1st G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) Meeting 2023 held in Bengalurui.From February 9-11, 2023, the First G20 (Group of Twenty) Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting was held in Bengaluru, Karnataka under India’s G20 Presidency.
ii.It was led by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India.
iii.Indian Presidency will publish the 5th report on actions against marine plastic litter under the G20 Framework for Marine Plastic Litter, in collaboration with Japan.
iv.The Indian Presidency also announced a coordinated beach cleaning event to be conducted on May 21, 2023 on the sidelines of the Ocean 20 dialogue.
About Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC):
Union Minister– Bhupender Yadav
Minister of State– Ashwini Kumar Choubey
Secretary– Leena Nandan
MoPSW: High-Level Committee headed by Chairman of DPA to draft revised Guidelines for Ro-Ro & Ro-Pax ferry servicesThe Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways(MoPSW) has constituted a High-Level Committee headed by Sanjay K. Mehta (SK Mehta), Chairman of Deendayal Port Authority (DPA), Gandhidham, Gujarat, to draft the revised guidelines for the operation of Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) and Roll on-Passenger (Ro-Pax) ferry service.
- The committee would also simultaneously draft the Model Concession Agreement for Ro-Ro / Ro-Pax Terminal Operator and a Model License Agreement for the Operation of Ro-Ro/ Ro-Pax/ Fast Passenger Ferry.
About Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways(MoPSW):
Union Minister– Sarbananda Sonowal(Constituency- Rajya Sabha- Assam)
Minister of State– Shantanu Thakur (Constituency- Bangaon, West Bengal); Shripad Yesso Naik (Constituency- North Goa, Goa)
Girish Chandra Murmu led 6th SCO SAI Leaders’ Meeting; MoUs Signed with SAIs of Kazakhstan, TajikistanThe 6th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Supreme Audit Institutes (SCO SAI) Leaders’ meeting was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (UP) from February 6 to 8, 2023.
- Discussions were held at the SCO SAI Leaders’ meeting led by Girish Chandra Murmu, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) India, under the theme of “Integrating Emerging Technologies in Audit” with focus on Artificial Intelligence and Cyber-security.
- On the sidelines of the SCO SAI Leader’s meeting, on 13 February 2023, Girish Chandra Murmu signed 2 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with SAIs of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to strengthen cooperation and exchange of expertise in the field of auditing.
- Under the SCO SAIs Leader’s meeting, Girish Chandra Murmu stressed the need for proper auditing of the country’s local bodies as India is aiming to achieve the $5 trillion economy by 2025.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
Headquarters – Beijing, China
Establishment – 15 June 2001
Secretary-General – Zhang Ming
Member countries – 9 Member countries (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan , Iran, and Uzbekistan)
37th APEDA Foundation Day – 13th February 2023The Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, observed the 27th APEDA Foundation Day on 13th February 2023 across India,
- APEDA, established in 1986, has achieved phenomenal success in the promotion export of agricultural products in its successful journey of 37 years.
APEDA’s Growth History- 1986 to 2023:
i. Due to APEDA’s active interventions, the export of agricultural products has increased from USD 0.6 billion export in 1987-88 to USD 19.69 billion till April-December 2022-23 and expanded the export basket to more than 200 countries.
- The APEDA exported agricultural products worth USD 24.77 billion in 2021-22.
ii. For the current fiscal(2022-2023, the target given to APEDA is USD 23.56, till December 2022, 84%(USD 19.69 billion) has been achieved and the remaining target is expected to be completed within the expected time period.
WTO Trade Data:
- According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Data, India was ranked 25th in 1986, fell to 28th in 1987, and 29th in 1988.
