Daily Current Affairs- October 23, 2023
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What is visa shopping and why is it popular among Indian travellers?

  • Visa shopping is the practice of obtaining visas for countries that one may not visit, but use as a gateway to enter other countries, especially in Europe.
  • Visa shopping is popular among Indian travellers who want to explore the Schengen Area, which consists of more than 24 European countries that allow free movement without border controls.
  • One example of visa shopping is applying for a Schengen Visa from a country with an easier application process, and then travelling to another Schengen country of one’s choice.
  • Another example is buying visas for countries that one has no immediate plans to visit, but wants to increase the chances of getting visas for other countries in the future.
  • Visa shopping is not illegal if one follows the norms and guidelines of the visa process and gets valid permission to stay in the country. However, it can have legal consequences if one shows false intentions or violates the visa rules.
  • The Embassy of Estonia in New Delhi has warned against visa shopping and advised travellers to apply for a visa from the country with the maximum stay. It also said that embassies are conducting a thorough check of the travel plans and may refuse or deport visa shoppers.

BSE to Raise Transaction Charges on Sensex Options

  • The news reports that the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has announced an increase in transaction charges on the equity derivatives segment, specifically focusing on S&P BSE Sensex Options, effective from 1 November 2023.
  • The new fee structure is based on the incremental billable monthly turnover (premium value) and ranges from INR 500 per crore to INR 2,000 per crore, depending on the turnover bracket.
  • The revisions aim to simplify the fee structure and enhance transparency within the derivatives segment, as BSE continues to gain traction in this market.

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India to Host World’s Largest Textiles Event, Bharat Tex 2024

  • Bharat Tex 2024 is a mega textile fair that will showcase India’s capabilities and strengths in the entire textile value chain, from farm to foreign.
  • The event will be held in New Delhi from February 26 to 29, 2024, and will cover an exhibition area of 2,00,000 square meters, making it the world’s largest textile exhibition.
  • The event will also feature knowledge sessions, conferences, fashion shows, sustainability workshops, and B2B and G2G meetings with over 2,000 exhibitors from over 40 countries.
  • The event is an industry-led initiative, supported by the Ministry of Textiles and other stakeholders, to position India as a global textiles powerhouse and a reliable sourcing destination.
  • The event will also promote India’s rich heritage of craftsmanship, handloom, and handmade products, and launch the website for Kasturi Cotton Bharat, a branding initiative for Indian cotton.

Israel Introduces Iron Sting System to Counter Rocket Attacks

  • The news reports on the first-ever use of the Iron Sting system, a new technology that can accurately neutralize rocket launchers, by the Israeli forces in the ongoing conflict with Gaza and other regions.
  • Iron Sting system is a highly precise mortar bomb that is developed by the Magellan unit in collaboration with the Air Force. The system is expected to reduce collateral damage and civilian casualties in ground warfare.
  • Israel has launched airstrikes across Gaza, West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon, and clashed with Hezbollah militants. The conflict has become the deadliest of the five Gaza wars for both sides.
  • The arrival of two aid convoys from Egypt to Gaza, carrying essential supplies such as food, water, and medical provisions is also mentioned. However, Israel has not allowed the entry of fuel, which is vital for water and sanitation systems and hospitals in Gaza.

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Ashok Vaswani to Lead Kotak Mahindra Bank as New MD & CEO

  • The news announces the appointment of Ashok Vaswani as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, following the resignation of Uday Kotak.
  • It provides the background and qualifications of Ashok Vaswani, who has a long and successful career in international banking, working with prominent financial institutions such as Citigroup, Barclays, and Pagaya Technologies.
  • It also reports the positive financial performance of Kotak Mahindra Bank in the second quarter, and states that the RBI has approved Vaswani’s appointment, which bodes well for the bank’s future prospects.

Project Nilgiri Tahr: Tamil Nadu’s Effort to Conserve an Endangered Species

  • The news announces the launch of Project Nilgiri Tahr by Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, a conservation initiative for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr species, with a budget of ₹25 crore.
  • The objectives and activities of the project include:
    • Understanding the Nilgiri Tahr’s population, distribution, and ecology
    • Re-introducing Nilgiri Tahr to their historic habitats
    • Addressing immediate threats to their survival
    • Increasing public awareness about this unique species
    • Developing eco-tourism activities at selected sites
  • It also provides the significance and background of the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species native to the Western Ghats, with references in ancient Tamil literature and remarkable ability to navigate steep cliffs.

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NLC India Launches Subsidiary to Boost Renewable Energy Projects

  • NLC India, a Navratna public sector company, has established a wholly-owned subsidiary called NLC India Green Energy Limited (NIGEL) to focus on expanding renewable energy projects and driving technological innovations.
  • NIGEL held its first board meeting, where it appointed key managerial positions and unveiled its logo. The subsidiary aims to foster a cleaner and greener energy landscape in India.
  • NIGEL plans to establish renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 6 GW by 2030, and is currently developing projects with 2 GW of capacity across various regions in India. The projects will reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and increase its energy security.
  • NIGEL also recognizes the potential of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the power grid, and intends to leverage the opportunity to develop and deploy cutting-edge energy storage systems.
  • NIGEL is an industry-led initiative, supported by the Ministry of Power and other stakeholders, to position India as a global leader in renewable energy.

Why Israel and Hamas Fighting? A Brief Overview

  • The Israel-Hamas conflict has deep-rooted historical and political origins, with the roots of the conflict dating back to before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the founding of Hamas in 1987.
  • On October 7, Hamas militants launched a cross-border attack on Israel, leading to significant casualties on both sides. This resulted in Israel declaring war on Hamas, escalating the violence further.
  • The aftermath of the attack saw Gaza facing a “full siege” with severe restrictions on essential supplies, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the region.
  • Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, has controlled Gaza since 2006. It uses violence against Israel to achieve its goals.
  • Israel’s response to Hamas has included military force and a long-standing blockade on Gaza, which is criticized as collective punishment and a violation of international law.

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 India’s Performance at Para Asian Games 2023

  • India has sent its largest-ever contingent of 309 athletes to the 4th Asian Para Games 2023, which are being held in Hangzhou, China from October 22 to 28.
  • India has won 13 medals so far, including 5 gold, 6 silver, and 2 bronze, and is ranked second on the medal tally behind China, which has 41 medals.
  • India’s gold medalists are: Devendra Jhajharia (men’s javelin throw F46), Sundar Singh Gurjar (men’s javelin throw F64), Mariyappan Thangavelu (men’s high jump T63), Avani Lekhara (women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1), and Praveen Kumar (men’s high jump T64).
  • India’s silver medalists are: Yogesh Kathuniya (men’s discus throw F56), Nishad Kumar (men’s high jump T47), Singhraj Adhana (men’s 10m air pistol SH1), Bhavinaben Patel (women’s singles table tennis class 4), Ekta Bhyan (women’s club throw F51), and Harvinder Singh (men’s individual recurve archery open).
  • India’s bronze medalists are: Sharad Kumar (men’s high jump T63) and Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj (men’s singles badminton SL4).
  • India is competing in 18 sports disciplines at the Para Asian Games, which are a multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities. The event aims to promote inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment through sports.

RBI Imposes ₹2.5 Crore Penalty On L&T Finance For Non Compliance

  • The RBI has fined L&T Finance Limited ₹2.5 crore for violating the RBI directions on dealing with retail borrowers.
  • The RBI found that L&T Finance failed to inform borrowers about the risk gradation, the penal interest rates, and the changes in loan terms and conditions.
  • The RBI issued a notice to L&T Finance, asking for reasons why a penalty should not be imposed. After evaluating the company’s response and evidence, the RBI decided to impose the penalty.
  • The penalty is aimed at ensuring compliance and transparency in the non-banking financial sector, and does not affect the validity of any transactions or agreements between L&T Finance and its customers.

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CJI Chandrachud Honored With “Award For Global Leadership” By Harvard Law School

  • Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud received the ‘Award for Global Leadership,’ the most esteemed professional recognition from Harvard Law School.
  • The award recognizes his exceptional contributions to the field of law and justice, such as judicial reform, technology innovation, gender equality, and interdisciplinary approach.
  • Chandrachud is an alumnus of Harvard Law School, where he pursued his Master of Laws (LLM) and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degrees. He also participated in a fireside chat with a renowned professor and interacted with the Harvard community.
  • The occasion also marked the 100th anniversary of Harvard Law School’s Graduate Law Program, highlighting the institution’s commitment to legal education and innovation.

HDFC Bank Unveils XpressWay Digital Platform for Swift Loans

  • HDFC Bank introduces XpressWay, a digital platform for swift and efficient banking services. It encompasses diverse offerings, including loans, credit cards, and savings accounts.
  • XpressWay offers a comprehensive range of banking services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its customers. These services include:
    • Xpress Personal Loan: Quick and convenient personal loans.
    • Xpress Business Loans: Speedy financing solutions for businesses.
    • Xpress Car Loan: Swift and efficient car loans.
    • Xpress Home Loan: Expedited home loan application and approval processes.
    • Xpress Loan on Cards: Instant loan offerings tied to credit cards.
    • Xpress Credit Card: Accelerated credit card services.
    • Xpress Savings Accounts: Faster account opening and management.
    • Service Journeys and More: Additional services designed for a seamless banking experience.
  • XpressWay is designed to provide customers with a host of key features, making banking more efficient and customer-centric:
    • Speedy and Seamless: Customers can expect faster processing times and an effortless banking journey.
    • Paperless Transactions: Reducing the environmental footprint and streamlining processes.
    • DIY Customer Experience: Empowering customers with self-service options for convenience.
    • Accessibility for All: Available for both existing and new customers.
  • XpressWay is an integral component of HDFC Bank’s ‘NOW,’ an umbrella brand encompassing the bank’s digital products and services. This initiative represents the bank’s commitment to embracing digital solutions for its customers’ benefit.

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RBL Bank Introduces GO Savings Account

  • RBL Bank launches GO Savings Account, a subscription-based digital banking product with high-interest rates and zero-balance requirement.
  • The account offers a premium debit card, vouchers, comprehensive insurance cover, free CIBIL report, and premium banking services.
  • The account has a first-year subscription fee of Rs. 1999 + taxes and subsequent annual renewals at Rs. 599 + taxes.
  • The account opening process is streamlined and requires only PAN and Aadhaar details.
  • The account is part of RBL Bank’s ‘NOW’ brand, which encompasses its digital products and services.

Asian Para Games 2023 Opening Ceremony: Key Details and Flag Bearers

  • The Asian Para Games 2023 is a multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities, organized by the Asian Paralympic Committee and recognized by the International Paralympic Committee.
  • The event will take place in Hangzhou, China, from October 22 to 28, 2023, featuring 566 medal events across 22 sports and 24 disciplines.
  • India is sending its largest-ever contingent of 313 athletes to compete in various events at the Asian Para Games 2023.
  • The opening ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, October 22, 2023, starting at 5:30 PM IST, at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium.
  • The flag bearers for India are Parul Parmar, a para shuttler who has won multiple medals at the Asian Para Games and the World Championships, and Amit Saroha, a para club thrower who has also won medals at the Asian Para Games and the World Championships.
  • Indian fans can watch the live streaming of the opening ceremony on the FanCode app and website. There is no official confirmation regarding the live telecast of the event on Indian television networks.

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EU Report Recommends 2% Global Wealth Tax on Billionaires to Curb Evasion

  • The European Union Tax Observatory published the ‘Global Tax Evasion Report 2024’, which proposes a 2% global wealth tax on billionaires to combat tax evasion.
  • The report estimates that billionaires pay between 0% to 0.5% of their wealth in taxes, due to offshore financial institutions, uncovered asset classes, and preferential tax regimes.
  • The report also evaluates the global minimum tax of 15% on multinational corporations, and identifies loopholes such as ‘greenwashing’ and aggressive tax competition.
  • The report aims to address the urgent need for fair and transparent taxation, and generate additional revenues for public goods and social welfare.

Defence Minister Inaugurated Indian Military Heritage Festival In New Delhi

  • The Indian Military Heritage Festival was organized by the United Service Institution of India (USI) at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande inaugurated the event, which celebrated India’s rich military history and culture.
  • The festival was also a tribute to India’s presidency of the G-20 and aimed to foster discussions on security, self-reliance, and international collaboration.
  • The festival had several objectives, such as promoting literature on Indian military history, building consensus on modern warfare, exploring emerging technologies, understanding geopolitics, and adopting a holistic approach to national security.
  • The USI is a think tank dedicated to national security and defense services, founded in 1870. It operates research centers and publishes journals and monographs on various aspects of defense and military domains.

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