Daily Current Affairs and GK | 4 November 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 04 Nov 2023 18:07 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. Finance Ministry has launched an amnesty scheme for filing appeals against Goods and Services Tax (GST).

  • This scheme will be for entities that were unable to submit their appeals against orders issued by the tax officer on or before March 31, 2023.
  • This amnesty scheme will remain open till January 31, 2024.
  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued a notification regarding this scheme.
  • The GST Council had approved this amnesty scheme for filing appeals in the last meeting on 7 October.
  • This scheme will benefit taxpayers, who have not filed an appeal within the specified period.
  • This scheme will also promote compliance among taxpayers and it will provide a fair and lenient approach to appeal filing.
  • It will help tax authorities in resolving disputes efficiently.

Topic: Geography

2. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal.

  • The National Earthquake Measurement Centre said the epicentre was located at the Lamidanda area in Jajarkot district.
  • As per the German Research Centre for Geosciences, the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.7, while the US Geological Survey pegged it at 5.6.
  • Around 128 people were killed and dozens were injured in Nepal.
  • This earthquake was the deadliest since 2015 when about 9,000 people were killed in two earthquakes in Nepal.
  • Tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi and in many parts of India.
  • Several scientists have predicted that a great earthquake can strike the Himalayan region at any time.
  • Why earthquakes are frequent in Nepal?
    • The Himalayas were formed when the Indian Plate moved northwards and collided with the Eurasian Plate.
    • The collision caused the folding of the Eurasian plate which formed the Himalayas.
    • Nepal lies on a major geological faultline where the Indian tectonic plate is pushing the Eurasian plate.
    • Nepal is prone to earthquakes because it lies between the Indian plate and the Eurasian plate.

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

3. India and Italy signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement to facilitate the movement of workers, students, and professionals.

  • On 3 November, External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani held extensive discussions in Rome.
  • The two leaders discussed deepening the India-Italy strategic partnership.
  • Both countries agreed that the potential in agricultural technology, innovation, space, defence, and digital sectors should be harnessed.
  • The two leaders also discussed in detail the situation in West Asia, the Ukraine conflict, and the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Dr. Jaishankar appreciated India's efforts and Italy's support for the G-20 chairmanship.
  • Following the talks, they signed a Mobility and Migration Partnership Agreement and an Agreement on Cultural Exchange.
  • These agreements will enable seamless movement of workers, students, and professionals and will also address the challenges of illegal migration.
  • Dr. Jaishankar also met with Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto.
  • The agenda of the meeting was focused on pursuing renewed defense and security partnerships.

Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and Italy

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: India and its Neighbour

4. Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck arrived in India on an official visit.

  • On November 3, Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck arrived in Guwahati on an eight-day official visit to India.
  • He will be on an official visit to India from 3 to 10 November.
  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma welcomed him at the airport.
  • On 3 November, Mr Wangchuk visited the World Heritage Site Kanjiranga National Park.
  • The Bhutan King's visit to India comes amid new momentum in border talks between Bhutan and China.
  • The visit will provide an opportunity for both sides to review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation and take forward the "exemplary" partnership.
  • India is keeping a close eye on the talks on the border dispute between Bhutan and China as it may impact New Delhi's security interests, especially at the Doklam tri-junction.
  • In August 2023, China and Bhutan had agreed to accelerate and take joint steps to implement a "three-step road map" to resolve their border dispute.
  • In October 2021, Bhutan and China had signed an agreement on a "three-step road map" to accelerate talks to resolve their border dispute.

Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. National Efficient Cooking Program (NECP) and Energy Efficient Fans Program (EEFP) have been launched by Union Minister RK Singh.

  • On November 2, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings under the Ministry of Power, launched these groundbreaking programs at an event held in New Delhi.
  • An induction-based cook-stove has been introduced by the National Energy Efficient Cooking Program (NECP), which offers a cost advantage of 25% to 30% compared to conventional cooking methods.
  • This stove offers the assurance of both energy savings and cost-effective cooking solutions.
  • EESL aims to reduce the environmental impact of cooking methods and ensure clean air and better health for citizens, by distributing 20 lakh induction cookstoves across India.
  • EESL has also partnered with Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) for the large-scale deployment of induction cooktops.
  • The Energy Efficient Fan Program (EEFP) focuses on deploying energy-efficient BLDC fans with a target of distributing 1 crore ceiling fans.
  • These initiatives reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, and also enhance consumer comfort while reducing electricity bills.
  • During the G-20 Energy Transition Working Group, the program to install one crore ceiling fans was launched in Goa in July 2023.
  • Continuing this, EESL is inviting the first tender of 20 lakh fans under the program called Energy Efficient Fan Program (EEFP).

Topic: Sports

6. Shami has become the highest wicket-taker for India in ODI World Cup history.

  • During the India versus Sri Lanka 2023 World Cup match, Mohammed Shami became India’s highest wicket-taker in ODI World Cup history at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 2 November.
  • After his fifer against Sri Lanka, Shami went ahead of Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath with 45 wickets in the ODI World Cup.
  • Zaheer and Srinath have 44 wickets each for India in the World Cup.
  • Shami also entered the top 10 list of highest wicket-takers in ODI World Cup history, topped by Glenn McGrath's 71 wickets.
  • Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult are the only active international cricketers who are above Shami with 56 and 49 wickets, respectively.
  • Apart from this, Shami also achieved the feat of taking his third World Cup five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka.
  • Shami has now become equal to Starc in terms of taking the most five wickets in the ODI World Cup.

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Topic: International News

7. Philippines has made an announcement of exit from the Belt & Road Initiatives of China.

  • The Philippines Department of Transportation has announced the full termination of major infrastructure projects under BRI in favour of competitors from the West and Japan.
  • According to the Philippine Senate, almost all of China's important investment projects in the Philippines are currently under doubt.
  • The result has been a new low point in the relationship between the Philippines and China.
  • This is a sharp contrast to the six years of cordial relations during the pro-Beijing presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Bongbong Marcos is the current President of the Philippines.
  • Shortly after a recent collision between Chinese and Philippine sea vessels, the Philippine Transportation Secretary announced the scrapping of $4.9 billion worth of Chinese infrastructure projects.
  • These projects included two railway projects in Luzon and another in Mindanao.
  • The Philippines is now seeking more favourable deals from Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and the European Union.
  • China's diplomatic approach in the Philippines under President Duterte was described as "pledge trap" diplomacy.
  • China promised to make significant investments in return for South China Sea concessions.
  • Nevertheless, the great bulk of $24 billion worth of infrastructure projects never came to exist.
  • Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure development strategy.
  • It was adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in over 150 countries and international organizations.

Topic: International News

8. CBSE will open its regional administrative office in UAE.

  • Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan made this announcement during a meeting held with the Principals of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools in Dubai.
  • The new administrative office of CBSE is set to come in the Emirate of Dubai, UAE.
  • The meeting took place at the Consulate General of India in Dubai. It was attended by Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir.
  • The administrative office of CBSE in Dubai will further strengthen the educational ties between India and the UAE.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE):
    • It is a national-level board of education in India for public and private schools.
    • It works under the Ministry of Education.
    • It was formed on 2 July 1929. Its headquarters is in New Delhi.

Topic: Indian Economy

9. Services sector growth fell to a 7-month low in October.

  • The S&P Global India Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has declined to 58.4 in October from 61 in September.
  • Services PMI reached to 13-year high of 62.3 in July and it remained above the 60 level in the July-September quarter.
  • India’s service sector witnessed a slower expansion in October. It is the slowest rate in the last seven months.
  • Growth of the services sector accounted for nearly 58% of India’s economy.
  • The demand for Indian services remained robust in the international markets.
  • Prices charged for Indian goods and services have increased further in October.
  • The rate of job creation has declined due to a decrease in demand. The Job creation in the service sector in October was the lowest in the last three months.
  • The PMI print above 50 indicates growth in the sector while below 50 shows contraction.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

10. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar attended the inaugural FIND Festival ’23 and the launch of Ekya Nava.

  • FIND Festival ’23 is an initiative by Ekya Schools aimed at transforming K-12 education and launching Ekya Nava.
  • Ekya Nava is a new model in K-12 education focused on innovation, creativity, and design thinking.
  • The festival brought different groups of stakeholders, including educators, students, school leaders, and policymakers to one place.
  • The event also celebrated the launch of “Creating Extraordinary Educators: Teacher Roadmap to Becoming Extraordinary”.
  • Leaders from the educational and entrepreneurial sectors attended the panel discussion.
  • Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar interacted with academia, students, policymakers, and prominent leaders of the education sector from Karnataka.

Topic: Space and IT

11. An in-house software ‘ENCORE’ developed by the Election Commission for candidates and election management.

  • ‘ENCORE’ stands for “Enabling Communications on Real-time Environment.”
  • This will facilitate the Returning officers in the process of nomination, verification, affidavit, voter number, counting of votes, election results, and data management.
  • Another application called the Encore Scrutiny Application allows the returning officers to scrutinize the nominations filed online by the candidates.
  • After verification of nominations, the status of a candidate will be marked as accepted, rejected, or withdrawn, which will help the Returning Officer to prepare the final list of contesting candidates and allot symbols.
  • ECI also has an online portal for filling nominations and affidavits.
  • An application called Candidate Affidavit Portal is to display information about the candidate's finances, assets, and liabilities.
  • Through the ENCORE Nodal App, departments like Fire, Education, Police, Environment, and Public Works will also issue No Objection Certificates on permission requests received from political parties or candidates for organizing rallies, road-shows and meetings.

Topic: Reports and Indices/ Rankings

12. 'India's most generous' title retained by IT pioneer Shiv Nadar in 2023.

  • HCL Tech founder Shiv Nadar retained the top spot in Edelgive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2023.
  • He retained the title of 'India's most generous' for the third time in five years.
  • With a daily donation of Rs 5.6 crore, he donated a total of Rs 2,042 crore during the year.
  • With an annual donation of Rs 1,774 crore, Wipro's Azim Premji took the second position.
  • Securing the third position in the list, India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani donated Rs 376 crore during the year.
  • Once again, writer Rohini Nilekani emerged as the most generous female.
  • Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath is the youngest on the list.
  • Over the last 5 years, the number of donors contributing more than Rs 100 crore has increased from 2 to 14, and the number of donors contributing more than Rs 50 crore has increased from 5 to 24.
  • During this year, overall, the 2023 list featured 119 philanthropists who donated a total of Rs 8,445 crore, a 59% increase over the previous year.
  • There were 25 new additions to the list, which is led by Infosys co-founder K Dinesh with a donation of Rs 47 crore.
  • Education remained the most preferred philanthropic cause, followed by healthcare.
  • Notably, donations towards environment and sustainability increased by 31% year-on-year to reach Rs 143 crore in 2023.
  • The 10 edition of the annual ranking of India's most generous individuals tracked philanthropic donations of Rs 5 crore or more between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.

Topic: Defence

13. Defence Research and Development Organization will develop Indian version of the Iron Dome defence system.

  • The Iron Dome air defense system has attracted much attention in the Israel-Hamas war.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a long-range air defence system under the ‘Project Kusha’.
  • This system will be capable of detecting and destroying enemy projectiles and armour, including cruise missiles, stealth fighter jets, and drones at long range.
  • This indigenous system will comprise long-range surveillance and fire control radar and interceptor missiles.
  • It will be able to detect and destroy targets at the ranges of 150 km- 200 km.
  • 'Project Kusha' has received approval approved with an outlay of Rs 21,700 crores for five squadrons.
  • This initiative is a joint effort between the DRDO and both private and public sector industries. It is scheduled to be deployed by 2028-2029.
  • It will be more effective than Israel's Iron Dome system and the 'Patriot' system of the United States.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

14. ECI and the Ministry of Education inked an MoU to promote electoral literacy.

  • To bring electoral literacy into classrooms across the country, an MoU has been signed between the Election Commission of India and the Ministry of Education.
  • The MoU provide a roadmap for the development of the institutional framework that wants to embed electoral literacy in schools and colleges.
  • The structured curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities will be part of the MoU.
  • As part of the MoU, voter education and electoral literacy will be included in the curriculum of the 6th to 12th class.
  • This will help in preparing new voters for electoral participation.
  • As per the MoU, content on electoral literacy in school textbooks will be included by the NCERT.
  • To provide voter ID cards to every student who attains the age of 18, a robust mechanism will be developed by the ECI.

MoU to promote electoral literacy

(Source: News on AIR)

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