Cabinet Approvals on February 22 2023The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra has approved the following proposals:
i.The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Government of Co-operative Republic of Guyana to enable the framework for provision of air services between the two countries.
ii.The Union Cabinet approved the ratification of three Protocols on Article 3 bis and Article 50 (a) and Article 56 relating to amendments in the convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), 1944.
iii.The Union Cabinet also approved the extension of the term of the Twenty-second Law Commission of India upto 31st August, 2024 whose tenure was supposed to end on February 20, 2023. It was constituted for three years on February 21, 2020 and its chairperson is Justice Rituraj Awasthi (retd).
iv.The Union Government has approved Quality Control Order (QCO) for mandatory certification of cotton bales under specification No. IS12171: 2019-Cotton Bales to augment supply of good quality cotton to the textile industry.
Currency– Guyanaese Dollar
President– Dr. Irfaan Ali
MoSPI released Revised Guidelines on MPLADS 2023On 22nd February 2023, Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), released the Revised Guidelines on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)-2023.
- MoS Rao Inderjit Singh also launched a new Web portal for the implementation of the Revised Fund Flow Procedure under MPLADS.
- The new revised guidelines for MPLAD and the web portal will come into effect from 1st April 2023.
Aim of revised guidelines: To expand the scope of the MPLAD scheme to enable MPs to recommend developmental works as per the changing needs of the community; with focus on improving the functioning, implementation and monitoring of the MPLADS.
About Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI):
MoSPI became an Independent Ministry in 1999 after the merger of the Department of Statistics and the Department of Programme Implementation.
Minister of State (Independent Charge)– Rao Inderjit Singh
Indian Navy’s IFC-IOR Signed MoU with RCOC, Seychelles to Enhance Maritime Domain AwarenessOn 21st February 2023, The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) hosted by the Indian Navy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC), Seychelles to further the existing cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region to enhance maritime safety and security.
Signatories: The MoU was signed by Captain Rohit Bajpai, Director of IFC-IOR and Captain Sam Gontier, Director of RCOC, Seychelles.
Key People: Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, Secretary General of IOC, Kartik Pande, High Commissioner of India to Seychelles, delegates from IOC, and senior officers of the Indian Navy attended the event.
Features of the MoU:
i.The MoU aims to promote the collaboration between IFC-IOR and RCOC towards enhancing maritime domain awareness, information sharing and expertise development.
ii.This partnership will enable the centres to develop a common maritime understanding to counter non-traditional maritime security threats.
iii.The non-traditional threats include piracy and armed robbery, human and contraband trafficking, Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, arms running, poaching, maritime terrorism, etc with a special focus on the Western Indian Ocean.
i.IFC-IOR was established by the Government of India at Gurugram on 22 Dec 2018.
Objective: To enhance collaborative maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
ii.IFC-IOR also hosts International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from partner nations to enable better correlation, compressed information cycles and timely inputs.
iii.So far, IFC-IOR has hosted ILOs from 12 partner nations Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The Maritime Security Architecture in the Western Indian Ocean is implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and supported by the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC), the Regional Operations Coordination Centre (RCOC) and the national centres of the 7 signatory countries: Comoros, Djibouti, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles.
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa.
President– Wavel Ramkalawan
Currency– Seychellois Rupee
BIS Signs MoU with IIT Guwahati, IIT Gandhinagar & NIT Calicut for Establishing “BIS Standardization Chair Professor” The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Guwahati (Assam), IIT Gandhinagar (Gujarat), and the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Calicut (Kozhikode, Kerala) for the establishment of “BIS Standardization Chair Professor” at these institutes.
- Professor Parameswar K. Iyer, Officiating Director of IIT Guwahati; Prof Rajat Moona, Director of IIT Gandhinagar; Prof Prasad Krishna, Director of NIT Calicut (virtually present) assured commitment towards this initiative and agreed to take forward the collaboration with BIS.
BIS Standardization Chair Professor:
i. The BIS Standardization Chair Professor initiative aims to institutionalise its relationships with India’s eminent institutes to ensure the active participation of academia in the standard formulation and to make the teaching of Indian standards an integral part of the curriculum.
ii. It is created for research and development, teaching and training in the field of Standardization and Conformity Assessment in India.
