MoHUA made ‘City Finance Rankings 2022’ Portal Live – to Evaluate, Recognize and Reward ULBsThe Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has made the portal ‘City Finance Rankings 2022’ http://www.cityfinance.in/rankings, live on March 20, 2023, to evaluate, recognize and reward Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across India on the basis of the quality of their current financial health and improvement over time in financial performance.
- The portal will enable the ULBs across India to participate in the Rankings through an entirely digital, 100% paperless, process.
- Backdrop: The Guidelines of ‘City Finance Rankings 2022’ was launched by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, MoHUA on December 28, 2022.
i.3 Parameters: In accordance with the guidelines, the participating ULBs under the portal will be evaluated on 15 indicators across 3 key municipal finance assessment parameters, such as – Resource Mobilization, Expenditure Performance, and Fiscal Governance.
ii.4 Categories: The cities will be ranked on the basis of their scores under any one of the following 4 population categories such as –
- Above 4 million,
- Between 1-4 million,
- 100,000 to 1 million,
- Less than 100,000.
iii.Independent Project Management Unit team reviews, verifies and approves data. In each population category, the top 3 cities will be recognized and rewarded at the national level as well as within each state/state cluster.
iv.May, 31, 2023 was the last date for participating in the ‘City Finance Rankings 2022’. After verification and validation of the data, the final rankings are expected to be announced in July, 2023.
v.The ULBs also need to submit documents including audited accounts, annual budgets, and self-reported performance metrics (on http://www.cityfinance.in).
vi.Being the Project Monitoring Unit, the Quality Council of India (QCI) will support the ULBs / States during the data collection process.
vii.Benefits of the Ranking:
- The state of finances of ULBs provided by the City Finance Rankings will be helpful for policymakers.
- The ranking will motivate the ULBs to improve in future as they could evaluate their own performance vis-à-vis other cities.
African Union & AIEF Sign MoU to Build Cooperation in The MSME SectorThe Africa-India Economic Foundation (AIEF) and African Union (AU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on promoting business and trade relations between MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), the private and public sectors of African countries and India.
- This landmark agreement, the first of its kind between an Indian private entity (AIEF) and the AU, would expand Indian business footprints in Africa.
- AIEF is an institutional platform intended to integrate and strengthen economic ties between the private sector and MSME firms in India and Africa.
About African Union (AU):
i.The African Union (AU) was officially established in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, after a decision made in September 1999 by its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963–1999).
ii.The AU is a continental body composed of the 55 member countries that comprises the countries of the African continent.
Chairperson of the AU – President Macky Sall of Republic of Senegal
PM Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina Inaugurated 1st Cross-border Energy Pipeline IBFP between India & Bangladesh On March 18, 2023, the Prime Minister (PM) of India, Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated (virtually) the 131.5-kilometre-long India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFP), the first cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh.
- The IBFP is a cross-border pipeline that connects Siliguri in West Bengal, India to Parbatipur in the Dinajpur district of Bangladesh.
- Backdrop: The foundation stone for the construction of this pipeline was laid by both PMs in September 2018.
Note – The launch of the pipeline marks the second cross-border energy pipeline between India and its neighbours.
i.It has a capacity of transporting 1 Million Metric Ton Per Annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel (HSD) from India to Bangladesh, which will be initially supplied to seven districts of north Bangladesh.
ii.The pipeline stretches around 5km inside India and ~125km inside Bangladesh’s territory.
iii.It will carry diesel from NRL’s marketing terminal at Siliguri in West Bengal to the Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
iv.The pipeline is built at an approximate cost of Rs. 346 crore financed under India’s concessional Line of Credit (LOC) to Bangladesh. Out of the total cost, the Bangladesh portion of the pipeline was built at a cost of approximately Rs 285 crore.
v.The IBFP intend to address the energy crisis in Bangladesh, enhance energy cooperation between India and Bangladesh, and strengthen people-to-people linkages between the two countries.
Note – The inauguration of IBFP took place a day after the birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding leader of Bangladesh and father of Sheikh Hasina.
L20 Adopts Joint Statements in Its Inception Meeting in Amritsar, PunjabThe Labour-20 (L20) engagement group of the G20 (Group of Twenty) adopted two joint statements as the ultimate outcome of the two-day discussions at its inception meeting in Amritsar, Punjab, as part of India’s G20 Presidency. The two joint statements are as follows:
- Joint Statement on Universalisation of Social Security
- Joint Statement on Women and the Future of Work
The joint statements urged G20 countries to resolve the issue of social security portability and to address the gender gap in the global workforce.
- During the meeting, trade union leaders, labour studies experts, and delegates from over 20 countries discussed social security, gender gap, and labour migration as a move towards worker welfare.
i.The L20 is one of the G20 Engagement Groups that advocates for the interests of workers at the G20 level.
- The L20 summit first took place formally during the French Presidency in 2011.
ii.As India is the official host for the G-20 in 2023, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, India’s largest trade union, has been appointed chair to host the L-20.
- Hiranmay Pandya is the Chair of L20 in 2023.
iii.India holds the G20 Presidency from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023.
- The theme for India’s G20 Presidency is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
i.According to the Joint Statement on Universalisation of Social Security, the G20 nations could easily handle the problem of portability of benefits at any time.
- It also mentioned the deliberations of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations (which are also G20 members) towards an intra-group arrangement in this aspect.
ii.The Joint Statement on Women and the Future of Work urged governments and employers to take the responsibility of upskilling the global female workforce to tackle the increasing difficulties of tech-intensive industry and the post-pandemic job market.
- It also advocated for recalibrating and acknowledging how women in the informal sector and in family-raising roles contribute to the global economy.
About G20 (Group of Twenty):
i.The G20 is the leading forum for economic cooperation on a global scale.
ii.G20 Members: It has 20 members, including 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), and the European Union (EU).
Pakhala Diwas 2023 celebrated in Odisha on March 20On 20th March 2023, Pakhala Diwas (Pakhala Day) was celebrated in Odisha. The day is annually celebrated across the globe where people eat a traditional Odia dish, Pakhala (also known as Dahi Pakhala), on March 20.
- Pakhala is prepared with rice, curd, cucumber, cumin seeds, fried onions and mint leaves.
- It is popularly served with dry roasted vegetables such as potato, brinjal, spinach or fried fish. The cooked rice is lightly fermented in water.
- The liquid part of the dish is known as Torani. It is a typical summer-time Odia staple diet.
Pakhala Diwas was declared on 20th March 2011 to encourage cuisine in the modern era and promote the nutritious food of India to the world.
Axis Bank, Autotrac Finance enters into Co-lending pact to offer Tractor LoansOn 20th March 2023, the Axis Bank and Gurgaon based Autotrac Finance Limited Ltd (AFL), a Non-Banking Financial Company, entered into a strategic partnership under the co-lending model through the YubiCo.Lend platform.
Under this partnership, Axis Bank and AFL will offer ‘New Tractor Loans’ for Agricultural and Allied activities to cater for the financial needs of the rural segment in India.
- The partnership intends to provide easy credit availability for farmers at optimal interest rates.
i.The digital co-lending platform of Axis Bank will enable lending fast under the partnership at a lower operating cost, offering a superior customer experience.
ii.AFL, which is the wholly-owned subsidiary of International Tractors Limited, with a focus on rural and agri-business finance, has ready access to a customer base and dealers across rural and semi-urban regions in 18 States.
- Through the partnership, it will continue to increase its network to ensure that farmers embrace advanced farming technologies backed by the technology platform Yubi.
- AFL will leverage its fin-tech expertise and network to facilitate seamless financial support to the farmers.
- As it is also operating with the International Tractors’ dealer network of Sonalika and Solis Yanmar, it will support farmers to acquire the latest farm equipment at competitive interest rates.
About Axis Bank Ltd.
MD&CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1993
Tagline – Badhti Ka Naam Zindagi
MoF Monthly Economic Review, February 2023: India’s GDP to Grow at 7% in FY23; Inflation to ModerateAccording to the “Monthly Economic Review – February 2023” published by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Indian economy is projected to grow at 7% in the fiscal year 2022-2023 (FY23) despite global challenges.
- Retail inflation is anticipated to decline in accordance with wholesale inflation, which dropped to a 25-month low in January 2023.
Key conclusions of the report:
i.India’s current account deficit (CAD) is expected to decrease in FY23 and FY24, giving the rupee a safety net in tumultuous times.
- This is attributed to gains from high services exports, a moderation in oil prices, and a recent decline in demand for import-intensive goods.
ii.This would give a much-needed buffer to India’s external sector, as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to raise interest rates further, ensuring that India’s external finances are not a cause for concern.
iii.Given that the CAD is anticipated to decrease from year-beginning estimates, macroeconomic stability is projected to see an additional boost in FY23.
iv.The Indian economy’s potential to grow on the strength of its domestic demand is once again reaffirmed by real GDP estimates for third quarter (Q3) of 2022–2023, despite a rise in global uncertainties slowing global output.
- The Q3, which ended in December 2022, witnessed a 4.4% growth in the Indian economy.
- According to the performance of High-Frequency Indicators for January/February 2023, the growth momentum generated in Q3 of 2022–2023 is anticipated to be sustained in Q4.
v.As of February 2023, Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue has already exceeded the Rs 1.4 lakh crore threshold for 12 successive months.
vi.Extreme weather events like heatwaves and the possibility for an El Nino year, volatility in global commodity prices, and the pass-through of input costs to output prices will probably determine the inflation trend.
vii.According to the forecasts made by various international agencies, inflation in India would moderate in FY24 compared to FY23 and will likely continue in the range of 5-6%, with risks evenly balanced.
viii.Since mid-2021, the debt quality of India’s private non-financial sector has improved as the debt has steadily decreased.
NGEL & IOCL signs JV for setting up Renewable Energy ProjectsNTPC Green Energy Limited (NGEL)has signed a Joint Venture(JV) agreement with Indian Oil Cooperation Limited (IOCL) for setting up of Renewable Energy (RE) projects to meet Round the Clock power requirement of IOCL Refineries.
The agreement was signed by Kausik Basu, Executive Director (ED) for Mergers and Inquisitions(M&I) of IOCL and V. V. Sivakumar, General Manager(GM) of NGEL, in the presence of Gurdeep Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC Limited and Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman of IOCL.
- NGEL aims to build a renewable generation portfolio of 60 GW (gigawatt) over the next 10 yearsThe JV between will enable NTPC Limited and IOCL to meet the Indian Government’s Clean Energy Targets in their respective core businesses.
- NGEL is a wholly owned subsidiary of NTPC Limited (formerly National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) and IOCL is a public sector undertaking (Maharatna Company) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Music Academy Awards 2023: Padma Shri Awardee Bombay Jayashri honoured with for Sangita Kalanidhi Award 2023Bombay Jayashri, Padma Shri Awardee and Carnatic vocalist, has been selected for the Sangita Kalanidhi award 2023, the highest accolade in the field of Carnatic music, of the Music Academy Awards.
Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari, a well-known and highly respected performer, teacher, and choreographer of the Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi styles of Indian classical dance, has been selected for the Nritya Kalanidhi award 2023.
- The winners of the Music Academy Awards 2023 were unanimously decided by the executive committee of the Music Academy at its meeting held on 19th March 2023.
i. Carnatic singer Palkulangara Ambika Devi of Kerala and mridangam vidwan K.S. Kalidas, a student of vidwan Palani M. Subramania Pillai, will receive the 2023 Sangita Kala Acharya award.
ii. The TTK award will be given to Sargunanatha Odhuvar of the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and to renowned tavil player and teacher Thirunageswaram TR Subramaniam.
iii. The Musicologist award will be conferred on Arimalam S. Padmanabhan who has been doing research in classical music, dance, theatre, folk music, and classical Tamil literature.
i. The Sangita Kalanidhi awardee will preside over the academic sessions of the 97th Annual Conference, which is scheduled to be held from 15th December 2023 to 1st January 2024.
ii. The concerts of the Music Academy are to be held during the Annual Conference and will receive the award, together with those selected for the Sangita Kala Acharya, the TTK and the Musicologist awards at the Sadas on 1st January 2024.
iii. The Nritiya Kalanidhi will receive the award at the inauguration of the Music Academy’s 17th Annual Dance Festival on 3rd January 2024.
Music Academy Awardees 2023:
Hero ISL 2022-2023: ATK Mohun Bagan beats Bengaluru FC and won its 1st ISL TitleOn 18th March 2023, ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) Football Club(FC) captained by Pritam Kotal, won their first Indian Super League (ISL) title by defeating Bengaluru FC captained by in the finals of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022–23 held in Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margoa, Goa.
- Hero ISL 2022-2023, the 9th season of the Indian Super League was held from 7th October 2022 to 18th March 2023.
- ATK Mohun Bagan, formed as a merger between the football section of the multi-sports club Mohun Bagan AC and Atlético de Kolkata (ATK) FC, began to play in the ISL in the 2020–21 season.
- Atlético de Kolkata won the most ISL championships, with 3 titles (2014, 2016, & 2019-20).
ATK Mohun Bagan, coached by Juan Ferrando, came in 3rd place in the Hero ISL standings. Mumbai City FC tops the standing followed by Hyderabad FC in 2nd place.
Individual & Team Award Winners from Hero ISL 2022-23 Season:
- The inaugural winners of the league were ATK FC, ATK has won the most ISL championships, with four titles (2014, 2016, & 2019-20)
iii. The ISL is co-promoted by IMG-Reliance (a joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries), Star India, and supported by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Indian Super League (ISL) champion ATK Mohun Bagan will be renamed Mohun Bagan Super Giants from the next season onwards. It was announced by Sanjeev Goenka ATKMB club owner after the final.
Indian archers’ team won 10 medals at the Asia Cup 2023 archery stage-1 world ranking TournamentOn March 19, 2023, the Indian archers’ team won 10 medals – five gold, four silver and one bronze at the Asia Cup 2023 archery stage-1 world ranking tournament which was held in Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei.
India secured gold medals in the men’s recurve and compound, women’s compound, recurve men’s team and compound women’s team events.
The silver medals were secured in men’s recurve and compound, women’s compound and compound men’s team events.
The Indian compound mixed team pair of Priyansh and Pragati won the bronze medal.
In all, 16 Indian archers – eight men and eight women – competed at the Asia Cup 2023 Taoyuan.
Rampal Choudhary settled for silver. In the recurve women’s event, however, India’s campaign ended after Srushti Balaji Jogdand lost in the quarter-finals.
Anurag Behar authors the New Book “A Matter of the Heart: Education in India”Anurag Behar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Azim Premji Foundation and founding vice-chancellor of Azim Premji University, has authored a new book titled “A Matter of the Heart: Education in India”, a travel book that chronicles experiences of Anurag Behar at work at the Azim Premji Foundation, is a compilation of all his columns.
- The book, which has 110 stories, highlights the state of education in India beyond the main cities. This book is an ode to educators who are shaping the future of our country.
The book was published by Westland Nonfiction (Westland Books A Division of Nasadiya Technologies Pvt ltd).
- Anurag Behar is one of India’s leading educationists and social sector leaders
Shrimant Kokate’s 1st book in English “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj” launchShrimant Kokate, popular Marathi author and historian, whose 1st book in English, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (illustrated) was launched. The book originally authored in Marathi and published by Marathi Prakashan has been translated into English by Dilip Chavan.
- The translated book was released by Amol Kolhe, Member of Parliament (MP – Lok Sabha – Shirur constituency, Maharashtra) and actor, who is famous for his roles as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj in the Marathi TV series.
- Shrimant Kokate has written 4 books on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which have been widely read and have received rave reviews.
UN French Language Day 2023 – March 20United Nations (UN)’s French Language Day is annually observed across the globe on March 20 to celebrate French multilingualism and cultural diversity. The day is part of an initiative to raise awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six official languages of the United Nations.
- The day is recognised by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) as the International Day of La Francophonie.
UN French Language Day 2023 was observed on 20th March 2023.
The International Day of La Francophonie celebrations in 2023 were marked under the theme “321 million French speakers, billions of cultural content” by the OIF.
i. March 20 marks the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) on 20th March 1970 in Niamey, Niger, which was later renamed the International Organization of La Francophonie (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie- OIF).
ii. On 21st February 2010, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) announced the launch of “UN Language Days”, a new initiative that aims to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.
iii. The UN observes 6 Languages Days annually dedicated to the 6 official languages of the UN, which are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
- The dates of these Languages Days were chosen by the Department of Public Information based on their symbolic character.
About the United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2023 – March 21 The United Nations (UN)’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is annually observed across the globe on 21st March to promote efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a blueprint for international human rights principles.
The theme of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2023 focuses on ‘the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR)”.
i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted resolution 2142(XXI) on 26th October 1966 and proclaimed the 21st March of every year as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
ii.The first-ever International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was observed on 21st March 1967.
About United Nations Human Rights Office(UNHRO):
High Commissioner– Volker Türk(Austria)
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
World Poetry Day 2023 – March 21United Nations (UN)’s World Poetry Day is annually observed across the globe on March 21 to promote the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry. The day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.
- World Poetry Day 2023 was observed on 21st March 2023 under the theme “Always be a poet, even in prose”.
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 30th General Conference in Paris, France, in 1999 1st adopted March 21 as World Poetry Day.
- The adoption was done with the purpose of recognising poetry’s special capacity to capture the imaginative spirit of people, promote cultural variety, and encourage communication and peace.
ii. The 1st ever World Poetry Day was observed on March 21, 2000.About the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General- Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters- Paris, France
Establishment- 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Members- 193 Members and 11 Associate Members.
World Down Syndrome Day – March 21 2023The United Nations(UN)’s World Down Syndrome Day(WDSD) is annually observed across the globe on 21st March to create awareness about Down Syndrome and advocate for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome.
- 21st March 2023 marks the observance of 13th World Down Syndrome Day.
The theme of WSDS 2023 is “With Us Not For Us”. The 2023 theme is a key to a human rights-based approach to disability.
Awareness Ribbon: The blue and yellow ribbon is used as the symbol of Down Syndrome Awareness.
The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/66/149 on 19th December 2011 and proclaimed the 21st March of every year as World Down Syndrome Day.
- The first-ever UN-recognised World Down Syndrome Day was observed on 21st March 2012.
TN Govt Presents Budget for 2023-2024: Revenue Deficit reduced to Rs 30,000 croreOn March 20, 2023, the Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu (TN) Palanivel Thiaga Rajan presented the TN state budget for 2023-2024-(FY24). he stated that due to the reform initiatives in TN, the annual revenue deficit is reduced from about Rs 62,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore in Revised Estimates of FY23.
i.The revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 3,08,055.68 crore for FY24 and the capital expenditure will be Rs 44,365.59 crore.
ii.Rs 7,000 crore allocated for providing Rs 1,000 monthly assistance to female heads of households.
iii.An “International Conference on Tamil Computing‟ will be held with the participation of renowned experts from across the world to promote the growth of Tamil as a global language by promoting its usage in the technology sector.
iv.A new wildlife sanctuary called the ‘Thanthai Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’ spread across 80,567 hectares in the forest areas of Anthiyur and Gobichettipalayam will be developed in Erode district.
About Tamil Nadu (TN):
Chief Minister– Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin
Governor– Ravindra Narayana Ravi
Wildlife Sanctuary– Vallanadu Black Buck Sanctuary, Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary
Tiger Reserve– Mudumalai Tiger Reserve; Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve