MoHUA & EIL signs MoU to develop Waste to Wealth plants in cities with million plus populationThe Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with Engineers India Limited(EIL) to develop Waste to Energy and bio-methanation projects in cities with a population of million plus(million plus cities). This MoU is in line with India’s Green Growth Agenda.
Roopa Mishra, Joint Secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM-U) & Mission Director, MoHUA and R.K. Rathi, Executive Director, EIL signed the MoU in the presence of Manoj Joshi, Secretary, MoHUA and Vartika Shukla, Chairman and Managing Director (C&MD), EIL.
Features of the MoU:
i.Under this MoU, EIL will assist and handhold the million plus cities in developing such projects for larger quantum of waste integrating circularity in waste management.
ii.In the 1st phase, 25 million plus cities will be selected for developing large-scale process plants.
iii.EIL will also handhold Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to monitor the process of these Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects during the construction phase and will assist in obtaining statutory approvals.
iv.These projects will result in additional processing capacity of 15,000 TPD for Bio-Methanation and 10,000 TPD for Waste to Energy.
The Union budget 2023-2024 presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs designated Green Growth as one of the 7 priorities (Saptarishi) of the Union Budget 2023-2024.
- In the ‘Green Growth’ segment, 500 new Waste to Wealth plants will be established under the Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme for promoting circular economy.
- This will include, 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, 75 in urban areas, 300 community or cluster-based plants, at a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore.
The 7 priorities are: inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector
i.The Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM- U) 2.0 has strengthened the efforts towards sustainable solid waste management, with an overall vision of creating garbage free cities.
ii.The MoHUA has set up a large scale solid waste processing facilities in cities with more than million people.
iii.In India there are around 59 million plus cities which includes Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly, Nasik, Thane, Nagpur, Gwalior, Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore.
iv.For management of organic/wet fraction of municipal solid waste bio-methanation plants have been proposed in these million plus cities
Waste to Energy plants:
i.Waste to Energy plants utilises the dry waste from municipal solid waste and produce renewable power with maximum reduction of waste volume with least space in execution in compliance with Solid Waste Management(SWM) Rules 2016 and meet all the statutory norms of environment protection.
ii.The by-products of these projects, such as electricity and Bio-CNG, will help in achieving sustainability of waste management operations.
In February 2022, Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated the Asia’s biggest municipal solid waste based GOBARdhan plant in Indore, Madhya Pradesh(MP) to generate 19,000 kg bio-Compressed natural gas(CNG).
About Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA):
Union Minister– Hardeep Singh Puri(Rajya Sabha- Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State– Kaushal Kishore (Constituency- Mohanlalganj, Uttar Pradesh)
Ministry of Cooperation Signs MoU to Enable PACS to Operate as CSCThe Ministry of Cooperation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and CSC e-Governance Services India Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) and provide services offered by Common Service Centres (CSCs) in New Delhi, Delhi.
- The MoU was signed in the presence of Amit Shah, Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, and Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.
CSCs are the access points for the delivery of vital public services like utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial services, education, and agriculture services under the Digital India Programme.
i.According to the MoU, PACS would be able to operate as CSCs and provide over 300 services to the rural population, including their 13 crore farmer-members.
ii.Additionally, the Government of India (GoI) intends to permit PACS to offer all of the services mentioned on the Digital Seva Portal of the CSC scheme to citizens.
- The services include banking, insurance, Aadhaar enrolment and updates, legal services, agri-inputs like farm equipment, PAN cards, as well as services related to railway, bus, and air tickets.
iii.CSCs will benefit from the Pan-India deployment of a common software being developed for PACS.
iv.Within 4 lakh CSCs currently in operation, the GoI intends to add 2 lakh PACS over the next five years.
- The budget for FY 2023–2024 includes funding for the establishment of multipurpose PACS in every panchayat and the world’s largest storage scheme.
v.This move will work in favour of the “Sahkar Se Samridi” concept and make cooperatives the backbone of rural development.
C-CAMP launches InDx 2.0 National Diagnostics Catapult to Scale up Diagnostics Space for Infectious Diseases
On 2nd February 2023, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) Indigenisation of Diagnostics (InDx) launched the National Diagnostics Catapult (C-CAMP InDx 2.0) in New Delhi, Delhi,
- The programme was launched in the presence of Dr Parvinder Maini, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India (GoI).
The program is anchored by C-CAMP with support from the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster (BLiSc) and funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and FIND, a global alliance for diagnostics.
Note: The CCAMP-InDx initiative, which was introduced in July 2020 and is based on the incredibly successful COVID-19 diagnostics platform, is expanded upon in C-CAMP InDx 2.0.
The programme aims to boost India’s preparedness for current and future pandemics and scale up diagnostics space for infectious diseases including but not limited to COVID-19.
i. C-CAMP InDx 2.0 is intended to provide a global model for diagnostics capacity development in low and middle-income countries to meet the twin goals of cost and accessibility in the United Nations’ vision for universal health coverage.
- Diagnostics play a key role in infectious disease management both at the individual and community levels.
ii. C-CAMP InDx 2.0 seeks to solve this dual requirement by enabling access through innovation, development and commercialization of high-quality, affordable diagnostics and building a robust surveillance platform for rapid response by the public health system to disease outbreaks
iii. Within a year of its launch, the programme had built the capacity of more than 200 indigenous Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and academic labs, the largest cohort of its kind in India.
- Also reached its goal of producing one million indigenous RT-PCR test kits for SARS CoV2 each day.
iv. CCAMP-InDx has enabled the development of more than 40 RT-PCR kits and 12 fast tests that have received regulatory approval and are all currently available on the market.
C-CAMP is an initiative supported by government agencies, including the Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, NITI Aayog-AIM, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Startup India and the Government of Karnataka.
Azad Engineering is India’s First Supplier of Parts for Nuclear Turbines
Azad Engineering Private Limited, Hyderabad (Telangana)-based precision engineering firm and GE Steam Power, an American energy technology company, have agreed to a long-term supply deal for the supply of nuclear turbine parts.
- Azad Engineering has been approved as the 1st Indian company to supply critical rotating parts for nuclear turbines. The first set of critical parts has now been delivered and will be assembled on nuclear turbines manufactured in Belfort, France.
- To help clients deliver reliable power while they make the transition to a lower carbon future, GE Steam Power offers a wide range of technology and services for power plants.
RailTel Secures Rs. 253.35 Crore SBI Project for 4G Connectivity to ATMs State Bank of India (SBI) has issued a work order to RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. (RailTel), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Ministry of Railways, to provide 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) connectivity to 15,000 offsite Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) distributed across India.
- The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 253.35 crore (excluding taxes).
- The project also includes the operation and maintenance of the entire network for 5 years.
LTE (Long-Term Evolution)
LTE is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless standard that offers better network capacity and speed for cellphones and other cellular devices over third-generation (3G) technology.
i.RailTel was selected through competitive bidding, and this SBI project is one of the largest in India for 4G LTE last-mile connectivity.
ii.In addition to last-mile connectivity, the project calls for the creation of a Network Operations Centre (NOC), backhaul connectivity to SBI’s Data Center & Disaster Recovery Centre (DC-DR), a live dashboard for Service-Level Agreement (SLA) monitoring, a 24×7 support desk, etc.
RailTel Corporation of India Ltd (RailTel)
i.RailTel is one of India’s largest neutral telecom infrastructure and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Solutions & Services providers, with a Pan-India optical fibre network connecting various towns and cities as well as rural areas.
ii.RailTel has two Tier III data centres that are approved by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in addition to a robust and reliable network of 61,000+ RKM (route kilometres) of optic fibre.
iii.RailTel provides a wide range of services, including Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Telepresence, leased lines, Tower Co-location, Data Center Services, and more.
iv.RailTel is also collaborating with the Indian Railways to turn railway stations into digital hubs by providing public Wi-Fi at railway stations across India.
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) – Sanjai Kumar
Incorporated – 2000
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Hindujas Intends to Raise Their Stake in IndusInd Bank to 26%IndusInd International Holdings Ltd. (IIHL), a subsidiary of the Hinduja Group, has received preliminary approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to increase its ownership in IndusInd Bank Ltd. (IndusInd Bank) to 26%.
- As a result, the Hinduja Group will contribute more than Rs. 10,000 crore to IndusInd Bank.
With this, IndusInd Bank has become the first bank to have its promoter increase its shareholding to 26%.
i.In November 2021, the RBI revised private bank ownership guidelines to allow promoters to own up to 26% of the bank, up from 15% earlier.
ii.In January 2023, the RBI issued operational guidelines, “Reserve Bank of India (Acquisition and Holding of Shares or Voting Rights in Banking Companies) Directions, 2023,” which permitted promoters to hold 26%, up from 15%, of a bank’s paid-up share capital or voting rights after 15 years of operation.
- This increase in the cap on promoter stakes is based on the recommendations of the Internal Working Group (IWG), 2021.
i.Hinduja Group, through Mauritius-based IndusInd International Holdings Limited (IIHL), owns 16.51% of the stake and 15.16% of the voting shares in IndusInd Bank as of December 2022.
ii.IndusInd International Holdings held 12.58%; and IndusInd Ltd. held 3.92%.
About IndusInd Bank Ltd:
MD & CEO – Sumant Kathpalia
Established – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – We Make You Feel Richer
8th meeting of US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group: officials discussed on Space CollaborationOn 30 and 31 January 2023, delegates from India and the United States of America(USA) gathered at the United States (US) Department of State for the 8th meeting of the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group (CSJWG) and discussed on collaboration in Earth and space science as well as human space exploration.
i. The U.S. delegation included officials from the Department of State, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce.
ii. The Indian delegation included representatives from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Ministry of External Affairs.
8th US-India CSJWG:
The meeting was co-chaired by Jennifer R Littlejohn, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and Karen Feldstein, Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations at NASA for the United States and Shantanu Bhatawdekar, Scientific Secretary of ISRO for India.
- The CSJWG discussions were focused on space, earth, global navigation satellite systems, spaceflight safety and space situational awareness, and policies for commercial space.
- Participants also considered the implementation of guidelines and best practices developed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) to ensure the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.
India-US Bilateral Cooperation in Space:
The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, scheduled to launch in 2024, is a part of the India-US bilateral cooperation in Space. .
i. NISAR is a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and ISRO to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies to monitor resources such as water, forests and agriculture.
ii. NISAR will be the 1st satellite mission to measure changes in Earth’s surface less than a centimetre in size using two separate radar frequencies (L-band and S-band).
Note: On 30th September 2014, NASA and ISRO signed a partnership to collaborate on and launch NISAR.
SpaceX launches 53 Starlinks on the 200th Falcon 9 rocket flight
On 2nd February 2023, SpaceX launched a batch of 53 internet satellites Starlink to orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States of America(USA). This marks the 200th flight of SpaceX Falcon 9.
- The previous missions of the rocket include SpaceX’s CRS-24 cargo mission to the International Space Station(ISS) in December 2021, Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13F telecom satellite in October 2022; and the OneWeb 1 flight in December 2022.
- To date, SpaceX has launched more than 3,800 Starlink satellites and all All Starlink satellites to date have flown aboard Falcon 9 rockets.
NASA & IBM collaborate to Develop AI-Based Models to Spur New Earth Discoveries
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and IBM (International Business Machines Corporation), headquartered in New York, United States of America(USA), have collaborated to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) based models that will make it easier to mine vast datasets to advance scientific knowledge about Earth and help the world to adapt to a changing environment.
- Under this collaboration, NASA and IBM will create AI foundation models to analyze petabytes of text and remote-sensing data to make it easier to build AI applications tailored to specific questions and tasks.
- The collaborative work will apply AI foundation model technology to NASA’s Earth-observing satellite data for the 1st time.
- IBM and NASA will build 2 foundation models. One will be trained on reams of earth science journals to thematically organize the literature and make it easier to search and discover new knowledge and the other will be USGS and NASA’s popular dataset, Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 (HLS), a record of land-use changes captured by Earth-orbiting satellites.
UN ECOSOC Partnership Forum 2023: Indian NGO Shares Initiatives on Road Safety & Environment Conservation
The 2023 Partnership Forum of an annual session, the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was held on 31 January 2023, back-to-back with the Council’s Coordination Segment, at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, United States (US).
Punjab-based Patiala Foundation, a Non-governmental organization (NGO) from India, shared initiatives such as reflective stickers for bicycles, a ‘helmet bank’ and a ‘children’s challan book’ for road safety and environmental conservation.
- This NGO was accorded ECOSOC Special Consultative Status in 2018 and works in the fields of livelihood protection and regeneration, heritage conservation, road safety, and environmental conservation, issues that are the focus of various Sustainable Development Goals.
- The ECOSOC meeting highlighted the need for “revitalised partnerships” to recover more quickly from the pandemic and carry out the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Cricket: New Zealand Tour Of India ODI and T20I series 2022-2023The New Zealand National Cricket Team(named: Black Caps) toured India for 3 One Day Internationals(ODIs) and 3 Twenty 20 Internationals(T20Is) from 18th January 2023 to 1st February 2023. India defeated New Zealand To and won both the 3-match ODI and T20I series.
- In ODI, the Indian Cricket Team captained by Rohit Sharma defeated the New Zealand team captained by Tom Latham by 3-0 and in T20I, Team India captained by Hardik Pandya defeated New Zealand captained by Mitchell Santner by 2-1.
India defeated New Zealand in the ODI series 2022-2023:
On 24th January 2023, India defeated New Zealand by 90 runs in the 3rd and Final ODI match held in Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore, Madhya Pradesh(MP) and won the 3 match ODI series by 3-0.
Player of the Series:
Shubman Gill of India was adjudged the Player of the series for his aggregate of 360 in 3 innings, which includes a double century in the 1st ODI and a century in the final and 3rd ODI.
India defeats New Zealand in T20I series 2022-2023:
India defeated New Zealand by 168 runs in the 3rd and final T20I match held in Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to win the series by 2-1. This is the biggest margin of victory of runs in the T20I format in a match between full members.
- New Zealand won the 1st march by 21 runs while India won the 2nd match by 6 wickets.
Player of the Series:
India’s T20I captain Hardik Pandya was adjudged as the Player of the Series for his all-round performance throughout the T20I series against New Zealand.
Indian Cricketer Joginder Sharma announces Retirement from All Forms of CricketOn 3rd February 2023, Indian Cricketer, Joginder Sharma (39), who was known for bowling the last over in 2007 Twenty20 (T20) World Cup final against Pakistan, announced his retirement from all forms of Cricket.
- Joginder Sharman currently serves as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Haryana. He joined the Haryana Police in October 2007.
About Joginder Sharma:
i. Joginder Sharma was born on 23rd October 2023 in Rohtak, Haryana. He made his debut for Haryana against Madhya Pradesh in the 2002-2003 Ranji Trophy. He played domestic cricket for Haryana.
ii. He was captain of the Haryana Cricket Team and was selected in Indian Team to play the T20 World Cup Cricket Championship in South Africa from 11-28th September 2007.
iii. Joginder Sharma represented the Indian Cricket Team in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
iv. He represented India in 4 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and as many T20s between 2004 and 2007.
v. He played for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) from 2008 to 2012 and was part of the 2 IPL-winning CSK teams (2010 & 2011).
France’s World Cup Winning Defender Raphael Varane Retires from International Football
French footballer Raphaël Xavier Varane(29 years old) has announced his retirement from international football to focus on his career with Manchester United. He was a part of the France national football team (nicknamed: Les Bleus) that won the Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) world cup in 2018 and was a runner-up in 2022.
Varane made his professional debut in 2010 and later joined Real Madrid in 2011 and made his international debut for France in 2013.
- He played for Real Madrid from 2011 to 2021 and won 4 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 3 Spanish Super Cups, 3 LaLiga titles, 1 Spanish Cup and 3 Spanish Super Cups.
- He became only the 4th player in history to win both the World Cup and the Champions League in the same year (2018), joining Christian Karembeu (in 1998), Roberto Carlos (in 2002), and Sami Khedira (in 2004).
- In 2021, he left Real Madrid to sign with Manchester United.
Padma Shri & Dadasaheb Phalke Awardee K Vishwanath, a renowned director, Passed AwayOn 2nd February 2023, Padma Shri and Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, Kasinadhuni Vishwanath (K Viswanath), a renowned Telugu filmmaker and actor, passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana at the age of 92.
- K Vishwanath was born on 19 February 1930 in Repalle, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh, India).
- He was popularly known as ‘Kalatapasvi’.
About Kasinadhuni Vishwanath:
i. Kasinadhuni Vishwanath, who began his career as a sound artist, was a prominent figure in the Indian film industry. He is well known for his works in Telugu Cinema and he has also directed over 50 films in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil.
ii. He debuted as a director with the Akkineni Nageswara Rao-starring “Aatma Gowravam”(1965), which won the Nandi Award for the best feature film.
iii. K Viswanath made his Bollywood debut with the 1979 film Sargam, which was a remake of his movie Siri Siri Muvva.
iv. He acted in movies like Pandurangadu, Narasimha Naidu, Bagavathi, Yaaradi Nee Mohini, Rajapattai, Lingaa, and Uttama Villain, among others.
v. He has directed several award-winning films, including ‘Sankarabharanam’, ‘Sagara Sangamam’ (1983), ‘Saptapadi’ (1981), ‘Kaamchor’ (1982) and ‘Sanjog’ (1985).
vi. Some of his popular films include Swathi Muthyam, Swarnakamalam, Sutradharulu, Sargam, Kaamchor, Shubh Kaamna, Eeshwar and Dhanwaan.
Awards and Recognition:
i. In recognition of K. Vishwanath’s outstanding contribution to Telugu film, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh gave him the prestigious Raghupathy Venkaiah award in 1991.
ii. He was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India, in 1992.
- Recipient of the Golden 20 Nandi Awards from the AP State Government starting from Best Picture for his 1st directorial venture (Atma Gowravam) followed by two consecutive awards in the same category.
iii. He was the 48th recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest award in the field of Cinema, for the year 2016.
iv. K. Vishwanath was a five-time National Film Awards winner for his movies Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam (twice), Swathi Muthyam, and Swarna Kamalam.
Note: Swati Mutyam, a National Award-winning film, was India’s official entry to the 59 Academy Awards in the best foreign film category.
Kerala Finance Minister Presents the State Budget for FY 2023-24Kerala Finance Minister (FM) KN Balagopal presented to the Legislative Assembly the budget for fiscal year 2023–24 (FY24), the second full budget of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) government led by Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister (CM) of Kerala.
Important Budgetary Provisions for Kerala for 2023–24
i.The Kerala government has set aside Rs. 100 crore for welfare programmes and Rs. 2,000 crore to combat price increases, in addition to a plethora of initiatives in the infrastructure and higher education sectors.
ii.The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has allotted Rs. 1,000 crore for the development of the Vizhinjam ring road as an industrial corridor.
iii.In the state budget, Kerala Finance Minister announced a total allocation of Rs. 2,828.33 crore for the medical sector, with Rs. 194.32 crore set aside for the “Integrated Child Development Service” (ICDS) scheme.
Chief Minister – Pinarayi Vijayan
Governor – Arif Mohammed Khan
National Parks – Pampadum Shola National Park; Mathikettan Shola National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLS) – Peppara WLS; Shendurney WLS
CM Prem Singh Tamang launched ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’
On 2nd February 2023, Prem Singh Tamang, Chief Minister (CM) of Sikkim, launched the initiative, named ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ (Plant a Tree, Leave a Legacy), under which 100 trees will be planted for every child born in Sikkim.
- The initiative is aimed at strengthening the connection between parents, children, and nature by planting trees to commemorate childbirth.
- At the programme, CM Prem Singh Tamang distributed token seedlings to some new parents.