Current Affairs Daily Digest – 18 November 2023


MITRA SHAKTI–2023: 9th Edition of India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise Commenced in PuneMITRA SHAKTI-2023, the 9th edition of the joint military exercise between the armed forces of India and Sri Lanka, commenced on 16th November 2023 at the Foreign Training Node in Aundh, Pune, Maharashtra. The 14-day exercise is set to conclude on 29 November 2023.

  • The exercise will foster strong bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.


  • To promote close relations between armies of both countries and enhance interoperability and sharing of best practices in Counter-Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism (CI-CT) operations.
  • To collectively practice sub-conventional operations under Chapter VII of the United Nations (UN) Charter, focusing on coordinated responses during CT operations.

Inidan Army: Contingent of 120 personnel from India, primarily representing the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment.
Sri Lankan Army: Personnel from the 53rd Infantry Division

  • Additionally, 15 members from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 5 from the Sri Lankan Air Force are also partaking in this joint exercise.

i.The exercise involves utilisation of Drones, Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems and helicopter maneuvers, and practice of tactical actions like raid, search and destroy missions, heliborne operations.

  • Army Martial Arts Routine (AMAR), combat reflex shooting and Yoga are also be a part of the exercise.

ii.Both sides will simulate securing helipads and conducting casualty evacuations during CT operations.
iii.Both sides will exchange views and practices of joint drills on a wide spectrum of combat skills that will facilitate the participants to mutually learn from each other.
About Mitra Shakti:
i.The Mitra Shakti was started in 2012 as a counter to China’s effort to increase its influence in South Asia and Indian Ocean Region(IOR).
ii.Previously the exercise Mitra Shakti was held in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021. 
iii.The 8th edition of Mitra Shakti was conducted from 4 – 16 October 2021, at Combat Training School, Ampara in Sri Lanka.

CEA approves DPRs of 2 SJVN Projects in Arunachal Pradesh worth Rs 40,000cr The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Ministry of Power has approved the detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of SJVN Ltd (formerly known as Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) for its two Hydro Projects in Arunachal Pradesh (AR).

  • The projects are 3097 MW (Mega Watt) Etalin HEP (Hydro Electric Power) & 680 MW Attunli HEP which are worth around Rs 40,000 crore.
  • In this regard, CEA has transferred the concurrences of the DPRs in favor of SJVN Ltd, and has also extended the validity of these concurrences.

In August 2023, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between SJVN Ltd. and Government of AR for executing five Hydro Power Projects namely 3097 MW Etalin, 680 MW Attunli, 500 MW Emini, 420 MW Amulin and 400 MW Mihumdon.

  • Initially these projects were assigned to private developers, but were reassigned to SJVN due to the private developers’ inability to execute them.

Key Points:
i.The project cost of Etalin HEP at March 2022 price level is Rs 32,813 crore and for Attunli HEP it is Rs 6,866 crore.
ii.The 3,097 MW Etalin HEP is the largest hydro project under development in India.
iii.On commissioning, the 3097 MW Etalin HEP will generate 12,752 Million Units of electricity and 680 MW Attunli HEP will generate 2,814 Million Units.

  • The levelized tariff from both the projects is Rs 4.51 per unit.

iv.These two projects will spur socio-economic development, enhance infrastructure, healthcare, education, and employment, benefiting Project Associated Families.
About SJVN Ltd.:
It is a joint venture between the government of India and the Government of Himachal Pradesh. It is a Mini Ratna & Schedule ‘A’ Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
Chairman & Managing Director– Nand Lal Sharma
Headquarters– Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (HP)
Incorporated – May 24, 1988

Russia Withdraws from Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Russia has formally withdrawn from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), a landmark arms control agreement that sought to limit the deployment of conventional weapons in Europe.

  • The exit of Russia is due to North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) eastward expansion as a threat to its security.

About CFE:
i.The agreement was signed by 23 participating States – those belonging to NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO).

  • It was signed in 1990 in Paris, France.

ii.It aims to stop United States of America and Russia (Cold War rivals) from building up forces that could be used in a swift assault.

RBI Bars Bajaj Finance Lending Under eCOM and Insta EMI CardOn  November 15, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) exercise of its powers under section 45L(1)(b) of the RBI Act, 1934 barred Bajaj Finance Limited from sanctioning and disbursing loans under its two lending products viz. eCOM and Bajaj Insta EMI Card , with immediate effect.Key Points:
i.The reason behind this action is the non-adherence of Digital lending guidelines of RBI by the company, specifically by not providing Key Fact Statements to borrowers for two lending products.

  • Additionally, Bajaj Finance will rectify the key fact statement for eCOM and Insta EMI Card.

ii.RBI restrictions on lending via the eCOM and Bajaj Insta EMI Card will not have a “material financial impact” on the organisation.

  • The ban may lead to a decline in the assets under management (AUM) growth and related growth in profitability.

About eCOM and Insta EMI Card:
i.eCOM’ from Bajaj Finance is a consumer financing option for online shopping.
Ii.The ‘Insta EMI Card’ is a versatile financing solution allowing customers to sign up, shop for various products, and make EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) payments.
RBI returns Instamojo’s Payment Aggregator Licence Application
RBI returned Mastercard-backed fintech Instamojo‘s application for a payment aggregator (PAlicense amid not meeting the eligibility criteria.

  • Instamojo is based in Bengaluru, Karanataka.
  • The aggregator/ payouts function will now be undertaken in partnership with other licensed PAs while its payment gateway continues to be fully functional.

Points to note:
i.On 27th September 2023, RBI returned the Instamojo’s application for the PA licence due to not meeting the eligibility criteria.
ii.Instamojo stopped the operations of its payment gatewaybusiness to comply with RBI rules after receiving the final status on its application in September 2023.

PNB Introduces Digital Gold Loan for Hassle-Free Credit Access Punjab National Bank (PNB) launched two PNB Digital Gold Loan schemes namely PNB Gold Loan for the retail segment and PNB Swarnim for the agriculture segment.

  • The schemes aim to provide customers with hassle-free access to credit to meet their personal and agricultural needs by using gold jewellery as collateral for the loan.
  • The Streamlined digital process eliminating paperwork hassles is one of the key feature of this Digital scheme.

PNB Digital Gold Loan:
i.It offers a modern banking experience with competitive interest rates.
ii.The schemes offers loan ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 25 lakhs to support personal needs, and agriculture & allied activities.
ii.Borrowers seeking short-term production or investment credit for agricultural activities and allied activities are eligible for loans of minimum Rs 10,000 to maximum Rs 2 lakh.
Additional Info:
PNB also unveiled digital offerings such as Pre-Approved Personal Loan (PAPL), Pre-Approved Business Loan (PABL), Electronic Goods and Service Tax (E-GST) Express, Krishi Tatkal Rin and Digi Home Loan.
About Punjab National Bank (PNB):
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – Atul Kumar Goel
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Established in – 1894
Tagline – The name you can bank upon

SIDBI Signed MoU with TDB to Support MSMEs
The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Technology Development Board (TDB)  to ease access of credit to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are attempting to develop and commercialize indigenous technology or adapt imported technology for wider domestic applications.

  • The MoU was executed by Rahul Priyadarshi, Chief General Manager, SIDBI and Rajesh Jain, Director, TDB.

The MoU is signed for the joint initiative by TDB and SIDBI, to extend financial assistance to eligible MSMEs as per the terms & conditions of TDB & SIDBI.
Under this MoU, SIDBI and TDB will support MSMEs with respective to core-competencies/expertise.
Note: TDB functions under the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.

Maharashtra Govt Honoured Singer Suresh Wadkar with Gansamragini Lata Mangeshkar Award 2023Government of Maharashtra honoured veteran playback singer and Padma Shri awardee Suresh Ishwar Wadkar with prestigious ‘Gansamragini Lata Mangeshkar Award’ also known as Lata Mangeshkar Award for the year 2023.
About Gansamragini Lata Mangeshkar Award:
i.The Lata Mangeshkar Award is an annual award given by the Directorate of Cultural Affairs of the Maharashtra Government in memory of the legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.
ii.The award recognises an artist who has made consistent and invaluable contributions and achievements in the field of music and singing.
iii.The award includes a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs, a certificate, and a memento.
About Suresh Wadkar:
i.Suresh Wadkar is an Indian playback singer who performs in Hindi, Marathi, Konkani and Bhojpuri Films.
ii.He won a significant singing competition in 1976, a contest judged by veteran musicians Ravindra Jain and Jaidev.

  • He sang his first Bollywood song “Seene Mein Jalan” for the movie Gaman in 1977 in Jaidev’s composition.

iii.He launched the Suresh Wadkar Ajivasan Music Academy (SWAMA), the first Online Music Teaching School in Mumbai, aligned with the United States of America (USA)’s Ace Open University.
iv.He has also received the Honorary Citizenship of Yuba City, (California), the United States of America (USA), and Honorary Citizenship of Hong Kong.
Awards & Honours:
i.He won a National Award in 2010 for the Best Male Playback Singer category for the song ‘Hey Bhaskara’ for the Marathi biopic Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (2010);
ii.He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2018 for Sugam Sangeet.
iii.In 2020, he was honoured with the Padma Shri for his work in the field of arts.
iv.He has also won the state award for Best Playback Singer from Maharashtra (11 times), Odisha (2) and Gujarat (3).

Asian Power Magazine: GAIL Bags Two Awards At The Asian Oil And Gas Awards 2023

i.Asian Power Magazine presented The 19th Asian Power Awards, 3rd Asian Oil & Gas Awards, and inaugural Asian Water Awards  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 2023.
ii.During this, GAIL India Limited won the ‘Innovation Award – India’ for reduction in LNG Shipping cost & emissions through Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) with backhauling.
iii.It also won ‘Midstream Project of the Year – India’ for the installation of the first floating Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
iv.Both Awards by GAIL limited are under the Asian Oil & Gas Awards.
About GAIL India Limited:
GAIL India Limited is a Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprises under Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG)
Chairman and Managing Director– Sandeep Kumar Gupta
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 1984

India’s Bina Agarwal & Mexico’s David Barkin won the 2023 Kenneth Boulding Award
The International Society for Ecological Economics(ISEE) honoured Indian economist & Padma Shri awardee Bina Agarwal with 2023 Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award for Ecological Economics.  Bina Agarwal is a Professor of Development Economics and Environment at the University of Manchester in Manchester, United Kingdom(UK).

  • Along with Bina Agarwal, David Barkin, a professor at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City was decalred as the joint receipient of 2023 award.
  • The award was presented during the IESS’s 2023 Biennial Conference in Santa Marta, Colombia held from 23 to 28 October 2023.
  • The award recognsies their significant contributions to ecological economics, particularly in exploring social equity and gender roles in rural societies within developing regions.

Kenneth Boulding Award recognises idividuals who embody the exceptional qualities of Kenneth E. Boulding(American economist and educator), aiming to preserve and perpetuate the wisdom he imparted to ISEE members and beyond.
Note: Bina Agarwal received the Padma Shri, for her work in the field of Literature and Education in 2008.

WHO Launches Commission on Social Connection (2024–2026) to Enhance Global Social ConnectionThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a new ‘Commission on Social Connection (2024–2026)’, comprising 11 leading policy-makers, thought leaders, and advocates, to address loneliness as a serious health risk, prioritise social connection, and accelerate the implementation of solutions in countries of all income levels.

  • The Commission will be Co-chaired by Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States of America; and Chido Mpemba, Youth Envoy, African Union Commission.

About the Commission:
i.The Commission will propose a global agenda on social connection and will work alongside high-level Commissioners for the implementation of mechanisms to measure and track global progress on social connection.
Note: Social isolation and loneliness go beyond age and geographical boundaries, significantly impacting well-being worldwide.
ii.The Commission’s comprehensive analysis spans 3 years and will focus on understanding the pivotal role social connections play in enhancing health across all age groups.
iii.It will examine how social connections contribute to community and societal well-being.
iv.The global agenda on the social connection will prioritise evidence-based solutions for countries, communities, and individuals.
v.The Commission on Social Connection, facilitated by a WHO-based Secretariat, will hold its inaugural leadership-level meeting scheduled for December 6 to 8, 2023.
Note: The first major output will be a flagship report released midway through the 3-year initiative.
Points to note:
i.Current global estimates suggest that 1 in 4 older adults experience social isolation and between 5 and 15% of adolescents experience loneliness.
Rates in low- and middle-income countries are comparable or higher than in high-income countries.
ii.The absence of social connection carries an equivalent or greater risk of early death comparable to well-known factors like smoking, excessive drinking, etc.
iii.It is also linked to anxiety and depression and can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
It does not just harm individuals; it also harms entire communities and societies.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez Re-elected as Prime Minister of SpainOn 16th November 2023, Pedro Sánchez of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party(Spanish acronym: PSOE) was re-elected as the Prime Minister (PM) of Spain, officially President of the Government of Spain.He was elected for the 2nd term with a majority in the Spanish parliament. He got 179 votes in the 350-seat lower house of the Parliament.

  • He has been serving as the Acting PM of Spain since 25th July 2023.
  • He served as the PM of Spain/President of the Goverment of Spain from 2018 to 2023.

About the Election:
i.In July 2023, he was appointed as the caretaker Prime Minister after no party got a majority in the general election held on 23rd July 2023.
ii.PSOE finished second with 121 seats while the centre-right Popular Party (PP) finished first with 137 seats but fell short of the majority to form government.
About Pedro Sánchez:
i.Pedro Sánchez joined the POSE in 1993 and is currently serving as its General Secretary.
ii.He served as a Member of the Lower House of Parliament for the constituency of Madrid and a City Councillor for Madrid.
iii.He worked as an adviser at the European Parliament and was a member of the cabinet office of the United Nations High Representative for Bosnia Herzegovina.
iv.He also served as the Leader of the Opposition and candidate to the Presidency of the Government between 2014 and 2016.
About Spain:
Prime Minister– Pedro Sánchez
Capital– Madrid
Currency– Euro

Indian Navy’s 4th Anti-Submarine Warfare Craft ‘Amini‘ LaunchedOn November 16, 2023, the Indian Navy (IN) launched ‘Amini‘, the 4th in a series of eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts (ASW-SWC), at shipbuilding facility of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in Kattupalli, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

  • It is built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE).
  • The launch ceremony was presided over by Vice Admiral (VAdm) Sandeep Naithani, Chief of Materiel, IN.
  • As per maritime tradition, Mrs. Manju Naithani, wife of Vice Admiral Sandeep Naithani, launched the ship to the invocation from Atharva Veda.

i.Amini, a Arnala class shipis named after Amini island in Lakshadweep due to its strategic significance.
ii.It is designed for anti-submarine operations in coastal waters and low intensity maritime operations (LIMO), and mine laying operations.
iii.It is 77-meter ship with a 900-ton displacement, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 25 knots and covering 1,800 nautical miles.
i.The contract for building eight ASW SWC ships was signed between Ministry of Defence (MoD) and GRSE on April 29, 2019.

  • As per the build strategy, four ships are being built at the GRSE and the balance sub-contracted to L&T Shipbuilding for hull and part outfitting.
  • The ASW SWC ships would have more than 80% indigenous content.

ii.As a part of contract, on June 13, 2023, INS (Indian Naval Ship) Anjadip, the 3rd of eight indigenously built ASW-SWC was launched.

  • The first ASW-SWC namely INS Arnala was launched in December 2022 while the second one INS Androth was launched on March 21, 2023.

