Daily Current Affairs and GK | 24 May 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 24 May 2023 17:44 PM IST

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Topic: State News/ Andhra Pradesh

1. Jagananna Vidya Deevena aid released by Andhra Pradesh CM at Kovvur on May 24.

  • Under the Jagannath Vidya Deevena scheme, CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has released Rs 703 crores to mothers of 9.95 lakh students at Kovvur in East Godavari district.
  • The amount has been released for the January-March 2023 quarter and will be deposited directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
  • Under the Jagannath Vidya Deevena and Jagannath Vasathi Deevena scheme, the state government has so far paid ₹14912.43 crores.
  • This includes dues of Rs 1,778 crore which were kept pending since 2017 by the previous government.
  • The government is reimbursing the total course fee on quarterly basis with the aim of providing higher education to the students from poor financial background.
  • The benefits are being credited directly into the bank accounts of the mothers of the students studying in ITI, Polytechnic, Degree, Engineering, Medicine and other courses.
  • Under the scheme, there is no cap on the number of eligible children in a family.
  • The government is taking care of the educational expenses as well as boarding and lodging expenses of the students under 'Jagannath Vasathi Deevena'.
  • Financial assistance of Rs 20,000 is being given to students pursuing degree, engineering and medicine programmes.
  • ₹15,000 is given to a polytechnic student and ₹10,000 to an ITI student in two instalments every year.
  • The government has asked mothers to pay the college fees of their children within a week or 10 days after the amount is credited to their accounts.
  • In case of failure, the next installment of fee reimbursement will be paid directly to the concerned colleges.

Topic: Indian Polity

2. SC holds that President's name in contract has no immunity against application of law to test its conditions.

  • The Supreme Court has held that the Government cannot claim immunity to a contract from the application of law just because the President of India is a party to it.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India and Justice P.S. Narasimha said in a recent judgment that a contract made in the name of the President of India cannot and shall not create an immunity against the application of any statutory prescription imposing conditions on the parties to an agreement, when the Government chooses to enter into the contract.
  • Furthermore, the state must ensure that the person it chooses as an arbitrator is an "impartial and independent" adjudicator with no past or present professional ties.
  • The judgment came after a petition was filed by Glock-Asia Pacific Limited against the union regarding the appointment of an arbitrator for a dispute related to a tender.
  • Glock appealed against an arbitration clause in the agreement which enabled the Home Secretary to appoint an official in the Ministry of Law as sole arbitrator.
  • Justice Narasimha said the clause was a clear violation of Section 12(5) of the Arbitration Act.
  • This provision mandates that any person having previous or existing relationship with any party to the arbitration in the capacity of an employee, consultant, advisor or any other past or present business relationship shall be ineligible to be appointed as arbitrator.
  • A contract made in the name of the President enjoys immunity but Article 299 of the Constitution (contracts made by the Union or a State in the name of the President or Governor) does not give the government the power to break any statutory law.
  • The court has appointed Justice Indu Malhotra, a former Supreme Court judge, as the sole arbitrator to decide the dispute.

Topic: State News/ Himachal Pradesh

3. More than 70 people stranded were rescued by the Border Roads Organisation at Baralacha La Pass.

  • The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has rescued 76 tourists (15 females, 7 children and 54 males) stranded at Baralacha La Pass in Lahaul and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Six people, along with attendants, who were identified as sick, were immediately taken to Darcha in Himachal Pradesh.
  • On May 18, the BRO received information that some tourists were stranded on the Sarchu side of the Baralacha La pass, which is about a kilometre from the top.
  • Baralacha La Pass:
    • Bara-lacha la Pass is a high mountain pass in the Zanskar range of Northern-India.
    • It connects Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Leh district in Ladakh.
    • The two main headwaters of the Chenab River, the Chandra and the Bhaga, originate near the Baralacha Pass.
    • The Baralacha Pass forms a natural divide between the Bhaga and Yunam River.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

4. Union Minister Hardeep S. Puri attended the meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

  • He apprised members of the committee about the progress of the Smart Cities Mission.
  • He described 100 Smart Cities as real incubators of the new urban India.
  • 100 cities were selected through a 2-stage competition to be developed as Smart Cities are showing good progress.
  • Smart Cities Mission was launched on 25 June, 2015.
  • It is aimed at providing core infrastructure, a clean and sustainable environment and a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of ‘smart solutions’.
  • The mission is implemented at the city level through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
  • A Smart City Advisory Forum (SCAF) is established at the city level.
  • It advises and enables collaboration among various stakeholders.
  • It consists of Member(s) of Parliament, Member(s) of the Legislative Assembly, Mayor, District Collector, local youth, technical experts, other stakeholders, etc.
  • All 100 Smart Cities have established their SCAFs.

Topic: National News

5. India-US Working Group on Education and Skill Development launched by the Ministry of Education and US Department of State on 22 May 2023.

  • The aim of the Working Group is to enhance cooperation and collaboration between the India and US in the field of education and skill development.
  • US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Joint Secretary for International Cooperation in the Ministry of Education Neeta Prasad co-chaired the Working Group.
  • The establishment of this Working Group was announced on the sidelines of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue held between India and US in Washington DC on 11th April 2022.
  • This was the fourth annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

Topic: India and its Neighbours

6. Indian Railways handed over 20 Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives to Bangladesh.

  • Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways virtually flagged off locomotives to Bangladesh in a handing over ceremony held on 23rd May 2023 at Rail Bhavan, New Delhi.
  • From the Bangladesh side, Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan joined in virtually.
  • Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw said that as of now, five Broad Gauge connectivity are operational between India and Bangladesh.
  • They are Geda- Darsana, Benapol- Petrapol, Singhabad- Rohanpur, Radhikapur- Birol and Haldibari-Chilahati.
  • Work on two more cross border rail connectivities (Akhaura-Agartala and Mahihasan-Shahbazpur) is likely to be completed shortly.
  • In June 2020, Indian Government provided 10 locomotives to Bangladesh as grant.
  • Presently three pairs of passenger trains between India and Bangladesh are running.
  • They are Kolkata-Dhaka Maitree Express, Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express and New Jalpaiguri- Dhaka Mitali Express.
  • Trade between India and Bangladesh via rail has grown consistently.
  • The export commodities from India are Stone, DOC, Foodgrains, China Clay, Gypsum, Maize, Onion and other essential items.


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Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

7. PM Modi took part in the 3rd in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, Japan on 20 May 2023.

  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Joseph Biden of the United States of America also participated in the summit.
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia hosted the summit, which was earlier scheduled to be held in Sydney, Australia.
  • The leaders released Quad Leaders’ Vision Statement – Enduring Partners for the Indo-Pacific”.
  • They announced Clean Energy Supply Chains Initiative. This initiative would facilitate R&D and support the Indo-Pacific’s energy transition.
  • They also announced Quad Infrastructure Fellowships Programme.
  • Partnership for Cable Connectivity and Resilience was also announced to leverage Quad’s collective expertise in the design, manufacturing, laying and maintenance of undersea cables   
  • They also announced Quad support for a small-scale ORAN deployment in Palau, the first in the Pacific region.
  • Quad Investors’ Network has been launched. It is a private sector-led platform to facilitate investments in strategic technologies.
  • They welcomed the progress of the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness. This was announced at the Summit held last year in Tokyo.
  • PM Modi invited Quad Leaders to India for the next Quad Summit in 2024.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. National Workshop on the National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) is being organized in New Delhi.

  • It is being organized by Parliamentary Affairs Ministry for two days from 24 May 2023.
  • The workshop focuses on encouraging all State and UT legislatures to move towards the NeVA platform.
  • The workshop also focuses on encouraging all State and UT legislatures to bring transparency and responsiveness in the conduct of house business.
  • NeVA is one of the 44 Mission Mode Projects under the “Digital India Programme” of the Government.
  • It aims to make the functioning of all the State Legislatures paperless by transforming them into ‘Digital House’.
  • So far, 21 State legislatures have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of NeVA.
  • The government has sanctioned the project for 17 legislatures and released funds to them for the implementation of the project.
  • Out of them, 9 legislatures have already become fully digital and are live on the NeVA platform.
  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is the nodal ministry for the implementation of NeVA.

Topic: Important Days

9. Commonwealth Day 2023: 24 May

  • Every year on 24 May, Commonwealth Day is celebrated in India.
  • It is celebrated in countries of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific, and Europe.
  • The theme of Commonwealth Day 2023 is “Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future."
  • Commonwealth Day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Queen Victoria born on 24 May 1819.
  • Initially, it was celebrated as Empire Day, but in 1958 the name was changed to Commonwealth Day.
  • Commonwealth Nations:
    • It is a political organization of 56 countries.
    • Most of the countries in this were colonies of the British Empire.
    • It was established in 1931.
    • It is headquartered in London.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

10. International Labour Conclave inaugurated by Kerala CM.

  • On May 24, a three-day international labour conclave has been inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
  • The conclave has been organised by the Labour department in association with the State Planning Board.
  • It will pave the way for new policies and changes in the labor sector in the state.
  • Telangana Labor Minister Chamkura Malla Reddy, Bihar Labor Resources Minister Surendra Ram, and India head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Satoshi Sasaki attended the inauguration.
  • About 150 people, including representatives of employers' and employees' organizations from across the country and abroad, experts from administrative and knowledge sectors and many more will participate in the three-day conclave.
  • On the second day of the conclave, various topics will be discussed in seven sessions.
  • This discussion includes workers' rights, laws and social security; Transition from informal labor to formal labor, its challenges and analysis; On internal labor migration and protection of rights of internal migrant workers and on many other topics.
  • The government has hoped that the conclave would generate ideas and direction that could result in interventions and policies that would prepare workers to face and overcome labor challenges in modern times.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

11. Prime Minister Modi received the highest civilian award of Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

  • Papua New Guinea conferred its highest civilian order, Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL), to Modi for his effort in the unity of pacific Island countries.
  • Fiji conferred Companion of the Order to PM Modi on the sidelines of the third Forum of India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit.
  • Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka conferred the highest civilian honour of Fiji to PM Modi.
  • PM Modi also received the “Ebakl Award” of Palau.
  • PM Modi reached Papua New Guniea after attending G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
  • PM Modi co-chaired the 3rd Forum of India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit.
  • He also held his first bilateral meeting with Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka in Port Moresby and reviewed the development partnership between the two countries.
  • PM Modi also reached Australia at the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Topic: Banking System

12. Google Pay will now support RuPay credit cards.

  • Google Pay in association with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will support the RuPay credit cards on Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
  • Google Pay users can now link their RuPay credit cards with Google Pay to pay at online and offline merchants.
  • This feature will give more flexibility to Google pay users and increase the adoption of digital payments in India.
  • This feature will be available to RuPay credit card holders of Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, Indian Bank, Kotal Mahindra Bank, Punjab National Bank and Union Bank of India.
  • At present, there is no option to add Visa and Master-issued credit cards to Google Pay or any other UPI payment app in India.
  • RuPay is an Indian multinational financial services and Payment service system that was conceived and launched by NPCI in 2014.
  • It was created to fulfil the vision of RBI to establish a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.
  • On 19 August 2020, NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) was launched to increase globalization and availability of RuPay in foreign markets.
  • RuPay offers debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards and government scheme cards like RuPay PMJDY, RuPay Kisan credit card, etc.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

13. Education Ministry announced to disband two Hindi awards.

  • The Union Education Ministry has decided to discontinue ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ and the ‘Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar’. 
  • ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ was launched by the Central Government in 1992 to encourage original writings in Hindi.
  • Five awards worth Rs 1 lakh are given every year under the ‘Shiksha Puraskar’.
  • Writers from any part of India or publishers on their behalf may submit their books for this award.
  • Books originally written in Hindi by HIndi and non-Hindi-speaking authors are considered for this award.
  • The ‘Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar’ was started to promote writings in Hindi by writers from non-Hindi-speaking areas.
  • 19 awards of one lakh rupees every year are given under this award. Its main objective is to encourage Hindi writers from Hindi-speaking areas.

Topic: State News/ Meghalaya

14. Men’s right activist are opposing the KHADC decision to not grant ST status to people who adopt their husband’s or father’s surname.

  • The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) of Meghalaya refused to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to people who adopt their husband’s or father’s surname.
  • KHADC chief executive said that this decision has been taken to preserve the Khasi society’s matrilineal customs.
  • According to Khasi culture, children take their mothers’ surnames and the youngest daughters in a family inherit their parents’ homes.
  • In the past, KHADC has made many attempts to enforce the Khasi community’s matrilineal rules.
  • KHADC tabled a bill in November 2021 which proposed that women and children who adopt their husband’s or father’s customs should be deprived of their inheritance rights.
  • KHADC is in the process of seeking the Meghalaya government’s permission to authorise ST certification themselves.
  • Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos are the three indigenous matrilineal communities in Meghalaya.
  • One of the most important festivals of the Khasis is Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem or Dance of the joyful heart.
  • Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council:
    • It is an autonomous district council in Meghalaya.
    • It covers the area of West Khasi Hills, Eastern West Khasi Hills, East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi districts.
    • The total area of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council is 11,718 km2. 
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