Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 14th December 2023


National News 

1.UIDAI Imposes Rs.50,000 Penalty For Overcharging Aadhaar Services, Suspends Operator: Govt. 

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has implemented strict measures against operators found guilty of overcharging and also imposed penalty of Rs.50,000 against them. 
  • The move aims to ensure fair and accessible services for all citizens, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, revealed the details of these measures in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. 
  • To enforce compliance, the UIDAI has implemented a robust penalty system for those found overcharging for Aadhaar services. Upon receiving reports of overcharging, the authority conducts thorough investigations. If the violation is established, a significant financial penalty of Rs.50,000 is imposed on the enrolment register responsible. Additionally, the operator involved faces suspension as a consequence of their actions. 

2.Tribute paid to martyrs in New Delhi on the 22nd anniversary of the attack on Parliament on 13 December 2023 

  • December 13 marks 22 years of the 2001 attack on Parliament by Pakistan-linked terrorist groups. On this occasion, tributes were paid to the nine security personnel martyred in the attack and one minute silence was observed in the Parliament. 
  • On the morning of 13 December 2001, five terrorists were seen entering the Parliament House complex in a car with fake Home Ministry stickers on the windshield. On becoming suspicious, the car was forced to turn back, after which the terrorists got down and started firing. 
  • The shootout lasted for more than 30 minutes, in which five terrorists, eight security personnel and a gardener were killed and 15 were injured. The then Home Minister. 
  • Lal Krishna Advani said that the attack was jointly carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations – Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. 
  • Following an FIR lodged by the police on the same day of the attack, Delhi Police arrested Mohammad Afzal Guru, a former Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front terrorist who surrendered in 1994, his cousin Shaukat Hussain Guru, Shaukat's wife Afsan Guru and SAR Geelani. 
  • Afzal Guru was hanged on 9 February 2013 after the mercy petition filed by his wife was rejected. 
  • A shocking scene was witnessed in the Lok Sabha on December 13, 2023 when two persons jumped into the House carrying an object like a gas canister from the public gallery. Memories of the Parliament attack were refreshed after the major security breach inside the Lok Sabha. 
  • As soon as the two entered the House during Zero Hour, one of them was seen jumping onto the benches, while the other was seen hanging from the public gallery, seen spraying some kind of gas substance.This created chaos and confusion inside the House. 

3.Road fatalities rise in India, despite global drop: WHO 

  • Road traffic deaths fell by 5% to 1.19 million annually worldwide between 2010 and 2021, with 108 United Nations member countries reporting a drop, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report. India, however, registered a 15% increase in fatalities. 
  • The total number of road traffic fatalities in India went up to 1.54 lakh in 2021 from 1.34 lakh in 2010, the 'Global Status Report on Road Safety 2023' said. 
  • Ten countries succeeded in reducing road traffic deaths by over 50%. These are Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Denmark, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Russian Federation, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Thirty-five countries made notable progress, reducing road traffic deaths by 30% to 50%. 
  • As of 2019, road crashes were the leading cause of deaths among children and youth aged five to 29 years, and were the 12th leading cause of deaths when all ages are considered. Two-thirds of deaths occurred among people of a working age. 
  • In the past decade, a 5% reduction in absolute numbers of road traffic fatalities was accompanied with a growth in the global population by nearly 14 billion, or roughly 13%. 
  • This translates into the road fatality rate declining from 18 per 1 lakh people in 2010 to 15 per 1 lakh in 2021, which represents a 16% decline in the road traffic death rate since 2010. 
  • African Region, 12% in the Region of the Americas, 11% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and 5% in the European Region. 
  • Vehicle growth The report also noted that during the same period, the global motor vehicle fleet grew 160%. Therefore, annual fatality rates per 1 lakh vehicles fell from 79 deaths to 47 deaths, which is a 41% reduction. 
  • The report shows that 28% of global road traffic deaths occurred in the WHO's South-East Asia Region, 25% in the Western Pacific Region, 19% in the "Nine in 10 deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, and fatalities in these countries are disproportionately higher when set against the number of vehicles and roads they have. The risk of death is three times higher in low-income than high-income countries, yet low-income countries have just 1% of the world's motor vehicles," the report said. 

4.Curb freebies doled out to doctors by pharma firms: panel

  • A five-member committee headed by NITI Aayog member Vinod K. Paul has suggested the Union government to bring in restrictions on freebies offered to doctors by pharma companies. 
  • Disclosing the price of branded gifts doled out to doctors with the gift's value not exceeding ₹1,000; prohibiting continuous medical education (CME) workshops for doctors in foreign locations; making the money received by medical practitioners from pharmaceutical companies to conduct research taxable are among key measures suggested by the panel upon reviewing the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP). 
  • The panel has recommended that while the UCPMP should remain voluntary in nature, it must be modified. A voluntarily followed UCPMP will not be enforceable under law, and pharmaceutical companies may not be penalized for violations. 
  • The 100-page report, which was submitted to the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, says the value of "brand reminders", including books, calendars, diaries, journals (including e-journals, dummy device models of body organs, medical books, and clinical treatment guidelines) should not exceed 1,000 per item. 
  • In the case of free drug t samples, tax should be deducted at source for the company under the In-E come Tax (1-T) Act if their value exceeds ₹20,000 per year. "The Central Board E of Direct Taxes may examine the threshold as percentage of sales instead of 20,000 in case of free samples," the panel said. 

5.EPFO releases FAQ on higher PF pension implementation

  • More than a year after the Supreme Court's verdict on higher Provident Fund pension, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has sent to all its units a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on implementing the verdict. 
  • Trade unions and employers' representatives have been seeking clarity from the EPFO on the matter, especially on accessing the past records of an employee while validating the joint options seeking higher pension based on higher wages. The FAQ document answers nine questions on the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict. 
  • The EPFO says that the FAQ document is an updated version, but members of the EPFO's Central Board of Trustees (CBT) said they had been demanding a set of FAQs for many months. 
  • Thanking Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav for issuing the FAQ, K.E. Raghu nathan, CBT member representing the employers, said, "If this was issued a few months back, it would have saved the confusion among the pensioners and also the EPFO officers." The workers' representative in the CBT, A.K. Padmanabhan, also welcomed the FAQs. 
  • On documentary evidence that must be attached along with the joint option, the EPFO has clarified that the following should be there - detalls of the employer's share of PF contribution remitted with employee's pay exceeding the prevalent statutory wage ceiling of ₹5,000/ 16,500/215,000 per month; the certificate that the administrative charges payable by employer have been remitted; and proof that the PF account of the employee has been updated with interest in accordance with the employees' pension scheme on the basis of their contribution received. The FAQ document also maintains that it will be the duty of the concerned officers to collect all the relevant certificates from the employers. 
  • It says that the date of commencement of pension will determine the applicable formula for calculation of pensionable service, pensionable salary, and pension. The pensionable salary of an applicant will be calculated based on the average monthly pay drawn during the contributory period of service in the span of 60 months preceding the date of exit from the membership of the pension fund. 

6.Adani Green Energy ranked 2nd-largest solar PV developer: Mercom 

  • Adani Green Energy Ltd. with its total solar capacity of 18.1 GW ranked second after France-based Total Energies, which holds a total capacity of 41.3 GW. 
  • Mercom Capital Group is a clean energy communications and research firm. It made the report based on data compiled from July 2022 to June 2023. 
  • This achievement aligns with their ambitious target of achieving 45 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2030. 
  • This recognition underscores our continued and unwavering commitment as one of the fastest growing renewable energy players in the world and on target to achieving our ambitious goal of 45 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030 
  • The rankings by Mercom Capital, a premier clean energy communication and consulting firm, highlight Adani Group’s significant contributions to the solar energy landscape. 

7.The Art of Living signed an MoU with the Govt of Maharashtra for a powerful resolution to the devastating water crises 

  • The Art of Living Social Projects takes immense pride in unveiling a strategic partnership to usher in transformative measures ensuring water positivity for the state of Maharashtra. 
  • An MoU was signed in Mumbai between The Art of Living Social Projects and the Department of Soil and Water Conservation, Government of Maharashtra. 
  • The Art of Living has already taken up the initiative to make India water-positive and made immense progress in rejuvenating 70+ rivers, their tributaries, and streams. 
  • 90,000+ groundwater recharge structures have been built across 8 states including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan 2.0 is a collaborative initiative to pioneer groundbreaking practices across 85 tehsils in 30 districts. At its core, the mission seeks to revolutionize Maharashtra into a water-positive state by implementing comprehensive measures such as desilting streams and building various water conservation structures to increase groundwater levels. 

Recent MoUs signed by State Governments 

  • Rays Power Infra to build 500 MW solar park in Uttarakhand 
  • UK & Tamil Nadu partners on smart tech sustainable resource management 
  • Ashok Leyland signs MoU with UP Govt to set up integrated e-bus plant 
  • Odisha Govt signs MoU with six public sector banks to provide banking 
  • Maharashtra signs MoU with Germany’s professional association football 

8.RITES signed pact with CFM Mozambique for 10 diesel locomotive supply 

  • State-owned RITES Ltd has signed a pact with CFM Mozambique for the supply of diesel locomotives and incidental services at a total cost of USD 37,680,080 (Rs 314.1 crore). 
  • The pact has been signed for the supply of ten diesel locomotives. 
  • Caminhos de Ferro de Mozambique is a state-owned company of Mozambique. 
  • The pact is aimed to foster the India-Mozambique bilateral relationship. 

Recent MoU 

  • THDC India inks pact to develop renewable energy projects in Karnatakas 
  • IBM inks 3 pacts with IT Ministry on semiconductor, Al, Q-computing 
  • SUN Mobility partners with Bluwheelz to deploy over 16,000 EVs 
  • India Global Forum signs with World Governments Summit to develop an Emerging Economies Programme 
  • DMRC sign with BEL to develop Communication Based Train Control system 

9.Air India Unveils New Uniforms For Cabin, Cockpit Crew Designed By Fashion Designer Manish Malhotra 

  • Air India, the national carrier, recently revealed its revamped uniforms for cabin crew and pilots, designed by renowned fashion designer Manish Malhotra. The grand unveiling took place on December 12, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to the airline’s image. 
  • The female cabin crew will sport ready-to-wear ombre sarees, skillfully crafted with intricate jharokha patterns and adorned with the Vista, the new Air India logo icon. This neo-traditional look is paired with blouses and blazers, adding a modern touch to the ensemble. Notably, the ready-to-wear sarees can also be optionally paired with comfortable pants, providing greater flexibility for the crew to express their individual styles. 
  • In addition to the uniforms, the designer curated footwear for the cabin crew. Female crew members will wear dual-tone (black and burgundy) block heels, while male cabin crew will opt for comfortable black brogues. The uniforms also include pearl earnings and sling bags for female cabin crew, adding to the overall polished look. 

International News 

10.Russia unveils two new nuclear powered submarines ‘Krasnoyarsk and Emperor Alexander 3’ 

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled two new nuclear-powered submarines, Krasnoyarsk and Emperor Alexander 3, on 11 December 2023. These new submarines will soon start patrolling in the Pacific Ocean. 
  • Krasnoyarsk and Emperor Alexander III were inaugurated at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. Severodvinsk is in the country's north-west Arkhangelsk region. 
  • Putin announced in the first week of December 2023 that he would run again in the presidential election to be held in March 2024. Vladimir Putin took power from Boris Yeltsin in 1999. He is the longest serving president of Russia since Joseph Stalin. 

Emperor Alexander III 

  • The submarine is the seventh of the Borei class (Arctic Wind), a nuclear-powered fleet. Which is the first new generation launched after the Cold War. Each submarine is equipped with 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads. 
  • Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry said the ship had successfully test-fired a nuclear- capable Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile. 


  • It belongs to the Yasen (Ash Tree) class of submarines. These are multi-role submarines armed with long-range, high-precision missiles. As for the Krasnoyarsk, Putin said it is capable of attacking both sea and land targets. Krasnoyarsk is armed with cruise missiles and torpedoes. Krasnoyarsk is designed to hunt enemy submarines. 

11.United Nations Climate Talks, 2024/COP-29 will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan 

  • United Nations Climate Talks 2024- COP-29 will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. There was a long- standing standoff between Azerbaijan and Armenia over hosting COP-29. Baku, known for one of the world's first oil fields developed 1,200 years ago, will become a focal point of climate discussions in 2024. 
  • It also means that for several years in a row an oil superpower country will host climate talks – where the focus is often on eliminating fossil fuels. 
  • This month's talks in Dubai were planned more than two years ago, while Baku's decision comes just 11 months before the talks were to begin. 

Major Cop Meetings 

  • COP 01 – Berlin, 28 March – 07 April 1995 
  • COP 02 – Geneva, Switzerland, 08 July – 19 July 1996 
  • COP 03- Kyoto, Japan, 01 December – 10 December 1997 
  • COP 04- Buenos Aires, Argentina, 02 November – 13 November 1998 
  • COP 26 – Glasgow, Scotland – 31 October – 12 November 2021
  • COP 27 – Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 06 November – 18 November 2022 
  • COP 28- Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 30 November – 12 'Race to Resilience' 
  • India has taken an important step towards tackling the challenges posed by climate change by joining the United Nations' 'Race to Resilience' global campaign. The decision, announced during the recently concluded COP28 event in Dubai, reflects India's commitment to building climate resilience in urban areas. 
  • 'Race to Resilience' Established in 2020, the campaign serves as a collaborative space to develop and implement strategies that reduce climate-related risks and build resilient urban environments. 
  • The Climate Center for Cities (C- Cube) at NIUA, an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, will play a key role in taking forward India's participation in the 'Race to Resilience'. 

12.According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Myanmar will become the world's leading opium producing country in the year 2023

  • Myanmar is set to overtake Afghanistan as the world's largest producer of opium in 2023, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 
  • Opium cultivation expanded significantly in the border areas of Myanmar, primarily in northern Shan State, followed by Chin and Kachin States. Located in the so- called Golden Triangle, considered a center of drug production and trafficking. 
  • The political, social and economic instability resulting from Myanmar's 2021 coup prompted people to turn to poppy cultivation as an alternative livelihood. Following the Taliban's drug ban in 2022, opium cultivation in Afghanistan declined by 95%. 
  • This change resulted in a substantial increase in the earnings of Myanmar farmers, with opium poppy cultivation yielding approximately 75% higher profits. The average price of opium poppy has increased to about $355 per kilogram. 
  • Cultivated area increased by 18% year-on-year, reaching 47,000 hectares, the highest potential yield since 2001. UNODC reports yields increased by 16% due to more sophisticated farming practices, reaching 22.9 kg per hectare. 
  • Increasing conflict between the Myanmar military and armed ethnic-minority groups is likely to accelerate the expansion of poppy cultivation in the region. This situation poses challenges to authorities, international organizations and efforts to combat the illicit drug trade. 
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 
  • It was established in the year 1997 and was renamed as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the year 2002. ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ is organized every year on 26 June. 
  • India is located midway between the two major illicit opium production areas in the world – the Golden Crescent (Iran-Afghanistan- Pakistan) in the west and the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) in the east. 

13.India votes in favor of immediate ceasefire in Gaza by Israel

  • India on Tuesday voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that called on Israel for an immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians in accordance with international law and the release of all hostages. India was among 153 countries that made up a massive 4/5th majority in the Assembly who voted in favor of the resolution, where only 10 countries, including the U.S. and Israel, voted against the resolution, and 23 abstained. Despite being "unsatisfied" with the resolution, Israel said it appreciated India's support and votes in favor of two proposed amendments. 
  • Thanking India, the Palestinian Ambassador to India said that all countries must say "enough is enough''. "153 countries have voted for a ceasefire but the U.S. has opposed it and by doing so, the U.S. has once again proved that they are partners of Israel in this continuing massacre of Palestinian people," Ambassador of Palestine Adnan Abu Al Haija said. 

14.Gaza, a new pointer to India's changed world view 

  • When the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the former British Mandate Territory of Palestine into two states, Israel and Palestine, India voted against. As the victim of a British-driven partition of its own territory to favor a religious minority. 
  • hen Pakistan was carved out of India's stooped shoulders by the departing imperial power), it had no desire to acquiesce in another partition to create a Jewish state. India argued for a single secular state for both Jews and Arabs in Palestine, much like the state it had established for itself. It was, however, outvoted on the matter. 
  • When Israel was indeed established, India duly extended recognition, but kept relations at consular level for more than four decades. In the meantime, it became the first non-Arab country to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1974, and to formally extend recognition to the Palestinian state in 1988. It was only in 1992 that relations with Israel were also upgraded to Ambassadorial level. 
  • And yet, when the United Nations General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority to call for an "immediate, durable and sustainable humanitarian truce", India chose to abetain, on the grounds that the resolution had failed to condemn the terror attacks of October 7. But several other countries, including France historically an ally of Israel had voted for the resolution while, in a speech explaining their vote, deploring its failure to condemn terrorian. India's stand was, in other words, more pro-Israeli than France's and France,unlike was historically an ally of Israel. 
  • Despite many areas of continuity, India's foreign policy has begun to change in Important areas under Mr. Modi, arguably beyond recognition on the Israel issue, and more subtly in other areas. The rise of China has already prompted a greater affinity to the United States and its strategic concerns about Beijing's intentions, concerns which New Delhi has good reason to share after the killing of 20 soldiers in Galwan in June 2020.

15.Statue Of Tamil Icon ‘Thiruvalluvar’ Unveiled In France 

  • On Sunday, December 10, a significant cultural milestone unfolded in the French town of Cergy with the inauguration of a statue dedicated to Thiruvalluvar, a revered cultural icon among Tamilians. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed admiration for the newly inaugurated statue, describing it as a “beautiful testament to our shared cultural bonds.” The statue serves as a tangible representation of the rich cultural heritage that unites the two nations. 
  • Thiruvalluvar, commonly referred to as Valluvar, stood as an eminent Indian poet and philosopher renowned for authoring the Tirukkuṟaḷ, a compilation of couplets addressing ethics, political and economic subjects, and love. This collection is hailed as an exceptional and highly esteemed contribution to Tamil literature. 

16.Cyclone Jasper Hits Australia

  • Cyclone Jasper, the first named storm of the 2023–24 Australian region cyclone season, made landfall in northeast Australia, impacting northern Queensland with destructive winds and the looming threat of flash flooding. This active tropical cyclone emerged as the third disturbance of the 2023–24 South Pacific cyclone season. 
  • Originating from a low-pressure area in the South Pacific Ocean, Jasper initially moved southwest through Fiji’s area of responsibility. While slow to develop initially, the system gained strength, prompting the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to classify it as a Category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian scale. 
  • Jasper rapidly intensified, reaching Category 4 status on 7 December, with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimating sustained winds of 220 km/h (140 mph). However, the cyclone’s journey took a turn as it encountered an environment with increasing wind shear, leading to a gradual weakening. 

State News 

17.Uttar Pradesh To Witness Aviation Boom: Nine New Airports In Two Years, Reveals Aviation Minister 

  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently unveiled ambitious plans for Uttar Pradesh’s aviation infrastructure. The Modi government is set to construct nine new airports in the state within the next two years. This initiative will propel the total number of airports in Uttar Pradesh to an impressive 18. 
  • Scindia highlighted the government’s remarkable achievements in the aviation domain, citing the development of 75 airports over the past nine years. This is a substantial leap compared to the 74 airports established in the first 65 years of India’s independence. The total count of airports, heliports, and waterdromes nationwide has now reached 149. 

18.'New Delhi Declaration' on artificial intelligence adopted 

  • Following several hours of deliberations, representatives from 28 countries and the European Union adopted the "New Delhi Declaration '' of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI, pronounced g-pay). India is hosting the summit, and will chair the GPAI grouping in 2024. The ministerial declaration affirms the countries' commitment to "principles for responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI.... rooted in democratic values and human rights.... and promoting trustworthy, responsible, sustainable and human-centered use of Al". 
  • GPAI is a grouping of countries in North and South America, Europe, and East Asia, which strive to work towards "trustworthy development, deployment, and use of AI". 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first day of the summit. 
  • "We will discuss how to pool OECD resources to harness the ability to come up with the best possible solutions for the deployment and governance of AI for the good of our people," Jean-Noël Barrot, France's Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications, told reporters. 
  • We especially think GPAI should be more inclusive so that we encourage more developing countries to join," Hiroshi Yoshida, Japan's Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (International Affairs) in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, said. 

Defence News 

19.Indian Coast Guard held 15th Capacity Building Senior Officers’ Meet 

  • The Indian Coast Guard has organized the 15th edition of the ‘Capacity Building Senior Officers’ Meeting’ (CBSOM-2023) at GIFT City in Gandhinagar to understand the situation of maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. 
  • The meeting was held as per the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia. 
  • It brought together 19 international delegates from 15 countries, including key national stakeholders from India. 

Business News 

20.Tata Steel To Invest ₹100 Cr. In Centre For Innovation In London 

  • Tata Steel, a global steel leader, has embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with Imperial College London to establish the Centre for Innovation in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing in London. 
  • This Memorandum of Understanding signifies a strategic partnership aimed at accelerating technology development and deployment in critical areas, attracting talent and fostering a robust industry-academia collaborative ecosystem. 
  • Tata Steel is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable innovation by investing Rs.104 crore over the next four years. This financial commitment underscores Tata Steel’s dedication to fostering cutting-edge research and technology development in the field of sustainable design and manufacturing. 

21.Foxconn Boosts Investment In Karnataka: $1.67 Billion For Diversification And IPhone Manufacturing 

  • Foxconn, the Taiwan-based giant responsible for assembling around 70% of iPhones globally, is set to invest an additional 139.11 billion rupees ($1.67 billion) in the state of Karnataka. Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, has been rapidly expanding its footprint in India over the past year. 
  • In August, Foxconn had already announced a substantial investment of $600 million in two projects within Karnataka. These projects aimed to manufacture casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment, demonstrating the company’s commitment to establishing a robust manufacturing ecosystem in the southern state. 
  • One of the most noteworthy aspects of Foxconn’s expansion plans is its intention to commence iPhone manufacturing in Karnataka by April 2024. This ambitious project is expected to create around 50,000 jobs in the region, marking a significant contribution to employment opportunities. 

Economy News 

22.Moody’s Affirms Reliance Industries’ Baa2 Rating With A Stable Outlook 

  • Global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has recently reaffirmed the Baa2 rating for Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), maintaining a stable outlook. This affirmation reflects RIL’s substantial market presence and strong performance across its diverse business sectors. 
  • Moody’s projects a significant growth in RIL’s consolidated EBITDA, estimating a 14% increase to ₹1.7 trillion (around $21 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024. This growth is expected to be driven by robust performances in digital services, retail, and the upstream oil and gas segment. 
  • Moody’s anticipates an annual EBITDA growth of 10%-12% over the next two years, primarily fueled by the strong performance of RIL’s consumer businesses, including digital services, retail, and the oil and gas segment. 

23.Fiscal Challenges Loom As 12 Indian States Project Debt Exceeding 35% Of GSDP By FY24 

  • In the fiscal landscape of India, a concerning trend has emerged as twelve states are projected to witness their debt surpassing 35% of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) by the end of the financial year 2023-24. 
  • This revelation, detailed in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) latest annual publication, points to potential fiscal mismanagement and raises alarms about the fragile fiscal situation of these states. 
  • The states drawing attention from the RBI for fiscal mismanagement include Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. 

Schemes and Committee News 

24.Food Processing Industry Thrives With ₹7,000 Crore Investment Under PLI Scheme 

  • The Ministry of Food Processing reveals substantial growth in the sector, with beneficiaries of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme investing a staggering ₹7,126 crore. Notably, cumulative sales reached ₹49,825 crore during the April-September period. 
  • The PLI Scheme, spearheaded by the Ministry, aims to address critical aspects of the food processing industry. With a focus on generating employment for approximately 250,000 individuals, the scheme incentivizes manufacturing in four key categories: ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, processed fruits and vegetables, marine products, and mozzarella cheese. 

25.Arvind Kejriwal And Punjab CM Mann Initiate Scheme For Doorstep Services 

  • Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal recently launched the “Bhagwant Mann Sarkar, Tuhade Dwaar” scheme in Ludhiana, marking a historic day for the state. 
  • This initiative, inspired by the successful Delhi Model, aims to revolutionize governance by providing doorstep delivery of essential services. 
  • Mann and Kejriwal inaugurated the “Mobile Sahayaks,” a fleet of delivery men adorned in distinctive yellow T-shirts featuring Mann’s image. These sahayaks will play a crucial role in providing doorstep delivery of 43 critical services to the citizens of Punjab. 

