Current Affairs – 8 August 2023

India hands over Rs.450 million to Sri Lanka to fund its SL-UDI ProjectOn 4th August 2023, India handed over a cheque of Rs.450 million in advance to Sri Lanka, for supporting the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity (SL-UDI) project, which is expected to strengthen Sri Lanka’s digital infrastructure and promote growth across various sectors.

  • The project supported by the Indian government is seen as a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s path to economic recovery.
  • With this move, Sri Lanka is paving the way for a more technologically advanced future, anticipating substantial economic development and prosperity.
  • The initiative comes under the objective of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, which demonstrates its commitment of India to assist its neighbouring countries in the South Asian region for mutual cooperation and support.

Key People:
i.Gopal Bagley, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka handed over the cheque of Rs.450 million to Kanaka Herath, Minister of State, Ministry of Technology, in the presence of Sagala Ratnayake, the Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Adviser on National Security to the President, Sri Lanka; Eldos Mathew, First Secretary of the Indian High Commission.
ii.The cheque constitutes 15% of the total funds required for the successful implementation of SL-UDI as an advance payment.
i.The project commenced in March 2022, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sri Lanka and India.
ii.An Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Project Monitoring Committee (JPMC) for the (SL-UDI) project was also introduced.
About SL-UDI Project:
i.The project focuses on collecting biographic and biometric data, encompassing facial, iris, and fingerprint information.
ii.All the collected data is securely stored in a centralized system to issue identification cards based on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
iii.These identification cards will serve as reliable and standardized means of verifying individual identities.
iv.The project promises a more efficient and effective delivery of services while targeting poverty reduction and welfare programs, by streamlining government services and promoting financial inclusion.
About Sri Lanka:
Prime Minister–  Dinesh Gunawardena
President– Ranil Wickremesinghe
Currency– Sri Lankan Rupee

Union Home Minister Amit Shah launches Digital Portal of CRCS office in Punei.On August 6, 2023, Union Minister Amit Shah, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Cooperation, launched a digital portal of the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) office in Pune, Maharashtra.
This launch is on the lines with Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi’s vision of “Sahkar se Samriddhi”, strengthening cooperative movement in India, deepening its reach to the grassroots and to enhance the performance, productivity and profitability of cooperative societies.
ii.The CRCS office is responsible for administering the Multi-State Co-operative Societies (MSCS) Act 2002. This portal will ease the functioning of over 1550 MSCS in India and promote a digital ecosystem for new registrations.
iii.The portal aims to promote ease of doing business in the cooperative sector.
About Ministry of Cooperation:
Union Minister– Amit Shah  (Constituency- Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat)
Minister of State– B L Verma (Rajya Sabha- Uttar Pradesh)

MoHFW  Launched e-CARe Portal To Avoid Delays in Transporting Human RemainsUnion Minister of Health and Family Welfare,  Mansukh Mandaviya, launched e-CARe (e-Clearance for Afterlife Remains) portal for conducting dead body/human remains clearance procedures electronically which is expected to transform the government functioning to a more efficient mode.

  • The portal will bring together all stakeholders into a single interface. Moreover, a dedicated Nodal Officer will be present round-the-clock within the facility.
  • Indira Gandhi International Airport(New Delhi, Delhi), will serve as the nodal centre for all international airports in the country.
  • It is developed as a standard reusable product amenable to replication across the governments.

About  eCARe (e-Clearance for Afterlife Remains):
Ensuring uniformity throughout the process will remove any subjectivity that could arise from individual Airport Health Organizations (APHOs).

  • The airport Health Officer will perform clearance through email in collaboration with the transporting airlines.

i.Public health clearance of dead body/human remains clearance brought from abroad is necessary as per Indian Aircraft (Public Health) Rules 1954 and International Health Regulations, 2005.
ii.The delay is commonly due to the need for document clarifications, involving email scrutiny by multiple stakeholders, as well as discrepancies arising from varying international time zones.
Documents required:
For the purpose of obtaining public health clearance for all human remains arriving at Indian airports, the following documents must be provided:
i.Certificate of Embalming
ii.Death Certificate
iii.No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Indian Embassy
iv.Cancelled Passport Copy
v.Certificate of Human Remains Packaging in accordance with World Health Organisation(WHO) guidelines
Optional documents:

  • Certificate or endorsement from the consignee
  • Additional Supporting Documents (such as Medical History or other documents as requested)

Additional info:
i.The initial 48 hours, updates would be shared with the relevant officials every 12 hours during the first 36 hours. Subsequently, escalation would occur every four hours for the following 12 hours, aiming to prevent clearance delays.
ii.The details regarding any entry would be communicated through email, SMS, and WhatsApp to the Central International Health Division, the Nodal Officer, APHOs, consignees, and the airlines.

PM virtually laid Foundation Stone for Redevelopment of 508 Railway Stations under ABSS i.On August 6, 2023, the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of 508 Railway Stations as Amrit Bharat Stations covering 27 states and Union Territories (UTs) via video conferencing in New Delhi, Delhi .
ii.This redevelopment will be done at a cost of more than Rs 24,470 crores under Amrit Bharat Station Scheme (ABSS).
iii.The redevelopment will cover 55 each in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Rajasthan, 49 in Bihar, 44 in Maharashtra, 37 in West Bengal (WB), 34 in Madhya Pradesh (MP), 32 in Assam, 25 in Odisha, 22 in Punjab, 21 each in Gujarat and Telangana, 20 in Jharkhand, 18 each in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Tamil Nadu (TN), 15 in Haryana, 13 in Karnataka among others.
About Ministry of Railways:
Union Minister– Ashwini Vaishnaw(Rajya Sabha- Odisha)
Ministers of State– Raosaheb Patil Danve, Darshana Jardosh

Kerala and UN Women organise ‘Trainers of Trainer’ as part of Women-Friendly TourismKerala’s state Responsible Tourism Mission(RT Mission) in collaboration with United Nations(UNWomen India organised the ‘Trainers of Trainer’ programme under the ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project.

  • The two-day orientation programme for women was held in Kumarakom, Kottayam, Kerala on 31st July and 1st August 2023, to focus the wide range of tourism activities in which women can play a central role.

About Trainers of Trainer programme:
i.The programme engaged a total of 85 women trainers, who will then train women involved in tourist initiatives and other services around the state.

  • This was the second in a series of training workshops planned by RT Mission that would cover the entire state.
  • So far, 1850 women have participated in training sessions held as part of the project.

ii.The programme turned out to be a forum for experience-sharing sessions, where entrepreneurs and professionals addressed how to successfully carry out every aspect of tourist activities, making visitors’ stay in the state a one-of-a-kind experience.
About Women-Friendly Tourism project:
i.When launched:In November 2022, Kerala launched state level ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project with RT Mission as the nodal agency.

  • The project was initiated to instill a sense of security among women travellers, thereby promoting tourism with a focus on women empowerment.

ii.MoU signed:To boost women-friendly activities in the tourism sector, Kerala signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Women India in February 2023.

  • Under the MoU, UN Women will support Kerala tourism in developing reports and material related to women-friendly tourism and their publication.

iii.The project involves the participation of women in a whole lot of activities, including catering and accommodation, transportation and serving as community guides.

  • It is estimated to generate at least 10,000 startups, over 30,000 new job opportunities, and a network of 1.5 lakh women working in tourism and related industries.

About Kerala:
Chief Minister – Pinarayi Vijayan
Governor – Arif Mohammed Khan
Classical Dance – Kathakali, Mohiniyattam
Festivals – Onam, Vishu

IRISET& IIT Madras signed MoU to Establish 5G testbed at IRISET, Secunderabad
Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications (IRISET), under the Ministry of Railways (Indian Railways) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India 5G testbed at IRISET in Secunderabad (the twin city of Hyderabad), Telangana for testing and development of 5G use cases for Indian Railways.
Aim: To accelerate the indigenization efforts of Indian Railways in the field of communications and create a testing facility for it.
Key Point:
The indigenous 5G solution and testbed has been developed jointly by IIT-Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP); Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) under MeitY; IIT-Bombay; Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), a society of IIT-Madras; and IIT-Madras, as part of the indigenous 5G testbed project funded by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to a consortium of eight institutes.

India’s Unemployment Rate Declines to 7.95% in July 2023 due to Rise in Agricultural Labour Demand
According to the recent data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt.Ltd. (CMIE), the unemployment rate of India in July 2023 fell to 7.95% from 8.45% in June 2023. This decline is due to the increased demand for agricultural labour in rural areas, as the monsoon season has begun.

  • However, in July 2023, the demand for labour in the rural non-agriculture sector declined, leading to a decrease in the number of rural workers seeking employment, consequently affecting the rural employment rate.
  • The rural unemployment rate also declined to 7.89% in July 2023, from 8.73% in June 2023, while the urban unemployment rate slightly increased to 8.06% from 7.87% in the same period.
  • Data indicates that the labour force in rural India has decreased by 5 million. The labour force participation rate in urban areas has also seen a decline. This indicates that the issue extends beyond rural regions and reflects a broader weakness in the Indian economy.

Note: In an effort to address rising unemployment dissatisfaction, the government is distributing appointment letters as part of a promise to provide 1 million government jobs by the end of 2023.

India to Get its 1st Integrated Theatre Command by August 2023
India is set to establish its first Integrated Theatre Commands (ITC) in August 2023. The Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air force) have overcome the differences and accepted the broad commanding structure for ITC, developed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan. 2 ITCs are set to be established in North India, one in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and the other in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

  • The Army’s South Western Command (SWC) in Jaipur will serve as the Headquarters (HQ) of the ITC, and will primarily focus on countering threats from Pakistan, while the Central Command based in Lucknow, will serve as the HQ of the ITC, will tackle security challenges coming out from China.
  • Theatre commanders hold a four-star rank, making them equivalent in rank to the Chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The CDS will commands all 6 theatre commanders.
  • Additionally, there are other joint commands, which handle specific activities such as logistics, training, cyber and space operations, missile systems, and intelligence, and will be headed by a three-star officer.
  • Department of Military Affairs (DMA) is responsible for managing various theatre commanders and commanders of new commands. The CDS is the head of the DMA.

The Maritime ITC is likely to be established in Karnataka under the Naval Command.
The Government’s decision to develop ITC comes 22 years after the establishment of its first tri-service command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command. ITCs in India are built upon the principle of ‘One Border One Force’, which ensures focused and efficient management.

Swiss impact investor signs agreement with Electronica Finance
Swiss impact investor responsAbility Investments AG signed a USD 15 million funding deal with Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) Electronica Finance to promote green financing in India in line with its sustainability goal.

  • Electronica Finance is headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, and is a part of the SRP Electronica group.
  • It is supported by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

Key Points:
i.Electronica Finance will use the funding for financing energy efficient machines and promoting rooftop solar installation.
ii.It has already received USD 7.5 million from responsAbility in July 2023 will get remaining part in later 2023. The fund was raised at 11.4%.

IISc Bengaluru GSL Signed MoU to Develop AI for Shipbuilding & Defence
On 4th August 2023, the Indian Institute of Science,(IISc) Bengaluru & Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for the shipbuilding and defense sectors.

  • IISc Bengaluru’s Foundation for Science Innovation and Development (FSID) will assist GSL to streamline shipbuilding processes, shorten construction timelines and boost overall productivity.

The partnership aims to enhance productivity, safety, and defense readiness while also strengthening indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities.

GoI appointed Sanjay Kumar Agarwal as CBIC Chairman & Surjit Bhujabal  as CBIC Member On 5th August 2023, the Government of India (GoI) appointed Sanjay Kumar Agarwal as the Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), an apex policy-making body for indirect taxes under the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.

  • He succeeds Vivek Johri, who superannuated on 31st July 2023.
  • Prior to this appointment, Sanjay Kumar Agarwal was serving as the CBIC Member (Compliance Management) from March 1, 2022, to August 4, 2023.

Note: Sanjay Kumar Agarwal is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Custom and Indirect Taxes (C&IT) Officer of the 1988 batch.
Other appointmnet:
Surjit Bhujbal has been appointed as the Member (Compliance Management) of CBIC board succeeding Sanjay Kumar Agarwal.

  • Surjit Bhujbal is an IRS (C&IT) officer of the 1989 batch.
  • Prior to his appointment, Surjit Bhujbal was serving as the Principal Director General of the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI), an apex intelligence organization functioning under CBIC.

Board of CBIC:
i.The CBIC board is headed by a chairman who is assisted by 6 members who look into Tax Policy, Customs, Information technology (IT) & Taxpayer Services, Goods and Services Tax (GST), Compliance management, and Vigilance.
ii.The present 6 members are:
Rajiv Talwar; Alok Shukla; V. Rama Mathew; Shashank Priya; Vivek Ranjan and Surjit Bhujbal.
About Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC):
It is formerly known as the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), is one of the Boards constituted under the statute the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963.
Chairman– Sanjay Kumar Agarwal
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Scientist and Defense Expert Vijay Kumar Saraswat Appointed As The Chairman of QETCIQuantum Ecosystems Technology Council of India (QETCI) has announced the appointment of scientist and defense expert Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat as Chairman of the Governing Board.
About Vijay Kumar Saraswat:
i.Saraswat who was born on 25th May 1949, at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh was formerly the Secretary of the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Indian Minister of Defence.
ii.His areas of specialization include defense research in both basic and applied sciences as well as national supercomputing systems.
iii.He has been credited with the development of Liquid Propulsion Rocket Engines and missiles namely PRITHVI, DHANUSH, and PRAHAAR.
iv.He is a member of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and Co-Chair for the Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Committee (PMSTIAC).
v.He played a key role in setting up the Photonics Valley Corporation at Telangana and initiated a program for the development of Silicon-Photonics Technology.
He has been conferred with many prestigious awards including the highest civilian awards like the Padma Shri (1998) and Padma Bhushan (2013) in the field of Science and Engineering.
Note: QETCI a not-for-profit-Section 8 company. It is a think tank and an ecosystem entity dedicated to enabling and accelerating the Quantum Ecosystem in India. It is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana.

ISRO Transfers IMS-1 Satellite Bus Technology to ADTLIndian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) announced that it’s commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) transferred the Indian Mini-Satellite 1 (IMS-1, a low-cost microsatellite imaging mission of ISRO) Bus Technology to Bengaluru(Karnataka) based Alpha Design Technologies Private Limited(ADTL).

  • The Technology Transfer Documents had been formally handed over by Shri. D Radhakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director of NSIL, to Col. H. S. Shankar (Retd.) VSM, Chairman and Managing Director of ADTL.
  • ADTL is one of the two private players identified to receive the transfer of this technology through Interest Exploratory Note (IEN).

Aim of Transfer:
The BUS  technology is being transferred to the private sector with the aim of bolstering India’s industrial growth in the space sector and fostering technological self-reliance.
About Indian Mini-Satellite(IMS)-1 Bus:
i.i.The IMS-1 satellite bus, previously referred to as TWSat (Third World Satellite) was developed by the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC). The URSV is a versatile and efficient small satellite platform designed for low-cost access to space.
ii.It serves as a dedicated vehicle for various payloads, enabling:

  •   Earth imaging
  •   Ocean and atmospheric studies
  •   Microwave remote sensing
  •   Space science missions

iii.It offers 3-axis stabilization with four reaction wheels and a 1 N thruster providing +/- 0.1 degree pointing accuracy.

  • Weight: approximately100 kg
  • Payload capacity:30 kg.
  • Power generation: 330 Watt power(Solar arrays) with a raw bus voltage of 30-42 Volt.

v.With a quick turnaround time for satellite launches, IMS-1 bus is a forerunner for IMS-2 bus technology, which has improved features.
About Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (ADTL):
Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (ADTL) is a leading aerospace and defense company.

  • With expertise in engineering, manufacturing, and system integration, ADTL has been a key player in various projects related to defense, space, and homeland security, contributing significantly to India’s technological progress in these domains.

Additional Info:
Indian Mini-Satellite(IMS)-1 bus has been utilized in previous ISRO missions like IMS-1, Youthsat, and Microsat-2D.

NASA & Axiom Space Have Signed a Mission Order for Ax-4 
Alternative title:Ax-4 scheduled to Launch in 2024 on Falcon 9 Rockets
NASA and Axiom Space have signed a mission order for the 4th private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS), named  Axiom Mission 4 (Ax-4) scheduled to launch in  2024 on Falcon 9 rockets from National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s  (NASA) Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States of America (USA).

  • Ax-4 is part of Nasa’s broader strategy to transition low Earth orbit activities.
  • The Ax-4 mission will involve a team of four crew members.

i.The mission helps in laying the groundwork for the world’s first commercial space station, Axiom Station.
ii.Axiom Space is obtaining Nasa services through both a mission-specific order and a reimbursable Space Act Agreement.

World Archery Championships 2023: India won Gold for the 1st time & Topped Medal Tally with 4 medalsIndia topped the medal tally with 4 medals(3 gold and 1 bronze) at the 52nd edition of the Hyundai World Archery Championships 2023, held in the Berlin Olympic Park in Berlin, Germany from 31st July to 6th August 2023.

  • India won the gold medal for the first time since its 1st edition that held in 1931.

Indian Medal Winners:

Australian Badminton Open 2023: HS Prannoy Wins Silver Medal in Men’s Singles FinalsIndia’s Prannoy Haseena Sunil Kumar won the silver medal in the men’s singles finals against China’s Weng Hong Yang at the Sathio Group Australian Open 2023(Australian Open 2023) held at the state sports centre in Sydney, Australia from 1st to 6th August 2023.

  • HSBC Badminton World Federation(BWF) Australian Open 2023 is the World Tour Super 500 tournament.
  • Chinese born American Beiwen Zhang won the women’s singles title by defeating Kim Ga Eun of South Korea.

About Badminton World Federation(BWF):
President – Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Established – 1934

Hiroshima Day 2023- 6th August Hiroshima Day is annually observed across the globe on the 6th of August in accordance with the remembrance of the victims of the world’s 1st nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, during World War II (WW2) (1939-1945).

  • 6th August 2023 marks the 78th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings.

On 6th August 1945,  the United States (US) Boeing-29(B-29) bomber aircraft dropped the powerful “Little Boy”, the first atomic bomb, over Hiroshima in Japan, killing over 140,000 people at 8:15 am.

  • The bombing of Hiroshima resulted in the loss of 39% of the city’s civilian population.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park:
Every year on August 6th, the Hiroshima Day Memorial Service is held at the Peace Memorial Park, The Genbaku Dome (the only structure left behind after the bomb blast) to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
About Japan:
Prime Minister (PM)- Kishida Fumio
Capital- Tokyo
Currency- Japanese Yen

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