Current Affairs – 4 April 2023

5th Poshan Pakhwada Celebrated from March 20-April 3, 2023

The Ministry of Women and Child Development will celebrate the 5th Poshan Pakhwada nationwide from 20th March to 3rd April 2023 to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition and promote healthy eating habits through Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari.

  • The theme of Poshan Pakhwada 2023 is “Nutrition for All: Together Towards a Healthy India”.

Poshan Abhiyaan was launched by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on 8th March 2018 for ensuring people’s participation and bringing the discourse on nutrition to the forefront.
It intends to improve nutritional outcomes in a holistic manner. Behavioral change at individual and community level is an important component to achieve the desired goals of a Kuposhan-mukt Bharat.
Every year, Poshan Pakhwada is celebrated in the month of March for 15 days. Similarly, the month of September is celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah, across the country.
Key Points:
i.As 2023 is being the International Year of Millets, the focus of Poshan Pakhwada was to popularise ‘Shree Anna’ (Millets) to address malnutrition.
ii.The Ministry of Women & Child Development will be the nodal Ministry for coordinating activities during the Poshan Pakhwada.

  • In the State/UT, Department of Women & Child Development /Social Welfare Department will be the nodal department for Poshan Pakhwada.

iii.Key themes focused on Poshan Pakhwada

  • Promotion and popularization of Shree Anna / Millets for nutritional- well-being through organization of drives to link Millet-based foods with supplementary nutrition, Home visits, Diet consultation camps, etc.
  • Celebration of Swasth Balak SpardhaCelebrated and recognized the ‘Swasth Balak’ or Healthy Child as per defined criteria by generating a healthy spirit of competition for good nutrition good health and well being.
  • Popularize Saksham AnganwadisCampaigns were organized to increase awareness and popularise Saksham Anganwadis with upgraded infrastructure and facilities as centers of improved nutrition delivery and early childhood care and education.

CMIE: Unemployment Rate Rises to 3-Month high of 7.8% in March

According to the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), India’s unemployment rate increased to 7.8% in March 2023, the highest in 3 months, from 7.45% in February 2023. The unemployment rate was 7.14% in January 2023

  • Rural unemployment was 7.47% in March 2023, Urban unemployment was 8.51%.
  • Haryana had the highest unemployment rate among the states with 26.8%, followed by Rajasthan (26.4%) and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) (23.1%).
  • Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh have the lowest unemployment rate among the states and Union Territories (UT) with 0.8%, followed by Puducherry (1.5%) and Gujarat (1.8%).

WB Report: ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’According to the World Bank (WB) report “Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia,” concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM) like soot and small dust (PM 2.5) in some of South Asia’s most densely populated and underdeveloped areas are up to 20 times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold of 5 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/mᶾ).

  • According to the report, South Asia is home to 9 of the top 10 polluted cities in the world, including Dhaka (Bangladesh).

i.The report claims that around 20% of all premature deaths in Bangladesh are caused by air pollution.

  • It is estimated that it causes 2 million premature deaths in South Asia each year and imposes huge economic damages.

ii.The consequences of being exposed to such significant air pollution range from stunting and reduced cognitive development in children to respiratory infections and chronic and debilitating diseases.
About the World Bank (WB):
President (WB Group) – David Robert Malpass
Establishment – 1944
Headquarters – Washington D.C, United States (US)

UBI becomes 1st Indian Bank to open SRVA Malaysia for Trade Settlement in rupee i.On April 1, 2023, the Union Bank of India (UBI) opened its ‘Special Rupee Vostro Account (SRVA)’ in Malaysia to facilitate transactions between India and Malaysia in the Indian rupee. This will be done through the UBI’s corresponding bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia i.e. India International Bank of Malaysia (IIBM).
ii.With this, UBI has become the first Indian bank to operationalize a Vostro account in the Asian nation.
iii.The will allow the Indian and Malaysian traders to invoice the trade in Indian Rupee.
About Union Bank of India (UBI):
Managing Director– A. Manimekhalai
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Good People to Bank With

IDBI Bank Revises FD Rates and Launches New Amrit Mahotsav FD SchemeIDBI Bank, a private sector lender, has revised its interest rates for fixed deposits (FDs) under Rs. 2 crore, effective April 1st, 2023.

  • In response, IDBI bank has introduced the “Amrit Mahotsav FD” scheme for its retail investors, which provides returns of 7.65% for senior citizens and 7.15% for the general public.

IDBI Bank FD Rates
i.For deposits expiring in 7 days to 10 years, the bank currently guarantees interest rates ranging from 3.00% to 6.25% for the general public and 3.50% to 6.75% for senior citizens.
ii.For fixed deposits that mature in 7 to 30 days, the bank currently offers an interest rate of 3%, whereas it offers an interest rate of 3.35% for deposits that mature in 31 to 45 days.
iii.IDBI Bank currently offers 4.25% interest on deposits held for 46 to 90 days and 4.75% interest on deposits held for 91 to 6 months.
iv.Deposits maturing in 6 months, 1 day to 1 year, will earn 5.50% interest, while those maturing in 1 year to 2 years (excluding 444 days) would earn 6.75% interest.
v.The bank currently offers FDs with a maturity of 2 to 3 years at a rate of 6.5% and deposits with a maturity of 3 to 10 years at a rate of 6.25%.
vi.For 5-year tax-saving fixed deposits, IDBI Bank guarantees an interest rate of 6.25% for the general public and 6.75% for senior citizens.
vii.Only fresh deposits and renewals will be subject to the new interest rates; while existing accounts will continue to earn interest at the contracted rate.
viii.For prematurely closed deposits, the bank will levy a 1% penalty on the applicable rate. Such closures include both sweep-in withdrawals and partial withdrawals.
Related Information
i.On April 1, 2023, the Bank of India (BOI) also announced a rise in interest rates for FDs under Rs 2 crore.

  • The bank hiked the interest rate on “Shubh Arambh Deposits,” which are special 501-day term deposits for deposits of less than Rs. 2 crore.

ii.IDBI Bank is offering an interest rate of 7.15% for regular customers, 7.65% for senior citizens, and 7.8% for super senior citizens on Shubh Arambh Deposits for a limited time.
About IDBI Bank Limited:
MD & CEO– Rakesh Sharma
Established – 1964
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

India’s Tech SMEs projected to reach $30-$40 bn by FY30: Nasscom-ProHance reportAccording to the report launched by Nasscom in collaboration with ProHance, ‘India’s Tech SMEs: Rising in the Global Digital Arena’, the Digital technology SME’s revenue share in FY30 (financial Year 2029-2030) was expected to reach $30-$40 billion.

  • The tech SMEs which comprise 7-9% of the overall technology industry was also expected to contribute an estimated $15-20 Billion in FY23 revenues.
  • The tech SMEs offer cloud services, advanced analytics, and AI solutions and they were expected to account for 35-40% of overall tech revenue by FY30.
  • The report is a first-of-its-kind publication on tech SME segment of the overall tech industry.

Note – Indian Tech SMEs are MSMEs that offer technology software, hardware, and services to Indian and global entities, and are headquartered in India.
Key Findings of the Report:
i.Tech SMEs in India contribute 7-9% to the technology industry, having grown at a 10%+ CAGR through FY19, with roughly 90% in the micro and small categories.
ii.Tech SME share in INR 19.6 lakh crore ($245 Bn) Indian technology industry in FY23.
iii.Digital SMEs have grown 4X since FY19, with focus on cloud migration, SaaS, digital engineering, and advanced analytics and AI-based solutions
iv.Doubling of Indian tech industry to $500 Bn by FY30 is expected to entail similar trend for the tech SMEs, with digital revenues growing 2-2.5X, to 35-40%
v.North America accounts for 50-55% of the Indian tech SMEs revenue with specific focus around niche cloud, AI, IoT and SaaS products. This is followed by Europe at 19-20%, and the domestic market at 17-18%, in FY23.
Note – The report was released by Nasscom on the sidelines of the nasscom SME Confluence 2023.

FOSWAL’s Special Literary Prize for Bangabandhu Handed to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

In its 63rd Literature Festival, the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) bestowed the SAARC Literature Award 2023 (Special Literary Award) to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. [SAARC stands for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation].

  • The SAARC Literary Award for 2023 was bestowed to him for his great literary excellence through his trilogy: The Unfinished Memoirs, The Prison Diaries, and The New China as I Saw It (1952).
  • The award was handed over to his daughter, Bangladesh Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina.

FOSWAL’s three-day regional literary conference was held in New Delhi, Delhi.
Key Points:
i.The SAARC Literary Award has been given annually since 2001 by the FOSWAL.
ii.Sheikh Mujib’s trilogy has been defined as a political document as well as a human testament.

  • It is proclaimed to have been written with love and compassion by a man who altered the course of history and guided his people to freedom.

iii.The 2023 award was presented at the festival to Bangladeshi writers and researchers Ramendu Majumder and Mofidul Haque by eminent Punjabi novelist and FOSWAL Founder President Ajeet Cour.

Sudha Shivkumar took over as 40th President of FICCI Ladies OrganisationChennai(Tamil Nadu)-based lawyer & investment banker Sudha Shivkumar took over as the 40th National President of the women’s wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) – FICCI Ladies Organisation(FLO) for the term 2023-2024. 

  • Sudha Shivkumar succeeds Jayanti Dalmia, 39th national president of FICCI FLO (2022-2023).
  • Prior to this appointment, Sudha Shivkumar was serving as the National Senior Vice President of FICCI FLO.

Key Points:
As the 40th President of FICCI-FLO, Sudha Shivkumar will focus on empowering women by facilitating an enabling environment that promotes entrepreneurship, industry participation and economic development of women.
About Sudha Shivkumar:
i.Sudha Shivkumar headed a leading non-banking reputed finance company for around 13 years following which she led the operations of a South-India-based mutual fund with assets under management of Rs 25,000 crores.
ii.She also handled a Rs 350-crore portfolio of an international group of high-net-worth individuals.
iii.She has previously served as the Chairperson of FLO Chennai Chapter in 2016-17.
About FICCI Ladies Organisation(FLO): 
FLO is a division of FICCI, the apex body of industry and commerce in India.
FLO is the oldest women-led and women-centric business chamber of Southeast Asia.

  • FLO at present has 19 chapters across India with about 3,000 businesswomen as its members.

