India, New Zealand sign MoU for Open Sky Policy; Boost cooperation in Civil AviationOn August 29, 2023, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Government of India and the Government of New Zealand for an Open Sky Policy, allowing more flights between various cities in the two countries.
- This will further boost the bilateral between both nations in civil aviation by scheduling of new routes, code share services, traffic rights and capacity entitlement.
It was signed by Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), India; and David Pine, the New Zealand High Commissioner in the presence of Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, MoCA, and Damien O’ Connor, Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand.
What is in the MoU?
i.Under this, New Zealand’s designated airline(s) can operate unrestricted services with any type of aircraft, holding third and fourth freedom traffic rights to/from six Indian cities: New Delhi (Delhi), Mumbai (Maharashtra), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad (Telangana), and Kolkata (West Bengal). This is set to amplify bilateral civil aviation relations.
ii.Similarly, India’s designated airline(s) can operate unrestricted services with any aircraft type, having third and fourth freedom traffic rights to/from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and three other New Zealand points to be designated by the Indian Government.
iii.Both parties’ airlines can operate unlimited all-cargo services using any aircraft type, enjoying third, fourth, and fifth freedom traffic rights between any points in each other’s territories, including via intermediate and beyond points beyond those in the Route Schedule.
i.Both sides reviewed the existing arrangements relating to air service between the two countrie.
- An Air Services Agreement was signed between New Zealand and India at Auckland, New Zealand on 1st May 2016.
ii.Third freedom right involves carrying passengers/cargo from home country to another while fourth freedom is the opposite i.e. transporting to home country from another.
- These rights are typically granted together in bilateral agreements.
iii.The Fifth freedom right means that the aircraft of country A, from a service originating in country A, is allowed to embark passengers and cargo in country B and disembark them in country C.
About New Zealand:
Currency– New Zealand Dollar
Prime Minister– Chris Hipkins
NITI Aayog and UNDP India Signed MoU On Fast Tracking SDGsNational Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to speed up the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
The agreement aims to make a clear plan of cooperation on a range of areas, including SDG localisation, data-driven monitoring, Aspirational Districts and Blocks programme, and SDG financing.
i.The MoU was signed for a period of five years.
ii.UNDP will also provide support for NITI Aayog’s work on women’s livelihoods, innovation, and Mission LiFE.
iii.UNDP plays the integrator role in coordinating efforts to fast-track progress on the SDGs within the United Nation system.
Yogesh Suri, Senior Adviser (SDGs) from NITI Aayog, and Ms. Shoko Noda, Resident Representative of UNDP India, signed the MoU in the presence of B. V. R. Subrahmanyam, CEO of NITI Aayog.
SDG and India:
i.India’s achievement in reducing multidimensional poverty to 50 percent between 2015-2016 and 2019-2021 showcases that moving towards SDG is possible irrespective of complex challenges.
ii.India’s leadership is essential for ensuring that SDGs become a reality.
About Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs):
i.The Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), officially known as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ is a set of 17 Global Goals to be achieved within 2030 by 193 Member States.
ii.The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
iii.The SDGs come after and build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2000 to 2015.About National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog:
NITI Aayog is the country’s premier policy-making which aims to construct a strong state to create a dynamic and strong nation. The NITI Aayog’s creation has two hubs called “Team India Hub” and “Knowledge and Innovation Hub”.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – B. V. R. Subrahmanyam
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Established in – 2015
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Administrator – Achim Steiner
Headquarters – New York City, United States of America(USA)
Established in – 1966
Cabinet Approvals on 29th August 2023The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on 29th August 2023:
i.The Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the reduction of LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) cost by Rs 200 per cylinder for all consumers w.e.f. August 30, 2023. This will also be applicable to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
ii.The Ministry of Textiles has approved the Startup Guidelines for Technical Textiles – Grant for Research and Entrepreneurship across Aspiring Innovators in Technical Textiles (GREAT). This initiative offers a grant of up to Rs 50 Lakhs, supporting aspiring innovators in the technical textiles field for 18 months.
iii.The Union Cabinet adopted a resolution hailing the soft-landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the lunar surface, highlighting that the mission’s achievement signifies not only Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) success but also India’s advancement and global stature.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman– Sreedhara Panicker Somanath
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Goa Shipyard & Kenya Shipyard Ltd Signed MoU for Collaboration in ShipbuildingThe Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with Kenya Shipyard Limited(KSL) for capacity building and collaboration in ship design and building.
- The MoU was signed during the bilateral Defence Ministers meeting between Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence Aden Bare Duale in New Delhi, Delhi on August 29, 2023.
i.GSL is a Miniratna Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU), under the Ministry of Defence(MoD).
ii.Kenya Shipyards Limited(KSL) is a state-owned company under the Kenyan Defence Ministry. It was established in 2020 with the objective to address the operational requirements of the Kenya Navy and for the construction, repair and maintenance of ships and provision of other maritime services.
About the bilateral meeting:
i.During the meet, India and Kenya discussed on capacity building and cooperation in defence industry and equipment. They also discussed on the other regional security issues of mutual interest.
ii.Defece Minister Rajnath Singh presented 15 pairs of parachutes (main and reserve) manufactured by Gliders India Limited to Aden Bare Duale for Kenyan forces as a mark of friendship.
- India also offered assistance in the setting up of an advanced CT scan facility in Kenya.
iii.India and Kenya have agreed to expand their collaboration in the Indian Ocean Region(IOR)’s marine security, counter-insurgency training, and UN peacekeeping domains.
Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) General Anil Chauhan and Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane were present during the bilateral meeting.
Aden Bare Duale, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence, is on a 3 day visit to India. This marks his 1st visit of Duale to India and the highest level stand-alone political visit from Kenya since the new government assumed office in September 2022.
- He will be visiting the shipyards and defence industries in Goa and Bengaluru(Karnataka).
About Goa Shipyard Limited(GSL):
Chairman & Managing Director(CMD) – Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay
Established – 1957
Headquarters– Vasco Da Gama, Goa
Automotive PLI Scheme Extended By Another Year Till FY28Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey,Ministry of Heavy Industries(MHI) in ‘Review of Production Linked Incentive-Auto Scheme’ announced the extension of the deadline of Production Linked Incentive(PLI) Scheme for Automobile and Auto Component Industry by another year.
- The program that was supposed to last for five years, from 2022-23 to 2026-27, will be active till 2027-28.
- The distribution of the incentives will be on a quarterly basis, instead of an annual plan.
PLI Scheme for Automotive Sector
i.Under the Automotive PLI scheme, incentives are applicable for specified sales of Advanced Automotive Technology (AAT) products (vehicles and components) manufactured in India starting from April 1, 2022.These incentives will remain in effect for a continuous period of five years.
ii.Eligibility to Incentive: AAT products for which a minimum of 50 per cent Domestic Value Addition (DVA) is achieved and has been certified by Testing Agencies (TAs) of MHI.
- This requirement will help to reduce imports, making it easier to manufacture AAT products locally, and creating both domestic and global supply chains.
iii.In April 2023, MHI published Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for DVA certification to facilitate ease of doing business (EODB).
iv.95 companies are covered under the scheme that looks to promote local manufacturing of new technology products.
Two More Testing Agencies:
The ministry also approved a request to add two more TAs to test the vehicles and components.
i.Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) in Chennai, Tamilnadu
ii.National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRAX) in Madhya Pradesh
Current testing centres: Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Pune, Maharashtra and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (iCAT) in Manesar, Haryana.
The scheme has two components viz. Champion OEM incentive scheme and Component Champion incentive scheme.
- Champion OEMs, specializing in electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.
- Component Champions, focused on manufacturing high-value and advanced components.
48 African Countries Adopted Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment & Climate Change48 African countries have agreed to adopt the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC) to address climate change and human mobility challenges in Africa and leverage the opportunities for sustainable development.
- This was announced during the Technical Conference of States on the continental expansion of the KDMECC held from 23rd to 25th August 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
- The KDMECC-AFRICA is expected to be signed by Member States during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on 4th September 2023.
About the conference:
i.The conference was co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Uganda with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
ii.The conference also enabled the African States to develop a common position ahead of the Africa Climate Summit and the Conference of Parties (COP 28).
During the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change held from 27 to 29 July 2022 in Kampala, Uganda, 15 African states signed and agreed upon the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC).
- KDMECC was the first member state-led comprehensive and action-oriented framework to address climate-induced mobility in practical and effective ways.
i.KDMECC addresses the nexus of human mobility and climate change in the whole of Africa.
ii.KDMECC-AFRICA will ensure that everyone’s voices, including the voices of youth, women and persons in vulnerable situations, are the priority of the expanded declaration.
iii.This offers a platform to support the priorities of the member states in addressing the challenges and also enables them to leverage migration for sustainable development.
About the International Organization for Migration (IOM):
IOM is a United Nations (UN) agency that provides services and advice concerning migration.
