Current Affairs- 2 Feb 2023

First G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group Meeting Held in ChandigarhOn January 30 – 31, 2023, the first “G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group Meeting” under the G20 (Group of Twenty) Indian Presidency was held in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

  • India assumed the G20 Presidency for a year, from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023.

The “International Financial Architecture Working Group” is focused on addressing ways to strengthen the international financial architecture, improve finance for development, and address vulnerabilities in the global financial system.
First G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group Meeting (2023)
i.The meeting was inaugurated by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) and Union Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).

  • Nearly 100 participants from G20 member countries, invitee countries, and international organisations attended the meeting.

ii.The two-day meeting was co-led by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as well as France and South Korea, who are co-chairs of the International Financial Architecture Working Group.
iii.The meeting reviewed a range of topics, including the strengthening and reform of Multilateral Development Banks.
iv.In light of the growing debt situation, it explored strategies to overcome the implementation challenges associated with the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

i.Following the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the G20 was established in 1999, as a forum for Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to address global economic and financial issues.

  • It serves as a premier forum for international economic cooperation.

ii.G20 Members:

  • It has 20 members, including 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), and the European Union (EU).

iii.The G20 members account for nearly two-thirds of the world’s population, over 75% of global trade, and about 85% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Austrade & CII Sign MoU for Technical Vocational Education and Training CoursesThe Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), an Australian Government agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to collaborate on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.

  • The partnership will focus on Australian training standards and delivery in sectors such as automotive, allied health, mining, information technology (IT), cyber security, renewable energy, logistics, supply chain, and water management.
  • These activities will be implemented in partnership with CII by the Australia-India Future Skills Initiative team of Austrade in India.

Australia-India Future Skills Initiative
i.The Australia-India Future Skills Initiative is a 4-year flagship programme of the Australian government.

  • It intends to encourage bilateral cooperation between Australia and India in the domains of education and training.

ii.The initiative will help India’s workforce and skill development by partnering with Australian vocational education, training, and skills providers.
iii.Additionally, the programme would encourage bilateral cooperation in the transfer of Australian skills training to India through trade missions, Government to Government (G2G) agreements, webinars, seminars, and business networking in the field of education and training.

  • It will also promote two-way market literacy and integrate commercial skilling opportunities between Australian and Indian universities and corporates.

About the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII):
The CII is a non-government, non-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization having members from both the public and private sectors.
President – Sanjiv Bajaj
Incorporated – 1992 [Established as Engineering and Iron Trades Association (EITA) in 1895]
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

Inaugural Meeting of iCET (2023): India & US Unveil Ambitious Roadmap for Defence and Tech Partnership 

On January 31, 2023, the inaugural meeting of the “US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)” (2023) was formally launched by Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor (NSA) of India, and Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor of the United States (US) in Washington, DC, US.

  • India and the US unveiled an ambitious agenda during the inaugural iCET dialogue to establish themselves as “trusted technology partners” and strengthen their defence partnership with an emphasis on co-production and co-development.

US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)
In May 2022, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden jointly announced the “U.S.-India initiative on critical and emerging technologies (iCET)”.
Objective: To strengthen and broaden the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of two countries.
Key Points:
i.The US and India have pledged to expand their collaboration in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum, space, semiconductor manufacturing, and scientific research and development (R&D).
ii.iCET aimed to establish the two countries as “trusted technology partners” by establishing technology value chains and facilitating product co-development and co-production.

  • It also seeks to set up a stable system to overcome regulatory impediments and export controls, particularly on the US side.

iii.The two countries decided to focus on “joint production of key items of mutual interest” in the defence manufacturing sector.
iv.The US also committed to a prompt examination of licence application by General Electric (GE) to manufacture jet engines in India for indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Exercise ‘Trishakri Prahar’ held in North Bengal; IAF’s Exercise Poorvi Akash held in Northeastern Region i.From January 21-31, 2023, a joint training exercise namely ‘Exercise Trishakri Prahar (Three-Force Strike)’ was held between the all arms and services of Indian ArmyIndian Air Force (IAF) and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in North Bengal.
ii.The exercise tested the Security Forces’ preparedness to fight using the modern tools and weapons in a networked, integrated environment.
iii.The IAF has started its annual mega exercise ‘Poorvi Aakash’ in the northeastern region to check its combat preparedness. The mega air drill which is being held after a gap of two years due to COVID-19.
About Indian Air Force (IAF):
Chief of the Air Staff– Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 1932

India invited as Theme country of Madrid International Book Fair in 2025

On 1st February 2023, Jose Maria Ridao, the Ambassador of Spain, announced that India will be invited as the focal country at the Madrid International Book Fair in 2025 in Madrid, Spain.

  • The announcement was made during the event held at the Spain Pavilion at the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair (IKBF 2023) at Salt Lake, Kolkata, West Bengal
  • Spain is the theme country of the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair which will be held from 31st January 2023 to 12th February 2023.
  • A football dictionary of Spanish to Bengali is announced to be launched at the Kolkata Book Fair, containing terms and phrases used in the Spanish league.

RBI Partially Relaxes Restrictions on SBM Bank India till March 15, 2023; Appoints V. Ramachandra as an Advisory Committee Member of SIFL & SEFL  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has partially relaxed the restrictions it had imposed on SBM Bank (India) Limited (“SBM Bank India“) with regard to transactions made under the Liberalised Remittances Scheme (LRS).

  • The relaxation will be effective till March 15, 2023 or till a further order by the RBI.

On January 31, 2023, the RBI appointed V. Ramachandra, former Chief General Manager of Canara Bank, as a member of the Advisory Committee of Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited (SIFL) and Srei Equipment Finance Limited (SEFL) with immediate effect.
The Srei Group, which primarily serves the infrastructure and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sectors, owes around Rs. 18,000 crore to around 15 lenders.
About the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1st April 1935

RBI’s Digital Payments Index for September 2022 Increased to 377.46  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – Digital Payments Index (DPI), a measure of the extent of digitisation of payments across the country for September 2022 increased to 377.46 as against 349.30 in March 2022 and 304.06 in September 2021.

  • As per the index, Digital payments across the country registered a growth of 24.13 % in a year.
  • The RBI-DPI has increased across all parameters with significant growth in payment infrastructure and payment performance.

RBI-DPI index Series:

  • Payment Enablers (25%)
  • Payment Infrastructure – Demand-side factors (10%)
  • Payment Infrastructure – Supply-side factors (15%)
  • Payment Performance (45%)
  • Consumer Centricity (5%)

Mobicule launches Industry First Asset Repossession Module for Banks and NBFCs

Mobicule, a niche player and expert in debt collection, has announced the launch of the mCollect Repossession module, an industry first for banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).

  • The revolutionary Asset Repossession Solution, a component of its debt collection and recovery product, is a comprehensive solution that maps all the complex processes involved in the repossession of an asset.
  • Mobicule is a pioneer in providing solutions that use mobile technologies to digitise processes and improves efficiency. This makes the launch of the mCollect Repossession Module seem like a natural extension of its debt collection platform.

India UK Achievers Honours 2023: Former PM Manmohan Singh honoured with Lifetime Achievement HonourDr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister (PM) of India and Member of Parliament (MP) Rajya Sabha (constituency- Rajasthan), was honoured at the 2023 edition of the prestigious India-United Kingdom (UK) Achievers Honours, a first-of-its-kind celebration of the UK’s Indian alumni, held on 25th January 2023 in London, UK, for his contribution to economic and political life.

  • British Indian peer Lord Karan Bilimoria received the Living Legend Honour.
  • Virendra Sharma MP from Ealing Southall, who chairs the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group, was also bestowed with the Living Legend Honour.

The India-UK Achievers Honours was organised by the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU UK) in partnership with the British Council in India and supported by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade and the UK Higher Education Sector.
India-UK Achievers Honour:
i. The India UK Achievers Honours honoured 75 Indian UK students and alumni who have made significant contributions to their field and society.

  • 75 Young Achievers, 8 Outstanding Achievers and  2 Living Legends and a Lifetime Achievement award were recognised.

ii. To mark 75 years of India’s independence, the 1st-ever India-UK Achievers Honours covered 75 high achievers and some key Outstanding Achievers who bolster the India-UK diaspora living bridge.
About Dr Manmohan Singh:
i. Dr Manmohan Singh was born on 26th September 1932, in Punjab.
ii. In 1971, he joined the Government of India as an Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce (MoC). He was appointed as Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance in 1972.
iii. He has occupied positions like Secretary in the Ministry of Finance (MoF); Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission; Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); Advisor of the PM; and Chairman of the University Grants Commission.
iv. He has been a Member of the Rajya Sabha since 1991. He served as PM of India for two terms from 2004 to 2014.
v. He has authored some books, which include, Untold Story of Arvind Kejriwal: Story of a Common man, India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth, Collateral and Financial Plumbing, and Changing India.

DRDO Develops Unfurlable Antenna for Space RadarElectronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s lab based in Bengaluru(Karnataka), has developed an UnFurlable Reflector Antenna (UFRA), one of the major subsystems of radar.

  • The UFRA has a significant role in both Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) and the Military.

About UFRA: 
i.LRDE has developed the UFRA system with a rim truss-based deployable mechanism, primary arm, reflector mesh, tension ties, nets, and motor.
ii.The deployment of the antenna to the required height was achieved by an unfurlable deployment mechanism
i.A cable is routed through the diagonal members of the rim truss elements where one end of the cable is fixed and the other end is pulled by a motor.
ii.The antenna made up of metallic mesh will be deployed to the desired size when the cable is pulled by a motor.
Need for UFRA: 
i.LRDE was involved in the development of space-borne imaging radar, consisting of electronic radar subsystems and antenna deployment mechanisms, for installation on satellites.
ii.The radars require an antenna to be stowed in compact volume during the launch and then deployed in the required shape after the satellite reaches the required orbit.
iii.The UFRA concept is a cost-effective option for small radar missions or constellations.
About Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE): 
Director– P Radhakrishna
Location– Bengaluru, Karnataka

  • To design & develop state-of-the-art radar systems and technologies to fulfil the requirements of the tri-services, paramilitary forces, intelligence and strategic missions.
  • To establish indigenous production capability through Industry partnership to achieve total self-reliance in the field of Radars.

To distinguish between “Electrical” and “Electronic”, the Electronic is abbreviated with the first letter of its Latin root (Lektra)

Asian Waterbird Census-2023: 52 Avian Species Observed in Ladakh 

52 avian species were observed during the Asian Waterbird Census-2023, conducted in the union territory of Ladakh between 17th and 19th January 2023. The census was organised by the Himalaya project and the Department of Wildlife Protection of Ladakh in collaboration with the Ladakh Biodiversity Council, a statutory body of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC).

  • Himalaya project, a joint project by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and MoEFCC.

About the Asian Waterbird Census-2023:
i.The Asian Waterbird Census-2023 was organised in and around Chumathang, and Puga – 2 major hot springs in eastern Ladakh, and major birding sites like Tso Kar, and Shey and Phey villages along the banks of the Indus River.
ii.The waterbird census was led by Padma Gyalpo, a known birder (person who observes or identifies wild birds in their habitats) from Shey.
Key Points:
i.Among the 52 bird species, 11 were sighted in Chumathang, 10 in Puga, 21 in Shey, and 10 in Phey along the Indus river.
ii.Among the 52 species, 35 were recorded across all the birding sites, out of which 13 were waterbirds.
iii.The observations were recorded on the eBird app, an online bird observations database that offers real-time data about bird distribution and abundance to scientists, researchers, and amateur naturalists.
Additional info: 
i.The International Waterbird Census is a monitoring programme to collect information on the number of waterbirds at wetland sites.
ii.The programme is operating in around 143 countries. India is a part of this programme under the Asian water bird census which is annually held during mid-winter.

Former Union Law Minister& Veteran lawyer Shanti Bhushan Passed AwayOn 31st January 2023, Shanti Bhushan, former Minister of Law (1977-1979) and eminent Jurist, passed away in New Delhi, Delhi, at the age of 97. He was born on 11th November 1925 in Bijnor, a district town of Western Uttar Pradesh.
About Shanti Bhushan:
i. Shanti Bhushan served as the Law Minister of India holding office at the Ministry of Law and Justice from 1977 to 1979 in the Ministry of Morarji Desai and was a member of the Rajya Sabha (1977-1980)
ii. He introduced the 44th Amendment to the Indian Constitution, officially known as the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978, which reversed many of the provisions of the 42nd Amendment (The Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976) approved by the Indira Gandhi government when he served as the Law Minister.
iii. He was an active member of the Indian National Congress (Organisation), also known as Congress (O). In 1980, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and resigned in 1986.
iv. Shanti Bhushan was one of the founding members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which was founded in 2012.
v. His son, Prashant Bhushan, is a well-known legal activist who regularly challenges the government in court. He has authored a book titled “The Case that Shook India: The Verdict That Led to the Emergency” about India’s historic case Raj Narain vs Indira Nehru Gandhi handled by Shanti Bhushan.

  • Shanti Bhushan represented Raj Narain in the historic Raj Narain vs Indira Nehru Gandhi case in the Allahabad High Court in 1975.
  • The court found Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices. This case led to the imposition of an Emergency in India from 1975 to 1977.

ICG Day 2023: Indian Coast Guard Celebrates 47th Raising Day – 1st February 2023Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Day is annually observed across India on February 1 to commemorate its Raising Day of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), operating under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India(GoI). The purpose of the Day is to recognise organisations that support maritime security.

  • 1st February 2023 marks the observance of the 47th Raising Day of the ICG.

Indian Coast Guard is the 4th largest coast guard in the world, with approximately 158 ships and 70 aircraft in its inventory.
i. On 18th August 1978, the Parliament officially established the ICG Day to be observed on February 1.
ii. The day was inaugurated by Morarji Desai, former Prime Minister (PM) of India, on 19th August 1978.
About the Indian Coast Guard:
Director-General- Virender Singh Pathania
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Motto- “Vayam Rakshamah” means “We protect”

AP CM Jagan Mohan Reddy declares Visakhapatnam as the New Capital of Andhra PradeshChief Minister (CM) of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, stated that Visakhapatnam will be declared as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh during the International Diplomatic Alliance Meet, a curtain-raiser event for the Global Investors Summit, held in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • He also announced that the government of AP will be organising the Global investor Summit in Visakhapatnam on 3rd-4th March 2023.

Note: He also described AP as one of the fastest-growing Indian states with 11.43% Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
i.Following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and the residuary Andhra Pradesh state in 2014, the then CM N Chandrababu Naidu-led government acquired over 33,000 acres of land from farmers to develop Amaravati as the capital of AP.

  • Note: During the bifurcation, it was stated that Hyderabad will serve as a joint capital for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 10 years and the Governor of Telangana will administer Hyderabad till the AP government moves to a new capital.

ii.In 2019, after YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took charge as the CM, the government decided to develop 3 capitals – Visakhapatnam as the executive capital, Amaravati as the legislative capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital.
iii.In March 2022, the AP High Court ruled against 3 capitals and directed the government to develop Amaravati as AP’s capital.
iv.The state government has filed a petition in the Supreme court challenging the High court order.

  • The case against the HC ruling is still pending in the supreme court.

About Andhra Pradesh:
Chief Minister– YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
Governor– Biswabhusan Harichandan
National Park– Sri Venkateswara National Park; Mrugavani National Park
Wildlife Sanctuary– Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary; Krishna Wildlife sanctuary

UP CM Yogi Adityanath launches Aarohini Initiative Training Programme for GirlsYogi Adityanath, Chief Minister (CM) of Uttar Pradesh (UP), launched the “Aarohini Initiative Training Programme” for the safety and security of girls in all 746 Kastuba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) in UP.

  • Under the newly launched campaign, the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan will work to ensure the safety and security of girls in all 746 KGBV.

The campaign aims to make the daughters of the underprivileged section capable and self-reliant. It also aims to enable the girls to raise their voices for their rights.
Aarohini Initiative Training Programme: 
i. The Aarohini Initiative was established in 2011. It is a girls’ empowerment and education program rooted firmly in the philosophy that girls and boys must receive an education.
ii. The initiative was initially introduced in 946 KGBVs, government-run residential girls’ schools, across UP and Rajasthan.
iii. The aim of the Aarohini programme, which will be implemented in 3 phases, is gender sensitization.
iv. In the first phase, teachers will be trained. After receiving training, two teachers at every KGBV will educate girl students. The institution will also groom the girls through debates and other activities along with the teachers. In the third phase, the campaign will be run at the community level.
About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief Minister- Yogi Adityanath
Governor- Anandiben Mafatbhai Patel
Wildlife Sanctuary- Sohagibarwa Wildlife Sanctuary; Saman Bird Sanctuary
Airport- Kushinagar International airport; Kanpur Airport

‘Me-Dam-Me-Phi’ Festival 2023: Union Minister Sonowal hosts the Festival & Pays Respect to Ancestors

On 31st January 2023, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways & Minister of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), hosted “Me-Dam-Me-Phi”, a festival of Assam’s Tai Ahom community to worship and pay respect to the ancestors in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • The Me-Dam-Me-Phi festival is annually observed across Assam on January 31.
  • The meaning of ‘Me’ means offerings, ‘Dam’ means ancestors, and ‘Phi’ means God.
  • During the festival, worship is offered in the name of three gods namely Grihadam, Dam Changphi, and Me Dam Me Phi.
  • Along with hundreds of members of the Assamese community living in Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region), the ceremony was attended by several Union Ministers, MPs, and ambassadors from Thailand and Laos.

Maharashtra recognised ‘Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha’ as State Song 

On 31st January 2023, The Cabinet of Maharashtra, headed by Chief Minister (CM) Eknath Shinde, decided to recognise ‘Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha’, penned by Raja Badhe and sung by Balladeer Krishnaro Sable, as the state song of Maharashtra. The iconic Marathi song “Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha” which means “glory to Maharashtra” is popularly known as Shaheer Sable.

  • The song will be adopted on 19th February 2023, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire.
  • The song will be sung on Maharashtra Foundation Day on May 1 after the national anthem and it will also be sung or played in schools after the national anthem.

Nagaland Govt and Patanjali Foods Ltd. sign MoU on Palm Oil Cultivation

On 31st January 2023, Nagaland Government and Patanjali Foods Limited (formerly known as Ruchi Soya Industries Limited) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for development and area expansion under oil palm cultivation and processing for Zone-II (Mokokchung, Longleng and Mon districts) in Nagaland under the National Mission on Edible Oil- Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

  • The MoU was signed by M Ben Yanthan, Director of Agriculture of Nagaland, and Subhas Bhattacharjee, Patanjali Foods Ltd Head-NE Region, Oil Palm, at the Directorate of Agriculture, Kohima, Nagaland.
  • This MoU is for the development and area expansion of palm oil cultivation and processing for Zone II of Nagaland.
  • Patanjali Foods Ltd is already working in the states of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura in the North East.

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