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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-24th June 2023

Vienna Retains Title as Most Livable City: Global Liveability Index 2023 Report

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s Global Liveability Index 2023 report, Vienna, Austria has once again claimed the top spot as the best city to live in worldwide. The report attributes Vienna’s success to its exceptional combination of stability, rich culture and entertainment, reliable infrastructure, exemplary education, and health services. The city has consistently held this position in recent years, with the only interruption being caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Top Cities to Live in:

  1. Vienna, Austria

  2. Copenhagen, Denmark

  3. Melbourne, Australia

  4. Sydney, Australia

  5. Vancouver, Canada

  6. Zurich, Switzerland

  7. Calgary, Canada

  8. Geneva, Switzerland

  9. Toronto, Canada

  10. Osaka, Japan, and Auckland, New Zealand (Tie)

Asia-Pacific Cities Make Strides:

The EIU report highlights significant progress by Asia-Pacific cities, with eight out of the top ten movers coming from this region. The improved rankings can be attributed to a “shift towards normalcy” following the pandemic. Wellington, New Zealand rose 35 spots to 23rd place, while Auckland climbed 25 spots to reach the 10th position. Hong Kong also made a significant jump of 13 places to become the 61st most livable city in the world.

Delayed Reopening Boosts Asia-Pacific’s Ranking:

The relatively delayed reopening of Asia-Pacific countries worked in their favor, enhancing livability. Hong Kong, in particular, saw a substantial improvement due to the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, significantly enhancing the quality of life. While most of the world began reopening in early 2022, Hong Kong followed mainland China’s zero-COVID policy and relaxed restrictions only in late 2022.

Education and Healthcare Improvements in Developing Economies:

Developing economies in Asia and the Middle East witnessed notable improvements in education and healthcare scores. With the return of children to schools and reduced burden on hospitals, these sectors emerged stronger in these regions.

Decline in Stability Scores:

While various aspects such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and culture showed improvement, stability scores experienced a marginal decline. Instances of civil unrest, rising crime rates, and cost-of-living crises affected stability in many cities. Western European cities, in particular, slipped in rankings due to increased workers’ strikes. Frankfurt in Germany and Amsterdam in the Netherlands fell out of the top 10 due to these factors.

Amit Shah lays foundation stone of ‘Balidan Stambh’ in Srinagar

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has inaugurated the construction of the ‘Balidan Stambh’ in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, June 24. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha joined him at the park near Lal Chowk, the commercial center of Srinagar. This memorial is a part of the Srinagar Smart City project and serves as a tribute to the brave martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation. While stringent security arrangements had been put in place for the function, shops in and around the venue were open and traffic remained normal, except when it was briefly stopped at the stretch between Regal Crossing and Lal Chowk till Shah left the venue

Other important Points:

  • During his visit, Shah also paid a visit to Karan Mahal, the former residence of Karan Singh, the last Yuvraj of Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, he met with a select group of individuals at the Police Golf Course, which offers a scenic view of Dal Lake, before returning to Delhi.

  • During his visit, Shah also laid the foundation stone for Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and handed Golden Health cards to beneficiaries. Shah also met the family members of victims of the Rajouri terror attack.

Journalist A.K. Bhattacharya authored a new book titled “India’s Finance Ministers”

Veteran Journalist Ashok Kumar Bhattacharya (AK Bhattacharya) has authored a new book titled “India’s Finance Ministers: From Independence to Emergency (1947-1977)” which highlights the role of India’s finance ministers who shaped India’s economy in the first 30 years(from 1947 to 1977) after Independence. The book is published by Penguin Business an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The essence of the book:

The book is divided into 3 main parts: Nehru and his finance ministers, those under Shastri and Indira Gandhi, and Indira Gandhi as her own finance minister. Economic Journalist AK Bhattacharya is the editorial director of Business Standard and the writer of a long-running column – Raisina Hill. he has also served as the editor of the Pioneer and Business Standard. As the book makes it clear, though Nehru was a towering personality, the finance ministers he worked with like John Matthai, CD Deshmukh, TT Krishnamachari and Morarji Desai were no pygmies.

