Current Affairs – 10 June 2023

MoP & MNRE jointly launched “Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research” to leverage Emerging Technologies in Power Sector

The Ministry of Power (MoP) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have jointly launched a national mission named “Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research” (MAHIR) to quickly identify emerging technologies in the power sector and leverage them indigenously, at scale, for deployment within and outside India.

  • By identifying emerging technologies and taking them to the implementation stage, the mission seeks to support them as the main fuel for future economic growth and make India a manufacturing hub of the world.
  • The mission has been planned for an initial period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28 and will follow the technology life cycle approach of Idea to Product.

The national mission MAHIR aims to facilitate indigenous research, development and demonstration of the latest and emerging technologies in the power sector.
Funding for the Mission:
iThe Mission will be funded by pooling financial resources of the MoP, MoNRE and the Central Public Sector Units (PSUs) under the two Ministries.
ii. Any additional funding needed will be mobilised from Government of India’s budgetary resources.
Click here for the Office Memorandum of MAHIR
iMAHIR will act as catalyst for achieving Net Zero emissions and promoting initiatives like Start-Up and Make in India in the Power Sector
ii. It will also contribute towards attaining the United Nations (UNs) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
iii.  MAHIR will work with premier institutions such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and Universities on the one hand and public & private power sector start-ups and established industries (Government enabled) for creating an innovation ecosystem,
Areas identified:
Eight areas have been identified for research and are:

  • Alternatives to Lithium-Ion storage batteries
  • Modifying electric cookers / pans to suit Indian cooking methods
  • Green hydrogen for mobility (High Efficiency Fuel Cell)
  • Carbon capture
  • Geo-thermal energy
  • Solid state refrigeration.
  • Nano technology for EV battery
  • Indigenous Cold Rolled Grain Oriented (CRGO) technology

1st India-France-UAE Trilateral Maritime Exercise held in Gulf of OmanOn June 7, 2023, the first edition of India, France and UAE (United Arab Emirates) Maritime Partnership Exercise was held in the Gulf of Oman.
To enhancing trilateral cooperation between the three navies
To address traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime environment
INS (Indian Naval Ship) Tarkash (a second Talwar-class frigate commissioned in 2012), French Ship Surcouf both with integral helicopters, French Rafale aircraft and UAE Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft are participating in the exercise.
Key Points:
i.The exercise involved naval operations such as Surface Warfare, involving tactical firing and Drills for Missile engagements on surface targets, Helicopter Cross Deck Landing Operations, Advanced Air Defence Exercise and Boarding operations.
ii.There was an exchange of best practices between the personnel..
iii.It also enhances collaboration in ensuring safety of mercantile trade and freedom of navigation at high seas in the region.

UNGA elected 5 new non-permanent member of UN Security CouncilOn 6th June 2023, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected five countries Algeria, Guyana, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Sierra Leone and Slovenia as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2 year period beginning from January 2024 to December 2025.

  • The newly elected 5 countries will replace the outgoing non-permanent members of Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose two-year terms ends on 31st December 2023.

UNSC election for non-permanent members: 
i.192 member countries voted to fill 3 Council seats allocated to the Africa and Asia-Pacific Groups, and 1 each for Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Slovenia won the election for Eastern Europe with 153 votes against Belarus.
  • Guyana for Latin America & the Caribbean (191 votes), Algeria(184 votes); and Sierra Leone for Africa (188 votes) and the Republic of Korea for Asia (180 votes) were elected unopposed.

Note: The newly elected countries will join Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland as non-permanent members of UNSC.
iiVoting of the election is conducted by secret ballot and candidates must obtain the support of two-thirds of the 193 UN member states present or 128 votes, even if they run uncontested.
Note: All the five newly elected members have previously served on the Security Council. Algeria has served three times. Guyana and the Republic of Korea have each served twice. Sierra Leone and Slovenia have each served once.
Security Council:
iUNSC, established in 1946 under the UN Charter,is tasked to maintain international peace and security.
ii. Ithas 15 members, 5 of which –The United States of America (USA), Russia, China, the United Kingdom (UK), and France are permanent ones, who have a right to veto any resolution or decision.
iii. The 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two years, which comprises all 193 UN Member States, half renewed each year, and are allocated by geographical distribution by region.
iv. The presidency of the UNSC is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States’ names.

  • President of UNSC for June 2023 – United Arab Emirate

About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA):
Founded in– 1945
President – Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary (Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago will take charge in September 2023)
Headquarters– New York, United States of America (USA)

Oral diseases affect more than 800 million people in the Western Pacific: WHO ReportAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s “Global oral health status report Towards universal health coverage for oral health by 2030 Regional summary of the Western Pacific Region” around 800 million people, or 42% of people in the Western Pacific Region, suffer from oral diseases such as untreated dental caries, gum disease, or tooth loss.

  • If the countries in the region fail to integrate the oral health services into universal health coverage packages, the increasing population of older adults in the Region will increase the burden of oral diseases in the future.

The Western Pacific Region- The most affected region:
i. The oral diseases in the region surged by 30 percent over the past 30 years (1990–2019), from an estimated 629 million cases in 1990 to more than 800 million cases in 2019.
ii.Compared to other regions of WHO, The Western Pacific Region has the highest prevalence of tooth loss, around 92 million people in the region aged 20 years and above are missing all their teeth, including 1 in 5 adults above 60 years.
iii.Around half of the countries in the region spent less than USD 10 per person per year on oral health care. 5 countries spend between USD 11 and USD 50, and five high-income countries spend between USD 51 and USD 300

  • The global average on spending for oral healthcare is USD 50 per person per year in 2019.

Preventive measures:
i.Countries in this region should make policy measures to reduce sugar intakes and to ensure people receive optimal levels of fluoride through drinking water.
ii.Oral diseases are one of the noncommunicable diseases (NCD), and they can be reduced by low consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
Resolutions adopted in WHO related to Oral Health:
i. In 2021, WHO member states adopted a historic resolution in oral health and suggested to provide oral health prevention and treatment as part of universal health coverage.
ii.At the 2022 World Health Assembly, the Global Strategy on Oral Health was adopted by member countries.
iii. At the 2023 World Health Assembly, Global Oral Health Action Plan 2023–2030 targeted to achieve universal Health Coverage for oral health by 2030 was adopted.
WHO western pacific region:
i.The Western Pacific Region is one of the six regions of the World Health Organization. Headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
ii.It covers 37 countries in the western pacific region including China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia, and others.
About World Health Organisation:
Director General- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Established 1948

‘Atlantic Declaration’ between US and UK signed by Joe Biden and Rishi SunakOn June 8, 2023, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Rishi Sunak and President of the United States (US), Joe Biden announced new economic partnership called ‘Atlantic Declaration’ at a joint press conference at the White House, Washington, D.C., US to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

  • The declaration aims to increase US-UK trade in areas such as defence, nuclear materials and the critical minerals used in electric-car batteries.

Key Objectives of the Declaration:
i.The atlantic declaration will reduce vulnerabilities across supply chains and keep Russia out of global civil nuclear power market.
ii.The declaration was designed to improve the economic security in both nations response to threats from China and Russia.
iii.The declaration is intended to allow the two countries to move faster and cooperate  on areas such as supply chains disrupted by COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine.
iv.It would bring the UK into the orbit of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which lays out vast subsidies for green infrastructure. The declaration will allow UK electric car manufacturers to benefit from some of the IRA subsidies regime.
v.The two countries will also collaborate on key industries including AI (Artificial Intelligence), 5G and 6G telecoms, quantum computing, semiconductors and engineering biology.

WHO & Global Fund signed a revised Strategic Framework for Collaboration to build stronger Health SystemsOn 8th June 2023, The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria (the Global Fund) signed a new and revised Strategic Framework for Collaboration.
The framework aims to build stronger and more resilient health systems and maximise collaboration and have a significant impact in supporting major communicable diseases at the country, regional and global levels.
Key Points:
iThe new five-year framework builds upon the previous agreement established in 2018 and it aligns with the Global Fund’s 2023-2028 Strategy and the WHO General Program of Work.
ii. These strategies emphasise placing communities at the center of the health response and addressing pandemic preparedness and challenges posed by climate change.
iii. The framework also aligns with broader collaboration platforms that accelerate support to countries in achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including universal health coverage (UHC).
iv. The new strategic framework for collaboration, driven by the shared mission and commitment of WHO and the Global Fund, will strengthen and extend collaboration to effectively serve countries.
New Revised Framework:
Through this new framework, WHO and the Global Fund will be leveraging their comparative strengths across 35 areas for collaboration divided into 4 categories:

  • Health policies and normative guidance
  • Advocacy and health governance
  • Health products and innovations
  • Technical support and capacity building

Some significant achievements of the collaboration made at the country level:
i20 countries have efficiently implemented differentiated service delivery for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, treatment, advanced HIV of the disease care, and virtual interventions to reach individuals unaware of their HIV status.
ii. Collaboration has enabled early guidance and surveys on dual testing for COronaVIrus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) and TB, allowing for improved detection of people with TB through the innovations adopted during and after the COVID-19 emergency.
iii. Strategic initiatives on malaria enabled accelerated progress towards malaria elimination. Since 2018, 8 countries have been certified malaria-free by WHO, with five more preparing for certification in 2023 and 2024.
iv. The partnership has paved the way for the implementation of innovative approaches, such as the new WHO Insecticide Treated Nets Guidelines for Malaria and the scale-up of new, shorter treatments for multidrug-resistant TB.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
Founded in– 1948
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Director-General– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

UNDP Launches 3rd Cohort of 4 Ocean Innovators

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched its third cohort of four ocean innovators which aims to accelerate progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 14.2, 14.5 and 14.7: marine protected areas, area-based management and the blue economy.

  • These 4 innovations will demonstrate the compelling roles of marine spatial planning (MSP), marine protected areas (MPAs) and new environmentally and socially sustainable economic activities for a healthy and resilient ocean.
  • UNDP’s Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) will provide financial, mentoring and incubator support to these four ocean innovators.
  • UNDP has committed to deliver at least 100 Ocean Innovations by 2030. Supported by Sida and Norad, the third cohort receives financial support to ocean innovators of up to USD 250,000 for two years.

3rd cohort of Ocean Innovators: 

  • DHI Water and Environment (M)Sdn. Bhd. – Mapping and monitoring of ecosystems at Scale with Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery, a tropical system application in Malaysia.
  • University of Rhode Island – Ensuring community roles in complex multiple use areas in Madagascar
  • Mersea Marine Consulting- Exotic Pufferfish Leather Products (Türkiye)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – SEA Success (Bangladesh and Thailand)

SIDBI Launched Mission EVOLVE to finance EVs for MSMEs;  GAME Received SIDBI’s Approval for NGAP ProgramIn June 2023, Small Industries Development Bank of India)(SIDBI) launched mission EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Operations and Lending for Vibrant Ecosystem) in tie up with the Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), World Bank, Korea-World Bank partnership facility, and Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to finance MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) in the electric vehicles (EV) space.

  • The objective of mission EVOLVE is to provide  affordable commercial financing for EV loans to MSMEs, including hosting of telematics and reduce financing costs.
  • Under the partnership, Niti Aayog will give technical support to SIDBI , and the financial assistance would be provided by the World Bank, Korea-World Bank partnership facility and the Korean EDCF.

On June 9, 2023, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) has received in-principal approval from SIDBI for designing and structuring a sustainable and scalable NBFC Growth Accelerator Program (NGAP).
About Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI):
Chairman & Managing Director – Sivasubramanian Ramann
Headquarters -Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Establishment -2nd April 1990

Samco Mutual Fund launches India’s 1st Actively-managed momentum fund, SAMCO Active Momentum Fund SAMCO Mutual Fund launched India’s first actively-managed momentum fund – SAMCO Active Momentum Fund, an open-ended equity scheme following momentum theme with Benchmark Index of Nifty 500 Index TRI.

  • The New Fund Offering (NFO) from SAMCO Active Momentum Fund commences on June 15, 2023, and concludes on June 29, 2023.

About SAMCO Active Momentum Fund:
It carefully chooses stocks with momentum traits like breakouts and price leadership, utilizing a special momentum-seeking algorithm. By taking advantage of current price trends, the fund aims to outperform the market and generate superior returns for investors.

  • In Momentum investing, active management offers several unique advantages such as a wider investible universe, quicker rebalancing and hedging flexibility during periods of anti-momentum.
  • Momentum is one of the most persistent factor to generate excess returns in all assets be it equity, commodity and forex.

Key Points:
i.The Minimum Application Amount is Rs 5000 and in multiples of Rs 1/- thereafter.
ii.The Minimum SIP Amount is Rs 500 and in multiples of Rs 1/- thereafter.
iii.It is invested only during times of Momentum, and remains out of markets when there is Anti-Momentum.
iv.The fund manager for SAMCO Active Momentum Fund is Paras Matalia who will oversee the fund’s investment decisions and work towards maximizing returns for investors.

ICAI and IBA to set up Common Platform for Balance ConfirmationsThe Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) will set up Common Platform for Balance Confirmations which will be jointly controlled by both the entities.

  • The platform’s development and maintenance will be handled by Mumbai (Maharashtra)-based PSB Alliance Pvt. Ltd. (PSB Alliance) in collaboration with Hyderabad (Telangana) based Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT).
  • The PSB Alliance is a joint venture umbrella corporation that was founded and owned by all 12 Public Sector Banks (PSBs).

Key Points:
i.It will initially cover justPSBs) but will subsequently be expanded to include private sector banks and financial organisations as well.
ii.The common portal will be legally binding.
iii.It will have a regulatory structure comprised of ICAI, IBA, PSB Alliance Pvt. Ltd., and IDRBT.
iv.Balance confirmations will be handled by banks.
Reason behind this platform:
This new platform was created for auditors to make their job easier and more reliable. Currently, auditors have to rely on external confirmations to get information from different parties, like banks, about things such as accounts receivables, accounts payables, bank balances, loans, investments, or inventory held by third parties etc.

  • But sometimes, this method led to problems. In 2009, there was a big scandal involving a company, Satyam Computers in which bank balance confirmation was a critical audit mistake that led to the total fraud.

To avoid similar controversies and to streamline the process, this new platform was created. Auditors won’t have to pay anything to use it. It will be much more efficient and trustworthy, and auditors can be sure that the information they get from the platform is reliable. Once the portal is operational, auditors will no longer be concerned about the risks connected with external verification of account balances.

Federal Bank launches ‘I am AdyarAdyar is me’ campaign in Chennai

Aluva(Kerala)-based Federal Bank Limited has undertaken the ‘I am AdyarAdyar is me’ campaign in Chennai, Tamil Nadu(TN) and transformed an entire bank branch into a living museum of local stories.

  • The campaign has handpicked 40 compelling stories of individuals, which are showcased in an exclusive exhibition at the Adyar branch of Federal Bank.
  • This art exhibition will run for two weeks between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Over 100 auto-rickshaws have been decorated with the campaign’s branding.

Note: In February, 2023, the Bank had emphasised its focus on human connection with the campaign, “Rishta Aap Se Hai, Sirf App Se Nahi”.

OECD Projects India’s GDP Growth in FY24 at 6% & FY23 at 7.2%The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Economic Outlook, has marginally increased India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for 2023-24 (FY24) to 6%, from its earlier projection of 5.9%.

  • India’s GDP growth forecast for FY23 was estimated at 7.2% due to higher-than-expected agriculture output and strong government spending.

Key Points:
i.OECD estimates inflation in India in FY24 at 4.8%, slower than Reserve Bank of India’s forecast of 5.2%.
ii.India’s economic growth in FY25 projected to 7%, lower than its April projection of 7.1%. Inflation in FY25 is projected to be 4.4%, compared with the earlier estimation of 4.2%.
iii.OECD projected the Global GDP growth in 2023 to be 2.7, the lowest annual rate since the global financial crisis (except the 2020 COVID -19 pandemic period). GDP growth for 2024 was projected at 2.9%.
iv.OECD projects the headline inflation converge towards 4.5% with interest rates to be lowered from mid-2024.

ICAR signs a MoU with Amazon Kisan to Empower FarmersOn June 9, 2023,  the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Amazon Kisan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combine strengths and create synergy between the two organisations to guide farmers who are enrolled on Amazon’s ‘Kisan store’ on scientific cultivation of different crops and help them achieve optimum yield and income.

  • The MoU was signed by U S Gautam, Deputy Director General (Agricultural Extension), ICAR, and Siddharth Tata, Product Leader, Amazon Fresh Supply Chain and Kisan.

Backdrop: In September 2021, Amazon India launched Kisan (Farmer) Store on for farmers which provides the availability of agriculture inputs like seeds, farm tools & accessories, plant protection, nutrition and many other agricultural products at competitive prices, with the added convenience of delivery at their doorstep.
Key Points:
i.Under the MoU, ICAR will collaborate with Amazon for technologies, capacity building and transfer of new knowledge. It will provide technological backstopping to the farmers through Amazon’s network and improve farmers’ livelihood and boost crop yield.
ii.The farmer’s partnership with Amazon Kisan program under the MoU is a Public-Private-Peasants-Partnership (PPPP) and it will help ensuring access to high quality fresh produce for consumers across India, including through Amazon Fresh.
iii.ICAR and Amazon will work together on farmer engagement programmes at Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), conducting demonstrations, trials, and capacity building initiatives to enhance farming practices and profitability.

  • Amazon will provide training support and assist farmers in marketing their produce through its online platform, facilitating direct connections with consumers.
  • KVK’s will strengthen a wider group of farmers by leveraging technological base through transfer of technology and capacity building programmes.

iv.The MoU was signed as an outcome from a pilot project at Pune (Maharashtra) between ICAR-KVK and Amazon, to further expand the same collaboration to extend the precise agriculture practices developed through extensive research.

World’s Most Powerful Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Opens in Beijing,China

China has finished constructing the world’s most powerful largest and fastest wind tunnel JF-22, in the mountainous Huairou district of northern Beijing. The JF-22 wind tunnel is owned by the Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) and is expected to play a crucial role in China’s pursuit of hypersonic technology.

  • It has a diameter of 4 metres (13 feet) and can generate extreme high airflow speeds of up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) per second.
  • This is capable of simulating hypersonic flight conditions up to Mach 30, which is 30 times the speed of sound.

The JF-12 wind tunnel, simulates flight conditions at lower speeds and temperatures, has been operating since 2012 at the same site as the JF-22.

2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships: China’s Fan Zhendong wins Men’s singles title On 28th May 2023, Fan Zhendong, World No.1 Table Tennis (TT) player from China, won the Men’s Singles title at the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Table Tennis (WTTChampionships defeating China’s Wang Chuqin (world no.2) in the finals held in Durban, South Africa.

  • This mark’s Fan Zhendong’s 2nd Singles Title at WTT championship and won the St. Bride Vase trophy for Men’s Singles.
  • He previously won the Singles title in 2021 at Houston, the United States of America (USA).  This also marks China’s 10th Men’s Singles title at WTT championship, since 2005.

2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships, 57th edition of the WTT Championship, was held from 20th to 28th May 2023 in Durban, South Africa.
China’s Sun Yingsha won her maiden Women’s Singles title:
World No. 1 Women TT Player, Sun Yingsha from China, won the Women’s Singles title at the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis (WTT) Championships defeating her compatriot Chen Meng (World No 4).

  • This marks her first ever Women’s singles title at the WTT championship.
  • She received the Geist Prize- women’s singles trophy.

Magnus Carlsen wins 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz PolandWorld Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway won the 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland which was held at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland

  • Magnus Carlsen finished with a score of 24/36 and was awarded the $40,000 prize money.
  • He was followed by Jan-Krzyzstof Duda of Poland with 23/36 score.

Key Points:
i.The Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland is the 2nd stage on the 2023 Grand Chess Tour, a series of five events with a total prize fund of $1.4 million.

  • The total Prize Fund for this event was $175,000.

ii.It was a 10-player Round Robin event.
iii.This tournament will be followed by the Super United Rapid & Blitz in Zagreb Croatia from July 3-10, 2023; and Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz in Missouri, United States (US) from November 12-19, 2023.
iv.The final classical event, the Sinquefield Cup will be held from November 19 – December 3 in Missouri.

World Accreditation Day 2023 – June 9 World Accreditation Day(WAD) is annually observed across the globe on 9th June to promote the value of accreditation, a review process to determine if educational programs meet defined standards of quality.
The theme of World Accreditation Day 2023, observed on 9th June 2023, is “Accreditation: Supporting the Future of Global Trade”. 

  • The 2023 theme focuses on how accreditation supports the United Nations(UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 14, and 17.

i.The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation(ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) jointly established the World Accreditation Day (WAD) as a global initiative in 2007.
ii.The first ever World Accreditation Day was observed on 9th June 2008. 
About International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation(ILAC):
Headquarters– Silverwater, New South Wales, Australia
ILAC Chair– Etty Feller (Israel)

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