MoD signed Contract with L&T to Procure 41 Modular Bridges Worth Rs 2585 crore for Indian ArmyOn 8th February 2023, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Larsen & Toubro(L&T) to procure 41 indigenous Modular Bridges for the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army, a combat support arm which provides combat engineering support, develops infrastructure for armed forces.
- The bridges will be procured at an estimated cost of over Rs 2,585 crore.
- The Modular Bridges were designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and will be produced by L&T as a DRDO-nominated production agency.
- This will boost the indigenisation of defence equipments, in line with the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ mission.
Note: This project exhibits India’s growth in designing and developing world-class military equipment.
About Modular Bridges:
i.The set of Modular Bridge will consist of 7 carrier vehicles based on 8×8 Heavy Mobility Vehicles and 2 launcher vehicles based on 10×10 Heavy Mobility Vehicles.
ii.Each set will be capable of mechanically launching a single-span fully decked 46-meter assault bridge.
iii.The Modular Bridges can be employed over obstacles like canals & ditches with quick launching and retrieval capabilities.
iv.This highly mobile, versatile, rugged equipment is also capable of keeping pace with wheeled and tracked mechanized vehicles.
i.The advantages of the Modular Bridges over the MGB include the increased span, less time for construction and mechanical launching with retrieval capability.
ii.These modular bridges will enhance the bridging capabilities of the Indian Army on the Western Front.
Highlights of RBI’s Bi-monthly Monetary Policy of FY23; Repo Rate raised to 6.50%i.The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on February 6-8, 2022 , and released the Monetary Policy Statement, 2022-23 Resolution of the MPC which projected India’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 6.4% for FY24 (lower than 7% in FY23) with FY24’s Q1 at 7.8%, Q2 at 6.2%, Q3 at 6%, and Q4 at 5.8%.
ii.The stance is to focus on withdrawal of accommodation.
iii.Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation or retail inflation is projected at 5.3% for FY24, with FY24’s Q1 at 5%, Q2 at 5.4%, Q3 at 5.4%, and Q4 at 5.6%.
iv.RBI proposed to permit all inbound travellers to India to use Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for their merchant payments (P2M) while they are in India.
v.RBI will launch a pilot project on QR Code based Coin Vending Machine (QCVM) in 12 cities.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
i.The Reserve Bank of India was established on April 1, 1935, in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
ii.The Central Office of the Reserve Bank was initially established in Calcutta but was permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937.
iii.Though originally privately owned, since nationalization in 1949, the Reserve Bank is fully owned by the Government of India.
MobiKwik became 1st Fintech App to Offer UPI Payments through RuPay Credit CardsMobiKwik, payment app of One MobiKwik Systems Limited, has become the first fintech app in India to support RuPay Credit Cards on Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed Mobikwik to offer its customers the facility to make UPI payments through the RuPay credit cards.
- Objective: To make financial services accessible to all Indians and lead the way to financial inclusion.
i.As the RuPay Credit Cards are now linked directly to UPI IDs, it will enable MobiKwik’s customers to make payments to merchants by scanning the UPI QR code by using UPI PIN for payment authentication.
ii.The feature will enable the acceptance of credit cards using asset-lite QR codes without the need for point-of-sale (PoS) terminals.
iii.The transaction limit for this feature will follow the existing UPI standard transaction limits.
iv.What is the limit of fund transfer using UPI?
- For normal UPI the transaction limit is up to Rs 1 Lakh per transaction.
- For few specific categories of transaction in UPI like Capital Markets, Collections, Insurance, Foreign Inward Remittances the transaction limit is up to 2 lakh and
- For Initial Public Offering and Retail Direct Scheme the limit is up to Rs 5 lakh per transaction.
Recent Initiatives under UPI:
i.Recently NPCI allowed UPI platforms to onboard non-resident account holders accounts like Non-Residential External (NRE) and Non- Resident Ordinary (NRO) from 10 countries with international mobile numbers with certain conditions.
ii.Recently, RBI has proposed to permit all inbound travellers to India to use UPI for their merchant payments (P2M) while they are in the country.
About One Mobikwik Systems Limited
Establishment – 2009
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
Co-Founder, MD & CEO – Bipin Preet Singh
Ujjivan SFB Launches App to Ease Banking Access for ‘Digitally Challenged’Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (SFB) has launched “Hello Ujjivan,” a mobile banking application featuring three Vs—voice, visual, and vernacular-enabled features—to provide banking access to people with limited reading and writing skills.
- The app “Hello Ujjivan” was developed in collaboration with Navana.AI.
Significance of ‘Hello Ujjivan’ App
i.The ‘Hello Ujjivan’ app is designed to instill banking habits in its micro-banking and rural customers who are digitally challenged.
ii.The app is accessible by voice in 8 regional languages: Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Oriya, and Assamese.
- The app engine can also adapt to various dialects.
iii.Users can use voice commands to conduct banking transactions and have access to services such as loan Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI) payments, opening Fixed Deposit (FD) and Recurring Deposit (RD) accounts, transferring funds, and more.
iv.The app can interpret unstructured banking demands of customers and deliver the right outcome due to its intuitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities.
v.At each step, the app displays a visual representation as well as a recorded voice guide in the user’s preferred language.
i.In the initial phase, the app will only be accessible to current users of the micro-banking service.
ii.In the following phase, Ujjivan SFB will introduce other languages and banking features, such as creating new customer accounts, paying utility bills, obtaining repeat loans, and recharging mobile and DTH devices.
iii.Currently, Ujjivan SFB serves over 72 million consumers through its 600 branches across India.
iv.Ujjivan SFB’s gross loan book is valued at Rs. 21,895 crore, and the deposit base is valued at Rs. 23,203 crore as of December 31, 2022.
About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB)
MD & CEO – Ittira Davis
Established – 2017
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Tagline – Build a Better life
Bajaj Finance Launches ‘Insurance Mall’ portal
Bajaj Finance Ltd. (Bajaj Finance) has launched a new portal named “Insurance Mall” for its customers to ensure an easy-buy experience in an effort to provide quality services and to simplify all the inconveniences consumers may face during their policy purchase.
- The “Insurance Mall” portal offers a wide range of insurance plans and policies in addition to Bajaj Finance’s exclusive Pocket Insurance and Subscription categories.
i.Insurance Mall has over 250+ policies and plans designed to meet the needs of every customer, and these products are constantly updated to guarantee that they remain relevant.
ii.The policies offered in the single platform for all policies include: Health insurance, two-wheeler and four-wheeler insurance, appliance extended warranties, pocket insurance and subscriptions, and investment plans.
iii.The benefits obtained by customers while purchasing insurance plans from the Bajaj Finance Insurance Mall include: a 100% digital process; an extensive product list; budget-friendly premiums; and exclusively designed plans.
iv.In order to provide products that are best suited to the shifting demands of the industry, Bajaj Finance has also partnered with some of India’s leading insurers.
About Bajaj Finance Ltd (Bajaj Finance):
Bajaj Finance Ltd., a subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv Ltd., is a deposit-taking Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC-D) registered with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is categorized as an NBFC-Investment and Credit Company (NBFC-ICC).
- It was founded in 1987 as Bajaj Auto Finance Limited and incorporated in 2012 as Bajaj Finance Limited.
Managing Director (MD) – Rajeev Jain
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
EIB Agrees to Join IH2A & Pledges to Provide 1 Billion Euros in Funding for Large-Scale Green Hydrogen Projects in India
Kris Peeters, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), has formally agreed to join the “India Hydrogen Alliance (IH2A)” and enhance support for large-scale green hydrogen hubs and projects across India with initial investment of Euro (€) 1 billion, subject to Indian government and EIB approvals.
- The EIB, a lending arm of the European Union (EU) bank, is the world’s largest international public bank and a leading financier of renewable energy and climate action.
The new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IH2A would allow the EIB to promote clean energy investment and green hydrogen development in India even more.
- The IH2A is a worldwide and Indian industry alliance dedicated to developing a hydrogen value chain and economy in India.
i.The EIB is currently exploring a credit facility with the Indian government to boost the growth of the green hydrogen industry by investing in important public sectors.
- This facility would aid India’s attempts to commercialise new green hydrogen technologies and expedite cost reductions by investing consistently in innovation, R&D, green hydrogen hubs, and pilot projects.
ii.The enhanced cooperation of IH2A will help India achieve its targets for a net-zero carbon footprint and an energy transition by implementing a national green hydrogen roadmap.
