Daily Current Affairs and GK | 17 and 18 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 18 Dec 2023 16:52 PM IST

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Topic: Defence

1. Indian Air Force successfully tested the 'SAMAR' air defence missile system at ‘Exercise Astrashakti’.

  • The IAF has developed the Surface to Air Missile for Assured Retaliation (SAMAR) air defence missile system.
  • Exercise AstraShakti-2023 was held at Suryalanka Air Force Station.
  • The air defence system 'SAMAR' participated for the first time in the exercise to test its surface-to-air weapon systems and carry out their operational field trials.
  • The missile system successfully achieved its firing trial objectives in different scenarios.
  • This missile system can destroy aerial threats with missiles operating at a speed range of 2 to 2.5 Mach. It consists of a twin-turret launch platform.
  • SAMAR air defence system has been developed by the 7 BRD. It can launch two missiles in single and salvo mode.
  • India also demonstrated the firepower of its Akash surface-to-air (SAM) weapon system during Exercise Astrashakti 2023.
  • The Akash Weapon System is indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Topic: National News

2. The Surat Diamond Bourse has been inaugurated by PM Modi.

  • It is the world's largest and modern centre for international diamond and jewellery business.
  • The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) building is located at Khajod village near Surat city.
  • It is the world's largest office complex with more than 67 lakh square feet of floor area.
  • Surat Diamond Bourse will be a global centre for trading jewellery as well as rough and polished diamonds.
  • Surat Diamond Bourse is part of the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City.
  • In February 2015, former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the SDB and DREAM City project.

Topic: International News

3. A vision paper outlining plans to increase bilateral collaboration in around ten important areas was adopted by Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of Oman and PM Modi.

  • They stressed on the earliest possible signing of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).
  • The issue of terrorism and the circumstances surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict were also discussed by the two leaders.
  • The Oman-India joint investment fund's third tranche, valued at $300 million US (about 2,500 crore rupees), was also announced by the two parties.
  • This would be used for channelising investment into the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy.
  • PM Modi held talks with Sultan of Oman Haitham Bin Tarik in New Delhi on 16 December 2023.
  • In 2010, bilateral trade between India and Oman stood at $4.5 billion.
  • India was Oman's second largest destination for its non-oil exports and its fourth largest source for imports.
  • Oman is the first Gulf nation to have formalised defence relations with India.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

4. Advocates Association For Social Responsibility And Awareness (AASRAA) honors Dr. Srinivas Naik Dharavath with the Visionary Leader Icon Award of the Year 2023.

  • The award was presented at the 5th National Summit held at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi on 24th November 2023.
  • Dr. Srinivas Naik Dharavath is the chairman of Real Vision Homes Pvt Ltd.
  • N Satyanarayana, Chairman of Telangana RERA presented the award to Dr. Srinivas Naik Dharavath.
  • The award was presented to Dr. Srinivas Naik Dharavath in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the real estate industry and his commitment to social responsibility and to AASRAA.
  • AASRAA is India's largest consumer rights organization.
  • Dr. Srinivas Naik Dharavath has also been the Recipient of the Times of India - Fastest Growing Real Estate Brands in the Year 2023 and Global ICON Award at the G20 Summit in Sri Lanka.

Topic: Sports

5. First-ever Khelo India Para Games (KIPG) concluded in New Delhi.

  • Around 1,450 para-athletes from across the country participated in the KIPG 2023, which began on December 10.
  • Haryana secured the first position at the Khelo India Para Games by winning 105 medals, including 40 gold, 39 silver, and 26 bronze.
  • Uttar Pradesh stood second with 62 medals including 25 gold, 23 silver, and 14 bronze.
  • Tamil Nadu finished third with 20 gold, eight silver and 14 bronze medals.
  • Athletes from 32 states and union territories participated in the games.
  • On the final day, Kerala achieved a resounding 7-0 win against Tamil Nadu in CP football, with Y Jaya Surya scoring 3 goals while A Groth scored 4 goals.
  • In table tennis, in men's Class-4 category, Haryana's Sumit Sehgal won the gold medal by defeating Gujarat's Ramesh Chaudhary 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-8) in the final.

Khelo India Para Games

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Banking System

6. The monetary penalty imposed by RBI on five co-operative banks for lapses in regulatory compliance.

  • These five co-operative banks are:


Penalty (in Rs.)


Indapur Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd., Pune, Maharashtra

5.00 lakh

For non-compliance with directions issued by RBI on ‘Investments by Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks’, ‘Maintenance of Deposit Accounts - Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks’, and ‘Income Recognition, Asset Classification, Provisioning.

Janakalyan Sahakari Bank Limited, Mumbai

5.00 lakh

For non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on ‘Reporting of Large Exposures to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC)’

Patan Urban Co-operative Bank Limited, Satara, Maharashtra

2.00 lakh

for contravention of the provisions of Section 26A read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (BR Act)

for non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on ‘The Depositor Education and Awareness Fund’.

Pune Merchants Co-operative Bank Limited, Pune

1.00 lakh

For non-compliance with the directions issued by RBI on ‘Maintenance of Deposit Accounts - Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks’.

Pune Municipal Corporation Servant’s Co-operative Urban Bank Limited, Pune

1.00 lakh

For non-compliance with RBI directions on ‘Maintenance of Deposit Accounts - Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks’


  • This penalty has been imposed in the exercise of the powers conferred on RBI under certain provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
  • RBI further said that the monetary penalties on cooperative banks were based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and were not intended to be imposed on the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the banks with their customers.
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Topic: Art and Culture

7. PM Modi inaugurated 2nd phase of Kashi Tamil Sangamam 2023 at Namo Ghat in Varanasi.

  • He said that Kashi Tamil Sangamam is strengthening the idea of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.
  • On the occasion, he flagged off the Kanyakumari - Varanasi Tamil Sangamam train.
  • Union Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Dr. L Murugan, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP Tamilnadu Unit head K. Annamalai were also present on the occasion.
  • The first batch of Tamil delegation comprising a group of students from various parts of Tamil Nadu named after the sacred river ‘Ganga’ reached the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi) to attend the 15-day-long second phase of Kashi Tamil Sangamam.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi used artificial intelligence for the first time during his speech, providing attendees with real-time translations of the speech into Tamil through headphones.
  • He also launched 37 development projects worth around 20,000 crore rupees. He flagged off another Vande Bharat express train from Varanasi.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

8. India's first Bone Marrow Transplant has been successfully conducted by Indian doctors at Army Hospital.

  • According to the Defence Ministry, medical professionals at the Army Hospital in Delhi Cant have successfully performed for the first time in India a life-saving bone marrow transplant for a child.
  • This child was diagnosed with a rare primary immunodeficiency disorder.
  • According to the Ministry, children and families dealing with similar difficulties now have new hope because of this innovative procedure.
  • It further stated that at the age of one year, the patient, a seven-year-old boy, was diagnosed with ARPC1b, an extremely uncommon form of immunodeficiency.
  • His immune system was significantly weakened, which left him vulnerable to recurring infections that could have been fatal as well as other issues.
  • The Ministry added that, within six months of the hospital's referral, the Army Hospital performed a Matched Unrelated Donor transplant.
  • The aim of the procedure was to replace the defective immune cells with healthy ones.
  • Bone marrow is a semi-solid tissue. It is found within the spongy portions of bones. In birds and mammals, it is the primary site for the production of new blood cells

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

9. 13 states and Union Territories are recognised as ‘achievers’ in the Logistics Index Chart 2023.

  • According to a report released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh and Gujarat are among the 13 states and Union Territories that are recognised as achievers in the Logistics Index Chart 2023.
  • The other states and UTs in the "achievers" category are Delhi, Assam, Haryana, Punjab, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have been recognized as “fast-mover” states in the Logistics Index Chart 2023.
  • Goa, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand are ranked in the aspirer’s category.
  • This report has given ranking to states based on their logistics ecosystem.
  • It also highlights the logistics challenges faced by the stakeholders and also gives recommendations.
  • The main aim of the Index is to increase focus on improving logistics performance across states.
  • The logistics sector will play a key role in taking India's economy to about USD 35 trillion by 2047.

Topic: Important Days

10. Minority Rights Day: 18 December

  • Minority Rights Day is observed every year on the 18th of December.
  • The United Nations adopted and broadcast the Statement on the Individual's Rights belonging to Religious or Linguistic National or Ethnic Minorities on December 18, 1992.
  • Minority Rights Day is observed to raise awareness about freedom and equal opportunities for minorities in India.
  • A community that is socially, politically and economically non-dominant and inferior in population within a country is considered as Minority.
  • The rights of these minorities are fundamental to the principles of equality and justice.
  • The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was formed in India in 1992 under the National Commission for Minorities Act for the protection of minorities' rights.
  • In India, the government has identified six religious minority communities – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis), and Jains.

Topic: International News

11. India's Uma Shekhar won over candidates from the USA, Russia, and China in UNIDROIT elections.

  • Indian candidate Uma Shekhar won the election to the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) with a landslide victory, a major victory on the international stage.
  • This achievement became all the more remarkable as candidates from Russia, the US, and China failed to win any posts on the Governing Council.
  • The announcement of his victory has raised India's status in the world of international law.
  • Uma Shekhar became the first Indian woman to secure a position on the Governing Council of the prestigious Rome-based organization.
  • In this much-awaited election, 32 contestants participated from several countries including the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France.
  • Uma Shekhar won the first round with 45 votes out of 59. The threshold required to secure a position on the Governing Council was 21 votes.
  • India will be a member of the Governing Council for the period 2024-28.
  • UNIDROIT is an independent intergovernmental organization focused on promoting uniformity in commercial law globally. Its headquarters is in Rome, Italy. It was founded in 1926.

Topic: Sports

12. Hardik Pandya appointed as the new captain of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

  • On December 15, Hardik Pandya was named captain of the Mumbai Indians, replacing the highly successful Rohit Sharma, who led the Mumbai to five trophies.
  • The announcement from Mumbai Indians follows Hardik's return to the franchise following a high-profile trade from Gujarat Titans in November.
  • Mumbai Indians, along with Chennai Super Kings, are the most successful IPL franchises, with both having won five titles each.
  • Under Rohit's captaincy, Mumbai Indians won titles in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
  • Hardik led Gujarat Titans to the title in IPL in 2022 and finished runners-up in 2023.
  • IPL 2024 is expected to be organised from 23 March 2024 to 29 May 2024.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

13. BEL and the Defence Ministry signed a pact for the procurement of Electronic Fuzes for the Indian Army.

  • For the procurement of Electronic Fuzes for the Indian Army, the Ministry of Defence signed Rs 5,300 crore deal with Bharat Electronics Limited Pune.
  • The contract worth Rs 5,336 crore rupees has been signed for 10 years.
  • This contract has been signed under the ‘Manufacture of Ammunition for Indian Army by Indian Industry’ initiative of the government.
  • The main aim of the initiative is to build ammunition stocks to minimize imports and to achieve self-sufficiency in ammunition manufacturing.
  • It will also help in securing critical technologies and secure stock affected by supply chain disruption.
  • BEL will manufacture electronic fuzes at its Pune and Nagpur plants.
  • An electronic fuze is an integral component of medium to heavy calibre artillery guns which provide artillery firepower for military operations.
  • This project is likely to generate employment of one and a half lakh man-days.

Electronic Fuzes for the Indian Army

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

14. After the 2029 election, India’s women voters’ number will surpass male voters.

  • As per a report by SBI, the women voters will be more than male voters from the 2029 election onwards.
  • In the 2024 election, the total number of voters will be around 68 crore, of which women voters will be 33 crore (49%).
  • After 2029, the women voters will be 37 crore, which will be more than male voters (36 crore).
  • In 2047, the women's voter turnout might increase to 55% and men's voter turnout might fall to 45%.
  • In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the female voter turnout rate was higher than males. 67.18% of women voters cast their vote as compared to 67.01% of males.
  • In the last five years, out of the 23 major states, where elections happened, the women's voter turnout was higher than men in 18 states.
  • At present, only 15% of the total members of the Lok Sabha are women. In state assemblies, on average 9% of the total numbers are women.
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