Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 5th December 2023


National News

1.Ladakh leaders want reservation, people's empowerment 

  • Civil society leaders from Ladakh raised the issues of disempowerment of local people, trust deficit in the name of development, reservation for local people in jobs, electoral representation, and tribal status for the Union Territory at the first structured meeting at least since 2020 with Union Home Ministry officials on Monday. 
  • A 14-member delegation comprising members from the Leh Apex Body (LAB) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) met Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in Delhi for an hour and a half. 
  • More meetings The Ministry asked the leaders to submit their demands in writing and assured them of holding frequent meetings to resolve the issues, while the members called for a time frame to meet the demands, said members who attended the meeting. 
  • Thupstan Chhewang, former BJP MP and an influential leader in Ladakh, told The Hindu that the officials appealed to them not to hold protests and agitations as talks were on. 
  • He added that mobilisation of people up to the block level by making them aware of the demands was already on.
  • "This was the first structured meeting called by the Ministry. Bureaucratic overreach is one of the major concerns. Our people do not have a say in how the budget is spent or the projects planned. The U.T. The administration brought an industrial policy without consulting us. Statehood is the only solution as safeguards provided under Article 370 are no longer there," Mr. Chhewang said, adding that if the demands were not met then protests would resume. 
  • Sajjad Kargili of the KDA said that the Ladakh resident certificate, issued to permanent residents of the Union Territory, should be a prerequisite for government jobs. 

2.RS passes Post Office Bill; parties oppose 'free hand to officers 

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Post Office Hill on Monday, which repeals and replaces the Post Office Act of 1898. The Bill, the government said, will ensure the effective functioning of the postal department as a messenger service and as a provider of banking facilities. The Opposition, citing the provisions empowering any officer to intercept, open or detain any postal item in the interest of the security of the State, expressed concern that giving such a free hand to officers will harm the right to privacy. Section 9 of the Bill gives the power to intercept, open or detain any item or deliver items to customs authority by the post office officials. 
  • Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said postal services were becoming irrelevant during the UPA regime and there was a situation when post offices had to be phased out. "This new legislation is a reflection of the way post offices and postmen have been transformed into a service delivery institution from being merely a mail delivery mechanism, and the post offices have been practically converted into banks," Mr. Vaishnaw said adding that 660 post offices were closed earlier but from 2014 to 2023, around 5,000 post offices were opened and about 5,746 new ones are in the process of being opened.
  • Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil flagged the provisions in Section 9 and said the provision will infringe on the right to privacy. "I understand that security is Important and you are doing it for the safety of the people but in the name of security... in which direction are we going," he asked. His argument was supported by members of Left parties, AAP, Shiv Sena, DMK, TDP and other Opposition parties. 

3.Cyclone-triggered rain brings Chennai to a halt, claims 6 lives

  • Pounded by relentless rain under the impact of Cyclone Michaung, Chennai and its neighbouring districts were marooned on Mon mories of the December 2015 floods. Sa persons were killed in cyclone-related incidents in the city, police said 
  • The Chennai airport shut down its airfield for arrival and departure operates till 9 am on Tuesday. Nearly 300 fights were cancelled and more than 1,500 passengers stranded. 
  • Southern Railway cancelled many long-hazal trains and trains coming to the city were terminated at Chengalpattu, causing inconvenience to hundreds of passengers. Water Bodies were brimming and the release of surplus water from the reservoirs challenged the city's infrastructure. 
  • Life came to a standstill as power supply was suspended as precautionary measure since late on Sunday night. Over 9,600 people from northern coastal districts were moved to 236 relief camps in eight places 
  • The Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) aided State agencies, including the Fire and Rescue Services and police personnel, in the relief and rescue operations. 
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah called Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on the telephone to get a briefing on the situation and offered all help from the Centre. Mr. Stalin sought deployment of additional NDRF personnel to deal with the calamity. He deputed 13 Ministers to oversee relief and rescue operations, besides deploying more senior IAS officers on the field. 
  • The government declared a holiday for educational institutions on Tuesday and advised private companies to permit employees to work from home 

4.India Internet Governance Forum IIGF’23 held in New Delhi

  • The third edition of the IIGF has been conducted under the overarching theme ‘Moving Forward–Calibrating Bharat’s Digital Agenda’ Calibrating Bharat’s Digital Agenda’ in New Delhi. 
  • The first two editions of the IIGF were convened in 2021 and 2022. 
  • The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing together representatives from various groups, considering all to be at par to discuss public policy issues related to the Internet. About IIGF 
  • The India Internet Governance Forum is an initiative associated with the UN Internet Governance Forum (UN IGF). 
  • The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing representatives together from various groups, all at par to discuss public policy issues related to the Internet. 
  • The Indian chapter of the United Nations IGF, called India IGF or IIGF, was created in 2021, and is supported by a 14-member multi-stakeholder Committee(s) representing Government, Civil Society, Industries, Technical community, Think Tanks, Industry Associations, etc. 

5.RK Singh inaugurates National Conference on “Energy Transition in India” 

  • Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable EnergyK. Singh has inaugurated a two-day National Conference on “Energy Transition in India – Road Travel and Opportunities Ahead” in Gandhinagar. 
  • Organised as a part of the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024, the event is being attended by more than 250 Indian and foreign representatives of the power and renewable energy sector. 
  • The two-day conference was focused on scaling up renewable energy, generation and consumption by considering challenges related to grid integration, financing tools and developing supporting infrastructure. 
  • The main objective of this conference is to move forward with an ambitious vision of promoting clean energy and facilitating the energy transition. 
  • India is committed to reducing the emission intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030 compare to 2005 level. 80 percent of the carbon emission burden lies with developed countries, which account only one-third of the world’s population. 

International News 

6.India, U.S. can work through differences constructively 

  • Despite many differences in their relationship, India and the U.S. have been able to surmount all challenges to bilateral ties, said the two sides after a visit to New Delhi by U.S. Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer, the first high-level meeting since the U.S. indictment linked an Indian government official to an assassination plot last week. 
  • Significantly, Mr. Finer, who led a delegation for talks with the National Security Council (NSCS) on technology and met with his counterpart Deputy National Security Adviser Vik- ram Misri, also received meetings with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, indicating how much importance New Delhi gave the visit in the current situation after the publication of the Department of Justice indictment. 
  • 'Difficult issues remain' "There are many difficult issues that remain in [the India-U.S.] relationship, right up to the present day," said Mr. Finer, speaking at the Global Technology Summit in Delhi organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Carnegie India, a think tank, where he spoke of the "complicated history" of the relationship. "But what we have demonstrated, 1 think, throughout the course of not just this administration, [but previous administrations in India and U.S.] to bring us to the point where not only can we seize some of the important opportunities that the world presents for us, geo politically and economically, but we can work through our differences in a constructive way without derailing that broader cooperative agenda," he added.
  • Speaking at the same event, Mr. Jaishankar also stressed that India and the U.S. have managed their relationships over the past two decades and five different U.S. Presidents. 
  • "The data clearly indicates a certain stability and that there is enough investment on both sides and structural soundness to the relationship," Mr. Jaishankar said, adding that "from an Indian perspective, India-U.S. relations are certainly proofed against political checks". 
  • Neither side referred directly to the issue of the indictment that has seen the arrest of an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta after an elaborate investigation that involved an undercover U.S. law enforcement official posing as a hitman, in a case where the U.S. Department of Justice claims an Indian government official directed a plan to assassinate Khalistani separatists wanted by India, including Sikhs for Justice leader and U.S. national, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, and other unnamed targets in the U.S. and Canada. 
  • The indictment also linked the plot to the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June. The revelations in the indictment were called a "matter of concern" by the MEA that said a high-level inquiry committee had been constituted to investigate the U.S. allegations, although it had earlier dismissed Canadian allegations over the Nijjar killing.
  • Both the MEA and the U.S. Embassy in Delhi declined to say whether the Pannun issue had been raised during the meetings, but news agency PTI reported that it was "understood that the [Pannun plot] issue figured in the meeting between Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Finer". 

