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India and Bhutan boost trade and connectivity ties

  • Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck visits India for a week-long trip with a delegation of senior officials.
  • The two sides agree on several new initiatives to enhance collaboration in trade, technology and cross-border connectivity, including a survey for the first rail link between them.
  • India assures Bhutan of its continued and full support to the socio-economic development in Bhutan and agrees to provide bridge financing and concessional financing for various projects and schemes.
  • India also allocates additional MBBS seats and doubles the outlay for scholarships for Bhutanese students pursuing higher education in India.
  • The two sides also decide to strengthen cooperation in environmental conservation, wildlife preservation and forestry.

Max Verstappen dominates Brazilian Grand Prix 2023

  • Max Verstappen, representing Red Bull Racing, wins the Brazilian Grand Prix 2023, the 19th race of the Formula 1 season.
  • Verstappen leads the race from start to finish, showing exceptional control and skill on the Interlagos Circuit in São Paulo.
  • Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, finishes fourth, increasing his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings for the runner-up position.
  • Fernando Alonso, representing Aston Martin, secures the third position, narrowly beating Perez by 0.053 seconds in a thrilling contest.
  • The Brazilian Grand Prix provides an electrifying spectacle for Formula 1 fans, as Verstappen cements his status as one of the sport’s elite drivers.

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IIT Madras launches its first international campus in Zanzibar

  • The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has inaugurated its first international campus on the Zanzibar Island in Tanzania, becoming the first IIT to do so.
  • The campus is a result of a memorandum of understanding between India and Tanzania, aiming to enhance educational cooperation and opportunities.
  • The campus offers Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Technology (MTech) programs in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI), with plans to expand to other fields in the future.
  • The campus has state-of-the-art facilities, including accommodation, offices, classrooms, auditorium, dining, dispensary, and sports amenities.
  • The campus is open to students of all nationalities, including Indians, and provides a diverse and global learning environment. The campus also offers study abroad, semester exchange, and internship opportunities for its students.

RBI to phase out Incremental Cash Reserve Ratio

  • The Incremental Cash Reserve Ratio (I-CRR) is a measure introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to absorb excess liquidity in the banking system.
  • The I-CRR requires banks to maintain a 10% reserve ratio on the increase in their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) between May 19, 2023, and July 28, 2023.
  • The RBI has announced a plan to gradually discontinue the I-CRR in response to evolving liquidity conditions and to ensure financial stability and smooth money markets.
  • The RBI will release the I-CRR funds in three phases: 25% on September 9, 25% on September 23, and 50% on October 7.

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Heeralal Samariya Appointed as the New Chief Information Commissioner

  • Heeralal Samariya takes charge as the Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission on November 6, 2023.
  • He administers the oath of office to the newly appointed Information Commissioners Smt. Anandi Ramalingam and Shri Vinod Kumar Tiwari.
  • Smt. Anandi Ramalingam is the former Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd. and has expertise in electronics and communication engineering.
  • Shri Vinod Kumar Tiwari is an Indian Forest Service Officer and the former Head of Force-cum-Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. He has a master’s degree in geology.

HSBC India and NeSL launch e-bank guarantee services

  • HSBC India, a private sector lender, has partnered with the National E-Governance Services Ltd (NeSL) to introduce electronic bank guarantee services.
  • The new digital solution aims to replace the paper-based bank guarantee system and streamline the trade finance processes for both MSMEs and corporate clients.
  • The process incorporates e-stamping and e-signing, making the issuance of guarantees a seamless digital experience. Applicants can access their bank guarantee through the NeSL portal.
  • The e-bank guarantee services offer instant access, accelerated transaction cycles, enhanced security and increased efficiency compared to the traditional system.
  • NeSL is a repository for legal evidence related to debt and claims, operating under the framework of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. It verifies and authenticates debt information submitted by creditors.

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Fitch Upgrades India’s Mid-Term GDP Growth Forecast to 6.2%

  • Fitch, a rating agency, has revised India’s GDP growth projection for the mid-term from 5.5% to 6.2%, reflecting confidence in India’s economic potential.
  • The revision is based on a more optimistic outlook for India’s economic trajectory, while China’s slowdown has a negative impact on the emerging market outlook.
  • Fitch has also reduced the growth forecasts for several other emerging markets, such as Russia, Korea, and South Africa, due to demographic trends and pandemic disruptions.
  • Fitch expects India to grow at 6.3% in 2023-24, indicating continued optimism in the country’s economic prospects.

MoHUA Launches Swachh Diwali Subh Diwali Campaign

  • The campaign is a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 and aims to promote a clean and eco-friendly celebration of Diwali.
  • The campaign encourages citizens to use locally made products, eliminate single-use plastic and prioritize cleanliness before and after Diwali.
  • The campaign also involves a Signature Campaign on MyGov, where citizens can sign up for a Swachh Diwali and share their initiatives on social media with the hashtag #SwachhDiwali.
  • The campaign seeks to involve various stakeholders, such as urban local bodies, market associations, resident welfare associations, self-help groups, NGOs, and sanitation workers, to raise awareness and support the 3R concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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CV Raman’s 135th Birth Anniversary: A Tribute to the Nobel Laureate

  • CV Raman was a pioneering Indian physicist who discovered the Raman Effect, the scattering of light by molecules, in 1928.
  • He was the first Indian and the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his discovery, which opened new avenues for research in spectroscopy and molecular physics.
  • He was also a versatile researcher who worked on various topics such as acoustics, optics, magnetism, crystallography, and biophysics. He published over 450 papers and founded the Raman Research Institute in Bengaluru.
  • He was a distinguished academician who held prestigious positions such as the Palit Chair of Physics at Calcutta University, the Director of IISc in Bangalore, and the President of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
  • He was a recipient of many awards and honors, both national and international, such as the Bharat Ratna, the Lenin Peace Prize, the Franklin Medal, and the Knighthood.

54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2023: A Glimpse

  • The 54th IFFI is a nine-day event in Goa, showcasing over 270 films from around the world, under the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • The festival will feature the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas, who will attend the event.
  • The festival will also introduce the Best Web Series (OTT) Award, to recognize and encourage the creators of web series on various OTT platforms.
  • The festival will have eight curated sections in the International Film Section, including the Opening Film, the Closing Film, the International Competition Section, the Best Feature Film Debut Director, the International Jury, the Unesco Films, the Enhancements for Inclusivity, and the Masterclasses and In-conversation Sessions.
  • The festival will also celebrate different regions of India, with regional cinema and cultural events. It will also have a Film Bazaar, a Cine-Mela, and a Creative Minds of Tomorrow initiative.

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RBI Penalizes Four Co-operative Banks and One NBFC for Non-Compliance

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed monetary penalties on four co-operative banks and one non-banking financial company (NBFC) for violating its guidelines.
  • The co-operative banks are Shree Lodra Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd, Malpur Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd, Jolarpet Co-operative Urban Bank Ltd, and Limbasi Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd. The NBFC is Early Salary Services Private Ltd.
  • The penalties range from ₹25,000 to ₹4.00 lakh, depending on the nature and extent of the non-compliance.
  • The non-compliance issues include sanctioning loans to directors and their relatives, breaching the inter-bank exposure limits, and failing to establish internal audit for outsourced activities.
  • The RBI has taken these actions to ensure adherence to its regulatory norms and to maintain financial stability.

APEDA and LuLu Group join hands to promote Indian agri-products

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a government agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the LuLu Hypermarket LLC, a global retail giant, to boost the export of Indian agricultural products to the Gulf countries.
  • The MoU aims to showcase and promote a wide range of products from APEDA’s basket, such as millets, ethnic products, and Geographical Indication (GI)-tagged products, in the 247 LuLu stores across the Middle East and Asia.
  • The MoU also includes various consumer engagement activities, such as sampling/tasting campaigns, season-specific promotions, and new product launches, to raise awareness and educate consumers about the benefits of Indian agricultural products.
  • The MoU also facilitates the signing of additional MoUs with entities from Himalayan and North Eastern states, such as the Arunachal Pradesh Marketing Board and the Meghalaya Agricultural Marketing Board, to unlock the export potential from these regions.
  • The MoU also explores the possibility of exporting agricultural products through LuLu Group’s international network of stores to expand the global reach of Indian agricultural products and make them more accessible to consumers around the world.

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Indian Chess Players Win Grand Swiss Tournament and Qualify for Candidates

  • Vidit Gujrathi and R. Vaishali are the champions of the Grand Swiss tournament, a prestigious chess event held at the Isle of Man.
  • They secure their spots in the Candidates tournament, which will decide the challengers for the World Chess Championship titles in both open and women’s categories.
  • Gujrathi, seeded 15th, defeats Alexandr Predke in the final round and scores 8.5 points, while his rivals Hikaru Nakamura and Andrey Esipenko fail to catch up.
  • Vaishali, seeded 12th, draws with Batkhuyag Mongontuul in the final round and scores 8.5 points, half a point ahead of Anna Muzychuk.
  • They create a proud moment for India’s chess history and showcase their exceptional skills and determination.

Leela Omchery: A Tribute to the Padma Shri Awardee and Music Scholar

  • Leela Omchery was a renowned classical musician and accomplished musicologist who passed away at the age of 94.
  • She was versatile in multiple music traditions, such as Carnatic, Hindustani, Sopana Sangeetham, and folk songs. She also explored lesser-known musical forms, such as Thevaram songs and Kathakali Sangeetham.
  • She was the head of the music department at Delhi University for 28 years and mentored many students in music scholarship. She also translated literary works from Tamil, such as Kalki’s Parthivan Kanavu.
  • She published over 450 papers and several books on various aspects of Indian classical and folk music, such as Immortals of Indian Music, Gleanings in Indian Music, and Indian Music and Allied Arts.
  • She received the Padma Shri in 2005 and many other awards and honors for her invaluable contributions to the field of music. She was part of a family of artists, including her husband Omchery N.N. Pillai and her brother Kamukara Purushothaman.

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IndiaFirst Life Insurance Becomes the First Life Insurance Company to Obtain GIFT City IFSC Registration

  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a Mumbai-based life insurance company, has secured a registration within the GIFT City International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), becoming the first life insurance company to do so.
  • The registration, which was granted after approvals from the IRDAI and the IFSCA, enables IndiaFirst Life to expand its services to international customers, especially NRIs banking with its partner banks, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India.
  • GIFT City IFSC is a special economic zone for financial services in Gujarat, which offers various benefits and opportunities for Indian and foreign entities operating in the financial sector.
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance is a joint venture between Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, and Warburg Pincus owned Carmel Point Investments. The company offers simple, affordable, and customer-centric products and services.
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance has also filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus with the Sebi, indicating its intention to go public and raise funds from the capital market.

Bharat Botanics To Open India’s Largest Cold Oil Production Facility In Gujarat

  • Bharat Botanics is a leading brand of wood-pressed edible oil, offering pure, natural, and chemical-free products.
  • The company has announced the opening of a 16,000 square feet automated facility in Rajkot, Gujarat, to meet the rising demand for its products.
  • The facility uses traditional wooden ghani’s to produce cold-pressed oils from various seeds and nuts, sourced from farmers in India.
  • The facility aims to promote 100% hygiene and transparency, as well as sustainability and wellness, by providing healthy edible oils for customers.
  • The company is also a symbol of Atmanirbharta, as it supports local communities, translates literary works from Tamil, and publishes papers and books on Indian music.

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Gujarat CM Unveils Crest of ‘Surat’, the First Navy Warship Named After a City in Gujarat

  • ‘Surat’ is the latest and most advanced warship of the Indian Navy, under construction at the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.
  • It is the first warship named after a city in Gujarat, honoring Surat’s rich maritime heritage and legacy of shipbuilding.
  • It is part of the Project 15B program, which involves building four stealth guided missile destroyers with cutting-edge technology and features.
  • Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel unveiled the crest of ‘Surat’ in a ceremony attended by the Chief of Naval Staff and other senior officers.
  • The crest of ‘Surat’ depicts a lion, a diamond, and a ship, symbolizing the strength, prosperity, and seafaring spirit of the city.

Nokia and TATA Play Fiber Launch India’s First WiFi6-Ready Broadband Network

  • Nokia, a technology leader, partners with TATA Play Fiber, a broadband service provider, to introduce India’s first WiFi6-ready broadband network.
  • The partnership aims to address the growing demand for high-speed and reliable internet connectivity in homes and businesses, as digital connectivity becomes essential in everyday life.
  • Nokia provides TATA Play Fiber with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and Wi-Fi equipment, including optical line terminal (OLT), optical network terminal (ONT) with Wi-Fi 6, and Wi-Fi mesh beacons.
  • Wi-Fi 6 enables low-latency applications, gigabit speeds, and enhanced security, while Wi-Fi mesh technology extends the coverage area and ensures seamless connectivity.
  • Nokia also leverages AI and ML software to optimize the network performance and user experience, by identifying traffic patterns, potential faults, and outages.

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