Current Affairs – 17 October 2023

Cabinet Approval October 2023In a significant development, the Union Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi,

  • Approved an amendment to the Second Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) for specifying royalty rates for three critical and strategic minerals: Lithium, Niobium, and Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
  • Approved an establishment of autonomous organization known as “Mera Yuva Bharat” (MY Bharat).
  • Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and France on cooperation in the field of Digital Technologies.
  • Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Papua New Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago for Digital Transformation.

Bhopal’s Mahila Thana became India’s 1st Women-centric Police Station to get ISO 9001:2015 CertificationThe Mahila thana (women’s police station) of Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) became the first women-centric police station across the entire India to be certified with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO9001:2015 certificate.

  • The ISO certificate is issued for 3 years.
  • With this certification, Mahila Thana has become the 2nd ISO-certified police station in Bhopal. In May 2023, Misrod police station became the first ISO 9001:2015 certified police station of Bhopal.

Key People:
Hemlata Sharma, Director of Infinity Certification Services presented the certificate to Harinarayan Chari Mishra, Commissioner of Police (CP) of Bhopal. Senior police official Anurag Sharma, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP), Bhopal was also present on the occasion.
Features of ISO-Certified Bhopal’s Mahila thana:
i.Upgrades were implemented, including the provision of separate rooms and dedicated computer systems for the investigating officers and staff, minimizing potential risks during meetings and operations.
ii.Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras were installed throughout the premises of the Police station.
iii.The station was redesigned to be more ‘victim friendly’. A swing house has been set up for children and more than 5 toilets have been built.
iv.A dedicated feeding room was set up to serve the needs of women.
ISO Certification:
It specifies the requirement of an ideal Quality Management System (QMS) and provides a framework for organizations to improve efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve continual improvement.
ISO Certification for Police Station:
i.It will be issued based on the records they are maintaining at the police stations, cleanliness, interiors, reception office, CCTV camera installation, control room, and public waiting room with basic amenities.
ii.The stations should also meet standards in terms of maintaining strong public relationships with available resources for implementing strong social policing strategies within their jurisdiction.
What is ISO?
i.ISO is an independent, international organization with a membership of 169 national standards bodies.
ii.It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 1947 and based in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • The organization issues certificates to businesses after checking their products or services for quality, safety, and efficiency.

51st meeting of the Executive Committee of NMCG Approves 7 Projects worth Rs 285 Crore The Executive Committee (EC) of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) during its 51st meeting approved 7 projects worth around Rs. 285 crore. The meeting was held on 12th October 2023 under the chairmanship of G. Asok Kumar, Director General (DG) of NMCG.

  • The committee has approved 3 projects for sewerage management: 2 in West Bengal and 1 in Uttarakhand.
  • The EC also approved the extension of the Composite Ecological Task Force (Ganga Task Force (GTF)) to continue assisting in the rejuvenation of River Ganga.
  • The EC also approved the proposal to develop Ganga Vatika Park in DhalwalaUttarakhand.

About Ministry of Jal Shakti:
Union Minister– Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Constituency- Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of States– Prahlad Singh Patel (Constituency- Damoh, Madhya Pradesh); Bishweswar Tudu (Constituency- Mayurbhanj, Odisha)


IRCON & RITES became 15th & 16th ‘Navratna CPSE’The Department of public Enterprise(DPE) under the Ministry of Finance have been granted Navratna status to two Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) namely Ircon International Limited (IRCON) and RITES Limited (RITES) under the Ministry of Railways(MoR).

  • IRCON is a specialized construction company that covers the entire range of construction activities and services in the infrastructure sector. It is now the 15th company to be granted Navratna status.
  • RITES Limited which is a multidisciplinary engineering and consultancy organization is the 16th Navratna amongst CPSEs.

About Ircon International Limited (IRCON):
Chairman & Managing Director(MD) – Brijesh Kumar Gupta
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Established in – 1976
About RITES Limited (RITES):
Chairman & Managing Director(MD) – Rahul Mithal
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
Established in – 1974


Overview of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Italy & France i.From October 9-12, 2023, India’s Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence(MoD) was on an official visit to Rome, Italy and Paris, France.
ii.The visit to Italy was the first in over 20 years by an Indian Defence Minister. He was received by the by the Indian Ambassador to Italy Dr Neena Malhotra and Italy’s Minister of Defence Guido Crosetto at Ciampino Airport, Rome.
iii.A defence cooperation agreement was signed between India and Italy  to promote bilateral cooperation in areas such as security and defence policy, Research and Development (R&D), and others.
iv.On October 11, 2023, Union Minister Rajnath Singh conducted the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue with French Minister of Armed Forces Mr Sebastien Lecornu in Paris.
v.In both countries, Union Minister Rajnath Singh was given Guard of Honour.
About France:
President– Emmanuel Macron
Capital– Paris
Currency– Euro


Sri Lanka took over as Chair of Indian Ocean Rim Association; India as Vice ChairOn October 11, 2023, Sri Lanka took over as Chair of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the period 2023 to 2025 during the 23rd Council of Ministers’ (COM) meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 11 October 2023.

  • Sri Lanka took over from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the current Chair of IORA (2021 to 2023).
  • Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will chair the Council, the highest decision-making body of the IORA.

India assumed the ViceChair role of IORA for 202325. India is set to take over the chairship of IORA during 2025-27.
23rd COM Meeting of IORA:
The 23rd COM Meeting of IORA was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka.
The meeting was held under the theme “Strengthening Regional Architecture: Reinforcing Indian Ocean Identity”.
About Sri Lanka:
Prime Minister– Dinesh Gunawardena
Capital– Colombo (executive and judicial capital); Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Currency– Sri Lankan Rupee


Army Chief Presents the President’s Colours to 3rd Battalion of Naga Regiment
General Manoj Pande, the Chief of Army Staff presented the ‘President’s Colours’(represented by a flag) to the 3rd Battalion of the Naga Regiment during the Colour presentation parade held at Kumaon Regimental Centre, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand. It was received by Col Lalit Chandra Kandpal, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion of the Naga Regiment.

  • The President’s Colour, also called ‘Nishan’, is bestowed upon a military unit in recognition of exceptional service rendered to the country, both in peace and in war.
  • The Naga regiment’s 3rd battalion was created on October 1, 2009, in Haldwani, situated in the Kumaon Hills, which were home to the Kumaon and Naga regiments.
  • The first battalion of the Naga Regiment was raised in Ranikhet in 1970.
  • The Naga regiment’s 3rd battalion has received one Vishisht Seva Medal, 11 COAS (chief of Army Staff) commendation cards, 12 VCOAS (vice-head of Army Staff) commendation cards, 37 GOC-in-C commendation cards, and one force commander (UN Mission) commendation card since its formation.

Note:
Indian Navy was the first Indian Armed Force, to be awarded the President’s Colour by then President Dr Rajendra Prasad on 27 May 1951.


SAC ISRO Signed MoU with NavTech for Optical Wireless Communication Using LiFi TechnologyThe Ahmedabad (Gujarat) based Space Applications Centre (SAC), under Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has signed a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ahmedabad-based Nav Wireless Technologies Pvt Ltd (NavTech), a leading pioneer in Light Fidelity (LiFi) technology, to use light-based high-speed communication for satellite communication in space.

  • The partnership was recommended by the Department of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Communication.
  • NavTech is the 1st company in India to provide the LiFi technology to SAC (ISRO).

LiFi Technology:
i.It operates by transmitting data through a spectrum of light beams, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments offering ultra-fast data connections.
ii.It proves particularly beneficial in urban areas with crowded radio spectrums and rural regions lacking fiber optic networks.
About the partnership:
i.SAC, a major center of ISRO in partnership with NavTech aims to facilitate high-speed secure quantum key communication from base stations to satellites in space and terrestrial communication.
ii.Using the LiFi technology, SAC/ISRO will facilitate Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Pointing Acquisition and Tracking (PAT) in satellite-to-satellite communications during ISRO’s upcoming space exploration missions.
iii.This collaboration represents a significant shift in space communication technology, leveraging optical wireless technologies over traditional Radio Frequency (RF) systems.

  • Space agencies have already started using optical wireless technologies instead of RF for space communication.

NavTech’s LiFi for 5G and Rural Connectivity in India:
i.By positioning itself as the sole registered entity in India committed to LiFi research, NavTech has solidified its role as a leading authority in the field.
ii.NavTech has demonstrated the most practical solution for the seamless integration of 5G services and the effective implementation of BharatNet rural connectivity, utilising the potential of Optical Wireless Communications (OWC).
About Space Applications Centre (SAC):
Director– Nilesh M. Desai
Headquarters– Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Established in– 1972


Indian Army Establishes first-ever BSNL BTS on World’s Highest Battlefield Siachen Glacier 
The Indian Army (Siachen Warriors) in collaboration with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has installed the first-ever BSNL Base Transceiver Station (BTS)  on the world’s highest battlefield, ‘Siachen Glacier’ in Ladakh.

  • The tower was inaugurated on 6th October 2023 and will provide mobile communication services to soldiers at an altitude of over 15,500 feet.
  • A radio transceiver that links mobile devices to a cellular network is known as a base transceiver station(BTS).
  • BTS sends and receives radio signals from mobile devices before converting them to digital signals that are subsequently directed to other network devices or the Internet.
  • The Indian Army also conducted demining operations in three areas(Phobrang, Yourgo, and Lukung village) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Leh district of Ladakh and destroyed 175 mines.

REC Signs MoU with NICSI for ICT and Digital Transformation Services
The REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI) for various Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Transformation Services.

  • This MoU will support the REC ecosystem by fostering the development of cutting-edge technologies in areas like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Blockchain, and Cyber Security.
  • The collaboration with NICSI will allow REC to provide end-to-end NIC/NICSI Software product deployment, hosting, core roll-out, technical support, security, services, and system administration.

Note:
REC, a ‘Maharatna’ company under the Ministry of Power is a Non-Banking Financial Corporation (NBFC) focusing on Power Sector Financing and Development across India.
NICSI comes under the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology


India’s Raunak Sadhwani Wins World Junior Rapid Chess Championship 2023 TitleIndia’s GrandMaster(GM) Raunak Sadhwani won the FIDE World Junior Rapid Chess Championship 2023 title in the open category. He also secured second place(Silver Medal) in the FIDE World Junior Blitz Championship 2023 in the open category.

  • The inaugural edition of the Federation Internationale des Echecs/International Chess Federation (FIDE) World Junior Under 20(U-20) Rapid & Blitz Championships was held from 9th to 16th October 2023 in Pula(Sardinia), Italy.
  • Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Govhar Beydullayeva of Azerbaijan won the FIDE World Junior Girls U20 Rapid Chess Championship 2023 title.
  • GM Mahammad Muradli of Azerbaijan won the FIDE World Junior Blitz Championship title.
  • WIM Xeniya Balabayeva of Kazakhstan won the FIDE World Junior Girls U20 Blitz Championship title.
  • The Indian team won the 3rd Intercontinental Online Chess Championship for Prisoners in the youth section by defeating the defending champions Serbia in the final.

About Federation Internationale des Echecs/International Chess Federation (FIDE):
President – Arkady Dvorkovich
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
Established – 1924

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 – October 14 The United Nations (UN)-backed biannual campaign World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is celebrated across the globe on 2 peak days of a year, 2nd Saturday of May (In the spring) and October (in the fall).

  • It is a day to raise awareness about the importance of migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to protect them and their habitats.

WMBD 2023 falls on the 13th of May and the 14th of October 2023.

  • WMBD 2022 was observed on the 14th of May and 8th of October 2022 and the WMBD 2024 will be observed on the 11th of May and 12th of October 2024.

The theme/Campaign Slogan of WMBD 2023 is, “Water: Sustaining Bird Life“.

  • WMBD 2023 campaign focused on Water and its importance to migratory birds, and the increasing threats to both water quality and quantity.

The annual observance of the WMBD is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the leading global authority on the environment in the UN system.
Background:
i.International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), now World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), was originally created in 1993 by visionaries at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, USA.
ii.From 1995 to 2006, the WMBD program was under the direction of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
iii.In 2006, WMBD was jointly initiated by the 2 UN Wildlife treaties, the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of AEWA, and CMS, and in 2007, WMBD also joined forces with EFTA.
iv.On the occasion of its 10th anniversary in 2005, the AEWA Secretariat initiated the Migratory Waterbird Days (MWD) which were held in Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia.
v.The first-ever WMBD was launched by AEWA and CMS on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006 on the wildlife reserve ‘Ole Ari Nyiro’ in Laikipia, Kenya.


World Standards Day 2023 – October 14World Standards Day (WSD) also known as International Standards Day is annually observed across the globe on October 14 to educate consumers, policymakers, and businesses about the value of standardisation.
i.The theme of World Standards Day 2023 is “Shared Vision for a Better World – Standards for Sustainable Development Goals(SDG)”.
ii.The first World Standards Day was formally observed on 14th October 1970 by Faruk Sunter, then president of International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
About International Organization for Standardization (ISO):
President – Ulrika Francke
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
Established in – 1947
About International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Secretary-General –  Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
Established in – 1865

International Day of Rural Women 2023- October 15 The United Nations (UNInternational Day of Rural Women is annually observed across the globe on 15 October to recognise the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and eradicating rural poverty.

  • The theme of International Day of Rural Women 2023 is “Rural Women, Women with Rights”.

Background:
i.The International Day of Rural Women was created in 1995 by Civil society organizations at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
ii.On 18 December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/62/136 and declared the 15th of October of every year as the International Day of Rural Women.
iii.The first-ever International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008.


Global Handwashing Day  2023 – October 15 The Global Handwashing Day is annually observed across the world on October 15 to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap and water as a way to prevent disease.

  • 15th October 2023 marks the observance of  16th Global Handwashing Day.

i.The theme for Global Handwashing Day 2023 is “Clean Hands Are Within Reach.” 
ii.Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.
iii.The first Global Handwashing Day was celebrated on 15th October, 2008.


CM Naveen Patnaik launched the 1st phase of LAccMI YojanaOdisha Chief Minister(CM) Naveen Patnaik has launched Location Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI) scheme in Malkangiri district of Odisha.

  • LAccMI was announced in the Odisha State budget 2023-24.
  • The scheme, aims to offer reliable and affordable public transit (bus service) throughout odisha, with a focus on rural areas.

Background:
About LAccMI:
i.LAccMI aims to connect gram panchayats with the Bhuvaneshwar (capital of Odisha) through public transportation system.
ii.The project is implemented in Odisha with a budget of  Rs 3,178 crore over the next three years, from 2023-24 to 2025-26.
iii.The LAccMI bus service will be launched in rural areas of six tribal-dominated and remote districts of Odisha such as Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, and Gajapati.
iv.In first phase, a fleet of 36 buses will ply between panchayats and blocks headquarters and between blocks to districts and Bhubaneswar.

  • The buses will connect 111 gram panchayats in Malkangiri district

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