India, Panama signs agreement on Cooperation in Training of Diplomats during 17th PDB Convention 2023i.On January 9, 2023, during the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention 2023 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (MP), an agreement was signed between India and Panama on the cooperation in the training of diplomats.
ii.The PBD convention was held on January 8-10, 2023 on the theme ‘Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s Progress in Amrit Kaal’.
iii.It was signed by the Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India; and Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Panama.
iv.India and the United Kingdom (UK) also signed and exchanged letters of ‘UK-India Young Professionals Scheme’ which will allow 3,000 young Indians and Britons aged 18 to 30 to live, study and work in each other’s countries without needing to have a job in hand.
Currency– Panamanian Balboa
President– Laurentino Cortizo
ReNew Power Installs India’s First 3x Platform WTGs in KarnatakaReNew Power (“ReNew”), one of India’s largest independent power producers (IPPs) for renewable energy, has announced the installation of India’s first 3x-platform wind turbine generators (WTGs) at Gadag, Karnataka.
- The new WTGs will be a component of India’s first “Round the Clock” renewable energy project, which combines wind, solar, and a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).
- The energy produced by this project will be sufficient to power more than 1 million Indian homes per year.
ReNew is a subsidiary of Renew Energy Global PLC.
i.The WTGs are 128–140 m tall and have a nameplate capacity of 3.3–3.465 MW (megawatts).
- They have much more capacity than those already installed in India, which typically have a nameplate capacity of 2-3 MW.
ii.The installations were carried out by an in-house Wind Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) team, a first for an Indian company.
- This included site procurement, construction of foundations, crane management for WTG installations, and transmission build-out.
iii.They assisted ReNew Power in installing more than 400 MW of WTGs at various locations in Gujarat and Karnataka.
About ReNew Power (“ReNew”):
Founder, Chairman and CEO – Sumant Sinha
Established – 2011
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
Union Minister Jitendra Singh releases the Theme of National Science Day 2023On 9th January 2023, Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, released the theme for the National Science Day 2023 titled “Global Science for Global Wellbeing” at National Media Centre in New Delhi, Delhi.
- The theme indicates India’s emerging global role and rising visibility in the international arena.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology, including Dr Manoranjan Mohanty, Head of National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department Of Science & Technology (DST), attended the occasion.
i. The theme has been chosen for the purpose of raising public appreciation of scientific issues in a global context which is having a bearing on global well-being.
ii. India’s new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020 plan seeks to increase the effectiveness and expert-driven promotion of science.
iii. The theme of “Global Science for Global Wellbeing” is in sync with India’s Group of Twenty (G20) presidency, where it will become the voice of the global south-developing countries of Asia, Africa and South America.
- It represents India’s growing International visibility
iv. This theme was selected to increase public understanding of the scientific concerns in a global framework that are affecting global well-being.
National Science Day 2023:
i. National Science Day (NSD) is annually observed across India on February 28 to commemorate the discovery of the “Raman Effect”.
- In 1986, the Indian government declared February 28th to be National Science Day (NSD).
- Sir C.V. Raman announced the discovery of the “Raman Effect” on 28th February 1928, for which he was given the Nobel Prize in 1930.
- The theme-based science communication activities are carried are conducted across India on this occasion.
ii. National Science Day is celebrated across India in scientific institutions, research laboratories, and independent scientific institutions affiliated with the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- The DST serves as the nodal agency to support, catalyse, and coordinate this celebration.
GoI Allocates Rs 1037.90 Crore to New India Literacy Programme for A 5-Year Period (FY23-FY27)
The Government of India (GoI) has allotted Rs. 1037.90 crore for the New India Literacy Programme (NILP), a centrally sponsored programme (CSS), for a 5-year period, from fiscal years 2022-23 (FY23) to 2026-27 (FY27).
- The NILP was approved by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2022 to cover all aspects of adult education in accordance with the new National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) for the next five years, from FY23 to FY27.
- The MoE has also adopted the phrase “Education for All” over “Adult Education” as the latter did not adequately define all non-literates aged 15 years and above.
New India Literacy Programme (NILP)
i.The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy component of NILP aims to reach 5 crore learners over a 5-year period from FY23 to FY27.
ii.The programme has 5 objectives:
- Foundational Literacy and Numeracy
- Critical Life Skills
- Vocational Skills Development
- Basic Education
- Continuing Education
iii.Financial Outlay – The GoI will contribute Rs. 700 crore out of the total financial outlay of Rs. 1037.90 crore, while the state will contribute Rs. 337.90 crore.
- The GoI and State shares are in the ratio of 60:40 for all states except for the North Eastern Region (NER) and the Himalayan States, where the pattern of sharing between the GoI and the State is in the ratio of 90:10.
- The ratio is 60:40 for Union Territories (UTs) with legislatures, except for Jammu & Kashmir, where it is 90:10. For UTs without legislatures, the GoI share is 100%.
Steps Taken by GoI to Ensure Effective Implementation of NILP
i.Using schools as the foundation, States/UTs conduct surveys of beneficiaries and volunteer teachers (VTs).
ii.The DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) portal, developed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), provides access to the teaching and learning resources.
iii.Under the Samagra Shiksha scheme, a lot of interventions have been made to facilitate it for girls to attend school.
- In 2021–22, more than 8 lakh new girl students were enrolled.
- During 2021-22, over 95.07 lakh teachers were employed in school education, with more than 51% being female teachers.
RBI notifies revised List of Accredited Credit Rating AgenciesOn January 9, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the revised list of accredited Credit Rating agencies (CRAs) for the purpose of assigning risk weight to assets for capital adequacy purposes by the banks.
The six credit rating agencies are as follows:
i.Acuite Ratings & Research Limited (Acuite)
ii.Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE)
iii.CRISIL Ratings Limited
v.India Ratings and Research Private Limited (India Ratings)
vi.INFOMERICS Valuation and Rating Pvt Ltd
i.In this regard, RBI has advised banks to use the ratings of the six domestic credit rating agencies for risk weighting their claims for capital adequacy purposes.
ii.In October 2022, RBI dropped Brickwork Ratings India Private Limited from the list of accredited rating agencies.
What are Credit Rating agencies (CRAs)?
CRA evaluates and assesses an individual’s or a company’s creditworthiness, means, these agencies consider a debtor’s income and credit lines to analyze the debtor’s ability to repay the debt or if there is any credit risk associated. The credit rating indicates if the borrower is worth trusting with the new loan.
- In India, CRAs are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as per the SEBI Regulations, 1999 of the SEBI Act, 1992.
- The creditworthiness of an individual or a company is decided based on the lending and borrowing transactions done in the past.
- On October 31, 2022, SEBI issued norms regarding the standardization of rating scales used by CRAs. Click here to know more
Axis Bank & IISc Signs MoU to Set up Centre for Mathematics and ComputingAxis Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka to establish a Centre for Mathematics and Computing at IISc
i.The centre spread across 1.6 lakh square feet will have state of the art labs and programmes that will benefit the faculty and students of the 20 IISc departments. Annually the centre will benefit more than 500 engineers and scientists.
- In addition, it will also host the new IISc BTech programme in Mathematics and Computing and the ongoing Interdisciplinary PhD programme in Mathematical Sciences.
ii.The centre will play a vital role in understanding the futuristic areas including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science which rely on the foundations of mathematics and computing.
iii.The state-of-art facility will provide a platform for exploring and undertaking research in the fields of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Computational Biology, Quantum Computing, Precision Medicine, Digital Health, Climate Science, Materials Genomics, Cybersecurity, AI, Machine Learning (ML), and Data Science.
About Axis Bank:
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive officer (CEO) – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1994
Tagline – Badhti Ka Naam Zindagi
ICRA Report: Bank Bond Issuances Reach a Record of Rs. 91,500 Crore in Debt Capital in FY23 (April –December)According to the report released by credit rating agency ICRA Limited (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited), Gross bond issuances by Indian banks reached a record of Rs. 91,500 crores in the first 9 months (April-December) of the financial year 2022-23 (FY23).
- In FY22, banks issued Rs. 70,000 crore in gross bond issuances. The previous record was Rs. 80,000 crore in FY17.
- Bank gross bond issuances are likely to reach Rs. 1.3-1.4 lakh crore by the end of FY23, as the banking system’s credit-to-deposit (CD) ratio continues to firm up.
About Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI):
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD)– Sivasubramanian Ramann
Headquarters– Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
“PayRup“: India’s Fastest Payment App Has Been LaunchedPayRup, India’s fastest payment app, has been launched. PayRup is built on cutting-edge Web 3.0 technology and offers an enhanced digital payment experience with an exceptional user experience.
- PayRup was launched by Mahadevappa Halagatti at a launch ceremony held at Lulu Mall in Bangalore, Karnataka.
i.PayRup offers 24/7 assistance and support to users. Its customer service desk utilises cutting-edge Customer relationship management (CRM) technologies and adheres to international standards.
- To provide the best customer service, PayRup assures the SERVQUAL (service quality) standard and the 5 dimensions of service quality.
ii.Users of PayRup can purchase gift cards, recharge their mobile, broadband, and DTH devices, and pay their utility and landline bills.
- PayRup services will be made available for a wider range of financial instruments, including multiple payment options including rent, school fees, and other payment collection services.
iii.PayRup has launched several other USPs, including ticketing and booking services for buses, hotels, and flights.
Established – 2017
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
SEBI Extends Trading Hours for Stock Exchange Outage
On January 9, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for handling Stock Exchange outages and extension of trading hours in case of an outage.
i.Stock Exchange Outage: It is a stoppage of continuous trading, either suo moto by exchange or beyond the control of the stock exchange.
ii.Reporting the outage:
- SOP mandates the affected Stock exchange to inform SEBI immediately after the occurrence of the outage through a dedicated email id.
- They also have to inform the outage to stakeholders (i.e market participants, trading members and other market infrastructure institutions (MIIs)) within 15 minutes.
iii.Extension of Trading hours: If the trading on the affected stock exchange resumes to normalcy one hour before the normally scheduled market closure, trading hours on that day for all stock exchanges would remain unchanged, but if not resumed within one hour then the trading hours would get extended for one and half hours on that day.
South Indian Bank Launches MSME Online Portal
The South Indian Bank(SIB), headquartered in Thrissur, Kerala, has launched a Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) online portal that provides instant online ‘In Principle’ approval of up to Rs. 1 crore.
- This initiative will support the MSME business to get loans quickly and support the domestic MSMEs to scale up their businesses.
- This is in line with the government’s efforts to make India a USD 5 trillion economy.
HDFC Capital Achieves USD 376-mn Initial Close for Scheme 2 of H-CARE 3
On 9th January 2023, HDFC Capital, a subsidiary of HDFC Limited has successfully achieved the initial close of USD 376 million for Scheme 2 of HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund – 3 (H-CARE 3) to provide long term, flexible funding across affordable and mid-income housing projects including early-stage funding.
- The primary investor in H-CARE 3 Schemes 1 & 2 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
- H-CARE 3 has flexibility to provide equity funding for real estate projects and invest in tech companies that address the needs of the affordable housing ecosystem.
- H-CARE 3 Scheme 1 & 2 and HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Funds – 1 & 2 have created a USD 3.1 billion funding platform, rated as one of the world’s largest private finance platforms focused on developing affordable housing.
Kotak General Insurance Ties Up with Clootrack to Boost Customer Experience
i.Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited (“Kotak General Insurance“) has partnered with Clootrack, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, real-time customer experience platform.
- This partnership will provide Kotak General Insurance with actionable insights about its non-life insurance products based on customer feedback, as well as assist it in understanding market gaps in order to improve its customer experience.
ii.Kotak General Insurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.
iii.Clootrack’s comprehensive, intelligent customer experience analytics platform is fully a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. It gathers and analyses billions of customer reviews to help organisations understand “why” customer experience decreases.
- Shameel Abdulla is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Clootrack.
Garuda Aerospace Signs MoU with Rallis India to Boost Agriculture
Garuda Aerospace, the Chennai-based drone manufacturing company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rallis India Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals, to work for the betterment of the farmers by leveraging technology in their agricultural operations.
The pilot demonstrations and spraying of pesticides on fields through drones will be conducted in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Rallis will also supply pesticides and crop nutrients to Garuda Aerospace for the pilot demon.
- The drone pilots will conduct demonstrations on a 1,000-acre land on crops like paddy, onion, Bengal gram, wheat and vegetables.
RS Sodhi steps down as GCMMF MD; Jayen Mehta given Interim ChargeThe Managing Director (MD) of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), RS Sodhi, has stepped down from his post.
- He will be succeeded by the Chief operating officer (COO) of GCMMF, Jayen Mehta who has been given immediate charge as MD.
- GCMMF is the owner of India’s biggest dairy brand Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited).
i.RS Sodhi joined Amul in 1982 and became its MD in 2010. In 2015, he was re-appointed to the same post till 2020. Since then, he has been on an extension.
ii.Under his leadership, GCMMF’s turnover surged from Rs 9,774.2 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 46,481 crore in 2021-22.
iii.He worked under the direct guidance of Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution.
- He is also the President of the Indian Dairy Association (IDA).
iv.On the other hand, Jayen Mehta has been with Amul for over 30 years and has served various roles in the company, including as Brand Manager and General Manager in the marketing function.
v.GCMMF procures 30 million litres of milk per day from over 18,600 village dairy co-operative societies.
About Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF):
GCMMF is India’s largest food product marketing organisation.
Chairman– Shamalbhai B Patel
Headquarter– Anand, Gujarat
Michael Patra reappointed as RBI’s Deputy Governor for One YearThe Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the reappointment of Michael Debabrata Patra as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a further period of one year with effect from the 15th January 2023.
- Michael Debabrata Patra’s 3-year tenure comes to an end on 14th January 2023.
Key Points & Static:
i. As the deputy governor and a rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee member, Michael Debabrata Patra oversees the monetary policy department.
ii. Shaktikanta Das, governor of the RBI, is in charge of the 6-member Monetary Policy Committee.
iii. Four deputy governors work under the governor at the RBI. The bank’s three other deputy governors are M K Jain, M Rajeshwar Rao, and T Rabi Sankar.
About Michael Debabrata Patra:
i. Michael Debabrata Patra was 1st appointed to a 3-year tenure as deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India on 15th January 2020.
ii. Prior to the appointment as RBI’s Deputy Governor he served as the Executive Director of RBI before being elevated to the post of Deputy Governor.
- As Executive Director, he was a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of RBI, which is entrusted with the responsibility of monetary policy decision-making in India.
iii. Between July 2012 and October 2014, he served as the Principal Adviser, at the Monetary Policy Department of RBI.
iv. From 2008 to 2012, he served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director (India) at the International Monetary Fund.
v. He has held various posts in the Reserve Bank of India since beginning his career in central banking in 1985.
vi. He authored a book titled “The Global Economic Crisis through an Indian looking glass” which vividly captures the experience of the global financial crisis and the great recession of 2008-2009.
- Additionally, he has written papers on topics like exchange rates, the balance of payments, international trade, monetary policy, and inflation.
Gabon appoints Ossouka Raponda as Vice President & Alain-Claude Bilie as Prime Minister
On 9th January 2023, Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, appointed Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda as the first-ever female Vice President of Gabon. Prior to this appointment, she has been serving as the Prime Minister of Gabon since July 2022.
- Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze(56 years old), former Minister, was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Gabon to replace Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda.
In July 2020, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda became the first-ever female PM of Gabon. She was appointed as PM following the resignation of her predecessor Julien Nkoghe Bekale.
The Post of Vice President has been vacant since May 2019. The function of the VP is to “assist” the head of state and has no interim role in the event of a power vacuum.
About Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda:
i. Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, began her career as Advisor to the Director General of the Economy in 2000, before being appointed Deputy Director General of the Economy.
- Her appointment marks the 4th cabinet shuffle to take place under the dual health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic.
ii. She served as minister of budget and public finance from February 2012 until January 2014. She was Mayor of Libreville, Gabon’s capital, in 2014 and served till 2019.
- She was the first woman to hold the position since 1956.
iii. She served as President of the United Cities and Local Governments in Africa in 2018.
About Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze:
i. Alain Claude Bilie By Nze served as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Water Resources in the outgoing government.
ii. Since 2012, he had been working alongside Ali Bongo Ondimba when he was appointed political adviser and spokesperson for the Gabonese Presidency.
iii. He joined the government in 2006 as Minister Delegate for Communication and Government Spokesperson and has held several roles in ministerial jobs since then.
President- Ali Bongo Ondimba
Currency- Central African CFA franc
Herbalife signs up cricketer Smriti Mandhana as Brand Ambassador
On 9th January 2023, Herbalife International India private limited (Herbalife Nutrition) signed up an Indian woman cricketer Smriti Mandhana as its Brand Ambassador. She is the 5th Indian athlete and the 2nd cricketer to be Herbalife’s nutrition sponsor.
- Virat Kohli, Mary Kom, Lakshya Sen, and Manika Batra are the other athletes associated with the brand.
- Smriti Mandhana, hailing from Mumbai, Maharashtra, made her Test debut in 2014. Currently, she is the vice-captain of the Indian women’s national cricket team.
- Herbalife Nutrition has more than 150 sponsored teams and athletes worldwide.
Virgin Orbit: UK’s First-Ever Rocket Mission Suffers Anomaly & Ends in Failure
The United Kingdom (UK)’s first-ever space mission failed after the rocket suffered an anomaly during the flight. Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 dubbed “Cosmic Girl” carrying LauncherOne, the first rocket to launch into space from the UK took off from Cornwall.
- The Virgin Orbit plane flew to 35,000 ft over the Atlantic Ocean where it jettisoned the rocket containing 9 small satellites towards space. The rocket successfully detached from the plane and ignited.
- The rocker suffered an anomaly and failed to reach the orbit.
This is also the first time that satellites have been launched from Europe.
Renowned Poet & Kashmir’s 1st Jnanpith Awardee Abdur Rehman “Rahi” Passed AwayOn 9th January 2023, Kashmir’s 1st Jnanpith awardee Professor Abdur Rehman Rahi, a renowned Kashmiri poet, translator, and critic, passed away at Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). He was born in Srinagar in 1925.
About Abdur Rehman Rahi:
i. Abdur Rehman Rahi was a well-known poet who translated several famous authors’ works into the Kashmiri language.
- As a translator, he did a translation of Baba Farid’s Sufi poetry to Kashmiri from Original Punjabi.
ii. In 1948, he started working for the government as a clerk for a short period in the Public Works Department.
iii. He joined the Department of Persian at the University of Kashmir as a Professor after completing his masters in Persian and English.
iv. He later joined the Kashmiri Department at the University of Kashmir in 1977, and he remained associated with it until he retired in 1983.
v. He then joined the Progressive Writers’ Association, where he eventually rose to the position of General Secretary.
i. In 1961, Rehman Rahi received Sahitya Akademi Award for his collection of poems in Kashmiri called “Nawroz-i-Saba”.
ii. In 2000, he was honoured with the 4th-highest civilian award in India, Padma Shri Award for Literature and Education.
iii. In 2004, he received the highest literary award in India, the Jnanpith Award for his poetic collection in Kashmiri “Siyah Rood Jaeren Manz” (In Black Drizzle).
Some of his literary collections: Sana-Wani Saaz (poems), Kashir Naghmati Shayiri, Kahwat (literary criticism), Sukhok Soda (poems), and Kalam-e-Rahi (poems).
World Hindi Day 2023 – January 10World Hindi Day or Vishwa Hindi Diwas is annually observed across the globe on 10th January to celebrate and promote the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of the Hindi language and its speakers across the globe.
- The day, January 10 marks the anniversary of the first time that Hindi was spoken in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1949.
- The day also marks the anniversary of the 1st World Hindi Conference held from 10th to 12th January 1975 in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
12th World Hindi Conference – 2023:
i.The 12th World Hindi Conferece(2023) will be held in the Republic of Fiji from 15th to 17th February 2023.
ii.The conference is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with the Government of Fiji.
- The main theme of the World Hindi Conference 2023 is “Hindi – Traditional Knowledge to Artificial Intelligence”.
About Ministry of External Affairs(MEA):
Union Minister– S Jaishankar (Rajya Sabha- Gujarat)
Minister of State– V Muraleedharan; Meenakashi Lekhi; Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh
TN CM M.K. Stalin launches a platform for Global Tamil investors to fund the State’s Start-Ups
On 9th January 2023, M K Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (TN), launched the Global Tamil Angels platform http://www.tamilangels.fund of StartupTN for investors from the global Tamil diaspora to make investments in Tamil Nadu-based startups.
The platform was launched during the Global Tamil Startup Investors Summit, jointly organised by the Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission and FeTNA International Tamil Entrepreneur Network in Chennai, TN.
- The platform will connect TN-based startups with international Tamil angel investors, offer legal assistance for investors, and help take products to the global markets.
- A multi-crore American Tamil Fund by investors from the Tamil Nadu Diaspora in the United States (US) to invest in TN startups was announced during the event.
- An intent to invest USD 2 million (about Rs16.5 crore) by December 2023 was presented to T.M. Anbarasan, TN’s Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Minister.
WB CM Mamata Launches Vehicle Location Control Centre & App to Boost Security For Women
On 9th January 2023, West Bengal (WB) Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee inaugurated a new vehicle location control centre and mobile app, as a part of efforts to enhance security for women in WB. Both, control centre & mobile app would help the police track movement of vehicles and also keep a tab on crimes on women inside moving cars. It also has panic buttons in each vehicle, which on pressing, alerts the police.
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