Current Affairs Daily Digest – 28 October 2023

Kerala Becomes the First State to Have Hallmarking Centres in All DistrictsKerala has become the first state in India to have hallmarking centers in all of its 14 districts. This was achieved after the inauguration of a hallmarking center in Adimali, Idukki district, Kerala.

  • This will make Kerala a hub of gold business and strengthen its claim to being the most reliable market in India.

Kerala Gold Business:
i.The gold business in Kerala is worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore with annual sales of around 250 tonnes.
ii.In Kerala, there are about 12,000 gold merchants and majority of them are holding Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) registration.
i.Hallmarking is a system of certifying the purity of gold and silver jewellery/artefacts in India.
ii.The hallmarking system is administered by the BIS, which is the National Standard Body of India established under ‘Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016’.
iii.The hallmark will contain the purity of the metal, the name of the assaying and hallmarking center, and a unique identification number.

  • BIS hallmarking is voluntary for gold jewellery below 2 grams in weight, but it is compulsory for all gold jewellery above 2 grams in weight.

HUID number:
i.Intoduced in 2021, Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number is a six digit Alphanumeric code.
ii.HUID will be given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and it is unique for every piece of jewellery.
iii.The jewellery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking centre.
iv.Consumers can use the HUID to track their jewellery online and verify its purity.

RCS-UDAN Scheme Successful Completes 6th Year in 2023The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik i.e. let the country’s common man fly) Scheme which focuses on improving unserved air routes in underserved regions of India, completes 6th year in 2023.

  • The RCS-UDAN scheme was launched as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on October 21, 2016, with a 10-year vision.
  • The first RCS-UDAN flight was inaugurated by Prime Minister (PM)  Narendra Modi on 27th April 2017, connecting Shimla(Himachal Pradesh) to Delhi.

About the RCS –UDANScheme:
i.The RCS -UDAN Scheme was launched to promote regional air connectivity by making flying affordable for the common citizens.
ii.It encourages airlines to operate flights on regional and remote routes by enabling policies and extending incentives from the Central Government and State Governments.

  • The government also provides financial Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support to airlines operating on UDAN routes.

Salient features of the scheme:
i.RCS-UDAN is contributing to the growth of the civil aviation industry as four new & successful airlines have come up in the last 6 years.

  • The scheme has helped airline operators to start up and develop a sustainable business model.

ii.Promoting tourism: It promotes tourism by connecting destinations such as Khajuraho(Madhya Pradesh), Deoghar(Jharkhand), Amritsar(Punjab), and Kishangarh (Ajmer – Rajasthan) with bigger cities.

  • UDAN upsurge Northeast region’s tourism industry by introducing accessibility to Pasighat, Ziro, Hollongi, and Tezu airports in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It boosts air connectivity by operationalizing 75 airports including Eight airports in the Northeast region.

iii. Boosting air connectivity: Totally 499 UDAN routes have been operationalized as of 17th October 2023.

  • RCS-UDAN has facilitated the travel of over 1.3 crore passengers so far.
  • The airports that were operationalized under UDAN such as Darbhanga(Bihar), Hubli(Karnataka), Kannur(Kerala) and Mysuru(Karnataka) have become sustainable with many non-RCS commercial flights operating from these airports.

Versions of the Scheme:
i.Since 2016, various versions of the RCS-UDAN Scheme have been launched including UDAN 1.0, UDAN 2.0, UDAN 3.0, UDAN 4.0, UDAN 5.0, UDAN 5.1, and UDAN 5.2.
ii.UDAN 5.0 was launched in 2023 and is aimed at Category-2 (20-80 seat) and Category-3 (>80 seat) aircraft.
iii.UDAN 5.1 is specifically intended for helicopter routes, broadening the scope of operations for helicopter operators, improving VGF, and lowering Airfare Caps.
iv.Bidding for the UDAN 5.2 is currently underway in order to improve connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country, provide last-mile connectivity, and offer impetus to the tourism sector via small aircraft (20 seats).

AP’s Indian Red Cross Society signs MoU with NCC to Enroll NCC students as YRC Volunteer
The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Andhra Pradesh(AP), has signed a first of its kind Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Cadet Corps (NCC) to enroll NCC students as Youth Red Cross(YRC) Volunteers in Andhra Pradesh(AP).

  • Signatories: V.M. Reddy, Air Commodore and Deputy Director General of NCC (AP and Telangana) and A.K. Parida, General Secretary of Indian Red Cross Society, A.P. State branch, signed an MoU in Andhra Loyola College (ALC) at Vijayawada(AP).
  • Under this MoU, the IRSC AP will instruct NCC cadets in first aid, CPR, and disaster relief. NCC Cadets will be encouraged to donate blood in times of need and to participate in environmental activities to combat climate change.
  • As a YRC Volunteer, NCC students will extend services during emergencies in AP.

IAF Signs Contract with Indian Manufacturer for Procurement of Automatic Weather Stations
The Indian Air Force(IAF)has signed a contract with an Indian manufacturer for the procurement of automatic weather stations at 82 IAF locations.

  • This technology advancement will significantly improve aerospace safety by providing real-time weather updates throughout flight operations and training.
  • This procurement is especially crucial for India’s strategic positions, including Daulat Beg Oldie(Ladakh), the highest airstrip at 16,700 feet, as well as Fukche and Nyoma in Ladakh, which have been approved for conversion into fully operational fighter bases.
  • This procurement will also help several advanced landing grounds (ALGS) in Ladakh, including Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Ziro, and Tawang, as well as various high-altitude helipads.

The measurement of meteorological characteristics such as ambient temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, and atmospheric pressure is critical for safe aircraft and helicopter landings and takeoffs.

India-EU’s First Joint Naval Exercise Held in  Gulf of GuineaIndia and the European Union(EU) conducted their first joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Guinea on 24th October 2023.  The exercise was designed to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

  • The exercise took place after the third meeting of the EU-India Maritime Security Dialogue, which was held in Brussels on October 5, 2023.

Participated Ships:
i.The exercise involved the Indian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Indian Naval Ship (INS) Sumedha
ii.Ships of 3 EU member states(Italy, France and Spain) also participated the exercise. They are:

  • Italian Ship Foscari – Italian Navy
  • French Ship(FS) Ventôse – French Navy
  • Spanish Ship Tornado – Spanish Navy.

Activities Carried Out:
i.The exercise included a variety of activities, including tactical maneuvers, boarding exercises, and flying exercises using the helicopters embarked on FS Ventôse and INS Sumedha and the transfer of personnel between ships.
ii.It was designed to reinforce naval maritime security cooperation in support of the region.
iii.These activities showcase the shared commitment of India and the EU to supporting coastal States and the Yaoundé Architecture in ensuring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
What is  Yaoundé Architecture?
i.The Yaoundé Architecture is a regional framework for maritime security cooperation to prevent and prosecute illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
ii.It was established in 2013 by

  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
  • Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC)

iii.The Yaoundé Architecture comprises the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC), which acts as the coordination and information-sharing hub.

  • ICC connects the Regional Maritime Security Centre for Central Africa (CRESMAC) and the Regional Maritime Security Centre for West Africa (CRESMAO).

Additional Info:
A knowledge sharing session on the joint experience at sea to improve operational know-how was held in Accra, Ghana.

  • This helped to strengthen ties between Ghanaian officials and representatives from India, the EU, and EU member states.

About Ghana:
President – Nana Akufo-Addo
Capital – Accra
Currency – Ghanaian Cedi

MobiKwik’s Zaakpay gets In-Principle Nod from RBI to Operate as Payment AggregatorReserve Bank of India(RBI) has granted in-principle authorization to MobiKwik’s payment gateway arm Zaakpay to operate as an online payment aggregator (PA).

  • This will enable Zaakpay to onboard new merchants onto its platform for processing online payments and scale the number of merchants associated with the startup.

i.RBI rejected Mobikwik’s application for PA licence in 2021 and the same was re-applied in October 2022. 
ii.In 2021, the application was rejected since Mobikwik fell short of of minimum net worth threshold of Rs 15 crore.

  • In 2021, the net worth of Zaakpaya was at Rs 14.3 Cr, rendering it ineligible for the licence.

RBI Guidelines:
In March 2020, RBI issued Guidelines on Regulation of Payment Aggregators and Payment Gateways and introduced various measures for payment aggregators operating in India.
Payment Aggregators(PAs): PAs are entities that facilitate e-commerce sites and merchants to accept various payment instruments from the customers. This eliminates the need for for merchants to set up their own payment integration system PAs facilitate merchants to connect with acquirers. In this process they accept payments from customers, pool and transfer them on to the merchants after a time period.
Payment Gateways(PGs): PGs are entities that provide technology infrastructure to route and facilitate processing of an online payment transaction without any involvement in handling of funds.
Capital Requirements for PAs:
Existing PAs: PAs should achieve a net-worth of Rs 15 crore by March 31, 2021 and a net-worth of Rs 25 crore by the end of the third financial year(March 31, 2023).
New PAs: PAs shall have a minimum net-worth of Rs 15 crore at the time of application and shall attain a net-worth of  Rs 25 crore by the end of third financial year of grant of authorisation.
Note: The net-worth of Rs 25 crore shall be maintained at all times thereafter.
i.Only the existing companies, which have received RBI’s in-principle approval, is allowed to onboard merchants on their platforms.
ii.But, PAs such as Razorpay, PayU, Cashfree, and Paytm are being barred from onboarding new merchants, despite receiving the in-principle approval.
About MobiKwik:
Founders – Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Bipin Preet Singh
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
Established in – 2009

Bank Of Baroda Launches Bob LITE Savings Account
Bank of Baroda(BoB) launched a lifetime zero-balance savings account called the Bob LITE Savings Account as a part of “BOB Ke Sang Tyohaar Ki Umang” festive campaign.

  • The Bob LITE Savings Account comes with a lifetime-free RuPay Platinum debit card (subject to maintaining a quarterly average balance(QAB)).

The account can be opened by any resident individual, including minors (above 10 years).
i.The QAB to be maintained is based in the locality. QAB will be

  • Rs. 3000 for Metro/Urban areas,
  • Rs. 2000 for  Semi-Urban area
  • Rs. 1000 for Rural areas

ii.If QAB is not maintained, an Annual fee on the debit card will be applied as per the Bank’s guidelines.
BoB Unveils Festive Campaign:
i.In September 2023, BoB launched the “BOB Ke Sang Tyohaar Ki Umang” festive campaign.

  • The campaign will run up to 31st December 2023.

ii.As part of the campaign, BoB introduced four savings accounts catering to diverse needs:

  • BOB LITE Savings Account (No Minimum Balance)
  • BOB BRO Savings Account: Zero Balance Savings Account for Students (16 to 25 years)
  • My Family My Bank/BOB Parivar Account: A Comprehensive Family Savings Account
  • Baroda Non-Resident Indian (NRI) PowerPack Account: A Tailored Account for Non-Resident Indians

iii.BoB also introduced a recurring deposit scheme called the BOB Systematic Deposit Plan (SDP).
iv.BoB has partnered with leading brands across various categories, including Electronics, Consumer Durables, Travel, Food, Fashion, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Grocery, and Health, to provide exclusive offers and discounts to its debit and credit cardholders.

  • This initiative aims to enhance the festive shopping experience while promoting financial prudence.

About Bank of Baroda(BoB):
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Devdutt Chand
Headquarters – Vadodara, Gujarat (Head office), Mumbai, Maharashtra (Corporate centre)
Established in – 1908
Tagline – India’s International Bank

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, Ruler of Johor, Elected as 17th King of MalaysiaHis Royal Highness (HRH) Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the Ruler of the southern Malaysian state of Johor, was elected as the 17th King of Malaysia, also known as Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPAXVII, for a term of 5 years, which will begin on 31st January 2024.

  • He was elected by the Conference of Rulers during its 263rd (Special) meeting held at the National Palace(Istana Negara) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • He will replace incumbent Sovereign Al-Sultan Abdullah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah, Ruler of Pahang state, who has been serving as the 16th King since 2019. His tenure is set to end on 30th January 2024. 

For the first time in over 3 decades, the Ruler of Johor has been appointed as the YDPA.

  • The last YDPA from Johar was the late former Johor Ruler, Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail, Father of Sultan Ibrahim. He served as YDPA of Malaysia from 1984 to 1989.

Other Appointment:
Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, will be appointed deputy king, for 5 years from 31 January 2024.
Malaysia’s Rotational Monarchy:
i.Under Malaysia’s rotational monarchy, the position of king, also known as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and his deputy are shifted among the rulers of nine of its 13 states.
ii.The King of Malaysia is elected by the Conference of Rulers, which consist of 9 hereditary ethnic Malay royals(sultans of 9 of its 13 states)
iii.This system was adopted after the independence from British rule in 1957.
The Johor royal family dates from the early 16th century and has its own private army.
About Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar:
i.Born on 22 November 1958, Sultan Ibrahim is of Malay-British descent and he is the eldest son of the late Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail.
ii.He enlisted and trained as a Royal Malaysian Navy officer for 3 months at the RMN base in Lumut (Malaysia), making him a fully trained army, navy, and air force officer.
iii.He served the State government in various offices among them the State Secretariat, the Treasury, Land Office, Town and Country Planning Department, etc.
iv.His reign as Sultan of Johor began on 23 January 2010, following the demise of his father.
v.He created history by gaining the Class 26 Train Driver’s License upon completing the 86-tonne locomotive round using a turn table device.

  • He also received acknowledgment from the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) as the first Malay Ruler to officially drive a train.

About Malaysia:
Capital– Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
Prime Minister– Anwar Ibrahim
Currency– Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

Govt Appoints BCG to Craft ‘Vision 2047’ Document
The government of India has appointed the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global consulting firm, to help prepare the Vision 2047 document, outlining India’s medium-term objectives for becoming a developed economy in the next 25 years. The document will emphasise strategic measures to elevate India to a middle-income country.

  • The Vision 2047 document will emphasise leveraging India’s expertise in the industry, services, agriculture, trade, and human capital, along with a focus on enhancing governance systems and public goods accessibility.
  • Ensuring inclusive economic growth will be a pivotal component of this Vision 2047 document. The government, think tanks, and various external agencies are actively involved in shaping the vision document implementation.
  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is taking the lead in consolidating these diverse suggestions and inputs.

CCI Approves Rebalancing of Cross-shareholding Between Renault and NissanThe Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the re-balancing of the existing cross-shareholdings between Renault S.A. (Renault) and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (Nissan)(Rebalancing).

  • This also relates to the changes to the shareholding of 2 of their joint ventures(JV) Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Limited (RNAIPL) and Renault Nissan Technology & Business Centre India Private Limited (RNTBCI) in India.


  • RNAIPL is dedicated to manufacturing and assembly of passenger vehicles and offers related services exclusively to Renault and Nissan.
  • RNTBCI is a captive automotive technology and business center supporting Renault and Nissan’s Research and Development (R&D), engineering, and so on.

Details of the Re-balancing:
i.As part of the Rebalancing, Nissan will maintain a 15% share in Renault through Nissan Finance Co. Ltd. (NFC).
ii.Renault will transfer 28.4% of its Nissan shares to a trust estate administered by a trustee governed by French law. The entrusted shares will be voted neutrally, with few exceptions.
iii.Renault will continue to benefit fully from the economic rights of the entrusted shares until their eventual sale.
iv.Following this re-balancing, Renault and Nissan will have a cross-shareholding of 15% of the total issued share capital and freely exercisable voting rights in each other.
Nissan: Nissan and its affiliates in India focus on the sale of passenger vehicles and automotive parts, conducted through Nissan Motor India Private Limited (NMIPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nissan.
Renault: Renault and its affiliate entities in India, sell automobiles and parts through its wholly-owned subsidiary Renault India Private Limited (RIPL).
About Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Chairperson– Ravneet Kaur
Established in– 2003
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Sporanaerobium hydrogeniformans: An Anaerobic, Hydrogen-Producing Bacterium Found in Aravali Hot Spring, Maharashtra
Scientists under the Bioenergy Group at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Maharashtra, identified a New Genus of anaerobic lignocellulose-degrading bacteria called Sporanaerobium hydrogeniformans in the hot spring of Aravali, located in Ratnagiri district (Maharashtra). This bacteria has a remarkable ability to produce hydrogen gas as a byproduct of its metabolic processes.

  • The hydrogen generated by this bacteria could be a source of clean and Renewable Energy. The findings are published in the journal Archives of Microbiology.
  • Sporanaerobium hydrogeniformans is part of the Lachnospiraceae family, renowned for its polysaccharide degradation capabilities to synthesise free or complicated hydrolytic enzymes.
  • Sporanaerobium hydrogeniformans is crucial for breaking down cellulose and xylan, the key components of lignocellulosic agricultural waste.
  • A collection of thermostable hydrolytic enzymes reported in Sporanaerobium hydrogeniformans makes the bacterium significant for use in industry.
  • The researchers also discovered that the bacteria can grow optimally at high temperatures of 45–50°C and an alkaline pH of 8.0.


  • Unlike most bacteria, this strain can simultaneously utilize hexose and pentose sugars. This unique characteristic positions the bacterium as a vital asset in the industrial production of biofuels.
  • ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan & Economist Rohit Lamba authored a new book “Breaking the Mould”Raghuram Rajan, Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and Economist Rohit Lamba has authored a new book titled “Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future”.

  • The book, published by Penguin Business, an imprint of Penguin Random House India (PRHI), is set to be released in December 2023.

About the book:
i.Through this book, the authors provides an idea about the economic future of India.
ii.The book examines crucial policy choices relevant to every Indian, offering valuable insights on economic development.
iii.The book seeks to delve into some of the critical questions surrounding India’s economic trajectory.
About Raghuram Rajan:
i.He is currently a distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a senior fellow (adjunct) at the Hoover Institution, the United States of America (USA).
ii.He served as the 23rd Governor of the RBI from 2013 to 2016 and as vice chairman of the board of the Bank for International Settlements from 2015 to 2016.
iii.He was a chief economist and director of research at the International Monetary Fund(IMF) from 2003 to 2006 and as president of the American Finance Association in 2011.
iv.He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Group of Thirty.
Award: In January 2003, the American Finance Association awarded him the inaugural Fischer Black Prize for the best finance researcher under the age of 40.
Books: The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind (2019); I Do What I Do: On Reform, Rhetoric, and Resolve (2018); Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists with Luigi Zingales (Co-author) (2003)
About Rohit Lamba:
i.Rohit Lamba is a Assistant Professor of Economics at the The Pennsylvania State University (since 2015)
ii.He was a visiting assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania from 2018-19.
ii.He served as the office of the Chief Economic Advisor, Government of India from 2012-2013, and in 2014.
Industrial Policy Redux (2023); Has India really become a mobile phone manufacturing giant? (Co-author) (2023); How services can create next wave of India’s globalisation (Co-authored with Raghuram Rajan)(2023).

International Dwarfism Awareness Day 2023 – October 25International Dwarfism Awareness Day, also known as World Dwarfism Day, is annually observed across the globe on 25th October to raise awareness about achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes dwarfism due to a genetic mutation in the arms and legs.

  • 25th October 2023 marks the observance of 12th International Dwarfism Awareness Day.

What is Dwarfism?
i.Dwarfism is a group of conditions that cause short stature. It is generally defined as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches (147 centimeters) or less. They have short arms and legs in comparison to the head and trunk.
ii.There are over 200 different types of dwarfism, each caused by a different genetic or medical condition.
iii.Achondroplasia is a Greek word meaning “without cartilage formation”. This is one of the most common causes of dwarfism.
i.International Dwarfism Awareness Day was established by ‘Little People of America(LPA)’ to commemorate the birth anniversary of Billy Barty (born as William John Bertanzetti), an American actor who had dwarfism(achondroplasia).
ii.The first International Dwarfism Awareness Day was observed on 25th October 2012.
About Billy Barty:
i.Billy Barty was born on 25th October 1924 in  Millsboro, Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA).
ii.He appeared in over 200 films and television shows, and was a tireless advocate for people with dwarfism.
iii.In 1957, Billy Barty founded LPA, a non-profit organization that provides support, resources, and information to people of short stature and their families.
Observance in India:
i.International Dwarfism Awareness Day is observed in India by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment(MoSJ&E).
ii.DEPwD conducted various activities like Awareness Programmes, Interview sessions, poster making, Webinars and Panel Discussion at more than 20 places across India.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2023- October 27 The United Nations (UNWorld Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) is annually observed across the globe on 27 October to remind us of the significance of archiving and preserving Audiovisual (AV) sources, and to honour the AV preservation professionals and institutions that safeguard our heritage for future generations.

  • The 2023 theme of WDAH is “Your Window to the World”.

WDAH celebration is a key initiative of  the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA).
i.In 2005, UNESCO adopted the resolution (33 C/Resolution 53) during the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference held in Paris, France, and proclaimed the 27 October of every year as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH).
ii.The resolution also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images.
ii.The first-ever WDAH was observed on 27 October 2006.

77th Infantry Day – 27th October 2023 Infantry Day is annually observed across the nation  on 27th October by Indian Army to commemorate the contributions of the Infantry, the largest fighting arm of the Indian Army.

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