Daily Current Affairs- September 20, 2023
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Govt launches Kisan Rin Portal and weather WINDS manual

  • The ‘Kisan Rin Portal’ is a web portal that allows farmers to apply for loans online from RRBs and co-operative banks. It also provides information on loan eligibility, interest rates, repayment options, and other features.
  • The ‘Ghar Ghar KCC Abhiyan’ is a campaign that aims to provide Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) to every eligible farmer and rural household. KCCs are cards that enable farmers to access credit from banks at concessional rates for various agricultural and allied activities.
  • The Finance Minister said that only 56 out of 45 RRBs have achieved 100% computerisation as of March 31, 2023. She said that computerisation is essential for RRBs to adopt digital banking solutions, such as Aadhaar-enabled payment system, UPI, and Bharat Bill Pay.
  • She also said that computerisation would help RRBs to comply with the regulatory requirements of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). She urged the RRBs to complete the computerisation process by December 31, 2023.

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G20 leaders launch IMEC to connect India, Middle East and Europe

  • The IMEC is a multi-modal economic corridor that aims to link India, the Arabian Gulf and Europe through sea and land routes.
  • The IMEC was announced by President Biden and the leaders of India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, Italy and the European Commission at the G20 Summit.
  • The IMEC represents a collective vision for a more balanced and interconnected Eurasian order, extending from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific.
  • The IMEC nations have a combined GDP of about $47 trillion, accounting for 40 per cent of the world’s total GDP.

India-Canada Relations Strained Over Allegations of Sikh Separatist Involvement

  • Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau claimed that Indian agents were involved in the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada, who was wanted by India as a terrorist.
  • India denied the allegations and called for action against anti-India elements in Canada. India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat from the country.
  • The incident has affected the bilateral trade talks and the overall relations between the two countries, which have been tense due to Canada’s perceived support for Khalistani separatists.
  • India has urged Canada to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. India has also tried to engage with the Sikh diaspora to counter the separatist propaganda.

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Hoysala Temples become India’s 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • The Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somanathapura in Karnataka are known for their intricate carvings and exquisite architecture.
  • They were built by the Hoysala Empire, which ruled over a large part of southern India between the 10th and 14th centuries.
  • They represent a unique fusion of Dravidian, Nagara and Bhumija styles of temple construction, and are dedicated to various Hindu deities.
  • They have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala, marking the 42nd World Heritage Site in India.
  • The inscription is expected to bring more recognition, protection and tourism to these temples, which are already protected monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Goa CM launches schemes to support women and entrepreneurs

  • Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant launched two schemes to provide financial assistance and online platform to women and entrepreneurs in the state.
  • The Griha Adhar scheme aims to empower homemakers by giving them Rs 1,500 per month. The scheme has 1.5 lakh beneficiaries and provides annual increments.
  • The Chavath-e-Bazaar scheme is a digital portal integrated with Swiggy app that allows local artisans and self-help groups to sell their products online.
  • The schemes are part of the government’s vision of ‘Vocal for Local’ and seek to enhance the socio-economic status and well-being of the people of Goa.

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ACKO launches new health insurance plan with Munna Bhai and Circuit

  • ACKO, a leading insurance company, has introduced a comprehensive health insurance product called the “ACKO Platinum Health Plan”.
  • The plan offers features such as 100% bill payment, no room rent capping, and zero waiting periods for policyholders.
  • To promote the plan, ACKO has brought back the popular characters of Munna Bhai and Circuit from the Bollywood movie series, directed by Rajkumar Hirani.
  • The campaign, titled “Health Insurance ki Subah ho Gayi Mamu”, aims to educate the customers about the benefits of the plan and the importance of full disclosures for hassle-free claims.

Union Education Minister Launches ‘Skills on Wheels’ Initiative to Empower Rural Youth

  • The ‘Skills on Wheels’ initiative was launched by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on September 20, 2023, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.
  • The initiative is a joint effort of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and IndusInd Bank, under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
  • The initiative uses a specially designed bus as a mobile skill training unit, equipped with computers, internet, projector, and other facilities.
  • The initiative aims to provide digital skills training to 60,000 rural youth, especially women, over a period of five years, covering 300 aspirational and backward districts across the country .
  • The initiative will offer industry-relevant courses based on the candidates’ aptitude and skillset, such as data entry, digital marketing, web designing, graphic designing, etc.
  • The initiative will also provide career guidance, placement support, and post-training mentoring to the trainees.

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Cabinet approves Women Reservation Bill granting 33% seats to women in Parliament

  • The Women Reservation Bill is a landmark legislation that aims to ensure equal representation for women in India’s legislative bodies.
  • The bill mandates that one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies will be reserved for women candidates, with sub-reservation for marginalized groups.
  • The bill has a long and turbulent history, dating back to its initial introduction in 19963. It was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, but lapsed due to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
  • The bill was approved by the Union Cabinet on September 18, 2023, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations5. It is expected to be tabled in the Parliament soon.

Elavenil Valarivan Wins Air Rifle Gold In Rio World Cup

  • Elavenil Valarivan, a 24-year-old Indian shooter, won the gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle event at the ISSF World Cup 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • She scored 252.2 points in the final, beating France’s Oceanne Muller by 0.3 points. Jiale Zhang of China took the bronze medal with 229.0 points.
  • This was Valarivan’s second individual ISSF World Cup gold medal. She had also won the same event in Rio in 2019.
  • She qualified for the final in the ninth position with a score of 630.5, thanks to China’s Wang Zifei who shot for ranking points only.
  • She also participated in the 10m air rifle mixed team event with Sandeep Singh, but missed the medal by 0.5 points.
  • The ISSF World Cup in Rio was the last rifle and pistol event of the year5. The finals will be held in Doha, Qatar, in November.

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Assam Government Launches Amrit Brikshya Andolan to Plant One Crore Seedlings

  • The Amrit Brikshya Andolan is a massive tree planting initiative launched by the Assam government in 2023, under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Hemanta Biswa Sarma.
  • The initiative aims to foster a greener and more sustainable environment in the state by planting one crore seedlings across various districts, with sub-reservation for marginalized groups.
  • The initiative also provides financial aid to participants through a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, incentivizing their active involvement in tree planting and nurturing.
  • The initiative seeks to stimulate the tree-based economy within the state, generating sustainable livelihoods and income opportunities for the people of Assam.
  • The initiative is part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, marking the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

World Spice Congress 2023: Celebrating India’s Spice Heritage

  • The World Spice Congress (WSC) is a biennial event that brings together stakeholders from the global spice industry to discuss opportunities and challenges.
  • The 14th edition of the WSC was held in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, from September 18 to 20, 2023, organized by the Spices Board India and other trade bodies.
  • The theme of the WSC was “Celebrating India’s Spice Heritage”, highlighting India’s rich and diverse spice production, trade, and culture.
  • The WSC featured business sessions, policy dialogues, technical presentations, and exhibitions on various aspects of the spice sector, such as quality, safety, innovation, and sustainability.
  • The WSC also aimed to promote spice trade among G20 countries, with special sessions dedicated to policy regulators and technical experts from key G20 nations.

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OECD raises India’s growth forecast for FY24 to 6.3 per cent

  • The OECD has upgraded India’s FY24 GDP growth forecast to 6.3%, citing favorable agricultural outcomes.
  • Globally, the economy is expected to grow at 3% in 2023, slowing to 2.7% in 202423.
  • The OECD has also revised India’s inflation projection to 5.3%, an increase from the previous estimate of 4.8%4.
  • The OECD suggests there is room for modest policy easing in several major economies, including India, over the next year5.
  • The OECD has revised its GDP growth projection for India in the fiscal year 2025 downward to 6%, down from the earlier projection of 7%6.

Gandhi Walk Resumed In Johannesburg, South Africa After Covid-19 Pandemic

  • The Gandhi Walk is an annual event in Lenasia, Johannesburg, that celebrates the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and promotes social cohesion.
  • The event was postponed for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned this year with a new format of a six-kilometre walk and entertainment.
  • The event attracted over two thousand participants who enjoyed the walk and the presence of Harivardan Pitamber, a Gandhi look-alike.
  • The event demonstrated the resilience and unity of the community in the face of adversity and reminded them of their shared heritage and values.

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G77+China Summit Concludes With Emphasis On Empowering Global South

  • The G77+China Summit was a two-day event that brought together over 100 nations and 30 heads of state to discuss the Global South’s role in international governance.
  • The summit reaffirmed the importance of the G77+China alliance, which represents over 80 percent of the world’s population and more than two-thirds of UN member nations.
  • The summit declared September 16 as the annual “Day of Science, Technology, and Innovation in the South” to promote the development of science and innovation systems in the Global South.
  • The summit also addressed global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the unequal distribution of technological and scientific resources, and called for more cooperation and solidarity among developing countries.

Nobel Prize Winners 2022 Announced in Six Categories

  • The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics12.
  • The Nobel Prize 2022 was announced from October 3 to October 10, and the winners received 10 million Swedish krona each3.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane, and J. Michael Kosterlitz for their theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, and Bernard L. Feringa for their design and synthesis of molecular machines.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.
  • The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.
  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their contributions to contract theory.

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ASEAN Joint Military Drills in South Natuna Sea Amid South China Sea Tension

  • The ASEAN Military Drills is a five-day event that started on September 20, 2023, in Indonesia’s South Natuna Sea, involving all ten ASEAN member nations and East Timor.
  • The drills aim to enhance military skills and cooperation among ASEAN countries, such as maritime security, patrols, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • The drills are non-combat operations and do not intend to provoke China, which claims most of the South China Sea as its territory.
  • The drills coincide with diplomatic protests against China’s “10-dash line” map, which asserts expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, a vital region for global trade and security.
  • The drills also reflect ASEAN’s quest for a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, which has been stalled for over two decades due to China’s reluctance.

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