Current Affairs – 1 July 2023

MoS for Panchayati Raj Kapil Moreshwar Patil released Report on Panchayat Development Index On 28th June 2023, Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Minister of State (MoS) for the Ministry of Panchayati Raj(MoPR) released the Report on Panchayat Development Index(PDI) during the National Workshop on PDI held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi.
About PDI Report: 
i.PDI was formulated to evaluate different indicators responsible for ensuring targeted development in villages.
ii.PDI Report comes with 144 local targets, 577 local indicators and 688 data points on 9 themes of Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs), which aggregates the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) of the United Nations.
Pilot PDI: 
On a pilot basis, data from 4 districts (Pune, Sangli, Satara and Solapur) of Maharashtra were compiled.
i.The PDI ranks panchayats on the basis of scores and categorises them into different grades

  • Panchayats with scores above 90% will be categorised as A+, 75 to 90% will be grade A, 60-75% will be grade B, 40-60% will be grade C and below 40% will be grade D.

About Ministry of Panchayati Raj(MoPR): 
Union Minister– Giriraj Singh (Constituency- Begusarai, Bihar)
Minister of State– Kapil Moreshwar Patil (Constituency- Bhiwandi, Maharashtra)

Major changes regarding Tax Collected at Source (TCS) & Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) On 28th June 2023, the Ministry of Finance announced that there will be no changes in the rate of Tax Collection at Source (TCS) for all purposes under Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) and for overseas travel tour packages, regardless of the mode of payment, for amounts up to Rs 7 lakh per individual per annum.

  • It was also announced that more time will be provided for the implementation of the revised TCS rates and also for the inclusion of credit card payments in LRS.

i.A threshold of Rs. 7 Lakh per financial year per individual in clause (i) of sub-section (1G) of section 206C shall be restored for TCS on all categories of LRS payments, through all modes of payment, regardless of the purpose:

  • Therefore, for first Rs 7 Lakh remittance under LRS there shall be no TCS.
  • Beyond the Rs 7 Lakh threshold, TCS shall be 0.5% for remittance for education financed by education loan; 5% for remittance for education or medical treatment and 20% for others.

ii.For the purchase of overseas tour program packages under Clause (ii) of Sub-section (1G), the TCS shall continue to apply at the rate of 5% for the first Rs 7 lakhs per individual per annum.

  • 20% rate will only apply for expenditures above Rs 7 lakh per individual per annum.

The changes in the TCS rates which were set to be implemented with effect from 1st July 2023 will now come into effect from 1st October 2023 with the above-mentioned modifications.
About Ministry of Finance: 
Union Minister– Nirmala Sitharaman (Rajya Sabha- Karnataka)
Minister of State– Dr Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad; Pankaj Chaudhary

Tamil Nadu becomes India’s Top Electronics Exporter of FY23 with the export worth USD5.37 billion

According to the Export data released by the government of India for FY23 (financial year ended in March 2023), Tamil Nadu (TN) becomes India’s leading exporter of Electronic goods in FY23, with exports reaching USD5.37 billion (bn), nearly triple the export of FY22 (USD 1.86 bn).

  • Tamil Nadu is followed by Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the 2nd place with export worth USD 4.90 bn and Karnataka in 3rd place with USD 4.52 bn.
  • For the 1st time, TN has overtaken UP, Karnataka and Maharashtra to top the list as India’s leading exporter of electronic goods.
  • Production from the companies like Tata Electronics and Pegatron helped TN to climb the top spot from the 4th spot in FY22 in the electronics sector.

Note: In FY22, Karnataka topped the list with USD 3.87 bn; followed by UP with USD 3.77 bn; Maharashtra with USD 2.08 bn.
Key Points:
iNow in Tamil Nadu, there are over 15 leading electronics manufacturers, including Foxconn, Tata Electronics, Salcomp and Pegatron.
Note: Tamil Nadu aimed to achieve a USD 100 bn electronics system design and manufacturing industry in the next five years.

Ministry of New & Renewable Energy Unveils Guidelines for National Green Hydrogen MissionOn 30th June 2023, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced comprehensive guidelines for promoting the manufacturing of electrolysers and the production of green hydrogen which is a part of the National Green Hydrogen Mission. These guidelines have been introduced to expedite the adoption of green hydrogen technology in India, leading to a sustainable and clean energy future.
The framework document outlines two components for the implementation of the “Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) Programme.
i. Component 1 has been allocated a significant amount of 4,440 crore for the manufacturing of electrolysers from FY26 to FY30.
ii. Component 2, on the other hand, has received an allocation of Rs.13,050 crore for green hydrogen production during the same period.
About Ministry of New & Renewable Energy:
Cabinet Minister – Raj Kumar Singh (Constituency : Arrah in Bihar)
Ministers of State – Bhagwanth Khuba

Annual Hemis Tsechu Festival concludes at Ladakh

The annual two day Hemis Tsechu Festival is celebrated by Hemis Gompa (monastery) from 28th June to 29th June 2023 in Leh, Ladakh on the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava to commemorate his life and works, who is referred to as Guru Rinpoche.
About the festival:
i.Hemis Tsechu Festival celebrating Guru Padmasambhava, in which monks wear masks and dance to the rhythm of cymbals and long horns.
ii.The main celebration of the festival is the chaam dance performed by monks to commemorate the victory of good over evil and to bless the land with renewed life and fertility.
iii.This festival also marks the opening of Guru Padmasambhava’s silk thangka (Tibetan painting) on the occasion of Monkey Year in the Tibetan Calendar, which falls every 12 years.
About Guru Padmasambhava:
Guru Padmasambhava lived in the late 8th century, introducing tantric Buddhism to the Himalayan kingdom. He preached to people with his famous eight avatars.
About Union Territory of Ladakh:
Lieutenant Governor – B. D. Mishra
Formation year – 31 October 2019

Hurun Institute’s ASK Private Wealth Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2023: Witnessed slowdown in the Indian start-up ecosystemOn 27th June 2023, The Hurun Research Institute released the ASK Private Wealth Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2023, a ranking of India’s start-up ecosystems worth at least USD 200 million, and the new additions in the unicorn list reveals a significant decline in 2023, indicating a slowdown in the Indian start-up ecosystem. The cut-off date was 31 May 2023.

  • In 2023, India added only three unicorn start-ups having a valuation of over USD 1 billion compared to 24 (turned Unicorns from the list) in 2022 pointed at a distinct slowdown.
  • The important factor contributing to this decline is the drop in the Investor interest, also termed as “Funding Winter”.

About Hurun India:
Launched in- 2012
Founder and MD– Anas Rahman Junaid
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra

Tata AIA Revolutionizes Insurance Payments with WhatsApp and UPI IntegrationOn 28th June, 2023, Tata AIA, the life insurance arm backed by Tata Group, has introduced a groundbreaking feature in the insurance industry by enabling digital payments through WhatsApp and Unified Payment Interfaces (UPI) which allows policyholders to make instant premium payments using these popular platforms, providing a hassle-free experience. This move showcases Tata AIA’s commitment to leveraging technology and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Key Points:
i. The new feature ensures that both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy consumers can easily pay their premiums digitally and receive quick confirmation and acknowledgment.
ii. The collaboration with WhatsApp and PayU has resulted in the development of an in-house intelligent platform, significantly enhancing the consumer experience and transactional ease.
iii. Tata AIA’s bottom-up approach, combined with technology, enables a deep understanding of customer needs and continuous service improvement.
India’s widespread usage of WhatsApp and UPI as messaging and payment platforms makes this move by Tata AIA particularly significant. With nearly 500 million WhatsApp users and over 300 million UPI users, Tata AIA ensures that policyholders can conveniently use their preferred platforms for premium payments.
Additional Info:
Tata AIA has also implemented an analytics-driven approach to enhance renewal premium collections. The company offers multiple digital channels for premium collections and supports five languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, and Bengali.
About Tata AIA Life Insurance:
MD & CEO – Mr. Naveen Tahilyani
Headquarters –  Mumbai
Established –  2001

UST Joins Project Rosalind to Develop API Prototypes for CBDCOn 28 June 2023, Digital Transformation Solutions Provider UST joined Project Rosalind, an initiative led by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Bank of England (BoE) to develop Application programming interface (API) prototypes for central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

  • The project aims to explore the potential impact of CBDCs on various sectors and to develop a well-designed API layer that can enable interaction between a central bank ledger and private sector service providers for safe and efficient retail CBDC payments.

About Project Rosalind:
Project Rosalind has advanced central bank innovation by exploring the role of API layers in supporting retail CBDC systems and facilitating safe and secure CBDC payments through various use cases.
Key Points:
UST collaborated with BIS and BoE to develop an API layer comprising 33 API endpoints grouped into six functional categories. The project has demonstrated the potential of API layers to securely distribute CBDCs through private sector service providers.
i. UST has joined Project Rosalind to develop API prototypes for CBDC.
ii. The project has demonstrated the potential of API layers to securely distribute CBDCs through private sector service providers.
iii. Project Rosalind has advanced central bank innovation by exploring the role of API layers in supporting retail CBDC systems.
About Bank for International Settlements (BIS):
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial institution that serves as a bank for central banks.
Chairperson – François Villeroy de Galhau
Established – 1930
Headquarters – Basel, Switzerland.
About UST:
Headquarters – California, United States of America (USA)
Executive Chairman – Paras Chandaria

Kotak Bank partnered with NPCI to offer Rupay Credit Cards on UPI

Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL/Kotak) partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to introduce the facility of linking its RuPay Credit Card to Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with UPI-enabled apps. The Kotak RuPay Credit Card will be linked to Virtual Payment Address (VPA), an UPI ID.

  • The UPI ID enables safe and secure payment transactions and the customers are no longer needed to carry their physical credit card.
  • Customers of KMBL can select from 7 RuPay Credit Cards and scan Quick Response (QR) code or perform transaction on Point of Sale (POS) throughout India.
  • The linkage will also provide customers with reward and an interest-free credit period of up to 50 days.

Paytm partnered with Shriram Finance to increase digital Financial Services and boost Loan distribution

On 30th June 2023, Paytm announced a strategic partnership with Shriram Finance, a non-banking finance company (NBFC) of the Chennai (Tamil Nadu)-based Shriram group to extend financial services to its users, including loan products and other Shriram Finance products on Paytm’s platform digitally.

  • This partnership combines Paytm’s wide reach and technology framework with Shriram Finance’s lending expertise as the largest retail NBFC in rural areas of India.
  • This strategy supports Paytm’s leadership as a loan service provider (LSP) focussing on compliance and quality of loans.

NASSCOM signed MoU with MIDAS & MAG to set up 1st launch pad in UK for Indian tech SMEs On 29th June 2023, The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the leading organisation representing India’s technology industry, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MIDAS (Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency) and MAG (Manchester Airports Group) to establish first NASSCOM launch pad in the United Kingdom (UK) to promote innovation, investment, and technological exchange between Greater Manchester (UK), and India.

  • Under this MoU, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Indian tech companies seeking to establish their presence in Greater Manchester (the UK) will have the opportunity to access 180 days of rent-free office space within Manchester Airport’s premises.

Note: MAG is the largest group of airports in the UK, operating Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport. It also has a digital travel services business, called ‘Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited’ (CAVU).
iThe MoU is an outcome of NASSCOM’s visit to the UK in September 2022, supported by the Department of Business and Trade, Government of UK.
Note: The collaboration was initiated following the success of similar initiatives in Canada.
About the Collaboration:
iThe companies will also be assisted in terms of ecosystem connections, introductions to stakeholders, and other supportive measures to facilitate a “Faster Go-To-Market” approach.
ii. NASSCOM will actively promote this proposition among its membership base and this collaboration is a positive demonstration to facilitate trade ties on the ground, especially when both UK and India are at an advanced stage of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) negotiations.
iThis initiative will help lower initial set up costs for SMEs and enhance their credibility in the UK market.
ii. This new agreement has the potential to unlock significant opportunities for collaboration across trade and investment.
Note: About 7 Indian companies will be setting up their operations in the 1st phase of this pilot project.
Key Points:
iThe companies participating in the NASSCOM launchpad will be housed within 4M, an office suite at Manchester Airport, where CAVU is also based, along with a number of other businesses.
Note: The 4M is a method that allows to identify and group causes that impact to a specific effect. 4M categories (Material, Method, Machine, Man (Workforce))
ii. The NASSCOM delegation presently in the UK comprises of 25 Tech SMEs and is scheduled to visit locations such as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, other than London in the UK, to understand the unique value proposition offered by each location.
About National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM):
Established in- 1988
Chairperson- Anant Maheshwari
President- Debjani Ghosh
Headquarters- Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Mary Kom Named Global Indian Icon at UK-India AwardsFormer Rajya Sabha member and India’s first-ever Olympic medallist in women’s boxing, Mary Kom, 40 has been honoured with the Global Indian Icon of the Year award at the annual The United Kingdom(UK) -India Awards in Windsor, south-eastern England.

  • She received the award from Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami and shared her remarkable 20-year journey filled with dedication and unwavering commitment to the sport of boxing.

Other awards:
i.Oscar-nominated ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ director Shekhar Kapur got a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to cinema in both countries at the awards, organised by India Global Forum (IGF) as part of UK-India Week.
ii.The Indian High Commission’s cultural arm, the Nehru Centre in London, received the UK-India Award for Significant Contribution to UK-India Relations.
iii.The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) UK received the UK-India Award for Business Promotion Organisation for 2023
iv.Other honours were Consulting Firm of the Year for SannamS4, Legal Practise of the Year for Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Financial Services Organisation of the Year for ICICI Bank UK Plc, Market Entrant of the Year went to startup investing platform CrowdInvest, Action Aid UK won the award for the social impact project of the year, while Mphasis was awarded the technology company of the year.
Note: The awards, currently in their fifth year, honour outstanding leadership in business, professional services, government, culture, and social impact, showcasing their noteworthy accomplishments in fostering cross-border ties.

GoI Extends Brajendra Navnit’s Tenure As India’s Ambassador To WTOOn 28th June 2023, the Government of India(GoI) extended the tenure of Brajendra Navnit as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by 9 months beyond 28th June 2023 and upto March 31, 2024 or until further orders.

  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) charied by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has approved the proposal of Department of Commerce for extension in tenure of foreign deputation of Brajendra Navnit

About Brajendra Navnit: 
i.Brajendra Navnit, a 1999 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu Cadre, has been serving as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to WTO since June 2020.
ii.He has served at various leadership roles at district and state level in Tamil Nadu and also serve the GoI at New Delhi, Delhi .
iii.He has also worked in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs as Deputy Secretary (Budget), Director in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Joint Secretary to the Prime Minister(PM).
iv.During his tenure at the Ministry of Finance, he authored the 1st edition of the Government Debt Paper, which comunicated the consolidated General Government Debt  of the Federal and State Governments to multilateral organizations and sovereign credit rating agencies.
About World Trade Organization (WTO):
Director-General-  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Headquarter- Geneva, Switzerland
Established – 1995

TS Singh Deo appointed Chhattisgarh deputy CM

On 28th June 2023, Senior Congress leader and Chhattisgarh health minister TS Singh Deo, 70 has been appointed as the state’s deputy chief minister(CM), by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge at the Congress headquarters in Delhi.
About TS Singh Deo:
i.Also known as modern-day Maharaja, Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo (TS Singh Deo) is the titular Maharaja of Chhattisgarh’s Surguja, was first elected as a member of the state’s legislative Assembly in 2008.
ii.Deo also served as the Leader of the Opposition in the 4th Vidhan Sabha of Chhattisgarh.
iii.An MLA from Ambikapur constituency, Deo is currently holding Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Twenty Point Implementation and Commercial Tax  (GST) portfolios.

Chennai gets India’s first ‘Police Drone Unit’

On 29th June 2023, The Greater Chennai Police(GCP) launched the ‘Police Drone Unit’, the first in India, for aerial surveillance in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The unit, has a total of 9 drones under three categories – Quick Response Surveillance drones, heavy-lift multi-rotor drones, and Long Range Survey wing plane.

  • The unit established at a cost of Rs 3.6 crore was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) C Sylendra Babu and Greater Chennai Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal at Besant Nagar Avenue, Adyar in Chennai.

i.Established at a cost of Rs 3.6 crore, these drones are equipped with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) facilities and can be operated upto 5-10km from the ground station.
ii.The drones have thermal object imaging facility and helps in night patrolling.
iii.It also helps to monitor isolated places as well as uniting of anti-social elements.
iv.Also, the drones are equipped with ANPR (automatic number plate registration) cameras which helps to check vehicles registration data.

International Asteroid Day 2023 – June 30 The United Nations (UN)’s International Asteroid Day is annually observed across the world on 30th June to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard and to inform the public about the crisis communication actions to be taken at the global level in case of a credible Near-Earth Object (NEO) threat.
iIn December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution, A/RES/71/90 and proclaimed the 30th June of every year as the International Asteroid Day.
ii. The observance of the day was based on a proposal by the Association of Space Explorers, which was endorsed by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
iii. The first-ever International Asteroid Day was observed on 30th June 2017.
About United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA):
Note: Aarti Holla-Maini appointed as Director of UNOOSA on 28th June 2023.
Established in- 13 December 1958
UNOOSA Acting Director- Niklas Hedman
Headquarters- Vienna- Austria

International Day of Parliamentarism 2023 – June 30 The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Parliamentarism is annually celebrated across the globe on 30 June to celebrate Parliaments and the ways in which parliamentary systems of government improve the day-to-day lives of people across the world.

  • The day also marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the global organization of national parliaments, founded on 30th June 1889.
  • 30th June 2023 marks the 134th anniversary of IPU.

The theme of  International Day of Parliamentarism 2023 is “Parliaments for the Planet”. 

  • The 2023 theme focus on climate action and emphasis that ‘climate action starts at home’.

IPU’s campaign for International Day of Parliamentarism 2023:
The IPU-launched campaign “Parliaments for the Planet” to mobilize parliaments and parliamentarians to act on the climate emergency.
About Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU): 
President- Duarte Pacheco
Secretary General- Martin Chungong
Headquartered- Geneva, Switzerland

Versova-Bandra Sea Link & Mumbai Trans Harbour Link To Be Renamed

On 28th June 2023, The Maharashtra Cabinet approved the renaming of two infrastructure projects in Mumbai after Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
i.The 17-km Versova Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) which connects Andheri to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and a part of the coastal road project will be renamed as ‘Veer Savarkar Setu’ after Savarkar.
ii.The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL)which connects Mumbai to Navi Mumbai, expected to be India’s longest sea bridge upon completion by December 2023, will be renamed as ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee Smruti Sewree Nhava Sheva Atal Setu‘ after Vajpayee.
Note: The announcement was made on 28th May 2023, the 140th birth anniversary of Savarkar by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

QCI and Odisha Government Launched Odisha Gunvatta Sankalp in Bhubaneswar

On 26th June 2023, the Government of Odisha, in collaboration with the Quality Council of India (QCI) and industry associations such as Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India(ASSOCHAM), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry(FICCI), Engineering Export Promotion Council of India(EEPC),Odisha Assembly of Small and Medium Enterprises (OASME), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) , Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET), and Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India(FHRAI), launched the Odisha Gunvatta Sankalp (Odisha Quality Mission) in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

  • The objective is to promote and prioritize quality across various sectors in the state of Odisha.

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