- It focuses on the areas of Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, Earthquake Engineering, Development and Management of water resources and renewable energy projects, Infrastructure Development, Medical Biotechnology & Nanotechnology, Biomaterials, etc.
iii. This will promote excellence and leadership in teaching as well as scientific research and development (R&D) and various disciplines.
i. The MoUs between the top academic institutes and BIS would strengthen and enhance the standards formulation activity.
- It strengthens by facilitating R&D projects, encouraging the involvement of young minds in the area of the standardization process and jointly organizing seminars, conferences, workshops symposia or lectures, training and short-term education programs.
ii. Pramod Kumar Tiwari, director general of BIS, emphasised the importance to engage with start-ups and incubation centres at academic institutions to develop new standards and compliance with the existing ones.
About the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS):
BIS is the National Standard Body of India under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
Director General- Pramod Kumar Tiwari
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
UK Overtakes India as World’s 6th-Biggest Stock Market with $3.11 trillion McapAs per the data of Bloomberg, the United Kingdom (UK) became the world’s 6th-largest equity market surpassing India for the first time in almost 9 months (Since May 2022).
- On 21 February 2023, the combined market capitalization (Mcap) of primary listings in the UK, excluding ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) and ADRs (American depositary receipt ), reached about $3.11 trillion, about $5.1 billion higher than their Indian equivalents.
i.India’s stock market remains behind the UK due to a weaker rupee and falling share prices of companies in the Adani Group amid allegations of stock manipulation and accounting fraud by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.
ii.Indian stocks started declining from December 2022 and it reached a peak to more than 10% as of February 22, 2023.
iii.The MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) India Index has dropped 6.1% in 2023, while the group of companies owned by Gautam Adani among Asia’s richest men has lost about $142 billion in market capitalization.
iv.UK loses its place as Europe’s biggest stock market in 2022 as UK’s equity market capitalization remains behind France.
Every 2 Minutes, A Woman Dies During Pregnancy or Childbirth: WHO ReportAccording to the report titled “Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020” produced by World Health Organization (WHO), which tracks maternal deaths nationally, regionally and globally from 2000 to 2020, it was estimated that around 287 000 women died from a maternal cause in 2020, which is approximately 800 deaths every day and one every 2 minutes.
- The report highlights the setbacks for women’s health in recent years. The Rate of maternal deaths fell significantly between 2000 and 2015 but largely stagnated between 2016 and 2020 in nearly all regions of the world.
- The report was produced on behalf of the United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group comprising WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank Group and the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs(UN-DESA).
According to the report, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has dropped by 34.3% (one-third) over a period of 20 years. The Global MMR dropped from 330 deaths per 100000 live births in 2000 to 227 in 2015 to 223 in 2020.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
Director-General– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
ADB Proposes up to $25 Billion Support to India’s Development Priorities On 21 February 2023, under the meeting of the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi with Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Masatsugu Asakawa, ADB committed to provide $20 billion–$25 billion resources over 5 years to advance India’s aspirations for fast, inclusive, and green growth.
- ADB stated its assistance to meet India’s priority development needs, and its country partnership strategy (CPS) for India, 2023–2027. ADB is now finalizing the new 5-year CPS following a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process.
- ADB president also admitted that India continues to be the fastest-growing major economy after the COVID 19 recovery with an anticipated 7% growth in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.
i.ADB will fund India’s infrastructure creation under PM’s Gati Shakti (National Master Plan for multimodal connectivity) initiative, building future cities, mobilizing domestic resources, and strengthening basic services in disadvantaged districts.
ii.Green growth agenda: ADB also plans to support India’s decarbonisation of transport and the clean energy transition, including carbon market development and circular economy transition.
iii.In his meeting with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Masatsugu Asakawa outlined ADB’s efforts to achieve annual regular lending of $4 billion from its sovereign operations in the next few years.
iv.Masatsugu Asakawa will visit the ADB-funded Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Investment Project and participate in the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting at Bengaluru, Karnataka on 24–25 February, 2023.