Director General– António Vitorino
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Membership– 175 member states and 8 observer states
Established in 1951
RBI Authorises Bandhan Bank for Disbursing Civil Pension
Bandhan Bank Ltd has been appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act as an authorized bank for pension disbursement for civil pensioners on behalf of the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO), an entity under the Ministry of Finance.
- Bandhan Bank will soon be integrating with the office of the CPAO to operationalise the disbursement process.
i.Bank authorization is primarily aimed at disbursing pensions to the following groups:
- The Central Government employees in Civil Ministries and Departments (other than Railways, Posts, and Defence)
- The National Capital Territory of Delhi
- Union Territory Administrations without legislatures,
- Retired Judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court, and
- All India Service Officers.
ii.This scheme also covers the payment of pensions to former Members of Parliament (MPs) and the payment of pensions and other amenities to former Presidents/Vice Presidents of India.
About Bandhan Bank:
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer– Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal
Established In– 2015
Tagline– Aapka Bhala Sabki Bhilai
ADB Approves Rs.3.32 crore for Safe Public Transport Projects in Hyderabad
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted Rs.3.32 crore to a team of technology experts from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS) Hyderabad (Telangana), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay (Maharashtra), and IIT Kharagpur (West Bengal) to develop, test, and implement passenger safety projects in the public transport systems of Hyderabad.
- The experts’ team led by Prof. Prasanta Sahu, was working on developing technology solutions to improve last-mile security for metro rail and public transit passengers under the guidance of NVS Reddy, Managing Director (MD) Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL).
- A maiden inception workshop of Technologies for Urban Transit to Enhance Mobility & Safe Accessibility (TUTEM) was organised at BITS, Hyderabad campus, where DGP Anjani Kumar as the Chief Guest promised full support from the Police department to ensure success and boost commuter confidence in safe travel.
Geetika Srivastava Appointed as 1st woman Charge d’Affaires in Pakistan
Geetika Srivastava, a 2005 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer was appointed as the first woman Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) at the High Commission of India in Islamabad, Pakistan. She is currently serving as the Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and looks after the Indo-Pacific division.
- She will succeed Dr M Suresh Kumar, who will be returning to New Delhi.
- She has served in the Indian embassy in China from 2007-09, and also served as Director in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Division of the MEA as well as a Regional Passport Officer in Kolkata, West Bengal.
Note: Pakistan has appointed Saad Ahmad Warraich as its new CAD in High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, Delhi.
- At present there are no high commissioners in the High Commission of India in Islamabad, Pakistan. CDA is a joint secretary rank equivalent officer.
- The Indian and Pakistani high commissions in Islamabad and Delhi are being headed by their respective CDA after Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties after India’s decision to abolish Article 370, which revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, in August 2019.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Launches National Sports Federations Portal on National Sports Day On the occasion of National Sports Day 2023 (29th August 2023), Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) launched the National Sports Federations(NSFs) portal during the event organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium.
- The portal is in line with the Government of India’s vision for Digital India which will ensure ease of business and good governance.
About the portal:
i.It is a unified online portal and a single window system for the NSFs for processing of annual renewal of recognition of NSFs, elections of NSFs etc.
ii.It will replace the existing system of physical mode of submission of documents by NSFs and ensure better coordination among the Department of Sports and the NSFs.
Highlights of the event:
i.Union Minister Anurag Thakur also launched the 3rd edition of Fit India Quiz and other initiatives during the event.
ii.He also launched the Information booklet on Sports Infrastructure Projects sanctioned under the Khelo India Scheme.
- The book highlights the sports infrastructure that has been developed and is in the pipeline in various States and Union Territories(UTs) of India.
iii.He also felicitated the Indian men’s 4x400m relay team, who finished 5th in the 2023 World Athletics Championships held at Budapest, Hungary.
- The team finished 5th clocking in at 2:59:92s, creating a new Asian and National Record.
iv.An online application submission and processing portal was launched which will be utilized for handling all the application for creation and upgradation of sports infrastructures and demand for sports equipment under the Khelo India Scheme.
- This portal will be available for grantees, States, UTs for submission of their proposals of financial support from September 1, 2023.
The event was attended by almost 500 school children from various schools in New Delhi as well as several elite athletes and officials from the MYAS, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the National Sports Federations (NSFs).
WR Chess Team Wins FIDE World Rapid Team Championship 2023WR Chess team won the 1st edition of World Chess Federation (FIDE) World Rapid Team Championship 2023 held in Dusseldorf, Germany from 25th to 28th August 2023.
- Team Freedom finished second, while the Indian squad of MGD1 was third.
i.The team Columbus Energy Kings Of Chess from Kraków(Poland) won 12,500 Euros as the best-performing team with a rating below 2400.
ii.The special prize ‘Rainer Niermann Cup’ for the best game by a youngster was won by 12-year-old Christian Glöckler of Germany for his victory over South African Grand Master(GM) Kenny Solomon.
- He is also ranked fifth in the world in his age group.
iii.Total prize money – 250,000 Euros
- Winner – 100,000 Euros
- Second place – 60,000 Euros
- Third Place – 40,000 Euros
WR Chess stands for German entrepreneur Wadim Rosenstein. He is the creator of this new event, which he sponsored with his company WR Logistics and participated in himself.
Winners of FIDE World Rapid Team 2023:
- Each team has at least six and not more than nine players, including at least one female player and one recreational player.
- The event consists of 12 rounds played under the Swiss System.
iii.Apart from medals and rewards to top teams, individual medals were awarded for the board prizes.
- Indians Pentala Harikrishna (Bronze), Vidit Gujrathi (Silver), Raunak Sadhwani (Silver), Pranesh M (Bronze), Harika Dronavalli (Silver) and Peter Anand A (Silver) are the individual medal winners for their respective boards.
About Federation Internationale des Echecs/International Chess Federation (FIDE):
President – Arkady Dvorkovich
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
Established – 1924
Maharashtra signs MoU with Germany’s DFL to Develop Indian Football
The Government of Maharashtra signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH(DFL) to develop the football ecosystem in India. The agreement focuses on advancing football expertise and professionalising structures within the state of Maharashtra.
- DFL operates Bundesliga, a professional association football league in Germany.
The MoU was signed by Commissioner of Sports and Youth Services Dr. Suhas Diwase as part of the prestigious Shree Shiv Chhatarapati Awards ceremony in Pune, India.
- A delegation representing the Bundesliga attended the ceremony and winessed the signing.
- The MoU outlines 3 fundamental components to develop football in Maharashtra: improving the technical and sporting expertise at all levels within clubs, associations, colleges and schools; strengthening football structures across the Indian subcontinent; and specifically supporting the progression of football within the Maharashtra.
Established in 1970, the Directorate of Sports & Youth Services is an autonomous body under the Government of Maharashtra, focused on the instillation and promotion of sports, youth welfare, and physical education within the mainstream education sector.
Indian Women’s Hockey Team wins inaugural Women’s Hockey 5s Asia Cup; defeats Thailand 7-2 in Final
On 28th August 2023, The Indian Women‘s Hockey Team won the inaugural Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup by defeating Thailand (7-2) in the final match. Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023, held in Salalah, Oman from 25th to 28th August 2023, was the qualifying tournament FIH(Fédération Internationale de Hockey) Women Hockey 5s World Cup 2024.
- With this victory, India qualifies for the FIH Women Hockey 5s World Cup 2024, the inaugural edition of FIH Hockey5s World Cup, which is to be held in Muscat, Oman from 24th to 27th January 2024.
- Mariana Kujur (2nd, 8th minutes) and Jyoti (10th, 27th) scored a brace for India, while Monika Dipi Toppo (7th), skipper Navjot Kaur (23rd) and Mahima Choudhary (29th) were the other goal scorers. For Thailand, Kunjira Inpa (5th) and Sanpoung Kornkanok (5th) were on target.
- Hockey India has announced a Rs. 2 lakh reward to each player of the team, while Rs. 1 lakh each for the support staff.
- Player of the Tournament was Aunjai Natthakarn (Thailand) and Goalkeeper of the Tournament was Rumbiak Iryani (Indonesia).
National Small Industry Day 2023 – August 30 National Small Industry Day is annually observed across India on 30th August to celebrate the invaluable contributions made by the small-scale industry to India’s growth.
- This day also aimed to promote small businesses nationwide and offer job opportunities to unemployed males and females for the betterment of their lives.
i.On 30th August 2000, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India, announced a comprehensive policy package for the Small Scale Industries(SSI) sector during the first-ever National Conference on SSI organised by the Ministry of SSI and the Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries (ARI).
- The policy helped small businesses with the development of infrastructure and technology.
ii.Since then the Government of India (GoI) has formally celebrated 30th August as National Small Industry Day.
About Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (M/o MSMEs):
On 9 May 2007, subsequent to an amendment of the GoI (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, the erstwhile Ministry of SSI and the Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries were merged to form the M/o MSME.
Union Minister – Narayan Tatu Rane (Rajya Sabha- Maharashtra)
Minister of State – Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (Constituency – Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh)