Daily Current Affairs- October 4, 2023
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World Animal Welfare Day 2023: Celebrating Animal Rights and Welfare

  • World Animal Day, also known as World Animal Welfare Day or World Animal Protection Day, is an annual event celebrated globally on October 4.
  • The event aims to celebrate animal rights and welfare, and mobilize the animal protection movement into a global force.
  • The theme for World Animal Day 2023 is “Big or small, we love them all”.
  • The concept for World Animal Day was introduced by Heinrich Zimmermann, a writer and editor of the German publication Man and Dog.
  • The inaugural World Animal Day event was held on March 24, 1925, at the Sports Palace in Berlin, Germany.
  • Zimmermann’s proposal to recognize October 4 as World Animal Day was approved at a Congress of the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence, Italy, in May 1931.
  • The World Animal Day website was launched in 2003 by the UK-based animal protection organization Naturewatch Foundation.
  • On this day, animal supporters worldwide celebrate World Animal Day and contribute to the cause of animal protection and conservation in their own special ways.

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank to merge with its holding company

  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank is a retail banking business that focuses on financially unserved and underserved segments.
  • The bank has received an order to hold an extra-ordinary general meeting on Nov. 3, 2023, to approve the scheme of amalgamation with its holding company, Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd.
  • The merger will result in the dissolution of Ujjivan Financial Services, and its shareholders will receive 116 shares of Ujjivan SFB for every 10 shares held.
  • The merger was first announced in Oct. 2021, and is expected to reduce the regulatory compliance burden and enhance the operational efficiency of the bank.

Fintech Unicorn Slice Merges with North East Small Finance Bank

  • Fintech company Slice is merging with North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB), following approval from the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Slice, a Bengaluru-based credit and payments startup, also holds an NBFC licence.
  • The merger aims to better serve their shared mission and reach more consumers who currently lack access to basic banking services.
  • The merger and shareholding details are yet to be known, but it is expected that Slice will own a majority stake in the combined entity.
  • Slice had acquired a 5% stake in the bank last year, valuing the small finance bank at about $68 million.
  • Slice was last valued at about $1.5 billion in a funding round last year.
  • The merger is pending requisite shareholders’ consent and other regulatory approvals.

Government mulls new pension model for staff ahead of polls

  • The government is considering announcing a new pension model for its staff before the state assembly elections later this year.
  • The new model could offer a reasonable pension amount based on a workable formula, but with less frequent inflation adjustments than the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
  • The new model could also be achieved by tweaking the existing National Pension System (NPS), which is based on defined contribution and market returns.
  • The government may make the pension guarantee public by November, but is unlikely to introduce any major initiatives before the elections.

PayU India CEO Anirban Mukherjee promoted to global CEO of PayU

  • Anirban Mukherjee, the CEO of PayU India, has been elevated to the global CEO of PayU, the fintech arm of Prosus.
  • He will join the Prosus leadership team and report to Ervin Tu, the interim CEO of Prosus and Naspers.
  • He will be responsible for the overall business operations of PayU, which operates in over 20 markets across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • He has been leading PayU India since 2019 and has overseen its growth and expansion in the Indian digital payments market.
  • He has also played a key role in the recent sale of PayU’s Global Payments Organisation to Rapyd for $610 million.

Samvardhana Motherson acquires assets of German firm Dr Schneider Group

  • Samvardhana Motherson International Limited (SAMIL) has completed the acquisition of identified assets and employee liabilities of the German entities of Dr Schneider Group, a technology provider of interior components.
  • The acquisition also includes 100 per cent shares in the foreign subsidiaries of Dr Schneider Group located in Spain, China, the USA, and Poland, except for a 21 per cent shareholding in Symbiose SAS, which will be finalized later.
  • The acquisition was announced in October 2021 and is expected to enhance SAMIL’s product portfolio and customer base in the automotive sector.
  • SAMIL is a subsidiary of Samvardhana Motherson Automotive Systems Group B.V. (SMRP BV), which is part of the Motherson Group, a leading global supplier of automotive components.

NTPC boosts coal production and dispatch in first half of 23/24 fiscal year

  • NTPC Ltd is India’s largest integrated power company with over 73 GW of installed capacity from all sources.
  • NTPC operates several coal mines and relies on coal for around 70% of its electricity generation.
  • NTPC reported an 83% increase in coal production and a 94% increase in coal dispatch in the first half of the 23/24 fiscal year (April-September) compared to the same period last year.
  • NTPC also increased its coal production by 66% and coal dispatch by 106% in the second quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year compared to the same quarter last year.
  • NTPC’s chairman Gurdeep Singh said that the company’s coal production rose by 65% in the previous fiscal year (22/23) and that coal phase-out in India would take 2-3 decades or more.

Sebi introduces centralised system for reporting and verifying investor death

  • Sebi is the market regulator of India that oversees the securities market.
  • Sebi has announced a new system to streamline the process of transferring assets in the securities market after the death of an investor.
  • The system will require registered intermediaries, such as brokers, depositories, and mutual funds, to verify the death certificate and PAN of the deceased investor and report it to a central database.
  • The system will also enable the nominees or legal heirs of the deceased investor to access the details of the assets and claim them through a single window.
  • The system will come into effect from January 01, 2024.

Quantum dots discovery and development awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry 20231

  • Quantum dots are nanoparticles that have properties determined by their size, not by their number of electrons.
  • Quantum dots can emit and absorb light of different colors, and have applications in QLED screens, bioimaging, solar cells, and quantum communication.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2023 was awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus, and Alexei I. Ekimov for their contributions to the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.
  • Bawendi is a professor at MIT, Brus is a professor at Columbia University, and Ekimov is a former chief scientist at Nanocrystals Technology Inc.
  • They are the 191st laureates of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which has been awarded since 1901.

India attends 5th meeting of Moscow Format on Afghanistan

  • The Moscow Format is a diplomatic platform to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and regional security.
  • The 5th meeting was held in Kazan, Russia on September 29, 2023, with representatives from India, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, and other countries.
  • The Taliban’s acting foreign minister also participated in the meeting, along with delegates from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Turkey.
  • The participants called for a truly inclusive government in Afghanistan that represents all ethnic and political groups.
  • They also urged the Taliban to fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, and to respect human rights and international law.
  • They demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Afghan assets frozen by the US and its allies.
  • They opposed any return of US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan or neighboring countries.
  • They adopted the Kazan Declaration of the Moscow Format, expressing their commitment to cooperate for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

CRPF launches all-female bikers’ expedition ‘Yashasvini’ from Srinagar

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India’s largest paramilitary force with over 3 lakh personnel.
  • The CRPF initiated a cross-country bike rally by its women personnel named ‘Yashasvini’ to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality.
  • The rally was flagged off by the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, from the iconic Lal Chowk in Srinagar on October 4th, 2023.
  • The rally will cover a distance of 2134 kilometers, passing through 40 districts in 15 states and Union Territories, and end in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat, on October 31st, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The rally is a collaborative effort between the CRPF and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and aims to showcase the achievements and potential of women in various fields.
  • The rally will also interact with various target groups, such as school and college girls, women self-help groups, NCC cadets, anganwadi workers, etc., as part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ initiative.

IAF to Retire MiG-21 Fighter Jets by 2025, Replace Them with LCA Mark 1A

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced plans to phase out its iconic MiG-21 fighter jets by 2025 and replace them with the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1A.
  • The IAF has signed a contract for 83 LCA Mark 1A aircraft, which will be supplemented with an additional 97 units, bringing the total to 180 LCA Mark 1As.
  • The MiG-21 has been a stalwart of the IAF for over six decades, playing a pivotal role in safeguarding India’s airspace and participating in various missions and operations.
  • The decision to retire the MiG-21s is not only a move towards modernization but also a step towards enhancing the safety of the IAF’s fleet, as the MiG-21s have faced several accidents in recent years.
  • The IAF will celebrate its 91st anniversary on October 8th, with the theme “IAF – Airpower Beyond Boundaries”4. The event will feature over 120 aircraft of various types, including the MiG-21, which will participate in what might be its final flypast anywhere in the world.

India and Bangladesh Begin 11th Edition of SAMPRITI Joint Military Exercise

  • SAMPRITI is an annual joint military exercise between India and Bangladesh that started in 2009 and aims to enhance defence cooperation and interoperability between the two armies.
  • The 11th edition of SAMPRITI, SAMPRITI-XI, began on October 4th, 2023, in Umroi, Meghalaya, and will last for 14 days1. It involves around 350 personnel from both sides, who will participate in various tactical drills and sub-conventional operations.
  • The exercise consists of two main components: a Command Post Exercise (CPX), which focuses on strategic planning and decision-making, and a Field Training Exercise (FTX), which validates grassroots-level operations and counter-terrorist scenarios.
  • The exercise will culminate in a Validation Exercise, which will test the skills and knowledge of the participants in a realistic and challenging environment. The exercise will also showcase the capabilities of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ through an Equipment Display.
  • SAMPRITI-XI reaffirms the commitment of both India and Bangladesh to strengthening their bilateral relations, cultural understanding, and mutual benefits5. It also reflects their shared commitment to regional stability and security.

National Zoological Park Celebrates 69th Wildlife Week

  • Wildlife Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation in India.
  • The event coincides with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for non-violence and compassion toward all living beings.
  • The theme of this year’s Wildlife Week is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”, which reflects the need for collaboration among various stakeholders to protect and preserve India’s biodiversity.
  • The National Zoological Park has planned various activities for Wildlife Week, such as educational workshops, wildlife photography exhibitions, guided tours, conservation pledges, and art and craft workshops.
  • The event will also feature a flypast of over 120 aircraft, including the iconic MiG-21, which will participate in what might be its final appearance anywhere in the world.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2023: A Global Campaign to Promote Breast Health

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a global campaign that takes place every October to educate people about breast cancer and encourage proactive measures for early detection.
  • The campaign aims to empower women and men to take charge of their breast health and provides a platform for advocacy, fundraising, and support for breast cancer patients and survivors.
  • The campaign also coincides with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated for non-violence and compassion toward all living beings.
  • The theme of this year’s campaign is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”, which reflects the need for collaboration among various stakeholders to protect and preserve India’s biodiversity.
  • Some of the ways to participate in the campaign are: performing regular breast self-exams, scheduling clinical exams and mammograms, donating to breast cancer research and support organizations, joining or organizing fundraisers, wearing pink ribbons or clothing, and sharing information on social media using #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth.

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