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Read the most important current affairs of 14 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on ‘Thiruvalluvar’ Statue, Mercer’s Survey, SBI signs LoC for solar projects, Cyclone Jasper.
Top 25 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 14 December 2023
1.UIDAI Imposes Rs.50,000 Penalty for Overcharging Aadhaar Services, Suspends Operator: Govt.
- The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has implemented strict measures against operators found guilty of overcharging and also imposed penalty of Rs.50,000 against them.
- The move aims to ensure fair and accessible services for all citizens, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, revealed the details of these measures in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
- To enforce compliance, the UIDAI has implemented a robust penalty system for those found overcharging for Aadhaar services. Upon receiving reports of overcharging, the authority conducts thorough investigations. If the violation is established, a significant financial penalty of Rs.50,000 is imposed on the enrolment register responsible. Additionally, the operator involved faces suspension as a consequence of their actions.
2.Statue Of Tamil Icon ‘Thiruvalluvar’ Unveiled In France
- On Sunday, December 10, a significant cultural milestone unfolded in the French town of Cergy with the inauguration of a statue dedicated to Thiruvalluvar, a revered cultural icon among Tamilians.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed admiration for the newly inaugurated statue, describing it as a “beautiful testament to our shared cultural bonds.” The statue serves as a tangible representation of the rich cultural heritage that unites the two nations.
- Thiruvalluvar, commonly referred to as Valluvar, stood as an eminent Indian poet and philosopher renowned for authoring the Tirukkuṟaḷ, a compilation of couplets addressing ethics, political and economic subjects, and love. This collection is hailed as an exceptional and highly esteemed contribution to Tamil literature.
3.Telangana Introduces Free Bus Travel For Women And Transgender Individuals
- The government of Telangana, under the leadership of Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, has recently launched the ‘Maha Lakshmi Scheme.’ The scheme, effective from December 9, 2023, encompasses various guarantees to ensure accessible and affordable transportation for the targeted beneficiaries.
- The ‘Maha Lakshmi Scheme’ primarily focuses on providing free travel for girls, women of all age groups, and transgender persons in state-run Palle Velugu and express buses operated by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) within the borders of Telangana State.
- Specifically designed for the benefit of girls, women of all age groups, and transgender persons domiciled in Telangana, the scheme opens avenues for cost-free travel within the state. Beneficiaries can travel free of charge in inter-state Express and Palle Velugu buses up to the borders of Telangana State.
4.Uttar Pradesh to Witness Aviation Boom: Nine New Airports in Two Years, Reveals Aviation Minister
- Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently unveiled ambitious plans for Uttar Pradesh’s aviation infrastructure. The Modi government is set to construct nine new airports in the state within the next two years. This initiative will propel the total number of airports in Uttar Pradesh to an impressive 18.
- Scindia highlighted the government’s remarkable achievements in the aviation domain, citing the development of 75 airports over the past nine years. This is a substantial leap compared to the 74 airports established in the first 65 years of India’s independence. The total count of airports, heliports, and waterdromes nationwide has now reached 149.
5.Moody’s Affirms Reliance Industries’ Baa2 Rating with a Stable Outlook
- Global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has recently reaffirmed the Baa2 rating for Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), maintaining a stable outlook. This affirmation reflects RIL’s substantial market presence and strong performance across its diverse business sectors.
- Moody’s projects a significant growth in RIL’s consolidated EBITDA, estimating a 14% increase to ₹1.7 trillion (around $21 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024. This growth is expected to be driven by robust performances in digital services, retail, and the upstream oil and gas segment.
- Moody’s anticipates an annual EBITDA growth of 10%-12% over the next two years, primarily fueled by the strong performance of RIL’s consumer businesses, including digital services, retail, and the oil and gas segment.
6.IMF Approves $337 Million Second Tranche Loan For Sri Lanka
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the release of the second tranche, amounting to approximately $337 million, under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to Sri Lanka. With the second tranche now greenlit, Sri Lanka has received a total of around $670 million out of the anticipated $3 billion from the IMF.
- This financial injection is crucial for the country’s recovery efforts, particularly considering the severe impacts of the financial crisis on citizens, including acute shortages and prolonged power cuts leading to a state of bankruptcy.
- China, India, and Japan rank as Sri Lanka’s top three bilateral creditors. While significant debt comes from these nations, a substantial portion, accumulated through International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs), is owed to private creditors.
7.Fiscal Challenges Loom as 12 Indian States Project Debt Exceeding 35% of GSDP by FY24
- In the fiscal landscape of India, a concerning trend has emerged as twelve states are projected to witness their debt surpassing 35% of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) by the end of the financial year 2023-24.
- This revelation, detailed in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) latest annual publication, points to potential fiscal mismanagement and raises alarms about the fragile fiscal situation of these states.
- The states drawing attention from the RBI for fiscal mismanagement include Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.
8.Food Processing Industry Thrives with ₹7,000 Crore Investment Under PLI Scheme
- The Ministry of Food Processing reveals substantial growth in the sector, with beneficiaries of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme investing a staggering ₹7,126 crore. Notably, cumulative sales reached ₹49,825 crore during the April-September period.
- The PLI Scheme, spearheaded by the Ministry, aims to address critical aspects of the food processing industry. With a focus on generating employment for approximately 250,000 individuals, the scheme incentivizes manufacturing in four key categories: ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, processed fruits and vegetables, marine products, and mozzarella cheese.
9.Indian Banks Expand Overseas Presence to 417 in FY23: RBI Survey
- Indian banks significantly increased their overseas presence, reaching 417 subsidiaries in the fiscal year 2022-23, up from 399 in the previous year, according to a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) survey. The survey encompasses 14 Indian banks with foreign branches or subsidiaries and 44 foreign banks with a presence in India.
- Indian banks expanded their overseas presence through subsidiaries, reaching 417 in FY23 compared to 399 in the previous fiscal year, as per RBI data. The growth is highlighted by a 0.5% and 6.2% increase in employee strength for foreign branches and subsidiaries, respectively.
10.RBI Grants Authorization to Bandhan Bank for Pension Disbursement to Retired Railway Employees
- Bandhan Bank recently announced its official authorization by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to facilitate pension disbursement through e-Pension Payment Orders (e-PPOs) on behalf of the Ministry of Railways.
- This mandate extends the bank’s reach to approximately 50,000 average Indian Railways retirees annually, covering all offices, including 17 zonal railways and 8 production units of Indian Railways.
- Bandhan Bank’s newfound authorization empowers it to disburse pensions to retired employees of the Ministry of Railways, encompassing individuals who have concluded their service with the organization.
- Pensioners stand to benefit from competitive interest rates and senior citizen privileges offered by the bank. With a network of more than 1640 branches and a robust digital banking platform, Bandhan Bank aims to provide retirees with a comprehensive banking experience.
11.SBI to sign 70 million euro LoC with KfW for solar projects
- In a significant move towards sustainable energy, the State Bank of India (SBI) is set to sign a €70 million Line of Credit (LoC) with the German Development Bank KfW to support solar projects in India.
- The agreement is scheduled to be inked on December 14 at SBI’s IFSC Gift City Branch in Ahmedabad, marking a pivotal step in fostering solar photovoltaics (PV) initiatives across the country.
- The Line of Credit (LoC) is specifically tailored to bolster Solar Photovoltaics (PV) projects in India, aligning with the nation’s commitment to clean and renewable energy sources. This collaboration between SBI and KfW reflects a shared vision of promoting sustainable practices and reducing the carbon footprint through solar initiatives.
12.Tata Steel to Invest ₹100 Cr. in Centre for Innovation in London
- Tata Steel, a global steel leader, has embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with Imperial College London to establish the Centre for Innovation in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing in London.
- This Memorandum of Understanding signifies a strategic partnership aimed at accelerating technology development and deployment in critical areas, attracting talent and fostering a robust industry-academia collaborative ecosystem.
- Tata Steel is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable innovation by investing Rs.104 crore over the next four years. This financial commitment underscores Tata Steel’s dedication to fostering cutting-edge research and technology development in the field of sustainable design and manufacturing.
13.Foxconn Boosts Investment in Karnataka: $1.67 Billion for Diversification and iPhone Manufacturing
- Foxconn, the Taiwan-based giant responsible for assembling around 70% of iPhones globally, is set to invest an additional 139.11 billion rupees ($1.67 billion) in the state of Karnataka. Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, has been rapidly expanding its footprint in India over the past year.
- In August, Foxconn had already announced a substantial investment of $600 million in two projects within Karnataka. These projects aimed to manufacture casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment, demonstrating the company’s commitment to establishing a robust manufacturing ecosystem in the southern state.
- One of the most noteworthy aspects of Foxconn’s expansion plans is its intention to commence iPhone manufacturing in Karnataka by April 2024. This ambitious project is expected to create around 50,000 jobs in the region, marking a significant contribution to employment opportunities.
Ranks & Reports News
14.Mercer’s Survey: Pune 2nd In India For Quality Of Living After Hyderabad
- In a recent release of the Quality of Living Index 2023 by Mercer, a renowned global consultant for businesses, Pune has secured the second-best position in terms of ‘quality of life‘ in India. The city trails just behind Hyderabad, marking a significant improvement from the previous rankings.
- The Quality of Living City Index by Mercer positions Pune at 154th, with Hyderabad slightly ahead at 153rd, and Bengaluru following closely at 156th. Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), and Vancouver (Canada) clinched the top three spots globally in that order, according to the 2023 index.
- The last release of these rankings occurred in 2019, where both Pune and Hyderabad shared the 143rd position. The rankings for 2023 highlight the continuous endeavors aimed at improving the city’s infrastructure and raising overall living standards.
15.Jal Jeevan Mission: Transforming Rural India Through Accessible And Quality Tap Water
- The Government of India, unwavering in its commitment to providing safe and potable tap water to every rural household in the country launched the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in August 2019. This mission, implemented in collaboration with states, aims to ensure the provision of water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis.
- As of December 7, 2023, States/UTs report that an additional 10.53 Crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections under JJM. Consequently, out of the 19.24 Crore rural households in the country, approximately 71.51% (13.76 Crore) now have tap water supply in their homes.
16.Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Mann Initiate Scheme For Doorstep Services
- Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal recently launched the “Bhagwant Mann Sarkar, Tuhade Dwaar” scheme in Ludhiana, marking a historic day for the state.
- This initiative, inspired by the successful Delhi Model, aims to revolutionize governance by providing doorstep delivery of essential services.
- Mann and Kejriwal inaugurated the “Mobile Sahayaks,” a fleet of delivery men adorned in distinctive yellow T-shirts featuring Mann’s image. These sahayaks will play a crucial role in providing doorstep delivery of 43 critical services to the citizens of Punjab.
17.Mohammed Shami nominated for Arjuna Award, Satwiksairaj-Chirag for Khel Ratna
- India’s premier badminton men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty is in line to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sports prize.
- The pair has had a remarkable year, reaching as many as six finals, winning five. They won at the Asian Games, Asian Championships, Swiss Open, Indonesia Open and Korea Open. They were runners-up at China Masters.
- India pace ace Mohammed Shami, who finished as the top wickettaker in the ODI World Cup with 24 scalps, is in the list for the Arjuna Award, it is learnt. Satwik-Chirag, the first Indian doubles pair to rise to the top of the international game, also rose to No.1 in the BWF world rankings this year, also a first for an Indian doubles pair.
18.Reliance Teams With DBS Bank For Biogas Initiative
- Reliance Industries has forged a strategic partnership with DBS Bank India to establish a financing program targeting farmers and aggregators. The primary objective of this collaboration is to manage crop residue effectively, utilizing it in the production of compressed biogas (CBG).
- Farmers often resort to burning agricultural residue due to the lack of means, infrastructure, and logistics required for proper processing. Reliance Industries has identified this challenge and enlisted DBS Bank India as its finance partner to address the financial aspects of sustainable residue management.
- Reliance Industries is actively advancing its green energy commitment, launching a nationwide program for biogas facilities. The initial facility in Barabanki, UP, anticipates cutting 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
- With plans to establish 100 CBG plants in five years, the initiative targets utilizing over 5.5 million tons of agricultural residue, contributing to a yearly reduction of 2 million tons in carbon emissions.
19.COP28 Concludes with Historic Agreement on Fossil Fuels
- The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded with a groundbreaking decision – the “UAE Consensus” – marking a historic step towards addressing the climate crisis.
- For the first time, participating parties agreed to confront the issue of fossil fuels, recognizing the imperative for a “fair and equitable” transition away from them. Developing nations emphasized the absence of concrete financial commitments for their transition away from fossil fuels, raising questions about the global commitment to climate action.
- However, Several developing countries, including Bolivia, Cuba, China, and members of the “G-77 and China” group, expressed dissatisfaction with the final text on fossil fuels. They argued that it undermined principles of equity and climate justice.
20.Parama Sen Appointed Part-Time Member of PFRDA Board, Filling All Three Vacancies
- In a recent development, Parama Sen, Additional Secretary in the Department of Expenditure at the Finance Ministry, has been appointed as a part-time member of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
- This appointment completes the trio of part-time members on the PFRDA board. Parama Sen, a 1994 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Services (IAAS) officer, assumes the role, succeeding Anne George Mathew, who vacated the position earlier this year.
- The PFRDA board consists of a chairman, three whole-time members, and three part-time members. The Member (Law) post, vacant since May last year, remains unfilled. Earlier appointments include Rahul Singh from the Department of Personnel and Training and Pankaj Sharma from the Department of Financial Services, both appointed in the previous year.
21.Italy clinches Admiral’s Cup 2023 at Indian Naval Academy
- The 12th edition of the eagerly awaited Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta concluded at Ettikulam Beach, INA, Ezhimala.
- The top honor of the Admiral’s Cup 23 went to Team Italy, represented by Midshipman Avallone Antonio and Midshipman Creati Carlo Leonardo.
- Team India, led by Midshipman PPK Reddy and Cadet GY Reddy, emerged as the Runners-Up, showcasing their talent and determination on the challenging waters.
- Team United Kingdom, represented by Officer Cadet Lucy Bell and Midshipman Aaron Middleton, and Team Germany, represented by Cadet Beckman Carl and Cadet Hinz Anton, shared the third position.
22.IPL brand value rises 28% to $10.7 billion in 2023
- In a major milestone, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has achieved decacorn status, with its combined brand value seeing a remarkable 28% surge to reach an impressive $10.7 billion. This significant growth is reported by Brand Finance, marking a phenomenal 433% increase in the IPL system’s brand value since its launch in 2008.
- During the 2023 season, IPL reached an astounding 505 million viewers on television and an additional 450 million on digital platforms. Disney Star holds the TV broadcast rights, while JioCinema owns the digital streaming rights.
- Brand Finance is the second company, following D&P Advisory, to appraise the IPL ecosystem at over $10 billion. Earlier estimates by Houlihan Lokey had placed IPL’s brand value at $3 billion, with a noteworthy business enterprise value of $15 billion.
23.Emmy-Winning Actor Andre Braugher Passes Away at 61
- Emmy-winning actor Andre Braugher, renowned for his notable roles in series such as “Homicide: Life on The Street” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” has sadly passed away at the age of 61. His publicist, Jennifer Allen, confirmed the news, citing a brief illness as the cause.
- Born in Chicago, Braugher gained widespread recognition with his breakthrough role in the 1989 film “Glory,” alongside Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington. “Glory,” depicts the experiences of an all-Black army regiment during the Civil War.
- The actor’s compelling performance earned him his first Emmy in 1998, securing the trophy for lead actor in a drama series. This marked the beginning of a distinguished career, and Braugher would go on to receive a total of 11 Emmy nominations throughout his impressive tenure.
24.Air India Unveils New Uniforms for Cabin, Cockpit Crew Designed by Fashion Designer Manish Malhotra
- Air India, the national carrier, recently revealed its revamped uniforms for cabin crew and pilots, designed by renowned fashion designer Manish Malhotra. The grand unveiling took place on December 12, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to the airline’s image.
- The female cabin crew will sport ready-to-wear ombre sarees, skillfully crafted with intricate jharokha patterns and adorned with the Vista, the new Air India logo icon. This neo-traditional look is paired with blouses and blazers, adding a modern touch to the ensemble. Notably, the ready-to-wear sarees can also be optionally paired with comfortable pants, providing greater flexibility for the crew to express their individual styles.
- In addition to the uniforms, the designer curated footwear for the cabin crew. Female crew members will wear dual-tone (black and burgundy) block heels, while male cabin crew will opt for comfortable black brogues. The uniforms also include pearl earnings and sling bags for female cabin crew, adding to the overall polished look.
25.Cyclone Jasper hits Australia
- Tropical Cyclone Jasper, the first named storm of the 2023–24 Australian region cyclone season, made landfall in northeast Australia, impacting northern Queensland with destructive winds and the looming threat of flash flooding. This active tropical cyclone emerged as the third disturbance of the 2023–24 South Pacific cyclone season.
- Originating from a low-pressure area in the South Pacific Ocean, Jasper initially moved southwest through Fiji’s area of responsibility. While slow to develop initially, the system gained strength, prompting the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to classify it as a Category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian scale.
- Jasper rapidly intensified, reaching Category 4 status on 7 December, with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimating sustained winds of 220 km/h (140 mph). However, the cyclone’s journey took a turn as it encountered an environment with increasing wind shear, leading to a gradual weakening.
14 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR