Current Affairs – 20 September 2023

DAC Gives Nod to Rs.45,000 Crores Worth Proposals for Defence

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), in its meeting on 15th September 2023, under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals of various weapons systems and platforms amounting to Rs 45,000 crore ($5.41 billion). These proposals further strive to strengthen the operational capabilities of the Indian Defence Forces and increase the incorporation of indigenous content in defence projects.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has granted approval for nine procurement proposals, and all these procurements will be sourced from indigenous vendors under Buy Indian-Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDMM) category.

Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics Launches to Provide Credible Data on Agriculture SectorProfessor Ramesh Chand, Member of National Institution for Transforming India(NITI) Aayog, launched Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics (UPAg) developed by Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare(DoA&FW), under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare(MoA&FW) to address data related governance challenges in agriculture.
About Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics(UPAg)
i.Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics(UPAg) is an advanced agricultural data management platform that generates crop estimates and integrates with other systems providing Agriculture Statistics such as Price, Trade, Procurement, and Stock.

  • It acts as a centralised hub for near real-time information on crop production, market trends, price, and other essential agricultural data.

ii.UPAg intends to help agriculture stakeholders, including policymakers, researchers, and farmers, by offering complete insights to enable informed decision-making.
iii.The initiative aligns with e-governance principles, bringing smartness, transparency, and agility to India’s agriculture sector.
Key Features of UPAg Portal:
The UPAg portal will offer features like data standardisation, data analysis, granular production estimates, commodity profile reports, and plug and play.
i.Data Standardization: The portal standardises data on prices, production, area, yield, and trade, making it available in a single location and removing the need to assemble data from numerous sources.
ii.Data Analysis: UPAg Portal will use advanced analytics to provide data including production trends, trade correlations, and consumption patterns to policymakers, allowing them to make more educated decisions.
iii.Granular Production Estimates: The portal will generate more frequent granular production estimates, boosting the government’s capacity to respond quickly to agricultural problems.
iv.Commodity Profile Reports: Commodity profile reports will be generated utilising algorithms, reducing subjectivity and offering customers comprehensive insights.
v.Plug and Play: Users will be able to create their own reports using the portal’s data, fostering data-driven decision-making.
Additional info:
As per the third advance estimate of the production of major crops for the agricultural year 2022-23, the top five rice production states are Telangana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha.

PM Narendra Modi dedicates Phase 1 of IICC-Yashobhoomi in New Delhi; Launches PM Vishwakarma Schemei.On September 17, 2023, i.e. on the occasion of Vishwakarma Jayanti, the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi dedicated the Phase -1 of the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC), also known as Yashobhoomi to the nation located in Dwarka Sector 25, New Delhi, Delhi.
ii.He also launched PM Vishwakarma Scheme covering 18 focus areas of artisans and craftsmen along with its logo, tagline and portal.
iii.Built at a cost of approximately Rs. 5400 crore, IICC is one of the world’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) facilities, featuring India’s first indoor arena with a retractable roof.
iv.IICC is India’s largest convention and exhibition centre with a total indoor area of 300,000m2.
v.Department for Promotion of Industry and internal Trade (DPIIT) had set up a 100% Government owed company namely India International Convention & Exhibition Centre (IICC) Limited to implement, and develop the project.
About India International Convention & Exhibition Centre (IICC) Limited:
Managing Director & CEO–  Sumita Dawra ((Special Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry(MCI))
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 2017

Karnataka’s Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas & West Bengal’s Santiniketan Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage ListSantiniketan in West Bengal(WB) and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas in Karnataka were inscribed on the  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage list.

  • Santiniketan is the 41st and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas is the 42nd World Heritage site in India.
  • Both were listed under the Cultural heritage category.

This was announced during the 45th extended session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO being held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 10 to 25 September 2023.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO):
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France
Established in – 1945 (came into force in 1946)

India is Ranked 52nd in Digital Quality of Life Index 2023; France topsAccording to the 2023 Digital Quality of Life(DQL) Index, the 5th edition of the annual DQL Index by Surfshark Limited, India has raised to 52nd rank with a ranking index of 0.5154 from 59th rank in 2022.

  • The Index featuring 121 countries is topped by France with a ranking index of 0.7902 followed by Finland, Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg.
  • In Asia(regional ranking) India is ranked 13, with Singapore (global rank 10) at the top.
  • Internet affordability
  • Internet quality
  • Electronic infrastructure (e-infrastructure)
  • Electronic security(e-security)
  • Electronic government (e-government)

These pillars have 14 indicators that help to measure the overall digital quality of life.
India’s ranking in these 5 pillars:
Internet Affordability – 28th rank, Internet Quality -16th rank, Electronic Infrastructure – 91st rank, Electronic Security – 66th rank and Electronic Government – 35th rank.
Take away from the survey:
The survey pointed out that India’s internet quality is 36% higher than the global average.
India is not prepared to fight against cybercrime, and It has very low data protection laws.
About Digital Quality of Life Index 2023
i.The Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index reveals insights into factors that impact a country’s digital wellbeing and areas that should be prioritised for future improvement.

  • The study offers a unique perspective into a country’s digital quality of life.

ii.The study covers 90% of the world population.
iii.DQL Index 2023 includes 4 more countries than the previous edition. The new countries are Venezuela, Kuwait, Benin, and Burkina Faso.
iv.The results are comparable with the previous three editions. So that a country’s digital progress can be easily tracked.

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Introduces Maxima Savings Account, Business Maxima Current AccountUjjivan Small Finance Bank Limited (Ujjivan SFB) has launched the Maxima Savings Account and Business Maxima Current Account which is designed exclusively for medium and large business entities.

  • Both the accounts offer a RuPay Select Debit Card that provides access to wellness services, exclusive merchant offers, airport lounge access, and a premium health checkup.

Key features of the Maxima Savings Account:
i.Annual interest rate on the Maxima Savings Account up to 7.5%.
ii.Customers can open the account with  Rs 1 lakh.
iii.Flexibility to maintain Rs 15 lakh or more in Fixed Deposits(FD) to meet the balance eligibility criteria(this option is not available with other standard savings accounts).
iv.Complementary Health Prime Benefit is offered for eligible customers.
v.Other benefits: Higher transaction limits, Free cheque and Demand Draft (DD) issuances, Free transactions across all channels and unlimited cash deposits and withdrawals at any Ujjivan SFB branch.
Key features of the Business Maxima Current Account:
i.Business Maxima Current Account provides businesses and entrepreneurs with a comprehensive suite of services designed to meet their unique needs.
ii.The account offers facilities like online banking, instant fund transfers, and cash management options.
iii.It provides provision for customising cash deposit limits for businesses.
iv.ATM withdrawal limit per day is capped at Rs 5 lakhs per day.
v.Business account holders will have access to specialised relationship managers for personalised banking support
vi.Other benefits: Account services for merchants, Free installation and rental fees for POS (Point of Sale) services.
About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Limited:
Managing Director – Ittira Davis
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established in – 2017

NHAI Signs Agreement to Develop Multi Modal Logistics Park at Bengaluru
National Highways Logistics Management Ltd (NHLML), has signed an agreement for the development of Multi Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) in at Muddelinganahalli in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

  • The agreement was signed between the Government Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Bengaluru MMLP Private Limited and  Concessionaire SPV PATH Bengaluru Logistics Park Pvt. Ltd.

Note: Bengaluru MMLP is a Government SPV incorporated between NHLML, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB).  NHLML is the  subsidiary of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
About Proposed MMLP:

  • The proposed MMLP will be developed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) (Design, Build, Finance, Operate, and Transfer (DBFOT) model at an estimated cost of Rs 1,770 crore.
  • This project is set to become the first and largest MMLP ever implemented in the country under the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan.
  • It will handle around 30 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo by the end of the 45-year concession period, offering a significant boost to industrial zones in the catchment region such as Bengaluru and Tumkur.

Why MMLP needed? 
MMLP is an initiative to enhance freight logistics by enabling effective inter-modal freight movement to reduce total freight costs and time, provide efficient warehousing, and improve consignment tracking and traceability.

33rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize 2023: Team Including Indian Researcher Won 2023 Ig Nobel prizeThe 2023 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 33rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on September 14, 2023. The Ig Nobel Prize is the prize for humorous scientific feats and aims to “honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

  • A team of scientists from India, China, Malaysia, and the United States of America (USA) has won the 2023 Ig Nobels, in the ‘Mechanical Engineering‘ category for re-animating dead spiders and using them as mechanical gripping tools.

2023 Ceremony:
i.The 2023 ceremony happened entirely as a webcast produced by a Magazine named ‘Annals of Improbable Research’.
ii.The prizes were awarded by genuine Nobel laureates. Each winner received a 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill and a pack of “Ig Pseudo Cola.”
iii.A new additional companion event called ‘Ig Nobel Face-to-Face‘ has been organised for the 33rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize winners on November 11, 2023, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Museum, Cambridge (USA).
List of Winners of 2023 Ig Nobel Prizes
10 Categories of Ig Nobel Prize:
Chemistry and Geology; Literature; Mechanical Engineering; Public Health; Communication; Medicine; Nutrition; Education; Psychology; Physics.
Indian Researcher Team:
i.A team from Rice University in Texas, USA won the Mechanical Engineering Prize for re-animating dead spiders to use as necrobotic mechanical gripping tools, able to grasp objects up to 130% of their own weight.

  • The findings, published in the journal Advanced Science (July 2022), showed that spiders “are able to grasp objects greater than their own weight”.

Team members: Faye Yap, Zhen Liu, Anoop Rajappan (India), Trevor Shimokusu, and Daniel Preston.
ii.The team with a dead spider found that a dead spider’s legs naturally sit in a “closed” state like a clenched fist, but the legs can be extended, and the grip opened, by applying pressure.
iii.Using this “necrobotic” approach, the team created a spider-based gripper that could, grasp objects with irregular shapes.

  • The gripper can also serve as a handheld device and innately camouflages in outdoor environments.

Key Highlights of 2023 Events:
i.Winners of the prizes represented 22 countries, including 5 researchers from the USA, 4 from the United Kingdom, and 3 from China.
ii.The theme of the 2023 ceremony, evinced in the non-opera and other bits, was: WATER.
iii.The 2023 event included the premiere of 7 songs on the topic of water, plus eminent researchers explaining their subjects in just 24 seconds, and then in only 7 words.
About Ig Nobel Prize:
i.It is awarded every autumn to celebrate 10 unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research.
ii.‘Ig Nobel Prize’ is a pun on the Nobel Prize, which it parodies and on the word ignoble, an achievement ‘characterised by baseness or meanness’, and is satirical social criticism that identifies absurd yet useful knowledge.
iii.This award is the brainchild of Marc Abrahams, editor of the magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Research’.
iv.The awards have been presented since 1991 by genuine Nobel laureates usually at Harvard University in the United States of America (USA).

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar Conferred 84 artistes with Sangeet Natak Akademi Amrit Awards 2022On September 16, 2023, the Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar presented the one-time Sangeet Natak Akademi Amrit Awards 2022  to 84 artistes from varied fields of performing arts during a ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi.

  • The award was constituted to honour Indian artistes aged above 75 years who have not been accorded any national honour in their career so far.
  • A total of 84 artists, comprising 70 men and 14 women, were bestowed with this prestigious award at the ceremony.

Key People:
Arjun Ram Meghwal, and Meenakashi Lekhi, Ministers of State(MoS) for Culture and Dr. Sandhya Purecha, Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi were present during the award ceremony.
Key Points:
i.The list features artists from various Indian states viz. 3 from Andhra Pradesh, 2 from Arunachal Pradesh, 6 from Maharashtra, 3 each from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat,  2 each from Punjab, and Delhi.
ii.4 award recipients each are from Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, while 5 each from Assam and Rajasthan were recognized for their exceptional contributions.
Some of the Awardees:

  • The award includes a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, a Tamrapatra, and an Angavastram.

About Sangeet Natak Akademi:
Sangeet Natak Akademi is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The Chairman of the Akademi is appointed by the President of India and serves a 5-year term.
Chairman– Dr. Sandhya Purecha
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Culture
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 1953

AAI Inducts two Advanced B-360 Aircraft into Flight Inspection Fleet
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has inducted two new B-360 aircraft with advanced state-of-the-art Flight Inspection system into its Flight Inspection Unit(FIU)’s Fleet to carry out calibration of ground navigation and landing aids.

  • The induction of the new aircrafts was flagged off by Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation in the presence of General (Dr.) Vijay Kumar Singh, Minister of State(MoS) for Civil Aviation and  Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman of AAI, at Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi, Delhi.
  • Flight inspection is crucial in achieving the best international standards specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
  • These aircraft will be used in Calibrating the Category I, II and III Instrument Landing Systems, Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Range(DVORs),Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), non-directional beacon (NDB), Radar, Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS), Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) .

Note: FIU of AAI is a key component in the safety chain of Air Navigation Service provided by AAI in Indian airspace. FIU was established in 1959 in Bamrauli, Allahabad and was shifted to Safdarjung Airport in 1986.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launches 2Starlink Satellites to LEO
On 15th September 2023, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) launched 22 Starlink internet satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO). A Falcon 9 rocket launched the Starlink spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the United States of America(USA).

  • This was the fifth flight for the first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched Crew-6, SES O3b mPOWER, and two Starlink missions.
  • It returned to Earth about 8.5 minutes after liftoff on the SpaceX droneship ‘Just Read the Instructions’, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
  • This launch marks SpaceX’s 65th mission of 2023 and the 49th from Florida’s Space Coast launch station.

India Wins the 16th Edition of Asia Cup 2023 Finals Defeating Sri Lanka India have lifted the Asia Cup for a record-extending eighth time after beating defending champions Sri Lanka in the Finals of Asia Cup 2023, at  R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

  • The 16th Edition of Asia Cup 2023 was Co-hosted by Sri Lanka as well as Pakistan for the 1st time from 31 August to 17 September 2023.
  • With eight Asia Cup titles (seven ODI and one T20I), India becomes the most successful team in the history of tournament.
  • Man of the Match (Final)- Mohammed Siraj
  • Man of the Series- Kuldeep Yadav

About Asia Cup:
Inception Year– The Asia Cup cricket tournament commenced in 1984, in UAE (Winner – India).
Organizing Body- The Asian Cricket Council (ACC)
Asian Cricket Council President – Jay Shah

Diamond League 2023 Final: Neeraj Chopra Finishes Second in Javelin Throw
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold medallist Neeraj Chopra finished second place in the men’s javelin throw event at the Diamond League 2023 Final with a best throw of 83.80m.

  • Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch won the men’s javelin throw title with a best throw of 84.24m while Finland’s Oliver Helander came third with an 83.74m throw.
  • The Diamond League 2023 Final was held in Eugene, Oregon, the United States of America(USA) from 16th to 17th September 2023.

Neeraj Chopra’s journey to the Diamond League 2023 Final:
i.PreviouslyNeeraj Chopra won the Doha(May 2023) and Lausanne legs(June 2023)of the 2023 Diamond League series while settling for the second position in the Zurich leg(August 2023).
ii.He was qualified for the Diamond League Final with 23 points from three meetings, whereas Jakub Vadlejch finished first with 29 points after competing in all four qualifying events.

  • In Diamond leagues, Athletes are awarded points along with the medals and the top eight athletes at the end of the Diamond league will qualify for the Diamond League Finals.

i.The 2023 title for Jakub Vadlejch was his third title in the Diamond League championships after he won the 2016 and 2017 Diamond League championships.
ii.Neeraj Chopra’s record in Eugene: Neeraj Chopra holds the record best throw of 88.13m in Eugene when he won the world championship silver medal in 2022.
About Diamond League:
i.The Diamond League is a series of athletic meets, comprising track and field events, held annually from 2010, organised by Monaco headquartered World Athletics.
ii.It was established to replace the International Amateur Athletic Federation IAAF Golden League, which had been held since 1998.
iii.The 2023 Diamond League is the 14th edition(sponsorship reason it’s called Wanda Diamond League), held from May 5, 2023- September 17, 2023.
Points to Note:
i.Neeraj Chopra had won the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw in the World Athletics Championships 2023 which was held in Budapest, Hungary in August 2023.
ii.Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win a Diamond League Trophy in 2022 at the Javelin Throw event with a throw of 88.44m.

World Patient Safety Day 2023- September 17 World Health Organization’s (WHOWorld Patient Safety Day is annually observed worldwide on 17 September to spread worldwide awareness about patient safety and promote actions to improve the safety of healthcare practices across the world.

  • The theme of WPSD 2023 observed on 17th September 2023 is “Engaging patients for patient safety“.
  • The slogan of WPSD 2023 is “Elevate the voice of patients!”.

The 2023 theme emphasises the pivotal role patients, families, and caregivers play in ensuring the safety of healthcare practices.
i.World Patient Safety Day was established in May 2019 by the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) through the adoption of resolution WHA72.6, “Global action on patient safety”.
ii.The resolution recognizes patient safety as a global health priority and endorses the establishment of World Patient Safety Day to be observed annually on 17 September.
iii.The first WPSD was observed on 17 September 2019.
Note: The 3rd WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, was launched in 2017 as a multiyear initiative with the goal of reducing severe, avoidable medication-related harm globally by 50% over a period of 5 years.
NATHEALTH, Healthcare Federation of India on the occasion of WPSD 2023, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH), to promote and enhance patient safety and improve healthcare quality.

  • This collaboration represents a significant step to ensure patient safety and improve the quality of healthcare services across India.

World Bamboo Day 2023 – September 18 World Bamboo Day is annually observed across the globe on September 18 to create awareness about bamboo and to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure.

  • The annual observance of World Bamboo Day is led by the World Bamboo Organisation (WBO), an international coordinating body for bamboo practitioners.

i.In 2009, during the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok, Thailand the WBO, with the support of the Royal Forest Department of Thailand, formally recognised 18th September as World Bamboo Day.

  • The observance was initiated by Kamalesh Salam from Assam who served as the President of WBO from 2007 to 2009.

iii.The 1st ever Bamboo Day was celebrated on 18th September 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 18th of September is annually observed as the Royal Thai  Forest Day in Thailand.
About World Bamboo Organisation(WBO):
WBO was initially founded as the “International Bamboo Association (IBA)” in 1992 and later renamed as the “World Bamboo Organization”.
Executive director & CEO  – Susanne Lucas
Headquarters – Boston, Massachusetts,United States of America(USA)

International Equal Pay Day 2023- September 18The United Nations (UNInternational Equal Pay Day is annually observed across the world on 18 September to represent the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

  • The day also aligns with the UN’s commitment to human rights and the eradication of all forms of discrimination, including gender-based disparities against women and girls.

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