Current Affairs – 30 June 2023

Cabinet Approvals on June 28 2023On June 28, 2023, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has given its approval for multiple initiatives and they are as follows.
Key Points:
i.The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the ratification of the Headquarters Agreement (HQA) between the Government of India (Gol) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) which was signed on 22nd August 2022.
ii.The Union Cabinet, approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Parliament.
iii.Continuation of the Urea Subsidy Scheme was approved by the CCEA to ensure constant availability of urea to the farmers at the same price of Rs 242/ 45 kg bag excluding taxes and neam coating charges.
iv.GoI has approved assistance of Rs. 1451.84 crore for Market Development Assistance (MDA) for promoting Organic Fertilizers from Gobardhan Plants.
v.CCEA has approved Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for sugar season 2023-24 (October – September) at Rs 315/qtl for a basic recovery rate of 10.25%.

7 Handicrafts Products of Uttar Pradesh Get Geographical Indication TagGeographical Indication Registry(Chennai, Tamil Nadu-TN) under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade(DIPIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry(MoCI), has recognised 7 Handicrafts products from Uttar Pradesh with Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.
The 7 products are

  • Amroha Dholak.
  • Kalpi Handmade Paper.
  • Baghpat Home Furnishings.
  • Barabanki Handloom Product.
  • Mahoba Gaura Patthar Hastashlip.
  • Mainpuri Tarkashi.
  • Sambhal Horn Craft.

With the addition of these 7 new products, the total number of GI-certified products of UP has increased to 52.
About Uttar Pradesh(UP):
Chief Minister– Yogi Adityanath
Governor– Anandiben Patel
Bird Sanctuary– Parwati Arga Bird Sanctuary; Lakh-Bahosi Bird Sanctuary
Festival– Janmashtami; Taj Mahotsava

First-Ever Report on Critical Minerals Unveiled by Union Minister Pralhad Joshi

On 28th June 2023, Shri Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister of Mines, released the first-ever report on “Critical Minerals for India” which was constituted by the Ministry of Mines. This landmark report identifies 30 essential minerals crucial to sectors such as defence, agriculture, energy, pharmaceuticals, and telecom. The comprehensive list marks a significant milestone for India, aligning with the nation’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliance) roadmap.
List of identified minerals: Antimony, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Graphite, Hafnium, Indium, Lithium, Molybdenum, Niobium, Nickel, PGE, Phosphorus, Potash, REE, Rhenium, Silicon, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Zirconium, Selenium and Cadmium.
About Ministry of Mines:
Cabinet Minister – Shri Pralhad Joshi (Constituency : Dharwad in Karnataka)
Ministers of State – Shri Danve Raosaheb Dadarao

Swachh Survekshan 2023: MoHUA launched Field Assessment for 8th edition of World’s Largest Urban Cleanliness Survey On 27th June 2023, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the Field Assessment for the 8th edition Swachh Survekshan (SS) 2023 – Mera Shehar, Meri Pehchan. SS 2023 survey is expected to engage with approximately 10 crore citizens and making it the world’s largest annual urban cleanliness survey.

  • Under SS 2023, around 3,000 assessors will take the field for assessment from 1 July 2023 and will evaluate over 4500 cities across 46 indicators. It is expected to be completed within a month.
  • SS 2023 was rolled out on 24th May 2022 with telephonic feedback from citizens on various parameters of city cleanliness.

About Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA):
Union Minister- Hardeep Singh Puri (Rajya Sabha Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS)- Kaushal Kishore (Constituency- Mohanlalganj, Uttar Pradesh)

MoU signed between Ministry of Culture and Canara Bank to Enhance Financial Support for Veteran ArtistsOn 28th June 2023, the Ministry of Culture signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Canara Bank to streamline the process and disbursal of financial assistance to veteran artists on monthly basis under the “Scheme for Financial Assistance for Veteran Artists”.

i.Ministry of Culture administers a Scheme namely “Financial Assistance for Veteran Artists” and provides financial assistance of Rs. 6000 per month under the scheme to artists and scholars above the age of 60 years who have contributed significantly in their specialized fields of performing arts and culture in their active age or are still contributing, but due to old age they are facing difficulty and are in penury condition.
ii. The pension is designed to alleviate financial difficulties experienced by these artists in their later years.
iii.Currently, under the scheme, disbursal of financial assistance in respect of artists selected before 2017 is made through LIC while for the artists approved post 2017, it is made directly by the Ministry of Culture.
iv.Unfortunately, delays in receiving necessary documents from beneficiaries often resulted in the disbursal of a lump sum amount rather than regular monthly payments.
Purpose of MoU:
In an effort to streamline the process and ensure timely support to veteran artists, the Culture Ministry has now partnered with Canara Bank.
Expected Outcomes:

  • This transformative change in the disbursal method is expected to bring much-needed stability and financial security to veteran artists who have dedicated their lives to enriching the cultural landscape of the nation.

About Canara Bank:
MD & CEO – K Satyanarayana Raju
Established in – 1906
Headquarters – Bengaluru
Tagline – Together we Can

ARAI awards Automotive PLI certificate to Mahindra Last Mile Mobility

Mahindra Last Mile Mobility (LMM), a division of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M), becomes first firm to receive the eligibility certificate under the Rs. 25,938-crore production-linked incentive scheme for automobiles (PLI-AUTO)

  • The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), a testing agency under the Ministry of Heavy Industry (MHI), awarded the eligibility certificate to LMM forits flagship electric 3-wheeler.

Note: The Ministry of Heavy Industries notified the PLI Scheme for PLI-AUTO Scheme on September 23, 2021, with a budgetary outlay of INR 25,938 crore.

WEF’s Energy Transition Index 2023: India ranked 67th; Sweden TopsAccording to the World Economic Forum(WEF) report titled “Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2023”, published in collaboration with Accenture, India is ranked 67th on the Energy Transition Index (ETI) 2023.

  • The report also stated that India is the only major economy with energy transition momentum accelerating across the ETI’s equitable, secure and sustainable dimensions.
  • ETI 2023, the list of 120 counties, is topped by Sweden with an ETI score 78.5 followed by Denmark (76.1) and Norway (73.7) in 2nd and 3rd rank respectively.

Key Points:
i.The report stated that India and Singapore are the only countries that are making advances on all aspects of energy system performance.
ii.Among the world’s 10 largest economies, France was the only G20(Group of 20) country to feature among the top 10 of the ETI 2023.
About World Economic Forum(WEF):
Founder & Executive Chairman- Klaus Schwab
President– Børge Brende
Headquarters– Cologny, Switzerland

2023 Global Competitiveness Index: Published by IMDOn 20th June 2023, The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) published 35th edition of the World Competitiveness Index 2023 which ranks India at 40th position. The top 3 positions in the ranking were claimed by Denmark, Ireland, and Switzerland.

  • The data published explores multiple factors that affect the prosperity of 64 economies.

India in the World Competitiveness Index 2023:
i.India dropped 3 places to rank 40 which is an improvement from the 43rd position secured in 2019-2021
ii.The key factors that contributed to India’s ranking were exchange rate stability, compensation levels and advancements in pollution control.
iii.The report outlined the issues that India is projected to encounter in 2023- maintaining high GDP(Gross domestic product) growth, managing financial market volatility and controlling inflation and fiscal deficit.
NoteKuwait is the latest economy to join the ranking, making its début in 2023.

India Removed From UNSG Report On Impact Of Armed Conflict On Children

India has been removed from an annual report on the impact of armed conflict on children, by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the impact of conflict in view of the measures taken by the government to better protect children.

  • Guterres also acknowledged India’s technical mission and a workshop on strengthening child protection.

India had been included in the report since 2010, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines.

ICICI Lombard and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance jointly launched Combi Product ‘iShield’ICICI Lombard General Insurance and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance have jointly launched a combi insurance solution, ‘iShield’ health and life, which will provide customers with both health and life insurance.

  • Under ‘iShield’, the health insurance component covers expenses related to hospitalisation, day-care treatments, pre and post hospitalisation, and Teleconsultation and so on.
  • The life insurance under ‘iShield’ will continue till the age of 85, ensuring sufficient financial resources of the family to continue with their lives.

About ‘iShield’:
iiShield is a one-of-its-kind offering that is synergistic in capabilities and shares the brand values of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and ICICI Lombard.
ii. It is designed to provide customers and their family’s with a comprehensive dual benefit of health and life insurance solution along with a seamless single window customer experience.
iii. It will enable customers to take care of expenses required for medical treatments. Apart from that, it will also provide a lump sum amount to the family in case of the unfortunate demise of the policyholder.
iv. Customers can purchase this solution/product by filling in a single application and undergoing a medical check-up.
v. Other than the vast agent network, multiple easy-to-use touchpoints such as the company website or the Mobile App will also provide customers a hassle-free purchase and premium payment experience.
Additional Info:
iThe Combi solution ‘iShield’ health and Life insurance was launched under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (IRDAI) ‘use and file’ procedure for life insurance products.
ii. On 20thJune,2023, IRDAI introduced modifications to the existing ‘use and file’ procedure for life insurance products, aiming to facilitate the insurance industry in promoting penetration and improving the accessibility of life insurance products.
iii. IRADI introduced the concept of “Combi products/solutions”, referring to insurance products where a life insurer acts as the lead insurer.

  • Life insurers offering combi products must comply with the extant norms prescribed by IRDAI.

About ICICI Lombard:
Founded in- 2001
MD/CEO- Bhargav Dasgupta
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra

NPCI partnered Priority Pass Access to enable Airport Lounges access to RuPay Card holders

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) partnered with the Priority Pass Access India, a domestic lounge experience programme to offer Airport Lounge access to the RuPay card holders.

  • Under this partnership, eligible RuPay cardholders in India will be able to access over 50 premium lounges and airport experiences in major cities across India by simply tapping or swiping the RuPay card for entry.
  • RuPay card holders will also gain access to a network of railway lounges in India.

RuPay is an Indian multinational financial services and Payment Service System, launched by the NPCI in 2014.

Bank of India Launches Centralised Pool Buy-Out and Co-Lending Cell in Mumbai

On 26th June 2023, Rajneesh Karnatak managing Director (MD) and chief Executive officer (CEO) of Bank of India (BOI) inaugurated BOI’s Centralised Pool Buy-Out and Co-Lending Cell’ housed in its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • This cell is equipped with an end-to-end digital underwriting system onboard pool buy-outs and co-lending of loans in partnership with NBFCs to boost priority sector lending.
  • This will provide seamless integration between BOI and NBFCs.
  • The Cell will onboard loan assets under Retail, MSME and the Agriculture segment with a dedicated team.

Pool Buy-Out:
Pool Buy-Out is a practice in the banking sector to buy out the retail portfolios of NBFCs in return for immediate payment.

UK PM Rishi Sunak honoured 101 years old Sikh WWII veteran Rajindar Singh Dhatt with UK Points of Lights AwardOn 28th June 2023, Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom (UK) honoured Retired British Indian Shikh Soldier Rajindar Singh Dhatt (aged 101) with UK Points of Light award at India Global Forum’s (IGF) annual UK-India Week 2023 reception at 10 Downing Street, London, United Kingdom.

  • He was awarded for his service in the British Indian Army and coordinating”Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association” to help bring together British Indian war veterans.

About UK Points of Light: 
i.The UK Points of Light award honours exceptional individuals whose contribution is making a difference in their communities and whose stories might inspire others to find innovative solutions to social concerns in their own communities and beyond.
 ii.UK Points of Light inspired from the US points of light, launched in partnership with the United States of America (USA) in April 2014.

  • US Points of Light was first established by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.

iii.Every weekday, the Prime Minister bestows the Points of Light award on an inspiring volunteer.
About Rajindar Singh Dhatt: 
i.He was born in pre-partition India in 1921, joined the British-Indian Army during the Second World War and later promoted to Havildar Major (Sergeant Major) in 1943.
ii.He was also part of the Far East campaign to fight in Kohima in northeast India to support the Allied Forces and help break through the Japanese defences.
iii.After retiring from the Army, he settled in Hounslow UK in the year 1963.
iv.He speaks at memorial events and works with war veteran charities, including the Royal British Legion and the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.
About IGF UK-India Week 2023:
i.The 5th edition IGF’s UK-India Week 2023 held from 26th June to 30th June 2023 in London and Windsor, United Kingdom.
ii.It is a forum that seeks to honour and strengthen the longstanding partnership between these two countries by providing a platform to spotlight crucial topics, including politics, trade, business, sustainability, inclusion, and innovation.

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala Launches “Report Fish Disease” App in New DelhiOn 28th June 2023, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala, launched Report Fish Disease(RFD)  an android-based mobile application for aquatic animal diseases reporting at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi.

  • The app has been developed by ICAR(Indian Council of Agricultural Research)-NBFGR(National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources) under National Surveillance Programme for Aquatic Animal Diseases (NSPAAD), funded under Pradhan Mantri Matsya SampadaYojana by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAH&D), Government of India.

Key People: 
The app was launched in the presence of Dr. L. Murugan, Minister of State(MoS) MoFAH&Dand senior Officers from the Department of Agricultural Research and Education(DARE), ICAR and NSPADD.
i.The Department of Fisheries has allocated ₹33.78 crore for a period of three years for the implementation of the second phase of the NSPAAD under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme.
ii.With the RFD app, NSPAAD will meet national and international obligations through transparent reporting.

  • PMMSY is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in India as a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

About Report Fish Disease(RFD) app:
i.It provides advice to farmers associated with aquaculture and help them to connect directly to district fisheries officers and scientists.
ii.It will enable farmers to report the incidence of diseases in finfish, shrimps, and molluscs in their farms and get scientific technical assistance on the same from scientists/ Experts.
iii.The data regarding the diseases will be stored on temporal & spatial scale and can be used for mapping the disease cases.
iv.It will contribute to the sustainability and resilience of aquaculture systems by minimizing the negative impacts of fish diseases on fish population, industry, and ecosystems thereby reduce the loss and increase farmers income.

French DGA test fired V-MAX Hypersonic Glider technology for the 1st timeOn 26th June 2023, the French General Armaments Directorate (DGA), France successfully conducted its first test firing of a VMaX (Véhicule Manoeuvrant Expérimental or experimental manoeuvring vehicle), a Hypersonic Glide Vehicle (HGV) to develop new missile technology capable of evading the most sophisticated air defences.

  • A sounding rocket carrying the V-MaX HGV was launched from the Biscarosse missile test site on the Bay of Biscay, southwestern France.

iV-Max program was officially launched in 2019, and initial flight testing for the V-MAX launcher was scheduled for as early as 2021.
ii. The French V-Max program is being developed by Ariane Groupe, a defence company specializing in space launches and best known for Ariane rockets.
Hypersonic Gliders:
iHypersonic gliders, a type of warhead for ballistic missiles that can operate freely and glide at hypersonic speed, designed to carry a nuclear or conventional warhead.
ii. Unlike ballistic missiles whose trajectories are fixed at launch, hypersonic gliders can change direction at high speed, allowing them to zigzag past air defences and take evasive action once targeted by anti-air missiles.
iii. Typically, these gliders are launched by a rocket to attain a high altitude tens of kilometres (kms) above the Earth before the glider and its payload descend back at hypersonic speed.
ivThe French HGV has the capacity to exceed Mach 5 (over 6,000 kilometres per hour (Kmph)) (3,730 miles per hour(mph)), and has been under study by major nuclear powers for several years.

National Statistics Day 2023 – June 29 National Statistics Day (Statistics Day) is annually observed across India on 29th June to raise public awareness about the role and importance of statistics in Socio-economic planning, policy formulation and development processes in everyday life.

  • 29th June 2023 marks the observance of the 17th Statistics Day.
  • The day marks the celebration of the birth anniversary of Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (PC Mahalanobis), known as the “Father of Indian Statistics” and recognises his notable contributions in the fields of statistics and economic planning.

The theme of National Statistics Day (Statistics Day2023 is “Alignment of State Indicator Framework with National Indicator Framework for Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
iIn 2006, the Government of India (GoI) designated the 29th June of every year, the birth anniversary of Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, as “Statistics Day”, in the category of Special Days to be celebrated at the national level.
ii. Notification to this effect was published in the Gazette of India on June 05, 2007.
iii. The first-ever National Statistics Day was celebrated on 29th June 2007.
About National Statistical Commission (NSC):
The Government of India through a resolution dated 1st June, 2005 established the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
Mandate: To evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters.
Chairman- Prof. Rajeeva Laxman Karandikar
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi

International Day of the Tropics 2023 – June 29The United Nations (UN)’s International Day of the Tropics is observed annually across the globe on 29th June to raise awareness about various challenges that tropical nations face and to celebrate the extraordinary diversity of the Tropics.

  • The day aims to emphasize the role of the countries in the tropics towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).

i.On June 14th, 2016 the United Nation General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/70/267 declaring June 29th as the International Day of the Tropics.
ii.The first ever International Day of the Tropics was observed on 29th June 2017.
About United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General – António Guterres
Headquarters – New York, United States of America(USA0
Established – 1945

MK Stalin, CM of Tamil Nadu inaugurated new buildings in various locations and launched a Portal for Farmers On 28th June 2023, M.K. Stalin, Chief Minister (CM) of Tamil Nadu  (TN) virtually inaugurated several projects at various locations and launched a new web portal Tamil Mannvalam to encourage farmers to use appropriate fertiliser for their land, knowing the type and quality of the soil.

  • With the help of the portal, the farmers are able to know about the soil health of their lands via geo-referenced survey number, and could also get other details of the soil such as pH, organic carbon and calcareousness.
  • The CM also released a coffee-table book titled “Nette Nette Panaimarame” which tells the uses of palmyra trees and how every part of it is useful for humans in some or another way.

Note: Soil Calcareousness contains a high proportion of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of calcite or aragonite.
Various Inaugurations:
iThe CM inaugurated several new buildings for the agriculture department built at a cost of Rs.83 crore, which includes agricultural extension centres, sub-agricultural extension centres, primary processing centres, godowns, etc., andnew buildings for the TN Agricultural University constructed at various locations.
ii. CM also inaugurated 3 Periyar Memorial Samathuvapurams at Ramasamudram panchayat in Tiruvallur district, Tholar panchayat in Cuddalore district, and Kattukulam panchayat in Tiruchy district that have been renovated at a cost of Rs3.12 crore.
iii. He also inaugurated new buildings for the Rural Development Department (Panchayat Union office) constructed at a total cost of Rs 34.76 crore.
iv. The CM inaugurated the renovated ‘PoomalaiVanigaValagam’ (commercial complexes) in 26 districts constructed by the Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women at a cost of Rs.5.16 Crore.
v. He launched a micro-enterprise finance scheme under the ‘VazhndhuKaattuvom’ project and handed over loans to Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) worth Rs.50 crore.
iHe handed over Rs.15 lakh in financial assistance to the only Indian team, ‘Team Sea Shakti’ of Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore, selected to take part in Monaco Energy Boat Challenge to create a hydrogen-powered boat.

  • The objective is to commercialise the power system for the benefit of fishermen.

Note: The 10th edition of Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (MEBC) 2023 organised by Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) in the bay of Monaco (Principality of Monaco)  from July 3 to 8 2023.
ii. The CM handed over a house allotment order to Palam P. Kalyanasundaram, a social worker.
iii. The CM chaired a meeting to review the implementation of 55 ongoing programmes and 35 projects which are to be implemented by 13 departments at the Secretariat in Chennai, TN.
iv. Officials were addressed to focus on the timely implementation of delayed welfare programmes, in order to reduce the implementation cost.
About Tamil Nadu:
Chief Minister- M. K. Stalin
Governor- R. N. Ravi
Birds Sanctuary- Vettangudi birds Sanctuary (Sivagangai), Pulicat Lake birds Sanctuary (Tiruvallur)

Andhra Pradesh CM launches ‘Jagananna Amma Vodi’ scheme

On 28th June 2023, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy  launched the ‘Jagananna Amma Vodi‘ scheme for the 4th year, under which financial assistance of Rs 6,393 crore will be deposited into the bank accounts of 43 lakh beneficiaries, at Kurupam in Parvathipuram Manyam district, Andhra Pradesh.

  • Eligible mothers who send their children to schools will receive Rs 15,000 financial aid to meet the educational expenses of students
  • It is reported that more than 80 lakh students from 1st to 12th standard will be benefited through this.

IAS V Venu Appointed as Kerala Chief Secretary;  IPS Sheikh Darvesh Saheb Appointed as New DGP

On 27th June 2023, the Kerala government has appointed V Venu who is currently the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) as Chief Secretary and Sheikh Darvesh Saheb who is currently the head of the Fire and Rescue Services in the state as Director-General of Police(DGP) of Kerala.

  • They will replace Chief Secretary VP Joy and DGP Anil Kanth, who will retire on 30th June 2023.

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