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Daily Current Affairs 20 December 2023, Important News Headlines (Daily GK Update)

Read the most important current affairs of 20 December 2023. Today Current Affairs covers the headlines on JN.1 Variant of COVID-19 Virus, Golden Bengal Tiger Award, International Human Solidarity Day 2023.

Top 23 Current Affairs and News Headlines of 20 December 2023

National News

1.IndiGo Becomes First Indian Airline to Carry 100 Million Passengers a Year

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  • IndiGo, India’s leading carrier, has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Indian airline to transport 100 million passengers in a single calendar year.
  • This accomplishment places IndiGo in an elite global club of carriers operating such a massive scale, solidifying its position among the world’s top-10 airlines by passenger traffic.
  • IndiGo’s success is further underscored by its substantial backlog of close to 1,000 planes, set to be delivered over the next decade. The airline’s aggressive approach to fleet expansion positions it for sustained growth and increased market share in the highly competitive aviation industry.

International News

2.EU Expresses Disappointment as India Rejects Interim Arbitration in WTO Dispute

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  • The European Union (EU) has conveyed disappointment at India’s refusal to engage in interim arbitration for resolving the ongoing dispute concerning import duties on specific Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products, such as smartphones and components.
  • India defends its stance, asserting that interim agreements undermine the right to appeal to a permanent standing body and emphasizes the need to restore the functioning of the WTO appellate body. India defends its decision at the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body meeting.
  • Background: In April 2019, the EU lodged a complaint against India’s import tariffs on certain ICT products, alleging a breach of India’s WTO commitments. Disputed products include mobile phones, components, base stations, integrated circuits, and optical instruments.

3.JN.1 Variant of COVID-19 Virus, All You Need to Know About It

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  • The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning on Sunday, December 17, expressing concerns over the evolving nature of the JN.1 COVID subvariant and the surge in respiratory diseases globally.
  • The organization urged member states to prioritize sequence sharing and enhance surveillance efforts to better understand and combat the changing landscape of the virus
  • JN.1 has distinct characteristics, spreading faster and demonstrating the ability to evade immunity. This alarming combination makes it capable of infecting individuals with prior COVID infections and those who have been vaccinated.
  • In India, JN.1 was detected in Kerala on December 8, with a reported case in 79-year-old woman who experienced mild symptoms of Influenza like Illness (ILI). The country is urged to stay vigilant and implement necessary measures to contain the variant’s spread.

4.Donald Trump Declared Ineligible to Run for President in Colorado by State’s Supreme Court

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  • In a landmark decision, the Colorado Supreme Court, consisting entirely of justices appointed by Democratic governors, declared former U.S. President Donald Trump ineligible for the presidency under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause.
  • The court’s 4-3 decision sets the stage for a legal battle, as Trump’s attorneys vowed to appeal the disqualification immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court, which holds the final authority on constitutional matters. The legal challenge revolves around whether the frontrunner for the GOP nomination can remain in the race.
  • The court ruled that Trump is disqualified from holding the presidency under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals who engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution from holding office. This decision stems from Trump’s alleged role in inciting the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Economy News

5.13 States Raise Rs 19,692 Crore in State Government Securities Auction

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  • Thirteen Indian states participated in a state government securities auction, collectively raising Rs 19,692 crore, slightly surpassing the notified amount of Rs 19,592 crore. This marked an increase from the previous week, where eight states had raised Rs 12,100 crore through a similar auction.
  • According to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh emerged as the leading states, each successfully raising Rs 4,000 crore. Karnataka raised Rs 4,000 crore through two papers. Rs 2,000 crore was raised via a 15-year paper with a cut-off yield of 7.60%. Another Rs 2,000 crore was generated through a 16-year paper with a cut-off yield of 7.64%.

6.IMF Reclassifies India’s Exchange Rate Regime: Stabilised Arrangement Amid Divergent Views

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  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reclassified India’s de facto exchange rate regime from “floating” to “stabilized arrangement” for the period December 2022 to October 2023.
  • This shift comes after an Article IV review, where the IMF staff diverged from Indian authorities’ perspective on exchange rate stability.
  • Over the past two years, the rupee-dollar exchange rate exhibited significant movement, depreciating by approximately 15% between December 2019 and November 2022. Improved domestic macroeconomic stability, bolstered by tightened monetary policy, attracted capital inflows over the past year.

7.Govt Reports a Decline In Agriculture’s GDP Share To 15% In FY23

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  • India’s economic landscape has witnessed a significant transformation over the past few decades, marked by a notable decline in the share of agriculture in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • According to recent government data, the share of agriculture in India’s GDP dropped from 35% in the fiscal year 1990-91 to 15% in 2022-23.
  • Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, emphasized that the decrease in the share of agriculture in the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the economy is not a result of a reduction in agricultural GVA but rather stems from the remarkable expansion of the industrial and service sector GVAs.
  • Despite the declining share in GDP, the agricultural and allied sector has demonstrated resilience, registering an average annual growth of 4% over the last five years. This indicates that while agriculture’s contribution to the overall economy may be diminishing proportionately, the sector is still experiencing positive growth.

Banking News

8.SBI’s Market Capitalization Soars to Rs 6 Trillion: A 17% Surge in 1 MonthDaily Current Affairs 20 December 2023, Important News Headlines (Daily GK Update) |_100.1

  • Shares of State Bank of India (SBI) have reached new heights, hitting a record Rs 659.50, marking a substantial 17% surge in the past month.
  • This surge has outpaced the market, with S&P BSE Sensex and Nifty 50 up by nearly 9%, and the Nifty PSU Bank index gaining 14% during the same period.
  • The surge in SBI’s stock price reflects positive investor sentiment towards the bank. Investors are showing renewed interest in SBI’s growth potential and long-term prospects, driven by expectations of strong earnings, dividend payouts, and future growth opportunities.

9.Unclaimed Deposits in Indian Banks Surge to ₹42,270 Crore, Marking a 28% Increase in 2023

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  • In a revelation during the ongoing Winter Session, the Indian Parliament disclosed a concerning trend in unclaimed deposits within the country’s banking sector.
  • The unclaimed deposits have witnessed a substantial 28% annual rise, reaching a staggering ₹42,270 crore by the end of the last financial year in March 2023. This marks a significant jump from the previous year’s figure of ₹32,934 crore.
  • Public sector banks accounted for the majority of unclaimed deposits, with a substantial ₹36,185 crore, while private sector banks held ₹6,087 crore in unclaimed deposits as of March 2023.
  • Unclaimed deposits, as defined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), refer to balances left in savings or current accounts that have remained inactive for 10 or more years. Following this period, such deposits are to be transferred to the RBI’s Depositor Education and Awareness (DEA) Fund.

Business News

10.India’s Thermal Coal Imports from the US Reach Over Two-Year High in November

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  • In November, India experienced a notable surge in long-haul thermal coal imports, with shipments from the United States peaking at 1.40 million tonnes (MT), marking the highest level in over a year.
  • The information comes from energy intelligence firm Kpler, which reported that India’s total thermal coal imports for the month amounted to 17.51 MT, slightly lower than the 15-month high of 18.66 MT recorded in October 2023.
  • In 2022, Indonesia emerged as India’s largest overseas supplier of thermal coal. Despite this, the US maintained its position as India’s second-largest supplier of coking coal after Australia, as of October 2023. Russia secured the third position in coking coal supplies.

11.Razorpay, Cashfree Secure RBI Approval To Operate As Payment Aggregators

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  • Payment processing giants Razorpay and Cashfree have received the final authorization from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as Payment Aggregators (PAs).
  • Payment Aggregators (PAs) are entities that facilitate e-commerce sites and merchants in accepting various payment instruments from customers, streamlining the payment process without requiring merchants to create their systems.
  • In July 2022, Pine Labs, Razorpay, and American payments player Stripe were among the first to receive in-principle approval for the PA license.

Important Days News

12.International Human Solidarity Day 2023

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  • International Human Solidarity Day 2023 is a significant observance held annually on December 20th. Recognized by the UN General Assembly, this day emphasizes the importance of solidarity in fostering global unity and diversity.
  • As of now, the specific theme for International Human Solidarity Day 2023 has not been released. Once unveiled, it will be updates on the dedicated International Human Solidarity Day 2023 Theme Page.
  • International Human Solidarity Day holds immense significance, serving as a platform for nations to reaffirm their commitment to various international agreements. On this day, discussions and events revolve around fostering solidarity, addressing issues such as land mine usage, disaster relief, universal education, poverty eradication and more.

Awards News

13.Gaja Capital Business Book Prize ‘Against All Odds’, ‘Winning Middle India’ Declared Joint Winners

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  • The Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, a prestigious annual recognition, has crowned two exceptional narratives in its 2023 edition. Against All Odds: The IT Story of India and Winning Middle India: The Story of India’s New-Age Entrepreneurs emerged as joint winners, capturing the essence of India’s dynamic business landscape.
  • Authorized by Kris Gopalkrishnan, N Dayasindhu and Krishnan Narayanan, Against All Odds meticulously weaves together the firsthand accounts of over fly distinguished individuals who have played pivotal role in shaping IT industry. The jury commended the book for its detailed exploration of the challenges, triumphs and transformative moments that have defined the trajectory of the IT sector in India.

14.Israeli Film ‘Children of Nobody’ Wins Golden Bengal Tiger Award

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  • The 29th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) concluded with a momentous highlight as the Israeli film ‘Children of Nobody‘ secured the prestigious Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Film.
  • Inspired by a true story, this compassionate Israeli drama sheds light on the often unnoticed and uncared-for individuals on the periphery of society.
  • The movie, written and directed by Erez-Tadmor from Tel-Aviv, unfolds the compelling journey of troubled boys compelled to unite to save a shelter for at-risk youth, providing them refuge from the streets
  • The film not only earned critical acclaim but also received the highest cash award given by any film festival globally—a remarkable Rs 51 lakh along with the trophy. This accolade not only underscores the film’s excellence but also showcases the international recognition garnered by Israeli cinema.

Agreements News

15.MediaTek, Nvidia Unite To Power Artificial Intelligence In Cars

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  • Semiconductor powerhouses MediaTek and Nvidia have recently forged a strategic partnership aimed at bringing artificial intelligence (AI) to the forefront of the automotive industry.
  • This collaboration signifies a bold step towards revolutionizing in-car experiences, shaping the evolution of autonomous driving systems, and establishing a new standard for smart vehicles.
  • One of the primary focuses of this collaboration is the seamless integration of AI into autonomous driving systems.
  • Leveraging Nvidia’s deep learning and AI capabilities alongside MediaTek’s advanced system-on-chip (SoC) solutions, the goal is to create a comprehensive platform capable of instantly handling and understanding complex data from cameras, sensors, and other sources.

16.Suzlon and REC Ltd Collaborate On Non-Fund Based Working Capital

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  • Suzlon Group, India’s largest renewable energy solutions provider, has recently inked a definitive agreement with REC Limited, a state-run entity, for crucial working capital facilities.
  • This strategic partnership is geared towards bolstering Suzlon’s capacity to meet its working capital needs, pivotal for executing its extensive current order book and prospective future projects.
  • REC Ltd, classified as a ‘Maharatna’ company and under the administrative purview of the Ministry of Power, specializes in providing long-term financial solutions, including loans, to entities in the country’s infrastructure sector.
  • This partnership signifies a renewed collaboration, as REC Ltd has played a crucial role in aiding Suzlon’s past endeavors, including debt refinancing, ultimately contributing to Suzlon achieving a debt-free status.

Appointments News

17.Senior IPS Officer Maheshwar Dayal Takes Over as Director General of Prisons

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  • Senior IPS officer Maheshwar Dayal officially assumed the role of Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services on Monday, December 18.
  • With a distinguished career marked by various leadership roles across multiple districts and specialized units, Dayal brings a wealth of experience to his new position. Let’s delve into his illustrious journey through the ranks of law enforcement.
  • Maheshwar Dayal’s journey in law enforcement began as a Superintendent of Police (SP) in Virudhunagar, where he quickly demonstrated his dedication and leadership skills. His proficiency led to subsequent appointments as SP in The Nilgiris and Nagapattinam districts, showcasing his ability to adapt to diverse operational environments.

Sports News

18.Amitabh Bachchan Becomes Owner of Mumbai Team in Indian Street Premier League

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  • Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan revealed his ownership of the Mumbai team in the upcoming Indian Street Premier League (ISPL). Earlier announcements revealed that actors Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan have taken up ownership of the Srinagar and Bengaluru teams, respectively. This star-studded ownership adds an extra layer of glamour and excitement to the league.
  • The ISPL will feature a total of 19 high-intensity matches during its inaugural edition. The six participating teams are Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Srinagar. Each teams represents a city, providing a diverse and competitive mix of players from various regions.

Science & Technology News

19.Indian Government Alerts Public On Smishing Threats
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  • The Indian government has issued a warning regarding a new and sophisticated scam known as “Smishing,” a malicious practice that exploits text messages to deceive individuals into divulging confidential information.
  • Fraudulent messages may impersonate banks, government agencies, or well-known brands, creating a false sense of urgency that compels recipients to take immediate action. The ultimate goal is to trick individuals into revealing sensitive personal information.
  • In the unfortunate event of falling victim to a smishing attack, individuals can take immediate action by dialing 1930 to report online financial fraud. Additionally, any instances of cybercrime can be reported at cybercrime.gov.in. Timely reporting is crucial to mitigating the impact of such scams and preventing further harm.

20.Kakrapar Unit-4 Power Project Attains Initial Criticality

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  • The Unit 4 of Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP 4 – 700 MW) marked a historic moment in India’s nuclear power landscape by achieving criticality, signifying the initiation of controlled fission chain reactions.
  • This significant milestone, attained on December 17, 2023, is a testament to the stringent safety standards set by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
  • This achievement reinforces the commitment to AtmaNirbhar Bharat, with the reactors designed, constructed, commissioned, and operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), while equipment supply and contracts execution were handled by Indian industries and companies.

21.Google Announces India-First AI-Powered Experience for Maps

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  • Google Maps, a ubiquitous navigation tool, is set to undergo a transformative upgrade in India with a host of new features leveraging artificial intelligence (AI).
  • In a first-of-its-kind initiative for India, Google plans to introduce the Address Descriptor early next year. This innovation aims to simplify location searches by offering a more intuitive experience.
  • By automatically suggesting five landmarks in the vicinity when user drop a pin to share their location, Google enhances the visual mapping experience, moving beyond traditional latitude and longitude coordinates.

22.Accenture Launches New Generative AI Studio in Bengaluru

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  • Accenture, a global leader in professional services, has taken a significant stride in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) with the establishment of its Generative AI Studio in Bengaluru, India.
  • This cutting-edge facility is poised to become a central hub for the development and application of generative AI technologies, showcasing Accenture’s commitment to advancing AI solutions for businesses.
  • The primary objective of the Generative AI Studio is to serve as a collaborative space where Accenture’s data and AI team collaborates with clients in the development of solutions based on generative AI. Accenture envisions these solutions as powerful tools to optimize business processes and facilitate the reinvention of enterprises.

Miscellaneous News

23.India Sees 112 Deaths In 2022 Due To Tiger Attacks

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  • Tiger attacks on humans have been a concerning issue in India, with the Centre recently providing information on the extent of this problem. In 2022 alone, a total of 112 deaths occurred in the country due to tiger attacks.
  • The Union Minister for Forest, Environment, and Climate Change, Bhupinder Yadav, shared these statistics in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, shedding light on the gravity of the situation.
  • The data revealed that Maharashtra witnessed the highest number of deaths, with 85 reported cases in 2022. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for addressing the human-tiger conflict in the state.
  • Uttar Pradesh also faced the brunt of tiger attacks, recording 11 deaths in the same period. The Minister disclosed that over the past five years, a total of 302 people lost their lives in incidents involving tiger attacks.

20 December 2023 CURRENT AFFAIRS | ALL EXAMS IMP. CURRENT AFFAIRS | ASHISH GAUTAM SIR

 

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FAQs

Which Israeli film secured the prestigious Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Film at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF)?

'Children of Nobody.'