Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 2nd December 2023

 National News 

1.Improving the capability of the Indian state 

  • The-Indian state is a paradox of too big and yet too small. Try setting up a business or building a house in an urban area, and you will quickly realise how the thicket of the licences, permits, clearances, and permissions can make life Impossible. Even as an ordinary cittzen, one can never be sure to be on the right side of the law and the circuitous regulations. 
  • At the same time, the Weberian state in India is too small. In the G-20 group, the country has the smallest number of civil servants per capita. The public sector share in total employment in India (at 5.77%) is half the corresponding figures for Indonesia and China, and just about a third of that in the United Kingdom. With approximately 1,600 per million, the number of central government personnel in India pales in comparison to 7,500 in the United States. Similarly, the per capita number of doctors, teachers, town planners, police, judges, firefighters, inspectors for food and drugs, and regulators is the lowest even among countries at a similar stage of development. 
  • The Indian state is relatively small on the other metrics, such as the tax GDP ratio and public expenditure GDP ratio. Be it public goods provisions, welfare payments, or the justice system, it is a story of scarcity rather than surplus. Due to an inadequate state capability, governments at the Centre and States end up outsourcing services that are better provided by the public sector, such as primary health. 
  • The proponents of inclusive development rightly pitch for a bigger role for the state - Increased public spending on health, education, social security and a larger officialdom to go with it. Their detractors, on the other hand, cite innumerable policy failures to argue for a smaller state. The unwieldy state's performance, they contend, is disappointing on all fronts be it students' learning outcomes, child and maternal mortalities, farm and firm productivity, traffic conditions, and crime rates, among others. 
  • Both sides to the debate are missing something fundamental, True, the Indian state is 'people-thin' but 'process-thick'. The main problem, however, is the perverse incentives created by public institutions and the skill gap among officials. These factors have eroded the ability of the political executive and civil services to make and implement sound policies. A recent book, State Capability in India, by T. V. Somanathan and Gulzar Natarajan, two Indian Administrative Service (LAS) officers, suggests various theasures to improve things without fiscal and political consequences. 
  • For instance, there is an extreme concentration of policymaking and Implementation powers within departments. 
  • Experiences of countries such as Australia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom show that separating policymaking and implementation responsibilities expedites execution and encourages innovations, making the programmes better suited to local contexts. The Indian case in point is the National Highways Authority of India, which is tasked with executing national highway projects, while policy decisions are made at the ministry level. This arrangement has drastically resfuced delays and cost overruns. Moreover, restrictions on the frontline personnel to decide on implementation-related Issues foster a culture of mistrust and lack of accountability for poor implementation. The vicious cycle wherein poor delegation and a deficient state capability feed each other can be broken by delegating financial and administrative powers to the frontline functionaries, with clearly defined processes for using them. 
  • The technocratic gap The top policymakers exhibit a lack of technocratic skills to govern an increasingly complex economy. In the absence of adequate capability to deal with economic, financial, contract and other technical matters, the Centre and the States hire consultancy firms. According to media reports, the central government paid over 1500 crore in the last five years to outsource crucial tasks to the big five consultancy firms, Le., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, the KPMG and McKinsey. 
  • An Institutionalised and regular lateral entry at the mid and senior levels can help fill the civil services' size and technocratic gap. Qualified officers in non-LAS services (such as the Indian Revenue, Economic and Statistical Services) should get a fair shot at high-level positions if they have the talent and the expertise required.
  • Civil servants at different levels can be provided subject specific training under Mission Karmayogi (National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building). Similarly, there is a need to augment the strength of professional staff with market watchdogs, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 
  • The first has just about 800 professionals, whereas its counterpart in the U.S., the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has more than 4,500 experts to govern the corporates. Similarly, the professional staff strength of the RBI, less than 7,000, is tiny when compared to the US Federal Reserve which is assisted by 22,000 odd Yet another problem is the narrowly scoped audits by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. It encourages the finance and administrative divisions in government to focus on compliance with rules rather than policy objectives. The tendency of the other oversight agencies, Le., the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation and courts to use hindsight information without appreciating the context has made the bureaucrats averse to exercising discretion in policy matters, Officials prefer to cancel big contracts even when granting extensions would be better. The net outcome is delayed procurement of goods and services and unnecessary contractual disputes. Appealing against arbitration and court awards have become the default mode by officials, making the government the biggest litigator. To fix this, the oversight agencies must be sensitised to appreciate the context of policy decisions. They should factor in the costs associated with the actual decisions as well as their alternatives, The political will is required to address other issues, such as the appointment of retired officers to regulatory bodies and tribunals. The beneficiarles of such appointments enjoy hefty salaries without compromising the pensionary benefits from past services. This makes civil servants susceptible to political manipulation and influences their in-service decisions. The problem can be fixed by increasing the retirement age to say 65, and making an absolute upper limit for all appointments. 
  • The political economy of the public sector also undermines its efficacy. It is well known that performance-linked pay and incentive schemes such as bonuses, which work well in the private sector, are not very effective in the public sector. 
  • The public sector must attract intrinsically motivated individuals to contribute to the social good. Paradoxically, the relatively high salaries in the public sector reduce its effectiveness. 
  • Because of job security and better working conditions, the risk and skill-adjusted pay in the public sector should be lower than what it is in the private sector. In India, however, the opposite is true due to the substantial salary hikes by the 6th Pay and the 7th Pay Commissions. Except at the top, for most of the skill spectrum, public sector salaries are much higher than private wages. It breeds corruption in appointments as it makes government jobs very lucrative for all, socially driven or not. 
  • The solution lies in moderate pay raises by the future Pay Commission and a reduction in the upper age limit for government jobs. Moreover, high economic growth that throws up many lucrative jobs in the private sector will make government jobs less appealing for those who are money minded. Put together, these measures can reduce corruption and increase the chances of socially driven 

2.India offers to host 2028 climate meet 

  • Refraining from fresh commitments to contain global temperature rise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at COP-28, offered to host the 33rd edition of the annual gul summit due in 2028 in left India. 
  • He said that developed countries ought to be "vacating the carbon space" before 2050, and made a pitch for countries to join India on its "Green Credit initiative" which was a "non-commercial" effort to create a carbon sink. 
  • A proposal to host the Conference of the Parties (COP) must be approved by other signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India had previously hosted the summit in 2002. 
  • "A small part of humanity has ruthlessly exploited nature. But the entire humanity is bearing the cost of it, especially the inhabitants of the Global South. The selfishness of a few will lead the world into darkness, not just for themselves but for the entire world," he said at the high-level segment of the summit that saw leaders and heads of state from several countries make statements on their response to climate change. 

3.World Bank recalls paper on decline in toilet usage in India 

  • Weeks after the World Bank published a departmental working paper Highlighting the "most concerning trend of toilet usage declining in rural India since 2018 despite, early gains of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, it has recalled this paper and two others, pending an "internal review", while insisting that the papers had not gone through the required approvals internally before being published. 
  • The paper titled "Progress on Sanitation in Rural India: Reconciling Diverse Evidence", was published in September. It concluded that despite "breathtaking" gains in increasing toilet access, toilet usage had been going down in rural India since 2018 with the largest drop in usage reported among people of Scheduled Caste (20 percentage points) and Scheduled Tribe (24 percentage points) communities. 
  • The Hindu had reported the conclusions of this paper on October 4, till which time it was available on the World Bank website as part of its Policy Research Working Papers series. The World Bank cited "technical and procedural issues" with internal clearance for taking down this and two other papers, even amid reports that it was under pressure from the government to withdraw the working papers. The other two papers were titled: "What Lies Beneath? An Assessment of India's Groundwater Quality And Monitoring Systems", and "Lifting the lid: Process and Delivery of the Swachh Bharat Mission". 
  • A government spokesperson refused to provide a comment on the taking down of the papers. 
  • The paper on Progress on Sanitation in Rural India had reconciled varied data points on toilet access and usage from the National Family Health Surveys, National Sample Surveys and the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey and the SBM-G's own information system. 

4.PM Modi Launches LeadIT 2.0, Focusing On Inclusive Industry Transition 

  • On the sidelines of the 28th edition of the climate change conference, COP28, taking place in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled LeadIT 2.0 on Friday. 
  • The initiative, with a primary focus on an inclusive and just industry transition, aims to facilitate the co-development and transfer of low-carbon technology while providing financial assistance to emerging economies. 
  • The initiative seeks to bridge the technological gap by promoting cooperation between nations for the development and transfer of low-carbon technologies. The focus on inclusivity underscores the importance of ensuring that emerging economies have access to sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies. 

5.Ministry Of Jal Shakti Organises ‘Jal Itihas Utsav’ In Delhi 

  • The National Water Mission, under the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, hosted the ‘Jal Itihas Utsav‘ at Shamsi Talab, Jahaz Mahal in Mehrauli, Delhi. 
  • The aim was to raise public awareness about safeguarding water heritage sites, instill a sense of ownership among the masses, promote tourism, and contribute to the restoration of these historical structures. 
  • The restoration of Shamsi Talab, Jahaz Mahal in Mehrauli was successful. The cleaning and leveling of the Talab and its surrounding park were undertaken in partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

International News 

6.Philippines sets up new monitoring base in South China Sea 

  • The Philippines inaugurated a new coast guard monitoring base on Friday on an island occupied by Filipino forces in the disputed South China Sea and plans to expand joint patrols with the U.S. and Australia to counter China's "pure bullying" in the strategic waterway, a Philippine security official said. 
  • High-seas face-offs between Chinese and Philippine ships have intensified this year in the contested waters, fueling fears of a larger conflict that could involve the U.S. 
  • National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano and other Philippine officials flew to Thitu Island on an air force plane on Friday and led a ceremony to open the newly constructed, two-story centre that will have radar, ship-tracking and other monitoring equipment to monitor China's actions in the hotly disputed waters and other problems, including sea accidents. 

7.UAE announces $30-bn fund to boost climate investments 

  • The UAE, host of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP-28), announced a $30-billion commitment to an invest- ment fund called ALTÉRRA. The privately managed fund aims to mobilise $250 billion globally by 2030 and be the largest of its kind, geared towards climate investments and transforming emerging markets and developing economies. 
  • From the initialtranche, an unspecified amount has been earmarked for the development of over 6 GW (1 GW is 1,000 MW) of new clean energy capacity in India. This includes establishing 1,200 MW of wind and solar projects that will begin producing clean power by 2025. 
  • COP-28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber will chair the fund and Director-General Majid Al Suwaidi will serve as its chief executive officer. ALTÉRRA has been established by Lunate, an independent global investment manager, and is domiciled in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. 
  • Mr. Al Jaber, while facing criticism for his dualrole as the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company while holding the reigns of the COP Presidency, has said that he is committed to involving a wide range of entities governments, private sector, renewable energy companies, oil and gas firms to be able to deliver a successful outcome at the COP and push the world closer to keeping temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
  • "ALTÉRRA provides transformational solution for attracting private capital. Its scale and structure will create a multiplier effect in climate focused investment, making it a vehicle like no other. Its launch reflects the COP Presidency's Action Agenda and the UAE's efforts to make climate finance available, accessible and affordable," he said. By 2030, emerging markets and developing economies will require reportedly $2.4 trillion every year to address climate change. 
  • ALTÉRRA will have four key verticals namely: Energy Transition, Industrial Decarbonisation, Sustainable Living and Climate Technologies 

8.PM meets Israel President, calls for durable resolution of Palestine issue 

  • In his first in person meeting with the Israeli leadership since the October 7 terror attacks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences over the lives lost, during a bilateral meeting with Israel's President Isaac Herzog, on the sidelines of the COP-28 climate summit in Dubai. 
  • The meeting. came hours after Israel began military operations in southern Gaza. While Mr. Modi called for ensuring regular humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian population, he did not call for a ceasefire. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who also met Mr. Modi in Dubai, made a strong appeal to end hostilities, calling the situation in Gaza an "epic humanitarian catastrophe". 
  • "Prime Minister expressed his condolences on the loss of lives in the October 7 terror attacks and welcomed the release of hostages," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release de- tailing the discussions with Mr. Herzog. "[Mr. Modi] reiterated the need for continued and safe delivery of humanitarian aid for the affected population. He emphasised on India's support for a two-state solution and early and durable resolution of Israel-Palestine issue through dialogue and diplomacy," it added.
  • Mr. Modi also held informal talks with leaders from Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar, and other regional leaders present daring the day. The MEA added that Mr. Modi "exchanged views ori Israel-Hamas con flict" during a bilateral meeting with United Arab Emirates President Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 
  • In a social media post, the Israeli President sald that he had made Israel's case for self-defence". ""This morning at the (climate summit), I met dozens of leaders from around the world," Mr. Herzog wrote, adding that he spoke about how Hamas violated the ceasefire, which Israel claims was the reason it resumed military operations in Gaza. 
  • "I repeated again and again the demand to place the release of the hostages at the very top of the international community's agenda, alongside respect for the right of the State of Israel to defend itself," he added 

State News 

9.Bihar Launches ‘Mission Daksh’ To Aid 25 Lakh Academically Weak Students 

  • The Bihar government launched a new initiative aimed at supporting nearly 25 lakh children facing significant academic challenges in state-run schools, “Mission Daksh” (Dynamic Approach for Knowledge and Skill). 
  • The initiative focuses on providing specialized Hindi, Mathematics, and English classes to students in classes 3-8 statewide. Each teacher will mentor only five students, specifically those struggling with fluency in Hindi and English and facing challenges in basic Mathematics 
  • ‘Mission Daksh’ focuses on addressing the individual needs of these students to enhance their academic performance. To ensure the effective implementation of ‘Mission Daksh,’ district-wise monitoring committees, led by district magistrates, will oversee the program’s progress. 

Defence News 

10.India Navy Appointed First Woman Commanding Officer In Naval Ship 

  • In a groundbreaking move aligning with the philosophy of ‘all roles-all ranks,’ the Indian Navy has achieved a historic milestone by appointing its first woman commanding officer for a naval ship. 
  • Admiral Kumar proudly announced that the overall strength of women in the Navy, referred to as Agniveers, has surpassed the 1,000 mark.
  • This achievement underscores the Navy’s commitment to an ‘all roles, all ranks’ approach, showcasing the diverse deployment of women across various responsibilities within the organization. 

11.59th Raising Day Of Border Security Force (BSF) 

  • The Border Security Force (BSF) celebrated its 59th raising day on 1st December. This significant organization plays a pivotal role in ensuring the security of India’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. 
  • Established in the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the BSF’s motto, “जीवन पर्यन्र्य त कर्तव्र्त य” (Duty unto Death), reflects its unwavering commitment to safeguarding the nation. 
  • Initially formed with 25 battalions, the BSF has witnessed substantial growth and currently comprises 192 battalions and approximately 270,000 personnel. Beyond its core battalions, the BSF houses specialized units, including air and naval wings, as well as an artillery regiment, enhancing its operational capabilities. 

12.Govt. working to save veterans facing death in Qatar: Navy chief 

  • The government is working hard to save eight forms er naval personnel sentenced to death by a Qatari court, Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar sald on Friday.
  • "There is total support and effort being put in by the government," he said. 
  • The Navy veterans were sentenced to death on October 26 by Qatar's Court of First Instance. India described the ruling as "deeply" shocking and vowed to explore all legal options. An appeal has already been filed against the death sentence and a higher court in Qatar has admitted the plea. 
  • Exploring options "The former Navy officers in Qatar are veterans…And we are interested in ensuring their welfare. I want to reassure you that the Indian government is working all-out to ensure that they are brought back," Admiral Kumar said at a media briefing. 
  • The Indian nationals, who were working for a private company, Al Dah ra, were arrested in August last year allegedly for espionage. 

13.IDEX-DIO Marks 300th Contract For Gallium Nitride Semiconductor Development 

  • The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the flagship initiative by the Department of Defence Production, has marked its 300th contract signing. The contract focuses on the design and development of advanced Gallium Nitride Semiconductors, crucial for the next generation of wireless transmitters in defence applications. 
  • iDEX achieved this milestone within nine months of signing its 200th contract. The 150th contract of iDEX was inked in December 2022 This remarkable progress comes on the heels of the Indian Navy Prime challenge winner contract signed under the SPRINT initiative on February 15, 2023. 

Economy News 

14.Economic Growth Forecasts For India: 2023-2025

  • Goldman Sachs has raised India’s growth forecast for the calendar year 2023 by 20 basis points, now standing at an impressive 6.7% year-on-year. However, their optimism is cautious as the 2024 forecast remains unchanged at 6.2%. 
  • Morgan Stanley takes a bullish stance, revising the financial year 2024 growth forecast upwards to 6.9% from the previous 6.4%. While optimism prevails, the forecast for the financial year 2025 remains steady at 6.5%. 
  • SBI Research has revised its GDP forecast for fiscal 2023-24 to approximately 7%, demonstrating confidence in India’s economic momentum. Meanwhile, DBS now envisions growth in the current financial year at 6.8%, up from the earlier projection of 6.4%. 

