GK 144: World No- Tobacco Day

Welcome to the World No Tobacco Day Quiz!

This quiz is designed to test your knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco and the importance of quitting smoking. World No Tobacco Day, observed every year on May 31st, was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and to promote effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. This quiz will help you understand the impact of tobacco on your health and encourage you to make healthier choices for yourself and those around you. Let’s get started!

1. Be smoke-free, live carefree!
2. Choose health, say no to tobacco!
3. Quitting smoking is a heroic deed!
4. Stand up for your health, say no to tobacco!
5. Embrace a smoke-free life, the best gift you can give yourself!
6. Break the chains of addiction, say no to tobacco!
7. Your life, your choice, choose to be tobacco-free!
8. Tobacco-free is the way to be, start today!
9. Be a champion of your health, say goodbye to tobacco!
10. Quit today, your body will thank you tomorrow!

1. What is the theme for World No-Tobacco Day 2023?
A) We need food- not Tobacco
B) Let’s choose health, not tobacco
C) Tobacco and lung health
D) Tobacco industry is the enemy of humanity
Answer: A

2. What date is World No-Tobacco Day observed every year?
A) May 31
B) March 31
C) April 7
D) June 21
Answer: A

3. What percentage of deaths from lung cancer are caused by tobacco smoking?
A) 30%
B) 50%
C) 70%
D) 90%
Answer: D

4. Which harmful chemical found in cigarettes causes cancer?
A) Nicotine
B) Tar
C) Carbon monoxide
D) Formaldehyde
Answer: B

5. How many people die every year due to tobacco use, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)?
A) 2 million
B) 4 million
C) 6 million
D) 8 million
Answer: D

6. What is the main objective of World No-Tobacco Day?
A) To raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use
B) To encourage smokers to quit smoking
C) To advocate for stronger tobacco control policies
D) All of the above
Answer: D

7. What is the age limit for purchasing cigarettes in most countries?
A) 16 years
B) 18 years
C) 21 years
D) 25 years
Answer: B

8. What is the most common cancer caused by tobacco use in women?
A) Breast cancer
B) Lung cancer
C) Cervical cancer
D) Ovarian cancer
Answer: A

9. How many chemicals are found in cigarettes?
A) About 2,000
B) About 4,000
C) About 6,000
D) About 8,000
Answer: D

10. What is secondhand smoke?
A) The smoke directly inhaled by the smoker
B) The smoke exhaled by the smoker
C) The smoke from the burning end of a cigarette
D) All of the above
Answer: D

11. What are the benefits of quitting smoking?
A) Lower risk of cancer and other diseases
B) Better lung and heart health
C) Improved sense of taste and smell
D) All of the above
Answer: D

12. Which country has the highest prevalence of tobacco use?
A) China
B) United States
C) India
D) Russia
Answer: A

13. What is the main cancer caused by tobacco use in men?
A) Lung cancer
B) Prostate cancer
C) Colon cancer
D) Bladder cancer
Answer: A

14. Which age group is most likely to start smoking?
A) 10-14 years
B) 15-19 years
C) 20-24 years
D) 25-29 years
Answer: B

15. What is smokeless tobacco?
A) Tobacco products that are inhaled
B) Tobacco products that are chewed or snorted
C) Tobacco products that are smoked through a hookah
D) Tobacco products that are vaporized
Answer: B

16. What is a common symptom of tobacco withdrawal?
A) Nausea
B) Dizziness
C) Anxiety
D) All of the above
Answer: D

17. Which of the following tobacco products is considered most dangerous?
A) Cigarettes
B) E-cigarettes
C) Hookahs
D) All of the above
Answer: A

18. What is the key ingredient in cigarettes that makes them addictive?
A) Nicotine
B) Tar
C) Carbon monoxide
D) Formaldehyde
Answer: A

19. What is the global economic burden of tobacco use, according to the WHO?
A) $500 million
B) $5 billion
C) $500 billion
D) $5 trillion
Answer: C

20. Which country was the first to introduce a national tobacco control program?
A) Canada
B) United States
C) Australia
D) Brazil
Answer: A


1X = single
2X = double
3X = triple
4X = quadruple
5X = quintuple
6X = sextuple
7X = septuple
8X = octuple
9X = nonuple
10X = decuple
11X = undecuple
12X = duodecuple
13X = tredecuple
14X = quattuordecuple
15X = quindecuple
16X = sexdecuple
17X = septendecuple
18X = octodecuple
19X = novemdecuple
20X = vigintuple



The National Technology Week is scheduled to commence from 11th May 2023 to 14th May 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The AIM pavilion is going to present visitors with an exclusive chance to engage with student innovators, explore innovation zones, connect with entrepreneurs, and discover AIM’s advanced programs and initiatives, aimed at empowering innovators and entrepreneurs across the country to achieve their goals.

Spoken English-1


  1. How are you today? 1. ఈ రోజు మీరు ఎలా ఉన్నారు?
  2. Can you please repeat what you said? 2. దయచేసి మీరు చెప్పినదాన్ని పునరావృతం చేయగలరా?(మళ్లీ చెప్పగలరా? )
  3. What time is it? 3. ఇప్పుడు టైమ్ ఎంత?
  4. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. 4. క్షమించాలి.నేను దాన్ని అర్థం చేసుకోలేదు.
  5. Nice to meet you. 5. మిమ్మల్ని కలవడం సంతోషంగా ఉంది.
  6. How was your day? 6. మీ రోజు ఎలా ఉంది?
  7. Thank you very much. 7. చాలా రుణపడి ఉంటాను. ధన్యవాదాలు.
  8. Where are you from? 8. మీరు ఎక్కడి నుంచి వచ్చారు?
  9. What’s your name? 9. మీ పేరేంటి?
  10. Sorry, I’m late. 10. క్షమించండి, నేను ఆలస్యంగా వచ్చాను.
  11. Do you need any help? 11. మీకు ఏదైనా సహాయం అవసరమా?
  12. What do you do for a living? 12. బతుకుదెరువు కోసం ఏం చేస్తారు?
  13. Where are you headed? 13. ఎక్కడికి వెళుతున్నారు?
  14. Could you pass me the salt, please? 14. దయచేసి నాకు ఉప్పు ఇవ్వగలరా?
  15. I’ll have a coffee, please. 15. నేను కాఫీ తాగుతాను ప్లీజ్.
  16. That sounds like a good idea. 16. ఇది మంచి ఆలోచనగా అనిపిస్తుంది.
  17. How do you spell that? 17. దాన్ని ఎలా రాస్తారు?/ దాని స్పెల్లింగ్ ఏమిటి? దాని అక్షర క్రమం ఏంటి?
  18. Have a good day! 18. మంచి రోజు!
  19. What brings you here? 19. మిమ్మల్ని ఇక్కడికి రప్పించేది ఏమిటి?ఏంటి ఇలా వచ్చారు?
  20. What’s on the menu today? 20. ఈ రోజు మెనూలో ఏముంది?
  21. I don’t understand. 21. నాకు అర్థం కాలేదు.
  22. What do you mean? 22. మీ ఉద్దేశ్యం ఏమిటి?
  23. Would you like to go out tonight? 23. మీరు ఈ రాత్రి బయటకు వెళ్లాలనుకుంటున్నారా?
  24. Nice weather we’re having today. 24. ఈ రోజు మంచి వాతావరణం ఉంది.
  25. Could you lend me a hand, please? 25. (దయచేసి మీరు నాకు చేయి ఇవ్వగలరా? )దయచేసి నాకు సహాయం చేయగలరా?
  26. Let’s get together sometime. 26. ఎప్పుడైనా కలుద్దాం.
  27. What are your plans for the weekend? 27. వారాంతంలో మీ ప్రణాళికలు ఏమిటి?
  28. I’m sorry to hear that. 28. అది విన్నందుకు నన్ను క్షమించండి.ఇది వినటానికి చాలా బాధగా ఉంది.
  29. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. 29. మీతో మాట్లాడటం చాలా ఆనందంగా ఉంది.
  30. I appreciate your help. 30. మీ సహాయాన్ని నేను అభినందిస్తున్నాను.
  31. What’s the weather like today? 31. నేటి వాతావరణం ఎలా ఉంది?
  32. How long have you been living here? 32. మీరు ఎంతకాలంగా ఇక్కడ నివసిస్తున్నారు?
  33. Can I have some more water, please? 33. దయచేసి నేను మరికొంత నీరు తాగవచ్చా?
  34. What kind of music do you like? 34. మీకు ఎలాంటి సంగీతం ఇష్టం?
  35. I have to go now. 35. నేను ఇప్పుడు వెళ్ళాలి.
  36. What’s your favorite book? 36. మీకు ఇష్టమైన పుస్తకం ఏది?
  37. That’s really interesting. 37. ఇది నిజంగా ఆసక్తికరం.
  38. How old are you? 38. మీ వయస్సు ఎంత?
  39. Where did you learn English? 39. మీరు ఇంగ్లిష్ ఎక్కడ నేర్చుకున్నారు?
  40. Do you have any siblings? 40. మీకు తోబుట్టువులు ఎవరైనా ఉన్నారా?
  41. What’s your favorite food? 41. మీకు ఇష్టమైన ఆహారం ఏది?
  42. How do you like your steak cooked? 42.మీరు మాంసాన్ని ఎలా వండటం ఇష్టపడతారు?
  43. What’s your favorite hobby? 43. మీకు ఇష్టమైన అభిరుచి ఏది?
  44. Do you have any pets? 44. మీకు పెంపుడు జంతువులు ఉన్నాయా?
  45. Do you like to travel? 45. మీకు ప్రయాణాలు అంటే ఇష్టమా?
  46. What do you think about this? 46. దీని గురించి మీరేమంటారు?
  47. I’m not sure. 47. నాకు ఖచ్చితంగా తెలియదు.
  48. Let’s make plans for next week. 48. వచ్చే వారం ప్రణాళికలు వేద్దాం.
  49. Have a safe trip! 49. సురక్షిత ప్రయాణం చేయండి!
  50. What’s your favorite movie? 50. మీకు ఇష్టమైన సినిమా ఏది?
  51. How do you get to work? 51. మీరు పనికి ఎలా వెళ్తారు?
  52. Would you like to come over for dinner? 52. మీరు భోజనానికి రావాలనుకుంటున్నారా?
  53. How many languages do you speak? 53. మీరు ఎన్ని భాషలు మాట్లాడతారు?
  54. What’s your astrological sign?(zodiac sign) 54. మీ రాశి ఏమిటి?
  55. I’m sorry, I can’t make it. 55. క్షమించండి, నేను చేయలేను./రాలేను
  56. Can I help you with that? 56. నేను మీకు సహాయం చేయగలనా?
  57. Do you have any plans for the summer? 57. వేసవికి ఏమైనా ప్రణాళికలు ఉన్నాయా?
  58. That’s really nice of you. 58.అది మీ మంచితనం.
  59. How was your weekend? 59. మీ వీకెండ్ ఎలా ఉంది?
  60. Would you like a refill? 60. మీకు రీఫిల్ కావాలా?
  61. What’s your favorite color? 61. మీకు ఇష్టమైన రంగు ఏది?
  62. Can you recommend a good restaurant around here? 62. మీరు ఇక్కడ మంచి రెస్టారెంట్ను సిఫారసు చేయగలరా?
  63. I’m not feeling very well. 63. నాకు ఆరోగ్యం బాగాలేదు.
  64. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 64. ఖాళీ సమయాల్లో ఏం చేయటాన్ని/ గడపటాన్ని ఆనందిస్తారు?
  65. Do you have any allergies? 65. మీకు అలెర్జీలు ఉన్నాయా?
  66. What’s the best way to get there? 66. అక్కడికి వెళ్లడానికి ఉత్తమ మార్గం ఏమిటి?
  67. What do you usually have for breakfast? 67. అల్పాహారంలో మీరు సాధారణంగా ఏమి తీసుకుంటారు?
  68. I don’t know how to do that. 68. అది ఎలా చేయాలో నాకు తెలియదు.
  69. Can you teach me? 69. మీరు నాకు బోధించగలరా?
  70. Would you mind if I ask you a question? 70. నేను మిమ్మల్ని ఒక ప్రశ్న అడిగితే మీరు పట్టించుకుంటారా?
  71. What’s your favorite sport? 71. మీకు ఇష్టమైన క్రీడ ఏది?
  72. How often do you exercise? 72. మీరు ఎంత తరచుగా వ్యాయామం చేస్తారు?
  73. What’s your favorite season? 73. మీకు ఇష్టమైన సీజన్ ఏది?
  74. Can you show me how to do it? 74. దీన్ని ఎలా చేయాలో మీరు నాకు చూపించగలరా?
  75. What do you think about the new movie? 75. కొత్త సినిమా గురించి మీరేమంటారు?

Current Affairs – 23 & 24 April 2023

SAIL-BSL signs MoU with TCIL to utilize 5G/ IT / Telecom technologies in Steel manufacturingOn April 21, 2023, the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)-Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) to explore potential of application of 5G/ Information Technology (IT)/ Telecom and other wireless communication technologies in SAIL-BSL.

  • SAIL BSL includes SAIL’s Mines & Collieries, Central Coal Supply Organization and the SAIL Refractory Unit in Jharkhand.

The MoU was signed B.K.Tiwari, Executive Director (Works), SAIL- BSL; and Ms Alka Selot Asthana, Executive Director (IT & Telecom), TCIL at SAIL’s Bokaro Steel Plant.
Key Points:
i.With this pact, SAIL BSL became the first PSU in India to take initiative for setting up a dedicated 5G network with the help of TCIL which will utilize 5G/ IT / Telecom technologies in Steel manufacturing.
ii.This partnership will also be useful in providing innovative solutions in SAIL Mines and Collieries in Jharkhand, Smart Cities etc.
iii.TCIL has the necessary expertise, experience, and resources to provide solutions for deployment, testing, commissioning, and maintenance of MoU relevant technologies for SAIL-BSL.
i.The Plant is hailed as India’s first Swadeshi Steel Plant, built with maximum indigenous content in terms of equipment, material and know-how.
ii.Bokaro Steel Plant. the 4th integrated plant in the Public Sector, was established in 1965 in collaboration with the Soviet Union.
iii.It was originally incorporated as a limited company in 1964 and later merged with SAIL, first as a subsidiary and then as a unit, through the Public Sector Iron & Steel Companies (Restructuring & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1978.

MoCA launched 5th Phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN 5.0The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has launched the fifth phase of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) or UDAN 5.0, to improve the connectivity of the country’s regional territories, after four successful rounds of bidding.

  • On April 21 2023, the MoCA initiated the process of inviting bids from airlines for various routes under the fifth round of bidding for its RCS UDAN 5.0 by releasing a bid document.
  • UDAN 5.0 will raise the momentum, and connect new routes, with the target of operationalising 1000 routes and 50 additional airports, heliports, and water aerodromes.

Key Features of UDAN 5.0:
i.Distance: The earlier stage length constraint of 600 km has been eliminated and there are no restrictions on the distance between the origin and destination of the trip in UDAN 5.0, which concentrates on Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (>80 seats).

ii. Viability gap funding (VGF): VGF was increased to 600 km stage length for both Priority and Non-Priority areas, which was earlier capped at 500 km.

  • Viability Gap Funding is a grant provided to support the scheme that is economically justified but not financially viable.
  • MoCA contributes 80% of the VGF amount, while remaining 20% comes from the state governments concerned and in the case of north-eastern states and Union territories, the sharing ratio is 90:10.

iii.Routes: No predetermined routes would be offered under UDAN 5.0, and only Network and Individual Route Proposal proposed by airlines would be considered.

  • Airlines are required to commence operations within 4 months of the award of the route. Earlier, this deadline was 6 months.
  • The same route will not be awarded to a single airline more than once, whether in different networks or in the same network.
  • Under UDAN 5.0, the Novation process for routes from one operator to another is simplified and incentivised.

iv.The airlines will now need to submit an action/business plan after 2 months from the issuance of the Letter of Award (LoA), wherein they submit their aircraft acquisition plan/availability of aircraft, crew, slots, etc., at the time of the Technical Proposal.
v.Exclusivity will be withdrawn if the average quarterly Passenger Load Factor (PLF) is higher than 75% for four consecutive quarters to prevent exploitation of the monopoly on a route.
vii. 25% of the Performance Guarantee to be encashed for each month of delay up to 4 months, to further incentivise quick operationalisation.
viii. A list of airports that are ready for operation or would be ready for operations sooner has been included in the scheme to facilitate quicker operationalisation of routes under the Scheme.

About UDAN scheme:

  • It was launched on 27 April 2017 by the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi-led government with the goal of making air travel accessible to the common people of the country.
  • PM Narendra Modi launched the first aircraft from Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) to Delhi under the UDAN scheme in April 2017.

About the Ministry of Civil Aviation:
Union Minister – Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (Rajya Sabha Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS): General (Retd.) Vijay Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh)

PM Modi to release Rs 100 coin to Commemorate 100 episodes of Mann Ki BaatOn 21st April 2023, the Ministry of Finance announced that the Government will release a new commemorative coin of Rs 100 denomination on 30th April 2023, for the 100th episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio show Mann Ki Baat.

About the coin:
Shape : Circular
Diameter : 44 millimetres along with 200 serrations
Weight : 35 grams
Metal and composition: Quaternary alloy composed of 50% silver, 40 % copper, 5 % nickel, and 5 % zinc.
Design – Front Side:
The coin’s obverse side will have the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar at the centre with “Satyamev Jayate” inscribed below it. “Bharat” in Devanagari script and “INDIA” in English will be inscribed on the left and right peripherals, respectively. The coin will also feature the Rupee symbol “₹” and “100” denomination.
Design – Backside:
On the reverse side, the logo for the 100th Episode of Mann Ki Baat will be displayed, featuring a microphone with sound waves and the year “2023” inscribed on it. “Mann Ki Baat 100” will be written above and below the microphone image in Devanagari and English.

Note – Although commemorative coins hold a legal tender status, they are not typically accessible for ordinary circulation.

On October 3, 2014, PM Modi made his radio debut with Maan Ki Baat
(Words from the Heart) which is a monthly radio program aired on All India Radio, at 11 am on the last Sunday of each month.
i. The program has covered a wide range of subjects, including social issues, government policies, and cultural events.
ii. The initiative is a distinctive way for the Prime Minister to connect with the people of India and share his thoughts and ideas with them.
iii.A separate open forum has also been created on MyGov for citizens to share their comments for the forthcoming radio programme.

IGGL completes Asia’s largest underwater hydrocarbon pipelineOn 22nd April 2023, Mr. Ajit Kumar Thakur, CEO of Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited (IGGL), announced that the company has completed the construction of Asia’s largest underwater hydrocarbon pipeline.
Key Points:
i. This pipeline, with a diameter of 24 inches, has been laid below the Brahmaputra river, connecting Jorhat and Majuli in Assam by using the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method.
ii. The total length of this single HDD crossing is 4,080 metres across the main water channel of the Brahmaputra river, making it the longest river crossing by any hydrocarbon pipeline of size 24-inch diameter and above in Asia and the second longest in the world.
iii. This marks a significant milestone in the construction of the North East Gas Grid (NEGG), which aims to connect North East India to the National Gas Grid.

  • NEGG stretches for 1,656 kilometres and connects major cities and demand centres in North East India to the National Gas Grid.

Additional Info:
This unique HDD river crossing was executed using the intersection method, where two HDD rigs simultaneously started drilling from opposite sides of the Brahmaputra river and intersected at 30 metres beneath the river bed.
About  Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited (IGGL):
IGGL is the joint venture between Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), GAIL (India) Limited, Oil India Limited(OIL) and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL).
CEO –  Ajit Kumar Thakur
Headquarters – Guwahati, Assam
Incorporated in 2018

Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao unveils India’s Tallest Ambedkar Statue of 125-ft in Hyderabad

On the occasion of the 132nd birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ramji (BR) Ambedkar(14th April 2023), Telangana Chief Minister (CM) K Chandrashekhar Rao unveiled the 125-ft tall bronze statue of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji (BR) Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, in Hyderabad, Telangana. This is the tallest statue of BR Ambedkar in India.

  • The stands next to the State Secretariat on the banks of Hyderabad’s Hussain Sagarlake.
  • The statue has been sculpted by 98-year-old Padma Bhushan awardee (2016) Ram Vanji Sutar from Maharashtra, Mumbai.
  • Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar was invited as the chief guest at the event.

i. The statue was built using 360 tonnes of stainless steel and 114 tonnes of bronze, at a cost of Rs 146.50 crore.
ii. The statue has been built on a 50-feet high pedestal with a ground floor measuring 172 feet and terrace of 74 feet.
iii. Award:

  • Telangana government has decided to introduce an award in the name of Bharat Ratna Dr BR Ambedkar which will be presented to the people who excel in public service and render services to the people at the national and state-level every year. 
  • The state government plans to deposit Rs 51 crore in the bank and will use the interest of around Rs 3 crore earned on it every year to present the awards.

The Bharat Gaurav Tourist train on Ambedkar Circuit flagged off from New Delhi
On April 14, 2023, on the occasion of the 132nd birth anniversary of social reformer BR Ambedkar, a special tourist train named Bharat Gaurav has been launched by Union Minister of Tourism, G Kishan Reddy and Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), Virendra Kumar.

  • Bharat Gaurav tourist train is being operated under the ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative which aims to promote domestic tourism and the spirit of “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat”.

i. IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) in association with the Ministry of Tourism is operating its first tour on the Ambedkar circuit on an 8-day special tour from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, New Delhi, Delhi.

ii.The Ambedkar Circuit or Panchteerth was first proposed in 2016 by the Central Government.

It includes:

  • Janma Bhoomi– Ambedkar’s birthplace in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow.
  • Shiksha Bhoomi- the place in London where he stayed while studying in the United Kingdom.
  • Deeksha Bhoomi– the place in Nagpur (Maharashtra) where he embraced Buddhism.
  • Mahaparinirvan Bhoomi– the place of his demise in Delhi.
  • Chaitya Bhoomi– the place of his cremation is in Mumbai.

ii. The Bharat Gaurav Tourist train will include a visit to prominent places associated with the life of the social reformer DR.BR Ambedkarsuch as New Delhi in Delhi, Mhow, and Nagpur, and sacred Buddhist sites like Sanchi (Madhya pradesh), Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), Gaya and Rajgir and Nalanda (in Bihar).

Log9 Materials sets up India’s first Lithium-ion cell facility

Log9 Materials, a Bengaluru (Karnataka) based nanotechnology company backed by Amara Raja Group, inaugurated India’s first lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility at its campus in Jakkur, Bengaluru, Karnataka. Log9’s commercial Li-ion cell production facility will have an initial capacity of 50 Megawatt hours (MWh).

  • This facility will cater to LTO (Lithium titanate (LTO) and LFP ((lithium ferrophosphate) cell manufacturing
  • The manufacturing line will support the production of large form factor cylindrical cells ranging from 22 Series to 66 Series.
  • The production of Log9’s LTO TiB cells will contribute to a carbon emission reduction of 90T per vehicle with a total CO2 reduction of 147 kT every year.
  • Log9 will spend around Rs 200 crore on expanding its existing battery pack facility.

Note: Ola Electric had also announced its plans to build battery cells from its greenfield facility by 2023.

World Bank’s LPI 2023 Report: India Ranked 38; Singapore Topped the Index

According to the World Bank’s (WB) report titled Connecting to Compete 2023: Trade Logistics in an Uncertain Global Economy – the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and its indicators” released on April 21, 2023, India’s rank increased by 6 places to 38 in the index, from 44 in 2018.

  • Singapore topped the ranking followed by Finland at second, and Denmark at third.
  • This is the 7th edition of Connecting to Compet, a report that summarize the findings from the new dataset for LPI and its component indicators. 

Key Points:

i.India shares the 38th rank with Lithuania, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye.
ii.GoI (Government of India) had announced a National Master Plan, PM Gati Shakti for multi-modal connectivity, in October 2021 to reduce logistics cost and boost the economy by 2024-25.
About World Bank (WB):
World Bank Group President – David Malpass
Headquarters – Washington, DC, USA
Establishment – 1944

HDFC Bank gets Relief from RBI on PSL norms; SEBI Approves transfer of Controlling stake of HDFC AMC to HDFC Bank In April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provided a relaxation of 3 years for HDFC Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, to meet Priority Sector Lending (PSL) requirements after its merger with Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited.
The RBI has refused to make any exceptions on Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) requirements as sought by HDFC Bank.

  • HDFC Bank has to set aside 4.5% of HDFC’s assets as CRR and 18% as SLR after the merger.
  • Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed ownership change of HDFC Asset Management Company Limited (HDFC AMC), a subsidiary of HDFC Limited and the AMC of HDFC Mutual Fund (HDFC MF).

About HDFC Bank Ltd
MD & CEO – Sashidhar Jagdishan
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – We Understand Your World

Mastercard collaborates with India’s M1xchange to roll out digital invoice discounting for farmers On 20th April 2023, Mastercard has collaborated with M1xchange to offer a digital invoice discounting solution to farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), and agri-MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) through Farm Pass, its agritech platform.

  • This solution is the first of its kind for the agriculture sector and will help lenders in underwriting credit offerings through the Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS).

Note: Farm Pass is part of Mastercard’s broader Community Pass platform. Till date, through Farm Pass, Mastercard has achieved the milestone of benefitting over 1 million smallholder farmers
Key Points:
i.As part of the collaboration, M1xchange, an RBI (Reserve Bank of India)-approved facilitator for discounting and sale of receivables to banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), will bring on board its agri-businesses and lenders.
ii.The platform will enable easy access to credit and working capital.
iii.The solution will allow farmers and FPOs to directly connect with buyers, negotiate the best price for their produce with instant payment.
iv.The solution aims to benefit 10 million farmers through an auction based mechanism for selecting the best interest rates against the trade.
About M1xchange:
TReDS platform ‘M1xchange’ was established by Mynd Solutions Private Limited in 2017.
– Sundeep Mohindru
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana

ICICI Bank introduces EMI facility for UPI payments by scanning QR codeOn April 11, 2023, the ICICI Bank introduced an easy first-of-its-kind EMI (Equated Monthly Instalment) facility for UPI (Unified Payment Interface) payments made by scanning QR code.

  • To improve convenience of the customers and to provide unique solutions to address their evolving credit needs.

Key Points:
i.Eligibility: Customers who are eligible for PayLater, the Bank’s ‘buy now, pay later’ service can avail of the EMI facility in an instant, easy and seamless manner.
ii.The facility can be availed across different categories such as electronics, groceries, fashion apparels, travel and hotel bookings.
iii.Customers could pay transaction amounts above Rs 10,000 by scanning a QR code for easy instalments in three, six or nine months.
i.The EMI facility for PayLater will shortly be extended for online shopping as well.
ii.This facility improves the affordability of the Bank’s customers as they could now instantly buy products or services just by scanning the required merchant QR code at a store and making payments in EMIs.
Additional info: ICICI Bank was the first bank to introduce PayLater facility in 2018 to enable customers to buy small ticket items immediately in a completely digital and paperless manner.
About ICICI Bank Ltd.
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum Hai Na Khayal Apka

Morgan Stanley: India’s GDP to grow at 6.2% in FY24; Inflation to be 5.5% in FY24According to the Morgan Stanley, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was proposed to grow at 6.2% in FY24 (Financial year 2023-24) due to the contribution of a cyclical recovery in consumption, increased private sector capex (Capital Expenditure), and acceleration on government spending.

  • The Inflation in India was projected to average around 5.5% in FY24 and it was likely to be below 5% in the Q2 of the calendar year 2024. Inflation for April 2023 is currently tracking at 4.7% YoY (Year-on-Year).
  • Inflation is expected to decrease to below 5% Q1 FY24, supported by favourable base effects and moderating commodity prices.

ii.The headline consumer price index (CPI) for March 2023 was expected to be in line with expectations.
iii.On the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) action on repo rate, it expects the rates to be on hold in the calendar year 2023 as inflation will remain below the 6% mark and change in repo rates are expected to occur in Q1 of 2024.

National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme of MoH&FW receives PM’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration 2022 for Innovation i.On April 21, 2023, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) received the Prime Minister’s (PM) Award for Excellence in Public Administration 2022 under the innovation (centre) category.
ii.Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, MoH&FW received the award for National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme from PM Narendra Modi at a function organized on the occasion of 16th Civil Services Day at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi.
iii.Civil Services Day is celebrated annually on April 21 to recognize the contribution of Civil Servants to Society.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW):
Union Minister– Mansukh Mandaviya (Rajya Sabha- Gujarat)
Minister of State– Bharati Pravin Pawar (Constituency- Dindori, Maharashtra)

Oliver Dowden appointed as a new Deputy PM of UK after Dominic Raab’s resignationOn April 21, 2023, The British government named Oliver Dowden Deputy Prime Minister(PM), replacing Dominic Raab, who resigned following an inquiry into bullying allegations.

  • Prior to this appointment, Oliver Dowden had been serving in Rishi Sunak’s (PM of the United Kingdom) government as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office secretary.

Resignation of Dominic Raab:
Dominic Raab, who was serving as the Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, resigned from the government of Rishi Sunak following the report from the inquiry conducted on bullying allegations.

Other Appointment:
British Lawmaker, Alex Chalk KC MP was appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, following the resignation of Dominic Raab.

  • Alex Chalk was serving as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence from October 2022 to April 2023.

i. An independent investigation into Dominic Raab’s behaviour was launched in November 2022 after eight formal complaints were lodged by at least 24 staff members.
ii. Dominic Raab was appointed by Rishi Sunak after he took power in October 2022.
Note: Dominic Raab’s resignation marks the third dramatic Cabinet departure since Rishi Sunak became the Prime Minister of Britain.

About Oliver Dowden:
i.Oliver Dowden was elected as a Conservative MP for Hertsmere, England, United Kingdom in May 2015.
ii.He served in the Boris Johnson government as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General from 2019 to 2020 and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 2020 to 2021.
iii.In the 2021 cabinet reshuffle, he was moved to the post of Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, he resigned from these roles in June 2022, after the party suffered two devastating by-election losses.

About the United Kingdom:
Capital- London
Prime Minister- Rishi Sunak
Currency- Pound sterling (GBP – Great Britain Pound)

Star Sports Signs Indian Cricketer Rishabh Pant as brand ambassador

Star Sports Network India, also known as Star Sports India, owned by Walt Disney Company, has signed Indian Cricketer Rishabh Pant as its brand ambassador.

  • Star Sports has also signed Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer as its Believe Ambassadors.
  • Star Sports has expanded its roster of 2 ambassadors in 2017 to 6 ambassadors, which also includes former Indian cricket team Captain Virat Kohli.

Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh sworn in as 8th CJ of Tripura HC

On 17th April 2023, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh, Judge, High Court (HC) of Jharkhand has sworn in as the 8th Chief Justice(CJ) of the Tripura High Court.

  • Satyadeo Narain Arya, Governor of Tripura, administered the oath of office in a function at Raj Bhavan.

On 11th April 2023, the Department of Justice (Appointments
Division), Ministry of Law and Justice issued the notification regarding the appointment of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh as CJ of Tripura HC replacing Justice T. Amarnath Goud, senior most puisne Judge of the HC of Tripura, who was serving as the acting CJ of the HC of Tripura since 23rd February 2023.

  • The Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, recommended the name of Justice Singh for the post.

CCI approved the acquisition of Emerson Electric Co by BCP Emerald Aggregator LP

On 21st April 2023, The Competition Commission of India (CCI), has approved the acquisition of climate technologies’ business of Emerson Electric Co by BCP Emerald Aggregator LP under the green channel route.

  • BCP Emerald Aggregator LP is an affiliate of Blackstone, an alternative asset manager based in the United States of America(USA).

CCI has also approved the proposed investment by Stamford Bridge Investment Pte Ltd, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of GIC (Ventures) Private Limited and Platinum Falcon B 2018 RSC Ltd (Platinum), in BCP Emerald Aggregator LP.

  • GIC (Ventures) is a subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, while Platinum is an affiliate of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

ISRO launched 2 Singaporean Satellites under PSLV-C55/TeLEOS-2 Mission On 22nd April 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched PSLV-C55 with two Singaporean satellites – TeLEOS-2 as the primary satellite and Lumelite-4 as a co-passenger satellite, as a part of the PSLV-C55/TeLEOS-2 mission, from Satish Dhawan Space Center(SDSC)-Sriharikota Range(SHAR), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

  • The 2 satellites, TeLEOS-2 and Lumelite-4 were intended to be launched into an Eastward low-inclination orbit.
  • This marks the 57th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) and the 16th mission using the PSLV Core Alone configuration (PSLV-CA).
  • The PSLV-C55 also carried the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-2 (POEM-2).

About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman– S Somanath
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka

Solar Industries bagged the contract to supply 400 Nagastra-1 drones to the Indian ArmyOn April 21, 2023, the Nagpur (Maharashtra)-based Solar Industries India Limited has bagged an order to supply 400 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ‘Nagastra – I’ to the Indian Army. Solar Industries won the contract defeating competitors from Israel and Poland.

  • The 1st indigenous man-portable loitering munition (LM), Nagastra-1(a fixed-wing electric UAV), has been designed and developed by Economics Explosives Ltd (EEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar Industries, in association with Zmotion Autonomous Systems Private Limited(Z-Motion) based in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Points:
i.A model of ‘Nagastra -1’ loitering ammunition was displayed in the Army Commanders conference held in New Delhi. It has an indigenous content of more than 75%.
ii.In a ‘Kamikaze mode’ it can neutralize any hostile threat with GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled precision strike with an accuracy of 2 m.
iii.It has an endurance of 60 min with a man-in-loop range of 15 km and autonomous mode range of 30 km.
iv.The loiter ammunition is equipped with a fragmentation warhead to defeat soft-skin targets.
v.In case a target is not detected or if the mission is aborted, the loiter ammunition can be called back and made a soft landing with a parachute recovery mechanism enabling it to be reused multiple times.

  • These abort, recover and reuse features make this system superior to similar class of systems developed by advanced countries.

Former MP Trilochan Kanungo passes away at 83 in Bhubaneswar

Veteran politician and former Member of Parliament(MP) – Lok Sabha Trilochan Kanungo, a member of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), passed away at the age of 83 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. He was born on 24th November 1940 at Badamulei village under Kantapada block in Cuttack district, Odisha.

  • He was elected to the Odisha Assembly as a Member of the Legislative Assembly(MLA) in 1971, 1974 and 1985.
  • In 1999, he was elected to the Lok Sabha (MP) from the Jagatsinghpur constituency on BJD ticket.
  • He has also served as the Chairman of Cuttack municipality from 1979-80 and 1992-1995.
  • He was also chairman of the second Odisha Finance Commission.

International Mother Earth Day 2023 – April 22 The United Nations(UN)’s International Mother Earth Day, also known as “Earth Day” is annually observed across the globe on 22nd April to create awareness about humanity’s relationship with the natural world.  The day highlights the importance of the health of Mother Earth and its effects on Humanity’s health.

  • 22nd April 2023 marks the 53rd anniversary of the Earth Day. 

The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution on 22nd April 2009 and proclaimed the 22nd April of every year as the International Mother Earth Day.
The origin of International Mother Earth Day dates back to the 1969 UNESCO Conference held in San Francisco, United States of America (USA), during which, Peace activist John McConnell from the USA, proposed the global observance “Earth Day” to celebrate the Earth’s life and beauty.

  • Since 1970, 22nd April has been observed as Earth Day by the EARTHDAY.ORG in more than 190 countries.

WMO released climate report ahead of Earth Day:  Past 8 years ‘warmest on record
According to the State of the Global Climate 2022, the annual report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), released ahead of Earth Day 2023(April 22), the 8 years, 2015-2022 were the warmest in the instrumental record back to 1850, despite the cooling impact of three consecutive years of a cooling La Niña. 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year.

Current Affairs -29 April 2023

MSME Minister Narayan Rane launches Revamped CGTMSE SchemeOn April 27, 2023, the Union Minister Narayan Tatu Rane, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (M/o MSME) launched the revamped Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • This launch was on the lines of an additional corpus support of Rs 9,000 crore in the Union Budget for FY 2023-24 to CGTMSE to revamp its Scheme to provide guarantee for additional Rs 2 lakh crore to MSEs.

Key Revamped Measures:
i.Reduction in guarantee fees for loans upto Rs 1 crore by 50% bringing the minimum guarantee fee to the level of 0.37% pa only.
ii.Raising of ceiling for guarantee from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore
iii.Enhancing the threshold limit for claim settlement without initiation of legal action to Rs 10 lakh.
Key Points:
i.CGTMSE will collaborate with National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NI-MSME), Hyderabad (Telangana) for setting up a Centre of Financial Inclusion for MSME.
ii.CGTMSE was also collaborating with various State Governments for enhanced guarantee coverage for MSEs in respective States.
iii.CGTMSE has been taking various initiatives which aims at boosting credit flow to MSEs.

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurated 91 New 100W FM Transmitters of AIRPrime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated All India Radio’s (AIR) 91 new 100W FM Transmitters which have been installed in 85 districts across 18 States and 2 Union Territories (UTs) to a give a further boost to radio connectivity in India.
i.As part of the government’s commitment to enhancing FM connectivity in the country, 91 new 100W FM transmitters were installed and the new expansion focuses on enhancing coverage in Aspirational Districts and in border areas.
ii.The States and UTs which are covered include Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
iii.With this expansion of AIR’s FM service, an additional 2 crore people will now be covered who did not have access to the medium. It will result in the expansion of coverage in about 35,000 sq km area.
Key Points:
i.While referring about his relationship with radio he stated about the upcoming 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat (On April 30, 2023).
ii.As per the statement of PM, the FM transmitters were being beneficial in spreading knowledge about important information on time such as weather updates related to agricultural practices, information on food and vegetable prices for the farmers.

  • It also provide information on the loss incurred by the use of chemicals in agriculture, pooling of advanced machinery for agriculture, new market practices of women self-help groups and assisting the entire community during times of a natural calamity.

iii.Additional info: The services of DD (Doordarshan) free dish, the largest DTH (Direct-to-Home) platform in India, are being provided to 4 crore 30 lakh homes.

India’s First Cable-Stayed Anji Khad Railway Bridge will be ready in May 2023

On 26th April 2023, the Anji Khad cable-stayed train bridge, the 96 cables on India’s 1st cable-stayed bridge connecting Katra and Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), have been installed, which will enable its ‘superstructure’ to be ready in May 2023 with the cost of over Rs.400 crore. The cable-stayed bridge portion is 473 metres (m) long and has a total length of 725m.

  • The bridge is a vital rail link between Kashmir and the rest of India that runs for 326km from Udhampur to Baramulla via Srinagar. The cable-stayed train bridge crosses the Anji River, a tributary of the Chenab.
  • Anji Cable Stay bridge is designed with a total of 96 cables: 48 cables each on lateral and central spans. The cables weigh 848.7 MT (Metric Ton) and the total length of cable strands involved is 653 Kilometre (km).
  • All 96 cables were fully installed on 26 April 2023, in a record time period of 11 months (June 2022 to April 2023)
  • The bridge forms an important link in Indian Railways’ aim to connect J&K to the rest of the country with all-weather rail connectivity. It connects Katra and Reasi via tunnels T2 and T3 on the Katra-Banihal section.

Urgent need to check tax evasion, illicit fund flows by Developing Nations: OECD report The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the 1st edition of its ‘The Tax Transparency in Asia 2023: Asia Initiative Progress Report stating a urgent need to check tax evasion and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), especially by Asian nations, which lost an estimated €25 billion in revenue in 2016.

  • This loss is due to the 4% of Asia’s financial wealth amounting to €1.2 trillion was held offshore.
  • The report was launched during the opening sessions of the Fourth Asia Initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum), which is held in New Delhi, India.

The report is a key output of the Asia Initiative, a regional programme launched in 2021 and focused on developing tailored solutions to ensure the implementation of the global tax transparency standards across Asia. It retraces Asia’s journey from 2009 to 2022 and reflects the progress achieved in the past 14 years.
i.The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting geopolitical crisis have made the fight against tax evasion IFFs more urgent, given slower economic growth, increased government expenditure on public health, social and economic support, and other areas.
ii.This resulted in reduced tax revenues and hindered states’ finances.

  • With a deteriorated debt outlook and the rise in interest rates, the ability to finance the debt, in particular for developing economies, is challenging.

iii.Developing economies are particularly affected, as these flows deprive nations of crucial funds to pursue their development agendas.
iv.Asia accounted for 38.8% of the estimated $7.8 trillion loss by developing countries due to IFFs between 2004-2013.
v.Asian members have reported at least €20.1 billion in additional revenues since 2009.

  • With more Asian members starting to use the EOIR (exchange of information on request) tool and to implement AEOI (automatic exchange of information), the additional revenues are expected to continue to increase in the coming years.

Note: All 22 Asian members of Global Forum are implementing the transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR) standard and 16 of them are committed to starting automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) exchanges by 2024.
About Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
Secretary-General– Mathias Cormann
Headquarters– Paris, France

RBI Removes Restrictions on Individuals from Opening Interest-earning FCAs in IFSCsOn 26 April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed restrictions on resident individuals from opening interest-earning Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) for making investments under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).

  • RBI also removed the condition of repatriating any funds lying idle in the FCA account for a period of up to 15 days.
  • This move by the RBI will help the banks at IFSC mobilise liabilities and also give them cheaper access to funds and in turn, allow them to lend at more competitive rates.

Key Points:
Background: On February 16, 2021, the RBI permitted resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India subject to the following restrictions.
Prevailing Restrictions:

  • Resident Individuals can open only a non-interest-bearing FCA in IFSCs for making investments under LRS.
  • Any funds lying idle in the account for up to 15 days were immediately repatriated to the domestic INR (Indian Rupee) account of the investor in India.
  • Resident Individuals are not allowed to settle any domestic transactions with other residents through those FCAs held in IFSC.

Removal of Restrictions:
i.To align the LRS for IFSCs set up under the IFSC Authority Act, 2019 and other foreign jurisdictions, RBI amended the above restrictions and enabled the interest-earning accounts.
ii.Thus the removal of the restriction would boost activity at Gift City(Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), India’s first and only IFSC, as the individuals now could able to park money in IFSC and will be able to earn some interest on that amount.
Point to be noted: The LRS empowers authorised dealers to facilitate remittances by resident individuals up to USD 250,000 per fiscal year for any transactions permitted by law.
Note – The above directions are issued under sections 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999).
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1st April 1935

NPCI International partners with PPRO to Facilitate Global e-commerce Payments through UPIOn April 27, 2023, NPCI International Payments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), signed a definitive agreement with digital payments infrastructure provider PPRO to facilitate global e-commerce payments through Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
To expand RuPay card and UPI acceptance globally such as payment service providers (PSPs) and global merchant acquirers
Key Points:
i.This agreement will facilitate NPCI International’s expansion into foreign markets and will add India to PPRO’s Local Payment Method (LPM) coverage map.
ii.It will also allow global PSPs, banks, payment gateways and enterprises with payment platforms to expand globally offering Indian consumers safe and secure cross-border purchases in rupees.
iii.By integrating UPI into PPRO’s digital payments infrastructure through a single connection, all the operational complexity to sell cross-border into India at scale is eliminated for partners.
iv.India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach an estimated $111 billion next year and almost double to $200 billion by 2026.
Note: The UPI network processes 60% of all domestic payments and 40% of instant payments processed globally. In March 2023, UPI processed over 870 crore transactions, the highest since its launch.
About PPRO:
PPRO is a fintech company that provides digital payments infrastructure to businesses and banks so that they can scale their checkout, acquiring, and risk services through one connection.
CEO– Simon Black
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom

Razorpay joins hands with ONDC to offer Payment Reconciliation Service On April 27, 2023, Razorpay, a fintech payments and banking platform for businesses joined hands with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a non-profit company set up by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as an alternative for internet shopping.

  • With this, Razorpay becomes the first payment gateway to launch a Payment Reconciliation Service for Network Participants (NPs) like buyers, sellers, and logistic partners on ONDC.
  • This will provide them with an integrated single view of all their transactions.

Key Points:
i.Through this solution, Razorpay aims to provide a seamless and efficient way for NPs to settle funds and process transactions on the ONDC in a secure way.
ii.It will further help NPs on ONDC by timely routing settlement information for a given transaction.
iii.ONDC allows buyers and sellers to transact with each other regardless of the platform they are on.
About Razorpay:
Managing Director and Co-founder– Shashank Kumar
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Establishment– 2014

Redington & SBI Partners to Offer Solar Loans of up to Rs 5 crore

Redington Limited (formerly known as Redington (India) Limited) and State Bank of India (SBI) have partnered to offer Solar Loans of up to Rs 5 crore at interest rates linked to rates that the bank charges its best customers.

  • As of 27th April 2023, the interest rates for these solar loans range between 9.5% and 10%, according to Pradeep Srikanthan, Vice President of Solar Equipment Group, Redington Limited.
  • The government has mandated that all solar modules, whether domestic or imported, should be certified and put in ALMM, a move that is thought to be more focused on preserving the fledgling domestic solar manufacturing industry.

Note: Redington also has partnerships with other financiers, notably ICICI Bank, U Gro Capital and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), who provide loans either for putting up rooftop solar plants or to systems integrators (channel partners).

ITC Overtakes Infosys as India’s 6th Largest Company; RIL tops the list ITC Limited has overtaken Infosys Limited, an Indian multinational information technology company, to become India’s 6th largest company, as per market capitalization(m-cap).  ITC’s market cap stands at Rs 5.11 lakh crore (as of April 24, 2023) while the market cap of Infosys (7th place) stands at ~Rs 5.08 lakh crore.
India’s 5 biggest companies: 

  • Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is India’s largest company with a market cap of ~Rs 16.07 lakh crore followed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) with ~Rs 11.62 lakh crore and HDFC Bank with ~Rs 9.28 lakh crore.
  • ICICI Bank stands at the 4th position with an m-cap of ~Rs 6.38 lakh crore and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) stands at 5th place with an m-cap of ~Rs 5.85 lakh crore.

Key Points:
i.ICT achieved this feat after its share surged 59% in 2022.
ii.In 2023 so far, ITC shares are up 24%, the best performer in the benchmark Nifty50.
iii.In 2022, ITC has given 61% returns. It has also given 129% returns in the past 3 years.
Note: ITC overtook home finance lender HDFC Limited on 21st April 2023.
About ITC Limited:
Chairman & Managing Director(CMD)– Sanjiv Puri
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal

68th Hyundai Filmfare Awards: Complete List of the Winners of Filmfare Awards 2023On 27th April 2023, the 68th edition of the Hyundai Filmfare Awards (Filmfare Awards 2023) took place at the Jio World Conventional Centre in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Filmfare Awards 2023 were presented in collaboration with the Maharashtra Tourism, Government of Maharashtra.

  • The event was co-hosted by  Salman Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Maniesh Paul.

i.Gangubai Kathiawadi directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Alia Bhatt, won 10 trophies including, Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.
ii.Veteran Bollywood actor Prem Chopra who predominantly acted in Hindi and Punjabi films received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • He has starred in around 380 films over the span of 60 years and is well known for his iconic villainous roles.

Green World Award 2023: India’s PGCIL, CMRL & Vedanta Each Bagged Awards under Different Categories On 24th April 2023, the Green Organization, London, United Kingdom (UK), presented the Green World Awards 2023, at Miami International Airport in the United States of America (USA).

  • India’s Vedanta Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), and Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) received awards in various categories.

Indian Award Winners:
i. Vedanta Limited has been conferred Global Gold Award in the Environmental Policy & Management category at the Green World Awards 2023.
ii. POWERGRID, a Maharatna Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) of the Ministry of Power (MoP), has been conferred Global Gold Award in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) category.

  • The award is given to recognize POWERGRID’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) works for enhancing agricultural productivity and rural livelihood in 10 villages of Jaipatna Block of Kalahandi District in Odisha through better crop management practices, community participation, and management of watersheds.
  • The award was received by Dr V. K. Singh, Director (Personnel) of POWERGRID, on behalf of the organization.

iii. The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) won Global Silver Award in the Environmental Policy category of the Green World Awards 2023.

  • The CMRL received the award in recognition of its initiatives to cut down on energy use, carbon emissions, and solar energy usage.
  • CMRL focuses on various environmental initiatives like improving air quality, environmental resource conservation, utilization of solar energy and developing plantations to improve the ecosystem.
  • CMRL is a joint venture between the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu that built and operates the Chennai Metro.

Other Winners of  Green World Awards 2023:

Grupo Ambipar of Brazil has been named the Green World Champion of Champions 2023 for their project Sustainable Biocapsules-Transforming Waste into trees.
Click here for the list of all winners of 2023
About the Green World Award:
i. The Green World Awards are annually given to companies, organisations, and governments to recognise, reward and promote the Environmental Best Practices around the world.
ii. The Green World Awards have been launched as the top tier of the Green Apple Awards (established in 1994) to enable companies and organisations to win environmental recognition not only for themselves but also for their countries.
iii. It will recognise and reward the endeavours of Commerce, Industry, Governments, Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Authorities and Individuals who have a beneficial impact on the environment.
Note: The Green Organisation, an environmental non-profit organisation, honours, recognises and promotes best practices for the environment across the world.

Neeli Bendapudi receives 2023 Immigrant Achievement Award On 28th April 2023, Indian-American Neeli Bendapudi, 59-year-old, the president of Pennsylvania University, United States of America (USA) was honoured with the American Immigration Council’s 2023 Immigrant Achievement Award for her contributions to American higher education.

  • The Immigrant Award is presented annually to an individual or organization exhibiting commitment and dedication to America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants and support for humane immigration policy.
  • The award was presented at the DC Immigrant Achievement Awards reception held at Washington,DC, USA.

About Neeli Bendapudi:
iNeeliBendapudi was born and raised inVisakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (AP) in India and she moved to the US in 1986 for her doctoral studies at the University of Kansas.
ii. From 2016, she served as a senior academic administrator and executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas, US, until her presidential election at Louisville in the US.
iii. From 2018 to 2021, she served as the 18th president of the University of Louisville in the US, and has been honoured at the national and university levels.
iv. In 2022, she became the first woman and the first person of colour to serve as the President of the Pennsylvania State University.
v. She also served as executive vice president and chief customer officer for Huntington National Bank, US.
About American Immigration Council:
Established in – 1987
Executive director – Jeremy Robbins
Headquarters – Washington, D.C (District of Columbia)

Vodafone appoints Margherita Della Valle as Permanent CEO On 27th April 2023, Vodafone Group Plc (Vodafone), a British multinational telecommunications company, appointed Margherita Della Valle, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (Interim) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), as the permanent CEO of Vodafone. She is the first permanent female CEO of Vodafone.

  • She has been serving as the CFO of Vodafone since 2018 and also took up the charge as interim CEO of the organisation on 1st January 2023 after Nick Read stepped down from the CEO role.

About Margherita Della Valle:
i. Margherita was appointed a non-executive director of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, a British multinational consumer goods company, in July 2020.
ii. She was appointed Group CFO and a member of the Vodafone Group Plc Board on 27 July 2018.
iii. From 2015 to 2018, Margherita served as Vodafone’s Deputy CFO. Prior to that, she served as Group Financial Controller, CFO for Vodafone’s European region, and CFO for Vodafone Italy.
iv. She joined Omnitel Pronto Italia, later known as Vodafone Italy, in 1994. Before switching to finance, she held various consumer marketing positions in business analytics and customer base management.
About Vodafone Group Plc:
Chairman- Jean-François van Boxmeer
Headquarters- Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom (UK)
Establishment- 17 July 1984     

Madhavarao selected as CMD of Bharat Dynamics LimitedMadhavarao, Director (Technical) of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has been selected for the Post of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Bharat Dynamics Limited BDL recommended by Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB).

  • Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India to be the manufacturing base for guided missile systems and allied equipment for the Indian Armed Forces.

Selection Panel:
Interview process has been conducted with 5 candidates (including A Madhavarao): 2 from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and one each from the India Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) and A Madhavarao was selected among the 5 candidates by the PESB selection Panel.
About A Madhavarao:
iPrior to his Director (Technical) post, A Madhavarao, a retired Commodore served as Executive  Director (Marketing)  at  BDL and also served  as  Executive  Director  and  Unit  Head  of  BDL Kanchanbagh Unit, Telangana.
ii. He was involved in setting up the Nuclear and Safety field organisation in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) for induction of Nuclear Submarines into the Indian Navy.
iiiHe was involved in operating three classes of submarines of the Indian Navy and was part of the re-induction of Nuclear Submarine Chakra.
iv. He  has  also  served  on  three  frontline ships of the Indian Navy and held key positions in the Command Headquarters and Integrated Headquarters  Ministry  of  Defence  Navy  and  was  responsible  for  future  planning  and policy making.
About Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL):
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Founded in – 1970
Chairman and Managing Director – Siddharth Mishra

Scientist and orator Dr N Gopalakrishnan passes away

Dr N Gopalakrishnan, retired scientist and noted orator, passed away at the age of 68 in Thrippunithura, Kerala. He was born on 20th November 1955, in Tripunithura, Kerala.

  • He joined the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) – Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC) as Scientist-B in 1987.
  • In 2003, He moved to the Advanced Seismic Testing and Research Laboratory (ASTaR), Earthquake Engineering division of CSIR-SERC, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • He also served as the Director of the Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI).
  • He has co-authored 61 international and national journal publications.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 – April 28World Day for Safety and Health at Work is annually observed across the globe on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. The day is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the importance of the problem.

  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 was observed on 28th April 2023 under the theme “A safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work”.

i. World Day for Safety and Health at Work was initiated by the ILO in 2003 by capitalising on its traditional strengths of tripartism and social dialogue.
ii. The 1st ever World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed on 28th April 2003.

  • 28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organised worldwide by the Trade Union Movement since 1996.

About the International Labour Organization (ILO):
Director-General- Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment- 1919

Manipur observes 132nd Khongjom Day – 23 April 2023 Khongjom Day is annually observed in Manipur on 23rd April to commemorate the ancestors and to pay homage to the Khongjom War heroes, who were martyred at the Battle of Khongjom, (Anglo-Manipur War of 1891).
23 April 2023 marks the 132nd observance of Khongjom Day.

  • Nongthombam Biren Singh, Chief Minister (CM) of Manipur, and Ms Anusuiya Uikey, Governor of Manipur, paid their respects to the heroes at the event, held at Kheba Ching(Khongjom War Memorial) in Khongjom, Manipur.

1891 Anglo-Manipuri War:
i. The Anglo-Manipur War was an armed conflict between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Manipur, from 31 March to 27 April 1891, which ended in a British victory.
ii. Manipuri soldiers led by Paona Brajabashi fought a battle with British forces at the southern fringe of the Manipur valley at Khongjom.
iii. The hero of the battle, Major Paona Brajabashi, who died in the battle, is being honoured by the Manipuris as the epitome of patriotism and bravery.

  • Others who fought gallantly in the battle were Major Chongtham Mia, Chinglen Sana, Khumbong Major, Loitongba Jamadar, Keisa Jamadar, and Heirang Kongja.

iv. Khongjom War Memorial Complex has been built to commemorate the Anglo-Manipur War, situated in Khongjom, Thoubal district of Manipur.

37th Bureau of Civil Aviation Raising Day – 27th April 2023

On 27th April 2023, the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS), the National Regulator for Civil Aviation Security, commemorated its 37th Raising Day in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • Gen. Dr V.K. Singh (Retd.), Minister of State(MoS) for Civil Aviation, presented awards to a list of screeners who had been chosen as the best screeners in different categories during the opening session of the two-day programme.
  • The Minister also distributed awards to officers of BCAS conferred with the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day 2022 and the Police Medal for meritorious service on the occasion of Republic Day 2023 (26th January).

The BCAS was initially set up as a Cell in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in January 1978 on the recommendation of the Pande Committee constituted in the wake of the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight on 10th September 1976.

Current Affairs – 28 April 2023

Cabinet clears National Medical Devices Policy 2023; CCEA approved to set up 157 new nursing colleges On 26th April 2023, The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi approved the National Medical Devices Policy, 2023, which is expected to help the Medical Devices sector expand to USD 50 billion(~Rs 4 lakh crore) by 2030.
i.In 2020, the market size of the medical devices sector in India is estimated to be USD 11 billion (~Rs 90,000 crore) and its share in the global medical device market is estimated to be 1.5%.
Cabinet approved 157 nursing colleges announced in FY24 Union Budget
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges in co-location with existing medical colleges established since 2014. The outlay for the same will be Rs 1,570 crore.
i.Uttar Pradesh (UP) will have the maximum number of colleges (27), while Rajasthan will have 23 and Madhya Pradesh, 14.

NITI Aayog Releases Report titled “Promoting Millets in Diets: Best Practices across States/UTs of India”NITI Aayog (National Institution For Transforming India) released a report titled “Promoting Millets in Diets: Best Practices across States/UTs of India” which presents a collection of good and innovative practices adopted by state governments and organisations in various aspects of the millet value chain.

  • Suman K. Bery Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog unveiled the report in the presence of Member (Health) Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Agriculture) Dr. Ramesh Chand and B. V. R. Subrahmanyam, Chief Executive Office(CEO) of NITI Aayog.

About the Report: 
i.The report discusses the best practices across various aspects, especially production, processing and consumption and serves as a guiding repository to revive and mainstream millets in our diets.
ii.This report covers different themes 

  • State Missions and initiatives to promote millets.
  • Inclusion of millets in Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS).
  • Research and development and use of technology for innovative practices.

Key points:
i.According to the report, the area under cultivation of millets in India has been declining due to the promotion of rice and wheat and a lack of initiatives towards the production of millets.
ii.India produces the 9 most commonly known traditional millets: Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, Brown top Millet and Kodo Millet.
iii.They are the most secure crops for small farmers since they are resilient and climate adaptable in both hot and drought environments.
Benefits of millets:
i.Millets have high protein levels and a more balanced amino acid profile.
ii.They also contain various phytochemicals that exert therapeutic properties owing to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

Additional info:

  • The Government of India declared millets as Nutri-Cereals in 2018 and celebrated the National Year of Millets in 2018.  
  • India proposed the International Year of Millets to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), with around 70 countries supporting India’s constructive proposal and passed the resolution to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

About NITI Aayog (National Institution For Transforming India):
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– B. V. R. Subrahmanyam,
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approves Navratna status to Rail Vikas NigamOn 26th April 2023, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministry of Finance (MoF), approved the upgradation of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) to a Navratna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) from a Category-I MiniRatna CPSE.

  • According to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), RVNL, a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways (MoR), has become the 13th Navratna amongst CPSEs.

Note: On 20th April 2023, RVNL incorporated a subsidiary company named Kinet Railway Solutions Limited.
Key Points:
i. Since RVNL has been promoted to the ‘Navratna’ category of CPSE, it will have more autonomy in terms of investment, setting up joint ventures, and other financial decisions.
ii. RVNL, a mid-cap company, has an annual turnover of Rs 19,381 crore and a net profit of Rs 1,087 crore for the years 2021–22.
About Navratna CPSE in India:
The Government introduced the Navratna scheme, in 1977, to identify CPSEs with comparative advantages and encourage them in their drive to become global giants.
Criteria for Navratna CPSE:
The eligibility criteria required for a Central Public Sector Enterprises to get the Navratna status are as follows,

  • The company should be listed on Schedule A of CPSEs and have Miniratna Category I status.
  • Out of the last five years, the company should have obtained the rating as  Excellent or  Very Good under the Memorandum of Understanding system for three years.
  • Moreover, the company must get a score of 60 out of 100 in parameters like net worth, net profit, total production cost, manpower cost, service cost, capital employed, and PBDIT (Profit Before Depreciation, Interest and Taxes).
  • The company should have 4 independent directors on its Board of Directors.

Additional Information:
i. The other 12 Navratna CPSEs of India are:

  • Bharat Electronics Limited, Container Corporation of India Limited, Engineers India Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, National Aluminium Company Limited, National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited, NMDC Limited, Oil India Limited, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, and Shipping Corporation of India Limited.

ii. India has 12 Maharatna, 13 Navratna, and  74 Miniratna CPSEs.
About the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL):
Chairman and Managing Director- Pradeep Gaur
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment- 24th January 2003

Union Minister Amit Shah Launches World’s 1st ‘Nano DAP’ Developed by IFFCOOn April 26, 2023, Union Minister Amit Shah, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Cooperation, launched “IFFCO Nano DAP(liquid)”, the world’s first liquid Nano DAP(Diammonium phosphate), developed by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) at NewDelhi, Delhi

  • The launch of IFFCO Nano DAP (Liquid), a nano fertiliser product containing nitrogen and phosphorus is intended to make India self-reliant in the field of food production and fertilizers.

Key Points: 
i.The launch of Nano DAP is a second initiative of IFFCO, i.e. in 2021, IFFCO introduced  World’s First ‘Nano Urea’.
ii.IFFCO has registered a patent, under which IFFCO will get 20% royalty on the sale of Liquid Urea and Liquid DAP anywhere in the world for 20 years.
iii.Nano-DAP is being jointly manufactured by IFFCO in association with a private player Coromandel.
iv.Nano DAP will be sold at Rs 600 per bottle of 500 ml. One bottle will be equivalent to one bag of DAP, which currently costs Rs 1,350.
v.The effect of one bottle of 500 ml on the crop is equivalent to that of 45 kg bag of granular urea.
About Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited(IFFCO):
Chairman– Dileep Sanghani
Managing Director & CEO– Dr Udai Shanker Awasthi
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

DoSJE signed MoU with Art of Living to make NMBA more effective and widespread      

On April 26, 2023, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (DoSJE) under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Art of Living (AoL), a non-profit, volunteer-based, humanitarian and educational non-governmental organization (NGO), for spreading the message of Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan (NMBA) among the youth, women, students etc.

  • The MoU was signed at the event held at Dr. B.R Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi, Delhi in the presence of Union Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar, MoSJE and Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living.

MoSJE is the nodal ministry of Drug Demand Reduction in India.
The MoSJE initiated NMBA on 15th August 2020 to coordinate, implement and monitor several interventions like prevention, assessment of extent of the problem, treatment and rehabilitation of users etc.

  • NMBA is a flagship campaign to enhance the evidence based approach towards substance abuse.

The NMBA currently supports the running of 508 centres in 372 vulnerable districts, which include different types of de-addiction and counselling centres.
Key Points:
iIn order to control the threat of drug demand, the MoSJE has been implementing the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2023 to focus on preventive education, awareness generation, identification, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons.
ii. The components which are admissible for financial assistance under the NAPDDR are training and capacity building of the service providers through collaborative efforts of the Central and State Governments / Union Territory (UT) and Non-Governmental Organizations.
Points to note: 

  • Currently 8,000 Master Volunteers have been selected and trained to lead the campaign activities in the 372 identified districts.
  •  More than 3.13 crore youth have actively participated in the activities and spreading on-ground the message against the usage of drugs.
  •  Around 4,000+ YuvaMandals, NYKS (Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan) & National Service Scheme (NSS) Volunteers, Youth Clubs have also been associated with the campaign.
  •  The contribution of 2.09+ Crore women have also been vital in reaching out to a larger community through the Anganwadi & ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) Workers, ANMs (Auxiliary nurse midwife), MahilaMandals & Women SHGs (Self-help group).

About Art of Living:
It was founded in 1981 by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It offers several stress-elimination and self-development programs based on breathing techniques, meditation and yoga.

India signs new Work Plan 2023 on Quality Infrastructure with Germany during Indo-German Working Group meeting in Berlin On April 25, 2023, The Department of Consumer Affairs and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action signed the new Work Plan for 2023 during the 9th Annual Meeting of the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure (QI) in Berlin, Germany.

  • This year’s Annual Meeting marks the 10th anniversary of the Working Group.

It was signed by Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs and Dr. Daniela Broenstrup, Director General, Digital and Innovation Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Key Points:
i.Both sides emphasised the important role of the Working Group in reducing technical barriers to trade and promoting innovation and consumer protection.
ii.The technical dialogues of the Working Group address key areas of economic cooperation between the two countries, and also promote systemic harmonization of QI at an international level.
iii.The Stakeholders from QI bodies and industry provided insights on current QI developments in Germany and India.

  • These included the Standards National Action Plan for India, and German Standardization Roadmaps Circular Economy and Industries 4.0.

iv.The Work Plan 2023 is structured along the key elements of QI, including standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment, legal metrology, product safety and market surveillance. It addresses cross-cutting topics like harmonised global solutions as well as sector-specific cooperation topics, such as digitalisation (Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, cyber security), circular economy, smart farming and machinery safety.
About Germany:
Capital– Berlin
Currency– Euro
President– Frank-Walter Steinmeiera

WB’s World Development Report 2023: Globally 185 million People are Migrant

According to the World Bank’s (WB) annual report ‘World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies’, there are 184 million people (i.e. 2.3 % of the world’s population) are migrants (i.e. they lack citizenship in the country in which they live) in which the largest share of 43% of them was living in low- and middle-income countries.

  • The report provides a comprehensive analysis of international migration and its potential to serve as a force for growth and shared prosperity in all countries and it proposes policies to better manage migration in destination, transit, and origin countries.
  • As per the report, the faster ageing of economies will increase dependence on migration.

Key Points:
i.Out of the 184 million migrant people, 37 million are refugees, a number that has tripled over the last decade.
ii.Demographic changes are making migration increasingly necessary for countries at all income levels.
iii.In the coming decades, the share of working-age adults would be expected to drop sharply in many countries. 

  • Spain, with a population of 47 million, is projected to reduce by more than one-third by 2100, with those above age 65 increasing from 20% to 39% of the population.
  • As the population of Countries like Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia and Türkiye are not growing they may soon need more foreign workers.

iv.The report suggested stronger international development efforts requirements in origin countries to reduce the need for migration prompted by economic distress.
v.The origin countries needed to make labour migration an explicit part of their development strategy and work to lower the cost of remittances to families back home.
vi.The destination countries are needed to encourage migration from populations where their skills are in high demand, adding that new financing instruments be developed multilaterally to help countries care for non-citizens in a predictable manner.

India remains on the Priority Watch List in 2023: USTR ‘s 2023 Special 301 Report According to the 2023 Special 301 Report, on the adequacy and effectiveness of the United States(US) trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights, released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), India is retained in the Priority Watch list of 2023 due to its inconsistency in its progress on IP protection and enforcement.

  • Along with India, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela are placed on the Priority Watch list in 2023.
  • The countries on the priority watch list will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year.

Challenges and concerns related to India:
i.According to the report, the levels of trademark counterfeiting continue to remain problematic and the USA brand owners continue to report excessive delays in trademark opposition proceedings and a lack of quality in examination.

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has taken initiatives to reduce trademark application examination to less than 30 days.

ii.The USA urge India to join the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks which expands protectable subject matter to include non-traditional marks such as sensory marks, colour, position, and movement marks.
About Special 301 Report: 
i.The “Special 301” Report is an annual review of the global state of IP protection and enforcement.
ii.The report details USTR’s findings of more than 100 trading partners of the United States of America(USA) after significant research and enhanced engagement with stakeholders.
i.22 trading partners of the USA are on the Watch list and merit bilateral attention to address underlying IP problems.

  • The 22 countries are Algeria, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

ii.USTR will again conduct an Out-of-Cycle Review of Bulgaria in 2023 to assess whether Bulgaria makes material progress in this area.

  • Out-of-Cycle Reviews provide an opportunity to address and remedy such issues through heightened engagement and cooperation with trading partners and other stakeholders.

iii.The Special 301 review of Ukraine has been suspended due to Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

NSE Indices revises norms for Exclusion from index in case of Demerger The National Stock Exchange’s subsidiary, NSE Indices Limited, has introduced new guidelines for retaining a demerged entity in its respective index.

  • Under the new norms, a demerged company will only remain a part of the index if the exchange conducts a Special Pre-Open session (SPOS) for the spun-off entity.
  • The change will be applicable to scheme of arrangement of all companies involving demerger which may be approved by equity shareholders of respective companies on or after April 30, 2023.

Key Points:
i.This change is aimed at reducing the frequent changes in index constituents resulting from corporate actions such as demergers.
ii.The spun-off business (newly listed entity) will be included in the index at a constant price, which is the difference between the demerged company’s closing price one day prior to the ex-date of demerger and the price determined during SPOS.
iii.The spun-off business/entity should be removed from the index after three days

  • In  case, during the first two days if the spun-off business/entity hits the price band on both days, the exclusion date should be deferred by another three days.

iv.If SPOS is not conducted by the exchange, the demerged company should be removed from the index one day ahead of the ex-date by making a suitable replacement
About National Stock Exchange (NSE):
Managing Director & CEO– Ashishkumar Chauhan
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

WYLD, World’s 1st Social Currency Payment Card, launched in Mumbai

WYLD, the world’s 1st Social Currency Payment Card, was launched in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and was powered by San Francisco (California, USA)-based VISA Inc., an American multinational financial services corporation. The app lets anyone who has over 1000 Instagram followers and a “WYLD Score” of over 100 can apply for the WYLD payment card via the app.
WYLD has raised USD 350,000 in pre-seed funding, led by Better Capital, a British Private equity firm.

  • WYLD enables users to profitably use their social media following and gets rewarded with up to 100% cashback on brand purchases.
  • The platform is currently invite-only, and open to the first 5,000 users on their waitlist of 10,000 potential customers, for their beta-testing phase, which starts in April 2023.
  • The company has already partnered with over 200 brands across several verticals, including restaurants, bars, events/concerts, fashion, beauty, footwear, and electronics with brands like Boat, Lenskart, Purplle, etc.

Founded in 2021, WYLD is a Fintech and Martech mobile app and payment card, riding on the idea that nano and micro social media users are the true disruptors of this market.

Swachh Bharat Mission of UP Receives HUDCO Awards 2022-23; J&K Bank Felicitated for PM Awas YojanaOn 25th April 2023, during a programme organised on the 53rd Foundation Day of Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), the HUDCO Awards of 2022-2023 were announced in New Delhi, Delhi.

UP Receives HUDCO Award for Sanitation
i.The Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) Uttar Pradesh has been awarded the HUDCO Award (2022-2023) for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment 2022-23 category for Sanitation.
ii.The award was given for the campaign practice ‘Swatchh Virasat’. The campaign was conducted by the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) Uttar Pradesh from January 14 to 24.
iii.On April 25, 2023, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Bank was conferred with the award from the HUDCO for its outstanding contribution towards the housing sector of the country under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) – Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) through various innovative initiatives.
About Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO)
Chairman & Managing Director – Kuldip Narayan
Establishment – April 25, 1970 (as Housing and Urban Development Finance Corporation Private Limited)
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

14th Dalai Lama gets the 1959 Ramon Magsaysay Award in Person after 64 yearsOn 26th April 2023, The 1959 Ramon Magsaysay Award was presented to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in person after 64 years in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation president Susanna B Afan and foundation trustee Emily A Abrera.

  • The 1959 Ramon Magsaysay award was given by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation in the Philippines in August 1959.
  • It was the first international recognition given to the 14th Dalai Lama for his leadership in the preservation of Tibet’s society, religion and culture and way of life during a critical time

iGyaloThonden, elder brother of Dalai Lama, had received the Magsaysay Award on his behalf in Manila, the Philippines in August 1959.
ii. Following his migration from Tibet in 1959, the Dalai Lama has lived in India since then.
About The 1959 Ramon Magsaysay award:
iThe Ramon Magsaysay Award, often called the “Nobel Prize of Asia”, is an annual award established to preserve former Philippine seventh President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and practical idealism within a democratic society.
ii. The Ramon Magsaysay Awardees, annually selected by the group of Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) board of trustees, are presented with a certificate and a medallion with an embossed image of Ramon Magsaysay.
iii. The Award was conceived to honour the greatness of spirit shown in service to the peoples of Asia regardless of race, gender, or religion.
iv. From 1958 to 2008, the Award was given in six categories annually. Starting from 2009, the Award is no longer being given in fixed categories except for Emergent Leadership.
Additional info:
iIn 1989 Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts towards the liberation of Tibet and the efforts taken by him for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence as a key
iiIn 2007, he received the United States Congressional Gold Medal for his work with peace and human rights.
iii. In 2022, he received the Gandhi Mandela Award for promoting the values and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela in the interest of global peace and freedom.

RINL wins Ministry of Steel’s Ispat Rajbhasha Samman 2021-22

RINL (Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited) bagged the Ministry of Steel’s “Ispat Rajbhasha Samman” First Prize for the year 2021-22.  The award was conferred by the Minister of State (MoS) Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ministry of Steel to the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Atul Bhatt, RINL in the meeting of Hindi Salahkar Samiti held at Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.

  • MoS also released RINL’s March issue of Hindi In-house Magazine “Rashtriya Ispat Sugandh”.
  • Lalan Kumar, General Manager (Rajbhasha) and Admin Incharge, RINL-Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh steel plant was also awarded First Prize for his special efforts in ensuring effective implementation of Hindi in the organisation. 

RBI approves re-appointment of Kamakodi as MD & CEO of CUB for 3 yearsOn 26th April 2023, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the re-appointment of N Kamakodi as the Managing director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a Kumbakonam (TamilNadu) based private sector bank City Union Bank (CUB) for a period of three years with effect from May 1, 2023.

  • Dr. N. Kamakodi is serving as the MD & CEO of the CUB from May 2011

About N Kamakodi:
iKamakodi, joined the CUB as DGM (Deputy General Manager) in the year 2003.
ii He was elevated to the post of GM (General Manager) in 2005 and later appointed as Executive Director in 2006.
About City Union Bank (CUB):
Incorporated on– 31st October, 1904
MD & CEO– Dr N. Kamakodi
Headquarters– Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Japanese startup iSpace failed to land its Hakuto-R lander on Moon

On 25th April 2023, Tokyo (Japan)-based iSpace Inc,  a private lunar robotic exploration company, failed its moon landing mission after its  Hakuto-R Mission 1 (M1) lander unexpectedly accelerated and probably crashed on the lunar surface.
The robotic Hakuto-R aimed to become the first private spacecraft, and the first Japanese-built vehicle, ever to land softly on the moon.

  • The HAKUTO-R Mission 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the United States of America (USA) on a SpaceX rocket in December 2022 and had completed several mission objectives leading up to its landing attempt.
  • Hakuto-R was over two metres (6.5 feet) tall and weighed 340 kilogrammes (kg). Hakuto means “White Rabbit” in Japanese.
  • So far, only the USA, Russia and China have managed to put a spacecraft on the Lunar surface.

Jaden Pariat becomes 1st Indian in 6 years to get on Podium in British F4 Championship

India’s Jaden Pariat of Argenti Motorsport, a 16-year-old from Meghalaya, become the 1st Indian in 6 years to get on Podium in the first round of the ROKiT British F4 Championship, the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) certified championship, at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom (UK).
Jaden Pariat is the 2nd Indian to get an international podium in a Tatuus F4 car after Kush Maini of Jenzer Motorsport who finished 3rd in the 2017 Italian F4 Championship.

  • Jaden Pariat clinched the 3rd position in Race 2 of the ROKiT British F4 Championship.
  • Louis Sharp of Rodin Carlin won Race 2 and Aiden Neate of Fortec Motorsport finished 2nd.

Note: Jaden Pariat finished Race 1 in Position (P) 11, gaining six places after he started from P17. In Race 3, he overtook five to end 12th.

Boxing Champion, Padma Shri Awardee Kaur Singh passed awayOn 27th April 2023, the Veteran heavyweight boxer, a Padma Shri and Arjuna awardeeKaur Singh, 74 passed away in Kurukshetra, Haryana.

  • Kaur Singh won six gold medals in international competitions.

About Kaur Singh:
Kaur Singh joined the Indian army as havildar in 1971, where he participated in the India-Pakistan war.

  • He was awarded Sena Medal and the Vishisht Sewa Medal in 1988 for his bravery.

Boxing Career:
iHe was introduced to boxing in 1977, and in 1979, Kaur Singh won a gold medal at the senior national boxing championship and remained the holder of the gold medal for four consecutive years till 1983.
ii. In 1980, Kaur Singh won a gold medal at the Asian Boxing Championships held in Mumbai (Maharashtra).
iii. On 27 January 1980, Kaur Singh fought against American boxing legend Muhammad Ali in an exhibition match held at the National Stadium in New Delhi, Delhi.
iv. In 1982, Kaur Singh won a gold medal at the heavyweight category Asian Games held at New Delhi, Delhi.

  • In 1982 he got the Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest National Sports Award by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, for earning gold medal in the Asian Games.

v. In 1983, the Government of India awarded Kaur Singh with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour award for outstanding contribution to Indian sports.
vi. In the 1984 Kaur Singh represented India in the Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, United States of America.
Kaur Singh’s inspiring journey as an athlete, along with the stories of legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Sr, athlete Milkha Singh and Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, were included in the school curriculum by the state government of Punjab earlier in 2023.

International Girls in ICT Day 2023 – April 27International Girls in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Day is annually observed across the globe on the 4th Thursday in April to encourage and empower girls and young women to explore and pursue careers in the field of ICT.
The International Girls in ICT Day 2023 was observed on 27th April 2023.

  • The International Girls in ICT 2022 was observed on 28th April 2022
  • The International Girls in ICT 2024 will be observed on 25th April 2024.

The Theme of International Girls in ICT Day 2023 is “Digital Skills for Life”.
i. On 8th April 2011, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), announced that every year the 4th Thursday in April will be observed as International Girls in ICT Day.

  • “Girls in ICT Day” is the direct result of the adoption of Resolution 70 by ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October 2010.
  • The Resolution demanded the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through International communication technology.

ii. The 1st ever International Girls in ICT was observed on 28th April 2011.
About the International Telecommunication Union (ITU):
The ITU was established in 1865, which formally came into force on 1st January 1949 and recognizes ITU as an UN-specialized agency.
Secretary-General- Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland

Himachal Pradesh Government & Oil India signs MoU to Harness Renewable Energy Sources

On 26th April 2023, the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Oil India Limited (OIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for cooperation in harnessing and developing new and renewable energy sources (NRES) in Himachal Pradesh in the presence of Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Chief Minister (CM) of Himachal Pradesh.

  • The MoU was signed by Harikesh Meena, Director (Energy), on behalf of the Himachal Pradesh Government and Pankaj Kumar Goswami, Director (operations), on behalf of OIL.
  • According to CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, OIL would explore the possibilities of setting up floating solar power plants in water reservoirs, besides establishing ground-mounted solar power projects.
  • OIL can set up a plant for producing green hydrogen and green ammonia on a pilot basis.

The collaboration of the government and OIL will focus on creating a variety of new and sustainable energy sources, including wind, solar, compressed biogas, green hydrogen, and geothermal energy.

Current Affairs – 27 April 2023

PM Dedicated Various Projects Worth Rs 4850 cr in Dadra and Nagar HaveliOn April 25, 2023, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation various development projects related to health, housing, tourism, education and urban development, worth more than Rs 4850 crore in Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Union Territory (UT) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
Key Points:
i.PM inaugurated the new campus of NAMO Medical Education & Research Institute, the first and only medical college in the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. He was accompanied by Praful Patel, the Administrator of Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep.
ii.The PM laid the foundation stone and dedicated 96 projects worth more than Rs. 4850 crores to the nation at Sayli ground, Silvassa.
iii.As per the statement of PM, work has been done on the physical and social infrastructure in the UT with an allocation of Rs 5500 crores in the last few years.
iv.Referring to the International Year of Millets, the Prime Minister mentioned the UT’s local millets like Nagali and Nachni.

Rajasthan Gets 3 New Conservation Reserves: Sorsan in Baran, Khichan in Jodhpur, & Hamirgarh in BhilwaraOn the occasion of International Mother Earth Day (Earth Day) 2023 (22nd April 2023), the Forest Department, Government of Rajasthan announced 3 new conservation reserves that will protect the rare and endangered wildlife of Rajasthan.

  • The 3 new wildlife conservation reserves are Sorsan in Baran, Khichan in Jodhpur, and Hamirgarh in Bhilwara.
  • With the declaration of 3 new conservation reserves, the total number of reserves in Rajasthan has now reached 26.

About Rajasthan:
Chief Minister(CM)– Ashok Gehlot
Governor– Kalraj Mishra
Wildlife Sanctuaries– Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary; Tal Chhapar Sanctuary
Zoological Park– Nahargarh Biological Park (Jaipur Zoo); Machia Biological Park (Jodhpur Zoo)

RBI granted NBFC licence to Neobanking Jupiter; Cancels Adoor Co-operative Urban Bank’s banking licence, allows to operate as NBFCi.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted a non-banking financial company (NBFC) licence to the Neobanking platform Jupiter enabling the latter to scale up its lending business.
ii.Earlier, Jupiter was lending in partnership with an NBFC under the Loan Service Providers (LSP) model.
iii.On April 25, 2023, RBI has cancelled the banking licence of the Adoor Co-operative Urban Bank Ltd, Adoor, Kerala (initiated on January 3, 1987)  to carry on banking business in India under Section 22 read with section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act,1949 with effect from the close of business on April 24, 2023.
iv.However, it is allowed to function as non-banking institution under Section 36 A(2) read with section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

NPCI Bharat BillPay launches NOCS platform to process ONDC transactionsNPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd (NBBL) has developed and launched the NOCS platform to provide reconciliation and settlement services for transactions undertaken on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) network.

  • NOCS will help ONDC by providing a population-scale solution for the challenges of high transaction volume among different entities on the network.

What is ONDC Platform?
The ONDC platform was set up to facilitate the rapid adoption of e-commerce, and boost the growth of startups in India by facilitating scalable and cost-effective e-commerce through the open protocol.
Key Points:
i.The services, provided under the guidance of RBI, will serve as the foundation for the ONDC network and enable smooth, secure and timely transfer of funds to network participants.
ii.The NOCS platform is integrated with banks, fintechs and e-commerce players, and will soon go live with the first set of five banks on ONDC–AU Small Finance Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank, and YES Bank.
About NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd (NBBL):
NBBL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) which came into effect in April 2021.
CEO– Noopur Chaturvedi
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

SBI General Insurance Launched Digital-only Health Insurance Plan – Health Edge InsuranceOn April 2023, SBI General Insurance Company Limited announced the launch of a fully customizable digital-only health insurance plan named ‘Health Edge Insurance’. It is a Single Comprehensive Plan variant with 9 Basic indemnity Covers and 18 Optional covers to stand in need of medical exigency.
Key Features:
i.Premium & Sum Insured: Multiple Sum Insured options under the policy range from 3 to 25 lakhs. Long term Policy options are available for up to 3 years and offer customers value with premiums starting from less than Rs.15/day
ii.Entry Age: The entry age to purchase the Health Edge plan is 18 years to 65 years for adults and 91 days to 30 years for children.
iii.Being a truly digital-only product from SBI General, the entire process of the policy from purchase to claims will be digital.
iv.The planned treatment under this cover shall be claimed on a Reimbursement basis in Indian currency only.
v.On availing of the co-payment option of the policy, 10% or 20% Co-Payment shall be applied on every admissible claim wherever applicable under this Policy.
vi.No pre-policy medical checkup was required before issuance of Health Edge policy till 55 years of age.
vii.The insurance plan includes covers such as the Global Treatment cover which takes care of the medical expenses incurred towards inpatient care outside India, and OPD (Out Patient Department) cover which guarantees the medical expenses incurred for allopathic OPD expenses including Diagnostics and Pharmacy.
Additional info:
i.SBI General Insurance reported a 17.6% growth in Gross Written Premium (GWP) in FY23 and the GWP stood at Rs 10,888 crore.
ii.It has been awarded ‘Insurer of the Year’ in the non-life category at FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) Insurance Industry Awards, for two consecutive years in 2020 & 2021.
About SBI General Insurance Company Limited:
MD&CEO – Kishore Kumar Poludasu
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment –  2009

Reliance General Becomes 1st Insurer to Accept eRupee in Partnership with Yes BankReliance General Insurance, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital, has become the first company to accept eRupee(e₹)/ Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) for premium payments.

  • Reliance General Insurance accepts the eRupee through a partnership with Yes Bank to enable its customers to make premium payments digitally using the bank’s platform.
  •  The partnership will provide customers with a safe, easy, instant, and green payment solution, enhancing the customer experience.

Key Points:
i.Currently, the Reliance General Insurance made availability of the physical eRupee QR code at their select branches for walk-in customers to scan and pay instantly.

  • Customers with an active eRupee wallet with any bank can scan Reliance General Insurance’s eRupee QR code to make an immediate payment.

ii.The company also plans to make it available at all branches nationwide, on its website, and on the Reliance Self-i app within a few months.
i.A CBDC or Digital Rupee is a digital version of currency notes issued by RBI and it is equal to the legal tendar
ii.The use of eRupee will eliminate the handling of physical cash and offers the same anonymity as a banknote.
About Reliance General Insurance
Executive Director & CEO – Rakesh Jain
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

India’s FIEO sign MoU with Business Russia to promote trade & FDIIndia’s apex exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russian business chambers for bilateral exchange of information, delegation on a regular basis, and to promote trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between the two countries.

  • The MoU was signed during the visit of 50-member delegation of the agriculture and food processing sector from India, led by N K Kagliwal, Board Member of FIEO, to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Purpose of Delegation Visit:
The delegation explored trade opportunities in diverse business ventures of Russia such as ready-to-eat meals, fish meal, animal feed, soyabean apart from conventional products, to establish business tie-ups with the Russian companies, including large departmental stores in the agro and food processed sector,.
Key Points:
i.Exporters are looking to increase agro and processed food exports from about $750 million to over $3 billion in the next three years.
ii.FIEO aims to take exports to Russia to USD 5 billion in FY24.

  • Exports to Russia stood at USD 2.8 billion during April-February 2022-23, while imports aggregated at USD 41.6 billion during the same period.

About Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO):
Director General & CEO– Ajay Sahai
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment– 1965

Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali receives IAA’s Meritorious Service Award 2023

On 24th April 2023, the Indo-Australian Association (IAA) conferred the Meritorious Service Award 2023 to His Excellency Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali, the current and eighth titular Prince of Arcot, at Amir Mahal in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN).
The award was given by Sara Kirlew, Australian Consul General to South India, and Dr Susan Verghese, president of the Indo-Australian Association.

  • The award is given in recognition of Nawab’s long-standing efforts to uphold communal peace, harmony, and international relations between the 2 countries (Indo-Australia).

Hari Hara Mishra becomes CEO of the Association of ARCHari Hara Mishra takes charge as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC)s.

  • Association of ARCs, a Non-government, a Non-profit organization, Indian ARC Association (“IAA”) is voice of all ARCs in India is a Representative Body of 28 ARCs registered with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and it has been active for more than eight years.

About Hari Hara Mishra:
iHari Hara Mishra joined India’s largest bank- State Bank of India (SBI) in 1982 as a Probationary Officer.
ii. He worked in various areas of banking for more than two decades in the areas of Business Development, NPA (Non-Performing Assets) Management, Customer Service, and promotion of Quality Circle etc.
iiiHe has been associated with ARC Sector more than a decade (from 2004 to till date) in various ARCs in executive and director level roles.
iv. He has been associated with holding the Annual ARC Conference ARCON and is an honorary advisor to the Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) National Council in New Delhi, Delhi for ARCs, Banking and Financial Services.
v. He is one of the four member working groups on ARCs,constituted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to operate continuously on various issues and take them up with the IBA, the RBI and the government.
About Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC)s:

  • It is a specialized financial institution that buys the NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) or bad assets/loans from banks and financial institutions and helps them to recover the NPAs.
  • The ARCs are registered under the RBI and regulated under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act, 2002).

Nasscom appoints Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari as ChairpersonOn April 25 2023, The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) appointed Anant Maheshwari, who is the President of Microsoft India, as its Chairperson for the year 2023-24.

  • Anant Maheshwari, who was Nasscom’s vice-chairperson, succeeds Krishnan Ramanujam, the President of Business and Technology Services at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
  • Krishnan Ramanujam was served as Chairperson of Nasscom for 2022-23.
  • NASSCOM has announced its new executive council for 2023-25, the list includes one-third representation by women leaders, and aims to initiate India’s goal of doubling the technology industry to US$500 billion by 2030 from a current valuation of US$245 billion.

Other Appointment:
Nasscom has also announced the appointment of Rajesh Nambiar, chairman and Managing Director, Cognizant India as its Vice Chairperson at a group that represents India’s IT services sector for 2023-24.
Rajesh Nambiar serves on the Executive Council (EC) of NASSCOM, he chairs the Cognizant Foundations in the United States (US) and India. He is a member of the global board of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
About Anant Maheshwari
iAnantMaheshwari has served on NASSCOM’s EC since 2017, he is India Advisory Committee member of USIBC (US-India Business Council) in New Delhi, Delhi.
ii. He is National Council member of CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), Ex Chairperson CII IT/ITeS (Information Technology/Information Technology Enabled Services) committee and is a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C (District of Columbia), US.
iii. Prior to Microsoft, Anant Maheshwari was the president of Honeywell India in Gurgaon (Haryana).
About The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM):
It is an Indian non-governmental trade association and advocacy group, focused mainly on the technology industry of India.
Chairperson– Anant Maheshwari
President– Debjani Ghosh
Founded– 1 March 1988

NASA Successfully Extracts Oxygen from Simulated Lunar Soil

Scientists at the Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston, Texas, United States of America (USA), have successfully extracted oxygen from simulated lunar soil- the fine-grained material that blankets the Moon’s surface.

  • The extraction, which occurs in a vacuum environment, represents the 1st time this has been achieved and opens the door for astronauts to eventually harvest and utilise resources in a lunar environment through in-situ resource utilisation.
  • The Carbothermal Reduction Demonstration (CaRD) team of NASA utilized a special spherical chamber with a 15-foot diameter known as the Dirty Thermal Vacuum Chamber to recreate the conditions found on the Moon.

Sweden’s Research Rocket Accidentally Lands in Norway

On 24th April 2023, TEXUS-58, a microgravity research rocket, launched by Sweden Space Corp (SSC) from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden malfunctioned and landed in a mountain range 15 kilometres (km) inside Norway.

TEXUS-58 is part of a European initiative commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • The rocket was part of a research programme in which experiments are carried out in zero gravity at 250km (155.34  miles) above the Earth.
  • It landed in the mountains at 1,000 meters altitude and 10 km from the closest settlement.

2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup Stage 1 – Antalya: India finished 2nd with 4 medalsIndia finished 2nd in the overall medal tally at the 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup Stage 1 held in Antalya, Türkiye, with 4 medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze). The United States of America (USA) topped the medal tally with 4 medals(2 gold and 2 silver).

  • 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup Stage 1, held from 18th to 23rd April 2023, is a part of the 2023 Archery World Cup (Officially Hyundai Archery World Cup).
  • 2023 Hyundai Archery World Cup is the 17th edition of the international archery circuit organised annually by World Archery.

Indian Winners:
i.Indian archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam wins individual gold in Compound Women in World Cup Stage 1 in Turkey by defeating Colombia’s Sara Lopez 149-146.

  • She also won Compound Mixed Team Event with her partner Ojas Pravin Deotale (India) with a 159-154 win over Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yi Hsuan and Chem Chieh Lun.

ii.The Indian Men’s Recurve Team clinched a silver medal after losing to China in the final. The men’s recurve team comprised of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Dhiraj Bommadevara.
iii.Dhiraj grabbed bronze medal in his World Cup debut by defeating Ilfat Abdullin of Kazakhstan 7-3 (28-28, 29-26, 28-29, 29-27, 29-27) in individual  men’s recurve section.
About Türkiye:
President– Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Capital– Ankara
Currency– Turkish lira

Five-time Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal passed away  On April 25 2023, Five-time Punjab Chief Minister (CM) and veteran Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Parkash Singh Badal passed away at the age of 95 in Mohali, Punjab. He was born on 8th December 1927 at Abul Khurana, near Malout in Punjab.
Political Career:
iParkash Singh Badal started his political career in 1947, he was elected to Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1957 for the first time from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a Sikh-centered regional political party, in Punjab.
ii. He has served as the CM of Punjab and holds the record for being Punjab’s youngest CM, at the age of 43 and for being the state’s oldest CM, at the age of 90.

  • Parkash Singh Badal held the CM post for five terms: Between 1970 and 1971; from 1977-1980; from 1997-2002; from 2007-2012 and from 2012-2017.

iii. He briefly held the position of 11th Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare under the Morarji Desai-headed government in 1977.
iv. He was also the patron of the SAD political party, and served as the president of the party from 1995 to 2008.
v. In his career Parkash Singh Badal contested 13 state assembly elections and won 11. Between 1969 and 2017 he won ten polls back-to-back.
vi. The Government of India awarded him the second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan, in 2015(public affairs), however he returned his award in 2020 to support the 2020–2021 Indian farmers’ protest against the farm laws.
About Punjab:
Capital– Chandigarh
Chief Minister– Bhagwant Singh Mann
Governor– Banwarilal Purohit

Tripura’s 1st Padma Shri awardee, Himangshu Mohan Choudhury, Passed Away On 25th April 2023, former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Officer, Himangshu Mohan Choudhury, who was the first recipient of Padma Shri from Tripura, passed away in Agartala, Tripura.
He was born into a family hailing Feni district (now in Bangladesh). His family migrated to Tripura in 1930.
About Himangshu Mohan Choudhury:
i. Himangshu Mohan Choudhury, an Indian civil servant, is recognised for his work in providing relief efforts for army deserters and refugees during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
ii. When the Liberation War broke out in Bangladesh, he was the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) at Sonamura, Tripura.
iii. He oversaw the provision of shelter, food, and logistics to 2.5 lakh Bangladeshi people, who took shelter in Sonamura, Tripura, as refugees.

  • He had set up tents and temporary kitchens for the refugees, ensuring food and shelter.

i. Himangshu Mohan Choudhury was honoured by the Government of India in 1972 with Padma Shri for Civil Service, the 4th highest Indian civilian award.
ii. The Government of Bangladesh honoured him with the Outstanding Friend of Bangladesh honour in 2013 for the moral and material support provided to the people of Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War.

PM Narendra Modi launches a Book ‘Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamprashastih’ 

On 26th April 2023, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi launched the 113-verse book titled “Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamprashastih”(सौराष्ट्र-तमिलसङ्गमप्रशस्तिः) – Saurashtra Tamil Sangam Praise) prepared by Shree Somnath Sanskrit University, Gujarat.
The book was launched via video conferencing during the closing ceremony of a 10-day Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam, which was held from 17th April 2023 to 26th April 2023 in Somnath, Gujarat.

  • The book is an amalgamation of renowned poets composing verses related to the emotions and sentiments of Saurashtra Tamil Sangam.
  • The book will provide readers with a unique experience to understand the feelings and sentiments of poets and artists and keep the memories of the momentous Saurashtra Tamil Sangam alive.

World Intellectual Property Day 2023 – April 26World Intellectual Property Day (World IP Day) is annually observed across the globe on 26th April to recongise the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights such as, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, in encouraging innovation and creativity.

  • The World IP Day also marks the anniversary of the establishment of World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO).

The theme of World Intellectual Property Day 2023, is “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity”.
In 2000, the member states of WIPO designated April 26 of every year as the  as World IP Day, with the aim of increasing general awareness and understanding of IP.

  • The first-ever World IP Day was observed on 26th April 2001.

Why April 24?

  • 24th April marks the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970.

About World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO):
Director General– Daren Tang
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland

International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day 2023 – April 26United Nations (UN)’s International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is annually observed across the globe on April 26 to mark the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

  • 26th April 2023 marks the 37th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, which took place on 26th April 1986.

Aim: The day aims to raise awareness of the long-term consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/71/125 on 8th December 2016 and proclaimed April 26 of every year as an International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.
ii. The 1st ever International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day was observed on 26th April 2017.
About the United Nations: 
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
Establishment- 1945

Current Affairs – 26 April 2023

PM Dedicated Various Projects Worth Rs 3200 cr; Inaugurates India’s 1st Water Metro in Kochi & Kerala’s 1st Vande Bharat ExpressOn April 25, 2023, the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation various development projects worth more than Rs 3200 crores at Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Key Points:
i.Kochi Water Metro is a Made in India project and the ports for the project was developed by the Kochi Shipyard.
ii.PM laid the foundation stone the Digital Science Park in Thiruvananthapuram which will give boost to Digital India
iii.The total project outlay has been estimated at around Rs 1515 crore and the initial investment for Phase-1 of the project is around Rs 200 crore.
iv.Kerala’s Vande Bharat Express  between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod will link North Kerala with South Kerala.

Textile Minister Piyush Goyal dedicated Handloom & Handicraft Portal for Making Artisans & Weavers Self-ReliantOn April 24, 2023, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Ministry of Textiles, launched a new virtual Indian store i.e. E-Commerce portal (Indiahandmade portal) for handicrafts and handloom industry from Gujarat. This platform will directly connect consumers with over 35 lakh handloom weavers and 27 lakh skilled handicraft artisans, thereby eliminating intermediaries.

  • Handloom involves weaving fabric using a manually operated loom, while handicrafts are products crafted by skilled artisans using traditional methods.
  • This portal aims at making artisans & weavers self-reliant.

Key Points:
i.By eliminating intermediaries, the platform ensures fair remuneration for the artisans and higher profits for the sellers, with 0% commission.
ii.The portal offers a diverse range of products, including clothing, home decor, jewellery, and accessories, all handmade by skilled artisans using eco-friendly and sustainable materials.
iii.Authentic sellers, such as artisans, weavers, producer companies, SHGs (Self Help Groups), and cooperative societies, can register on the portal and receive free handholding from registration to order fulfilment, making it easy for them to do business.
iv.The platform also offers free shipping with return options and safe and secure multiple payment gateways for a smooth transaction experience.

28 States/UTs adopts National Generic Document Registration System for Land Records

The National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) for Land Records has been adopted by a total of 28 States and Union Territories (UT). According to the Department of Land Resources (DoLR), under the Ministry of Rural Development  (MoRD), eRegistration is taking place in these States/UTs, or they have started sharing data with the national portal of NGDRS via User Interface /Application Programming Interface (API).

  • According to the latest data from the DoLR’s Land Resources Division, the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) or Bhu-Aadhar has been adopted by 26 States/UTs and pilot testing done in 7 more States /UTs.
  • ULPIN is also used by some states in the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) portal.

As of 18 April 2023, computerization of the Record of Rights (RoRs) had been completed in 6,22,030 (94.62%) of the 6,57,403 villages.

  • The DoLR is implementing the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) with effect from 1 April 2016 as a Central Sector Scheme with 100% funding by Government of India (GoI).

Canara Bank & RBIH Collaborates to Lauch ‘Digitalised Submission of Form 15G/15H’

Canara Bank, in collaboration with the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH), announced the launch of a new customer-friendly service termed ‘Digitalised Submission of Form 15G/15H’.
What are Form 15G/15H?
Form 15G (Individual and HUF (Hindu Undivided Family)) and Form 15H (Individual-Senior Citizen) are self-declaration forms that an individual submits to the bank requesting not to deduct TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) on interest income as their income is below the basic exemption limit.

  • Submission of PAN is being necessary for the form submission.

Key Points:
i.Some banks allow the customers to submit these forms online through the bank’s website. But it is being difficult for elderly people who are unaware of the latest online banking/mobile banking
ii.RBIH (Reserve Bank Innovation Hub) developed the ‘Digitalised Submission of Form 15G/15H’ solution to address the difficulties faced by the customers of bank especially elderly people while submitting the tax waiver forms (Form 15G/15H).
iii.Under digitalised submission service, the customers could conveniently submit their Tax Waiver forms through SMS and Website (using their registered cellphone number), at any time and from any location.
iv.The service will be beneficial to senior citizens those who are unfamiliar with Internet and mobile banking services who used to make their 15G & 15H contributions to their banks at the start of each fiscal year (especially in the first few weeks of April.
About Reserve Bank Innovation Hub(RBIH):
It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) set-up to promote and facilitate an environment that accelerates innovation across the financial sector.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Rajesh Bansal
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, actyv.ai Partners to offer Insurance Productactyv.ai, a Singapore-headquartered licensed corporate agency under IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India), has announced a partnership with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance to offer insurance products to MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) companies through their technology platform to enterprises and the partner ecosystem across the Supply chain.
Key Points:
i.SaaS (Software as a service) platform of actyv.ai enterprise with embedded B2B (Business to Business) BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) and insurance will be used under the collaboration for providing affordable insurance products.
ii.Bajaj Allianz General Insurance will collaborate with actyv.ai will leverage the technology stack of the actyv.ai platform by offering innovative insurance products to champion the sustainability of suppliers, distributors, and retailers.
iii.Bajaj Allianz will offer commercial insurance products like Fire, and Burglary, along with health products like Personal Accident, Hospital Cash, Credit Linked Health Plan, and Group Health Plans.
About Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited:
It is a joint venture between Allianz SE, the world’s leading insurer, and Bajaj Finserv Limited.
MD & CEO – Tapan Singhel
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra

34th Goldman Environmental Prize 2023 Announcedi.On April 24, 2023, the 34th Goldman Environmental Prize 2023 winners were announced at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.
ii.A total of 6 winners from different parts of the globe won the prize for achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists
The Winners:
Alessandra Korap Munduruku of Brazil (South & Central America)
Awarded for: Drilling & Mining
Tero Mustonen from Finland (Europe),
Awarded for: Climate & Energy
Delima Silalahi from Indonesia (Islands & Island Nations),
Awarded for: Forests
Chilekwa Mumba from Zambia (Africa)
Awarded for: Environmental Justice
Zafer Kizilkaya of Turkey (Asia)
Awarded for: Oceans & Coasts
Diane Wilson from United States (North America)
Awarded for: Pollution & Waste
About Goldman Foundation:
Executive Director– Michael Sutton
Headquarter– San Francisco, California, United States

Ratan Tata honoured with Order of Australia(AO), highest civil honour of AustraliaOn 22nd April 2023, Ratan Tata, Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), Australia’s highest civilian honour, in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the bilateral ties between India and Australia particularly in trade, investment, and philanthropy.

  • The announcement was made by the Australian Ambassador to India Mr. Barry O’ Farrell.
  • In March 2023, Ratan Tata  was appointed as an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

About Ratan Tata: 
i. He is the Chairman of Tata Trusts and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons.
ii. He is regarded as the most respected and ethical businessmen of India.
iii. He received many awards including, the Padma Bhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan(2008) for trade and industry,
Contribution of TATA group in Australia:
i.Since 1998, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been operating in Australia, and it presently employs about 17,000 staff and associates, making it the Indian company with the largest workforce in the country.
ii.Aside from its commercial activities, TCS is actively involved in supporting the Australian community through a remarkable pro-bono program. 
iii.The program offers free IT services to six not-for-profit organisations in Australia that focus on health and Indigenous leadership.
About the Order of Australia:
It is Australia’s highest civilian honour established in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II to recognize significant achievements and services of Australian citizens and others.
The Order has four levels of recognition:

  • Companion of the Order of Australia(AC)
  • Officer of the Order of Australia(AO)
  • Member of the Order of Australia(AM) and
  • Medal of the Order of Australia(OAM)

Appointments to the Order of Australia are made twice a year, on Australia Day (January 26th) and the Queen’s Birthday (in June).
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), is the second-highest level of recognition for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large.

Government appoints Arun Sinha as Chairman of NTRO 

The Government has appointed Arun Kumar Sinha, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Kerala cadre, as the appointed Chairman of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). Arun Sinha has been an advisor in NTRO for 2 years.

  • Prior to the appointment as Chairman of NTRO, he was serving as an Acting Chairman of NTRO. He has been working as the chief of the Special Protection Group (SPG) since March 2016.
  • Currently, the Border Security Force (BSF) is being looked after by the CRPF chief, Thaosen. He is serving as the director general (DG) of the CRPF, the government’s largest paramilitary force, and is also handling the additional charge of helming the BSF. The coast guard chief post is also lying vacant since January 31.  

Monetary Authority of Singapore clears merger of HDFC Investments with HDFCMonetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore, approved the merger of HDFC Investments Limited and HDFC Holdings Limited with parent Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited.
As a part of the composite scheme of amalgamation, MAS has also approved the acquisition of 20% or more stake in Griha Pte. Limited by HDFC Bank.
About Griha Pte:
Griha Pte, founded in 2012, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HDFC Investments Limited and a foreign step-down subsidiary of HDFC Limited.
It is a boutique private equity fund manager headquartered in Singapore and registered with MAS.
Key points:
i.This acquisition would result in acquiring or holding, directly or indirectly, 20% or more of the issued share capital of Griha Pte by HDFC bank or controlling, directly or indirectly, 20 percent or more of Griha by HDFC Bank.
ii.The proposed amalgamation is subject to receipt of final approvals from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in respect of change in control of certain subsidiaries of HDFC Ltd.
iii.This will support to pay the way for the merger of HDFC into HDFC Bank, expected to be finalised by the third quarter of this financial year(July 2023).
Note: Previously, HDFC Bank received the permission from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to increase stake in HDFC Life and HDFC ERGO to more than 50%.
Hindujas Gets In-Principal Approval from RBI to Raise Stake in IndusInd Bank
Hinduja Group, the promoters of IndusInd Bank have received the in-principal approval from the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) to increase their stake in IndusInd Bank.
The promoters filled out the form to increase the stake and as per the RBI norms, the due diligence process takes about 90-180 days.
At present, IndusInd’s promoters currently hold 16.5% stake in IndusInd Bank.
In 2021, the RBI raised the cap on the stake promoters can hold in a bank to 26% from 15%.
Note: IndusInd International Holdings Ltd, an entity belonging to promoters Hinduja Group, have a 12.57% stake in the IndusInd Bank, while, IndusInd Ltd has a 3.93% stake.

ISRO completes PMD operation of GSAT-12 satellite On March 23, 2023 the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) completed the post-mission disposal (PMD) operation of the communication satellite GSAT-12.

  • GSAT-12 is the 23rd GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbital) satellite to undergo PMD before decommissioning and it carried 12 extended C band transponders was launched on July 15, 2011 and served for more than a decade. After the launch of its replacement satellite CMS-01 (Communication satellite) in 2020, it was relocated to 47.96 degrees E longitude from 83 degrees E longitude, where it was located till March 2021.

Post-mission disposal operation:
iThe GEO regime is one of the most populated and highly utilised regions, with internationally accepted space debris mitigation guidelines by the UN and IADC recommend disposing of an object away from the GEO region at its end-of-life.
ii. The recommended practice is to re-orbit the object to a nearly circular “graveyard” orbit above the GEO region so that the orbit would not decay back into the GEO-protected zone under the influence of perturbation forces within another 100 years.
iii. For GSAT-12, the required minimum raise in perigee altitude was estimated to be 261 km. As a result of meticulous operations management by the Master Control Facility (MCF) in Hassan, Karnataka, the available fuel of GSAT-12 was more than sufficient to meet this goal.
iv. A series of seven maneuvers were carried out to raise the orbit above the GEO altitude of 35,786 km. The first maneuver on March 16, 2023, was a shorter burn to circularize the orbit, followed by another six burns of typically 150 seconds duration.
v. Four inclination changing maneuvers of GSAT-12 were carried out during March 20-22 to spend the remaining propellant.
vi. On March 23 2023, the final passivation maneuver was carried out to vent out the remaining fuel by firing the oppositely mounted thrusters, cancelling the net thrust without affecting the orbit.
vii. As part of electrical passivation, all rotating mechanisms such as the momentum wheels, reaction wheels, and gyros were turned off, batteries were disconnected from the solar panels and discharged. Finally, the transmitters were switched off to avoid any potential RF (Radio Frequency) interference.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman– S. Somanath
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka

Pakistani-Canadian journalist Tarek Fatah Passes Away 

On 24th April 2023, a renowned Pakistan-born Canadian columnist and famous journalist, Tarek Fatah, a self-described “Midnight’s Child”, passed away in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 73. He was born on November 20, 1949 in Karachi, Pakistan.
He was known for his criticisms of Islamic extremism and the Pakistani establishment, and was a celebrated advocate of LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights.

  • Tarek Fatah began his career in 1970 in Karachi Sun media as a reporter and later became an investigative reporter with Pakistan’s state-broadcaster Pakistan Television.
  • In 1977, the Zia-ul-Haq administration charged him with sedition, and he fled to Saudi Arabia and  later settled in Canada in 1987.
  • He became a broadcaster for Toronto radio station CFRB Newstalk 1010 and became a columnist for the Toronto Sun after several stints across Canada’s media landscape.

He has authored two books: “Chasing a Mirage”, a critique of modern Islam, and “The Jew is not my enemy”, a history of the relationship between the Muslim and Jewish communities.

Tennis legend Jaidip Mukerjea launches his Autobiography “Crosscourt”

On 21st April 2023, Jaidip Mukerjea, a retired professional tennis player from India, launched his autobiography titled “Crosscourt” at a function in the presence of prominent Indian tennis players like Ramesh Krishnan and Somdev Devvaraman.
“Crosscourt” is co-authored by Papri Sen Sri Raman, a journalist-writer and translator, and published by Vitasta Publishing Private Limited.

  • The book brings out the journey of Jaidip Mukerjea, widely recognised as one of India’s top tennis players.
  • The book is a compilation of memories of a life and gives an insight into the life of Jaidip Mukerjea.

World Malaria Day 2023 – April 25 World Malaria Day is annually observed across the world on 25th April to create awareness about the importance of investment and commitment toward the prevention and control of Malaria.

  • The day also highlights the importance to educate and offer a better understanding of Malaria, a preventable and curable disease.

The annual observance of World Malaria Day is led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The theme of World Malaria Day 2023 is  “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”.
i.During the World Health Assembly of 2007, the Member States of WHO instituted World Malaria Day and proclaimed the 24th of April of every year as World Malaria Day.
ii.The first-ever World Malaria Day was observed on 25th April 2008. 
About World Health Organisation (WHO):
Director-General– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland

International Delegate’s Day 2023 – April 25 United Nations (UN)’s International Delegate’s Day is annually observed across the globe on April 25 to create awareness about the role of the representatives and delegates of the Member States to the United Nations.

  • The day commemorates the 1st day of the San Francisco Conference, also known as the United Nations Conference on International Organisations held on 25th April 1945.
  • 25th April 2023 marks the observance of the 4th International Delegate’s Day.

The day recognises the role of the delegates in fulfilling the UN’s goals like maintaining international peace, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/73/286 on 2nd April 2019 and proclaimed April 25 of every year as International Delegate’s Day.
ii. The 1st ever International Delegate’s Day was observed on 25th April 2020.
About the United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
Establishment- 1945

World Penguin Day 2023 – April 25World Penguin Day on April 25 is a celebratory and educative initiative that encourages people to learn more about these flightless birds and their environment, how important they are to our ecosystems and the threats they face.

  • The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), a global coalition of environmental non-governmental organizations mention that this day coincides with the Annual northern migration of Adelie Penguins of Antarctica.

i. World Penguin Day takes place during the annual northern migration of Adélie penguins, a species of penguin that is native to Antarctica.
ii. The annual celebration of penguins was created at McMurdo Station, an American research center on Ross Island, Antarctica, where researchers discoveredthat Adélie penguins begin their annual migration around this date.
Another day for Penguin:
We celebrate penguins around the world twice a year, to raise awareness to the conservation of Penguin Habitats globally.
January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day.
April 25th is World Penguin Day.
Legal Protection for penguins:
i. Currently all 18 species of penguins are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting.
ii. The Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 nations in 1959 and reauthorized in 1991 to protect Antarctica and preserve its living resources. The Treaty makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs.

  • Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR).

iii. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including penguins.
Threats to penguins:

  • Climate change.
  • Overfishing.
  • Predators and invasive disease.
  • Destruction of habitat.

Preventive measures for the threats:

  • Designate marine reserves.
  • Establish responsible fisheries management.
  • Protect habitat and improve monitoring.

UN Spanish Language Day 2023 – April 23The United Nations (UN)s Spanish Language Day is observed annually on 23 April, to promote and appreciate multi-linguism and the significance of Spanish culture in the world, as well as to promote the use of Spanish language, one of the six official languages among the staff of the UN.
The Spanish Language day on 23rd April also marks the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a renowned Spanish writer who is widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent novelists.
iIn 2010, the United Nations Department of Global Communications established 6 language days (including Spanish) to celebrate the 6 official languages of the UN.
ii. The UN Spanish Language Day was originally observed on October 12, coinciding with the National Day of Spain, which commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas tracing the beginning of the spread of the Spanish language and culture.
iii. Later, the day was changed to 23 April, to pay tribute to Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, who died on 22 April 1616.

  • The 6 official UN languages are – Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English and Russian.
  • UN English Day is also observed annually on 23 April.

Spanish in United Nation:
iOn 1 February 1946, United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution 2 (I) and established Chinese, French, English, Russian and Spanish as official languages, and English and French as working languages.
ii. In 1948, Spanish was resolved as the working language of the UNGA and later in 1969, added Spanish as a working language of the Security Council.
Group of Friends of Spanish:
i. A team named”Group of Friends of Spanish”, founded in 2013 by the 20 Spanish-speaking Member States to coordinate and carry out activities aimed at promoting the use and dissemination of Spanish in the UN work.
ii. The group was created due to the growing interest of Spanish-speaking peoples in the United Nations mission.
Key Points:
iSpanish language is described as a mixture of crude Latin and local languages with three different stages of development.
ii. Spanish is the world’s second-most spoken native language after Chinese.
iii. Mexico is the country that has the most Spanish speakers in the world, and the United States of America (USA) stands second.
About United Nation (UN):
Secretary-General– António Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States of America
Established in– 1945

World Day for Laboratory Animals 2023 – April 24World Day for Laboratory Animals (WDLA) also known as World Lab Animal Day is annually observed across the globe on April 24 to commemorate the suffering of animals in laboratories.

  • WDLA has been a focal point for educating the public and legislators about animal tests and alternatives for over 40 years.

World Day for Laboratory Animals 2023 was observed on 24th April 2023.
The World Day for Laboratory Animals was instituted in 1979 by Animal Defenders International (ADI)’s campaign partner in the United Kingdom (UK), the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).
Why April 24?
The day April 24 was chosen to honour the birth anniversary of Hugh Dowding, a British Air Chief Marshal and the former President of NAVS, who was devoted to anti-vivisection.

  • Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding was born on 24 April 1882.

Replacing the Use of Animals in Research:
i. The use of animals in research can be replaced one-to-one or by a mix of advanced techniques such as epidemiological studies of human populations, human genetics research, stem cell research, and other human tissue use.
ii. Many non-animal techniques are currently being employed in place of animal studies, although regulations still require them.
About the Animal Defenders International (ADI):
Animal Defenders International (ADI), founded in 1990, is an education and public awareness campaign to protect animals in captivity and wild animals and their environments.

  • ADI ‘s campaigns focus on animals used in entertainment, sport, clothing; illegal wildlife trade; and the replacement of animals used in research and testing.

About the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS):
i. The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), founded in 1875, is the world’s 1st body to challenge the use of animals in research and continues to lead the campaign today.
ii. NAVS established Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research (LDF) in 1973 to support and fund advanced non-animal methods of scientific and medical research.
President- Michael B. Mann
Headquarters– Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Current Affairs – 25 April 2023

AAI & DGCA Signs Pact with European Agencies to Deepen Aviation Ties Between India & EU
During the European Union(EU)-India Aviation Summit 2023 held from 20th to 21st April 2023 in New Delhi, Delhi, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA India) signs a deal with European agencies to deepen the ties between India and European Union(EU) in the aviation sector.

  • AAI and Eurocontrol signed a declaration of intent to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM).
  • DGCA of India and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) signed a letter of intent (LoI) for closer cooperation.

Note: The summit was jointly organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.
Declaration of Intent between EUROCONTROL and AAI:
Eurocontrol signed the Declaration of Intent with AAI to establish an establishing a framework of cooperation to framework of cooperation to enhance Air Traffic Management (ATM) for the benefit of aviation in Europe and India.

  • Through this partnership, Eurocontrol and AAI aims to improve the performance and long-range predictability of flights between their respective airspace.
  • This partnership will contribute to optimum capacity, flexible flights and interoperable systems and data.

About the Declaration of Intent: 
This agreement also covers the exchange of updated flight plans and flight profile data and airport departure planning information for flights between their respective areas of responsibility for purposes of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM).
The area of cooperation under this agreement will include ATM simulators and simulations to benefit each others other’s expertise and knowledge and contribute to the global advancement of technology and best practices for the conduct of simulations and associated data preparation and analysis tools.
LoI Between DGCA of India and EASA:
DGCA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have signed a letter of intent for technical cooperation & developing a common understanding of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Innovative Air Mobility.
Vikram Dev Dutt, Director General of DGCA signed the LoI on behalf of DGCA of India.

Key Points:
i.The Indian government has set a goal of airports using 100% green energy by 2024 and achieving net zero emissions by 2030.
ii.Presently, 25 AAI airports have already adopted 100% green energy, and the government aims to make another 121 airports carbon neutral by 2025. Efforts are being made to promote the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel as well.
iii.The EU is a significant trading partner for India, with goods and services trade amounting to €88 billion and €36.5 billion, respectively.

  • Around 2.3 million passengers travel directly between the two regions every year, making the EU-India aviation market strategically important.

iv.Currently, India has open skies arrangements with only six of the 27 EU member states.

Uneecops Plans to set up First Green Hydrogen Microgrid Project in Leh Region
On 24th April 2023, Uneecops Technologies Limited, a Delhi-based company specialising in green hydrogen and solar development, announced its plans to set up the First green hydrogen microgrid project in Leh Region (Ladakh). This is a pioneering initiative that is expected to revolutionise sustainable energy solutions in the region and pave the way for similar projects in the future.

Key Points:

i.The project involves setting up a 25kWe(Kilowatt-electric) green hydrogen-based fuel cell microgrid for a guest house located at the Power Station in Alchi, Leh, which is one of the most challenging terrains in India.
ii.The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of green hydrogen-based fuel cells as a reliable energy source for remote and off-grid locations.
iii.The electricity generation will be 200 units per day from the fuel cell (14 KG of hydrogen per day).
iv.The company will oversee the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the microgrid, which is expected to operate at a very high altitude of 3200 feet, making it the world’s first project of its kind. 
Additional Info:
This microgrid will be a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the major hydro-power company’s guest house at the Power Station in Alchi, Leh.

  • The project also includes three years of operations and maintenance services to ensure the smooth and uninterrupted operation of the microgrid.
  • This aspect of the project highlights the company’s commitment to providing reliable and sustainable energy solutions to its customers.

The project is aligned with the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy sources. As such, it represents a step towards sustainable development in the region.
About Uneecops Technologies Ltd.:
MD – Piyush Jain
Headquarters – NewDelhi, Delhi

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Launches New Features in Eshram Portal for Unorganised Workers

On 24, April 2023, the Union Minister for Labour & Employment and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, launched new features in eShram Portal to improve the utility of the portal and facilitate ease of registration for unorganised workers.

  • The new version also has a Data Sharing Portal (DSP) and a Data Analytics Portal.

New Features:
i.The portal was added with a feature of capturing family details of migrant worker which will be supportive in providing Child education and women-centric schemes to the migrant workers who have migrated with family.
ii.Feature for sharing data of construction workers who are registering on eShram with the concerned Building and Other Construction Workers’ (BOCW) Welfare Board, has been added to ensure registration of eShram construction workers with the respective BOCW board and access to the schemes.
Purpose: The new feature will enable the eShram registered workers to connect with Employment opportunities, Skilling, Apprenticeship, Pension Scheme, Digital Skilling and States’ schemes through eShram portal.
Data Sharing Portal (DSP):
i.DSP for sharing of eShram data with the State/ UT Governments was also launched by the Union Minister Bhupender Yadav.
ii.This portal will enable sharing of eShram beneficiaries data with the respective States and Union Territories for targeted implementation of social security/welfare schemes for the unorganised workers registered on eShram.
About eShram portal 
i.Ministry of Labour & Employment launched eShram portal on 26th August 2021 to create a comprehensive National Database of Unorganised Workers which is seeded with Aadhaar.
ii.As on 21st April 2023, over 28.87 crore unorganised workers have registered on eShram portal.

RAMBAAN, Asia’s 1st Mobile Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, Exhibited at G20 Summit, Goa 

India’s and Asia’s first mobile biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory named ‘Rapid Action Mobile BSL-3 Advanced Augmented Network (RAMBAAN)’, designed to investigate emerging viral infections was showcased at the second G-20(Group of 20) Health Working Group meeting held in Panaji ,Goa.

  • The made-in-India mobile clinic RAMBAAN (Rapid Action Mobile BSL3+ Advanced Augmented Network) can be used to reach remote regions to carry out testing.
  • RAMBAAN will play a major role in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • RAMBAA, equipped with a -20 degree and -80-degree refrigerator, bio-safety cabinets, an automatic Ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor, and a real-time PCR( polymerase chain reaction) machine, can access the remotest part of India.

The made-in-India mobile clinic RAMBAAN (Rapid Action Mobile BSL3+ Advanced Augmented Network) can be used to reach remote regions to carry out testing.

Note: India has 2 operational mobile laboratories. One at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh catering to North-Eastern India and the other is at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, Maharashtra catering to southern and western parts of India.

India-built Mongolia’s First greenfield Oil Refinery to be completed by 2025Mongolia’s first greenfield oil refinery, built in the South Gobi on the outskirts of the capital city -Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and funded with Indian assistance,will be completed by 2025.

  • Its first stage of Mongol Oil Refinery, built with a USD 1.2 billion Indian soft loan, will be completed at the end 2023 while its Stage-2 (Open Art Units, Utilities & Offsites, Plant Buildings) and Stage-3 (Captive Power Plants) at a cost of USD 790 million will be completed by 2025.
  • The project is part of the Development Partnership Administration initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India.

