Table of Contents
Read the most important current affairs of 13 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on AI Summit In New Delhi, Grihum Housing Finance, National Energy Conservation Day 2023.
Top 19 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 13 December 2023
1.India Joins UN’s ‘Race to Resilience’ at COP28
- India has taken a significant step towards addressing the challenges posed by climate change by joining the United Nations’ ‘Race to Resilience‘ global campaign. This decision, announced during the recently concluded COP28 event in Dubai, reflects India’s commitment to building climate resilience in its urban areas.
- The Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube) at NIUA, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, will play a pivotal role in spearheading India’s participation in the ‘Race to Resilience.’
- The ‘Race to Resilience’ is a worldwide platform that aims to unite non-state actors, investors, businesses, cities, regions, and civil society. The goal is to enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable communities to the impacts of climate change by 2030.
2.Indian Parliament Face Security Breach ‘intruders throw smoke bombs’ at MPs
- Two unidentified individuals entered the chambers of the lower house of India’s parliament, allegedly throwing smoke bombs, marking a significant security lapse. This incident occurred on the 22nd anniversary of a 2001 terrorist attack on parliament that resulted in casualties.
- The two person entered the area where lawmakers were seated during the zero hour, releasing smoke canisters and filling the space with yellow smoke. The two persons, detained for the protest outside the Parliament are identified as—identified as Neelam (42) and Amol Shinde (25).
3.India Backs Urgent Ceasefire in Israel-Gaza Conflict
- India voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict and the unconditional release of hostages.
- The 193-member UNGA adopted the resolution introduced by Egypt in an Emergency Special Session. The resolution garnered 153 votes in favor, with 23 nations abstaining and 10 voting against.
- Sponsored by several nations, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Palestine, the resolution demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
- It reiterates the obligation for all parties to comply with international law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians. The resolution also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and ensures humanitarian access.
4.IIP Soars 11.7% in October; Retail Inflation Climbs to 5.55% in November
- India witnessed contrasting trends in its economic indicators in October and November, with the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) surging to a 16-month high while retail inflation experienced an uptick, reaching a three-month high. These developments have significant implications for GDP projections and monetary policy.
- The IIP recorded an impressive 11.7% year-on-year growth in October, marking a substantial increase from the 6.8% reported in September. Key contributors to this growth were the electricity (20.4%), mining (13.1%), and manufacturing (10.4%) sectors, surpassing Bloomberg’s forecast of 10.5%.
- The robust performance of the IIP is expected to influence the first advance estimates of the gross domestic product (GDP) data for 2023-24, scheduled for release on January 5. This data will precede the Interim Budget for FY25, set to be presented on February 1.
5.Nine States Exceed National Inflation Average in November
- In November, nine states in India experienced a higher rate of inflation compared to the national average, according to recent data. The average cost of living for Indian consumers rose by 5.55% compared to the same period last year.
- States with higher inflation rates are: Odisha led the pack with the highest inflation at 7.65%. Rajasthan followed closely with an inflation rate of 7%. Haryana recorded a significant increase of 6.8%.
- Other States Above National Average are Bihar, Karnataka, Punjab, Telangana, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh also witnessed inflation rates exceeding the national average, ranging from 5.56% to 6.54%.
- Delhi, Chhattisgarh, and the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir reported milder increases in prices, with inflation rates of 3.1%, 3.56%, and 3.8%, respectively.
6.Lok Sabha Approves Additional Spending of ₹58,378 Crore in Current Fiscal
- In a recent development, the Lok Sabha has given its approval for a net additional spending of ₹58,378 crore in the ongoing fiscal year, set to conclude in March 2024. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the government’s commitment to fiscal prudence while maintaining a focus on social welfare programs.
- The gross additional spending sought by the government amounted to over ₹1.29 lakh crore, with a significant portion allocated to key areas. Notably, ₹13,351 crore has been earmarked for the fertilizer subsidy, demonstrating the government’s support for the agricultural sector. Additionally, about ₹7,000 crore is allocated for spending by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, emphasizing the importance of food security measures.
7.India and Oman Fast-Track Free Trade Agreement Negotiations in Boost to Economic Ties
- A team of officials from India’s Department of Commerce is currently in Muscat, engaged in negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Oman. The department has set an internal deadline to finalize the deal by the end of the month.
- This development gains significance as negotiations between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have faced obstacles, particularly with Saudi Arabia, delaying progress for over a year. If successful, Oman would become the second GCC member, after the UAE, to sign an FTA with India.
- Oman currently stands as India’s 29th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade showing robust growth. From $3.15 billion in FY22, trade has surged to $4.48 billion during FY23, marking a substantial 42% YoY increase.
8.Poonawalla Housing Finance Becomes Grihum Housing Finance
- In a strategic move following its acquisition by TPG Capital Asia, Poonawalla Housing Finance has undergone a significant rebranding, emerging with a new identity — Grihum Housing Finance.
- This transformation comes as TPG Capital Asia acquired a substantial 99.02% equity stake in the company from Poonawalla Fincorp earlier this year. The new name, Grihum, is a fusion of ‘Grih’ (home) and ‘Hum’ (togetherness), reflecting the company’s commitment to fostering collaboration and unity.
- Grihum Housing Finance is dedicated to creating the cherished space of a ‘Dream Home’ for its customers, a significant portion of whom are self-made individuals and micro-entrepreneurs in semi-urban, peri-urban, and rural regions, constituting 62% of the business from the self-employed informal sector.
Important Days News
9.National Energy Conservation Day 2023
- National Energy Conservation Day is observed in India on December 14 every year to celebrate the country’s strides in energy efficiency and conservation. It is an opportunity for individuals, communities, businesses, institutions, and governments to reflect on their roles in contributing to energy conservation through embracing various energy-efficient practices.
- As of now, the government has not released the theme for National Energy Conservation Day 2023. National Energy Conservation Day aims to raise awareness about global warming, climate change, and encourage initiatives to conserve energy resources. It also serves as a platform to celebrate India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation.
10.India Launches Forest Certification Scheme for Sustainable Management: Key Highlights
- The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has introduced the Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme. This voluntary national certification initiative aims to encourage sustainable forest management and agroforestry practices in India.
- The scheme encompasses forest management certification, tree outside forest management certification, and chain of custody certification. The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, will serve as the scheme’s operating agency, managing its overall implementation.
- The Indian Forest and Wood Certification Council will oversee the scheme, acting as a multistakeholder advisory body. The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under the Quality Council of India will accredit certification bodies. These bodies will conduct independent audits to assess adherence to prescribed standards.
Summits & Conferences News
11.PM Modi Launches AI Summit at Bharat Mandapam In New Delhi
- The annual Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Summit commenced at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on December 12, emphasizing crucial discussions on AI safety and development challenges.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his inaugural address, stressed the importance of addressing ethical, economic, and social aspects to build trust in AI. AI policymakers and industry experts were engaged in discussions, covering a broad spectrum of topics.
- Prime Minister Modi raised critical questions about AI’s impact on employment, global education curriculum, and the need for standardized AI standards. He addressed concerns related to the misuse of AI, invoking the idea of watermarking AI products to distinguish generated content.
12.India Postpones Quad Summit Meeting Amidst Strained Relations and Scheduling Issues
- India has decided to defer the Quad summit meeting, originally scheduled for January 2024, citing scheduling conflicts for certain Quad partners. The summit involves the participation of India, Australia, the US, and Japan.
- Initially anticipated as the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, US President Joe Biden is unlikely to attend the Quad Summit due to the rescheduling. New dates for the summit in 2024 are being explored to accommodate all Quad partners.
- The Quad, comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the US, is a diplomatic partnership committed to fostering an open, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Beyond its cooperative goals, the Quad is also viewed as a strategic effort by these nations to counterbalance China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
13.Youth for Unnati and Vikas with AI (YUVAi) at GPAI Summit 2023
- YUVAi-Youth for Unnati and Vikas with AI,” a collaborative initiative of the National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, and Intel India, is poised to take center stage at the upcoming Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Summit.
- This groundbreaking program, designed to impart essential AI skills to the youth, is gaining recognition for its innovative approach and commitment to building a future-ready workforce. YUVAi is a transformative initiative aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of AI among school students from class 8 to 12 nationwide.
- The program’s primary goal is to equip these students with essential AI skills, empowering them to become human-centric designers and users of artificial intelligence. YUVAi stands as a beacon, guiding the next generation towards responsible and impactful AI usage to address societal challenges.
