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

 


National News 

1.President Of India Launches ‘New Education For New India’ Campaign In Odisha 

  • The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, launched the ‘New Education for New India’ campaign by Brahma Kumaris, Sambalpur, in Sambalpur, Odisha on November 22, 2023. 
  • The President’s address underscores the significance of moral education in shaping responsible citizens and fostering a positive societal outlook. The campaign aims to instill moral values in students, contributing to the creation of a better society. 
  • Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya’s efforts in providing avenues for character-building and self-realization are acknowledged as valuable contributions to the pursuit of happiness and peace. 


International News

2.Israel And Hamas Reach Truce Deal, Set To Release 50 Hostages 

  • Israel and Hamas have reached a significant diplomatic breakthrough in their ongoing conflict. As part of the deal, Palestinian militants are set to release 50 women and children who were kidnapped during a raid into southern Israel on October 7. 
  • The agreement also includes a four-day truce for besieged Gaza residents after weeks of intense warfare. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum group expressed happiness about the pending partial release, emphasizing the lack of clarity regarding specific individuals. 
  • Hamas welcomed the “humanitarian truce,” indicating that 150 Palestinians would be released from Israeli jails. 


3.ASEAN-India Millet Festival 2023 Kicks Off In South Jakarta, Indonesia 

  • The ASEAN-India Millet Festival 2023, a collaborative effort between the Indian Mission to ASEAN and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, has taken center stage in Indonesia from November 22 to 26. 
  • The festival boasts the participation of five Indian FPOs and two start-ups, showcasing unique millet-added products such as cookies, namkeen, khakhra, cakes, and more. 
  • The five-day festival aims to contribute to raising awareness about millets and represents a step towards implementing the ASEAN-India Joint Leaders’ Statement on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Response to Crises. 4.Israel Officially Designates Lashkar-E-Taiba As A Terrorist Organization 
  • Ahead of the 15th anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Israel has officially declared the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as a terrorist organization. 
  • This move is part of Israel’s commitment to supporting the global war on terror. The announcement emphasizes Israel’s proactive stance against terrorism. 
  • The announcement coincides with Israel’s ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip, initiated after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli targets. 


State News 

4. Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission Earns Global Recognition From UNWTO 

  • Kerala‘s pioneering Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission has achieved global acclaim by securing a spot on the prestigious list of Case Studies curated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). 
  • The Kerala RT Mission was officially launched on October 20, 2017, by Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala. 
  • Designated as the nodal agency by the Government of Kerala, the RT Mission is entrusted with disseminating and implementing the principles and initiatives of Responsible Tourism throughout the state. 


6.Meghalaya Launches ‘Water Smart Kid Campaign’ For Youth Water Conservation Awareness

  • Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma launched the ‘Meghalaya Water Smart Kid Campaign,’ to instill a sense of responsibility and awareness among the younger generation regarding water conservation 
  • This initiative, operating under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), aims to educate children about the vital importance of water conservation. Additionally, 
  • To address the urgent need for water conservation and sustainability, the Meghalaya State Government has undertaken various interventions. The state is currently constructing 1000 water reservoirs to harness water effectively. 


7.Odisha Achieves Rs 50,000 Crore Mining Revenue In The Financial Year 2021-22, Announces Chief Secretary

  • Odisha Chief Secretary P K Jena announced a significant milestone in the state’s economic landscape during the 77th annual technical meeting of the Indian Institute of Metals. 
  • The mining sector, a crucial contributor, has propelled Odisha’s revenue from Rs 4,900 crore in 2016-17 to an impressive Rs 50,000 crore in the fiscal year 2021-22. 
  • The surge from Rs 4,900 crore to Rs 50,000 crore showcases the sector’s pivotal role in reshaping Odisha’s financial fortunes. 


Defence News 

8.Indian Army Heads To Australia For Joint Military Exercise AUSTRAHIND-23 

  • An Indian Armed Forces contingent, comprising personnel from all three services, embarked on a journey to Perth for the second edition of AustraHind-23 – a collaborative military exercise between the two nations. 
  • This joint exercise, spanning two weeks from Nov 22 to Dec 6, aims to enhance inter  operability and conduct multi-domain operations in urban and semi-urban terrains, adhering to the United Nations peacekeeping operations protocol. 
  • The Indian contingent comprises 60 personnel from a battalion of the esteemed Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army. Additionally, an officer from the Indian Navy and 20 personnel from the Indian Air Force are part of this diverse team. 
  • Participants will engage in multi-domain operations, simulating scenarios in urban and semi-urban environments. This aligns with the United Nations peacekeeping operations protocol, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts in ensuring global peace and security. 


9.Indian Navy Deploys INS Sumedha In Mozambique To Boost Interoperability 

  • Indian Naval Ship Sumedha arrived at Maputo, Mozambique on November 21, 2023, as part of the ongoing Extended Operational Deployment to Africa. 
  • This strategic port call aims to fortify long-standing diplomatic relations, enhance maritime cooperation, and promote interoperability between the Indian and Mozambican navies. 
  • The regular deployment of Indian Naval ships overseas aligns with the Indian Navy’s mission of building ‘bridges of friendship’ and fostering international cooperation with friendly nations. 


Economy News 

10.10% Fewer Fresh Formal Jobs Created In Apr-Sep Period, Shows EPFO Data 

  • Recent data from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) reveals a 10.1% decline in new subscribers during the first half of the fiscal year 2023-24, indicating a slowdown in formal job creation. 
  • This downturn is significant in light of the continuous rise in self-employment, prompting concerns about the informal nature of job growth in the Indian economy. 
  • One concerning trend is the 9.54% reduction in subscribers aged 18-28, a demographic typically associated with first-time entrants into the job market. 
  • This decline hints at challenges in sustaining a robust labor market, raising questions about the overall health of employment opportunities for young individuals. 


11.Anticipated Deceleration In Growth For ‘Unsecured Retail Loans’ In FY24 

  • Recent regulatory measures implemented by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are set to reshape the landscape of unsecured retail loans in Mumbai. 
  • Crisil Ratings predicts a notable deceleration in the growth of these loans, contrasting sharply with the robust 45% expansion observed last year. 
  • The recent RBI directive instructing banks and NBFCs to allocate more capital for consumer loans is expected to have significant repercussions. Compliance with these guidelines is estimated to cost a substantial ₹84,000 crore in capital. 


Business News 

12.Nippon Life India AIF Set To Mobilize ₹1,000 Crore For Private Credit Expansion 

  • Nippon Life India Asset Management has entered the realm of private credit, aligning with the shifting trends following regulatory tightening by banks and mutual funds withdrawing from promoter funding. 
  • Nippon Life India Alternative Investment Fund aims to raise a substantial `1,000 crore, targeting investors such as high-net-worth individuals and family offices. 
  • Having already invested 100 crore in two strategic deals, the fund is poised for further growth with a green shoe option to secure an additional 1,000 crore. 
  • Nippon aims for investments ranging between 50 crore and 100 crore per deal, emphasizing an average maturity of 2.5 to 3 years. 


Summits & Conferences News 

13.Bengal Secures Investment Commitments Of Rs 3.76 Trillion: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Announces 

  • The 7th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) concluded with a resounding success, as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee revealed investment pledges worth an impressive Rs 3.76 trillion. 
  • The summit saw the active participation of approximately 40 countries, providing what Banerjee described as “superb encouragement.” 
  • Banerjee emphasized Bengal’s strategic position as the gateway to the North East of India, boasting proximity to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. 
  • Highlighting the accessibility to international hubs such as Singapore, Bangkok, and Malaysia, she expressed confidence in Bengal emerging as a future industrial powerhouse. 


14.2nd CII India Nordic Baltic Business Conclave 

  • The 2nd edition of the CII India Nordic Baltic Business Conclave is taking place in New Delhi on 22-23 November 2023. 
  • This initiative aims to foster collaboration between India and the Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8) countries, known for their prowess in innovation and technology. 
  • The NB8, comprising Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden, represents a formidable force in innovation and technology. 
  • This collaboration holds immense promise, especially given India’s increasing emphasis on technology as a driver of economic growth. 


Ranks & Reports News 

15.Successful Implementation Of The State Educational Achievement Survey (SEAS) 2023 By PARAKH 
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  • The inaugural State Educational Achievement Survey (SEAS) 2023, conducted on 3rd November 2023, marked a significant milestone in the education sector. 
  • Organized by the Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH), the national assessment regulator, this survey aimed to identify areas for improvement in student learning across various grades. 
  •  The primary objective of SEAS 2023 was to assess the learning competencies of students at the end of foundational, preparatory, and middle educational stages, with a special focus on Language and Mathematics. 
  • Established in January 2023 by NCERT in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, PARAKH serves as a guiding force for student assessment and evaluation across all recognized school boards in India. 


Appoitments News 

16.India’s CAG Girish Chandra Murmu Elected Vice-Chair Of UN External Affairs 

  • Girish Chandra Murmu, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, has been elected as the vice-chair of the UN Panel of External Auditors. 
  • This recognition not only highlights India’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of external audit but also showcases its active role in shaping the global audit landscape. 
  • The independent body is composed of representatives from 12 countries. Together, they conduct financial, performance, and compliance audits of UN entities, ensuring transparency and accountability in the organization’s financial activities. 


Sports News 

17.Max Verstappen Won The Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023 

  • Max Verstappen emerged on top at the end of an action-packed Las Vegas Grand Prix, beating Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. 
  • Max Emilian Verstappen is a Belgian and Dutch racing driver and the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Formula One World Champion. 
  • Ferrari’s Leclerc passed Sergio Perez on the final lap to clinch second place, while British star Lando Norris ended up in hospital after a third-lap 180mph crash. Lewis Hamilton finished seventh. 


Books & Authors News 

18.NIF Book Prize For 2023 To Be Revealed On December 1st

  • The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIF) Book Prize has unveiled its shortlist, comprising five outstanding works.
  • The winner is slated to be announced on December 1, adding anticipation to the literary community. 

  1. Achyut Chetan’s “Founding Mothers of the Indian Republic” 
  2. Rotem Geva’s “Delhi Reborn: Partition and Nation Building in India’s Capital” 
  3. Akshaya Mukul’s biography, “Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya” 
  4. Gita Ramaswamy’s memoir, “Land Guns Caste Woman” 
  5. Taylor C. Sherman’s “Nehru’s India: A History in Seven Myths” 


Obituaries News

19.Malayalam Writer P. Valsala Passes Away At 85 

  • Award-winning Malayalam writer P. Valsala, aged 85, breathed her last in Kozhikode. Ms. Valsala is a trailblazer among women writers in Malayalam. 
  • Born in August 1938, P. Valsala is particularly celebrated for her critically acclaimed work, ‘Nellu.’ This literary masterpiece delves into the lives of tribal communities in Wayanad, offering a poignant exploration of their experiences.
  • Ms. Valsala’s illustrious career saw her receiving the Sahitya Akademi Award and Ezhuthachchan Puraskaram for her outstanding contributions to Malayalam literature. P. Valsala’s literary journey extended beyond novels, encompassing over 20 novels, 300 short stories, biographies, and travelogues. 


Miscellaneous News 

20.The Langlands Program: World’s Largest Mathematics Project 

  • Five years ago, in 2018, Dr. Langlands was awarded the Abel Prize, one of the highest honors for mathematicians, for “his visionary program connecting representation theory to number theory.” 
  • This groundbreaking initiative, known as the Langlands Program, has its roots in a 17-page letter written by Dr. Langlands to the French mathematician AndrĂ© Weil in 1967, setting forth a series of tentative ideas.
  • The program’s inception was motivated by a desire to bridge the gap between these two distant branches of mathematics, each with its unique set of principles and problems. 
  • The Langlands Program stands as a testament to the enduring curiosity and ingenuity of mathematicians. 


21.Cyclone ‘Michaung’ To Hit Bay Of Bengal, The Fourth Storm This Year 

  • The Bay of Bengal is once again on high alert as meteorological conditions indicate the potential development of another cyclonic storm, closely following the impact of cyclonic storm ‘Midhili’ on several northeastern states.
  • According to the latest updates from Skymetweather, the upcoming cyclonic storm is poised to be the fourth to hit the Bay of Bengal this year, marking the sixth storm overall in Indian waters. The affected regions are anticipated to include India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. 
  • The genesis of the upcoming tropical storm is traced back to the Gulf of Thailand. Meteorological conditions over the Gulf and adjoining Malay Peninsula indicate the potential for cyclonic circulation. 


22.Saffron From Kishtwar In Jammu And Kashmir Gets GI Tag

  • Kishtwar saffron, a prized spice cultivated and harvested in the Kishtwar Region of Jammu and Kashmir, has recently been bestowed with the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry. 
  • Saffron, with its Sanskrit name ‘Kum-Kum’ or ‘Lohit,’ stands as a cultural heritage in the region. The spice is also utilized in medicines and as a subtle, digestive, sedative, and exhilarant flavor in cooking. 
  • Known as ‘Zafron’ in Persian, it is not just a condiment used in cooking but also finds its place in Hindu traditions. Hindus in India use saffron as a mark (Tilak) on the forehead, considering its aroma and color as auspicious. 


23. Das flags model-based lending, warns banks, NBFCs of undue risk build-up

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has cautioned banks and NBFCs against being over reliant on algorithms and model-based credit appraisal and lending, especially at a time when increased collaboration with fintechs is facilitating the introduction of innovative products and services. 
  • "Banks and NBFCs need to be careful in relying solely on pre-set algorithms as assumptions based on which the models are operated," Mr. Das observed at the FIBAC 2023 
  • Conference jointly organised by FICCI and IBA in Mumbai on Wednesday. These models should be robust and tested and retested periodically. They may require to be calibrated and uncalibrated... based on the changing contours of the financial ecosystem," he added. 
  • 'Underwriting dilution' Crucially, it was "necessary to be watchful of any undue risk build up in the system due to information gaps in these models, which may cause dilution of underwriting standards," he emphasised. 
  • Urging banks and NBFCs to take precautionary measures, he said the expansion of the credit portfolio and pricing of the same should be in sync with the risks envisaged. 
  • "Banks and NBFCs also need to further strengthen their asset liability management. They may give greater attention to their liabilities side. In certain cases, we have observed increased reliance on high cost short-term bulk deposits while the tenure of the loans, both in retail and corporate loans, is getting elongated," he noted, as he also flagged contagion risk. 


24. 5 lakh Sahara investors to stage protest against government in Delhi in Dec 

  • Around five lakh people who invested in four cooperatives run by the Sahara Group are expected to converge in Delhi in December to protest against the government's failure to refund their deposits. 
  • A portal launched in July by Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah to refund the money of the investors, most of whom are from rural and semi-urban areas across 26 States, has failed to take off, with multiple complaints of rejection. 
  • Abhay Dev Shukla, president of a registered body representing the Sahara investors, said on Wednesday that after the death of Sahara Group founder Subrata Roy, there was fear among the people that the unclaimed funds would be returned to the Consolidated Fund of India. 
  • Roy passed away on November 14 in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He and his company are facing multiple probes by investigating agencies. 
  • Mr. Shukla said that if the government confiscated the Sahara chairperson's property, "the money of crores of investors will be lost, which cannot be tolerated at any cost". reach Delhi's Jantar Mantar and will gherao (surround) the offices of the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies, the BJP, and the PM's Office," Mr. Shukla said. 
  • The investors also questioned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's condolence message on Roy's demise. 
  • "In the month of DeSansar Singh, Uttar Pracember, depositors from desh president of the Jan all over the country will Andolan Sangharsh Mor- turns stopped. 
  • On July 18, the Central government set up the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) portal (mocrefund.crcs.gov.in) for small investors in four cooperatives-Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Ltd., Saharayn Universal Multipurpose Society Ltd., Humara India Credit Cooperative Society Ltd., and Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd. These were registered from March 2010 to January 2014, in Lucknow, Bhopal, Hyderabad, and Kolkata, respectively, under the provisions of the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act. 


25. SOL private firm to create 3D maps of cities, towns 

  • In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Survey of India (Sol), historically the custodian of India's maps, has signed an agreement with a Mumbai-based private company, Genesys International, to prepare three-dimensional maps of several cities and towns. 
  • Called 'Digital Twins', these maps are three-dimensional representations of cities and when coupled with high-resolution images, can be used in a variety of planning applications. 
  • The collaboration will allow Genesys to generate "three-dimensional digital twins" for major cities and towns, develop an urban 3-D data model, and allow it to "licence" geospatial data products to buyers in a "content-as-a-service" model, according to company officials. 
  • So far, the company has built digital twins of Ayodhya, the Dharavi slum cluster in Mumbai, Kochi, and Kanpurs, among other applications. 


26. Commission clarifies norms for foreign medical graduates 

  • The Undergraduate Medical Education Board and the Ethics and Medical Registration Board, National Medical Commission (NMC) issued a clarification on Wednesday, specifying the provisions under which foreign medical graduates, especially students from Ukraine and the Philippines, can register, work, and study in India. 
  • The clarification comes after various problems and representations were received by graduates. from these The NMC has said that those who have completed the medical course in foreign medical institutes (course equivalent to MBBS in India) in the offline mode, with or without one year of internship, and returned to India need to obtain provisional registration from the State Medical Council and thereafter undergo a year's compulsory rotating medical internship under the CRMI 
  • Regulation, 2021. It has also specified provisions for those who had taken a break in their final year and returned to India (owing to pandemic or war and completed the course (including examination) in online mode only. 
  • For medical graduates from Ukraine to continue their study from a different country (except India), the provision notes that in continuation to the earlier scheme dated September 15, 2022 namely Academic Mobility Programme, the NMC has decided to extend such scheme as a one-time measure to the FMGS returning from Ukraine. "The degree may however be awarded by the university to where they shall migrate. This option of transfer/migration/mobility shall be available within three months from the date of issue of this public notice," the NMC said. 
  • It said the time limit for appearing in FMG examination/NEXT will be 10 years from the completion of their training/course in a foreign medical institution. 


27. After 2 months, India resumes e-visa services for Canadian citizens as 'situation improves’

  • India resumed e-visa services for Canadian citizens on Wednesday, sources told The Hindu. The move came two months after India suspended all visa facilities for Canadian citizens in the wake of a row triggered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's remarks on Indian agents being responsible for the June 18 killing of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. 
  • S. Jaishankar said the situation in Canada had "relatively improved" for the Indian diplomats to perform normal duties. "What had happened was we had temporarily suspended visa issuance because the situation in Canada made it difficult for our diplomats to go to office and do the necessary work for processing visas. As the situation there has become more secure or relatively improved, I think we have found it possible for the visa services to progressively resume," he said during an interaction with the media.
  • India had stopped visa ser- vices at all its missions in Canada citing danger to the lives of officials who were being targeted by Canadians who had put out notices echoing Mr. Tru deau's remarks. That had gradually turned into a blanket ban on visa services for all Canadian citizens across the world. As a result, no Canadian national could apply for an Indian visa even through Indian missions in third countries. 
  • Last month, India had carried out a "review of the security situation" in its missions in Canada. Mr. Jaishankar then said that visa services would be resumed only if the security situation improved. 


28. DGCA imposes 10 lakh penalty on Air India 

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) imposed a fine of 10 lakh on Air India for its failure to provide hotel accommodation to passengers affected due to flight delays, as well as for not compensating business class passengers on international flights who were assigned malfunctioning seats. The regulator said that the action followed inspections carried out at Delhi, Kochi, and Bengaluru in May and September. 


29. SC begins hearing on pleas against parties offering freebies during elections

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing petitions seeking a judicial declaration that irrational freebies offered by political parties to lure voters during election time should be considered "corrupt practice". 
  • In October, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had sought responses from the States of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on a plea that public funds are being misused to offer outlandish freebies ahead of Assembly elections. 
  • The court has made its anxiety plain about parties which form the government riding a wave created by their pre-election promises of "free gifts", bleeding the State finances dry by actually trying to fulfil their "wild" promises of largesse using public money. The amicus curiae, senior advocate Vijay HansarĂ­a, submitted that the court has to decide whether "giving freebies would be a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and become a ground for moving court in an election petition". 
  • Senior advocate Arvind Datar, for petitioners, said parties have been linking freebies to the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution, which obliges the State to aim for certain ideals in social order and governance. 
  • He also submitted that the court should also consider an argument raised by parties that freebies ought to be considered "expenditure defrayed by the Union or a State out of its revenues'' under Article 282 of the Constitution. 
  • Advocate Prashant Bhushan said illegitimate or discriminatory freebies were not the same as legitimate freebies given to the public for a "welfare cause". "Doing away with the debts of wilful defaulters is an illegitimate freebie. Giving benefits to a particular religious community would classify as a discriminatory freebie," he explained. 
  • The hearing signified a shifting of stand by the court from its 2013 judgement in the S. Subrama-niam Balaji versus Tamil Nadu case. In this judgement, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court had held that making promises in election manifestos do not amount to a 'corrupt practice' under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act. 


30. Killings of innocents unacceptable, Modi says at G-20 meet 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that there is zero tolerance for terrorism and that the killings of innocents, especially children and women, are not acceptable. 
  • Mr. Modi made these comments in his concluding remarks at the virtual G-20 summit in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict and noted that he believed, after hearing the views of other leaders, that there was an agreement on several points, including this. 
  • Listing the points on which there was agreement in the G-20, Mr. Modi also said the two-state solution was necessary for permanently addressing the Israel Palestine issue. He added that diplomacy and dialogue were the only way forward to defuse such a territorial and political crisis. "We all condemn terrorism and violence," he said, calling for the restoration of regional peace and stability in West Asia. 
  • Virtually addressing the G-20 meeting hosted by India, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow that what was happening in Ukraine was undoubtedly a "tragedy" and that conflicts elsewhere, including in the Gaza Strip, were also "shocking".
  • In an apparent reference to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Mr. Modi said human assistance should reach the residents quickly and safely. 


31. Restore old pension scheme, BMS urges Finance Minister 

  • Thousands of government employees belonging to the Government Pinployees National Confederation (GENC) held a rally here on Wednesday demanding restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS). 
  • A delegation of the workers also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and told her through a memorandum that dissatisfaction had risen among the workers over the National Pension Scheme (NPS). The GNEC is the industrial unit of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union of the RSS. 
  • The protesting workers were mostly from the de ferice sector, railways, postal department, and Central government establishments such as the Archaeological Survey of India and the EPFO. BMS general secretary Ravindra Himte and GNEC general secretary Sadhu Singh were part of the delegation that met Ms. Sitharaman. 
  • Mr. Singh said in a release that the BMS was opposed from the beginning, to the decision to disconti nue the OPS, "Before January 1, 2004, the old pension scheme provided a non-contribu tory guarantee, ensuring that 50% of the last salary became the pension upon retirement. 
  • Additionally, the scheme was intricately linked to the price index, resulting in the receipt of dearness allowance twice a year in January and July. Government employees, who feel deprived of their rightful pension under the guise of social security, are now urgently appealing to the government of India to abolish NPS and reinstate the OPS," the BMS said in the memorandum. 
  • It said that many State governments had brought back OPS. "This aroused hope among employees of the remaining States and the Central government that the government will think about us, but due to no announcement till now, there is disappointment and dissatisfaction” 


32. Israel and Hamas agree to four-day ceasefire in Gaza 

  • Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day ceasefire in the war in Gaza, a diplomatic breakthrough that will free dozens of hostages held by militants as well as Palesti nians imprisoned in Israel, and bring a large influx of land to the besieged territory. 
  • Wednesday raised hopes. of eventually winding down the war, which was triggered by Hamas' October 7 rampage into Israel. Now in its seventh week, the war has levelled vast swaths of Gaza, fueled a surge of violence in the occupied West Bank, and stirred fears of a wider conflagration across West Asia. 
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would resume the war after the truce and keep fighting to destroy Hamas' fighting and governing abilities and secure the release of all hostages in Gaza. 
  • The cease-fire temporarily freezes both sides at a tenuous moment. Israeli troops hold much of northern Gaza and say they have dismantled tunnels and much of Hamas' infrastructure there. 
  • But Israeli officials acknowledge the group's infrastructure remains intact 
  • The announcement of the truce capped weeks of indirect, stop-andgo negotiations to free some of the roughly 240 hostages taken by Hamas. 
  • The cease-fire is to take effect at 10 a.m. local time (1330 1ST) on Thursday, according to Egypt's state run Qahera TV channel. Egypt and Qatar, along with the U.S., helped mediate the deal between Israel and Hamas. 
  • Fifty hostages will be freed in stages, in exchange for the release of what Hamas said would be 150 Palestinian prisoners. Both sides will let go of them and children first. 
  • Israel said the truce would be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed by Hamas. Hamas said hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid including fuel would be allowed to enter Gaza. 
  • Israel's Justice Ministry published a list of 300 prisoners eligible to be released, mainly teenagers detained over the past year for rock throwing and other minor offences. 
  • The Israeli military says it has detained more than 1,850 Palestinians in the West Bank since the war began, mostly suspected Harias members. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed there. 
  • Weeks of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, followed by a ground invasion, have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas run territory. 


33.Punjab CM tells farmers to not block roads for everything 

  • Amid an ongoing protest in Jalandhar by farmers demanding a hike in Stateas- sured sugarcane price, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann criticised farmer unions for "inconveniencing blocking roads. 
  • In a statement posted on "X" (formerly Twitter), Mr. Mann asked farmer unions to stop the "undue harassment" of the common man for their own vested interests. "My request to the farmers' unions is not to turn the common people against you by blocking the roads for everything," the statement read. 
  • "If you want to talk to the government, then there is Chandigarh's Punjab Bhawan, Punjab Civil Secretariat, the office of the Minister of Agriculture, my office and my home, and not the roads. If this attitude continues, then the day is not far when you will not find people to protest," Mr. Mann added. 
  • Scores of farmers from across the State, under the collective banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha 
  • (SKM), have been on an indefinite protest since Monday over their demand for a hike in the procurement price for sugarcane, from 380 to 450 per quintal. As part of their protest, they have blocked a stretch of the national highway near Dhanowali village in Jalandhar, forcing traffic to be diverted to alternate routes. 
  • Mr. Mann's rebuke to farmer unions has invited sharp criticism from both political parties and farmer outfits. "Before coming to power, AAP promised to solve farmers' issues, but now, they hesitate to even meet us?" said Darshan Pal, coordinator of the SKM. 


34. U.S. strikes kill eight pro-Iran fighters in Iraq, angers Baghdad 

  • U.S. fighter jets struck two targets in Iraq early on Wednesday, killing eight pro Iran fighters in retaliation for repeated attacks on American troops, U.S. and Iraqi sources said. 
  • The twin strikes, which followed similar bombardment of Iran-backed forces on Tuesday, drew condemnation from the Iraqi government, which said it had not been consulted about the military action on its soil. 
  • The U.S. military "conducted discrete, precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq," U.S. Central Command said on X, previously 
  • Strikes were in response to attacks against U.S. and coalition forces by Iran and Iran-backed groups known as Twitter. 
  • "The strikes were in direct response to the attacks against U.S. and coalition forces by Iran and Iranbacked groups," the post added. 
  • The Iran-backed Hezbollah Brigades, which form part of the Hashed al- Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) force within Iraq's armed forces, said the strikes killed eight of its fighters. 


35. Days after being removed, Altman back as OpenAI CEO, along with new board 

  • The ousted leader of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI is returning to the company that fired him late last week, culminating a days long power struggle that shocked the tech industry and brought attention to the conflicts around how to safely build artificial intelligence. 
  • San Francisco-based OpenAI said in a statement late on Tuesday: "We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board." 
  • The board, which replaces the one that fired Mr. Altman on Friday, will be led by former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, who al- so chaired Twitter's board before its takeover by Elon Musk last year. The other members will be former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora 
  • CEO Adam D'Angelo. OpenAl's previous board of directors, which included Mr. D'Angelo, had refused to give specific reasons for why it fired Mr. Altman, leading to a weekend of internal conflict at the company and growing outside pressure from the startup's investors. 
  • The chaos also accentuated the differences between Mr. Altman who's become the face of generative Al's rapid commercialisation since ChatGPT's arrival a year ago and members of the company's board who have expressed deep reservations about the safety risks posed by AI as it gets more advanced. 
  • Microsoft, which has in- vested billions of dollars in OpenAl and has rights to its current technology, quickly moved to hire Mr. Altman on Monday, as well as another co-founder and former president, Greg Brockman, who had quit in protest after Mr. Altman's removal. That emboldened a threatened exodus of nearly all of the startup's 770 employees who signed a letter calling for the board's resignation and Mr. Altman's return. 
  • One of the four board members who participated in Mr. Altman's ouster, OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, later expressed regret and joined the call for the board's resignation. 
  • Microsoft in recent days had pledged to welcome all employees who wanted to follow Mr. Altman and Mr. Brockman to a new Al re- search unit at the software giant. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also made clear in a series of interviews on Monday that he was still open to the possibility of Mr. Altman returns to OpenAI, so long as the startup's governance problems are solved. 


36. Two Army captains, two soldiers killed in Rajouri operation

  • Two Army captains and two soldiers were killed in an ongoing operation to flush out terrorists hiding in a village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, sources said. 
  • A Jammu-based Army spokesman said the security forces launched joint operations in Gulabgarh forest in the Pir Panjal Valley on November 19 following "specific intelligence" on the presence of militants. 
  • "The terrorists have been injured and surrounded, and operations are in progress, amid acts of valour and sacrifice by their own bravehearts in trying to prevent collateral damage to women and children in the highest traditions of the Indian Army," the Army spokesman said. 


37. Central trade unions call for probe into tunnel collapse 

  • The platform of 10 Central trade unions has expressed anguish over the failure of authorities to take responsibility for the Silk Yara min nel collapse in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Forty-one workers have been trapped in the tunnel since November 12. 
  • In a joint statement here on Wednesday, the trade unions said accidents at workplaces exposed the weaknesses of laws with regard to the safety of workers and brought to light the violations of existing laws. 
  • They urged the Centre to withdraw the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code and ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on health and safety. The trade unions alleged that the Centre sent a team very late to monitor the rescue operations. 
  • The other workers are saying that the escape routes/tunnels, which are compulsory to meet such emergency situations in construction of long tunnels, were not even planned," the joint statement said. "There should be a thorough probe into the laxity at any level, right from tendering to various other stages of work of the tunnel, they said, and asked the Centre to con vene the Indian Labour Conference at the earliest to address the concerns of workers.
  • The Construction Workers Federation of India, in a separate statement, said the accident was a result of the profit-hungry development models and policies pursued by the "neo-liberal" BJP governments. 
  • "The law enforcement mechanism has failed in ensuring that the safety directions are followed," CWFI general secretary U. P. Joseph said. 


38. News portal Told to take down article on Chief Secy 

  • The High Court on Wednesday directed news portal The Wire to pull down an article on Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, suggesting "abuse of authority" in the land acquisition deal by the NHAI for the Dwarka Expressway project. 
  • The court said in case the news portal and its reporter fail to comply with the directions within 48 hours of the pronouncement of this order, microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter) shall take down the posts and Google shall remove the web link of the article. 
  • On Tuesday, the court had reserved its order on the officer's plea seeking interim relief in the defamation suit, which was filed in connection with The Wire article published on November 9. 
  • Mr. Kumar, in his plea, sought to take down the article as well as a direction to restrain the news portal and the reporter concerned from publishing any further "defamatory" articles against him and his family. Mr. Kumar's counsel said that the article was "pre-planned" in order to "activate" people against him and to "please some people". 
  • The counsel for The Wire said the intention behind the article, which only raised a few questions, was not to defame Mr. Kumar in any manner. Conman' 


39. Sukesh Chandrasekhar's 12 high-end vehicles set to be auctioned 

  • As many as 12 high-end vehicles seized from 'con- man' Sukesh Chandrasekhar, lodged in a jail in the national capital, will be auctioned in Bengaluru on November 28 to recover the dues owed to various institutions. 
  • The vehicles were seized from various places by Income Tax (1-T) Department officials. 
  • Mr. Chandrashekhar has been charged with duping several people to the tune of 200 crore, including the spouse of former Ranbaxy promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh. 
  • He is also facing an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate on charges of money laundering. 
  • The vehicles to be auctioned include 11 four wheelers BMW M-5, Range Rover, Jaguar XKR Coupe, Innova Crysta, Nissan Teana, Porsche, Toyota Fortuner, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Toyota Prada and Ducati Diavel, a cruiser motorcycle. 
  • Among them, Rolls Royce commands the highest reserve price of 1.74 crore. 
  • Sources said the auction is part of the process to recover dues amounting to a total of 308.48 crore. 
  • The I-T department put the vehicles up for inspection on Wednesday. 


40. Consulate attack: NIA conducts searches in Punjab, Haryana 

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted searches at multiple locations across Punjab and Haryana in connection with the investigation into the attacks on the Indian consulate in San Francisco. 
  • The attacks took place on March 19 and July 2, when assailants broke in and vandalised the office and attempted to harm consulate officials and set the building on fire. 

  • The NIA has already identified certain individuals who were part of the conspiracy behind the repeated incidents of violence. They include the attackers and many of their associates, who are both Indian and foreign nationals. The agency has crowdsourced information to identify and collect information about the U.S.-based entities and individuals, who were complicit. Unravelling conspiracy On Wednesday morning, the agency searched 14 locations in the two States in a bid to unravel the complete conspiracy behind the attacks, Searches were carried out in Moga, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Gururfdaspur, Mohali, and Patiala districts of Punjab, as well as in Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar in Haryana. During the operation, the agency seized digital data containing information related to the accused, along with other incriminating documents. 
  • "The NIA has been probing the case with the aim to identify and prosecute the attackers... and send a strong message to such anti-India elements," an agency statement said. 


41. ED confiscates 262.52 crore assets of Farmax India 

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized movable and immovable properties worth 162.52 crore of Farmax India Limited, its promoters, and directors under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 
  • The seized properties include 23 immovable properties of Farmax India, its managing director go Morthala Srinivasa Reddy, in and his brother and the company's executive director, M. Malla Reddy, 
  • The ED had initiated the inquiry against Farmax India and others under the FEMA provisions in connection with the alleged B fraudulent issuance of Global Depository Receipts M (GDR) and non-utilisation of the same for bona fide purposes. It purportedly found that the company's managing director, in connivance with others, had issued GDRs in the name of his company in two R tranches in 2010. 
  • As alleged, he did not deliberately repatriate the du GDR proceeds worth $71.45 million to India. 


42. Washington warned India against plot to kill Pannun in U.S.: report 

  • The U.S. government thwarted a plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on U.S. soil, and "warned" New Delhi about its alleged involvement in the plot, the Financial Times, a British daily, has reported. 
  • In response, India's External Affairs Ministry said a security-related discussion took place with the U.S. During the course of the discussions, "the U.S. side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organised criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. The inputs are a cause of concern for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow-up action," the official spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said in a statement. 


43. Afghan border trade resumes after Pakistan suspends visa rule 

  • Cross-border trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan was back to normal on Wednesday, officials in both countries said, after Islamabad suspended a new visa rule. 
  • Commercial traffic ground to a halt on Tuesday when Pakistan began requiring the crew of commercial vehicles to have passports and visas to enter, and Afghanistan responded by refusing to allow any tricks to pass.
  • "Yesterday, when Pakistan enforced its new rules, the Afghan side responded by suspending trade in protest," a Pakistan cus- toms official said. 
  • "Last night, officials from the Ministry of Commerce held a meeting with Afghan officials, reaching an agreement to grant another two-week extension for Afghan drivers." 
  • The official said Pakistan had already twice deferred implementing the new rule. 
  • Long-fraught relations between Kabul and Islamabad have worsened since October, when Pakistan announced plans to deport hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants it said were in the country illegally.
  • So far about 3,40,000 Afghans have been deported or returned voluntarily

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