Day of Remembrance As the planet commemorated the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on November 19 to provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to remember, support and act, such figures should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. We need immediate, coordinated and evidence-based interventions to boost road safety and drastically reduce the daily human tragedies behind the alarming statistics. 
  • This will require strategic investments in road safety measures, concerted political will at the national, State and local levels, and a change of collective mindset. After all, every one of us is a road user in some way to understand and tackle the scale and importance of the challenge. Last week, the Government released a report that 2022 was the most fatal year for traffic crashes in India. 
  • Priority areas must include enforcing the use of seatbelts not just for drivers but also for their passengers. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by 45% to 50%, and the risk of death and serious injuries among rear seat occupants by 25%. Similarly, helmet use must be enforced among motorcyclists as well as their pillion passengers. Correct helmet use can lead to a 42% reduction in the risk of fatal injuries. 
  • Indeed, vulnerable road users, who include pedestrians, cyclists and the riders of twowheelers, account for almost three quarters of road deaths in India. And passengers unbelted in the back seat are not only risks to themselves upon impact but also to those in the front seat. 
  • Speeding must be reduced and there can be no tolerance for drink-driving; a recent report by the Government revealed that speeding led to 70% of India's road crash deaths. Road infrastructure should be enhanced too many roads are not in a safe condition, although government programmes in recent years have led to rapid improvements and large-scale public awareness campaigns such as the new UN global campaign for road safety #MakeASafetyStatement, involving international celebrities, must be undertaken to secure behavioural changes. 
  • The call to action is not new. The Sustainable Development Goals, created in 2015, include a target (3.6) to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road crashes and a call (11.2) to make public transport safer, more affordable and more accessible to all. 
  • The good news is that we are already seeing steps in the right direction in India. The national government's implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and enhanced data collection from road crashes, are impactful measures that will help experts better understand where and why crashes are occurring, and, therefore, how to reduce them. 
  • Police in the major cities, such as the capital, New Delhi, are adopting modern technologies such as intelligent traffic management systems to effectively regulate traffic flows in a much better way and minimise the potential for collision. To help increase access to safe helmets, the Special Envoy has worked with helmet producers to produce a low-cost ventilated United Nations standard helmet, for under $20, including here in India. 
  • Private sector companies are searching for solutions. This is only right: we cannot expect to succeed if we do not have a whole-of-society effort to improve road safety. But we are still only at the start of the journey. Your chances of surviving a road crash can vary enormously depending on what State you live in and what access you have to high quality emergency care services and proper after-care. 
  • We also need to look increasingly at international best practices and successes and then adapt them to India's specific needs and circumstances. 
  • Road safety is a complex and multi-dimensional challenge, but the benefits that come with addressing it can be equally profound. What we need is a comprehensive safe system approach as envisaged in the UN's the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, and full implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019. 
  • Ending the silent pandemic of road injuries will not only save lives but also strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for everyone. \


16. India’s GDP Surpasses $4 Trillion Mark: A Historic Milestone 

  • In a significant economic achievement, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has crossed the $4 trillion mark in nominal terms. 
  • India’s consistent efforts across various sectors, coupled with strategic policies and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, have played a pivotal role in achieving this historic milestone. 
  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) November bulletin revealed a stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the second quarter, surpassing the RBI’s initial forecast of 6.5%. 


17. Rural Retail Inflation Outpaces Urban Counterpart For 18 Out Of 22 Months 

  • Recent data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) reveals a concerning trend in India’s inflation dynamics. 
  • Despite initiatives like the extended free-food programme and ongoing efforts to stimulate rural demand, rural inflation stood at 5.12% in october 2023, showcasing a sustained upward trend in rural price levels. 
  • The persistently higher rural inflation raises questions about the effectiveness of the free-food programme, designed to alleviate economic strain in rural areas. 


18. India Set To Extend Rice Export Bans Through 2024, Impacting Global Prices 

  • India, the leading global exporter of rice, is anticipated to prolong its restrictions on overseas sales into the next year. 
  • For the past decade, India has been a major player in global rice exports, constituting almost 40% of the total. 
  • However, to maintain domestic supplies and curb price surges, the Indian government has imposed export duties and minimum prices. 
  • Notably, certain rice varieties, including broken and non-basmati white rice, are prohibited from export. 


Appointments News 

19. Mira Murati Appointed As Interim Chief Executive Officer At OpenAI 

  • OpenAI appointed Mira Murati as the interim Chief Executive Officer after the dismissal of its CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman on November 18. 
  • Mira Murati, a 34-year-old mechanical engineer born to Albanian parents, has been an integral part of the OpenAI team. She initially joined the company in 2018 as the Vice President of AI and partnerships. 
  • Murati played a pivotal role in various leadership teams at OpenAI, contributing to the development of groundbreaking projects such as ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Codex. 
  • Founded in 2015, OpenAI has been at the forefront of AI research and deployment. The company’s primary objective is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits society as a whole. 