Established in 1983
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Vice-Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh Assumed Charge as VCNS of the Indian NavyOn April 1, 2023, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh, AVSM, NM, took over as Vice-Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) of the Indian Navy, following incumbent Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade, who stepped down as VCNS on March 31, 2023, due to retirement.
On April 01, 2023, Vice Admiral Suraj Berry, AVSM, NM, and VSM, assumed charge as Chief of Personnel (COP) of the Indian Navy.
The post of COP fell vacant on February 28, 2023, when Vice Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi, who was holding the post, assumed command of the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C).
On April 01, 2023, Vice Admiral Atul Anand, AVSM, VSM, assumed command as Director General of Naval Operations (DGNO).
About the Indian Navy:
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)– Admiral R Hari Kumar
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Motto– Sham No Varunah

RBI appoints Neeraj Nigam as New Executive Director

On 3rd April 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed Neeraj Nigam as the new Executive Director (ED) with immediate effect. He will be in charge of 4 departments, including that consumer education and protection.

  • Before being promoted as ED, Neeraj Nigam was heading the Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) regional office of the RBI as director.
  • For more than 3 decades, he has worked at the RBI’s central office and regional offices in the fields of Regulation and Supervision, human resource management, premises, currency management, bank accounts and other areas.
  • He has also earned the professional certification of Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (CAIIB).

LIC bought Bata India shares for Rs 108 crore; increased its stake to 5.008%

Mumbai(Maharashtra)-based Life Insurance Corporation of India has purchased 6.88 lakh shares of Bata India Limited, a footwear retail company, for about Rs 108 crore, raising its stake in the company from 4.472% to 5.008% (from 57,48,071 to 64,36,692 Equity Shares).

  • The purchase took place between 3rd January 2022 and 29th March 2023.
  • The shares were bought in an open market purchase at an average price of Rs 1569.33.

ISRO successfully conducts Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission in KarnatakaThe Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.

  • The test involved a winged body lifted to an altitude of 4.5 km by an Indian Air Force (IAF) Chinook helicopter, subsequently freed to execute an independent high-speed (350 kmph) landing on a runway, and achieved the landing parameters.
  • This is the first time that a winged body has been released mid-air by a helicopter and carried out an autonomous landing.

Note: The test has been conducted by the IAF, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE)
Key Points:
i.RLV LEX is essentially a space plane with a low lift-to-drag ratio requiring an approach at high glide angles that necessitated a landing at high velocities of 350 kmph.
ii.LEX utilized several indigenous systems. Localized Navigation systems based on pseudolite systems, instrumentation, and sensor systems, etc. were developed by ISRO.
iii.The Ka-band Radar Altimeter provided precise altitude information with the aid of a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the landing site.

India become 1st Country in the World to Develop Own Model to Estimated TB CasesIndia become the first country in the world to estimate the tuberculosis (TB) burden in-country and launch its country level mathematical model to estimate the prevalence of TB cases in India.

  • Existing Mechanism: Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global TB Report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, at global, regional and country levels.
  • As per the Indian mathematical model’s data, the global TB reduction number was about 11% while the reduction in TB cases in India is 18%.

India’s TB Estimates as per New model:
i.India’s TB incidence rate stands at 196 per 1,00,000 population, instead of the 210 estimated by the WHO.
ii.In 2021, WHO projected estimated deaths from the communicable disease at 4.94 lakh, whereas it was now about 3.20 lakh under the new India’s model.
iii.The Indian mathematical model estimated the TB incidence rate (per 10,000) in India to be 196 in 2022 instead of the 210 estimated by the WHO (in 2021).

Capulopsyche keralensis: New genus & species of Bagworm Moth Discovered in KeralaResearchers from the Zoology Department at St. Thomas College (Autonomous), Thrissur, Kerala, have discovered a new genus and species of bagworm moth “Capulopsyche keralensis” have been discovered in the coffee plantations of Kerala in Nariyampara, Idukki district, and Nelliampathy, Palakkad district.

  • On 29th March 2023, the discovery of Capulopsyche keralensis has been published in Zootaxa, an international scientific journal of animal taxonomy and natural history.

Research Team:

  • The discovery is the result of the research of Usha A.U., a PhD scholar, which is supervised by Joyce Jose, both from the Zoology Department of the college.
  • Researchers were assisted by Thomas Sobczyk from Hoyerswerda, Germany, an international expert on psychidae, and Roby T.J., Assistant Professor of Botany, Carmel College, Mala, Thrissur, Kerala.

Species Name Definition:
i. Capulopsyche keralensis- Capulo means “coffee” and psyche means “moth” or “butterfly”.
ii. The name, therefore, translates as ‘Coffee moth of Kerala’ as it was found in the coffee plantations of Nariyampara and Nelliampathy in Kerala.
Capulopsyche keralensis:
i. Capulopsyche keralensis belongs to the moth family “psychidae”, which consists of very small moths.

  • Females of many psychid species never develop into a moth and retain larval form.

ii. It is characterised by the case-building behaviour of larvae and a high degree of sexual dimorphism.
iii. This is the 1st genus and species of the Taleporiinae subfamily, which is characterised by extreme sexual dimorphism, reported from India.
iv. Description:

  • The females are pale yellowish, wingless, with short legs and antennae.
  • The male moth is a small-sized brownish-black moth with a wingspan of 8–8.4 mm and a body length of 2.9 mm.

F1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2023: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won his maiden Australian GP titleOn 2nd April 2023, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen(Belgian-Dutch racing driver) won his first ever Australian Grand Prix (GP) Title at the Formula 1(F1) Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2023 held in the Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne, Australia.
This is Red Bull’s first victory in Melbourne since 2011 with Sebastian Vettel.

  • This also marks Max Verstappen’s 80th career Podium finish, with this he ties with Ayrton Senna’s total podium finishes.
  • 7-time world champion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton(British racing driver) secured 2nd position on the podium, his first podium position of the season and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso(Spanish racing driver) secured 3rd position.

About Australian GP 2023: 
i.Australian GP 2023 is the round 3 of the 2023 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) F1 World Championship.
ii.This marks the 37th FIA F1 World Championship Australian GP.
Race Result: (top 3)

  • Only 12 of the 20 starters finished the 58-lap race.
  • It’s the first time Red Bull has won the first three races of an F1 season.
  • In 2023 Australian GP, Fernando Alonso took his 3rd consecutive podium finish for the first time since 2013.

Facts about Max Verstappen:
i.Max Verstappen made his motorsport debut in 2005 and competed at the  national level in Belgium and the Netherlands until 2009.
ii.At the age of 17, he became the youngest driver to compete in a Formula 1.
iii.He has already competed in around 159 races in the premier class, claiming 32 victories and a total of 74 podium finishes. He won the title of Driver’s World Champion in 2021 and 2022.
About Australian Grand Prix: 

  • Circuit: Albert Park Circuit
  • Number of Laps: 58
  • Circuit Length: 5.278 km
  • Race Distance: 306.124 km

i.The Australian Grand Prix was held on the Adelaide Street Circuit between 1985 and 1995, and since 1996 race is held in the  Albert Park Circuit.
ii.Mclaren is the most successful team in Australia with 11 victories.
iii.He has competed in 166 Grand Prix races claiming 37 victories and a total of 80 podium finishes. He won the title of Driver’s World Champion in 2021 and 2022.
About Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA):
President– Mohammed Ben Sulayem
Founded in 1904
Headquarters– Paris, France

Madrid Spain Masters 2023: Indonesia’s Gregoria M Tunjung defeats India’s PV Sindhu to win Women’s singles titleIndonesian badminton player Gregoria Mariska Tunjung won the Women’s singles title at the Madrid Spain Masters 2023 finals defeating India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (PV Sindhu).

  • This also marks Gregoria M Tunjung’s first Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour title and her first victory over PV Sindhu in 8 matches.
  • Madrid Spain Masters 2023, a part of the Spain Masters championship, was held in Centro Deportivo Municipal Gallur, Madrid, Spain from 28th March to 2nd  April 2023.
  • The 2023 Spain Masters was the 8th tournament of the 2023 BWF World Tour.

About Madrid Spain Masters 2023: 
Madrid Spain Masters 2023 is an international badminton tournament categorized as a Super 300 event.

  • The tournament offered a prize pool of USD 210,000.
  • The tournament was organised by the Spanish Badminton Federation with sanctions from the BWF.

Key highlights: 
i.Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto won the men’s singles title defeating compatriot Kanta Tsuneyama in the finals. This was the first all-Japanese men’s singles finals since the German open 2019.
ii.Liu Sheng Shu & Tan Ning of China won the women’s doubles title defeating  their compatriots Chen Fang Hui & Du Yue in the finals.
iii.China’s He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong-won their first men’s doubles title as a pair defeating Chinese Taipei’s Lee Fang-Chih and Lee Fang-Jen in the finals.
iv.Mathias Christiansen & Alexandra Bøje of Denmark won the Mixed double title defeating Praveen Jordan & Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia.
Winners & Runners Of Madrid Spain Masters 2023

Oscar-winning Japanese Composer & Pop Pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto Passed Away Ryuichi Sakamoto, Oscar-winning Japanese pop pioneer, who was best known for his soundtrack work passed away in Tokyo, Japan, at the age of 71. He was born on  17th January 1953 in Tokyo, Japan.
About Ryuichi Sakamoto:
i. Ryuichi Sakamoto made his career debut in the 1983 film “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence” as both an actor and a film-score composer.
ii. He 1st came to prominence as a member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), a Japanese electronic music band, in 1978.

  • YMO was established by Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

iii. He has worked on various collaborative, solo, and film albums over three decades, earning him many honours for his contributions to the world music industry.
iv. Some of his contributions as a member of YMO are Yellow Magic (Tong Poo) (1978), Computer Game/Firecracker (1978), Technopolis (1979), and Rydeen (1979)
v. Some of the solo music contributions by Ryuichi Sakamoto Rain (1987), the Last Emperor (1989), Theme from The Sheltering Sky (1990), Heartbeat (1991), Sweet Revenge (1994), and Moving On (1994).
vi. He has also starred in movies such as Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983); The Last Emperor (1987); and The Revenant (2015).
i. Ryuichi Sakamoto won the Oscar Award in 1988 for “The Last Emperor” with  David Byrne and Cong Su becoming the first Japanese composer to receive the award. He also won the Golden Globe Award- Best Score – Motion Pictures for the same in 1988.
ii. In 1991, He won his 2nd Golden Globe Award for “The Sheltering Sky” under Best Score – Motion Pictures 1991.

Former Indian Cricketer Salim Aziz Durrani Passes Away 

On 2nd April 2023, Salim Aziz Durrani, a former Afghan-born Indian Cricketer, passed away in Jamnagar, Gujarat, at the age of 88. He was born on 11th December 1934 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is the only Indian Test cricketer to have been born in Afghanistan.

  • He has represented India in 29 Tests, scoring 1202 runs and taking 75 wickets.
  • He represented Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy of domestic cricket.
  • He was well known for  India’s first Test series victory over England in 1961-62.
  • In 1961, he was honoured with Arjuna Award. He became the first cricketer to receive the Arjuna Award.
  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) honoured him with  Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.

