Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2023

Dec 20, 2023

Current Affair 1:
LEADS 2023


Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) is a unique initiative of Government of India, focused on assessing performance of logistics eco-system across States and Union Territories (UTs). It provides valuable insights to States and UTs about key drivers of logistics performance, which States / UTs can leverage for effective policy and decision making.

The fifth edition of LEADS (2023) builds on the framework adopted in fourth edition (2022) coupled with valuable insights from previous versions.

Continuing with the approach adopted in the fourth edition of LEADS report (2022), States and UTs based on their Geography were placed into four Groups namely Coastal Group, Landlocked Group, North East Group and Union Territories Group to analyse their logistics performance.

Importance of LEADS:

Results of LEADS exercise are being used as an input for preparation of Export Preparedness Index by Niti Aayog.

Further, utilisation of GatiShakti component of Special Assistance to States for Capital Investment scheme (2022-23) was aligned with the infrastructure gaps identified in LEADS 2022 report. Over the years, LEADS has gained credibility and has now become an integral part of Government’s mission of enhancing logistics efficiency across States and UTs.

LEADS was conceived on the lines of Logistics Performance Index of World Bank in 2018 and has evolved over time. While the LPI relies entirely on perception-based surveys, LEADS incorporates both perception as well as objectivity thereby enhancing the robustness and comprehensiveness of this exercise.

Current Affair 2:
Trends in Remittance Flows


Remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) increased by an estimated 3.8 percent to reach $669 billion in 2023.

The top-five recipient countries for remittances in 2023 are expected to be India, with an estimated total of $125 billion in the year, followed by Mexico ($67 billion), then China ($50 billion), the Philippines ($40 billion), and the Arab Republic of Egypt ($24 billion)

In comparison, remittances as a share of GDP ranged around 7 percent in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and 5.2 percent in Bangladesh in 2023. In India, the share of remittances in the economy was only 3.4 percent, despite its position as the largest recipient of remittances globally.

What are the factors of increasing remittances in India?

  1. The main contributing factors are declining inflation and strong labor markets in high-income source countries, which boosted remittances from highly skilled Indians in the United States, United Kingdom, and Singapore, which collectively account for 36 percent of total remittance flows to India.
  2. Remittance flows to India were also boosted by higher flows from the GCC, especially the United Arab Emirates, which accounts for 18 percent of India’s total remittances and is the second-largest source of them after the United States.
  3. Remittance flows to India benefited particularly from its February 2023 agreement with the United Arab Emirates for establishing a framework to promote the use of local currencies for cross-border transactions and cooperation for interlinking payment and messaging systems.
  4. In addition to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar account for 11 percent of India’s total remittances (RBI 2022).
  5. In addition, mobile phones and digitalization have revolutionized India’s Fintech ecosystem, which has positive spillovers for Indian migrants and how they remit funds to India.
  6. The government’s initiatives such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI-PayNow) linkage for cross border remittances between India and Singapore, launched in February 2023, is being extended to other countries (Das 2023) to reduce transactions costs and facilitate higher remittance flows through formal channels to India.
  7. Many countries provide for non-resident deposits to attract foreign-currency-denominated diaspora savings. Such deposits can be large. For example, India has had a non-resident deposit program for the past few decades, with total deposits equalling $143 billion in September 2023.

Current Affair 3:
Impacts of Biocrusts


This article is taken from the recent news regarding impact of biocrusts on Great Wall of China.

Biocrusts constitute a significant assemblage of soil particles and organisms, encompassing different species of cyanobacteria, microalgae, bacteria, micro fungi, lichens, and bryophytes.

Biocrusts thrive within the uppermost layer of the soil and serve as prominent biotic constituents within arid regions.  

According to the research, biocrusts approximately span 12% of the Earth’s surface area. As multifunctional communities, biocrusts could impact energy cycling, water retention, biogeochemical fluxes on a global scale, with crucial impacts on soil fertility, regional hydrology, and the soil’s resilience against erosive forces.

The functions performed by biocrusts exert a beneficial influence on various aspects, including the germination and establishment of seeds, the performance of plants, as well as the population dynamics and behaviour of animals.

Current Affair 4:
Oldest black hole discovered



Scientists have discovered the oldest black hole dating back to 470 million years after the Big Bang.

The findings confirm what until now were theories that supermassive black holes existed at the dawn of the universe. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory teamed up over the past year to make the observations.

Given the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that puts the age of this black hole at 13.2 billion years.

Even more astounding to scientists, this black hole is 10 times bigger than the black hole in our own Milky Way.

The two space telescopes — Webb and Chandra — used a technique called gravitational lensing to magnify the region of space where this galaxy, UHZ1, and its black hole are located. The telescopes used the light from a much closer cluster of galaxies, a mere 3.2 billion light-years from Earth, to magnify UHZ1 and its black hole much farther in the background.

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