Important Days News 

20. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2023

  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is recognized annually on November 19th. This day fosters gender-inclusive entrepreneurship and inspire the next generation of female leaders. 
  • It also serves as a platform to acknowledge the significant contributions of women in the business world. It is celebrated in 144 countries and 65 universities/colleges. 
  • Founded by Wendy Diamond in 2014, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day emerged in response to the challenges and opportunities faced by women in the entrepreneurial space. 


21. 19 November – World Toilet Day 

  • World Toilet Day is observed every year on 19 November. 
  • The main objective of celebrating this day is to make people aware of the cleanliness of toilets. 
  • On this day people are told about the importance of using toilets and cleanliness. This day is also used to create awareness about the cleanliness of toilets and also to stop people from defecating in the open. 


22. 20 November – World Children’s Day 

  • World Children’s Day is observed every year on 20 November. 
  • Objective – To recognize the rights, well-being, and potential of every child. Theme 2023 – For Every Child, Every Right 
  • This significant occasion marks the anniversary of two landmark documents that enshrined the fundamental rights of children globally – the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1989. 
  • The idea of a World Children’s Day was first proposed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1925. The ILO was concerned about the plight of children who were being forced into labor and were not receiving an education. 
  • In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming Universal Children’s Day. The date of November 20th was chosen to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. 


23. 20 November – Africa Industrialization Day 

  • Africa Industrialization Day is celebrated on November 20 each year. 
  • It’s a period when governments and organizations in several African countries consider how to accelerate the continent’s industrialization. 
  • It’s also an opportunity to draw international media attention to Africa’s industrialization concerns and challenges. 
  • A geographical representation of Africa, including the island of Madagascar, is a popular symbol of Africa Industrialization Day. 
  • Flags of African international organizations, including the African Union, as well as a variety of national flags, are hoisted in celebration. 
  • In July 1989, the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) conducted its 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 
  • Africa Industrialization Day was announced on November 20 during this session. Africa Industrialization Day was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on December 22, 1989, and on November 20, 1990, it was celebrated for the first time. 


Award News 

24. Indira Gandhi Peace Prize For 2022 Presented To COVID-19 Warriors 

  • The prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2022 was jointly awarded to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Trained Nurses Association of India.
  • The award ceremony took place on November 19, where former Vice-President Hamid Ansari presented the honor to Dr. Sharad Kumar Agarwal, President of the IMA and Professor (Dr.) Roy K. George, President of the Trained Nurses Association of India. 
  • This recognition extends to every doctor, nurse, paramedic and support staff for their selfless service, dedication and perseverance in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. 


25. Perumal Murugan wins JCB Prize for Literature 

  • Tamil writer Perumal Murugan won the coveted JCB Prize for Literature for his novel, Fire Bird, an English translation of his Tamil novel Aalanda Patchi. 
  • The award carries ₹25 lakh cash prize. The translator is Janani Kannan and the work was published by Penguin. 
  • The prize aims to celebrate Indian writing and to help readers across the world discover the very best of contemporary Indian literature. 
  • It makes significant awards also to translators; without whose work no reader can appreciate the scale and diversity of literature written in over 20 languages. 


26. Droupadi Murmu To Confer President’s Colour Award To AFMC On Dec 1 

  • On December 1, President Droupadi Murmu is set to confer the prestigious President’s Colour to the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in a grand ceremony, marking its platinum jubilee year. 
  • The AFMC stands as a beacon of medical education within the AFMS and is recognized globally for its ethos and unwavering commitment to the highest standards of medical training. 
  • The institution has played a pivotal role in shaping medical professionals for the Armed Forces, contributing to the healthcare backbone of the nation. 
  • The President’s Colour, also known as ‘Rashtrapati ka Nishaan,’ holds the distinction of being the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any military unit. 