ADB’s Support to India:
i.ADB started operations in India in 1986. As of 31 December 2022, ADB had committed $52.28 billion in sovereign lending in India and $6.75 billion in non sovereign lending and investment.
ii.ADB’s current India portfolio comprises 64 projects worth about $16 billion across the transport, urban, energy, human development, agriculture and natural resources, and finance sectors.
iii.As a guest international organization, ADB is supporting the priorities of India’s presidency at the G20 meetings and Leaders’ Summit.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
Headquarters – Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
Establishment – 1966
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
Member countries – 68 countries (49 from the region)
India to Singapore Fund Transfers: SBI integrated ‘BHIM SBIPay’ with UPI-PayNow linkage; Axis Bank Launches Cross Border Transactions
On February 22, 2023, the State Bank of India (SBI) integrated its mobile application ‘BHIM SBIPay’ with UPI-PayNow linkage to facilitate fund transfers from India to Singapore through registered mobile numbers and from Singapore to India using UPI (Unified Payments Interface) ID.
i.Backdrop: SBI was one of the banking partners which would carry out both inward and outward remittances through the UPI-PayNow linkage.
ii.UPI-PayNow linkage: It is a linkage between Fast Payment Systems of India and Singapore i.e. linkage between ‘UPI’ and ‘PayNow’ which will enable users of the two fast payment systems in either country to make convenient, safe, instant, and cost-effective cross-border funds transfers using their respective mobile apps.
iii.Now under the UPI-PayNow linkage, Axis Bank would act as the settlement bank for peer-to-peer foreign inward remittance transactions initiated through PayNow by the Liquid Group in Singapore.
About State Bank of India (SBI):
Establishment – 1 July, 1955
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara
IIT-M partners with GIC Re to develop Urine-Based TB Diagnosis
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras(IIT-M), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is partnering with the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), a Public Sector Insurance Company, to develop a urine-based tuberculosis diagnosis or screening.
- This diagnosis will make testing faster and more affordable than the existing point-of-care diagnostic kits available for various diseases such as blood glucose monitors.
- The key beneficiaries of this project (CSR funding from GIC Re) will be primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare centres besides the Health departments in State and Governments.
Singapore’s RBB Ship Chartering becomes 1st Ship Leasing Operator at IFSC in GIFT City
On 22nd February 2023, RSCPL (IFSC) Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based RBB Ship Chartering Private Ltd, has become the first ship leasing operator at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- RSCPL (IFSC) Pvt Ltd received the maiden provisional licence for the ship leasing business in February and is planning to commence commercial operations by next month.
- The licence was granted in February 2023, and before March, commercial operations are expected to begin.
DPIIT: FDI Equity Inflows Decline 15% to $36.75 Billion in April-December FY23As per the data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows declined 15% year-on-year to $36.75 billion during the first three quarters (April-December) of Financial year 2022-23 (FY23).
- Total FDI inflows, which includes the equity capital of unincorporated bodies, reinvest earnings, and other capital, decreased by 8% to $55.27 billion in April-December FY23 from $60.4 billion in April-December FY22.
i.Recipient of FDI in April-December FY23:
- The Computer software and hardware manufacturing were the highest recipient of FDI at $8.07 billion.
- Services sector (encompassing financial, banking, insurance, and outsourcing, among others) – $6.56 billion
- Telecommunications – $5.33 billion
- Trading sectors – $4.14 billion
ii.Top investment in April-December FY23:
- State Wise: Maharashtra continued to be the most favoured destination of investors, receiving $10.76 billion, followed by Karnataka with $8.77 billion and Delhi with $6.11 billion.
Countrywise: Singapore was the top investing country with equity inflows of $13.07 billion. This was followed by the US ($4.95 billion), Mauritius ($4.73 billion), the United Arab Emirates ($3.1 billion), etc.
ICOMM ties up with UAE’s CARACAL for Co-Manufacturing of Small Arms in IndiaOn February 21, 2023, ICOMM Tele Limited, a group company of Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL) signed a partnership and licensing agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based CARACAL for the transfer-of-technology (ToT) to locally manufacture small arms for the domestic market under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- It is the first ever ToT in defence articles by CARACAL.
- The deal was signed during the ongoing (February 20-24, 2023) 16th edition of IDEX (International Defence Exhibition & Conference) 2023 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
i.ICOMM is a group company of Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL).
ii.Under the agreement, ICOMM in collaboration with CARACAL will develop a full portfolio of locally manufactured small arms for the Indian market.
- This include EF pistol, modern CMP 9 submachine gun, CAR 814, CAR 816 and CAR 817 tactical rifles, CAR 817 DMR tactical sniper rifle, CSR 50 anti-material sniper rifle, CSR 338 and CSR 308 bolt action sniper rifles and CSA 338 semi-automatic sniper rifle.
iii.This entire range of small arms will be produced at ICOMM’s manufacturing facility in Hyderabad, Telangana.
iv.This pact will enable CARACAL to do business as per Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020.
IDEX is the only international defence exhibition and conference in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region demonstrating the latest technology across land, sea and air sectors of defence.
About ICOMM Tele Limited:
Managing Director– Sumanth Paturu
Headquarter– Telangana, Hyderabad
CarDekho signs on Medulance to Provide Emergency Medical Services
CarDekho, an online used-car marketplace, has on-boarded Delhi-based Medulance, an ambulance service provider, on its platforms to provide emergency medical services.
- CarDekho’s partnership will enable its users to call for an ambulance from the app and website.
- Without any exchange of money, Medulance decided to offer CarDekho its ambulance services.
- Amit Jain, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CarDekho, decided to add Medulance, a GPS-based platform enabling fast ambulance services.
Rajan Kohli President of Wipro’s iDEAS resigned Rajan Kohli, President of the iDEAS (Integrated Digital, Engineering, and Application Services) business at Wipro Limited, has resigned after a nearly three-decades career with the IT (Information technology) firm.
- As a President of Wipro’s iDEAS, he led a team of over 1 lakh employees.
About Rajan Kohli:
i. Rajan Kohli resides in New York, the United States of America (USA). He is a director of the Wipro US Foundation and an Independent Director (Member of the Board) of Technicolor Creative Studios.
ii. He is also a member of the Wipro Executive Board (WEB) and the Wipro Executive Council (WEC).
iii. He has led the Banking and Financial Services (BFS) segment during his tenure at Wipro.
iv. Previously he served as the President of Wipro Digital, Wipro’s digital transformation business, which he incubated and scaled to become one of the largest and most recognized businesses of Wipro.
- iDEAS brings together strategic design, domain and consulting capabilities along with cloud applications, Artificial intelligence (AI), data, engineering and next-generation technologies.
- Since iDEAS starts with a design-led approach, it is in a unique position to provide the business solutions needed by companies to develop what matters to their business.
- iDEAS orchestrate solutions for clients to build and operate digital businesses focusing on 5 themes: cloud, intelligence everywhere, Industry 4.0, 5G & edge computing, and sustainability.
About Wipro Limited:
Founder Chairman- Azim H Premji
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director- Thierry Delaporte
Headquarters- Bengaluru, Karnataka
Rajeev Raghuvanshi was appointed as the new Drug Controller General of India
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the recommendation submitted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to appoint Dr Rajeev Raghuvanshi as new Drug Controller General of India(DCGI), head of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) with effect from the date of his assumption of charge till his attaining the age of superannuation on 28th February 2025 or until further orders.
The appointment is made at “Level 14 of the Pay Matrix”, on a “short-term contract basis”.
- He will be taking over as DCGI from Dr PBN Prasad, who was appointed as DCGI with effect from 16th February 2023 till 28th February 2023.
- Dr Rajeev Raghuvanshi has been serving as the secretary-cum-scientific director at Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) since 2021.
He previously worked National Institute of Immunology for 7 years, at Ranbaxy Research Laboratories till 2010 and had a stint with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories between 2010 and 2021.
He has 14 granted United States of America (USA) patents along with more than 250 published patent cooperation treaties and Indian patents. He has more than 25 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored 6 chapters in books.
CCI approves Acquisition of 100% of issued and outstanding share capital & sole control of VGP Holdings LLC by Gateway The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the acquisition of 100% of issued and outstanding share capital and sole control of VGP Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Valvoline Inc, by Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) through Gateway Velocity Holding Corp(Gateway) and Aramco Overseas Company B.V. (AOC) from Valvoline Inc.
Note: Gateway is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.
Acquirer: Gateway Velocity Holding Corp. (Gateway)
Target: VGP Holdings LLC
Seller: Valvoline Inc.
CCI gives nod to Deal Involving VVDN Technologies
The CCI has approved the acquisition of shareholding by Kotak Funds, Kotak Special Situations Fund (KSSF) and Kotak Pre-IPO Opportunities Fund (KPIOF), and India Business Excellence Fund (IBEF)-IV through a combination of secondary share purchases of equity shares and subscription to Compulsorily Convertible Debentures (CCD) of VVDN Technologies.
Acquirers: KSSF, KPIOF and IBEF-IV
Target: VVDN Technologies Private Limited
About the Competition Commission of India:
Acting Chairperson- Sangeeta Verma
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Tokamak Energy Built World’s 1st Super Magnets for Fusion Power Plant TestingUnited Kingdom (UK)-based Tokamak Energy Limited, a fusion power research company, has built the world’s first set of new-generation High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) Magnets to be assembled and tested in fusion power plant-relevant scenarios.
- Strong magnetic fields are required to contain and manage the extremely hot, positively-charged hydrogen fuel, which becomes a plasma several times hotter than the Sun to produce clean, sustainable fusion energy.
i. The new Demo4 facility from Tokamak Energy will consist of 44 individual magnetic coils made using 38 kilometres (Km) of ground-breaking HTS tape, which carries currents with zero electrical resistance and requires 5 times less cooling power than traditional superconducting materials.
ii. According to Tokamak Energy, the Demo4 magnet has a magnetic field that is about a million times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, which will have a strength of over 18 Tesla.
About Tokamak Energy Ltd:
Chairman- Dr Chris Martin
Headquarters- Oxfordshire, UK
UP Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna Tabled Rs 6.90 Lakh Crore Budget for FY 2023-24On 22nd February 2023, Suresh Kumar Khanna, Finance Minister of Uttar Pradesh(UP) presented Rs 6.90 lakh crore budget for the year 2023-24 in the UP assembly focusing on agriculture, education and populist schemes.
- The budget of Rs 6,90,242.43 crore for FY24 was the biggest budget in the history of UP.
- The FY24 budget focuses on the all-around development of UP for making it a USD 1 trillion economy.
i.CM Yogi Adityanath noted that the 50% subsidy in electricity for irrigation for the farmers will be increased to 100% in a systematic way in the future.
ii.With an investment of Rs 10 lakh crore, the government aims to create around 20000 jobs in the next 5 years under UP Tourism Policy 2022.
iii.A provision of over Rs 21,159 crore was proposed for the construction of roads and bridges, and Rs 6,209 crore for their maintenance. Rs 3,473 crore is proposed for the work of bridges and roads for agricultural marketing facilities and Rs 1,525 crore for roads in rural areas.
Chief Minister– Yogi Adityanath
Governor– Anandiben Patel
Airport– Bareilly Airport, Aligarh Airport
UNESCO Heritage Sites– Agra Fort, Taj Mahal
Indian Railways Completed Electrification of Entire Broad Gauge Rail Line In Uttar Pradesh
On 21st February 2023, Indian Railways completed the electrification of the entire Broad Gauge (BG) routes in Uttar Pradesh (UP) with the electrification of the Subhagpur-Pachperwa BG route in the North Eastern Railway. This will increase the region’s rail connection and train speed.
- Also, the Highly Utilized Network (HUN-5), Jhansi-Muzzaffarpur-Katni is fully electrified now.
- Indian Railways has completed the electrification of BG routes in 6 zonal railways: East Coast Railway, North Central Railway, North Eastern Railway, Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway, and West Central Railway.
- Indian Railways has electrified 85% of Route Kilometer (RKM) and is rapidly progressing to complete Mission 100% Electrification and become the largest green railway network in the world.
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