It is being developed by the Hyderabad (Telangana)-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) which received the letter of authorization for this project in 2022.
Need behind this Refinery:
Mongolia is entirely dependent on Russia for its energy imports. Now, to overcome this scenario, this refinery is being developed which will help Mongolia to meet 70% of its demand domestically including petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Key Points:
i.Mongolia is also looking for Indian investment in its mining and metals, with plans to start shipping coking coal to India by 2024.
ii.Mongolia has key rare earth metals, which is crucial to India’s ambitions to build cutting edge technological capabilities in semiconductors and green mobility.
iii.Mongolia and India are also expected to establish regular direct flights.

About Mongolia:
President– Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh
Capital– Ulaanbaatar
Currency– Mongolian Tugrik

SIPRI Report: World Military Expenditure in 2022 rose by 3.7% to US$2240 billion; US Topped the List, India Ranked 4thAccording to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Fact Sheet April 2023 ‘Trends In World Military Expenditure, 2022’World military expenditure grew for the 8th consecutive year in 2022 by 3.7% in real terms (i.e. when adjusted for inflation) to an all-time high of US$2240 billion.

  • With a military expenditure of US$81.4 billion, India was the fourth largest spender in the world in 2022. Its spending increased by 6.0% from 2021 and 47% from 2013.
  • The United States, China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia, were the five biggest spenders in 2022,  which together accounted for 63% of world military spending.
  • Total world military spending accounted for 2.2% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022.
  • Global spending grew by 19% over the decade 2013–22 and has risen every year since 2015.

About SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute):
It is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board – Stefan Löfven
Headquarters –  Solna, Sweden
Establishment – 1966

Capacity Utilisation robust but New Orders dip in Q3FY23: RBI’s 60th OBICUSThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has conducted the 60th round of quarterly Order books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization survey (OBICUS) covering 762 manufacturing companies. It was conducted during Q3:2022-23 to provide a snapshot of demand conditions in India’s manufacturing sector during October-December 2022.
Key Findings:
New order book:
i.In Q3FY23, New order book of companies recorded a decline to 8.4% indicating a slowdown in demand in the manufacturing sector.

  • The average amount of new order books has dipped from its peak of Rs 307.9 crore in Q2 FY23 to Rs 212.2 crore in Q3FY23.
  • This decline is due to Difficult external environment with the threat of recession in many advanced economies and slowing domestic demand due to RBI’s aggressive rate hikes.

ii.While the growth of New Order Books was negative between Q2FY20 and Q1 FY21, the order book grew consecutively in the next three quarters till Q1FY22, registering a staggering 105% growth.
Capacity Utilization:
i.Capacity Utilization (CU) at manufacturing facilities was at a robust 74.3% in Q3 FY23, up from 74% in Q2.

  • Utilization has held above the 72% mark since Q3 FY22, indicating that the manufacturing activity is taking place at a rapid pace.

ii.Utilisation had hit a low of 47.3% in Q1 FY21 when most manufacturing units cut down production. The pre-pandemic level (Q1 FY20) was 73.6%.
Inventory levels:
The average inventory level of manufacturing companies increased slightly by 2.3% to Rs 519.9 crore in Q3FY23 from Rs 508.2 crore in Q2FY23. The inventory levels were the highest during the pandemic in Q4 FY20 at Rs 609.9 crore.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
i. It was established on April 1, 1935, in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
ii. The Central Office of the Reserve Bank was initially established in Calcutta but was permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937.
iii. Though originally privately owned, since nationalization in 1949, the Reserve Bank is fully owned by the Government of India.
iv. Thus, 2023 marks the 75th year of public ownership of the Reserve Bank and its emergence as a national institution.

HDFC Bank, Axis Bank Signs the Definitive Agreements with Go Digit Life Insurance

On April 21, 2023, the two largest Private sector banks of India, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank signed the definitive agreements with insurance technology startup Go Digit Life Insurance to pick up each a 9.94% equity stake of the insurance firm for a payment of each Rs 69.90 crore, which will be made in two tranches.

Stake Acquisition – Two Tranche of Payment:
i.HDFC Bank:

  • It has made the first tranche of payment of Rs 10.93 crore towards the acquisition of 9.94% equity stake.
  • As per HDFC Bank’s definitive agreement, the remaining amount of  Rs. 58.97 crores would be invested by the bank at its discretion in the second tranche post completion of the Initial Subscription.

ii.Axis Bank:

  • It has also made its 1st tranche of payment of Rs 10.93 crore for towards the acquisition.
  • The transaction is expected to be completed by 3 to 6 months from the execution date.

About Go Digit Life Insurance:
i.The current chairman of Go Digit Life Insurance, Kamesh Goyal has founded this organisation in 2017.The life insurance firm was incorporated in December 2021, and was subsequently converted to a public limited company on May 10, 2022.
ii.It has yet to receive the certificate of registration from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to carry out the life insurance business.
iii.It currently offers products in the motor, travel, property and health insurance segments under Go Digit General Insurance.
iv.The company, which last valued at US$3.5 billion, has filed US$440 million initial public offering (IPO), which comprises a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 1,250 crore and an offer for sale (OFS) of 109.45 million equity shares by a promoter and existing shareholders.
Note – As per the statement of the banks, the first tranche investment is subject to approval to be granted by IRDAI to Go Digit Life for the application filed by Go Digit Life under Form IRDAI/R2 (i.e. the Application for Registration as Indian Insurance Company)
About Axis Bank:
MD & CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1993
Tagline – Badhti Ka Naam Zindagi

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to Launch Gold-Pegged Digital Currency

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to launch a gold-backed digital currency to serve as legal tender in Zimbabwe.  This is an initiative of the government of Zimbabwe to stabilize the local currency from continued depreciation against the United States (US) dollar.

  • This will allow small amounts of Zimbabwean dollars to be exchanged for the digital gold token, enabling more Zimbabweans to hedge against currency volatility.
  • In 2009, Zimbabwe adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency following hyperinflation and in 2019, the Zimbabwean dollar was reintroduced in an effort to revive its struggling economy.

Indian, Nepali Private Companies Sign Agreement for Direct Energy Sale

On 19th April 2023, In a major boost for energy cooperation between Nepal and India, private entities and companies of India and Nepal signed an agreement for selling and buying energy directly.  Previously, this power was only used by the government of India and Nepal or government-owned entities.

  • Nepal Power Exchange (NEPEX), established by the private sector with the aim of trading electricity abroad, signed the agreement with India’s Steel Mint.
  • Krishna Prasad Acharya, President of the Independent Power Producers’ Association(IPPA), Nepal and Kshitij Pandey of SteelMint(BigMint Technologies Private Limited) were the signatories.
  • Under this agreement, Indian private-sector hydropower project developers can buy electricity up to 200 MW from Nepal.

The agreement was signed during the 8th Power Summit 2023 held on 18th-19th April 2023 in Kathmandu, Nepal with slogan Broadening Green Energy Markets.

Md Sahabuddin sworn in as 22nd president of Bangladesh
On 24th April 2023, a former judge, freedom fighter Mohammed (MdSahabuddin was sworn in as the 22nd president of Bangladesh in Durbar Hall of Bangabhaban, Dhaka in Bangladesh.

  • Md Shahabuddin, the 73-year-old politician, an Awami League candidate, was elected uncontested on February 13 2023.
  • The 21st President of Bangladesh Md Abdul Hamid, the longest-serving president of Bangladesh will go on retirement after spending 10 years and 41 days as President for two consecutive terms, and according to the Constitution of Bangladesh, he cannot hold a third term.

Note: After the death of the then President Md Zillur Rahman, Md Abdul Hamid became the acting President on March 20, 2013. He was sworn in for his second term on April 24, 2018.
i. Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury conducted the oath-taking ceremony along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, cabinet ministers and several hundred distinguished guests.
ii. Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain moderated the ceremony.
About Md Sahabuddin:
i. MdShahabuddin was a student leader of the Awami League during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He participated in the Liberation War as a freedom fighter in 1971.
ii. In 1982, Md Shahabuddin joined as a Munsef (Assistant Judge) of the Judicial Department in the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS).
iii.After a 25-year career as a judge, including various positions, he retired as a District and Sessions Judge in 2006.
iv.From 2011 to 2016, he served as the commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
v.In February 2023, he, resigned from the board of directors of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited after being elected President of Bangladesh, a position he held since 2017.
About Bangladesh:
Capital – Dhaka
President – Mohammed Shahabuddin
Prime Minister – Sheikh Hasina
Currency – Bangladeshi Taka

Shreekant M Bhandiwad takes charge as Chairman of KVGB 

Shreekant M Bhandiwad took charge as the new Chairman of the  Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB), an Indian Regional Rural Bank sponsored by Canara Bank headquartered in Dharwad, Karnataka.

  • Prior to the appointment, Shreekant M Bhandiwad was heading the Patna circle of Canara Bank, Bihar.
  • He succeeds, Puttaganti Gopikrishna, who was serving as the Chairman of KVGB from 2019 to 2023. P Gopikrishna, repatriated to Canara Bank as Circle Head, Bengaluru, in Karnataka.

About Shreekant M Bhandiwad:
i. Shreekant M Bhandiwad, a postgraduate in agriculture has worked as an Agricultural Extension Officer in rural branches of Canara Bank.
ii. He has also worked as a consultant in Agricultural Consultancy Services of Canara Bank at the Head Office in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
iii. Having an experience of 29 years in Canara Bank, Shreekant M Bhandiwad has worked in states such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and Karnataka in various capacities such as branch in-charge, regional head and circle head.
iv. He was also a Deputy Managing Director of Canfin Homes Ltd, Bengaluru in Karnataka for a period of three years.
About Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB):
KVGB came into existence with effect from 12th September 2005 by merging 4 previous Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) namely Malaprabha, Bijapur, Varada and Netravati Grameena Banks.

  • It is a scheduled Bank with share capital contributed in the ratio of 50:15:35 by the Central Government, the Government of Karnataka and the Canara Bank respectively.

Chairman– Shreekant M Bhandiwad
Headquarters– Dharwad, Karnataka

DRDO & IN conducted Successful Trial of BMD Interceptor from Naval Platform 

On April 21, 2023, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy (IN) successfully conducted a maiden flight trial of sea-based endo-atmospheric Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal.

  • This has enhanced India’s deterrence capabilities against aerial intrusion.

To engage and neutralize a hostile ballistic missile threat
Key Points:
i.The missile is capable of taking down incoming ballistic missiles from sea.
ii.Prior to this, DRDO has successfully demonstrated land-based BMD systems with capability to neutralize ballistic missile threats, emerging from adversaries.
iii.With these developments, India has joined the elite club of Nations having Naval BMD capability.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Chairman– Dr Samir V Kamat
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

SpaceX Starship, World’s Biggest Rocket, Explodes During 1st Flight Test

On 20th April 2023, SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, the most powerful and biggest rocket ever built, exploded during its first flight. The uncrewed Starship was launched from Starbase, the SpaceX spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.

  • The separation of the first-stage rocket booster failed to occur and the rocket experienced multiple engines out during the test and lost altitude. The flight termination system was commanded on both the booster and the ship.
  • It is standard procedure to destroy a wayward rocket to prevent damage to people or property below.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has chosen Starship to ferry astronauts to the Moon in late 2025 for the first time since the Apollo programme ended in 1972.

14th National Panchayati Raj Day – 24th April 2023

National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) is annually observed across India on 24th April to mark the day of the decentralisation of power to the grassroots, with the institutionalisation of Panchayati Raj.
The day marks the establishment of the 1st Panchayati Raj system with constitutional status in India back in 1993.

  • 24th April 2023 marks the observance of the 14th National Panchayati Raj Day. 
  • The National Panchayati Raj Day 2023 commemorates 30 years of Panchayati Raj in India.

i.In 2010, Then-Prime Minister(PM) of India Manmohan Singh declared the 24th April of every year as the National Panchayati Raj Day
ii.The first edition of National Panchayati Raj Day was observed on 24th April 2010.
On the occasion of NPRD 2023, The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh(MP), has organised a major event as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) – Samaaveshi Vikaas (Inclusive Development) adopting Whole-of-the-Government approach.

  • The event was organised at the Special Armed Forces Ground, Rewa, MP.
  • Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi graced the event as the Chief Guest and launched the AKAM campaign for the theme “Inclusive Development” – “Samaaveshi Vikas” during the event.

i.PM Modi inaugurated an integrated e-GramSwaraj(eGS) and Government eMarketplace (GeM) portal for public procurement at the Panchayat level.
ii.PM Modi also handed over the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Property Card to select beneficiaries

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace 2023 – April 24The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is annually observed across the globe on 24th April to raise awareness about preserving the values of multilateralism and global cooperation to maintain peace laid out in the UN’s charter and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 12 December 2018 adopted the resolution A/RES/73/127 and proclaimed 24th April of every year as the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace with effect from the 73rd session of the General Assembly.
ii. The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace was first observed on 24 April 2019.

UN English Language Day 2023 – April 23United Nations(UN) English Language Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd April to promote the English language and to celebrate the history, culture and achievements associated with the English language.
The day, 23rd April, also marks the birth and death anniversary of  English playwright, poet and actor, William Shakespeare. 
i.In 2010, the United Nations Department of Global Communications observed the first-ever UN English Language Day, as a part of its initiative to establish language days to promote and celebrate all 6 official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – of the UN.
ii.The UN’s language days are annually observed to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.

World Book and Copyright Day 2023-April 23World Book and Copyright Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd April to honour the role of books and reading and to promote a reading culture worldwide, particularly among young people.

  • The annual observance is led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The theme of World Book and Copyright Day 2023 is “Indigenous Languages”, which is centred around the native languages of a particular country.
During the 28th session of UNESCO’s General Conference held in Paris, France, from 25th October to 16th November 1995, UNESCO adopted a resolution proclaiming the 23rd April of every year as World Book and Copyright Day.

  • The resolution provided international recognition to a tradition started by the Official Book Chamber in Catalonia, Spain, which began celebrating the day in 1923.

The first-ever World Book and Copyright Day was observed on 23rd April 1996.

Why April 23?
UNESCO chose April 23 as the date for World Book Day, as it coincides with the death anniversary of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as the birth anniversary of renowned authors such as Haldor Kiljan Laxness, Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
World Book Capital: 
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has named Accra (Ghana) as UNESCO World Book Capital for 2023, following the evaluation of the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France
Formation – 16 November, 1945
Members – 193 Members and 12 Associate Members

Current Affairs -22 April 2023

AIM, NITI Aayog & UNCDF joinly launched Whitepaper Aimed to Make India a Global Agri-Tech LeaderOn April 20, 2023, a whitepaper has been jointly launched by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) which is aimed at making India a global leader in Agri-Tech innovation and expanding these innovations to the least developed countries in Asia and Africa.

  • It is prepared by experts from AIM, NITI Aayog, and UNCDF.

What is in the whitepaper?
i.The whitepaper provides practical solutions to support the growth of Agri-Tech start-ups at both national and international levels, by addressing the challenges they face.
ii.It contains important insights and recommendations aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural practices and addressing issues such as food security, supply chain inefficiencies, and climate change concerns, particularly in developing economies.
iii.The Agri-Tech innovations has the potential in supporting smallholder farmers and improving the overall agriculture sector.
Key Points:
i.The AIM-UNCDF partnership is facilitating cross-border engagement, knowledge exchange, and investments to support high-impact Agri-Tech innovations.
ii.This partnership creates a south-south collaboration environment where start-ups from Asia and Africa can exchange ideas and generate opportunities in their respective countries.
iii.The collaboration focuses on addressing three key challenges in the agriculture sector, namely low productivity, poor risk resilience, and inefficient supply chain management.
About UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF):
Executive Secretary– Preeti Sinha
Headquarters– New York, United States of America(USA)
Established in 1966

Assam, Arunachal Pradesh ink agreement to resolve old Border DisputeOn 20th April 2023, the Government of Assam and Govt of Arunachal Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) to settle the long-pending border dispute of the 804-km shared boundary between the two states.

  • The MoU was signed by the Chief Minister (CM) of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, and CM of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu in the presence of Union Minister Amit Shah, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in New Delhi, Delhi.

What was the dispute?
A dispute arose over 123 villages situated across 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and eight of Assam, which were claimed by Arunachal Pradesh in 2007. A Local Commission appointed by the Supreme Court was tasked with identifying the boundary between the two states, and the process to resolve the dispute began in 2022 through the formation of 12 regional committees from both states. The suggestions made by these committees have been accepted by both states, resulting in the resolution of disputes over 34 of these villages as per the signed MoU.

  • Furthermore, disputes over 37 villages were resolved through the Namsai Declaration of July 2022, where the two Chief Ministers agreed in principle over them.

What is in the MoU?
The involved state governments have agreed that the MoU regarding the 123 disputed villages is “full and final,” and no new encroachment will be allowed in the border areas. One village from Arunachal Pradesh will become part of Assam, while 60 villages from Assam will become part of Arunachal Pradesh, and 10 villages will remain in Assam. The boundary for 49 of the remaining 52 villages will be determined by the regional committees within six months, and three villages in the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombing range will require rehabilitation.

  • The Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary is the longest inter-state border in the Northeast and has been pending in the Supreme Court since 1989.

CSIR and OIL Sign MoU for Advanced Energy Research

According to a statement from the Ministry of Science & Technology, The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, Delhi and Oil India Ltd. (OIL), have signed an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate research in advanced technologies for energy security.

  • The MoU was signed by Dr. N Kalaiselvi, DG (Director General), CSIR,& Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), and Dr. Ranjit Rath, CMD (Chairman & Managing Director), OIL.

Key Points:

  • The MoU between CSIR and OIL will enable collaboration with all the labs of CSIR.
  • Under the MoU, Both organizations will accelerate the development of new technologies and solutions that will enhance energy security and drive sustainable growth and also work towards capacity building through training and skill development.
  • The OIL, being a Navaratna company would also consider providing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding support towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, Aspirational Districts, Rural Development, Government missions/initiatives etc.

Identified Preliminary Areas:

i.The MoU covers a wide range of areas for joint Research and Development (R&D) activities and technology partnership, which include hydrocarbon exploration, Waste treatment including oil separation and recovery from wastewater, New and renewable energy, Extraction of Lithium and Rare Earth Elements from Oilfield Water.

ii.The MoU also focuses on research areas such as Upstream and downstream operations,  batteries/storage systems, Green and Renewable Hydrogen / Biohydrogen (H2), Corrosion inspection and anti-corrosion coating, Stranded natural gas to fuel molecules, and Decarbonisation and net zero targets.

Note: Navaratna companies are a group of companies in the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) that possess financial autonomy to invest up to Rs 1000 crores without any approval from the Union government.

West Bengal tops list of States with most ponds and reservoirs: 1st-ever waterbody censusAccording to the “Water Bodies – 1st Census Report” released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, West Bengal(WB) has topped the list of states with the most number of ponds and reservoirs, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of lakes while Andhra Pradesh (AP) has the highest number of tanks and Maharashtra is the leading state with water conservation schemes.

  • India has 24.24 lakh water bodies such as ponds, tanks and lakes with West Bengal accounting for the most (7.47 lakh) and Sikkim the least (134).

i.The top 5 states (in number of water bodies) are, West Bengal (30.8% i.e., 747480) followed by Uttar Pradesh(10.1% i.e., 245087), Andhra Pradesh(7.9% i.e., 190777), Odisha 7.5% i.e., 181837) and Assam (7.1% i.e., 172492).
ii.With 3.55 lakh water bodies, South 24 Parganas of West Bengal is ranked as the top district with the highest number of water bodies across India.
About Ministry of Jal Shakti:
Union Minister– Gajendra Singh Shekhawat(Constituency- Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Bishweswar Tudu(Constituency- Mayurbhanj, Odisha); Prahlad Singh Patel(Constituency- Damoh, Madhya Pradesh)

IIT Madras to set up its first international campus in Tanzania

Chennai(Tamil Nadu) based Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is set to establish its first International campus in  Zanzibar, Tanzania and plans to start the classes in October 2023. This will be the first IIT established in Africa.

  • This will play a major role in towards growth and nation-building of Tanzania and Africa.
  • In February 2023, a team of 5 professors from IIT Madras visited Tanzania and discussed with the officials about starting the campus.

This announcement was made by Director V Kamakoti, IIT Madras, during the IIT Madras’s 64th Institute Day (20 April 2023) in the presence of Sridhar Vembu, Founder of Zoho Corporation(Chief Guest).

InPrime Finserv Received NBFC Licence from RBIInPrime Finserv (a brand owned by STK Credit Private Limited), a financial services start-up catering to the informal economy, has obtained a Certificate of Registration (COR) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC).
Key Points:
i.InPrime is on a mission to ‘Redefine the way informal customers access formal finance’.
ii.It is focused on providing financial services to the ‘Prime’ segment of India’s informal economy, which consists of around 50 million households with an annual credit need of Rs. 5 Lakh Crores.
iii.InPrime plans to empower customers by providing multiple repayment channels and a gamified financial and digital literacy program to promote self-service.
iv.InPrime recognizes the need for enhanced and tailor-made financial services for Prime segment, which is largely underserved by the market.
v.InPrime which is promoting financial inclusion in India, plans to commence operations in Bengaluru (Karnataka) at first and gradually expand its presence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
i.It is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by the Government or local authority or other marketable securities.
ii.As per Section 45-IA of the RBI Act 1934, an NBFC needs to get a registration certificate/licence from RBI to carry out its business.
iii.RBI specifies Rs 10 crore as the minimum net owned fund (NOF) required for following categories of NBFCs to commence or carry on the business

  • NBFC– Investment and Credit Company (ICC)
  • NBFC – Micro Finance Institution (MFI)
  • NBFC– Factor

About InPrime Finserv
Headquarters –  Bengaluru, Karnataka
CEO & Co-founder -Rajat Singh

CoRover, LIC Collaborate to Launch 1st Phase of AI virtual assistant LIC Mitra CoRover, a Bengaluru-based startup, has collaborated with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to launch the 1st phase of conversational AI (Artificial Intelligence)-powered chatbot LIC Mitra (virtual assistant) to enhance LIC’s customer support services by automating real-time responses to customers’ queries.
Features of LIC Mitra:
i.The chatbot developed by CoRover.ai will be available on LIC’s website and mobile app. To understand and respond to users’ queries in multiple languages, the chatbot was powered by technologies such as AI, Machine Learning(ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

  • The technology under LIC Mitra enables users to search even with their voice.

ii.Queries regarding LIC products, past premiums paid, upcoming premiums, policy maturity date, and insurance will be cleared through the chatbot.
iii.Using LIC Mitra, existing customers can check the latest status of their policy and get details like premium due date, policy maturity, etc. Customers can also know about their first unpaid premium using it.
Additional info:
CoRover is the world’s first and the highest ROI-delivering human-centric conversational AI platform.
In addition to LIC, CoRover is offering chatbot solutions to dozens of clients including Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Max Life Insurance, National Payments Corporation Of India (NPCI), Fastag, Mahindra Group, Digital India, RuPay, and many more, and has over 1 billion users.

AIIB to Open First Overseas Office in Abu Dhabi, UAEOn April 19th, 2023, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a host member agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish its first overseas office, an Interim Operational Hub, at Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

  • The agreement was signed by Jin Liqun, President and Chair of the Board of Directors of AIIB, and His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Governor of AIIB, during the signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement is in line with UAE’s commitment towards enhancing cooperation with international organizations and institutions focused on sustainable economic development for developing countries.

Key points:
AIIB’s rapid growth has prompted the opening of the Hub, which aims to bring the bank closer to clients and to the forefront of its business, providing proximity to global financial centres and connectivity with the international infrastructure ecosystem. The move is a result of AIIB’s rapid growth, as the bank aims to bring itself closer to clients and improve its engagement with them.
i. The Hub in the UAE will provide a strategic destination in the Middle East and the world, supporting AIIB’s development agenda and financing infrastructure projects to achieve sustainable economic growth.
ii. The Hub will serve as a strong platform to manage the bank’s growing investment portfolio and improve project monitoring and implementation services worldwide.
iii. Additionally, the Hub’s proximity to global financial centres and connectivity with the international infrastructure ecosystem will place AIIB at the forefront of its business.
Additional Info:
The United Arab Emirates is one of the founding members of AIIB.

  • The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development represents the UAE on the bank’s board and participates actively in its regular meetings.
  • AIIB has so far endorsed 212 projects worth over USD 40 billion in 33 member countries, contributing significantly to economic development and improving the quality of life for communities in recipient countries.

About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB):
AIIB began operations in 2016 with 57 founding Members (37 regional and 20 nonregional).
President– Jin Liqun
Headquarters– Beijing, China
Member– 106

CRED launches P2P UPI payments on its appOn April 17, credit card payments application CRED announced the launch of UPI-based peer-to-peer(P2P) payments, providing its users with a new payment option. The new P2P payments system has been made available with the introduction of Scan & Pay is based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

  • This service is designed to enable CRED customers to make secure, instant payments to other users via UPI IDs or contact numbers, thus elevating their overall user experience.
  • Cred provides variety of payment methods to its members, including bill payments, scan-and-pay, tap-to-pay, UPI P2P, CRED Pay, and CRED flash for online merchants.

Other new features:
The new system also comes with several useful features. For instance,

  • Payment Reminders for Recurrent Transactions: Users can set payment reminders for recurring transactions, receive proactive nudges during potentially risky or high-value payment scenarios and the option to create a custom virtual payment addresses (VPAs) that users can set to protect their privacy.
  • CRED Protect, a feature of the new P2P payments system, prompts members to use a system-generated alias UPI ID to mask personal details like mobile numbers, thus protecting their identity. Once custom VPAs are activated, payments are made via the user’s alias UPI ID by default.
  • The system also has a unique ‘WIN-WIN’ feature that rewards both the payer and recipient of payments made to ‘special contacts’ with cashbacks that are credited to their CRED balance. Users can redeem this balance on bill payments or store transactions on the CRED app.

P2P lending:
P2P lending is a way for people to borrow and lend money without involving traditional financial institutions like banks. Borrowers apply for loans through online platforms and investors can choose which borrowers to lend money to.
i. The platform acts as a middleman, facilitating the process and ensuring both parties meet certain criteria and agree to terms.
ii. Investors can earn higher returns, and borrowers may get lower interest rates compared to traditional loans.
However, P2P lending comes with risks such as the possibility of loan defaults and lack of government-backed insurance protection.

Union Bank of India Secures 1st Rank in EASE Reforms Index for Q3 FY23On April 20, 2023, As per the report on Enhanced Access & Service Excellence (EASE) Reforms Index for Q3 FY23 published by Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), the Union Bank of India, for the first time, secures 1st rank among all PSB (Public Sector Banks) for adopting various reforms prescribed for PSBs.

  • EASE is an initiative by the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, as part of the PSB Reforms Agenda and is currently under its 5th iteration which focuses on Enhanced Digital experience, Data – driven, Integrated and Inclusive Banking.

Performance of Union Bank of India:
i.The performance of PSBs is measured on 5 themes under EASE 5.0, in which, Union Bank of India has set the benchmark under the four themes i.e., ‘Digitally – enabled customer offerings’, ‘Big data and analytics’, ‘Modern Technology Capabilities’ and ‘Employee development and Governance’ secured 1st rank amongst PSBs.
ii.Union Bank of India was performing well in areas related to building analytics capabilities for retaining and deepening relationships, effective credit monitoring, comprehensive digital collection management system, fraud resilience and cyber security.
iii.The bank also adopts modern technology capabilities for integrated banking experience, customer centric digital offerings, employee development and better governance measures which resulted the Bank to continue its momentum.
About Union Bank of India:
MD & CEO – A. Manimekhalai
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 11 November 1919
Tagline – Good People to Bank with

Wg Cdr Deepika Misra becomes 1st Woman Officer of IAF to receive Gallantry Award On April 20, 2023, Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Deepika Misra became the first woman officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be presented with Vayu Sena Medal(VM) for Gallantry.

  • The award was presented by Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari at an Investiture Ceremony 2023 held at the Air Force Auditorium in Subroto Park, New Delhi, Delhi.

Key Points:
i.Wg Cdr Deepika Misra is a trained helicopter pilot, qualified flying instructor and an instrument-rated instructor and examiner.
ii.The Gallantry Award acknowledged Misra’s act of exceptional courage displayed during a flood relief operation in Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Rajasthan. She helped in saving the lives of 47 people in floods in 2022 in areas of MP and Rajasthan.

i.CAS presented Presidential Awards to a total of 58 persons, 57 from the IAF and one from the Army received the awards.
ii.CAS presented Two Yudh Seva Medals, 13 Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), 13 Vayu Sena Medals (devotion to Duty) and 30 Vishisht Seva Medals.

About Vayu Sena Medal(VM):
Instituted on January 26, 1960, it recognises exceptional devotion to duty or acts of courage by Air Force personnel. In 1994, the award was spilt into VM (Devotion to duty) and VM (Gallantry).

  • Medal: The medal is five-pointed star, made of standard silver 35 mm in diameter. The mounting is fixed on a ring attached to a metal strip 3 mm wide ornamented with Ashoka leaves. The State Emblem is embossed on obverse, in the centre, encircled by a garland of leaves. On its reverse, it has representation of Himalayan Eagle with the inscription below it.
  • Monetary Allowance: Rs. 500 to p.m. attached when awarded for courageous acts with effect from 01.02.1999.

About Vishisht Seva Medal(VSM):
Instituted on January 26, 1960, it recognises the distinguished service of a high order.
Medal: Circular in shape, 35 mm in diameter and fitted to a plain horizontal bar with standard fitting. The medal is made of bronze. On its obverse is embossed a five-pointed star and on its reverse is the State Emblem and the inscription embossed along the upper rim.

Karnataka Bags National Award For Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

In a first, Karnataka has bagged the national award for the best implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), a crop subsidy insurance scheme, for the year 2022-23.

  • The award was received by the Secretary to the government, Department of Agriculture, Karnataka, Shivayogi C Kalasad, at the national conference at Chhattisgarh on April 14 2023.
  • Under the scheme (between the kharif season 2021 and 2022), the state recorded a 47.74% increase in the enrolment of farmers and the area covered under the scheme increased by 41.80%.

Note – The pending claims of Rs. 687.4 crore as on May 31, 2022 (since 2018) for 5.66 lakh farmers has been settled by the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) in a campaign mode.


  • PMFBY scheme is a crop insurance scheme launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India in 2016 to provide comprehensive coverage to farmers for any loss/damage to crops due to natural calamities, pests or diseases.
  • PMFBY is being implemented in Karnataka, through its own portal ‘Samrakshane’, designed and developed by the state through National Informatics Centre (NIC)

Key Points:

i.Increase in Farmers’ Enrollment: The number of farmers enrolled for the PMFBY scheme in Karnataka in 2022 increased by 47.74% to 23.86 lakh from 16.15 lakh in 2021.

  • This increase in enrollment was due to information, education and communication (IEC) campaigns across the state.
  • While the Common Service Centres (CSC) were enrolling the farmers over the last six years, Grama-One centres have also been enrolling since Kharif 2022, making it easily accessible to the farmers. It has enrolled 4.66 lakh farmers, which contributed to an increase in enrollment

ii.Extend of Land: While the extent of land insured under PMFBY in 2022 kharif was increased by 41.8% to 18.94 lakh hectares from 13.35 lakh hectares in 2021 kharif.

  • Note: Kharif – Crops that mainly grow during summer are called kharif crops. They are sown at the beginning of the rainy season around June and are harvested around October. Rice, maize and groundnuts are examples of kharif crops.

iii. Kharif 2022:

  • For Kharif 2022 season, 5.60 lakh farmers whose fields were affected by natural calamities have already been compensated within 2022 with crop insurance claims settled is Rs 298.57 crore under add-on coverages such as prevented sowing, localized calamities, mid-season adversity and post-harvest loss claims.
  • For kharif 2023, the state has released an advance share of Rs 951 crore for the implementation of the PMFBY scheme.

ACC transfers top officials in Bureaucratic ReshuffleOn April 20, 2023, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi made a bureaucratic reshuffle of the following 12 high-level officials in the government.
Key Points:
i.Anurag Jain, the current Secretary of DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has been appointed as the Secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
ii.Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary, MoRTH has been appointed as Secretary Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairy(AHD) under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
iii.The Secretary of the department of AHD Rajesh Kumar Singh has been designated as DPIIT Secretary.
iv.Saurabh Garg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), has been appointed as Secretary of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment(MoSJE).
v.Anjali Bhawra, IAS officer of Punjab cadre, Secretary, Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, MoSJE was appointed as secretary in National Commission for Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs.
vi.Arjun Singhal, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Secretary of the Department of Fertilizers, was appointed as Director General (DG) National Archives of India(NAI), an attached office under the Ministry of Culture.
vii.Arun Baroka, a 1990-batch IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, Secretary of the Department of Chemicals & Petro- Chemicals has been given additional charge of Secretary, Department of Fertilizers upon relinquishing the charge of the post by Arjun Singhal.
viii.Vidyavanthi V a 1991 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre, the Director General(DG) of the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) was appointed as Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Tourism.
ix.Rakesh Ranjan, the additional secretary of the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, has been appointed as additional secretary of the Department of agriculture and farmers welfare.
x.Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, a 1996 batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as additional secretary of the Department of Agriculture and farmers welfare.
xi.Abhilaksh Likhi, a 1991 batch IAS officer of Haryana, additional secretary in the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has been appointed Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
xii.Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia, a 1990 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, the secretary in the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been made Chairperson, National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) in the rank and pay of secretary to the government of India.

JioCinema signs Rohit Sharma as brand ambassador

JioCinema, the Indian OTT (over-the-top) Platform and the official digital partner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023-27, has appointed Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Indian Cricket Team and Mumbai Indians (MI), as its new brand ambassador.

  • Prior to signing with JioCinema, Rohit Sharma ended his association with Star Sports, the TV broadcast rights holder of the IPL.
  • JioCinema had partnered with the players like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Suryakumar Yadav, and Smriti Mandhana as its ambassadors.

He will collaborate with JioCinema towards their vision focused on making sports viewing synonymous with digital through initiatives.

CCI Approves Acquisition of up to 76.10% of Voting Share Capital of Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited By Berhyanda Limited

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the acquisition of up to 76.10% of the voting share capital of Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited by Berhyanda Limited, by way of a share purchase agreement dated 26th December 2022.
This acquisition is pursuant to the mandatory open offer in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011.

  • Berhyanda Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berhyanda Midco Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jusmiral Midco Limited. These are collectively controlled by the Advent International GPE (Global Private Equity) IX Funds and the Advent International GPE X Funds, which are managed by Advent International Corporation.
  • Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited is a bio-pharmaceutical company incorporated on 6th November 2018.    

16th National Civil Services Day – 21st April 2023The National Civil Services Day is annually observed across India on 21st April to recognise and celebrate civil service officers who are engaged in various public service departments across India.

  • The day also acts as a reminder for the public servants to run the administrative machinery of the nation collectively and with a dedication to serve the citizens of India.

21st April 2023 marks the observance of the 16th National Civil Services Day.
The theme of the National Civil Services Day 2023 is “Viksit Bharat: Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile”. 
Celebration of 16th Civil Services Day:
Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State(MoS), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, addressed the inaugural session of the 16th National Civil Services Day at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, Delhi.

  • During the event, Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar unveiled the e-book on the ‘National Good Governance Webinar Series’.

PM Modi conferred Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 
Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi presented the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration to 15 awardees during the event organised at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Delhi on the occasion of 16th National Civil Services Day.

  • He also released the e-books ‘Viksit Bharat – Empowering Citizens & Reaching the last mile Volume I and II’ during the event.

About Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions:
Union Minister– Narendra Modi (Prime Minister) (Constituency- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State– Dr. Jitendra Singh(Constituency- Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir)

World Creativity and Innovation Day 2023 – April 21The United Nations(UN)’s World Creativity and Innovation Day is annually observed across the globe on 21st April to create awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.
i.People and organisations of more than 50 countries across the globe commemorate the 21st April of every year as ‘World Creativity and Innovation Day’. The day was first commemorated on 21 April 2002. 
ii.The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/71/284 on 27th April 2017 and proclaimed the 21st April of every year as the World Creativity and Innovation Day.

  • The first UN-recognised ‘World Creativity and Innovation Day’ was observed on 21st April 2018.

About the United Nations(UN):
The United Nations(UN) is an international organization founded in 1945.
Secretary-General– António Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States of America

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches India’s first heavy lift logistics droneOn April 20, 2023, Chief Minister (CM) of Odisha Naveen Patnaik launched India’s first heavy lift logistics eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-off and Landing) BonV drone on the opening day of “Odisha Skill Conclave 2023“.

  • The first-of-its-kind heavy-lift logistics drone was made by Odisha-based start-up ‘BonV Aero’. It is capable of transporting 50 kg across distances of up to 10 kilometers.
  • The drone will play a vital role in disaster management, emergency evacuation, flood relief, firefighting, and medical supply delivery to remote areas.

About the heavy lift logistics drone BonV:
i. IIT ( Indian Institute Of Technology) Mandi, in Himachal Pradesh, NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and AIC (ATAL INCUBATION CENTER)- CV Raman Global University in Odisha are supporting the project BonV Aero, which is developing electric aerial vehicles for cargo delivery.
ii. The successful trial of this ‘RM001’ Electric Aerial Vehicle carrying 50-kilogram cargo at the altitude of 8000 to 10,000 feet in the Tawang of Eastern Command of the Indian Army forward post in Arunachal Pradesh.
iii. It aims to develop its flagship platform ‘RM002’ that can transport 200 kilograms of freight over 40 kilometres in its next phase.
Benefits of BonV drone:

  • Odisha which is highly disaster-prone see the Cyclone and Flood on regular basis, these multi-utility Air vehicles are beneficial in the disaster response.
  • Movement of any kind of cargo/ goods where surface logistics are either unfavourable or time-consuming.
  • Improve accessibility and efficiency of logistics solutions, especially in the remote and Hilly terrains.
  • Cost effective.

About Odisha:
Capital- Bhubaneswar
Chief Minister- Naveen Patnaik
Governor- Ganeshi Lal
Tiger Reserve- Similipal Tiger Reserve, Satkosia Tiger Reserve

Manipur CM N. Biren inaugurates 5th edition of Hun-Thadou cultural festival at Kangpokpi

On 18th April 2023, Nongthombam Biren Singh, Chief Minister(CM) of Manipur inaugurated the 5th edition of HUN(HUN-2023)- a Thadou Cultural Festival at Thomas Ground in Kangpokpi district of Manipur.

  • HUN festival is an annual cultural festival and a civilising act of the  Thadous community of Manipur.
  • According to the Thadous community, the festival is celebrated to mark the arrival of the new year.

Arjun Munda, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs attended the closing ceremony of the 2-day festival on 19th April 2023.

Current Affairs Daily Digest – 21 April 2023

Cabinet Approvals on April 19, 2023i.The Union Cabinet has approved the National Quantum Mission (NQM) with an outlay of Rs.6003.65 crore for 8  years (from 2023-24 to 2030-31).  With this, India will join the top 6 nations (the United States of America (USA), Canada, China, France, Austria, and Finland who are involved in the R&D in the QT.
ii.It aims to seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial Research and Development (R&D), and to make India one of the leading nations in the development of Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA).
iii.The Union Cabinet also approved the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2023 proposed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
iv.The Bill aims to improve the procedure for certification of films by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), and categorizations of the certifications of the films, and to address unauthorized recording and exhibition of films and curb the menace of film piracy.
About Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):
Chairperson– Prasoon Joshi
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

UNICEF Data Indicates Declining Confidence in Childhood Vaccines During COVID-19 PandemicAccording to the new report titled “State of the World’s Children 2023: For Every Child, Vaccination” published by United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), the routine vaccination coverage for the children has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • According to the report, around 67 million children missed out on one or more vaccinations over 3 years with vaccination coverage levels decreasing in 112 countries.
  • This decline is due to service disruption caused by strained health systems and diversion of scarce resources, conflict and fragility, and decreased confidence.
  • According to the 2023 report, India as one of the countries with the highest vaccine confidence in the world.

About United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF):
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was formerly known as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
Executive Director– Catherine M. Russell
Headquarters– New York, United States of America(USA)

SEBI Approved – Emkay Global to Sponsor MF Business & Nexus Select Trust for REIT IPOEmkay Global Financial Services has received in-principle approval from the Investment Management Department of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for sponsoring a Mutual Fund (MF) business and incorporate an Asset Management Company (AMC).
Nexus Select Trust, the retail-focused real estate investment trust, sponsored by private equity firm Blackstone, has received the final observations, and approval from the SEBI for its Real estate investment trust (REIT) initial public offering (IPO) of units.

  • The Nexus Select Trust’s Rs 4,000-crore REIT IPO consists of a fresh issue of Rs 1,600 crore while the remaining Rs 2,400 crore is through an offer of sale from its main sponsor Blackstone and other small holders.

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairperson -Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 12 April 1992

IndusInd Bank signs USD100mn agreement with JBIC to provide Credit Facilities to Japanese OEMs in IndiaOn April 19, 2023, IndusInd Bank signed a USD 100 million long-term credit deal with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to assist Indian firms interested in purchasing Japanese construction equipment.

  • The loan agreement was signed by GIFT City branch of IndusInd bank, an IFSC Banking Unit (IBU) of the bank.
  • This is the first of its kind lending by JBIC through any IFSC Banking unit at GIFT City.
  • This facility will also be co-financed by Mizuho Bank of Japan, Shizuoka Bank of Singapore, and Joyo Bank of Japan.

IFSC stands for International Financial Service Center
GIFT city stands for Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City
To foster the growth of Japanese construction equipment companies in India  through need-based credit facilities.
Key Points:
i.This pact is also in line with the IFSCA’s (International Financial Services Centres Authority ) objective to make GIFT City as hub for raising long term finance.
ii.The funds will be utilized by the IndusInd Bank to support the growth of Japanese Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India through need-based lending facilities.

  • Initially, the program will cater to the financing needs of component suppliers, dealers, and final buyers of construction machinery manufactured by selected Japanese OEMs.

iii.IndusInd Bank’s Commercial Vehicle Finance division is among the leading financiers of Japanese OEMs in India, and it aims to enhance its market share by focusing on the component suppliers and dealers who are part of the upstream and downstream supply chain of these OEMs.
About IndusInd Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– Sumant Kathpalia
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– We Care Dil Se, We Make You Feel Richer

Fasal Partners with SBI to Support Farmers to Get Easy Financial AccessOn April, 13, 2023, the Agriculture-technology company, Fasal, announced its partnership with State Bank of India (SBI) to provide timely and easy financial access for farmers.

  • Objective: To enable farmers to effectively fund and manage urgent and immediate agri-input needs and adopt Fasal’s technology solution to make their farming precise and predictable.
  • The partnership will support the farmers to solve cash-flow constraints during key cycles in farming by providing quick, easy, and collateral-free loans at very competitive rates.
  • Through the partnership Fasal intends to solve many challenges across the horticulture value chain, thereby paving the way for India’s horticultural transformation.

Financial Offering:
i.The financial solution under the partnership enables the farmers to access collateral-free loans up to lakhs.
ii.The loans will be disbursed under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme, which is most popular for its lowest interest rate within the farmer credit support system.

  • If the farmer has already exhausted his/her KCC limit, SBI will enable these financing solutions through other Agriculture schemes.

iii.The financial offering from Fasal will be initially available in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh and later expand to other regions.
Note – In the budget of FY24, the government announced raising the agriculture credit target by 11% to Rs 20 lakh crore for FY24.
Initiatives of Fasal:
i.Fasal works with Indian farmers on over 60,000 acres across more than 20 crops.
ii.Fasal has been making horticulture farming guesswork-free with advanced irrigation alerts, farm-level micro-climatic forecasts, and pest/disease forewarnings through its patented farm-level IoT ( Internet of Things)-driven crop intelligence system.
iii.Recently it launched Fasal Fresh, a national procurement network, to ensure fair pricing, streamlined processes, and access to high-quality produce.
About Fasal:
Founder – Ananda Verma, Shailendra Tiwari
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka

RBI Granted AD Category-I Licence to AU SFB, Equitas SFB to Deal in Foreign ExchangeOn 19th April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted an Authorised Dealer(AD) category-I licence to AU Small Finance Bank (SFB) under Section 10 of FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act), 1999 to deal in foreign exchange.

  • The permission is subject to compliance with applicable regulations.
  • The licence will enable AU Small Finance Bank to open a range of foreign currency-related products to serve the importer-exporter segment and process inward and outward remittances.

Equitas SFB: On April 19, 2023, Equitas Small Finance Bank also received an AD Category-I licence from RBI.
Additional Info:
i.Money changing business can be undertaken by entities authorised by the RBI under Section 10 of the FEMA, 1999. No person shall carry on money changing business without the possession of a valid licence issued by the RBI.
ii.Currently, the conversion of a foreign currency or travellers’ cheques designated in foreign currency into Indian Rupees and vice versa is possible through AD Category-I banks, ADs Category-II and Full Fledged Money Changers (FFMCs).
iii.Further, AD Category-I banks, ADs Category-II and FFMCs may appoint franchisees (also known as agents) to undertake the purchase of foreign currency.
iv.As per the statement of RBI, all scheduled small finance banks (SFBs) will be eligible for an Authorised Dealer (AD) category-I licence after completion of at least two years of operations as AD Category-II.
About Au Small Finance Bank Ltd.
MD & CEO – Sanjay Agarwal
Establishment – 1996
Headquarters – Jaipur, Rajasthan
About Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd:
MD & CEO – Vasudevan Pathangi
Establishment – September 5, 2016
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Federal Bank inks Banking Correspondent Agreement with Agri fintech KiViIn April 2023, the Federal Bank entered into a Banking Correspondent agreement with Chennai-based Agriculture fintech start-up Kisan Vikas (KiVi), to scale and expand its agriculture lending portfolio in Tamil Nadu.

  • Aravind K, Vice-President, Agri-business, Federal Bank, and Joby CO, Founder and CEO (Chief Executive Officer), KiVi, exchanged an agreement on making KiVi, the Federal Bank’s Banking Correspondent.

In September 2022, the Federal Bank launched the instant KCC (Kisan Credit Card) platform, the first of its kind in agriculture lending, which offers farmers convenience and turnaround time.
It intends to provide small-value loans to small and marginal farmers and is designed to facilitate efficient credit flow to underserved rural populations.
Bank-fintech collaboration
i.Under the agreement, KiVi will acquire, service and augment Federal Bank’s underwriting capability.
ii.In the initial phase of this partnership, KiVi aims to serve 10,000 farmers in Tamil Nadu.
iii.The KiVi will employ a phygital model that combines features of the lending technology platform and the last-mile channel to serve farmer households and MSMEs such as input retailers, output aggregators or other village entrepreneurs.

  • It provides a frictionless customer experience through seamless API integrations with bureaus and other service providers.

About KiVi:
i.It is the first of its kind technology platform designed for farming as a business enterprise, founded Joby CO.
ii.It is operated by Agrosperity Tech Solutions, and it is an incubator of IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) Madras Incubation Cell, the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub and Indigram Labs.
iii.It provides digital solutions and a phygital platform for the farmer to procure input, access credit, implement agronomy practices, process, and market output.
About Federal Bank Ltd.
Establishment – April 23, 1931
Headquarters – Aluva, Kerala
MD&CEO-Shyam Srinivasan
Tagline – Your Perfect Banking Partner

RBI accepts Rs 5,500 crore Bids at Switch and Conversion Auction of Government Bonds

On 17th April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) accepted bids worth Rs 5,500 crore at an auction for the switching and conversion of 5 Government of India (GoI) bonds against the notified amount of Rs 11,000 crore.

  • Against the notified amount of Rs 4,000 crore, bids for the floating rate bond (FRB) expiring in 2024, which will be converted into the paper to be redeemed in 2032, were accepted at Rs 2,000 crore.

Harmanpreet Kaur, Tom Blundell, Ben Foakes among the 5 Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2023160th edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2023, the cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom(UK), has announced the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2023.
Tom Blundell(New Zealand), Ben Foakes (England), Harmanpreet Kaur(India), Daryl Mitchell(New Zealand) and Matthew Potts (England) were named the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2023.

  • Indian Women’s cricket team Captain Harmanpreet  Kaur becomes the 1st India Women’s cricketer to be named a “Wisden Cricketer of the Year”.

Wisden Leading Cricketers in the World: 
England’s Ben Stokes and Australia’s Beth Mooney have been named the Leading Cricketers in the World.
Wisden Leading T20 Cricketer in the World:
India’s Suryakumar Yadav picked up the Leading Twenty20 (T20) Cricketer in the World title.

RBI Approves Appointment of Kaizad Bharucha as Dy MD & Bhavesh Zaveri as ED at HDFC Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Kaizad Bharucha as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) and Bhavesh Zaveri as Executive Director (ED) of HDFC Bank Limited, one of India’s largest private sector lender, for a period of 3 years with effect from 19th April 2023.

  • On 24 November 2022, HDFC Bank’s Board of Directors made its recommendation to the RBI for redesignation.

Note: Prior to this appointment, Kaizad Bharucha has been serving as the Executive Director of the HDFC Bank and Bhavesh Zaveri was serving as the Group Head – Operations, Cash Management & ATM Products at HDFC Bank.
About Kaizad Bharucha:
i. Kaizad Bharucha has been a banker for over 35 years and is associated with the Bank since 1995.
ii. As an Executive Director, he was responsible for Wholesale Banking covering areas of Corporate Banking, PSUs, Capital & Commodities Markets, Financial Institutions, Custody, Mutual areas of Corporate Banking, Mutual Funds, Global Capability Centre & Financial Sponsors coverage, and Banks coverage.
iii. Prior to joining HDFC Bank, he worked at SBI Commercial and International Bank in various areas including Trade Finance and Corporate Banking.
iv. He has represented HDFC Bank as a member of the working group constituted by the RBI to examine the role of the Credit Information Bureau and the sub-committee with regard to the adoption of the Basel II guidelines.
About Bhavesh Zaveri:
i. Bhavesh Zaveri has been associated with HDFC Bank since 1998.
ii. He has an overall experience of 33 years. He has been a member of various Committees formed by the RBI and the Indian Banks’ Association.
iii. He became the Business Head of Wholesale Banking Operations in 2000 and was appointed as Group Head of Operations in 2009. In 2015, he assumed additional responsibilities in the Information Technology function.
iv. He played a pivotal role in the growth trajectory of the Bank and has ensured the scaling up of the Operations function with the pace of the Bank’s growth.
About the HDFC Bank Limited:
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Sashidhar Jagdishan
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment- 1994
Tagline- We Understand Your World

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel re-elected for second termOn April 19 2023, The National Congress of Cuba re-elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as president for a second term as the country faces one of the biggest social and economic crisis since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.

  • Miguel Díaz-Canel,91, leader of the Communist Party, the country’s only recognized political movement, won a landslide vote of 97.66% of the Cuba-aligned National Assembly, all of whose 470 members are aligned with the party.
  • The assembly also re-elected Salvador Valdes as Cuba’s vice-president Esteban Lazo as the president of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) and Manuel Marrero as prime minister.

About Miguel Díaz-Canel:
i. Miguel Díaz-Canel is the first person born after the 1959 revolution to succeed the brothers Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, making him the first non-Castro leader of Cuba.
ii.Miguel Díaz-Canel was appointed Minister of Higher Education in May 2009.
iii. In March 2012, he became Vice President of the Council of Ministers (deputy prime minister).
iv. In 2013 he additionally became First Vice President of the Council of State, where he acted as deputy to the President, Raúl Castro.
v.In 2018 Miguel Díaz-Canel succeeded Raul Castro as President and First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in 2021. He is the first non-Castro born after the 1959 revolution to hold both of those titles.
Note – Raul Castro still holds the position of Army General and a seat in the National Assembly.
Miguel Díaz-Canel’s first term:
i. His first five years were marked by the worst economic crisis in three decades and a widely criticised response to historic anti-government protests which triggered a tightening of United States (US) sanctions.
ii. In 2021, the largest protests since the 1959 Castro-led revolution was met with a harsh response and more than 300,000 Cubans left the country in 2022.
Note – Under Cuban law, a president cannot serve more than two successive terms.
About Cuba:
Capital – Havana
President – Miguel Díaz-Canel
Currency – Cuban Peso (CUP)

Norwegian Government Pension Fund increased its stake in Bajaj Electricals by 1.73% On 19th April 2023, Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has increased its stake in Bajaj Electricals by 1.73% (20 lakh shares) through bulk deals, bringing its total shareholding in the electrical appliances company up to 3.03%

  • As per the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) data, the Government Pension Fund Global already holds a 1.30% stake in Bajaj Electricals.
  • Meanwhile, California-based venture capital firm Small Cap World Fund, which holds 5.3% in Bajaj Electricals, has offloaded 22 lakh shares or 1.94% stakes in the company, reducing its holding to 3.36%.

Stocks in Bajaj Electricals:
i. As of Q4 FY23, the total foreign investors holding in Bajaj Electrical is at 11.21%, while mutual funds own 11.53%.
ii. It has delivered Stocks, which cost less and yield exponential returns in value over a course of time to its investors, rising over 200% in the last three years.
iii. As per Trendlyne data, the average target price of the stock is Rs 1,296, which shows an upside of 20% from the current market price of Rs 1,076.
Note: Trendlyne is a trusted investing engine, which tracks the quality of stocks through its automated system, and provides screener strategies and tools that can potentially maximize your returns.
v. Technically, Bajaj Electricals is trading below 5 out of 8 SMAs.
Note: SMA – Special Mention Accounts are those assets/accounts that show symptoms of bad asset quality in the first 90 days itself.
About Bajaj Electricals Limited:
Chairman – Shekhar Bajaj
Parent organization- Bajaj Group
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

SATHI: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches Seed Traceability Portal and Mobile AppOn April 19, 2023, the Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) launched the first phase of SATHI (Seed Traceability, Authentication and Holistic Inventory) portal and mobile application. It is a centralized online system to address seed production challenges, seed quality identification, and certification.

  • It has been developed on the theme of Uttam Beej – Samriddh Kisan.

It was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
To curb the sale of spurious seeds affecting the growth of agriculture and causing loss to the farmers, and ensure quality seeds reach farmers.
Key Points:
i.The portal is a comprehensive platform that comprises seven verticals of the seed chain, namely, Research Organization, Seed Certification, Seed Licensing, Seed Catalogue, Dealer-to-Farmer Sales, Farmer Registration, and Seed DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer).
ii.This platform will provide quality assurance, identify the source of seeds, and offer direct subsidies to the bank accounts of registered farmers.

  • Only licensed dealers with valid certification can sell seeds to farmers who are centrally registered.
  • The farmers will receive the subsidy through DBT directly into their pre-validated bank accounts.

iii.All states are urged to join this seed traceability system, and efforts will be made to increase awareness so that the farmers get full benefit from it.

  • Training should be imparted through Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Krishi Vigyan Kendras and State Governments.

iv.There will be a QR (Quick Response) code under this system, through which the seeds can be traced.
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW):
Union Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar (Constituency- Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Sushri Shobha Karandlaje; Kailash Choudhary

Manohar Lal Khattar announces 3 Services to Digitally Empower Beneficiaries

On 19th April 2023, Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister(CM) of Haryana, announced 3 online services to digitally empower beneficiaries.  The 3 new services are – Pro-active Divyang Pension Service’; ‘Tau se pucho’; and an online room booking facility at Public Works Department (PWD) rest houses.

  • ‘Pro-active Divyang Pension Service’ – enable automated pension benefits for Persons with Disabilities(PwDs). The data of PwDs with more than 60% disability is available with the Parivar Informatics Data Repository which will be certified by the Haryana Parivar Pehchan Authority every month.
  • ‘Tau se pucho’ – a bilingual WhatsApp bot, developed by the Haryana Parivar Pehchan Authority (PPP) along with a web-based Chatbot Solution. It is designed to give quick responses to queries raised by people.

Note: All rest houses can be booked online by government officials and people for personal use at the portal for room booking at PWD (B&R) rest houses.

Zimbabwe Cricketer Gary Ballance retires from All Forms of Cricket

Gary Ballance, a 33-year-old Zimbabwean cricketer, who also represented England internationally from 2014-2017, and represented Zimbabwe in 2022-2023, has announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect.

  • He made his debut at the 2006 Under-19 World Cup for Zimbabwe held in Sri Lanka, in which Zimbabwe won over England.
  • He has featured in 23 test matches scoring 1498 runs at an average of 37.45, including four 100s and seven 50s.
  • Gary Ballance had played 42 times for England across all 3 formats, averaging 37.45 in his 23 Test appearances for them between 2014 and 2017. In 2015, he became the 3 fastest England Test cricketer to reach 1,000 runs after Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton.
  • He signed a 2-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket in late 2022, and since his comeback, he has played in 5 ODIs, 1 T20I, and 1 Test.

He had become the 2nd player after Kepler Wessels to make Test centuries for two different countries. He scored his only Test hundred for Zimbabwe in February 2023.

Virginia Tower Norwood, the Mother of LandSat, Passed Away

Virginia Tower Norwood, a founding figure in the field of satellite land imaging, fondly known as “The Mother of Landsat”, an American aerospace engineer, inventor, and physicist, passed away in Topanga, California, United States of America (USA), on 26th March 2023, at the age of 96.

  • Virginia Norwood started her career working on weather radar at the U.S. Army Signal Corps Laboratories in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
  • Later, she served at Hughes Aircraft Company for 36 years on a range of projects that included antenna design, communications links, optics, and Landsat scanners.
  • She invented the scanner which has been used to map and study the Earth from space for more than 50 years. She oversaw the development of Landsat 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • A biographical article published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2020 referred to Virginia Norwood as “The Mother of Landsat“.

In 1979, Norwood received the William T. Pecora Award. In 2021, Norwood was given an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

UN Chinese Language Day 2023 – April 20United Nations (UN) Chinese Language Day is annually observed across the globe on April 20 to celebrate the Chinese language as well as to promote equal use of all 6 official languages throughout the Organization.
UN Chinese Language Day 2023 was observed on 20th April 2023 under the theme “Chinese Wisdom for a Green World”.

  • UN celebrated the 13th annual Chinese Language Day.

i. In 2010, the United Nations Department of Public Information (now the Department of Global Communications) announced the launch of the United Nations Language Day.

  • This initiative aims to celebrate the use of multiple languages ​​and cultural diversity and to promote the equal use of the six official languages ​​in the United Nations.

ii. The 1st ever UN Chinese Language Day was observed on 12th November 2010, and since 2011, it is now observed on April 20.
About the United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, United States of America (USA)
Establishment- 1945

Himachal Pradesh becomes India’s 1st state to have DNA database of Unidentified Bodies  Himachal Pradesh (HP) has become the first Indian state to develop a DNA database for unidentified bodies. The process of creating this database started in April 2022. So far, the records of 150 DNA samples of unidentified bodies had been stored in the database.
i. The Directorate of Forensics Services, Junga, in Shimla (HP), had procured DNA profile databasing and matching technology, Smallpond TM software from the United States(US) at a cost of Rs 55 lakh in 2022.

  • It was the first lab to acquire this technology and the facility is at par with international standards.
  • The database would be useful in the identification of bodies. To identify, the DNA samples of the relatives would be matched with the data/samples stored in the DNA profiling database and accurate details would be available within seconds.

ii. A database is being prepared and it will have the capacity to store 20,000 DNA profiles, which can be scaled further.
iii. More than 100 bodies are recovered in different parts of the state every year and these remain unidentified. Thus the DNA database would be beneficial in bringing transparency, eliminating data inconsistency and catching the criminal in cases where crime led to death.
iv. Private, local database of DNA profile information enables efficient matching of new DNA profiles with the existing ones.
Note – Earlier, Acharya Institute of Management and Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had started a pilot project called UMID (Unidentified Bodies and Missing Persons identification and DNA database) and created a database of over 400 unidentified/missing persons.
About Himachal Pradesh:
Capital – Shimla – Summer Capital; Dharamshala – Winter Capital
Chief Minister– Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Governor – Shiv Pratap Shukla
Wildlife Sanctuary- Daranghati Sanctuary, Kanwar Sanctuary.

Kerala Government launches ‘One Panchayat, One Playground’ to Revive Sports Culture

On 19th April 2023, the Government of Kerala launched the “One Panchayat, One Playground” project for reviving the sports culture in Kerala by opening quality playgrounds in every panchayat of Kerala.
The project was inaugurated by Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister(CM) of Kerala, at Kallikkad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

  • The playgrounds would act as a hub for local gatherings and social interactions.
  • The project will address the lack of quality playgrounds in around 450 local bodies in Kerala.
  • The playgrounds will be built in 3 years, and a list of 113 panchayats has been prepared for the project’s initial phase.

Each playground would cost around Rs 1 crore, of which the Sports Department would cover half and the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and local body money, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), public-private partnerships(PPP), etc., would cover the remaining costs.

Current Affairs Daily Digest – 20 April 2023

MoTA Minister Arjun Munda launches CSS ‘Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from NER‘ in Manipur i.On April 18, 2023, Union Minister Arjun Munda, Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) launched MoTA’s new Central Sector Scheme (CSS) namely ‘Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from North -Eastern Region (PTP-NER)’ during a function at Auditorium of Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) in Imphal, Manipur.
ii.The outlay of scheme is ∼ Rs 143 Crore
iii.It aims to strengthen livelihood opportunities for NER’s artisans from Scheduled Tribes (STs) through increased efficiency in procurement, logistics and marketing of tribal products from North Eastern states.
About Manipur:
Governor– Anusuiya Uikey
Zoological Park– Manipur Zoological Garden
Airport– Imphal Airport (also called Bir Tikendrajit International Airport or Tulihal Airport)

India’s target of blending 20% ethanol in petrol advanced from 2030 to 2025-26On April 18, 2023, the Government of India (GoI) advanced its target to achieve 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol from 2030 to 2025-26.

  • As per the Union Minister – Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG), Hardeep Singh Puri in the Global CBG (Compressed BioGas) Conference of the Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE) – CBG Producers Forum, the GoI has notified the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 to increase the usage of biofuels in the energy and transportation sectors of the country.
  • The GoI has set a target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15 per cent in 2030 to make India a Gas based economy.

Production of Compressed BioGas:
i. Production of indigenous biofuels will play a pivotal role in achieving the targets of net zero and import reduction.
ii. The ethanol blending in petrol has been increased from 1.53 per cent in 2013-14 to 10.17 per cent in July 2022.

  • This translates into forex savings of Rs 41,500 crore, timely payment of over Rs 40,600 crore to farmers and a reduction of 27 lakh tones in CO2 emissions.

iii. The objectives of the Programme include reducing import dependence, savings in foreign exchange, providing boost to domestic agriculture sector and for associated environmental benefits.
Note: At present we are importing around 50 percent of our requirement of natural gas.
India has a target to set up 5000 commercial plants by 2024- 25 and produce 15 MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl) of CBG which would replace other gaseous fuels being used in the country.
About Ethanol blending:
i. In ethanol blending, a blended motor fuel containing ethyl alcohol derived from agricultural products is blended with petrol.
ii. Ethanol blended petrol has higher octane number than petrol thereby aiding in complete combustion and reduced vehicular emissions.

  • Ethanol is a biofuel, naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or by petrochemical processes like ethylene hydration.

NTPC & Chempolis India signs MoU for Setting Up Bamboo-Based Bio-Refinery at Bongaigaon

On 10th April 2023, NTPC Limited (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), the largest power-generating utility in India, and Chempolis India Private Limited, a Fortum group associate company and a leading Finnish bio-refining technology provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the feasibility of setting up a Bamboo-based Bio-Refinery in Bongaigaon, Assam.

  • The MoU was signed in presence of Dilip Kumar Patel, Director (HR) of NTPC, Ashok Kumar Kalra, Director (HR) of Engineers India Limited (EIL), and Markus Alholm, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chempolis.
  • Chempolis will work with NTPC to conduct the feasibility study for the project that would use bamboo for the manufacturing of 2G Ethanol, Bio-Coal for thermal power plants, and other value-added goods.

The proposed Bio-Refinery is planned as an integration project with NTPC Bongaigaon Power Plant.

  • The Bio-Coal produced by the Bio-Refinery shall partly replace coal in the power plant, effectively converting 5% of the generation of the power plant to green.

World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023 released by Henley & Partners; New York topsi.The investment migration firm Henley & Partners released its annual ‘World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023‘ which is again topped by New York, United States (US) with 340,000 millionaires, 724 centi-millionaires, and 58 billionaires in 2022.
ii.New York followed by Tokyo (Japan), California’s Bay Area (US), London (United Kingdom) and Singapore.
iii.The annual survey looked at 97 cities in 9 regions around the world viz. Africa, Australasia, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
iv.The list also featured Mumbai (Maharashtra) at 21st rank with 59,400 millionaires, 238 Centi-millionaires, and 29 Billionaires.
About Henley & Partners:
Chief Executive Officer– Dr. Juerg Steffen
Headquarters– London, UK

Highlights of EAM S Jaishankar’s Visit to Uganda, Ethiopia, & MozambiqueUnion minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) visited African nations – Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique for 6 days from April 10 to 15, 2023 to strengthen India’s bilateral relationship with the countries.
Key Points:
i.Launch of Tulsi Ghat Restoration Project:

  • During his visit to Kampala, Uganda, the External Affairs Minister (EAM), S. Jaishankar launched the ‘Tulsi Ghat Restoration Project‘ of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), a project funded by the Indian community of Uganda.

ii.Inauguratin of NFSU’s Uganda Campus: 

  • EAM inaugurated the first foreign campus of India’s National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) in Jinja, Uganda.
  • Notably, the inauguration of NFSU’s Uganda campus marks the first government University of India to open a campus anywhere abroad in the world.

iii.Rides ‘Made in India’ train in Mozambique: EAM rode a ‘Made in India’ train (procured under an Indian Line of Credit (LoC)) from Maputo to Machava in Mozambique.
iv.Inaugurated Buzi Bridge in Mozambique:  He also virtually inaugurated the Buzi Bridge constructed as part of the 132 km Tica-Buzi-Nova-Sofala Road project. The bridge is being constructed by India through Indian LoC.
About Ministry of External Affairs(MEA)
Union Minister – Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Rajya Sabha Gujarat)
Minister of State (MoS) – VMuraleedharan; Meenakashi Lekhi ; Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh

UNFPA’s SOWP 2023: India’s population pegged at 142.8 crore, becomes World’s most populous nationAccording to the State of World Population (SOWP) 2023 titled “8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: the case for Rights and Choices” published by the
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India overtakes China to become the most populous nation in the world, the population of India has grown by 1.56% in the past year and it is estimated to be 142.86 crore.

  • The population of China is estimated to be 142.57 crore. 

Global population:
In November 2022, the global population has crossed the 8 billion mark. Experts states that the population growth is not as rapid as it was and the growth is at its slowest rate since 1950.
About United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
Executive Director– Natalia Kanem
Headquarters– New York, United States of America(USA)

RBL Bank launches Unique Digital FD Scheme for New-to-Bank CustomersOn April 18, 2023, RBL Bank launched an innovative Digital Fixed Deposit (FD) Scheme available to new-to-bank customers. Customers can book the Digital FD within minutes without having to visit a branch or opening a savings account with the Bank.

  • It has an interest rate of up to 7.8 per cent and a term of 15 months to 725 days.

Key Points:
i.It will offer several additional benefits, such as embedded insurance cover, seamless savings account opening process, ability to track and manage FD digitally, etc.
ii.The FD holders can opt for insurance cover under a Hospital Daily Cash Benefit policy which offers daily cash benefit for hospital expenses.
iii.The Digital FD utilizes quick online KYC (Know Your Customer) process, making it easy and hassle-free for customers to open an FD within minutes.
About RBL Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– R Subramaniakumar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Apno Ka Bank

IBA Constituted 4-Member Working Group on ARCsThe Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has constituted a four-member working group on Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) which will operate on various issues and report them to the IBA, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the Union government.
The four-member of the working group include

  • Hari Hara Mishra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Asset Reconstruction Companies Association.
  • Purshotam Agarwal, Chief investment officer, National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL).
  • Mythili Balasubramanian, Executive Director, Edelweiss.
  • Tarun Kumar, Director, Encore Asset Reconstruction Company.

About Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs):
It is a financial institution (FI) that buys the NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) or bad loans from banks and FI and helps them to recover from the NPAs.
They are registered under RBI and regulated under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.
About Indian Banks’ Association (IBA):
Chief Executive – Sunil Mehta; Chairman – Atul Kumar Goel (MD & CEO of Punjab national Bank)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 1946

SIB introduces 2 Savings Accounts for NRIs – SIB SEAFARER & SIB PULSEOn April 18, 2023, South Indian Bank (SIB) launched two flexible saving products namely, SIB SEAFARER and SIB PULSE for its non-resident Indian (NRI) customers specifically for mariners and healthcare professionals.

  • The two saving products would enable the NRIs to either maintain the term deposits or the prescribed minimum balance in the saving account.

Features of SIB Seafarer & SIB PULSE :

  • Free and unlimited Debit card transactions, NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer)/ RTGS & DD / PO.
  • Free International Debit card, SMS & Internet banking services.

About South Indian Bank Ltd.
MD&CEO – Murali Ramakrishnan
Headquarters – Thrissur, Kerala
Tagline – Experience Next Generation Banking

SBI Board Approves to Raise USD 2 Billion Via Long-Term Debt

On 18th April 2023, the State Bank of India (SBI), a public sector lender, in its Executive Committee of the Central Board, approved to examine the status and decide on long-term fund-raising in single or multiple trenches up to USD 2 billion (about Rs 16,000 crore) under Reg-S/144A, through Public Offer and/or private placement of senior unsecured notes in USD or other convertible currency during FY2023-2024.
SBI will raise USD 2 billion through foreign currency bonds in 2023-2024 in single or multiple tranches.

  • SBI will utilise the fund for augmenting additional Tier 1 capital and the overall capital base, and for strengthening capital adequacy according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.
  • In March 2023, SBI raised Rs 3,717 crore through an additional tier 1 bond sale.
  • According to SBI, this is the 3rd Basel III compliant additional tier 1 (AT1) bond sale and the latest issue was closed at a coupon rate of 8.25%.

IIT Roorkee signs MoU with Taiwan’s NCDR to Develop Tech Solutions for Earthquakes & Floods

The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee), Uttarakhand, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Science and Technology Centre for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), Taiwan, to develop technology solutions to natural hazards, including earthquakes, landslides, floods, debris flow, and compound disasters. The agreement was signed during a visit by NCDR scientists and faculty members, as well as NCDR director Dr Hongey Chen.

  • The MoU aims to develop scientific and academic cooperation and scientific research to promote relations and mutual understanding between NCDR and the Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management (CoEDMM) of IIT Roorkee.
  • The researchers from IIT Roorkee and NCDR aim to co-establish an early warning sensor network equipped with P-Alert sensors at selected locations in Uttarakhand.

Hurun’s Global Unicorn Index 2023: BYJU’s, Swiggy & Dream11 Named India’s top UnicornsAccording to the Global Unicorn Index 2023 published by Hurun Research Institute, India is ranked 3rd on the index with 68 unicorns (up 14 compared to 2022).  Online educator BYJU’S worth USD 22 billion topped the list of Indian Uniocrons, followed by on-demand delivery start-up Swiggy and fantasy sports platform travel-stay finder Dream11 (USD 8 billion each).

  • The United States of America(USA) topped the index with 666 unicorns, up 179 compared to 2022, followed by China in 2nd spot with 316 unicorns (up 15).
  • BYJU’S is the only Indian Unicorn among the list of the top 10 biggest rises in valuation since pre-Covid.

Tata Steel becomes Steel Sustainability Champion 2023 for sixth consecutive yearTata Steel has been recognised as 2023 Steel Sustainability Champion by the World Steel Association and the announcement was made at the Worldsteel Special General Meeting of the Board of Members held in Vienna, Austria.

  • Recognised for the sixth consecutive year this year, Tata Steel has been a champion every year since the programme’s launch in 2018.
  • This prestigious award highlights Tata Steel’s commitment to sustainability and acknowledges its position as a world-class steel producer.


  • The Steel Sustainability Champions recognition is based on evaluations of data provided on various sustainability indicators, like material efficiency, environmental management systems, lost time injury frequency rate, employee training, investment in new processes and products, and economic value distributed.
  • Companies are also required to provide Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data to worldsteel’s data collection programme, which covers more than 60 percent of its crude steel production data and is less than five years old.

Other Recognitions:
i. Tata Steel was recognised as 2022 ‘Supplier Engagement Leader’ by CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), a global environmental non-profit charity, for its efforts in measuring and reducing environmental risks across its supply chain.

  • This achievement marks the third time in the last four years that the Company has been rated at the highest level by its suppliers.

ii. The company’s Noamundi and Joda East Iron Mines received a 5-Star rating for sustainable development for 2021-22 from the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

  • The Noamundi mine received the honour in 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 as well.

About Tata Steel Company:
Asia’s first integrated private steel company in India.
Founded in: 25 August 1907, in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO & MD: T. V. Narendran

World’s 1st Smart Gun: Biofire Technologies Unveils Biometric Identification to Prevent Misuse

Colorado (United States of America-USA)-based Biofire Technologies, a gun-making company, has unveiled the world’s 1st smart gun “Biofire Smart Gun”, a 9mm handgun secured by fingerprint and facial recognition biometrics. The smart gun can only be fired after verifying the shooter’s identity with fingerprint/biometric and facial recognition technology.

  • A 9mm handgun is designed to prevent unauthorised access and usage by individuals such as children and criminals.
  • It makes use of advanced technology that limits access to only the owner and individuals who have been properly authorised by the owner.

Kai Kloepfer, the founder of Biofire, has the goal of lowering the suicide rate in the USA as well as the number of children dying from accidental firing.

World Liver Day 2023 – April 19World Liver Day is annually observed across the globe on April 19 to raise awareness about the importance of liver health and educate people on how to maintain a healthy liver. The day provides an opportunity to educate people about the risk factors for liver diseases, such as alcohol consumption, obesity, viral hepatitis, and certain medications.

  • World Liver Day 2023 was observed on 19th April 2023 under the theme “Be Vigilant, Do Regular Liver Check-Up, Fatty Liver Can Affect Anyone”.

Note: WHO annually observes 28th July as World Hepatitis Day to mark the birthday of Nobel-prize-winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.

TNeGA signs MoU with Indian Bank for Payment Aggregator Services

On 18th April 2023, the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), a State Nodal Agency under the Information Technology and Digital Service (IT&DS) Department, Government of Tamil Nadu(TN), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the public sector Indian Bank for integrating Payment Aggregator for e-Governance Application of various department in Tamil Nadu (TN).

  • The MoU was signed in the presence of T. Mano Thangaraj, Minister for IT&DS  Tamil Nadu, and Mahesh Kumar Bajaj, Executive Director of Indian Bank.

Key Highlights:
i. With this MoU, all government departments now have access to a plug-and-play platform for their payment-related needs.
ii. The Indian Bank Payment Aggregator platform services will offer timely and cost-effective solutions to departments as well as provide citizens and businesses with a seamless payment experience.
iii. This MoU would support one of the top priorities of the TN government by enabling easy access, transparency, and quick service delivery.
iv. The bank’s payment aggregator service will serve as a one-stop solution for all payment collection needs for different departments in the TN government.

  • This payment aggregator solution platform enables an integrated payment mechanism for online payment and collection through aggregation and reconciliation services with multiple payment channels such as debit/credit cards, UPI payment wallets, net banking, e-challans, and e-UPI.

About Indian Bank:
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Shanti Lal Jain
Headquarters- Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Establishment- 15 August 1907

Sabarimala Greenfield Airport Project gets Site Clearance from MoCA 

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted site clearance for the Sabarimala Greenfield Airport project at Kottayam in Kerala, which aims to enhance infrastructure and connectivity to Sabarimala.

  • The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIC) has proposed the project, which is expected to be built on 2,250 acres of land using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, with an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.
  • The airport will have a runway length of at least 3.5 kilometres on the 08/26 alignment.
  • Once completed, the airport will become the 5th International Airport in Kerala.


1. What is the capital of the United States of America?
a. Washington, D.C.

2. How many states are in the United States of America?
a. 50

3. Who wrote the novel “War and Peace”?
a. Leo Tolstoy

4. What is the study of animals called?
a. Zoology

5. Who painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling?
a. Michelangelo

6. What is the longest river in the world?
a. The Nile River

7. What is the highest mountain in the world?
a. Mount Everest

8. In what year did World War I start?
a. 1914

9. Who was the first US President?
a. George Washington

10. What is the name of the national anthem of France?
a. La Marseillaise

11. Who created the periodic table of elements?
a. Dmitri Mendeleev

12. What is the capital of India?
a. New Delhi

13. Who wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”?
a. Mark Twain

14. How many planets are in our solar system?
a. 8

15. Who was the first man to walk on the moon?
a. Neil Armstrong

16. In which religion do Muslims practice?
a. Islam

17. What is the largest ocean in the world?
a. The Pacific Ocean

18. How many countries are members of the United Nations?
a. 193

19. Who wrote “The Catcher in the Rye”?
a J.D Salinger

20. What is the name of Shakespeare’s longest play?
a Hamlet


1. Break a leg - Meaning: Good luck. Usage: Used as a friendly way to wish someone luck.
  1. Cut to the chase – Meaning: Get to the point quickly. Usage: Used when you want someone to skip the details and get to the main point of a conversation.
  2. Let the cat out of the bag – Meaning: Reveal a secret. Usage: Used to describe when someone accidentally or purposefully tells a secret that was previously unknown.
  3. Under the weather – Meaning: Not feeling well. Usage: Used to describe when someone is feeling sick or not in their best condition.
  4. Get cold feet – Meaning: To become nervous or afraid. Usage: Describes when someone is scared or hesitant about moving forward with a plan or decision.
  5. Face the music – Meaning: Accept consequences for actions. Usage: Used to encourage someone to take responsibility for their actions and deal with the consequences.
  6. Barking up the wrong tree – Meaning: To be mistaken about something. Usage: Used to indicate that someone is wrong about their assumption or is heading in the wrong direction.
  7. Beat around the bush – Meaning: Avoiding the main issue/topic at hand. Usage: Used when someone avoids getting to the point or addressing an issue directly.
  8. Take with a grain of salt – Meaning: Don’t take it too seriously/critically. Usage: Used when taking advice, criticism, or any other type of information with caution and skepticism.
  9. The best of both worlds – Meaning: Having multiple advantages at once. Usage: Describes when two seemingly opposing options can be combined in order to achieve benefits from both of them


                                                AANGLA SAMHITA YOUTUBE CHANNEL

ShouldDuty or obligationConditionPossibility  *You should serve your parents.   *Should she work hard, she will secure first class. *Take care of your health lest you should fall ill.
WouldConditionPolitenessDeterminationWish*I would help you if you promise to be honest in your dealings. * Would you please pass the salt? *I would  make my daughter an IAS. * I would like to spend some moments in her company.
MayWishPermissionPossibilityPurposeMay you be blessed with a son!   May I take your pen, please?   He may pass.   Work hard so that you may get first class.
MightPossibility        b)Purpose        c)WishHe might call on us today.   She took precaution so that she might be success- full in her mission.   The priest prayed that I might become a Minister.
Can CouldAbilityAuthorityStrengthCourtesyI can write a book on grammar.   I could write a book on grammar.   I can score a hundred. I could score a hundred. Can you explain this lesson to me?
MustCompulsionDutyDeterminationNecessityMoral obligationYou must comply with my orders. We must respect our parents.   I must finish this work by Monday. She must pass her entrance test this year.   You must serve your motherland.
Ought toa) Moral obligationWe ought to honour our national leaders.
Used toSome past habitI used to run ten kilometres per day when I was a student.
NeedTo stand in need ofWeakness/necessity/obligationneed his help.   I need not go there.
He dared to face his enemy.   He dare not face his enemy


This quiz contains 20 questions from [ HISTORY ] CHAPTER 1 TO 4


Prepared by Sravan Chandra D

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This quiz contains 20 questions from [ CIVICS ] CHAPTERS 1 TO 4 


Quiz Prepared by Sravan Chandra D

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This quiz contains 20 questions from GEOGRAPHY CHAPTERS 1 TO 5.


Prepared by D Sravan Chandra

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Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest cricketers of all time and has achieved many milestones throughout his career. He is the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries. He was also the first batsman to score a double century in an ODI. He holds the record for the most runs in both Test and ODI. Sachin Tendulkar has been honored with India’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.

