Current Affairs- 25 July 2023

Rajya Sabha Chairman reconstituted panel of vice-chairpersons with 50% women ParliamentariansRajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed 4 women Parliamentarians namely Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (PT Usha), Phangnon Konyak, Fauzia Khan and Sulata Deo to the panel of vice-chairpersons.

  • The panel of vice chairpersons has been reconstituted with effect from 17th July 2023. The panel reconstituted before the Monsoon Session contains a total of 8 members, out of which half(4) are women.
  • For the first time in the history of Rajya Sabha, the upper of the Indian Parliament, equal representation has been given to women members in the panel of Vice-Chairpersons.

About Rajya Sabha:
i.Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of the Indian Parliament.
ii.According to article 80 of the Indian Constitution, The total allowed capacity is 250  which includes, 238 elected and 12 appointed members.
iii.30 years is the minimum age required to become a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Rajasthan Introduces India’s First Gig Workers Bill 2023On 21st July 2023, the Rajasthan government introduced India’s first ever Gig workers Bill the ‘Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (registration and welfare) Bill 2023’ to guarantee social security to gig workers.

  • Aggregators, which include food delivery apps and e-marketing platforms, must provide the Rajasthan government with a database of all platform-based gig workers on-boarded or registered with them within sixty days of the Act’s implementation.

Gig worker:
i.Gig worker refers to someone who earns from such activities outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship and who works on a contract.
ii.The term “gig economy” means a general workforce environment, which includes short-term employment, contractual jobs, and independent contractors.
Who comes underAggregators:
Aggregators are individuals or organisations engaging platform-based workers for tasks that include Ride sharing, food and security delivery, logistics, and more.
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
i.It imposes monetary penalties for an aggregator that fails to comply with the Act.
ii.The state government may impose a fine up to Rs 5 lakh for the first offence and up to Rs 50 lakh for subsequent offences.
Welfare Board for Gig Workers:
i.The Bill proposes to form a ‘The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers Welfare Board’ to ensure registration of gig workers and aggregators operating in the state.
ii.The Labour Minister would be the Chairperson of the “Platform Based Gig Workers Welfare Board” which will meet at least once in six months.
Welfare Fee:
i.The bill also aims to set up a Platform Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee.
ii.The part of the welfare fee will be contributed by the aggregator on the basis of each transaction, or as directed by the state government.
iii.The government also intends to establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the Act’s terms are followed as well as the welfare fee is deducted on a regular basis.
Creation of Unique ID:
i.Under this Bill, the gig workers provide a unique ID (Identity Document) which will be applicable across platforms.
ii.The ID will enable such workers to access general and specific social security schemes,and participate in all decisions taken for their welfare through representation in the board.
About Rajasthan: 
Chief Minister – Ashok Gehlot
Governor – Kalraj Mishra
Dances – Ghoomar Dance, Chari Dance,Kachhi Ghodi

HCLTech joins XR Startup Programme with MeitY, Meta
HCL Technology (HCLTech) in Noida,UttarPradesh, has joined the XR Startup Programme, an initiative between Meta and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Startup Hub(MSH) to discover, nurture, and accelerate extended reality (XR) technology start-ups in India.

  • These start-ups will be mentored by the HCLTech professionals through leadership training and the sharing of business and industry viewpoints.

Key points:
i.The XR Startup Program, launched in September 2022, is a joint effort between the MeitY Startup Hub (MSH) and Meta.
ii.Selected startups working on XR technology might receive a grant of up to Rs 20 lakh from the HCLTech.
Note: XR is a broad term to refer to Augmented Reality(AR), Virtual Reality(VR), and mixed reality.

CSIR-IIIM Jammu’s Cannabis Research Project is India’s 1st Cannabis Medicine Project under PPP with a Canadian firmTCannabis Research Project” of the Council Of Scientific And Industrial Research–Indian Institute Of Integrative Medicine (CSIR–IIIM) in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is the first of its kind Cannabis Medicine Project in India under  Private Public Partnership (PPP) with a IndusCann Limited, headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

  • This project is going on under a scientific agreement between CSIR-IIIM and a Canada based IndusScan. Click Here to Read
  • This information was given by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Dr. Jitendra Singh, Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST).

Key Points:
i.The Minister visited Cannabis Cultivation Farm of CSIR- IIIM to get first-hand information about the cultivation practices for Cannabis in the protected area of the institute and research work being carried out on this important plant.

  • It is the first institute to obtain first license for Cannabis cultivation in India.

ii.Through this project, Cannabis, a substance of abuse will be used as a  good for mankind especially for patients suffering from neuropathies, cancer and epilepsy.
iii.This project has the potential to produce those kinds of medicines which have to be exported from foreign countries, and can also produce export quality drugs meant for different kinds of neuropathies, diabetic pains etc.
iv.Due to the prevalence of drug abuse in J&K and Punjab, this project also raise awareness about the various medicinal uses of the abused substance, particularly for patients suffering from malignancies and other diseases.
v.Under a tripartite agreement of CSIR with Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), CSIR-IIIM has completed the exploratory research on Cannabis after license for cultivation of Cannabis for scientific purpose was granted by J&K Govt.

  • Presently, CSIR-IIIM has a repository of more than 500 accessions collected from different parts of the country, and are working to provide technology for Cannabis cultivation, and drug discovery.

Vi.Other States like Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh(UP), Manipur, Madhya Pradesh(MP) and Himachal Pradesh have started making the policy and rules for use of Cannabis for scientific purposes.
Already approved drugs from Cannabis:
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved the drugs such as Marilnol/nabilone and Cesamet for treatment of nausea and vomiting, Sativex for neuropathic pain and spasticity, Epidiolex, Cannabidiol for epilepsy and are being used in different countries.

Highlights of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Visit to India from 20- 21st  July 2023Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe made an official two-day visit to India from 20- 21st  July 2023. He was welcomed by Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan. This marks Wickremesinghe’s first trip to India since he was elected president of Sri Lanka in July 2022.

  • The visit takes place as both countries celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2023.

The MoU’s exchanged between India and Sri Lanka:
i.Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) in the field of Animal Husbandry and Dairying
ii.MoU on cooperation in the field of renewable energy
iii.Memorandum of Cooperation for economic development projects in Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka
iv.Network to Network Agreement between NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL)and Lanka Pay for UPI application acceptance in Sri Lanka
v.Energy Permit for Sampur Solar Power Project
About Sri Lanka:
Prime minister- Dinesh Gunawardena
Capital- Colombo (executive and judicial capital); Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Currency- Sri Lankan Rupee

India signed contract with Bangladesh to Modernize Signalling System of Dhaka-TongiJoydebpur Rail Linei.On July 23, 2023, India and Bangladesh signed a contract for installation of computer based interlocking signalling system for Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur rail line at Rail Bhaban, Dhaka.
ii.The project is being implemented under the Line of Credit (LoC) extended by India to Bangladesh.
iii.Bangladesh Railway (BR) has appointed an Mumbai, Maharashtra based Indian company, KEC International Limited, to develop signaling systems for the under-construction 3rd and 4th dual-gauge rail tracks from Dhaka to Tongi and double-line dual gauge from Tongi to Joydebpur.
About Bangladesh:
Prime Minister (PM)– Sheikh Hasina
Capital– Dhaka
Currency– Bangladeshi Taka

Tamil Nadu’s Authoor Betel Leaves received GI TagThe Geographical Indications Registry has issued the Geographical Indication (GI) tag certificate of Tamil Nadu’s Authoor Vetrilai (Authoor Betel Leaves) to Thoothukudi district administration.

  • The betel leaves, locally known as Vetrilai in Tamil, cultivated in the Authoor village of Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu (TN) attained the GI tag in April 2023.
  • The tag was facilitated by the Tamil Nadu State Agriculture Marketing Board and NABARD(National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development) Madurai Agribusiness Incubation Forum(MABIF) and registered in the name of Authoor Vattara Vetrilai Vivasayigal Sangam.
  • This recognition will enable the reach of Authoor betel leaves in both domestic and international markets.

About Authoor Vettrilai:
i.It is cultivated across an extensive area spanning approximately 500 acres of land, encompassing regions like Mukkani, Authoor, Korkai, Suganthalai, Vellakoil, and other Mukkani villages.
ii.The distinct pungency and spiciness of these Authoor betel leaves are attributed to the uniqueness of water in Thamirabarani River, the main irrigation source for the fields here.
Key Points:
i.This leaf is utilized during special occasions such as temple festivals, housewarmings, and weddings and possesses a distinctively spicy and pungent flavour.

  • The other names of Vetrilai are tambulam in Sanskrit, paan in Hindi, tamula pakukilli in Telugu.

ii.It is available in available in three distinct varieties viz. Nattukodi, Karpoori, and Pachaikodi.
iv.The leaves are historically significant, being mentioned in the 13th-Century book ‘The Travels of MARCO POLO (The Venetian)’.

