MoF Increases Interest Rates On a Number of Small Savings Schemes for Q4 FY23 Beginning January 1, 2023The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), a department of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), has raised the interest rate on a number of small savings schemes for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the current fiscal year 2022–23 (FY23), which runs from January 1, 2023 – March 31, 2023.
Various Small Savings Schemes with Increased Interest Rates
i.The rates on the various instruments have increased by 20 to 110 basis points (bps), and they now range from 4.0 % to 7.6 %.
ii.All post office time deposits, the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme, the Monthly Income Savings Scheme, the National Savings Certificate, and others now have higher interest rates.
- Meanwhile, the interest rates on the Public Provident Fund (PPF), Sukanya Samriddhi Account, and Savings Deposit have remained unchanged.
iii.The Shyamala Gopinath Committee provided the formula to calculate the interest rates for the small savings scheme.
About the Ministry of Finance (MoF):
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (RajyaSabha- Karnataka)
Ministers of State (MoS) – Pankaj Chaudhary; Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad
MoU Signed for Commercial Production of Indigenously-Developed ‘Lumpi-ProVac’ Vaccine
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the production of goat pox vaccine and ‘Lumpi-ProVac’ vaccine has been signed in Nagpur, Maharashtra in the presence of Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala, Maharashtra Chief Minister(CM) Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Phadnavis.
- This will play a major role in the efforts of the government to control and eradicate the Lumpy Skin Disease. The Lumpy Skin Disease has been reported in India from 2019 while the first case was reported in Odisha.
- National Centre for Veterinary Type Culture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) -National Research Centre on Equines (ICAR-NRCE), Hisar (Haryana), in collaboration with ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar (UP) developed a homologous live-attenuated LSD vaccine, named Lumpi-ProVac against lumpy skin disease (LSD) in animals.
GoI Introduces New Integrated Food Security Scheme for 2023The Government of India (GoI) has introduced a new Integrated Food Security Scheme beginning January 1, 2023, to supply free food grains to more than 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
- According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution (MoCA, F&PD), the scheme will also ensure effective and uniform enforcement of the NFSA.
New Integrated Food Security Scheme
i.The new integrated scheme will subsume two present food subsidy schemes run by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), MoCA and F&PD. They are:
- Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India (FCI) for NFSA
- Food Subsidy for Decentralized Procurement States, which deals with procuring, allocating, and delivering free food grains to the states under the NFSA
ii.Free foodgrains will ensure uniform implementation of portability under ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ (ONORC) across India, thereby strengthening this choice-based platform.
About the Group of Twenty (G20):
The G20 is the leading forum for economic cooperation on a global scale.
G20 Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US) and the European Union (EU).
MoRD launches Prajjwala Challenge inviting Ideas, Solutions & Actions to Transform Rural EconomyThe Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD)’s flagship poverty alleviation program Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) has launched the ‘Prajjwala Challenge’ – Unlock the Rural Economic Opportunity’ with an aim to invite ideas, solutions, and actions that can Transform Rural Economy.
- On 29th December 2022, Shailesh Kumar Singh, Secretary of MoRD, launched the Prajjwala Challenge in New Delhi, Delhi.
Charanjit Singh, Additional Secretary (RL), senior officers of the Ministry, key State Mission Directors of State Rural Livelihoods Missions, Start-ups, incubators and NGO representatives.
Prajjwala Challenge is a first-of-its-kind nationwide initiative to provide thoughtful minds with a platform to present new, innovative and scalable pathways for rural economic transformation in India.
i. Applications are open from 29th December 2022 to 31st January 2023.
ii. The Mission will acknowledge the shortlisted ideas and offer them incubation support and mentorship from a team of subject matter experts.
- The top 5 ideas will be rewarded with Rs. 2 Lakh each. The winners will be announced on 8th March 2023.
Board Contours for the Idea- Categories:
- Focus on Women and Marginalized sections of the community,
- Localised Models,
- Cost Effective solutions,
- Multi-sectoral ideas and solutions etc.
Click here to visit the Prajjwala Challenge website
i. The Mission is looking for ideas and solutions around Innovative Technology Solutions, Inclusive Growth, Value Chain Interventions, Enhanced Women Entrepreneurship, Cost-effective Solutions, Sustainability, place-based employment, localised models etc.
- More than 87 million women have been recruited into Self-Help Groups and associated federations as a result of the mission so far.
ii. According to MoRD, it is one of the platforms where ideas are invited from individuals, Social Enterprises, start-ups, the Private Sector, Community Based Organizations, Incubation centres and Investors having the potential to transform the rural economy.
iii. To reach a greater number of candidates, the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor will also promote the Prajjwala Challenge in the Manthan portal and the BIMTECH-Atal Innovation Mission Portal.
i. DAY-NRLM is one of the flagships of poverty alleviation programs of the MoRD.
ii. It aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improve access to financial services.
Croatia Joins Schengen Zone & Switches to EuroOn January 1, 2023, Croatia, the youngest member of the European Union (EU), adopted the ‘Euro’ currency, and it became a part of Europe’s border-free Schengen zone.
- Croatia, a Balkan country, is now the 20th member of the Eurozone and the 27th country to join the passport-free Schengen zone.
Croatia is a former Yugoslav republic that fought an independence war in the 1990s and joined the EU in 2013.
Schengen Area signifies a zone where 27 European countries including four which are not members of the European Union (EU), abolished their internal borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people.
- This largest free-travel zone in the world was first established in 1985 as an intergovernmental effort including five EU nations—France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
- The European countries that are not part of the Schengen zone are Albania, Andora, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, The United Kingdom and Vatican City.
ii.In terms of Schengen, this is the eighth expansion and the first in 11 years.
Euro Area: The Eurozone
i.The European Union (EU) member states that have adopted the “Euro” as their national currency collectively refer to themselves as the “Euro Area” or “Eurozone.”
- With Croatia, 20 EU Member States and 347 million EU citizens will share the EU’s common currency.
ii.The euro will progressively replace the ‘Kuna’ as the official currency of Croatia starting on January 1, 2023.
- The new Croatian euro coin will have inventor Nikola Tesla on one side, as well as a map of the country and the national checkerboard design.
iii.In accordance with a track record of stable exchange rates, the kuna will be exchanged at a rate of 1 euro for 7.53450 of Croatian kuna.
- The two currencies will be used alongside each other for a two-week period (14 days).
iv.After Lithuania entered the eurozone in 2015, this is the eurozone’s first expansion in almost eight years.
i.Croatia will maintain strict border controls along its eastern border with non-EU neighbours Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), Montenegro, and Serbia.
ii.The most challenging problem in safeguarding the EU’s 1,350-kilometer (840 miles)-long external land border remains combating illegal migration.
About Republic of Croatia:
President – Zoran Milanović
Capital – Zagreb
Currency – Euro (EUR)
CAD widens to 4.4% of GDP in Q2FY23, Banks’ net NPA ratio at 10-yr low: RBI ReportAccording to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s 26th issue of of the Financial Stability Report (FSR) on December 29 2022 ,India’s Current Account Deficit (CAD) widened to 4.4 per cent of GDP in Q2:2022-23 from 2.2 per cent of GDP in the previous Q2:2022-23 and 1.2 per cent in 2021-22.
ii.In absolute terms, CAD was $36.40 billion in Q2FY23 which is highest in more than a decade.
iii.India’s foreign exchange reserves on BoP basis recorded a deficit of $30.4 billion compared to a $31.2 billion surplus in the Q2FY22.
iv.The RBI also released the 26th Financial Stability Report (FSR) which states the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on risks to financial stability and the resilience of the financial system.
v.The Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA) ratio of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) fell to a seven-year low of 5% and Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPA) have dropped to ten-year low of 1.3% in September 2022.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1st April 1935
Indian Bank Unveils QR Bill-Based Payment System for CESC-Mysuru
On 1st January 2023, Indian Bank unveiled the QR (Quick Response) code bill payment system for Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (CESC) making it the first power distribution company to offer such an initiative to customers in Mysuru, Karnataka.
- It was launched by Karnataka Minister of Energy V Sunil Kumar in the presence of senior government officials including CESC managing director Jayavibhava Swamy.
- This dynamic QR code that is linked to the unified payments interface (UPI) on printed electricity bills, will help customers in making their payments without visiting any online portal or physically going to any payment centre.
Tripura signs Rs 2,275cr agreement with ADB to improve Power Distribution NetworkThe Tripura government has signed an agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth Rs 2,275 crore to strengthen and improve power distribution efficiency in Tripura.
- Under this, ADB will support the state government’s efforts to strengthen its power sector by replacing inefficient power plants and strengthening the distribution system. The project will be implemented in the next three years.
- Of the Rs 2,275 crore fund, the central government will repay Rs 1,820 crore while the state will provide Rs 455 crore.
It was signed by Brijesh Pandey, power secretary of Tripura, and Nilaya Mitesh, the officer in charge of ADB’s India Resident Mission.
i.The state government will undertake massive renovation of two power projects – Rukhia in Sepahijala district and Gumati Hydro project in Gomati district.
ii.There will be a lot of work in the transmission sector to improve the existing system.
iii.Currently, Tripura generates 84 MW (Mega Watt) power out of the state’s per day demand of 450/460 MW.
- It receives around 500 MW power from OTPC (ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited), NEEPCO (North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited) and other central PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings).
iv.Apart from the ADB funding, an additional amount of Rs 800 crore will be spent to improve the power distribution of the state.
Governor– Satyadeo Narain Arya
Chief Minister– Manik Saha
Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS)– Sepahijala WLS, Trishna WLS, Gomati WLS
IIT-Madras & DRDO Partners to Introduce DIA-RCoE for Advanced Defence Technology Research
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras has created a ‘centre of excellence’ named ‘DRDO Industry Academia-Ramanujan Centre of Excellence’ (DIA-RCoE) at a campus unit set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop advanced technologies for national defence and security. The interdisciplinary research group will bring in faculty and researchers from multiple departments for translational research.
- This centre will undertake basic and applied research in areas including electronics and computational systems; naval systems and naval technologies; advanced combat vehicle technologies; high-power CW laser sources; and next-generation communication and networking technologies.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sworn in as 39th President of Brazil On 1st January 2023, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the veteran left-wing politician, known widely as Lula, was sworn in for the 3rd term as the President of the Republic of Brazil during the inauguration ceremony held at the National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil.
- He was sworn in as the 39th president of Brazil by winning the 2022 Brazilian general election against far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro(incumbent President of Brazil (from 2019 to 2022).
- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won 50.9% of the vote while Jair Bolsonaro won only 49.1%.
Geraldo Alckmin was sworn in as Brazil’s Vice President during the event.
- The session began with a tribute to soccer star Pele, who passed away on 29th December 2022.
About Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva:
i. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was born in 1945 in Caetés, Pernambuco, Brazil.
ii. He was in the labour movement when he worked at Villares Metals S.A. Later, he was elected in 1975, and re-elected in 1978, as president of the Steel Workers’ Union of São Bernardo do Campo and Diadema.
- He helped build a labour union movement into the important Workers’ Party.
- In 1988, his party won easily in So Paulo (Brazil) and other big cities.
iii. Although he was a strong candidate for president in 1989, 1994, and 1998 and advocated for measures to support Brazil’s working class, he lost to more conservative contenders each time.
iv. He was first elected as the President in 2002 and was inaugurated as President on 1st January 2003. He was again re-elected as President in 2006 for a 2nd term which ended in 2011.
v. He governed Brazil for 2 consecutive terms between 2003 and 2010. He won his 1st term in 2002 and 2nd term in 2006.
President- Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Currency- Brazilian Real
Ajay Kumar Srivastava Becomes New MD & CEO of Indian Overseas BankAjay Kumar Srivastava has been appointed as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), a public sector bank (PSB), for a period of 3 years with effect from the date of assumption of office on or after 1st January 2023.
- Prior to this appointment, Ajay Kumar Srivastava was serving as the Executive Director of IOB.
- He was appointed following the superannuation of Partha Pratim Sengupta, MD & CEO of IOB, on 31st December 2022.
Note: Srivastava was appointed MD and CEO of IOB by the Government of India (GoI) on September 20, 2022, with effect from January 1, 2023.
About Ajay Kumar Srivastava:
i.Srivastava began his banking career in 1991 as a Probationary Officer (PO) at Allahabad Bank.
- Additionally, he served as a Director on the board of the Regional Rural Bank (RRB) in Allahabad Bank.
ii.He spent around 27 years at Allahabad Bank before being appointed as Executive Director of IOB in October 2017.
iii.He played a major role in bringing IOB out of loss in March 2020 and out of Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) in September 2021.
- In addition, he was the only Executive Director in IOB for around 14 months in 2020-2021.
iv.In 2020, he was appointed as the Director on the Board of the India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) for a 2-year term.
The government of India has appointed Sanjay Vinayak Mudaliyar, Chief General Manager at Bank of Baroda(BoB) as Executive Director in IOB for a period of 3 years with effect from the date of assumption of office on or after 1st January 2023.
About Indian Overseas Bank (IOB):
MD & CEO – Ajay Kumar Srivastava
Establishment – 1937
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Tagline – Good People to Grow With
Election Commission appoints Maithili Thakur as Bihar’s State Icon
On 2nd January 2023, Maithili Thakur, a Folk Singer, was appointed as the State Icon for Bihar by the Election Commission(EC).
- Maithili Thakur, an Indian classical and folk music-trained musician was recently chosen for the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (Akademi Award) for her contribution to the folk music of Bihar for 2021.
- According to EC, Maithili Thakur will create awareness among the voters for their participation in the electoral process.
FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2022: Koneru Humpy wins India’s first Silver Medal at World Blitz ChampionshipsIndian Grandmaster (GM) Koneru Humpy, a former world rapid champion, has won a Silver medal in the Women’s World Blitz Championship at the FIDE(Fédération Internationale des Échecs) World Rapid and Blitz Championship 2022 held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 25th to 30th December 2022.
- Koneru Humpy has won India’s 1st ever Silver medal in the World Blitz Chess Championships defeating Zhongyi Tan of China.
She finished with an outstanding 12.5 points, just 0.5 points behind Bibisara Assaubayeva of Kazakhstan, who won the gold medal.
- Koneru Humpy is the 2nd Indian to win a medal at World Blitz, after Viswanathan Anand.
GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the World Blitz Chess Championship 2022 in the Open Blitz category.
- He previously won the World Rapid chess championship and currently holds all 3 world championship titles – Classical, Rapid and Blitz.
Final Standings: (Blitz)
About Koneru Humpy:
i. Koneru Humpy was born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh is known for her playing style and winning the World Rapid Chess Championship in 2020.
ii. She is one of the best chess players ever, with a Classical Elo rating of 2586 and a current world ranking of 204.
iii. She made her debut in a Chess tournament in 1993 and become a district Champion, at the age of 6.
iv. After winning the national chess championship in the under-8 division in 1995, she won all of the under-10, 12 and 15 competitions in 1996.
v. She won nearly all of the chess youth championship titles by taking home 2 further titles in the under-15 and junior divisions in 2000 and 2001.
vi. In 2007, she became the only 2nd player to cross the Elo rating of 2600 after Judit Polgar of Hungary.
Koustav Chatterjee Becomes India’s 78th GM in MPL 59th National Senior Chess ChampionshipOn 31st December 2022, Kolkata-based chess player Koustav Chatterjee (19-year) became India’s 78th Grandmaster (GM) in MPL 59th National Senior Chess. He is also the 10th GM from Kolkata and West Bengal (WB).
- The 59TH MPL Senior National Chess Championship 2022 was held at K.D Jadhav Indoor Sports Hall, IG Stadium, New Delhi organised by the Delhi Chess Association Under the aegis of All India Chess Federation (AICF).
i.Koustav Chatterjee earned his first GM norm in October 2021 at a Sheikh Russel GM 2021 in Bangladesh and got his second GM norm at the Asian Continental Chess Championship 2022 held in New Delhi, Delhi from 25th October 2022 to 4th November 2022.
- In August 2022, for the first time he crossed 2500 in the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs/International Chess Federation) rating list.
ii.Koustav is now joint-lead with GM Abhijeet Gupta at the National Senior Chess Championship with a score of 8/10 after 10 rounds.
Note – Hari Madhavan N B (19 years old) from Tamil Nadu (TN) becomes the 1st International Master of India in 2023.
Former Tata Sons Director Padma Shri Awardee R.K. Krishna Kumar Passed AwayOn 1st January 2023, Tata group veteran and Former Director of Tata Sons, Padma Shri Awardee Rayaroth Kuttambally Krishna Kumar passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra at the age of 84.
- He was a close confidant of Ratan Tata, well-known for his role in several Tata Group acquisitions, including the acquisition of Tetley in 2000.
About R.K. Krishna Kumar:
i. R.K. Krishna Kumar, fondly known as KK, was born in 1938 in Thalassery (formerly Tellicherry), Kerala.
ii. He started his career with Tata Administrative Services in 1963. He began working for Tata Global Beverages (formerly known as Tata Finlay) in 1965 and later rose through the ranks to become the Vice President of South India Plantations in 1982.
iii. In 1988, he was promoted to the joint managing director of the company.
iv. In 1997, he was appointed as the head of the division of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), which owns the Taj Group of hotels.
v. He had served in multiple positions in the Tata group, including heading its hospitality arm Indian Hotels.
vi. He was involved in the Tata group’s charitable trusts, which own a 66% interest in Tata Sons and was a close associate of Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons.
vii. In 2009, he joined Sri Ratan Tata Trust as a trustee and was on the board of Tata Sons till his retirement in 2013.
- He served as a trustee of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust.
In 2009, R.K. Krishnakumar received the Padma Shri award, India’s 4th highest civilian honour, for his contributions to Indian Trade and Industry.
Grammy-winning American singer Anita Pointer Passed Away
On 31st December 2022, Anita Marie Pointer, a Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter, passed away at the age of 74. She was best known as a founding member of the vocal group the Pointer Sisters.
- Anita Pointer was born on 23rd January 1948 in Oakland, California, United States (US).
- “The Pointer Sisters” won 3 Grammys (1985 – Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices & 1975 – Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group )
- The Pointer Sisters was the 1st African American group to perform on the Grand Ole Opry program and the 1st contemporary act to perform at the San Francisco Opera House.
Former IAS officer Kaki Madhava Rao has authored a new book titled “Breaking Barriers: the Story of a Dalit Chief Secretary” which addresses the details about the dynamics of civil services at the ground level and also fills the gap in the knowledge about micro policies and governance. The book is published by Emesco Books Private Limited.
- K Madhava Rao is a 1962 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who retired as Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh (AP). He was born in Pedamaddali village of Krishna district, AP in 1939.
- He also served in the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) as a Director and as a member of a sub-committee, the Board for Financial Supervision.