Current Affairs – 29 & 30 October 2023

Indian Oil Corporation Launches India’s 1st Gasoline & Diesel Reference Fuels
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) launched the Indias 1st Reference Gasoline and Diesel Fuels produced by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL).

  • With this launch, India joined the elite group of nations with domestic production of ‘Reference’ Petrol and Diesel and IOCL becomes the 4th refiner in the world to produce ‘reference’ grade petrol and diesel.
  • IOCL’s Paradip refinery (Odisha) will produce ‘reference’ grade petrol; IOCL’s Panipat Refinery (Haryana) will produce ‘reference’ quality diesel.

Note: The production of ‘reference’ fuel is another step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
About Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL):
IOCL is a Maharatna Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) under MoPNG. It was incorporated in 1964 by merging Indian Refineries Limited with Indian Oil Company under the Indian Companies Act, 1956.
Chairman– Shrikant Madhav Vaidya
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Coal Ministry & MNRE Collaborate to Work Jointly to Promote Green Energy 
The Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) collaborated to work together for the promotion of green energy.
MNRE will provide technical, policy, and capacity-building assistance, while the Ministry of Coal will supply land and capital to construct solar energy, green hydrogen, and other renewable energy projects.

  • Through this collaboration, the roof-top solar will be installed in all the government buildings and houses of CPSE employees in Mission Mode.
  • The de-coaled and surplus land masses will be offered for the setting up of green hydrogen projects by private investors.
  • MNRE is set to support the Ministry of Coal and its CPSEs for capacity-building training of engineers, technicians, and other functionaries through the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE)Gurgaon (Haryana).
  • MNRE will provide knowledge partnerships through the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee (Uttarakhand), the Solar Energy Corporation of India, and its other resource agencies.

The central public sector Enterprises(CPSEs) of Ministry of Coal have installed  1600 MegaWatt (MW) solar Energy generation capacity and Work on another 500 MW solar projects is at different stages.CPSEs target to create a generation capacity of 12GW by 2030.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Issues New Guidelines NBFC –  SBR Master Directions 2023Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently published a new set of guidelines called the “Master Direction – Reserve Bank of India [Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC)– Scale Based Regulation(SBR)] Directions, 2023″.
It replaces the Non-Banking Financial Company–Non-Systemically Important Non-Deposit taking (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2016, and the Non-Banking Financial Company–Systemically Important Non-Deposit taking Company and Deposit taking Company (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2016.
i.As the regulatory structure envisages scale based as well as activity-based regulation, the following prescriptions shall apply in respect of the NBFCs.

  • NBFC-P2P, NBFC-AA, NOFHC, and NBFCs without public funds and customer interaction will consistently fall within the Base Layer of the regulatory structure.
  • NBFC-D, CIC, NBFC-IFC, and HFC will be categorized in either the Middle Layer or Upper Layer, as appropriate, excluding the Base Layer. SPD and IDF-NBFC will always remain in the Middle Layer.

ii.The Reserve Bank of India is mandating Credit Information Companies (CICs) and Credit Institutions (CIs) to enhance customer service and grievance redress mechanisms, pursuant to Section 11(1) of the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005

RBL Bank launches Zero-Balance Go Savings AccountRBL Bank, formerly known as Ratnakar Bank, has launched the GO Savings Account, a zero-balance digital banking product. The account has a subscription-based model means it will replace minimum balance requirement, thus, finishing the hassle of maintaining a minimum balance.
GO Savings Account Features:

  • Competitive interest rates of up to 7.5% per annum.
  • A premium debit card.
  • Vouchers valued at Rs 1500 for premier brands.
  • Comprehensive cyber insurance cover, accident and travel insurance up to Rs 1 crore and free CIBIL report.

Key Points:
i.The subscription fee is Rs 1999 (plus taxes) for the first year, and an annual renewal fee of Rs 599 (+taxes).
ii.The account has a simple account opening process and easy-to-operate features. It caters to customers of all age groups.
About RBL Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– R Subramaniakumar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Apno Ka Bank
Establishment– 1943

AU Small Finance Bank Launches ‘Planet first – AU Green Fixed Deposit’ with 8.5% Interest RateAU Small Finance Bank (AU SFB) Limited launched its first Green Fixed Deposi(FD) namely Planet First – AU Green Fixed Deposit with an interest rate of up to 8.50%. This launch represents bank’s commitment towards climate action, and also allows customers to contribute to sustainability by dedicating proceeds to green projects.

  • The Green FD was launched on 25th October 2023, last Wednesday of October, which is celebrated as the Sustainability Day.

Features of Planet First-AU Green Fixed Deposit:

  • Interest rate of up to 8.50%
  • Minimum investment of Rs. 5,000
  • Tenure options from two to five years
  • Interest payment options including monthly, quarterly, and cumulative

Key Points:
i.With this launch, customers can secure Green FDs through Video Banking, the AU 0101 App, Net Banking, or by visiting AU Small Finance Bank branches, both existing and new AU SFB customers.
ii.A green fixed deposit (FD) is an interest-bearing deposit that funds projects with environmental benefits. Green FDs are also known as environmentally friendly fixed deposits.
iii.The Green Fixed Deposits will enable customers to contribute to sustainability of planet through AU’s green offering.

Escrowpay secures India’s 1st digital Escrow authorization from IFSCA
Escrowpay, a leading digital escrow platform, has secured India‘s 1st  digital escrow regulatory fintech authorisation from International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

  • The authorization will provide secured and efficient financial solutions to 70 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India.
  • The authorization will also enable Escrowpay to further expand its suite of offerings and commence cross-border transactions in over 14 world currencies.
  • It will also help to make escrow banking more accessible, affordable, and secure for all users.

What is Escrow?
Escrow is a financial arrangement in which a third party, known as an escrow agent, holds money or property on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction.
About Escrowpay:
MD– Ashwin Chawwla
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana Established in 2015

3 Indian Technology Experts Named in the 39-member UN High-level Advisory Body on AIOn 26 October 2023, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General (SGAntónio Guterres revealed the formation of a 39-member High-Level Multistakeholder Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in New York, the United States of America (USA).

  • The list featured 3 Indian technology experts namely Amandeep Singh Gill, UN SG’s Envoy on Technology(since 2022); Nazneen Rajani, Lead Researcher at Hugging Face; and Sharad Sharma, Co-founder of iSPIRT Foundation.
  • The Board will support the international community’s efforts to govern AI and its members’ list comprises experts from the government, private sector, research community, civil society, and academia.

About United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General– António Guterres
Headquarters– New York City, United States of America (USA)
Established on– 24 October 1945.

Actor Rajkummar Rao Named as ‘National Icon’ for Election Commission of India Bollywood Actor Rajkummar Rao was named as the ‘National Icon’ for voter awareness and education by the Election Commission of India(ECI).

  • Rajkummar Rao and ECI entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a period of 3 years at the event held in New Delhi, Delhi, in the presence of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Rajiv Kumar, and Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel.

About this Partnership:
i.This collaboration aims to use Rajkummar Rao’s impact and popularity to inspire citizens, especially youth, across the country to actively engage in the voting process.

ii.Through this collaboration, Rajkummar Rao will promote voter awareness in various TV talk shows/ programs and digital campaigns about the importance of voting and strengthening the roots of democracy by fostering a more engaged and informed electorate.

iii. ECI collaborates with renowned Indians from various fields and designates them as ECI’s national icons to inspire voters to join in the celebration of democracy.

  • Former Indian cricketer and Bharat Ratna awardee Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar as the National Icon in August 2023.
  • Actor Pankaj Tripathi was named as the National Icon in 2022.
  • Singer Jasbir Jassi and diversity and inclusion consultant Dr. Niru Kumar were named as the National Icons in 2020.
  • During the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Aamir Khan and Mary Kom were the ECI National Icons.

About Rajkummar Rao:
i.Rajkummar Rao made his acting debut with the anthology film Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010).

  • Rajkummar Rao acted as an election officer in ‘Newton’ movie which was released in 2017.
  • Rajkummar Rao is noted for his acting in movies like Shahid (2012), Trapped (2016), Stree (2018), Badhaai Do (2022), Monica, and O My Darling (2022).
  • He is the brand ambassador of the brands including Cashify, Syska Group and ‘The New Shop’.

ii.He won the best actor award in the 2014 National Flim Awards for acting in ‘Shahid’ movie which was a real life story of Shahid Azmi, slain lawyer and human rights activist from Mumbai, Maharashtra
State of India.He shared the best actor award with Suraj Venjaramoodu for Malayalam film “Perariyathavar”.

