Daily Current Affairs- October 13, 2023 (1)
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India ranks 111 out of 125 countries in Global Hunger Index, rejects report

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is an annual report that measures the scale of hunger and malnutrition in different countries.
  • The GHI report for 2023 ranked India at 111 out of 125 countries, placing it in the category of ‘serious’ hunger level.
  • The GHI score is based on four indicators: undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality.
  • India has the highest child wasting rate in the world at 18.7%, and a very high child stunting rate at 35.3%.
  • India also has a high prevalence of anaemia among women and adolescents, affecting more than 50% of them.
  • The Indian government has rejected the GHI report, saying that the methodology is faulty and the indicators are not representative of the entire population.
  • The government has also questioned the validity of the data sources used by the GHI report, especially the proportion of undernourished population, which is based on an opinion poll.
  • The government has claimed that its own data shows better results on child wasting and undernourishment.

PM Modi to launch India’s first Rapid Rail in Ghaziabad soon

  • The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is a high-speed rail project that will connect Delhi, Ghaziabad and Meerut.
  • The project will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month. The exact date and time are not yet announced.
  • The first section of the RRTS, from Sahibabad to Duhai, is ready for operation. It has five stations and will reduce the travel time between Delhi and Meerut by 40 percent.
  • The RRTS trains are made in India and have aerodynamic design, plug-in doors and large window glasses. They will provide a modern, sustainable and comfortable mode of transport.

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Historic Milestone: First Mobile Tower Installed at Siachen Glacier

  • A team of Siachen warriors in collaboration with BSNL installed the first-ever mobile tower at the world’s highest battlefield on October 6, 2023.
  • The tower is a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) that extends mobile communication for the soldiers deployed at more than 15,500 feet.
  • The tower will enable the troops to connect with their families from their high-altitude posts and provide a modern and comfortable mode of transport.
  • Industrialist Anand Mahindra lauded the development and shared the pictures of the tower on X (formerly Twitter). He called it a “seemingly small event” but a “really BIG news” for the jawans who defend the nation.
  • The tower also raised some concerns over the impact of high radiations on the glacier and the health of the soldiers.

India and France deepen defence cooperation across domains

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh concluded the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue with his French counterpart, Sébastien Lecornu, in Paris on Wednesday.
  • The ministers discussed regional security, military engagements, and defence industrial cooperation, including potential collaboration in space, cyber, and AI.
  • India and France have several ongoing defence projects, such as the joint venture for helicopter engines, the procurement of Rafale-Marine aircraft, and the construction of Scorpene submarines.
  • The two navies also conduct a bilateral naval exercise called Varuna every year, with the latest edition held last week in the Arabian Sea.

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Karnataka government forms fifth state finance commission

  • The commission will be headed by former Lok Sabha member and Congress leader C Narayanaswamy and will have two other full-time members.
  • The commission will review the financial position of the Zilla Panchayats, Taluk Panchayats, Gram Pranchayats and other local bodies in the state and submit its report by February 2024.
  • The commission will make recommendations to the Governor on principles to govern the local bodies, their taxes, duties and tolls and fees leviable by the government.
  • The commission will also suggest measures to improve the financial position of these local bodies and the efficient utilisation of their resources.
  • The commission will make a detailed analysis on repayment of loans and advances extended by state government to the local bodies.

International Day for Disaster Reduction 2023: Theme, History and Significance

  • The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is celebrated on 13 October every year to create awareness about disasters and their prevention.
  • The theme of IDDR 2023 is “Fighting inequality for a resilient future“. It addresses the connection between disasters and inequality, and how to reduce the vulnerability of the most at risk groups.
  • The day was established by the United Nations in 1989 to promote a culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. It also appreciates the efforts of communities in reducing the global risks of disasters.
  • The day encourages various activities such as events, seminars, workshops, and conferences to highlight the significance of disaster preparedness and measures to mitigate the impact of disasters on living beings.
  • The day also supports the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which is a people-focused and action-oriented approach to disaster risk reduction. It applies to all types of disasters caused by natural or man-made hazards.

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RBI fines Paytm Payments Bank for violating KYC norms

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 5.39 crore on Paytm Payments Bank Ltd for non-compliance with certain provisions, including Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.
  • The RBI found that the bank failed to identify beneficial owners, monitor transactions, and breached the regulatory ceiling of end-of-day balances in some customer accounts.
  • The penalty is based on a special scrutiny and a system audit of the bank conducted by auditors identified by RBI.
  • The RBI said the penalty does not question the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

RBI Cancels License of Ind Bank Housing Ltd Due to Poor Performance

  • Ind Bank Housing Ltd is a housing finance company with major shareholders Indian Bank and HUDCO.
  • The company reported a net loss of ₹55.78 lakh in FY23 and had a negative capital adequacy ratio due to accumulated losses of ₹135.70 crore.
  • The company stopped providing new loans and focused on recovering existing loans to mitigate financial risk.
  • The RBI revoked the company’s registration certificate and barred it from conducting any housing finance or non-banking financial business.

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Neeraj Chopra Becomes Laureus Ambassador After Olympic Gold

  • Neeraj Chopra is an Indian javelin thrower who won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Indian track and field athlete to do so.
  • He has been honored as a Laureus Ambassador, joining a group of elite athletes who support the Laureus Sport for Good initiative, which uses sports to improve the lives of young people.
  • He was also a finalist for the Breakthrough of the Year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2022, recognizing his remarkable achievement in Tokyo.
  • He has also won gold medals at the World Championships and the Asian Games, and is currently ranked as the world number one in men’s javelin.
  • He is celebrated as a national hero in India, where his winning throw on August 7 is marked as National Javelin Day.

IFFI 2023: India’s Premier Film Festival Returns to Goa

  • The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held in Goa from November 20 to 28, featuring films from India and around the world.
  • The festival will have various categories, such as International Competition, World Panorama, Country Focus, Indian Panorama, and Technical Workshops.
  • The festival will also host the Film Bazaar, South Asia’s largest film market, where filmmakers can showcase their content to potential buyers.
  • The festival is organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Entertainment Society of Goa, with the management shifting to the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
  • The festival aims to celebrate the art of filmmaking, foster cultural understanding, and inspire personal and collective achievement.

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Udaipur Set To Become India’s First Wetland City

  • Udaipur is a city in Rajasthan, known for its five major lakes and natural beauty.
  • The city is aiming to become India’s first wetland city under the Ramsar Convention, a global treaty to protect and sustain wetlands of international importance.
  • The city meets the criteria of the Ramsar Convention, as it supports a diverse range of species and contributes to the region’s biodiversity.
  • The city is also part of the National Lake Conservation Plan, a restoration project initiated by the central government to rehabilitate and conserve significant lakes and wetlands across the country.
  • The state Environment and Forest Department is working on sending a formal nomination to the Ramsar Convention, and plans to hold a workshop with all stakeholders to finalize the draft.

Miniature Eastern Ghats: A New Tourist Attraction in Visakhapatnam

  • The Miniature Eastern Ghats (MEG) is a forest arena that showcases the biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats, a range of mountains along India’s eastern coast.
  • The MEG is located in Visakhapatnam, adjacent to the ACA-VDCA cricket stadium. It covers an area of 30 acres of reserved land belonging to the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department.
  • The MEG features various types of plants, including medicinal plants, astrology-themed plants, and orchids. It also has an orchidarium that houses nearly 200 species of orchids found in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The MEG is scheduled to open to the public in November 2023. It aims to be an educational and recreational space for nature lovers and tourists. It is supported by various government and private organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

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India Hosts Ninth P20 Summit and Parliamentary Forum

  • The P20 Summit is a meeting of the parliamentary speakers of the G20 countries, which are the world’s major economies.
  • The ninth edition of the summit is hosted by India in New Delhi, in collaboration with the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), a global organization of parliaments.
  • The theme of the summit is “Parliaments for One Earth, One Family, One Future”, which reflects the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning the world is one family.
  • The summit agenda covers four topics: accelerating SDGs, sustainable energy transition, women-led development, and transformation in peoples’ lives through public digital platforms.
  • The summit is preceded by a pre-summit parliamentary forum on ‘LiFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment), which focuses on promoting sustainable lifestyles and eco-friendly consumption patterns.

Tamil Writer Sivasankari Wins Saraswati Samman 2022

  • Saraswati Samman is a prestigious literary award given by the K.K. Birla Foundation to Indian citizens for outstanding works in any of the languages in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution.
  • Sivasankari is a Tamil writer who received the award in 2022 for her memoirs, “Surya Vamsam”, which chronicles her life and the social changes in India over the past seven decades.
  • Surya Vamsam is a two-volume work that was selected by a committee led by former Supreme Court judge Arjan Kumar Sikri, who praised its literary value and depth of insight.
  • Sivasankari has a distinguished literary career spanning over five decades, with 36 novels, 48 novelettes, 150 short stories, five travelogues, seven collections of essays, and three biographies to her credit.
  • Sivasankari has also contributed to the Indian literature with her four-volume work, “Knit India Through Literature”, which is a comprehensive anthology of Indian literature across languages and regions.

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UP’s Telemanas Program Wins Award for Mental Health Care

  • Telemanas is a tele-technology-based mental health and counseling service launched by the National Tele Mental Health Programme on October 10, 2022.
  • It offers free mental health services to all individuals through the toll-free number 14416 or 1800-89-14416. It aims to address the mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the excessive use of mobile phones, especially among children and adolescents.
  • On October 10, 2023, Uttar Pradesh was awarded the third prize by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for its outstanding efforts in operationalizing Telemanas. The award was received by Dr. Pinky Joval, the Mission Director of the National Health Mission in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The award signifies UP’s dedication to improving mental health services and addressing the growing concerns regarding mobile phone-related mental health issues. It also shows UP’s readiness to take on future challenges and strive to become the leading state in tele-mental health care in the upcoming year.

India and France Strengthen Defence Cooperation

  • The article reports on the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue between Indian Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and French Minister of Armed Forces Mr. Sebastien Lecornu in Paris on October 13, 2023.
  • The dialogue covered various aspects of defence cooperation, such as:
    • Regional security situation: The ministers highlighted the importance of strategic partnership between India and France in facing global challenges.
    • Military-to-military engagements: The ministers reviewed the ongoing joint exercises and training programs and emphasized the need to strengthen them.
    • Defence industrial cooperation: The ministers discussed ways to enhance collaboration in defence production, research and development, and technology transfer.
    • Defence projects review: The ministers reviewed the progress of ongoing defence projects, such as the Rafale fighter jets and the Scorpene submarines, and ensured their timely and successful execution.
    • Niche domains: The ministers explored potential cooperation in emerging fields such as space, cyber, and artificial intelligence.
  • The article also mentions other engagements of Shri Rajnath Singh in Paris, such as:
    • Visiting the Safran Engine Division’s R&D Centre and witnessing the latest advancements in aero-engine technology.
    • Meeting with the CEOs of leading French defence companies and inviting them to invest in India’s defence sector.
    • Interacting with the Indian community and fostering cultural and diaspora ties.
  • The article also briefly describes the first part of Shri Rajnath Singh’s European tour in Rome, where he met with Italian Defence Minister Mr. Guido Crosetto and signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the field of defence.

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