Current Affairs Daily Digest – 20 April 2023

MoTA Minister Arjun Munda launches CSS ‘Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from NER‘ in Manipur i.On April 18, 2023, Union Minister Arjun Munda, Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) launched MoTA’s new Central Sector Scheme (CSS) namely ‘Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from North -Eastern Region (PTP-NER)’ during a function at Auditorium of Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) in Imphal, Manipur.
ii.The outlay of scheme is ∼ Rs 143 Crore
iii.It aims to strengthen livelihood opportunities for NER’s artisans from Scheduled Tribes (STs) through increased efficiency in procurement, logistics and marketing of tribal products from North Eastern states.
About Manipur:
Governor– Anusuiya Uikey
Zoological Park– Manipur Zoological Garden
Airport– Imphal Airport (also called Bir Tikendrajit International Airport or Tulihal Airport)

India’s target of blending 20% ethanol in petrol advanced from 2030 to 2025-26On April 18, 2023, the Government of India (GoI) advanced its target to achieve 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol from 2030 to 2025-26.

  • As per the Union Minister – Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG), Hardeep Singh Puri in the Global CBG (Compressed BioGas) Conference of the Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE) – CBG Producers Forum, the GoI has notified the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 to increase the usage of biofuels in the energy and transportation sectors of the country.
  • The GoI has set a target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15 per cent in 2030 to make India a Gas based economy.

Production of Compressed BioGas:
i. Production of indigenous biofuels will play a pivotal role in achieving the targets of net zero and import reduction.
ii. The ethanol blending in petrol has been increased from 1.53 per cent in 2013-14 to 10.17 per cent in July 2022.

  • This translates into forex savings of Rs 41,500 crore, timely payment of over Rs 40,600 crore to farmers and a reduction of 27 lakh tones in CO2 emissions.

iii. The objectives of the Programme include reducing import dependence, savings in foreign exchange, providing boost to domestic agriculture sector and for associated environmental benefits.
Note: At present we are importing around 50 percent of our requirement of natural gas.
India has a target to set up 5000 commercial plants by 2024- 25 and produce 15 MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl) of CBG which would replace other gaseous fuels being used in the country.
About Ethanol blending:
i. In ethanol blending, a blended motor fuel containing ethyl alcohol derived from agricultural products is blended with petrol.
ii. Ethanol blended petrol has higher octane number than petrol thereby aiding in complete combustion and reduced vehicular emissions.

  • Ethanol is a biofuel, naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or by petrochemical processes like ethylene hydration.

NTPC & Chempolis India signs MoU for Setting Up Bamboo-Based Bio-Refinery at Bongaigaon

On 10th April 2023, NTPC Limited (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), the largest power-generating utility in India, and Chempolis India Private Limited, a Fortum group associate company and a leading Finnish bio-refining technology provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the feasibility of setting up a Bamboo-based Bio-Refinery in Bongaigaon, Assam.

  • The MoU was signed in presence of Dilip Kumar Patel, Director (HR) of NTPC, Ashok Kumar Kalra, Director (HR) of Engineers India Limited (EIL), and Markus Alholm, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chempolis.
  • Chempolis will work with NTPC to conduct the feasibility study for the project that would use bamboo for the manufacturing of 2G Ethanol, Bio-Coal for thermal power plants, and other value-added goods.

The proposed Bio-Refinery is planned as an integration project with NTPC Bongaigaon Power Plant.

  • The Bio-Coal produced by the Bio-Refinery shall partly replace coal in the power plant, effectively converting 5% of the generation of the power plant to green.

World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023 released by Henley & Partners; New York topsi.The investment migration firm Henley & Partners released its annual ‘World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023‘ which is again topped by New York, United States (US) with 340,000 millionaires, 724 centi-millionaires, and 58 billionaires in 2022.
ii.New York followed by Tokyo (Japan), California’s Bay Area (US), London (United Kingdom) and Singapore.
iii.The annual survey looked at 97 cities in 9 regions around the world viz. Africa, Australasia, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
iv.The list also featured Mumbai (Maharashtra) at 21st rank with 59,400 millionaires, 238 Centi-millionaires, and 29 Billionaires.
About Henley & Partners:
Chief Executive Officer– Dr. Juerg Steffen
Headquarters– London, UK

Highlights of EAM S Jaishankar’s Visit to Uganda, Ethiopia, & MozambiqueUnion minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) visited African nations – Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique for 6 days from April 10 to 15, 2023 to strengthen India’s bilateral relationship with the countries.
Key Points:
i.Launch of Tulsi Ghat Restoration Project:

  • During his visit to Kampala, Uganda, the External Affairs Minister (EAM), S. Jaishankar launched the ‘Tulsi Ghat Restoration Project‘ of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), a project funded by the Indian community of Uganda.

ii.Inauguratin of NFSU’s Uganda Campus: 

  • EAM inaugurated the first foreign campus of India’s National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) in Jinja, Uganda.
  • Notably, the inauguration of NFSU’s Uganda campus marks the first government University of India to open a campus anywhere abroad in the world.

iii.Rides ‘Made in India’ train in Mozambique: EAM rode a ‘Made in India’ train (procured under an Indian Line of Credit (LoC)) from Maputo to Machava in Mozambique.
iv.Inaugurated Buzi Bridge in Mozambique:  He also virtually inaugurated the Buzi Bridge constructed as part of the 132 km Tica-Buzi-Nova-Sofala Road project. The bridge is being constructed by India through Indian LoC.
About Ministry of External Affairs(MEA)
Union Minister – Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Rajya Sabha Gujarat)
Minister of State (MoS) – VMuraleedharan; Meenakashi Lekhi ; Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh

UNFPA’s SOWP 2023: India’s population pegged at 142.8 crore, becomes World’s most populous nationAccording to the State of World Population (SOWP) 2023 titled “8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: the case for Rights and Choices” published by the
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India overtakes China to become the most populous nation in the world, the population of India has grown by 1.56% in the past year and it is estimated to be 142.86 crore.

  • The population of China is estimated to be 142.57 crore. 

Global population:
In November 2022, the global population has crossed the 8 billion mark. Experts states that the population growth is not as rapid as it was and the growth is at its slowest rate since 1950.
About United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
Executive Director– Natalia Kanem
Headquarters– New York, United States of America(USA)

RBL Bank launches Unique Digital FD Scheme for New-to-Bank CustomersOn April 18, 2023, RBL Bank launched an innovative Digital Fixed Deposit (FD) Scheme available to new-to-bank customers. Customers can book the Digital FD within minutes without having to visit a branch or opening a savings account with the Bank.

  • It has an interest rate of up to 7.8 per cent and a term of 15 months to 725 days.

Key Points:
i.It will offer several additional benefits, such as embedded insurance cover, seamless savings account opening process, ability to track and manage FD digitally, etc.
ii.The FD holders can opt for insurance cover under a Hospital Daily Cash Benefit policy which offers daily cash benefit for hospital expenses.
iii.The Digital FD utilizes quick online KYC (Know Your Customer) process, making it easy and hassle-free for customers to open an FD within minutes.
About RBL Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– R Subramaniakumar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Apno Ka Bank

IBA Constituted 4-Member Working Group on ARCsThe Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has constituted a four-member working group on Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) which will operate on various issues and report them to the IBA, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the Union government.
The four-member of the working group include

  • Hari Hara Mishra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Asset Reconstruction Companies Association.
  • Purshotam Agarwal, Chief investment officer, National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL).
  • Mythili Balasubramanian, Executive Director, Edelweiss.
  • Tarun Kumar, Director, Encore Asset Reconstruction Company.

About Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs):
It is a financial institution (FI) that buys the NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) or bad loans from banks and FI and helps them to recover from the NPAs.
They are registered under RBI and regulated under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.
About Indian Banks’ Association (IBA):
Chief Executive – Sunil Mehta; Chairman – Atul Kumar Goel (MD & CEO of Punjab national Bank)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1946

SIB introduces 2 Savings Accounts for NRIs – SIB SEAFARER & SIB PULSEOn April 18, 2023, South Indian Bank (SIB) launched two flexible saving products namely, SIB SEAFARER and SIB PULSE for its non-resident Indian (NRI) customers specifically for mariners and healthcare professionals.

  • The two saving products would enable the NRIs to either maintain the term deposits or the prescribed minimum balance in the saving account.

Features of SIB Seafarer & SIB PULSE :

  • Free and unlimited Debit card transactions, NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer)/ RTGS & DD / PO.
  • Free International Debit card, SMS & Internet banking services.

About South Indian Bank Ltd.
MD&CEO – Murali Ramakrishnan
Headquarters – Thrissur, Kerala
Tagline – Experience Next Generation Banking

SBI Board Approves to Raise USD 2 Billion Via Long-Term Debt

On 18th April 2023, the State Bank of India (SBI), a public sector lender, in its Executive Committee of the Central Board, approved to examine the status and decide on long-term fund-raising in single or multiple trenches up to USD 2 billion (about Rs 16,000 crore) under Reg-S/144A, through Public Offer and/or private placement of senior unsecured notes in USD or other convertible currency during FY2023-2024.
SBI will raise USD 2 billion through foreign currency bonds in 2023-2024 in single or multiple tranches.

  • SBI will utilise the fund for augmenting additional Tier 1 capital and the overall capital base, and for strengthening capital adequacy according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.
  • In March 2023, SBI raised Rs 3,717 crore through an additional tier 1 bond sale.
  • According to SBI, this is the 3rd Basel III compliant additional tier 1 (AT1) bond sale and the latest issue was closed at a coupon rate of 8.25%.

IIT Roorkee signs MoU with Taiwan’s NCDR to Develop Tech Solutions for Earthquakes & Floods

The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee), Uttarakhand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Science and Technology Centre for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), Taiwan, to develop technology solutions to natural hazards, including earthquakes, landslides, floods, debris flow, and compound disasters. The agreement was signed during a visit by NCDR scientists and faculty members, as well as NCDR director Dr Hongey Chen.

  • The MoU aims to develop scientific and academic cooperation and scientific research to promote relations and mutual understanding between NCDR and the Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management (CoEDMM) of IIT Roorkee.
  • The researchers from IIT Roorkee and NCDR aim to co-establish an early warning sensor network equipped with P-Alert sensors at selected locations in Uttarakhand.

Hurun’s Global Unicorn Index 2023: BYJU’s, Swiggy & Dream11 Named India’s top UnicornsAccording to the Global Unicorn Index 2023 published by Hurun Research Institute, India is ranked 3rd on the index with 68 unicorns (up 14 compared to 2022).  Online educator BYJU’S worth USD 22 billion topped the list of Indian Uniocrons, followed by on-demand delivery start-up Swiggy and fantasy sports platform travel-stay finder Dream11 (USD 8 billion each).

  • The United States of America(USA) topped the index with 666 unicorns, up 179 compared to 2022, followed by China in 2nd spot with 316 unicorns (up 15).
  • BYJU’S is the only Indian Unicorn among the list of the top 10 biggest rises in valuation since pre-Covid.

Tata Steel becomes Steel Sustainability Champion 2023 for sixth consecutive yearTata Steel has been recognised as 2023 Steel Sustainability Champion by the World Steel Association and the announcement was made at the Worldsteel Special General Meeting of the Board of Members held in Vienna, Austria.

  • Recognised for the sixth consecutive year this year, Tata Steel has been a champion every year since the programme’s launch in 2018.
  • This prestigious award highlights Tata Steel’s commitment to sustainability and acknowledges its position as a world-class steel producer.


  • The Steel Sustainability Champions recognition is based on evaluations of data provided on various sustainability indicators, like material efficiency, environmental management systems, lost time injury frequency rate, employee training, investment in new processes and products, and economic value distributed.
  • Companies are also required to provide Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data to worldsteel’s data collection programme, which covers more than 60 percent of its crude steel production data and is less than five years old.

Other Recognitions:
i. Tata Steel was recognised as 2022 ‘Supplier Engagement Leader’ by CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), a global environmental non-profit charity, for its efforts in measuring and reducing environmental risks across its supply chain.

  • This achievement marks the third time in the last four years that the Company has been rated at the highest level by its suppliers.

ii. The company’s Noamundi and Joda East Iron Mines received a 5-Star rating for sustainable development for 2021-22 from the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

  • The Noamundi mine received the honour in 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 as well.

About Tata Steel Company:
Asia’s first integrated private steel company in India.
Founded in: 25 August 1907, in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO & MD: T. V. Narendran

World’s 1st Smart Gun: Biofire Technologies Unveils Biometric Identification to Prevent Misuse

Colorado (United States of America-USA)-based Biofire Technologies, a gun-making company, has unveiled the world’s 1st smart gun “Biofire Smart Gun”, a 9mm handgun secured by fingerprint and facial recognition biometrics. The smart gun can only be fired after verifying the shooter’s identity with fingerprint/biometric and facial recognition technology.

  • A 9mm handgun is designed to prevent unauthorised access and usage by individuals such as children and criminals.
  • It makes use of advanced technology that limits access to only the owner and individuals who have been properly authorised by the owner.

Kai Kloepfer, the founder of Biofire, has the goal of lowering the suicide rate in the USA as well as the number of children dying from accidental firing.

World Liver Day 2023 – April 19World Liver Day is annually observed across the globe on April 19 to raise awareness about the importance of liver health and educate people on how to maintain a healthy liver. The day provides an opportunity to educate people about the risk factors for liver diseases, such as alcohol consumption, obesity, viral hepatitis, and certain medications.

  • World Liver Day 2023 was observed on 19th April 2023 under the theme “Be Vigilant, Do Regular Liver Check-Up, Fatty Liver Can Affect Anyone”.

Note: WHO annually observes 28th July as World Hepatitis Day to mark the birthday of Nobel-prize-winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.

TNeGA signs MoU with Indian Bank for Payment Aggregator Services

On 18th April 2023, the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), a State Nodal Agency under the Information Technology and Digital Service (IT&DS) Department, Government of Tamil Nadu(TN), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the public sector Indian Bank for integrating Payment Aggregator for e-Governance Application of various department in Tamil Nadu (TN).

  • The MoU was signed in the presence of T. Mano Thangaraj, Minister for IT&DS  Tamil Nadu, and Mahesh Kumar Bajaj, Executive Director of Indian Bank.

Key Highlights:
i. With this MoU, all government departments now have access to a plug-and-play platform for their payment-related needs.
ii. The Indian Bank Payment Aggregator platform services will offer timely and cost-effective solutions to departments as well as provide citizens and businesses with a seamless payment experience.
iii. This MoU would support one of the top priorities of the TN government by enabling easy access, transparency, and quick service delivery.
iv. The bank’s payment aggregator service will serve as a one-stop solution for all payment collection needs for different departments in the TN government.

  • This payment aggregator solution platform enables an integrated payment mechanism for online payment and collection through aggregation and reconciliation services with multiple payment channels such as debit/credit cards, UPI payment wallets, net banking, e-challans, and e-UPI.

About Indian Bank:
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Shanti Lal Jain
Headquarters- Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Establishment- 15 August 1907

Sabarimala Greenfield Airport Project gets Site Clearance from MoCA 

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted site clearance for the Sabarimala Greenfield Airport project at Kottayam in Kerala, which aims to enhance infrastructure and connectivity to Sabarimala.

  • The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIC) has proposed the project, which is expected to be built on 2,250 acres of land using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, with an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.
  • The airport will have a runway length of at least 3.5 kilometres on the 08/26 alignment.
  • Once completed, the airport will become the 5th International Airport in Kerala.

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