Current Affairs – 21 October 2023

Cabinet Approvals on 18 Oct 2023The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on 18 October, 2023
i.Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approvedproject on Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II – Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) for the 13 GW renewable energy project in Ladakh.

  • Scheduled completion by FY 2029-30.
  • Estimated total cost: Rs. 20,773.70 crore.
  • Central Financial Assistance (CFA) covering 40% of the project cost (Rs. 8,309.48 crore).

ii.Approves MSP for Rabi Crops for Marketing Season 2024-25

  • The highest increase in MSP has been sanctioned for lentils (masur) about 7.1% at Rs. 425 per quintal.

iii.11.07 Lakh Railway Employees to Receive Rs 1968.87 Crores in PLB.

  • The Union Cabinet has granted a Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days’ worth of wages for the financial year 2022-2023. The Government has approved a total PLB payout of Rs 1968.87 crore to benefit 11,07,346 railway employees.

iv.Release of an additional instalment of DA and DR due from 01.07.2023.

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to release an additional installment of Dearness Allowance (DA) for Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) for pensioners, w.e.f. July 1, 2023.

IBM & MeitY Signed 3 MoUs to Advance AI, Semiconductor & Quantum Innovation in IndiaIBM(International Business Machines Corporation) signed 3 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with 3 entities under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to advance and accelerate innovation in Artificial intelligence (AI), Semiconductor, and quantum technology in India.

  • The 3 MoUs were signed with IndiaAI – Digital India Corporation, India Semiconductor Mission (ISM), and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

Key People:
Union Minister of State(Mos) Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MeitY, and  Sandip Patel, Managing Director, IBM India & South Asia, were present at the MoU signing ceremony.
IBM MoU with IndiaAI – Digital India Corporation:
i.IBM and IndiaAI – Digital India Corporation collaborate to establish a world-class national AI Innovation Platform (AIIP) for India.
ii.To promote India’s scientific, economic, and human-capital development in AI technology, the platform will focus on AI skilling, ecosystem development, and integrating sophisticated foundation models and generative AI capabilities.
iii.AIIP gains access to IBM’s Watsonx platform key features, such as the ability to use models in language, code, and geospatial science, with the intention of training models for more domains as needed.
About IndiaAI:
IndiaAI under the Digital India Corporation(DIC)  is a knowledge portal, research organisation and an ecosystem building initiative.

  • It stands to unite and promote collaborations with various entities in India’s AI ecosystem.
  • The portal offers the latest and up-to-date information and analysis on AI as news and article

IBM MoU with ISM:
i.IBM is set to become India Semiconductor Mission’s (ISM) knowledge partner for a semiconductor research center.
ii.IBM will share its experience with ISM on intellectual property, tools, initiatives, and skills development for promoting innovation in semiconductor technologies such as logic, advanced packaging and heterogeneous integration, and advanced chip design technologies.
About ISM:
ISM was established in 2021 under the Digital India Corporation aims to build a vibrant semiconductor and display ecosystem to enable India’s emergence as a global hub for electronics manufacturing and design.
IBM MoU with C-DAC:
Through this MoU, IBM and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) are set to work together to advance India’s National Quantum Mission in the following ways.

  • Building expertise in computing technology
  • Developing applications in areas of national interest
  • Creating a skilled quantum workforce
  • Supporting the development of industries, startups, and Research and development (R&D)

About C-DAC:
C-DAC is the premier R&D organization of the MeitY for carrying out R&D in Information technology (IT), Electronics, and associated areas.
About IBM:
IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting expertise. It is known for its hardware and software products, including computers, servers, storage systems, and networking equipment.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – Arvind Krishna
Headquarters – Armonk, New York, United States of America(USA)
Established – 1911

APIPL Partners NPCI to launch EMIs on RuPay Credit Cards Amazon Pay India Private Limited (APIPL) in partnership with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has introduced the option of Equated Monthly Instalment(EMI) on RuPay credit cards in Amazon Pay.

  • The service will be available across eight prominent issuing banks.

i.Great Indian Festival was announced on from 08th October 2023 to 15th October 2023.

  • The Great Indian Festival is an annual shopping event that offers products at high discounts across different categories in
  • The theme of 2023 Great Indian Festival is ‘Dibbe khulenge, khulegi khushiyaan’ which means ‘unboxing happiness’.

ii.During the first two days of the offer time, it was observed that

  • EMI was the most popular payment method
  • One in four orders being placed on installments(EMI)
  • Three in four EMI orders being no-cost EMIs.

Tapping the Potential:
i.The launch of EMI facility on RuPay credit cards will grant customers enhanced access to credit.
ii.This will drive affordability and convenience of online shopping for customers across India, particularly during the festive season.

About Amazon Pay EMI:
i.EMI payments in is facilitated by Amazon Seller Services Private Limited (ASSPL).
No Cost EMI facility is funded by participating sellers and brands.
What is No Cost EMI?
i.No Cost EMI payment option enables customers who make purchases on by paying into equal installments over the course of the EMI tenure.
ii.There are no additional charges, such as interest, processing fees, or hidden costs.
Additional Info:
Introduced in 2019, Amazon Pay offers a bunch of payment options like Amazon Pay Later, Amazon Pay Wallet, Amazon Unified Payments Interface (UPI) etc,.
About Amazon Pay India Private Limited (APIPL):
Director – Vikas Bansal
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established in  –  2017

RBI Starts Wholesale Digital Rupee Pilot in Call Money MarketOn October 17, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initiated a pilot program for the wholesale segment namely ‘Digital Rupee-Wholesale (e-W)’ of its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in the interbank call money market. Click Here to read about CBDC

  • 9 banks, including 4 Public Sector Banks(PSBs) and 5 Private Sector Banks, are part of the e-rupee call money pilot.
  • This is the second test of wholesale CBDC, after the government securities market in November 2022.

Key Points:
i.Under the pilot, the entire wholesale segment, including asset tokenization and repo transactions will be covered.
ii.Initially, eRs (Digital Rupee) will move from bonds to call money to repo, with plans for a final pilot covering the entire wholesale segment.
iii.Operational processes for the e-rupee pilot remain the same, except settlements will use CBDC instead of real-time gross settlement used in trades on the Clearing Corp of India Limited (CCIL).  .
iv.Settlements will occur on the same day (T+0 mode) under the pilot.
About Call Money Market:
In the call money market, large financial institutions, such as banks, mutual funds, and corporations engage in short-term borrowing and lending activities among themselves, with interbank rates determined by prevailing market conditions.

IRDAI Mandates Insurance Cover For Employees In Employer’s VehicleThe Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has mandated all general insurers with motor insurance business to provide an inbuilt feature in the Third Party policy (TP) to cover to employees travelling in an employer’s vehicle (including paid driver, if applicable) under IMT. 29 of the Indian Motor Tariff  2002.

  • The compulsory cover of IMT-29 should be provided as an in-built coverage under the Compulsory Motor Third Party(TP) Liability Section of Private Car Package/ Bundled Policies and under standalone policies insuring Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability.
  • IRDAI also stated that no additional premium will be charged until further directions.

Click here to know more
i.Madras High Court(Chennai, Tamil Nadu) has directed IRDAI to make
IMT-29 compulsory as an inbuilt coverage for employees while issuing a Private Car policy for employer’s vehicles.
ii.In accordance to the High Court order, IRDAI has issued the above directions in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 14(2) of Insurance Act 1938.
About Section 29 of India Motor Tariff (IMT) 2002:
i.The insurer will pay for any damages that the insured is legally liable for under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855, if an employee (other than a paid driver) is killed or injured while using the insured vehicle(Upon payment of premium Rs.25/employee).
ii.The compulsory cover of IMT-29 shall be provided as an inbuilt coverage
under the Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Section of Private Car
Package/ Bundled Policies and under standalone policies insuring
Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability.
Clause 7 of Section 2 of IMT:
i.The employees travelling in or driving the employer’s motor vehicle will be covered under the insurance with the payment of premium of Rs.50/employee.

  • The tenure of the premium is extended till 12months on payment of additional amount (Rs.50/employee).

ii.The maximum number of employees covered under the insurance equals the maximum licensed seating capacity of the vehicle.

Mahsa Amini & The Women of Iran Won the 2023 Sakharov Prize of  European ParliamentOn October 19, 2023, Roberta Metsola, President of European Parliament named Jina Mahsa Amini and Iranian women protest movement as the winners of Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2023 (Sakharov Prize), the European Union’s (EU) top human rights prize.

  • The prize will be given at a ceremony in European Parliament’s hemicycle in Strasbourg, France on December 13, 2023.


  • Mahsa Amini and the women of Iran were nominated by the European People’s Party.
  • The Socialists and Democrats and Renew Europe also nominated Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement as representatives of the fight for women’s rights in Iran.

About Jina Amini & The Women of Iran:
i.Jina Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory hijab (headscarf ) law in September 2022. She died 3 days after arrest.
ii.Her death under suspicious circumstances led to the massive women led protests in Iran.
iii.The women are protesting under the slogan ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ i.e. Iranian Women Protest Movement against the hijab law and other discriminatory laws.
About Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought:
i.It was established in 1988 by the European Parliament, honors individuals and groups defending human rights.
ii.The award is named after Soviet physicist and political dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov.
iii.The award carries a cash prize of 50,000 Euro.

  • In 2022, it was presented to the People of Ukraine represented by their President (Volodymyr Zelenskyy), elected leaders and civil society.
  • The first prize in 1988 was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko.

Other Nominees for the 2023 Sakharov Prize:

  • Afghan education activists Marzia Amiri, Parasto Hakim and Matiullah Wesa
  • Pro-European people of Georgia and Nino Lomjaria, former public defender of Georgia for efforts to defend their rights and safeguard democracy.
  • Elon Musk  for exposing practices by Twitter’s (now X) previous management that were detrimental to users’ freedom of expression
  • Vanessa Nakate,  a young Ugandan committed to fighting against climate change and for human rights
  • Vilma Núñez de Escorcia and Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez Lagos from Nicaragua.
  • Women fighting for free, safe and legal abortion: Justyna Wydrzyńska, Morena Herrera, and Colleen McNicholas

Cirium’s Monthly Report: Bengaluru’s KIA tops as World’s Most Punctual Airport
According to ‘The On-Time Performance Monthly Reports – Airports for September 2023’ published by aviation analytics firm Cirium, Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru (Karnataka) has secured the top position as the world’s most punctual Airport for the past 3 consecutive months(July, August, and September 2023).

  • KIA maintained an on-time departure experience for passengers, with 87.51% punctuality in July, 89.66% in August, and 88.51% in September.
  • As per the report, on-time departure ranking measures the percentage of flights that departed within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.
  • Cirium conducts an extensive evaluation of flight data for global airports.  Airports are classified based on seat capacity, gate departure coverage of 80% or more, and flight volume.
  • The classifications include Global Airport (25 – 40 million passengers), Large Airport (25 – 40 million passengers), Medium Airport (15 – 25 million passengers), and Small Airport (5 – 15 million passengers).

President Appoints Raghubar Das as Governor of Odisha & Indra Sena Reddy Nallu as Governor of TripuraDroupadi Murmu, President of India, has appointed former Chief Minister(CM) of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das(68 years old), as the 26th Governor of Odisha and Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Indra Sena Reddy Nallu(73) as 20th Governor of Tripura with effect from the date they assume charge.

  • Raghubar Das will succeed Ganeshi Lal who has been serving as the Governor of Odisha since 2018.
  • Indra Sena Reddy Nallu will succeed Satyadeo Narain Arya who has been serving as the Governor of Tripura since 2021.

Note: Raghubar Das is currently serving as the national vice-president of the BJP.
About Odisha:
Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
Dance forms – Ghumura Dance, Ranapa Dance
River – VansadharaIndervati

Padma Shri Awardee and Spiritual Leader Bangaru Adigalar Passed AwayPadma Shri Awardee Arul Thiru Bangaru Adigalar, a Spiritual Leader and the founder of Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi Siddhar Peedam  in Kancheepuram district (Tamil Nadu (TN)) passed away at the age of 82 in Melmaruvathur, TN. He was born on 3 March 1941 in Melmaruvathur village.
He was conferred with Padma Shri in 2019 for his spiritual services to the society.
About Bangaru Adigalar:
i.G. Subramaniam, known as Bangaru Adigal, lovingly known as ‘Amma’ (mother) by his followers in Adhiparasakthi Siddhar Peedam (referred to as Red-Clad Movement), is renowned for leading significant reforms in spiritual practices.
ii.He was by profession a school teacher in Arapeduvillage near Achirupakkam in TN. He gained recognition as the admired oracle of the Parasakthi temple.
iii.The year 1971 marked the establishment of his spiritual leadership from a modest, thatched cottage in Melmaruvathur.
iv.Initially, Swayambu (the self-generated) stood as the sole object of worship for many years. On 25 November 1977, the idol of Mother Adhiparasakthi was installed in the Sanctum Sanctorum.
v.The Adhiparasakthi spiritual movement founded by Adigalar is known by the Melmaruvathur temple near Chennai (TN) and its local worship groups across TN.
vi.His contributions have brought about noteworthy changes, including the admission of women into the inner sanctum of Arulmigu Aadhiparasakthi Temple in Melmaruvathur for regular worship.

  • The Melmaruvathur temple is the only temple where a woman can offer worship even during her menstrual flow.

vii.He established Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi Siddhar Vaara Vazhipaatu Mandram and almost every village in TN has its branches.
viii.His fame led him to establish engineering and medical colleges. He owned several educational institutions around the Melmaruvathur area.

  • The foundation stone for AdhiParasakthi Polytechnic was laid by the then Chief Minister of TN, M.G. Ramachandran.
  • He also helped poor students with education through the Adhiparashakti Charitable Medical Education and Cultural Trust.

National Solidarity Day 2023- October 20 National Solidarity Day is annually observed across India on 20 October to honour, respect, and promote the bravery and strength of the Indian armed forces.

  • The day is dedicated to mark the national integrity displayed by India during the 1962 conflict with China(Indo-China War)
  • The day is also plays tribute to all the brave souls who lost their lives during the Sino-Indian War which started on 20th October 1962 and ended on 21 November 1962.

20 October 2023 marks the 61st anniversary of the India-China war.
i.In 1966, a committee was set up under the leadership of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to honour the martyrs of the Indo-China War and to promote a sense of patriotism and solidarity among the citizens.
ii.The committee decided to designate October 20 as National Solidarity Day.

World Osteoporosis Day 2023 – October 20 World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is a global awareness campaign annually observed across the globe on 20 October to highlight the importance of Osteoporosis and to raise global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases.

  • This day serves as a platform to encourage people to take action to maintain strong and healthy bones throughout their lives.

The theme of 2023 WOD Campaign is Build Better Bones’.
i.WOD was initially launched by the National Osteoporosis Society of the United Kingdom (UK) and was supported by the European Commission.
ii.In 1998, the European Foundation for Osteoporosis (EFFO) and the International Federation of Societies on Skeletal Diseases (IFSSD) merged.

  • This merger led to the formation of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).

iii.The first-ever WOD was observed on 20 October 1996.
About International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF):
IOF is the world’s largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases.
President– Professor Cyrus Cooper (UK)
CEO– Philippe Halbout (Switzerland)
Headquarters– Nyon, Switzerland
Formed in– 1998

International Chefs Day 2023 – October 20International Chefs Day is annually observed across the globe on October 20 to celebrate the Culinary arts and to educate the people about the significance of culinary professionals (Chefs).

  • 20th October 2023 marks the 20th International Chefs Day.

i.The campaign of International Chefs Day 2023 is Growing Great Chefs.
ii.The day was founded in 2004 by Bill Gallagher, the then-president of the WorldChefs.
iii.The first International Chefs Day was observed on 20th October 2004.
About World Association of Chefs’ Societies (Worldchefs):
President- Thomas A. Gugler
Headquarters- Paris, France
Establishment- 1928

Arunachal Pradesh Cabinet Approves Various Initiatives Including Establishment of STPF for Tiger ReservesThe Arunachal Pradesh (AP) State Cabinet approved the constitution of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) in AP as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for 3 Tiger Reserves of AP namely, Namdapha, Pakke, and Kamlang. This decision will result in the creation of 336 regular posts in AP.

  • The Cabinet also approved the Amendment of AP State Industrial and Investment Policy 2020 and the framing of AP Home Guard Rules 2023 along with others.

About Arunachal Pradesh:
Chief Minister– Pema Khandu
Governor– Kaiwalya Trivikram Parnaik
Airports– Tezu Airport and Itanagar Airport

MeitY Inaugurated UP’s 1st RPA Lab under FutureSkill PRIME Project in NIELIT Gorakhpur
On 16th October 2023, Krishnan, Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), inaugurated the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Lab in National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

  • This is the First-of-its-kind lab in UP was built under the Future Skill PRIME Project funded by MeitY to bridge the gap between Industry and Academia.
  • The lab was inauguated during the 26th All India Director’s Meet of NIELIT. The meet witnessed the participation of Directors from 49 NIELIT Centres across the India.

Objective: To upskill/reskill manpower in emerging technology of RPA.
MoU & EoI signed during the event:

  • Prof Poonam Tandon, Vice-Chancellor , Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University and Dr M M Tripathi, Director General, NIELIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to organise employment-oriented courses and training in future skill technology in Gorakhpur region.
  • Anuj Malik, CEO of Gorakhpur Industrial Development Authority (GIDA) shared an Expression of Interest (EOI) with Dr D K Mishra, Director, NIELIT Gorakhpur, to set up a Skill Centre of NIELIT in GIDA. With this, GIDA will offer a built-up space and land, free of cost for 5 years and NIELIT wil establish state-of-art facility that will focus on advancement of technical education, skill development, and employment opportunities in the region.

Gadkari’: A Marathi Biopic of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari
The Marathi film titled ‘Gadkari‘, the biopic of Union Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), is set to release in Cinemas on 27 October 2023. The movie is directed by Anurag Rajan Bhusari starring Rahul Chopda as Nitin Gadkari.

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