Current Affairs: 10 March 2023

“TROPEX 2023”: Indian Navy Wraps Up Mega Naval Wargame in IORThe Indian Navy’s operational-level exercise, “Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise” (TROPEX-23), which took place across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for 4 months from November 2022 to March 2023, culminated in the Arabian Sea.
i.The TROPEX 2023 was located in the Indian Ocean, including the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, and covered an area of about 21 million square nautical miles.

  • It extended around 4300 nautical miles (nm) from north to south up to 35-degrees south latitude and 5000 nm from the Persian Gulf in the west to the North Australian coast in the east.

ii.Over 70 Indian Navy ships, six submarines, and nearly 75 aircraft participated in TROPEX 23.
iii.Coastal Defence Exercise Sea Vigil 2022 and Amphibious Exercise 2023 (AMPHEX 2023) were part of the overall exercise program.

  • These exercises included significant participation from the Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF), and Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

ov.TROPEX 2023 provided an opportunity to assess the combat readiness of the Indian Navy’s combined fleets to operate in a multi-threat environment.
Key Points:
i.The exercise featured various aspects of combat operations, such as live weapon firings, and was conducted in phases both in harbour and at sea.
ii.Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence (MoD) visited the newly commissioned Indian Navy Ship (INS) Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, as part of the joint final phase.
iii.The Indian Navy is credited for pioneering the “Make in India” initiative and embracing Aatmanirbharta to become “Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive, and Future Proof.”
Sea Vigil 2022
In November 2022, “Sea Vigil-22,” the 3rd edition of the largest “Pan-India” Coastal Defence Exercise, was conducted across India’s entire 7516 km of coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

  • This National Level Coastal Defence Exercise ‘Sea Vigil’ was conceived in 2018 to validate various measures undertaken to enhance maritime security following the “26/11” attack that happend in 2008.

In January 2023, the biennial Tri-Services Amphibious Exercise (AMPHEX 2023) was held in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.

  • AMPHEX 2023 was the first time the exercise was held in Kakinada, and it was the largest AMPHEX ever conducted so far.

City Index 2023: India Has The 5th-Highest Number of Female Billionaires GloballyIndia has the fifth-highest number of female billionaires in the world, according to a new International Women’s Day report from City Index 2023, which analyzed Forbes’ live billionaire tracker to determine the nation. (as of March 09, 2023)

  • India is tied for 5th position with Australia and Hong Kong, with each country having 9 female billionaires.
  • Savitri Jindal, an Indian politician and businesswoman, is the richest woman in India with a family fortune of USD 16.96 billion.

i.The US leads the list with a total of 92 female billionaires, which is double the amount of China, which comes in second with 46.

  • The US dominates the list, accounting for 80% of the female billionaires with the highest net worth.

ii.Germany ranks 3rd with 32 female billionaires, led by German automobile heiress Susanne Klatten (USD 27.58 billion) and the family of Francine von Finck (USD 8.27 billion), daughter of late billionaire businessman August von Finck Jr.
About United States (US):
President– Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
Capital– Washington, D.C., US
Currency– US Dollar (USD)

15 Stock Exchanges are designated as Qualified Stock Brokers by NSE & BSEi.The National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) have designated 15 trading platforms as Qualified Stock Brokers (QSBs) w.e.f. July 1, 2023 following a direction by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in February 2023.
ii.These are Zerodha Broking, 5paisa Capital, HDFC Securities, ICICI Securities, Anand Rathi Share and Stock Brokers, Angel One, IIFL Securities, Kotak Securities, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Angle One, Global Capital Market, Jainam Broking, Nextbillion Wealth and Investment, Sharekhan Ltd, and RKSV Securities India.
iii.It is on the lines of SEBI guidelines in January 2023 stating to designate certain stock brokers as QSBs based on their size and scale of operations, among others.
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairperson– Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1992

SEBI imposed Restrictions on Opting Share Buyback via Stock Exchange Mechanismi.On March 8, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) imposed restrictions on bids, prices and volumes of companies conducting share buybacks through the stock exchange route.
ii.Currently, companies have two options for share buyback: a stock exchange and a tender offer.
iii.The new rules took effect on March 9, 2023.
iv.This decision follows the SEBI (Buy-Back  of  Securities) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 on February 07, 2023.
v.SEBI also asked investors to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar number by March 31, 2023 for continual and smooth transactions in the securities market.
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairperson– Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1992

SEBI: Extended Timeline for comments on ERPs norms; Issued framework for Cloud Services Adoption by REsOn March 8, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) extended the timeline for submission of public comments on the consultation paper on ‘Regulatory Framework for ESG (Environmental, Social and  Governance) Rating Providers (ERPs) in the Securities Market’ from March 8 to March 15 2023.

  • As per the proposed regulations, the ERPs would be registered with SEBI under the SEBI (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulations, 1999.
  • ESG Disclosures: SEBI has mandated the top 1000 listed companies (by market capitalization) to make ESG  disclosures as per the Business  Responsibility and Sustainability  Reporting  (BRSR) from FY22 on a  voluntary basis and mandatory from FY23.

-SEBI issues framework for REs for cloud services adoption
Due to the rise of dependence on cloud computing for delivering IT (Information Technology) services, SEBI drafted a cloud framework for the adoption of Cloud Services by SEBI Regulated Entities (REs).

  • Objective: To highlight the key risks and mandatory control measures that REs need to know and follow before adopting cloud computing.
  • The framework also provides baseline standards of security and for legal and regulatory compliances to be followed by the RE if they adopt such solutions.

About Securities Exchange Board of India(SEBI):
Chairperson -Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharastra
Establishment – 12 April 1992

Yes Bank, Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd made Co-lending Partnership to offer Home Loans In March 2023, Yes Bank and Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd entered into a strategic co-lending partnership to offer housing loans to homebuyers.

  • Under the partnership, both parties will offer convenient home finance solutions to customers from lower and middle-income groups.
  • The entities will provide home finance options such as Home Loan for Salaried Employees, Loan for Plot Purchase and Construction, Home Improvement Loan, Loan Against Residential Commercial Property, Balance Transfer and Top Up, among others.
  • The partnership is based on the co-lending framework of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which enables banks and non-banking financial companies to collaborate and provide credit to the unserved and underserved sections of the society.

Co-lending partnership:
Under Co-lending two lender firms will come together to disburse loans. The association will allow firms to source clients, perform credit appraisals, and disburse funds.
About YES Bank Ltd.:
MD & CEO – Prashant Kumar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 2004
Tagline – Experience Our Expertise

One Point One Solutions Inks Service Agreement with KMB & DMI FinanceOne Point One Solutions, a provider of business process management solutions, has partnered with Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL) and DMI Finance, a Pan-Indian credit platform, to expand its collections portfolio offering in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector.

  • A One Point One Solutions team with multilingual skills, such as English, Hindi, and Kannada, will manage the collection process for some of KMBL’s major products.

Note: Akshay Chhabra is the Managing Director (MD) of One Point One Solutions.
Key Points:
i.The initial engagement with the KMBL will consist of roughly 20 seats and will eventually expand to more than 100 seats across three One Point One Solutions locations.
ii.The collection portfolio will be managed by One Point One Solutions locations in Mumbai (Maharashtra), Gurugram (Haryana), and Bengaluru (Karnataka) as part of the business scope with DMI Finance.iii.Customers of DMI would be assisted in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, and other south Indian languages.

  • The account started with 50 seats and will be expanded to over 150 seats in 3 months.

About Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL):
MD & CEO – Uday Kotak
Established – 2003
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – Let’s Make Money Simple

Ujjivan SFB Launches “Unpause Initiative” To Promote Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB) has launched the “Unpause Initiative” as part of its commitment to promote workplace diversity and inclusion.

  • The “Unpause Initiative” is a programme designed to assist women who, for any reason, took a career break and are now prepared to rejoin the workforce.

Key Points:
i.The ‘Unpause Initiative’ also features an exclusive hiring drive and employee referral programme for women who are restarting their careers.
ii.Women from all walks of life and backgrounds are urged to apply for the hiring programme, which will be implemented across the bank.
iii.This initiative aims to equip women with the resources and assistance they need to succeed, allowing them to develop themselves and positively impact the community at large.
Tata AIA Life Insurance Launches New ‘Empowering You To Achieve Your Dreams’ Campaign    
Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited (Tata AIA Life Insurance), one of India’s leading life insurance firms, has launched the ‘Empowering You To Reach Your Dreams’ digital campaign.

  • The programme aims to provide Indian women the financial planning expertise they need to achieve their goals and fulfil their dreams.
  • The campaign has been developed and conceptualised by the creative firm FCB Ulka.

Tata AIA Life Insurance is a joint venture (JV) between Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd. (Tata Group) and AIA Group Ltd. (AIA).
Note: Kulvinder Ahluwalia is the chief executive officer (CEO) of FCB Ulka.
Key features of the campaign:
i.The campaign presents an interpretation of the independent spirit of modern Indian women and was launched with a simple, clear, and inspirational message.
ii.It also features the TATA AIA’s Guaranteed Tax-Free Income Plan, which empowers the women to succeed in their endeavours independently.
About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB):
MD & CEO – Ittira Davis
Established – February 1, 2017
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Tagline – Build a Better life

Maharashtra, Gujarat lead in FDI inflows in April-December of FY23According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade data (DPIIT) Quarterly Fact Sheet, ‘Fact Sheet on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Inflow- From April, 2000 To December, 2022’, Maharashtra and Gujarat recorded a positive growth in FDI in FY23.

  • FDI inflows into Maharashtra went up by 19% year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs 85,186 crore during the April-December of FY23 as compared to Rs 71,858 crore of FDI inflows during April-December of FY22.
  • FDI inflows into Gujarat during April-December of FY23 more than doubled to Rs 32,349 crore compared to Rs 15,321 crore in April-December of FY22.
  • In April-December of FY23, FDI inflows into Karnataka were Rs 70,015 crore, 2nd highest FDI equity inflow after Maharashtra, but it declined by 45% from Rs 1.28-lakh crore during April-December of FY22.

It is to be noted that Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat have lion’s share of FDI inflows into India. These three States alone accounted for 68% of the FDI equity inflows (in dollar terms) into the country between October 2019 and December 2022.
Key Highlights:
i.The overall FDI inflows into India fell by 9% to Rs 2.91-lakh crore during April-December of FY23 as interest rates were hiked by major central banks and recessionary fears in many parts of the world.
ii.Among smaller States, Rajasthan recorded 61% growth in FDI inflows to Rs 6,021 crore.
iii.In the April-December of FY23, FDI inflows  in Tamil Nadu fell by 15% y-o-y to Rs 14,956 crore.
iv.The computer software and hardware sector attracted the highest inflows of Rs 63,819 crore in April-December of FY23.

  • However, in value terms it was down by 16% as compared to April-December of FY22.

v.Inflows into the service sector grew by 31% to Rs 52,189 crore (Rs 39,797 crore) during April-December of FY23.
vi.FDI flows to the automobile sector saw the steepest decline of 77% y-o-y to Rs 10,015 crore during April-December of FY23.

Colonel Geeta Rana becomes 1st Woman to Command EME Unit near China BorderColonel Geeta Rana of the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) is the 1st woman officer to take over command of an independent field workshop in the Eastern Ladakh sector with China, after the Indian Army’s clearance of 108 positions for female officers to assume command of independent units in the Corps of Engineers.

  • Colonel Geeta Rana has taken over the ordinance, EME, and other branches of the Corps of Engineers.

The approval of the Indian Army allowing women officers to assume the role of commander was given in January 2023.
The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME):
i. The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) is an arms and service branch of the Indian Army.

  • On May 1943, the Corps of Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (IEME) was established.

ii. It has various responsibilities related to designing, developing, trialling, inspecting, and refitting weapon systems and equipment. They also provide technical advice to units and conduct recovery operations in peace and war. In times of crisis or natural disasters, the EME Corps provides aid to civil authorities.

Kirloskar Oil Engines’ promoter entities sell 17.71% stake for Rs 825 crore On 8th March 2023, the promoter entities of Kirloskar Oil Engines, a flagship company of the Pune (Maharashtra)-based Kirloskar group, divested a total of 2,56,22,987 shares, amounting to 17.71% stake in the company for Rs 825 crore through open market transactions.

  • The shares were sold at an average price of Rs 322 per share, bringing the total transaction value to Rs 825.06 crore.
  • The promoter and promoter group which offloaded the shares include Jyotsna Gautam Kulkarni, Ambar Gautam Kulkarni and Nihal Gautam Kulkarni.
  • Nomura Trust and Banking Co. Ltd, Societe Generale, Sageone Investment Managers LLP, the Regents of the University of California, BNP Paribas Arbitrage, Max Life Insurance Company and DSP Mutual Fund, among others, were the buyers of the shares.

ISRO Receives NISAR Satellite, Jointly Developed by NASA & ISROOn 8th March 2023, NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) (NISAR), an Earth-observation satellite, was handed over to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California, United States of America(USA).

  • NISAR arrived in Bengaluru, Karnataka on a a US Air Force C-17 aircraft.

About NISAR:
i.NASA-ISRO Synthetic Sperture Radar (SAR) (NISAR), Earth-observing mission, was jointly developed by the NASA and ISRO.
ii.NISAR was envisioned as a powerful demonstration of the capability of radar as a science tool.  NISAR will observe Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces with 12-day regularity on ascending and descending passes, sampling Earth on average every 6 days for a baseline 3-year mission.
iii.The mission will measure Earth’s changing ecosystems, dynamic surfaces, and ice masses providing information about biomass, natural hazards, sea level rise, and groundwater, and will support a host of other applications.
i.On Sept. 30, 2014, NASA and ISRO signed a partnership to collaborate on and launch NISAR.
ii.The mission is targeted to launch in 2024 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre into a near-polar orbit.
iii.Goal: To make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.
iv.This mission concept and the resulting partnership are in response to the National Academy of Science’s 2007 survey of Earth observational priorities for the next decade, known as the decadal survey.
Contribution of NASA and ISRO: 
NASA and ISRO are providing two radars that are optimized each in their own way to allow the mission to observe a wider range of changes than either one alone.

  • NASA is providing the mission’s L-band synthetic aperture radar, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder and payload data subsystem.
  • ISRO is providing the spacecraft bus, the S-band radar, the launch vehicle and associated launch services.

NISAR will be the 1st satellite mission to use 2 different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in our planet’s surface less than a centimeter across.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
NASA is an independent agency of the government of the United States of America(USA) which is responsible for the civil space program, aeronautics research, and space research.
Administrator– Bill Nelson
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., USA

Dr Jitendra Singh: CSIR to provide Research Grants for Women Scientists & a Women’s Portal for GrantsOn 9th March 2023, Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, announced that Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has decided to start exclusive Research Grants for Women Scientists under CSIR-ASPIRE.

  • An exclusive women’s portal for research grants and funds will become functional with effect from 1st April 2023.
  • The event was organised by the CSIR as a part of the celebration of International Women’s Day (8th March).

Key Points:
i. Addressing the event, Dr Jitendra Singh stated that the CSIR has decided to start exclusive Research Grants for Women Scientists under CSIR-ASPIRE.
ii. On December 17, 2022, under the chairmanship of Dr Jitendra Singh, the Governing Body of the CSIR accepted the proposal for inviting research grant proposals from Women Scientists under the Extramural Research Scheme.
iii. Only women scientists across India will be eligible to apply for research grants to conduct R&D in the primary disciplines of science and engineering, namely, the Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering Sciences, and inter/transdisciplinary sciences

  • A study proposal overall budget, including the stipend for the research fellow, should generally not exceed the limit of Rs 25– Rs 30 lakhs.

CSIR Initiatives:
i. CSIR has been taking several initiatives toward Women’s empowerment, including a 15% discount on CSIR technologies for women entrepreneurs offered by CSIR- Central Leather Research Institute and a slew of training programmes across the whole spectrum of the CSIR domain.
ii. In the history of CSIR, Nallathamby Kalaiselvi, senior electrochemical scientist, has become the 1st woman Director General in August 2022 to head the premier scientific R&D body that constitutes 38 research institutes across India.

74th International Boxing Tournament “Strandja” 2023 held in Sofia, Bulgaria; India bags 8 MedalsThe 74th edition of the International Boxing Tournament “Strandja” 2023 was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 18th to 27th February 2023. India finished with 8 medals (3 silver and 5 bronze).

  • The International Boxing Tournament “Strandja” 2023 witnessed the participation of 398 pugilists (256 men and 142 women), which is the highest ever in the competition’s history.
  • “Strandja” Tournament has been selected as the 1st tournament to be part of the new Golden Gloves Series from the World Boxing Tour by IBA.

List of Indian Winners:

World Kidney Day 2023 – March 9World Kidney Day (WKD), a global campaign, is annually observed across the globe on the 2nd Thursday of March to encourage people about the importance of kidneys in maintaining overall health and to raise awareness of several kidney diseases.
World Kidney Day 2023 is observed on 9th March 2023.

  • World Kidney Day 2022 was observed on 10th March 2022.
  • World Kidney Day 2024 will be observed on 14th March 2024.

The theme of World Kidney Day 2023 is “Kidney Health for All- Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable”.
i. The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundation (IFKF) jointly proposed to establish the 2nd Thursday of March every year as World Kidney Day.
ii. WKD was 1st launched on 9 March 2006 and was fully inaugurated on 8 March 2007.
About the International Society of Nephrology (ISN):
President- Agnes Fogo
President Elect- Masaomi Nangaku
Headquarters- New Jersey, United States of America (US)
Establishment- 1960
About the International Federation of Kidney Foundation (IFKF):
President- Latha A Kumaraswami
President Elect- Allessandro Balducci
Headquarters- Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Establishment- 1999

Himachal Pradesh becomes 1st State in India to have Organised Liquorice (Mulethi) CultivationHimachal Pradesh (HP) has become the 1st state in India to begin the commercial cultivation of Liquorice (Mulethi) (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with the distribution of planting material among the farmers by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)- Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT).

  • The roots of Mulethi have a sweet taste due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.
  • It has been traditionally known and used in Ayurvedic medicine (known as “Yashtimadhu” in Ayurveda) for rejuvenation. It has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial.
  • India imports 8,047 tonnes of liquorice annually from Afghanistan, China and Nepal, which is mainly grown in Afghanistan. To reduce these imports, India has started the organized cultivation of Mulethi. The districts of Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra, Una, Solan and Sirmour in HP have potential areas for its cultivation.

‘Arogya Mahila’: Telangana Health Minister launched new health programme for Telangana WomenOn the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023 (8th March 2023), T Harish Rao, Telangana Health Minister, launched ‘Arogya Mahila’, a new health programme for women, in Karimnagar, Telangana.

  • Under the programme, tests would be conducted for women every Tuesday initially in 100 health centres and medicines provided to them free of cost.
  • Nutrition Kit,” another scheme would be started for the benefit of pregnant women after the Sri Rama Navami(30th March 2023), a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. The festival is usually celebrated on the 9th day of Chaitra month in the Hindu calendar(March or April in the Gregorian calendar.).

GRSE signs MoU with KEL for Research & Development of Lightweight Bailey BridgeKolkata (West Bengal)-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd,  one of India’s leading shipyards, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kerala Electrical & Allied Engineering (KEL), a state-owned enterprise of Kerala, for the joint research and development (R&D) of a lightweight bailey bridge with a carbon fibre composite deck.The MoU was signed by Indian Navy (IN Retd.) Commodore PR Hari, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of GRSE and Colonel Shaji M Varghese (Retd.), Managing Director (MD) of KEL, in the presence of P. Rajeev, Minister of Law of Kerala, on 3rd March 2023.

  • Under the MoU, KEL will also design and develop dry-type transformers and alternators as per Navy specifications.

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