Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 4th December 2023

National News 

1.82nd Indian Road Congress started in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

  • The 82nd annual session of the Indian Road Congress has been organized from December 2 to 5, 2023 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will address the event. 
  • More than four thousand engineers along with students and scientists from Indian Institutes of Technology – IITs, National Institutes of Technology – NITs, engineering colleges and research institutes are expected to participate in this program. 
  • Earlier, State Health Minister Hrishikesh Patel inaugurated a technical exhibition at Mahatma Mandir in which about one hundred and twenty companies are displaying the latest technology related to road construction and transportation sector.
  • The Indian Roads Congress (IRC), the apex body of engineers and professionals in the road sector in the country, originated in 1927 by the then Government of India under the chairmanship of Shri M R Jayakkar. The first road conference was held in April, 1930. 
  • The 81st Annual Conference of the Indian Road Congress (IRC) was held from 8 to 11 October at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Global technology summit India is going to organize the three-day (4 to 6 December) eighth Global Technology Summit (GTS) in New Delhi from 4 December 2023. Data privacy, export controls and technology affecting politics will be discussed in this conference. 
  • The theme of this global technology summit will be 'Geopolitics of Technology'. The summit will be inaugurated with the address of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. 
  • The conference is being co-hosted by the Policy Planning and Research Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and Carnegie India. 
  • This committee includes ministers and senior officials from various countries like US, UK, Germany, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Lithuania, Brazil and European Union. 

2.Disinformation is a major threat to democracy

  • Disinformation that has been "scaled up and weaponised on social net working platforms presents a major challenge and threat to democracy and media credibility, N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited, said on Sunday.
  • Speaking at the opening session of the fifth World Media Summit (WMS) held in Guangzhou, China, Mr. Ram said Artificial Intelligence (AI) and disinforma tion were "two key areas in which major and potentially disruptive challenges could become opportuni ties for the media to do well, empower themselves in new ways, and pursue a path of development". sustained 
  • "It is widely understood within media organisations that Al's applications and implications for journalism as well as for media business operations will be major and transformative. But the realisation is also growing that Al models on the market are 'ultimately a prediction engine learn ing from the past," Mr. Ram observed. 
  • "They are also known to fabricate facts and make up references and links, and they can be manipulated to produce false images and articles. Moreover, they can perpetuate current prejudices. Exploring and innovating in this promising but slippery field is truly a challenge for the media industry." 
  • Disinformation, he added, was "rampant", and that in countering "the me nace of toxic disinformation", professional journal ism "has a great opportunity to demonstrate its indispensability and its power as a force for the social good". 
  • The emergence of dis ruptive technologies and the problem of disinformation were key topics at this year's WMS. 
  • The WMS was first held 2009, jointly initiated initi by in media organisations in cluding China's Xinhua news agency, the Associating "enormous challenges" and a "political and eco- nomic onslaught". Associated Press (AP) in the United States, U.K.-based Reuters, Agence-France Presse (AFP), Russia's TASS news agency, Japan's Kyodo news agency, and The Hindu from India, who are members of its presidium. 
  • Sunday's summit, host ed by Xinhua in Guangz hou, was attended by 197 media organisations from 103 countries. 
  • Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under Secretary General for Global Communications, said the WMS provided a valuable plat form at a time when media across the world were facilitate. 
  • Surveys show mounting news avoidance and slumping trust in tradition al media all the while the dominance of social media Just keeps on going," she said, citing a recent Reu ters Institute report show ing 30% of people across the globe now turn to social media for news 
  • "We know on these platforms lies travel faster than facts," she said. 
  • "Disinformation, conspiracies and hate are pol soning our Information ecosystems, driving dis trust in public institutions, and generating controver sy instead of creating new dialogue. With Generative Al, disinformation actors have been given a potent technology with low pro- duction costs to create high quality but fake Images, audio and video content at scale." 
  • However, "reporters with skills", she said, "can restore balance" amid this flooding of social media by providing "accurate and reliable information". 
  • Pour global news agencies Xinhua, Reuters, As sociated Press and Agence France-Presse-discussed establishing "a cooperation mechanism" on the si delines of the summit. 
  • Fu Hua, president of Xinhua News Agency, said the global media industry was "undergoing a signifi cant transformation" because of "technological innovation that is reshaping the industry, and the spread of fake news", challenges that would only be tackled by media organisa tions working together. 
  • Noting that news consumption was falling while news fatigue was increas ing, Sue Brooks, Reuters Head of Agency, said 'Tik- Tok was now reaching almost half of 18 to 24 year olds around the world, with 20% turning to TikTok for their news consumption. 
  • "Never has our work been more needed and never have the stakes been higher," she said. 

3.Vaishali Rameshbabu becomes India's 84th Grandmaster 

  • India's Vaishali Rameshbabu has won the title of 84th Grandmaster of India by winning the IV El Llobregat Open tournament in Spain on 1 December 2023. 22-year-old Vaishali crossed the 2500 mark at the tournament in Spain, defeating FM Tamer Tarik Celebes of Turkey in the second round.
  • Vaishali became the third woman from India to achieve the Grandmaster title, after Koneru Humpy (in 2002 at the age of 15) and Harika Dronavalli (in 2011 at the age of 20).
  • Apart from this, R Praggnanandha is the youngest male chess grandmaster and Humpy is the youngest female player in the world till date. Apart from this, Vaishali and Praggnanand have created history as the first brother-sister pair to become Grandmasters. 
  • Vaishali had three GM criteria –Extracon Open 2019, Fischer Memorial 2022 and Qatar Open 2023. She is currently ranked 11th in the world and 2nd in India in the women's rankings with a live rating of 2501.5. 
  • Apart from this, they also became the first brother-sister pair to make it to the qualifying event candidates for the World Championship match. It will be organized in Toronto in April 2024.Her younger brother Praggnanandha got the title of GM in 2018, when he was just 12 years old. 

4.India re-elected to the International Maritime Organization 

  • India was re-elected to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council with the highest number of votes with 157 votes in London for the 2024-25 biennium. The 33rd Assembly of the IMO is meeting from 27 November to 6 December at its headquarters in London. IMO was established during the Geneva Conference on 17 March 1948. Currently the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has a total of 175 members and 3 associate members. 
  • India's re-election falls into the category of 10 states with "greatest interest in international maritime trade" along with Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 
  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the leading authority regulating the maritime industry, supporting global trade, transportation and all maritime operations. 
  • The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible under the Assembly for monitoring the work of the organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs the functions of the Assembly in addition to making recommendations to governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention. 

5.India got 49th position in World Digital Competitiveness Ranking-2023

  • India has been ranked 49th out of 64 economies in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking (WDCR) released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). 
  • The United States has topped this year's ranking as a "digital nation." Netherlands got second place, Singapore got third place, Denmark got fourth place and Switzerland achieved fifth place. 
  • The WDCR is a comprehensive assessment that provides insight into how nations are navigating the digital landscape amid the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).The ranking, produced by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, measures the ability and readiness of businesses, governments and wider society to adopt and explore digital technologies as a key driver for economic transformation. 
  • India In the Asia-Pacific region, India ranks 12th among 14 countries. Globally, among 27 countries with a population of more than 20 million, India ranks 18th. In the technology sector, India ranked 50th, with challenges in enforcing contracts, wireless broadband and internet users. 
  • According to the IMD study, India has made significant progress in terms of cyber security knowledge, but lacks on fronts such as technology and future preparedness. 
  • International Institute for Management Development (IMD) IMD is a business education school based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Three reports are issued through this. 

  1. World Competitive Ranking 
  2. World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 
  3. World Talent Ranking 

6.FDI Landscape: ₹1 Lakh Crore Proposals From India’s Border Neighbors; 50% Cleared 

  • Since April 2020, India has attracted FDI proposals totaling ₹1 lakh crore from countries sharing its land borders, including China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. 
  • A crucial development came in April 2020 when the government mandated prior approval for such investments to safeguard domestic firms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • An inter-ministerial committee has been established to thoroughly scrutinize FDI proposals. The sectors attracting the most interest include manufacturing (heavy machinery, automobile, auto components), computer software and hardware, trading, e-commerce, and light engineering/electrical manufacturing. 

7.India agreed to withdraw troops from Male, says Muizzu after meeting Modi 

  • India has agreed to the request by the new Maldives government to withdraw about 75 Indian military personnel stationed on the islands to work on humanitarian operations, Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu claimed on Sunday. The statement comes two days after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the COP-28 Climate Summit in Dubai. 
  • The move, raised by Mr. Muizzu during his "India Out" election campaign, will come as a disappointment for New Delhi, which has been urging the Maldives to look at the utility of Indian personnel on the island nation in the "proper perspective". 
  • "The Indian government has assured the people of Maldives that it will respect their decision regarding the withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives," the Maldives President's office wrote in a tweet, quoting from Mr. Muizzu's press conference earlier in the day. 
  • Government sources countered Mr. Muizzu's claim, saying talks were still "ongoing", and that the "core group" announced after the Modi Muizzu meet would look into all aspects of whether the 75 Indian naval person- nel should stay or not. 
  • The Ministry of External Affairs did not comment on the development. However, sources said that the issue of India's personnel that work on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief programmes was "briefly discussed” when the leaders met in Dubai. 
  • Significantly, the issue had not been mentioned directly in the readouts issued by the governments at the end of talks between Mr. Modi and Mr. Muizzu on Friday. Mr. Muizzu's statement on Sunday indicates, however, that he is not willing to budge on his demand. The Indian personnel issue has been a contentious one since Mr. Muizzu won presidential elections in October, ousting former President Ibu Solih who was seen as more India-Friendly. 

8.India, disability inclusion and the power 

  • Disability as an identity and entity exists at the intersection of multiple vulnerabilities-social, economic and gender-with each facet requiring careful consideration when conceptualising action for equity. 
  • Globally, 1.3 billion people (which is equivalent to nearly the entire population of India) live with some form of disability. Of them, 80% live in developing countries; further, 70% of them live in rural areas. Current systems are designed for persons without disabilities and end up being exclusionary to people with disabilities, resulting in them experiencing higher instances of poverty, lack of access to education and opportunities, informality and other forms of social and economic discrimination. 
  • According to the English dictionary, "For" is often used when a person is receiving something and "By" is to "identify the agent performing an action". This difference is crucial when it comes to disability inclusion, as the approach is completely different if it is "by" persons with disabilities being a part of the process and not "for" them, without them in the process. 
  • At the outset, the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the economy can help boost global GDP between 3% to 7%, as per the study by the International Labour Organization (ILO), "The price of exclusion: The economic consequences of excluding people with disabilities from the world of work". 
  • We believe that everyone has the right to equal treatment and opportunities at work, agnostic of any attributes other than the ability to do the job. The reality, however, is mixed. The current employment scenario is limited, providing fewer jobs for persons with disabilities and perpetuating stereotypes that create further barriers for people with disabilities to access the labour market. It is also in direct contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of is Director, International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Technical Support Team (DWT)/Country Office (CO)-New Delhi is Country Director and Representative, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) India, Part of Team UN India There need to be more inclusive opportunities and employment in the rural areas as a majority of persons with disabilities live here Persons with Disabilities, which advocates changing attitudes and perceptions towards persons with disabilities and viewing inclusion from a social development dimension, Disability inclusion is rooted in assuring the rights of persons with disabilities and recognising the economic benefits of inclusion. 
  • Greater challenges in rural areas In India, the Central and State governments have various schemes for persons with disabilities and a unique id for persons with disabilities (UDID) card, established as part of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (2016). The first step is awareness to ensure last-mile connectivity of the benefits enumerated for people with disabilities by the government, which begins with the capacity-building of community leaders who can advocate for this at the grass-roots level. This is especially important in rural areas, where persons with disabilities tend to face greater challenges when compared to their urban counterparts, with even more limited access to education and employment. 
  • Some developmental schemes, too, exclude them. They are viewed as objects of charity and not as persons with agency with an ability to participate in decision-making processes. Rural areas also have high agricultural dependence and face the heightened risk of climate calamities arising from rising sea levels, reduced access to clean water and food, hurricanes, heatwaves and floods, with rural people at the frontlines of these challenges. A bottom-up approach to disability inclusion is crucial to build productive pathways out of poverty and ensure that persons with disabilities are recognised as active members of society and the economy. 
  • The private sector holds a key in promoting the employment of persons with disabilities. In addition to a robust legal framework, experience shows the importance of engaging the private sector and building the confidence of companies to hire and retain workers with disabilities. 
  • Additionally, engagement of employers federations, including those representing small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as with trade unions, has shown to have great potential to promote the employment of persons with disabilities. 
  • The ILO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the Women's Development Corporation in Maharashtra, are implementing the Sparking Disability Inclusive Rural Transformation (SPARK) project. Through this project, persons with disabilities were put in the lead, being identified from the villages, and trained as Disability Inclusion Facilitators (DIFs). The DIFs engage with the community, persons with disabilities, caregivers of persons with disabilities, women from self-help groups and other stakeholders to raise awareness about disability inclusion and barriers to inclusion. The DIFs identify women with disabilities and mainstream them in existing self-help groups for social and economic development, where these women have been able to access funds to start an enterprise. The SPARK project has been able to bring an attitudinal shift towards persons with disabilities, right from the societal to administrative levels. 
  • The goal of social justice cannot be achieved without the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all spheres of development, starting with rural areas and rural resilience. Evidence shows a bi-directional link to poverty, nutrition, and hunger, and as a consequence, there needs to be more inclusive opportunities and employment in rural areas. Given the historic marginalisation of persons with disabilities and the backsliding of the progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, a fundamental shift in commitment, solidarity, financing and action is critical. It is about time that the voices and needs of persons with disabilities be prioritised at the centre of the global development agenda. 

9.MoT Launches National Best Tourism Village And National Best Rural Homestays Competition 2024 

  • In a bid to boost Rural Tourism and enhance sustainable development, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has announced the National Best Tourism Village Competition 2024 and the National Best Rural Homestay Competition 2024. 
  • Building on the success of the previous edition in 2023, where 25 villages were recognized for their excellence, these competitions aim to strengthen rural economies and foster community involvement. This initiative is part of the comprehensive National Strategy and Roadmap for the Development of Rural Tourism in India. 
  • The Ministry, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, has undertaken strategic initiatives outlined in the National Strategy and Roadmap. The goal is to create a conducive environment for Rural Tourism growth by actively engaging governments, industry stakeholders, NGOs and local communities. 

International News 

10.International Chess Federation (FIDE) 

  • It started in Paris in 1924. It was recognized as a global sports organization by the International Olympic Committee in 1999. 
  • Headquarters – Lausanne (Switzerland) 
  • Its vice president is Vishwanathan Anand. Tamil Nadu is the Indian state with the highest number of Grandmaster titles. 

11.COP28 President and Saudi Arabia released 'Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter' 

  • COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and Saudi Arabia have officially launched the Oil and Gas Decarbonization -OGDC Charter. This is being considered an important step in efforts to move rapidly towards global climate action. 
  • The OGDC, dedicated to the oil and gas sector, aims to support efforts to address the impacts of climate-related challenges. Currently, 50 companies accounting for more than 40 percent of global oil production have committed to OGDC. 
  • Signatories have committed to net-zero operations by 2050, ending routine flaring by 2030 and near-zero upstream methane emissions. 
  • Under the charter, oil and gas companies invest in renewable energy, low-carbon fuels and negative emissions technologies; reducing energy poverty; and cooperate in providing secure and affordable energy to support the growth of all economies. 
  • Apart from this, the United Arab Emirates, President of COP-28, announced among the world leaders to give $ 30 billion to the climate related investment institution Altera. With this, Altera has become the largest private organization dedicated to climate action. This institution will invest 250 billion dollars by the year 2030. Other key facts 
  • Pradeep, Secretary, Forest and Environment, Sikkim, will present and showcase the state government's initiative 'Mero Rukh Mero Santati' in the Indian pavilion at COP-28. 
  • The 'Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum' at COP28 saw historic collaboration, as the Green Climate Fund, Allied Climate Partners and Allianz Global Investors pledged $5 billion to advance climate and nature action. This platform is the first private sector participation initiative of its kind within the COP programme. 
  • The forum includes strategic partners such as the International Finance Corporation, Economic Cooperation and Development Organization, World Economic Forum, Asian Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IBD Invest, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Enterprise, along with additional support from various markets 

12.Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia becomes 8th wonder of the world 

  • Angkor Wat temple, located in the northern province of Siem Reap in Cambodia has become the eighth Wonder of the World. 
  • The unofficial title Eighth Wonder of the World is sometimes given to buildings, structures, projects, designs, or even people who are thought to be comparable to the seven Wonders of the World. About Angkor Wat temple 
  • Lakhs of devotees from across the globe visit Angkor Wat temple every year. It is the largest religious monument in the world, comprising some 1,200 square metres of intricately carved bas reliefs. 
  • Angkor Wat also holds the Guinness World Records for being the largest religious structure in the world. 
  • The Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple by the Khmer Emperor Suryavarman II. 
  • The temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and gradually converted into a major Buddhist temple by his successor Jayavarman VII, who also built the famous Buddhist temple of Bayon nearby. 
  • Angkor is also famous for its statue of eight-armed Vishnu, also believed and worshipped by the locals as their protecting deity. 
  • The Hinduism to Buddhism transition is evident in the intricate carvings that adorn the temple walls at Angkor Wat. They depict scenes from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. 
  • They include the well-known Angkor Wat Temple and the Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom, which has numerous sculptural decorations. 
  • Angkor Wat spans 400 km and includes forested areas, contains the magnificent remains of the Khmer Empire’s various capitals from the 9th to the 15th centuries. 
  • It is considered to be one of the most significant archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. 

13.Madagascar Court Confirms Andry Rajoelina’s Election To The Presidency 

  • Madagascar’s Constitutional Court has recently confirmed the re-election of President Andry Rajoelina from the Young Malagasies Determined political party, marking his third term in office. The court declared Rajoelina the winner with 59% of the votes cast. 
  • The election took place amid significant challenges, including the withdrawal of ten out of thirteen presidential contenders. The opposition parties, critical of Rajoelina’s candidacy for a third term, urged their supporters to abstain from voting, contributing to a historically low voter turnout of 46%. 
  • Rajoelina emerged victorious, defeating his two closest rivals, Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko and ex-President Marc Ravalomanana, who secured 14% and 12% of the votes, respectively. 

14.US Reports ‘White Lung Syndrome’ Outbreak 

  • Recent reports highlight Ohio as the first U.S. state to experience a surge in cases of a pneumonia-like illness dubbed ‘white lung syndrome.’ The outbreak, primarily affecting children, has led to a significant number of hospitalizations, causing concern among health officials. 
  • White Lung Syndrome is identified by distinct white patches observed on chest X-rays in affected children. The term encompasses a range of respiratory disorders, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis, and conditions related to silica exposure. 

15.India Resumes Venezuelan Crude Oil Imports, Explores Direct Deals 

  • Indian refiners, including Reliance Industries, have reinitiated the import of Venezuelan crude oil through intermediaries. The move comes in the wake of the temporary lifting of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, opening avenues for direct deals between Indian companies and Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, PDVSA. 
  • Reliance (RELI.NS), one of India’s major conglomerates, is set to engage in discussions with PDVSA executives next week regarding direct crude oil sales. The easing of U.S. sanctions in October prompted a resurgence in Venezuelan oil exports, mainly facilitated by middlemen and traders, particularly to China. 
  • Notable transactions involve trading house Vitol selling 1.5 million barrels to Indian Oil Corp (IOC.NS) and 500,000 barrels to HPCL-Mittal Energy (HMEL), a joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL.NS) and Mittal Energy Investment 

State News 

16.Highest cases of sexual violence make Delhi most unsafe for women 

  • Delhi is the most unsafe metropolitan city for women in the country, recording on an average three rape cases daily, according to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). 
  • The Crime in India Report released on Sunday revealed that the city record ed 14,158 incidents of crime against women in 2022, the highest number among 19 metropolitan cities for the third consecutive year, with about 186.9 crimes reported for every 1,00,000 women.
  • This included 1,204 rape cases, the NCRB data showed. 
  • The national capital also recorded 3,909 incidents of kidnapping or abduction of women. A total of 129 cases pertaining to dowry deaths were recorded in the city. Delhi reported 4,847 incidents of cruelty by husbands or by their relatives.
  • According to a senior police officer, in most incidents of rape and assault, the victim and the accused are generally known to each other, which makes it difficult for the police to directly prevent such incident from taking place as the victim refrains from registering a complaint due to various factors. 
  • 'Awareness rising "However, we do carry out awareness drives to explain safe and unsafe touch, and what to do when women and girls find themselves in such situations. We have conducted several such sessions at schools and colleges to make policing accessible," he said. 
  • The officer added that the police have been conducting self-defence training camps for women and efficiently working on converting complaints into FIRs. He also claimed that the increase in cases registered for incidents of crime against women also reflects 
  • Delhi Police has been conducting self-defence training camps for women and efficiently working on converting complaints into FIRS police efforts to check employee crime. The number of unreported cases has gone down as more women are registering cases now, be said. According to the latest NCRB data, 7,400 incidents of crime against children were recorded in the city, which included 22 incidents of murder. 
  • Uptick in overall crime The incidents of crime against senior citizens (aged 60 or above) increased from 1,166 cases in 2021 to 1,313 cases in 2022 Cases of cyber crime in the city doubled in 2022 From 345 cases in 2021, the number rose to 685 cases in 2022 
  • A total of 501 incidents of murder were reported in she the city. It also recorded 106 cases of human trafficking. At least 492 minor boys were trafficked in Delhi as compared to 113 girls in 2022-all of whom were re covered, the report said. 

17.World's first portable hospital 'Arogya Maitri Aid Cube' unveiled in Haryana 

  • The world's first portable hospital Arogya Maitri Aid Cube was unveiled in Gurugram, Haryana on 2 December 2023. It has been prepared with indigenous technology under the Bhishma Project, February 2022 (India Health Initiative for Cooperation, Interest and Friendship). 
  • It is designed to keep 200 people alive for 48 hours. It has a pre-built disaster management and support system consisting of 72 detachable boxes. 
  • Conditions resulting from gunshot wounds, burns, injuries to the head, back and chest, broken bones and excessive bleeding can be treated at this hospital. Minor operations can be done in this hospital. These boxes are light and small and can be installed anywhere. 
  • PM Modi announced the 'Arogya Maitri' project at the Global South Summit in January this year. The project was publicly launched at the MedTech Expo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, coinciding with the G20 Health Ministers' meeting in August 2023. 
  • It was officially demonstrated for the first time to Myanmar authorities in July 2023. HLL Life Care is the nodal agency of the government for sourcing of Arogya Maitri Cubes. 

18.Kolkata Inaugurated FITEXPO INDIA 2023 

  • The FITEXPO INDIA 2023, one of Asia’s premier sports, fitness, and wellness trade expos, commenced on December 1 at the Biswa Bangla Mela Prangan in Kolkata. 
  • The mega expo, sprawling over 3 lac sq feet of indoor and outdoor space, is set to captivate over 5000 fitness, sports, and wellness enthusiasts. With an expected footfall of over 1.25 lac, FITEXPO INDIA 2023 is poised to be a colossal success. 
  • Described as a ‘Kumbh Mela‘ for sports, fitness, and wellness, FITEXPO INDIA connects with the growing base of enthusiasts and practitioners. Mr. Gagan Sachdev, founder-director of the expo, emphasized the significant growth of the Indian sports, fitness, and wellness sector, now five times larger under initiatives like Khelo India and Fit India. 

19.A.P. braces for heavy rainfall as Michaung intensifies 

  • Cyclone Michaung has intensified in its move across the southwest Bay of Bengal and is likely to make landfall on the Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam on Tuesday morning as a severe cyclonic storm, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90 kmph to 100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Sunday. 
  • A red alert has been issued in parts of Tamil Nadu's Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, and Chen- galpattu districts, which are expected to be lashed by a heavy downpour over the next two days. Extremely heavy rainfall is also expected in parts of coastal A.P., Yanam, and Rayalaseema, and a storm surge of more than a metre above the tide is likely to inundate the State's southern coastal districts at the time of landfall. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to A.P. Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday to take stock of rescue and relief preparations, and assured him of the Union government's support. Both affected States have deployed disaster response teams and set up relief camps, evacuating hundreds from low-lying areas. Fishermen have been warned to stay away from the sea, and preparations are being made to protect the paddy harvest. Trains have been cancelled in the region, and schools will be shut on Monday in affected districts. 
  • The coastal districts of Nellore, Tirupati, Prakasam, Bapatla, Guntur, Krishna, and West Godavari are likely to face damages due to inundation from an expected storm surge of about one to 1.15 metres above the astronomical Tuesday.
  • Mr. Reddy directed offi- cials to take all possible ef- forts to minimise the loss of life and property due to the cyclone. He sought "foolproof" relief and rescue measures, instructing officials to make sure all facilities such as drinking water, food, and necessary medicines are provided in the relief camps.
  • T.N. Chief Minister M.K. Stalin visited the Emergency Operations Centre in Chennai on Sunday to review precautionary measures. "A total of 685 individuals have been evacuated to 11 relief camps in Chengalpattu, Chennai, Kancheepuram, and Thiruvallur districts," he said. 
  • Over 500 personnel from the State and National Disaster Response Forces have been rushed to Chengalpattu, Chennai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Tiruvallur, Villupuram districts. 

Defence News 

20.Commander Prerna Devasthali became the first woman officer to command awarship in the Indian Navy

  • Commander Prerna Devasthali has been appointed as the first woman officer to command a warship in the Indian Navy (INW). Commander Devasthali will command the warship in the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy. 
  • Information about the appointment of Commander Devasthali has been given by Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on 1 December 2023. Prerna Devasthali was also appointed Commanding Officer of 'INS Trikand' based in Goa. 
  • Mumbai native Prerna Devasthali was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2009. 
  • Lieutenant Commander Deosthali, the first woman observer on the Tupolev Tu-142, has also served on the maritime reconnaissance aircraft 'P8I'. 
  • Commander Devasthali was recently presented appointment letters by Rear Admiral Praveen Nair, Commander Western Fleet, on his selection as the Commanding Officer of Waterjet FAC INS Trikand. 

21.Kanchan Devi Becomes First Woman Director General Of ICFRE 

  • Kanchan Devi, 1991-batch Indian Forest Service Officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as the first woman Director General (DG) of the Indian Council of Forestry Research Education (ICFRE). 
  • Kanchan Devi brings to her new role an impressive track record of over 30 years in the realm of forestry. Her extensive expertise spans a myriad of aspects, including forest management, administration, education, human resource development, research, and extension. 
  • Established in 1986 under the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests, ICFRE is the largest organization responsible for forestry research in India. 

Business News 

22.Registration open for businessline Boardroom Challenge till December 6 

  • Entries are open for the businessline Boardroom Challenge 2023, a challenge event for B-school students. An online test, which is the first round of this competition, is open for registration till Decem- ber 6 on There is no test fee. 
  • The businessline Boardroom Challenge will have three stages a preliminary round, city-specific semi-finals, and a grand finale. 
  • The decision-making skills and teamwork abilities of the students will be tested in an online psychometric test in the preliminary round. 
  • Sixty minutes will be gi- ven to each team to answer 20 questions and one representative from each The teams which perform the best will qualify for the semi-final round. 
  • Shortlisted teams from seven cities Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Pune will take part in the semi-final round which will be held virtually. 
  • The winner of semi-final from each of these cities will participate in the grand finale that too will be a virtual event and the winner will get 1 lakh. The se cond and third place will receive 75,000 and 50,000, respectively. 
  • Ever since the pandemic, the bl Boardroom Chal- lenge has been held as an entirely online event. 
  • The 2023 edition of the event is sponsored by Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund, and Brand Vectors and executive coach Siva Kumar are the knowledge partners. 
  • For the semi-final rounds, Vishwadeep Kuila, founder of Brand Vectors, will draw up the case challenge and will be a member of the jury too. 

23.LIC Introduces Framework For Shareholder’s Director: Enhancing Board Structure 

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), a leading insurance and investment corporation in India, has announced a significant update in its governance structure.
  • As per the Life Insurance Corporation of India (Shareholders’ Director) Regulations, 2023, notified in the Gazette of India on December 1, 2023, LIC has outlined a new framework for the addition of a shareholder’s director to its board. 
  • The appointed person can extend their tenure for an additional four years. The appointed shareholder’s director cannot hold a similar position in more than two companies simultaneously. 
  • This new regulation represents a strategic move by LIC to enhance its governance structure and involve its shareholders more directly in its decision-making process. 

24.Infosys Inks Pact With Shell For Sustainable Data Centres 

  • Indian IT services giant Infosys has recently announced a strategic partnership with energy company Shell to drive the adoption of immersion cooling services in data centers. 
  • This collaboration aims to harness the strengths of both organizations in digital and energy domains, supported by a network of partners, to create an integrated solution for environmentally friendly data centers. 
  • The collaboration intends to leverage AI-based digital solutions to establish environmentally responsible data centers capable of managing high computing loads efficiently through optimized hardware. 

25.Nandan Nilekani, KP Singh, Nikhil Kamath On Forbes Asia Heroes Of Philanthropy List 

  • Three prominent Indian business leaders – Nandan Nilekani, KP Singh and Nikhil Kamath, have earned a coveted spot on the 17th edition of Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list.
  • Nadan Nilekani, co-founder and chairman of the renowned tech giant Infosys, has been acknowledged for his substantial contribution of Rs.3.2 billion (USD 38 million) to his alma mater, IIT Bombay. 
  • KP Singh, chairman emeritus at DLF, made a remarkable move in August by divesting his remaining direct stake in the renowned real estate firm he once chaired. The divestment, amounting to 0.59% shareholding, generated a substantial Rs.7.3 billion. 
  • Nikhil kamat, co-founder of Zerodha, is another notable name on the list. While the specifies of his philanthropic contributions are not detailed in the available information, his inclusion underscores the growing trend of business leaders across diverse sectors engaging in philanthropy. 

Economy News 

26.India Achieves Remarkable Environmental Milestone: Emission Intensity Falls 33% Ahead Of Schedule 

  • India has successfully slashed its GDP emission intensity by 33% between 2005 and 2019, exceeding its target 11 years ahead of schedule. 
  • A government report, ‘The Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,’ outlines the nation’s substantial progress in decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Despite a cumulative annual GDP growth rate of 7%, India’s emissions increased by only 4% per year during 2005-2019. This remarkable feat showcases India’s ability to achieve sustainable economic growth while curbing emissions. 

27.Karnataka’s Ambitious Plan For Economic Growth: Targeting Rs 1.4 Trillion Annual Investments 

  • The Karnataka government is embarking on a strategic journey to elevate the state’s economic landscape, eyeing an impressive annual investment of Rs 1.4 trillion, a substantial 75% increase from the current levels. 
  • The overarching goal is to position Karnataka as a premier investment destination in Asia, particularly focusing on future technology and advanced manufacturing. 
  • The government has strategically identified key sectors for concentrated efforts, including aerospace and defence, electronic components, core manufacturing, warehousing and logistics. Additionally, special attention is directed towards emerging sectors such as electric vehicles, textiles, semiconductors, space tech, and med tech. 

28.Decline In FDI Inflows From Cayman Islands And Cyprus To India 

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India witnessed a substantial contraction from the Cayman Islands and Cyprus during April-September in the current fiscal year, contributing to an overall decline of 24% in FDI inflows. 
  • FDI from the Cayman Islands experienced a sharp decline of 75%, plummeting from USD 582 million in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year to USD 145 million in April-September of the current fiscal. 
  • Inflows from Cyprus contracted significantly, registering a staggering drop of over 95% to USD 35 million during the six-month period. This stark decrease is compared to the USD 764 million recorded in April-September of the preceding fiscal year. 

29.India’s Manufacturing Sector Shows Resilience In November With A PMI Of 56 

  • In November, India’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) exhibited a positive trajectory, reaching 56, a slight uptick from October’s 55.5. While still below the September figure of 57.5, this rise indicates a rebound from the slowest rate of expansion recorded in October since February. 
  • The encouraging manufacturing data follows the revelation that India’s economy expanded impressively by 7.6% in the second quarter, underscoring a robust recovery. The manufacturing sector’s improved performance is a noteworthy component contributing to this economic growth. 

Appointment News 

30.Narayan Sheshadri appointed as IDRCL chairman 

  • Former KPMG managing partner Narayan Seshadri has been appointed as chairman of the India Debt Resolution Co Ltd (IDRCL). 
  • IDRCL chairman Diwakar Gupta resigned to take up a post at parent National Asset Reconstruction Co Ltd (NARCL). 
  • NARCL and IDRCL aim to address the mounting problem of bad loans and non-performing assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector. 
  • Seshadri, a chartered accountant, is a financial sector veteran with experience in buying and turning around distressed companies. He is currently an independent director in the company and will take over immediately. 

Banking News 

31.World Bank’s Innovative Approach To Scaling Climate Finance Through Securitization

  • The President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, has outlined a strategic initiative aimed at scaling up climate financing through securitization. 
  • This innovative approach, led by the Private Sector Investment Lab (PSIL), focuses on creating a model of “originate-to-distribute” to attract substantial investments from deep-pocketed investors for climate-related projects.
  • PSIL, launched under the World Bank’s umbrella, collaborates with a group of 15 finance leaders, including Larry Fink of BlackRock, Thomas Buberl of AXA SA, and Noel Quinn of HSBC Plc. The collective effort aims to reduce investment risks in climate projects in emerging economies and encourage private capital to contribute to emission reduction initiatives 

Important Day News 

32. 2 December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities 

  • 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3. The theme of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is: "Uniting in action to protect and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities 

33.World Computer Literacy Day 2023 celebrated on 2 December 

  • World Computer Literacy Day is celebrated every year on 2 December. World Computer Literacy Day was first celebrated in 2001. This year the theme is ‘Promoting literacy for a changing world: building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’. World Computer Literacy Day was started in 2001 by NIIT (National Institute of Information Technology), Ltd. 
  • The day now emphasizes the importance of computer education and aims to bridge the digital divide by ensuring that people around the world have access to and knowledge of information and communication technologies and is also used to promote computer literacy and digital skills. Serves as a global initiative. 

34. 2 December – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 

  • The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed every year on 2 December. 
  • It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2, 1986. 
  • This observance recognizes the efforts of all those who continue to fight against modern manifestations of slavery like trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the most severe forms of child labour, forced marriage and enlistment of children into the armed forces. 
  • Theme 2023 – Fighting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism through Transformative Education 
  • On this day, organizations, governments, and individuals come together to fight against the deplorable practice of slavery in any form across societies. 
  • The United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, adopted by the General Assembly on December 2, forms the basis of the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. 

35. 2 December – National Pollution Control Day 

  • The National Pollution Control Day is observed every year on December 2. 
  • It is marked in the memory of those who lost their lives in the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy that took place on December 2 and 3. 
  • The theme for National Pollution Control Day 2023 is “Sustainable Development for a Clean and Healthy Planet“ 
  • It is estimated that at least 4,000 people died when a pesticide plant by American chemical company Union Carbide’s pesticide plant began leaking the toxic methyl isocyanate gas into a populated area in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. 

Awards news 

36.India’s President Presents National Awards 2023 For The Empowerment Of Persons With Disabilities 

  • The International Day of Persons with Disabilities witnessed a grand ceremony in New Delhi as President Droupadi Murmu bestowed the National Awards for the Empowerment of Divyangjan 2023 upon 21 individuals and 9 institutions. 
  • On this prestigious occasion, 30 outstanding individuals, institutions, organizations, states and districts were honored for their remarkable achievements and contributions to the empowerment of Divyangjan. The awards spanned various fields, recognizing the diverse talents and efforts that contribute to the holistic development of the disabled community. 

Science and Technology News 

37. Gajraj System: AI-Based Elephant Protection On Indian Railways 

  • The Indian Railways has initiated a pioneering step towards wildlife conservation by deploying the “Gajraj system,” an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solution designed to prevent elephant fatalities on railway tracks. 
  • This surveillance system is being implemented along a 700-kilometre stretch in forest areas to alert locomotive pilots of elephants’ presence on the tracks, thereby mitigating the risk of collisions. 
  • The system sends Alerts to the train controller, station master, train drivers, and other stakeholders, when an elephant steps onto the track, the system detects the presence. The system proved notably effective in its initial deployment, with improvements based on field experience 

Sports News 

38. 37th Pune International Marathon Competition 

  • Kemei Elias Kaprono of Kenya has won the 37th Pune International Marathon in Pune, Maharashtra. Ethiopia's Simon Maina Mongi stood second and Adere Halu stood third. 
  • Apart from this, competitions were organized in several categories like ten kilometer, five kilometer and three kilometer in which hundreds of participants took part. 
  • Pune Municipal Corporation has given Rs 25 lakh to the winners of the competition. The theme of this year's marathon is - Run for environmental protection. Since 1983, thousands of runners from all walks of life have participated in the event.

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