National News

1. India signed loan agreement with ADB to improve Madhya Pradesh roads

  • The central government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a USD 175 million loan to improve the connectivity and resilience of roads in Madhya Pradesh.
  • This project will enhance connectivity in the state road network across 14 districts in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Since 2002, ADB has supported road development in Madhya Pradesh upgrading more than 9,000 kilometers of state highways and major district roads.
  • This project continues these efforts and will connect rural areas to growth centres and industrial corridors and establish roads that are better, safer, and more climate-resilient.
  • The project will upgrade about 500 kilometres of state highways and major district roads to a standard two-lane feature.

Recent Loan approved by ADB

  • ADB approved $181 Million to Improve Ahmedabad’s Peri-urban Areas
  • ADB and Fourth Partner Energy Collaborate for Solar Power Plant worth Rs 120 cr in Tamil Nadu
  • ADB approves USD 40.5 mn loan for childhood development in Meghalaya
  • India, ADB signed $200 million loan deal to enhance urban services in Rajasthan.
  • Inda, ADB signed $130 million loan MoU to boost horticulture in Himachal Pradesh
  • India, ADB signed $295 million loan pact to upgrade the state highways in Bihar
  • India, ADB signed $200 million loan deal to enhance urban services in Rajasthan

2. Allen Career Institute acquires doubt solving platform Doubtnut

  • Test prep firm Allen Career Institute has acquired AI-led doubt solving platform Doubtnut.
  • The company did not disclose the specifics of the deal but sources pegged the value of the transaction at USD 10 million.
  • This strategic move reflects Allen’s commitment to building technology led learning solution focused on improving students’ learning outcome.
  • Allen will offer its curriculum and academic offerings to Doubtnut’s student base. The startup reaches some 32 million students every month.
  • Allen was founded by Rajesh Maheshwari in 1988, Allen has a pan-India base with more than 200 classroom centres across 53 cities. Allen prepares stiffened for competitive exams like NEET, AIIMS, JEE Main, and JEE Advanced.

3. 59th Fertiliser Association of India Annual Seminar 2023 in New Delhi

  • Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya addresses the inaugural session of the 59th Fertiliser Association of India Annual Seminar 2023 in New Delhi.
  • India is the first nation to introduce Nano fertilizers such as Nano DAP and Nano Urea through the Indian Research ecosystem.
  • The government has set up two lakh Model Retail outlets known as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samridhi Kendras.
  • NAMO Drone Didi scheme, which was recently launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make drone spraying services accessible to farmers at affordable prices.

International News

4. Nirmala Sitharaman & 3 other Indians among Forbes list of ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ of 2023

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HCL Corporation Chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Steel Authority of India Chairperson Soma Mondal and Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw are the four Indians among the 100 named in Forbes’ annual list of ‘The World’s Most Powerful Women of 2023.
  • Sitharaman has made it to the list for the fifth year in a row, ranking at number 32. This is the 64-year-old BJP leader’s best ranking so far — in 2022, she had ranked at 36, while she was 37 in 2021, 41 in 2020 and 34 in 2019.
  • While Malhotra was ranked 60th, Mondal took the 70th spot and Mazumdar-Shaw the 76th. They had made it to the prestigious list last year also at 53rd, 67th and 72nd spots respectively.
  • Politicians topped the list, occupying the first four spots, with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at the number 1 position. She is followed by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
  • Musician Taylor Swift ranked number 5 on the list, her highest spot so far, along with fellow musicians BeyoncĂ© and Rihanna, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, philanthropists Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott, and the fashion doll Barbie which saw a resurgence in popularity, driven by the eponymous movie.
  • The list comprised six categories — politics and policy, business, finance, media and entertainment, philanthropy and technology. While 18 women were named in the politics and policy category, 37 were selected in business, 19 in finance, 12 in media and entertainment, six in philanthropy.

Banking and Financial

5. SBI to acquire 20 percent stake in SBI Pension Funds for Rs 230 crore

  • The Executive Committee of the Central Board (ECCB) of the State Bank of India (SBI) has accorded final approval to the Bank for acquiring 20 percent stake held by SBICAPS (SBI Capital Markets Ltd) in SBIPFPL (SBI Pension Funds Private Ltd).
  • The acquisition, which will be completed by December 15, 2023, is for a cash consideration of ₹229.52 crore, as per SBI’s regulatory filing.
  • SBICAPS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI.
  • Post-acquisition, SBI will have 80 percent stake in SBIPFPL, with the balance being held by SBI Funds Management Ltd. The latter is a joint venture of SBI (62.53 percent) and Amundi (36.73 percent).
  • As at March-end 2023, SBIPFPL had assets under management aggregating Rs 3,39,006 crore. It posted a net profit of Rs 53.50 crore in FY23.

6. RBI keeps policy repo rate unchanged at 6.5 percent in latest MPC meet

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.5 percent in its monetary review meeting.
  • This is for the fifth time in a row that the MPC has maintained the status quo.
  • The Monitory Policy Committee, MPC’s has unanimously decided to keep key rates unchanged. The Standing Deposit Facility rate remains at 6.25 percent and the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75 percent.
  • Attributing the declining inflation as reason behind maintain status quo the policy stance, the RBI Governor informed that, real GDP growth projection for the current year 2023-24 has been revised from earlier 6.5 per cent to 7 percent.
  • Real GDP growth for Quarter one of 2024-25 is projected at 6.7 per cent, for Quarter 2 at 6.5 per cent and for Quarter 3 at 6.4 per cent.
  • The central bank has also proposed to hike the limit of UPI transactions in hospitals and educational institutions from one lakh rupees to 5 lakhs.
  • The MPC has decided by a majority of 5 out of 6 members to remain focused on withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation progressively aligns to the target, while supporting growth.

7. Federal Bank Named “Bank of the Year (India)” by Financial Times

  • Federal Bank, a leading financial institution, has been recognized as “Bank of the Year (India)” by Financial Times owned The Banker, one of the only three global awards that considers the work of banks spanning 120 countries.
  • This prestigious recognition is a testament to the Bank’s unwavering commitment to innovation, customer-centric services, and its outstanding contributions to the banking industry over the past year.
  • One of the standout initiatives that garnered attention was the introduction of the Digital Personal Loan by Federal Bank. This innovative product allows customers to seamlessly apply for and receive loans entirely online.
  • Recognizing the challenges faced by customers in rural areas in accessing banking services, Federal Bank launched the ‘Bank on the Go’ initiative. This groundbreaking initiative involves a mobile vehicle equipped with banking kiosks that travel to different locations.
  • Federal Bank has also embraced cutting-edge technology to enhance customer support, introducing “Feddy”, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot. Feddy operates across multiple touchpoints, including the company website, WhatsApp, Alexa, and Google Maps.

About Federal Bank

  • Federal Bank Limited is an Indian private sector bank headquartered in Kochi, Kerala.
  • The bank has 1,336 branches spread across different states in India.
  • It also has representative offices abroad in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Dubai.
  • Founded- 23 April 1931
  • Founder- K.P Hormis
  • CEO- Shyam Srinivasan

Appointment News

8. Max Life Insurance appoints Rajiv Anand as Chairman

  • Max Life Insurance, a material subsidiary of Max Financial Services, has a new Chairman, Rajiv Anand.
  • This follows the stepping down of Analjit Singh from the Chairmanship and membership of the Board of Directors of Max Life Insurance.
  • Before this elevation, Anand, a non-executive director of Max Life, was nominated by Axis Bank Ltd as Chairman of Max Life Insurance.
  • Max New York Life (MNYL) was the first private sector insurance company to be incorporated in India on July 11, 2000, within a week after IRDAI permitted the incorporation of private sector insurance companies. On November 15, 2020, MNYL received its certification of registration from IRDAI.

Recent Appointment in Banking & Insurance Sector

  • Executive Director of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) – Jithesh John
  • MD of State Bank of India – Vinay M. Tonse (till 2025; for 2 years)
  • Director of Jio Financial Services – Isha Ambani, Anshuman Thakur, and Hitesh Kumar Sethia
  • MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank – Ashok Vaswani (replace Dipak Gupta) effect from 1 Jan 2024
  • Executive Director of Bank of Maharashtra – Rohit Rishi (replace Asheesh Pandey)

9. Anand Kripalu appoints as CEO of Swiggy India

  • Foodtech major and grocery delivery start-up Swiggy has appointed former Diageo India Managing Director and Chief Executive, Anand Kripalu, to its board as an Independent Director and Chairman of its board.
  • The appointment comes after Swiggy had also appointed three independent directors ahead of its planned IPO in 2024.
  • Delhivery founder and CEO Sahil Barua, TAFE chairman and managing director Mallika Srinivasan and Shailesh Haribhakti & Associates chairman Shailesh Haribhakti were brought in as independent directors in February.
  • Kripalu’s experience from working at large consumer companies such as Unilever, Cadbury PLC, Mondelez and Marico and spirits maker Diageo, will help Swiggy leverage his expertise in the industry.

Recent Appointment

  • First Indian to operate Mars rover – Akshata Krishnamurthy
  • First woman medical officer to be deployed at Siachen – Captain Geetika Kouls
  • CM of Telangana – Revanth Reddy
  • DG of Dehradun-based Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) – Kanchan Devi
  • Interim CEO at OpenAI – Mira Murati (replace Sam Altma)

10. Indian-origin Samir Shah appoints head of BBC Board

  • A British-Indian has been picked by the U.K. Government to head the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as its next chair.
  • Samir Shah, a 71-year-old former BBC non-executive director and media executive, was born in Aurangabad and moved to the U.K. in 1960.
  • He will head the public broadcaster as it faces questions over its independence and financial challenges with the renewal of its charter.
  • The previous BBC chair, Richard Sharp, stepped down in June over his failure to disclose that he had helped arrange a £800,000 loan to former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • Mr Shah, who has worked in media for over four decades and currently runs and owns Juniper TV, a media company, has connections to the Conservative Party.

Recent Appointment (Indian Origin)

  • Head of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Board – Samir Shah
  • Member of Board of Directors of the International Development Finance Corporation -Deven Parekh (Indian-American)
  • Chief Financial Officer of Tesla –Vaibhav Taneja (Indian-origin)
  • As special agent in FBI in US – Shohini Sinha (Indian-American)
  • President’s Export Council by US Prez. – Shamina Singh (Indian-American businessman)
  • Deputy CEO of US Finance Agency – Nisha Biswal (Indian-American)
  • Deputy head of UNDP – Xu Haoliang

Awards News

11. Indian-Origin Novelist Meira Chand Receives Singapore’s Highest Arts Award

  • 81-year-old Indian-origin writer Meira Chand was among the three Singaporeans conferred the Cultural Medallion, the city-state’s most prestigious arts accolade, in recognition of their artistic excellence and contribution to enriching the country’s arts and culture scene.
  • Meira Chand, fellow novelist Suchen Christine Lim and Malay dance veteran Osman Abdul Hamid received the award from President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at a ceremony held at the Istana.
  • The award comes with an SGD 80,000 (approximately Rs 49 lakh) grant for each recipient to support their artistic pursuits.
  • A Singaporean of Swiss-Indian parentage, Meira Chand, along with Lim, is the first English-language female writer to be conferred the award since Ho Minfong in 1997.
  • Meira Chand is an award-winning novelist known for her depiction of multicultural societies. Her ‘The Painted Cage’ (1986) was longlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize.
  • The Cultural Medallion, instituted in 1979 by late President and then Minister of Culture Ong Teng Cheong, is the city-state’s “highest arts accolade, honouring individuals whose artistic excellence, contribution, and commitment have enriched and distinguished Singapore’s arts and culture scene.
  • Last year, 56-year-old Tamilian Hindu Aravinth Kumarasamy was conferred the prestigious award.

Recent Awards

  • ALT Environment Film Festival – Jason Momoa’s ‘Deep Rising’ movie
  • National Award for empowering individual with disabilities – Amazon India
  • ISSA Vision Zero 2023 – Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC)
  • Qatar WISE Prize 2023 – India’s Safeena Husain
  • Dhahan Prize for Punjabi literature – Deepti Babuta (first woman to bag)

12. Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi named Time Athlete of the Year for 2023

  • Lionel Messi, the captain of Argentina, has been named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year for 2023.
  • Messi won the Ballon d’Or for a record-breaking eighth time and, by moving to Inter Miami, raised awareness of the sport in the US.
  • Messi joins the likes of Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, LeBron James, and the United States women’s national team to win the award.
  • New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge won the award in 2022.

Sports News

13. China’s Ningbo to host World Weightlifting Championships 2026

  • The Chinese city of Ningbo will host the 2026 World Weightlifting championships, following the 2024 edition in Manama (Bahrain) and the 2025 edition in Forde (Norway).
  • The International Weightlifting Federation announced in a statement after a vote by the IWF Executive Board, meeting in Doha, Qatar, that Ningbo has experience in successfully staging international sports events.
  • Ningbo, located in China’s eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, is not far from the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou.
  • The venue of the championship will be the Ningbo Olympic Sports Centre, which was built in 2019 with a 10,000-seat capacity, reports Xinhua.
  • The IWF Executive Board also announced that the IWF World Youth Championships will take place in Lima, Peru in 2025, and the IWF World Junior Championships will be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2025.

Obituary News

14. Former Mr. Universe Shaun Davis passes away at 57

  • Former Mr Universe bodybuilder Shaun Davis has died at the age of 57.
  • In his bodybuilding career, he won a string of titles including Mr Britain and Mr Europe before being named Mr Universe in 1996.
  • Davis, who hailed from Derbyshire, in east England, weighed a whopping 334lbs (151 kg) at the height of his Mr. Universe success and earned the title of ‘Dinosaur’.