Current Affairs – 28 January 2023

NITI Aayog’s AIM, CBSE, Intel India Collaborate to Bring Change in Education SectorA tripartite agreement has been inked between the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission(AIM); Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)- Ministry of Education (MoE); and Intel India to bring a change in the education sector by utilizing future skills, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the formal curriculum.

  • It was signed during an event at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi, Delhi which was attended by Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director, AIM.

Aim of the Agreement:
i.To increase the pace of tech integration for youth
ii.To bridge the future skills gap in the country
iii.To optimize the current infrastructure (ATLs, etc)
Key Points:
i.In September 2022, the above 3 parties launched the AIoT (Artificial intelligence of things) Integration in the school curriculum and initiated a pilot project for the same.
ii.During the event an AIoT integration-based lesson plans created by teachers were also displayed.
iii.There was also a demonstration of AI and AIoT-enabled social impact projects built by students using tinkering and AI, with guidance from their teachers.
iv.A compendium with 70 exemplar lesson plans was released which will set the pace for schools and educators to build digital readiness in India.
About National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog:
CEO– Parameswaran Iyer
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 2015

Central Govt. approves proposal for sale of 30 LMT of wheat under OMSSOn January 25, 2023, the Central Government approved a proposal to sell 30 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of wheat under the Open Market Sale Scheme- Domestic (OMSS-D) to control prices of wheat and wheat flour.

  • This approval has been made amid rising prices of wheat.
  • The off loading of 30 LMT wheat will be done by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) from the Central pool stock to the market through various routes under OMSS-D.

Key Points:
i.FCI will start the process of E- auction of stocks immediately, throughout India during January to March 2023 i.e. within 2 months.
ii.This off loading will have an immediate  impact in containing the rising prices and will bring relief to the common man.
iii.To address the rising price of wheat in India, a Group of Ministers headed by Union Minister Amit Shah, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) discussed the buffer stock position, and the following options to offload wheat to the market were approved by the Committee of Ministers (CoM):

  • Wheat will be offered to the Flour millers, Bulk Buyers etc through e-auction for a maximum quantity of 3000 MT per buyer, per auction, from a FCI Region under e-auction.
  • Wheat will also be offered to State Governments/UTs for their schemes without e-auction.
  • Wheat will be offered at a concessional rates of Rs 2350/ Qtl to Govt PSUs/cooperatives/Federations, Kendriya Bhandar etc without e-auction.
  • The sale under this special scheme will be subject to the stipulation that the buyer will convert wheat to atta and  offer it to public at an Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs. 29.50 per Kg.

Godrej Agrovet launches Samadhan initiative for Farmers

Godrej Agrovet Ltd. has launched ‘Samadhan’, a one stop solution centre for oil palm farmers, under its Oil Palm business. It will provide a comprehensive package of knowledge, tools, services and solutions to farmers.

  • Through this initiative, Godrej Agrovet Ltd. will share global best practices with the Indian oil palm farmers and help the farmers to adopt these practices.
  • It will also help to support farmers to avail developmental finance, government subsidies/schemes and other benefits.
  • It also became the first company in India to be awarded a verification Certification under the Indian Palm Oil Sustainability (IPOS) Framework.

i.To be a critical enabler in the Palm Oil industry
ii.To assist oil palm farmers in optimizing their yields by adopting the latest agricultural techniques and boosting their productivity.
Key Points:
i.Under this initiative, Godrej Agrovet will establish 50 Samadhan centers across India by 2027.
ii.Each center will support the planting of ~2,000 hectares of oil palm and help farmers achieve sustained productivity.
iii.Notably, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare (MoA&FW) has set a goal to cultivate 1,000,000 hectares of oil palm by 2027 under the National Mission on Edible Oils– Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) scheme.
iv.Godrej Agrovet has set a goal to add 60,000 hectares of new oil palm plantations in the next five years
v.The IPOS Framework, established by the Solvent Extractors Association of India with assistance from Solidaridad, the Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research (IIOPR), and SOPOPRAD (Society for Promotion of Oil Palm Research and Development), has been created for the Indian industry and lays down a set of environment friendly, economically viable and socially beneficial practices and guidelines.
About Godrej Agrovet Limited:
Managing Director– Balram Singh Yadav
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Union Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya unveils World’s 1st intranasal COVID-19 vaccine – iNNCOVACC 

On 26th January 2023, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, unveiled the iNNCOVACC, the world’s 1st intranasal COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for the primary 2-dose schedule and as a heterologous booster dose, in the presence of Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh.