15.GST revenues rise to ₹1.68 lakh cr. in November; fastest growth this fiscal 

  • India's gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues grew 15.1% in November to hit nearly ₹1.68 lakh crore, the third highest monthly tally so far from the indirect tax. 
  • This is the fastest uptick in tax collections so far in 2023-24, surpassing the 10 month high growth of 13.4% in October. Taxes from domestic transactions and services imports rose over 20%, the Finance Ministry said, noting this is the sixth time in this fiscal year that revenues have crossed 1.6 lakh crore. 
  • GST revenues grew by 15.1% in November 2023, in comparison to the same month last year included Central GST of 30,420 crore, State GST of 38,226 crore and Integrated IGST of ₹87,009 crore, which included ₹39,198 crore collected on import of goods. GST Compensation Cess inflows stood at Apr. 2023 
  • Between April and November 2023, GST revenues are now up 11.9% compared to the same period of 2022-23. 
  • ₹12,274 crore, including ₹1,036 crore collected on import of goods. 
  • November's revenues may partly reflect the later onset of the festive season this year, reckoned ICRA chief economist Aditi Nayar. "We expect Central GST collections to modestly exceed the Budget esti mates," she said. 
  • Among the States, Mani pur was the only one to re- cord a negative growth in revenues as GST collec tions fell 21%, while the Un lon Territory of Lakahad weep saw a 15% drop. 
  • Revenues of 13 States grew at or higher than the 20% pace averaged nationally from domestic transactions, led by Nagaland (99%), Arunachal Pradesh (48%) and Haryana (44%). 

16.Manufacturing PMI rebounds in November

  • Manufacturing sec activity rebounded slightly in November from Octoer's eight-month low pace, as per the seasonally-adjusted S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) that rose to 56 from 55.5, but positive sentiment among firms dropped to the lowest level in seven months. 
  • New orders improved at a better pace than October's one-year low, but the uptick in export orders was the slowest since June. 

  • The manufacturing PMI has remained above 50 for the 29th consecutive month an above-trend pace. Manufacturing employment among firms surveyed for the index increased for the eighth successive month, but at a moderate pace. 
  • The uptick in output was aided by input costs inflation easing to a 40-month low With total new sales rising and demand conditions remaining positive, manufacturers scaled up production volumes and output expanded sharply and at The uptick in output was aided by input costs inflation easing to a 40-month low and producers opted to raise output.costs at the slowest pace in seven months. 
  • Surveyed firms' outlook on future prospects remained favourable in November, with firms seeing opportunities in the form of demand strength, marketing initiatives and new client enquiries. However, overall positive sentiment slipped to a seven-month low amid rising inflation expectations.
  • "Prices for raw mate rials and components still rose in November, but improved availability at suppliers amid subdued global demand for inputs led to a considerable retreat in cost pressures," said Pollyanna De Lima, economics asso- ciate director at S&P Global Market Intelligence. 
  • While there were some concerns over prices increasing in the near-term, collectivelyIndia's manufacturing economy is in good shape, she added. 

17.A broad growth base is a must to sustain momentum and reduce inequality 

  • The latest provisional estimates of GDP for the quarter ended September 30, released by the National Statistical Office, project real economic growth at 7.6%, a slight deceleration from the 7.8% logged in the preceding three months. Gross Value Added (GVA) across the eight broad sectors of the economy also reflected a marginal slowing, with second-quarter GVA registering a 7.4% expansion, 40 basis points slower than the April-June period's 7.8%. Robust double-digit expansions in manufacturing, mining, utilities and construction offset the loss of momentum across the other four sectors and helped ensure that the year-on-year growth in GVA comfortably exceeded the 7% pace for a se cond straight quarter. Manufacturing, buoyed by a favourable base effect due to the contraction in the year-earlier period, was the strongest performer by registering growth of 13.9%, a ninequarter high. And construction witnessed its best showing in five quarters, expanding 13.3%. 
  • Of the four other sectors, the crucial ones of agriculture and the two services sectors of trade, hotels, transport and communication, and financial, real estate and professional services saw the pace of growth almost halving from the fiscal first quarter. While year-on-year growth in the agriculture, livestock and fishing sector slowed sharply to an 18-quarter low of 1.2%, the sector also experienced a sequential contraction for the third straight quarter, underscoring the precarity plaguing large portions of those earning from farming and allied activities in the rural hinterland. 
  • The slowdown in two key components of the services economy trade, hotels, transport and communication saw growth slide to 4.3%, from 9.2% in the June quarter, and the expansion in financial and realty services more than halved from the preceding period to 6%- also merits a closer watch as the post-pandemic rebound in services appears to have lost steam. Adding to the need to view the headline growth number with circumspection is the fact that the lynchpin private final consumption expenditure, the single-largest component of demand in the economy, is struggling for traction. Growth in private consumption spending slowed appreciably to 3.1% in the September quarter, from 6% in the preceding three-month period, as rural demand remained affected by the vagaries of a below-average monsoon. 
  • The NSO data also reveal that the recent economic momentum owes its fillip in large measure to front-loaded government spending, both in terms of consumption demand and assetcreating capital investments. The challenge for policymakers will be to help broaden the growth base so as to ensure that all boats are lifted equally, both to sustain the momentum and reduce inequality. 

Schemes and Committee News 

18.Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Lays Foundation Stone For NSTI Plus 

  • Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, marked a significant step by laying the foundation stone for the National Skill Training Institutes (NSTI) Plus. The initiative aims to enhance the skills of Odisha’s youth through demand-driven and high-quality vocational education. 
  • Constructed on a 7.8-acre campus in Jatni, Bhubaneswar, NSTI Plus aims to accommodate institutions like NIESBUD, NSDC, and SIIC. It aspires to become a hub for diverse skill development activities and an incubation center for emerging start-ups. 
  • Under the Directorate General of Training (DGT), NSTI Plus will train 500 instructors in Phase-1 through the Craftsmen Instructor Training Scheme (CITS). Additionally, it plans to incorporate another 500 instructors for upskilling and reskilling, aligning with the vision of making India a global skilling destination. 

Appointment News 

19. Sheshadri Appointed IDRCL Chair, Incumbent Gupta To Head NARCL 

  • Former KPMG managing partner, Narayan Seshadri, is set to assume the role of Chairman at IDRCL, the government-backed bad bank, following the resignation of Diwakar Gupta. 
  • Gupta, in turn, is expected to take over as Chairman of NARCL. This leadership shift aims to expedite the resolution of bad loans, a process that has faced challenges and delays.
  • The IDRCL Chairman position became vacant as Diwakar Gupta resigned to join NARCL. Seshadri, currently an independent director at IDRCL, brings experience in revitalizing distressed companies. 

Banking News 

18.RBI’s Successful Withdrawal 97.26% Of ₹2,000 Banknotes In India.

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has achieved a significant milestone in its monetary policy as it successfully withdrew 97.26 percent of the ₹2,000 banknotes from circulation as of May 19, 2023. 
  • This move was initiated due to the fulfillment of its objective of introducing these notes, which was to meet the currency requirements of the economy after the withdrawal of legal tender status of all ₹500 and ₹1,000 banknotes in circulation during the November-December 2016 demonetization. 
  • As of November 30, 2023, the total value of ₹2,000 banknotes in circulation has dwindled to ₹9,760 crore, representing a significant reduction from the initial ₹3.56 lakh crore. 

19.UPI Recorded 11.24 Billion Transactions Worth Rs 17.40 Lakh Crore  

  • The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform in India has witnessed remarkable growth, breaking records and setting new milestones in recent months. 
  • In November, UPI transactions reached a staggering ₹17.40 lakh crore, surpassing the previous high of ₹17.16 lakh crore in October. This amounted to a 1.4% increase in the value of transactions on a monthly basis and an impressive 46% year-on-year growth, as reported by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). 
  • Yearly growth in UPI transactions has been consistently impressive. In the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) thus far, the value of transactions has maintained a growth rate of over 40%, while the volume of UPI trades has consistently grown by over 50%. 

20.RBI And Bank Of England Ink MoU For Exchange Of Information 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Bank of England (BoE) signed an MoU on collaboration and the exchange of information related to the Clearing Corporation of India Ltd (CCIL). The MoU enables the Bank of England to assess CCIL’s application for recognition as a third-country CCP. 
  • CCIL, as a central counterparty (CCP), plays a pivotal role in providing clearing and settlement services for transactions in government securities, foreign exchange, and money markets within India. 
  • CCIL operates under the regulatory purview of the RBI. The agreement brings relief to UK-based lenders, including major institutions like Barclays and Standard Chartered, allowing them to persist in offering clearing and settlement facilities to their clients in India. 

21.The loss and damage' fund is finally online but more needs to be done 

  • A healthy loss and damage (L&D) fund, a three-decade-old demand, is a fundamental expression of climate justice. The L&D fund is a corpus of money and technologies that will be replenished by developed countries and used by the rest to respond to the more un avoidable effects of climate change. On the first day of the COP28 climate talks underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), representatives of the member states agreed to operationalise the L&D fund. The announcement was dearly won: at the end of the COP27 talks in Egypt last year, member-states agreed to launch such a fund, thanks largely to the steadfast efforts of the G-77 bloc of countries plus China, led by Pakistan. 
  • Four meetings of the Transitional Committee (TC) were to follow to determine how its money would be disbursed. But the issues in the TC4 meeting, which spilled over into an ad hoc TC-5 meeting as well, highlight how the newly operationalised fund, while signalling optimism at COP28 and a diplomatic victory for its Emirati president, has crucial issues. 
  • First, it will be hosted by the World Bank for an interim period of four years and will be overseen by an independent secretariat. The Bank is expected to charge a significant overhead fee. Developing countries resisted this proposition at first before yielding at the TC-5 meeting, in exchange for some concessions. Second, while some countries have committed amounts to the fund from $10 million by Japan to $100 million each by Germany and the UAE whether they will be periodically replenished is not clear. The committed amounts are also insufficient, totalling $450 million (for now) against an actual demand of several billion dollars. 
  • This shortfall, though it is premature to deem it so, comes against the backdrop of developed countries missing their 2020 deadline to mobilize a promised $100 billion in climate finance and managing to deliver only $89.6 billion in 2021. Next, the contributions are voluntary even as every country has been invited to contribute. Finally, the World Bank will have to meet some conditions on managing the fund, including a degree of transparency it has not brooked so far, and submit a report to the Parties to the Paris Agreement. If its stewardship is determined to be unsuitable, the fund can 'exit' the World Bank. The L&D fund's contents need to be easily accessible to those who need it most, in timely fashion, sans pedantic bureaucratic hurdles, and in sufficient quantities. As things stand, there is little guarantee that any of these require ments will be met. While the L&D fund is finally online, a lot more needs to be done. 

Important Day News 

22.International Day For The Abolition Of Slavery 2023 

  • The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed annually on December 2nd. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring struggle against slavery and its modern forms. 
  • The day originates from the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others on December 2, 1949. 
  • Historically, slavery was a systematic institution where individuals were treated as property, bought, and sold, often enduring unimaginable hardships. However, modern slavery has taken different forms, including human trafficking, forced labor, and the exploitation of children in various industries. 

Sports News 

23.Ruturaj Gaikward Becomes The Fastest Indian To 4,000 Runs In Men’s T20 

  • In the fourth T20I against Australia at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur, Ruturaj Gaikwad etched his name in the record books by becoming the fastest Indian to amass 4,000 runs in the shortest format of the game.
  • Ruturaj Gaikwad entered the match needing just seven runs to reach the coveted 4,000-run mark in T20 cricket. He accomplished this remarkable feat in only 116 innings, showcasing his exceptional batting prowess.
  • This achievement makes Gaikwad the quickest Indian batsman to achieve the milestone, surpassing the previous record held by KL Rahul, who reached 4,000 runs in 117 T20 innings. Virat Kohli, one of India’s cricketing legends, is the third-fastest Indian to achieve this feat, taking 138 T20 innings to do so. 

Obituary News 

24. Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman On The Supreme Court, Passes Away At 93 

  • Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, passed away at the age of 93 in Phoenix, Arizona. President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981. 
  • Sandra Day O’Connor was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from Stanford University. She faced significant challenges as a female lawyer in a male-dominated profession during the mid-20th century. 
  • Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. Her retirement allowed President George W. Bush to nominate Justice Samuel Alito as her successor.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post