Current Affairs – 09 & 10 April 2023

MeitY Notifies “IT Amendment Rules 2023”: Government-Appointed Fact-Checker to Identify Fake NewsThe Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) made a draft amendment to the Information Technology Rules, 2021, which will now be known as the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 [IT Amendment Rules, 2023].

  • In accordance with the 2023 draft amendment, MeitY is given the authority to establish a “fact-checking unit” with broad power to ascertain what is “fake, false, or misleading” in relation to “any business of the Union Government.”

The proposed amendment grants the Press Information Bureau (PIB) the power to judge whether news reports are accurate, and anything deemed “fake” must be removed by online intermediaries, including social media platforms.
Key Points:
i.The government fact-checking body will solely be in charge of information pertaining to Union Government schemes.

  • It would send necessary notices informing intermediaries of content that it has determined to be false or misleading.
  • In the future, a separate mechanism for establishing private fact-checking bodies will be established.

ii.As part of the added due diligence requirements, social media intermediaries (like Facebook and Twitter) and telecom service providers must warn users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update, or share any information in relation to any activity of the Union Government that has been flagged as fake, false, or misleading by such a fact-check unit.
iii.If an intermediary fails to remove content after the fact-checking unit requests it, the intermediary will lose safe harbour for that piece of content.
Click here for official notification.
Key concerns:
i.There is no indication of the regulatory mechanism for such a fact-checking unit established by MeitY.
ii.In addition, MeitY has not addressed the judicial oversight, the right of appeal, or the adherence to the guidelines established by the Supreme Court of India in the Shreya Singhal v. Union of India case with regard to the removal of content or the barring of social media handles.
iii.The announcement of these amended rules increases the detrimental impact of these limitations on the fundamental right to speech and expression.
iv.These amendments will have severe repercussions, particularly for news publishers, journalists, activists, and press freedom in India.
Note: Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) is an Indian digital liberties organisation that seeks to ensure that technology respects fundamental rights.

Union Cabinet grants approval to LIGO-India to build gravitational-wave Detector in MaharashtraOn 6th April 2023, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India headed by Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi approved the LIGO-India(Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.

  • The LIGO-India project will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in Hingoli, Maharashtra(India)  in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the United States of America(USA).
  • The LIGO project is piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The project worth Rs 2600 crore is estimated to be built by 2030.
Note: LIGO Laboratory is a consortium of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT).
About the Ministry of Science and Technology(MoST):
Minister of State(Independent Charge)– Dr. Jitendra Singh(Constituency – Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir)
Secretary (DST)– Dr. S. Chandrasekhar

Visit of His Majesty The King of Bhutan to India – April 03-05, 2023From April 3–5, 2023, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, visited India on an official trip with Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and other top Royal Government of Bhutan officials.

i.India and Bhutan have unique friendship and collaboration ties that are distinguished by trust and mutual understanding.
ii.During the COVID-19 pandemic, India was the first country to respond to Bhutan’s medical needs, sending 13 consignments of medical supplies and becoming the first country to offer Indian-made Covishield vaccines to Bhutan.
iii.India has historically been Bhutan’s top trading partner and continues to be its top investor.
India, Bhutan agree on steps to boost cooperation in hydropower, trade and space
India and Bhutan have agreed on a number of new measures to strengthen their cooperation in sectors such as hydropower, trade, and space, including the finalization of a joint plan of action to deepen their partnership in space technology.
i.India decided to increase its support for Bhutan’s upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan (2023-28), has agreed to an increase in the tariff on the Chhukha hydroelectric power (HEP) project, and is negotiating an additional standby credit line for Bhutan.
About Royal Government of Bhutan:
Prime Minister – Lobgay Tsering
Capital – Thimphu
Currency – Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN)

PM Inaugurates, Lays Foundation for Projects Worth Rs 11,300 cr in TelanganaPrime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various development projects worth over Rs 11,300 crore in Telangana during his visit to Telangana on 8th April 2023.

  • During his visit, he also addressed the public gathering at the Secunderabad Parade Grounds, Secunderabad, Telangana.

PM flagged off Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat train:
He also flagged off the prestigious Secunderabad-Tirupati Vande Bharat Express train connecting Secunderabad and Tirupati.
i.This is the second Vande Bharat train for the two Telugu States, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
ii.This will reduce the travel time between Hyderabad to Tirupathi to about 8 hours 30 minutes(around 3 hours less than the usual travel time) with limited stops at Nalgonda, Guntur, Ongole, and Nellore.
About Telangana:
Chief Minister– K. Chandrashekar Rao
Governor– Tamilisai Soundararajan
Wildlife Sanctuary– Pranahita Wildlife Sanctuary; Pocharam Sanctuary; Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological Park– Nehru Zoological Park; Vana Vigyan Kendra Mini Zoo (Kakatiya Zoological Park)

8th Anniversary of the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana8th April 2023, the Ministry of Finance marked the 8th anniversary of the launch of the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) Yojana (PMMY). 

  • PMMY was launched on 8th April 2015 by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Delhi.

Aim of PMMY: 
To facilitate easy collateral-free micro-credit of up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small and micro-entrepreneurs for income-generating activities.
About Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY):
Significance of PMMY: 
The National Mission of Financial Inclusion in India is based on 3 pillars:

  • Banking the Unbanked
  • Securing the Unsecured and
  • Funding the Unfunded

One of these pillars, “Funding the unfunded” is achieved through the flagship scheme of PMMY.
Features of PMMY:
i.The loans have been divided into three categories based on the need for finance and the stage in the maturity of the business.

  • Shishu – loans up to Rs 50,000
  • Kishore – loans above Rs 50,000 and up to Rs 5 lakh
  • Tarun – loans above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 10 lakh

ii.The rate of interest is decided by lending institutions in terms of Reserve Bank of India(RBI) guidelines.

  • In the case of a working capital facility, interest is charged only on money held overnight by the borrower.

i.As of 24th March 2023, around Rs 23.2 lakh crore has been sanctioned in 40.82 crore loan accounts.
ii.Around 68% of the accounts under the scheme belong to women entrepreneurs and 51% of accounts belong to entrepreneurs of Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBC) categories.

  • The loans under this scheme are provided by Member Lending Institutions (MLIs): Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) and other financial intermediaries.

SAI integrates Khelo India games certificates with DigiLocker

On 7th April 2023, Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, announced that the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the apex national sports body of India, has integrated the Khelo India sports certificate with Digilocker.

  • This will allow the athletes of the Khelo India Youth Games and other stakeholders to access their certificates of merits and participation from the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 in Madhya Pradesh onwards.
  • This will enable a more efficient and streamlined process for accessing certificates of merit and participation for the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 and beyond.

Note: DigiLocker is a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) under the Digital India Programme. It is a secure cloud-based platform for storage, that enables easy sharing and verification of documents & certificates.

Mumbai ranked 19th in ‘Best public transport in the world 2023According to a survey published by London (United Kingdom) based ‘Time Out’, India’s Financial Capital Mumbai (Maharashtra) was ranked 19th in the list of ‘Best public transport in the world 2023’. The list has included 19 countries from the world.

  • The list is topped by Germany’s Berlin with the best public transport system globally. It has the most reliable, safe, and comfortable public transport network. 97% of its residents praised the public transit network, particularly for its metro system, U-Bahn.

The survey conducted among 20,000 respondents in 50 cities worldwide to gauge public sentiment about their local transport systems
List of world’s top 10 cities with best public transit system:

  • The city has also introduced the Chalo Pay app – a pioneer for Indian public transport

ii.Public transit is a broad term that includes subways, above-ground trains, buses, trams and even ferries.
iii.7 of the top 19 cities are from Asia.
Time Out is a media outlet that focuses on hospitality business and labels itself as a global brand ‘dedicated to city life’.

India supports African Union Transition Mission in Somalia with USD 2 millionRuchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), presented USD 2 million to the United Nations Trust Fund in support of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

  • With this grant, the Government of India (GoI) reaffirms its dedication to promoting peace and stability in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

India had previously granted the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) USD 4 million.
Key Points:
i.ATMIS is crucial for developing a secure environment that allows for the prevention of terrorism carried out by Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
ii.As an elected member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), India has actively worked to enable a smooth transition from the AMISOM to ATMIS in accordance with Somalia’s security needs.
iii.For more than 30 years, the GoI has participated in peacekeeping operations in Somalia and has been a “steadfast supporter” of AMISOM.
iv.India continues to assist the African Union (AU) and UN in combating terrorism and fostering peace and stability in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa.
African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS)
i.ATMIS was founded on April 1, 2022, in accordance with Security Council decision 2628 (2022) and African Union Peace and Security Council Communique 1068 of March 8, 2022.

  • Objective: To assist in the implementation of the Somali Transitional Plan in order to fully transfer security responsibilities to the Somali security forces and institutions by the end of 2024.

ii.The main objective of ATMIS is to mitigate the threat posed by the terrorist group Al-Shabaad.
About Somalia:
Prime Minister – Hamza Abdi Barre
Capital – Mogadishu
Currency – Somali Shilling

TVS SCS wins UK Defence Ministry Contract for supplying Land Rover Spares

TVS Supply Chain Solutions (TVS SCS), a part of TVS Mobility Group, won the contract from the United Kingdom(UK) Ministry of Defence (MOD), acting through its agent, Babcock Land Defence Ltd, for the supply of spares, consumables and accessories for the Land Rover Wolf Platform.

  • Under this contract for 2 plus 1 year, TVS SCS will use its accredited inventory management, procurement and supply chain expertise to ensure the optimum availability of spares for this legacy vehicle platform.

The contract is in line with the TVS SCS’s commitment to provide innovative and resilient supply chain services to maximise the availability of equipment it operates across land, sea and air domains of UK’s MOD.

Shah Rukh Khan tops 100th TIME 100 Reader Poll 2023India’s Bollywood Actor Shah Rukh Khan has topped the 100th edition of annual 100th TIME 100 Reader Poll 2023 by grabbing 4% of the over 1.2 million votes.

  • Notably Shah Rukh Khan’s net worth is estimated to be around Rs 627 million ($770 million), which positions him as the wealthiest actor in Asia and the fourth wealthiest actor globally.
  • TIME 100 will reveal their choices for the 2023 TIME100 list on April 13, 2023.

Key Points:
i.At the 2nd place there are Iranian women protesting for more freedom in Iran’s Islamic regime. They garnered 3% of the vote.

  • The protestors were named TIME’s 2022 Heroes of the Year and had won 2022 Person of the Year reader poll too.

ii.The healthcare workers of the United States (US) made it to the 3rd place with 2% of the votes as they were at the forefront of the global pandemic since 2020.
iii.With 1.9 per cent vote share, Harry and his wife Meghan came third and fourth on the poll.
iv.Footballer Lionel Messi, earned his place at the 5th spot with 1.8% of the votes.
v.Other noteworthy figures who featured on the poll included Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, former tennis player Serena Williams, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Mark Zuckerberg.

Bharat Biotech won ViE Award 2023 at World Vaccine Congress Europe 2023 

On 4th April 2023, Hyderabad (Telangana) based Bharat Biotech International Limited(Bharat Biotech) won the Best Production/Process Development Award at ViE Award 2023the 16th Annual ViE awards, during the World Vaccine Congress Washington 2023 held from 3rd to 6th April 2023 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C., United States of America(USA).

  • Bharat Biotech is the world’s first producer of intranasal Covid-19 vaccine, iNcovacc. Its intramuscular vaccine, Covaxin, is part of India’s public vaccination programme.

Bharat Biotech was the only Indian company in the list of VIE awards in various categories, including best clinical trial company, best clinical trial network, best central/speciality laboratory award, best contract research organisation, and best production/process development award, among others.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NASA’s TEMPO from Florida, USOn April 7, 2023, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has launched NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States (US).

  • The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and integrated onto Intelsat 40E by Maxar.
  • TEMPO slogan is ‘It’s about time,’ which focuses at TEMPO’s ability to provide hourly air pollution data.

Key Points:
i.TEMPO will be the first space-based instrument to measure air quality over North America hourly during the daytime and at spatial regions of several square miles
ii.TEMPO data will play an important role in the scientific analysis of pollution, including studies of rush hour pollution, the potential for improved air quality alerts, the effects of lightning on ozone, the movement of pollution from forest fires and volcanoes, among others.
iii.It’s observations will dramatically improve the scientific data record on air pollution – including ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde – not only over the continental US, but also Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas, and part of the island of Hispaniola.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
Administrator– Bill Nelson
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., United States

New production line for LCA opened; HAL hands over 100th Su-30 MKI Aircraft Handed to IAFOn April 7, 2023, the Defence Secretary, Giridhar Aramane, inaugurated the third LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) production line and handed over the 100th Sukhoi-30 MKI Repair and Overhaul (ROH) aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s (HAL) Nashik Division in Nasik , Maharashtra.

  • The Signal Out Certificate (SOC) of the 100th ROH aircraft was handed over by Saket Chaturvedi, CEO (MiG Complex), HAL, to Air Vice Marshal Sarin in the presence of HAL CMD C.B.Ananthakrishnan and other senior officials.

Key Points:
i.The new production line will enable HAL to enhance LCA MK1A production capacity from 16 to 24 aircraft per year.

  • HAL already operates two LCA manufacturing facilities in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

ii.HAL’s Nashik Division had set up the Su-30 MKI Repair and Overhaul (ROH) facility in 2014, the first of its kind globally, to cater to the operational requirements of the IAF.
iii.HAL also aims to reduce its dependency on Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) by indigenizing a majority of components required for ROH within the next 3-5 years.

Anti-Submarine Rockets Developed by 2 Pune Labs Successfully Tested from INS ChennaiThe Indian Navy’s guided missile destroyer, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Chennai, successfully test-fired the Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket (ER-ASR) on April 3, 2023.

  • The ER-ASR was designed by two Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facilities located in Pune, Maharashtra: The Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).

Key Points:
i.The ER-ASR is intended to replace the existing Russian-origin Rocket Guided Bombs (RGBs) rockets already installed on ships, as well as to intercept submarines at specific depths.

  • The RGB has a range of 5 kilometers, whereas the ER-ASR has a range of more than 8 kilometres.

ii.The rocket system’s performance was assessed during the initial testing at a short range of 2.7 kilometres and in long range mode at 8.5 kilometres.
iii.The rocket system will be employed in anti-submarine operations and will be launched from an indigenous rocket launcher placed on various Indian military ships.
iv.Depending on the tactical mission requirements, ER-ASR can be launched in a single or salvo mode.

James Webb Telescope Discovered 4 Oldest Galaxies 

According to the papers published in the journal “Nature”, a team of 80 international astronomers from 10 countries have detected 4 oldest galaxies in the known universe using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The observations were part of the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES), which gets just over one month of the telescope’s time spread over two years, and is designed to provide a view of the early universe unprecedented in both depth and detail.

  • The light from the 4 galaxies took more than 13.4 billion years to reach Webb located nearly 15 lakh kilometres away from Earth.
  • These galaxies date back to less than 400 million years after the big bang when our universe came to life.
  • These four galaxies exist in the epoch of reionization, a time when astronomers think the first stars were being created.

International Romani Day 2023 – April 8 International Romani Day is annually observed across the globe on 8th April to celebrate the Romani culture and create awareness about the difficulties faced by the Romani community across the globe.
i.The International Romani Day was officially declared in 1990 in Serock, Poland, during the 4th World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU).
ii.The day was declared in honour of the 1st major international meeting of Romani representatives, 7th to 12th April 1971 in Chelsfield near London, The United Kingdom(UK).
About Romani community:
i.Romani colloquially known as the Roma, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group and traditionally nomadic itinerants.
ii.Romani are the minority group who are known as gitanos in Spain, as gitan in France, as Tsingani in Central and Eastern Europe, and by several names across Scandinavia that translate as “Travelers.”
Romani population:
i.According to the European Union(EU), Roma are Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Out of an estimated total of 10-12 million in Europe, some 6 million live in the EU, and most of them are citizens of an EU country.
ii.According to the 2020 data of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Excessive force, police brutality and misconduct against Romani people are reported across EU.
Other Related observance:
i.Since 2009, 5th November of every year is observed as the World Day of Romani Language which aims to promote Romani language, culture and education.
ii.In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed the 5th November as the World Day of Romani Language.
Romani Language: The Romani language has about 33,000 words and it represents a good basis for its modernization and final standardization.

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