  1. When was Sachin Tendulkar born?
    A. April 24, 1973
    B. November 5, 1971
    C. March 6, 1976
    D. July 14, 1975
    Answer: A
  2. What is Sachin Tendulkar’s nickname?
    A. The Wall
    B. The Little Master
    C. Captain Cool
    D. The God of Cricket
    Answer: B
  3. Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in which year?
    A. 1987
    B. 1989
    C. 1990
    D. 1991
    Answer: B
  4. What was Sachin Tendulkar’s highest individual score in Tests?
    A. 241*
    B. 273
    C. 319
    D. 375
    Answer: A
  5. Tendulkar is the leading run-scorer in which format of the game?
    A. ODI
    B. Test
    C. T20
    D. All of the above
    Answer: D
  6. How many centuries did Sachin Tendulkar score in Tests?
    A. 45
    B. 51
    C. 65
    D. 88
    Answer: B
  7. Tendulkar captained the Indian team in which year?
    A. 1995
    B. 1998
    C. 2000
    D. 2002
    Answer: B
  8. Sachin Tendulkar played for which IPL team?
    A. Chennai Super Kings
    B. Kolkata Knight Riders
    C. Mumbai Indians
    D. Royal Challengers Bangalore
    Answer: C
  9. What was Sachin Tendulkar’s highest individual score in ODIs?
    A. 183
    B. 200*
    C. 225
    D. 248
    Answer: B
  10. Sachin Tendulkar won the World Cup with India in which year?
    A. 1992
    B. 1996
    C. 2003
    D. 2011
    Answer: D
  11. Tendulkar is the only player to have scored centuries in how many countries?
    A. 6
    B. 7
    C. 8
    D. 9
    Answer: C
  12. Sachin Tendulkar retired from international cricket in which year?
    A. 2012
    B. 2013
    C. 2014
    D. 2015
    Answer: B
  13. What is Sachin Tendulkar’s father’s name?
    A. Vijay Tendulkar
    B. Ramesh Tendulkar
    C. Rameshwar Tendulkar
    D. Anand Tendulkar
    Answer: C
  14. What was Sachin Tendulkar’s first Test wicket?
    A. Mark Taylor
    B. Brian Lara
    C. Carl Hooper
    D. Allan Border
    Answer: D
  15. Sachin Tendulkar has how many siblings?
    A. 1
    B. 2
    C. 3
    D. 4
    Answer: B
  16. Sachin Tendulkar received the Padma Shri award in which year?
    A. 1996
    B. 1999
    C. 2003
    D. 2009
    Answer: A
  17. In which year did Sachin Tendulkar score his first Test century?
    A. 1989
    B. 1990
    C. 1991
    D. 1992
    Answer: C
  18. Sachin Tendulkar made his ODI debut against which team?
    A. England
    B. Pakistan
    C. Sri Lanka
    D. New Zealand
    Answer: B
  19. Tendulkar has how many double centuries in Tests?
    A. 3
    B. 4
    C. 6
    D. 8
    Answer: C
  20. Tendulkar is the first cricketer to achieve what feat in international cricket?
    A. Score 10,000 runs in Tests
    B. Score 10,000 runs in ODIs
    C. Score 10,000 runs in both Tests and ODIs
    D. None of the above
    Answer: C

GK 138: World English Language Day-23rd APRIL

World English Language Day is celebrated on April 23 every year at the United Nations. It is celebrated on this day because it is both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare, who was not only the most famous playwright but also had a huge impact on modern-day English. Today, every one in four people in the world uses English. The day is observed to promote multilingualism, create awareness, and celebrate the success of the largest speaking language in the world.

  1. When is English Language Day celebrated?
    A. April 23
    B. March 21
    C. February 21
    D. May 1
    Answer: A
  2. Which international organization established English Language Day?
    A. United Nations
    B. International English Language Testing System
    C. Cambridge English Language Assessment
    D. British Council
    Answer: A
  3. English is the official language of how many countries?
    A. 67
    B. 53
    C. 39
    D. 25
    Answer: B
  4. Who is considered the father of English literature?
    A. William Shakespeare
    B. Charles Dickens
    C. Geoffrey Chaucer
    D. Jane Austen
    Answer: C
  5. In what century did the English language begin to take on its modern form?
    A. 14th century
    B. 16th century
    C. 18th century
    D. 20th century
    Answer: B
  6. How many letters are in the English alphabet?
    A. 24
    B. 25
    C. 26
    D. 27
    Answer: C
  7. Which English word has the most definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary?
    A. Run
    B. Set
    C. Play
    D. Do
    Answer: B
  8. Which country has the most English speakers?
    A. United Kingdom
    B. United States
    C. India
    D. China
    Answer: C
  9. Which Shakespearean play includes the phrase “To be or not to be”?
    A. Romeo and Juliet
    B. Macbeth
    C. Julius Caesar
    D. Hamlet
    Answer: D
  10. What is the name of the official dictionary of the English language?
    A. Oxford Dictionary
    B. Cambridge Dictionary
    C. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    D. Collins Dictionary
    Answer: A
  11. How many English words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2021?
    A. 2,000
    B. 3,000
    C. 4,000
    D. 5,000
    Answer: C
  12. Which English word originally comes from the Greek word “aristos”, meaning best?
    A. Democracy
    B. Aristocrat
    C. Anarchy
    D. Metaphor
    Answer: B
  13. Which English word used to mean “one who makes arrows”?
    A. Architect
    B. Carpenter
    C. Bowyer
    D. Miner
    Answer: C
  14. Which English word used to mean “to communicate using birds”?
    A. Tweet
    B. Facebook
    C. Text
    D. Email
    Answer: A
  15. In what year was the first English language Bible printed?
    A. 1455
    B. 1504
    C. 1535
    D. 1611
    Answer: C
  16. Which language contributed the most words to the English language?
    A. French
    B. Latin
    C. German
    D. Chinese
    Answer: A
  17. What is the name of the symbol used to represent the conjunction “and”?
    A. Ampersand
    B. Asterisk
    C. Tilde
    D. Dagger
    Answer: A
  18. Which English word is used to describe a fear of long words?
    A. Arachnophobia
    B. Acrophobia
    C. Ablutophobia
    D. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia
    Answer: D
  19. Which Shakespearean play features the famous line “All the world’s a stage”?
    A. Macbeth
    B. Hamlet
    C. Julius Caesar
    D. As You Like It
    Answer: D
  20. Which English word comes from the Old English “bridfÆst”, meaning to break your fast?
    A. Lunch
    B. Dinner
    C. Breakfast
    D. Supper
    Answer: C


Welcome to our World Book Day Quiz! World Book Day is a yearly celebration of books and reading that is observed in over 100 countries around the world. The day is dedicated to promoting the love of books and the joy of reading, particularly among children and young people. It is a time to celebrate authors, illustrators, and the power of storytelling. In this quiz, we will test your knowledge of literature, authors, and beloved characters from classic and contemporary books.


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Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 that highlights the need to protect the environment and promote environmental awareness. It was first celebrated in 1970, and since then, it has become a global event that is marked in more than 190 countries every year. The day is dedicated to promoting environmental education, responsible stewardship of natural resources, and sustainable practices. Some common activities associated with Earth Day include tree planting, litter cleanups, and other activities that help promote environmental protection. Many companies and organizations also use Earth Day as an opportunity to showcase their commitment to sustainability and to launch new initiatives focused on environmental protection.

Current Affairs- 16& 17 April 2023

NHAI & Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve Sign a MoU to Enable FASTag-Based Payments at Forest Entry PointsThe Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, which spans the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, to promote a seamless and efficient entrance process for vehicles entering the forest area.

  • The initiative intends to create a payment mechanism based on FASTag at forest entry points.

It would increase the advantages of the Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC) fee being collected by FASTag at various Tiger Reserve entry points.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) established IHMCL to carry out electronic tolling.
Key Points:
i.The FASTag system, which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to permit automatic toll payments at toll plazas, has been mandated throughout India for installation on all vehicles with four wheels or above.
ii.Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of those places without difficulties if FASTag-based payments are enabled at forest entry points.
iii.This collaboration between IHMCL and the Forest Department is a crucial step towards encouraging sustainable tourism and safeguarding natural resources by reducing motor emissions at forest entry points.
About Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL):
IHMCL was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 to carry out Electronic Tolling and other ancillary projects of NHAI jointly with its Concessionaires and Financial Institutions. The shareholding pattern of stakeholders is NHAI-41.38%, Concessionaires-33.81% and Financial Institutions 24.81%.
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) – Ajmer Singh
Incorporated -26.12.2012

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala Launches Projects: APPI & World Bank Funded AHSSOH

On April 14, 2023, the Union Minister Parshottam Rupala, Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAHD), launched projects, ‘Animal Pandemic Preparedness Initiative’ (APPI) and World Bank (WB)-funded ‘Animal Health System Support for One Health’ (AHSSOH), under the aegis of National One Health Mission to improve India’s preparedness and response to potential animal pandemics.

  • AHSSOH is India’s first animal pandemic response plan in collaboration with the World Bank.

i.The collaborative project will be implemented in 5 states over a five-year period as Central sector scheme with a financial provision of Rs 1228.70 Crore.
ii.The project aims to cover 151 districts in five participating states, wherein it will target upgradation of 75 district/regional laboratories, upgradation/strengthening 300 veterinary hospitals/dispensaries.
iii.The project also intends to train 9000 para-veterinarians/diagnostic professionals and 5500 veterinary professionals.
About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAHD):
Union Minister – Parshottam Rupala (Rajya Sabha Gujarat )
Minister of State – Sanjeev Kumar Balyan ; L. Murugan

CMIE: India’s Employment Rate rose to 36.9% in March 2023 from 36.6% in December 2022As per the data by the Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Private Limited, India’s employment rate has been increased to 36.9% in March 2023 from 36.6% in December 2022.

  • Between July-September 2022 and January-March 2023, about 15 million people joined the labour force.
  • A little over 75% of these individuals, or 11.2 million, found jobs during this time.

Key Highlights:
i. Employment in India increased from 404.3 million in December 2022 to 410.1 million in March 2023. The workforce has increased by about 5.8 million as a result.

  • A combination of an increase in labour force participation and a fall in unemployment in India led to an increase in employment.

ii. According to CMIE data, around 3.9 million people joined the labour force in this quarter, which is drastically lower than the numbers recorded previously.

  • In March 2023, 444.3 million individuals were employed.
  • The labour participation rate increased marginally by 0.12% points, to 39.96%.

iii. However, the number of unemployed persons fell by close to 2 million, from 36.1 million in December 2022 to 34.2 million in March 2023. As a result, India’s jobless rate decreased to 7.7%.
iv. Overall, employment in India has been increasing for the previous 3 quarters in a row. This shows that more people who are willing to work are able to find employment.
About the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE):
Managing Director- Mahesh Vyas
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment- 1976

Atal Tinkering Labs linked with KVKs & ATMA to involve students in Agri Innovation

On April 13, 2023, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) agreed to connect Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) and Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMAs) under the initiative.

  • Objective: To promote innovation in the agricultural sector among school students across India.

Key Points:
i.KVKs, in partnership with ATMA, will collaborate with nearby ATLs to support agricultural-related innovation.
ii.AIM has mapped and shared a list of 55 ATLs (mapping each of the 11 KVKs, and ATMAs with up to 5 ATLs) based on the list of KVKs and ATMAs shared by MoA&FW.
About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare(MoA&FW):
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS) – Sushri Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi Chikmagalur, Karnataka) ;Kailash Choudhary (Barmer, Rajasthan)

India signs MoU with UN WFP for sending wheat to Afghanistan

i.The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India (GoI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP), clearing the way for the delivery of 10,000 metric tonnes (the fifth tranche) of wheat for the people of Afghanistan.

  • The fifth tranche [to be supplied through Iran’s Chahbahar port] builds on aid already provided by the WFP for people in need in Afghanistan.

ii.This MoU is a result of the Indian declaration that 20,000 metric tonnes of wheat would be transported via the Iranian port of Chahbahar, which was made at the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan.
iii.According to the WFP, there is a significant problem in Afghanistan, with 9 out of 10 Afghan families currently unable to buy enough food and at least 20 million Afghans in imminent danger of hunger.

Ghana becomes 1st Country to Approve Oxford Malaria Vaccine 

The Republic of Ghana has become the 1st country to approve a highly effective malaria vaccine “R21/Matrix-M” developed at Oxford University in the United Kingdom (UK).
The vaccine was approved by Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

  • The R21/Matrix-M vaccine has been licenced for use in children aged 5-36 months, who are most at risk of dying from malaria.
  • This vaccine is the first to surpass the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of 75% efficacy.
  • The vaccine R21 contains Matrix-M, a saponin-based adjuvant from Novavax that increases immune system response and increases the vaccination’s potency and durability.

WHO estimates that 619,000 people died from malaria in 2021, the majority of whom were children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • In Ghana, where the disease is both endemic and perennial, an estimated 5.3 million cases and 12,500 deaths were recorded.

Chennai Metro launches Singara Chennai Card in association with SBIThe ‘Singara Chennai Card’ [National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)] was introduced by Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) in collaboration with State Bank of India (SBI), its banking partner, in order to facilitate seamless transportation for passengers.

  • SBI provides the card free of charge in the stations, however passengers are required to provide identity proof and pay a fee of 1.8% of the amount they recharge the card.

The Singara Chennai cards are now available in Chennai metro stations as well as other metros that take RuPay NCMC cards, such as the MMRDA Mumbai Line 2A & 7, Bangalore Metro, Delhi Metro Airport Line, Kanpur Metro, BEST Buses in Mumbai, and Kadamba Transport Buses in Goa.

  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) developed the technology for the RuPay NCMC cards.

Singara Chennai Card – National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)
i.Initially, the Singara Chennai cards are available for purchase in 7 stations, including Koyambedu, Chennai Central, Chennai Airport, High Court, Alandur, Thirumangalam and Guindy, and can be used at the automatic gates of all the metro stations.
ii.The NCMC card contains a unique feature called ‘Stored Value Area’, that can hold up to Rs. 2,000 and may be utilised for offline ticket purchases.

  • The NCMC, an inter-operable transport card, is designed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

iii.These cards will eventually allow commuters to use MTC buses, suburban trains, tolls, parking, smart cities, and shops across most of India.
iv.For new card applications and recharging, SBI provides a dedicated website (https://transit.sbi/swift/customerportal?pagename=cmrl).

  • The card balance can be topped up with cash or using online bank accounts.

v.The end-to-end ticketing system for CMRL will be managed by Paycraft, a provider of digital financial services.

  • Following its successful launch on the Pune Metro in March 2022, this will be Paycraft’s second ticketing system to be introduced in a year.

About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
NPCI is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
MD & CEO– Dilip Asbe
Incorporated – 2008
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

SIDBI Announces a Financial Scheme to Enhance the Electric Vehicle Market
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has announced the launch of a pilot scheme ‘Mission 50K-EV4ECO‘ to unlock the electric vehicle market by providing better financing terms and understanding other solution bouquets needed to address the better adoption of electric vehicle (EV).
Financial Engagement:
i.The scheme will provide direct finance at competitive rates for the purchase of EVs to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
ii.This would cover vehicle aggregators, fleet operators, and leasing companies.
iii.SIDBI will also fund non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that provide loans for EV purchases and push electrification in the three-wheeler segment.
iv.Direct finance will also be provided to the developing charging infrastructure, including battery-swapping.
Key Points:
i.The pilot phase of the scheme intends to strengthen the EV ecosystem, including uptake for two, three and four-wheelers through direct and indirect lending.
ii.Electric two- and three-wheelers offer the greatest potential for EV adoption in India, accounting for 79% of passenger road activity, and are being cost-competitive relative to conventional vehicles.
iii.To support India’s commitment to EV30@30, SIDBI has adopted EV as a priority and by launched the mission 50K- EV4ECO to promote the entire EV value chain.
iv.Under the guidance of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), DFS (Department of Financial Service), MoF (Ministry of Finance) and GoI (government of India), SIDBIs Mission 50K-EV4ECO intends to provide better financing terms.

HCAL Receives SEBI Approval for Control Transfer in Merger Process

i.In a letter dated April 10, 2023 to HDFC Capital Advisors Limited (HCAL), the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approved the proposed change in control of HCAL subject to a few conditions.

  • HCAL is a subsidiary of HDFC Limited and a co-investment portfolio manager.
  • The proposed merger is contingent upon receiving final SEBI clearances for the transfer of control of specific subsidiaries of HDFC Limited.

ii.According to the proposed composite amalgamation scheme, HDFC Investments Limited and HDFC Holdings Limited – wholly-owned subsidiaries of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC Limited), will first be merged into HDFC Limited and subsequently into HDFC Bank.
iii.HDFC has already secured the necessary approvals from SEBI, the shareholders of HDFC and HDFC Bank, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), and the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

  • The merger is expected to be completed by the second or third quarter of FY24.
  • The combined asset base of the proposed business will be nearly Rs. 18 lakh crore.

iv.Once the transaction is completed, HDFC Bank will be 100% owned by public shareholders, with existing shareholders owning 41% of the bank.

  • Every HDFC shareholder would receive 42 shares of HDFC Bank for every 25 shares owned.

SBI Reintroduced Retail term deposit scheme ‘AMRIT KALASH’

On April 12, 2023, the State Bank of India (SBI) decided to reintroduce the retail term deposit scheme ‘AMRIT KALASH’. It is a special scheme of 400 days tenor with an interest rate of 7.6% for senior citizens and 7.1% for others.

  • Backdrop: In February 2023, the SBI launched ‘AMRIT KALASH’, the retail term deposit scheme with a specific duration with validity from February 15, 2023, to March 31, 2023.
  • Now the Scheme was reintroduced with validity from April 12, 2023, to June 30, 2023.
  • Domestic retail term deposits, including non-resident Indian (NRI) rupee term deposits (less than Rs.2 crore), new and renewals, term deposits, and special term deposits are eligible for this specific tenure deposit scheme.

Indian Oil & US-based LanzaJet to set up India’s 1st Green Aviation Fuel Firm

Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is to set up a joint venture(JV) with United States of America (USA)-based clean energy technology company LanzaJet Inc, and multiple domestic airlines for the manufacturing of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

  • The proposed venture will build a plant to manufacture SAF using alcohol-to-jet technology at the Panipat refinery in Haryana at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore.
  • IOCL and LanzaJet will invest Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 750 crore, respectively.
  • IOCL will hold a 50% stake while LanzaJet Inc will hold 25%. The remaining 25% stake would be offered to a bunch of airline companies.

Kumar Mangalam Birla receives Business Leader of the Decade Award at AIMA

On 11th April 2023, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, received the Business Leader of the Decade Award at All India Management Association’s (AIMA) 13th Managing India Awards ceremony in Durbar Hall, Taj Palace, New Delhi, Delhi.

  • Kumar Mangalam Birla won the award for his contributions to the Indian industry over the last decade. He is credited for taking control of the diversified group and successfully consolidating its operations since his early days
  • T V Narendran, Chairman of Tata Steel Limited, was facilitated with the “AIMA-JRD Tata Corporate Leadership” award.
  • ABB India, the leading engineering services company, bagged the “MNC in India of the Year” award.     

Russia conducts Test Launch of ‘Advanced’ Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

On 11th April 2023, the Russian Defense Ministry executed a successful test launch of an “advanced” Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile was launched from the Kapustin Yar test site in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region,
The combat crew of the Strategic Missile Forces participated in the tests.

  • The purpose of the launch was to test the advanced combat equipment of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • This launch confirmed the correctness of the design and technical solutions used in the development of new strategic missile systems

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the missile hit the target at the Sary-Shagan training ground in Kazakhstan.

Asian Wrestling Championships 2023: Aman Sehrawat wins India’s 1st Gold Medal at Astana, KazakhstanOn 13th April 2023, Aman Sehrawat, a freestyle wrestler, won India’s 1st gold medal, under the men’s 57kg freestyle category, at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2023 held in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 9 April to 14 April 2023.

  • Aman Sehrawat won the gold medal by defeating Kyrgyzstan’s Almaz Smanbekov (9-4), who won the bronze medal in 2022.

Medals for India:


  • Ravi Kumar Dahiya, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, won the 57kg men’s freestyle wrestling category in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

ii. Rupin, 19 years old, won silver in the men’s 55kg Greco-Roman wrestling. The reigning U-23 world champion Pouya Dadmarzof Iran defeated Rupin 3-1.

  • Rupin was settled for his 1st medal in the International senior circuit.

iii. Deepak (79kg) won bronze in the men’s 79kg freestyle wrestling
iv. Sumit (60kg), Rohit Dahiya (82kg) and Narinder Cheema (97kg) clinched bronze for India in Greco-Roman wrestling.
v. In the Women’s Wrestling, Antim (53kg) and Nisha (68kg) won silver, and Anshu (57kg), Sonam (62kg),  Manisha (final 3-4) (65kg), Reetika (72kg), and Priya (76kg) bagged bronze.
vi. India now has 13 medals overall in the competition after winning the 2 freestyle medals. The women’s wrestlers brought home 7 medals, while the Greco-Roman wrestlers won 4 medal

World Chagas Disease Day 2023 – April 14World Chagas Disease Day (WCDD) is annually observed across the globe on April 14 to raise awareness about Chagas Disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, a life-threatening disease that can cause serious heart and digestive issues.

  • American trypanosomiasis is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi).

World Chagas Disease was observed on 14th April 2023 under the theme “Time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care”.
i. In May 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly declared April 14 of every year as World Chagas Disease Day.
ii. The 1st ever World Chagas Disease Day was observed on 14th April 2020.
Why April 14?
On this day in 1909, Brazilian doctor and researcher Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas diagnosed the 1st human case of the disease, a 2-year-old girl called Berenice Soares de Moura.
About the World Health Organisation (WHO):
Director General- Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment- 7 April 1948

National Fire Service Day 2023 – April 14 
14th April is annually observed as National Fire Service (NFS) Day across India to pay homage to the firefighters who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and emphasize the importance of fire service.

  • The day is also commemorated as a Martyr’s Day to pay homage to the Fire Service personnel who lost their lives on 14th April 1944 during the massive Bombay explosion at the Victoria Dock in the Mumbai Port.
  • April 14 to 20 is observed as “Fire Service Week”.
  • The theme of National Fire Service Day/week 2023 is “Awareness in Fire Safety for Growth of National Infrastructure” (AGNI)”.

Note – 2022 year theme of the National Fire Service Day was “Learn Fire Safety, Increase Productivity”.

Fire Service Week or Fire Prevention Week:
i.Fire Service Week (FSW) or Fire Prevention Week is observed every year nation-wide under the guidance of the Fire Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs from April 14 – 20.
ii.The National Safety Council (NSC) has been promoting the FSW Campaign since 1999 with a view to propagate Fire Safety awareness among employees, their families and the public.

World Art Day 2023 – April 15World Art Day is annually celebrated on April 15 by the International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), a partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to encourage the development, diffusion, and enjoyment of art.
i. World Art Day was proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019.
ii. The day was proposed at the International Association of Art’s 17th General Assembly in Guadalajara, Mexico.

  • The day was recognised for the 1st time in 2012, when the IAA proposed adopting April 15 as World Art Day.

International Association of Art (IAA):
The IAA was established in 1948 in Beirut, Lebanon, during the 3rd General Conference of UNESCO. It became an independent body in 1954 and was declared a UNESCO partner.
President- Teemu Mäki
About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General- Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters- Paris, France
Establishment- 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Members- 193 Members and 11 Associate Members.

CM Pushkar Singh Dhami launches “A-HELP” Programme in Uttarakhand
Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister (CM) of Uttarakhand, launched the “A-HELP” (Accredited Agent for Health and Extention of Livestock Production) programme at Survey of India, Auditorium, Dehradun in Uttarakhand.

  • Women have been chosen to improve livestock-related activities in remote rural areas under the A-HELP programme, which was envisioned by the Government of India.

A-HELP Programme
i. Under the A-HELP Programme, trained A-HELPs will give their vital contribution to preventing various infectious diseases of animals, artificial insemination under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), tagging of animals and animal insurance.
ii. A-HELP was created to provide primary services and bridge the gap between local veterinarian clinics and livestock owners.
iii. Under RGM, the livestock breed improvement program will be conducted with the help of a large number of trained A-HELP workers who are interested in performing Artificial Insemination by providing them additional training.
Note: The programme was successfully piloted in Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir (UT).
Key Points:
i. Saurabh Bahuguna, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, highlighted the significant role of women in livestock rearing and allied activities.
ii. Women have many prospects in the livestock sector, but institutional support has been lacking until now.
iii. The programme will ensure the economic upliftment of livestock owners in addition to the active participation and involvement of women’s power.
iv. As an organic connection between livestock producers and veterinary services, A-HELP will act as the farmers’ “first port of call” when they are in need.
v. The primary responsibility of an A-HELP worker is to address the healthcare needs of the livestock population in a village.
About Uttarakhand:
Chief Minister- Pushkar Singh Dhami
Governor- Gurmit Singh
Festivals- Butter Festival or Anduri Utsav; Kumbh Mela
Stadium- Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium


Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a campaign for water conservation and water security in India launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019. The campaign focuses on water-stressed districts and blocks. The campaign was launched with an aim to generate a people’s movement to accelerate water conservation across the country. The Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign. During the campaign, officers, groundwater experts and scientists work together to identify and implement local solutions to water challenges.

click here to participate

(1) Jal shakti Department. https://jkjalshakti.nic.in/.
(2) Jal Shakti Abhiyan | Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, GOI. https://www.jalshakti-ddws.gov.in/jalshakti.
(3) Jal Shakti Abhiyan. https://ejalshakti.gov.in/jsa/.
(4) Jal Shakti Abhiyan. https://jsactr.mowr.gov.in/.
(5) Jal Shakti Abhiyan – Press Information Bureau. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1843395.

Current Affairs- 14 &15 April-2023

Solar Energy Corporation of India gets ‘Miniratna Category-I’ statusOn April 10, 2023, the Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI) was accorded the status of Miniratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). A communication to this effect has been issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

  • It is the only CPSU dedicated to the Solar Energy Sector.

Key Points:
i.Incorporated in the year 2011, SECI is the primary implementing agency for renewable energy schemes/projects of MNRE towards fulfilment of India’s international commitments.
ii.Till date, SECI has awarded Renewable Energy (RE) project capacities of over 56 GW (Giga Watt). SECI is also active in setting up of projects through its own investments as well as for other public sector entities as Project Management Consultant (PMC).
iii.It has highest credit rating of AAA by domestic rating agency ICRA.
Note: The CPSEs which have made profit in the last three years continuously, pre-tax profit is Rs. 30 crores or more in at least one of the three years and have a positive net worth are eligible to be considered for grant of Miniratna-I status.
About Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI):
The company holds Category 1 Power Trading Licence and is active in this domain through trading of Solar Energy from the projects set up under the schemes being implemented by it.
Managing Director – Suman Sharma
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

India’s 1st underwater Metro starts trial run under the bed of Hooghly Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL)  successfully conducted the trial run of India’s 1st underwater metro train under the river bed of Hoogly through a tunnel of 32 meters below water level.
About the trial run:
i.The trial runs of the metro from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade will be conducted for the next 7 months and after that regular services on this stretch will begin.
ii.The commercial services on this stretch are expected to begin in 2023.
iii.Two Metro rakes were involved in the trial run along the 4.8 km underground section from Howrah Maidan to Esplanade.
iv.This Metro is expected to cover the 520-metre stretch under the river Hooghly in a span of 45 seconds.
About the underground tunnel:
i.The tunnels under the river bed, 32 meters below the water level, are part of East West Metro Project that aims to connect Howrah Maidan with Rajarhat along the 16.6-km route.
ii.The process of laying the tunnel was completed in 2017.
iii.The underwater tunnels will connect Kolkata and Howrah with a Metro station at Howrah. This metro station will be the deepest Metro station (33 metres below surface) of India.
About 9.1 km of the East-West Metro line from Salt Lake Sector V to Sealdah is operational. Services of East West Metro Railway were started in phases with the first phase in February 2020 and the latest in July 2022.

India Retains Category 1 Status under US FAA’s IASA Programme 

India has retained the Category 1 status under the United States Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.

  • This information was communicated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States of America to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Civil Aviation, on April 12, 2023.

i.Under its IASA program, FAA conducted an audit of the DGCA, India from 25th to 29th October 2021 in the areas covering aircraft operations, airworthiness, and personnel licensing.
ii.The IASA assessment was followed by final consultations on 25th – 26th April 2022 and further review by the FAA in July 2022 and September 2022.
iii.After which, based on the positive outcomes of the assessment and follow-ups, the FAA informed DGCA that India meets the international standards for aviation safety oversight of the Chicago Convention & its Annexes and continues to retain FAA IASA Category 1 status which was the last assessed in July 2018.
Benefit of Category 1 Status:
The county with Air carriers of Category 1 status is permitted to operate/ expand its services to destinations in the USA and codeshare with US air carriers.

  • The IASA program, determines whether a country’s oversight of its air carriers complies with safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
  • The program also focuses on a country’s ability to adhere to international aviation Safety Standards and Recommended Practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft), and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft) to the International Convention on Civil Aviation “Chicago Convention”.

Additional info:
i.According to the recent audit made by ICAO in November 2022, India has scored an Effective Implementation (EI) of 85.65% from the previous EI of 69.95% thereby enhancing its global ranking significantly.
ii.Thus the assessment by ICAO and FAA are being a witness to India’s commitment to having effective safety oversight for its civil aviation system.
About  Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA):
The DGCA is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards.
It also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with ICAO.
Directorate General –  Vikram Dev Dutt
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

Drone Start-Up Garuda Aerospace becomes first to Receive Agri Drone Subsidy

Chennai (Tamil Nadu)-based Garuda Aerospace, a Made in India drone startup, has become India’s 1st company to receive Agri Drone Subsidy for agricultural drones. This subsidy is a part of the government’s efforts to promote the use of agricultural drones.

  • Garuda Kisan Drones, approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), were given to farmers at an event held in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The Garuda Kisan Drones would help farmers to manage and monitor the health of crops as well as detect and identify areas that require water or fertiliser.

This will benefit farmers not only by making their jobs easier and more efficient, but it will also help to increase agricultural productivity and reduce food waste.

AI Index Report 2023: India Ranked 5th with most AI Investment; US Topped the ListAccording to ‘Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2023’, the 6th edition of the annual Artificial Intelligence(AI) index report published by Stanford University’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), India is ranked 5th in terms of private investments received in 2022 by startups offering AI-based products and services with a total investment of US$3.24 billion.

  • In 2022, the United States (US) led the world in terms of total AI private investment with US$47.4 billion investment followed by China (US$13.4 billion), United Kingdom (US$4.4 billion), Israel (US$3.24 billion).
  • India which stood in 5th place was ahead of South Korea, Germany, Canada and Australia, among others.
  • Global AI private investment was $91.9 billion in 2022, which represented a 26.7% decrease since 2021.

Private Investment in AI by Geographic Area, 2013–22:
In case of analysis over Private Investment in AI by Geographic Area during the period 2013-22, AI startups in India received a total funding of US$7.73 billion, making it the 6th leading country with the most AI investments. Nearly 40% of this investment was made in 2022.

  • In this category also US topped the list followed by China, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada.

Points to be noted:
i.Among Indian AI startups, Chennai-based conversational AI startup Uniphore raised $400 million in a Series E funding round last year at a valuation of $2.5 billion.
ii.The share of Indian AI journal publications has been steadily increasing from 1.3% in 2010 to 5.6% in 2021.
iii.As of 2022, a large proportion of GitHub AI projects were contributed by software developers in India (24.2%)
iv.As of 2022, the three countries or regions with the highest AI skill penetration rates were India (3.2), the United States (2.2), and Germany (1.7).
v.In 2022, researchers from Canada, Germany, and India contributed to the development of large language models (LLMs) for the first time. 54% of researchers working on LLMs were from American institutions.
Public OpenionAccording to a 2022 IPSOS survey, Chinese respondents (78%) are among those who felt the most positively about AI products and services. After Chinese respondents, those from Saudi Arabia (76%) and India (71%) felt the most positive about AI products.
About the AI Index Report:
i.The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to AI.
ii.The AI Index is an independent initiative at the Stanford Institute for HAI, led by the AI Index Steering Committee, an interdisciplinary group of experts from across academia and industry.
iii.2023’s report included a new analysis of foundation models, including their geopolitics and training costs, the environmental impact of AI systems, K-12 AI education, and public opinion trends in AI.
iv.The AI Index also increased its tracking of global AI legislation from 25 countries in 2022 to 127 in 2023.

SEBI unveils new logo with modern design on 35th Foundation Day On April 12, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) unveiled a new logo on the occasion of its 35th Foundation Day. The function for the same was held at SEBI Head Office, Mumbai (Maharashtra). Madhabi Puri Buch, Chairperson of SEBI, formally unveiled the logo in the presence of former Chairpersons and former & present Whole Time Members of SEBI.
About New Logo:
The new logo retains the traditional blue palette and reflects  a more modern design. It is unique combination of its rich traditions and its new data and technology-based approach in all the three areas of its mandate in the securities market i.e. development, and regulation of the securities market, and investor protection.
The new logo of Sebi reflects the continuing commitment of SEBI to being a facilitator in the growth of the economy through capital formation and retaining its rich tradition of a consultative approach in policy making while adopting the power of data and technology.
About SEBI Formation & Functions:
It was established on April 12, 1988 under the Ministry of Finance. However, the body was granted statutory powers in 1992. It functions as a quasi-judicial body.
Key roles and functions:
i.Regulating the securities market: SEBI regulates the securities market in India by overseeing the activities of stock exchanges, brokers, and other intermediaries.
ii.Protecting investor interests: SEBI works to protect the interests of investors in the securities market by ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in the market.
iii.Promoting development of the securities market: SEBI promotes the development of the securities market by introducing new financial products, encouraging innovation, and improving market infrastructure.
iv.Regulating Credit Rating Agencies: SEBI regulates credit rating agencies (CRAs) in India to ensure that they provide accurate and reliable ratings of financial instruments.
v.Regulating mutual funds: SEBI regulates mutual funds in India and oversees their registration, operations, and performance.

HDFC Bank signs pact with KEXIM for $300mn Credit Line; HDFC MF launches schemes for Large, Mid & Small-Cap Segmentsi.On April 12, 2023, HDFC Bank signed a ‘Master Inter Bank Credit Agreement’ with Export Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) for a USD 300 million line of credit.  The agreement was signed by the representatives of HDFC Bank and KEXIM at GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec) City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
ii.This finance will be utilized by the bank towards funding requirements of the companies having equity participation by Korean companies; companies having business relationships with Korean companies; and the consumers for purchase of cars manufactured by Korea-related companies.
iii.HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd., investment manager to HDFC Mutual Fund (HDFC MF) launched three schemes viz. HDFC S&P BSE 500 Index Fund, HDFC NIFTY Midcap 150 Index Fund & HDFC NIFTY Smallcap 250 Index Fund allowing investors to diversify their portfolio to large, mid and small-cap segments.
About HDFC Bank:
MD & CEO – Sashidhar Jagdishan
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – We Understand Your World

Canara Bank, Bharat BillPay tie up for cross-border bill payments for Indian diaspora in Oman Canara Bank and NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd (NBBL) in co-ordination with Musandam Exchange, Oman have launched cross-border inward bill payment services for Indians based in Oman.

  • NPCI is acronym for National Payments Corporation of India.
  • NBBL is the wholly owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India.

Key Points:
i.This will enable the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) to utilize the platform offered by the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) to make bill payments on behalf of their families through the Musandam Exchange in Oman.
ii.With this initiative, Canara Bank becomes the first public sector bank (PSB) in India to offer inbound cross-border bill payments through BBPS
iii.Musandam Exchange, managed by Canara Bank, is also the first exchange house in Oman to go live on cross-border inbound bill payments
iv.The cross-border bill payment service is already live in Kuwait, facilitating inbound remittances like electricity, water, mobile phone, gas, credit card bills, and more.
About Oman:
Capital– Muscat
Currency– Omani Rial

CUB launches India’s 1st Voice Biometric Authentication for Logging into its Banking App

On 12th April 2023, the Citi Union Bank (CUB) based in Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), launched Inida’s 1st Voice Biometric Authentication for logging into its mobile banking app at an event held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu(TN).
The voice biometric was developed by Kaizen Secure Voiz Pvt. Ltd based in Chennai (TN), under the guidance of the 5G use case lab of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT).

  • The newly introduced voice biometric will be one more option for customers to log in along with user id, PIN, face id and fingerprint authentication.

Note: IDRBT is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) established institution focussed on research in banking technologies.

PhonePe raises Another USD 100 million from General Atlantic

Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe, digital payments and financial services decacorn, raised USD 100 million (about Rs 820 crore) from  United States(US) based private equity firm, General Atlantic (GA) and other investors as a part of its ongoing USD 1 billion fundraise to expand into the lending space.

  • PhonePe secured the fresh capital from General Atlantic and its co-investors at a pre-money valuation of USD 12 billion.
  • So far, it has raised USD 750 million as part of the ongoing round.
  • PhonePe had raised USD 100 million from Tiger Global, Ribbit Capital and TVS Capital and USD 200 million from its parent firm Walmart as part of the mega fundraise.

UNCTAD Report: India’s Economic Growth Projected to Slow to 6% In 2023, Down from 6.6% In 2022   According to the “Trade and Development Report Update: Global Trends and Prospects” (April 2023) report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), India’s economic growth is projected to decline to 6% in 2023 from 6.6% in 2022.
Key observations with respect to India:
i.According to the report, India grew at a 6.6% annual rate in 2022, giving up the top spot among G20 (Group of Twenty) countries to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which grew at an 8.6% annual rate.

  • India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is anticipated to slow to 6.0% in 2023 as a result of declining government spending and high export orders.

ii.To lessen the effects of foreign capital outflows, a depreciating currency, and inflation risks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) began tightening its policy stance in the spring of 2022.
iii.South Asia grew at a 5.7% annual rate in 2022, while UNCTAD predicts it to grow at a 5.1% annual rate in 2023, “driven by the growth of its largest economy, India.”
About the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):
Secretary-General – Rebeca Grynspan
Establishment – 1964
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

India’s Export Performance for 2022–2023: India’s Exports Increased 6% To USD 447 Billion in FY23, While Imports Increased 16.5% To USD 714 BillionAccording to Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), India’s exports increased 6% to a “record” USD 447 billion in financial year 2022–23 (FY23), up from USD 442 billion in FY22, while imports increased 16.5% to USD 714 billion from USD 613 billion in FY22.

  • The increase in exports can be attributed to strong growth in outgoing shipments from sectors such as petroleum, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and marine.

The data were announced by Union Minister Piyush Goyal, MoCI, who was in France and Italy on a 3-day visit from April 11-13, 2023, to meet with leaders and top executives from these two countries in order to strengthen trade and investment ties.
Key Points:
i.The export performance for 2022–23 showed that India’s overall exports reached new heights at USD 770 billion, registering 14% growth over 2021–22 and an all-time high, expanding from USD 500 billion in 2020–21 to USD 676 billion in 2021–22.
ii.India’s service exports have also increased, rising from USD 254 billion in 2021–2022 to USD 323 billion in 2022–2023—a 27.16 % increase.

  • There is significant growth in the services sector, particularly in the business processing, accounting, and Information Technology (IT) sectors.

iii.The following sectors in the goods segment witnessed growth: oil meals, electronic goods, tobacco, oil seeds, rice, coffee, fruits and vegetables, leather goods, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, marine products, chemicals, and ready-made textiles.
Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023: 
i.In light of current global concerns, Government of India (GoI) recently unveiled the “Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023,” which aims to boost rupee trade, increase exports to USD 2 trillion by 2030, and support e-commerce exports.
ii.The objective of FTP 2023 is to switch from an incentive-based to a remission-based regime, promote cooperation between exporters, states, districts, and Indian missions, lower transaction costs, and develop more export hubs.
iii.The trade policy unveiled by the GoI, is a “dynamic and responsive” trade policy without an end date and would be modified in accordance with the evolving global setting, when compared to the custom of 5-year FTPs.
iv.In light of the current global situation, goods exports have seen good growth since the introduction of the FTP 2023, while service exports could experience a significant increase in the current fiscal year (FY24).

RBI approves re-appointment of Sanjay Agarwal as MD & CEO of AU SFB for 3 years 

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has approved the re-appointment of Sanjay Agarwal as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jaipur (Rajasthan)-based AU Small Finance Bank (AU SFB) for 3 years with effect from 19th April 2023.

  • Uttam Tibrewal was also re-appointed as the Whole Time Director of AU SFB for 3 years with effect from 19th April 2023.

According to the annual report of AU SFB, the re-appointment of Sanjay Agarwal and Uttam Tibrewal for the 2nd term was approved by the shareholders via postal ballot on 9th March 2022 for 4 years from 19th April 2022 to 18th April 2026.
About Sanjay Agarwal:
i. Sanjay Agarwal, a Chartered Accountant and the promoter of AU SFB, is currently serving as the MD & CEO of AU SFB. He has over 26 years of strategic executive experience.
ii. He possesses extensive experience in Retail Finance, Accountancy, Agriculture & Rural Economy, Banking, Human Resource Management, Credit Risk, and Business Management.
About Uttam Tibrewal:
i. Uttam Tibrewal joined the Board of AU SFB in 2005.
ii. He has over 23 years of experience in the Financial Service sector with rich experience in the field of Agriculture & Rural Economy, Financing small-scale industry, Accountancy, Banking, Risk and Business Management.
iii. He is in charge of branch and personal banking, as well as the following departments: Retail Assets encompassing Wheels & Secured Business Loans, Home Loans, and Agricultural Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Agri-SME) Loans.
About AU Small Finance Bank (AU SFB):
AU Small Finance Bank (AU SFB) was established in 1996 as AU Financiers and bagged the SFB licence in 2015 and started operations as SFB in 2017.
MD & CEO- Sanjay Agarwal
Headquarters- Jaipur, Rajasthan

CCI approves Acquisition of Certain Shareholding of BTS Investment & BTS VCC by NBCUniversalThe Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the acquisition of certain shareholdings of BTS Investment 1 Pte. Ltd. (BTS Investment) and Bodhi Tree Systems VCC (BTS VCC) by NBC Universal Media, LLC (NBC Universal), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002.
Acquirer- NBC Universal Media, LLC (NBC Universal)
Targets- BTS Investment 1 Pte. Ltd. (BTS Investment) & Bodhi Tree Systems VCC (BTS VCC).
CCI approves Acquisition of the Stake in MSSSL by JSPL from Mukand Limited
The CCI approves the acquisition of 5.51% of the equity share capital in Mukand Sumi Special Steel Limited (MSSSL) by Jamnalal Sons Private Limited (JSPL) from Mukand Limited (Mukand) and its nominees.

  • JSPL has acquired  25,71,150 equity shares having a face value of Rs 10 each fully paid up by MSSSL from Mukand.

Acquirer- Jamnalal Sons Private Limited (JSPL).
Enterprise whose shares are being acquired- Mukand Sumi Special Steel Limited (MSSSL)
About the Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Acting Chairperson- Sangeeta Verma
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
Establishment- 14th October 2003 (Operational from 2009)

TCG Anadolu: Türkiye’s Largest Warship and World’s First Drone CarrierRecep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye, officially unveiled ‘TCG Anadolu’, the country’s largest warship and the world’s first unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) carrier.  It is an amphibious assault vessel of the Turkish Navy that can be configured as a landing helicopter dock (LHD) and a drone carrier.

  • TCG Anadolu was built as part of the ‘Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship Project’ and began trials in March 2022.
  • It was built in Istanbul (Türkiye) by the Ottoman company Sedef Shipbuilding and is based on the L-61 aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I.
  • Both vessels were designed by the same manufacturer, Spain’s Navantia.

Key Features of TCG Anadolu
i.TCG Anadolu, which has a length of 231 metres (758 feet) and a width of 32 metres (105 feet), is now the largest ship in the Turkish Navy and is capable of carrying troops, combat helicopters, military drones, land vehicles, and light Warcrafts.
ii.The ship can travel 9,000 nautical miles at a maximum speed of 20.5 knots and a maximum displacement of 27,436 tons.
iii.Its deck can accommodate 11 UCAVs or 10 helicopters, while it’s hangar can hold 30 UCAVs or 19 helicopters.
iv.TCG Anadolu will be equipped with four mechanised vehicles, two personnel landing vehicles (LCVP), and two landing craft air cushions (LCAC).
i.TCG Anadolu, the world’s first warship in its class, can land and take off Turkish UCAVs Bayraktar TB3 and Kizilelma, as well as light attack aircraft Hurjet.
ii.The multi-purpose ship will enable Turkey to perform military and humanitarian operations all over the world and position it as the “leader” of game-changing technologies in the defence sector.
iii.The action will strengthen Turkish naval power and make the country one of the few in the world with an indigenously built aircraft carrier.
iv.Weapons, combat management, electronic warfare, infrared search and track, electro-optical search, laser warning, torpedo defence systems, and radars for the ship were built domestically.
v.With its own logistics support and without the assistance of a home base, the TCG Anadolu ship will be able to transport at least a battalion-sized force to the designated region.
About the Republic of Türkiye:
President – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Capital – Ankara
Currency – Turkish Lira

National Award-Winning Actress Uttara Baokar Passed Away National Award-winning actress and noted theatre artist Uttara Baokar passed away in Pune, Maharashtra, at the age of 79. She was born on 5th August 1944.
About Uttara Baokar:
i. Uttara Baokar, whose acting career spanned more than 5 decades, was trained at the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi, Delhi.
ii. She has performed in more than 50 plays and is well known for her roles in Padmavati in Mukyhamantri, Mena in Mena Gurjari, and Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello.
iii. She was prominently known for “Tamas” (1988), “Ek Din Achanak” (1989), Rukmavati Ki Haveli (1991), “Two Women” (Doghi) (1996), Sardari Begum (1996), “Thakshak” (1999), and Uttarayan (2004).
iv. She has worked on a number of television serials, including ‘Rishtey’, ‘Jabb Love Hua’, ‘Kashmakash Zindagi Ki’, and ‘Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin’.
v. She studied acting teaching techniques at GDR Drama School, Berlin and worked as a professor for voice, speech and acting at NSD New Delhi.
i. Uttara Baokar won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Acting (Hindi theatre) in 1984.
ii. In 1988, she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Ek Din Achanak”.

Journalist Piyush Babele Authored a New Book Titled “Gandhi: Siyasat aur Sampradaiykta”

Journalist and author Piyush Babele have authored a new book in Hindi – “Gandhi: Siyasat aur Sampradaiykta” (Gandhi: Politics and Communalism) about Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs about religion, politics, and the struggle for freedom from the British.

  • The book is published by Genuine Publications & Media Pvt. ltd. The book also indicates the Hindu-Muslim riots and the blame that was tried to put on Mahatma Gandhi.

Piyush Babele currently heads the Madhya Pradesh Congress’ media department.

Health Special Issues of CSIR Magazines “Vigyan Pragati” & “Science Reporter” released

Health Special issues of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR)’s popular science magazines “Vigyan Pragati” and “Science Reporter” were released at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Headquarters in New Delhi, Delhi.
The magazines were released by Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary of the Department of Health Research (DHR) & Director General (DG) of ICMR and Prof Ranjana Aggarwal, Director of CSIR-National Institute Of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR–NIScPR).

  • The authors of the special issues were the working scientists of ICMR labs who came together in a workshop at CSIR-NIScPR in November 2022.
  • The Health special issues comprise several health-related articles such as mental health, epidemiology, lifestyle diseases, maternal & oral health, and health consequences of child marriage. These two magazines have a 7-decade history and have the major responsibility to inculcate a scientific temper in society by disseminating authentic S&T knowledge.

39th Siachen Day – 13 April 2023 Siachen Day is annually observed by the Indian Army on April 13 to commemorate the Indian Army’s “Operation Meghdoot”. The day honours the Bravehearts of the Indian Army who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty during Operation Meghdoot.
The day also recognises the Indian army personnel (Siachen Warriors) who continue to guard the Siachen Glacier, the northern frontier which is a part of the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

  • The Siachen Glacier is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas

13th April 2023 marks the observance of the 39th Siachen Day.
Operation Meghdoot:
i. Operation Meghdoot was led by Major (later Col) RS Sandhu.
ii. 1984 Operation “Meghdoot” was the codename for the Indian Armed Forces’ operation to seize control of the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir (now in the UT Ladakh), precipitating the Siachen conflict. It was the 1st military offensive of its kind.
iii. The operation was successful in preventing Pakistan’s upcoming Operation Ababeel, which was meant to achieve the same objective as Meghdoot. As a result, Indian forces were able to take full control of the 70-kilometre-long Siachen Glacier.
iv. Currently, the Indian Army is still the only army in the world to have taken tanks and other heavy weapons up to such a height (well over 5,000 metres or 16,000 feet).
v. In the region of the glacier, up to 10 army battalions from the Indian and Pakistani armies are each actively deployed at heights of up to 6,400 metres (21,000 feet).
vi. Colonel Narendra “Bull” Kumar, a mountaineering legend, created a map of Siachen that played a major role in the success of Operation Meghdoot in 1984.

104th anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – 13th April 202313th April 2023 marks the 104th Anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, on 13th April 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab, British India(now in Punjab, India).

  • The day aims to pay homage to the victims of the massacre and reflect on the impacts of this event on the Independence movement of India.

About Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:
i.On 13th April 1919, which also marked the Baisakhi festival, a harvest festival in Punjab, thousands of Indians gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the Rowlatt Act and the arrest of pro-independence activists Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satyapal.
ii. On that day, temporary brigadier general, Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer had announced the implementation of a curfew throughout Amritsar and banned all processions and prohibited public gatherings of groups of 4 or more people.
iii.General Dyer opened fire on the gathering at Jallianwala Bagh in order to enforce Martial Law prevailing that was in effect at Amritsar during the time.
iv.It was reported that around  1,650 rounds of bullets were fired at the crowd.
v.According to the Hunter Commission, a 1919 investigation into the Jallianwala Bagh massacre headed by William Hunter, around 379 people were killed (including men, women and children) and around 1500 were injured.
Jallianwala Bagh Memorial:
i.The Jallianwala Bagh Memorial was established in 1951 by the Government of India to commemorate the Amritsar massacre.
ii.The memorial comprises a 30-feet-high central pylon that stands in the middle of a shallow tank.
iii.It was designed by American architect Benjamin Polk and inaugurated in 1961.
iv.The memorial is managed by the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust.


( Essay Writing)

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most important festivals in India. It is celebrated over a period of five days in October or November every year. This festival marks the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It holds great significance for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists, and is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm across the country and the world.

The festival of Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali” which means “rows of lighted lamps”. The festival is celebrated with the lighting of diyas (small earthen lamps) and candles, which are placed in rows or patterns outside homes, on balconies, and in temples. The lighted lamps symbolize the triumph of good over evil and the dispelling of darkness.

Diwali is also the time to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, into homes. People clean their homes and decorate them with flowers, rangolis, and lights to welcome the goddess. They also prepare a variety of sweets and delicacies and share them with friends and family.

Apart from being a religious festival, Diwali is also a time for social gatherings, exchanging gifts, and bursting of firecrackers. It is a time when people forget their differences and come together to celebrate the festival of lights. Schools and offices are closed, and people take a break from their routine and spend time with their loved ones.

However, in recent years, Diwali has come under scrutiny due to the environmental hazards caused by bursting of firecrackers. The excessive noise and air pollution caused by firecrackers has led to a growing awareness among people to celebrate a green Diwali by avoiding the use of firecrackers and opting for eco-friendly ways of celebrating the festival.

In conclusion, Diwali is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the spirit of togetherness and love. It is a time to welcome prosperity and happiness into our lives and spread joy and light around us. It is important to celebrate the festival in an eco-friendly manner, and to respect the sentiments of others while celebrating.


Millet is a group of cereal grains that belong to the Poaceae family, commonly known as the grass familyMillets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals that are highly tolerant of drought and other extreme weather conditionsThey have a similar nutrient content to other major cerealsMillets are widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human foodMost species generally referred to as millets belong to the tribe Paniceae, but some millets also belong to various other taxa.

The following is the quiz about millets.



Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was a leading activist and social reformer who dedicated his life, working for the upliftment of the Dalits (the untouchables) and the socially backward class of IndiaHe was born on April 14, 1891, in Mhow, Madhya PradeshHe was a lawyer, economist, politician, and social reformer who campaigned for the rights of the ‘untouchable’ caste of IndiaHe was also the principal architect of the Constitution of India and a founding father of the Republic of India.

Here is the link to participate in quiz

Click here to attempt


( Essay Writing)

Millets are a group of small-grained, hardy cereal crops that have been grown for thousands of years in many parts of the world. In recent years, millets have gained popularity as a nutritious and sustainable alternative to other grains. Here are some of the health benefits of millets:

  1. Rich in nutrients: Millets are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Millets are also low in fat and contain no gluten, making them an excellent choice for those with gluten intolerance.
  2. Good for heart health: Millets have been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. They are also high in magnesium, which is essential for heart health.
  3. Helps in weight loss: Millets are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full for longer and reduce your overall calorie intake. They are also low in glycemic index, meaning they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
  4. Improves digestion: Millets are rich in fiber, which can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. They also contain compounds like phytic acid and tannins, which aid in digestion by reducing inflammation and increasing the absorption of nutrients.
  5. Good for diabetes: Millets have a low glycemic index and are rich in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. They are also high in magnesium, which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  6. Boosts immunity: Millets are rich in antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and protect against diseases. They are also rich in nutrients like vitamin B, iron, and zinc, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.

In conclusion, millets are a nutritious and sustainable alternative to other grains, with several health benefits. Including millets in your diet can improve your overall health and well-being.

Current Affairs-12 April 2023

Exercise Cope India 23 begins between Indian Air Force and US Air Force in West BengalOn April 10, 2023, the first phase of 11-day Exercise Cope India 23 was initiated between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF) at West Bengal’s (WB) Panagarh Air Force base, also known as Air Force Station Arjan Singh.

  • Its venues also include Kalaikunda (West Bengal) and Agra (Uttar Pradesh) Air Force Stations.
  • Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) aircrew will also participate in the capacity of observers.

Note: This exercise is being held after a gap of 4 years as it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The previous edition of the exercise was held in 2019 at air bases in Kalaikunda and Panagarh.
Aim of Exercise:
To enhance mutual understanding between IAF & USAF and sharing their best practices
i.The Su-30MKI fighter aircraft will spearhead the IAF contingent which also features the LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas, IL-78 mid-air refuelers and air-borne early warning aircraft.
ii.The USAF will field the F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jets.
iii.Both sides will field the C-130J and C-17 aircraft, with the USAF operating an MC-130J, as well.
Key Points:
i.This phase of the exercise will focus on air mobility and will involve transport aircraft and Special Forces assets from both the Air Forces.
ii.The exercise events are expected to primarily support fighter aircraft operations by using lasers to identify targets in frontline areas, enabling precision-guided bombs to accurately hit their intended targets.
iii.Cope India originated in 2004 as a fighter training exercise, but has since evolved to encompass a diverse range of training activities such as subject matter expert exchanges, air mobility training, airdrop training, and large-force exercises, in addition to fighter-training exercises.

State Energy Efficiency Index 2021-22: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan & Telangana Emerges as Front-Runners During the RPM (Review, Planning, and Monitoring) meeting of States and State Utilities in New Delhi, Delhi, Union Minister R. K. Singh, Ministry of Power, released the report of the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-2022.

  • Five states are in the Front Runner category (>60 points) in SEEI 2021-22: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Telangana.
  • Four states are in the Achiever category (50–60 points): Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab.
  • The best-performing states in their respective state groups are: Chandigarh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka.
  • The two states that improved the most from the last index are: Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

According to the 11th edition of the “Annual Integrated Rating and Ranking,” which was published by the Ministry of PowerAdani Electricity Mumbai Ltd. (Adani Electricity) has been recognised as the top electricity distribution company (DISCOM) in India among 71 such companies for its excellent governance, including financial sustainability, performance excellence, and the external environment.About Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (Adani Electricity):
i.Adani Electricity, a division of the Adani Group, is a power generating, transmission, and retail electricity distribution company.
ii.Adani Electricity owns and operates India’s largest and most efficient electricity distribution network.
CEO – Kandarp Patel

Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve Tops in Management Review: 5th cycle of MEEAccording to the summary report of the 5th cycle of of Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves in India,  by the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA), the Periyar Tiger Reserve(TR) in Kerala has reserve topped the list of  best managed tiger reserve in India with a Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) score of 94.38%. 

  • Periya TR is followed by the Satpura TR (Madhya Pradesh) and Bandipur TR (Karnataka) with a MEE score of 93.18% and Nagarhole TR with 92.42%.
  • The report was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating the Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger programme, at Mysuru, Karnataka.

Key Points:
i.The 5th cycle of MEE of TR in India in 2022 indicate a mean score of 77.92% (ranging between 50% to 94%) for 51 Tiger Reserves.
ii.A total of 12 Tiger Reserves have achieved ‘Excellent’ category, followed by 20 Tiger Reserves in ‘Very Good’ category, 14 Tiger Reserves in ‘Good’ category and 5 Tiger Reserves in ‘Fair’ category.
About National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA):
NTCA has been constituted under section 38 L (1) of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
Chairperson– Bhupender Yadav (Union Minister for MoEF&CC)
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

MoSPI Development Statistics: Gujarat Made the Best Use of MPLADS Funds in FY23, UP Received the Most FundsAccording to data presented in parliament on March 27, 2023 by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Gujarat had the highest utilization-to-released fund ratio of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds in the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23), while Rs. 66 crores were allocated to the state; it utilized Rs. 95.77 crore, or 145.11%.

  • Other major states with the greatest utilisation-to-released-fund ratios are Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.

i.According to the data, the amount of funds received from the Union Government by each state is proportional to the number of MPs elected in that state.
ii.For example, Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha MPs, received Rs. 427.5 crore and had spent 99% of the funds received in FY23 as of March 27, 2023.
iii.Following Uttar Pradesh are Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal, which each earned Rs. 341.34 crore, Rs. 219.95 crore, and Rs. 182.17 crore.
iv.Under the MPLADS scheme, which is a Union Government scheme, each Member of Parliament (MP) has the option of proposing to the District Collector that work worth Rs. 5 crores be undertaken in his or her constituency.
About Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI):
Ministers of State (MoS) [Independent Charge] – Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurugram Constituency – Haryana)

Armed Forces form Panel to Examine Disability Pension

The Indian Armed Forces have set up an inter-services panel chaired by the Army’s Adjutant General (AG) to examine the disability pensions among armed force personnel. The directive to set up the panel came from the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence,  headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan.

  • This follows the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s report (released in March 2023) which questioned the rise of disability pensions of retired officers, especially of medical officers.
  • Depending on the percentage of disability, armed personnel can get higher payouts of up to 30% of their pension benefits.

The total defence pensions for 2023-2024 are estimated at Rs 1.38 lakh crore.

Kerala Agricultural University Notified as Centre for Authority for Plant Protection Varieties, Farmers’ Rights 

Kerala Agricultural University(KAU) has been notified as a centre of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority under The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW).

  • The objective of the notification is to protect the rights of Kerala farming communities over the traditional plant varieties.
  • Any individual, group of individuals, or governmental or non-governmental organisation may file a claim for compensation on behalf of those communities that have significantly contributed to the evolution of any registered plant variety
  • Kerala Agricultural University can be contacted by any farmer in Kerala who believes they have contributed to the evolution of a recognised variety.

RBI Issued Outsourcing of IT Services Directions 2023; Simplifies Application process for registration of CICsOn April 10, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the directions named RBI (Outsourcing of Information Technology Services) Directions, 2023 for the outsourcing of Information Technology (IT) services by banks, NBFCs (Non-bank financial companies) and Regulated Entities (REs) to ensure that such arrangements do not undermine their responsibilities and obligations to customers.

  • The Directions shall come into effect from October 1, 2023 to provide the REs with adequate time to comply with the requirements.

a.Regulatory and Supervisory requirements for the REs:
i.As per RBI directions, the Outsourcing of any activity should not diminish RE’s obligations as also of its Board and Senior Management.
ii.The RE also should take steps to ensure that the service provider employs the same high standard of care in performing the services as would have been employed by the RE, if the same activity was not outsourced.
iii.REs shall not engage an IT service provider that would result in reputation of RE being compromised or weakened.
– RBI simplifies the application process for registration of CICs
i.On April 10, 2023, RBI has undertaken a comprehensive review of the system of processing of applications for registration of Core Investment Companies (CICs) to make the process smoother and easier.
ii.To make the registration process user friendly, the number of documents to be furnished along with the application form has been reduced to 18 from the existing set of 52 documents.
About the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1st April 1935

SEBI Asks AIFs to Provide “Direct Plan” Option to Investors; Introduces Trail Model for Distribution Commission   The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has mandated alternative investment funds (AIFs) to provide investors with the option of a “direct plan” and introduced a trail model for distribution commission.

  • The framework for direct investments will go into effect on May 1, 2023.

With this directive, SEBI intends to reduce misselling, promote transparency in fee payments, bring transparency in expenses, and provide investors more options when investing in AIFs.
SEBI has also issued guidelines for excluding an investor from an investment in an AIF. In light of the recommendations made by the Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC), it has been determined that an AIF may excuse its investor from taking part in a specific investment under certain circumstances.
About the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairperson– Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1992

NSE Indices Launches India’s 1st Nifty REITs & InvITs IndexOn April 10, 2023, the NSE Indices Limited, a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), launched India’s first index to track Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) called Nifty REITs and InvITs Index.

  • The Nifty REITs and InvITs index will track the performance of REITs and InvITs that are publicly listed and traded or not listed but permitted to trade on NSE.
  • Currently, the index comprises three listed REITs and three listed InvITs (total 6 securities).
  • The Nifty REITs & InvITs Index has a base date of July 01, 2019, and a base value of 1000.

Key Points:
i.The index will be reviewed and rebalanced quarterly.
ii.The weights of securities within the index will be based on their free-float market capitalisation, subject to a security cap of 33% each, and the aggregate weight of the top three securities is capped at 72%.
iii.REITs and InvITs invests in real estate projects and infrastructure projects with a long gestation period. Thus they will enable investors to get exposure to different regular income generating real estate and infrastructure assets.
iv.There are 20 InvITs and 5 REITs registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Note – Blackstone sponsored Nexus Select Trust has filed its draft offer documents for an initial public offering of its REITs while Bharat Highways InvIT has also filed its draft papers for an IPO.

Kotak General Insurance ties up with actyv.ai to sell Insurance Products to MSMEs Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited (Kotak General Insurance-KGI) has partnered with actyv.ai to offer basic insurance products to new-age Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Key Points:
i.Through this KGI will offer its customized small OTC (Over The Counter) insurance products like health and commercial policy by utilizing actyv.ai’s AI (Artificial Intelligence)-powered platform to support the business sustainability of small businesses.
ii.This partnership will offer basic insurance to the last mile of the industrial value chain.
iii.Enterprises on actyv.ai’s platform will now be able to offer group insurance to all of its distributors, retailers, and suppliers.
About actyv.ai:
Founder, Global CEO– Raghunath Subramanian
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
About Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Ltd. (KGI):
Managing Director (MD) & CEO– Suresh Agarwal
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

ADB, TPDDL sign Rs 150 crore deal to enhance power distribution in Delhi On April 10, 2023, a Rs 150 crore ($18.2m) agreement has been inked between the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), the distribution arm of The Tata Power Company Limited (Tata Power), and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to boost Delhi’s power distribution.

  • Under this, ADB will subscribe to non-convertible debentures worth 150 crore. The funds will be utilized for grid enhancements.

Grant to TPDDL for BESS:
Additionally, TPDDL will receive a $2 million grant from ADB to partially finance the purchase and integration of a pilot Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). This grant is provided by Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Climate Innovation and Development Fund (CIDF) and administered by ADB.

  • The 10-megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS is South Asia’s first grid-scaled energy storage project at the distribution transformer level. It will enable electricity to be stored and delivered on demand, reducing grid instability, and providing the flexibility to integrate intermittent solar and wind energy resources.

Key Points:
i.TPDDL is a joint venture between Tata Power and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
ii.Mainstreaming BESS at distribution transformer level will better integrate renewable energy sources and contribute to a more disaster-resilient power distribution system for Delhi,
iii.ADB’s investment will enable Tata Power in ensuring a high-quality power supply for consumers and help integrate clean energy into the power supply.
iv.The above funds will be utilized for various purposes, including the construction of a new 66/11-kilovolt grid, expansion and enhancement of transformers, substations, feeder lines, switching stations, and installation of smart meters.
i.In 2022 India’s Ministry of Power targeted battery storage capacity of 4% of total electricity consumption by 2030. To reach that goal, India would need a total battery energy storage capacity of 182 gigawatt-hours by 2030.
ii.Launched in September 2021, CIDF is a blended finance facility managed by ADB, established with an initial $25 million philanthropic commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs.
About Tata Power:
CEO & Managing Director– Praveer Sinha
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

JICA, Citibank Partnered to Co-finance $125 million for Indusind Bank for Onlending to Agriculture SectorJapanese lender Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has partnered with Citibank to provide a $125 million funding line to domestic private sector lender Indusind Bank.

  • Indusind Bank will be utilising the co-finance funding for onlending to the agricultural sector in India.
  • The funding to Indusind Bank includes a JPY 13 billion (approx USD 97.45 million) loan from the JICA and another $30 million from Citibank.

Key Points:
i.The social finance offering intends to improve financial access for farmers and catalyze capital investment in India’s agricultural sector, which accounts for 17 per cent of GDP and employs 45 percent of the people.
ii.The financial facility will be helpful for the farmersw in purchase of farm equipment, seeds, and fertilizers and will also be used by small agricultural supply chain service providers.
iii.Earlier Citibank has committed USD 1 trillion to sustainable finance by 2030, as well as expanding access to basic services for 15 million underserved and low-income households, including 10 million women.
iv.JICA’s previous commitments to India include over Rs 4,000 crore support to build the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link.

IIT-Kanpur partners with Defence PSU to focus on Innovation The Start-Up Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC), a technology business incubator of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur), Uttar Pradesh, has signed a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Agreement with the Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) at the Ordnance Factory Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

  • The agreement between SIIC and AWEIL aims to provide financial support to the startup ecosystem and promote the incubation of new technology, knowledge, and innovation-based startups at IIT Kanpur under the CSR Policy of AW&EIL.
  • The collaboration aims to drive the growth of high-potential startups that prioritise innovation and stimulate economic growth.

Note: AWEIL is one of the 7 new Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) formed by converting the Ordnance Factory Board into fully government-owned enterprises.
Key People:
The agreement was signed in the presence of dignitaries from SIIC, IIT Kanpur, and AWEIL.
Key Points:
i. As a result of this agreement, the expected outcome of this partnership is the overall growth and progress of India, as the startups that emerge from this cooperation are likely to contribute significantly to the economy and society in general.
ii. The partnership is also anticipated to have a powerful synergistic effect that uses the resources and experience of both organisations to support startups at IIT Kanpur that are centred on cutting-edge technology.
iii. It also expects to establish a dynamic startup ecosystem that promotes revolutionary research and development (R&D), generates employment opportunities, and positions India as a leading innovator on the global stage.
About the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC):
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Dr Nikhil Agarwal
Headquarters- Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
About the Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL):
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)- Rajesh Choudhary
Headquarters- Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Establishment- 2021

President of India Presents 11th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation & Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards of NIFOn 10th April 2023, President of India, Droupadi Murmu, presented the 11th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards of the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre (RBCC), New Delhi, Delhi.
On the same day, she also inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) 2023 at the Sports Ground near RBCC.
Note: 1st edition of the National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards were presented in 2001.
Key Points:
i.The NIF has created a database of more than 325000 technological ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge practices from around 625 districts across India.
ii.Under various award functions, NIF has recognised around 1093 grassroots innovators and school students at the national level.
iii.The efforts of NIF celebrates the achievements of innovators and the spirit of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) –2023
i.Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) 2023, under the Department of Science and Technology(DST), is an effort to promote science, technology, and innovation and encourage the general public to undertake entrepreneurship and make their mark in India and abroad.
ii.FINE 2023, the exhibition of innovation will be held at the RBCC from 10th to 13th April 2023.
To visit the exhibition of innovation, people have to register online on https://nif.org.in/fine2023
About National Innovation Foundation (NIF)-India:
i.NIF-India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
ii.NIF invites the entries of unaided technological innovations and traditional knowledge developed at grassroots by an individual (Citizen of India) or group.
iii.This recognises the innovations in the field of agriculture, health, energy, household or utility, transportation, livestock etc. leading to the reduction in drudgery, livelihood generation, development of plant varieties or herbal remedies for human or animal or farming problems, or any other low cost sustainable green technologies.

UIDAI & IIT Bombay signs MoU to Develop Touchless Biometric Capture SystemOn 10th April 2023, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-Bombay), Mumbai, Maharashtra, to develop a robust touchless biometric capture system for easier usage by people anytime, anywhere.

  • Under the MoU, UIDAI and IIT-Bombay will conduct joint research to develop a mobile fingerprint capture system and a liveness model connected with the capture system.

Key Highlights:
i. The touchless biometric capture system will enable fingerprint authentication from home, similar to face authentication, once it is fully developed and operational.
ii. The new system is expected to capture multiple fingerprints at once and increase the success rate of authentication.
iii. It will be an addition to the services already provided by the Aadhaar ecosystem.
iv. This system will use an intelligent combination of signal/image processing, machine learning, and deep learning with a common mobile phone that is accessible to most citizens with a good user experience.
v. Research and development (R&D) for the creation of a system for UIDAI would be conducted jointly as a result of the partnership between UIDAI and IIT Bombay through its National Centre of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security (NCETIS).

  • The NCETIS is a joint initiative by IIT-Bombay and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), under its flagship Digitial India Programme.
  • It has aimed at developing indigenous technology solutions for Internal Security forces in broad areas of Electronic System Design and Manufacturing.

About the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI):
The UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (“Aadhaar Act 2016”) on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under MeitY.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Dr Saurabh Garg
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
About the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-Bombay):
Chairman- Dr Sharad Kumar Saraf
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment- 1958

Amolops siju: ZSI Scientists discovered a New Frog Species in Meghalaya’s Siju CaveA team of scientists from the Pune (Maharashtra)-based Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of cascade ranid frogs of genus Amolops named “Amolops siju” from the Siju cave in the South Garo Hills district, Meghalaya.

  • The discovery of the new species named after the siju cave was recently issued in the Journal of Animal Diversity, an international journal published by Lorestan University, Iran.
  • The new species belongs to the order: Anura and the family: Ranidae.

i. This is the 2nd time a frog has been discovered inside a cave in India. The 1st was the Micrixalus spelunca, which was found in a cave in Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu in 2014.
ii. This is the 4th new species of Cascade frog (Amolops) being published by the same team.

  • The other 3 other species of cascade frog discovered by the team, are “Amolops chanakya”, “Amolops terraorchis” and “Amolops tawang” from Arunachal Pradesh.

About the discovery: 
i. The newly discovered frog was found in the 4 km long natural limestone cave known as Siju in January 2020.
ii. The specimens of the new species were collected from the twilight (60-100 m from the cave entrance) and the dark zones (beyond 100 m of the cave entrance) of the cave.
iii. The team did not find any troglobitic (cave-adapted) modification, suggesting that this species of frog is not a permanent resident of the cave.
The team of researchers includes Bhaskar Saikia and Dr Bikramjit Sinha of ZSI, Shillong, Meghalaya, and Dr KP Dinesh and Shabnam Ansari of ZSI, Pune, Maharashtra.
About the Species:
i. Amolops siju is a member of the Marmoratus species group isolated in geographical space from its phylogenetic sister species and having distinct morphological characters.
ii. Diagnosis:

  • Adult male (size large)- Snout-vent length (SVL) 63.4 mm
  • Adult female (size very large)- SVL 84.5–94.4 mm

Click here for a Description of a new species, Amolops siju.

Former TN Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta Passed Away

On 10th April 2023, Former Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Tamil Nadu(TN), Naresh Gupta, an IAS officer of the 1973 batch hailing from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, passed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN) at the age of 72.

Naresh Gupta has held various significant positions in TN, including the 1st Collector of Sivaganga, TN, from 1985 to 1986.

  • He has also served as the Secretary to Governor Bhishma Narayan Singh from 1991 to 1993, Home Secretary from 2001 to 2002, and Member Secretary of the State Planning Commission from 2002 to 2005.
  • He served as the CEO of TN from 1998 to 2000 and from 2005 to 2010.
  • He also authored a book “Human Development in India” based on his experiences at the Planning Commission.
  • Naresh Gupta retired in 2010 and was posted as a member of the Central Administrative Tribunal after his retirement.

SBI launches its Coffee Table Book “The Banker to Every Indian”

State Bank of India (SBI)headquartered in Mumbai(Maharashtra) announced the launch of its coffee table book titled “The Banker to Every Indian” which celebrates 75 years of Indian independence and the 200-year history of SBI, which was established in 1955.
The coffee table book details the Bank’s history ever since independence.

  • The book is a tribute to the spirit of India’s independence and SBI’s contribution to nation-building.
  • It showcases the ethics, technological advancements, and transformation with the important initiatives undertaken by the Bank.

National Safe Motherhood Day 2023 – April 11National Safe Motherhood Day is annually observed across the globe on April 11 to promote awareness about the importance of having proper access to healthcare during the various stages of pregnancy and motherhood.

The day also marks the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi (1869-1944), wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and a great freedom fighter and social reformer.

  • 11th April 2023 marks the 154th birth anniversary of Kasturbai Gandhi. She was born on 11 April 1869, in Porbandar, British India(now in Gujarat).

National Safe Motherhood Day was initiated by the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI), a grassroots movement for the health and rights of women and newborns.
i. In 2003, the Government of India (GoI) declared April 11 of every year as National Safe Motherhood Day to promote maternal health and reduce maternal mortality.
ii. 1st National Safe Motherhood Day was observed on 11th April 2003.
iii. India was the 1st country to observe National Safe Motherhood Day.

TN Governor Prohibition of Online Gaming and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022On April 10, 2023, the Governor of Tamil Nadu (TN) Ravindra Narayana (RN) Ravi approved the ‘Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gaming and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022’ to ban online gambling, including online rummy and poker with stakes.
Reason behind formation of this Bill:
Incidents of online gaming addicts losing money and falling into a debt trap.
i.The proposed bill suggests that individuals who participate in online gambling may face a fine of Rs 5,000, a jail sentence of up to three months, or both.
ii.Those who advertise online gambling could face imprisonment for up to 1 year, and those who organize such activities could be imprisoned for 3 years.
iii.The bill prohibits the playing of online gambling and games of chance for money or other stakes.

  • It defines online games of chance as those where both an element of chance and skill are involved, and the element of chance dominates over the element of skill; games are presented as games of chance; the element of chance can only be eliminated by superlative skill; or games involve cards, dice, or wheel which work on random event generators.

In June 2022, the TN government formed a committee led by Justice K. Chandru, Former Chief Justice of Madras High Court, to examine the negative effects of online gambling, which submitted a report to the Chief Minister (CM) Muthuvel Karunanidhi (MK) Stalin recommending a ban on online gaming through an ordinance. The state assembly passed the ordinance in October 2022 and sent it to the governor for approval, but it was returned after 131 days on the grounds that the state government lacked the authority to legislate on the matter and the bill went against various judicial pronouncements.

The assembly then passed the bill again and sent it back to the governor, who gave his approval following a resolution by the state assembly urging the President and Central Government to direct the governor to clear the bill within a specific timeframe.
Key Note:
The Indian gaming market is projected to grow from $2.2 billion currently to $7 billion by 2026. It has 3 gaming unicorns, 400-plus gaming companies, 15,000-plus gaming developers, and around 420 million gamers.
About Tamil Nadu (TN):
Wildlife Sanctuaries– Gangaikondan Spotted Deer Sanctuary, Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary, Nellai Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological Parks– Children’s Park, Kurumbapatti Zoological Park

Current Affairs- 11 April 2023

PM lays Foundation Stone & Dedicates to the nation Various Projects in Chennai, TNOn April 8, 2023, the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid foundation stones for several projects during his visit to Tamil Nadu (TN). These include the following:
i.The PM inaugurated the Rs 1,260 crore New Integrated Terminal Building (NITB- Phase 1) aka ‘Golden Terminal’ of Chennai International Airport which will boost passenger handling. It will increase the passenger serving capacity of the airport from 23 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA) to 30 MPPA.
ii.The PM has inaugurated TN’s second Vande Bharat train namely ‘Chennai–Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express’ that will ply from Chennai to Coimbatore.
iii.He also participated in the celebrations commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna Math at Vivekananda House in Chennai.
About Tamil Nadu (TN):
Capital– Chennai
Wildlife Sanctuaries– Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Palani(Kodaikanal) Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological park– Arignar anna zoological park, Amirthi zoological park
(Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as the Vandalur Zoo is the first public zoo in India and was established in 1855)

PM Inaugurated ‘Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger’; Launched IBCAOn April, 9, 2023, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the program ‘Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger’at Mysuru University in Mysuru, Karnataka, the first of its kind in India, organised to mark 50 years of Project Tiger.
Other Major Initiatives:

  • The PM launched the International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA) for the conservation of 7 major big cats – tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah in collaboration with countries which contain the natural habitat of these big cat species.
  • He released the publications ‘Amrit Kaal Ka Vision For Tiger Conservation’, a summary report of the 5th cycle of Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves, declared tiger numbers and released the summary report of All India Tiger Estimation (5th cycle).
  • He also released a commemorative coin on the completion of 50 years of Project Tiger.

UP gets World’s First Conservation & Breeding Centre for Asian king vultures Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre (JCBC), the world’s 1st conservation and breeding centre developed exclusively for the conservation of the Asian king vulture in Maharajganj district in Uttar Pradesh(UP) is set to be inaugurated by UP Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath on the occasion of International Vulture Awareness Day(first Saturday of September).

  • The JCBC is located at the Bhari Baisi village in the Farenda range of the Gorakhpur forest division.
  • Asian king vulture is critically endangered and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The objective of establishing the centre is to breed king vultures in captivity and release them into the wild to maintain a sustainable population of the species.
Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre (JCBC):
i. The JCBC is spread across 1.5 hectares in the Gorakhpur forest division.
ii. It is a state-of-the-art centre worth around Rs 15 crore, with multiple aviaries (cages for birds) for vultures, including breeding and holding aviaries, nursery aviaries for juveniles, and hospital and recovery aviaries for those in need of medical care.
iii. Other features include a food processing unit where vulture food is manufactured and tested before being served to the birds, as well as an incubation centre where eggs are artificially reared to assure 100% success.
iv. It is a 15-year project which aims to raise at least 40 vultures.
About Asian King Vulture:
i. The Asian king vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), often known as the red-headed vulture (also known as the Indian black vulture or Pondicherry vulture), is mainly found in the Indian subcontinent, with small disjunct populations in some parts of Southeast Asia.
ii. In 2004, the species was uplifted to ‘near threatened’ from ‘least concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • In 2007, it was uplisted to ‘critically endangered‘ on the IUCN Red List.

iii. Recently, the Vulture population in India has been declining due to the widespread use of the Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac in veterinary care.

  • Diclofenac is no longer used in veterinary medicine in India.

Key Points:
i. The infrastructure creation of the centre was started in 2021.
ii. 2 Phases of the Centres:

  • 1st phase- To have the complete infrastructure in place.
  • 2nd phase- Breeding of vultures

iii. The JCBC will have a total of 10 vultures for breeding. The breeding adults will be added gradually.
iv. The forest department has partnered with the Bombay Natural History Society for technical guidance.

MoF Establishes 4-Member Panel to Review Pension System for Government Employees  The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has formed a 4-member committee led by Finance Secretary T. V. Somanathan to examine the pension system for government employees.

  • The panel will also include Deepak Mohanty, Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA); Annie Matthew, Special Secretary, Department of Expenditure (DEA), MoF; and Radha Chauhan, Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

According to its mandate, the committee would recommend any necessary changes to the National Pension System (NPS), generally known as the New Pension Scheme, as it pertains to employees of the government.

i.In March 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the formation of a Finance Secretary-chaired Committee to investigate the problem of NPS pensions for government employees and provide a solution that fulfils employees’ requirements while ensuring budgetary discipline.
ii.The decision comes as several states abandon the NPS in favour of the dearness allowance-linked Old Pension Scheme (OPS), while employee associations in a few other states increase demand for the same.
iii.The state governments of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh have informed the Government of India (GoI) of their decision to switch back to the OPS and have asked for a reimbursement of the corpus accumulated under the NPS.
The MoF has informed the Parliament that it is not taking any proposals into consideration to reinstate the OPS for GoI employees recruited after January 1, 2004.
Functions of the committee:  
i.The committee will make suggestions for enhancing the pension benefits of government employees covered by the NPS while also guaranteeing economic discipline to protect common citizens.
ii.To arrive at its recommendations, the committee would establish its own procedure and mechanism, including consultation with states.
iii.However, the MoF did not specify a deadline for the committee’s recommendations to be submitted.
Key Points:
i.The NPS has been introduced for all government employees, except those in the armed forces, who joined the GoI on or after January 1, 2004.
ii.The majority of State/Union Territory (UT) governments have also notified the NPS of their new employees.
iii.According to the PFRDA, with the exception of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, 26 state governments have notified and implemented NPS for their employees.

Two-day 1st International Quantum Communication Conclave held on 27-28 March 2023On March 27, 2023, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Minister of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Railways, and Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State for Communications, inaugurated the Two days ‘First International Quantum Communication Conclave’ which was held on 27-28 March 2023 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

  • The conclave was organised by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications, and Telecommunication Engineering Center (TEC), in collaboration with C-DOT, TSDSI and IEEE Communications Society – Delhi chapter.
  •  The conclave intends to bring together international experts in the domain, practitioners, start-ups, researchers and the scientific community.
  • It provided an opportunity to learn about the latest advancements in quantum communication technologies.