World Autism Awareness Day 2023 – April 2United Nations (UN)’s World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is annually observed across the globe on April 2 to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and promote the livelihood of people having autism.

  • World Autism Awareness Day 2023 was observed on 2nd April 2023 under the theme “Transforming the narrative: Contributions at home, at work, in the arts and in policymaking”.

WAAD 2023 observance is organised by the United Nations Department of Global Communication(DGC) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs(DESA) in collaboration with the Switzerland-based Institute of Neurodiversity (ION), an organisation established and run by neurodivergent people and allies.
i. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/62/139 on 18th December 2007 and proclaimed April 2 of every year World Autism Awareness Day.
ii. The 1st ever World Autism Awareness Day was observed on 2nd April 2008.
About the United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
Establishment- 1945

International Children’s Book Day 2023 – April 2International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is annually observed across the globe on or around April 2, the birth anniversary of the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, known for his fairy tales and stories.

  • The day is observed to inspire Children toward reading and to call attention to books.

International Children’s Book Day 2023 was observed on 2nd April 2023 under the theme “I am a book, read me”.

  • The message for ICBD 2023 was written by Children’s writer Vagelis Iliopoulos.
  • The poster for ICBD 2023 was illustrated by Illustrator Photini Stephanidi.

ICBD 2023 was sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBYGreece.
Note: Every year, the theme of the ICBD poster is chosen as the theme of ICBD.
Key Points:
i. The day is annually celebrated by the different national sections of the IBBY.
ii. IBBY selects a theme and invites a well-known author from the host nation to write a message to the children of the world, and a famous illustrator to design a poster.
Hans Christian Andersen Award:
i. The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books.

  • The award is granted during the biennial IBBY Congress and consists of a gold medal and diploma.

ii. The Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognise lifetime accomplishments and are given to an author and an illustrator whose total body of work has significantly and permanently improved children’s literature.
iii. The Author’s Award has been given since 1956 and the Illustrator’s Award since 1966.
iv. The awards are sponsored by Nami Island Inc. and nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Award are made by the National Sections of IBBY.
About the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY):
IBBY is a non-profit organisation representing an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.
President- Sylvia Vardell (2022-2024)
Headquarters- Basel, Switzerland

Current Affairs – 2 & 3 April 2023

MoF Increases Interest Rates on Most Small Savings Schemes, Except PPF, for Q1 FY24The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced an interest rate hike on various Small Savings Schemes for the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2023-24 (FY24), beginning April 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2023, marking the third consecutive quarter of rate hikes.

  • Small Savings Schemes have about 40 crore subscribers, and the basket includes 12 instruments such as the National Savings Certificate (NSC), Public Provident Fund (PPF), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), Sukanya Samridihi Account (SSA), Monthly Income Savings Scheme, all post office time deposits, etc.,
  • The interest rate on these savings instruments has been raised by 10-70 basis points (bps) [one percentage point is equivalent to 100 bps].

However, the interest rate for PPF scheme has been kept unchanged at 7.1% over this period, and its returns have remained constant at 7.1% for the last three years.
Key Information  
i.The GoI reviews the interest rates for small savings plans on a quarterly basis.
ii.Although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sets small savings interest rates, they are linked to market yields on government securities (G-secs) with a lag and are reviewed and fixed quarterly at a spread of 0-100 basis points (bps) over (100 bps = 1%) and above G-sec yields of comparable maturities.
About Ministry of Finance (MoF):
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (RajyaSabha- Karnataka)
Ministers of State (MoS) – Pankaj Chaudhary; Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad

Women aged between 15-29 years spend 5.5 hours more than men doing Unpaid LabourMoSPIi.The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released its report titled ‘Women and Men in India 2022’ which is 24th in series. As per it, an average Indian woman, aged between 15 and 29 spends 5.5 hours doing unpaid labour. A man in that age group spends about 50 minutes a day doing work that yields no money.
ii.A senior woman (aged above 60) too spends four hours a day doing unpaid labour, while a senior man spends an hour and a half on the same.
iii.This report is on the lines of Oxfam report from December 2021, which noted that the unpaid work done by women looking after their homes and children is worth 3.1% of India’s GDP.
iv.The only area of unpaid work where men spend more time than women is in volunteering and training, where they spend an extra six minutes per day.
About Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI):
Minister of State (Independent Charge)– Rao Inderjit Singh (Constituency- Gurugram, Haryana)
Secretary– DR. G P Samanta

Union Budget 2023-24: Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces Revamping of Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSE from April 1 

Nirmala Sitharaman, the union minister of finance, announced in the union budget for 2023–2024 the revamping of the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Micro & Small Enterprises (MSE) with effect from 1st April 2023.

  • It is revamped with an infusion of Rs 9,000 crore to the corpus to enable an additional Rs 2 lakh crore in collateral-free guaranteed credit and the reduction in the cost of the credit by about 1%.
  • On 30th March 2023, Rs 8,000 crore was infused into the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro & Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) corpus. CGTMSE created a new landmark by approving guarantees totalling Rs 1 lakh crore during the financial year (FY) 2022–23.

The limit on the ceiling for guarantees has been enhanced from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore. For settlement of claims in respect of guarantees for loans outstanding up to Rs 10 lakh, initiation of legal proceedings will no longer be required.

  • CGTMSE has issued guidelines in this regard.

CBDT signs 95 Advance Pricing Agreements in FY 2022-23

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Department of Revenue, the Ministry of Finance, have entered into a record 95 Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in the financial year (FY) 2022-2023 with Indian taxpayers. This year, CBDT recorded the highest-ever APA signings in any FY since the launch of the APA programme.

The agreement includes 63 Unilateral APAs (UAPAs) and 32 Bilateral APAs (BAPAs).

  • A record of the largest number of single-day signings in the history of the programme was also created with a total of 21 APAs signed on 24th March 2023.
  • The total number of APAs since the inception of the APA programme has gone up to 516, comprising 420 UAPAs and 96 BAPAs.

The APA Scheme aims to provide taxpayers clarity in the domain of transfer pricing by defining the pricing methodologies and determining the arm’s length price of International transactions for up to 5 years in the future.

Georgia becomes first American state to condemn Hinduphobia, passes resolution

Georgia, United States of America(USA) passed a resolution condemning “Hinduphobia” and “anti-Hindu bigotry”- becoming the first state in the country to do so.

  • The resolution was introduced by Representatives Lauren McDonald and Todd Jones from Forsyth County in the suburbs of Atlanta, home to one of the largest Hindu and Indian-American diaspora communities in Georgia.
  • The resolution observed that the American-Hindu community has been a major contributor to diverse sectors such as medicine, science and engineering, information technology, hospitality, finance, academia, manufacturing, energy, retail trade, among others

IRDAI Releases Liberalised Commission Regulations Benefitting Insurers & DistributorsThe Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has announced three new regulations that are anticipated to have major economic implications on market participants, including insurers and intermediaries. The three new rules are as follows:

In the process, IRDAI replaced the previous regime of ‘product-wise capping’ of commission payable to intermediaries.

  • This is subject to insurers adhering to the IRDAI’s overall ‘expenses of management’ (EOM) limits.

About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
Chairperson – Debasish Panda
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Establishment – 1999 (Incorporated on 1st April 2000)

IRDAI Identified LIC, GIC & New India Assurance as D-SIIs for FY23On March 31, 2023, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC), and New India Assurance continued to be identified by the Insurance Regulator and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) as Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) for the Financial year 2022-23.

  • IRDAI annually identifies D-SIIs and publishes the name of the insurers for public information.
  • In line with the Reserve Bank of India’s benchmarking, D-SIIs are perceived to be ‘too big or (too important) to fail’.
  • LIC, GIC, and New India Assurance were the D-SIIs from 2020-21.
  • D-SIIs refers to insurers of large size, market importance and domestic and global inter-connectedness whose distress or failure would cause a significant impact on the domestic financial system.

About General Insurance Corporation of India Limited (GIC Re):
Chairman and Managing Director – Devesh Srivastava
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment – 22 November 1972

DBS Bank Launches investment solution ‘digiPortfolio‘ Offers Morningstar curated InvestmentsDBS Bank India launched an investment solution ‘digiPortfolio’ on its digibank platform, to create a set of investment options curated by Morningstar that match the risk preferences of different investors

  • The platform which uses both technology and human expertise is an easy, one-stop solution for users to invest money with ready-made baskets of mutual funds.

Key Points:
i.The ‘digiPortfolio’ provides instant access to investors with two plans starting at a minimum investment of Rs 10,000 up to Rs 50,000.
ii.The plans include features such as portfolio construction, monitoring, and rebalancing services, powered by Morningstar. There are no extra charges, like sales or transaction fees.
iii.Investors could invest as long as they want and they could choose based on their goals, risk preferences, and investment duration.
iv.Under the platform, the portfolios are designed to be an investment aligned to the investor’s risk appetite and investment horizon.
v.The investment options are of mutual funds selected by Morningstar. The portfolios are adjusted even when the market is volatile, to ensure the best possible returns.
vi.Various investment options, such as domestic equity, debt and money market instruments, are included in the offering. The digiPortfolio platform is easy to use as it is automated and run by Quantifeed.

Acko, Credit Access Receives IRDAI nod to Commence Life Insurance BusinessOn March 25 2023, in its 121st meeting, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), granted a certificate of registration to two new entities namely Acko Life Insurance Limited and Credit Access Life Insurance Limited to commence the life insurance business.

  • With the entry of the two firms into the insurance business, the number of life insurers operating in India increased to 25 which was remaining unchanged since 2011 (after Edelweiss Tokio’s registration).

Key Points:
i.In the case of Acko, it is already operating a general insurance company named Acko General Insurance.

  • Acko provides insurance covers in auto, health and travel segments.
  • It is also collaborating with cab-aggregator Ola and Amazon for bite-sized insurance covers available on their respective apps.
  • Acko, which became a unicorn in October 2021, is backed by Accel, Elevation Capital, Ascent Capital, Munich Re Ventures and Flipkart cofounder Binny Bansal, among others.

ii.CreditAccess Grameen Limited, headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, is the largest microfinance institution in India, which focuses on providing loans to women borrowers in rural. It has the largest microfinance market share in the world.
iii.As per the statement of IRDAI, further 20 more applications are in process at various stages of registration in life, general and reinsurance segments.
About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)
Chairperson – Debasish Panda
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Establishment – 2000

IPPB partners with Bharti Airtel to launch Banking Services on WhatsApp

On 31st March 2023, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), under the ownership of the Department of Post, the Ministry of Communications, partnered with New Delhi (Delhi)-based Bharti Airtel Limited to launch banking services through WhatsApp for its customers.

  • With this new IPPB WhatsApp Banking channel, users of the bank will be able to easily connect with the bank on WhatsApp and access a variety of banking services, including doorstep service requests and locating the nearest Post Office.
  • Customers will receive the WhatsApp messaging service from Airtel IQ, a cloud-based communications platform as a service (CPaaS) company that offers customer engagement across voice, SMS, and WhatsApp channels.

IPPB and Airtel IQ will ensure multi-language support and real-time customer support agents on WhatsApp to provide quick solutions for customer queries.

BharatPe Group Partners with WEP to foster Women Entrepreneurship in IndiaBharatpe Group, one of the leading fintech company in India, has partnered with the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) to support women entrepreneurs across India in their journeys of self-reliance and business growth.

  • The partnership, launched under the ‘BharatPe Cares’, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by BharatPe Group, is in line with the brand purpose of BharatPe “To empower lives through inclusive fintech solutions”.
  • This specific initiatives is under the BharatPe’s CSR program of PAYBACK. 

i.According to the 6th economic census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MoSPI), women accounts for only 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs (8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs) in India.
ii.This highlights the need to empower women entrepreneurs in India.
About BharatPe – WEP partnership: 
To build an ecosystem that unites women entrepreneur from across India and equip them with required domain knowledge and the financial and technical know-how that are required to achieve their business goals.
Focus areas: 
To facilitate development of an aggregator platform that gives access to peer support, mentorship, networking channels and a range of learning resources.
Points to note: 
i.The partnership between WEP and BharatPe aims to address the difficulties faced by the women entrepresenrs and to level the playing field where women can enjou equal growth opportunities.
ii.This also aims to facilitate the the development of a plug-and-play digital infrastructure to address the existing gaps and aid the growth of women entrepreneurs.
Key Points:
i.According to the industry report, women entrepreneurs in India can generate 150-170 million jobs by 2030, more than 25% of new jobs required by working age population.
ii.Promoting women entrepreneurship will boost the economy through job creation and is critical to building India as a USD 5 trillion economy.
About Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP): 
i.WEP, a first of its kind, is a unified access portal that unites women across India to build a nurturing ecosystem that enables women to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations.
ii.WEP is a public-private initiative that aims at providing a continuum of support to women entrepreneurs by leveraging the network of various stakeholders who are part of the ecosystem.
About BharatPe: 
BharatPe was co-founded by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani in 2018
Chief Financial Officer & Interim CEO– Nalin Negi
Headquarters– Gurgaon, Haryana

Sarbananda Sonowal launches Sagar Setu Mobile App of National Logistics Portal MarineThe Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) launched the app Version of National Logistics Portal (Marine) ‘Sagar-Setu’.
It was launched in the presence of Minister of State (MoS) Shripad Yesso Naik, MoPSW Sudhansh Pant, Secretary and other senior officials.
Key Points:
i.The app offers features such as Login Module, Service Catalogue, Common Application Format, Letter of Credit, Bank Guarantee, Certification, Track and Trace, etc. that provide real-time information on activities which are out of reach for importers, exporters, and customs brokers.

  • This includes vessel-related details, gate information, container freight stations, and transactions, all easily accessible through the app.

ii.It also enables digital transactions for payments required for the clearance process of import and export.
iii.The SAGAR-SETU app helps custodians in easier access to functionalities on a handheld device by reducing turnaround time for approval and compliances.

  • App will benefit service providers and help in tracking of records and transactions offered and also receive notification of service requests.

BDL Successfully Tested the Indigenous Anti Tank Guided Missile, Amogha-IIIBharat Dynamics (BDL)  successfully conducted a field firing test of its indigenous third generation man-portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), Amogha-III.

  • Amogha-III has been developed under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) by the Research and Development (R&D) Division of BDL.

About Amogha-III ATGM:
i.The model of the new 3rd Generation ATGM, Amogha III was unveiled during the DefExpo 2020,  a flagship biennial event of the Ministry of Defence(MoD) held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in February 2020 in a hybrid format.
ii.The whole missile system comes with a command launch unit (CLU), remote operation capability and a tripod.
iii.Amogha-III ATGM which requires no external intervention following the lauch boasts the fire and forget capability.
iv.The missile also features a dual-mode Imaging Infrared (IIR) Seeker with a range of 200 to 2500 meters.
i.The Amogha-III, assisted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), showcased a tandem warhead, consisting of two separate explosive charges that are detonated in sequence.

  • The first charge, known as the precursor charge, penetrates the target’s armour, creating a hole for the second charge known as the main charge to detonate inside, maximizing damage inflicted on the target.

ii.The missile can be fired in lock-on-before launch (LOBL) mode.
iii.The anti-armour tandem warhead of the missile can penetrate in excess of 650 mm beyond Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA).
iv.This missile of versatile nature is capable of top and direct attack modes.

India & UK Scientists collaborate on SMART Early Warning Flood Alert System

Scientists from India and the United Kingdom (UK) have developed a real-time Early Warning System to help reduce the destructive effects of flooding on people and property, particularly in mountainous areas where extreme water events are a major problem.  The team worked on integrating science, policy and local community-led approaches to create a so-called SMART approach that better fits the local context.

  • Team: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee (Uttarakhand), Imperial College London (UK), University of Birmingham (UK), and People’s Science Institute, Dehradun (Uttarakhand).
  • The SMART approach covers: Shared understanding of risks ensuring every group of people in a community is represented and a wide range of data collection methods are used; Monitoring risks and establishing warning systems that build trust and exchange critical risk information helping to maintain the forecasting system.

Three New Species of Bush Cricket Discovered: Hexacentrus khasiensis, Hexacentrus ashoka, & Hexacentrus tiddaeResearchers from the zoology departments of Ashoka University, Haryana; Punjab University(PU), Chandigarh; and the National Institute of Science Education and Research, Odisha have discovered new predatory Bush Cricket (Hexacentrus) species namely Hexacentrus khasiensis in Meghalaya and Hexacentrus ashoka and Hexacentrus tiddae in Sonipat, Haryana.

  • The 3 new species were found in 2 study locations: a forested area around and inside the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) campus of Shillong, Meghalaya, and in the forested area around Ashoka University Campus, Sonipat, Haryana.

Key Points:
i. Hexacentrus is a genus of predatory katydids. Hexacentrus is a genus of 7 species, 6 of which are morphologically defined in India and one of which is only acoustically characterised.

  • Based on detailed morphological, stridulatory, and acoustic characteristics, the 3 new species fall under the genus from India.

ii. Researchers- Aarini Ghosh, Ranjana Jaiswara, Monaal, Shagun Sabharwal, Vivek Dasoju, Anubhab Bhattacharjee, and Bittu Kaveri Rajaraman.

  • A Joint team of researchers from the zoology departments of Panjab University (PU), Ashoka University, Sonipat, and the National Institute of Science Education and Research, Orrisa, discovered three new species of predatory bush cricket in India.

iii. Zootaxa, a scientific mega journal for animal taxonomists, is likely to now include all 3 of the newly discovered species.
Hexacentrus khasiensis:
Type material- Holotype
Type locality- East Khasi Hill, Shillong, Meghalaya.
The species is named after the Khasi hill of Meghalaya.
Hexacentrus ashoka:
Type material- Holotype
Type locality- Ashoka University, Rai, Sonipat, Haryana.
The species is named after Ashoka University located in Sonipat, Haryana.
Hexacentrus tiddae:
Type Material- Holotype
Type locality- Ashoka University, Aswarpur, Sonipat, Haryana, India
The term ‘tiddae’ in Hindi and Haryanvi refers to Orthoptera, it is used for locusts and crickets.

Renowned Author & 2-time Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award Winner Sarah Thomas Passed AwayOn 31st March 2023, renowned Malayalam writer, Sarah Thomas, a 2-time Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awardee, passed away in Trivandrum, Kerala, at the age of 88. She was born on 15th September 1934 in Trivandrum, Travancore Kingdom, British India (now in Kerala).
About Sarah Thomas:
i. Sarah Thomas has written 17 novels and over 100 short stories. She published her first novel “Jeevitham Enna Nadhi” at the age of 34.
ii. She was known for her work “Narmani Putava” (1978) and, “Daivamakkal” (1982) and “Grahanam” are her favourite works.
iii. Her other notable works are Agnishuddhi (1988), Chinnammu (1988), Valakkar (1994), Neelakurinjikal Chuvakum Neram (1995), Thanneerpanthal, Yatra and Kaveri.
iv. Her novels Murippadukal, Asthamayam, Pavizhamuthu, and Archana have been adapted into movies.
i. Sarah Thomas’s novel “Narmadi Pudava” won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1979.
ii. In 2010, she also received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for Overall Contribution to Malayalam literature.

Earth Hour 2023 – March 25Earth Hour is annually observed across the globe on the last Saturday of March by turning out the lights from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time) as a symbolic act of support for the action taken on environmental issues and protecting the planet.
Earth Hour is one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment.
Earth Hour 2023 was observed on 25th March 2023.

  • Earth Hour 2022 was observed on 26th March 2022.
  • Earth Hour 2024 will be observed on 30th March 2024.

The theme of Earth Hour 2023 is “The Biggest Hour for Earth”.
i. Earth Hour was initiated by the World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF), formerly the World Wildlife Fund and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.
ii. The 1st ever Earth Hour event was observed on 31st March 2007 in Sydney, Australia.

  • In the 1st Earth Hour event, more than 2.2 million people and 2,000 businesses switched off their lights for one hour.

Chennai’s WABAG bags Rs 4,400 crore Seawater Desalination Project in Tamil Nadu

Chennai (Tamil Nadu)-based VA Tech Wabag Ltd (WABAG) has bagged Rs 4,400 crore Sea Water(salt water) Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) project in Tamil Nadu (TN) which after completion would be the largest sea-water desalination project in the South East Asia region.
The project has been bagged in a joint venture (JV) with Metito Overseas Limited and will be implemented on a design, build, operate (DBO) model.
Key Highlights:
i. WABAG with Metito Overseas wins an SWRO project from Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB).
ii. The largest seawater desalination plant in South East Asia, worth Rs 4,400 crore, with a 400 Minimal Liquid Discharge (MLD) capacity, was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
iii. The DBO will take place over 42 months and will be operated and maintained for 20 years by WABAG.
iv. Desalination Process: Lamella Clarifiers, Dissolved Air Flotation System, Gravity Dual Media Filters followed by Reverse Osmosis, and Re-mineralization to produce clean drinking water.

  • It will be further distributed by CMWSSB to the residents of south Chennai.
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