Current Affairs- 9 August 2023

Cabinet Approves Rs 1.39 Lakh cr for Last-Mile Broadband Connectivity PlanOn 4th August 2023, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 1.39 lakh crores for a last-mile broadband connectivity plan for 6.4 lakh villages across India as part of the BharatNet project. It will involve a change in execution strategy, with a focus on providing optical fiber-based connections to the last mile through village-level entrepreneurs.

  • The last-mile connectivity will be delivered by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) namely Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), an arm of state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), in partnership with village-level entrepreneur (VLE).
  • This partnership aims to ensure effective and efficient broadband connectivity reaching the grassroots level in the villages.
  • BharatNet is one of the biggest rural telecom projects in the world.Around 1.94 lakh villages have been connected at present, and the balance is likely to be connected over 2.5 years.

Background:- The Union Cabinet approved the BharatNet Project on 25th October 2011, one of the biggest rural telecom projects in the world implemented to all Gram Panchayats (GPs) in India for providing non-discriminatory access to broadband connectivity to all the telecom service providers.

  • Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is the implementing agency of Bharat Net Project.
  • Under the BharatNet programme, the government has a target to provide broadband connectivity to 250,000 gram panchayats by 2025.

Key Points:
i.Similar to private telecommunications companies (telcos) Airtel and Jio, the Government will now involve VLE or Udyamis in providing fiber connections to homes. This will be done on a 50:50 revenue-sharing basis.
The project is expected to create 2.5 lakh jobs in India.
ii.Under the modernised model, the government will bear the cost of taking the infrastructure to the home, while the rural entrepreneur will be responsible for the maintenance and operations of home connections.
iii.So far, the government has provided internet connections to 5,67,000 households. Of these, 351,000 fiber connections have been given using the new BharatNet Udyami project.
Third Package:
i.The approval of the recent package marks the third such initiative for BharatNet by the Centre.
ii.In 2017, the total funding of the BharatNet (Phase-I and Phase-II), approved by the Cabinet, is Rs 42,068 crores.
iii.In 2021, the Cabinet allocated another Rs 19,041 crore to implement the last-mile connectivity project under the public-private partnership (PPP) model which, however, failed to generate significant interest.
Broadband Package:
i.Under the BharatNet project, the home broadband package will start at Rs.399/ month, offering unlimited data at a speed of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps). The other plans include Rs 599, Rs 799, etc.
Note: In the pilot trial, BharatNet showed an average speed of 175 GigaByte (GB) per household per month.

Postal Life Insurance Launches Direct Incentive Disbursement for Sales Force
On August 7, 2023, Postal Life Insurance (PLI) introduced a pilot program for ‘Direct Incentive Disbursement’ in the Delhi and Uttarakhand Circles to recognize the role of its sales force or PLI’s agents.

  • It was unveiled by Alok Sharma, Director General, Postal Services. Chief Postmasters General of all Postal Circles also participated in this program through video conference.

About Direct Incentive Disbursement Initiative:
i.This initiative is their agent incentive program under which agents’ commissions from the previous month directly transferred to their Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) Accounts resulting in swift and secure transactions.
ii.It will also lead to the convenience and motivation of Salesforce.
iii.The automated payouts will reduce administrative costs, enabling a greater focus on delivering client service.
iv.The introduction of this initiative marks a modernization of the incentives distribution process.
Key Points:
i.The PLI’s agent or sales staff is the driving force behind the department’s accomplishments.
ii.PLI is committed to strengthening its relationship with agents and fostering a culture of excellence as this initiative will benefit around two lakh sales force members across India, including Gramin Dak Sevaks, Direct Agents, Field Officers, and Departmental Employees.
About PLI:
PLI was launched in 1884 as a welfare scheme for postal employees and later extended to employees of the Telegraph Department in 1888. It is the India’s oldest life insurer, with significant growth from a few hundred policies in 1884 to over 50 Lakhs policies as of 31st March 2021.
Now, its coverage includes employees of Central & State Governments, Defence and Para-Military Services, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Banks, Educational Institutions, Local Bodies, professionals, and employees of National Stock Exchange of India (NSE)/ (BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange)  listed companies.

BIS signs MoU with 35 institutions for collaboration in Standardization and Conformity Assessment
On August 5, 2023, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with 35 institutions across India for collaboration in standardization and conformity assessment.

  • The institutions included prominent NITs (National Institutes of Technology), Government and Private Engineering colleges from different states across India.

Note: BIS is the National Standards Body of India under Department of Consumer affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. It operates various schemes like Product Certification (ISI-Indian Standards Institution mark), Management Systems Certification, Hall Marking of Gold and Silver Jewellery/Artefacts and Laboratory Services for the benefit of the industry..
Key Points:
i.Through this MoU, the participating institution will associate with the technical committees of BIS at the national and international level, get infrastructure support for relevant R&D (Reaserach & Development) Projects, jointly organize events on Standardization and Conformity Assessment, exchanging publications, introducing standardization curricula in academics, exploring a Centre of Excellence for Standardization, testing, and Conformity Assessment, and sharing laboratory facilities.
ii.The MoU will enhance the standards formulation activities.
iii.BIS will also explore setting up of Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Standardization in partnership with these institutions.
About Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS):
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
Director General– Pramod Kumar Tiwari
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi

PM Launches Bhartiya Vastra evam Shilpa Kosh during 9th National Handloom Day in DelhiOn August 7, 2023, the the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi launched the e-portal ‘Bhartiya Vastra evam Shilpa Kosh (भारतीय वस्त्र एवं शिल्पकोष) – A Repository of Textiles & Crafts’ developed by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in collaboration with Ministry of Textiles.

  • This launch was made during the 9th National Handloom Day celebration was held at Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, Delhi which was presided over by the PM.
  • The event was hosted jointly by the Ministry of Textiles & Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (M/o MSME).
  • It was attended by over 3000 weavers and artisans from across India.

Note: The PM declared August 7 as the ‘National Handloom Day’ in 2015 to highlight the contribution of handloom weavers in the development journey of India. This specific date commemorates the Swadeshi Andolan launched in 1905.
About Textiles & Crafts Repository e-portal:
The online repository is a one-of-a-kind knowledge platform that connects the history, present status, and future developments of textile, clothing, and related crafts. It offers access to a vast database of research papers, case studies, dissertations, and doctoral theses in these areas, serving as a comprehensive resource for information on new developments and current events in textiles and crafts.
Key Points:
i.PM also inaugurated a special three-day exhibition of handloom, handicraft and khadi products by awardee weavers, cooperative societies, producer companies and women self-help groups (SHGs) from across India.
ii.Two films were showcased during the event:

  • “संगठन से सफलता”- It highlighted the positive impact on weavers’ lives due to an organized ecosystem of skilling, marketing and distribution by the Ministry of Textiles
  • Another movie titled “Khadi for fashion” emphasized Khadi’s relevance for employment and the economy.

iii.To raise awareness among young audiences about India’s handloom sector, a two-week educational initiative at the National Crafts Museum was organized, benefiting over 10,000 students from 75 schools.
Other Participants:
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Ministry of Textiles; Union Minister Narayan Tatu Rane, M/o MSME; Union Minister of State (MoS) Darshana Jardosh, Ministry of Textiles; MoS Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, M/o MSME; among others representatives from handloom clusters across India, NIFT campuses, Weaver Service Centres (WSCs), Indian Institute of Handloom Technology (IIHT) campuses, National Handloom Development Corporation (NHDC), Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) institutions and State Handloom Departments.

MoU’s Signed Between USI, CSC & PCTI to Promote Military Heritage Tourism
The United Services Institution of India (USI), the country’s oldest and prestigious National Security and Defence Services think tank, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Power Conversion Technologies (PCTI) for the inaugural Military Heritage Guided Tour at Hussainiwala in Firozpur district, Punjab on August 12, 2023.

  • An additional MoU was signed between PCTI and Common Service Centres (CSC) – e-Governance India Limited for the local support and accessibility for these heritage sites and it will be facilitated through CSC – special purpose vehicle (SPV).

The tour provides the tourists to view the important places related to military achievements.
Key points:
i.USI will identify potential tourist destinations and document them.
ii.PCTI will oversee the organization of the tours.

WTO’s WTSR 2023 Report: India Ranked 18th Among Merchandise ExportsAccording to the World Trade Statistical Review 2023, (WTSR 2023) the annual flagship publication of the World Trade Organization (WTO) featuring key data on global trade in merchandise and commercial services, India is ranked 18th among the Leading exporters in world merchandise trade (2022).

  • India is ranked 9th among the merchandise importers.
  • China, the United States of America(USA), and Germany are the top 3 exporters in world merchandise trade 2022.
  • USA, China and Germany are the top 3 importers in World Merchandise Trade 2022.
  • India is ranked globally 7th among exporters and 9th among importers in world in commercial services 2022.

About WTSR 2023:
i.The WTSR 2023 presents recent trends in international trade, technological challenges affecting the global economy and supply chains.
ii.Analytical chapters highlighting trade trends in 2022 are complemented by statistical tables providing further details on merchandise trade and trade in commercial services.
About World Trade Organization (WTO):
Director-General- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Established- 1st January 1995.

India Commits USD 700,000 to Tuvalu’s Clean Water InitiativeIndia has pledged to support worth USD 700,000 from the India-United Nations Development Partnership(UNDP) Fund to the project in Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation for clean water initiatives and community development in schools.

  • India will provide funding support for the “Motufoua Concrete Water Cistern” project, initiated by the Tuvalu Government.
  • The project aims to construct a concrete water cistern, at Tuvalu’s only public school called ‘Motufoua Secondary School’,a capacity of 760 metric cubes which will store and provide clean water to students, teachers and school staff promoting hygiene and reducing water-borne diseases.
  • The announcement was made by Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

Key points:
i.This financial commitment aligns with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s “Sagar Amrut Scholarship” scheme for the Pacific Island countries.

  • Modi announced the “Sagar Amrut Scholarship” scheme for the Pacific Island countries during the Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit, held in May 2023 in Papua New Guinea.

ii.Furthermore, the 12-point action plan introduced at the summit focuses on addressing health, wellness and community development sectors as per priorities of the Pacific island countries.
iii.This project represents India’s efforts to work collaboratively with fellow developing countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
About India-UN Development Partnership Fund:
i.The Fund is established by the Government of India in June 2017, to support projects in developing countries that aim to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
ii.The Fund adheres to the principles of South-South cooperation and prioritizes national ownership and leadership, equality, sustainability, development of local capacity and mutual benefit.
iii.The Government of India has committed USD 150 million over the next decade for the fund and it has supported 75 development projects across 56 countries.
About Tuvalu:
Prime Minister- Kausea Natano
Capital- Funafuti
Currency – Tuvaluan dollar (TVD) and Australian Dollar

INS Chennai Participates in PASSEX with Royal Saudi Naval Ship HMS Al Jubail
On 5th August 2023, the Indian Naval Ship (INSChennai participated in a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Saudi Naval Ship HMS Al Jubail.

  • The exercise was conducted off the coast (Red Sea) of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which included tactical manoeuvres, seamanship evolutions and communication drills that contributed to reinforcing mutual trust, cementing operational understanding, and enhancing interoperability between the Indian and Saudi navies.

About Indian Naval Ship (INS) Chennai:
INS Chennai, a P-15A Guided Missile Destroyer, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in November 2016. It was constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Bajaj Finance has Partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance to Provide Insurance PlansBajaj Finance Limited (BFL) has partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance along with other partners to provide car and two-wheeler insurance plans on the platform Bajaj Finance Insurance Mall.
Key points:
i.The ICICI Lombard Car and Two-wheeler Insurance policies offer comprehensive damage coverage, (including own and third-party damage), personal accident cover, No Claim Bonus (NCB) to vehicle owners and vehicles.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Complete protection for insured vehicle and safeguard against third-party liabilities.
  • Own Damage Cover: Receive coverage for damages caused to vehicle due to accidents, theft, natural disasters, and fire incidents.
  • Third-Party Cover: Secure financial support for third-party liabilities, compensating for property damage and injury expenses caused by the policyholder’s fault.
  • Personal Accident Cover: Receive financial aid in case of accidents resulting in injuries or fatality of the owner/driver, with a personal accident cover up to Rs. 15 lakhs.
  • No Claim Bonus (NCB): Policyholders will receive a No Claim Bonus when they haven’t made any claims in the previous policy year. This bonus earns you a discount on your renewal premium, which grows as you accumulate more bonus points.

ii.ICICI Lombard also offers a range of add-on covers to help customers enhance their vehicle insurance such as NCB protector cover, 24×7 roadside assistance cover, Zero depreciation add-on cover, Engine protection add-on cover.

  • These covers provide additional financial backup, ensuring the customers stay fully covered in case of any emergency.

iii.The policies can be brought through a seamless digital process.
About Bajaj Finance Limited (BFL):
BFL a subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv Ltd. is a deposit taking Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC-D).
Chairman- Sanjiv Bajaj
Headquarters- Pune, Maharashtra
Established- 1987

Star Health Partners With SCB To Sell Health Insurance ProductsStar Health & Allied Insurance Co. Ltd.,(Star Health) India’s leading private Health Insurance company has entered into a strategic corporate bancassurance tie-up with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) , a reputed international bank to enhance the accessibility of health insurance products through the bank’s extensive distribution network.

  • The SCB, with  100 branches spread across 42 cities, will function as a convenient single point of access for customers seeking health insurance.
  • The agreement also provides top-tier services that align with the distinct needs of India’s affluent clientele.

Why Health Insurance?
i.Health and protection are key needs today for clients. The rising healthcare expenses in India have led to an unparalleled increase in the desire for health insurance.
ii.Customers are now in need of all-inclusive policies that address their medical needs, including features like OPD Care, Hospi Cash, and Critical Illness coverage.
iii.The focus on health and fitness is growing, fostering a heightened interest in tailor-made wellness programs.
Note: According to the Wealth Expectancy Report, 2022 by Standard Chartered, more than 54 percent of respondents in India have placed a higher priority on health and wellness in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bancassurance constitutes an insurance distribution framework wherein insurance firms collaborate with banks for the sale of insurance policies. This association yields advantages for both entities involved.

  • The bank secures a commission from the insurance company, while the insurer capitalises on the expansive distribution network of the bank.

About Star Health & Allied Insurance Co. Ltd:
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO)  – Anand Roy
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamilnadu
Established in – 2006
About Standard Chartered Bank(SCB) India:
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)  –  Zarin Daruwala
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in – 1969

SEBI Mandates FPIs to carry 10% of Corp.Bonds Trades Shortens AIFs/VCFs Overseas Investment to 4 Monthsi.On August 7, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandated Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) to place at least 10% of their trades in corporate bonds through the Request For Quote (RFQ) platform of stock exchanges w.e.f. from October 1, 2023.
ii.This mandate will boost liquidity on the RFQ platform.
iii.SEBI has decreased the validity period of approval for Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and Venture Capital Funds (VCFs) to make overseas investments to four months from six months. If these funds do not utilize their investment limits within this timeframe, SEBI has the authority to allocate the unutilized limits to other applicant AIFs and VCs.
About Securities Exchange Board of India(SEBI):
Chairperson -Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters -Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 12 April 1992

Cambodian king appoints Hun Manet as new PM of CambodiaOn 7th August 2023, Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal decree appointing Hun Manet as the new Prime Minister (PM) of Cambodia for a 5 year-term. Hun Manet is the son of Hun Sen, the former PM of Cambodia and one of Asia’s longest-serving PMs. Hun Manet will succeed Hun Sen, who has ruled for about 38 years.

  • Hun Manet has been appointed as the new PM of the Kingdom of Cambodia for the 7th mandate of the parliament, through a royal decree, with effective from the day of signature.
  • The designated PM of the Kingdom of Cambodia has duties to prepare the members of the government for seeking confidence adoption from the National Assembly.

Note:  A member of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)’s Standing Committee, Lieutenant General Hun Manet is currently serving as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and Commander of Royal Cambodian.
General Election:
i.Hun Sen’s party, CPP won the Cambodian general elections held in July 2023, gaining 120 out of 125 seats in the National Assembly.
ii.Following the elections results, former PM Hun Sen announced that he will be stepping down as the PM, and hand over the power to Hun Manet.
iii.To officially become the new PM of Cambodia, Hun Manet and his new cabinet must win a confidence vote in parliament set for August 22, 2023. He is expected to be sworn in on the same day.
iv.After stepping down, Hun Sen will become president of the Senate early next year and acting head of state when the king is overseas.
About Hun Manet:
i.He is the eldest of Hun Sen’s 5 children and was born on October 20, 1977. He grew up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and joined the Cambodian military in 1995.
ii.He was the first Cambodian to graduate from the United States of America (US) Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1999.
iii.Hun Manet has served the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces at various capacities,

  • Deputy of Hun Sen’s (his father’s) bodyguards;
  • Appointed as the commander of counter-terrorism;
  • Took on the role of commander of the army;
  • Appointment as the deputy commander-in-chief.

iv.He also became head of the youth wing of the ruling CPP.
About Cambodia:
King of Cambodia– Norodom Sihamoni
Capital– Phnom Penh
Currency– Cambodian Riel (KHR)

Indian Oil Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya Gets 1 Year Post-Retirement ExtensionThe Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG) and extended the tenure of  Shrikant Madhav VaidyaChairman of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), for a period of 1 year beyond the date of his superannuation i.e with effect from September 1, 2023, till August 31, 2024, or till the time of appointment of the regular incumbent to the post on contract basis.

  • Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, who took charge as chairman of IOC on July 1, 2020, turned 60 on 7th August 2023, and as per the rules, he was to superannuate from service on August 31, 2023.
  • It’s rare for anyone on the board of a Publis Sector Undertaking (PSU) to get an extension, post-retirement.

Note: IOCL ranked 94 in the Fortune Global 500 list of 2023.
About Shrikant Madhav Vaidya:
i.He was appointed as the President of the World LPG Association (WLPGA) during the World LPG Forum in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2021.
ii.He also serves as the Non-Executive Chairman on the Boards of:

  • Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (a subsidiary of IndianOil),
  • Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL) (a Joint Venture of IndianOil).
  • Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council under MoP&NG,
  • Non-Executive Director on the Board of JV company Petronet LNG Ltd. (PLL)
  • President of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB)
  • Chairman, Governing Council- Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) and so on.

iii.In March 2023, he was named as the top Indian Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and ranked no. 81 globally in the CEOWORLD Magazine’s list of Most Influential global CEOs.
About Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL):
Chairman– Srikant Madhav Vaidya
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Established in 1959 as Indian Oil Company Ltd. IOCL is formed in 1964 by the merger of Indian Oil Company Limited with Indian Refineries Limited

Paytm Founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma buys 10.3% stake from Antfin; Paytm share price surges ~12%
On 7th August 2023, Shares of One 97 Communications Ltd, the parent company of Paytm, jumped over 11.6%(~12%) to Rs. 887.55 on BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange) during intra-day trade, after Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Paytm entered into an agreement to buy 10.3% worth USD 628 from Ant Financial (Antfin) Netherlands Holding BV, a Chinese fintech via Resilient Asset Management BV (Resilient), a 100% owned overseas entity of Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

  • As a result of this transaction, Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s shareholding in Paytm (direct and indirect) will increase to 19.42%, whereas Antfin’s shareholding will reduce to 13.5%.
  • As per the agreement, Antfin will receive Optionally Convertible Debentures (OCDs) by Resilient Asset Management B.V. in exchange for transferring ownership and voting rights. This will allow Antfin to retain the economic value of its 10.30% stake in Paytm.
  • The Paytm-Antfin deal is likely to India’s biggest buy now, pay later deal. It involves a cash outgo, but only later.
  • As a result of this acquisition, there will be no change in the management or control of Paytm. Vijay Shekhar Sharma will continue to serve as the Managing Director and CEO of the company. However, there will be no nominee of Antfin on the board of Paytm        

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched 22 starlink satellites to LEO; sets new Launchpad Turnaround Record
On 6th August 2023, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 22 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base in Florida, the United States of America (USA), to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). This launch have set the new record for the swiftest turnaround ever achieved from a single launchpad. It was 3 days 21 hours and 41 minutes since the launch of Intelsat’s Galaxy 37 mission from pad 40.

  • Notably, the previous record of 4 days, 3 hours, and 11 minutes was set just 2 weeks ago between Starlink missions 6-6 (on July 23, 2023) and 6-7 (on July 28, 2023).
  • Following the separation from the second stage, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage returned to SpaceX’s drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas’, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • This was the 4th launch and landing for this Falcon 9 first-stage booster, which previously launched Crew-6, SES O3b mPOWER, and one Starlink 4-4 mission.

Note: It was the 9th launch of “V2 Mini” internet satellites, which are larger and have four times the bandwidth of the previous models.

Asian Youth and Junior  Weightlifting Championships 2023: India Wins 42 Medals; 15 in Junior and 27 in youth EventsThe Indian Weightlifting contingent won 42 medals(15 in Junior events and 27 in youth events) in the Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships 2023 held from 28th July to 5th August 2023 in the Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

  • In the Asian Youth(Boys & Girls) and Junior (Men & Women) competition, medals were given out for the snatch, clean & jerk, and overall categories and India won 14 medals in the clean & jerk; 13 medals in the snatch;15 in the overall category.


  • Best Team Youth Girls – India
  • Runner up Team Junior Women – India

About Asian Weightlifting Federation(AWF):
President –  Mohamed Yousef Al Mana
Headquarters – Doha, Qatar
Established – 1958

Oscar Winning American Director William Friedkin Passed AwayOn 7th August 2023, William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning American director of films like The Exorcist and The French Connection passed away in Los Angeles(LA), California, United States of America (USA) at the age of 87.

  • Friedkin was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on 29 August 1935.

About William Friedkin:
i.William Friedkin began his career in documentaries in the early 1960s and made his feature directorial debut with the film “Good Times” in 1967.
ii.His 1971 film “The French Connection”, a crime thriller, won 5 Oscars including Best Picture, and Best Director for Friedki at the 44th Oscars(1972).
iii.His 1973 film “The Exorcist”, a horror film based on William Peter Blatty’s novel had won the award for Writing (Screenplay–Based On Material From Another Medium) and for Sound at the 46th Oscars (1974).

  • The Exorcist became the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscar award.

iv.His last film, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” is set to premiere at the the 80th Venice International Film Festival,Venice, Italy in September 2023.
Other Noted works:

  • Sorcerer(1977); Cruising (1980), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Bug (2006), and Killer Joe(2011)
  • He also directed episodes for TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Rebel Highway and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Quit India Movement Day 2023- 8th AugustThe Quit India Movement Day is annually observed across India on 8th August to commemorate the launch of the Quit India Movement on 8th August 1942. The day pays tribute to the martyrs and freedom fighters of the Independence movement.

  • 8th August 2023 marks the 81st anniversary of the Quit India movement.

Quit India Movement:
i.The Quit India Movement, also referred to as the August Movement, August Kranti, and Bharat Chhdo Andolan, was a mass civil disobedience campaign demanding India’s independence from British rule.
ii.It was officially launched by the Indian National Congress (INC) led by Mahatma Gandhi on 9th August 1942, at the Bombay (now Mumbai) session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) during World War II (WW2) demanding an end to British rule in India.
iii.Gandhiji gave the slogan “Do or Die” (Karo ya maro) in his speech at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, now popularly known as August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai.
About Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:
Born- 2nd October 1869, Porbandar, Gujarat
Died- Assassinated on 30th January 1948.
Autobiography– The Story of My Experiments with Truth

Telangana Assembly Passes TSRTC Merger Bill After Governor’s ApprovalOn 06th August 2023, Telangana Transport Minister, P Ajay Kumar, introduced the Bill in the Assembly after Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan gave her approval Telangana State Legislative  Assembly passed the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation(TSRTC) (Absorption of Employees into Government Service) Bill 2023, after receiving approval from Tamilisai Soundarajan, Governor of Telangana.

  •  The bill(with effect from 31st July 2023) aims to merge loss-making TSRTC with Telangana government and  to absorb the employees into the government service.
  • The administrative control of TSRTC will remain under the Transport, Roads and Buildings Department, with the head being the vice-chairman and managing director.

Note: Annually, the Telangana Government will inject Rs 3,000 crore to cover the salaries and allowances of more than 43,000 employees.
Key Recommendation by the Governor:
Telangana Governor, Tamilisai Soundarajan recommended few changes in the bill such as,
i.Emoluments of absorbed RTC employees to match state government scales for pay, transfers, promotions, pensions, and provident funds.
ii.Similar benefits and salaries for contract/outsourced employees as per state service rules, with recognition and protection for future service in different capacities.
iii.Maintenance of buses to be taken over by the government through outsourcing or other means, ensuring financial responsibility for safety.
Other Recommendation:
i.Assets division and completion process between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recommended under Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014.
ii.To clarify and assume liability for clearing arrears from former Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation(APSRTC).
iii.Provision for already-absorbed TSRTC employees to seek ‘compassionate appointment’ for family members due to work-related health issues.
iv.Suggestion to make disciplinary proceedings within RTC more humane and in line with service rules for other government employees.
vii.If RTC employees are deputed to other departments, provision to protect their grade, pay, salary, and promotions for continuity and stability.
About Telangana:
Chief Minister –  K. Chandrashekar Rao
Governor- Tamilisai Soundarajan
Hereditary Site- Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) 
Airport- Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad), Ramagundam Airport (Ramagundam)

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