Current Affairs Daily Digest – 23 October 2023


PM Narendra Modi Launched India’s 1st Regional Rapid Transit System in UPPrime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi inaugurated the 17 Kilometer (Km) priority section of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) Corridor at Sahibabad RapidX Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh (UP).

He also flagged off the ‘Namo Bharat’ RapidX train, connecting Sahibabad to Duhai Depot (UP), which marks India’s first RRTS. Additionally, 2 stretches of the east-west corridor of Bengaluru Metro were dedicated to the public.
Note: The entire 82.15 km RRTS corridor is projected to be fully operational by June 2025.

Key People:
Ms Anandiben Patel, Governor of UP; Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of UP were present on the occasion.

Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor:
i.The 17 Km priority section of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut connects Sahibabad to Duhai Depot.
ii.This route features essential stations at Ghaziabad, Guldhar, and Duhai in UP.
iii.It is being developed at a cost of more than Rs 30,000 crore and aims to reduce the travel time between Delhi and Meerut to less than an hour.
iv.The corridor is set to pass through key urban centers: Ghaziabad, Muradnagar, and Modinagar in UP.

Bengaluru Metro:
i.The two new metro stretches connect Baiyappanahalli to Krishnarajapura and Kengeri to Challaghatta(Bangalore Metro Purple Line).
ii.These metro stretches were made operational from 9th October 2023, aimed at enhancing public commuting convenience on this corridor in Bengaluru (Karnataka).

Plan of RRTS:
i.A total of 8 RRTS corridors are slated for development in the National Capital Region (NCR).
ii.Phase-I prioritises 3 key corridors: Delhi – Ghaziabad (UP) – Meerut (UP), Delhi – Gurugram (Haryana) – Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror (SNB) (Rajasthan) – Alwar (Rajasthan), and Delhi – Panipat (Haryana).
Key Points:
i.The Namo Bharat train and the screen doors installed on the platforms are Made in India.
ii.The noise levels in the Namo Bharat Train are less than that of helicopters and airplanes.
Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) Project:
i.The RRTS project aligns with the Government of India’s vision to transform regional connectivity through state-of-the-art transport infrastructure.
ii.RRTS constitutes a new rail-based, semi-high-speed, high-frequency commuter transit system.

With a design speed of 180 kilometers per hour (Kmph), RRTS is set to redefine the standards of transportation efficiency.
iii.It represents a transformative regional development initiative, promising improved connectivity and convenience for commuters.
Benefits of RRTS:
RRTS in India is developed to be a state-of-the-art regional mobility solution, on par with international standards, because:

It ensures safe, reliable, and modern intercity commuting.
PM Modi Launched 511 Pramod Mahajan Grameen Kaushalya Vikas Kendras in Maharashtra Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi virtually launched the 511 Pramod Mahajan Grameen Kaushalya Vikas Kendras (PMGKVKs) established across 34 rural districts of Maharashtra through video conferencing.

These PMGKVKs will conduct skill development training programs across various sectors to provide employment opportunities to rural youth.
Key People:
Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister (CM) of Maharashtra and Deputy Chief Ministers (Dy CMs) of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were present during the event.
i.Each Kendra will train about 100 youngsters in at least two vocational courses.
ii.The training will be provided by empanelled industry partners and agencies under the National Skill Development Council (NSDC).
iii.The newly launched skill centers will impart skills like construction, modern farming, media and entertainment, and electronics among the young people.
iv.The people will also be trained on soft skills such as basic foreign language skills, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for language interpretation.
Skilled Indians:
i.The demand for skilled Indian youth is growing globally, and these Kendras will help to meet that demand.
ii.The skilling of youths is aimed at creating 40 lakh jobs in 16 countries across the globe.

Indian Navy conducts Security Exercise ‘Prasthan‘ in AP’s Kakinadai.On October 20, 2023, a Security Exercise Prasthan 2023 was carried out by Commodore Rajneesh Sharma Naval Officer-in-Charge (NOIC), Andhra Pradesh under the aegis of Eastern Naval Command, Indian Navy (IN) in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh (AP).
ii.The exercise was conducted on the Rig ship Platinum Explorer of ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) and RG Fixed Oil Platform of Vedanta Ltd.
iii.IN is all set to host nine-day mega naval exercise namely ‘Milan’ from February 19 to 27, 2024 in the Arabian Sea It will see the see participation of over 50 countries including United States (US), Japan, Australia, France, Bangladesh, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia will participate in this exercise.
About Indian Navy (IN):
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS)– Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar
Headquarters– Integrated Defence Headquarters, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, Delhi

“Ghar-Ghar KCC Abhiyaan”: An Initiative to Ensure Kisan Credit Card Access for Fish Farmers
The Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying (MoFAH&D) conducted a National level meeting on ‘Ghar-Ghar Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Abhiyaan’, which means ‘Door to Door KCC Campaign’ for fisheries on 19th October 2023 in New Delhi, Delhi.

Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Secretary(Department of Fisheries) chaired the meeting which was attended by the senior officers from various States and Union Territories, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Scheduled Commercial Banks, State Level Bankers Committees (SLBCs) and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).
The ‘Ghar-Ghar KCC Abhiyaan’ initiative aims to ensure KCC Access for Fish Farmers including fishermen and fish vendors to achieve universal financial inclusion and to avail KCC facilities for all eligible fish farmers.
Under the KCC Scheme, 1,59,903 new KKCs were issued for fish farmers with a credit worth of Rs 1746.16 Crore.
KCC scheme was introduced in 1998 to avail loan facilities to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs.

Google Partners with FACE to Take Down Illegal Loan Apps from Play Store in IndiaGoogle has partnered with the Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE) to take down illegal digital lending apps on Play Store in India.

This partnership was announced during the 9th annual Google for India (2023) event held on 19th October 2023 in New Delhi, Delhi.
FACE is an industry association and self-regulatory organization for digital lenders.
What will be done under the Partnership?
i.Under this partnership, FACE will supply Google with market intelligence to identify and take action against non-compliant predatory personal loan apps in India hat are non-compliant with Play Store’s policies.
ii.This collaboration supports Google’s safety initiative, DigiKavach, aimed at protecting people from online financial scams.
i.More than 700 questionable apps have been reported by FACE to app retailers, regulators, and government agencies in the past 15 months.
ii.In 2022, Google removed around 3500 personal loan apps from playstore due to non complliance with policies and regulations
Key Points:
i.FACE monitored digital lending in India, reporting 700+ dubious apps in 15 months to app stores and authorities.
ii.During the event, Alphabet Inc. announced plans to manufacture Pixel 8 smartphones in India with sales starting in 2024.
iii.Google Lens introduced Visual Skin Condition Search, allowing users to find visual matches for skin issues, after uploading photos.
iv.Google Pay partnered with ePayLater to provide a credit line for merchants
v.It also collaborated with DMI Finance to introduce sachet loans starting at Rs 15,000.
vi.Google Pay expanded its merchant loans with ICICI Bank and personal loans with Axis Bank.
vii.Google enhanced its security measures with Google Play Protect, offering real-time app scan recommendations for users installing unscanned apps.
About Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE):
CEO– Sugandh Saxena
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

HDFC ERGO General Insurance launches Optima Secure
HDFC ERGO General Insurance launched Optima Secure, a health insurance policy that offers four times the coverage at no extra cost. The policy covers medical expenses incurred within India and comes with an optional global health cover.

Health insurance is a financial arrangement that provides coverage for medical expenses and healthcare services.
About Optima Secure:
Eligibility & Policy Option:
i.One can buy this policy until 65 years. Policy covers Insured Persons in the age group of 91 days and above.
ii.Families and individuals can choose coverage from Rs 5 lakhs to RS 2 crore, with different options available.
iii.This policy can be issued upto 3 years.
Key Benefits:
i.Secure Benefit offers additional coverage amount equivalent to 100%/200% of the Base Sum Insure.
ii.Plus Benefit offers additional coverage equivalent to 100% of the Base Sum Insured in 2 years irrespective of a claim.
iii.Automatic Restore Benefits restores 100% of Base Sum Insured automatically on partial or complete utilization of Sum Insured.
iv.Protect Benefit pays towards the Non-Medical expenses like gloves, food charges and other consumables during hospitalization.
v.Global cover provides coverage for hospitalization expenses incurred outside India.
Note: This policy provides comprehensive coverage for both pre and post-hospitalization medical expenses. (includes expenses incurred 60 days prior to hospital admission and 180 days following discharge from the hospital).
About HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Limited:
MD & CEO– Ritesh Kumar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

DFC Offers USD 30 Million to Dalmia Polypro Industries to Set up Greenfield Recycling Facility in Nashik
The United States(U.S.) International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has offered an External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) loan of USD 30 million to the Dalmia Polypro Industries Private Ltd to fund the establishment of greenfield recycling facility in Nashik, Maharashtra.

The new plant is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for premium recycled plastic, including food-grade materials, so contributing to the realisation of a circular plastic waste value chain.
The facility also set to process 171,000 metric tons of plastic annually the facility will focus on producing top-notch recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate(rPET), Recycled polypropylene (rPP), and recycled High-Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) flakes and granules.
Dalmia Polypro is one of the major plastic recyclers in India and it was established in 2006.
DFC, headquartered in Washington DC, the United States of America(USA), is an development bank under the US Government.

HDFC Bank Launches ‘XpressWay’ Digital Banking Platform for Banking Products and Services
HDFC Bank has developed ‘XpressWay,’ a digital banking platform that offers a range of financial products and services, providing customers with a fast and convenient banking experience.

XpressWay provides a variety of services such as Xpress Personal Loans, Xpress Business Loans, Xpress Car Loans, Xpress Home Loans, Xpress Loan on Cards, Xpress Credit Card, and Xpress Savings Accounts.
These services are intended to provide a rapid seamless, paperless, and self-service experience to its new and existing customers.
XpressWay is a part of HDFC Bank’s ‘NOW,‘ a brand that covers the bank’s digital products and services.
Gujarat’s Dhordo featured among UNWTO’s Best Tourism Villages 2023; MP’s Madla selected for Upgrade Programme On October 19, 2023, the Dhordo village in Kutch district of Gujarat, India named in the 3rd edition of Best Tourism Villages 2023 list released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). While, Madla village from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district has been picked for the UNWTO’s Best Tourism Villages Upgrade Programme

The announcement was made during the UNWTO General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
54 villages from all regions were named in this list from almost 260 applications. 20 villages have joined the Upgrade Programme, and now, 74 villages are now part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network.
About Dhordo Village:
It is well-known for hosting the annual Rann Utsav, a vibrant cultural festival showcasing the region’s traditional art, music, and crafts spanning 500,000 sq. mt. This festival was conceptualized by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, offers a visit to the Great Rann of Kutch, the white desert area on the India-Pakistan border.
About Best Tourism Villages Awards by UNWTO:
Launched in 2021, the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO is part of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Programme which fosters development and inclusion in rural areas, combat depopulation, advance innovation and value chain integration through tourism and sustainable practices.

The award recognizes outstanding rural tourism destinations with accredited cultural and natural assets.
The “Best Tourism Villages Network” acts as a platform for sharing experiences.
Click Here for full list of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO 2023

Army Commanders’ Conference 2023: Udhampur Military Station Bags ‘Best Green Military Station’ Award Udhampur Military Station in the Indian Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) bagged the ‘Best Green Military Station‘ award. The award recognises the station’s environmental efforts and highlights the commitment of the Indian Army to strive for excellence.

The award was presented by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Manoj Pande, during the 2nd edition of Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC 2023) held from 16th to 20th October 2023 in New Delhi, Delhi.
Note: ACC is an institutional platform for deliberations at the conceptual level, facilitating important policy decisions for the Indian Army.
Other Awards:
i.During the award ceremony, the Dehradun Military Station (Uttarakhand) was acknowledge for securing the title of the “Second Best.”
ii.The Bikaner Military Station (Rajasthan) was honoured with the “Best Transformative Station” trophy.
iii.The 671 Army Aviation Squadron Reconnaissance and Observation (R&O) was honoured with the COAS Flight Safety Trophy’ for the year 2022-23.

The award recognised their determined commitment to maintaining the highest standards of flight safety and proficiency.
This award highlights the supreme importance of safety and proficiency within the Army Aviation Corps (AAC), the youngest Corps of the Indian Army.
Note: The award cermony offers a significant platform to validate and acknowledge extraordinary efforts within the Indian Army
Army Commanders’ Conference 2023:
Army Commanders’ Conference 2023 served as a platform for high-ranking military officials to engage in strategic discussions that lead to significant policy decisions for the Indian Army.

The conference was held in hybrid format. The first day featured virutal meetings among army commanders and the following days featured in-person discussions.
Key People:
i.Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence(MoD) participated in the conference on October 18, 2023.
ii.Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari also addressed the event.

Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi Conferred with Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice 2023Narges Mohammadi, Iranian women’s rights campaigner and the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, will be conferred with the Harmony Foundation’s Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice 2023.

The announcement was by Abraham Mathai, the founder-chairman of Harmony Foundation, a Mumbai(Maharashtra)-based Non-governmental Organisation NGO.
This award recognise Narges’s unwavering courage in risking her life as a fearless defender and advocate of human rights against the fundamentalist regime of Iran, truly embodying humanity in action.
The 19th Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice Award (2023) Ceremony is scheduled for November 26, 2023, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Note: Narges Mohammadi is currently serving a 10-year, 9-month jail sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran (Iran) on various charges, including actions against national security and propaganda against the state.
About Narges Mohammadi:
i.She from Iran is a woman Human Rights Defender (HRD), and Deputy Director and spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) in Iran.
ii.She began her activism in the 1990s as a young physics student and was first arrested in 2011 for her work with imprisoned activists and their families.
iii.She has fought against the oppression of women in Iran for 30 years and opposes the death penalty in a country that reports most state executions.
iv.She has been imprisoned 13 times and convicted 5 times. In total, she has been sentenced to 31 years in prison and 154 lashes by the Iranian regime.
v.She has also authored a book titled “White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners” in 2022.
i.In 2023, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.

She became the 19th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the 2nd Iranian woman after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, who won in 2003.
ii.In 2023, she was also awarded the Olof Palme Prize, the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
About Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice:
i.It was instituted in 2005 and is a platform to acknowledge and recognize the extraordinary work of individuals or organizations who aim to promote peace, harmony, and social justice.
ii.It is presented to celebrate and commemorate the memory and legacy of Mother Teresa.
iii.This is the only award endorsed by Sister Mary Prema Pierick, who served as the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity (MC), Kolkata (West Bengal) from 2009 to 2022. MC was was started by Mother Teresa in 1950.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Gets RBI Nod for Acquisition of Sonata Finance
Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) got approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to acquire 100% of the issued and paid up capital in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) based Sonata Finance Private Limited (SFPL) for Rs 537 crore.

Sonata Finance will act as a wholly-owned business correspondent (BC) subsidiary of KMB after the completion of the transaction.
Sonata Finance, established in 2006, is a Microfinance company registered as Non-Banking Finance Company(NBFC)-Microfinance institutions(MFI) (Non-Deposit taking).
Sonata Finance has a network of 502 branches across India.
KMB entered the MFI business in 2016 with the acquisition of Karnataka-focused BSS Microfinance for Rs 139.2 crore.

Yard 12706 (Imphal): Third Stealth Destroyer of Project 15B delivered to the Indian NavyYard 12706 (Imphal), the third Stealth Destroyer of Project 15B Class Guided Missile Destroyer build at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) was delivered to the Indian Navy(IN).

The ship was designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (WDB).
About Yard 12706 (Imphal):
i.The time taken for Imphal’s construction and testing is the shortest for any indigenous destroyer.
ii.Imphal, constructed using Indigenous Steel DMR 249A, is one of the largest Destroyers constructed in India, with an overall length of 164 meters and displacement of over 7500 Tons.
iii. Imphal has approximately 75% indigenous content.
iv.Imphal is the first ship to be fitted with upgraded Brahmos missiles having dual role capability of Long Range and Land Attack.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)– Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Founded– January 26, 1950

MeitY Launches Indigenous Portable DC Charger to Boost Electric Vehicle AdoptionOn October 20, 2023, S Krishnan, Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), launched the indigenous(Made in India) technology of “2KW DC Portable Charger” designed to meet the new safety standard IEC 60950-11.

It envisages boosting electric vehicle (EV) adoption in India by encouraging the development of indigenous technology.
This development will also aid in MeitY’s objective to accelerate EV adoption and reduce dependence on imported chargers.
It was developed by the Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Indian Institute Of Technology(IIT) Madras Research Park in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN) in collaboration with Flowtrik Technologies.

It is funded by MeitY.
IEC 60950:
i.IEC 60950 is a safety standard for information technology equipment (ITE) that is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
ii.It specifies safety requirements including electrical, mechanical, and thermal aspects, as well as protection against fire, radiation, and chemicals.
Features of Portable DC Charger:
i.Optional provisions for communicating with batteries for adaptive charging
ii.Hooks for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, enabling real-time tracking of charging-related parameters
iii.Providing over 95% efficiency and the ability to function in temperatures up to 50 degree Celsius.

Police Commemoration Day 2023- October 21 Police Commemoration Day (Police Martyrs Day) is annually observed across India on 21 October to reflect, pay homage to, and appreciate the incredible dedication of Indian police martyrs.

The day commemorates the sacrifices of 10 brave Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) policemen, who sacrificed their lives while defending our borders with China in 1959 at Hot Springs in Aksai Chin, Ladakh.
In January 1960, a resolution was passed at the Annual Conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories, recognising October 21st of every as the Police Commemoration Day.

21st October of every year since 1960 is being observed as Police Commemoration Day”. The day is also observed as Police Martyr’s Day.
About Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):
Director-General– Dr Sujoy Lal Thaosen, Indian Police Service (IPS)
Establishment– 27 July 1939
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day 2023 – October 21Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders(IDD) Prevention Day or World Iodine Deficiency Day is annually observed across the globe on 21st October to create awareness about the importance of Iodine, an essential micro-nutrient.
i.Iodine is a mineral that is found mainly in animal protein and sea vegetables and, to a lesser extent, in fortified foods like bread, cereals, and milk.
ii.Iodine is required to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which assist with the creation of proteins and enzyme activity, and regulate normal metabolism.
Note: The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 micrograms (mcg) per day for most adults.

Kasaragod Becomes 1st District in India to Declare Official Tree, Flower, Bird, Species The Kasaragod district of Kerala became the first district in India to officially designate its official tree, flower, bird and species showcasing its rich biodiversity and natural heritage.

The Kasaragod district panchayat along with the state Biodiversity Management Committee made the declaration, and seeks its formalization by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.
The endangered species were declared as district’s species in order to strengthen the conservation activities.
Aim behind this declaration:
To safeguard these species, promote their growth, and raise public awareness
The Officials:
The district’s official tree is ‘Kanjiram‘ (Strychnos nux-vomica Linn), named after ‘kasara’, meaning wormwood, which is the origin of the district’s name.” It is often referred to as poison nut tree, and is used for medicinal purposes.
The district’s flower, ‘Periya Polathali‘ (Malabar river lily), was declared as its official flower. Discovered in 2012, these white and red flowers grow near the red sand hills of Kasargod. The flower is endangered, and conservation efforts have been started by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
‘Vellavayaran Kadal Paranthu‘ (White-bellied sea eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster) is declared as the district’s bird. It is seen in a 150 kilometre stretch from Mahe to Manjeshwar.

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