Ranks & Reports News
14.Myanmar Surpasses Afghanistan as World’s Leading Opium Source in 2023: UN Report
- Myanmar has emerged as the world’s largest source of opium in 2023, surpassing Afghanistan, according to a new report by the United Nations. This shift is attributed to a third consecutive year of expanding cultivation fueled by Myanmar’s civil war and a significant decline in opium cultivation in Afghanistan.
- The shift resulted in a substantial increase in earnings for Myanmar farmers, with opium poppy farming yielding about 75% higher profits. The average price of opium poppies has risen to approximately $355 per kilogram. The cultivation area has expanded by 18% year-on-year, reaching 47,000 hectares, marking the highest potential yield since 2001.
15.K.S. Reddy Appointed Hyderabad Commissioner Of Police
- In a significant move towards ensuring clean governance, Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy has appointed seasoned police officials to spearhead the Hyderabad and Cyberabad police commissionerates.
- Kothakota Srinivas Reddy, a distinguished officer with a track record of effective leadership, is set to assume the role of Hyderabad Police Commissioner. Avinash Mohanty, a seasoned officer from the 2005 batch, is appointed as the Cyberabad Police Commissioner.
- G. Sudheer Babu, a 2001 IPS officer, is the new Rachakonda Police Commissioner, succeeding D.S. Chauhan. With experience as additional police commissioner, traffic, Hyderabad, and roles in Warangal, Sudheer Babu has a proven record of enhancing policing standards, exemplified by his impactful stint as DCP Task Force in Hyderabad City.
16.Dr. Atul Shah’s Game-Changing Innovation for Leprosy Care Earns Global Recognition
- Dr. Atul Shah, a plastic surgeon, has been honored with the 2023 REACH Game Changing Innovator award for his groundbreaking contribution to leprosy care.
- Three decades ago, Dr. Shah devised a simple surgery technique, ‘One in Four Lasso,’ to address deformities in leprosy patients. His journey took a transformative turn when he observed the challenges of managing unhealed foot wounds.
- Dr. Shah designed a ‘self-care kit’ to empower leprosy patients in managing foot ulcers, a common issue. Since 2007, the kit has been part of India’s National Leprosy Eradication Programme, benefitting over 80,000 individuals.
17.Javed Akhtar to Receive Padmapani Lifetime Achievement Award at Ajanta-Ellora Film Festival
- The veteran lyricist-screenwriter Javed Akhtar is set to be honored with the Padmapani Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Ajanta-Ellora Film Festival.
- This recognition celebrates his remarkable contributions to the Indian film industry, including iconic works like ‘Zanjeer,’ ‘Deewar,’ ‘Sholay,’ ‘Don,’ ‘Kala Patthar,’ and ‘Mr India.’
- The award ceremony will take place on January 3, 2024, marking the opening day of the ninth edition of the festival. The Padmapani Award, which includes a memento, a certificate, and a monetary award of Rs 2 lakh, will be presented to Javed Akhtar by the Ajantha-Ellora Film Festival Organizing Committee Chairman Nandkishore Kagliwal and Chief Guide Ankushrao Kadam.
18.Ban Ki-moon Honored With 2023 Diwali ‘Power of One’ Award At UN
- Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, along with three distinguished diplomats, was honored at the annual ‘Diwali Power of One Awards.’ This prestigious ceremony, often hailed as the ‘Oscars of Diplomacy,’ celebrated their selfless contributions to shaping a more perfect, peaceful, and secure world.
- Hailed as the ‘Oscars of Diplomacy,’ these awards aim to recognize former Permanent Representatives and high-level members of the UN who have selflessly worked towards creating a more perfect, peaceful, and secure world.
- The other distinguished awardees for the year 2023 included Ambassador Mirsada Colakovic, Ambassador Kim Sook, and Miroslav Lajcak. Their invaluable contributions were acknowledged at a special ceremony held at the UN Headquarters, marking their commitment to global peace and development.
Science & Technology News
19.China, Egypt Jointly Launch Satellite MisrSat-2
- China and Egypt have achieved a significant breakthrough in their collaborative efforts with the successful launch of the MisrSat-2 satellite.
- Developed and assembled jointly by the two nations, this marks a pivotal moment in their burgeoning space partnership. The satellite, assembled in Egypt with Chinese support, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, utilizing the Long March-2C carrier rocket.
- The MisrSat-2 project, valued at $72 million, originated from a 2019 agreement between the Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) and the China National Space Administration. Notably, this initiative positioned Egypt as the first African country with satellite assembly and testing capabilities.
13 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR