AAI & DGCA Signs Pact with European Agencies to Deepen Aviation Ties Between India & EU
During the European Union(EU)-India Aviation Summit 2023 held from 20th to 21st April 2023 in New Delhi, Delhi, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA India) signs a deal with European agencies to deepen the ties between India and European Union(EU) in the aviation sector.
- AAI and Eurocontrol signed a declaration of intent to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM).
- DGCA of India and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) signed a letter of intent (LoI) for closer cooperation.
Note: The summit was jointly organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.
Declaration of Intent between EUROCONTROL and AAI:
Eurocontrol signed the Declaration of Intent with AAI to establish an establishing a framework of cooperation to framework of cooperation to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM) for the benefit of aviation in Europe and India.
- Through this partnership, Eurocontrol and AAI aims to improve the performance and long-range predictability of flights between their respective airspace.
- This partnership will contribute to optimum capacity, flexible flights and interoperable systems and data.
About the Declaration of Intent:
This agreement also covers the exchange of updated flight plans and flight profile data and airport departure planning information for flights between their respective areas of responsibility for purposes of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM).
The area of cooperation under this agreement will include ATM simulators and simulations to benefit each others other’s expertise and knowledge and contribute to the global advancement of technology and best practices for the conduct of simulations and associated data preparation and analysis tools.
LoI Between DGCA of India and EASA:
DGCA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have signed a letter of intent for technical cooperation & developing a common understanding of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Innovative Air Mobility.
Vikram Dev Dutt, Director General of DGCA signed the LoI on behalf of DGCA of India.
i.The Indian government has set a goal of airports using 100% green energy by 2024 and achieving net zero emissions by 2030.
ii.Presently, 25 AAI airports have already adopted 100% green energy, and the government aims to make another 121 airports carbon neutral by 2025. Efforts are being made to promote the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel as well.
iii.The EU is a significant trading partner for India, with goods and services trade amounting to €88 billion and €36.5 billion, respectively.
- Around 2.3 million passengers travel directly between the two regions every year, making the EU-India aviation market strategically important.
iv.Currently, India has open skies arrangements with only six of the 27 EU member states.
Uneecops Plans to set up First Green Hydrogen Microgrid Project in Leh Region
On 24th April 2023, Uneecops Technologies Limited, a Delhi-based company specialising in green hydrogen and solar development, announced its plans to set up the First green hydrogen microgrid project in Leh Region (Ladakh). This is a pioneering initiative that is expected to revolutionise sustainable energy solutions in the region and pave the way for similar projects in the future.
i.The project involves setting up a 25kWe(Kilowatt-electric) green hydrogen-based fuel cell microgrid for a guest house located at the Power Station in Alchi, Leh, which is one of the most challenging terrains in India.
ii.The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of green hydrogen-based fuel cells as a reliable energy source for remote and off-grid locations.
iii.The electricity generation will be 200 units per day from the fuel cell (14 KG of hydrogen per day).
iv.The company will oversee the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the microgrid, which is expected to operate at a very high altitude of 3200 feet, making it the world’s first project of its kind.
This microgrid will be a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the major hydro-power company’s guest house at the Power Station in Alchi, Leh.
- The project also includes three years of operations and maintenance services to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted operation of the microgrid.
- This aspect of the project highlights the company’s commitment to providing reliable and sustainable energy solutions to its customers.
The project is aligned with the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy sources. As such, it represents a step towards sustainable development in the region.
About Uneecops Technologies Ltd.:
MD – Piyush Jain
Headquarters – NewDelhi, Delhi
Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Launches New Features in Eshram Portal for Unorganised Workers
On 24, April 2023, the Union Minister for Labour & Employment and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, launched new features in eShram Portal to improve the utility of the portal and facilitate ease of registration for unorganised workers.
- The new version also has a Data Sharing Portal (DSP) and a Data Analytics Portal.
i.The portal was added with a feature of capturing family details of migrant worker which will be supportive in providing Child education and women-centric schemes to the migrant workers who have migrated with family.
ii.Feature for sharing data of construction workers who are registering on eShram with the concerned Building and Other Construction Workers’ (BOCW) Welfare Board, has been added to ensure registration of eShram construction workers with the respective BOCW board and access to the schemes.
Purpose: The new feature will enable the eShram registered workers to connect with Employment opportunities, Skilling, Apprenticeship, Pension Scheme, Digital Skilling and States’ schemes through eShram portal.
Data Sharing Portal (DSP):
i.DSP for sharing of eShram data with the State/ UT Governments was also launched by the Union Minister Bhupender Yadav.
ii.This portal will enable sharing of eShram beneficiaries data with the respective States and Union Territories for targeted implementation of social security/welfare schemes for the unorganised workers registered on eShram.
About eShram portal
i.Ministry of Labour & Employment launched eShram portal on 26th August 2021 to create a comprehensive National Database of Unorganised Workers which is seeded with Aadhaar.
ii.As on 21st April 2023, over 28.87 crore unorganised workers have registered on eShram portal.
RAMBAAN, Asia’s 1st Mobile Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, Exhibited at G20 Summit, Goa
India’s and Asia’s first mobile biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory named ‘Rapid Action Mobile BSL-3 Advanced Augmented Network (RAMBAAN)’, designed to investigate emerging viral infections was showcased at the second G-20(Group of 20) Health Working Group meeting held in Panaji ,Goa.
- The made-in-India mobile clinic RAMBAAN (Rapid Action Mobile BSL3+ Advanced Augmented Network) can be used to reach remote regions to carry out testing.
- RAMBAAN will play a major role in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- RAMBAA, equipped with a -20 degree and -80-degree refrigerator, bio-safety cabinets, an automatic Ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor, and a real-time PCR( polymerase chain reaction) machine, can access the remotest part of India.
The made-in-India mobile clinic RAMBAAN (Rapid Action Mobile BSL3+ Advanced Augmented Network) can be used to reach remote regions to carry out testing.
Note: India has 2 operational mobile laboratories. One at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh catering to North-Eastern India and the other is at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, Maharashtra catering to southern and western parts of India.
India-built Mongolia’s First greenfield Oil Refinery to be completed by 2025Mongolia’s first greenfield oil refinery, built in the South Gobi on the outskirts of the capital city -Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and funded with Indian assistance,will be completed by 2025.
- Its first stage of Mongol Oil Refinery, built with a USD 1.2 billion Indian soft loan, will be completed at the end 2023 while its Stage-2 (Open Art Units, Utilities & Offsites, Plant Buildings) and Stage-3 (Captive Power Plants) at a cost of USD 790 million will be completed by 2025.
- The project is part of the Development Partnership Administration initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India.
It is being developed by the Hyderabad (Telangana)-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) which received the letter of authorization for this project in 2022.
Need behind this Refinery:
Mongolia is entirely dependent on Russia for its energy imports. Now, to overcome this scenario, this refinery is being developed which will help Mongolia to meet 70% of its demand domestically including petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
i.Mongolia is also looking for Indian investment in its mining and metals, with plans to start shipping coking coal to India by 2024.
ii.Mongolia has key rare earth metals, which is crucial to India’s ambitions to build cutting edge technological capabilities in semiconductors and green mobility.
iii.Mongolia and India are also expected to establish regular direct flights.
President– Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh
Currency– Mongolian Tugrik
SIPRI Report: World Military Expenditure in 2022 rose by 3.7% to US$2240 billion; US Topped the List, India Ranked 4thAccording to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Fact Sheet April 2023 ‘Trends In World Military Expenditure, 2022’, World military expenditure grew for the 8th consecutive year in 2022 by 3.7% in real terms (i.e. when adjusted for inflation) to an all-time high of US$2240 billion.
- With a military expenditure of US$81.4 billion, India was the fourth largest spender in the world in 2022. Its spending increased by 6.0% from 2021 and 47% from 2013.
- The United States, China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia, were the five biggest spenders in 2022, which together accounted for 63% of world military spending.
- Total world military spending accounted for 2.2% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022.
- Global spending grew by 19% over the decade 2013–22 and has risen every year since 2015.
About SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute):
It is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board – Stefan Löfven
Headquarters – Solna, Sweden
Establishment – 1966
Capacity Utilisation robust but New Orders dip in Q3FY23: RBI’s 60th OBICUSThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has conducted the 60th round of quarterly Order books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization survey (OBICUS) covering 762 manufacturing companies. It was conducted during Q3:2022-23 to provide a snapshot of demand conditions in India’s manufacturing sector during October-December 2022.
New order book:
i.In Q3FY23, New order book of companies recorded a decline to 8.4% indicating a slowdown in demand in the manufacturing sector.
- The average amount of new order books has dipped from its peak of Rs 307.9 crore in Q2 FY23 to Rs 212.2 crore in Q3FY23.
- This decline is due to Difficult external environment with the threat of recession in many advanced economies and slowing domestic demand due to RBI’s aggressive rate hikes.
ii.While the growth of New Order Books was negative between Q2FY20 and Q1 FY21, the order book grew consecutively in the next three quarters till Q1FY22, registering a staggering 105% growth.
i.Capacity Utilization (CU) at manufacturing facilities was at a robust 74.3% in Q3 FY23, up from 74% in Q2.
- Utilization has held above the 72% mark since Q3 FY22, indicating that the manufacturing activity is taking place at a rapid pace.
ii.Utilisation had hit a low of 47.3% in Q1 FY21 when most manufacturing units cut down production. The pre-pandemic level (Q1 FY20) was 73.6%.
The average inventory level of manufacturing companies increased slightly by 2.3% to Rs 519.9 crore in Q3FY23 from Rs 508.2 crore in Q2FY23. The inventory levels were the highest during the pandemic in Q4 FY20 at Rs 609.9 crore.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
i. It 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.
iv. Thus, 2023 marks the 75th year of public ownership of the Reserve Bank and its emergence as a national institution.
HDFC Bank, Axis Bank Signs the Definitive Agreements with Go Digit Life Insurance
On April 21, 2023, the two largest Private sector banks of India, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank signed the definitive agreements with insurance technology startup Go Digit Life Insurance to pick up each a 9.94% equity stake of the insurance firm for a payment of each Rs 69.90 crore, which will be made in two tranches.
Stake Acquisition – Two Tranche of Payment:
- It has made the first tranche of payment of Rs 10.93 crore towards the acquisition of 9.94% equity stake.
- As per HDFC Bank’s definitive agreement, the remaining amount of Rs. 58.97 crores would be invested by the bank at its discretion in the second tranche post completion of the Initial Subscription.
- It has also made its 1st tranche of payment of Rs 10.93 crore for towards the acquisition.
- The transaction is expected to be completed by 3 to 6 months from the execution date.
About Go Digit Life Insurance:
i.The current chairman of Go Digit Life Insurance, Kamesh Goyal has founded this organisation in 2017.The life insurance firm was incorporated in December 2021, and was subsequently converted to a public limited company on May 10, 2022.
ii.It has yet to receive the certificate of registration from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to carry out the life insurance business.
iii.It currently offers products in the motor, travel, property and health insurance segments under Go Digit General Insurance.
iv.The company, which last valued at US$3.5 billion, has filed US$440 million initial public offering (IPO), which comprises a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 1,250 crore and an offer for sale (OFS) of 109.45 million equity shares by a promoter and existing shareholders.
Note – As per the statement of the banks, the first tranche investment is subject to approval to be granted by IRDAI to Go Digit Life for the application filed by Go Digit Life under Form IRDAI/R2 (i.e. the Application for Registration as Indian Insurance Company)
About Axis Bank:
MD & CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1993
Tagline – Badhti Ka Naam Zindagi
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to Launch Gold-Pegged Digital Currency
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to launch a gold-backed digital currency to serve as legal tender in Zimbabwe. This is an initiative of the government of Zimbabwe to stabilize the local currency from continued depreciation against the United States (US) dollar.
- This will allow small amounts of Zimbabwean dollars to be exchanged for the digital gold token, enabling more Zimbabweans to hedge against currency volatility.
- In 2009, Zimbabwe adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency following hyperinflation and in 2019, the Zimbabwean dollar was reintroduced in an effort to revive its struggling economy.
Indian, Nepali Private Companies Sign Agreement for Direct Energy Sale
On 19th April 2023, In a major boost for energy cooperation between Nepal and India, private entities and companies of India and Nepal signed an agreement for selling and buying energy directly. Previously, this power was only used by the government of India and Nepal or government-owned entities.
- Nepal Power Exchange (NEPEX), established by the private sector with the aim of trading electricity abroad, signed the agreement with India’s Steel Mint.
- Krishna Prasad Acharya, President of the Independent Power Producers’ Association(IPPA), Nepal and Kshitij Pandey of SteelMint(BigMint Technologies Private Limited) were the signatories.
- Under this agreement, Indian private-sector hydropower project developers can buy electricity up to 200 MW from Nepal.
The agreement was signed during the 8th Power Summit 2023 held on 18th-19th April 2023 in Kathmandu, Nepal with slogan Broadening Green Energy Markets.
Md Sahabuddin sworn in as 22nd president of Bangladesh
On 24th April 2023, a former judge, freedom fighter Mohammed (Md) Sahabuddin was sworn in as the 22nd president of Bangladesh in Durbar Hall of Bangabhaban, Dhaka in Bangladesh.
- Md Shahabuddin, the 73-year-old politician, an Awami League candidate, was elected uncontested on February 13 2023.
- The 21st President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid, the longest-serving president of Bangladesh will go on retirement after spending 10 years and 41 days as President for two consecutive terms, and according to the Constitution of Bangladesh, he cannot hold a third term.
Note: After the death of the then President Md Zillur Rahman, Md Abdul Hamid became the acting President on March 20, 2013. He was sworn in for his second term on April 24, 2018.
i. Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury conducted the oath-taking ceremony along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, cabinet ministers and several hundred distinguished guests.
ii. Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain moderated the ceremony.
About Md Sahabuddin:
i. MdShahabuddin was a student leader of the Awami League during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He participated in the Liberation War as a freedom fighter in 1971.
ii. In 1982, Md Shahabuddin joined as a Munsef (Assistant Judge) of the Judicial Department in the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS).
iii.After a 25-year career as a judge, including various positions, he retired as a District and Sessions Judge in 2006.
iv.From 2011 to 2016, he served as the commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
v.In February 2023, he, resigned from the board of directors of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited after being elected President of Bangladesh, a position he held since 2017.
Capital – Dhaka
President – Mohammed Shahabuddin
Prime Minister – Sheikh Hasina
Currency – Bangladeshi Taka
Shreekant M Bhandiwad takes charge as Chairman of KVGB
Shreekant M Bhandiwad took charge as the new Chairman of the Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB), an Indian Regional Rural Bank sponsored by Canara Bank headquartered in Dharwad, Karnataka.
- Prior to the appointment, Shreekant M Bhandiwad was heading the Patna circle of Canara Bank, Bihar.
- He succeeds, Puttaganti Gopikrishna, who was serving as the Chairman of KVGB from 2019 to 2023. P Gopikrishna, repatriated to Canara Bank as Circle Head, Bengaluru, in Karnataka.
About Shreekant M Bhandiwad:
i. Shreekant M Bhandiwad, a postgraduate in agriculture has worked as an Agricultural Extension Officer in rural branches of Canara Bank.
ii. He has also worked as a consultant in Agricultural Consultancy Services of Canara Bank at the Head Office in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
iii. Having an experience of 29 years in Canara Bank, Shreekant M Bhandiwad has worked in states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and Karnataka in various capacities such as branch in-charge, regional head and circle head.
iv. He was also a Deputy Managing Director of Canfin Homes Ltd, Bengaluru in Karnataka for a period of three years.
About Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB):
KVGB came into existence with effect from 12th September 2005 by merging 4 previous Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) namely Malaprabha, Bijapur, Varada and Netravati Grameena Banks.
- It is a scheduled Bank with share capital contributed in the ratio of 50:15:35 by the Central Government, the Government of Karnataka and the Canara Bank respectively.
Chairman– Shreekant M Bhandiwad
Headquarters– Dharwad, Karnataka
DRDO & IN conducted Successful Trial of BMD Interceptor from Naval Platform
On April 21, 2023, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy (IN) successfully conducted a maiden flight trial of sea-based endo-atmospheric Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal.
- This has enhanced India’s deterrence capabilities against aerial intrusion.
To engage and neutralize a hostile ballistic missile threat
i.The missile is capable of taking down incoming ballistic missiles from sea.
ii.Prior to this, DRDO has successfully demonstrated land-based BMD systems with capability to neutralize ballistic missile threats, emerging from adversaries.
iii.With these developments, India has joined the elite club of Nations having Naval BMD capability.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Chairman– Dr Samir V Kamat
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
SpaceX Starship, World’s Biggest Rocket, Explodes During 1st Flight Test
On 20th April 2023, SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, the most powerful and biggest rocket ever built, exploded during its first flight. The uncrewed Starship was launched from Starbase, the SpaceX spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.
- The separation of the first-stage rocket booster failed to occur and the rocket experienced multiple engines out during the test and lost altitude. The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and the ship.
- It is standard procedure to destroy a wayward rocket to prevent damage to people or property below.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has chosen Starship to ferry astronauts to the Moon in late 2025 for the first time since the Apollo programme ended in 1972.
14th National Panchayati Raj Day – 24th April 2023
National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) is annually observed across India on 24th April to mark the day of the decentralisation of power to the grassroots, with the institutionalisation of Panchayati Raj.
The day marks the establishment of the 1st Panchayati Raj system with constitutional status in India back in 1993.
- 24th April 2023 marks the observance of the 14th National Panchayati Raj Day.
- The National Panchayati Raj Day 2023 commemorates 30 years of Panchayati Raj in India.
i.In 2010, Then-Prime Minister(PM) of India Manmohan Singh declared the 24th April of every year as the National Panchayati Raj Day.
ii.The first edition of National Panchayati Raj Day was observed on 24th April 2010.
On the occasion of NPRD 2023, The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh(MP), has organised a major event as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) – Samaaveshi Vikaas (Inclusive Development) adopting Whole-of-the-Government approach.
- The event was organised at the Special Armed Forces Ground, Rewa, MP.
- Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi graced the event as the Chief Guest and launched the AKAM campaign for the theme “Inclusive Development” – “Samaaveshi Vikas” during the event.
i.PM Modi inaugurated an integrated e-GramSwaraj(eGS) and Government eMarketplace (GeM) portal for public procurement at the Panchayat level.
ii.PM Modi also handed over the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Property Card to select beneficiaries
International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace 2023 – April 24The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is annually observed across the globe on 24th April to raise awareness about preserving the values of multilateralism and global cooperation to maintain peace laid out in the UN’s charter and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 12 December 2018 adopted the resolution A/RES/73/127 and proclaimed 24th April of every year as the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace with effect from the 73rd session of the General Assembly.
ii. The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace was first observed on 24 April 2019.
UN English Language Day 2023 – April 23United Nations(UN) English Language Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd April to promote the English language and to celebrate the history, culture and achievements associated with the English language.
The day, 23rd April, also marks the birth and death anniversary of English playwright, poet and actor, William Shakespeare.
i.In 2010, the United Nations Department of Global Communications observed the first-ever UN English Language Day, as a part of its initiative to establish language days to promote and celebrate all 6 official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – of the UN.
ii.The UN’s language days are annually observed to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.
World Book and Copyright Day 2023-April 23World Book and Copyright Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd April to honour the role of books and reading and to promote a reading culture worldwide, particularly among young people.
- The annual observance is led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The theme of World Book and Copyright Day 2023 is “Indigenous Languages”, which is centred around the native languages of a particular country.
During the 28th session of UNESCO’s General Conference held in Paris, France, from 25th October to 16th November 1995, UNESCO adopted a resolution proclaiming the 23rd April of every year as World Book and Copyright Day.
- The resolution provided international recognition to a tradition started by the Official Book Chamber in Catalonia, Spain, which began celebrating the day in 1923.
The first-ever World Book and Copyright Day was observed on 23rd April 1996.
Why April 23?
UNESCO chose April 23 as the date for World Book Day, as it coincides with the death anniversary of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as the birth anniversary of renowned authors such as Haldor Kiljan Laxness, Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
World Book Capital:
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has named Accra (Ghana) as UNESCO World Book Capital for 2023, following the evaluation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France
Formation – 16 November, 1945
Members – 193 Members and 12 Associate Members