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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-8th September 2023

World’s tallest Nataraja statue installed at G20 summit venue

At the venue of the G20 Summit, world leaders will be greeted by a breathtaking 27-foot-tall statue of Nataraja, Lord Shiva in his cosmic dance. This magnificent sculpture, made from an eight-metal alloy known as ashtadhatu, weighs a staggering 18 tonnes, requiring a trailer with 36 tires for transportation to Delhi. Crafted by skilled artisans from Swamimalai in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district, this masterpiece seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, drawing inspiration from ancient Nataraja idols.

Master Sculptors from Swamimalai:

  • The Nataraja statue was meticulously crafted by a team of artisans hailing from Swamimalai, a town renowned for its traditional metalwork.

  • The primary sculptors behind this masterpiece are 61-year-old Srikanda Sthapathy, along with his brothers Radhakrishna Sthapathy and Swaminatha Sthapathy.

  • The Sthapathy family’s lineage in sculpture spans an impressive 34 generations, with their craft rooted in the Chola era, notably the construction of the Big (Brihadeeshwara) Temple.

Gurukul Training and Heritage:

  • The Sthapathy family received their training in the ancient gurukul system, which has been passed down through generations.

  • They were entrusted with the Nataraja project after meeting stringent criteria outlined in a tender by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Ministry of Culture.

  • This project draws inspiration from three revered Nataraja idols: Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram, Uma Maheswarar Temple in Konerirajapuram, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brihadeeshwara Temple in Thanjavur.

Traditional ‘Lost-Wax’ Casting Method:

  • The crafting process employed for this statue was the traditional ‘lost-wax’ casting method, a technique indigenous to the Chola era.

  • The process began with the creation of a highly detailed wax model adorned with intricate ornaments.

  • A unique alluvial soil paste, found exclusively in Swamimalai, was used to cover the entire mold. Notably, the Cauvery clay from a specific part of the river in Swamimalai played a vital role in this method.

Transition to Ashtadhatu:

  • Initially intended to be made from panja loha, the statue eventually transitioned to being crafted from ashtadhatu.

  • A delegation provided feedback on the wax model during the creative process, leading to minor adjustments in the statue’s limbs.

  • The collaborative efforts of Srikanda and his two brothers in creating the base wax model resulted in a seven-month-long project.

The Cost:

  • The creation of this remarkable Nataraja statue came at a cost of Rs 10 crore, inclusive of GST.

INS Sumedha Has Arrived In Egypt To Participate In ‘Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23’

Indian Navy’s INS Sumedha arrived at Port Alexandria, Egypt to participate in ‘Exercise BRIGHT STAR- 23’. This edition of the multinational Tri-Services military exercise will see participation from 34 countries. It is the largest ever joint military exercise in the Middle East and North Africa region. This joint military exercise, hosted in Egypt, marks a historic milestone for the Indian Navy and strengthens India’s diplomatic and strategic ties with partner nations.

Two Phases of Intensive Training

The exercise is scheduled to be conducted in two phases:

The Harbour Phase involves wide-ranging activities such as cross-deck visits, professional exchanges, sports fixtures and interactions for planning and conduct of the Sea Phase. This Phase of the Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23 is a crucial starting point where participating nations engage in a variety of activities to foster cooperation and understanding. Cross-deck visits and professional exchanges allow naval personnel to learn from one another, sharing expertise and best practices. Additionally, sports fixtures and interactions promote camaraderie among the servicemen and women.

The Sea Phase will include complex and high-intensity exercises encompassing cross-deck flying, anti-surface and anti-air exercises, including live weapon firing drills. The Sea Phase is the heart of the exercise, where naval forces from multiple countries engage in complex and challenging exercises. Cross-deck flying exercises test the ability to operate aircraft from different carriers, enhancing interoperability among nations. Anti-surface and anti-air exercises ensure that participating navies are well-prepared for diverse maritime threats. Live weapon firing drills demonstrate the proficiency of naval forces in combat scenarios.

Enhancing Interoperability and Maritime Security

Participation in Exercise BRIGHT STAR-23 offers the Indian Navy a valuable opportunity to showcase its capabilities and enhance interoperability with other nations’ naval forces. Learning from the best practices of partner nations is vital for strengthening maritime security operations. The exercise serves as a platform for India to share its expertise while gaining valuable insights into the strategies and tactics of other participating countries.

Maiden Participation and Friendly Foreign Navies

This marks the first-ever participation of the Indian Navy in Exercise BRIGHT STAR, highlighting India’s commitment to strengthening its ties with nations in the Middle East and North Africa region. Additionally, the presence of naval ships from other friendly foreign navies underscores the exercise’s international significance and its role in fostering global cooperation.

Two Weeks of Collaborative Training

The exercises will span over two weeks with intense operations and training, aimed at reaffirming the ability of the participating navies to operate together as an integrated force and to highlight their shared commitment to maritime security and global stability through collaborative training and mutual understanding.

MoU Signed Between Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya Vadodara And Airbus In New Delhi

Indian Railways’ Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV) Vadodara and Airbus, a global aviation giant, have recently embarked on a strategic collaboration aimed at fortifying the Indian aviation sector. This partnership, sealed through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at Rail Bhawan, New Delhi, signifies a significant milestone in fostering industry-academia alliances to propel India’s aviation industry to new heights.

A High-Profile Agreement

The MoU was signed in the presence of Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics, and IT, who also serves as the First Chancellor of Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya. Accompanying him were Ms. Jaya Varma Sinha, the Chairperson and CEO of the Railway Board, and other senior officials. This collaboration follows Airbus’ recent partnership with Tata to establish a C295 aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat, marking a renewed commitment to bolstering India’s aerospace sector.

Airbus: A Global Aviation Powerhouse

Airbus stands as the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft and a leading producer of helicopters, defense equipment, and space technology. Over the years, Airbus has developed a symbiotic relationship with India, recognizing it as a pivotal driver of global aviation and a vital source of talent and resources. Airbus is committed to nurturing all the necessary elements for building a fully integrated aerospace ecosystem in India, with “Make in India” at the core of its business strategy.

The Vision of Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV)

Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV) Vadodara, established through an Act of Parliament in 2022, is dedicated to nurturing top-tier manpower and talent for the transportation and logistics sectors. GSV aims to fulfill the mandates of key national development plans, including the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan 2021 and the National Logistics Policy 2022.

Focusing exclusively on transport and logistics sectors, GSV is a pioneering institution designed to cater to the diverse needs of railways, shipping, ports, highways, roads, waterways, and aviation. Leveraging state-of-the-art infrastructure and a demand-driven curriculum, GSV offers multidisciplinary programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Additionally, the university provides executive training and conducts cutting-edge research. GSV’s reach extends to Indian Railways probationers and serving officers, further solidifying its impact on the transportation sector.

The Collaborative Framework

The collaboration between Airbus and Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya encompasses several key aspects:

  • Co-development of Skilling Courses: The partnership will result in sector-relevant skilling courses and programs tailored for both regular students and working professionals.

  • Joint Research and Industry Experiences: Faculty members from both institutions will engage in joint research endeavors and gain valuable industry experience.

  • Internships and Placements: GSV students will have the opportunity to undertake internships and secure placements within Airbus and related industries, ensuring they are well-prepared for careers in the aviation sector.

  • Scholarship Programs: The collaboration includes initiatives to provide scholarships to deserving students, fostering equal access to quality education.

A Bright Future for Indian Aviation

This pioneering industry-academic partnership is poised to create abundant job opportunities for students aligned with the ever-evolving demands of the aviation industry. It is projected that around 15,000 students may find placement within Airbus’ Indian operations, further strengthening India’s position in the global aviation landscape.

India Launches ‘Hello UPI’ and ‘Bharat BillPay Connect’ for Conversational Payments

In a significant move aimed at enhancing convenience and accessibility for users, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) unveiled two conversational payments initiatives during the Global Fintech Fest. These initiatives, ‘Hello UPI’ and ‘Bharat BillPay Connect,’ mark a significant step forward in facilitating seamless digital transactions through natural language conversations.

Hello UPI: Facilitating Voice-Enabled Payments

  • Empowering Conversational Payments: ‘Hello UPI’ empowers users to conduct payments effortlessly through interactive conversations with their smartphones. Whether it involves splitting a restaurant bill, sending money to a friend, or settling utility bills, this initiative simplifies the payment process.

  • Multilingual Accessibility: NPCI’s ‘Hello UPI’ supports voice-enabled UPI payments in both Hindi and English, with plans to expand to other regional languages. This inclusive approach ensures that a broader spectrum of users can enjoy the benefits of conversational payments.

  • Collaborative Efforts: NPCI collaborated with the Bhashini program and AI4Bharat at IIT Madras to co-develop Hindi and English payment language models, thereby promoting indigenous technological advancements.

Bharat BillPay Connect: Streamlining Bill Payments

  • Bill Payments Through Voice Assistants: ‘Bharat BillPay Connect’ facilitates effortless bill payments through natural conversations with popular voice assistants like Alexa. Users can seamlessly settle their bills using voice commands, further simplifying the payment process.

  • Accessibility for All: This initiative has been designed to cater to users with varying levels of tech proficiency. Whether one uses feature phones, smartphones, or merchant soundboxes, digital bill payments become accessible to everyone.

  • Instant Voice Confirmation: Users can conveniently fetch and pay their bills through voice commands on smart home devices and receive instant voice confirmations. Additionally, this feature extends to bill payments made at physical collection centers through payment soundbox devices.

Prime Minister Modi Participated in the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and 18th East Asia Summit (EAS)

Prime Minister Modi participated in the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and engaged in comprehensive discussions with ASEAN partners to reinforce the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. He reaffirmed the central role of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the alignment between India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Emphasis was placed on the timely review of ASEAN-India FTA (AITIGA).

12-Point Proposal for Cooperation

  1. Multi-Modal Connectivity: Proposal for a South-East Asia-India-West Asia-Europe economic corridor.

  2. Digital Public Infrastructure Sharing: India offered its Digital Public Infrastructure Stack to ASEAN nations.

  3. Digital Future Fund: Announcement of an ASEAN-India fund for Digital Future, focusing on digital transformation and financial connectivity.

  4. Support for ERIA: Renewed support for the Economic and Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) as a knowledge partner.

  5. Global South Representation: Collective advocacy for Global South issues in multilateral forums.

  6. Traditional Medicine Center: Invitation for ASEAN countries to join the WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India.

  7. Mission LiFE: Call for cooperation on Mission LiFE.

  8. Affordable Medicines: Offer to share India’s experience in providing affordable and quality medicines through Jan-Aushadhi Kendras.

  9. Counterterrorism Cooperation: A call for a collective fight against terrorism, terror financing, and cyber-disinformation.

  10. Disaster Resilience: Invitation for ASEAN countries to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

  11. Disaster Management: Cooperation in disaster management.

  12. Maritime Safety: Enhanced cooperation on maritime safety, security, and domain awareness.

East Asia Summit Highlights

Support for EAS Mechanism

At the 18th East Asia Summit, Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the EAS mechanism and India’s commitment to its strengthening. He reaffirmed India’s support for ASEAN centrality and advocated for a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific.

Quad’s Vision and ASEAN

PM Modi highlighted the alignment of visions for the Indo-Pacific between India and ASEAN and emphasized ASEAN’s pivotal role in the Quad’s vision.

Global Challenges and Initiatives

Prime Minister called for a cooperative approach to address global challenges, including terrorism, climate change, resilient supply chains for essential items, and energy security. He showcased India’s initiatives in climate change, such as ISA, CDRI, LiFE, and OSOWOG.

Financial Connectivity and Think Tank Support

PM Modi announced the establishment of the ASEAN India Fund for Digital Future, aimed at enhancing financial connectivity between ASEAN and India. He also expressed support for ERIA, an ASEAN think tank that will deepen ASEAN-India relations.

Regional and International Issues

Leaders exchanged views on a range of regional and international issues during the summit.

East Asia Summit Participants

The East Asia Summit includes eighteen participating countries:

  1. ASEAN Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam.

  2. Other Nations: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United States of America.

GST rules for casinos, e-games notified

The Ministry of Finance has recently issued a significant notification outlining amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules pertaining to online gaming and casinos. These amendments aim to address taxation methodologies employed by online gaming companies and casinos.

GST on Casino Chips

One of the key changes introduced by these amendments is that individuals visiting a casino are now required to pay GST on the full value of the chips they initially purchase. This means that the GST will be levied on the entire amount spent on chips at the time of purchase.

Valuation of Supply

Two new clauses, 31B and 31C, have been introduced in the GST rules to specify the valuation of the supply. Under these changes, any claims made by players are to be included in the total amount paid or payable, ensuring a comprehensive taxation approach.

No Refunds on Returned Amounts

The notification clarifies that any refunded or returned amount, such as when a player returns some of their initially acquired chips and receives a cash refund, will not result in a refund of GST. The GST collected at the time of purchase remains unaffected by subsequent returns.

Treatment of Winnings

Winnings by any player will remain tax-neutral. This is because the entire GST is collected at the first stage, ensuring that winnings are not subject to additional taxation. If a player uses their winnings, or a portion thereof, in a subsequent game without withdrawing, no GST will be applied to that amount.

Legislative Approval

In August, the Parliament approved amendments to the Central and Integrated GST laws, imposing a 28 percent tax on the full face value of bets in online gaming, casinos, and horse race clubs. The Rajya Sabha, without discussion, returned the proposed legislations to the Lok Sabha with a voice vote. Subsequently, the Lok Sabha approved the two money bills: The Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and The Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

State Implementation

With the central government’s approval, it is now up to the states to pass these amendments in their respective state GST laws through their legislative assemblies. This step will ensure uniform implementation of the revised GST rules for casinos and online gaming across the country.

Salem Sago Gets GI Tag

Salem district in the state of Tamil Nadu has gained acclaim for its sago production, which is widely recognized as Sabudana. Salem Sago, locally known as Javvarisi, is derived from the wet starch powder extracted from tapioca roots. Indian tapioca roots are known to contain approximately 30-35% starch content.

Sago production has been a cornerstone of Salem’s economic development since 1967. Currently, over 80% of sago in India is produced in the Salem region, with a significant portion marketed through Sagoserve.

GI Tag Application for Salem Sago by Sagoserve

The request for a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Salem Sago (Javvarisi) was filed by the Salem Starch and Sago Manufacturers Service Industrial Co-operative Society Limited, commonly known as Sagoserve.

The GI tag can significantly boost business for farmers in the Salem region and the over-400 sago and starch units in areas like Salem, Erode, Nammakal, and Dharmapuri. These regions have a long-standing tradition of sago production.

Salem: The Tapioca Heartland and the Land of Sago

Salem district utilizes nearly 35,000 hectares of land for tapioca cultivation, with yields averaging between 25-30 tonnes per hectare. Sago has a low calorific value (310 kcal/100g) and ranges in size from 2 to 4.5 mm. Remarkably, one kilogram of tapioca sago can be produced from five kilograms of tapioca tubers.

The district’s advantages, such as abundant raw materials, cost-effective labor, and extended sunlight hours, make it an ideal hub for tapioca-based products like sago and starch. This has earned Salem the reputation of being the ‘Land of Sago,’ even on international platforms.

Sago: A Multi-Industry Player with Remarkable Economic Value

Sago finds applications in diverse industries, including food, paper, construction, textiles, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, mining, and alcohol, underscoring its economic significance.

Benefits of GI Tags

The registration of a Geographical Indication offers several advantages:

  • Legal Protection: It provides legal safeguards to protect GI-tagged products from unauthorized use.

  • Prevention of Unlawful Use: GI tags prevent others from using the prestigious product name without authorization.

  • Quality Assurance: Consumers can be confident in the quality and authenticity of GI-tagged products.

  • Economic Prosperity: The demand for GI-tagged goods in national and international markets is enhanced, thereby promoting economic prosperity for the producers.

Significance of GI Tags

A GI tag grants certain rights to those authorized to use it, allowing them to prohibit its usage by third parties whose products do not meet the specified standards. However, it’s important to note that a protected GI does not restrict someone from producing a similar product using the same methods outlined in the standards for that


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