  • Ancient stone inscriptions also highlight the cultural significance of Authoor vettrilai in Tamil culture.       

14th CEM adopted CEM-Hubs initiative for Scaling Low-Carbon Fuel ProductionOn July 21, 2023, The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) adopted first-of-its-kind ‘Clean Energy Marine Hubs Initiative (CEM-Hubs)’  for scaling up low carbon fuel production during the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM14) and 8th Mission Innovation meeting (CEM14/MI-8)  held on July 19-21, 2023 in Goa, India.

  • The CEM14/MI-8 meeting was simultaneously organized by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the Ministry of Power, and the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, in Goa from 19th to 22rd July 2023.
  • CEM was held on the sidelines of 4th G20 (Group of Twenty) Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting (ETMM) under India’s G20 Presidency in Goa during July 19-20, 2023.

Theme of CEM14/MI-8: Advancing Clean Energy Together
Aim of CEM14/MI-8: To Bring Together The Global Clean Energy Community.
Note: CEM is a partnership project of the world’s key economies working together to accelerate the global clean energy transition.
About CEM-Hubs Initiative:
It is a high-level global forum jointly led by private sector and governments across the energy-maritime areas to promote policies and programs to transform maritime transportation and production hubs for future low-carbon fuels.
CEM-Hubs was officially launched on September 23, 2022 by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), and the Clean Energy Maritime Taskforce, It is initially backed by Canada, Norway, Panama, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The initiative is also supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonization (GCMD).
Key Points:
i.Its membership includes countries, companies and industry experts.
ii.The CEM-Hubs initiative and progress will be featured at the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12, 2023
Reason behind scaling up low carbon fuel production:
i.The maritime industry is not ready for the upcoming surge in low-carbon fuel demand until 2050.
ii.According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the shipping industry will face the responsibility of transporting at least 50% of all traded low carbon fuels by 2050.
iii.The current lack of production centers, suitable vessels, and adequate port infrastructure poses a significant obstacle.
iv. At present, the shipping industry has only tested one ship in the global fleet for transporting liquefied hydrogen, which made a journey from Australia to Japan.

So, through this initiative, maritime value chain will be prepared to cope with the growing need for low-carbon fuels.
About Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM):
Head of Secretariat– Jean-François Gagné
Headquarters– Within the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, France

Skyroot successfully tested its Raman-II Engine at ISRO facility in TNOn 20th July 2023, Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited, Hyderabad (Telangana) -based space startup, successfully tested its Raman-II engine at the Liquid Thruster Test Facility (LTTF) of ISRO(Indian Space Research Organisation) Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu(TN).

  • The testing was enabled by Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).

This facilitation by ISRO highlights its commitment to support private players, start-ups, and Non-Government Entities (NGEs) in developing India’s space eco-system.
About the Test of Raman-II: 
i.The 10-second duration test achieved the expected performance in terms of start transient, steady state, and shut-off.
ii.The test facility systems demonstrated normal performance during the test, meeting the engine inlet conditions at T0.
iii.The instrumentation systems performed as expected and ensured the accuracy and reliability of the test results.
About Raman-II Engine: 
i.Raman-II engine was designed by Skyroot to generate 820 N(Newton) (Sea Level) and 1460 N (Vacuum) thrust, with a nominal chamber pressure of 8.5 bar absolute.
ii.The engine was manufactured through additive manufacturing techniques.
iii.It uses Mono Methyl Hydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide as propellants.
iv.The engine will be installed into the fourth stage of its launch vehicle, Vikram-I.
About Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited:
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Pawan Kumar Chandana
Headquarters-  Hyderabad, Telangana
Established in – 2018
About Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO):
Chairman- S Somanath
Headquarters- Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established on – 15th August 1969

Online Portal Launched to Report Violation of Ban on E-Cigarettes
The Union Health Ministry of India has launched a portal for all states and Union Territories to report the violation of the Sale of E-cigarettes(Electronic Cigarettes) on online shopping sites and in retail shops under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act (PECA), despite a ban on it since 2019.

  • The portal helps to collect information and take swift action on reported violations of the PECA, cigarettes and other Tobacco products act-2003.
  • Electronic cigarettes and similar devices are battery-operated systems that heat a substance (in liquid or solid state), which contains nicotine and often flavours, to create an aerosol for inhalation.
  • They are designed to simulate the act of smoking traditional cigarettes without burning tobacco.

Hungarian GP 2023:Max Verstappen gave Red Bull 12th Successive WinOn 23rd July 2023, RedBull’s Max Verstappen(25 years old) won Formula1(F1) Qatar Airways Hungarian Grand Prix 2023, held in Budapest, Hungary. This victory made the RedBull team win twelve consecutive Formula One races in 2023.

  • Red Bull’s achievement broke the record of McLaren’s 11 wins in 1988
  • This also marks Verstappen’s seventh consecutive win. He completed the race with 26 points
  • Scheduled from 21st July 2023 to 23rd July 2023
  • Held in the track Hungaroring which is of length 4.38km built in the year 1986 with 70 laps

Korea Open 2023: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty Wins Men’s Doubles TitleThe Indian Badminton Players Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the Men’s Doubles title by defeating Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto at the finals of the Korea Open 2023.

  • The Korea Open 2023 marks Chirag and Satwik’s fourth victory following the Swiss Open, Asian Championships and Indonesia Open in 2023.

i.India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has set the Guinness world record for the fastest hit by a male player in badminton with a 565 km/h(351 mph) smash(On controlled environment).
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
President – Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Established – 1934

Venkaiah Naidu Released the Book  “As the Wheel Turns” in Chennai
On 20th July 2023, Former vice president Venkaiah Naidu released the book titled “As the wheel turns” to mark the Rayala Corporation’s Diamond Jubilee(75th year celebration) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

  • The book is authored by Ranjit Pratap, Managing Director of Rayala Corporation.

The book offers a remarkable 50 years journey of Ranjit Pratap’s personal experiences, hardships and triumphs in the world of business.
About Rayala Corporation:
i.Rayala Corporation was founded by Rajagopal Naidu in 1948 as an automotive spare parts and office equipment product company. The headquarters is located in Chennai,Tamil Nadu.
ii.It has now diversified into sectors including arms and ammunition, real estate, organic farming and food processing.

National Mango Day 2023- July 22 
National Mango Day is celebrated annually on July 22 which is dedicated to the nutritious tropical fruit, mango to celebrate its cultural importance, popularity, and versatility in culinary delights.

  • It was started by the National Horticulture Board of India in 1987 as the International Mango Festival to pay tribute to mango.

Key points:
i.The name “mango” originates from the Malayan word “manna,” and the fruit’s seeds have travelled from Asia to various parts of the world, establishing a global presence.
ii.Mangoes share their family, Anacardiaceae, with cashews and pistachios.

National Broadcasting Day 2023 – July 23National Broadcasting Day is annually celebrated on 23rd July in India to commemorate the first radio broadcast in India, commenced form the Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC), a Bombay (now Mumbai, Maharashtra) based private radio station, which came into existence on 23rd July 1927.

  • In June 1923, the Radio Club of Bombay made the first-ever broadcast in India
  • The year 2023 marks the 96th Anniversary of the establishment of the All India Radio (AIR), which was formerly known as IBC.

This day also aims to celebrate the radio, which served as the only broadcasting medium before Television for both News and Entertainment.
About Prasar Bharati:
It is a statutory autonomous body established under the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act, 1990 and came into existence on 23rd November, 1997
CEO– Gaurav Dwivedi
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Income Tax Day 2023- July 24 
Income Tax Day or ‘Aaykar Diwas’ is observed annually in India on 24th July
to commemorate the introduction of the provision of Income Tax (IT) in India in the year 1860.

  • The day aims to raise awareness about the significance of taxation and to motivate individuals to contribute to the nation’s development through tax payments.
  • 24th July 2023, marks 164th anniversary of IT Day.

History of Income Tax Day:
i.The IT system was introduced on 24th July 1860, by the then Finance Minister of British India, Sir James Wilson.
ii.The scheme was introduced to compensate for the losses incurred by the government during the revolt of 1857.
Additional information:
In 2023, the IT department achieved 3-crore income tax returns (ITRs) milestone days ahead of the deadline surpassing the 2022 target.
About Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT):
Chairman- Nitin Gupta
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Established- 1963

4 new Chief Justices appointed in the High Courts of Gujarat, Kerala, Telangana and OrissaOn 19th July 2023, Droupadi Murmu, the President of India appointed 4 new Chief Justices (CJ) namely Justice Sunita Agarwal, Justice Ashish Jitendra Desai, Justice Alok Aradhe, Justice Subhasis Talapatra in the High Courts (HC) of GujaratKeralaTelangana, and Orissa respectively.
Note: With this appointmnets, Gujarat HC is the only high court in India with a woman CJ.

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