Current Affairs -29 April 2023

MSME Minister Narayan Rane launches Revamped CGTMSE SchemeOn April 27, 2023, the Union Minister Narayan Tatu Rane, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (M/o MSME) launched the revamped Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • This launch was on the lines of an additional corpus support of Rs 9,000 crore in the Union Budget for FY 2023-24 to CGTMSE to revamp its Scheme to provide guarantee for additional Rs 2 lakh crore to MSEs.

Key Revamped Measures:
i.Reduction in guarantee fees for loans upto Rs 1 crore by 50% bringing the minimum guarantee fee to the level of 0.37% pa only.
ii.Raising of ceiling for guarantee from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore
iii.Enhancing the threshold limit for claim settlement without initiation of legal action to Rs 10 lakh.
Key Points:
i.CGTMSE will collaborate with National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NI-MSME), Hyderabad (Telangana) for setting up a Centre of Financial Inclusion for MSME.
ii.CGTMSE was also collaborating with various State Governments for enhanced guarantee coverage for MSEs in respective States.
iii.CGTMSE has been taking various initiatives which aims at boosting credit flow to MSEs.

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurated 91 New 100W FM Transmitters of AIRPrime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated All India Radio’s (AIR) 91 new 100W FM Transmitters which have been installed in 85 districts across 18 States and 2 Union Territories (UTs) to a give a further boost to radio connectivity in India.
i.As part of the government’s commitment to enhancing FM connectivity in the country, 91 new 100W FM transmitters were installed and the new expansion focuses on enhancing coverage in Aspirational Districts and in border areas.
ii.The States and UTs which are covered include Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
iii.With this expansion of AIR’s FM service, an additional 2 crore people will now be covered who did not have access to the medium. It will result in the expansion of coverage in about 35,000 sq km area.
Key Points:
i.While referring about his relationship with radio he stated about the upcoming 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat (On April 30, 2023).
ii.As per the statement of PM, the FM transmitters were being beneficial in spreading knowledge about important information on time such as weather updates related to agricultural practices, information on food and vegetable prices for the farmers.

  • It also provide information on the loss incurred by the use of chemicals in agriculture, pooling of advanced machinery for agriculture, new market practices of women self-help groups and assisting the entire community during times of a natural calamity.

iii.Additional info: The services of DD (Doordarshan) free dish, the largest DTH (Direct-to-Home) platform in India, are being provided to 4 crore 30 lakh homes.

India’s First Cable-Stayed Anji Khad Railway Bridge will be ready in May 2023

On 26th April 2023, the Anji Khad cable-stayed train bridge, the 96 cables on India’s 1st cable-stayed bridge connecting Katra and Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), have been installed, which will enable its ‘superstructure’ to be ready in May 2023 with the cost of over Rs.400 crore. The cable-stayed bridge portion is 473 metres (m) long and has a total length of 725m.

  • The bridge is a vital rail link between Kashmir and the rest of India that runs for 326km from Udhampur to Baramulla via Srinagar. The cable-stayed train bridge crosses the Anji River, a tributary of the Chenab.
  • Anji Cable Stay bridge is designed with a total of 96 cables: 48 cables each on lateral and central spans. The cables weigh 848.7 MT (Metric Ton) and the total length of cable strands involved is 653 Kilometre (km).
  • All 96 cables were fully installed on 26 April 2023, in a record time period of 11 months (June 2022 to April 2023)
  • The bridge forms an important link in Indian Railways’ aim to connect J&K to the rest of the country with all-weather rail connectivity. It connects Katra and Reasi via tunnels T2 and T3 on the Katra-Banihal section.

Urgent need to check tax evasion, illicit fund flows by Developing Nations: OECD report The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the 1st edition of its ‘The Tax Transparency in Asia 2023: Asia Initiative Progress Report stating a urgent need to check tax evasion and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), especially by Asian nations, which lost an estimated €25 billion in revenue in 2016.

  • This loss is due to the 4% of Asia’s financial wealth amounting to €1.2 trillion was held offshore.
  • The report was launched during the opening sessions of the Fourth Asia Initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum), which is held in New Delhi, India.

The report is a key output of the Asia Initiative, a regional programme launched in 2021 and focused on developing tailored solutions to ensure the implementation of the global tax transparency standards across Asia. It retraces Asia’s journey from 2009 to 2022 and reflects the progress achieved in the past 14 years.
i.The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting geopolitical crisis have made the fight against tax evasion IFFs more urgent, given slower economic growth, increased government expenditure on public health, social and economic support, and other areas.
ii.This resulted in reduced tax revenues and hindered states’ finances.

  • With a deteriorated debt outlook and the rise in interest rates, the ability to finance the debt, in particular for developing economies, is challenging.

iii.Developing economies are particularly affected, as these flows deprive nations of crucial funds to pursue their development agendas.
iv.Asia accounted for 38.8% of the estimated $7.8 trillion loss by developing countries due to IFFs between 2004-2013.
v.Asian members have reported at least €20.1 billion in additional revenues since 2009.

  • With more Asian members starting to use the EOIR (exchange of information on request) tool and to implement AEOI (automatic exchange of information), the additional revenues are expected to continue to increase in the coming years.

Note: All 22 Asian members of Global Forum are implementing the transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR) standard and 16 of them are committed to starting automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) exchanges by 2024.
About Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
Secretary-General– Mathias Cormann
Headquarters– Paris, France

RBI Removes Restrictions on Individuals from Opening Interest-earning FCAs in IFSCsOn 26 April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed restrictions on resident individuals from opening interest-earning Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) for making investments under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).

  • RBI also removed the condition of repatriating any funds lying idle in the FCA account for a period of up to 15 days.
  • This move by the RBI will help the banks at IFSC mobilise liabilities and also give them cheaper access to funds and in turn, allow them to lend at more competitive rates.

Key Points:
Background: On February 16, 2021, the RBI permitted resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India subject to the following restrictions.
Prevailing Restrictions:

  • Resident Individuals can open only a non-interest-bearing FCA in IFSCs for making investments under LRS.
  • Any funds lying idle in the account for up to 15 days were immediately repatriated to the domestic INR (Indian Rupee) account of the investor in India.
  • Resident Individuals are not allowed to settle any domestic transactions with other residents through those FCAs held in IFSC.

Removal of Restrictions:
i.To align the LRS for IFSCs set up under the IFSC Authority Act, 2019 and other foreign jurisdictions, RBI amended the above restrictions and enabled the interest-earning accounts.
ii.Thus the removal of the restriction would boost activity at Gift City(Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), India’s first and only IFSC, as the individuals now could able to park money in IFSC and will be able to earn some interest on that amount.
Point to be noted: The LRS empowers authorised dealers to facilitate remittances by resident individuals up to USD 250,000 per fiscal year for any transactions permitted by law.
Note – The above directions are issued under sections 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999).
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1st April 1935

NPCI International partners with PPRO to Facilitate Global e-commerce Payments through UPIOn April 27, 2023, NPCI International Payments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), signed a definitive agreement with digital payments infrastructure provider PPRO to facilitate global e-commerce payments through Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
To expand RuPay card and UPI acceptance globally such as payment service providers (PSPs) and global merchant acquirers
Key Points:
i.This agreement will facilitate NPCI International’s expansion into foreign markets and will add India to PPRO’s Local Payment Method (LPM) coverage map.
ii.It will also allow global PSPs, banks, payment gateways and enterprises with payment platforms to expand globally offering Indian consumers safe and secure cross-border purchases in rupees.
iii.By integrating UPI into PPRO’s digital payments infrastructure through a single connection, all the operational complexity to sell cross-border into India at scale is eliminated for partners.
iv.India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach an estimated $111 billion next year and almost double to $200 billion by 2026.
Note: The UPI network processes 60% of all domestic payments and 40% of instant payments processed globally. In March 2023, UPI processed over 870 crore transactions, the highest since its launch.
About PPRO:
PPRO is a fintech company that provides digital payments infrastructure to businesses and banks so that they can scale their checkout, acquiring, and risk services through one connection.
CEO– Simon Black
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom

Razorpay joins hands with ONDC to offer Payment Reconciliation Service On April 27, 2023, Razorpay, a fintech payments and banking platform for businesses joined hands with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a non-profit company set up by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as an alternative for internet shopping.

  • With this, Razorpay becomes the first payment gateway to launch a Payment Reconciliation Service for Network Participants (NPs) like buyers, sellers, and logistic partners on ONDC.
  • This will provide them with an integrated single view of all their transactions.

Key Points:
i.Through this solution, Razorpay aims to provide a seamless and efficient way for NPs to settle funds and process transactions on the ONDC in a secure way.
ii.It will further help NPs on ONDC by timely routing settlement information for a given transaction.
iii.ONDC allows buyers and sellers to transact with each other regardless of the platform they are on.
About Razorpay:
Managing Director and Co-founder– Shashank Kumar
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Establishment– 2014

Redington & SBI Partners to Offer Solar Loans of up to Rs 5 crore

Redington Limited (formerly known as Redington (India) Limited) and State Bank of India (SBI) have partnered to offer Solar Loans of up to Rs 5 crore at interest rates linked to rates that the bank charges its best customers.

  • As of 27th April 2023, the interest rates for these solar loans range between 9.5% and 10%, according to Pradeep Srikanthan, Vice President of Solar Equipment Group, Redington Limited.
  • The government has mandated that all solar modules, whether domestic or imported, should be certified and put in ALMM, a move that is thought to be more focused on preserving the fledgling domestic solar manufacturing industry.

Note: Redington also has partnerships with other financiers, notably ICICI Bank, U Gro Capital and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), who provide loans either for putting up rooftop solar plants or to systems integrators (channel partners).

ITC Overtakes Infosys as India’s 6th Largest Company; RIL tops the list ITC Limited has overtaken Infosys Limited, an Indian multinational information technology company, to become India’s 6th largest company, as per market capitalization(m-cap).  ITC’s market cap stands at Rs 5.11 lakh crore (as of April 24, 2023) while the market cap of Infosys (7th place) stands at ~Rs 5.08 lakh crore.
India’s 5 biggest companies: 

  • Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is India’s largest company with a market cap of ~Rs 16.07 lakh crore followed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) with ~Rs 11.62 lakh crore and HDFC Bank with ~Rs 9.28 lakh crore.
  • ICICI Bank stands at the 4th position with an m-cap of ~Rs 6.38 lakh crore and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) stands at 5th place with an m-cap of ~Rs 5.85 lakh crore.

Key Points:
i.ICT achieved this feat after its share surged 59% in 2022.
ii.In 2023 so far, ITC shares are up 24%, the best performer in the benchmark Nifty50.
iii.In 2022, ITC has given 61% returns. It has also given 129% returns in the past 3 years.
Note: ITC overtook home finance lender HDFC Limited on 21st April 2023.
About ITC Limited:
Chairman & Managing Director(CMD)– Sanjiv Puri
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal

68th Hyundai Filmfare Awards: Complete List of the Winners of Filmfare Awards 2023On 27th April 2023, the 68th edition of the Hyundai Filmfare Awards (Filmfare Awards 2023) took place at the Jio World Conventional Centre in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Filmfare Awards 2023 were presented in collaboration with the Maharashtra Tourism, Government of Maharashtra.

  • The event was co-hosted by  Salman Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Maniesh Paul.

i.Gangubai Kathiawadi directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Alia Bhatt, won 10 trophies including, Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.
ii.Veteran Bollywood actor Prem Chopra who predominantly acted in Hindi and Punjabi films received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • He has starred in around 380 films over the span of 60 years and is well known for his iconic villainous roles.

Green World Award 2023: India’s PGCIL, CMRL & Vedanta Each Bagged Awards under Different Categories On 24th April 2023, the Green Organization, London, United Kingdom (UK), presented the Green World Awards 2023, at Miami International Airport in the United States of America (USA).

  • India’s Vedanta Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), and Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) received awards in various categories.

Indian Award Winners:
i. Vedanta Limited has been conferred Global Gold Award in the Environmental Policy & Management category at the Green World Awards 2023.
ii. POWERGRID, a Maharatna Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) of the Ministry of Power (MoP), has been conferred Global Gold Award in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) category.

  • The award is given to recognize POWERGRID’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) works for enhancing agricultural productivity and rural livelihood in 10 villages of Jaipatna Block of Kalahandi District in Odisha through better crop management practices, community participation, and management of watersheds.
  • The award was received by Dr V. K. Singh, Director (Personnel) of POWERGRID, on behalf of the organization.

iii. The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) won Global Silver Award in the Environmental Policy category of the Green World Awards 2023.

  • The CMRL received the award in recognition of its initiatives to cut down on energy use, carbon emissions, and solar energy usage.
  • CMRL focuses on various environmental initiatives like improving air quality, environmental resource conservation, utilization of solar energy and developing plantations to improve the ecosystem.
  • CMRL is a joint venture between the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu that built and operates the Chennai Metro.

Other Winners of  Green World Awards 2023:

Grupo Ambipar of Brazil has been named the Green World Champion of Champions 2023 for their project Sustainable Biocapsules-Transforming Waste into trees.
Click here for the list of all winners of 2023
About the Green World Award:
i. The Green World Awards are annually given to companies, organisations, and governments to recognise, reward and promote the Environmental Best Practices around the world.
ii. The Green World Awards have been launched as the top tier of the Green Apple Awards (established in 1994) to enable companies and organisations to win environmental recognition not only for themselves but also for their countries.
iii. It will recognise and reward the endeavours of Commerce, Industry, Governments, Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Authorities and Individuals who have a beneficial impact on the environment.
Note: The Green Organisation, an environmental non-profit organisation, honours, recognises and promotes best practices for the environment across the world.

Neeli Bendapudi receives 2023 Immigrant Achievement Award On 28th April 2023, Indian-American Neeli Bendapudi, 59-year-old, the president of Pennsylvania University, United States of America (USA) was honoured with the American Immigration Council’s 2023 Immigrant Achievement Award for her contributions to American higher education.

  • The Immigrant Award is presented annually to an individual or organization exhibiting commitment and dedication to America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants and support for humane immigration policy.
  • The award was presented at the DC Immigrant Achievement Awards reception held at Washington,DC, USA.

About Neeli Bendapudi:
iNeeliBendapudi was born and raised inVisakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (AP) in India and she moved to the US in 1986 for her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas.
ii. From 2016, she served as a senior academic administrator and executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas, US, until her presidential election at Louisville in the US.
iii. From 2018 to 2021, she served as the 18th president of the University of Louisville in the US, and has been honoured at the national and university levels.
iv. In 2022, she became the first woman and the first person of colour to serve as the President of the Pennsylvania State University.
v. She also served as executive vice president and chief customer officer for Huntington National Bank, US.
About American Immigration Council:
Established in – 1987
Executive director – Jeremy Robbins
Headquarters – Washington, D.C (District of Columbia)

Vodafone appoints Margherita Della Valle as Permanent CEO On 27th April 2023, Vodafone Group Plc (Vodafone), a British multinational telecommunications company, appointed Margherita Della Valle, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (Interim) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), as the permanent CEO of Vodafone. She is the first permanent female CEO of Vodafone.

  • She has been serving as the CFO of Vodafone since 2018 and also took up the charge as interim CEO of the organisation on 1st January 2023 after Nick Read stepped down from the CEO role.

About Margherita Della Valle:
i. Margherita was appointed a non-executive director of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, a British multinational consumer goods company, in July 2020.
ii. She was appointed Group CFO and a member of the Vodafone Group Plc Board on 27 July 2018.
iii. From 2015 to 2018, Margherita served as Vodafone’s Deputy CFO. Prior to that, she served as Group Financial Controller, CFO for Vodafone’s European region, and CFO for Vodafone Italy.
iv. She joined Omnitel Pronto Italia, later known as Vodafone Italy, in 1994. Before switching to finance, she held various consumer marketing positions in business analytics and customer base management.
About Vodafone Group Plc:
Chairman- Jean-François van Boxmeer
Headquarters- Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom (UK)
Establishment- 17 July 1984     

Madhavarao selected as CMD of Bharat Dynamics LimitedMadhavarao, Director (Technical) of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has been selected for the Post of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Bharat Dynamics Limited BDL recommended by Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).

  • Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India to be the manufacturing base for guided missile systems and allied equipment for the Indian Armed Forces.

Selection Panel:
Interview process has been conducted with 5 candidates (including A Madhavarao): 2 from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and one each from the India Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) and A Madhavarao was selected among the 5 candidates by the PESB selection Panel.
About A Madhavarao:
iPrior to his Director (Technical) post, A Madhavarao, a retired Commodore served as Executive  Director (Marketing)  at  BDL and also served  as  Executive  Director  and  Unit  Head  of  BDL Kanchanbagh Unit, Telangana.
ii. He was involved in setting up the Nuclear and Safety field organisation in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) for induction of Nuclear Submarines into the Indian Navy.
iiiHe was involved in operating three classes of submarines of the Indian Navy and was part of the re-induction of Nuclear Submarine Chakra.
iv. He  has  also  served  on  three  frontline ships of the Indian Navy and held key positions in the Command Headquarters and Integrated Headquarters  Ministry  of  Defence  Navy  and  was  responsible  for  future  planning  and policy making.
About Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL):
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Founded in – 1970
Chairman and Managing Director – Siddharth Mishra

Scientist and orator Dr N Gopalakrishnan passes away

Dr N Gopalakrishnan, retired scientist and noted orator, passed away at the age of 68 in Thrippunithura, Kerala. He was born on 20th November 1955, in Tripunithura, Kerala.

  • He joined the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) – Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC) as Scientist-B in 1987.
  • In 2003, He moved to the Advanced Seismic Testing and Research Laboratory (ASTaR), Earthquake Engineering division of CSIR-SERC, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • He also served as the Director of the Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI).
  • He has co-authored 61 international and national journal publications.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 – April 28World Day for Safety and Health at Work is annually observed across the globe on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. The day is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the importance of the problem.

  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 was observed on 28th April 2023 under the theme “A safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work”.

i. World Day for Safety and Health at Work was initiated by the ILO in 2003 by capitalising on its traditional strengths of tripartism and social dialogue.
ii. The 1st ever World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed on 28th April 2003.

  • 28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organised worldwide by the Trade Union Movement since 1996.

About the International Labour Organization (ILO):
Director-General- Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment- 1919

Manipur observes 132nd Khongjom Day – 23 April 2023 Khongjom Day is annually observed in Manipur on 23rd April to commemorate the ancestors and to pay homage to the Khongjom War heroes, who were martyred at the Battle of Khongjom, (Anglo-Manipur War of 1891).
23 April 2023 marks the 132nd observance of Khongjom Day.

  • Nongthombam Biren Singh, Chief Minister (CM) of Manipur, and Ms Anusuiya Uikey, Governor of Manipur, paid their respects to the heroes at the event, held at Kheba Ching(Khongjom War Memorial) in Khongjom, Manipur.

1891 Anglo-Manipuri War:
i. The Anglo-Manipur War was an armed conflict between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Manipur, from 31 March to 27 April 1891, which ended in a British victory.
ii. Manipuri soldiers led by Paona Brajabashi fought a battle with British forces at the southern fringe of the Manipur valley at Khongjom.
iii. The hero of the battle, Major Paona Brajabashi, who died in the battle, is being honoured by the Manipuris as the epitome of patriotism and bravery.

  • Others who fought gallantly in the battle were Major Chongtham Mia, Chinglen Sana, Khumbong Major, Loitongba Jamadar, Keisa Jamadar, and Heirang Kongja.

iv. Khongjom War Memorial Complex has been built to commemorate the Anglo-Manipur War, situated in Khongjom, Thoubal district of Manipur.

37th Bureau of Civil Aviation Raising Day – 27th April 2023

On 27th April 2023, the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS), the National Regulator for Civil Aviation Security, commemorated its 37th Raising Day in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • Gen. Dr V.K. Singh (Retd.), Minister of State(MoS) for Civil Aviation, presented awards to a list of screeners who had been chosen as the best screeners in different categories during the opening session of the two-day programme.
  • The Minister also distributed awards to officers of BCAS conferred with the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day 2022 and the Police Medal for meritorious service on the occasion of Republic Day 2023 (26th January).

The BCAS was initially set up as a Cell in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in January 1978 on the recommendation of the Pande Committee constituted in the wake of the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight on 10th September 1976.

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