Daily Current Affairs and GK | 9 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 09 Dec 2023 17:16 PM IST

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Topic: Science and Technology

1. The First-Ever 1,000-Qubit Quantum Chip released by IBM.

  • The first quantum computer has been unveiled by IBM with more than 1,000 qubits, which is equivalent to digital bits in a normal computer.
  • IBM has been following a quantum-computing roadmap for four years, roughly doubling the number of qubits each year.
  • On 4 December, the chip was unveiled, named Condor.
  • It has 1,121 superconducting qubits arranged in a honeycomb pattern.
  • It also launched a 127-qubit chip in 2021 and a 433-qubit chip in 2022.
  • Quantum computers promise to perform some calculations that are beyond the reach of classical computers.
  • They will do this by taking advantage of special quantum phenomena such as entanglement and superposition, which allow multiple qubits to exist in multiple collective states simultaneously.
  • As part of its new effort, the company also unveiled a chip called Heron that has 133 qubits.
  • But with a record-low error rate, it is three times lower than its previous quantum processor.

Topic: Art and Culture

2. Hanukkah festival is being celebrated from December 7 to December 15 in 2023.

  • Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is Judaism's beloved 'festival of lights'. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights and days.
  • It begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which can be any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
  • In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication”.
  • This Festival marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century BC when a small group of Jewish fighters liberated it from the occupation of foreign forces.
  • The festival is celebrated by lighting the candles of a nine-branched candelabrum, commonly called a menorah or Hanukkah.

Topic: Important Days

3. International Anti-Corruption Day 2023: 9 December

  • Every year on 9 December, International Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated.
  • The theme of International Anti-Corruption Day 2023 is "UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption."
  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organizes annually international Anti-Corruption Day (IACD).
  • The UN General Assembly adopted 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness about corruption. This day is being celebrated every year since 2005.
  • In 2003, UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The convention came into force in December 2005.
  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

International Anti-Corruption Day 2023

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: National News

4. ‘Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023’ issued by CCPA.

  • On 30 November, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, issued these guidelines.
  • The Guidelines have been issued for preventing and regulating dark patterns listing 13 specified dark patterns.
  • Dark patterns involve using design and choice architecture to deceive, coerce, or influence consumers into making choices that are not in their best interests.
  • Dark patterns include various manipulative practices, such as drip pricing, disguised advertising, bait and switch, false immediacy, etc.
  • As defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, such practices fall under the category of “unfair trade practices.”
  • Under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Department of Consumer Affairs has also notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, to protect consumers from unfair trade practices in e-commerce.
  • On June 9, 2022, the Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsement of Misleading Advertisements Guidelines, 2022 was notified by the CCPA.
  • On 23 November 2022, the framework on ‘Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication’ was notified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Topic: Defence

5. Table-Top Exercise (TTX) conducted by the Indian Army for ASEAN Women Peacekeepers.

  • The Indian Army has taken a historic initiative to promote gender inclusivity and enhance the capabilities of women military personnel in peacekeeping operations.
  • Under this, the Indian Army organized this exercise for women officers of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 4 to 8 December 2023 at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi.
  • The exercise is part of the ongoing efforts of the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) to strengthen international cooperation and capacity building in peacekeeping missions.
  • CUNPK is a premier institution of the Indian Army providing training in peacekeeping operations.
  • Earlier, CUNPK had organized the ASEAN Women Military Officers' Course from 18 to 29 September 2023.
  • This Table-Top Exercise (TTX) is a follow-up exercise to the ongoing joint military training between India and ASEAN member countries.
  • The exercise underlines India's shared commitment to world peace, stability, and gender equality.

Table-Top Exercise

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Defence

6. Ministry of Finance is working on a separate mechanism to operationalize a Non-lapsable Defence Modernisation Fund.

  • In this regard, the Ministry of Finance in consultation with the Ministry of Defence is exploring a special arrangement for the Ministry of Defence to operate a Non-Lapsable Defence Modernization Fund.
  • Under Articles 112-114 and 266 of the Constitution, the government cannot spend any money from the Consolidated Fund of India without obtaining permission through the annual budget presented before the Parliament.
  • Since the permission given under the Appropriation Act is for the particular financial year concerned, it does not permit the operation of public funds, which are actually non-lapsable.
  • Defence expenditure is the largest expenditure among all the central ministries.
  • Defence expenditure as a fixed percentage of total government expenditure/GDP cannot be ensured in view of the fact that resources are allocated on a need basis among various competing priorities.
  • The budgetary allocation is optimally utilized and if necessary, additional funds are sought in the supplementary/RE phase.
  • This has been allocated to ensure that essential and critical capabilities are precisely acquired without compromising the operational preparedness of the Defence Services.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. 70 projects have been approved for various industries with a total cost of Rs 291.25 crore under the TDF scheme.

  • Under the Ministry of Defence, the Technology Development Fund (TDF) Scheme is a flagship program, which is implemented by DRDO under the 'Make in India' initiative.
  • At present, 70 projects have been approved for various industries with a total cost of Rs 291.25 crore, and 16 Defence technologies have been successfully developed/realized under the scheme.
  • The following are the main objectives of this scheme:
    • To provide grants-in-aid to Indian industries, including MSMEs and start-ups, as well as to academic and scientific institutions for the development of the Defence sector and dual-use technologies, which are not currently available to the Indian Defence industry.
    • To engage with private industries, especially MSMEs and startups, to promote a culture of design and development in military technology and provide them support, including grants-in-aid.
    • To focus on research, design, and development for specific technologies being developed for the first time in the country.
    • To build a bridge between the armed forces, research organisations, academia, and qualification/certification agencies with private entities.
    • Supporting future technologies that have proof of concept and converting them into prototypes.

Topic: Banking System

8. In consultation with RBI, the Government has decided to issue new Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs) in tranches.

  • The subscription period for SGB Series 2023–24 Series III is scheduled from December 18 to December 22, 2023.
  • Therefore, the issue date in SGB Series III is December 28, 2023.
  • The subscription period for the SGB Series 2023-24 Series IV is scheduled from February 12 to February 16, 2024.
  • Therefore, the issue date in SGB Series IV is February 21, 2024.
  • The SGBs will be sold through Scheduled Commercial banks (except Small Finance Banks, Payment Banks, and Regional Rural Banks), Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL).
  • It also includes designated post offices, and recognised stock exchanges, viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange Limited.
  • SGBs will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) with a basic unit of one gram.
  • The tenor of the SGB will be eight years, with an option for premature redemption after the fifth year on the interest payable date.
  • The minimum acceptable investment will be one gram of gold.
  • The maximum limit of subscription will be 4 kg for individuals, 4 kg for HUF, and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per financial year (April-March) as notified by the Government from time to time.
  • The price of SGB will be determined in Indian Rupees based on the simple average of gold of 999 purity published by the Indian Bullion and Jewelers Association Ltd for the last three working days of the week preceding the subscription period.
  • The issue price of gold bonds will be reduced by Rs 50 per gram for those applying online and making payments digitally.
  • Payment for SGB will be through cash payment (maximum Rs 20,000) or demand draft or check or electronic banking.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

9. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has signed a MoCP with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI).

  • The NMCG has signed a Memorandum of Common Purpose (MoCP) with the MRCTI on behalf of River Cities Alliance (RCA).
  • MRCTI represents 124 cities/towns situated along the banks of the Mississippi River, USA.
  • The MoCP was signed by Shri G. Asok Kumar, DG, NMCG and by US officials.
  • The signing ceremony took place at the Rotary Hall as part of the ongoing COP28.
  • With this agreement, NMCG has come to a step closer to the launch of the Global River Cities Alliance (GRCA), as the current RCA has now expanded its strength to 267 global river cities including India, USA and Denmark.
  • The official launch of the Global River Cities Alliance (GRCA) is scheduled for December 10, 2023.
  • The MoCP aims to create a productive platform for RCA and MRCTI cooperation.
  • It focuses on information sharing and capacity building in integrated river management to address the ecosystem impacts of climate change.
  • A thorough water monitoring programme, the exchange of best practices for rehabilitating urban areas, and the restoration of aquatic ecosystems for sustainable urban growth are all part of the partnership. 
  • River Cities Alliance (RCA):
    • In November 2021, NMCG and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry started an RCA.
    • RCA comprises 142 Indian River cities and Aarhus of Denmark as members.
    • It is intended to serve as a specialised forum for Indian riverbank cities for coordinated dialogues and capacity building on issues linked to improving the condition of urban rivers.

Topic: Indian Polity

10. From April 2023 to September 2023, free legal services were given to 7.45 lakh people.

  • Through Lok Adalats, issues at the pre-litigation stage and pending cases totaling over 4.02 crore were resolved between April and September of 2023.
  • As of November 30, 2023, Tele-Law services were accessible in 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats spread over 766 districts in 36 States and Union Territories.
  • These services have provided legal assistance to 60,23,222 beneficiaries, including women, children, members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and others.
  • As of November 30, 2023, 10,629 people were involved in pro bono work, and 89 law schools had established pro bono clubs to encourage pro bono within their student body.
  • In accordance with Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities (LSA) Act, 1987, the government established the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to offer competent and free legal services to the most vulnerable members of society.
  • Government allocates and releases funds under Grant-in-Aid to NALSA on yearly basis.
  • The Government of India is implementing an Access to Justice Scheme called "Designing Innovative Solutions for Holistic Access to Justice in India." The scheme's objectives are:
    • To improve Tele-Law consultation and pre-litigation advice.
    • To guarantee the Nyaya Bandhu (Pro Bono Legal Services) program's nationwide framework for providing pro bono legal services.
    • To empower individuals through the Pan India Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programme.
  • Services under the scheme are provided free of cost to all citizens of the weaker sections of society.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

11. 4E Wave has been launched by Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy Shri R. K. Singh.

  • It is a student-led National Movement for Energy Conservation.
  • It was launched in the presence of Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Shri Manoj Sinha.
  • The movement aims to raise awareness of energy conservation among communities and individuals, as well as to encourage sustainable activities.
  • 4E Wave comprises four essential components. Eco-friendliness, economy, education, and empowerment are these components.
  • It's a youth-led initiative that encourages people all throughout the country to support energy conservation.
  • With assistance from the J&K Power Development Department, the Government of J&K, and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the Ministry of Power, the Government of India, it was started by the students of the Government College of Engineering & Technology (GCET), Jammu.
  • Participation in this campaign is open to all Indian citizens. 
  • Additionally, participants will get a dynamic platform for exchanging essays about energy saving for possible publication in the quarterly e-magazine "e-kshitij."

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

12. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has released “HaritSagar” Green Port Guidelines.

  • The guidelines seek to reduce carbon intensity and to develop an environment-friendly ecosystem at all Major Ports.
  • Under these guidelines, various green interventions have been provided. These interventions are:
    • Ship-to-shore power supply
    • Electrification of Port equipment
    • Usage of alternate fuels such as green Hydrogen/Green Ammonia/Methanol in port crafts
    • Creation of infrastructure at select Ports for storage, bunkering, and refueling of Green hydrogen/Green Ammonia
    • Increasing share of Renewable Energy
  • Deendayal Port, Visakhapatnam Port and New Mangalore Port are presently generating surplus renewable energy.
  • The Explosive Act of 1884's port regulations govern the handling and notification of berths and jetty areas for chemicals and other hazardous goods in major ports.
  • For the best possible use of port land, the government has released Policy Guidelines for Land Management (PGLM), 2015.
 
 

 

 

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