Points to note:
i.It should be noted that the Arnala class of ships will replace the in-service Abhay class ASW Corvettes of IN.
ii.ASW is a branch of underwater warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or submarines to find, track, and deter, damage, or destroy enemy submarines.
About Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE):
Chairman & Managing Director – Commodore (Retd) PR Hari, Indian Navy
Headquarter– Kolkata, West Bengal

Former Nagaland Governor PB Acharya Passed AwayPadmanabha Balakrishna Acharya (PB Acharya or PB), former Governor of Manipur(July 2014 – July 2019) and Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra, at the age of 92. He was born on 8th October 1931, in UdupiKarnataka.
While serving as the governor of Nagaland, he has also held the additional charge as the governor of Tripura(2014-2015), Assam(2014-2016), Manipur (2019) and Arunachal Pradesh(2017).
About PB Acharya:
i.PB Acharya started his political career in 1951 as an activist of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
ii.He became a member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980.
iii.He served as All India National Secretary of the BJP and in-charge of North Eastern States from 1995-2002.
iv.He founded Indian National Fellowship Centre (INFC), a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in 1975, to strengthen brotherhood/fellowship and Nationalism in the North East region.
v.He was involved with the Academy for Indian Tribal Dialects(AITD), the publication wing of INFC and published 10 booklets on Tribal Nationalist leaders like Rani Ma Gaidinlu (Nagaland), U.Tirot Singh and Jaban Bay (Meghalaya), Dr. Dying Ering and Narottam (Arunachal Pradesh).

VP Jagdeep Dhankhar released new book titled “Building Partnerships”
Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Vice President(VP) of India released a new book titled “Building Partnerships – India and International Cooperation for Maritime Security” authored by Captain Himadri Das during the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 (IPRD-2023) at Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • IPDR 2023, the 3-day annual apex-level regional strategic dialogue of the Indian Navy, was held from 15th to 17th November 2023.

During IPRD-2023, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministry of Finance, released an edited volume titled “Maritime Perspectives: Maritime Security Dynamics in the Indo-Pacific: Strategies and Trends”.
Both books have been published by the National Maritime Foundation (NMF), one of India’s foremost maritime think tanks that concentrates its research on issues relevant to India’s maritime interests.
Note: IPRD-2023 is being organised by the Indian Navy in association with NMF as its knowledge partner.

National Epilepsy Day 2023- November 17 National Epilepsy Day is annually observed across India on 17 November to spread awareness and educate people about Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, and its impact on individuals, families, and communities who are affected by this disease.

  • The day serves as a platform to eliminate myths and misconceptions surrounding epilepsy while creating awareness about its symptoms and management.

i.National Epilepsy Day was first initiated by the Epilepsy Foundation of India.

  • It was started as a national campaign to reduce Epilepsy conditions in India.

ii.In the General Body Meeting of the Indian Epilepsy Association (IEA) held at Indore (Madhya Pradesh) on 16 December 1990, Dr. Eddie Bharucha and Dr. Piloo Bharucha, an Indian Physician couple, proposed a nationwide program on one particular day to create awareness.
iii.Their proposal was supported by other members and it was finally decided to celebrate 17 November of every year as National Epilepsy Day (NED).

  • From 2015 onwards, the NED has been replaced by International Epilepsy Day.

About Epilepsy Foundation of India:
Founder– Dr. Nirmal Surya
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded in- 2009.
The Epilepsy Foundation is a non-profit charitable organisation that helps people suffering from this condition.

International Students’ Day 2023 – November 17International Students’ Day is annually observed across the globe on November 17 to celebrate multiculturalism, diversity, and teamwork among students. The day aims to guarantee that every kid in the world has access to education.

  • The observance marks the anniversary of the events held after the Nazi invasion of Charles University in Prague(Czech Republic), in 1939.

17th November 2023 marks the observance 83rd International Students’ Day.
i.On 17th November 1939, the Nazis executed nine students and professors without trial.

  • Due to this event, the date was chosen to be International Students’ Day.

ii.The first-ever International Students’ Day was observed on 17th November 1941


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