Appointment News 

26.Tripura appoints Ganguly as its tourism brand ambassador 

  • BJP-led government in Tripura has inducted former cricketer Sourav Ganguly as a brand ambassador for the promotion of tourism in the state. 
  • The former Indian cricket skipper Ganguly and Tripura tourism minister Susanta Choudhury signed an agreement at the historic Ujjayanta Palace of the erstwhile Manikya Dynasty, at Agartala. 
  • As part of the agreement, Ganguly would shoot videos at the Ujjayanta Palace and at Chabimura in Gomati district, the two major tourist attractions. 
  • The ancient Tripura Sundari temple, the Ujjayanta Palace, Neermahal Water Palace and Unakoti archaeological site are some of the major tourist spots in Tripura. The state is also trying to promote the colourful tribal culture in parts of the state for tourism. 
  • This comes days after Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee appointed Ganguly as the state’s brand ambassador. Tripura and Bengal share cultural and linguistic similarities as Bengali is a dominant language in both states. 

Recent Brand Ambassador 

  • R Madhavan – The insurtech company Acko 
  • Pankaj Tripathi – UPI Safety Ambassador 
  • MS Dhoni – State bank of India 
  • Katrina Kaif – Swiss Watchmaker ‘Rado’ 
  • Chetan Bhagat – Henry Harvin Education 
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Lay’s 

27.Parama Sen Appointed Part-Time Member Of PFRDA Board, Filling All Three Vacancies 

  • In a recent development, Parama Sen, Additional Secretary in the Department of Expenditure at the Finance Ministry, has been appointed as a part-time member of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). 
  • This appointment completes the trio of part-time members on the PFRDA board. Parama Sen, a 1994 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Services (IAAS) officer, assumes the role, succeeding Anne George Mathew, who vacated the position earlier this year. 
  • The PFRDA board consists of a chairman, three whole-time members, and three part-time members. The Member (Law) post, vacant since May last year, remains unfilled. Earlier appointments include Rahul Singh from the Department of Personnel and Training and Pankaj Sharma from the Department of Financial Services, both appointed in the previous year. 

Banking News 

28.Indian Banks Expand Overseas Presence To 417 In FY23: RBI Survey 

  • Indian banks significantly increased their overseas presence, reaching 417 subsidiaries in the fiscal year 2022-23, up from 399 in the previous year, according to a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) survey. The survey encompasses 14 Indian banks with foreign branches or subsidiaries and 44 foreign banks with a presence in India. 
  • Indian banks expanded their overseas presence through subsidiaries, reaching 417 in FY23 compared to 399 in the previous fiscal year, as per RBI data. The growth is highlighted by a 0.5% and 6.2% increase in employee strength for foreign branches and subsidiaries, respectively. 

29.RBI Grants Authorization To Bandhan Bank For Pension Disbursement To Retired Railway Employees 

  • Bandhan Bank recently announced its official authorization by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to facilitate pension disbursement through e-Pension Payment Orders (e-PPOs) on behalf of the Ministry of Railways. 
  • This mandate extends the bank’s reach to approximately 50,000 average Indian Railways retirees annually, covering all offices, including 17 zonal railways and 8 production units of Indian Railways. 
  • Bandhan Bank’s newfound authorization empowers it to disburse pensions to retired employees of the Ministry of Railways, encompassing individuals who have concluded their service with the organization. 
  • Pensioners stand to benefit from competitive interest rates and senior citizen privileges offered by the bank. With a network of more than 1640 branches and a robust digital banking platform, Bandhan Bank aims to provide retirees with a comprehensive banking experience. 

30.IME clears second tranche of $337 mn for Sri Lanka 

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cleared the second tranche of about $337 million of the Extended Fund Facility (EPF) to Sri Lanka, based on the debt treatment plan drawn up by the crisis-battered island nation and its bilateral creditors.
  •  "Sri Lanka's agreements-in-principle with the Official Creditors Committee and Export-Import Bank of China on debt treatments are consistent with the EFF targets. They are an important milestone putting Sri Lanka's debt on the path towards sustainability," a senior official in Washington told a virtual press conference late on Tuesday. 
  • With the second tranche coming in, Sri Lanka has received about $670 mil lion of the total $3 billion it hopes to receive from the Fund, to recover from last year's historic financial crash that put citizens through acute shortages and long power cuts, while pushing the country into bankruptcy. 
  • In November, Sri Lanka reached an "agreement-in- principle" with India and the Paris Club group of creditors, including Japan, to recast its debt owed to them. China, too, is said to have agreed to treat its Sri Lanka loans on comparable terms. The government is yet to make the terms of either agreement public. 
  • "A swift completion and signature of the Memoranda of Understanding with the official creditors is important," the IMF said. 
  • While China, India and Japan are Sri Lanka's top three bilateral creditors, the largest chunk of the land's debt, accumulated through International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs), is owed to private creditors. Emphasizing the need for "timely implementation" of the agreements with the official lenders, the Fund also urged Sri Lanka to reach a resolution with external private creditors "on comparable terms". 
  • Commendable progress Meanwhile, the Fund noted that Sri Lanka has made "commendable progress" towards restoring debt sustainability, raising revenue, rebuilding reserves buffers, reducing inflation, and safeguarding financial stability. "Strong commitment to improving governance and protecting the poor and vulnerable remains critical," the IMF said. In addition to higher, mostly across-the-board indirect taxes, citizens are struggling to keep up with spiraling utility bills, especially electricity, following a three-fold increase in rates. The Ceylon Electricity Board recently said it disconnected some five lakh power connections owing to non-payment of Mm bills by consumers. 

31.Center nudging us towards Co ag financial crisis, says Kerala 

  • Kerala has filed a suit in the Supreme Court accusing the Centre of violating the federal structure of governance and causing "severe damage to the economy of a small State with meager resources'' by interfering with its finances. 
  • The suit said a State, in a federal system of governance, had the exclusive power to regulate its finance through preparation and management of its budget and borrowings. 
  • "Unless the Net BorrowAdam ing Ceiling, as fixed by the Red Kerala Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003, based on which the State Budget has been drawn up and approved by the legislature is restored, the State is legitimately apprehensive that its treasury operations will be halted or starkly curtailed. 
  • This is a dire situation looming ahead and the immediate consequences to the State will be catastrophic," the suit highlighted. Kerala said it had already suffered a cumulative expenditure loss or resource deficiency of 1,07,513.09 crores over the fiscal year period between 2016-2023. 

32.Reliance Teams With DBS Bank For Biogas Initiative 

  • Reliance Industries has forged a strategic partnership with DBS Bank India to establish a financing program targeting farmers and aggregators. The primary objective of this collaboration is to manage crop residue effectively, utilizing it in the production of compressed biogas (CBG). 
  • Farmers often resort to burning agricultural residue due to the lack of means, infrastructure, and logistics required for proper processing. Reliance Industries has identified this challenge and enlisted DBS Bank India as its finance partner to address the financial aspects of sustainable residue management. 
  • Reliance Industries is actively advancing its green energy commitment, launching a nationwide program for biogas facilities. The initial facility in Barabanki, UP, anticipates cutting 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. 
  • With plans to establish 100 CBG plants in five years, the initiative targets utilizing over 5.5 million tons of agricultural residue, contributing to a yearly reduction of 2 million tons in carbon emissions. 

33.IMF Approves $337 Million Second Tranche Loan For Sri Lanka 

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the release of the second tranche, amounting to approximately $337 million, under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to Sri Lanka. With the second tranche now greenlit, Sri Lanka has received a total of around $670 million out of the anticipated $3 billion from the IMF. 
  • This financial injection is crucial for the country’s recovery efforts, particularly considering the severe impacts of the financial crisis on citizens, including acute shortages and prolonged power cuts leading to a state of bankruptcy. 
  • China, India, and Japan rank as Sri Lanka’s top three bilateral creditors. While significant debt comes from these nations, a substantial portion, accumulated through International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs), is owed to private creditors. 

Important Day News 

34.‘National Energy Conservation Day 2023’ will be celebrated today 

  • National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on 14 December to spread the message on the importance of energy conservation and to showcase the nation's achievements in energy efficiency and conservation. National Energy Conservation Day is organized under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, a constitutional body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. 
  • National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated since 1991 to raise awareness about energy conservation. The Government of India established the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) on March 1, 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. 
  • President Smt. Draupadi Murmu will participate in the National Energy Conservation Day 2023 celebrations to be held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on December 14, 2023. 
  • On this occasion, the President will also felicitate the winners of the National Energy Conservation Award 2023, National Energy Efficiency Innovation Award 2023 and National Painting Competition 2023 on Energy Conservation. 
  • The National Energy Conservation Day and Awards is organized by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, which is mandated as per the Energy Conservation Act 2001 to regulate and promote national energy efficiency and its conservation in India. going. 

Award News 

35.Faith Kipyegon and Noah Lyles won the women's and men's 'Athlete of the Year Awards-23' respectively 

  • Faith Kipyegon and Noah Lyles were named the female and male World Athletes of the Year respectively on the World Athletics track at a ceremony held in Monaco on 11 December 2023. 
  • Six athletes – Faith Kipyegon, Noah Lyles, Armand "Mondo" Duplantis, Tigist Assefa, Kelvin Kiptum and Yulimar Rojas were named World Athlete of the Year after the awards were expanded to three categories. 
  • In August 2023 in Budapest, double Olympic champion Kipyegon became the first woman to win the 1500 m and 5000 m at the world championships. 
  • Lyles' 2023 campaign saw him win three gold medals at Worlds, including individual wins in the 100 m and 200 m and as part of Team USA's winning 4x100 m relay team. 
  • The winners were decided by the results of a ballot combining the votes of the World Athletics Council (50%), the World Athletics Family (25%) and members of the public (25%). 

Other Winner 

  • World Athlete of the Year - Women's Out of Stadia - Ethiopia's Tigaste Assefa-Marathon 
  • World Athlete of the Year - Women's Field - Venezuela's 'Queen of the Triple Jump' Yulimar Rojas 
  • World Athlete of the Year – Men's Field – Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis of Sweden – Pole Vault 
  • World Athlete of the Year – Men's Out of Stadia – Kenya's Kelvin Kiptom-Marathon. 

36.Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and three diplomats received 'Diwali-Power of One' award 

  • Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and three diplomats were honored with the 'Diwali Power of One Awards'. This honor is given every year for working for a peaceful and secure world. 
  • Apart from this, former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Awards ceremony organized by Diwali Foundation USA. 
  • Other laureates for the year 2023 include Ambassador Mirsada Kolakovic, former Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations, Ambassador Kim Sook, former Permanent Representative of South Korea to the United Nations and President of the 72nd UN General Assembly and the European Union for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. Special Representative of Miroslav Lajk. 
  • ‘Diwali – Power of One’ Award 
  • Regarded as the Oscars of diplomacy, this award is given to former Permanent Representatives to the United Nations or former high-level members of the UN Secretariat or soon-to-retire high- level members. 
  • These awards were established by Diwali Foundation USA in the year 2017. Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two terms as the world's top diplomat from January 2007 to December 2016. 
  • The 2023 awards ceremony was coorganized by Diwali Foundation 
  • USA and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and the Permanent Missions of Chile, Eritrea, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Morocco, Oman and Sri Lanka to the United Nations. 

37.Iga Swiatek won 'WTA Player of the Year Award-23'

  • Iga Swiatek achieved her second consecutive season-ending No. 1 ranking and won her second consecutive WTA Player of the Year award. She is the first woman since Serena Williams to achieve this remarkable feat. 
  • Williams, who retired last year, was named WTA Player of the Year from 2012 to 2015, winning the title four times. 
  • Swiatek initially held the No. 1 spot from April to September 2022 and then regained it by the end of the year. Swiatek's impressive 2023 record of 68 wins and 11 losses includes six Tour titles. 
  • Swiatek notably won her fourth Grand Slam overall with a win at the French Open in June, followed by a win at Roland Garros. The 22- year-old Polish player finished her season undefeated at the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico last month. 

Other Winner 

  • Most Improved Player of the Year - Zheng Qianwen of China 
  • Newcomer of the Year - Mira Andreeva of Russia 
  • Comeback Player of the Year - Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 
  • Coach of the Year – Tomas Wiktorowski, coach of Swiatek 
  • Doubles Team of the Year – Storm Hunter of Australia and Elise Mertens of Belgium 
  • Jerry Diamond ACES Award – Jessica Pegula of USA 
  • Karen Krantzke Sportsmanship Award & Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award - Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. 

38.International Gender Equality Prize 2023 went to an Afghanistan NGO 

  • Finland awarded the International Gender Equality Prize for 2023 to an NGO in Afghanistan that works to promote and protect the rights of women in Afghanistan. 
  • The organization Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center does important humanitarian work to promote the safety of Afghan women. 
  • Ever since the Taliban came into power, Afghanistan is an example of a country where women’s human rights are systematically suppressed and girls have been denied access to secondary education and women to higher education. 
  • Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo attended the ceremony and presented the EUR 300,000 Prize to the organization’s representative, Mahbouba Seraj, in Tampere. 
  • In 2021, the Prize was awarded to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, an organization that does groundbreaking work combating violence against women in Turkey and whose work has global relevance. 
  • Finland has strongly supported gender equality and women’s rights in Afghanistan for 20 years. Even today, we continue to provide this important support as widely as possible in the current situation. Finland will not forget Afghan women. 
  • The task of the Afghan Women Skills Development Center is to provide Afghan women with training and to support their skills development and economic empowerment. The organisation operates in eight provinces around the country 
  • Finland was one of the first countries in the world to extend the right to vote and stand for elections to all women and men in 1906. Finland was also the first country to elect women to Parliament; 19 women were elected to the 200-seat Parliament in 1907. 

39.Mohammed Shami Nominated For Arjuna Award, Satwiksairaj-Chirag For Khel Ratna 

  • India’s premier badminton men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty is in line to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sports prize. 
  • The pair has had a remarkable year, reaching as many as six finals, winning five. They won at the Asian Games, Asian Championships, Swiss Open, Indonesia Open and Korea Open. They were runners-up at China Masters. 
  • India pace ace Mohammed Shami, who finished as the top wickettaker in the ODI World Cup with 24 scalps, is in the list for the Arjuna Award, it is learnt. Satwik-Chirag, the first Indian doubles pair to rise to the top of the international game, also rose to No.1 in the BWF world rankings this year, also a first for an Indian doubles pair. 

Science and Technology News 

40.China launched the world’s first Methane powered rocket “Zhuque 2” 

  • A Chinese company LandSpace Technology became the first in the world to launch satellites with rockets fuelled by methane and liquid oxygen. 
  • The Zhuque 2 Y-3 blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. 
  • The rocket was 49.5 metres in length, had a diameter of 3.35m, and had a lift-off mass of 220 tonnes, excluding the payloads. 
  • Zhuque-2 Y-3 carried two 50kg test satellites developed by Chinese startup Spacety, one of which has adopted technologies from a company named Hongqing. 

41.China launched the deepest lab on Earth 

  • The world’s deepest and largest underground laboratory became operational in 
  • The 2,400-metre-deep physics laboratory is located in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. 
  • The Deep Underground and Ultra-low Radiation Background Facility for Frontier Physics Experiments (DURF) is located beneath Jinping Mountain in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. 
  • The DURF has a total room capacity of 330,000 cubic metres. 
  • The lab provides a major boost to the global search for dark matter, which is a hypothetical form of matter that appears not to interact with light or the electromagnetic field. 
  • It is expected that the lab will open up new frontiers in deep-earth experiments as the extreme depth will help the scientists by blocking most cosmic rays that mess with the observation. 
  • The underground laboratory has been launched after three years of extensive upgrades and expansion as it is the second phase of China Jinping Underground Laboratory. 
  • The facility started construction in December 2020 and was jointly built by Tsinghua University and Yalong River Hydropower Development Company, Ltd. 

About China 

  • Capital – Beijing 
  • Currency – Yuan 
  • President – Xi Jinping 

Ranks and Reports News 

42.Myanmar surpassed Afghanistan as world’s largest source of opium: UN report 

  • Myanmar has surpassed Afghanistan to become the world’s largest source of opium in 2023 after a third consecutive year of expanding cultivation fueled by the country’s civil war, the United Nations report. 
  • This has happened due to various factors such as domestic instability and a significant decline in opium cultivation in Afghanistan. 
  • After the Taliban imposed a ban on drugs in 2022, opium cultivation in Afghanistan decreased by 95%, leading to a global shift in the opium supply to Myanmar. 
  • The UNODC’s report highlighted that political, social, and economic instability resulting from the 2021 coup in Myanmar prompted many individuals to turn to poppy farming. 
  • This shift has resulted in a substantial increase in earnings for Myanmar farmers, with opium poppy farming now yielding about 75% higher profits. The average price of opium poppies has risen to approximately $355 per kilogram, and the cultivation area has expanded by 18% year-on-year, reaching 47,000 hectares, marking the highest potential yield since 2001. 

43.Hyderabad ranked as “most livable city in India” by Mercer

  • Hyderabad ranked 153rd in Mercer’s Quality of Living City Index 2023, while Pune scored the 154th position and Bengaluru attained the 156th spot 
  • Pune has the second best ‘quality of life’ in India after Hyderabad. Chennai at 161st, Mumbai at 164th, Kolkata at 170th, New Delhi at 172nd position. 
  • Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), and Vancouver (Canada) are the top three cities in that order, according to the 2023 index. 
  • Khartoum (Sudan) at the bottom-most position (241st spot). 
  • This index evaluates the quality of life for employees working abroad, especially with families, and relies on data from over 500 cities all over the world. 
  • The ranking is based on factors like climate, schools and education, disease and sanitation standards, violence and crime, physical remoteness and ease of communications, and socio-political environment. 

Recent index 

  • Climate Change Performance Index 2023 – India ranked 7th 
  • World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2023 – India ranked 49th; topped by US* 
  • Global Unicorn Rankings – Rank 1. USA, Rank 2. China, Rank 3. India 
  • Inclusiveness index by US varsity – India ranked 117th; topped by – New Zealand 
  • Global Pension Index 2023 – India ranked 45; Topped by Netherland 
  • Global Hunger Index 2023 – India ranked 111th 

44.Mercer’s Survey: Pune 2nd In India For Quality Of Living After Hyderabad 

  • In a recent release of the Quality of Living Index 2023 by Mercer, a renowned global consultant for businesses, Pune has secured the second-best position in terms of ‘quality of life‘ in India. The city trails just behind Hyderabad, marking a significant improvement from the previous rankings. 
  • The Quality of Living City Index by Mercer positions Pune at 154th, with Hyderabad slightly ahead at 153rd, and Bengaluru following closely at 156th. Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), and Vancouver (Canada) clinched the top three spots globally in that order, according to the 2023 index. 
  • The last release of these rankings occurred in 2019, where both Pune and Hyderabad shared the 143rd position. The rankings for 2023 highlight the continuous endeavors aimed at improving the city’s infrastructure and raising overall living standards. 

Sports News 

45.Italy Clinches Admiral’s Cup 2023 At Indian Naval Academy 

  • The 12th edition of the eagerly awaited Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta concluded at Ettikulam Beach, INA, Ezhimala. 
  • The top honor of the Admiral’s Cup 23 went to Team Italy, represented by Midshipman Avallone Antonio and Midshipman Creati Carlo Leonardo. 
  • Team India, led by Midshipman PPK Reddy and Cadet GY Reddy, emerged as the Runners-Up, showcasing their talent and determination on the challenging waters. 
  • Team United Kingdom, represented by Officer Cadet Lucy Bell and Midshipman Aaron Middleton, and Team Germany, represented by Cadet Beckman Carl and Cadet Hinz Anton, shared the third position. 

46.IPL Brand Value Rises 28% To $10.7 Billion In 2023 

  • In a major milestone, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has achieved decacorn status, with its combined brand value seeing a remarkable 28% surge to reach an impressive $10.7 billion. This significant growth is reported by Brand Finance, marking a phenomenal 433% increase in the IPL system’s brand value since its launch in 2008. 
  • During the 2023 season, IPL reached an astounding 505 million viewers on television and an additional 450 million on digital platforms. Disney Star holds the TV broadcast rights, while JioCinema owns the digital streaming rights. 
  • Brand Finance is the second company, following D&P Advisory, to appraise the IPL ecosystem at over $10 billion. Earlier estimates by Houlihan Lokey had placed IPL’s brand value at $3 billion, with a noteworthy business enterprise value of $15 billion. 

Indian polity News 

47.Speaker calls for security review of new Parliament

  • Hours after the security breach in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday afternoon, Speaker Om Birla sought a complete security review of the new Parliament building and a high-level inquiry into the incident. 
  • The decisions were taken after Mr. Birla met floor leaders of all political parties in his chamber after two persons jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery and opened smoke canisters. 
  • An official from the Lok Sabha Secretariat told The Hint that the Secretary General of the House had written to the Home Ministry seeking a complete security review. 
  • Following the letter, the Ministry announced the setting up of an inquiry committee under CRPF Director-General Anish Dayal Singh to probe the breach. 
  • Citing the expulsion of its MP, Mahua Moitra, the Trinamool Congress, at the all-party meeting, demanded action against BJP member Prathap Simha for facilitating the entry of the visitors, who jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber. The two men had entered Parliament on a visitor's pass with Mr. Simha's recommendation 

48.SC holds arbitration deals in unstamped contracts to be valid 

  • A seven-judge Constitution Bench on Wednesday held that arbitration agreements embedded in unstamped or insufficiently stamped substantive commercial contracts or Instruments are not invalid, unenforceable or even non-existent. 
  • The Supreme Court judgment gives a significant shot in the arm for India's ambition to become an International arbitration hub to quickly resolve commercial disputes. Earlier, arbitrations on such disputes had struck a roadblock owing to non-pay ment of the required stamp duty for or Insufficient stamping of contracts by the parties. 
  • "Arbitration aims to provide speedy, efficient, and binding resolution of disputes that have arisen between the parties in regard to their substantive obligations," the court noted. 
  • Delivering the lead opinion in a curative petition overruling an earlier five judge Bench verdict of the Supreme Court in the N.N. Global case, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud held that "non-stamping or Inadequate stamping is a curable defect", 
  • The Chief Justice clarified that arbitration agreements would not be non-existent, unenforceable, or invalid if the underlying contract was not stamped. The judge said non-payment or Insufficient stamp- Ing of contracts under the Stamp Act would not affect arbitration proceedings under the Arbitration Act. Such contracts were only inadmissible in evidence under the Stamp Act.
  • "Arbitration Act is a self contained code... Accordingly, matters governed by the Arbitration Act such as the arbitration agreement, appointment of arbitrators and competence of the arbitral tribunal to rule on its jurisdiction have to be assessed in the manner specified under the law... Therefore, provisions of other statutes [Stamp Act) cannot interfere with the working of the Arbitration Act, unless specified otherwise," the Chief Justice wrote. 
  • The court said an arbitration agreement is presumed to have separate existence from the contract. 

49.Supreme Court launches AI- powered regional language translation tool ‘SUVAS’ 

  • Recently Indian Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Supreme Court has introduced 'SUVAS', an AI-powered translation tool to facilitate the use of regional language in legal proceedings. 
  • This specialized tool, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, currently translates English judicial documents into 11 Indian languages. 
  • The full name of ‘SUVAS’ is – Supreme Court Legal Translation Software. Along with this, a portal named SUPACE was also launched for legal research. 
  • Additionally, the Chief Justice of India said that the historic Kesavananda Bharti judgment is available in 10 Indian languages on the Supreme Court website, marking 50 years of the judgment. 
  • "20,000 judgments have been uploaded on the e-SCR portal on the court's website," he said, drawing parallels with the Supreme Court's earlier efforts to translate its judgments since independence till date. 
  • In the Kesavananda Bharati case, the Constitution Bench ruled by a majority of 7:6 that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution, so long as it does not alter or amend the basic structure or essential features of the Constitution. 

Obituary News 

50.Emmy-Winning Actor Andre Braugher Passes Away At 61 

  • Emmy-winning actor Andre Braugher, renowned for his notable roles in series such as “Homicide: Life on The Street” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” has sadly passed away at the age of 61. His publicist, Jennifer Allen, confirmed the news, citing a brief illness as the cause. 
  • Born in Chicago, Braugher gained widespread recognition with his breakthrough role in the 1989 film “Glory,” alongside Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington. “Glory,” depicts the experiences of an all-Black army regiment during the Civil War. 
  • The actor’s compelling performance earned him his first Emmy in 1998, securing the trophy for lead actor in a drama series. This marked the beginning of a distinguished career, and Braugher would go on to receive a total of 11 Emmy nominations throughout his impressive tenure. 

51.Exposed AIDS epidemic, Dr. Gao Yaojie passed away 

  • Chinese doctor Gao Yaojie, known for having exposed the AIDS epidemic in the rural part of the country, died at the age of 95. 
  • Yaojie was a gynecologist by training and was one of the first doctors who spearheaded the campaign against the AIDS epidemic in China. 
  • Yaojie had exposed how businesses selling blood caused the spread of HIV in rural China. 
  • According to a report by BBC, selling blood was a common practice in rural China, especially in the Henan province in the 1980s and 1990s. Poor farming communities engaged in selling blood to earn a living. However, the practice was not properly monitored and at times, blood was also collected from HIV+ patients. 
  • At that time, awareness for AIDS was not very high. Chinese authorities believed that HIV could only be transferred through sex or from mother to child during pregnancy. Yaojie came across an AIDS patient who didn’t fall in either category but had received blood through transfusion

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