MoHUA and MoR jointly ink MoU with JICA for Project SMARTOn May 8, 2023, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been inked between the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Railways (MoR) with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for ‘Station Area Development along Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (SMART)’.
- It was inked for four High Speed Rail Stations viz. Sabarmati, Surat in Gujarat and Virar and Thane in Maharashtra; out of 12 stations in-route.
- Surat, Virar and Thane are Green fields while Sabarmati is a Brown field development.
What is Project Smart?
Its goal is to improve the areas around the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Railway (MAHSR) stations to make it easier for commuters, other people and businesses to access them more conveniently.
- It will also encourage economic growth in these areas.
- The project will also help the government and other authorities to better plan, develop, and manage the places near the stations.
Note: MoHUA, Governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra and JICA are organizing a series of Seminars and field visits for the Project–SMART in Delhi, Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Mumbai (Maharashtra). The first seminar was organized at Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi on May 8, 2023.
About Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA):
President– Akihiko Tanaka
Headquarters– Tokyo, Japan
PMJJBY, PMSBY & APY Completes 8 Years; Recorded 16.2 crore, 34.2 crore & 5.2 crore Enrolments9th May 2023 marks the 8th anniversary of the three major social security (Jan Suraksha) schemes, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
- Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman stated that till 26th April 2023, 16.2 crore, 34.2 crore and 5.2 crore enrolments have been done under PMJJBY, PMSBY & APY respectively. The total enrollment under all three schemes are 55.6 crore.
Backdrop: The two low-cost insurance schemes of PMJJBY and PMSBY and the guaranteed pension scheme of APY were launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 9, 2015, from Kolkata, West Bengal.
About the Schemes in Brief:
- PMJJBY is an insurance scheme of the Ministry of Finance, offering life insurance cover for death due to any reason. It is a one-year cover, renewable from year to year. All individual account holders of participating banks/ Post offices in the age group of 18 to 50 years are entitled to join. It offers a renewable one-year term life cover of Rs 2 Lakh
- PMSBY is an Accident Insurance Scheme offering accidental death and disability cover for death or disability on account of an accident. Individuals in the age group of 18-70 years having a savings bank or a post office account are entitled to enrol under the scheme.
- APY is an old-age income security scheme to addresses the longevity risks among workers in the unorganized sector and encourages the workers to voluntarily save for their retirement.
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Rajya Sabha- Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS) – Pankaj Chaudhary; Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad
Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar launches Phase-III of Thalassemia Bal Sewa YojanaThe 3rd phase of Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojana (TBSY) was launched by the Minister of State (MoS) Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to commemorate the World Thalassemia Day on May 8, 2023.
- TBSY is an imitative of MoHFW and which is being supported by Coal India Limited (CIL) as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- The Minister also launched Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojana Portal, and released the Standard Treatment Workflow for Sickle Cell Disease on the occasion which has been developed by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).
MoHFW has been implementing the TBSY since 2017 under the National Health Mission (NHM) to treat Thalassemia, which is an inherited blood disorder that causes a body to have less hemoglobin than normal. Its second phase was completed in March 2023.
- Under this, the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) program is an initiative to provide a one-time cure opportunity to underprivileged Thalassemia patients who have a matched sibling donor but do not have the financial resources to cover the cost of the procedure.
About 3rd phase of TBSY:
It will continue to provide financial assistance for a package cost of 10 lakhs per HSCT, directly transferred from CIL to the institutions performing HSCT.
- The program has empaneled 10 reputed hospitals across India, including AIIMS, New Delhi; CMC Vellore; Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai; MCGM Hospital, Mumbai; PGIMER, Chandigarh; Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, New Delhi; SGPGI, Lucknow; Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore; CMC, Ludhiana and Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata among others.
India Post, CAIT and Tripta Technologies signed MoU for Logistics ServicesOn 9th May 2023, a tripartie Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India Post (a part of Department of Posts under the Ministry of Communications), Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) (an apex body of trading community of India), and Tripta Technologies Private Limited for logistics services.
- The MoU was signed in the presence of Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State (MoS) for Communications at National Media Centre, New Delhi, Delhi.
- The MoU will benefit small and medium traders as they will be able to use India Post as a logistics service provider across the country.
- This MoU is a significant milestone for taking e-commerce to small towns and rural areas and can benefit thousands of traders.
Note: Tripta Technologies is Facilitated by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT)
Benefits of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
i. The Tripartite MoU between India Post, CAIT and Tripta Technologies will provide shipping and the last mile delivery services to CAIT’s strong trader base and small and medium business in the unorganised sector.
ii. This initiative will streamline theparcel operations of India Post.
iii. It will enable delivery of goods for small businesses, by leveraging the vast network of India Post.
i. The Government of India has transformed the India Post by expanding service areas through technology induction.
ii. Banking and insurance services have been initiated in India post along with financial inclusion services.
About India Post:
Director General (Postal Services)- Alok Sharma
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
About Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT):
Chairman– Mahendra Shah
Secretary General– Praveen Khandelwal
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal receives 1st Indian Cargo Ship at the Sittwe Port, Myanmar
On 9th May 2023, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), received the 1st Indian cargo ship at Sittwe Port in Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the presence of Admiral Tin Aung San, Myanmar Deputy Prime Minister (Dy PM) and Minister of Transport and Communications.
- He received the first Indian Cargo ship while inaugurating the Sittwe Port in Rakhine State, Myanmar, along with Admiral Tin Aung San.
- The inauguration of Sittwe Port initiated the regular transit of cargo ships between Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata (West Bengal), India to Sittwe Port in Rakhine, Myanmar.
- Sittwe Port’s opening will enhance bilateral and regional trade as well as contribute to the local economy in Rakhine, Myanmar. Sittwe port development is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP).
AU Small Finance Bank Partners with RuPay to Offer Cashback RuPay Credit CardOn May 9, 2023, the AU Small Finance Bank (SFB) partnered with RuPay to introduce the Business Cashback RuPay credit card, a solution tailored to meet the financial requirements self-employed (i.e. Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)) customers and promote financial inclusion.
- The bank intends to provide providing multiple range of benefits to small businesses thorugh this credit card.
- The card provides benefits like up to 2% cashback, 48 days interest-free credit, and instant loans.
- It also offers fire insurance, burglary, and housebreaking coverage, etc. and simplifies the financial operations of businesses.
- The credit card also provides lifestyle and travel benefits.
About Au Small Finance Bank Ltd.
MD & CEO – Sanjay Agarwal
Establishment – 1996
Headquarters – Jaipur, Rajasthan
Kotak Mahindra 1st Bank to Relocate Mauritius Domiciled Fund to GIFT IFSC
On 6th May 2023, Mumbai (Maharashtra)-based Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited announced that it has successfully re-domiciled Alchemy India Long Term Fund from Mauritius to GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India’s 1st International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
- Alchemy’s Fund, which is incorporated in GIFT and registered with FISCA, has received the 1st ever foreign portfolio investor (FPI) licence from the bank for relocating from its original jurisdiction to the new one.
- This is the 1st Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) license issued by a custodian bank or designated depository participant (DDP) in India, to a fund incorporated in GIFT City, to relocate an existing fund.
Note: In June 2023, Alchemy India Long Term Fund will complete 15 years of operation.
Fitch Ratings has lowered India’s 2023-24 GDP forecast to 6% from 6.2%Fitch Ratings has lowered India’s 2023-24 (i.e. Financial Year 2023-24 (FY24)) GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast to 6% from 6.2% of its earlier projection, amid increased inflation and interest rates along with subdued global demand.
- The projection for FY25 also decreased to 6.7% from 6.9% projected earlier.
- India’s FY24 growth will be slower than the 7% expected in FY23, as weak domestic and global demand is induced.
i.India’s long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) is projected at ‘BBB-‘ with a stable outlook.
- This rating indicates that expectations of default risk are currently low and payment capacity to meet financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.
ii.India’s headline inflation will decline, but remain near the upper end of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 2%-6% target band, averaging 5.8% in FY24 from 6.7% in FY23.
- Core inflation fell to 5.7% in March 2023, the lowest since July 2021.
iii.The 2022-23 current account deficit projection for India slashed to 2.3% of GDP from 3.3% in December 2022.
- It will narrow further to 1.9% deficit in 2023.
iv.The central government will meet its fiscal deficit target of 5.9% of GDP in 2023-24 from 6.4% in 2022.
- States deficits will rise from 2.7% of GDP estimated in FY23 to 2.8% of GDP in FY24.
- General government deficit (excluding divestments) will narrow to a still-high 8.8% of GDP in FY24 from 9.2% in FY23.
v.India’s general government debt remains elevated at 82.8% of GDP in FY23 and is likely to remain around 83% of GDP even in FY28.
vi.The private sector will show stronger investment growth as corporate and bank balance sheets are improving. However, risks still remain due to India’s low labour force participation rates and an uneven reform implementation record.
Note: India will be one of the fastest-growing nations bolstered by resilient investment prospects.
2023 Laureus World Sports Awards: Lionel Messi & Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce win top awards Lionel Messi, Argentine professional footballer and forward of Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain(PSG), was honoured with the Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year 2023 at the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards.
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaican track and field sprinter, won the Laureus World Sportswoman Of The Year 2023
- This is the 2nd time that Lionel Messi has been honoured with the Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year Award.
The winners of the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards, the most prestigious honours in sport, were honoured in the ceremony held on 8th May 2023 in Paris, France.
- Laureus Awards 2023 marks the 24th edition of the Laureus World Sports Awards.
- The 2023 Awards will honour the most memorable sporting performances of 2022.
2023 Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism; Books, Drama and Music: Associated Press won Journalism Prize under Public Service On 9th May 2023, the winners of the 2023 Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism; Books, Drama and Music; and Special Citations were announced.
- Associated Press won the 2023 Pulitzer prize in Journalism under the Public Service category.
- Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper) and Trust, by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead Books) won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Books, Drama and Music under the Fiction category
- The Pulitzer Prize, administered by Columbia University in New York, United States of America(USA), is considered the most prestigious prize in US journalism.
- Categories: The Pulitzer Prize recognises the work in 22 categories, i.e. 15 journalism categories; seven arts categories and one special citation.
Gold Medal and Cash Prize:
- Out of the 22 categories, Only the winner in the Public Service category of the Journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.
- The Public Service prize is always awarded to a news organization, not an individual, although an individual may be named in the citation.
- In 21 other categories’ winners receive a US$15,000 cash award and a certificate.
Accenture appoints Ajay Vij as India MD & Sandeep Dutta as lead for India Market Unit; Rekha Menon to Retire
Accenture has appointed Ajay Vij to the newly created role of Country Managing Director (MD) and Sandeep Dutta will take over as the lead for its India Market Unit.
Rekha Menon, Chairperson and Senior Managing Director of Accenture in India is set to retire on 30th June 2023 after a career spanning 2 decades at the company. The primary responsibilities of the chairperson will now be undertaken by the new appointees.
- Ajay Vij, country managing director, would expand his current responsibilities as the Corporate Services & Sustainability lead for India to provide overall leadership and promote coordinated decision-making for important company priorities.
- Sandeep Dutta, the India Sales Lead, will now oversee Accenture’s India Market Unit, serving as its India business lead responsible for developing business and operations in the domestic market, focusing on growth, market differentiation, and clients.
Groww completes Rs 175 Cr Acquisition of Indiabulls’ Mutual Fund BusinessNextbillion Technology Private Limited, doing business as Groww – an investment platform, has acquired the Mutual Fund business of Indiabulls Housing Finance Loans (IBHFL) for Rs.175.6 crore after receiving the necessary approvals.
- In May 2021, Groww signed an agreement with IBHFL to acquire the entire stake of IBHFL in its mutual fund subsidiaries Indiabulls Asset Management Company Limited (IAMCL) and Indiabulls Trustee Company Limited (ITCL), trustee of IAMCL.
i. The Rs.175.6 crore agreement also included a cash equivalent of Rs. 100.62 crores, to be invested by Groww.
- In September 2021, the transaction, received an approval from the competition regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI).
ii.The closing date of the transaction was May 3 2023, and Groww doesn’t have any control or shareholding in IAMCL and ITCL subsequent to the closing date.
iii. The sale of IAMCL was limited only to the mutual fund part of the business.
iv. The Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) and Portfolio Management Service (PMS) businesses will be separated from the existing IAMCL structure, and remain under IBHFL.
i. With this acquisition, Tiger Global and Sequoia (Investors of Groww) backed Groww, will now be able to launch and manage its own mutual funds.
ii. Groww has raised $393 million till date, and was last valued at $3 billion after raising $251 million in October 2021 in a round led by ICONIQ Growth, a tech focused direct investment effort that is affiliated with ICONIQ Capital (an American wealth management and investment firm).
CEO&Co-founder– Lalit Keshre
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founded in– 2016 (started operations in 2017)
Asian Weightlifting Championships Jinju 2023: India Finishes Campaign with 3 Silver MedalsIndian weightlifters concluded the Asian Weightlifting Championships Jinju 2023 in Jinju, South Korea, with a total of 3 silver medals. Asian Weightlifting Championships Jinju 2023 was held from 03 to 13 May 2023 in Jinju, South Korea.
- Bindyarani Devi, hailing from Manipur, won 2 silver medals in overall and clean & jerk under the Women’s 55kg category.
- On 7th May 2023, Jeremy Lalrinnunga from Aizawl, Mizoram, won silver in snatch under the men’s 67kg.
Note: The Asian Weightlifting Championships 2023 will run till May 13 but India doesn’t have any representation in any of the remaining categories.
Asian Weightlifting Championships 2023: India’s medal winners
- China’s Chen Guan Ling won the Gold medal with a combined lift of 204 kg (snatch 90kg + clean & jerk 114kg).
- Vietnam’s Vo Thi Quynh Nhu bagged the Bronze with a combined lift of 192kg (snatch 88kg + clean & jerk 104kg).
On 7th May 2023, India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga (20 years old) won a Silver medal in the Snatch section under the Men’s 67 Kg category of the competition with a lift of 141kg but was unable to tally an overall total since he was unable to lift the weight in each of his three attempts at the clean and jerk.
About the Asian Weightlifting Championships:
i. The Asian Weightlifting Championships is a weightlifting championship organised by the Asian Weightlifting Federation for weightlifters from Asian countries.
- It has been held since 1969 for men and 1988 for women.
ii. In 2008, the championships served as the official qualification for Asian competitors to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Sahitya Akademi Awardee & Bengali author Samaresh Majumdar Passed away On 8th May 2023, the Sahitya Akademi Award winner and popular Bengali writer Samaresh Majumdar passed away at the age of 79 in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was born on March 10, 1944 in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.
About Samaresh Majumdar’s writing:
i. SamareshMajumdar made his writing debut with the novel titled “Dour” (Run), which was Published in “Desh” (a Bengali literary magazine) in 1976.
- The Dour novel was later made into a film in 1979.
ii. His famous Animesh quartet (a series of four novels) of Uttoradhikar, Kalbela, Kalpurush, and Mousalkal is now considered a modern classic.
- He won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the second novel of the series, ‘Kalbela’, in 1984, which was set against the backdrop of the Naxalite movement of West Bengal in 1960s and 1970s.
- It was later made into a film in the same name by director Gautam Ghosh in 2009.
iii. He was also credited for his creative character ‘Arjun’ (a detective cum science fiction character) in the detective novels “Adventures of Detective Arjun”.
- The 2013 film “Arjun – Kalimpong E Sitaharan” is based on Sitaharan Rahasya and Khunkharapi by Samaresh Majumdar
iv. He published a Novel titled ‘BunoHaansh’ in PujabarshikiAnondolok, which was later made into a Bengali film named Buno Haansh in 2014.
i. SamareshMajumdar got BFJA (Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards), Dishari and ChalachitraPrasar Samiti award in 1982 for Best Script Writer.
ii. He got the BankimPuroshkar award (the highest award given by the Government of West Bengal) in 2009 for contribution to Bengali fiction “Kolikataye Nobokumar”.
iii. He was awarded the Banga Bibhushan Samman, a title instituted by the West Bengal government to honour the services of personalities in various fields in 2018.
Ajai Chowdhry Authored a New Book Titled “Just Aspire”
Ajai Chowdhry, one of the six founding members of HCL (Hindustan Computers Limited), authored a new book titled “Just Aspire: Notes on Technology, Entrepreneurship and the Future”, published by Harper Business, an Imprint of HarperCollins.
- “Just Aspire”, a motivational book, that focuses on the importance of having a positive mindset, setting goals, and taking action to achieve them.
- This book talks about the journey of a small-town boy (Ajai Chowdhry) who turned into a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a global company.
Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War – 8-9 May 2023 The United Nations(UN) annually marks the 8th and 9th of May as the “Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War” to pay tribute to the victims of the Second World War(WWII).
Significance of 8th May:
i.On May 8, 1945, World War II Allies – the United Kingdom(UK), the United States of America(USA), and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/59/26 on 22nd November 2004 and declared the 8-9 May of every year as the Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War.
ii.The UNGA invited all the members to observe annually on either one or both days to pay tribute to all the victims of the 2nd World War.
World Portuguese Language Day 2023 – May 5World Portuguese Language Day is annually observed across the globe on May 5 to highlight the important role the Portuguese language plays in maintaining human civilization and culture.
i. Since 2005, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) Member States have observed May 5 as a day of the Portuguese language and Lusophone culture.
- On their initiative, the CPLP Member States also organised the 1st celebration of the Portuguese language at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters (Paris, France) in 2006.
ii. The UNESCO General Conference’s 40th session, held in 2019, proclaimed May 5 of every year as “World Portuguese Language Day”.
iii. The 1st ever World Language Day was observed on 5th May 2020.
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.
Max Life, IIA join hands to offer Life Insurance Access to 11 lakh MSME workforce in UP Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. (Max Life) signed a strategic partnership with the Indian Industries Association (IIA) to provide life insurance plans to the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) sector’s workforce in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Note: Max Life is the appointed lead insurer for the state of Uttar Pradesh under IRDAI’s State insurance plan. Now, Max Life aims to enhance accessibility and drive affordable insurance penetration across UP.
What is in the MoU?
With this partnership, Max Life will be positioned as IIA’s preferred partner, thus will utilize its extensive network across industrialized districts, to offer life insurance access to more than 11 lakh MSME workforce affiliated with IIA, their families in the State, and to reach underserved population in UP.
- These activities will be undertaken with Sana Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd. as the enrolment partner to engage with the MSME workforce.
About Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. (Max Life):
It is a joint venture between Max Financial Services (part of Max Group) and Axis Bank.
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer– Prashant Tripathy
Headquarter– Gurugram, Haryana
About Indian Industries Association (IIA):
President– Ashok Kumar Agarwal
National Office– New Delhi, Delhi