7.The need to transform agri-food systems 

  • A groundbreaking report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), published earlier this month, has laid bare the staggering hidden costs of our global agrifood systems, surpassing an astonishing $10 trillion. In middle income countries like India, these costs constitute nearly 11% of the GDP, which manifests as higher poverty, environmental harm, and health related. impacts, including undernourishment and unhealthy dietary patterns. The report blames “unsustainable business as usual activities and practices” for these escalating costs, pointing to a need to transform agrifood systems. One way to do so is to shift to multi cropping systems that have the potential to protect farmers’ wellbeing, improve nutritional outcomes for our communities, and positively impact ecological health. What are the impacts of intensive agriculture? Impressive improvements in agricultural productivity have been achieved in India over the last five decades by mainstreaming monocropping systems and chemical intensive farming practices. 
  • The Green Revolution focused on the marketing of high yielding varieties of paddy and wheat on agricultural lands, which now constitute more than 70% of India’s agricultural production 
  • The infusion of seeds purchased from multinational corporations and fertilizers undermined seed sovereignty, dismantled Indigenous knowledge systems, and fuelled a shift from diverse crop varieties and staples such as pulses and millets to monoculture plantations. This trend also compromised the nutritional needs of households and resulted in adverse ecological consequences including excessive extraction of groundwater. This privatisation and deregulation of agricultural inputs also increased indebtedness among agrarian households. 
  • In 2013, the debt to asset ratio of a farmer’s household in India was 630% higher than in 1992. 
  • Agriculture in India has increasingly become unviable: the average monthly household income of a farming household sits at ₹10,816. Which are the crops being favoured? Under the National Food Security Act 2013, 65% of households (around 800 million people) in India are legally assured a right to food at subsidised rates through the Public Distribution System and welfare programmes such as the Integrated Child Development Services and the MidDay Meal Scheme. 
  • To meet this requirement, the procurement of food crops is coordinated by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which is required to maintain a central pool of buffer stock and to procure, transport, and store foodgrain stocks in the country. However, this procurement policy heavily favours rice and wheat. In 20192020, the FCI procured 341.32 lakh million tonnes (MT) of wheat and 514.27 lakh MT of rice. Whole wheat and rice also became export commodities. 
  • In contrast, the Indian government approved the procurement of a total of only 3.49 lakh MT of coarse grains such as jowar, bajra, ragi, maize, and barley by State governments for the central pool and local distribution, which is less than 1% of total foodgrain procurement. Not surprisingly, the area under cultivation of coarse grains dropped by 20% between 19661967 and 20172018, whereas the area under rice and wheat increased by nearly 20% and 56% respectively. At the same time, other water intensive cash crops like sugarcane and areca nut have also flourished under policies favouring investments in dams and canal irrigation (favourable for sugarcane) and free electricity for borewells (favourable for areca nut). This trend threatens food security and the production of nutritional crops. 
  • The expansion of sugarcane cultivation affects biodiversity, increases the pressure on groundwater resources, and contributes to air and water pollution. And ironically, small and marginal farmers in India are among the most food and nutrition insecure. 
  • The global food system structure has a direct impact on the last mile on both farmers and soil. Between 2012 and 2016, large fluctuations in soya prices in the global market and a glut in supply from Latin American countries eroded income for soy farmers and agro companies in Malwa. Historically as well, global trade relations have influenced food production systems in the Global South. In The pre independence era, tax systems were introduced to efficiently collect revenue for British Enforced exports of primary raw materials, such as cotton. 
  • How can crop diversification help? A systemic shift in food regimes, from local to global value chains, is essential. The starting point for addressing these complex systemic issues could arise from local efforts, such as the diversification of farms. 
  • Diversified multi cropping systems, rooted in agroecology principles, could be a viable solution to revitalise degraded land and soil. Practices known by various names locally, like ‘akkadi saalu’ in Karnataka, involve intercropping with a combination of legumes, pulses, oilseeds, trees, shrubs, and livestock. This approach enables cash provision from commercial crops, food and fodder production, and offers ecosystem services such as nitrogen fixation and pest traps, and supports the local biodiversity. They also collectively contribute to improving soil health. 
  • Critics have often argued again alternative farming systems, suggesting they may lead to a decline in farmer income even if the environment improves. 
  • But the FAO report says that there are substantial “hidden costs” associated with the current systems which need to be factored into long term evaluations of income. Moreover, millets, whose yield per hectare is comparable to those of rice and wheat, are also more nutritious, grow in semiarid conditions without burdening groundwater tables, require minimal input, and provide a diversified food basket.
  • While crop diversification will involve some loss of productivity using a narrow metric of kg/Ha, it would preserve natural capital and allow farmers to become nutritionally secure. By redirecting subsidies, currently accruing to corporations, we can pay farmers for their contribution to sustaining natural capital, instead of incentivising them to deplete it.
  • How can farmers transition? It is unrealistic to expect farmers to shift away from mono cultivation of rice and wheat overnight. This transition needs to be systematic, allowing farmers to adjust gradually. For instance, moving from chemical intensive practices to nonpesticide management, theadopting natural farming practices, can reduce input costs. 
  • Farmers can diversify income through value addition, incorporating livestock and poultry. Some of these practices could be experimented with partially on specific portions of their lands 
  • Among the various transition pathways, a visual representation of a diversified farm involves allocating 70% for commercial crops, 20% for food and fodder, and 10% for environmental services like oilseeds (acting as trap crops). Over time, the fraction of commercial crops could be lowered to 50% and border crops could be replaced with locally suitable tree species for fruits and fodder. 
  • Integrating livestock rearing could further improve incomes. Some preliminary economic modelling of these pathways indicates the potential to improve ecological outcomes for the landscape and sustain farm incomes in the short run (up to three years) and the long run (up to 25 years).  
  • Scaling up these practices requires collaboration among institutions,policymakers, and social group to articulate economic incentives for farmers to shift from high input monoculture to diversified cropping. P. Srinivas Vasu is the founder of SOIL, a trust that works on rebuilding soil health and promoting sustainable agriculture.
  • Karishma Shelar is a Senior Programme Manager at the Water, Environment, Land and Livelihoods (WELL) Labs, a research centre at the Institute for Financial Management and Research. 

State News 

8.A dark shadow on New Delhi's credibility 

  • In the shadowy world dong, intelligence and covert operations, the only role is to never get cut while carrying out a moon. In the more valle world of public diplomacy, the only rule is to never get caught selling a lie or denying what might turn out to be true. 
  • The percent publication of a United States Department of hatice indictment against an indian national for targeting wanted Khalistani separatists in North America, at the behest of a Govvernment official who may or may not have been acting alone, is as yet an unproven allegation that number stand trial, but is one that has nonetheless cast a dark shadow on New Delhi's credibility in terms of both covert capacity and public messaging, which must be addressed. 
  • Other operations in the limelight The indienment also comes on the heels of a number of intelligence operations that have been challenged in courts in other friendly countries in recent years: from the forcible return of a United Arab Emirates princess, Latifah, by the Indian Count Guard to International waters in 2018 that has been criticised by a court in the United Kingdom, to the "attempted kidnap" of businessman-on-the-run Mehul Chokst from Antigua to Dominica by British nationals alleged to have been working for Indian agencies in 2021, and the conviction of eight former Indian naval officers in Qatar for espionage, which is now in appeal. While the extra judicial military court trial against former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan since 2016 has been challenged by India at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the fact that he was operating his business from Iran, a friendly neighbour, has no doubt been noted. Meanwhile, the circulation of a list of alleged operations against wanted Khalistani and Pakistan operatives not just in Pakistan but also in Nepal, Italy, the United Kingdom and Thailand, has been hailed in the media as proof of the Indian security establishment's global reach. 
  • It must be remembered that the government has so far not accepted that it ordered any of these operations, but is not averse to the larger narrative that security agencies have been "empowered" to carry them out It is in this content that the government must engage with the troubling questions thrown up by the latest allegations-by the US. of a conspiracy to murder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York, that also indicates a link to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, and the direct allegation by Canada, made by its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the Nijjar killing. To begin with, the text of the American indictment unravels two conspiracies-one carried out by the Indian who has been indicted, Nikhil Gupta, who was allegedly directed by a senior government intelligence official, and the other carried out by impact of the episode of the American indictment against an Indian national will lie in the Image India Waves to the Federal Bureau of Investigador and Drug Enbocent Administration, to entrap him by providing an undercover officer to him as the hinnan. 
  • The fact that the US government did not share all data it knew with India questions the claims made otherwise that the two countries have, between thens, reached the parinade of security cooperation this year. To not leave shared them even when Mr. Trudeas made his statement In Parliament might have spared New Delhi the tithes when the details of the US. indictments were published. Instead, despite two meetings between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, four between Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and US. Secretary of State Antony Blinkaen, and several between National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and als US counterpart NSA Jake Sullivan, as well as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Intelligence chiefs, the US. appears to have cautioned India, but not revealed the full extent of information it had gathered. 
  • For the 0.5., it is also obvious that it does not trust the information India has shared on Mr. Pannun, Nijjar and the Khalistani separatist movement, and here is more focused on the plot against them than it is on curbing their activities. For India, given India's deep concerns with Mr. Pannurn's radical rhetoric, even broadcasting a threat against Air India flights, and threats to diplomats and embassies, the US's actions are a breach of trust.. 
  • The actions hark back to the nature of intelligence sharing in 2008, when the US. warned India about the impending 26/11 terror threat (November 2008 Mumbal attacks), but did not divulge that the source of the information was Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley, who even re-entered India with another diabolical plan in 2009. After the U.S. arrested Headley, it entered a plea bargain, which meant the man who decided the targets and planned the attacks to precision could never be brought to justice in India, and the government was forced to take his testimony via video camera for the trial. 
  • What this indicates is that while bilateral and strategic ties are growing in different spheres, trust between both countries has not kept apace. While much commentary is focused in the short term on whether Mr. Biden will confirm his attendance at the Republic Day parade and the Quad summit (Australia, India, Japan and U.S.) in January. It is the impact on the longer of the relationship that both sides must focus on. 
  • By extension, South Block must also look at the impact of its actions among western allies Including the "Five Eyes" intelligence partnership (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.), By rejecting Canadian allegations outright expelling digilonuts and suspending visas, while accepting for allegations more calmly und setting up a legs level inquiry to investigate them, bull Deli has a double standard 
  • In its international engagements. The difference between Insure actions to alittatti protests,and the attempted faboubing of the San Australia and Canada is also stark while twir envoys have been summoned and Mr. Modi has publicly raised the Khalistan baue and protection of Indian origin minorities with their leaden, the government has been more discreet in its concerns with the US Conversely, there is a well-recorded double standard from the West when it comes to extra judicial covert operations and assassinations the CIA, MIG and Mossad have often eliminated those they see as a threat on foreign shores, while sanctioning Russia for the Skripal attacks, Saudi Arabia for the Khashoggi killing, and publicly shaming Irudia over the alleged claims on Mr. Panmun and Nijar, and all Five Bye nations including New Zealand have issued statements criticising India for its actions against Canada. While such double standards are as old as time, it is significant that they have not been whittled down by the significant strengthening of the India-US. relationship, billed as the "most consequential partnership of the century". 
  • Further afield, India must address the impact of the case in the neighbourhood. Countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh stood with India on the Canada issue, but as details of the U.S. indictment are revealed, South Asian capitals, and not just Islamabad, will be studying the footprint of Indiari agencies in their countries as well. South Block and its embassies in the neighbourhood will have to go the extra mile to assure the neighbours, especially in Kathmandu, Dhaka, Male and Colombo, where reports about India's "hand" in domestic politics is often discussed in exaggerated tones. 
  • Eventually, the lasting impact of the episode will lie in the image India wishes to project to the world-as a "hard power" that is willing to risk international and in pursuing those it considers a threat in any corner of the world in any manner it deems fit. Or that of an adherent to international law that builds its case through its diplomats, turning global opinion in its favour to achieve its ends, albeit at the risk of being seen as a "soft power". The Ministry of External Affairs has said categorically that covert, extra-judicial assassinations are not this government's policy and that the allegations will be investigated. A deeper investigation would reveal whether India's actions align with its values and interests. 

9.PM Modi Unveils Shivaji Maharaj Statue At Rajkot Fort In Maharashtra 

  • On December 4, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked a historic moment by unveiling the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Rajkot Fort in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district. 
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the visionary leader of the Maratha empire, was renowned for his strategic prowess in constructing coastal and sea forts. The unveiling ceremony highlighted his significant contribution to India’s maritime history, with a special focus on the iconic Sindhudurg Fort. 
  • Prime Minister Modi shed light on how the Maratha empire founder’s seal served as inspiration for the new naval ensign. This ensign was officially adopted last year during the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. 

10.Bihar Garners International Recognition At COP-28 For Afforestation Efforts 

  • The actions undertaken by the Bihar government in the field of afforestation, particularly through the Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali Abhiyan (Rural Development Department), received praise from the international community at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-28) in Dubai. 
  • During a dedicated session on “Building Climate Resilience” at the Indian Pavilion, a detailed presentation titled “Afforestation Activities in Bihar to Combat Climate Change” was delivered. The larger policy framework and inter-departmental coordination under Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali Abhiyan was highlighted. 
  • Bihar is among the first States in the country to introduce a green budget, aiming to allocate budgetary provisions to address climate change, conserve the ecosystem, and protect biodiversity.” This initiative showcases the state’s commitment to incorporating environmental considerations into its financial planning. 

Defence News 

11.Centre committed to increasing the strength of women in defence forces, says Modi 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the government was committed to increasing the strength of women in the armed forces. "Today, India is setting bigger targets for itself and is utilising its full potential to achieve those targets," Mr. Modi said Sindhudurg district on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra on the occasion of Navy Day. 
  • The Prime Minister, who earlier unveiled a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at the Rajkot fort, said that the India of today was shaking off the "slave mentality" by moving forward, inspired by the ideals of the 17th century Maratha warrior king. "The Sindhudurg Fort instils a feeling of pride in every citizen of India," Mr. Modi said, while lauding Shivaji's foresight in recognising the importance of naval capabilities for any nation. 
  • "With pride in our heritage, I am proud to announce that the ranks in the Indian Navy will be renamed according to Indian culture. We are also working on increasing women power in our defence forces. I want to congratulate the Navy for appointing the country's first woman commanding officer on a naval ship," Mr. Modi said. 
  • Paying homage to the rich maritime heritage of Shivaji, he said that the warrior king's seal had inspired the new naval ensign that was adopted last year when he had commissioned the first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. 
  • He said that the Union and the State governments were determined to preserve the forts built during Shivaji's period, stating that hundreds of crores of rupees were being spent on the conservation of these heritage sites throughout Maharashtra, Including the Konkan. Mr. Modi said this would increase tourism in the area and create new employment and self-employment opportunities. 

12.PM Modi Announces Renaming Of Ranks In Indian Navy 

  • In a significant move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the Indian government’s decision to revamp the ranks within the Indian Navy, aiming to eliminate colonial influences and infuse a distinct Indian cultural identity. 
  • The Prime Minister made this historic announcement during the Navy Day function held at the iconic Sindhudurg Fort in Maharashtra. The choice of venue itself underscores the commitment to embracing India’s cultural roots, as Sindhudurg Fort holds historical significance tied to the Maratha empire. 
  • PM Modi emphasized that the restructuring of naval ranks is part of a broader initiative to shed colonial military legacies. The renaming process is intended to reflect India’s rich cultural heritage, aligning the naval hierarchy more closely with indigenous traditions. 

13.GRSE Delivers India’s Largest Survey Vessel To Navy 

  •  The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd delivered the largest-ever survey vessel built in the country, INS Sandhayak, to the Indian Navy. The 110-meter-long vessel is the first in a series of four survey ships being constructed by GRSE for the navy, marking a crucial milestone in the indigenous shipbuilding industry. 
  • The Sandhayak-class vessels boast comprehensive capabilities, making them invaluable assets to the Indian Navy. These survey ships can conduct full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic surveys, providing crucial data for port and harbor approaches, navigation channels, and routes. 
  • In addition to their primary survey functions, these vessels exhibit multi-role capabilities. Each ship can carry a helicopter, participate in low-intensity combat scenarios, and function as hospital ships. 

Business News 

14.Indian companies should invest in climate vulnerable' nations: Nasheed 

  • More Indian companies ought to be investing in clean energy projects in Maldives and other 'climate vulnerable' countries instead of putting money in "iron and steel" as this would be a "good investment", former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed told The Hindu on Monday. 
  • Currently, the Secretary-General, Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) - a grouping of 58 countries that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters from climate change Mr. Nasheed said India's commitment to installing 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources and reducing emissions by 45% suggested that "it was on track" as far as meeting its commitments to the Paris Agreement was concerned. The 2015 agreement, to which India is a signatory, seeks to cap global average temperature rise below 2°C and "as far as possible" below 1.5°C. "More than taking on emission cuts, India should be investing more in renewable energy projects in climate-vulnerable countries," said Mr. Nasheed.
  • Mr. Nasheed said that he had seen interest from "several Indian investors" in investing in renewable energy projects, particularly solar and wind projects, in countries that are part of the grouping. 
  • Development banks and richer developed countries could play an important role in "derisking investments", he said while stressing that the vulnerable countries were not really asking for grants but seeking real investments in their economies 

15.Bajaj Group Becomes Fifth Conglomerate To Breach ₹10 Lakh Crore In Mcap 

  • On December 4, 2023, the Bajaj Group achieved a significant milestone by surpassing Rs.10 lakh crore in market capitalization, making it the fifth business houses to attain this feat. This elite club already includes prominent names like Tata, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and the Adani Group. 
  • The market valuation of the Pune-based Bajaj Group has witnessed a remarkable 41% surge since April, underscoring its robust performance in the financial landscape. Bajaj Auto emerged as a major contributor, posting a staggering 63% increase during the same period. 

16.Bharti Airtel Becomes The 8th Company To Surpass ₹6 Lakh Crore Mcap 

  • Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading telecommunications companies, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the 8th company to surpass Rs.6 lakh crore on December 4. 
  • This surge was attributed to the positive market sentiment following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s resounding victory in state elections. The company’s stock witnessed a 2% increase during Monday’s trade, contributing to a year-to-date gain of 28%. 
  • Bharti Airtel joins the league of other Indian giants, including Reliance Industries, TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, HUL, Infosys and ITC, with a market capitalization exceeding Rs.6 lakh crore. 

Economy News 

17.India’s Fiscal Progress: GST Collections Surge to Record High in FY 2023-24 

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reported a consistent upward trend in India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection, emphasizing the fiscal year’s remarkable achievements in a Lok Sabha session. 
  • GST collection surpassed the Rs 1.50 lakh crore mark every month in the current fiscal year. April 2023 recorded a historic high, reaching Rs 1.87 lakh crore in GST collection. In 2020-21, the average monthly GST collection was Rs 94,734 crore. 
  • The average gross monthly GST mop-up for FY 2023-24 stands at Rs 1.66 lakh crore, reflecting an 11% YoY increase from the previous fiscal year. Monthly average GST collection for 2022-23 showed a substantial growth of 30%, following a 22% YoY increase in 2021-22. 

18.India’s Robust Construction Sector Propels Economic Growth Amid Housing Boom 

  • India’s GDP data for July-September has showcased the construction sector’s stellar performance, growing by an impressive 13.3% year-on-year. 
  • This surge, the best in five quarters, has propelled India’s overall economic expansion to a forecast-beating 7.6%, positioning it as one of the fastest-growing major economies globally. 
  • The boom follows six years of economic challenges, including debt and pandemic-induced downturns. Contributing factors include the rise in incomes for many Indians and strong population growth. 
  • Big cities in India are grappling with a severe housing shortage, with an estimated 19 million units deficit in urban housing last year. This shortage is expected to double by 2030, creating a compelling demand for housing solutions. 

19.Unemployment Trends In Indian States: A Closer Look At July-September 2023 

  • In the recent Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), concerning data has emerged regarding unemployment rates in the age group of 15 to 29 years in urban areas during the July-September quarter of 2023. 
  • The overall unemployment rate in the 15-29 age group in urban areas across the country is 17.3%, with females experiencing a higher rate of 22.9% compared to males at 15.5%. This data provides a snapshot of the employment landscape, highlighting the challenges faced by the youth in various states. 
  • Himachal Pradesh stands out with the highest overall unemployment rate at 33.9%, making it the state with the most significant joblessness challenge in the 15-29 age group in urban areas during the specified quarter. Rajasthan closely follows with a rate of 30.2%. 

20.China Adopts ‘One Province, One Policy’ Approach To Financial Risk Management 

  • China’s National Financial Regulatory Administration, led by Li Yunze, is introducing a groundbreaking approach to tackle financial risks at the provincial level. This move comes in the wake of concerns about the country’s economic struggles, exacerbated by the lingering effects of restrictive Covid Zero policies and a persistent property. 
  • In a recent interview, Li Yunze emphasized the need for a more targeted and flexible approach to financial risk management. Instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all strategy, provinces are urged to formulate their own policies tailored to address specific challenges and risks. 
  • According to Li, risk prevention and management remain perpetual priorities. The National Financial Regulatory Administration will intensify efforts to identify individuals causing significant risks. Additionally, there is a commitment to deepen the rectification of chaos and disruptive behavior in financial markets. 

21.India’s Services PMI Hits One-Year Low In November 

  • The Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in India revealed a decline to 56.9 in November, marking a one-year low compared to October’s 58.4. However, the sector maintained its expansion streak for the 28th consecutive month, remaining above the crucial 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. 
  • The composite PMI also saw a one-year low at 57.4, down from October’s 58.4. A steeper decline was mitigated by an increase in the manufacturing index, rising to 56.0 from the previous month’s eight-month low of 55.5. 
  • Despite fading optimism due to rising inflation expectations, the current rates of expansion in both services and manufacturing sectors are considered healthy. The outlook for business activity remains bright, supported by strong demand for services. 

Schemes and Committee News 

22.Mandatory Display Of PMAY-U Logo On Houses Ensures Transparency And Accountability 

  • The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has mandated the display of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U) logo and beneficiary details on all houses constructed under the scheme. 
  • The directive applies to all States and Union Territories, aiming to streamline the implementation of the flagship mission of the Government of India. 
  • The Ministry has emphasized that the display of the PMAY-U logo should be standardized, and agencies are strictly advised not to modify it in any manner during the implementation process. 
  • The mandatory display of the PMAY-U logo on houses signifies a crucial step towards enhancing transparency and accountability in the implementation of urban housing schemes. This move not only establishes a standardized visual identity but also reinforces the government’s commitment to providing dignified housing for all. 

Banking News 

23.Ujjivan SFB Partners With Water.Org To Offer Water, Sanitation And Hygiene Loans 

  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB) has recently unveiled a strategic partnership with This collaboration holds significant promise for addressing the pressing issue of water and sanitation in India, which boasts the world’s highest population. 
  • Through the and Ujjivan SFB partnership, the bank aspires to reach 65,000 households over the next three years, providing them with affordable loans for the construction of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. 
  • The collaboration will extend beyond mere financial support, with offering technical assistance, market assessments, development of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials, as well as monitoring and evaluation support. 

24.Sensex, Nifty climb 2%, scale new peaks after poll results 

  • The Sensex and Nifty rose more than 2% to close at record highs on Monday, marking the fifth straight day of gains as the BJP's poll victory in three States boosted investor sentiment. 
  • The 30-share BSE Sensex jumped 1,383.93 points, or 2.05%, to close at a lifetime high of 68,865.12. The benchmark logged its biggest single-day jump since May 20, 2022. 
  • The broader Nifty also climbed 2.07% to an all time closing high of 20,686.80. Analysts said BJP's clear majority in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh State polls strengthened the positive sentiment built up last week following robust macroeconomic numbers and unabated foreign fund inflows. Oil prices hovering below $80/barrel also lifted sentiment. 
  • ICICI Bank and SBI led the Sensex higher with gains of 4.68% and 3.99%, respectively. Other gainers included Larsen & Toubro and HDFC Bank. 
  • The BJP's landslide win in three States "spurred a rally with an anticipation that the country will witness a stable government post the general elections next year," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services. 

Important Day News 

25.World Soil Day 2023 

  • Every year on December 5, people worldwide unite to commemorate World Soil Day (WSD), an occasion dedicated to recognizing the pivotal role soil plays in sustaining life on Earth. 
  • This annual event serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate relationship between soil, plants, animals, and humans, underscoring the critical need to preserve and protect this invaluable resource. 
  • The United Nations has declared the theme for World Soil Day 2023 as ‘Soil and water, a source of life.’ This theme underscores the vital link between soil and water, which collectively contribute to over 95 percent of our food production. 

26.International Volunteer Day 2023 

  • International Volunteer Day (IVD) is an annual event observed on December 5th, celebrating the immense contributions of volunteers worldwide. 
  • Established by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1985, IVD not only recognizes the selfless efforts of volunteers but also emphasizes their role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building resilient communities. 
  • The 2023 theme, “The Power of Collective Action: If Everyone Did.” From ensuring food and education for everyone to fostering a clean environment, good health, inclusive societies, and peace, the theme emphasizes the enormous renewable resource that volunteerism represents for solving social, economic, and environmental problems globally. 

Award News 

27.Olympian M. Sreeshankar Clinches 35th Jimmy George Foundation Award

  • In a celebration of athletic excellence, Olympian M. Sreeshankar has been honored with the prestigious 35th Jimmy George Foundation Award for emerging as the best sportsperson of Kerala. 
  • This recognition comes as a testament to Sreeshankar’s outstanding achievements, including securing the long jump silver medal in both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. 
  • The Jimmy George Foundation Award, now in its 35th edition, is a distinguished accolade in Kerala’s sporting community. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a plaque, symbolizing the recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of sports. 

28.Sheetal Devi Wins Best Young Athlete At APC Conference 

  • Indian para archer Sheetal Devi emerged victorious at the fourth edition of the Asian Awards in Riyadh securing the prestigious title of Best Youth Athlete. 
  • Devi’s remarkable performance at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games in October played a pivotal role in earning her the coveted award. The 16-year-old para archer clinched gold in both the individual and team compound events, further adding a silver medal in the compound doubles category to her impressive tally. 
  • In a testament to her skill and consistency, Sheetal Devi achieved the world number one ranking in compound women this year. This recognition solidifies her as a force to be reckoned with in the world of para archery. 

29.Amazon won National Award for empowering individual with disabilities 

  • Amazon India received the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for fostering an inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities awarded by Gol. 
  • The award underscores their commitment to diversity and inclusion, making significant strides in empowering persons with disabilities. 
  • Amazon India’s focus on inclusivity includes diverse workplace representation. 

30.ESIC bagged “ISSA Vision Zero 2023” Award at the 23rd World Congress 

  • The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has bagged the “ISSA Vision Zero 2023” Award at the 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Sydney, Australia 
  • “Vision Zero” is a transformational approach for the prevention of accidents at workplaces integrating the three dimensions of safety, health, and well-being at all levels of work. 
  • ESIC had great success in outreach in the field of safety and health at workplaces by aligning the prevention strategy besides post-accidental mechanism for medical care and cash benefits to the workers and their dependents. 
  • The award also underlines the improvements that have been made in the service delivery of the ESI Corporation as well as increase in its administrative and operational efficiency using IT-enabled initiatives. 

31.India’s Safeena Husain honoured with Qatar WISE Prize 2023 

  • Safeena Hussain, founder of ‘Educate Girls,’ has become the first Indian woman to bag the WISE Prize worth 5 lakh USD for mobilizing 14 lakh out-of-school girls in Indian villages to get back to mainstream education. 
  • The prize, awarded by the Qatar Foundation at the 11th Edition of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Summit earlier this week in Doha, is one of the most prestigious awards in education. 
  • Safeena said, Sixteen years back, when ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ was unheard of, I had decided to set up Educate Girls, an NGO to bring out-of-school girls back to mainstream education. Even in the 21st century, there are villages in India where goats are considered assets but girls are considered liability. 
  • The WISE prize was established in 2009 by the Qatar Foundation. 

Science and Technology News 

32.ISRO And Team Chandrayaan-3 Honoured For Outstanding Contribution To Brand India 

  • In a historic moment on August 23, India’s Chandrayaan-3 achieved remarkable lunar landing, making India the first country to reach the Lunar South Pole. The successful mission, a testament to India’s scientific prowess, has solidified its status as a space superpower. 
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Chandrayaan-3 team were recently honored with the “Outstanding Contribution to Brand India” award at the 19th India Business Leader Awards (IBLA), held in Mumbai on December 2. 
  • The “Outstanding Contribution to Brand India” award bestowed upon ISRO and the Chandrayaan-3 team at the IBLA is a recognition of their remarkable achievements in space exploration. This acknowledgment not only celebrates the scientific success but also underscores the positive impact on India’s global image. 

Rank and report News 

33.One-third of all 2022 suicides were of daily wage earners, farmers, says NCRB report 

  • India reported a total of over 1.7 lakh suicides in 2022, nearly one-third of whom were daily wage earners, agricultural labourers, and farmers, the National Crime Record Bureau's (NCRB) Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India AD SD 2022 report said. 
  • The report, along with the NCRB's annual Crime in India (2022) report, was released on Sunday night, just as counting of votes was wrapping up in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana. 
  • The latest Crime in India report showed an overall increase in crimes and atrocities committed upon Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, all seeing an increase in such cases in 2022 compared with the year before. 
  • Mizoram, which had reported no cases of atrocities against either SCs or STs in 2021, reported five cases of atrocities against SCs and 29 such cases of crimes against STs in 2022. 
  • M.P. among top five' Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan continued to figure in the top five States with the highest incidents of crimes and atrocities committed upon SCs and ST's 
  • Other States, where crimes and atrocities against SC/S people were the highest are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Punjab. 
  • Increase in UAPA cases Further, the Crime in India report showed that cases of offences against the State had also increased marginally in 2022 compared with the previous year showing about 25% increase in cases deferred under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Cases under the sedition section of the Is dian Penal Code saw a domestic dip on the other hand, possibly owing to the Supreme Court's May 2022 decision to keep sedition cases in abeyance. 
  • Fake currency notes Moreover, the report went on to disclose that government authorities seized fake Indian currency notes (FICN) worth over 1342 crore in 2022, out of which FICN worth 244 crore were copies of the ₹2,000 currency note, followed by seizures of ₹500 currency notes (this included discontinued currency as well), keeping with the trend of FICN seizures from 2021. 
  • The suicide data published in the ADSI-2022 report showed that the maximum suicides in the year were reported from Maharashtra (22,746), Tamil Nadu (19,834), Madhya Pradesh (15,386), Karnataka (13,606), Kerala (10,162), and Telangana (9,980). Apart from daily wage earners, and agricultural workers and farmers, the ADSI data showed that 9.6% of the suicides in 2022 were of persons who were self-employed or salaried professionals. This was followed by unemployed persons, who com prise 9.2% of all suicides reported in India in 2022. Among all suicides reported in the year, over 12,000 were of students. 
  • No cases in some States "Certain States/UTs (Union Territories) namely, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Chandigarh, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry reported zero suicides of farmers/ cultivators as well as agri cultural labourers," the ADSI report noted. 
  • Among the around 48,000 women who died by suicide in 2022, port found that ADS were home-makers, which brings such women to about 14% of the total suicides reported in the year. This was followed by women who were students and daily wage earners respectively. The survey also showed that 28 trans-persons were also reported to have died by suicide in 2022. 
  • The report pointed out that the most common causes for suicides reported in 2022 were family, problems" and "illness", which together accounted for almost half of all sur cides in the year. This was followed by "drug abuse", "alcohol addiction", "marriage related issues'', etc. However, under the cause of "marriage related issues, most people were women specifically citing "dowry related as one of the causes. 
  • Those who require assis tance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-4076 9002 (10 am, to 7.30 p.m., Monday-Saturday) 

Miscellaneous News

34."Rizz” Crowned Oxford University Press Word Of The Year By Generation Z 

  • Oxford University Press has unveiled “Rizz” as its Word of the Year, reflecting the linguistic choices of Generation Z. The term, used to describe someone’s ability to attract or seduce another person, triumphed over finalists like “Swiftie,” “situationship,” and “prompt” in the annual decision made by language experts at the renowned publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. 
  • The selection of “rizz” as the Word of the Year by Oxford University Press highlights the dynamic nature of language, especially in the realm of Generation Z. This linguistic evolution serves as a testament to the ever-changing landscape of communication, reflecting the unique ways in which younger generations shape and redefine the words that encapsulate their experiences, perspectives, and interactions in the modern world. 

Sports News 

35.Ruturaj Gaikward becomes the fastest Indian to 4,000 T20 runs 

  • Ruturaj Gaikwad has become the fastest Indian to accomplish 4,000 runs in men’s T20 cricket. He accomplished this remarkable feat in only 116 innings. 
  • He achieved the feat in the fourth T20I against Australia at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur. 
  • The fastest to achieve this landmark is the legendary Chris Gayle, who accomplished it in just 107 innings. 
  • Gaikwad’s name sits among illustrious company, with players like Shaun Marsh (113 innings) and Pakistan’s star batter Babar Azam (115 innings) also ahead of him in this regard. 
  • The 26-year-old only needed seven runs to achieve 4,000 runs in the shortest format of the game. 

36.Amazon acquires ICC cricket rights for Australia till 2027 

  • E-commerce giant Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video has signed a four-year deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provide exclusive live broadcast rights in Australia for ICC cricket, which will be available on Prime Video Australia. 
  • The partnership will see Prime Video Australia exclusively stream all men’s and women’s events, including the Men’s and Women’s Cricket World Cups, T20 World Cups, Champions Trophy, U19s, and the World Test Championship Final. 
  • The deal includes streaming rights in Australia for 448 live games from 2024 to 2027.
  • The new partnership, which begins in January 2024, will give cricket fans across Australia exclusive access to all matches in every tournament of elite ICC competition in all cricket formats, at no extra cost to a Prime membership.

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