Weekly Current Affairs January 2023 Week – 02

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently flagged off the world’s longest river cruise ‘MV
    Ganga Vilas’, which will cover 3,200 km across 27 river systems in five states in India and
    Bangladesh in 51 days.
  • The MV Ganga Vilas vessel is 62 meters in length, 12 meters in width and comfortably sails
    with a draft of 1.4 meters. It has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36
    tourists, with all the amenities to provide a memorable and luxurious experience for the
    tourists.
  • The cruise will begin its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to reach Dibrugarh in
    Assam via Bangladesh.
  • It will cover 5 Indian states: Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, & West Bengal.
  • The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland.
    Additional Information:
    Ministry of Culture has organised a grand curtain raiser cultural program ‘Sur Sarita –
    Symphony of Ganga’ on the eve of the launch of the world’s longest river cruise in Varanasi,
    Uttar Pradesh.
  1. As per the latest data given by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, there has been a 98.7
    percent decline in cases of Kala-azar from 44,533 in 2007 to 834 in 2022 in India. India
    contributes 11.5 percent of total cases reported globally.
    India has set a target to eliminate Kala-azar from the country by 2023.
    Kala-azar:
  • It is also known as Black Fever disease.
  • It is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) caused by a protozoan parasite of genus
    Leishmania and spread by infected female sandfly bites.
  • Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing the disease in India.
  • It is considered as the second deadliest parasitic killer in world after Malaria.
  • It is endemic in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • It is a treatable and curable disease.
  1. Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal has recently launched a “Portal for
    mapping of Industrial Units and Laboratories” on the occasion of the 76th Foundation
    Day of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in New Delhi.
  • This is a centralized platform for information on industrial units and laboratories across
    the country.
  • This will enable analysis of test facilities in the country and help entrepreneurs in
    accessing information about testing facilities.
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    He has also launched the Standards National Action Plan (SNAP) 2022- 27, Revision Exercise
    of National Building Code of India (NBC 2016), and Revised National Electrical Code of India
  1. The joint Air Exercise ‘Veer Guardian-2023’ has been conducted at Hyakuri Air Base, Japan
    from 12 January 2023 to 26 January 2023 to promote Air Defence cooperation between the
    countries, India and Japan.
    Participants:
  • India: Su-30 MKI, two C-17 & one IL-78 aircraft
  • Japan: Four F-2 & Four F-15 aircraft
    The inaugural exercise includes the conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two
    Air Forces. The exercise fortifies the long standing bond of friendship and enhance the
    avenues of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces.
  1. Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has officially visited New York and
    Washington DC from 9-11 January 2023 to participate in India – US Trade Policy Forum.
  • He has interacted with CEOs of reputed multinational enterprises, participated in
    community event, joined roundtable meetings with business leaders and think tank and
    visited industries in New York.
  • He has participated in the 13th Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting held in Washington DC
    on 11th January 2023.
  • He has also participated in the bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Commerce Gina
    Raimondo.
    Trade Policy Forum (TPF):
    TPF is a platform for continuous engagement between two countries in the area of trade and
    to further the trade and investment relations between the two countries. The TPF is chaired
    by Commerce and Industry Minister from Indian side and the U.S. Trade Representative
    (USTR) from the US side.
    Note: The 12th TPF Ministerial meeting was held on 23 November 2021 after a gap of four
    years in New Delhi.
  1. The Vice President & Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has inaugurated the 83rd All
    India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) in Jaipur, Rajasthan on 11th January 2023.
    This is the fourth time that the Conference has been organized in the city of Jaipur.
    The 83rd AIPOC focusses on following themes of contemporary relevance:
  • Leadership of India in G-20 as the mother of democracy
  • The need to make Parliament and Legislature more Effective, Accountable and Productive
  • Integration of State Legislatures with Digital Parliament
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  • The need to maintain a harmonious relationship between the Legislature and the Judiciary
    in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution
    Note: The 82nd AIPOC has been held in 2021 in Shimla.
    All India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC):
    It is the apex body of the Legislatures in India that completed its 100 years in 2021. The first
    conference has been held in Shimla in 1921.
  1. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has inaugurated the new Light and Sound Show at Red
    Fort by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) titled as “Jai Hind”.
  • The new show is a dramatic presentation of the bravery and the history of India from the
    17th century to the present day.
  • The one-hour long show divided into three parts will bring to life key episodes from India’s
    history including the rise of the Marathas, the 1857 War of Independence, the rise of the
    Indian National Army and the INA trials, the fight for Independence and India’s continuing
    progress over the past 75 years by using all forms of performance art – projection
    mapping, live action films, light and immersive sound, actors, dancers and puppets.
  • The 3-part show will be showcased at different monuments inside Red Fort starting with
    Naubatkhana to Deewan–e- Aam to Deewan-e-Khas.
  • The show will be showcased to general public in English and Hindi Languages with a
    seating arrangement of 700 people for a one time watch.
    Note: ASI has opened 4 Museums namely the Yaad-e-Jallian museum, the Museum on 1857-
    India’s first war of Independence, Azaadi ke Diwane and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
    Museum in Red Fort.
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Aspirational Block Programme (ABP)
    during the ‘2nd National Conference of Chief Secretaries’ held in New Delhi.
  • The ABP aims to improve the performance of blocks lagging on various development
    parameters.
  • The focus area will be more specific thus ensuring greater attention to detail.
  • The programme will cover 500 blocks across 31 states and Union Territories initially.
  • Over half of these blocks are in 6 states: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh,
    Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • It is on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme that was launched in 2018 and
    covers 112 districts across the country.
    Note: The Aspirational Block Programme (ABP) was initially announced in Union Budget
    2022-23.
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  1. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has
    unveiled the theme for the “National Science Day 2023” titled “Global Science for Global
    Wellbeing” at National Media Centre, Delhi. The theme indicates India’s emerging global role
    and rising visibility in the international arena.
    National Science Day (NSD):
    It is observed annually on 28 February to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’.
    Government of India designated 28 February as National Science Day (NSD) in 1986. On this
    day Sir C.V. Raman announced the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ for which he was awarded
    the Nobel Prize in 1930.
    The Department of Science and Technology (DST) acts as a nodal agency to support, catalyse
    and coordinate celebration of the National Science Day throughout the country in scientific
    institutions, research laboratories and autonomous scientific institutions associated with
    DST.
  2. India has successfully carried out a test launch of a Short-Range Ballistic Missile Prithvi-II
    from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. The missile struck its
    target with high accuracy. The user training launch has successfully validated all operational
    and technical parameters of the missile.
  • Prithvi-II missile is powered by light propulsion twin engines.
  • It has a range of around 350 km and can carry 500-1,000 kg of warheads.
  • It uses an advanced inertial navigation system to strike the set target.
  • It was earlier successfully test-fired during night hours in 2018 and in 2019.
  • Prithvi was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
    under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  1. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has
    accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three capital acquisition proposals, amounting
    to Rs.4,276 crore. All the three proposals, two of the Indian Army and one of the Indian Navy,
    are under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
  • The DAC has accorded AoN for procurement of HELINA Anti-Tank Guided Missiles,
    launchers and associated support equipment which will be integrated to the Advanced
    Light Helicopter (ALH).
  • The DAC has accorded AoN for procurement of VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system
    under design and development by DRDO. It is an Indian man-portable air-defence
    system (MANPADS). It designed for anti-aircraft warfare and neutralizing low altitude
    aerial threats at short ranges.
  • The DAC has also accorded AoN for procurement of the Brahmos Launcher and Fire
    Control System (FCS) for the Shivalik class of ships and Next Generation Missile Vessels
    (NGMVs) for the Navy.
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  1. Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has launched the ‘Geospatial
    Hackathon’ to promote Innovation and Start-Ups in India’s Geospatial ecosystem. The aim of
    the hackathon is to promote partnerships not only among the public and private geospatial
    sectors but also to strengthen country’s geospatial Start-Up ecosystem.
    There will be Two Sets of Challenges- Research Challenge and Startp-Up Challenge to find out
    4 winners for the Best Solutions to the Geospatial Select Problem Statements. It will end on
    10th March 2023.
  2. Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S. Puri
    has addressed the 11th edition of “Bio Energy Summit 2023”, a flagship event of the
    Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in New Delhi.
    The theme of the summit is “Energy Transition- Solution for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.
    The summit provides an opportunity for Innovators and a way forward for Clean & Green
    Energy Solutions for future.
    The summit has been addressed by more than 30 speakers across six sessions focussing on
    compressed biogas, ethanol, financing, and waste to biofuels besides ministerial sessions.
    Note: India has increased the ethanol blending in petrol from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 10.17% in
    July 2022.
  3. Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has recently
    inaugurated the School of Logistics, Waterways and Communication in Agartala, Tripura.
  • The school will enable the rich pool of talent of the region to become world class experts
    in the transportation and logistics sector.
  • It has been set up under State Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development
    (SIPARD).
  • The school will facilitate in conducting studies/research, training, workshops/seminars for
    stakeholders like businesses, exporters/importers, Chambers of Commerce and
    Industries, local entrepreneurs, tourist operators etc.
    SIPARD is an autonomous body funded by the Government of Tripura and partially by the
    Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
  1. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved to set up and
    promote a National Level multi-state seed cooperative society under the Multi State
    Cooperative Societies (MSCS) Act, 2002.
  • This society will act as an apex organization for production, procurement, processing,
    branding, labelling, packaging, storage, marketing and distribution of quality seeds;
    strategic research & development; and to develop a system for preservation and
    promotion of indigenous natural seeds; through various cooperative societies across the
    country with support from relevant ministries especially Ministry of Agriculture and
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    Farmers Welfare, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and National Seed
    Corporation (NSC) through their schemes and agencies.
  • This will promote Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) and Varity Replacement Rate (VRR) and
    help reduce the yield gaps and enhance productivity.
    Other cabinet approvals:
  • Cabinet has also approved to set up a National Level multistate cooperative export
    society under MSCS Act, 2002 with support from relevant Ministries especially Ministry of
    External Affairs and Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Cabinet has approved to set up a National Level cooperative society for organic
    products under MSCS Act, 2002 with support from relevant Ministries especially the
    Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry
    of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of
    Development of North Eastern Region (M/Doner).
  1. The India Meteorological Department (IMD’s) Statement on Climate of India during 2022
    stated that the year 2022 is the fifth warmest for India since 1901. The annual mean land
    surface air temperature is 0.51 degrees celsius above the long-term average which is the
    mean temperature for the 1981-2010 period.
  • This is the lower than the highest warming observed in India in 2016 when the average
    temperature is 0.71 degrees celsius.
  • During the 2022 winter season, the all-India mean temperatures were normal with an
    anomaly of -0.04 degrees celsius.
  1. The Government of India has recently honoured 82 Best Agripreneurs who were trained
    under the Central Sector Scheme – Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business (AC&ABC) of Govt. of India
    for their significant contribution to farmers through agri-clinic and agribusiness services.
    They have been honoured on the occasion of National Youth Day (12th January), also known
    as Vivekananda Jayanti, in New Delhi.
    Besides, 8 Nodal Training Institutes (NTIs), who impart AC&ABC training efficiently, have also
    received Awards for their best training, handholding and facilitation activities.
    Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business (AC&ABC) scheme:
    It was launched in 2002. It is a mega flagship scheme of the Government of India in
    collaboration with NABARD. It aims to transform unemployed youth into self-employed
    Agripreneurs through a 45 days free residential training at different parts of the country with
    a provision for availing loan and subsidy from the banks. It is being implemented by the
    National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad in
    different states in the country with a network of 136 Nodal Training Institutes (NTIs) spread
    across all the states.
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  2. Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Chemicals & Fertilizers Dr Mansukh
    Mandaviya has announced that Talcher Fertilizers Project, India’s largest and first coal
    gasification plant, will be dedicated to India by October 2024. The project will help achieve
    the stated goal of gasifying 100 MT (Metric Tonnes) of coal by 2030 since it encourages coal
    gasification.
  3. The Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar has
    virtually addressed the 36th International conference on VLSI Design and the 22nd
    International conference on Embedded Systems organized in Hyderabad, Telangana. The
    conference is a premier global conference focusing on the latest advancements in VLSI and
    Embedded Systems.
  4. Union Ministry of Tourism, in association with the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel
    Management (IITTM), UNEP and Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI), has organised
    the second regional workshop on Development of Sustainable and Responsible Tourist
    Destinations at Kolkata, West Bengal. The aim is to develop sustainable and responsible
    tourist destinations and promote sustainable tourism in the country.
    The workshop has witnessed wide participation of senior Government officials and tourism
    industry stakeholders from the States/ Union Territory of the Eastern region viz. Andaman &
    Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  5. Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, has recently
    held a bilateral meeting with Akihiro Nishimura, Minister of the Environment, Japan, in New
    Delhi. He has also addressed the 1st India – Japan Environment week. In the meeting, both
    the leaders have discussed a range of issues including G7/G20 collaboration, Mission LiFE,
    Marine & Plastic Waste, COP-27 and CBD 15.
    During the meeting, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav has also mentioned about the
    ‘Furoshiki’.
  6. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an untethered
    multi-copter payload, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), capable of flying with 5 kg
    payload and even dropping bombs in enemy territories, with an aim to carry out logistic
    operations in the Himalayan frontier.
  7. The Executive Committee (EC) meeting of National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET),
    Ministry of Mines, under the chairmanship of Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Ministry of Mines,
    has approved Rs.154.84 crores projects of mineral exploration and enhancing institutional
    capabilities in exploration.
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    The mineral exploration project includes Graphite, Iron, Coal, Zinc & associated minerals,
    Bauxite, Basemetal (Pb, Zn & Cu), Phosphorite/Glauconitic sandstone, PGE & associated
    minerals (Chromium, Nickel, Cobalt), Tin & associated minerals, Manganese and Limestone to
    boost the mineral exploration in India.

STATES AFFAIRS

  1. Gangasagar Mela, India’s second largest pilgrimage gathering after Kumbh Mela, is
    observed annually on the banks of the Ganges at Sagardwip or Sagar Island, West Bengal.
    Devotees gather at confluence of Ganga and Bay of Bengal to take a sacred dip during Makar
    Sankranti (mid-January).
    In 2023, the festival has been observed from 8th January to 17th January 2023.
    Gangasagar is an island in Ganges delta located on continental shelf of Bay of Bengal roughly
    100 kilometres south of Kolkata.
  2. The Osmanabad district of Maharashtra has become the first court to introduce e-system
    of functioning, under which, all the court-related work including filing, payment, and other
    court services can be done through mobile app or through online mode.
  3. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified comprehensive
    regulatory standards for Basmati Rice for the first time. The aim is to establish fair practices
    in the trade of Basmati rice and protect consumer interest, both domestically and globally.
  • As per these standards, Basmati rice shall possess natural fragrance characteristics of
    basmati rice and be free from artificial colouring, polishing agents, and artificial
    fragrances.
  • These standards also specify various identity and quality parameters for basmati rice such
    as the average size of grains, maximum limits of moisture, uric acid, and damaged grains.
  • These standards will be enforced from 1st August 2023.
  1. Talacauvery in the Kodagu district of Karnataka, which is considered the place of origin of
    the Cauvery River, has emerged as South India’s Hanle, as astronomers are seen hosting
    “star parties” in the region.
  • Hanle, which is situated in Ladakh, is famous for its pristine skies and minimal light
    pollution.
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  • The Department of Science & Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science &
    Technology, announced the establishment of India’s first Dark Sky Reserve at Hanle.
    Dark Sky Reserve:
    It is a designation given to regions that have policies in place to ensure that a tract of land or
    region has minimal artificial light interference. Dark Sky location depends on light pollution
    which is measured on Bortle Scale.
  1. As per the On-Time Performance Review 2022 released by CIRIUM, the aviation analytics
    company, Kempegwoda International Airport, Bengaluru, Karnataka and Indira Gandhi
    International Airport, Delhi have been listed among the top 10 in the Top Performing
    Global Airports of 2022.
  • Kempegwoda International Airport has been ranked 2nd and Indira Gandhi International
    Airport has been ranked 7th on the list.
  • The list is topped by Haneda Airport in Japan.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai has been ranked 11th in the list.
  1. India has received its first In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) mobile unit for animals in Amreli in
    Gujarat. The mobile IVF lab has been inaugurated by the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal
    Husbandary, and Dairying Purushottam Rupala. It is a joint effort of the Government of India
    (GoI) and Amar Dairy.
  • Notably, the IVF is a complex series of procedures used to help with fertility and assist
    with the conception of a child.
  • In animals, it is an advanced reproductive technology for the multiplication of superior
    female germplasm at a higher rate.
  1. The Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik has inaugurated the Birsa Munda
    International Hockey Stadium, India’s biggest hockey stadium in Rourkela, Odisha.
  • He has inaugurated the World Cup Village at Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium
    Complex in Rourkela and has announced a reward of Rs.1 crore for each player of the
    Indian hockey team if they win the Wolrd Cup Hockey.
  • He has also inaugurated the “Mo Bus” (my bus) services in Rourkela with 30 vehicles to
    ensure hassle-free movement during the hockey world cup.
    Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium:
    The stadium is named after freedom fighter Birsa Munda. It is built over 15 acres of land at
    the campus of the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) in Rourkela. The total capacity
    of the stadium is over 20,000 and is the largest all-seater field hockey stadium in the world.
  1. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel has observed the traditional Cherchera
    festival at Dudhadhari Math in Raipur. The festival is observed on the full moon night of
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    ‘Paush’ Hindu calendar month in the happiness of taking the crops to their homes after
    cultivation.
    According to mythological belief, on this day Lord Shankar begged from Mata Annapurna, so
    people used to donate green vegetables along with paddy on this day.
  2. Minister of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal has inaugurated the ‘Astro Tourism- A Sky
    Gazing’ event at India Gate Lawns, Kartavya Path, New Delhi, Delhi.
  • The event has been organized by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in
    association with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).
  • It is a 3-day programme held from 6-8 January 2023.
  • The event includes various activities like Astro Talks by expert Astronomers, an Exhibition
    on Astronomy, Storytelling related to celestial objects, an Experience of using the
    telescope to see the craters of the Moon, Astronomy Activities, a Photographic Panel
    Exhibition, and Astro-Photography.
  1. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur has launched the themes of
    Y20 summit, logo, and website in the curtain raiser event of Y20 Summit India in New Delhi.
  • The Y20 is the official youth engagement group for the G20 (Group of 20), the forum for
    the world’s largest and most advanced economies.
  • India is hosting the Y20 summit for the first time.
    The 5 themes of Y20 are:
    i) Future of Work: Industry 4.0, Innovation & 21
    st Century skills
    ii) Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction: Making Sustainability a way of life
    iii) Peacebuilding and Reconciliation: Ushering in an era of No War
    iv) Shared Future: Youth in Democracy and Governance
    v) Health, Wellbeing & Sports: Agenda for Youth
    The Y20 Group’s inception meeting will take place in Guwahati, Assam from 6th to 8th
    February 2023.
    G20:
    It is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU). It
    was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis. The G20 members represent around 85%
    of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world
    population.
  1. The State Commissioner for Persons with Disability, the Department of Social Welfare, along
    with the Entertainment Society of Goa has organized the first of its kind “Purple Fest:
    Celebrating Diversity” (Purple Fest 2023), India’s first of its kind inclusive festival for
    differently abled, in Goa.
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  • Aim: The fest aims to showcase how to come together to create a welcoming and
    inclusive world for everyone.
  • The festival has been held from 6th to 8th January 2023.
    Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Dr Virendra Kumar has inaugurated a 2-
    day sensitisation workshop in association with the Purple Fest in Goa on “Issues relating to
    Empowerment of persons with Disabilities”.
    Divyangjan: The word Viklang was replaced with Divyaang (divine body) to refer to persons
    with disabilities in 2016.
  1. Parshuam Kund Festival is observed annually in Arunachal Pradesh. It is an annual
    religious fair where pilgrims come for a holy dip at Parshuram Kund on Makar Sankranti. In
    2023, the festival has been observed from 12th to 16th January.
    Parshuram, son of Sage Jamadagni, was sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
    Parshuam Kund:
    Parshuram Kund is a sacred pond located in Tailung area of Mishmi plateau in lower reaches
    of Lohit River in Lohit District. Kund falls within Kamlang Reserve Forest Area and is
    surrounded by dense forest of Rudraksha trees of Elaeocarpaceae family.
  2. Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education have organized the “Dhara” on Sangeet and
    Natya Parampara at SASTRA (Deemed-to-be University) in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu in
    collaboration with Brhat, Prachyam and Sangam Talks.
  • Dhara is a series of conferences under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to create
    awareness, preserve and promote multiple domains of Indian Knowledge Systems.
  • The aim of the event is to create a Vision Document 2047 to revitalise and popularise our
    performing art traditions and effectively address the challenges that this ecosystem faces.
  1. A Military Tattoo & Tribal Dance Festival ‘Aadi Shaurya – Parv Parakram Ka’ will be held at
    Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, New Delhi on January 23 & 24, 2023 to mark the 126th birth
    anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (observed as Parakram Diwas).
  • The two-day festival will showcase the prowess of the Armed Forces and the ethnic beauty
    of India’s tribal culture.
  • The aim of the festival is to remember the sacrifices of the country’s bravehearts and
    celebrate the rich cultural heritage which makes India so unique and diverse.
  • The programme comprises a Military Tattoo (Paramotor Gliding, Hot Air Balloon, Horse
    Show, Motor Cycle Display, Air Warrior Drill, Navy Band) and an hour of traditional dance
    performances (Khukhri Dance, Gatka, Mallakhamb, Kalaripaytu, Thangta) by tribal artists
    from across India.
  • Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Tribal Affairs are jointly organising the event, with
    Indian Coast Guard being the coordinating agency.
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  1. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya has inaugurated the
    Annex building of ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar in the
    presence of Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship,
    Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati
    Pravin Pawar. The Annex building has been constructed for high end laboratory and
    administrative purpose.
    He has also laid the foundation stone for the ICMR School of Public Health and BSL III
    Laboratory.
    Additional Information:
    ICMR-RMRC is one of the 26 research institute of Indian Council of Medical Research, situated
    in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was established in 1981 under the 6th Five-Year Plan period to
    undertake research activities in both communicable and non-communicable diseases,
    human resource development programme and in establishing strong linkage with State
    Health Department in finding solutions to the regional health problem.
  • Director: Dr Sanghamitra Pati
  1. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)
    Convention in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The convention has been organised in partnership
    with the Madhya Pradesh Government from 08-10 January 2023.
    The theme of 17th PBD Convention is “Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in
    Amrit Kaal”.
    During the PBD Convention, a Commemorative Postal Stamp ‘Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit
    Jaayen’ has also been released to underline the importance of safe, legal, orderly and skilled
    migration.
    The Prime Minister has also inaugurated the first-ever digital PBD Exhibition on the theme
    “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – Contribution of Diaspora in Indian Freedom Struggle” to highlight
    the contribution of our diaspora freedom fighters in India’s Independence.
    Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is the flagship event of the Government of India
    that provides an important platform to engage and connect with overseas Indians and to
    enable the diaspora to interact with each other.
  2. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has observed the 7
    th Armed Forces Veterans’ Day in
    Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The day is observed annually on 14th January, as on this day in
    1953, the First Indian Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army Field Marshal KM Cariappa, who
    led the Indian forces to victory in the 1947 war, formally retired from the Service.
  • This year the event has been observed at nine locations across the country, namely
    Juhunjhunu, Jalandhar, Panagarh, New Delhi, Dehradun, Chennai , Chandigarh,
    Bhubaneshwar and Mumbai by three Service Headquarters.
  • The event at Chennai has been presided over by Defence Minister of State Ajay Bhatt.
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    Key inaugurations:
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has launched the ‘Soul of Steel’ Alpine Challenge with an
    aim to promote tourism in border areas. It is a joint adventure sport initiative of the
    Indian Army and CLAW Global.
  • He has flagged off a car expedition from Dehradun to Ghamshali located in the Niti Valley.
  • He has also dedicated ‘Shaurya Sthal’ in Dehradun Cantonment to the Armed Forces. It is
    developed by Uttarakhand War Memorial Trust.
  1. Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has inaugurated and laid foundation stone
    of 21 development projects worth about Rs.1,311 crore at Moirang, Manipur. These
    include:
  • Churachandpur Medical College built at a cost of Rs.46 crore
  • Marjing Polo Statue built at a cost of Rs.39 crore
  • Manipur Olympian Park at Sangaithel, Manipur Exhibition Centre in Imphal-East
  • District Youth Skilling and Employment Centres
  • Fruit Preservation Factory, Neelakuthi in five districts of the state
    He has also unveiled the 165-feet tall tricolor at the historic ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ Headquarters
    at Moirang, which is the tallest national flag in the entire North East region.
    He has recently inaugurated a 122 feet statute in Imphal, Manipur, which depicts a Sagol
    Kangjei player.
  1. The Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat has inaugurated the International Kite Festival
    2023 at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
    The festival has been organized by Gujarat Tourism on the G20 theme of “One Earth, One
    Family, One Future”.
    The festival has been organized from 8th January to 14th January 2023.
    This festival promotes India’s G20 presidency and more than 800 kite flyers from across India
    and the world have participated and displayed their unique creations during the festival.
    International Kite Festival:
    It has been held in Ahmedabad annually since 1989 as part of the official celebration of
    uttarayan. The festival brings together master kite makers and flyers from around the world
    to showcase their unique creations and demonstrate impressive flying techniques.
  2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 26th National Youth Festival in
    Hubbali, Karnataka. The festival has been held on National Youth Day (12th January), which
    is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, to honour and cherish his
    ideals, teachings and contributions.
    Theme of the festival: “Viksit Yuva – Viksit Bharat”
    The festival has been held from 12th to 16th January 2023.
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    During the festival, the competitive events has been held with a vision to provide impetus to
    local traditional cultures.
    The festival has been organized by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in
    partnership with the Government of Karnataka.
    National Youth Festival:
    It is held every year to provide exposure to talented youth at the national level, along with
    galvanising them towards nation building. It brings diverse cultures from all parts of the
    country on a common platform and unites the participants in the spirit of Ek Bharat,
    Shreshtha Bharat.
  3. ReNew Power has installed India’s first 3x platform Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) in
    Gadag, Karnataka.
  • The new WTGs will be a part of India’s first ‘Round the Clock’ renewable energy project,
    combining wind, solar and a battery energy storage system (BESS).
  • This project will produce energy to power over 1 million households in India annually.
  • The WTGs have a nameplate capacity of 3.3-3.465 MW and are 128-140m in height.
  1. The 14th edition of the World Spice Congress (WSC) will be held in Mumbai, Maharashtra
    from 16-18 February 2023. The aim is to open up newer opportunities to promote
    international trade of Indian spices.
    The theme of the WSC 2023 is “VISION 2030: S-P-I-C-E-S (Sustainability, Productivity,
    Innovation, Collaboration, Excellence and Safety)”.
    It will be organized by the Spices Board of India.
  2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually inaugurated the 7
    th edition of ‘Invest Madhya
    Pradesh-Global Investors Summit’ 2023 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The theme of the twoday summit is ‘Madhya Pradesh-The Future Ready State’.
  • Guyana President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Suriname President Chandrikapersad
    Santokhi have also addressed the meet.
  • Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has also addressed the meet
    virtually.
    Key objectives of the event:
    Showcasing industrial ecosystem of the state; promoting the state policies; consultation with
    industrial organisations to formulate industry-friendly policies; collaboration opportunities;
    promoting export potential and buyer-seller meets and vendor development.
    A total of 447 international delegates from 84 countries, 401 international buyers, more than
    5,000 industrialists and representatives of various international industry associations, and
    representatives of all G20 countries have participated in the event.
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  1. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has renamed the National
    Centre for Drinking Water, Sanitation and Quality at Joka, Kolkata as ‘Dr. Syama Prasad
    Mookerjee National Institute of Water and Sanitation (SPM-NIWAS)’.
  • The Institute has been set up on 8.72 acres of land at Joka, Diamond Harbor Road ,
    Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The Institute is envisaged as a premier institute to develop capacities in states/UTs in the
    field of public health engineering, drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene through training
    programmes.
  • The Institute has been inaugurated by the Prime Minister in December 2022.
  1. Ottanthullal or Thullal is a recite-and-dance art-form of Kerala that is famous for its
    humour and social satire. It was introduced in the 18th century by legendary poet Kunchan
    Nambiar.
  • Thullal performer is supported by a singer who repeats the verses and is accompanied by
    an orchestra of mridangam or thoppimaddalam (percussions) and cymbals.
  • It has spawned into three separate versions which include Ottanthullal, Seethankan thullal
    and Parayan thullal.
  1. The Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K Sangma has flagged off 30 Shared School Bus
    System and unveiled Prime Tourist Vehicles and an agriculture response vehicle scheme
    at a function held at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong, Meghalaya.
  2. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has launched a 100-day “UP Global City” campaign in
    advance of the Global Investors Summit and G20 summit. The campaign aims to bring urban
    areas in the state up to global standards, with a focus on improving urban facilities, air
    quality, cleanliness, and beautification, as well as proper garbage disposal. The campaign will
    be implemented in all 762 urban bodies in the state.
  3. Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has inaugurated 5 different
    development works worth Rs.52 crore in Nagaland. These include:
  • Virtual Reality (VR) laboratories in 42 government higher secondary schools at a cost of
    about Rs.8 crore.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs built at a cost of Rs.1 crore 80 lakh in 9 government higher secondary
    schools.
  • 12.5 megawatt (MW) sub-station at Chiephobozou at a cost of Rs.14 crore.
  • Trekking and base camp at Mount Saramati, Thanamir village and Kiphire.
  • Two Lane bridge on Doyang River at a cost of Rs.28 crore near to the Governor’s Camp
    Lifayan.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission of the National Aeronautics and
    Space Administration (NASA) has discovered a second Earth-sized planet, called TOI 700 e,
    within the habitable zone of a star.
  • The TOI 700 e is a member of the TOI 700 system, 95% the size of the Earth, and most
    likely rocky.
  • The TOI 700 system, located around 100 light-years away in the southern constellation
    Dorado, was first discovered by the TESS mission in 2020.
    Note: The habitable zone refers to the range of distances from a star where liquid surface
    water could be present at some point in a planet’s history.
    Other discovery:
    The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of NASA has discovered an exoplanet, a planet that
    orbits another star. The exoplanet formally classified as LHS 475 b, located in the
    constellation Octans, is reportedly almost the exact size of Earth, clocking in at 99% of Earth’s
    diameter.
  1. Scientists have discovered a new species of Dwarf Boa, naming it Tropidophis cacuangoae
    in the Ecuadoran Amazon. This species of snake is 20 centimetres (7.8 inches) long, with skin
    colouring similar to those of the boa constrictor. The second part of the name honours early
    20th century Indigenous rights activist Dolores Cacuango.
  2. The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) of the National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration (NASA) has recently re-entered Earth’s atmosphere after 38 years orbiting the
    planet.
  • ERBS was launched in 1984 aboard space shuttle Challenger.
  • It carried instruments to measure Earth’s radiative energy budget and stratospheric
    constituents, including ozone.
  • Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II (SAGE II) on ERBS collected important data
    that confirmed ozone layer was declining on a global scale.
  1. The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, USA has recently erupted again.
    Kilauea volcano is active shield volcano (erupts magma of low viscosity and hence less steep)
    located on the Hawaiian island.
    Hawaii is a group of 8 volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean stretching in a crescent
    from Kure Island in west to Hawaii in east. Volcanoes make up 51% of Hawaii Island
    landmass.

REPORTS & INDICES

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  1. As per the report released by the ICRA Limited, Gross bond issuances by Indian banks have
    reached a record of Rs.91,500 crores in the first 9 months (April-December) of FY23.
  • In FY22, banks issued Rs.70000 crore in gross bond issuances.
  • Bank gross bond issuances are likely to reach Rs.1.3-1.4 lakh crore by the end of FY23, as
    the banking system’s credit-to-deposit (CD) ratio continues to firm up.
  • Incremental credit expansion amounted Rs.12.7 lakh crore in FY23, while deposit
    accretion continued to trail at Rs.8.9 lakh crore.
  • The credit-deposit gap widens to Rs.5.7 lakh crore (as of December 2022).
  • It is estimated that the banking system’s credit-to-deposit ratio will increase to 76.3% –
    76.5% by March 2023 from 74.8% on 16th December 2022, and will be significantly higher
    than the lows of 69.6% experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation
    (MoSPI), has released its First Advance Estimates (FAE) of National Income for the
    financial year 2022-23 (FY23) at both constant (2011-12) and current prices.
  • As per the NSO’s first FAE, the Indian economy will grow at a rate of 7.0% in FY23, up from
    8.7% in FY22.
  • The growth in nominal GDP during 2022-23 is estimated at 15.4 percent as compared to
    19.5 percent in 2021-22.
  • Real GDP or GDP at Constant (2011-12) prices in the year 2022-23 is estimated at
    Rs.157.60 lakh crore as against the Provisional Estimate of GDP for the year 2021-22 of
    Rs.147.36 lakh crore.
  • The Net National Income (NNI) of India is projected to rise by 6.6% in FY23 as compared to
    8.5% in FY22.
    However, these are preliminary estimates for 2022-23.
  1. London-based Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm, has
    recently released the Henley Passport Index 2023. The index includes 199 passports and
    227 travel destinations, providing users with the most comprehensive and reliable
    information about their global access and mobility.
    Global:
  • Japan’s passport has remained the most powerful in the world.
  • Singapore & South Korea share the second spot, providing visa-free entry to 192
    countries.
  • In terms of the least powerful passport, Afghanistan’s passport ranks 109th, as the
    world’s worst passport with a visa-free score of 27.
    India’s performance:
  • The passport index has ranked India at the 85th position, meaning that Indian passport
    holders can access 59 countries without needing a visa.
  • Previously, India was ranked 82nd, 84th, 85th & 83rd in 2019, 2020, 2021, & 2022,
    respectively.
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  1. As per OAG’s Punctuality League report, India’s largest airline IndiGo, and Airports
    Authority of India (AAI)-owned Coimbatore airport are among the 20 most punctual airlines
    and airports globally with On-Time Performance (OTP) in 2022.
  • IndiGo has been ranked 15th with OTP of 83.51 percent in 2022, while Coimbatore airport
    is at the 13th position under the same category.
  • The list is topped by Garuda Indonesia with an OTP of 95.63 percent, followed by Safair
    (95.30 percent) and Eurowings (95.26 percent) at the second and third spots, respectively.
  • In airport, Japan’s Osaka International Airport (Itami) holds the first position with an
    OTP of 91.45 percent.
  • Among the 10 most punctual airports in the Asia Pacific region, Coimbatore airport,
    located in Tamil Nadu, is at 10th place.
  1. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published the 18th edition of the Global Risks
    Report 2023, which lists the biggest risks for India over the short and medium terms. The
    report summarises the findings of the latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS).
    Key highlights:
  • The report has highlighted the cost of living crisis as the biggest short-term risk facing
    the world right now, with climate change as the biggest long-term threat.
  • The report states that Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic have propelled
    the energy crisis, food scarcity, and inflation as the most pressing global issues.
  • The most-cited two-year term risks included natural disasters, geo-economic
    confrontation, the erosion of social cohesion, widespread cybercrime, large-scale
    involuntary migration, and natural resource crises, alongside climate change.
  • The report states that the world must collaborate more effectively on climate mitigation
    and adaptation over the next decade to avoid “ecological breakdown” and continued
    global warming.
  1. In accordance with the “Startup Tracker-CY22” report published by PwC India, funding for
    Indian startups fell by 33% to USD 24 billion in calendar year 2022 (CY22) as compared to
    CY21 but was still more than as much as the amount raised in CY20 and CY19 combined
    together.
    Startups received a total of USD 13.2 billion in funding in 2019, USD 10.9 billion in CY20, and
    USD 35.2 billion in CY21.
  2. According to a new study by the United Nations University Institute for Water,
    Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH), around 3,700 large dams in India could lose on
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    average 26% of their initial total storage by 2050 owing to sediment deposition, which might
    affect future water security, irrigation, and power generation.
  • China, the country with the most dams in the world, has already lost nearly 10% of its
    storage and will lose an additional 10% by 2050.
  • Bhutan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Guinea, and Niger will be the 5 least impacted nations by
    2050, with losses of less than 15%.
  • The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which is home to the majority of the world’s dams, is
    estimated to have lost 13% of its initial dam storage capacity by 2022.
  • The 3,052 dams in Japan, with an average age of over 100 years, have the greatest loss of
    storage capacity in the region.
  • As per the study, by 2050, the 10,358 large dams in the Americas will only be able to store
    2,014 billion cubic metres, or 28% of their original capacity.
  • In addition, Europe’s 6,651 large dams spread across 42 countries will lose 28% of their
    initial capacity of 895 billion cubic metres.
  • By 2050, it is anticipated that the 2,349 dams spread across the 44 countries in Africa will
    lose 24% of their storage capacity.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES & PROGRAMMES

  1. The National Health Authority (NHA) has introduced a new system to measure and grade
    hospital performance under the flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan
    Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY). The objective is to shift the focus of measuring the
    performance of hospitals from the volume of services provided to the value of healthcare
    services.
    The new initiative will introduce the concept of ‘value-based care’, where payment will be
    outcome-based and providers will be rewarded according to the quality of the treatment
    delivered.
    Under value-based care, the performance of AB PM-JAY empanelled hospitals will be
    measured based on five performance indicators such as:
  2. Beneficiary Satisfaction;
  3. Hospital Readmission Rate;
  4. The extent of Out-of-Pocket Expenditure;
  5. Confirmed Grievances;
  6. Improvement in-patient’s Health-Related Quality of Life
    National Health Authority (NHA):
    It is the successor of the National Health Agency, which was functioning as a registered
    society since 23rd May 2018. It was reconstituted as the National Health Authority on 2nd
    January 2019. It has been set-up to implement PM-JAY. It also leads the implementation of
    the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). It is governed by a Governing Board chaired by
    the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.
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  • CEO: Ram Sewak Sharma
  1. The state government of Kerala, in a first of its kind initiative, has launched a welfare fund
    board to provide pensions to Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
    (MGNREGS) workers and the state’s urban job guarantee scheme ‘Ayyankali Urban
    Employment Guarantee Scheme’. This will facilitate the workers to get a monthly pension
    from the board once they turn 60.
    MGNREGS:
    MGNREGS, under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005),
    guarantees at least 100 days (extendable up to 150 days) of wage employment in a Financial
    Year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  2. The Governments of India and the United Kingdom (UK) have recently marked Pravasi
    Bharatiya Divas on 9th January by launching the Young Professionals Scheme.
  • The scheme allows up to 3,000 degree-holding citizens aged between 18 and 30 to live
    and work in each other’s countries for a period of two years.
  • The scheme, which was announced in November at the G20 summit in Bali, is part of the
    India-UK Migration and Mobility Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2021.
  1. The Government of India (GoI) has allocated Rs.1037.90 crore for the New India Literacy
    Programme (NILP), a centrally sponsored programme (CSS), for a 5-year period, from fiscal
    years 2022-23 (FY23) to 2026-27 (FY27).
    New India Literacy Programme (NILP):
  • The total financial outlay of NILP is Rs.1037.90 crore, out of which Rs.700 crore is Central
    share and Rs.337.90 crore is State share (60:40).
  • The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy component of NLIP intend to reach 5.00 crore
    learners during a five-year period.
  • The programme has five objectives: (i) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, (ii) Critical
    Life Skills, (iii) Vocational Skills Development, (iv) Basic Education, and (v) Continuing
    Education.
    The NLIP was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2022 to cover all aspects of adult
    education in accordance with the new National Educational Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) for the
    next 5 years, from FY23 to FY27.
  1. The Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently approved new Integrated
    Food Security Scheme for providing free foodgrains to Antodaya Ann Yojna (AAY) & Primary
    Household (PHH) beneficiaries. New scheme has been named as Pradhan Mantri Garib
    Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY).
  • The scheme is effective from 1st January 2023 to December 2023.
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  • The scheme provides free food grains to over 81 crore beneficiaries (Antyodaya Ann
    Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Household (PHH) people) under National Food
    Security Act (NFSA) in 2023.
  • It is a scheme to strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility,
    affordability and availability of food grains for the poor and the vulnerable section of
    society.
  • The scheme combines two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and
    Public Distribution (a) Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India (FCI) for NFSA, and (b)
    Food Subsidy for decentralized procurement states, dealing with procurement, allocation
    and delivery of free food grains to the states under NFSA.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

  1. BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
    with the Government of Goa to promote the development of Small Medium Enterprises
    (SMEs) in the state.
    Under this MoU, the BSE will look at creating awareness amongst SMEs in the state on the
    benefits of listing on the exchange.
  2. Neeru Yadav, fondly known as ‘Hockey Wali Sarpanch’ has inked a pact with NABARD to
    start the Farmers Producers Organisation (FPO) with the assistance of SIIRD (Society of Indian
    Institute of Rural Development) to support the farmers of Lambi Ahir Village of Rajasthan.
    The FPO named ‘Sachhi Saheli Mahila Agro Producer Company Limited’ is the 15th such FPO
    launched by NABARD in Rajasthan.
    Other related news:
    Recently, NABARD has raised around Rs.5000 crore via 3 year bonds. The coupon for the 3-
    year bond is 63 percent.
  3. India & Panama have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance
    cooperation in the training of diplomats.
    This MoU has been signed between India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam
    Jaishankar and Panama’s Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney Mencomo during the 17th Pravasi
    Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention 2023 held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  4. The Indian Navy has recently inked an agreement with Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt Ltd
    for acquiring armed autonomous boat swarms under the ‘SPRINT’ initiative.
    SPRINT:
    It stands for Supporting Pole-vaulting In R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence
    (IdeX), Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) and Technology Development
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    Acceleration Cell (TDAC). It aims at development of 75 indigenous technologies by industry
    for Navy.
  5. REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), a Navratna company under
    the Ministry of Power, has signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) during the
    Madhya Pradesh Global Investors Summit 2023 held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  • First MoU: It has been signed with the MP Power Management Company Limited
    (MPPMCL) to extend financial assistance of Rs.15,086 crores for upcoming Sarani and
    Amarkantak thermal power projects, system improvement works, technology
    upgradation, renovation & modernization etc.
  • Second MoU: It has been signed with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd. (RUMSL) to extend
    financial assistance of Rs.1000 crores for renewable energy projects covering the
    development of renewable energy parks/projects, and/or associated infrastructure
    including power evacuation.
  • Third MoU: REC in partnership with World Bank has designed a financing facility for
    select state owned electricity distribution companies. As a part of this REC-World Bank
    program, the total volume of financing available shall be USD 1 billion. Under this, REC
    committed an amount of Rs.5,000 crores to MP DISCOMs to further strengthen the
    distribution reforms.
  1. The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) has signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nascent Info Technologies Pvt Ltd. for
    technical collaboration for the development of various Geographic Information System
    (GIS) applications.
    Under this MoU, Nascent will use its knowledge and resources to study the functional
    requirements of various stakeholders in a domain of limestone, bauxite, clay, coal etc.
    Geographic Information System (GIS):
    It is a computer system that maps and examines changes on Earth by analysing and
    displaying spatially related data from a range of data sources.
  2. ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) to
    develop a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project in Assam at an investment of Rs.2000
    crore. The 250 MW/ 500 MW-hour system will be developed in a phased manner by
    incorporating a joint venture company.
    OTPC is a joint venture company of ONGC, GAIL, Government of Tripura and India
    Infrastructure Fund-II.
  3. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with RITES to strengthen and develop a sustainable future by
    “Transforming to Green”.
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    The MoU also includes research & development-related works on air quality sensors to
    address air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste management.
  4. The Indian High Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with
    Sabaragamuwa University to establish a Hindi Chair at the Sabaragamuwa University of
    Sri Lanka.
  • The MoU has been signed between High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and Vice Chancellor
    of Sabaragamuwa University Prof. Udaya Rathnayake.
  • The Hindi chair will help in familiarizing students with India, its history, and culture as well
    as pave way for popularising Hindi by deputing Indian faculties.
  1. Garuda Aerospace, India’s drone manufacturing company, has recently signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rallis India Limited, a subsidiary of Tata
    Chemicals in the agriculture industry, for a pilot demonstration and spraying of pesticides on
    fields through drones mainly in the state of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
  2. Indian Army has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Assam government in
    Guwahati. The MoU will offer Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) at eight
    medical colleges and hospitals in Assam. The ECHS benefits will be offered at the medical
    college and hospitals in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat, Barpeta, Tezpur, Diphu and
    North Lakhimpur.
  3. ODP Corporation (ODP), a leading provider of products, services and technology solutions
    through an integrated business-to-business (B2B) distribution platform and omnichannel
    presence, has selected HCL Tech as its primary IT partner for end-to-end Information
    Technology (IT) operations and enterprise-wide digital transformation to support ODP’s
    business strategy in its Office Depot, ODP Business Solutions and Veyer business units.
  4. The Global Tamil Angels platform has been launched at the “Global Startup Investors
    Summit,” co-organized by the Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission and FeTNA
    International Tamil Entrepreneur Network. The platform, hosted by StartupTN, allows Tamil
    Nadu-based start-ups to connect with potential investors from the global Tamil diaspora.
    During the summit, an American Tamil Fund (ATF) has also been announced. The ATF,
    which is made up of investors from the Tamil diaspora in the USA, has pledged to invest
    Rs.16 crore (approximately USD 2.2 million) in Tamil Nadu start-ups before December 2023.

BANKING & FINANCE

  1. Axis Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of
    Science (IISc), Bengaluru to establish a Centre for Mathematics and Computing at the
    Institute.
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    The centre spread over 1.6 lakh square feet will have labs and programmes benefitting
    faculty and students.
  2. PayRup, India’s fastest payment app, has been launched. It is built by cutting-edge
    technology of Web 3.0. It provides advanced digital payment experience with outstanding
    user experience. PayRup users can pay utility bills and landline bills, recharge their mobile,
    broadband, DTH, and purchase Gift Cards.
  • PayRup offers 24/7 customer care facilities for help and support for the users.
  • It ensures the 5 dimensions of service quality.
  • It follows SERVQUAL standard to provide the best service experience.
  • PayRup opens 24/7 customer care facilities for help and support for the users.
  • Its customer service desk utilises cutting-edge Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    technologies and adheres to international standards.
  1. The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has announced that Kerala has become the
    first state in India to go fully digital in its banking service.
  • The Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) project of the state government, which is almost
    90% completed, will reduce the digital divide.
  • The project is funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), its
    outlay is Rs.1,028.20 crore.
    Note: It should be noted that Kerala is the only State in India that has declared ‘the right to
    Internet’ as a basic right of its citizens.
  1. Axis Bank Limited has partnered with Open Financial Technologies Private Limited, a
    digital banking firm, to give its customers a fully native digital current account journey. This is
    Axis Bank’s first collaboration with a fintech company to develop a fully digital current
    account.
  2. A corporate agreement has been signed between Punjab & Sindh Bank (PSB), a public
    sector bank, and Pune-based Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company (BALIC) for the
    distribution of insurance products.
    The partnership will allow PSB’s new and existing customers to avail a variety of retail life
    insurance products from BALIC, including term, savings, retirement, and investment options.
  3. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the incentive
    scheme for the promotion of RuPay Debit Cards and low-value BHIM-UPI transactions
    (Person-to-Merchant) for a period of one year from April 2022.
  • The approved incentive scheme has a financial outlay of Rs.2,600 crore.
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  • Under the scheme, acquiring banks will be provided financial incentive, for promoting
    Point-of-Sale (PoS) and e-commerce transactions using RuPay Debit Cards and low-value
    BHIM-UPI transactions (P2M) for the current financial year FY 2022-23.
  • In-line with the objective of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, the scheme will also promote UPI
    Lite and UPI 123PAY as economical and user-friendly digital payments solutions and
    enable further deepening of digital payments in the country, across all sectors and
    segments of the population.
    Note: Unified Payment Interface (UPI) has achieved a record of 782.9 crore digital payment
    transactions with a value of Rs.12.82 lakh crore in the month of December 2022.
  1. The Ministry of MSME has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Small
    Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for the operationalization of Formalization
    Project for bringing Informal Micro Enterprises into the formal ambit.
    The Formalization Project has been launched by the Union Minister of MSME Narayan Rane
    by including 8 lakh Informal Micro Enterprises during the 19th meeting of the National Board
    of MSME (NBMSME) held in New Delhi.
    The Minister has also released the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) India Report
    2021-22. The GEM is a global study conducted by GEM Consortium with the aim to collect
    internationally comparative primary data on entrepreneurial activity and its related concepts.
  2. The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed stock exchanges to launch
    future contracts on corporate bond indices of corporate debt securities rated AA+ and
    above to enhance liquidity in the bond market and to provide an opportunity to the investors
    to hedge their positions.
    Framework for Cash Settled Corporate Bond Index Futures (CBIF):
  • The value of CBIF shall not be less than Rs.2 lakh at the time of introduction.
  • There should be at least eight issuers in the index, with no more than a 15% weightage by
    a single issuer, and not more than 25% by a particular group of issuers.
  • The stock exchanges may introduce contracts of up to a tenure of three years.
    SEBI has also allowed portfolio managers under co-investment Portfolio Management
    Services (PMS) to terminate their services as per the provisions of the agreement signed with
    the client for early termination.
  1. HDFC Capital, a subsidiary of HDFC Limited, has successfully achieved the initial close of
    USD 376 million for scheme 2 of HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund-3 (H-CARE 3) to
    provide long term, flexible funding across affordable and mid-income housing projects
    including early-stage funding.
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  2. The World Bank has projected in its latest (January 2023) Global Economic Prospects that
    the Indian economy will grow at a robust rate of 6.6 percent in 2023-24 (FY24), down from
    an estimated 6.9% in FY23 and 8.7% in FY22.
    According to projections, the global economy will grow by 1.7% in 2023 and 2.7% in 2024.
  3. Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM) has raised USD 1 billion via a 10-year Sustainability
    Bond issue in the 144A/Reg-S format under its Environmental Social Governance (ESG)
    Framework. The net proceeds of Sustainability Bond will be used towards eligible projects
    under its ESG framework.
  4. Clayfin Technologies, a leading provider of Digital Customer Experience solutions for Banks
    and Financial institutions, and Bandhan Bank have been awarded ‘Best Digital
    Channel/Platform Implementation: Best Project Implementation’ at International Banking
    System Intelligence (IBSi) Global FinTech Innovation Awards 2022.
    This recognition was the basis of the implementation of Corporate Internet Banking (version
    5.x) by Clayfin as part of Bandhan Bank’s vision to enhance their digital services to the SME
    sector.
  5. Axis Bank has entered into a revised pact with Max Financial Services to acquire an
    additional 7 percent stake in Max Life Insurance at fair market value using discounted cash
    flow method.
    The revision in agreement follows the guidance issued by the Insurance Regulatory and
    Development Authority (IRDAI) in October 2022.
  6. Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of
    Kotak Mahindra Bank, has tied up with Clootrack, a Kochi-based start-up for customer
    experience analytics.
    This tie-up will empower Kotak Mahindra General Insurance with actionable insights into its
    non-life insurance products through customer feedback and understand gaps in the market
    to improve its customer experience.
  7. The South Indian Bank, headquartered in Thrissur, Kerala, has launched a Micro Small and
    Medium Enterprises (MSME) online portal that provides instant online ‘In Principle’
    approval of up to Rs.1 crore. This is in line with the government’s efforts to make India a USD
    5 trillion economy.
  8. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed UPI (Unified Payments
    Interface) transactions for non-resident bank accounts linked to mobile numbers of 10
    countries.
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  • The 10 countries allowed under the facility are Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong,
    Oman, Qatar, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE and United Kingdom.
  • This means Non-Resident Indians (NRI) from these countries can transact through UPI.

RBI IN NEWS

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Surinder Chawla as the
    new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Paytm Payments Bank Limited (PPBL). He is currently
    serving as Head of Branch Banking at RBL Bank (formerly known as Ratnakar Bank).
  2. BharatPe has received in-principal approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate
    as an online payment aggregator (PA). The approval has been awarded to Resilient
    Payments Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BharatPe.
    The final authorisation is subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.
    Besides BharatPe, Hitachi Payment Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, and
    fintech startup EnKash have also received RBI’s authorisation to act as a PA.
    Online Payment Aggregator:
    It is a third party entity between a merchant (like e-commerce platforms) and its customers. It
    integrates various options of online payments together and brings them into one place for
    merchants, hence, bearing the load of all the integrators with various payment providers. It
    pools the funds received from customers (escrow) and transfers them to merchants after a
    certain time.
  3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified the revised list of accredited Credit Rating
    Agencies (CRAs) for the purpose of assigning risk weight to assets for capital adequacy
    purposes by the banks.
    The six credit rating agencies are:
    a) Acuite Ratings & Research Limited (Acuite)
    b) Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE)
    c) CRISIL Ratings Limited
    d) ICRA Limited
    e) India Ratings and Research Private Limited (India Ratings)
    f) INFOMERICS Valuation and Rating Pvt Ltd
    Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs):
    The CRAs evaluates and assesses an individual’s or a company’s creditworthiness, means,
    these agencies consider a debtor’s income and credit lines to analyse the debtor’s ability to
    repay the debt or if there is any credit risk associated.
    In India, CRAs are regulated by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as per the
    SEBI Regulations 1999 of the SEBI Act 1992.
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  4. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra
    Modi, has approved the re-appointment of Michael Debabrata Patra as the Deputy
    Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of 1 year with effect from 15th
    January 2023. He was first appointed to a 3-year tenure as Deputy Governor of RBI on 15th
    January 2020.
    Other Deputy Governors of RBI are: T. Rabi Sankar, Mahesh Jain, and M.Rajeshwar Rao
  5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that the maiden Sovereign Green Bonds
    (SGrBs) for an aggregate sum of Rs.16,000 crore will be issued in two tranches of Rs.8000
    crore each in January and February 2023, with the intention of mobilizing resources for green
    infrastructure.
  • The first auction of sovereign green bonds worth Rs 8,000 crore, which will take place on
    25th January 2023, includes Rs.4,000 crore worth of 5-year sovereign green bonds and
    Rs.4,000 crore worth of 10-year sovereign green bonds.
  • The next auction worth Rs.8,000 crore, which is scheduled 9th February 2023, also consists
    of Rs.4,000 crore worth of 5-year sovereign green bonds and Rs.4,000 crore worth of 10-
    year sovereign green debt.
  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has shortlisted seven global consultancy firms to use
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Machine Learning (ML) to analyse its huge database and
    improve regulatory supervision over banks and NBFCs.
    The seven firms are Accenture Solutions Private Limited; Boston Consulting Group (India) Pvt
    Ltd; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP; Ernst and Young LLP; KPMG Assurance and
    Consulting Services LLP; McKinsey and Company; and Pricewaterhouse Coopers Pvt Ltd.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  1. Noted Cuban social worker and human rights advocate Aleida Guevara has been
    honoured with the first KR Gouri Amma national award 2022 for her efforts to rehabilitate
    differently abled children and provide debt relief to developing countries.
  • The award has been presented by the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan in
    Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • The award is instituted by the K.R. Gouriamma Foundation in memory of the Communist
    leader K.R. Gouriamma.
  • The award comprises USD 3,000, a statuette and a citation.
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  1. Veteran Indian actress-director Aparna Sen has been honoured with the Lifetime
    Achievement Award at the 15th edition of the Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) 2023
    held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • She made her acting debut in Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya (1961) and has starred in several
    films. She made her directional debut in 1981 with the English film “36 Chowringhee Lane”
    (1981).
  • She has won 9 National Film Awards which includes: Best Director-36 Chowringhee Lane
    (1981); Best Feature Film in Bengali-Paromitar Ek Din (2000) & Best Feature film in English15 Park Avenue (2005).
  • She has been honoured with Padma Shri for Arts in 1987.
  1. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the winners of the 80th
    Golden Globe Awards 2023 at an event held in Los Angeles, California, USA. The award has
    been annually presented by HFPA since 1974.
FilmWinner
Best Motion Picture – DramaThe Fablemans
Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyThe Banshees of Inisherin
Best Actress in a Motion  Picture – DramaCate Blanchett for Tár
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – DramaAustin Butler for Elvis
Best Actress in a Motion  Picture — Musical or ComedyMichelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at  Once
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyColin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin
Best Actress in a Supporting  Role in Any Motion PictureAngela Bassett For Black Panther: Wakanda  Forever
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion PictureKe Huy Quan For Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best Director – Motion PictureSteven Spielberg The Fabelmans
Best Screenplay — Motion  PictureMartin McDonagh For The Banshees of Inisherin
Best Picture — AnimatedGuillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Best Picture — Non-English  LanguageArgentina, 1985
Best Original Score – Motion  PictureJustin Hurwitz, Babylon
Best Song Motion Picture“Naatu Naatu,” RRR
Best Television Series — DramaHouse of the Dragon (HBO Max)
Best Television Series — Musical or ComedyAbbott Elementary (ABC)
Best Television Motion PictureThe White Lotus (HBO Max)
Best Actress — Television  Motion PictureAmanda Seyfried, The Dropout
Best Actor – Television Motion  PictureEvan Peters, Dahmer For Monster: The Jeffrey  Dahmer Story
Best Performance by an  Actress in a Television Series — DramaZendaya, Euphoria
Best Performance by an Actor  in a Television Series — DramaKevin Costner, Yellowstone
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or ComedyQuinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Best Performance by an Actor  in a Television Series —  Musical or ComedyJeremy Allen White, The Bear
Best Performance by an  Actress in a Supporting Role  on TelevisionJennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Best Performance by an Actor  in a Supporting Role on  TelevisionPaul Walter Hauser, Black Bird
  1. Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Serum Institute of India (SII), has
    been conferred with the first Dr Patangrao Kadam Memorial Award for the contribution to
    the fight against COVID-19.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

  1. Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) and former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi
    has launched the book titled “Mukhyamantri Dairy 1”. The book has been authored by
    Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam.
    The book explores the daily activities of Himanta Biswa Sarma, during the first year of his
    tenure as Chief Minister.
  2. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex’s, a member of the British royal family, has released his
    memoir titled ‘Spare’. The book has been written with the assistance of American novelist
    J.R. Moehringer.
    The book is published by Transworld Publishers Ltd, a division of Penguin Random House.
    The book explores the details of Harry’s relationship with his father, King Charles, his elder
    brother, Prince William, and other members of the royal family.
  3. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has officially launched a
    book titled “Braving A Viral Storm: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine Story” in New Delhi.
  • The book is co-authored by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir.
  • The book is published by Rupa Publications India.
  • The book is a transcription of India’s success story and will be New India’s history.
  1. Cricket legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni has released the autobiography of the Technoeducationalist, Professor K.K. Abdul Gaffar, ‘Njaan Sakshi’ (me as the witness), at a grand
    function organized in Kasaragod, Kerala.

PERSON IN NEWS

  1. Jayen Mehta has been named the interim Managing Director (MD) of Gujarat Cooperative
    Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF). He has succeeded R.S. Sodhi who has stepped down
    from his post.
  2. Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Gabon. He
    has replaced Rose Christaine Ossouka Raponda.
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    Rose Christaine Ossouka Raponda has been appointed as the first-ever female VicePresident of Gabon.
  3. Herbalife International India Pvt Ltd (Herbalife Nutrition) has appointed Indian woman
    cricketer Smriti Mandhana as its Brand Ambassador. She is the 5th Indian athlete and the 2nd
    cricketer to join the Herbalife family.
    Other sports personalities that are associated with the brand are Virat Kohli, Mary Kom,
    Lakshya Sen, and Manika Batra.
  4. President of India Droupadi Mormu, in exercise of the power conferred by Article 223 of the
    Constitution of India, has appointed Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar Singh, senior-most
    puisne judge of the Gauhati High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief
    Justice of Gauhati High Court.
    He will take charge from 12th January 2023 after incumbent Chief Justice Rashmin
    Manharbhai Chhaya demits office on 11th January 2023.
    Note: Gauhati High Court has territorial jurisdiction over four states namely Assam,
    Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
  5. Indian-American aerospace expert A.C. Charania has been appointed as the new Chief
    Technologist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
    He will serve as principal advisor to Administrator Bill Nelson on technology policy and
    programmes. He has replaced fellow Indian-American Bhavya Lal.
  6. A Santhi Kumari has been appointed as the first Woman Chief Secretary of the
    Government of Telangana for a tenure until April 2025. She will succeed the incumbent
    Somesh Kumar.

OBITUARIES

  1. Veteran Indian sinologist and translator Janaki Ballabh, who translated a range of Chinese
    works into Hindi, has passed away in Beijing, China. He was born in 1928 in Dalakot village in
    Almora in Uttarakhand.
  • He was recognised with a Peace and Friendship Award by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai for
    his contributions to cultural exchange between China and India.
  • He was the first Indian to be granted long-term residency in China.
    Sinologist:
    It is a person who studies or is an expert in the academic study of China primarily through
    Chinese language, literature, and history.
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  1. Indian politician Keshari Nath Tripathi has recently passed away in Prayagraj, Uttar
    Pradesh. He was born on 10th November 1934 in Allahabad, United Provinces, British India.
  • He served as Governor of West Bengal from July 2014 to July 2019.
  • He also had additional charge for short stints as Governor of Bihar, Meghalaya and
    Mizoram.
  • He was a member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • He was the Speaker of Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly three times, and the President
    of BJP, Uttar Pradesh.
    Books written by him: “The Age of Wings” (Prabhat Prakashan), “Sanchayita:Kesharinath
    Tripathi”(Anamika Prakashan),”Destination Jesus”(Anamika Prakashan), and “The
    Images”(Anamika Prakashan).
  1. Dr Tehemton E Udwadia, popularly known as the Father of Laparoscopic Surgery in
    India, has recently passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was associated with
    Maharashtra government run- JJ Hospital in Byculla for decades.
  • He conducted India’s first laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) at JJ
    Hospital on 31st May 1990.
  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2017.
  1. Professor Abdur Rehman Rahi, a renowned Kashmiri poet, translator, and critic, has
    recently passed away in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He was born in Srinagar in 1925.
    Awards:
  • He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961 for his poetry collection Nawroz-iSaba.
  • He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000.
  • He is the first Kashmiri writer to be awarded the Jnanpith Award (for the year 2004) in
    2007 for his poetic collection Siyah Rood Jaeren Manz (In Black Drizzle).
  • He was honoured with Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2000.
    His works: Sana-Wani Saaz. Sukhok Soda, Nawroz-i-Saba, Kahwat, Baba Fareed, etc.
  1. Constantine II, the former and last King of Greece who ruled Greece before the country
    became a republic in 1974, has recently passed away in Athens, Greece. He was born of King
    Paul I, younger brother to King George II of Greece and German aristocrat Princess Frederica
    of Hannover, Germany, on 2nd June 1940 in Psikhiko near Athens, Greece.
  2. Indian politician Sharad Yadav from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party has recently passed
    away in Gurugram, Haryana. He was born on 1st July 1947 in Babai village in Hoshangabad
    district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • He was elected to Lok Sabha seven times and to Rajya Sabha thrice.
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  • He became an MP from three states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar).
  • He held various portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government between 1999 and
    2004.

SPORTS

  1. South African cricketer and all-rounder, Dwaine Pretorius has retired from the
    international cricket with an immediate effect to focus on Twenty20 International (T20I) and
    shorter formats of the game.
  • He has played for South Africa in 30 T20I, 27 One-Day Internationals (ODI), and 3 Tests
    (took 77 wickets across formats) since making his international debut in 2016.
  • He now holds the record for South Africa’s best bowling performance in men’s T20Is (5 for
    17 against Pakistan in 2021).
  1. The 5th edition of Tata Open Maharashtra 2023 has been organized by the Maharashtra
    State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra.
  • Dutch Tennis player Tallon Griekspoor has won the men’s singles title at the Tata Open
    Maharashtra 2023 by defeating Benjamin Bonzi of France at the finals held in Balewadi
    Stadium in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Belgians Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen have won the doubles championship title by
    defeating India’s N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
  1. M Pranesh from Tamil Nadu has become India’s 79th Chess Grandmaster (GM) after
    crossing the 2500 ELO rating and winning the Rilton Cup 2022/23 held in Stockholm, Sweden.
    The Rilton Cup is the first tournament of the FIDE circuit. He is the 28th Grandmaster (GM)
    from Tamil Nadu.
  2. Serbian Tennis Player Novak Djokovic has won the men’s singles title at the 2023 Adelaide
    International 1 by defeating Sebastian Korda of America with 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3), 6-4. This is his
    92nd career singles title.
    In the women’s final at the Adelaide International 1, Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) has won the
    women’s singles title by defeating Linda Noskova of Czech Republic. This is her 11th WTA Tour
    singles title.
  3. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (MP) Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister of
    State (MoS) Nisith Pramanik, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS) have unveiled the
    Mascots, Smart Torch, and Theme song of the 5th edition of Khelo India Youth Games
    (KIYG) 2022 during an event held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Mascots: Asha (Female Cheetah) and Mowgli
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  • Torch: Amarkantak (It is named after the place where the Narmada River, considered as
    MP’s lifeline, originates).
  • Theme Song: “MP Shor Macha Do, Hindustan Ka Dil Dhadka Do” (Well-known artist Shaan
    has rendered it).
    KIYG 2022:
    It will be hosted by Madhya Pradesh from 30th January to 11th February 2023. It will be held in
    Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Mandla, Balaghat and Khargone (Maheshwar). For
    the first time water sports namely kayaking and canoeing, canoe slalom and rowing, as well
    as fencing will be part of these games. A total of 27 games will be played across 23 game
    venues.
  1. Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has
    retained Chetan Sharma as the Chairman of the 5 members Senior Men’s Selection
    Committee of BCCI.
    CAC has named Shiv Sundar Das (Central Zone), Subroto Banerjee (East Zone), Salil Ankola
    (West Zone), and Sridharan Sharath (South Zone) as the other members of the selection
    committee.
  2. Hockey India has launched the ‘Hockeyverse’ on their social media platforms ahead of FIH
    Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
    With this launch, Hockey India has become the first national sports federation to enter the
    world of metaverse.
    The Hockeyverse will provide a new virtual experience which has unique attractions such as a
    replica of the newly built Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.
  3. Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited (KKCL), the retail giant which owns brands like Killer,
    Integriti, Lawmanpg3, Easies and Desi Belle, has announced plans to enter its flagship brand
    ‘Killer’ into a strategic partnership with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as
    the Indian Cricket Team’s “Official Sponsor”. KKCL will put on the brand Killer logo on Team
    India’s Kit until 31st May 2023.

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of
    Commerce and Industry, has organized the Startup India Innovation Week from 10th
    January 2023 to 16th January 2023 to celebrate the Indian Startup Ecosystem as well as
    National Startup Day (16th January 2023).
  • The week aims to engage startup ecosystem stakeholders across the nation and spur the
    spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in India.
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  • This include Knowledge Sharing Sessions for entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and
    other enablers, involving relevant stakeholders from the startup ecosystem such as
    Government officials, incubators, corporates and investors.
  1. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has observed the Road Safety Week from 11th to
    17th January 2023, under “Swachhata Pakhwada”, to propagate the cause of safer roads for
    all.
    The year 2023 marks the observance of the 34th Road Safety Week.
    During the week, various activities has been organised across India to create awareness
    among general public and to give an opportunity to all stakeholders to contribute to the
    cause of road safety.
    This includes various awareness campaigns related to causes of road accidents and
    measures to prevent them.
  2. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on 11th January to
    raise awareness about the prevention of illegal practice of human trafficking and slavery. The
    day was established by the United States Senate in 2007.
    Note: In 2010, President Obama dedicated the entire month of January to awareness and
    prevention of human trafficking.
  3. National Youth Day is observed annually on 12th January to commemorate the birth
    anniversary of Swami Vivekananda who always motivated the youth of the country and
    spoke about the right use of the youth in the development of the country.
    The year 2023 marks the 26th National Youth Day and the 160th birth anniversary of Swami
    Vivekananda (12 January 1863).
    The decision to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s birthday as National Youth Day was taken in
    1984, and it was first observed on 12th January 1985.
  4. World Hindi Day, also known as Vishwa Hindi Diwas, is observed annually on 10th January
    to promote the language at the global stage. The day also marks the anniversary of the first
    World Hindi Conference which was inaugurated on 10th January 1975 in Nagpur, by the then
    Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
    The celebration of first World Hindi Day was commenced on 10th January 2006 by former
    Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. This was also the first time that the Ministry of External
    Affairs started celebrating the day abroad.
  5. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has observed its 18th
    Foundation Day on 12th January 2023. During the occasion, the commission has organized a
    Weekly Current Affairs January 2023 Week – 02
    iia
    www.practicemock.com 39 info@practicemock.com 9319314079
    quiz to create awareness among children about child rights and make Child Rights
    champions through this Quiz.
  6. Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed annually across India on 14th January to
    acknowledge and honour the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our veterans in the service of
    the nation. It is observed as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by
    Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed
    Forces who retired on 14 January 1953.
    The year 2023 marks the 7
    th Armed Forces Veterans Day.
    The day was first observed in 2016.
  7. Army Day is observed annually across India on 15th January to salute the valiant soldiers
    who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens.
    The day is also marked to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) KM
    Carriappa took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British
    Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post
    Independence.
    The year 2023 marks the 75th Indian Army Day.
    ‘Shaurya Sandhya’ has been organised in Bengaluru on the occasion of 75th Army Day. The
    aim is to showcase the valour and adventurous facets of the Indian ArmY.

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