Table of Contents
Read the most important current affairs of 15 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on ‘Mission Antarctica’, ADB’s Growth Projection, UWW Rising Star of the Year, Indira Gandhi Peace Prize Award.
Top 26 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 15 December 2023
1.PM Modi Unveils 7th edition of ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’
- The Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan, has officially announced the commencement of applications for the seventh edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha. This unique initiative aims to foster student engagement and provide a platform for dialogue on various aspects of education.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to interact with participants, including parents and teachers, to address topics ranging from board exams to the aspirations of students. Students can submit their questions to the Prime Minister, with a maximum limit of 500 characters.
- Approximately 2050 students, teachers, and parents selected through competitions on MyGov will receive special Pariksha Pe Charcha Kits from the Ministry of Education. This recognition serves as a token of appreciation for their active participation and contribution to the educational discourse.
2.Defense Minister Flags In ‘Mission Antarctica’ By Himalayan Mountaineering Team
- In a momentous event on December 13, 2023, Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt ceremoniously flagged in a team from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, which successfully completed ‘Mission Antarctica.’
- The expedition, initiated in 2021, was led by Group Captain Jai Kishan and comprised three trekkers. The apex of their achievement was the hoisting of the National Flag, an impressive 7,500 sq ft and weighing 75 kilograms, atop Mt Rhenock in Sikkim Himalayas at an astounding altitude of 16,500 feet.
- This awe-inspiring event marked the conclusion of the mega roadshow, ‘Mera Yuva Bharat Yatra.’ The Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records acknowledged this remarkable feat, cementing the team’s place in the annals of achievement.
3.Pune Surpasses China, Clinches Guinness World Record For Largest Reading Activity
- In a momentous occasion for India, Pune has etched its name in the prestigious ‘Guinness World Record‘ books by hosting the largest reading activity in collaboration, surpassing China’s previous record. The previous record, held by China, stood at 2,884 simultaneous readers.
- On December 14th, 2023, from 8-10 am at SP College, a remarkable total of 3,066 parents gathered to read aloud to their children, creating a magical atmosphere and leaving an indelible mark in history.
- This extraordinary feat was orchestrated by the National Book Trust as part of the Pune Book Festival, where parents immersed themselves in reading aloud from the book “निसर्गाचा नाश करू नाका” by Kshipra Shahane for an exhilarating three minutes.
4.Indian Navy to recommission Maldives-gifted, decommissioned ship
- The Indian Navy is set to re-induct a refurbished 22-year-old fast attack craft, INS Tarmugli, in a ceremonial commissioning ceremony at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
- This event marks a significant milestone, as INS Tarmugli returns to active service more than seventeen years after being gifted to the Maldives and subsequently returned to India in May of the current year.
- “The ship has a unique distinction of having served under the flag of two nations with three names during her distinguished service till date.” Originally commissioned in the Indian Navy as INS Tillanchang, a Trinkat Class ship, it served actively until 2006.
5.Tamil Nadu’s FDI Landscape: With $10 b in 4 years, ranks fourth
- Tamil Nadu has witnessed a cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow of nearly $10 billion in the past four years (October 2019 to September 2023). However, the state’s FDI for the fiscal year 2022-23 stood at $2.17 billion, a decrease from the previous year’s $3 billion.
- Ongoing FDI reforms across various sectors, including Defence, Pension, Financial Services, Asset Reconstruction Companies, Broadcasting, Pharmaceuticals, Single Brand Retail Trading, Construction & Development, and Civil Aviation, showcase the government’s commitment to an attractive and investor-friendly destination.
6.Net New Women EPFO Subscribers Surge to 28.69 Lakh in FY23: Parliament Update
- In a recent update to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Labour & Employment Rameshwar Teli revealed a noteworthy surge in net new women subscribers for the Employees’ Provident Fund of India (EPFO).
- The data reflects the extent of job creation and increased coverage of social security benefits for the organized/semi-organized sector workforce. According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), the estimated female unemployment rate (UR) dropped to 2.9% in 2022-23 from 4.2% in 2019-20.
7.Robust Growth in Net Direct Tax Collection: At Rs 10.6 trillion, rises 23.4% in Apr-Nov
- In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, net direct tax collection has witnessed a substantial surge, reaching Rs 10.64 trillion. This marks a remarkable 23.4% increase compared to the corresponding period last year.
- The Ministry of Finance reported that this collection represents 58.34% of the Budget Estimates (BE) for the fiscal year.
- For the entire fiscal year, the government anticipates collecting Rs 18.23 trillion through direct taxes (including personal income tax and corporate tax) and Rs 15.38 trillion from indirect taxes (comprising GST, customs, and excise).
- A senior finance ministry official revealed earlier in the week that the government is likely to adhere to the budgeted estimate, maintaining a total tax collection target of Rs 33.61 trillion for the current fiscal in the revised estimates.
8.ADB Revises India’s Growth Projection to 6.7% for FY24
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has adjusted India’s growth projection for the current financial year, FY24, from 6.3% to a more optimistic 6.7%, citing a robust second-quarter performance that exceeded expectations.
- The second quarter witnessed a higher-than-anticipated GDP growth of 7.6%, propelling the overall growth for the first half (April-September) to an impressive 7.7%, as revealed in the Asian Development Outlook December 2023.
- For the next financial year, FY25, ADB maintains its growth forecast for India at 6.7%. Inflation forecasts remain steady at 5.5% for the current financial year, aligning with the RBI’s projection of 5.4% for FY24.
9.Wholesale Inflation Bounces Back: Climbs to 0.26% in November after Seven Months of Deflation
- After seven consecutive months of deflation, India’s wholesale prices rebounded, recording a growth of 0.26% in November, compared to the -0.52% rate observed in October.
- Prices of primary articles witnessed a significant rise of 4.8% in November, up from 1.8% in October. In contrast, fuel and power prices were 4.6% lower than the same period last year.
- The Commerce and Industry Ministry attributes this upturn primarily to increased prices in various sectors, including food articles, minerals, machinery & equipment, computer, electronics & optical products, motor vehicles, other transport equipment, and other manufactured goods.
10.India’s logistics cost 7.8-8.9% of GDP, shows govt survey
- India’s logistics cost for the fiscal year 2021-22 has been revealed to be in the range of 7.8-8.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a government survey. This figure is notably lower than previous private survey estimates, which suggested a cost exceeding 10%.
- The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) conducted the survey, tasked by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The World Bank has reviewed the methodology, acknowledging its appropriateness as a baseline with potential for future refinement.
- The report aims to establish a framework for credible logistics cost estimates, facilitating data-based planning and policymaking. The present government estimates suggest India’s logistics cost stands at 13-14% of GDP, indicating a notable variance from the survey results.
11.Directorate General of Civil Aviation grants licence for Ayodhya Airport
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted an aerodrome license for the Ayodhya Airport, paving the way for its inaugural flight on December 30.
- Developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at a cost of ₹350 crore, the airport is strategically timed for inauguration ahead of the upcoming Ram Mandir inauguration in Ayodhya.
- The airport features a state-of-the-art passenger terminal building capable of accommodating up to 500 passengers during peak hours.The runway is designed to accommodate narrowbody flights, including the Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737s.
- Equipped with ILS, the airport facilitates flight operations at night and in low-visibility conditions, enhancing overall operational efficiency. IndiGo, a prominent budget carrier, has announced its inaugural flight from Delhi to Ayodhya on December 30.
12.ADB Allocates $200M To Improve Sanitation In 100 Cities And Boost Waste Management
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has taken a significant stride in fostering sustainable urban development by approving a USD 200 million loan to bolster the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission-Urban 2.0.
- This initiative, committed to making all cities garbage-free by 2026, aims to introduce international best practices, integrate new technologies, and adopt climate- and disaster-resilient approaches in municipal solid waste management.
- This ambitious undertaking seeks to engage the private sector, strengthen women’s participation in sanitation and service delivery, and enhance waste management facilities in 100 cities across eight states.
13.India’s E-Retail Market Estimated to Cross USD 160 Billion by 2028: Report
- The e-retail market in India is poised for substantial growth, with a report by Bain & Company in collaboration with Flipkart projecting a surge past the USD 160 billion mark by 2028.
- The report highlights key factors contributing to this growth, including affordable data, improved logistics, fintech infrastructure and a robust digital consumer ecosystem.
- As of 2023, the e-retail market in India is expected to be in the range of USD 57-USD 60 billion, with an annual shopper base of approximately 240 million.
- This represents a significant annual addition of USD 8-12 billion since 2020. Despite this growth, online spending in India currently constitutes only 5-6% of total retail spending, indicating substantial headroom for expansion compared to the US (23-24%) and China (35%).
Summits & Conferences News
14.COP28 concludes: Highlights from the largest global climate summit
- The two-week-long COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), concluded on December 13 with member nations engaging in extended talks on the final text. In the closing plenary, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber highlighted the summit’s achievements, emphasizing a robust action plan aimed at limiting global warming to the targeted 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times set in the 2015 Paris deal.
- The most significant achievement of COP28 is the historic agreement to begin reducing global consumption of fossil fuels. Unlike previous COP texts that focused on coal, COP28 marked the first time a global commitment was made to transition away from oil and gas, fundamental components of the global economy for decades. The Global Stocktake (GST) text outlines a just, orderly, and equitable transition, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050.
15.Bihar Business Summit 2023: Massive Investment Inflows of Rs 50,530 Crore Through MoUs
- Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth an impressive Rs 50,530 crore have been successfully inked with approximately 300 companies, reflecting a resounding success for Bihar. These agreements span diverse sectors, underlining the state’s appeal to investors.
- Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a key participant in the summit, took a significant step towards bolstering Bihar’s economic landscape. He unveiled the Bihar Logistics Policy 2023, with a vision to establish world-class infrastructure for both industrial and social advancement.
- The Adani Group, a major player in the investment surge, has declared an additional investment of Rs 8,700 crore in Bihar. The commitment extends across sectors such as cement manufacturing, logistics, and agro-industry. Pranav Adani, Director of Adani Enterprises, highlighted the group’s existing investment of Rs 850 crore in the state.
Ranks & Reports News
16.Shah Rukh Khan Tops UKs List of World’s Top 50 Asian Celebrities Post Success of Pathaan and Jawan
- As 2023 draws to a close, Shah Rukh Khan is poised to achieve a remarkable feat as the first leading man from the modern era to deliver three massive Bollywood blockbuster hits in a single calendar year.
- While Shah Rukh Khan claimed the top position, the talented and popular actress Alia Bhatt secured the second spot on the list. Her stellar performances and widespread acclaim contribute to her standing as one of the leading actors in the industry. The recognition reaffirms her status as a powerhouse performer in Bollywood.
- Securing the fourth place on the prestigious list is Diljit Dosanjh, celebrated as the biggest Punjabi star. Dosanjh’s noteworthy achievement includes a performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, adding a unique flavor to his already illustrious career.
17.Zepto founders top Hurun India’s list of ‘Top 100 under 30’
- The recently unveiled Hurun India Top 100 Under 30 List 2023 has showcased inspiring success stories of young entrepreneurs making waves in various industries.
- Kaivalya Vohra (21) and Aadit Palicha (22), the founders of the Quick Commerce app Zepto, have claimed the top spots. Zepto’s commitment to delivering a diverse array of products within minutes has garnered attention, making it the first Indian unicorn of 2023 with a valuation of $1.4 billion.
- At a close second is Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash (24), founder of Bhanzu. Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavors, he is globally recognized as the world’s fastest human calculator. His research initiative has positively impacted over 2 million students in India.
18.India’s Light Vehicle Market Outpaces Global Top 10, Exceeding Pre-Pandemic Levels
- According to S&P Global Mobility forecasts, India is set to witness a remarkable 36% growth in its light vehicle market in 2023, reaching 4.8 million units—a testament to the country’s resilience and quick recovery in the post-pandemic era. This remarkable achievement places India ahead of all other major players in the industry.
- India’s domestic passenger vehicle sales have been on a consistent upward trajectory, buoyed by positive macro-economic factors. Monthly advances since FY22 have been impressive, with November 2023 dispatches reaching an all-time high of 334,000 units.
- The positive trend observed in 2023 is expected to extend into 2024, with China and India projected to be the only growth markets. S&P Global forecasts global auto sales to reach approximately 88 to 88.5 million units next year, a challenging prospect given the estimated end-of-year total of 86 million units globally.
19.Prof. Savita Ladage Honored With Nyholm Prize for Chemistry Education Excellence
- Professor Savita Ladage from Mumbai’s Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, has been awarded the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry’s Nyholm Prize for Education.
- Professor Ladage’s tireless advocacy for the significance of chemical education has earned her this esteemed award. She has played a pivotal role in mentoring chemistry educators and spearheading impactful teacher and student programs that have significantly contributed to the enhancement of chemistry education in the country.
- In addition to the honor, Professor Savita Ladage will be bestowed with £5,000, a medal, and a certificate as part of the Nyholm Prize. This acknowledgment reflects not only her personal achievements but also the broader impact of her work on the field of chemistry education.
20.Antim Panghal named UWW Rising Star of the Year
- Indian wrestler Antim Panghal has been named the Rising Star of the Year among women by the United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body.
- The 19-year-old dynamo, competing in the 53 kg category, has had a remarkable season that has not only garnered accolades but has also overshadowed senior stalwart Vinesh Phogat in the same weight class.
- Hailing from Haryana, Antim Panghal has etched her name in history as the only two-time junior world champion for India, a testament to her exceptional skill and dedication to the sport. Her achievements in the junior category have laid a strong foundation for her rapid rise in the senior ranks.
21.Indira Gandhi Peace Prize Awarded to Daniel Barenboim and Ali Abu Awwad”
- The prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament, and Development for 2023 has been jointly conferred upon renowned classical pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian peace activist Ali Abu Awwad.
- Ali Abu Awwad, an eminent Palestinian peace activist, represents the resilience and determination of individuals dedicated to transforming conflict into cooperation. Maestro Daniel Barenboim, an Argentine-born virtuoso, has not only left an indelible mark on the world of classical music but has also emerged as a beacon of hope in the pursuit of harmony in West Asia.
- The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament, and Development is a prestigious award presented annually to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of international peace, disarmament, and development.
22.Vijay Amritraj and Leander Paes Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
- In a historic moment for Indian tennis, legends Vijay Amritraj and Leander Paes have etched their names into the annals of the sport as the first Asian men to be inducted into the esteemed International Tennis Hall of Fame. This achievement elevates India to the 28th nation represented in this prestigious institution.
- Leander Paes, an 18-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, secures his place in the Player category. Renowned as one of the greatest doubles players in history, Paes achieved the No. 1 ranking in doubles and boasts an impressive tally of 8 doubles titles and 10 mixed doubles titles.
- Vijay Amritraj, a tennis icon and successful broadcaster, has been honored in the Contributor category. Amritraj’s leadership in India’s Davis Cup history is noteworthy, having guided the team to its only two Finals appearances in 1974 and 1987.
23.HCCB Signs MoU with Gujarat government for ₹3,000-cr Juice & Aerated Beverages facility in Rajkot
- Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) has inked a significant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Gujarat, indicating a massive investment of Rs.3000 crore. This strategic move showcases HCCB’s dedication to establishing a cutting-edge manufacturing facility for juices and aerated beverages in Rajkot by 2026.
- The MoU reflects HCCB’s commitment to building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, underscoring its focus on quality and innovation. The proposed facility in Rajkot is poised to become a key player in the production of a diverse range of beverages, contributing to the company’s extensive product portfolio.
- With over 60 different products spanning seven categories, HCCB’s fresh investment is expected to create a substantial industrial footprint. This venture is not only a boon for the company but also a catalyst for considerable economic and social growth in the region.
24.DAE and IDRS Labs Collaborate On Aktocyte Tablets For Cancer
- In a landmark collaboration, scientists from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Bengaluru-based IDRS Labs have united their expertise to develop Aktocyte tablets for the treatment of pelvic cancer.
- The tablets, designed as an adjuvant to cancer radiotherapy, regenerative nutraceutical, immunomodulator, and antioxidant, mark a significant advancement in cancer care, according to a statement from the DAE.
- The primary aim of this collaborative effort is to minimize the side effects of radiotherapy, a crucial aspect of cancer treatment. By developing Aktocyte tablets as an adjuvant to cancer radiotherapy, the researchers aim to enhance the treatment’s efficacy while reducing its adverse effects.
25.BCCI Decides to Retire MS Dhoni’s Iconic No.7 Jersey
- In a move echoing the tribute to cricket legends, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to retire the iconic No.7 jersey worn by former captain MS Dhoni. This decision follows the precedent set by Sachin Tendulkar’s No.10, retired in 2017. Going forward, no other Indian cricketer will sport the No.7 jersey.
- Dhoni’s last appearance in the Indian jersey, marked by the No.7, was in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. The decision to retire the jersey adds a poignant touch to his illustrious career.
- The retirement of MS Dhoni’s No.7 jersey stands as a symbolic gesture, honoring the exceptional contribution of a cricketing legend whose leadership and prowess left an indelible mark on the sport in India.
26.CEO Tavares Marks a New Era for Stellantis in India
- In a recent media interaction, Stellantis N.V. CEO Carlos Tavares highlighted the strategic importance of India in the company’s global operations and outlined his vision for the country as part of the Dare Forward 2030 global strategic plan.
- The merged companies that formed Stellantis have invested over $1 billion since 2015 to establish a sustainable footprint in India, aligning with the Government of India’s “Make in India” initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Stellantis currently operates three manufacturing plants in Ranjangaon, Hosur and Thiruvallur, an ICT Hub in Hyderabad, a Software Centre in Bengaluru, and two R&D centers in Chennai and Pune. These facilities play a crucial role in contributing to Stellantis’ global software development and sourcing hub for vehicles, components and mobility technologies.
15 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR