Current Affairs: 30 April 2023

MoHUA launches the ‘City Beauty Competition’ and Portal   On April 26, 2023 the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the ‘City Beauty Competition’ portal for participation of all urban local bodies (ULBs) across the country through an online process.
About the City Beauty Competition: 
The City Beauty Competition was launched by the MoHUA in December 2022.
Click here for the City Beauty competition guidelines

  • To encourage and recognize the transformational efforts made by cities and wards across the country to create beautiful, innovative and inclusive public spaces.

Knowledge partner: 

  • Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) as the knowledge partner will provide handholding support to the Wards / ULBs / States in this exercise.

Five broad pillars:
The wards and public spaces in cities under the City Beauty Competition’ would be judged against five broad pillars like: Accessibility, Amenities, Activities, Aesthetics and Ecology
The competition would felicitate the most beautiful wards and public spaces in the cities.
The selected wards would be felicitated at the city and state levels.
iThe top most beautiful public spaces in the cities would be selected under four categories like:

  • Waterfronts, Green spaces, tourist/ heritage spaces and market/commercial places.

ii. The selected wards would first be felicitated at the state level and the shortlisted entries would thereafter be considered for National level awards.
Online Portal:
The last date for participating in the ‘City Beauty Competition’ is July 15, 2023.
About Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA):
Union Minister – Hardeep Singh Puri (Rajya Sabha – Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of state – Kaushal Kishore (Constituency – Mohanlalganj, Uttar Pradesh)

Ajeya Warrior 2023: India UK joint military exercise begins at Salisbury Plains of UK
Ajeya Warrior 2023, The 7th edition of India and the United Kingdom (UK) bilateral training exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’ commenced at the Salisbury Plains, UK on 27th April 2023.

  • The exercise will culminate on  11th May, 2023.

The UK Soldiers of the 2 Royal Gorkha Rifles,  a rifle regiment of the British Army, and Indian Army soldiers from the BIHAR Regiment, an Indian Army infantry regiment, are participating in the exercise.About Ajeya Warrior exercise:
i.Ajeya Warrior is a biennial training exercise between India and the UK, alternatively conducted in the UK and India. The 6th edition of the Ajeya Warrior exercise “Ajeya Warrior 2021” was held in Chaubatia, Uttarakhand in October 2021.
ii.Objective: To build positive military relations, to learn each other’s best practices and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking company-level sub-conventional operations in urban and semi-urban environments.Key Points:
i.The Indian Army contingent arrived at RAF (Royal Air Force) Brize Norton, main operating base in Oxfordshire, England on 26 April 2023 by an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft with indigenous weapons and equipment.
ii.The military exercise was held in cooperation between the Indian Army and the British Army and it will further improve the bilateral relations between the two nations.
iii.The benefit of the exercise involves a Command Post Exercise (CPX) at the Battalion level and Company level Field Training Exercise (FTX).

SCBs end FY23 with 15.4% Credit Growth: RBI DataAccording to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data on Sectoral Deployment of bank Credit- March 2023′, Scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) reported a robust credit growth of 15.4% in FY23 as compared to the 9.7% in FY22.

  • The development is driven by growth in personal loans, and loans to services sector, and agriculture and allied activities.

The data for the same was collected by RBI from 40 select SCBs accounting for about 93% of the total non-food credit deployed by all SCBs.
i.Personal loans registered a growth of 20.6% in FY23 as compared with 12.6% in FY22, driven by housing loans.
ii.Credit growth to services sector accelerated to 19.8%  in FY23 from 8.7% in FY22 due to the improved credit to Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and trade.
iii.Credit to agriculture and allied activities rose by 15.4% in FY23 as compared with 9.9% in FY22.
iv.Credit to industry registered a growth of 5.7% as against 7.5% in FY22.
v.Size-wise, credit to large industry rose by 3% in FY23 compared with 2% in FY22.
vi.Credit growth of medium industries was 19.6% as against 54.4% in FY22.
vii.Credit to Micro and Small Industries (MSEs) registered a growth of 12.3% as against 23% in FY22.
viii.Within industry, credit growth to ‘basic metal and metal products’, ‘chemical and chemical products’ and ‘petroleum, coal products and nuclear fuels’ accelerated in March 2023 as compared March 2022

  • Credit growth to ‘food processing’, ‘infrastructure’ and ‘textiles’ has shown contraction. Partners with Shivalik SFB to Lend Farmers &, India’s largest Grain commerce platform of Aryatech Platforms Private Limited, made partnership with Shivalik Small Finance Bank (SFB) to drive financial inclusion for farmers and FPOs (Farmers Producers Organisations) through offering loans via Shivalik SFB under warehouse receipt finance.
Key Points:
i.Objective: The collaboration is formed with an intend to promote equitable growth in agriculture and also offer more opportunities for the smallest stakeholders to access financial resources and drive positive change in the agriculture industry.’s digitised processes, AI-enabled systems and customised solutions will offer the additional layer of professional assurance for the Shivalik SFB while lending.
iii.Under the partnership, Shivalik SFB will focus on small and underserved segments through the delivery of digitally focussed, affordable products and differentiated customer experience.
About Shivalik Small Finance Bank Ltd
MD&CEO – Anshul Swami
Headquarters– Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Establishment – 1998
Tagline – A Bank For Your Welfare

ADB Annual Report 2022: Pakistan is the Largest Recipient of ADB Loans in AsiaAccording to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Report 2022, Pakistan got loans of USD5.58 billion, making it the largest recipient of ADB-funded programs/projects in 2022.

  • According to the report, released on 24th April 2023, ADB has disbursed a total of over USD 31.8 billion to 40 countries in 2022.

Key Highlights:i.Out of a total lending of USD 5.58 billion, Pakistan which is in a deep economic crisis, received USD 2.67 billion as concessional funding from ADB in 2022.

  • These loans have been used by Pakistan to avert default. They were also conditional on Pakistan obtaining loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which imposed its own conditions.

ii. The report highlighted the impact of extreme floods in Pakistan that killed over 1,700 people, affected 33 million people and damaged over one-third of the summer seasonal cropping area, leading to food supply disruptions and price hikes.

  • To address this issue, the ADB committed USD 3.7 billion from the programme in 2022, which includes essential food assistance for people in need, particularly women and girls in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

About the Asian Development Bank (ADB):
President– Masatsugu Asakawa
Headquarters– Mandaluyong, Philippines
Establishment– 1966

NLCIL signs MoU with TNC India for Repurposing Mined-Out Lands for RE ProjectsNLC India Limited (NLCIL), a central public sector undertaking (CPSU) under the Ministry of Coal, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Nature Conservancy Centre India (TNC India) to collaborate on research work pertaining to the repurposing of mined-out lands for setting up of Renewable Energy (RE) projects.

  • The MoU was signed by Rajasekhara Reddy, Executive Director (Mines) of NLCIL, and Annapurna Vancheswaran, Managing Director (MD) of TNC India, in the presence of Prasanna Kumar Motupalli, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of NLCIL at Neyveli, Tamil Nadu (TN).
  • The MoU would strengthen these efforts in line with India’s CoP-26 pledge to transition to a low-carbon economy and focus on increased use of renewable energy sources.

Sanskrit Scholar Dr M.N. Nandakumara awarded honorary MBE by King Charles IIIThe United Kingdom (UK) based Saskrit Scholar, Dr M.N. NandakumaraExecutive Director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centre in London, UK has been awarded the honorary MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by King Charles III.

  • The honorary MBE has been granted “for services to the teaching, performance and accessibility of Indian classical arts in the UK”.
  • The honorary award is approved by the British monarch for foreign nationals for their contribution to public life, and was confirmed by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

About Dr M.N. Nandakumara:
iDr Nandakumara hails from the Indian state of Karnataka. He has been associated with BharatiyaVidyaBhavan centre for 46 years (from 1970).
ii. Initially he joined as a Sanskrit teacher and has been its Executive director since 1995.
About Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centre:
i. . TheBharatiyaVidya Bhavan centre was established in 1972 in the UK as a head of Indian arts education outside India.
ii. The centre, registered as the BharatiyaVidyaBhavan with the Charity Commission in England, is a comprehensive art, cultural and educational movement which believes that common elements of cultures can exceed barriers and bring people together.
iii. The main auditorium of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centre was named as “Lord Mountbatten – the last Viceroy of India”.
About MBE 
iThe Order of the British Empire was established by King George V in 1917 to honour those who had served in a non-combative role and expanded the Order to reward contributions to the Arts, Sciences, Charitable work and Public Service.
ii. And MBE is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award (excluding a knighthood/damehood), behind CBE and then OBE.
iii. The MBE is awarded for an outstanding achievement or service to the community which has had a long-term, significant impact.

ACC appointed Debadatta Chand as MD & CEO of BoB & Rajneesh Karnatak as MD & CEO of BoI The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi, has approved the appointment of Debadatta Chand, Executive Director of Bank of Baroda (BoB) as the new Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BoB with effect from the date of assumption of office on or after 1st July 2023 for a period of three years.

  • He will succeed, Sanjiv Chadha, the incumbent MD & CEO of BoB, who is set to retire on 30th June 2023.

About Debadatta Chand:
i.Debadatta Chand started his career in Allahabad Bank as Officer in 1994 and subsequently worked as Manager at the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) from 1998 to 2005.
ii.He joined Punjab National Bank(PNB) in 2005 as Chief Manager and was elevated to the Chief General Manager of Mumbai Zone, PNB.
iii.In 2021, he joined BoB as Executive Director.
iv.He has also served on the Board of Punjab National Bank (PNB), Principal Mutual Fund, SWIFT India Pvt. Ltd and many of the Private Equity funds ExOfficio in India.
Rajneesh Karnatak appointed as the MD & CEO of BoI: 
The ACC has also approved the appointment of Rajneesh Karnatak, Executive Director of Union Bank of India as the MD & CEO of Bank of India(BoI) for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office or until further orders.

  • He succeeds Atanu Kumar Das whose tenure as MD and CEO of BoI ended in January 2023.

About Rajneesh Karnatak: 
i.Prior to joining Union Bank of India, Rajneesh Karnatak served as the Chief General Manager at Punjab National Bank from 2020 to 2021.
ii.He has also worked as General Manager at the Oriental Bank of Commerce from 1994 to 2020.
About Bank of Baroda (BoB):
Current MD & CEO– Sanjiv Chadha
Headquarters– Vadodara, Gujarat
Tagline– India’s International Bank
Established in 1908
About Bank of India(BoI): 
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded in September 1906
Nationalised in 1969
Tagline– Relationship Beyond Banking

Venkatasamy Jagannathan Steps Down from his Position as Star Health CEOVenkatasamy Jagannathan, 79, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Star Health and Allied Insurance Co Ltd, stepped down from his position as CEO and would continue as Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board effective from 4th May 2023.

  •  He also holds a small stake in Star Health, which he helped establish in 2006 and posted a record-high net profit of Rs 618 crore, including a record underwriting profit of Rs 204 crore.
  • Prior to founding Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, he served as Chairman and Managing Director(CMD) of United India Insurance Company. He retired from the united India in 2004.
  • He also served on the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)advisory council, a position which he has held since its inception.

MIT Engineers developed Injectable Synthetic nanoparticles and a polymer to Stop Internal BleedingEngineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts, United States of America (USA), has designed a two-component system – a combination of Synthetic nanoparticles and a polymer that can be injected into the body and help form blood clots at the sites of internal injury.

  • These materials mimic the actions of both platelets and fibrinogen, a protein that helps form clots. The nanoparticle recruits platelets and a polymer mimics fibrinogen.
  • The paper on the study was published in the “Advanced Healthcare Materials”.
  • It can be injected into the body and help form blood clots at the sites of internal injury can save people from severe internal injuries.
  • The two components performed significantly better than hemostatic nanoparticles that were developed earlier.

Two Components:
iThese particles are made of a biocompatible polymer called PEG-PLGA (polyethylene glycol- Polylactide-co-glycolide), which are functionalised with a peptide called GRGDS that allows them to bind to activated platelets.
Note: GRGDS (Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser) a synthetic peptide imitates the cellular binding site of many adhesive proteins in the extracellular matrix and causes rounding and detachment of spread cells.
ii. The size of these nanoparticles has also been optimised to be between 140 and 220 nanometers, which keeps them from building up in organs like the lungs where clots can be dangerous.
Note: For the platelet-recruiting particles, the researchers used particles similar to those they reported in a 2022 study.
Better Results:
iAfter being injected into the body, the two components allow selective gelation of the hemostatic system, as the concentration is enhanced in the wound, reflecting the end effect of the natural clotting cascade.
ii. Highly effective at stopping bleeding, and it worked about twice as well as the targeting particle on its own, and they don’t degrade as fast as naturally occurring clots do.
The research was funded by the U.S. Army Research Office and the Department of Defense.

Tennis: Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz won Men’s Single Title at Barcelona Open 2023On 23rd April 2023, Carlos Alcaraz(Spain) won the Men’s singles title at the  2023 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell(Barcelona Open 2023) by defeating  Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. 2023 Barcelona Open, the 70th edition of the  Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell was held in Barcelona, Spain from 17th to 23rd April 2023.

  • This marks his 2nd consecutive Barcelona Open title, he previously won the title in 2022, and the 3rd Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour tile of 2023.
  • This also marks his 9th ATP Tour singles title(overall) and he has won his last 14 tour matches on Spanish soil.

Men’s Doubles title:
Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni won the Men’s doubles title defeating Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neal Skupski of Great Britain.

  • Earlier this season, Gonzalez and Molteni won the titles on clay in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro.
  • With these victories, they have climbed 4 spots to 4th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Team Rankings.

Winners of Barcelona Open 2023: Andres Molteni(Argentina)Neal Skupski(Great Britain)About  Barcelona Open: 
i.The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Trofeo Conde de Godo, has been staged at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, the oldest Spanish tennis club, since 1953.
ii.The ATP 500 clay-court tournament is one of the most important events in Spanish tennis.
Note: Rafael Nadal owns a record 12 trophies at this event.
Iga Świątek won Women’s Singles title at Stuttgart Open 2023
Iga Świątek of Poland won the Women’s singles title at the 2023 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix(Stuttgart Open 2023) defeating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. This marks Świątek’s 2nd consecutive Stuttgart Open title.

  • Stuttgart Open 2023, the 46th edition of Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, was held in Stuttgart, Germany from 17th to 23rd April 2023.

Women’s Doubles Title:
The United States(US)-Mexico pair Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Giuliana Olmos won the Women’s doubles title at the Stuttgart Open 2023 defeating the US-Netherland pair Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs.Stuttgart Open: 
i.Stuttgart Open is an official Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 500 clay tournament.
ii.It is a women’s tennis tournament held in Stuttgart, Germany Held since 1978.

Shashi Shekhar Vempati, Former Prasar Bharati’s CEO, released Book Titled “Collective Spirit, Concrete Actions”On 26th April 2023, Shashi Shekhar Vempati, a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prasar Bharati, released his book titled “Collective Spirit, Concrete Actions” focused on ‘Mann Ki Baat’, a radio broadcast of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi,  and its impact on India.

  • The book was released at the inaugural event of the National Conclave on Mann Ki Baat @100 in the presence of Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Ministry for Information and Broadcasting at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Delhi.

The book documents the intriguing aspects of Mann Ki Baat, PM Narendra Modi’s ongoing interactions with the world’s largest democracy, addressing social, economic, environmental, cultural, health, and fitness issues that resonate with the very heart of our nation.

International Dance Day 2023 – April 29 International Dance Day or World Dance Day is annually observed across the world on 29th April to celebrate dance and to create awareness about its role in various cultures and societies across the globe.

  • The day also marks the birth anniversary of the French dancer and a balletmaster, Jean-Georges Noverre, who is considered the creator of ballet d-action(dramatic ballet).

The annual observance of International Dance Day is led by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). 
In 1982, the Dance Committee of ITI, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO, founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810) who is fondly known as “the Grandfather of the Ballet” and “the creator of modern ballet”.
Goals of  International Dance Day: 

  • To promote dance in all its forms across the world.
  • To make people aware of the value of dance in all its forms.
  • To enable the dance community to promote their work on a broad scale
  • To enjoy dance in all its forms for its own sake and to share the joy of dance.

2023 Message:
Chinese Dancer and choreographer Yang Liping, a member of the Bai ethnic group from Dali, Yunnan Province in China is the author of the message of International Dance Day 2023.

  • She is the First-class Dancer of China and the vice chairman of the China Dancers Association.
  • She is well known for her original dance piece Spirit of the Peacock in 1986, Moonlight, Two Trees, Love of the Peacock and so on.

Note: The author of the message is annually chosen by the International Dance Committee(IDC) of ITI and the Executive Council of ITI.
About International Theatre Institute (ITI):
ITI was created on the initiative of the first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General, Sir Julian Huxley, and the playwright and novelist, JB Priestly in 1948.
President– Mohamed Saif Al-Afkham
Director General– Tobias Biancone
Headquarters– Shanghai, China

Administrative Professionals Day 2023 – April 26 Administrative Professionals Day, also known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day, is annually observed across the globe on the Wednesday of the last full week in April to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, executive assistants, personal assistants, and other administrative support professionals.
Administrative Professionals Day 2023 was observed on 26th April 2023. 
Administrative Professionals Week:
Administrative Professionals Week is celebrated annually every last full week in April. 

  • The Administrative Professionals Week 2023 is observed from 23rd April to 29th April 2023.

About International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP):
Chair of the board– Barrett Shaw
Chief Executive Officer– Melissa Mahoney
Founded in 1942

Pushkaralu festival returns to the Ganga after 12 yearsOn April 22, 2023, the 12-day Pushkaralu festival of Telugu-speaking people commenced in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The festival is scheduled to be held from April 22 to May 3, 2023 and it is being organised in Kashi for the pilgrims who will worship their ancestors and the river Ganga.Key Points:i.Pushkaralu is a festival celebrated in India once every 12 years due to a special combination of planetary transits (i.e. the position of Jupiter (Bruhaspati)).ii.The festival is also known as Ganga Pushkaram which is dedicated to worshipping the 12 sacred rivers of India.iii.It is the second similar event in Varanasi, UP following the successful Kashi-Tamil Sangamam, which is a month-long programme organised in November 2022 to celebrate the age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Kashi.Legend of festival Pushkaram: 
i.According to legend, the devotee Pushkara was blessed by Lord Shiva with the ability to live in water and purify holy rivers.
ii.On a request from Bruhaspati (Jupiter), Pushkara decided to enter one of the 12 sacred rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Saraswathi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Bhima, Tapati, Tungabhadra, Sindhu, and Pranhita.
iii.Why 12 years?

  • Each river is associated with a zodiac sign and the river for each year’s festival is decided in accordance with Jupiter’s travel from one zodiac sign to another.
  • And the 12 days after Jupiter enters that particular zodiac sign will be the Pushkaram. Hence it comes every 12 years.

Additional Information:
iDuring the Pushkaram festival, the pilgrims will worship their ancestors and the river Ganga, by bathing in the sacred river and are believed to cleanse the devotees of their sinsii.People will visit different holy places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gangotri in Uttarakhand, Varanasi in UP, and Ganga Sagar in West Bengal to take holy baths.

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