Recent Awards 

  • Maharashtra’s Lata Mangeshkar Award 2023 – Suresh Wadkar 
  • First ‘Lifetime Disturbing the Peace Award’ – Salman Rushdie 
  • Champions of Change Award by the Interactive Forum on Indian Economy – Dr. Somdutta Singh 
  • 19th Kalakar Puraskar’ Award – Apolinaris D’Souza 
  • Global Responsible Tourism Award 2023 – Kerala


27. Sheynnis Palacios crowned Miss Universe 2023 

  • Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios has been crowned Miss Universe for the year 2023, marking her country’s first win at the international beauty pageant. 
  • The 72nd edition of the Miss Universe pageant was held at the Jose Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador. 
  • Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild emerged the first runner-up and Miss Australia Moraya Wilson was named the second runner-up at the event. 
  • Palacios was crowned by USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel, who held the title of Miss Universe for the year 2022. 
  • According to Miss Universe, Palacios is a 23-year-old mental health activist and audiovisual producer from Managua, Nicaragua. 
  • Palacios bested entrants from 83 other countries, including Miss India Shweta Sharda, who was called into the list of top 20 contestants. 
  • Erica Robin, who was crowned the first ever Miss Universe Pakistan 2023, also made it to the top 20. 


Sports News

28. Virat Kohli earns the “Player of the Tournament” title in the Cricket World Cup 2023 

  • Indian star batter Virat Kohli has been awarded with the “player of the tournament” title in the ICC World Cup 2023 for his exemplary performance. 
  • Kohli scored a total of 765 runs in 11 innings, the highest-ever runs scored by a batter in a single edition of the World Cup. He averaged at 95.62, and ended up with a strike rate of 90.3 The former Indian skipper also added 6 fifties & 3 centuries to his name. 
  • Australia won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 
  • Australia lifted the ICC Men’s Cricket world cup defeating India by six wickets in the final at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad. 
  • Chasing a modest target of 241 runs, Australia completed the task in 43 overs for the loss of four wickets with a gritty century knock of Travis Head, after some initial setbacks. He made 137 and was declared Player of the Match. 
  • Earlier, India managed to post 240 runs in the stipulated 50 overs. The highlight of the Indian innings was half-centuries by Virat Kohli and K L Rahul. Rahul made 66 while Virat scored 54 runs. Skipper Rohit Sharma also made quick 47. 
  • With this win Australia has won the World Cup title 6 times viz. 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015 and 2023. 


29. Odisha government launches sports-based youth outreach; aimed at political gain: Opposition

  • At a time when Assembly elections are being held in five States, the Naveen Pat- naik government in Odisha has launched an ambitious initiative aimed at the youth. The Integrated Youth Development Pro- gramme (IYDP) envisages a flurry of sports tournaments and cultural competitions for students through December and January, barely a few months before the 2024 Lok Sabha election. 
  • While the Odisha government says the scheme's primary aim is to foster engagement of youth in sports, culture, and social endeavours, dissenting voices from Opposition parties dismissed it as a calculated move for political advantage. 
  • Over 12,000 teams with members in the age group of 13-35 years have registered to participate in tournaments in six disciplines cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi, kho-kho, and volleyball under the 'Yuba Odisha Naveen Odisha (Nua- O)' initiative. Currently, the Department of Sports and Youth Services has 5,000 teams registered for cricket, 2,000 teams for football, 200 teams for hockey, 1,300 teams for kabaddi, 700 teams for khokho, and 1,700 teams registered to compete in volleyball. 
  • According to the department, a group of youth with a genuine phone and WhatsApp number, and Aadhaar cards, can register their team for any of the six disciplines, and be- come eligible to participate in block-level sports tournaments to be funded by the State government. Six departments have been roped in to ensure the scheme reaches all sections of youths. The Sports Department has already started placing funds with educational institutes under five different categories. 


30. Aussies overpower India, win their sixth World Cup 

  • India's dream run in the World Cup concluded in despair as Australia won cricket's premier championship for the sixth time. 
  • In the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Sunday, on a slow pitch, India mustered 240 in 50 overs and despite causing some initial bruises on the Aussies, found Pat Cummins and his men cantering home with 241 for four in 43 overs. 
  • The six-wicket triumph reiterated Australia's cricketing pedigree and for people waking up there, Monday morning will be all about good tidings. 
  • Opener Travis Head's excellent 137 (120b, 15x4, 4x6) proved to be the cornerstone of Australia's success after David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, and Steve Smith fell early. 
  • It was the game's tipping point but left-handed Head and Marnus Labus- chagne stitched a fabulous 192-run partnership for the fourth-wicket to ensure Australia stayed ahead. 
  • The final, watched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the end, had started rather well for India as captain Rohit Sharma hit a brisk 47 and Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul scored half-centuries. 
  • However, the other batters struggled as the Australians bowled tight lines, fielded with alacrity and kept rising out wickets. 
  • As a grim night wore on, the Men in Blue found their World Cup dreams in tatters. 
  • Having won 10 games on the trot, Rohit's men had stepped in as the favourites to wrest the title. But Australia had other ideas and India had to rest content with the World Cups won in 1983 and 2011 
  • Storage in Cauvery basin reservoirs dips to nearly half their gross capacity 
  • The water level in the four major reservoirs in Karnataka's Cauvery basin has dipped to nearly half of their cumulative gross capacity and is a pointer to the unfolding crisis in the weeks ahead. 
  • The available quantity should not only meet the drinking water requirements of major towns and cities, including Bengaluru and Mysore, but should last till the onset of the monsoon next year which is sometime in June. 
  • The cumulative storage in Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS), Kabini, Hemavathi, and Harangi was 59.07 thousand million cubic ft (tmcft) as on Saturday as against the gross capacity of 114.57 tmcft or 51.56% of the storage capacity. The storage position in the reservoirs during the corresponding period last year was 100.69 tmcft. 
  • Having suffered a 26% rainfall deficiency during the southwest monsoon season, the northeast monsoon pattern shows a 31% deficiency in south-interior Karnataka. 
  • Though the region is not a major beneficiary of northeast monsoon, it has not received even the nominal quantum that could have increased moisture index and helped recharge groundwater level to an extent and reduced the dependence on the dam. 
  • As against the normal rainfall of 178 mm for the period October 1 to November 19, the region received 124 mm. The cumulative deficiency since June 1 is now 28%, according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre. 
  • But with respect to other districts that include Chamarajanagar, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Chickballapur, Kolar, Tumakuru, Davangere, Chitradurga, and Bengaluru Urban, the deficiency ranges from 26% to 55%, which will accentuate the drought conditions in the State. 


Miscellaneous News

31. Ladakh secures 4th GI tag for sea Buckthorn 

  • In Ladakh, after GI Tag for Apricot (Raktsey Karpo), Pashmina, and Ladakhi Wood Carving, the Geographical Indication Registry, operating under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has officially granted the GI tag to the Department of Industries & Commerce, Ladakh and approved it as the Registered Proprietor for ‘Ladakh Sea Buckthorn’ in Class 31. 
  • Farmers of Kargil are very excited for this special recognition for Sea Buckthorn, one of the most profitable crop of UT Ladakh having 90 % production from Ladakh in India. 


32. Kerala to expand farming of Gl-tagged Onattukara sesame 

  • Efforts are being made to expand the cultivation of geographical indication (GI)-tagged Onattukara se- same in Alappuzha district of Kerala. 
  • Authorities have announced an incentive scheme for growing se-same on fields and homesteads in the Thekkekara Krishi Bhavan limits. Mavelikara Thekkekara grama cal Krishi Bhavan, Onattu Panchayat president K. Mohankumar said a financial assistance of 240 for a cent of land would be given to farmers for cultivating sesame. 
  • Ara Vikasana Agency (OVA), Onattukara Region-al Agricultural Research Station (ORARS), Krishi Vi-gyan Kendra, Kayamku-lam, and Mavelikkara Thek-kekara panchayat.
  • The project, which was launched recently, is a joint initiative involving the reservoirs s capacity index and helped recharge groundwater level to an extent and reduced the dependence on the dam. As against the normal Yet another user suggested that the calf be named after the Chief Minister as "you are cute too, sir". 


Obituary News

33. Former RBI Governor S Venkitaramanan passes away

  • Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), S Venkitaramanan passed away recently at the age of 92.
  • Venkataraman managed the affairs at the central bank when the country faced two major crisis – balance of payment crisis that led to the pledging of gold and the securities scam triggered by Harshad Mehta – in the 1990-92 period. 
  • He served as Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance for a period of four years from 1985 to 1989 when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country. 
  • Venkitaramanan, who had finished his civil service career by 1990, moved on to Karnataka as an adviser to the Governor during President’s rule there, before taking over as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in December 1990 — an appointment that came on the back of Rajiv Gandhi’s support whose backing was critical for the survival of the then Chandra Shekhar government. 
  • In the early part of 1991, up to April-May, when the balance of payment crisis deepened — marked by Indian banks even being denied overnight borrowings from abroad, NRIs withdrawing deposits and a downgrade by global credit rating agencies — at the RBI, Venkitaramanan began working on the phone with various central banks. 


34. Scholar stands by his lecture at O.P. Jindal University, regrets its 'misinterpretation’

  • After the Haryana-based O.P. Jindal Global University asked critically acclaimed writer and former Delhi University Professor Achin Vanaik to "express regret" over his remarks in a closed lecture titled "The history and politics of the Palestinian present', he told The Hindu that he had informed the university that he stood by what he had said in the lecture, and regretted its misinterpretation and the confusion that had arisen as a result. 
  • After Professor Vanaik's lecture on November 1, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, in a letter addressed to the founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal University, C. Raj Kumar, was critical of the lecture. "I cannot understand why an event delegitimising the state of Israel was hosted at the University," Mr. Gallon's letter stated. 
  • Professor Vanaik said that Israel had been characterised as a settler-colonial apartheid state by many groups and individuals. 
  • 'Objectionable remarks' On November 13, Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, registrar, O.P. Jindal University, wrote in a letter to Professor Vanaik that the latter's remarks that "Hindutva is anti-Muslim" were unnecessary and objectionable. This is not something that I say but many people say because Hindutva is exclusivist. It is open to interpretation that it is discriminatory. When you prioritise one particular community, this is in contrast with another conception of nationalism, which in India is that of composite nationalism," Prof. Vanaik said. Mr. Patnaik, in his letter, also said: "Your remarks about motivation of suicide bombers and terrorists in- tended to explain that they are more determined to die for their cause than to kill came across as an expression of sympathy towards them instead of unalloyed condemnation of the violence and death caused by them." 

  • Prof. Vanaik said there had been a large turnout at the lecture; many had re- corded and posted parts of it online. "The idea that I am pro-terrorism is absolute nonsense. My words were absolutely taken out of context," he said.
  • "I would like to clarify here that I do consider Hamas's action as a terrorist action and criticise it. But terrorism is something that individuals, groups, and apparatus of states also carry out and one must be universal and impartial in condemning terrorism no matter who the agents are. It should be understood as a reference to a means or a method," he added. 


35. Tentative Gaza deal reached to free Winter is in hostages and pause fighting: report 

  • Israel, the U.S., and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in ex- change for a five-day pause in fighting, a U.S. media report has said, citing people familiar with the deal. 
  • While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials said on Sunday that no deal had been reached yet, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said he had growing confidence that a hostage deal would be reached and the challenges that remained were "very minor". "The challenges facing the agreement are just practical and logistical," he said at a press conference with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Doha.
  • The hostage release could begin within the next several days, barring last-minute hitches, according to people familiar with the detailed, six-page agreement, the media report said on Saturday. Under the agreement, all parties will freeze combat operations for at least five days, while 50 or more hostages are released in groups every 24 hours, the report said. Hamas had taken about 240 hostages during its October 7 rampage inside Israel. The pause is intended to allow humanitarian aid in, the report said, adding the outline for the deal was put together during weeks of talks in Qatar. 


36. Workers complete a week in tunnel; rescue efforts on 

  • A s a week has passed since 41 workers have been trapped in an under-construction tunnel that collapsed in Uttarkashi on November 12, authorities have decided to a create a "canopy" to secure the structure at its entrance while drilling to create an escape route, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Anurag Jain said here on Sunday. 
  • After repeated failure in drilling through rubble to fashion an escape route for the workers, the authorities decided to create the canopy so that the drilling does not disturb the tunnel's structural integrity. 
  • Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari arrived at the site on the day. "A technical solution has been arrived at for the auger machine," Mr. Gadkari told press persons, referring to the canopy and the machinery used to drill through the rubble to insert a wide pipe through which workers can crawl out. 
  • Asked if the auger machine was working, Mr. Gadkari said it was, but it was unclear if drilling on this front had resumed. The machine stopped working on Friday afternoon after the drill encountered hard material, leading to "vibrations'' that worried engineers about more rubble falling. 
  • Mr. Gadkari, pressed on a timeline, said, "If the auger machine continues drilling... with God's blessings we should be able to complete the rescue in two-and-a-half days. 
  • Five approaches to the workers are being explored simultaneously on top of the auger machine at the southern entrance. The machine has so far only drilled 22 metres into the rubble. Authorities have placed personnel from various public sector bodies in charge of the oth- er approaches, such as on the other side of the tunnel and at a spot above the mountain. ONGC Ltd., Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd., and the Border Roads Organisation are among those involved. 
  • Heavy machinery and concrete blocks were being ferried to the site throughout the day. Mr. Gadkari said that aerial surveys were being explored by the Survey of India, and that robotic systems may be sent inside the tunnel, though he did not provide details of these proposals. 


37. Declare all mandals in Prakasam drought-hit 

  • The Opposition Congress party urged the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government to declare all the 38 mandals in Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh as drought-hit and provide relief to the affected farmers in light of the extreme dry spell. Congress Prakasam unit President Eda Sudhakar Reddy said that it was unfortunate that the ruling YSRCP remained indifferent to the plight of farmers. 
  • The netizens flooded his handle with names to choose from."Bapukon, if it is a male. Maloti, if it is a female," a user suggested while another said Apoorva, meaning rare in Sanskrit would be apt since giraffes are rare in India. 
  • Yet another user suggested that the calf be named after the Chief Minister as "you are cute too, sir". 
  • A fourth suggested that the calf be named after the player of the match of Sunday's cricket World Cup final. 
  • Zoo's Divisional Forest Officer Ashwini Kumar said the birth of the calf was special since a giraffe had been born in Assam for the first time. "The baby is healthy and so is the mother," he said.Making public education inclusive. 
  • Affordable for all sections of society so that development is truly inclusive. Yet, a study by IIM Ahmedabad's Right to Education Resource Center confirmed the well-known but disconcerting truth that parents lack trust in government schools due to poor quality of education and prefer to admit their children into private schools even if that means spending significantly more on tuition and other fees. However, the Odisha government's revolutionary reforms in the State's public education sector through the Odisha Adarsha Vidyalayas (OAV), the 'Mo School' Abhiyan, and the 5T-High School Transformation Programme are on their way to making government schools better than private schools in all parameters-infrastructure, affordability and quality. 
  • English-medium education Education World India School Rankings 2022-23 ranked the OAV in Polasara block of Ganjam district the fifth-best school in the government-run day school category, and two more OAVS among the top 10. In order to address the struggle faced by students in securing admission to the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools after the first standard, the OAVS provides admission at the secondary stage. Odisha's OAV model aims to bridge the rural-urban gap by providing accessible, qualitative and affordable English-medium education. There are 315 English medium co-ed OAVS in all 314 blocks in rural and semi-urban areas (as of February 2023). They ensure representation for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and female students through reservations. This has led to a higher enrolment of female students (43,410) compared to males (30,949). Thirty-one vulnerable children who had beend abuse, trafficking child labour, and child marriage were rescued and prepared for the OAV entrance in 2021. OAVS also provides different types of coaching facilities to enable students to crack national-level tests. Twenty-four OAV students cracked the NEET exam in July 2023. OAVS have promoted social equity by providing a level playing field to students from rural and poor socioeconomic backgrounds 
  • To address pedagogical gaps, the OAV model focuses on continuous teacher education programmes and maintains a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:25. It has also leveraged digital technology to enhance the accountability and transparency of the system. The Enterprise Resource Planning system and OAV Sangathan website help track the academic and non-academic progress of each child alongside monitoring the performance of each school, enabling timely strategic interventions. Plans are afoot to transform the OAVS into scientifically upgraded Centres of Excellence to foster an ecosystem of innovation and inquiry-driven learning. 
  • The alumni connect In 2017, Odisha launched the School Abhiyan, a one-of-its-kind initiative that strives to motivate and mobilise the alumni community to contribute towards revamping the government schools in Odisha. Founded on five pillars-connect, collaborate, contribute, create and celebrate the programme connects the schools with alumni from various fields and promotes alumni mentorship for the studentsDeeper collaboration between the alumni, school authorities, and the district administration facilitates students' exposure to exchange programmes, sports and cultural events, and also helps in creating stronger infrastructure. More than 33,000 schools in about 30 districts in Odisha have seen engagement from over six lakh alumni members under theiYour School Abhiyan. 
  • The School Adoption Programme (SAP), under the above programme, enables the alumni to make financial contributions to the schools adopted by them. More than 5.5 lakh contributors including ministers, MPs and MLAS, bureaucrats, professionals, and judges have contributed more than 797 crore in 40,855 schools. 
  • High school transformation The 5T-High School Transformation Programme is rooted in the 5T concept of transparency, technology, teamwork, and timeliness leading to transformation. Launched in 2021, the programme focuses on the adoption of educational technology, in the form of smart and digital classrooms, e-libraries, modern science laboratories, improved sanitation facilities, and sports facilities in all high schools. As of today, a total of 6,872 high schools have been transformed at a cost of 13,411 crore. The programme also caters to the needs of specially abled children. It provides assistive devices and tailored teaching-learning materials for students with autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. The government has also launched campaigns like 'Mo School Hockey Clubs' and 'Football for All', thus enabling holistic development of students' personalities. This proactive approach to transforming the education system has led to an unprecedented shift in enrolment patterns. In 2019-20, private schools had 16,05,000 students; in 2021-22, this number dwindled to 14,62,000. Currently, 81% of students in the State are studying in government schools. 
  • The interventions by the Odisha government led by Naveen Patnaik have ensured that education is treated as a public good in essence and spirit and have created a strong legacy of an education model founded for equality and excellence 


38. Health workers evacuate 31 'very sick babies from Gaza hospital

  • Thirty-one premature babies were safely transferred from Gaza's main hospital to another in the south on Sunday, and will be moved to Egypt, health officials said, as scores of other critically wounded patients remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.
  • The fate of the newborns at Shifa Hospital had captured global attention after the release of images showing doctors trying to keep them warm. A power blackout had shut down in Cubators and other equipment, and food, water and medical supplies ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital. World Health Organiza- tion chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media that the "very sick" babies were evacuated, along with six health workers and 10 staff family members. He said they were taken to a hospital in the southern Gaza city of Rafah where they are receiving urgent care. They were taken in ambulances of the Palestinian Red Crescent.A WHO team that visited the hospital on Saturday said 291 patients were still there, including the babies, trauma patients with severely infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries who are unable to move. Four babies died before their visit, according to Mohamed Zaqout, director of Gaza hospitals. 
  • About 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left Shifa Hospital Saturday morning, the WHO said. It said 25 medical staff remained, along with the patients. 
  • Israel has long alleged that Hamas maintains a sprawling command post inside and under Shifa, part of its wider accusation that the fighters use civilians as cover. 
  • Hamas and hospital staff deny the allegations, and critics have held up the hospital as a symbol of what they say is Israel's reckless endangerment of civilians. Thousands have been killed in Israeli strikes, and there are sev ere shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel in the besieged territory. 
  • Israel's military said Yemen-based Houthi rebels had seized a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea but said no Israelis were on board and that it was not an Israeli ship. 
  • Heavy clashes were reported in the built-up Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza overnight into Sunday 
  • More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian health authorities. A further 2,700 have been reported missing, believed buried under rubble. The count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants 
  • Around 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas' October 7 attack, in which the group dragged some 240 captives back into Gaza and shattered Israel's sense of security. The military says 52 Israeli soldiers have been killed. 


Indian News

39. The role of the Governor in legislature 

  • Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi has 'withheld' assent for certain Bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. This follows the Supreme Court expressing 'serious concern' over inaction by the Governor on Bills presented for his assent. The court expressed displeasure on similar delays by Governors of Telangana, Punjab and Kerala. 
  • What does the Constitution say? Article 200 of the Constitution lays down that when a Bill, passed by a State Legislature, is presented to the Governor for their assent, they have four alternatives-may give assent to the Bill; may withhold assent to the Bill, that is, reject the Bill in which case the Bill fails to become law; may return the Bill (if it is not a Money Bill) for reconsideration of the State Legislature; or may reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President. As held by the Supreme Court in various cases including the Shamsher Singh case (1974), the Governor does not exercise their discretionary powers while withholding assent or returning a Bill to the State Legislature. They are required to act as per the advice of the Council of Ministers. The situation of 'withholding assent' may arise in case of a Private Members' Bill (any Member of State Legislature other than a Minister) passed by the State Legislature, which the council of ministers do not want to be enacted into a law. In such an instance, they would advise the Governor to 'withhold assent'. However, this is an unlikely scenario as the council of ministers who enjoy a majority in the Legislative Assembly would not allow the passage of such a Bill. Secondly, if the incumbent government whose Bill has been passed by the legislature falls or resigns before it is assented to by theGovernor, the new council may advise the Governor to 'withhold assent'. 
  • The return of any Bill to the State Legislature for reconsideration is also to be done based on ministerial advice. However, Governors in the past have exercised their discretion in returning Bills, like the Tamil Nadu Governor with respect to the Bill prohibiting online gambling. However, the Governor shall assent to such a Bill if it is passed again by the State Legislature. 
  • The Governor must reserve certain Bills, like those which reduce the powers of the High Court, for the consideration of the President. They may also reserve Bills on concurrent lists that are repugnant to a Union law based on ministerial advice. It is only under rare circumstances that the Governor may exercise their discretion, where they feel that the provisions of the Bill will contravene the provisions of the Constitution and therefore, should be reserved for the consideration of the President. It must however be noted that the Constitution does not lay down any time limit within which the Governor is required to make a decision. 
  • What were the recommendations? The Sarkaria Commission (1987) has submitted that it is only the reservation of Bills for consideration of the President, that too under rare cases of unconstitutionality, that can be implied as a discretionary power of the Governor. Save in such exceptional cases, the Governor must discharge his functions under Article 200 as per the advice of ministers. It further recommended that the President should dispose of such Bills within a maximum period of six months. In the event of the President 'withholding assent', the reasons should be communicated to the State Government wherever possible. The Punchhi Commission (2010), had recommended that the Governor should take a decision with respect to a Bill presented for their assent within a period of six months. However, these recommendations have not been implemented till date. 
  • How can this impasse be resolved? The underlying disease that has plagued our federal set up has been the politicisation of the gubernatorial post. Many political leaders starting from C. N.. Annadurai to Nitish Kumar have called for the abolition of the Governor's post in the past. However, as per our Constitutional scheme, there is a need for a nominal head of the State executive just like the President for the Union executive. Further, the Governor acts as an appointee of the Centre who may be required for maintaining the unity and integrity of the nation in critical times. However, federalism is a basic feature of our Constitution and the Governor's office should not undermine the powers of elected governments in the States. As the Supreme Court observed, it is necessary for the Governors and Chief Ministers to do 'a little bit of soul-searching'. The Constitution may be amended to provide that the Chief Ministers shall be consulted before appointment of the Governors. The recommendation of the Punchhi Commission that Governors may be removed through an impeachment by the State Legislature can also be considered. This would arm the State legislatures with the power to remove an uncooperative Governor. These amendments would have a salutary effect on the Central and State Governments resulting in responsible cooperation in the matters of appointment and functioning of the Governors. 
  • Rangarajan R is a former IAS officer. He currently trains civil-service aspirants at "Officers IAS Academy. He has authored the book 'Polity Simplified' for civil service exams. Views expressed are personal. 


40.  Assam CM triggers 'name game' for baby giraffe in zoo 

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has triggered a game of suggesting names for a giraffe born in the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, also known as the Guwahati Zoo. 
  • Taking to X on Sunday, he announced the birth of a female calf born to Vijay, a male giraffe brought from Mysore in 2019, and Vijaya the female from Patna in 2022. The giraffes were brought under an animal exchange programme. 
  • "Happy to share that the Assam State Zoo has been. blessed with a cute baby Giraffe just three days ago. Any suggestions for naming the newborn?" Dr Sarma wrote, sharing two photos of the calf. He did not mention the calf's gender. 


41. 77 Indian military personnel in Maldives, pacts reviewed’ 

  • There are 77 Indian military personnel in the Maldives and the new government here is reviewing more than 100 agreements signed with New Delhi, a senior Maldivian official said on Sunday, a day after President Mohamed Muizzu formally requested India to withdraw its troops from the is- land nation. 
  • Adt a press conference here, the Undersecretary for Public Policy of the Presidential Office, Mohamed Firuzul Abdul Khaleel, said the new administration had established that there are 77 Indian military personnel in the Maldives. 
  • There were 24 Indian military personnel to manage the first helicopter, 25 to manage the Dornier aircraft, and 26 to manage the second helicopter, and two more for maintenance and engineering, Mr. Firuzul was quoted as saying by the Maldivian media. 
  • He said that President Muizzu, who won the presidential election in September, has initiated efforts to expel all 77 from the Maldives. 
  • During a meeting with Union Minister requested the Indian government to India's key maritime neighbours in the strategic Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties, including in areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory un- der the government of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 
  • During a meeting with Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju here on Saturday, Mr. Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to have their military personnel removed from the Maldives. 
  • Mr. Rijiju called him Mr.Muizzu at his office, a day after attending the Maldi- vian leader's inauguration ceremony. 
  • Mr. Muizzu had built his presidential campaign against Mr. Solih on the promise of expelling In- dian military personnel from the Maldives. He also said he would review the agreements between Maldives and India, and disclose its contents where possible. 
  • Mr. Firuzul said the former administration of Mr. Solih signed over 100 agreements with India, and that the new administration is reviewing them, Sun.mv.com reported. The agreements in question include the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) agreement and other defence agreements, the report said. 
  • Soon after the oath-taking on Friday, President Muizzu asserted that he was firmly committed to ensuring that his country remains "free" of any "foreign military presence" to preserve its independence and sovereignty.


42. L-G refuses to take up AAP govt. report against Chief Secy.

  •  Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has refused to consider a report of Vigilance Minister Atishi alleging "complicity" of Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar in a land acquisition matter, according to a Raj Niwas source. 
  • The case pertains to the acquisition of a 19-acre land parcel, which was acquired in south-west Delhi's Bamnoli village by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the Dwarka Expressway project. 
  • The deal allegedly led to undue benefits to one of the landowners, who is said to be linked to the business associate of the Chief Secretary's son. 
  • The government has also sought action against Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar for allegedly withholding from Ms. Atishi relevant files of the case on two occasions. 
  • The source said the L-G in a file noting on the government's submission said the report seems to be "completely based" on the Minister's preconceived assumptions and presumptions, and could "hamper the ongoing investigation". 
  • Reacting to it, the Delhi government in a statement said it is a "brazen attempt on the part of the L-G to protect his favourite officers". "If they have done nothing wrong, then why is the L-G obstructing an inquiry against them?," the statement read. All available evidence should be forwarded to the CBI for an impartial inquiry, it read

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