Current Affairs – 18 August 2023

Cabinet Approvals on August 16, 2023On August 16, 2023, the Union Cabinet Chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals:
i.CCEA approves seven multi-tracking projects of Indian Railways with an outlay of Rs 32,500 crore. These projects are fully funded by the Central Government.
ii.The Union Cabinet has approved the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’ to benefit individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship/artisan works.
iii.The Union Cabinet also approved extension of Digital India project with an outlay of Rs 14,903 crore.
iv.The Central Government has approved Rs 20,000 crore project for the construction of five Fleet Support Vessels (FSVs) for Indian Navy (IN). These will be manufactured by the Visakhapatnam (AP)-based Hindustan Shipyards Limited (HSL).
v.The Union Cabinet approved the bus scheme ‘PM-eBus Sewa’ for augmenting city bus operation by 10,000 e-buses (electric buses) on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
vi.The Union Cabinet has approved the signing and ratification of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) between the Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC), Department of Revenue, Government of India, and the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Border Force, Australian Government.
vii.The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Sports between the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYAS), India; and the Department of Health and Aged Care of the Government of Australia.
viii.The Union Cabinet has also given its approval for the MoU between India and Suriname on Cooperation in the field of health and medicine or medical product regulation.
About Suriname:
Capital– Paramaribo
Currency– Suriname Dollar
President– Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokh

TN to set up India’s 1st UAS common testing Centre under DTIS in KanchipuramTamil Nadu (TN) is set to establish India’s first Common Testing Centre for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) (drones) under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS). The centre will be established at a cost of Rs 45 crore over an area of 2.3 acres at the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) Industrial Park, Vallam Vadagal near Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram district, TN.

  • It would be established by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), which is the nodal agency for implementing the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor (TNDIC), which aims to provide an ecosystem for the aerospace and defence industry in the region.
  • The Centre will enable TN to become a significant contributor to the Self-reliance of India in the aerospace & defence sector.

i.At present, the lack of common test centres that can support the Aerospace and Defence Standards outside Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU)/Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) represents a barrier to entry for many oganisations.
ii.To address this issue, TIDCO has initiated the process of setting up test centres for multiple sub-domains, including UAS.
iii.For setting up such a Common Testing Centre, TIDCO has floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for identifying industrial partners, to establish the centre as a joint venture (JV), in accordance with the guidelines of the DTI Scheme..
iv.A consortium of companies comprising Keltron, Sense Image Technologies, Standards Testing and Compliance, and Avishka Retailers was selected to partner with TIDCO in establishing the facility.

  • They were chosen based on their response to a transparent bidding process.

Key Points:
i.This testing centre will enable Tamil Nadu to become a preferred destination for aerospace and defence companies to set up their Indian operations.
ii.As part of the implementation of the TNDIC, the government of Tamil Nadu has adopted a multi-pronged strategy, and one of them is the creation of an enabling ecosystem including Common Testing Centres for the Aerospace and Defence Industry.
iii.Currently, the testing for UAS (Drones) is conducted component-wise at different centres, resulting in reduced organisational efficiency and escalating costs.
Note: DRDO’s integrated facility in Chitradurga, Karnataka is exclusively reserved for DRDO’s use.
About Tamil Nadu:
Chief Minister– M. K. Stalin
Governor– R. N. Ravi
Airport– Madurai International Airport, Tuticorin Airport or Thoothukudi Airport

DGCA forms a 4-Member Committee to Ensure Gender Equality in Civil Aviation SectorThe Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a Civil aviation regulator has set up a 4-member committee namely, R P Kashyap, Director (Training); Survita Saxena, Director (Operations); Pavan Malviya, Deputy Director (Administration); and Kavita Singh, Deputy Director (Aircraft Engineering Directorate), to provide suggestions for achieving gender equality in the aviation sector in India.

  • The committee is expected to formulate norms and submit them to DGCA, which the civil aviation regulator will further circulate among aviation stakeholders to adopt and bring into practice for gender equality.
  • The deadline for the committee to submit its report/recommendation is six months from the date of its constitution.

The initiative aligns with the commitment of International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO), to promote the participation of women and achieve an aspirational goal, for a balanced ratio of 50-50 (women to men) by 2030 at all professional and higher levels of employment in the global aviation sector.
Key Points:
i.India stands out with 15% of women pilots globally. This achievement is noteworthy but emphasises the need for more progress, true gender equality in the pilot community remains an aspiration.
ii.Achieving gender equality, involves various stakeholders, including airlines, airports, ground handlers, Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services, as well as support services.
iii.The scope of this initiative should also encompass immigration processes, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), customs, and Air Traffic Control (ATC) departments, where women’s representation remains notably low.
i.A report titled ‘Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance in Aviation‘ by CAPA Centre for Aviation, consulting & research firm in May 2022, revealed that the share of women on boards in India’s aviation sector stood at 19%.

  • Among the 15 countries assessed, France stands out with the highest gender diversity of 49% representation of women on boards.

ii.The report also stated that although female participation in the labour force is relatively low across the world, India lags way behind many other countries.
Note: CAPA, Centre for Aviation, established in 1990 is one of the world’s most trusted sources of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry.

Nehru Memorial Museum Has Been Renamed as The Prime Ministers’ Museum
The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) has officially been renamed as the Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library (PMML) Society with effective from August 14, 2023.It is located within the Teen Murti House complex at New Delhi, Delhi.This institution operates independently under the India Ministry of Culture.

  • It was established in 1964 after the death of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who had spent his lifetime in his official residence for 16 years until his demise on May 27,1964.
  • This renaming reflects motive of expanding the society’s focus beyond its previous associations to Jawaharlal Nehru and aims to foster a more comprehensive understanding of all the prime ministers of India and their invaluable contributions to the nation.
  • The decision to change the name was taken in June 2023 in a meeting of the NMML Society. It was chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the vice president of the society. This project was approved by Executive Council, NMML in its 162nd meeting held in November 2016.
  • Shri Nripendra Misra is the chairman of the Executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML)

Note – Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya in April 2022, stands as a homage to every prime minister of the Republic of India post-Independence, encapsulating their individual contributions to our nation’s progress during the past 75 years.

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala UnveileA-HELP’ Programme in Gujarat
Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Parshottam Rupala has unveiled the ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, along with an Infertility Camp in Gujarat.The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, is spearheading these initiatives as part of the Pashudhan Jagrati Abhiyaan under Inclusive Development.

  • The ‘A-HELP’ program is designed to empower women through their participation as skilled agents, making substantial contributions to disease control, artificial insemination as part of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), animal tagging, and livestock insurance.
  • It marks a significant stride towards empowering women, enhancing livestock productivity, and advancing the socio-economic landscape of the region.
  • Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi launched nine campaigns under the theme Inclusive Development as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on the 24th April 2023 during the National Panchayati Raj Day at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. The PM also launched the Website and Mobile App “Samaveshi Vikaas” on the same day.The nation will observe Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) till August, 2023.

MeitY Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma Launches The ‘GrapheneAurora Program’
Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitYSecretary Shri Alkesh Kumar Sharma launched the ‘Graphene-Aurora program’ at a function in Maker Village Kochi, Kerala.The program aims to bridge the gap between research & development and its commercialization, using the India Innovation Centre Graphene (IICG) centers in Kochi.

  • The program has been allocated a total budget of Rs 94.85 Crore, with significant participation from industry partners, including Carborundum Pvt Limited.
  • Digital University Kerala will execute the program in collaboration with joint funding from MeitY, the Government of India, the Government of Kerala, and industry partners.
  • MeitY Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma announced the establishment of a section 8 company named ‘India Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (I-GEIC).‘ This not-for-profit entity will be created, and its initial operations will commence at the newly inaugurated Government of Kerala facility situated in Digital Science Park, Trivandrum.

ADB Supports ECD & Maternal Mental Health in MeghalayaThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 40.5 million loan for an integrated project focussing on Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Maternal Mental Health in Meghalaya. The Government of Meghalaya is contributing USD 15.27 million to the project.

  • This initiative attempts to focus on daycare centers known as Anganwadi centers (AWC), aiming to enhance access to nurturing care including crucial elements such as maternal mental health support and inclusive group-based parenting programs involving fathers.
  • The project is initiated to strengthen home-based childcare for children aged 0–1.5 years and center-based childcare for those aged 1.5–6 years.

i.Meghalaya has launched a project called Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission (MECDM) on 8th June 2022, to address the low-performing indicators related to ECD and ensure that every child can reach his or her potential.
ii.This Mission is part of Meghalaya’s long-term strategy to bring about actual impactful changes in Meghalaya. It is a unique intervention of Meghalaya and for all of India, aimed at the overall welfare of children from conception until 8 years of age.
About the Project:
i.The ADB-supported project will upgrade 1,800 AWCs and construct around 600 new AWCs in remote and challenging areas with climate-resilient designs.
ii.These AWCs will serve as daycare centers, and staff will be extended with a new ECD educator who will help extend center-based childcare services to children 1.5–3 years of age, in addition to children 3-6 years of age.
iii.A new state resource center for the developing child will be also established to serve as a center of excellence for ECD services.
iv.ADB is set to conduct a first-of-its-kind evaluation to assess the potential to revolutionise ECD interventions in Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) and play a pivotal role in shaping both national and global childcare policies.
Funding Assistance:
Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR) will grant USD 2 million in technical assistance to help develop guidelines and training curricula for AWC staff and ECD educators.
Key Points:
i.The assistance of ADB will enhance nutrient adequacy by introducing eggs to the diet of pregnant and lactating women, and children 0.5–6 years of age.
ii.As one of several climate-resilient features, the project will also help establish nutrition gardens at AWC for improved diet diversity and nutrition security.
iii.The initial years, especially the crucial first 1,000 days, play a pivotal role in the growth and development of a child, by recognising this significance, the focus on adequate nutrition and nurturing care during this period is essential.
iv.Mothers hold a central position in childcare. Their physical and emotional well-being directly affects the child’s health and development. ADB’s commitment to supporting the Meghalaya Government’s cause further strengthens the efforts of India in advancing ECD.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
President– Masatsugu Asakawa
Headquarters– Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
Established in– 1966

Canara Bank Launched Canara Jeevan Dhara for PensionersCanara Bank launched Canara Jeevan Dhara, a unique savings bank account designed for pensioners and those who are planning for retirement, including all the employees who retired on a voluntary basis or standard retirement procedures.
Under this scheme, the bank provides two variants based on the amount of pension credit.

  • Diamonds account is designed for pension credits of up to Rs 50,000.
  • Platinum account caters to pension credits exceeding Rs 50,000.

Loan against Deposit: This account presents an opportunity for senior citizens as the bank extends an offer of 0.75% above the deposit rate.
Top-Up Facility: Customers holding this account will find added convenience, as the bank provides them with a top-up facility on pension loans.
Concession on Medical Expenses: Canara Bank Jeevan Dhaara customers are entitled to a concession of up to 25% on medical expenses, easing their financial burdens.
Canara Bank Fixed Deposit(FD) Interest Rates: FDs offered by Canara Bank, maturing over durations spanning 7 days to 10 years, yield interest rates ranging from 4% to 7.25% for the general public, and 4% to 7.75% for senior citizens.
Interest rates:
The bank provides different interest rates, ranging from 2.90% to 4% based on the balance in the savings accounts. Click here for Interest rate details
About Canara Bank:
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) – K. Satyanarayana Raju
Headquarters- Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established in  – 1906 (as Canara Hindu Permanent Fund Ltd. and renamed as Canara Bank Limited in 1910)
Tagline – Together we can

Retail Inflation Hiked to 7.44% Crossing RBI’s Inflation TargetAs per the All India Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), India’s retail inflation rate hiked to 7.44% in July, 2023 surpassing the upper limit of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 2-6% tolerance range.The inflation rate recorded 4.87 % in June 2023.

  • This is due to a surge in prices of vegetables, cereals, pulses, spices and milk.
  • This is the third instance of retail inflation crossing the threshold(after 15 months),with the previous instances being 7% in September 2022 and 7.79% in April 2022.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has increased its inflation forecast for the current FY2024 to 5.4% from the earlier estimate of 5.1%.

Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI):
The Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) experienced an inflation rate of 11.51% in July 2023 against 4.55% in June 2023 and 6.69% in July 2022.
Core inflation:
Core inflation, which pertains to the non-food and non-fuel components, decreased to a 21-month low of 5.1% in July 2023, as estimated by ICRA Limited, formerly known as the “Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited.
With Respect to States:
Rajasthan registered the highest inflation rate at 9.66%, followed by Jharkhand at 9.16%, Tamil Nadu at 8.95%, Odisha at 8.67%, and Uttarakhand at 8.58%.
Wholesale Inflation Stays In Negative for Fourth Month
In July 2023, wholesale prices continued to display deflationary trends for the fourth consecutive month. his notable increase in food and primary article prices led to a substantial reduction in the overall price decline, narrowing it to (-)1.36%.

  • The inflation rate based on the wholesale price index (WPI) has remained negative since April 2023 and was recorded at (-)4.12% in June 2023. In comparison, the same period in 2022 saw a considerably higher rate of 14.07% in July.

Faiz Ahmed Kidwai was Given Additional Charge as CEO of NRAA
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT),Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has issued an order appointing Faiz Ahmed Kidwai as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) on an additional charge basis. This appointment is effective for a period of 9 months starting from June 5, 2023, until the appointment of a new CEO or until further orders.

  • He is currently serving as the Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare(DA&FW), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare(MoA&FW).
  • Faiz Ahmed Kidwai succeeds Dr. Ashok Dalwai, who was serving as CEO of NRAA since July 2017.

Note: The additional charge for Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, 1996-batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC) headed by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

  • NRAA was established as an attached office of the then Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (now DA&FW) on 3rd November 2006.
  • NRAA is an expert body that offers the much-needed information inputs about the systematic management and improvement of the India’s dryland and rainfed agriculture.
    Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi.

Anuradha Thakur was Given Additional Charge as Director of SFIO
Anuradha Thakur has been given additional charge as the Director of Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), a statutory corporate fraud investigating agency in India, for a period of 6 months with effect from 31st July 2023, till the appointment of regular incumbent or until further orders.

  • Anuradha Thakur is a 1994 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh Cadre.

SFIO is a multi-disciplinary organization under Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA).
It includes experts from the field of accountancy, forensic auditing, law, information technology, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white-collar crimes/frauds.

  • SFIO was established through the Government of India vide Notification dated 21st July 2015.
  • Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi.

Mahmood Ahmed was given Additional Charge as MD of NHIDCL
Mahmood Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways(MoRTH), has been given additional charge as the Managing Director(MD) of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) under the MoRTH.

  • Mahmood Ahmed is a 1993 batch Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&T AFS) officer.
  • He will hold the post till the appointment of the regular incumbent or until further orders.
  • The post has been vacant since Chanchal Kumar, MD of NHIDCL, was moved to the Ministry of Civil Aviation(MCA) as Officer On Special Duty(OSD).

About National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL):
Established in 2014
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi

CCI Approves Acquisition of Certain Stake of IBS Software Pte Limited by Pelipper HoldCo SARLThe Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the  acquisition of ~ 30% of the issued share capital on a fully diluted basis of IBS Software Pte Limited by Pelipper HoldCo SARL from Techware Singapore Holdings Pte. Ltd., a portfolio company of Blackstone Inc.

  • Pelipper HoldCo SARL is a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) indirectly wholly owned by investment funds advised by Apax Partners LLP (AP).

Target– IBS Software Pte Limited
Acquirer– Pelipper HoldCo SARL
Seller – Blackstone Inc.
i.In May 2023, IBS Software, a global travel and logistics Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company announced, Apax Partners LLP (AP) Funds have made an investment of USD 450 million to acquire a minority stake in IBS Software.
ii.Post the latest transaction, V K Mathews, IBS Software’s Founder and Executive Chairman will remain the majority shareholder.
Key Points:
i.AP is a limited liability partnership incorporated under the laws of the United Kingdom (UK) and the parent of a number of entities, which provide investment advisory services to private equity funds investing in a range of industry sectors.
ii.IBS Software Pte Limited is the parent company of the IBS group of companies (Target Group), which is mainly active as a software vendor, predominantly for the aviation industry and the travel industry.

  • It also provides Information Technology (IT) services to its own existing customers, mainly aviation, tour & cruise, hospitality, and energy resources industries.

iii.Target Group is primarily active as a provider of software solutions to the travel industry globally, managing mission-critical operations for customers in the aviation, tour & cruise, hospitality, and energy resources industries.

Scientists at IIA Bengaluru Discovered a Unique CEMP Star “HE 1005-1439”Scientists at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics(IIA) in Bengaluru, Karnataka have discovered a unique star named “HE 1005-1439”. This star defies the conventional classification of stars and stands out as a carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) star, a rare class of chemically peculiar stars.
CEMP Star: 
CEMP stars have [C/Fe] (Carbon/Iron) > +1, compared to the Sun CEMP stars have carbon enhanced at least 10 times more than iron, and [Fe/H] (Iron/Hydrogen) < -1, meaning that iron is less than a 10th that in the Sun.
Discovery of HE 1005-1439: 
i.The discovery of the new star challenges the previous understanding of star formation processes.
ii.For the first time, scientists have discovered an object that shows signs of having been formed through a combination of 2 different neutron capture processes such as slow (s-) and intermediate (i-). 

  • slow (s-) – occurs in low-mass stars during a particular phase called asymptotic giant branch (AGB).
  • intermediate (i-) – the proposed site of i- process is low-metallicity low-mass AGB stars.

The s- and i-process occur in different astrophysical environments,  and hence, the surface chemical composition of HE 1005-1439 being influenced by both processes seems unique.
Key Points: 
i.The IIA scientists led by Partha Pratim Goswami and supervised by Prof. Aruna Goswami, used high-resolution spectroscopic data acquired using High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) attached to SUBARU telescope (Japan) to analyze the star’s surface chemical composition.
ii.They found that the iron content of the star is 1000 times less than that of the sun and it is heavily enriched with neutron-capture elements.

Elements beyond iron are formed through the neutron capture processes.  The processes of neutron capture may be distinguished as slow (s-), Rapid(r-) and intermediate (i-).

  • rapid (r-) process is believed to occur in Supernovae and Neutron star mergers.

About Indian Institute of Astrophysics(IIA):
IIA is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
Director– Prof. Annapurni Subramaniam
Established in 1971
Location– Bengaluru, Karnataka

Pakistan Fast Bowler Wahab Riaz Retires From International Cricket Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz announced his retirement from international cricket across all formats. He continues to play in franchise cricket.

  • He has been serving as the caretaker Sports Minister of the Punjab province in Pakistan since January 2023.

i.Wahab Riaz made his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2008.

  • He also made his T20I debut against Bangladesh at Karachi, Pakistan in 2008.
  • In 2010, he made his Test debut at the Oval, London in the United Kingdom.

ii.He has 83 wickets in 27 tests, 120 wickets in 91 one-day internationals (ODIs)and 34 wickets in 36 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

  • He played his last international match against New Zealand in 2020 in a T20I at Hamilton, New Zealand.

iii.He was part of the Pakistan team in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s World Cup (ODI) in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

  • He was also the leading wicket taker for Pakistan in 2015 World Cup with 17 wickets.

iv.At present, he is playing Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Lanka Premier League (LPL), and County cricket in England.

Padma Awardee VSR Arunachalam, Former DG of DRDO, Passed AwayPadma Awardee Dr Vallampadugai Srinivasa Raghavan Arunachalam (V S R Arunachalam), an Indian Scientist and the former Director General (DG) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), passed away at the age of 87 in California, the United States of America (USA). He hails from Karnataka and was born on 10th November 1935.
About V S R Arunachalam:
i.He served as the DG of DRDO and Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development (DDRD) and Scientific Adviser (SA) to the Defence Ministry from 1982 to 1992.

  • He became the 1st DRDO scientist to head the DRDO.

ii.He has also worked at institutions such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), National Aeronautical Laboratory (later renamed as National Aerospace Laboratories), and Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL).
iii.He was the first Indian Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the United Kingdom (UK) and held the position of Distinguished Service Professor (Engineering and Public Policy) at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.
iv.He also served as a member of the advisory and editorial boards of several universities and foundations, including the Materials Research Society (MRS) Bulletin in Pennsylvania, USA.
v.He was the founder and Chairman of the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), one of India’s leading Think Tanks based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. CSTEP was established in 2005.
vi.He launched 3 major programmes namely, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (TEJAS) under the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an autonomous body of DRDO; Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) Programme; and IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme) to develop a family of strategic and tactical guided missiles.
i.In 1986, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan for Civil Service and in 1990, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for Science and Engineering.
ii.He was awarded DRDO’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 for his outstanding contribution to the field of scientific research and technology.
His notable work includes: From Temples to Turbines: An Adventure in Two Worlds (2019).

Kerala Govt Launches ‘Athidhi Portal’ to Register Migrant WorkersKerala government has launched a user-friendly web portal named Athidhi Portal’, for the registration of migrant workers in Kerala. The portal will establish a unique identification system to streamline the registration process.

  • The portal will allow the government to address the grievances against sexual crimes allegedly committed by migrant workers.

i.Contractors as well as Employers, who bring in temporary workers can initiate the registration process in the portal, on behalf of their temporary workers in the state.
ii.All guest employees can also register themselves independently under this portal, through this it will be confirmed that no guest employee of the state is ignored.
iii.The details entered in the portal will be examined by the enrolling officer, who will issue a unique ID for each worker.
iv.The government also plans on setting up help desks at railway stations to facilitate the registration of guest workers arriving in the state.
i.The portal will serve as a centralised platform to collect and manage information about workers, ensuring they have access to essential social security benefits.
ii.The details will allow the officials to safeguard the residents in order to create a safe and more inclusive work environment.
iii.The portal will gather data regarding the employees and make sure they get social security.

  • Currently migrant workers are regulated according to the provisions of the Inter-State Migrant Workers Act of 1979.

 Ration Right Card:
i.The Kerala government is utilising the Ration Right Card of the ‘One Country One Ration Card‘ initiative to enumerate guest (migrant) workers in the state.
ii.The Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Government of Kerala, introduced the Ration Right Card, which serves as a channel for guest workers, who face challenges in obtaining ration products in their own state.

  • The Aadhaar-linked ration distribution will also contribute to the count of guest workers.

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