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Current Affairs 13th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 13th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

Context: The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will be holding a festival of democracy in Nalanda University, Bihar showcasing India’s rich democratic traditions.

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  • The ‘Vaishali’ festival of democracy will be held on September 15 coinciding with the international day for Democracy.
  • Vaishali was an ancient Indian city established in 6th century BC as a republic.

About Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

  • Definition: The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is an autonomous body under Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
    • It was founded in the year 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.
  • Aim: The objectives of ICCR are:
    • to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programme pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
    • to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries and
    • to promote cultural exchange with other countries and people.
  • Centers: The ICCR has 38 Cultural Centres in different parts of the world to promote awareness of India’s composite cultural heritage abroad.
  • Awards: ICCR has instituted the following awards for the foreign nationals for their contributions to Indian cause in respective fields:
    • Bharat Mitra Samman – Indology: It recognizes eminent Indologists who have made outstanding contribution to Indian cause, by studying India’s philosophy, thought, history, art, culture, Indian languages, literature, civilization, society etc.
    • Bharat Mitra Samman – Sanskrit: It recognizes eminent Sanskrit Scholars who have made outstanding contribution to Indian cause, by studying in Sanskrit language and literature.
    • Bharat Mitra Samman – Distinguished Alumni: It recognizes ICCR Alumni who have made significant achievements in his/her field and/or have made outstanding contribution to the promotion of understanding, goodwill and friendship between India and their country.
    • International Award for Promotion of Buddhism: Award for Promotion of Buddhist Studies to recognize the contribution of foreign scholars to Indian cause for the promotion of Buddhism/Buddhist studies globally.

Current Affairs 12th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Nipah Virus

Context: Two people have died and four others are under treatment after contracting Nipah virus in Kerala’s Kozhikode district.

About Nipah Virus

  • Definition: Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
    • Nipah virus is part of the Paramyxoviridae family and is closely related to the Hendra virus.
    • First identified during an outbreak in Malaysia and Singapore, primarily affecting pigs and the people who worked closely with them.
    • The virus is named after the Malaysian village of Sungai Nipah, where the outbreak occurred. No new outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia since 1999.
  • Transmission:
    • It is primarily transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals, particularly fruit bats.
    • Fruit bats are known to transmit this virus to other animals like pigs, and dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
    • The transmission from animals happens mainly through consumption of contaminated food.
    • Human-to-human transmission can also occur, mainly through close contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals.
  • Symptoms:
    • Human infections range from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis.
    • Infected people initially develop symptoms including fever, headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), vomiting and sore throat.
    • The incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is believed to range from 4 to 14 days.
  • Treatment: There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah virus infection.
    • WHO has identified Nipah as a priority disease for the WHO Research and Development Blueprint.
    • Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.


Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

Context: A petition from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has sought 100% counting of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips.

What is VVPAT?

  • Definition: VVPAT stands for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.
  • Features:
    • The machine helps to keep a paper audit trail of the votes cast.
    • This machine from the Election Commission of India prints a paper slip of the candidate a person votes for with the name, serial number and symbol of the party.
    • The machine has a transparent window through which the printed slip is displayed to the voter for seven seconds.
    • The machine is meant to be used as a verification for the voter to make sure that the person’s vote has indeed been considered for the right candidate.
    • After the printed slip is displayed to the voter, it falls into a sealed ballot compartment within the machine.
  • Counting of VVPAT Slips:
    •  The Election Commission (EC) does not count and verify each VVPAT with the EVM vote but carries out the process based on a random sample.
      • As of now, the ECI mandates the counting of all VVPAT slips in five randomly selected polling stations per Assembly constituency or segment.
    • The verification of VVPAT slips is conducted inside a secured VVPAT counting booth in the counting hall, and only authorised personnel have access to this counting booth.
  • Need for VVPAT:
    • The VVPAT helps to detect potential election fraud or malfunction in the Electronic Voting Machine.
    • It provides a means to audit the stored electronic results. It serves as an additional barrier to change or destroy votes.
    • The EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system with fullest transparency and restores the confidence of the voters.
    • EVMs and VVPATs also speed up the election process as counting votes on EVMs takes much lesser time than counting paper ballots.
  • Demand by ADR:
    • The election watchdog group ADR has filed a writ petition stating that while the requirement of the voter verifying that the vote is recorded as cast is “somewhat met” by the slip being displayed for seven seconds, there is no procedure for the voter to ensure that the vote is “counted as recorded”.
    • This goes against the Supreme Court’s 2013 judgment in Subramanian Swamy vs. Election Commission of India, where it held the VVPAT an “indispensable requirement of free and fair elections.
    • The ADR petition asked the court to declare that it was every voter’s fundamental right to verify the vote has been “recorded as cast”, that is 100% counting of VVPAT slips.
  • Stand of Election Commission: 
    • The EC said that pressing for 100% verification was a “regressive thought and tantamount to going back to the days of manual voting using ballot system”.
    • It said manual counting of all VVPAT slips would take time and introduce the potential of human error.


The NSE Nifty 50

Context: The NSE Nifty 50 recently crossed a new milestone of 20,000 points during intraday trade owing to gains in Adani Port, Adani Enterprises and Axis Bank stocks.

More on News

  • Consistent investments from FII, DIIs, and Indian retail investors have pushed Indian indices to reach historic highs.
  • The remarkable achievements of the G-20 summit have also drawn the attention of global investors towards the Indian markets.

What is National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE)?

  • The National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) is India’s largest financial market.
  • Incorporated in 1992, the NSE has developed into a sophisticated, electronic market, which ranked fourth in the world by equity trading volume.
  • Trading commenced in 1994 with the launch of the wholesale debt market and a cash market segment.

What is Market Index?

  • A market index is an indicator of the overall performance of all the companies listed in the stock exchange.
  • It is the measure of several factors such as the performance of the market, price variations, etc in the stock market.
  • The stock market index reflects all the changes that take place in the stock market.
  • These indices facilitate the investors to identify the patterns of the stock market movement and allow them to make investments in stocks accordingly.
  • While the stock exchanges list the stocks in the market, the stock indices detail movements that take place in the market.
  • Sensex and Nifty are the indices of BSE and NSE, respectively.

What is Nifty?

  • Nifty, a stock market index of the National Stock Exchange, stands for National Stock Exchange Fifty.
  • Nifty comprises top 50 companies that are traded in the NSE.
  • The method used to calculate Nifty is the same as Sensex, i.e., the free-float market capitalization method.
  • Factors that Cause Changes in an Index: There are multiple factors that influence the movement of Nifty:
    • The condition of the global economy has a huge impact on indices. A recession in the global economy worsens the performance of the index.
    • Inflation causes a negative impact on the performance of indices. This is because inflation leaves the investors with fewer funds to invest in the stocks of the companies.
      • Moreover, the companies also suffer from high costs in the economy and thus there will be a downturn in the stock market.
    • The changes in the interest rates causes a downward movement in the stock market.
      • With an increase in interest rates, the cost of lending also rises.
      • To manage the cut-down on lending, the companies reduce their expenses and this further hampers the performance of the company in the stock market.
      • This leads to a decline in index performance.
    • The market indices are an indicator of investors’ sentiments. They help the investors to understand the market conditions and enable them to make rational decisions relating to their investment.

Difference between Sensex and Nifty

Sensex Nifty
  • Sensex stands for Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, and it is a stock market index for BSE.
  • Nifty stands for National Stock Exchange Fifty and is a stock market index of NSE.
  • The base index value for Sensex is 100.
  • Base index value of Nifty is 1000.
  • Sensex is operated by BSE.
  • Nifty is operated by a subsidiary of NSE called NSE Indices Ltd.
  • Sensex comprises 30 well-established companies that are listed for trading on BSE.
  • Nifty comprises 50 top companies that are listed for trading on NSE.

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