RBI Imposes Penalties on Axis Bank, J&K Bank, and Bank of Maharashtra

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 2.5 crore on Jammu & Kashmir Bank for non-compliance with certain directions issued by the RBI. The penalty relates to the bank’s failure to adhere to RBI’s guidelines on the central repository of large common exposures across banks, loans, and advances, as well as statutory and other restrictions. Additionally, the bank did not ensure the timely implementation and strengthening of SWIFT-related operational controls. The RBI’s statutory inspection conducted on March 31, 2021, revealed non-compliance with these directions.

Axis Bank Fined for Violating RBI Guidelines on Credit Card Accounts

Axis Bank has been levied a monetary penalty of Rs 30 lakh by the RBI for non-compliance with certain provisions of the RBI’s directions on Prudential Norms on Income Recognition, Asset Classification, and Provisioning pertaining to Advances – Credit Card Accounts. The penalty stems from the bank charging penal fees on certain accounts for late payment of credit card dues, even though the customers had made timely payments through third-party platforms.

Bank of Maharashtra Penalized for Breaching RBI’s Directives on Loans and ATMs

The RBI has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 1.45 crore on Bank of Maharashtra for non-compliance with specific directions issued by the RBI. The penalty pertains to the bank’s failure to adhere to RBI’s guidelines on Loans and Advances – Statutory and Other Restrictions, as well as the Advisory on Man in the Middle (MiTM) Attacks in ATMs.

During the RBI’s inspection, it was discovered that the bank had sanctioned a term loan to a corporation without conducting proper due diligence on the viability and bankability of the projects for which the loan was provided. Furthermore, the bank failed to implement the required control measures for ATMs, specifically regarding the end-to-end encryption of communication between the ATM terminal/PC and the ATM Switch, within the prescribed timeline.

TCS Secures $1.9 Billion Deal to Digitally Transform UK’s National Employment Savings Trust

IT services giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced a significant expansion of its partnership with the UK’s National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the country’s largest workplace pension scheme. The £840 million ($1.1 billion) deal aims to digitally transform NEST’s administration services over an initial tenure of 10 years, providing enhanced member experiences. If extended to the full 18-year tenure, the contract’s total maximum estimated value will reach £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion).

TCS’s Success in the Region

TCS has demonstrated its prowess in securing major deals in the UK market throughout 2023. The contract with NEST follows three other significant agreements in the region this year. These include a $723 million deal with Phoenix Group, a partnership with Marks & Spencer, and a 10-year contract with the Teacher’s Pension Scheme. Despite the challenging macro environment, TCS has emerged as a preferred technology partner for organizations in the UK.

Transition from Atos to TCS

The NEST contract was initially held by French IT services firm Atos. However, the contract was terminated after only two years of a potential 18-year term. The cancellation may result in up to 1,000 job losses for Atos employees in the UK and India. TCS’s expertise and track record in the digital transformation space positioned it as a strong replacement for Atos, leveraging its existing collaboration with NEST since 2011.

Key Contract Details

The contract between NEST and TCS is set for a minimum term of 10 years, with the option for a 5-year extension and an additional 3-year exit period. While the exact costs remain commercially sensitive, the total contract cost falls within the estimated maximum value of £1.5 billion, as disclosed in the Contract Award Notice. This long-term partnership enables NEST’s 12 million members and 1 million employers to access personalized and self-directed experiences using solutions from TCS BaNCS.

Expanding Customer Experience

TCS plans to deploy its BaNCS solutions to deliver personalized and self-directed experiences to NEST’s members. This strategic move aims to provide accurate information to users in a timely manner, catering to their individual preferences. By leveraging TCS’s contextual knowledge, technology expertise, and proven platform, NEST aims to build a comprehensive digital offering that delivers a superior customer experience for future generations of workers.

Outlook and Future Prospects

With this latest contract, TCS has secured approximately five major deals in the first half of 2023. The company’s position as the largest software and IT services provider in the UK, with a workforce spanning 30 locations, further solidifies its presence in the country. Moreover, TCS recently won a significant order of Rs 15,000 crore ($1.8 billion) from the government-run telco BSNL in India to expand its 4G network nationwide. These successes reflect TCS’s commitment to driving digital transformation across diverse sectors and geographies.

DRDO and L&T tie-up for AIP System in Indian Navy

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have formed a partnership to create an Indigenous Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System for the submarines in the Indian Navy. Under this collaboration, two AIP System Modules are being developed for the Kalvari Class submarines. These modules, comprising fuel cell-based Energy Modules (EMs), aim to generate power and produce hydrogen as needed. This innovative approach eliminates the requirement to store hydrogen onboard, thereby addressing safety issues associated with carrying hydrogen on submarines.

About the Agreement

  • L&T is the recipient of the Transfer of Technology (ToT) for this Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-developed system. Through the integration of these modules, India will establish itself among a select group of nations with the capability to develop indigenous fuel cell-based AIP technology.

  • This advancement will significantly enhance the endurance of conventional submarines. Moreover, this eco-friendly technology produces clean water as a by-product, contributing to environmental sustainability.

  • L&T, as the primary industry partner, has a longstanding collaboration with DRDO and has been entrusted with the Transfer of Technology for this AIP System. The manufacturing, integration, and factory acceptance trials of the Energy Modules (EMs) will take place at L&T’s AM Naik Heavy Engineering Complex in Surat, ensuring adherence to high-quality standards and timely delivery.

  • If this project is successfully implemented, it has the potential to result in additional orders for AIP Systems not only for the remaining Kalvari Class submarines but also for other countries that operate Scorpene class submarines, opening up possibilities for export opportunities.

Paytm Collaborates with Arunachal Pradesh to Foster Startup Ecosystem

Paytm Payment Services Limited (PPSL) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Arunachal Pradesh Innovation and Investment Park (APIIP) to establish a thriving startup ecosystem for the youth in the northeastern state. The partnership aims to nurture entrepreneurship and encourage young business ventures during their early stages of development.

Discounted Products and Free Credits for Startups

As per the terms of the MoU, the Paytm Incubation Center will extend its products to early-stage startups at a discounted price. Furthermore, it will provide free credits through the Paytm Startup Toolkit, offering valuable support to young entrepreneurs as they navigate the initial phases of their business ventures. These initiatives are expected to facilitate the growth of the startup ecosystem in Arunachal Pradesh.

Official Signing at Arunachal Pradesh Innovation and Investment Park

Paytm Collaborates with Arunachal Pradesh to Foster Startup Ecosystem

The MoU was formally signed at the Arunachal Pradesh Innovation and Investment Park, which serves as the state’s inaugural marquee incubator. The CEO of APIIP, Tabe Haider, was present during the signing ceremony, underscoring the significance of the collaboration.

Paytm’s Commitment to Empowering Entrepreneurs

Expressing their enthusiasm, a spokesperson from Paytm Payment Services emphasized the company’s commitment to partnering with the Government of Arunachal Pradesh in their endeavor to build a vibrant startup ecosystem. The Paytm Incubation Center aims to support young entrepreneurs by providing them with access to new customers, acquisitions, funding opportunities, and enhanced facilities.

Enabling Digital Expansion and Seamless Integration

The comprehensive platform offered by Paytm facilitates the expansion of businesses’ digital presence by seamlessly integrating payment, branding, and commerce solutions. Paytm, India’s leading payment app, has been instrumental in driving mobile QR payments across the country. By collaborating with financial institutions, Paytm also extends various financial services to its customers and traders, catering to the needs of small traders.


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