- Currently, India’s ranking has improved significantly by rising to the 10th rank in 2019, which has further improved to 9th in 2020, and to 8th in 2021.
i. APEDA promoted IT-enabled activities for ease of doing business in the promotion and development of exports from India in an effort to elevate the export of agricultural products to a new level.
ii. APEDA has undertaken initiatives like a paperless office (re-engineering, digital signatures, electronic payment facility), APEDA Mobile App, phase-wise delivery of online services, monitoring and evaluation, uniform access, and virtual trade fair to make governance more efficient and effective.
iii. India’s infrastructure for agri exports was set up and upgraded with the help of APEDA, which also improved the quality of agri exports.
iv. APEDA has constituted a Market Intelligence Cell, and the activity of disseminating E-market intelligence reports containing in-depth market analysis has commenced.
v. APEDA has also created a Farmer Connect Portal on its website to give Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)/Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) and cooperatives a forum to communicate with exporters.
vi. Out of the 417 registered GI products, more than 100 registered GI products fall under the category of APEDA scheduled products (Cereals, Fresh Fruits and vegetables, processed products, etc).
PM Modi’s Visit to Uttar Pradesh & MaharashtraPM Narendra Modi visited Uttar Pradesh (UP) & Maharashtra to launch various initiatives on February 10, 2023.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit (UPGIS) 2023 on February 10, 2023 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
UPGIS 2023 is the flagship investment summit of the Government of Uttar Pradesh which took place in Lucknow (UP) from February 10 to 12, 2023.
On February 10, 2023, the PM visited Maharashtra and flagged off two Vande Bharat trains at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CMST) in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- The two trains, Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat and Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat, would run on the popular tourist route between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Shirdi and CSMT-Solapur.
On February 12, 2023, PM Narendra Modi visited Rajasthan and inaugurated the 246-kilometer (km) Delhi-Dausa-Lalsot stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway from Dausa in Rajasthan.
- This Delhi-Mumbai Expressway would be India’s longest Expressway, spanning 1,386 km.
CBDT Notified 6 Income Tax Return Forms for Assessment Year 2023-24In exercise of the powers conferred by section 139 read with section 295 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified six income tax return (ITR) forms for assessment year 2023-24 (Financial Year 2022-23).
- CBDT has also notified ITR-V (verification form) and Indian Income Tax Return Acknowledgement.
- ITR forms include ITR-1 SAHAJ, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4 SUGAM, ITR-5, ITR-6.
- The forms will come into effect from April 1, 2023.
ITR Form details
i.ITR-1(SAHAJ): It can be filed by an individual having total income up to Rs 50 lakh and who receives income from Salaries, one house property, other sources (Interest etc.), and agricultural income up to Rs 5 thousand.
ii.ITR-2 is filed by people having income from residential property.
iii.ITR-3 is for people having income as profits from business/ profession
iv.ITR-4 (SUGAM): Filed by Individuals, HUFs (Hindu undivided families) and Firms (other than LLP (limited liability partnerships)) being a resident having total income up to Rs.50 lakh
v.ITR-5 and 6 are filed by LLPs and businesses and ITR-7 is filed by trusts.
Due date and Late fee:
i.Normally, the due date for individuals and HUF (whose books of accounts are not required to be audited) for filing ITR is July 31. December 31 was specified as the due date for the belated return.
ii.If the return is filed after the due date, interest has to be paid under Section 234 A at the rate of 1 % per month or part month on the unpaid tax amount.
iii.There is also a late fee of Rs 5,000 under Section 234F, which shall be reduced to Rs 1,000 if the income is below Rs 5 lakh.
Note – In 2022 such forms were notified in the first week of April.
IEA’s Electricity Market Report 2023: Asia set to use half of World’s Electricity by 2025
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report Electricity Market Report 2023 released on 8th February 2023, Asia will use half of the world’s electricity by 2025, a majority of which will be used in China, which consumes more electricity than the European Union, the United States (US), and India combined.
- Africa will only use 3% of the world’s electricity in 2025, despite having a fifth of the world’s population.
i. China, a country of 1.4 billion people whose share of world consumption will increase from a quarter in 2015 to a third by the middle of this decade, will account for a large portion of Asia’s energy use.
ii. The IEA’s annual report predicts that nuclear energy and renewable sources like wind and solar will supply the majority of the additional electricity generated globally over the next three years.
- As a result, the power sector’s greenhouse gas emissions won’t significantly increase.
iii. According to scientists, immediate sharp reductions in emissions from all sources are required to keep the average global temperature from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
iv. The report warned that electricity demand and supply are becoming increasingly weather dependent.
v. In 2022, Electricity demand in India (8.4%) and the United States (US) (92.6%)rose, while Covid restrictions affected China’s growth.
About the International Energy Agency (IEA):
Executive Director- Dr Fatih Birol
Members- 31 member countries and 8 association countries
ICICI Bank signs MoU with BNP Paribas
ICICI Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a European bank, BNP Paribas, to meet the financial needs of European enterprises operating in India and Indian companies in the European Union (EU).
The agreement was signed by Anup Bagchi, Executive Director of ICICI Bank, and Grzegorz Marczuk, Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas India.
The MoU would create a framework for collaboration between the two banks to offer financial services to corporate customers operating along the India-Europe corridor.
This partnership would enhance the support provided to Indian firms on their global journey as well as European corporations seeking to establish their presence in India.
About ICICI Bank:
MD & CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Established – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Cashfree Payments Launches “Co-Lend”- India’s 1st Automated Escrow Management Solution
Cashfree Payments, a leading payment and Application Programming Interface (API) banking solutions company, has launched ‘Co-lend’, India’s 1st fully automated escrow management solution for co-lending. Co-lend was developed in line with the digital lending guidelines announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- It enables instant disbursal with automatic reconciliation and a dashboard for managing various partnerships, and other features. It requires no manual intervention, automatically notifies the loan management system, and eliminates reconciliation efforts.
- ‘Co-lend’ provides a robust platform for co-lending originators and lenders, particularly those authorising high volumes of loans where real-time disbursement, repayment, and reconciliation are primary requirements.
- Currently, the Co-Lend integration was supported by the ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, and Axis Bank.
Mohammad Shahabuddin Chuppu was declared the Next President of Bangladesh On 13th February 2023, Mohammad Shahabuddin Chuppu, (74 years old), a former judge and freedom fighter, has been declared the next President of Bangladesh by Bangladesh’s Election Commission. The ruling Awami League (AL) party nominee, Shahabuddin Chuppu, was elected unopposed as the 22nd President of Bangladesh.
- Shahabuddin Chuppu will replace the incumbent President Mohammad Abdul Hamid, the longest-serving president of Bangladesh(2013 to 2023), whose tenure ends in April 2023.
Note: According to Bangladesh’s constitution, the presidential election must be held 60 to 90 days before the expiry of each five-year term.
i. Shahabuddin Chuppu, nominated by Awamin League, would be elected to the top position without opposition since Awami League has the majority of 305 seats in the 350-member House.
ii. The presidential election in Bangladesh must take place 90 to 60 days before the incumbent’s five-year tenure comes to an end.
iii. Since all seven MPs from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) resigned in December 2022 as part of their anti-government campaign ahead of the general elections, there are no other candidates for the top position besides Shahabuddin Chuppu.
About Mohammad Shahabuddin Chuppu:
i. Mohammad Shahabuddin Chuppu was born in 1949 in the northwestern Pabna district of East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh).
ii. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a leader of Awami League’s student and youth wings.
iii. He was also part of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He was imprisoned for protesting the murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s founder and the father of Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina.
iv. He started his career in Judicial Service in 1983 and was District Judge till 2006. He served as the coordinator of the Bangabandhu murder trial when Awami League returned to power in the 1996 elections.
v. He also served as the Labor Court’s Chairman in 2006, a Supreme Court lawyer for Bangladesh from 2008 to 2011, and a Commissioner for the Anti-Corruption Commission from March 2011 to March 2016.
President- Mohammad Abdul Hamid
Prime Minister- Sheikh Hasina
Currency- Bangladeshi Taka
CCI approvals on 13, Feb 2023On February 13, 2023, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has given its approval to the following proposals:
i.Acquisition of up to 100% shareholding in R Systems International Limited by BCP Asia II Topco II Pte. Ltd
ii.Consolidation of HPM Business of LANXESS AG and DEM Business of Koninkiljke DSM N.V. under Zehnte LXS GmbH, a JV HoldCo of Platin 2170 GmbH & LANXESS
iii.Acquisitions of Commercial Real Estate assets by Nexus Select Trust
About the Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Acting Chairperson– Sangeeta Verma
Establishment– October 14, 2003
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
HDFC Bank sells its entire 9.95% stake in Softcell Technologies Global
On 13th February 2023, Mumbai(Maharashtra)-based HDFC Bank Limited is set to sell its entire stake of 9.95% (1,65,731 Equity Shares) in Softcell Technologies Global Private Limited (Softcell) for Rs 9.94 crore, at Rs 600.36 per Equity Share. In March 2020, HDFC Bank sold a 2.05% stake in Softcell for Rs 1.47 crore.
- Softcell, a company founded on 6h September 2018, sells Information Technology (IT) products and offers software and related services.
- HDFC Bank offers a variety of financial services and products using multiple distribution channels, including a pan-India network of branches, ATMs (Automated Teller Machines), phone banking, online banking, and mobile banking.
Liberty Global buys 4.3% stake in Vodafone betting on Share Revival
On 14th February 2023, Liberty Global Plc, a multinational telecommunications company headquartered in London, the United Kingdom (UK), acquired a 4.9% stake(1.34 billion shares) in Vodafone Group Plc, British multinational Telecom Company based in the UK, in a surprise bet on Vodafone’s plans to revamp its business.
- Liberty Global and Vodafone share a 50-50 joint venture in the Netherlands called VodafoneZiggo, and in 2019 Liberty sold Vodafone its German and eastern European businesses for Euro 18.4 billion.
- Liberty Global stated that it is not considering making an acquisition bid for the Newbury, England-based telecom company.
- In 2022, Vodafone’s share price has dropped by around 30%, which has drawn the attention of several strategic investors.
GoI launched Mobile app: ‘Khanan Prahari’ & Web App: CMSMS to Curb Illegal MiningThe Government of India (GoI) has launched a mobile application of the Ministry of Coal, “Khanan Prahari”, and a web app “Coal Mine Surveillance and Management System” (CMSMS) for reporting unauthorised coal mining activities so that the responsible Law & Order enforcing body can monitor them and take appropriate action.
- The Apps had received reports of 462 cases as of January 2023.
- CMSMS was developed by the Ministry of Coal in coordination with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gandhinagar, Gujarat, and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
i. The CMSMS was created as a GoI e-Governance initiative on using Space Technology to report illegal mining and take transparent action.
ii. The objective of developing and launching this CMSMS application was to track and respond to any illegal coal mining activities occurring within the leasehold boundaries of any coal mining project in the coalfield areas.
- This was done by collecting citizen complaints through the mobile app Khanan Prahari.
iii. The Khanan Prahari app was also developed by the Ministry of Coal, which enables citizens to report any illegal mining incidents through geo-tagged photographs and textual information from the place of the incident.
About the Ministry of Coal:
Union Minister- Pralhad Joshi (Constituency- Dharwad, Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS)- Raosaheb Patil Danve (Constituency- Jalna, Maharashtra)
Qualcomm Introduced Snapdragon Satellite, World’s 1st Satellite-based 2-way Messaging Smartphones
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. introduced “Snapdragon Satellite” the world’s 1st satellite-based two-way capable messaging solution for premium smartphones, at the
Consumer Electronics Show(CES) 2023 was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America(USA) from 5th to 8th January 2023.
- The Snapdragon satellite, Developed with Iridium, will allow next-generation premium Android smartphones and other gadgets to support messaging for emergency use in rural, and offshore locations.
About Snapdragon Satellite:
i.Snapdragon Satellite will provide global connectivity using mobile messaging from around the world, starting with devices based on the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform.
ii.Snapdragon Satellite, powered by Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems and supported by the fully operational Iridium® satellite constellation, will enable Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and other service providers to offer truly global coverage.
iii.The smartphone’s solutions will use Iridium’s weather-resilient L-band spectrum for uplink and downlink.
i.The emergency messaging on Snapdragon Satellite is set to be made available on next-generation smartphones, launched in select regions in the second half of 2023.
ii.The Snapdragon Satellite can expand beyond smartphones to devices like laptops, tablets, vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT).
iii.The Satellite system is planned to support 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), as NTN satellite infrastructure and constellations can be easily available.
Noted Painter Lalitha Lajmi Passed Away
On 13th February 2023, Lalitha Lajmi, a renowned Painter and sister of late actor-filmmaker Guru Dutt, passed away at the age of 90. Lalitha Lajmi was born on 17th October 1932 in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now West Bengal, India).
- Lalitha Lajmi has held several exhibitions at international art galleries in Paris(France), London (United Kingdom)and Holland.
- Her works are held in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, the British Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- Lalitha Lajmi, an unparalleled water-colourist, tells the story of the modern Indian woman in the decades after Independence through her works.
- Her artwork captures the hidden tensions between men and women, which are reflected in the various roles they play.
UP Global Investor Summit 2023: 18,643 MoUs Worth Rs 33.50 Lakh Crore SignedThe Uttar Pradesh (UP) government signed 18,643 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for investment intentions over the three-day Uttar Pradesh Global Investor Summit (UPGIS) 2023, with a value of Rs. 33.50 lakh crore, in Lucknow, UP.
- Western UP has received the most investment due to cities like Noida and Agra.
- The region will receive about 45% of the entire investment.
Welspun One Logistics Parks (WOLP) has signed a Rs. 2,000 crore pact with the Uttar Pradesh government to create warehousing and logistics parks in the state and expand its position in the warehousing sector in North India.
Reliance, Aditya Birla Group, and Tata, three of India’s largest conglomerates, pledged to spend more than Rs. 1 lakh crore in UP to expand their businesses in the near future, at UPGIS 2023.
About Reliance Industries Limited (RIL):
CMD – Mukesh Ambani
Establishment – 1973
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga Presents State’s Annual Budget for 2023-24On 13th February 2023, Zoramthanga, Chief Minister(CM) of Mizoram, who also holds the portfolio of Finance Minister, presented Mizoram’s annual budget for the financial year 2023-2024 with a total outlay of Rs 14,209.95 crores, an increase of Rs 201.80 crore from 2022-2023 budget.
- He also presented the supplementary demands for grants for 2022-23 fiscal amounting to Rs 3,265.69 crore.
- He stated that the 2023-2024 budget is a zero-deficit and non-surplus budget as the estimated total receipts are exactly equal to the estimated total expenditures.
- No new taxes have been imposed nor was a proposal to hike the existing rates in the 2023-24 budget.
Highlights of the budget:
i.With a special focus on Socio-Economic Development Policy (SEDP), Rs 595 crore was allocated to it for the 2023-2024 fiscal. Out of this, Rs 300 crore will be allocated under Family-oriented SEDP for 2023-24.
- The SEDP is the flagship programme of the Mizo National Front (MNF) government that aims at bringing sustainable development by accelerating progress in key sectors through exploration and judicious use of resources.
ii.Under SEDP, the government will distribute monetary assistance of Rs 50,000 each to 60,000 families during the current fiscal.
- The 1st instalment of this amounting to Rs 25,000 each has been already disbursed to 5,996 beneficiaries and Rs 25,000 each for the beneficiary) has been sanctioned for the 2nd instalment.
iii.During the 11th session of the 8th Mizoram Legislative Assembly, the CM cum Finance Minister Zoramthanga stated that the Revenue Receipts amount to Rs 11489.63 crore and Capital Receipts of Rs 2723.32 crore.
iv.The Revenue expenditure amounts to Rs 11068.76 crore – 78.10% of the total budget expenditure and Capital expenditure amounts to Rs 3141.19 crore, 21.90% of the total expenditure.
v.To cut the expenditure and create a better revenue source for Mizoram, the Mizoram Resource Mobilization Committee had been formed.
vi.The committee reported that a surplus of Rs 35.74 crore from various Departments was collected by the Mizoram government.
i.Rs 60 crore has been allocated to MLA Local Area Development Fund.
ii.Rs 50 lakh has been set aside to support the meritorious students prepare for All India Service and other Central Service examinations,
iii.The government has proposed to allocate Rs 1.20 crore for higher and technical education to meet the management requirements of various colleges.
iv.The State’s Own Tax Revenue (SOTR) in the new fiscal is expected to increase by 35.32% from the current fiscal and the State’s Own Non-tax Revenue (SONTR) is set to increase by Rs 60.57 crore.