- The IH2A is focusing on attracting global climate finance for development of large-scale hydrogen hub development in India, while working with the Government of India, state governments, global hydrogen players and Indian companies.
iii.This climate action project is part of the EU’s ‘Global Gateway Initiative’, which promotes projects that increase global and regional connectivity in the digital, climate, transport, health, energy, and education sectors.
Note: The First EU-India Green Hydrogen Forum was conducted in Delhi in September 2022 during the visit of Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, fostering further clean energy cooperation between the EU and India.
About European Investment Bank (EIB):
President – Werner Hoyer
Founded – 1958
Headquarters – Luxembourg
Samsung Semiconductor India Research & IISc partners for R&D in electrostatic discharge protectionOn 8th February 2023, Samsung Semiconductor India Research (SSIR), a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, announced a new partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka, to promote research and development(R&D) in the field of on-chip Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) protection.
- This partnership strengthens IISc’s commitment to enhance industry-academia engagements that can make a significant impact in the future.
Balajee Sowrirajan, Corporate Vice President (CVP) & Managing Director (MD) at SSIR, Bengaluru, Karnataka, and Professor Govindan Rangarajan, Director of IISc exchanged the research agreement in the presence of delegates from SSIR and IISc.
Features of the partnership:
i. Under this partnership, IISc will collaborate with SSIR in the crucial area of advanced nanoelectronics device research.
ii. The partnership aims to develop cutting-edge ESD device solutions to protect ultra-high-speed serial interfaces in advanced Integrated Circuits (ICs) and system-on-chip (SoC) products.
iii. Prof. Mayank Shrivastava’s group at IISc’s Department of Electronic Systems Engineering (DESE) will conduct related research on ESD protection.
iv. The solutions arising from this research will be deployed in Samsung’s advanced process nodes.
i. ICs and SoCs are essential for any system, from small to big, but they are very sensitive to ESD failures, especially those developed using advanced nanoscale CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technologies.
- ESD failures are responsible for the vast majority of IC chip failures and field returns.
ii. ESD is a rare area of expertise and industries that master the art of designing ESD protection devices and interface concepts lead the market.
- As a result, research and development (R&D) in ESD technology for highly reliable interfaces and SoCs that operate at low power and high speed is essential to the semiconductor innovation effort.
Note: IISc is one of the world’s leading institutes for ESD device research.
About the Samsung Semiconductor India Research:
CVP & MD- Balajee Sowrirajan
Headquarters- Bengaluru, Karnataka
About the Indian Institute of Science (IISc):
Director – Govindan Rangarajan
Headquarters- Bengaluru, Karnataka
NOVATEK & Deepak Fertilisers Signs MoU on LNG Supply & Low-Carbon AmmoniaOn 6th February 2023, PAO NOVATEK(NOVATEK), Russia’s 2nd-largest natural gas producer, and Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. (Deepak Fertilisers) signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the supply of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and low-carbon ammonia.
- The MoU envisages spot and long-term LNG deliveries to Deepak Fertilisers, including from the Arctic LNG 2 project.
i. The parties also intend to collaborate in the long-term supply of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia produced with the use of carbon capture and underground storage, cracking, and renewable energy sources at NOVATEK’s future gas chemical site in Yamal, Russia.
- The gas chemical complex’s pre-FEED (Front End Engineering Design) study was completed in 2022.
ii. Russia’s mutually beneficial energy cooperation is actively developing, and the signed MoU will contribute to its further strengthening.
iii. The high-quality, low-cost resource base, as well as advanced process and logistical solutions, will enable NOVATEK to supply competitive LNG with a low carbon footprint to India’s energy market, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing.
iv. Cooperation in the area of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia, which we intend to produce along with LNG within an integrated cluster, will facilitate the region’s economic development and address the relevant environmental and climate issues.
NOVATEK, the 7th-largest publicly traded company globally by natural gas production volume, was established as AOOT FIK Novafininvest, which was later changed to PAO NOVATEK).
Chairman- Leonid Mikhelson
About the Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd:
Chairman & Managing Director- Sailesh Chimanlal Mehta
Headquarters- Mundhwa, Pune
Edelweiss General Insurance rebranded as Zuno General Insurance
Edelweiss General Insurance has rebranded itself as Zuno General Insurance Limited (Zuno GI), a new-age digital insurer with the ambition to reimagine and redefine insurance to make it easy, friendly, and transparent.
- The new name embodies the company’s passion, enthusiasm, and singular focus on providing customers with the most convenient and hassle-free experience possible, powered by responsive and intuitive technology.
- This new identity represents its young, innovative, approachable, digital native, and upbeat personality, which resonates with the Millennial and GenZ audiences.
Zuno GI has also launched a consumer study titled ‘Usage Based Insurance: Decoding Awareness, Perception and Behaviour’.
- The study was done to assess Millennials’ and GenZ’s (Generation Z) awareness, understanding, and consideration of usage-based insurance (UBI).
TCS bags GBP 600-million deal with UK’s Phoenix Group
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced an expansion of its partnership with Phoenix Group, the United Kingdom’s (UK) largest long-term savings and retirement provider, through a contract valued at over 600 million British pound sterling (GBP).
- TCS will use the Bell Administrative Network Communications System (BaNCS)-based platform to digitally transform Phoenix’s ReAssure business, including its administration services, as part of the agreement.
- TCS’s regulated subsidiary in the UK on behalf of Phoenix, Diligenta, will manage customer administration and servicing for ReAssure’s 3 million policies under the terms of the agreement.
- TCS Solution will help Phoenix in transforming end-to-end customer service through self-service across channels and analytics.
Grammy 2023: Bengaluru-based Ricky Kej wins 3rd Grammy at 65th Annual Grammy AwardsRicky Kej, an Indian music composer and environmentalist based in Bengaluru, Karnataka, has his 3rd Grammy at the 65th annual Grammy Awards(Grammy 2023) under the Best Immersive Audio Album category for the album Divine Tides.
- He shared the award with rock legend Stewart Copeland, the drummer of the iconic British rock band The Police.
The 65th annual Grammy Awards(Grammy 2023) was held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, the United States of America(USA).
Grammy 2023 recognises the recordings released between 1st September 2021 and 30th September 2022.
- The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy or National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, since 1957 honour musical artists, compositions and albums.
ABK Prasad chosen for PCI’s Raja Ram Mohan Roy National Award for excellence in Journalism-2020
Veteran journalist Dr Anne Bhavani Koteswara Prasad, popularly known as ABK, has been chosen for the ‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy National Award for excellence in Journalism-2020’ for his outstanding contribution to the field of journalism.
- The award was conferred by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, chairperson of the Press Council of India (PCI).
- The award will be presented on February 28 2023 at Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.
Career of ABK:
i.He served as the chairman of the Official Language Commission from 2004 to 2009 in United Andhra Pradesh.
ii.In his career of over 75 years, he has been the editor of nearly all mainstream journals in United Andhra Pradesh.
About Raja Ram Mohan Roy National Awards for Excellence in Journalism:
i.The PCI has instituted National Awards to honour journalists excelling in print journalism in various fields from 2012 onwards.
ii.To encourage the media to pursue its duties, the main Award ‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy National Award for Excellence in Journalism’ was instituted in honour of one of the greatest reformer journalists of the country.
iii.The award carries a cash award of Rs 1Lakh, a plaque, and a citation.
About Raja Ram Mohan Roy:
i.The religious and social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy is the founder of the Brahmo Samaj (a monotheistic sect of Hinduism).
ii.He was known as the ‘Father of Modern India’ or ‘Father of the Bengal Renaissance’.
iii.He was the one who introduced the word “Hinduism” (or “Hindooism”) for the first time into the English language in 1816.
ATD Best Awards 2023: NTPC bags ATD Best Awards for 6th time NTPC Limited, a Maharatna Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, has been honoured with the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Best Awards 2023 for demonstrating enterprise success in the field of Talent Development by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), United States of America (USA).
- NTPC has won the ATD Best Awards for the sixth time.
i. NTPC’s culture has always been built on engaging employees through creative methods. The award attests to NTPC’s contemporary Human resources (HR) practices.
- NTPC has been successful in developing an ecosystem that allows employees to grow their skill sets.
ii. NTPC won the ATD Best Award by the ATD, USA in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022.
iii. ATD has named 72 organisations as Best Awards 2023 winners, including 7 best of the best, organisations that have won the BEST Awards ten times or more.
About the ATD Best Awards:
i. The ATD Best Awards was established in 2003. The BEST Awards Winners’ Circle includes small and large private, public, and non-profit organisations across the globe.
- The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD, is the world’s largest association in the field of Talent Development and ATD’s Best award is the most coveted recognition in L&D.
ii. This award honours organisations that demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit through talent development.
About the NTPC Limited:
NTPC Limited, formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, is a public sector undertaking (PSU) under the ownership of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD)– Gurdeep Singh
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Italy’s Olympic skier Elena Fanchini Passed Away
On 8th February 2023, Italian Alpine Ski Racer Elena Fanchini, who represented Italy at 3 Winter Olympics(2006, 2010, and 2014), and 6 World Championships, passed away in Solato, Brescia, Italy, at the age of 37 due to cancer. She was born on 30th April 1985 in Lovere, Italy.
- Elena Fanchini made 4 World Cup podiums, all in downhill, including 2 victories in Lake Louise, Canada in 2005 and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in 2015.
- She won a silver medal in the downhill at FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2005, which were held in Bormio, Italy. She raced last in 2017.
- She announced her retirement from alpine skiing on 22nd April 2020.
South Indian Bank Partners with Telangana Government to Facilitate Online Payments South Indian Bank Ltd. (SIB) has been authorized by the Telangana government to collect government receipts on their behalf, for which SIB has signed an agreement with the Telangana government’s Directorate of Treasury and Accounts (DTA), Hyderabad, Telangana.
- SIB is one of the six private sector banks that Telangana State has designated for the purpose of facilitating payments to the Cyber Treasury.
i.Under this partnership, residents of Telangana can make payments to the state’s online treasury portal, “Cyber Treasury,” using SIB’s Internet banking platform, “SIBerNet.”
ii.Residents can use this facility to pay online the fees/charges/taxes, Meeseva, Meeseva RTA, the inspector of factories, boilers, the fire department, TGBCL, the Drug Control Administration, roads and buildings, agriculture, the excise department, Ayush, panchayat raj engineering, and police intelligence.
iii.SIBerNet has a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing consumer services over the internet with improved convenience and security.
About South Indian Bank (SIB):
MD & CEO – Murali Ramakrishnan
Headquarters – Thrissur, Kerala
Tagline – Experience Next Generation Banking
India Health Link signs MoU with UP Govt to set up Health ATMsIndia Health Link (IHL) Private Limited, a digital health and medical device start-up, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) under UP’s InvestUP Programme to set up “hPod”, a Health ATMs providing screening of various health parameters at more than 4,600 community and primary health care centres in UP.
- “hPod” will provide a non-invasive digitally-integrated ecosystem that enables Primary, Preventive, and Predictive Healthcare.
IHL, backed by the American company, Iyka Ent, has committed through signing an MoU of up to Rs 1,000 crore and opening significant job opportunities in UP over the next 5 years by establishing a manufacturing plant in UP’s 1st Medical Device Park.
What is Health ATM?
Health ATM is a touch-screen kiosk hardware, designed for managing health-related information which allows individuals to access their personal health information through any Internet-connected web browser.
i. ‘hPod’ is a self-service, walk-in Health ATM where individuals can get their screening for 20+ health vital parameters including blood pressure, weight, pulse, temperature, and ECG (electrocardiogram) done in 10 minutes and receive an instant report without any paramedic assistance.
ii. IHL has introduced a first-of-its-kind connected ‘user-centric’ and award-winning Health Pod non-invasive digitally integrated self-service, walk-in health kiosk.
About the India Health Link (IHL)Private Limited:
Director- Krishan Goel
Headquarters- Karnal, Haryana
About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief Minister (CM)- Yogi Adityanath
Governor- Anandiben Mafatbhai Patel
Bird Sanctuary- Samaspur Bird Sanctuary, Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary
Airport- Kushinagar International airport, Kanpur Airport
J&K Govt Launches Project to Promote Sustainable Agriculture with Focus On Organic Farming
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has initiated a programme “alternate agriculture system for sustainability project” to boost organic food production and increase economic returns for farmers in the Union Territory (UT). The J&K government has allocated Rs 84 crore to support the programmes over the next 5 years. The project is estimated to create around 12600 jobs and 300 enterprises in the organic agri sector.
- This is a part of the efforts to promote sustainable agriculture, commercial agriculture, and the production of healthy food.
- The project aims to create six to seven organic clusters per district, covering 2,000 hectares of land and converting another 2,000 hectares into organic production, including niche crops and default organic areas.
- The programme will also train 10,000 farmer families in organic farming and establish 200 commercial and 3,000 low-cost vermicomposting units and 100 integrated organic farming systems.