Additional Info:
i.The standards of the ‘Test Guide of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) System’ and ‘Quantum-Safe and Classical Cryptography System’ were released at the conclave.
ii.C-DOT has developed QKD and Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) security solutions for communication.
iii.Ashwini Vaishnaw announced the Quantum Hackathon 2023 to find vulnerabilities in QKD, PQC solutions and to further strengthen the Quantum Ecosystem in India.

  • Successful Hackathon applicants would be provided with a prize of Rs 10 Lakh for each break into the QKD or PQC systems and an opportunity to further collaborate with C-DOT in the area of Quantum Security.

iv.Funding by C-DOT was also announced for the development of solutions that can break QKD or PQC security through CDOT’s Collaborative Research Policy (CCRP 2022).
-Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Awards- 2022
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Awards – 2022 was presented on March 27, 2023 at the conclave.

  • The award have been instituted by DoT to encourage telecom ecosystem for their outstanding contributions in the areas of telecom skilling, services, manufacturing, applications.

Awardees of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Awards – 2022:

Norway, Singapore gain as India’s FPI destinations in FY23Mauritius declinesAccording to the data from the Mumbai (Maharashtra)-based National Securities Depository (NSDL), Norway, and Singapore gained as the FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investment) destinations for India in FY23 while Mauritius witnessed the sharpest decline.

  • Now, Singapore is the second biggest jurisdiction for FPI flows in India after the United States (US).
  • Singapore is followed by Luxembourg at 3rd place, and Mauritius’ ranking has dropped to 4 (from 2) in FY23.

Key Points:
i.The total Assets Under Custody (AUC) from Mauritius declined nearly 42% to Rs 6.66 lakh crore at the end of March 2023, from Rs 10.88 lakh crore in March 2022.

  • Norway and Singapore saw a 13% and 5% increase in AUC, respectively, during FY23

ii.The decreased attractiveness of Mauritius as a favored location for FPI into India can be attributed to the renegotiation of the India-Mauritius tax treaty and increased scrutiny of flows.
iii.Overall, FPI AUC fell 4.44% in FY23, amid asset price depreciation and capital outflows of over Rs 35,000 crore.
iv.Overall, in 2023 YTD (Year To Date), FPIs have sold Indian equities worth Rs 23,844 crore. They recorded steep outflows worth Rs 28,852 in January 2023, the highest in 7 months, however, it moderated in February 2023 before turning positive in March 2023.

MPR (April 2023) by RBI: Loan Growth in FY23 at an 11-Year High Despite a Sharp Increase in Lending RatesAccording to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Report (April 2023), credit growth continued to outpace deposit growth in financial year 2022-23 (FY23) at an eleven-year high, despite banks fully transmitting lending rates linked to external benchmarks [250 basis points (bps)], which now account for nearly half of floating-rate loans.

  • In FY23, bank loans increased 14.6% while deposits increased just 9.6%.
  • The rate of credit growth in FY23 was the greatest since FY 2011–12, when credit increased 17%.
  • Significantly, lending rates surged the most in FY23.

Monetary Policy Transmission
i.Since May 2022 to March 2023, banks have hiked their repo-linked External Benchmark-Based Lending Rates (EBLRs) by 250 bps to keep pace with the policy repo rate.
ii.The internal benchmark for loan pricing, the Marginal Cost of Funds-Based Lending Rate (MCLR), increased by 140 bps from May 2022 to March 2023.
About the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1st April 1935

SEBI Approves Setting Up Rs. 3,000-Crore Rescue Facility for Debt Mutual FundsThe Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) decided to establish the Corporate Debt Market Development Fund (CDMDF) in the form of an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with an initial corpus of Rs 3,000 crore to serve as a backup emergency facility for the purchase of investment-grade corporate debt securities during times of stress. This decision was made at the SEBI board meeting in March 2023.

  • The action is intended to increase secondary market liquidity in general and to encourage optimism among participants in the corporate bond market.

i.CDMDF is an initiative aimed to assist mutual funds (MFs) in navigating liquidity issues in the debt market in the event of a large credit emergency or market disruption.
ii.The fund, structured as an AIF, will be backed by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) and will be able to generate funds for the purchase of corporate debt securities during market downturns.
About Securities Exchange Board of India(SEBI):
Chairperson -Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 12 April 1992

Noted Indian-American statistician CR Rao wins the 2023 International Prize in StatisticCalyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (CR Rao), a prominent Indian-American Statistician, has been awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics, the statistics’ equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for his monumental work 75 years ago that revolutionised statistical thinking.

  • CR Rao will receive the prize, which comes with a USD 80,000 award, in July 2023 the biennial International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress, which will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

About the International Prize in Statistics:
i. The International Prize in Statistics, established in 2016, is awarded biennially at the ISI World Statistics Congress.
ii. The award is stewarded and managed by a foundation comprising representatives of the 5 major statistical organizations – the American Statistical Association; the Institute of Mathematical Statistics; the International Biometric Society; the International Statistical Institute; and the Royal Statistical Society.
iii. The inaugural International Prize in Statistics 2016 was awarded in 2017 to British statistician David R Cox for Survival Analysis Model Applied in Medicine, Science, and Engineering.
Key Points:
i. In the 1945 paper published by CR Rao in the Bulletin of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, CR Rao demonstrated 3 groundbreaking results.

  • 1st result- Cramér-Rao lower bound, which provides a means for knowing when a method for estimating a quantity is as good as any method can be.
  • 2nd result- Rao-Blackwell Theorem, which provides a means for transforming an estimate into a better – in fact, an optimal – estimate.
  • 3rd result-  Provided insights that pioneered a whole new interdisciplinary field that has now flourished as ‘information geometry’.

ii. Combined, these results help scientists more efficiently extract information from data.
About Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao:
i. C.R. Rao was born on 10 September 1920 in Huvanna Hadagali, Karnataka.
ii. He worked in India at the Indian Statistical Institute(ISI) for 40 years (1941-1979)
iii. He relocated to the United States of America (USA) and worked for 25 years at the University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University.
iv. He was the founder of the Indian Econometric Society and the Indian Society for Medical Statistics which hold conferences every year to discuss problems of current interest.
v. He published 201 research papers during his 40 years of stay in India and 272 during his 30 years in the USA.
vi. He is the author of 14 books and about 350 research papers. Three of his books have been translated into several European and Chinese and Japanese languages.

Israel launches ‘Ofek 13’ Reconnaissance Satellite into SpaceIn March 2023, Israel successfully launched the Ofek 13, a new Israeli spy satellite onboard the Shavit launch vehicle into space from Palmachim Airbase spaceport, located near the cities of Rishon LeZion and Yavne, Israel.
This would enhance around-the-clock regional monitoring as Israel braces for a possible showdown with Iran.

  • The Ofek-13, manufactured by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), is the latest in a series of Israeli-produced satellites first put into orbit in 1988.
  • The Ofek 13 is the newest Israeli reconnaissance satellite to be launched, following the Ofek 16 in the summer of 2020.

Key Highlights:
i. According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, the satellite has entered orbit, begun transmitting data, and completed an initial round of inspections in accordance with the original launch plans.
ii. It was launched on a Shavit missile over the Mediterranean Sea, a westward direction Israel generally uses to avoid sensitive technologies getting into the hands of Middle Eastern neighbours in the case of a malfunction.
iii. According to the IAI, “Ofek 16” is an “electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities.”

  • It was launched into space using the locally-developed “Shavit” launcher, which has been used to launch previous Ofek satellites.

i. The ‘Ofek-13’ is the most advanced of its kind, with unique radar observation capabilities that will allow intelligence collection in any weather and visibility conditions.
ii. ‘Ofek-13’ satellite is a [synthetic-aperture radar] observation satellite with advanced capabilities
iii. The new satellite would allow Israel to take high-quality photos in any weather and at any time of day or night.
iv. The satellite would give decision-makers in Israel the ability to make the right decisions.

‘MF Hydra’: World’s First Liquid Hydrogen-Powered Ferry gets Operational

Norwegian company Norled has launched the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry vessel called ‘MF Hydra’. The vessel has been going through sea trials and system tests at Hjelmeland since the beginning of 2023. MF Hydra will now operate on the triangular route of Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik.

MF Hydra, powered by Ballard Power Systems FCwave fuel cell modules that use hydrogen to generate power, received clearance from the Norwegian Maritime Administration to start sailing.

  • MF Hydra is the 82.4-meter-long ferry. It can carry up to 300 passengers and 80 vehicles and decrease its yearly carbon emissions by up to 95%.
  • It will be able to travel at a speed of 9 knots thanks to its two 200 kW fuel cells, two 440 kW generators, and two Shottel thrusters.
  • The hydrogen systems on board were supplied by the German company Linde Engineering.

Iran successfully tests Kamikaze Drone Equipped with 50-kg Warhead

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) of Iran has successfully tested a homemade long-range, high-precision kamikaze drone equipped with a 50-kg warhead. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), named “Meraj-532“, has a range of 450 km, and is capable of flying at a maximum altitude of 12,000 feet for 3 straight hours.

  • The UAV can be assembled and prepared for flight easily, making it suitable for rapid reaction operations.
  • Iran has made significant progress in the area of manufacturing UAVs over the past years, which is currently producing drones capable of carrying out a wide range of missions.

Indian GM Gukesh Dommaraju wins Armageddon Championship Series 2023-Asia and Oceania On April 9, 2023, Teenaged Indian Grandmaster Gukesh Dommaraju (16) has won Armageddon championship series 2023-Asia and Oceania event held at Berlin, Germany by defeating Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan. He won a prize money of 18,000 EUR.

  • It was the second regional tournament of the Armageddon Championship Series 2022-2023 which is organised by World Chess Events Limited in cooperation with World Chess Europe GmbH.

Key Points:
i.The total prize money for Armageddon Regionals’ is 50,000 EUR.
ii.Both finalists have earned a spot at the Armageddon’s Grand Finale in September 2023.
iii.Two winners from each Armageddon Regional’s tournament plus two winners from the Armageddon Women’s Week tournament (total eight) will compete in the Armageddon Championship Series Grand Finale.

  • These regions are Europe & Africa; Asia & Oceania; and Americas.

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Autobiography ‘Azaad’ launched in New Delhi

On 5th April 2023, ‘Azaad’ the autobiography of Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Ministerwas launched by Dr Karan Singh, the former Sadr-e-Riyasat of J&K and former member of Rajya Sabha, and Kapish Mehra- Managing Director(MD) at Rupa Publications, in New Delhi, Delhi.
The book was published by Rupa Publications India.

  • The book covers Azad’s political path and provides insights into India’s enormous political transformations over the last 5 decades.
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former member of the Indian National Congress, served as a minister under 4 former Prime Ministers of India – Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao, and Manmohan Singh.

Nandini Das penned a new Book titled “Courting India” 

Historian Nandini Das, a professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom (UK), authored a new book titled “Courting India: England, Mughal India and the Origins of Empire” and published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • The book delves into the complex relationship between England and Mughal India in the early modern period, focusing on cultural and literary contacts between these two worlds.
  • A profound and ground-breaking new history of one of the most important encounters in the history of colonialism: the British arrival in India in the early 17th century.

Nandini Das has edited and written on 16th and early 17th-century romance and prose fiction in “Robert Greene’s Planetomachia” (2007), and “Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570-1620” (2011), among others, and published widely on travel and cross-cultural encounter.

World Homeopathy Day 2023 – April 10World Homeopathy Day is annually observed across the globe on April 10 to honour homoeopathy and its contribution to treating people across the globe. The day also commemorates the birth anniversary of German physician Dr Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy.

  • 10th April 2023 marks the 268th birth anniversary of Dr Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

World Homeopathy Awareness Week is observed from 10 April to 16 April 2023.
The day aims to create awareness about the effectiveness of homoeopathy in treating various health conditions.
i. Homoeopathy is a Greek word, ‘Homeo’ and ‘pathos’ which refer to similarities and suffering.
ii. It is a therapeutic system of medicine based on the principle “Similia Similibus Curentur,” which means “let likes be treated by likes.”
iii. It is a method of treatment for curing the patient by medicines that possess the power of producing similar symptoms in a healthy human being simulating the natural disease, which it can cure in the diseased person.
About the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH):
Union Minister- Sarbananda Sonowal (Rajya Sabha Assam)
Minister of State (MoS)- Dr Munjpara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai (Constituency- Surendranagar, Gujarat)

58th CRPF Valour Day – 9th April 2023 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Valour Day, also known as Shaurya Diwas is annually observed across India on 9th April to commemorate the valour of CRPF personnel during the 1965 war against the Pakistan army.
The day aims to honour the personnel of CRPF and to pay tribute to the personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

  • 9th April 2023 marks the observance of the 58th CRPF Valour Day. 

About Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the premier central police force of the Union of India for internal security.
Director General– Dr.Sujoy Lal Thaosen
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Odisha gets Rs 26,000 crore investment intent at Business Meet in TokyoOn 5th April 2023, the Odisha government received investment intents worth around Rs 26,000 crore during the Odisha Business Meet, 2023 held in Tokyo, Japan.

  • Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister(CM) of Odisha, led the high-level delegation to Japan to attract investment in Odisha.

During the meet, Odisha received investment intents from several sectors like logistics, metal ancillary, steel, metal downstream, green hydrogen and green ammonia, green energy equipment manufacturing and Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled services (ITeS).
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik chairs 1st digital cabinet meet from Kyoto
On 9th April 2023, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik chaired the first digital cabinet meeting of Odisha from the city of Kyoto, Japan and the cabinet member joined the meeting from Lok Seva Bhawan and other districts of Odisha.
About Odisha:
Chief Minister– Naveen Patnaik
Governor– Ganeshi Lal
Festival– Raja Parba; Rath Yatra
Stadium– East Coast Railway Stadium

Current Affairs- 24 January 2023

Indian Navy conducted AMPHEX 2023 – Mega Military Exercise in Andhra PradeshOn 22nd January 2023, the Indian Navy (IN) conducted a six-day-long mega military exercise “AMPHEX 2023”, the largest biennial tri-services amphibious exercise involving the Indian Army (IA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) near Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh between 17th January and 22nd January 2023.
Participants: The exercise witnessed the participation of a large number of troops from the Indian Army, amphibious warships from the Indian Navy, and aircraft from the IAF
Key highlights:
i.The exercise AMPHEX 2023 took place amid growing concerns over China’s increasing military forays into the Indian Ocean, a region considered as the backyard of the Indian Navy.
ii.The exercise included complex activities in all domains that demonstrated and validated the high level of preparedness and excellent coordination between the tri services to undertake a full spectrum of amphibious operations.
Note – The Indian Army has also obtained the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) of the design and camouflage pattern of its newly introduced Camouflage Pattern Dress, an improved combat uniform, which was unveiled by the Chief of Army Staff during Army Day.

Highlights of EAM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka from January 18-20, 2023i.From January 18-20, 2023, India’s Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) paid an official visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
ii.Both countries are India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and occupy a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and ‘Neighbourhood First’.
iii.A MoU between the Maldives government and the Indian government for additional grant assistance of 100 million Rufiyaa for the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) scheme was signed to implement a number of socio-economic development projects.
iv.India has become the first creditor nation to extend assurance towards restructuring the debt of Sri Lanka with financial assistance worth $4 billion.

  • India will encourage greater investment in core areas of energy, tourism and infrastructure.

About Sri Lanka:
Capital– Colombo
Currency– Sri Lankan Rupee

World Economic Forum 2023 Summit held in Davos, SwitzerlandThe World Economic Forum (WEF) held its 53rd Annual Meeting, “World Economic Forum—2023” [Davos Summit], from January 16 to 20, 2023, in the highest city in Europe, Davos, Switzerland.

  • The theme of the WEF Summit 2023 is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.”

The WEF hosted the event in collaboration with the Swiss government and the Canton of Graubünden.
i.According to the non-profit organisation Oxfam India’s report, “Survival of the Richest: The India Supplement,” the top 1% of Indians currently own more than 40.5% of the nation’s entire wealth in 2021, while the bottom 50% of the population (700 million) has only about 3% of the nation’s total wealth.
ii.According to the WEF Centre for the New Economy’s “Chief Economists Outlook – January 2023,” released at the WEF 2023 Summit, nearly two-thirds of chief economists believe a global recession is likely in 2023, with 18% believing it is extremely likely.
iii.At the WEF 2023 Summit, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth Rs. 1.36 lakh crore with global investors.
About World Economic Forum (WEF):
Founder & Executive Chairman – Professor Klaus Schwab
Managing Director (MD) – Saadia Zahidi
Headquarters – Cologny, GenevaCanton, Switzerland

SEBI Launches Information Database On Municipal BondsAshwani Bhatia, a whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has launched an Information Database, comprising a repository of municipal bond information, on its website to assist municipal debt issuers and other stakeholders in the municipal debt market.

  • Municipal bonds are a reliable alternative source of funding for projects carried out by municipal corporations.

Click here for official notification.
The market regulator SEBI has organized an outreach programme on municipal bonds and municipal finance in New Delhi, Delhi, as part of its efforts to develop the bond markets.
Objective: To provide a unified platform for stakeholders to address the problems of Municipal Debt Securities Issuers, investor requirements, and the extant regulatory framework, as well as to recommend steps to boost awareness of and traction in the municipal debt securities market.
Key Points:
i.The information database includes statistics and regulations, circulars, guidance notes, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) issued by SEBI in relation to municipal debt securities.
ii.The repository offers sample letters and certificates from different intermediaries, as well as a number of checklists for pre-listing requirements, which an issuer who wants to enter the municipal bond market can obtain.
Efforts made by SEBI to develop the bond markets
i.SEBI established a regulatory framework for the issuance, listing, and trading of municipal debt securities in 2015, which was reviewed again in 2019.
ii.Ten municipal corporations in India have issued 12 issues of municipal bonds, raising close to Rs. 2000 crore since 2017, despite the fact that the municipal debt market in India is still in its infant stage.

  • The funds raised have been used for a range of development projects, including residential projects, water supply projects, tertiary sewage treatment plants and more.

About the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Chairperson– Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1992

Paytm, Citi Ends Partnership for Co-branded Credit Card Paytm CITI CardCitibank and Paytm(One97 Communication Ltd) have ended their partnership for a co-branded credit card Paytm CITI Card ahead of the merger of Citibank’s commercial banking business with Axis Bank.

  • The customers were informed that the Paytm CITI Card will be shut down, and they will be offered other cards they could opt for.
  • The cardholders will be offered uninterrupted benefits with the Paytm HDFC Bank credit card.

Key highlights:
i.The customers will be offered with the Citi Rewards Credit Card as a replacement to your Citi Paytm Credit Card, which should be chosen to consent for the same.
ii.The consent to swap to another Citi-branded credit Card will also serve as consent for transfer of the cardholder’s banking relationship with Citibank to Axis Bank.

  • Failure to consent, will lead to closure of the Citi Paytm credit card effective January 30, as Citi India will no longer be able to provide services on the Citi Paytm Credit Card

In March 2022, Axis Bank had announced acquiring Citigroup’s retail banking business in India for Rs. 12,325 crore, subject to requisite approvals.

  • After the acquisition of around 30 lakh unique Citibank customers, Axis Bank will now have about 2.85 crore savings accounts, over 2.3 lakh Burgundy customers and 1.06 crore cards, which increased Axis Bank’s credit card customer base by 31 percent with 25 lakh additional cards, making it amongst the top 3 players in the Indian market.

About CitiBank:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Ashu Khullar
Headquarters – Mumbai, MAharashtra
About One97 Communication Limited (Paytm):
Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP)
Establishment – 2009

ACC approves appointment of Vikram Dev Dutt as Director General of DGCAThe Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, has approved the appointment of Vikram Dev Dutt as Director General(DG) of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with effect from 28th February 2023.

  • Vikram Dev Dutt will succeed Arun Kumar, DG of the DGCA, who retires on 28th February 2023.

Arun Kumar, a 1989-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was leading the DGCA as its DG since July 2019.
About Vikram Dev Dutt:
i. Vikram Dev Dutt, a 1993 batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre, currently serves as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India Assets Holding Limited (AIAHL).
ii. He served as Principal Secretary (Tourism) in the Delhi government and also as Principal Secretary in the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Government in Delhi.
iii. He also served as Principal Secretary (Finance) in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Secretary (Tourism) Goa government, and Managing Director (MD) of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Other Appointments Approved by the ACC:
i. Arti Bhatnagar, a 1990 batch Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) Officer, was appointed as Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MoCI).
ii. Amardeep Singh Bhatia, a 1993 batch IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, was appointed as Additional Secretary of the Department of Commerce, MoCI.
iii. Alok, a 1993 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, a Member (Administration), National Highways Authority of India, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), appointed as Additional Secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority, Minister of Home Affairs (MoHA).
iv. Satinder Pal Singh, a 1995 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) of the Himachal Pradesh cadre, was appointed as Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
v. ACC also approved the extension of the central deputation tenure of Ashutosh Jindal, a 1993 batch IAS officer of the Manipur Tripura cadre, Additional Secretary of Cabinet Secretariat for 1 year (16th February 2023 to 16th February 2024).
About the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet:
The committee is composed of the Prime Minister of India (ex-officio Chairman) and the Minister of Home Affairs.
About the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA):
The DGCA is a statutory body of the Government of India (GoI) to regulate civil aviation in India. It became a statutory body under the Aircraft (Amendment) Act of 2020.
Director General- Arun Kumar
Headquarters- New Delhi

IndiGrid to acquire a 100% stake in Khargone Transmission for Rs 1,497.5 crore India Grid Trust (IndiGrid), an Indian power sector infrastructure investment trust, is set to acquire a 100% stake in Khargone Transmission Limited at an enterprise value of about Rs 1,497.5 crore.

According to BSE, the acquisition will be made for a cash payment of not more than Rs 1,497.5 crore for the enterprise value.

  • On 21st January 2023, IndiGrid and Sterlite Power Transmission Limited (one of the sponsors of IndiGrid) signed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 100% shareholding and economic interest (one or more tranches) in Khargone Transmission Limited.

Key Points:
i. The Ministry of Power (MoP) awarded the transmission project on a BOOM (Build Own Operate Maintain) basis for a 35-year period beginning with the date of scheduled commercial operation.
ii. The transmission project has 6 elements. The project has one substation element, three transmission line elements, one Line In Line Out (LILO)element, and One line bay.

  • It is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh(MP) and Maharashtra.

iii. The project aims to deliver 1320 megawatts (MW) of thermal energy from the Khargone power plant to users in the home, commercial, agricultural, and industrial segments in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, improving electricity supply and grid stability.
Note: The Khargone Transmission was incorporated on 28th November 2015.
About India Grid Trust:
IndiGrid is India’s 1st and largest Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) in the power transmission sector.
Chief Executive Officer and Whole-time Director- Harsh Shah
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment- 2016

SpaceX launches 51 Internet Satellites in its 1st Starlink mission of 2023

Elon Musk-led SpaceX launched 51 internet satellites to orbit in its 1st Starlink mission of 2023 to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base (formerly Vandenberg Air Force Base), California, United States of America (USA), which was initially scheduled to launch on 9th January 2023.

  • The Starlink satellites on this launch, named Starlink 2-4, will fly in an orbit inclined 70 degrees to the equator.
  • After a mission in September 2021, which also orbited 51 Starlink spacecraft, this is the second launch into Group 2.
  • SpaceX carried out the first Starlink launch of 2023 was launched to resume deployment of the constellation’s second shell.
  • The 51 Starlink internet satellites onboard the rocket will bring the total number of Starlink spacecraft launched to 3,717.

Note: This was the first flight for the Falcon 9 1st-stage booster supporting this mission. It’s also the 1st launch of the year 2023 from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Bihar Govt inks MoU with FSI for TOF Field Survey to promote Agroforestry

The Bihar Government, in collaboration with the Forest Survey of India (FSI), has decided to conduct a “Tree Outside Forest” (TOF) field survey to identify the dominant tree species that are growing outside the Recorded Forest Areas (RFA) in Bihar.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Bihar Government and FSI for the TOF field survey to promote agroforestry is expected to start in April 2023.

  • This would help farmers get additional income by encouraging tree plantation on farmland along with crops.
  • According to the FSI India State of Forest Report, 2021, Bihar saw increases in growing stock of 3.79% in RFA and 0.58% in TOF.

Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn wins India Open Badminton title 2023, Korean An Seyoung wins Women’s Singles Shuttler Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand won the India Open Badminton Championship 2023 by defeating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the men’s singles by 22-20, 10-21 and 21-12.

  • In the Women’s Singles category, An Seyoung of South Korea won the title by defeating Japanese Akane Yamaguchi by 15-21, 21-16, 21-12.

The Championship, officially named as Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2023′ was held at KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, Delhi from January 17 – 22, 2023. It was the second tournament of the HSBC BWF World Tour Super 750.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) with sanction from the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
Prize Money:
The total prize money for the championship was USD 900,000
Table showing Winners in all categories:

Women’s Doubles

  • Earlier, it was categorized as one of the seven BWF World Tour Super 500 events as per new BWF events structure from 2018.

iii.The next event, ‘Daihatsu Indonesia Masters 2023 will be held from January 24-29, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia with prize money of USD 420,000.

PVSM & AVSM Awardee Air Marshal Harjeet Singh Arora Passed Away

On 21st January 2023, Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) & Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) awardee Harjeet Singh Arora, former Vice Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal, passed away in Delhi at the age of 61.

  • In December 1981, Harjeet Singh Arora was commissioned as an Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot.
  • He had a flying experience of over 2600 hours on Mig (Mikoyan-Gurevich)-21, Mig-29, and also helicopters.
  • He served the force as the 44th Vice Chief of the Air Staff from 2019 to 2021.
  • On 30th June 2021, Air Marshal Harjeet Singh Arora superannuated.

Harjeet Singh Arora was awarded the AVSM in 2011 and the PVSM in 2020.

Parakram Diwas 2023 – January 23Parakram Diwas is annually observed across India on January 23 to commemorate the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose, fondly known as “Netaji”.

  • 23rd January 2023 marks the 126th birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose.

i. In 2021, the Government of India declared January 23 as Parakram Diwas to honour the selfless contribution of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to India’s freedom movements.
ii. The 1st ever Parakram Diwas was observed on 23rd January 2021 on the 124th birth anniversary of Netaji.
iii. To mark the 126th birth anniversary of Netaji and as part of the celebration of Republic Day 2023, a Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance Festival ‘Aadi-Shaurya – Parv Parakram ka’, a 2-day festival, will be held at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, Delhi on 23 & 24 January 2023.

Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Badal Patralekh launches a Rs 467.32 crore Water Conservation SchemeOn 21st January 2023, Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Badak Patralekh launched a water conservation scheme with an outlay of Rs 467.32 crore to aid farmers in Jharkhand, which endured drought in 2022.

Key Points:
i. Under the Water Conservation Scheme, 2,133 ponds will be renovated and 2,795 percolation tanks will be constructed in all the blocks of 24 districts of Jharkhand.

  • Percolation Tank- An artificially created surface water body to recharge groundwater storage.

ii. Badak Patralekh laid the foundation for the renovation of 184 percolation tanks and 71 ponds.
iii. Jharkhand Government received 31.33 lakh applications from drought-hit farmers, and 8.5 lakhs have already received financial assistance.
iv. The government’s effort is to provide Rs 1,200 crore as relief to 30 lahks drought-affected farmers soon.
Additional info:
In October 2022, the government declared 226 of the 260 blocks of Jharkhand as “drought-affected” zones and decided to provide a cash relief of Rs 3,500 to each farmer’s family.
About Jharkhand:
Chief Minister (CM)- Hemant Soren
Governor- Ramesh Bais
National Park- Betla National Park
Wild Life Sanctuary- Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Lawalong Wildlife Sanctuary

Odisha Cabinet Approved: Inclusion of 22 castes under SEBC, 9 Piped Water Supply Projects Odisha cabinet headed by the state’s Chief Minister (CM) Naveen Patnaik has cleared the inclusion of 22 castes and communities in the state list of Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC).

  • The inclusion of Backward Classes in the State list of SEBCs was made by approving the Amendment of the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes (OSCBC) Act, 1993 by inserting subsection 3 under Section – 9.
  • The 22 castes are Badhei, Bindhani, Bindani, Baraji, Baroi, Sankhua Tanti, Gola Tanti, Lajya Nibaran, Hansi Tanti, Kapadia, Gandhamali, Thanapati, Pandara Mali, Paniar Mali, Pandaria, Oda-Khandayat, Bayalisha Oda, Oda Paika, Oda Paiko, Haladia Teli and Kalandi.

-Odisha Cabinet Approved 9 piped water supply projects worth over Rs 1,287 crore
Cabinet also approved 9 piped water supply projects worth over Rs 1,287 crore in three districts to provide safe drinking water.

  • 2 projects worth Rs 254.66 crore in Jajpur.
  • 3 projects with an outlay of Rs 393.93 crore in Nayagarh.
  • 4 mega piped water supply projects at Rs 639.26 crore under the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ in tribal-dominated Malkangiri.

Delhi LG launches ‘100 Days to Beat Plastic’ Campaign by MCDDelhi Lieutenant Governor(LG) V K Saxena launched a thematic 100-day campaign, “100 Days to Beat Plastic’, led by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), during an event held in Baansera in Sarai Kale Khan, Delhi. The campaign aims to make areas under the municipal corporation free of plastic.

  • The campaign will end on 22nd April 2023, which marks the International Earth Day 2023.
  • He also unveiled the mascot of the campaign – Nivaran Dadi.

100 Days to Beat Plastic campaign:
i.Under the 100 Days to Beat Plastic campaign, the MCD has planneed various events which includes, inspections of all shops and markets, to seize banned single-use plastic, plogging drives with the brand ambassador, distribution of cloth bags, opening of more number of ‘Vikalp’ stores and outreach events to combat single use plastic.
ii.Under this campaign, the municipal corporation will also promote segregation at source and doorstep pickup of plastic in each ward.
iii.As a part of this campaign, the authorities will conduct inspection of every shop, factory and commercial enterprise, and stickers of declaration of single-use plastic-free area (SUP-free area
iv.Through this campaign, the MCD targets to make all parks in the city SUP-free.
v.The name boards made of shredded plastic will be used in all civic parks and an appropriate number of dustbins will be installed there.
Key Points:
i.Delhi generates around 11,000 tonnes of waste daily, out of which nearly 10% is plastic waste.
ii.Due to the lack of any alternatives to plastics, the government faces issues in implementing the ban on single use plastic.
iii.Public Health Department of MCD is set to modify the terms of license to include the no usage of SUP with focus on plastic cutlery at hotels, eateries and restaurants.
iv.All malls in Delhi will be mapped to ban SUP and declare areas as SUP Free and the The food courts are mandated to use reusable items and non-plastic cutlery.
v.The government will provide the instruction for prohibiting use of SUPs on the mall premises.

  • LG highlighted that the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and market traders associations have taken the initiative to make Delhi a plastic-free city.
  • LG stated that the government of Delhi has declared 120 RWAs or Gated housing societies (GHSs) as Zero waste colonies.

About Delhi:
Chief Minister(CM)– Arvind Kejriwal
Lieutenant Governor(LG)- V K Saxena
Stadium- Arun Jaitley Stadium; Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Festivals-Bhai Dooj Festival; Chhat Festival

J&K Govt Launches Rs 879-Crore Food Processing Project to Transform Lives of FarmersThe Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government has launched an ambitious project “UT Level Food Processing Programme for Development of Clusters for Specific Products of J&K”, at a financial outlay of Rs 879.75 crore targeted to revolutionise the food processing sector and transform the lives of farmers in the UT.

  • The project also includes a grant-in-aid of Rs 293.25 crore (33.33 percent) and a debt-equity of Rs 586.50 crore to be raised by entrepreneurs.
  • This initiative aims to maximise farmer income and minimise post-harvest losses.

About the project:
i.The project is one among the 29 projects, which were approved by the J&K administration after being recommended by the UT Level Apex Committee for holistic development of Agriculture and allied sectors in UT of J&K.
ii.This has been designed to increase the competitiveness of 7 identified products across categories including cost, quality, branding, and sustainability within 5 years. Meanwhile, the government is investing in value addition, logistics, marketing and branding of various agricultural, horticultural and livestock products to achieve the goal.
iii.The project will focus on developing 17 districts in J&K with the establishment of processing and marketing infrastructure, providing growth and development opportunities to stakeholders, and facilitating suitable economies of scale in production and post-harvest activities.
iv.The project will create around 7030 direct jobs and establish about 34 enterprises with expected revenue generation to the tune of Rs 1,436.04 crore every year.
About Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
Lieutenant Governor – Manoj Sinha
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary
Airport – Srinagar International Airport (Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport), Jammu airport (Satwari Airport)

HCHF & Ladakh Tourism Dept organises Annual Ethnic Mamani Festival

The Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF) and Ladakh Tourism Department organised the annual Ethnic Mamani festival at the 500 years old village, Steyangkung, Barsoo Kargil [Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)] and Chiktan Shagaran in Ladakh.

  • Ethnic Mamani festival 2023 was organised in collaboration with the village Nyarpa committee and in collaboration with Awaz the Voice, Muntazir Enterprises Kargil, Zee Enterprises Kargil, Shotopa Traders, and Heritage Trials Ladakh.
  • The old tradition of feeding deceased family members is where the history of the Mamani Festival celebration in Ladakh originates.
  • During Mamani, individuals traded food with their neighbours and relatives while also worshipping a variety of spirits (Lha)
  • These celebrations have helped in the revival of more than 35 Kargil Ladakh cuisines.

HDFC donates Rs 5 cr to Uttarakhand CM for Kedarnath Utthan Charitable Trust

On 21st January 2023, HDFC Bank Limited donated Rs 5 crore to Uttarakhand Chief Minister (CM) Pushkar Singh Dhami for the Kedarnath Utthan Charitable Trust.

Bakul Sikka, the Circle Head of the HDFC Bank, and Gaurav Jain, the Head of Government Relations, were also present on the occasion.

  • Pushkar Singh Dhami informed that as many as 270 families have been shifted to different locations so far.
  • More than Rs 3.27 crores have been distributed as advance relief to 218 affected families in Joshimath, Chamoli, Uttarakhand.
  • To provide immediate assistance to the 8 affected tenants, Rs 4 lakhs have been allocated, at a rate of Rs 50,000 for each family.

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Current Affairs-22 & 23 January 2023

Export Obligation relaxed for Hotel, Health, Education sectors under EPCG schemeOn January 20, 2023, the Central Government relaxed export obligation under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme for the hotel, healthcare, and educational sectors.
Reason behind this Relaxation:
To help the above mentioned sectors to cope with the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their export activities.
What is the relaxation?
i.For the years 2020-21 and 2021-22, these sectors will not be required to maintain average export obligation for EPCG authorizations issued to them. They will also have the option to extend the export obligation period for a longer duration, without having to pay any additional fees.
ii.The export period would be extended from the date of expiry for the duration equivalent to the number of days the export obligation period falls between February 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022.
iii.This extension will be granted without payment of composition fees.
Key Points:
i.For EPCG authorizations issued for sectors other than Hotel, Healthcare and Educational, the export obligation period may be extended for the number of days the existing export obligation period falls between February 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021.
ii.This extension will be granted without payment of composition fees, but with a 5% additional export obligation in value terms on the balance export obligation as on March 31, 2022.
About EPCG scheme:
Administered by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and governed by the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) of India, the EPCG scheme is a trade promotion scheme implemented by the Central Government enabling duty-free import of capital goods for the purpose of export production in India.

  • It aims to encourage the production of goods for export by providing import duty concessions on capital goods.

Ministry of Consumer Affairs issues new Guidelines for Social Media InfluencersOn January 20, 2023, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs unveiled guidelines ‘Endorsements Know-hows!’ for social-media influencers, including celebrities and virtual avatars, for disclosing the promotional content of the products or services they endorse and their material connections with those.

  • Material connection with a brand covers monetary benefits, hotel stay, awards, employment relationships, sweepstakes entries, and media barters.

The guidelines were briefed by the Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh during a press conference in New Delhi, Delhi
Reason behind this Guideline:
For promotion activities, the use of social media has been increased. So in order to ensure influencers do not mislead their audiences and to avoid unfair trade practices these guidelines have been framed in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

  • These guidelines are also aligned with those given by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

Violation of Guidelines:
If there are any violations, the penalty prescribed for misleading advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 will be applicable.
i.The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) can impose a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh on manufacturers, advertisers and endorsers and for repeated offences, a penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh can be imposed.
ii.The CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from making any endorsement for up to one year and for subsequent contravention, prohibition can extend up to three years.

  • They may go to jail for six months, which can be extended to two years.

Key Points:
i.The disclosures should be in simple and clear language, and should be of a duration that is “hard to miss”
ii.In the case of limited space platforms like Twitter, hashtags with short terms like “ad”, “sponsored”, and “paid” are acceptable.
iii.The disclosures and endorsements should be in the same language and in live streams, disclosures should be displayed continuously and prominently.

iv.In picture endorsements, disclosures should be superimposed on the image big enough for viewers to notice them, whereas for video content, they should be placed in the video and not just in the description. It should be in both audio and video formats.
v.In 2022, the size of the social-media influencer market in India was Rs 1,275 crore and by 2025, it was likely to be Rs 2,800 crore with a compound annual growth rate of about 19-20 percent.

AIF Inaugurates India’s 1st STEM Innovation and Learning Center in Chennai, TN; AIF’s DE launched DSLV MissionThe American India Foundation (AIF) inaugurated India’s 1st STEM Innovation and Learning Centre (SILC) under the scheme of Vanavil Mandram and launched Drone and Satellite Launch Vehicle (DSLV) Mission at the Government Higher Secondary School, MMDA Colony, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN).

  • Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Minister for School Education, Government of TN, joined the inauguration virtually.
  • The DSLV Mission was mentored and launched by Padma Shri Awardee (2016) Dr Mylswamy Annadurai, The Moon Man of India, Former Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and Vice President of the State Council for Science and Technology, TN.

This SILC is the first of 4 Centres to come up in Tamil Nadu over the next 2 months.
Other Dignitaries:
S. Mars, Chief Educational Officer of Chennai District, Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF, D. Baskaran, Head of Innovation & Technology and Regional Manager – South, AIF.
STEM Innovation and Learning Centre (SILC) in Chennai, India:
i. SILC is designed by AIF’s award-winning flagship education programme, Digital Equalizer (DE).
ii. It is designed to serve as a one-stop solution for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) among students and instructors.
iii. SICL introduce students to a Transdisciplinary learning approach through robotics, Artificial intelligence (AI), Space technology, and the STEM Incubation workstation.

  • The aim of SICl is to raise curiosity among students in advanced STEM courses.

iv. It consists of a Technology Corner, which is equipped with a smart lab, for Teachers, which will make it easier for teachers to lead techno-pedagogy-enabled classes for the students and to receive training in the DE Way of Teaching (DEWoT),

  • DEWoT is a unique method created by AIF to address all types of students in the classroom.

v. The centre also has a Studio Setup to develop high-quality DE Edu reels.
Drone and Satellite Launch Vehicle (DSLV) Mission: 
i. DSLV Mission aims to create a platform for students to learn about Drone and Aviation technology through DE’s TLM(Technical License Management).
ii. More than 200 selected students from 12 schools in Chennai, TN, were trained for the mission launch to assemble a drone and a PICO satellite and launch their models on the spot.

India’s Civil 20 Engagement Group Inaugurated at Amritapuri, Kerala

India’s Civil 20 Engagement Group (C20), the official engagement group of India’s G20 (Group of 20) leadership representing the voices of non-profit, voluntary citizens’ groups in service to society, was inaugurated at Amritapuri in Kollam, Kerala.

Key People:

  • The representatives of G20 and C20, government officials and other dignitaries virtually participated in the event.
  • Sri Mata Amritanandamayi(Amma), the chair of C20, Amitabh Kant, Former Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of NITI Aayog(National Institution for Transforming India), Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament(MP), Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, V Muraleedharan Union Minister of State(MoS) for External Affairs, RN Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu and V Sivankutty, Public Education Minister of Kerala were among the participants.

About C20: 
Purpose: To bring the concerns of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from around the world to the G20 Summit which is set to take place in New Delhi, Delhi, in September 2023.
Members: Sri M founder of the Satsang Foundation as Participant; Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini as Secretariat; and the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari as Institutional Partner.
Key Points:
C20 will collaborate with hundreds of CSOs from around the world to voice primary and common concerns and to promote sustainable development with the vision of leaving no one behind.
Highlights of the Inauguration even