MoRD Minister Giriraj Singh launches Mission Antyodaya Survey 2022-23i.On February 9, 2023, the Union Minister Giriraj Singh, Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) inaugurated Mission Antyodaya Survey (MAS) 2022-23 including launching of its portal and mobile application at a function in New Delhi, Delhi.
ii.Based upon the Central Government’s ‘Whole of Government Approach’, it is an annual survey at the Gram Panchayat (GP) level to monitor the progress in the development process in rural areas. It is being conducted by the Department of Rural Development across all GPs in India since 2017-18.
iii.MAS 2022-23 will be conducted in all 2,69,253-gram panchayats and equivalent, whose profile has been created on e-Gram Swaraj.
Ashwini Vaishnaw launches ‘Digital Payments Utsav’ to Promote Digital TransformationThe “Digital Payments Utsav”, a comprehensive campaign aiming at promoting digital payments across India, has been launched by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
i.This campaign, which is a part of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) event, aims to highlight India’s path towards digital transformation.
- It will take place from February 9, 2023 to October 9, 2023 through a number of initiatives and events.
Various initiatives with respect to digital payment in India
i.The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is mandated to take the lead in the development of the digital credit system, which will be fully implemented in 2023.
ii.UPI 123 Pay is now accessible in more than 20 regional languages through a collaboration between UPI and the National Language Translation Mission (Mission Bhashini).
About Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY):
Union Minister – Ashwini Vaishnaw (Rajya -Sabha Odisha)
Minister of State (MoS) – Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)
GoI Approves the Commercial Release of Nano-DAPThe Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) has approved the commercial release of nano-diammonium phosphate (nano-DAP), which is intended to minimise fertiliser subsidy and import dependence.
- The nano-DAP will be manufactured by India Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and Coromandel International.
i.Following the completion of biosafety and toxicity studies, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) approved the provisional release of nano-DAP for one year.
ii.The cooperative IFFCO introduced liquid nano urea as a substitute for conventional urea in June 2021.
- IFFCO and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers began commercial production of nano urea on August 1, 2021.
iii.Retail prices of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers, including DAP, were “decontrolled” in 2020 with the implementation of a “fixed subsidy” regime as part of the government’s twice-yearly nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) mechanism.
Note: As an alternative to conventional urea, liquid soil nutrients provide nitrogen to plants.
Current state of DAP requirements in India
i.India imports roughly 25% of its annual urea consumption, while more than half of the nation’s DAP supplies come from West Asia and Jordan.
- Imports contribute for nearly one-third of total domestic soil nutrient usage, which is estimated to be around 60 million tonnes per year.
ii.According to revised estimates, the fertiliser subsidy for the current fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23) is projected to be Rs 2.25 trillion, up 39% from Rs 1.62 trillion in 2021–22 (FY22).
- It is primarily related to a rise in the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a crucial component in the manufacturing of urea, and fertilisers on a global scale.
iii.According to rating agency ICRA Limited (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited), the fertiliser subsidy is anticipated to be close to Rs 2 trillion in 2023–24.
i.Currently, one bag of conventional DAP costs Rs. 1,350, while a bag costs Rs. 4,000.
- IFFCO plans to offer 500-ml bottles of nano-DAP for roughly Rs. 600-650, which will be equivalent to a bag of conventional soil nutrient.
- The difference between actual costs and farmer prices is covered by the Government of India (GoI) under the fertiliser subsidy umbrella.
ii.The GoI’s fertiliser subsidy could be significantly reduced over the next few years if nano-urea and nano-DAP are widely used.
- Nano Urea has an efficiency of more than 80%, whereas conventional urea has an efficiency of around 40%.
- The use of nano urea increases yield by 3–16%.
GAIL became India’s 1st Oil, Gas PSU to Sign Advance Pricing Agreement with CBDTGAIL (India) Limited entered into an Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for determining the transfer pricing margin payable on its long-term LNG ( Liquefied natural gas ) sourcing contract from the United States (US) for 5 years.
- GAIL became India’s first oil & gas Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) sector to successfully sign the APA.
About APA Programme:
i.The APA scheme was launched in 2022 to enhance the government’s goal of promoting a non-adversarial tax system and improving the ease of doing business in India.
ii. APA programmes are operational in a number of countries like Canada, the USA, Japan the and UK for almost 30 years.
iii.They will provide certainty to taxpayers in respect of the transfer price of the cross-border transactions undertaken by such taxpayers with their group entities.
iv.Advantage of APA:
- In the case of Cross border transactions, Multi National Enterprises are facing numerous tax disputes on the issue of transfer pricing.
- The APA will resolve transfer pricing issues in advance i.e., before the cross-border related party transaction actually takes place by transferring the price of goods and services between group entities is decided in advance by the tax authorities and the taxpayers.
Cause for India’s Entry into APA:
i.To replace the supply from a former trading arm of Gazprom, which has not delivered on scheduled shipments since May, 2022.
- Backdrop: In 2012, Gazprom’s former subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing and Trading Singapore (GMTS) entered into a 20-year contract to supply GAIL with 2.85 million tonnes of LNG a year.
- The supplies under the deal had started in 2018 and the full volume was expected to be reached in 2023.
- But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany seized control of Gazprom Germania in April, housing it under Gazprom Germania GMBH.
ii.Thus now GAIL is depending on the US to secure a stable supply of LNG cargoes. Already it has 2 contracts to buy a combined 5.8 million tons per year of LNG from the US.
About GAIL(India) Limited
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment – August 1984
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) -Sandeep Kumar Gupta
GSI discovered Lithium Reserves for the 1st Time in India at Salal-Haimana, J&KGeological Survey of India (GSI), an attached office to the Ministry of Mines, has discovered lithium inferred resources(G3) for the first time in India. A 5.9 million tonnes of lithium inferred resources have been established at Salal-Haimana in the Reasi district of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K).
- This was announced on 9th February 2023 by Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting in New Delhi, Delhi.
- He handed over 16 resource-bearing geological reports (G2 & G3 stage) and 35 Geological memorandums to respective state governments during the 62nd CGPB meeting.
Note: Mines at the preliminary stage of exploration are also known as G3.
i. Lithium, a non-ferrous metal. is a vital part of rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles, laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.
ii. It is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for devices like clocks, toys, and heart pacemakers.
i. The Ministry of Mines reports that 51 mineral blocks, including Lithium and Gold, have been given to the respective state governments.
- These 51 mineral blocks, which are located in the 11 states of J&K, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, contain five blocks of gold and other blocks of commodities like potash, molybdenum, base metals, etc.
ii. The blocks were created based on the work completed by GSI from the 2018–19 field seasons until the present.
iii. The Ministry of Coal also received 17 reports with a combined total of 7897 million tonnes of coal and lignite.
iv. India is currently dependent on imports of several other minerals, including lithium, nickel, and cobalt.
Note: GSI in realizing the commitment made by GoI for the auction of 500 blocks by submitting 287 geological memorandum and 195 G2&G3 reports to the state government since 2015.
The 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting:
i. Seven Publications on different themes and intervention areas in which GSI operates were also released during the 62nd CGPB Meeting.
ii. The proposed Annual Programme for the upcoming Field Season 2023–2024 was presented and discussed.
- The following year, 2023–2024, will see GSI undertaking 966 initiatives, including 318 projects for mineral exploration, including 12 for marine mineral research.
About the Ministry of Mines:
Union Minister- Pralhad Joshi (Constituency- Dharwad, Karnataka)
Minister of State- Raosaheb Patil Danve (Constituency-Jalna, Maharashtra)
About the Geological Survey of India (GSI):
Director General- S Raju
Headquarters- Kolkata, West Bengal
GQII 2021: India’s Accreditation System under QCI Ranked 5th; Overall QI system Rank at 10The National accreditation system of India under the Quality Council of India (QCI) was ranked 5th globally in the Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII)2021. India’s overall QI (Quality infrastructure) system ranking continues to be in the Top 10 unchanged from GQII 2020 at the 10th position, with a GQII score of 0.932.
What is GQII 2021?
- The GQII Index is a pioneer in measuring the development status and dynamics of QI worldwide.
- The GQII ranks 184 countries according to the relative development of their QI. A formula calculates a score for each country based on its position in the sub-rankings for metrology, standards and accreditation (the 3 QI pillars).
- A country that ranks first in all areas would score 1. In the GQII 2021, the top-ranked country (Germany) scored 0.9958, while the lowest-ranked country (Timor-Leste) scored 0.1190.
India’s Sub Rank in GQII 2021: Sub rank at Other QI areas: In the case of the standardization system (under BIS) India got the 9th rank and in terms of metrology system (under NPL-CSIR) India was at 21st position in the world.
*NPL-CSIR – National Physical Laboratory under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research; BIS – Bureau of Indian Standards
Bank of India Multi Cap Fund launched by BOI Investment Managers Private LimitedBank of India (BoI) Investment Managers Private Limited (Investment Manager for Bank of India Mutual Fund) launched ‘Bank of India Multi Cap Fund’ for investors to diversify their portfolio across large, mid and small cap market cap categories.
- The New Fund Offer (NFO) for the scheme opens for subscription on February 10 till February 24, 2023.
- The scheme will be managed by Nitin Gosar.
To generate long-term capital appreciation by investing in equity and equity-related securities across various market capitalisations.
i.The multi cap allocation strategy includes a spread of minimum 25% of its total assets each in large, mid, and small cap companies
ii.The minimum initial investment in the scheme is Rs 5,000 and Re 1 thereafter.
iii.The scheme will be benchmarked against S&P BSE 500 TRI (first tier).
About Bank of India Investment Managers Private Limited:
CEO– Mohit Bhatia
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
ADB Approves USD 130 Million Loan for Horticultural Sector in HPThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has authorized a USD 130 million (over Rs. 1,072 crore) loan to Himachal Pradesh (HP) to boost agricultural production and promote horticulture agribusinesses in order to increase farmers’ income.
- The “Himachal Pradesh Subtropical Horticulture, Irrigation, and Value Addition Project” will help at least 15,000 agricultural households in Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, Sirmour, Solan, and Una in HP enhance their income and resilience to the effects of climate change.
Significance of the project
- The project will restore and construct new irrigation facilities and hence improve on-farm irrigation and water management on around 6,000 hectares (ha) of farmland.
- Additionally, it will create new water sources, enhance the capacity of Water Resources Department (Jal Shakti Vibhag), and support water user associations.
i.Farmers will be organised into district-wide and cluster-wide Community Horticulture Production and Marketing Associations (CHPMAs).
ii.The use of intercropping, beekeeping, and other modern agronomic techniques will be introduced to farmers.
iii.To ensure profitability and market access for subtropical horticulture, a Farmer Producer Company (FPC) will be established at the state level to oversee agribusiness development.
iv.The FPC will be in charge of creating business plans, promoting agribusiness, and designing value-added facilities such sorting and packaging facilities and storage and collection facilities.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
Established – 1966
Members – 68 members (49 from the region)
Headquarters – Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
Karnataka’s DCTE & Samsung’s SSIR signs MoU to set up AI Industrial IoT lab in Govt Polytechnics
On 9th February 2023, the Department of Collegiate and Technical Education (DCTE), the Government of Karnataka, and Samsung Semiconductor India Research (SSIR), a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up artificial intelligence (AI) “Industrial Internet of Things(IoT) Labs” (IoT Innovation Labs) in 35 Government Polytechnics across Karnataka.
- P. Pradeep, Commissioner, DCTE and Balajee Sowrirajan, Vice-President & Managing Director (MD) of SSIR signed the MoU in the presence of Dr C.N. Ashwath Narayan, Minister for Information Technology and Bio-Technology, Government of Karnataka
The project costs Rs 1.52 crore and also includes setting up AI labs in at least two institutions.
- These labs contain equipment and innovations that can be used for a variety of Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects, including unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), automobiles, bio-medical applications, agritech, biotech, and other prospective STEM applications.
Pfizer Limited appoints Meenakshi Nevatia as additional director & MD
Pfizer Limited (Pfizer India), Pfizer Inc’s commercial business in India, has appointed Meenakshi Nevatia as Additional Director and Managing Director (MD) of Pfizer Ltd for a period of 5 years with effect from 3rd April 2023. Meenakshi Nevatia will succeed S Sridhar who will be stepping down as Managing Director and Member of the Board on 31st March 2023.
- Meenakshi Nevatia is an experienced business leader with more than 30 years of consulting and leadership experience with top companies including McKinsey & Company, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Stryker Corporation.
- She has held many general management positions across multiple markets such as Thailand, Spain (Iberia), and India. She has worked in more than 8 countries (developed and emerging).
- The appointment of Meenakshi will be subject to the approval of shareholders through the Postal Ballot and the central government.
CCI Approvals for Merger and Acquisition of Various Entities – 9th February 2023On 9th February 2023, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the following acquisition and mergers,
- Acquisition of 100% equity and preference shares of Lanco Anpara Power Limited by Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited Group.
- Internal restructuring involving certain subsidiaries of Keimed Private Limited.
- Acquisition of 20% equity share capital of Keimed by Shobana Kamineni through Prime Time Logistics Technologies Private Limited.
- Acquisition of the textile effects business of Huntsman International by Archroma Operations S.à.r.l.
- Subscription of Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares of Hero Future Energies Global Limited by Ardor Holdings II Pte. Ltd.
- Acquisition of up to 25% shareholding in Hindustan Ports Private Limited (HPPL), by the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund(NIIF) and the proposed merger of Hindustan Infralog Private Limited (HIPL) into HPPL.
About the Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Acting Chairperson– Sangeeta Verma
Establishment – 2003
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Alibaba leaves India and sells its entire stake of 3.16% equity in PaytmOn 10 February 2023, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (Alibaba), a Chinese multinational technology company owned by Jack Ma, sold its entire stake of 3.16% equity (2.1 crore shares) for around Rs 13,600 crore in a block transaction of One97 Communications Ltd. (OCL), the parent company of Paytm.
- Alibaba, which held 6.26% of Paytm as of September 2022, sold a 3.1% share in the company for USD 125 million in a block sale in January 2023.
i. Alibaba has been offloading stakes in listed new-age technology companies in India amid a sharp erosion in the value of its investments.
ii. This deal almost completes Alibaba’s exit from India. Earlier, Alibaba had sold its stakes in Zomato and BigBasket.
- In December 2022, Alibaba has reportedly diluted its stake in Zomato to 10% from 13%.
- In 2021, Tata Group bought a majority stake in BigBasket, resulting in the exit of Alibaba from the online grocer.
i. Paytm’s share price has increased over the past few days after it revealed operating profitability in its Q3FY23 earnings with EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) before ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) cost at Rs 31 crore.
ii. Paytm’s operational revenue increased to Rs 2,062 crore, a rise of 42% on an annual basis.
- It was followed by the comprehensive operating update for January 2023 that Paytm filed with the stock market in February 2023.
- The company’s key payments and lending business have continued to witness sustained growth momentum.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Headquarters- Noida, Uttar Pradesh
About Alibaba Group Holding Limited:
CEO- Daniel Zhang
Headquarters- Hangzhou, China
ISRO launches SSLV-D2 with 3 satellites from Sriharikota, APi.On February 10, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the 2nd edition of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh (AP).
ii.It carried the following 3 satellites weighing 175.2 kg to put them into a 450 km circular orbit:
- ISRO’s Earth Observation Satellite-07/EOS-7
iii.This launch demonstrated the designed payload capability of SSLV in LEO (Low Earth Orbit), and also marked ISRO’s first launch of 2023.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman – S. Somanath
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Oscar & Grammy-Winning American Composer Burt Bacharach Passed AwayOn 8th February 2023, American Composer, Burt Bacharach, who won 3 Oscars in 1982 and 1970 (twice) and eight Grammys, passed away in Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA) at the age of 94. He was born on 12th May 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
About Burt Bacharach:
i. Burt Bacharach, who began his career in music in the late 1950s, is a singer, composer, and songwriter.
ii. He was known for composing pop songs, but he also wrote melodies for country music artists along with rhythm and blues, soul and more.
- More than 1,000 different singers have covered his songs, and Dionne Warwick was the subject of several of Burt Bacharach’s hits.
iii. He also composed the soundtracks for several films, including “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Alfie,” and the 1967 James Bond parody “Casino Royale.”
iv. Burt Bacharach made a cameo appearance in the 1999 hit movie “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” playing the piano and singing “What the World Needs Now” with Mike Myers and Vanessa Williams.
Burt Bacharach wrote songs for many musicians, including Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones.
Since the 1950s, he had top 10 hits including “I Say a Little Prayer,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and “Walk on By,” which Dionne Warwick recorded. “Mexican Divorce” (1962), “Don’t Make Me Over” (1962), and “The Look of Love” (1967) are some of his famous works.
i. Burt Bacharach won his 1st Oscar (Academy Awards, USA) in 1970 for the score of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and for the song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”. In 1982, he shared the Oscar with his then-wife Carole Bayer Sager for “Best That You Can Do,” the theme from “Arthur”.
ii. He won Grammy awards in 2008, 2006, 1999, 1997, 1987, 1970 (twice), and 1968. In 1971, he was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award.
iii. He also won BAFTA Awards (1971), ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards (1991 & 1988), Golden Globes, USA (1982 & 1972), Laurel Awards (1970), and more.
CoAS Gen Manoj Pande released Times Group Book titled “A Chronicle of Central Command – Savdhaan”
On 9th February 2023, Manoj Pande, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS)General, released a book titled “A Chronicle of Central Command – Savdhaan”, authored by Lt Gen Vivek Kashyap, Chief of staff of the Central Command (Surya Command), and Vikram D Souza, in New Delhi, Delhi. The book was designed and produced by the Times Group, a media company.
- The book is a compilation and documentation of the proud heritage and transitions with deep research and creativity.
- The book highlights the Central Command’s unique status within the Army, as well as its role and growing importance over the previous 60 years.
- The operational tasks of the command have greatly increased since its formation in May 1963. The Surya Command is in charge of maintaining a constant watch along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It has a presence across eight states.
World Pulses Day 2023- February 10United Nations (UN)’s World Pulses Day (WPD) is annually observed across the globe on February 10 to recognise the value of these food items and to increase knowledge of the nutritional benefits of consuming a variety of foods, including pulses.
- The theme of World Pulses Day 2023 is “Pulses for a sustainable future”.
WPD is also observed to educate the public about pulses and the fundamental role they play in the transition to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems for greater production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for everyone.
WPD aims to spread awareness about the nutritional and environmental benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production.
i. Building on the success of the International Year of Pulses (IYP) in 2016 implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN and recognising the potential of pulses to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, and 15 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ii. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/73/251 on 20th December 2018 and proclaimed February 10 of every year as World Pulses Day.
- Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, proposed the observance of World Pulses Day.
iii. The 1st ever World Pulses Day was observed on 10th February 2019.
About the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
Director-General- Qu Dongyu
Headquarters- Rome, Italy
National Deworming Day 2023 – February 10 The National Deworming Day(NDD) is annually organised in all states and Union Territories (UTs) across India on February 10, with a mop-up day on February 15 with an aim to eradicate intestinal worms also referred to as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH), among children of age 1-19 years.
- The National Deworming Day(NDD) is conducted as a bi-annual round on 10th February and 10th August.
- The 1st round is conducted in February and the 2nd round is conducted in August.
i.The NDD is an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoH&FW), Government of India(GoI) which aims to ensure that every child in India is worm-free.
ii.In February 2015, the MoHFW launched the NDD as a part of the National Health Mission(NHM) in 11 states and UT: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Tripura.
- The first round of NDD was conducted in February 2015 and achieved coverage of 85%.
Pawan Hans launches Multiple Helicopter Routes in Assam under RCS UDAN
On February 8th, 2023, helicopter service provider, Pawan Hans Limited (PHL), a central public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), launched its helicopter services on 6 routes in Assam under the RCS UDAN Scheme (Regional Connectivity Scheme- Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik).
The new helicopter services will provide connectivity on the “Dibrugarh-Jorhat-Tezpur-Guwahati-Tezpur-Jorhat-Dibrugarh” network
- The RCS UDAN of the MoCA is focusing especially on bringing air connectivity to the remote areas of the northeastern states that have inadequate rail and road connectivity.
- RCS UDAN Helicopter services in the state of Assam would improve air connectivity inside the state by providing the fastest means of transportation to connect Tezpur, Jorhat, and Dibrugarh from the State capital, Dispur.
Note: Services will be provided three days a week: Monday Wednesday and Friday. PHL has been awarded 86 routes under the RCS UDAN scheme in six states.