  • It is developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) in collaboration with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Dr Mansukh Mandaviya stated that over 65% of vaccines supplied in the world were from India.

UNESCO and Solvay launch STEM Education Program in AsiaThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Solvay, a Belgian multinational chemical company, announced the launch of a Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Education Program, aiming at engaging high schoolers and graduate students from Asia- India, Indonesia and South Korea.

  • The Program was developed by UNESCO and Solvay, the 2 leading science-based organisations that have a 3-year partnership.

The program will explore the mutual impact on the environment by focusing on the theme “Sustainable living for one planet”.

Key Points:
i. Through STEM and EBA (evidence-based approach), students will develop skills and strengthen their understanding of science to nurture their interest in science and scientific careers for the benefit of society.
ii. Professors & University students will receive training to implement the strategy in their countries, and  hold regional competitions with experts from Solvay, UNESCO’s Science Networks and other partners
iii. Teams from Solvay and UNESCO in the relevant countries will actively participate in the implementation to co-nurture innovative solution projects.
Innovative Solution Projects:
i. Science teachers and university students will be trained by scientists in interactive national masterclasses on topics such as emerging environmental issues, introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) and hands-on pedagogical activities, data science and digital literacy.
ii. A national hackathon was held in high schools with an integrative trans-disciplinary approach to improve capacities in translating data into information and co-develop data narrative.
iii. With regional competitions to recognize the most innovative projects.
i. The program builds on collaboration among science networks and UNESCO-designated sites and will contribute to 7 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 4, 6, 9, 11,12, 14, 15).
ii. This partnership represents a fresh initiative within Solvay’s extensive Corporate Citizenship programme, a key pillar that focuses on promoting education.

Veer Guardian 2023: 1st edition of India-Japan Joint Air Defence Exercise held in JapanVeer Guardian-2023, a joint Air Exercise between India and Japan involving the Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) was held at Hyakuri Air Base, Japan and its surrounding airspace in Omitama and Iruma Air Base in Sayama, Japan from 12th January 2023 to 26 January 2023.

  • This is the inaugural edition of the bilateral Air Exercise ‘Veer Guardian 2023’ between India & Japan.

The exercise aims to strengthen strategic connections and defence cooperation between the two Nations.
The participants of the IAF contingent include four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 & one IL-78 aircraft and the JASDF participants include four F-2 & four F-15 aircraft.
In September 2022, During the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo, Japan, India and Japan agreed to step up bilateral defence cooperation. Both nations also agreed to engage in defence exercises including fighter jet drills.
This exercise will be a part of the efforts to deepen the strategic ties and defence cooperation between India and Japan.
Veer Guardian 2023
i. During the Veer Guardian 2023 exercise, various aerial combat drills between the Air Forces of India and Japan was conducted.
ii. IAF and JASDF had engaged in air defence missions, air combat manoeuvring, and interception both in Visual and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) settings.
iii. The exercise also included multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment allowing the air warriors to exchange their best practices.
iv. This exercise also provided both sides’ pilots with the opportunity to fly each other’s fighter jets in order to gain a better understanding of each other’s operating philosophies.
v. The exercise involved precise planning and skilful execution by both the air forces.
Su-30 MKI pilot Squadron Leader Acani Chaturvedi, one of the first 3 woman combat pilots in the IAF, participated in the inaugural air exercise Veer Guardian 2023. She became the 1st IAF Woman Fighter Pilot to participate in aerial wargames abroad.
About the Indian Air force (IAF):
Chief of the Air Staff – Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Established- 1932
About Japan:
Prime Minister- Fumio Kishida
Capital- Tokyo
Currency- Japanese yen

HDFC Life Policyholders Can Now Pay Premiums Via NPCI’s ‘UPI 123PAY’HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (HDFC Life) has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to allow policyholders to pay their premiums via “UPI 123PAY”, a unique voice-based Unified Payments Interface (UPI) service.

  • The “first of its kind” UPI 123Pay aims to significantly streamline the premium payment procedure for HDFC Life policyholders.

About UPI 123PAY
i.In 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released UPI 123Pay, a voice-based payment feature developed by the NPCI and launched to improve the digital penetration of financial services.
ii.UPI 123PAY empowers smartphone and feature phone users to make a variety of digital transactions based on four approaches.

  • The 4 approaches include: Voice payments using an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) number, proximity sound-based payments, missed call-based payments, and app-based scan and pay on feature phones.

iii.Customers will be able to conduct financial transactions on this platform with or without an internet connection.
iv.This service is available to customers in a variety of regional languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, etc.
v.A customer can begin a transaction after placing a secure call from their phone to the UPI number 080 4516 3571 and completing the UPI on-boarding formalities.
vi.This service would also enable HDFC Life policyholders who are not used to digital payments to take control of their policies with a single IVR call.
About HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (HDFC Life):
HDFC Life is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd., India’s leading housing finance institution and abrdn plc (formerly Standard Life Aberdeen plc) a global investment company.
MD & CEO – Vibha Padalkar
Established – 2000
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

India Sells First Green Bonds at 5-6 Basis Points Below Sovereign Yields

India sold its first sovereign green bonds worth a total of Rs 80 billion (USD 979.61 million) at yields below comparable government bonds. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) auctioned 40 billion rupees of 5-year bonds at a coupon rate of 7.10 per cent, 5 basis points below the 5-year sovereign yield. Another 40 billion rupees in 10-year bonds were sold at a 7.29%, 6 basis points below comparable government securities.

  • These proceeds will be used for ‘green’ projects including solar power, wind and small hydro projects and other public sector projects that help in reducing the carbon footprint.

Padma Awards 2023: President Approves 106 Padma Awards; List Includes 6 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan, 91 Padma Shri Awards, With 7 Posthumous AwardeesOn January 25, 2023, the Padma Awards 2023 were announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the eve of India’s 74th Republic Day. The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, has approved the conferment of 106 Padma Awards for the year 2023.
Padma Awards, one of India’s highest civilian honours, are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.

  • “Padma Vibhushan,” India’s second-highest civilian honour, is given for exceptional and distinguished service.
  • “Padma Bhushan is given for distinguished service of high order
  • “Padma Shri” is given for distinguished service in any field

Padma Awards 2023

  • The 106 Padma Awards in 2023 comprises 6 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan, and 91 Padma Shri Awards, including 3 duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one).
  • There are 19 women among the awardees, as well as 2 persons from the category of Foreigners/ Non-Resident Indian (NRI) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) / Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and 7 Posthumous awardees. Click here for official notification.

i.Mulayam Singh Yadav, the founder of the Samajwadi Party, BV Doshi, an architect, and Dilip Mahalanabis, a physician from West Bengal, will all receive the Padma Vibhushan posthumously.
About Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA):
UnionMinister – Amit Shah (Gandhi Nagar Constituency, Gujarat)
Minister of State (MoS) – Nityanand Rai (Ujiarpur, Bihar); Ajay Kumar Mishra (Kheri, Uttar Pradesh) ; Nisith Pramanik (Coochbehar, West Bengal)

Entrepreneur Sunil Krishnan honoured with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar National Contribution Award 2022

Global Entrepreneur Sunil Krishnan was honoured with the coveted Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar National Contribution Award 2022 for his contribution to India – for Spreading Indian Cuisine Globally With Moksh Restaurant.  Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshiyari presented the award during the ceremony organised at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The event was organised by Dr. Geet S Thakkar, Chandramani Jadhav and Pravin More. Philanthropist Gurubhai Suresh Bhai Thakkar and Vaastu Mahaguru Basannt R Rasiwasia were present on the occasion.

India elected as Vice-Chair at the 12th session of FAO’s ITWG on AnGR During the 12th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group (ITWG) on Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) at Rome, Italy from January 18-20, 2023, India was elected as the Vice-Chair and represented the Asia & Pacific region.

  • Dr Bhupendra Nath Tripathi, Deputy Director General (Animal Sciences), ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), and the National Coordinator, vice-chaired the Session and also acted as Rapporteur.

What is ITWG?
It wascreated by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO’s) Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) at its 7th Session in May 1997. It reviews technical issues, advises and makes recommendations to the Commission and further implements the Commission’s programme related to AnGR at global level.
What was in the 12th session of ITWG?
i.There was an implementation of the Global Plan of Action for AnGR, monitoring of AnGR diversity and reviewing the 3rd Country Report.
ii.There was also a discussion on the agenda points on role of microorganisms relevant to ruminant digestion, role of genetic resources in mitigating and adapting to climate change; access and benefit-sharing for AnGR; digital sequence information and potential implications for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources.
Point to be noted:
Earlier to the 12th ITWG Session, the Global National Coordinators’ Workshop was held at Rome, from 16-17th January, 2023 where Dr B N Tripathi shared India’s experience in updating data in Domestic Animal Diversity – Information System (DAD-IS) and presented a framework for cataloguing native populations.
About Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO):
Director-General–  QU Dongyu
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Establishment– 1945

Tata Trusts Names Siddharth Sharma as New CEO & Aparna Uppaluri as First COO

Tata Trusts has named former civil servant Siddharth Sharma as its new chief executive officer (CEO) and has also appointed former Ford Foundation official Aparna Uppaluri as its chief operating officer (COO). The new appointments will come into effect on 1st April, 2023.

  • Siddharth Sharma will succeed Srinath Narasimhan in his new role. He has acted as the financial advisor to the 13th and 14th Presidents of India and was also the chief sustainability officer at Tata Sons.
  • Aparna Uppaluri is presently the programme director for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka at the Ford Foundation. She was also involved in grant-making activities, especially into gender justice.

Anurag Gupta appointed as VP & Head of Global Merchant And Network Services in Amex India

American Express Banking Corp., (AEBC) announced the appointment of Anurag Gupta as the Vice President (VP) and Head of Global Merchant & Network Services in American Express (Amex) India, bringing both the acquiring and the network cards issuance teams under one leader.

  • Anurag Gupta will be in charge of extending Amex merchant coverage and the network that issues American Express Cards, through bank partnerships.
  • He has been a part of American Express for over 18 years working across different businesses, functions, and roles in India and in other global markets.
  • This appointment aims to further accelerate and drive a step-up in the growth trajectory of American Express’ acquiring and issuing partnerships in India

Winners of ICC Awards 2022 announced: India’s Suryakumar Yadav & Renuka Singh Among WinnersThe International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the winners of the ICC awards 2022, India’s Suryakumar Yadav has won the  ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Year 2022 while compatriot Renuka Singh has won the ICC Emerging Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2022 award. 

  • Babar Azam won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2022 as well as ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year 2022.
  • Nat Sciver won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year.
  • England’s Ben Stokes has been named ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year, after leading England’s stunning revival in the Test format.
  • Nepal wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh has been named the recipient of the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2022. He became the first player from Nepal to win the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award.

About International Cricket Council (ICC): 
Chair– Greg Barclay
Chief Executive– Geoff Allardice
Headquarters– Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Establishment– 1909

France Captain Hugo Lloris Retires from International Football

Hugo Lloris(36-year), Captain of France national football team, retired from international football. He retired from playing for France after a record 145 appearances. He will be focusing on his Tottenham club career in the English Premier League.

  • . He captained the france team that won the 2018 FIFA(Fédération Internationale De Football Association) World Cup in Russia.
  • He was also the captain of the team that lost to Argentina in the final in the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar.
  • Hugo Lloris made his national debut in 2008 against Uruguay.

74th Republic Day of India – 26th January 2023 India celebrated its 74th Republic Day on 26th January 2023. The republic day events and parade were held at the newly-renovated and renamed Kartavya Path(previously known as Rajpath) in New Delhi, Delhi.
The Republic day of India marks and celebrates the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950.

  • President of India, Droupadi Murmu, led her maiden Republic Day celebrations at Kartavya Path and unfurled the national flag.
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El –Sisi is the chief guest of the 74th Republic Day.

i.On the occasion of Republic Day 2023, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, awarded the President’s Tatrakshak Medal (PTM) and Tatrakshak Medal (TM) to 6 Indian Coast Guard(ICG) Personnel.
ii.On the eve of the 74th Republic Day, President Droupadi Murmu approved 412 gallantry awards and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel.
iii.On the occasion of the 74th Republic Day, a total of 23 tableaus – 17 from States and Union Territories, and 6 from Central Ministries and Departments, showcasing the rich cultural heritage, economic progress and strong and in internal and external security, participated in the parade on the Kartavya Path.

International Customs Day 2023 – January 26International Customs Day (ICD) is annually observed across the globe on January 26 to acknowledge the role of customs officials in managing the efficient flow and exchange of goods and services across countries. The day also commemorates the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council(now World Customs Organization) held in Brussels, Belgium in 1953.

  • 26th January 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the WCO, a unique Organisation dedicated to International cooperation and the sharing of knowledge.

The theme of International Customs Day 2023 is “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs”.

  • It is the slogan announced by Dr Kunio Mikuriya, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

To honour the customs agencies and officials who ensure that world trade is managed as efficiently as possible.
i. Customs Day was first celebrated in 1983 by the CCC to celebrate 30 years of its first session.

  • The CCC became a global organisation and was renamed the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in 1994.

ii. The 1st ever ICD was observed on 26th January 1983 in Brussels, Belgium with only 17 member nations participating.
About the World Customs Organisation (WCO):
Secretary -General- Kunio Mikuriya
Headquarters- Brussels, Belgium
Establishment- 1952
WCO now has 183 customs organisations across the globe that are in charge of managing at least 98% of global trade.

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 2023 – January 27 United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) is annually observed across the globe on January 27 to remember the victims of the Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, which was the genocide of European Jews during World War II.

  • 27th January 2023 marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Nazi German concentration and extermination camp.

The theme of International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 2023 is “Home and Belonging“.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/60/7 on 1st November 2005 and proclaimed January 27 of every year as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
ii. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was chosen by the UNGA to mark the liberation of the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau (1940-1945) by the Soviet Army.
iii. The 1st ever International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust was observed on 27th January 2006.
About the United Nations:
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
Establishment- 1945
About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO):
Director-General- Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters- Paris, France
Establishment- 1945 (came into force in 1946)

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Announces Monthly Allowance for UnemployedOn the occasion of the 74th Republic Day of India, (26th November 2023), the Chief Minister (CM) of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, announced that the unemployed youth of Chhattisgarh will be given a monthly allowance from FY 23-24.

  • The allowance to unemployed youths was one of the key promises made by Congress ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls.
  • He also announced the formulation of a rural industry policy to strengthen the cottage industry-based rural economy.
  • He also made few other announcements including, setting up of an aerocity near Raipur airport, housing assistance scheme for labourers and a scheme to promote women entrepreneurship.

Key Points:
i.An aerocity will be developed near the Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur, to enhance passenger facilities, commercial development of the airport area and employment generation.
ii.Construction workers registered with the Chhattisgarh Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board for a period of 3 years will be given a grant of Rs. 50,000 for building their own houses.
iii.The formulation of a rural industry policy will strengthen the cottage industry-based rural economy, and also increase employment along with the income of people in rural areas.
i.An aid of Rs. 10,000 will be provided every year to each gram panchayat for organising festivals of tribal communities in the tribal-dominated Bastar and Surguja divisions and scheduled areas of the state from FY 2023-24.
ii.Also, Chhattisgarh State Innovation Commission will be constituted with an aim to promote innovation for the development of the state, he said.
iii.A river front will be developed along the Kharun river which flows on the outskirts of capital Raipur bordering Durg district.
About Chhattisgarh:
Governor – Anusuiya Uikey
Chief Minister (CM) – Bhupesh Baghel
National Parks – Indravati (Kutru) National Park, Kanger Valley National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, Badalkhol Wildlife Sanctuary

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