Worldsteel elects Nucor’s Leon Topalian as Chairman & TATA Steel’s T V Narendran as Vice ChairmanLeon J. Topalian, President and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Nucor Corporation (the United States of America-USA), was elected as the 45th Chairman of the World Steel Association(worldsteel), the international industry association for the iron and steel sector.

  • India’s Thachat Viswanath(TV) Narendran, CEO & Managing Director(MD) of Tata Steel Limited and Choi Jeong-Woo, CEO of POSCO Holdings were elected as the Vice Chairman of Worldsteel.
  • Choi Jeong-Woo served as the 44th Chairman of the WorldSteel.

Other Elected Office Bearers: 

  • Timoteo Di Maulo, CEO of Aperam S.A. (Belgian-French Company), as the Chairman of worldstainless.

Note: worldstainless is a not-for-profit research and development association which was founded in 1996 as the International Stainless Steel Forum. worldstainless is not a separate legal entity. Worldsteel provides administrative support to worldstainless.
Key Points:

  • Leon J. Topalian, TV Narendran and Choi Jeong-Woo were also elected as the members of the 2023-2024 Executive Committee
  • The board members of Worldsteel has also elected the executive board of directors for the period 2023-2024. The executives of the board of Worldsteel will hold office for 1 year.

About TV Narendran:
i.Narendran served as the Vice President – Safety, Flat Products & Long Products Divisions of Tata Steel from 2010 till his appointmnet as MD of Tata Steel in November 2013.
ii.He is also a member on the Board of Tata Steel and he is the Chairman of Tata Steel Europe.
iii.He is also a member of the Council of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
iv.He was the co-chair of the Mining & Metals Governors Council of the World Economic Forum(WEF) from 2016 to 2018.
v.He served as the President of the Indian Institute of Metals from 2021 to 2022 and as President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from 2021 to 2022.
About World Steel Association(worldsteel):
Worldsteel was founded as the International Iron and Steel Institute on 10 July 1967 and renamed as Worldsteel in 2008.
This represents steel producers, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. Its Members represent around 85% of global steel production.
Director General– Edwin Basson
Headquarters–  Brussels, Belgium

India’s HAL, France’s Safran ink MoU to Manufacture Commercial Engine PartsOn October 27, 2023, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Aircraft Engines, a French aerospace engine manufacturer, to develop industrial cooperation in ring forging manufacturing for commercial engines.
Note: HAL is a Navaratna Status Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Defence(MoD).
It was signed by Mihir Kanti Mishra, CEO (Bangalore Complex) of HAL, and Dominique Dupuy, Senior Vice-President (Purchasing) of Safran Aircraft Engines during a ceremony at Bengaluru, Karnataka.
What will be done under the MoU?
HAL will produce LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) engine forgings at its foundry and forge facility in Bengaluru.

  • LEAP powers the Airbus A320 Neo family and Boeing 737 Max.

Key Points:
i.An Industrial Cooperation Contract was also signed by Anil Kumar VN, GM (F&F) of HAL, and Jean Michel, Strategy Director and India Development for Safran Military Division to further strengthen this strategic partnership.
ii.Safran already has three production facilities in India (between Hyderabad, Telangana and Bengaluru), which will be completed by a fourth site at Hyderabad dedicated to the LEAP MRO activities by 2025.

  • The Helicopter Engine MRO (HE-MRO) facility being developed in Goa jointly with HAL will be 5th Safran facility in India. This will become operational by 2025.

About Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL):
Chairman and Managing Director (Additional Charge)– CB Ananthakrishnan
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Establishment– 1964
About  Safran Aircraft Engines:
CEO– Jean-Paul Alary
Headquarters– Paris, France

Ex-Union Minister Babanrao Dhakne Passed AwayBabanrao Dhakne, Former Union Minister and senior politician, passed away in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra at the age of 86. He was born on 10 November 1937 in Akola, Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.

  • He served as the Union State Minister in the Ministry of Energy (1990 to 1991) under the primership of Chandra Shekhar (8th Prime Minister of India – 1990 to 1991)

About Babanrao Dhakne:
Babanrao Dhakne served as the Member of Parliament(MP) as a part of the 9th Lok Sabha. He represented Beed constituency of Maharashtra as a member of Janata Dal (JD).

  • He was the 1st person of Vanjari Community to become the member of the 9th Lok Sabha.

Political affiliation:
i.He was associated with Indian National Congress (INC)  (Undivided) till 1969 and served as President of Janara Party (JP), Maharashtra from 1978 to 1980.
ii.He also served as the Executive Member of JP in 1979 and as Executive Member of JD Maharashtra in 1989.
i.He served as the Chairman of Panchayat Samiti, Pathardi in Maharashtra from 1972 to 1975.
ii.He was also a State and Cabinet Minister of Maharashtra from 1978 to 1980.
iii.He served as the Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Speaker in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from 1981-82 and 1988-89 respectively.

PM Narendra Modi Releases Three Books at Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released three books, including ‘Ashtadhyayi Bhashya’, ‘Ramanandacharya Charitam’, and ‘Bhagwan Shri Krishna ki Rashtraleela‘, during his visit to Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh.

  • The three books were written by Jagadguru Rambhadracharya of Tulsi Peeth.
  • Tulsi Peeth is a religious and social service institution which was established by Jagadguru Rambhadracharya in 1987 and is one of the leading publishers of Hindu religious literature.
  • Jagadguru Rambhadracharya awarded Padam Vibhushan in 2015 in the field of Literature and Education.

Astadhyayi is a Sanskrit Treatise on grammar written in 6th to 5th century B.C. by the Sanskrit grammarian Panini.

International Animation Day 2023- October 28 International Animation Day (IAD) is annually observed across the globe on 28 October to honour the birth of animation, recognised as the first public performance of projected moving images at Emile Reynaud’s Théâtre Optique in Paris (France), on the 28th of October 1892.

  • 28 October 2023 marks the observance of the 22nd International Animation Day.

IAD is annually coordinated and promoted by the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA) (International Animated Film Association).
i.In 2002, the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA) decided to observe the 28th of October every year as International Animation Day (IAD) to commemorate the birth of Animation.
ii.The first IAD was observed on 28 October 2002.
About Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA):
President – Deanna Morse
Founded in– 1960
Headquarters– Annecy, France

Karnataka launches ‘HAWK’ centralized wildlife crime management systemThe Karnataka Forest Department, along with Wildlife Trust of India(WTI) has launched the Hostile Activity Watch Kernel (HAWK) system, a specialised software platform to monitor all aspects of forest and wildlife crime.

  • The initiative is supported by NTT DATA, an Information technology (IT) services provider, under its Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) programme.

i.HAWK has been an official system of the Kerala Forest Department since it was launched in 2019.
ii.In 2022, The implementation of a customised version of HAWK began in Karnataka in collaboration with the Karnataka forest department’s ICT (Information and Communication Technology) cell.
About HAWK:
i.HAWK is a cloud-based information Management System designed to manage interlinked databases of wildlife crime, wildlife criminals, and wildlife mortality.

  • It helps officials to analyse the information and develop actionable intelligence to prevent wildlife crimes.
  • It acts as a tool in catching poachers and smugglers slipping past state borders and boosts the forest department’s legal arm by expediting the process to ensure conviction.

ii.The system connects the entire state forest department in real-time and the access is restricted through access levels.

  • Frontline forest staff will be trained to use the system and a dedicated helpdesk will assist them in the integration process under the supervision of the Chief Wildlife Warden’s office.

iii.The platform will be available on mobile through which forest personnel can monitor the movement of suspects, vehicles, and live responses and exchange intelligence with their counterparts in the neighbouring states.
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau(WCCB) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is in the process of taking HAWK as the national wildlife crime management system.
About Karnataka:
Chief Minister – Siddaramaiah
Governor – Thaawar Chand Gehlot
Tiger Reserve – Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Festivals – Hampi Festival,Karaga Festival

Indigenous ATMAS inaugurated at Biju Patnaik Airport, Odisha
The Indigenously built state of the art Air Traffic Management Automation System (ATMAS) at the Biju Patnaik International Airport, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
The ATMAS was jointly developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

  • The MoU for the development of the indigenous ATMAS was signed during the Wings India 2022 in Hyderabad, Telangana in 2022.

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