Weekly Current AffairsJanuary2023 Week –03

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship ‘Kamla Devi’, the fifth and last vessel in the series of
    Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV), has been commissioned in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • ICGS Kamla Devi is 48.9 meters long and 7.5 meters wide with a displacement of 308 Tons.
  • With three engines and water jets, it is capable of a top speed of 34 knots and an
    endurance of over 1,500 nautical miles.
  • It also has an Integrated Bridge System and is fitted with a 40/60 gun as the main
    armament.
  • It is built indigenously by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, in
    a public-private partnership with Titagarh Wagons Limited (TWL) to the specifications of
    Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
  • It is named after ‘Kamla Devi Chattopadhyay’, a social reformer and freedom activist.
  1. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya has recently inaugurated
    the National Symposium on India’s Roadmap to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) at
    Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The aim is to highlight India’s progress in eliminating LF and
    discuss key points of convergence for stakeholders and the Enhanced five-pronged Strategy
    for the Elimination of LF.
    India has committed to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the
    global target through the five-pronged roadmap.
    Five pillars are as follows:
  • Multi-drug administration (MDA) Campaign twice a year synchronized with National
    Deworming Day (10th Feb and 10th August).
  • Early diagnosis and treatment; engagement of medical colleges for strengthening
    Morbidity management and disability (MMDP) services.
  • Integrated Vector Control with multi sectoral coordinated efforts.
  • For inter sectoral convergence with allied departments and ministries.
  • Leveraging existing digital platforms for LF and exploring alternate diagnostics.
    Four States Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, and Bihar accounts for 60% Lymphedema
    cases, while four States Odisha, Jharkhand, UP and Bihar accounts for 80% Hydrocele cases.
    Lymphatic Filariasis:
    It is a vector-borne disease, caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes
    (roundworms) of the family Filarioidea. It is considered as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).
  1. India has virtually hosted the two-day ‘Voice of Global South Summit’ 2023 to bring
    together countries of the global South and provide them a common platform to share their
    common concerns relating to various global challenges including food and energy security
    triggered by the Ukraine conflict.
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    More than 120 countries have participated in the summit.
    The theme of the inaugural leaders’ session is “Voice of Global South – for Human-Centric
    Development” while the Leaders’ concluding session is “Unity of Voice-Unity of Purpose”.
    Highlights of the summit:
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the inaugural and concluding sessions of
    the summit.
  • During the summit, PM has announced a new ‘Aarogya Maitri’ project under which India
    will provide essential medical supplies to any developing country affected by natural
    disasters or humanitarian crisis.
  • India will launch the Global South Science and Technology Initiative to share its
    expertise in areas such as space technology and nuclear energy, and establish the Global
    South Centre of Excellence for research on development solutions that can be scaled up
    and implemented around the world.
  • He has also suggested a Global South Young Diplomats Forum that will help connect
    youthful officers to the Foreign Ministries.
  • He has announced a Global-South Scholarships for students from developing countries
    to pursue higher education in India.
  1. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences Dr Jitendra Singh has recently
    delivered the keynote address on the occasion of 148th Foundation Day of India
    Meteorological Department (IMD) in New Delhi.
  • He has dedicated 4 Doppler Weather Radar Systems to the Western Himalayan States of
    Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • He has also dedicated 200 Agro Automated Weather Stations to the Nation.
  • He has also released eight publications of the IMD and gave away awards to school
    children and also felicitated the best performing offices and officers of IMD.
    The entire country will be covered by Doppler Weather Radar Network by 2025 to predict
    extreme weather events more accurately.
    IMD has set a target to establish 660 District Agro Meteorological Units (DAMUs) by 2025
    and increase from 3,100 blocks in 2023 to 7,000 blocks in 2025.
  1. The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance has organized the first G20
    Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) meeting, along with Australia and Brazil as the cochairs, in Pune, Maharashtra.
    The meeting has been joined by the IWG member countries, guest countries, and
    international organizations invited by India to discuss the 2023 Infrastructure Agenda under
    the Indian G20 Presidency.
    The meeting has been attended by 64 delegates from 18 member countries, 8 guest
    countries, and 8 international organizations.
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    G20 IWG has discussed on “Financing Cities of Tomorrow: Inclusive, Resilient and
    Sustainable”
    Note: The second meeting of the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) is scheduled to be held
    in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on 28th and 29th of March, 2023.
  2. Union Minister of Labour& Employment Bhupender Yadav has laid the foundation stone of
    100 bedded Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital in Agartala, Tripura
    from New Delhi in a virtual event.
  • The hospital will be spread over an area of 5 acres.
  • The estimated construction cost of this hospital is around 100 crores and will be
    completed in 3 years.
  • The hospital will have all the modern facilities like modular OT, state-of-the-art medical
    equipment, labs, OPD, IPD etc.
  • This hospital will cater to and provide medical services to more than 60,000 beneficiaries
    of Agartala and nearby areas.
  1. P. Sreekumar, the Satish Dhawan Professor at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
    and advisor to its space science programme has announced that the ISRO is yet to receive
    approval from the Indian government for the Shukrayaan-I mission and that the mission
    could as a result be postponed to 2031.
    ISRO had originally planned to launch Shukrayaan I in mid-2023 but the pandemic pushed
    the date to December 2024.
    Both the U.S. and the European space agencies have Venus missions planned for 2031
    VERITAS and EnVision, respectively, while China may launch around 2026 or 2027.
    Shukrayaan-I mission:
    It will be an orbiter mission. Its scientific payloads include a high-resolution Synthetic
    Aperture Radar (SAR) and ground-penetrating radar.
    The mission is expected to study Venus’s geological and volcanic activity, emissions on
    ground, wind speed, cloud cover, and other planetary characteristics from an elliptical orbit.
    Note: In 2031, Earth and Venus will be aligned in manner that it will require minimum
    amount of propellant for spacecraft to enter Venus orbit.
  2. The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered two 1200-year-old miniature votive
    stupas during landscaping activities near Sarai Tila mound on the premises of ‘Nalanda
    Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district of Bihar.
    Votive Stupa:
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    The form of the stupa, with its distinctive domelike drum, originates in eight cylindrical
    structures in which the Buddha’s relics were placed after his death.
    They were offered in fulfilment of a vow.
    They were popular during the 7
    th century CE in India, as an offering by Buddhist pilgrims
    visiting various holy sites and temples.
  3. The 5
    th Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue between India and South Korea has been
    held in Seoul, South Korea. Both sides have agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including
    trade and investment, security and defence, science and technology, as well as cultural and
    people-to-people exchanges.
    Both sides have agreed to work to make global supply chains more resilient and robust.
    Both sides have also discussed opportunities for cooperation in new and emerging
    technologies.
    Both sides have agreed to take steps to realize the vision of taking bilateral trade from USD
    28 billion to USD 50 billion by 2030.
    Note: The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties between India
    and South Korea.
  4. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has announced that India will send three person to
    6000 metre below sea level for exploration of resources like minerals under Samudrayaan
    Mission. A vehicle called MATSYA 6000 will carry three persons and this mission is expected
    to be realized in next three years.
    MATSYA 6000:
  • It is being designed and developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology,
    Chennai.
  • It has an endurance of 12 hours under normal operation and 96 hours in case of
    emergency for human safety.
  • It is being developed under Deep Ocean Mission (DOM).
  1. IG Drones has developed India’s first 5G-enabled drone capable of vertical take-off and
    landing. This drone has been named ‘Skyhawk’.
  • This drone can carry a payload of 10kg and can fly for 5 hours.
  • The drone is IP67 rated and can be controlled through a combination of NavIC + GPS
    navigational satellites.
  • This drone can travel 100 km in 12 to 15 minutes at its maximum speed.
  1. The 21st edition of the bilateral naval exercise between India and France ‘Exercise Varuna
    2023’ has been held in the Western Seaboard from 16th to 20th January 2023.
    Participants:
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  • Indian Navy: INS Chennai, INS Teg, P-8I and Dornier, integral helicopters and MiG29K
    fighter aircraft.
  • French Navy: Charles De Gaulle, frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS
    Marne and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.
    Note: The bilateral exercise between Indian and French navies were initiated in 1993. It was
    christened as ‘VARUNA’ in 2001.
  1. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has recently listed
    ‘Neelakurinji’ under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, including it on the
    list of protected plants.
    Neelakurunji:
  • Its scientific name is Strobilanthus Kunsthaus,
  • It is a shrub that grows in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India.
  • The plant is named after the famous Kunthi River which flows through Kerala’s Silent
    Valley National Park, where the plant occurs abundantly.
  • It is found at an altitude of 1,300-2,400 metres.
  • This flower blooms once in 12 years as the pollination of flowers needs a longer period.
  • It is mainly found in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.
  1. The India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFPL) will start supplying diesel to Bangladesh
    on an experimental basis from June 2023. The pipeline has been constructed for importing
    diesel from India.
  • Its length is about 131.5 kilometres long. Out of this, 126.5 km pipeline is in Bangladesh
    and 5 km is in India.
  • The pipeline will carry diesel from the Siliguri based marketing terminal of the Numaligarh
    Refinery Limited to Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
  • The pipeline has a capacity of 1 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA).
    The groundbreaking ceremony for the IBFPL was held in September 2018 by Prime Minister
    Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through video conferencing.
  1. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology
    (MeitY), has launched the Technology for Air Quality Monitoring System (AI-AQMS v1.0)
    developed under MeitY supported projects.
    It has been developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC),
    Kolkata in collaboration with TeXMIN, ISM, Dhanbad under the ‘National programme on
    Electronics and ICT applications in Agriculture and Environment (AgriEnIcs)’.
    Other initiative launched:
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    The Secretary, MeitY, Alkesh Kumar Sharma has launched the Technology for Biosensing
    system for the detection of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in aquatic ecosystems
    (MEAN). It has been developed by C-DAC, Kolkata in collaboration with ICAR-CIFRI,
    Baraackpore.
  2. India has assumed the Presidency of 13th Assembly of the International Renewable
    Energy Agency (IRENA), the first international organization solely dedicated to renewable
    energy, which has been held from 13th to 15th January 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has delivered
    the opening remark at IRENA’s 13th Assembly.
  • The theme of the 13th
    IRENA assembly is “World Energy Transitions: The Global Stocktake”.
  • The aim is to establish energy transition priorities in advance of the United Nations
    Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)- 28th session of the Conference of
    the Parties (CoP), which will be hosted by the UAE from 30th November to 12th December
    2023.
  1. The Ministry of Shipping, Waterways, and Ports has launched an initiative named ‘Bharat
    Pravah-India along its Shores’ to highlight the significance and imagery of rivers, ports, and
    shipping in everyday life through a series of nationwide events.
    Bharat Pravah:
    It will serve as a common platform to bring together stakeholders from different walks for
    the purpose of creating a larger vision of shipping, rivers, seas & people. It will highlight the
    challenges, policy issues and future goals relating to the maritime sector.
  2. The National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) has notified India’s
    first national assessment regulator named ‘PARAKH’ to set up assessment guidelines for all
    boards.
  • PARAKH stands for Performance Appraisal, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for
    Holistic Development.
  • It will act as a component of NCERT.
  • It is also entrusted with the task of conducting periodic learning outcome tests like
    National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Survey.
  • This framework will also act to check the emphasis on rote learning as envisaged by the
    National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
  • It will work on three major assessment areas: large-scale assessments, school-based
    assessment, and examination reforms.
    Objective of PARAKH: Uniform Norms and Guidelines, Improvement in assessment pattern,
    Reducing disparity in evaluation, and Benchmark Assessment
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  1. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has recently participated in FITUR held in
    Madrid, Spain from 18th to 22nd January 2023. FITUR is one of the world’s largest
    international travel exhibitions.
    The Indian Delegation has been led by Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of
    Tourism.
    Minister of Tourism, Kerala has also participated in the exhibition.
    This year’s FITUR motto is “Citizens of the World. We Are tourism”.
  2. Under the aegis of India’s G20 Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism will be organizing India’s
    first Global Tourism Summit in New Delhi from 10-12 April 2023, where all G-20 member
    countries will be invited to participate. CII is the Industry Partner for this event.
    The Government of India has a vision of USD 56 billion forex, creating around 140 million
    jobs in tourism by 2030 through inclusive growth and are particularly focusing on cruise
    tourism, ecotourism and adventure tourism.

STATES AFFAIRS

  1. India’s first Centre of Excellence in Online Gaming will be set up in Shillong, Meghalaya by
    March 2023. The Centre of Excellence in Shillong will catalyse startups and entrepreneurs
    from the entire North East Region to build the Next Gen Online Gaming ecosystem.
    Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has also announced to set up a
    state-of-the-art facility under the National Institute of Electronics and IT (NIELIT) to provide
    training on cutting edge Digital Skills at Shillong.
  2. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) has recently approved an “Apple
    Cluster” for the Shopian district of Jammu & Kashmir under the Cluster Development
    Programme.
  • This has been announced during a daylong conference on ‘India Cold Chain Conclave’,
    organised by the MoA&FW in conjunction with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and
    Industry in New Delhi.
  • The project is estimated to cost Rs.135.23 crore, of which, about Rs.37.05 crore will be
    provided by the MoA&FW as grant-in-aid.
  • The project is expected to be implemented in four years.
  1. Vidisha, an aspirational district of Madhya Pradesh, has become the first Indian district to
    implement state-of-the-art 5G use cases proposed by startups. This has been achieved
    through a joint initiative of Vidisha district administration and Center for Development of
    Telematics (C-DOT), Department of Telecom (DoT) under the guidance of the Additional
    Secretary (Telecom) and Administrator USOF.
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    5G use cases include:
  • Superceuticals: 5G/4G Enabled smart health kiosk.
  • Ambupod: 5G/4G Enabled Auto Ambulance.
  • Dvara- Surabhi: For Unique Biometric muzzle identity of cattle
    5G Technology:
    The fifth generation mobile network is called 5G. The 5G network will operate in the
    millimeter-wave spectrum (30-300 GHz) which can send huge amounts of data at very high
    speeds. It is the newest upgrade in Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  1. Pongal is a traditional harvest festival observed annually in South India, particularly in the
    states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. The festival honours Lord Surya
    Narayan, the ruler of the planets, and is associated with crop harvesting. The festival is
    known as Makar Sankranti in northern India.
    Four-days of Pongal:
  • Bhogi Pongal:
    Bhogi / Bogi marks the beginning of the Pongal festival celebrations. Indra, the Lord of the
    Rain, is honoured on the first day in gratitude for the fertility of their agricultural land.
  • Surya Pongal:
    It is the main day of the Pongal celebration. Fresh milk is boiled till it crosses the vessel’s edge
    to start the day.
  • Mattu Pongal:
    It is the third day of the Pongal. Farm animals, like cows and oxen, are honoured on this day
    since they enable farmers to successfully grow and harvest their crops.
  • Kaanum Pongal:
    The fourth day or last day of Pongal is known as Kaanum or Knau Pongal. It is also referred to
    as Karinaal in some regions of Tamil Nadu. On this day, people worship the Sun God and
    offer food and Sarkarai Pongal.
  1. Greater Scaup has recently been sighted in Loktak Lake (Manipur) after a gap of over 90
    years.
  • Greater Scaup is a migratory bird widely distributed across Arctic and Subarctic regions
    where it mainly nests in coastal tundra habitats.
  • It is a rare species of duck (locally known as Sadangman).
  • It belongs to the family of Anatidae.
  • Its IUCN status is the Least Concern.
  1. The Government of West Bengal has launched two initiatives ‘Didir Suraksha Kawach’ and
    ‘Didir Doot’ to focus on 15 state government schemes, covering various sectors such as food,
    housing, health, education, social security, income, and employment.
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  • The programme, ‘Didir Suraksha Kawach’, will see 3.5 lakh party leaders reach every block
    and cover 2 crore families in 60 days, with workers staying in villages to understand the
    problems faced by locals.
  • An app, ‘Didir Doot’, has also been developed for people to register their problems.
  1. The Government of Himachal Pradesh has become the fourth state to restore the Old
    Pension Scheme (OPS). However, employees will have the option to choose between OPS
    and New Pension Scheme (NPS). There are over 1.36 lakh employees, including employees
    and pensioners, under NPS.
    Other states who restored OPS are: Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Punjab.
  2. Kollam district in Kerala has become India’s first constitution-literate district. The
    district’s success is the result of a seven-month campaign launched by the Kollam district
    panchayat, District Planning Committee, and the Kerala Institute of Local Administration
    (KILA) to educate citizens about the country’s laws and their rights.
    As part of the campaign called ‘the Citizen’ around 16.3 lakh people in district above the age
    of 10 have been educated on various aspects of the constitution.
  3. Rajasthan has become the first State to implement a Blindness Control Policy, with the
    objective of ensuring the “Right to Sight”. The policy aims to bring light to the lives of more
    than three lakh people suffering from visual impairment in the state.
  • The prevalence rate of blindness in the country was 1.1 percent in 2020 and work would
    be done to bring it down to 0.3 percent through this policy.
  • Under the policy, the Rajasthan government will mandatorily run Keratoplasty Centres
    and Eye Banks at all the government medical colleges.
  1. The two-day Think-20 meeting under the G-20 has been held at the Kushabhau Thackeray
    International Convention Centre in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has inaugurated the meeting.
  • The main speaker at the inaugural session is Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean and CEO of the Asian
    Development Bank Institute, Tokyo.
  • The two-day meeting has been attended by 94 representatives from different countries,
    besides intellectuals and officials from India.
    Bhopal Declaration:
    Bhopal Declaration has been released after discussing the G-20 agenda in the two-day
    meeting of Think-20.
  • The declaration made an appeal to all the stakeholders to focus more on inclusive
    development and care for the welfare of every section of society in comparison to GDP.
  • Encourage the model of development led by women.
  • Bridge the gap between North and South.
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  • Work together to ensure the health for all.
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently (January 2023) inaugurated the second phase of
    Saansad Khel Mahakumbh 2022-23 in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh via video
    conferencing. It will be organized from 18th January to 28th January 2023.
  • The Khel Mahakumbh organises diverse competitions in both indoor and outdoor sports
    like wrestling, Kabaddi, Kho Kho, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Chess, Badminton and
    Table Tennis.
  • In addition to these, competitions in essay writing, painting, rangoli making are also
    organised.
    The first phase was organised from 10th to 16th December 2022.
  1. The Government of Maharashtra has joined hands with Taiwan’s Gogoro Inc and a local
    automotive systems supplier to build Electric Vehicle (EV) battery-swapping and charging
    stations in the state.
    The Indian company, Belrise Industries Ltd, and Gogoro, will form an equal-stakes joint
    venture and invest the amount over 8 years with the Maharashtra government.
  2. Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top destination for mobile gamers, according to a report
    titled India Mobile Gaming Report (IMGR) 2022 released by Mobile Premier League (MPL), a
    mobile esports and digital gaming platform. As per the research, 36% of all games in the
    state are played in Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
    Uttar Pradesh is followed by Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, and West Bengal.
  3. The Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT) will organize the 1
    st Global Tourism Investors Summit
    from 10th to 12th April 2023 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
  • The aim of the summit is to bring together global business leaders, and policymakers to
    understand and explore Tourism Business opportunities in India.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the industry partner in the summit.
  • The summit will showcase India’s “major tourist destinations” to a global audience, with
    stakeholders from various states governments.
  1. The first-ever joint exercise between the special forces of the Indian Army and the Egyptian
    Army named “Exercise Cyclone-I” has been held in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
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    Objective: To bolster defence co-operation between the two nations and focus on sharing
    professional skills and interoperability of Special Forces in desert terrain while undertaking
    counter terrorism, reconnaissance, raids and other special operations.
    It is a 14 days long exercise which is being carried out in the deserts of Rajasthan engages
    both the contingents to advance special forces skills such as Sniping, Combat Free Fall,
    Reconnaissance, Surveillance & Target Designation, sharing of information on weapons,
    equipment, innovations, tactics, techniques & procedures.
  2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone and dedicated various
    developmental projects related to irrigation, drinking water, and a National Highway
    development project in Kodekal, Yadgir, Karnataka.
    Yadgir multi-village driniking water supply scheme:
    The foundation stone of the Yadgir multi-village drinking water supply scheme under the Jal
    Jeevan Mission has been laid at Kodekal, Yadgir district. A Water Treatment Plant of 117 MLD
    will be built under the scheme. The project, which costs more than Rs.2050 crore, will provide
    potable water to about 2.3 lakh households of more than 700 rural habitations and three
    towns in the Yadgir district.
    NLBC-ERM:
    The Narayanpur Left Bank Canal – Extension Renovation and Modernisation Project
    (NLBC – ERM) has been inaugurated in Karnataka. The project with a canal carrying capacity
    of 10,000 cusecs can irrigate 4.5 lakh hectares of command area. It will benefit more than 3
    lakh farmers in 560 villages of Kalaburgi, Yadagir and Vijaypur districts. The total cost of the
    project is about Rs.4700 crores.
    NH-150C:
    PM Narendra Modi has also laid the foundation stone of the 65.5 km section of NH-150C.
    This 6-lane Greenfield road project is part of the Surat – Chennai Expressway. It is being built
    at the cost of about Rs.2000 crore.
  3. The World Economic Forum (WEF) will set up a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    (C4IR) in Hyderabad, Telangana. The collaboration agreement has been signed between the
    Government of Telangana and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The centre will be an autonomous, non-profit organisation focusing on policy and
    governance for healthcare and life sciences.
  • C4IR Telangana is the 18th centre to join the Forum’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Network,
    which spans four continents.
  • The centre will help Telangana become an important node in the global network and
    consolidate its leadership position globally.
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  1. Union Minister for Labour and Employment Bhupender Yadav has inaugurated the Regional
    Office of Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) at Alwar, Rajasthan. This
    regional office will benefit around 2 lakh workers, 12,000 establishments and 8500
    pensioners from Alwar and neighbouring districts of Bharatpur and Dholpur. The major
    industrial areas served by Regional Office are Bhiwadi, Khushkhera, Tapukara, Karoli,
    Neemrana, Behror, Gheelot, Khairthal.
  2. SPIC MACAY has organized its ‘Music in the Park’ series under the name “Shruti Amrut” in
    collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the New Delhi Municipal Council.
    In this series, the first event of 2023 has been held in Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
  3. The Godavari estuary in Andhra Pradesh has become a prime and safe habitat for the
    Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis).
    Indian skimmer:
    It is a water bird found in coastal estuaries of western and eastern India. The bird has been
    included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list of ‘Endangered’
    species.
  4. The Government of Jammu & Kashmir has declared the whole Union Territory as a “Free
    Area” for purposes of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in
    Animals Act, 2009. The announcement was made after the government was satisfied that no
    Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) had been reported from any district of the Union Territory of
    Jammu and Kashmir.
  5. Union Minister for Tourism, Culture & DoNER G. Kishan Reddy and Union Minister for
    Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan have cochaired the 18th Annual General Body Meeting of Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship
    (IIE), Guwahati.
  • A whole of Government approach towards skill development in the North East Region has
    been selected during the meeting.
  • Students from North East will be selected to visit different tourism spots in rest of India to
    enable closer cultural and emotional ties. At least 20,000 students from 100 universities
    will be selected to tour different part of India.
  • Both the Ministers have advised to form a multi-Ministry Committee to assist in successful
    execution of the visits and to provide necessary support to the selected Universities.
    Both the Ministers have also co-chaired a review meeting on the preparations for several
    activities under ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’.
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  1. Scientists at Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Pune have recently discovered a rare lowaltitude basalt plateau in Manjare village of Thane district in Maharashtra. This is the
    fourth type of plateau to be identified in the region; the previous three are laterites at high
    and low altitudes and basalt at high altitudes.
    The team documented 76 species of plants and shrubs from 24 different families in the
    region.
    This gives a unique model system to study the species interactions in varying environmental
    conditions.
  2. The Odisha State AIDS Control Society, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government
    of Odisha under the leadership of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in coordination
    with the Department of Sports & Youth Services & Hockey India have organized an
    awareness programme on HIV AIDS by forming the ‘largest human red ribbon chain’ in the
    East Gallery of Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
    As per the recent evidences under the National AIDS Control Programme, Odisha have a low
    HIV prevalence in the state with an adult prevalence of 0.14% and an estimated 52,108
    people living with HIV (PLHIV).
  3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of
    projects worth around Rs.38,800 crores in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • He has dedicated to the nation Mumbai Metro Rail Lines 2A & 7, worth around
    Rs.12,600 crores. The metro line 2A connecting Dahisar E and DN Nagar (yellow line) is
    around 18.6 km long, while metro line 7 connecting Andheri E – Dahisar E (red line) is
    around 16.5 km long.
  • He has laid the foundation stone of seven sewage treatment plants, which will be built
    at a cost of around Rs 17,200 crores. These sewage treatment plants will be set up in
    Malad, Bhandup, Versova, Ghatkopar, Bandra, Dharavi and Worli. They will have a
    combined capacity of around 2,460 MLD.
  • He has inaugurated 20 Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Aapla Dawakhana.
  • He has also laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of three hospitals in Mumbai
    viz. 360-bedded Bhandup Multispeciality Municipal Hospital, 306-bedded Siddharth Nagar
    Hospital, Goregaon (West) and 152-bedded Oshiwara Maternity Home.
  • He has laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
    Terminus.
  • He has also inaugurated the road concretisation project for around 400 kilometres of
    roads in Mumbai. This project will be developed at a cost of about Rs.6,100 crore.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

  1. The East African country Uganda has declared the end of the Ebola disease outbreak caused
    by the Sudan ebolavirus.
    The country has managed to end the outbreak in less than four months after the first case
    was confirmed in central Mubende district on 20th September 2022.
  2. South Africa has launched the world’s first agri-focused satellite ‘AgriSAT /ZA 008’.
    Dragonfly Aerospace has launched the satellite on a Space X Falcon 9 rocket from Cape
    Canaveral, Florida, USA.
    This satellite is expected to generate over USD 100 million in revenue.
    It is the first of a seven-satellite constellation in low Earth orbit for customer EOSDA (EOS
    Data Analytics).
  3. Russia has become India’s fourth-largest trading partner with imports from Russia
    increasing five-fold to USD 32.9 billion during the April-December 2022.
  • There are two main contributors to India’s higher imports from Russia: crude oil and
    fertilisers.
  • Russia has improved from being India’s 20th largest source of imports in the previous
    fiscal year (FY22).
  1. The European Union (EU) has established its first mainland orbital launch complex,
    ‘Spaceport Esrange’, a new satellite launch and reusable rocket test facility at Esrange Space
    Centre near the city of Kiruna in northern Sweden.
  • The first satellite launch from Spaceport Esrange is scheduled for early 2024.
  • This Swedish space centre is located at the base of “Radar Hill”, about 200 kilometres
    above the Arctic Circle.
    Esrange Space Centre:
    It was established in 1996 by the European Space Agency (ESA). It aims to investigate the
    atmosphere and the phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
  1. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched an initiative named ‘Giving to Amplify
    Earth Action (GAEA)’ to help unlock the USD 3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach
    net-zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
  • Global initiative is to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic
    partnerships (PPPPs) and is supported by more than 45 partners (including India’s HCL
    Technologies).
  • Philanthropic financing for climate mitigation has risen in recent years, but still represents
    less than 2% of total philanthropic giving.
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  1. Peru is located in the western part of South America. It is bordered by Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,
    Colombia, and Ecuador. Its capital is Lima and its currency is Sol.
    In News:
    Peru’s capital Lima along with regions of Cusco, Puno, and the port of Callao are under a
    state of emergency. The government has taken this step after a week-long protest against
    President Dina Boluarte.
  2. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in the US have created thin, thread-like
    strands of molecules called supramolecular filaments. These molecules can be sprayed
    into the nose to block the SARS CoV-2 virus from entering the lungs.
  • The filaments carry a receptor called angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2.
  • ACE2 provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of
    human cells.
  • The team’s newly developed filament, called fACE2, serves as a decoy binding site for the
    virus.
  1. Archaeologists in Norway have found the oldest runestone in the world. The inscriptions
    are up to 2,000 years old and date back to the earliest days of the enigmatic history of runic
    writing in Oslo, Norway. The runestone, which measures 31 by 32 centimetres, has numerous
    inscriptions that include runes and letters related to the Germanic alphabet.
  2. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution by consensus titled
    ‘Education for Democracy’ that reaffirms the right of ‘education for all’ and contributes to
    the strengthening of democracy. This resolution is co-sponsored by India.

REPORTS & INDICES

  1. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has published
    the World Social Report 2023.
    Highlights of the report:
  • The report has projected that the number of people aged 65 years or older worldwide will
    more than double from 761 million in 2021 to 1.6 billion in 2050.
  • The report has suggested the countries should undertake pension reforms including
    raising the retirement age to ensure income security for all older persons, including
    informal workers.
  • Northern Africa, Western Asia, and sub-Saharan Asia are expected to experience the
    fastest growth in the number of older people over the next three decades.
  • Older persons should be able to continue working for as long as they desire and are able,
    but should not be compelled to do so.
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  1. A recent report on the State of Groundwater released by the Central Ground Water Board
    has highlighted that 12 states have uranium levels beyond permissible limits in their
    groundwater.
  • Punjab is the worst-affected state in terms of the percentage of wells found to have
    uranium concentration of more than 30 ppb, the safe levels prescribed by the Bureau of
    Indian Standards (BIS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Haryana is the second state in terms of uranium prevalence in groundwater. It is followed
    by Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.
  1. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has recently published its annual report titled
    ‘World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2023’ (WESO Trends) which provides
    labour market projections for 2023 and 2024 and presents trends in labour productivity
    growth.
    Key highlights of the report:
  • The report states that global employment will grow by just 1 percent in 2023, and global
    unemployment rate has been pegged at 5.8 percent.
  • The emerging geopolitical tensions, recovery from pandemic, and issue in supply chains
    fuelled conditions for labour market deterioration.
  • Labour force participation rate of women stood at 47.4 percent in 2022, compared with
    72.3 percent for men.
  • In Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, annual employment growth
    is projected to be around 1%.
  1. Oxfam International has released a new study titled “Survival of the Richest”. It has been
    released on the first day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held at Davos,
    Switzerland.
  • The richest 1% in India now own more than 40% of the country’s total wealth, while the
    bottom half of the population together share just 3% of wealth between 2012 and 2021.
  • Female workers earned only 63 paise for every 1 rupee earned by male workers.
  • Since the pandemic began till November 2022, billionaires wealth surged by 121%.
  1. According to Reclaim Finance’s report, members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net
    Zero (GFANZ) have financed at least 211 companies involved in significantly expanding
    global coal mining capacity, oil and gas extraction capacity and the use of fossil fuels in the
    transport and power sector.
    The report states that members of GFANZ do not exclude the provision of financial services
    to coal power plants.
    Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ):
  • It is world’s largest coalition of financial institutions committed to transitioning global
    economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emission.
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  • It aims to coordinate efforts across all sectors of the financial system to accelerate the
    transition to a net-zero global economy.
  • It was launched in 2021 by UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and COP26
    presidency, in partnership with UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign.
  • It has over 550 members from 50 jurisdiction.
  1. As per the latest report by the Dealroom and London & Partners, India has been ranked 4
    th
    globally with USD 24.1 billion worth of VC (venture capital) investments in 2022.
    The leading sectors that contributed to India’s strong VC funding performance are education,
    food, media, fin-tech and transportation.
    At a national level, the top three countries for tech investment in 2022 are the USA with USD
    233.3 billion, followed by China with USD 48 billion, and the UK with USD 29.9 billion.
  2. As per the data provided by Tracxn, a leading global market intelligence platform, Bengaluru
    has topped the startup funding chart in India with USD 10.8 billion in 2022. It is followed by
    Mumbai at USD 3.9 billion, and Gurugram at USD 2.6 billion.
  3. Retail inflation, measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI), has declined to a one-year low of
    5.72 percent in December 2022. This decline is primarily caused by a sharp deflation (-
    15.08%) in vegetable prices and an easing of price pressures in the broader “food” and
    “beverages” category.
  4. The Wholesale Price-based Inflation has declined to 4.95 percent in December 2022. It is
    5.85 percent in November 2022 and 14.27 percent in December 2021.
  5. The Sustainability Reporting Standards Board (SRSB) of the Institute of Chartered
    Accountants of India (ICAI) has released the Standard on Sustainability Assurance
    Engagements (SSAE) 3000, “Assurance Engagements on Sustainability Information”.
    This audit standard for sustainability information is the first of its kind in the world,
    developed by ICAI to help its members provide “reasonable or limited” assurance on such
    information by the reporting entities.

GOVERNMENT SCHEMES & PROGRAMMES

  1. Union Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep S. Puri has inaugurated the 12th edition
    of the National Street Food Festival. It has been organized by the National Association of
    Street Vendors of India (NASVI). It is a unique platform for street food vendors to showcase
    cuisines from every corner of the country.
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    During the occasion, he has announced that the Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar
    Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) has become one of the fastest growing micro-credit schemes of the
    Government of India.
  • PM SVANidhi has provided a platform for financial inclusion by facilitating the street
    vendors to carry out digital transactions.
  • The scheme has disbursed more than 40.07 lakh loans worth Rs.4,606.36 crore to 45.32
    lakh beneficiaries across two tranches.
  • The scheme has enabled onboarding of 9,326 street vendors on food delivery platforms
    such as Swiggy and Zomato.
    PM SVANidhi:
    It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on 1st June 2020 for providing
    affordable Working Capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been
    adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown.
  1. The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) has recently discontinued the interest subsidy
    scheme “Padho Pardesh Scheme” on education loans for overseas studies for minority
    community students.
    Padho Pardesh Scheme:
  • It was introduced in June 2006.
  • The objective of this scheme is to grant interest subsidies to deserving students belonging
    to economically weaker sections of minority communities.
  • Through this scheme, students from minority backgrounds were awarded an income
    which would help them pursue their Master, MPhil and PhD level degrees of higher
    education overseas.
  • Canara Bank acts as a nodal bank for the implementation of this scheme.
    Note: In December 2022, the Central Government discontinued the Maulana Azad National
    Fellowship (MANF Scheme).
  1. Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrasekhar has
    facilitated 200 tribal women who have successfully completed training under Phase 3 of the
    Grameen Udyami Scheme in Jharkhand.
    Grameen Udyami Scheme:
  • It aims to augment skill training in tribal communities for their inclusive and sustainable
    growth.
  • It is funded by the National Skill Development Corporation.
  • The project is being implemented in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya
    Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Gujarat.
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  • It is implemented under the Sansadiya Sankul Pariyojana to expand the rural/local
    economy, enhance employment opportunities, reduce forced migration and also lead to
    the conservation of natural resources.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

  1. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has collaborated with the Norway-based H2Carrier to develop
    floating green ammonia projects for industrial-scale applications.
    Under this MoU, L&T and H2C will become a partner for the Engineering, Procurement,
    Construction, Installation, and Commissioning (EPCIC) of the topsides for H2C’s floating
    process plants.
  2. India and the United States of America (USA) have established a new working group to
    build sustainable supply chains and boost bilateral trade.
    This working group will initially focus on trade facilitation, digitization of customs procedures,
    issues related to sustainable finance and the scaling up of innovative clean technologies.
  3. NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding
    (MoU) with the Government of Tripura in New Delhi for the development of Floating and
    Ground Mounted based Renewable Energy Projects in the state.
    The MoU has been signed by Rajiv Gupta, Chief General Manager, NTPC REL and Mahananda
    Debbarma, Director General and CEO, Tripura Renewable Energy Development Agency.
  4. Union Minister of Power and New Renewable Energy RK Singh, who is on a three-day visit to
    Abu Dhabi, and UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei, has signed
    an agreement on cooperation in the field of Green Hydrogen Development and Investment.
  • They also discussed the launch of a sub-sea cable between India and the UAE under the
    mission, ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid Initiative, which is announced by Prime Minister
    Narendra Modi.
  • They has also discussed opportunities in the field of power and renewable energy.
  1. RailTel Corporation of India Ltd has received a work order worth Rs.170.11crore from the
    Puducherry government to design, develop, supply, install, test, commission and
    operations and maintenance of Integrated Command Control Centre (ICCC) and other
    associated activities for smart city.
  2. Bengaluru-based Asteria Aerospace has received type certification for its indigenously
    designed and manufactured A200-XT drone from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation
    (DGCA).
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  • With this, Asteria has become the first company to have 2 DGCA-certified drones that can
    be offered to its customers for various applications.
  • A200-XT drone is a versatile drone with payloads that can be swapped between a highresolution high-zoom day camera, and a night-time thermal camera.
  1. Siemens Mobility, managed by Siemens AG of Germany, has signed a Rs.26,000-crore
    contract to manufacture 1200 electric freight locomotives of 9,000 horsepower (HP) for the
    Indian Railways.
  • Under this contract, the delivery of locomotives is planned over an 11-year period and the
    contract also includes 35 years of full-service maintenance.
  • This is the single largest locomotive order in the history of Siemens Mobility and the single
    largest order in the history of Siemens India.
  • The locomotives will be assembled in the Indian Railways factory in Dahod, Gujarat.
  • The maintenance will be done at Indian Railways’ depots in Visakhapatnam, Raipur,
    Kharagpur and Pune.
  1. The Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL), a consultancy
    subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL), has invented a “System and Method for Controlling
    Generation and Movement of Fugitive Dust” to minimize and control the fugitive dust in
    mining areas.
  • This system can be used in mines, thermal power plants, railway sidings, ports,
    construction sites wherein coal or other minerals/fugitive materials are stored under open
    sky.
  • It will also provide noise attenuation.
  • The present invention relates to the synchronized application of windbreak (WB) and
    vertical greenery system (VGS) for reducing generation and dispersion of fugitive dust.
  1. Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL), the flagship entity of Adani Group, has partnered with
    Ashok Leyland and Ballard Power Systems of Canada to start a pilot project to develop a
    hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Truck (FCET) for mining logistics and transportation.
    This partnership marks the first planned hydrogen-powered mining truck in Asia.
  • The Hydrogen Powered Mining Truck will weigh 55 tonnes, have three hydrogen tanks,
    and a 200-km working range.
  • It will be powered by Ballard’s 120 kW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell
    technology.
  1. The Carbon Markets Association of India (CMAI) has signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with the Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States
    (AREAS) to ensure the exchange of knowledge on policy and regulatory-related
    developments and innovation in the carbon market and enhance setting up of renewable
    energy projects.
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    Association of Renewable Energy Agencies (AREAS):
    It came into existence on 27th August 2014 on the initiative of Ministry of New & Renewable
    Energy (MNRE). All State Nodal Agencies for renewable energy are members of AREAS.
  • Patron: Raj Kumar Singh Union Minister of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) (ex-officio)
  • President: Bhupinder Singh Bhalla MNRE Secretary (ex-officio)
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  1. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and S&P Global have launched the
    Nature Risk Profile, a new method for analyzing business impacts and dependencies on
    nature.
  • NRP aims to enable the financial sector to measure and address natural risks by providing
    science-based and actionable analysis of nature’s impacts and dependencies.
  • Its methodology is based on Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF),
    adopted in December 2022.
  1. Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has built passenger-cum-cargo oceangoing ferry ‘MV Ma Lisha’ for the Republic of Guyana. This is the first such ship built for
    exports to a Latin American country by any Defence Public Sector shipyard.
  • The ‘MV Ma Lisha’ will travel to Chennai, where it will be loaded onto a semi-submersible
    vessel, the ‘MV Sun Rise’, for its journey to Guyana.
  • The 70-metre-long vessel with a displacement of 1,700 tonnes is propelled by two diesel
    engines and can achieve a maximum speed of 15 knots.
  • The ship can accommodate 294 passengers, including 14 crew members, along with 14
    cars, two trucks, and 14 containers and cargo.
  1. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has signed a space agreement
    with Japan for deep space exploration. The agreement recognizes a mutual interest in
    peaceful exploration.
  2. The Indian Ports Association (IPA) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with
    the Research & Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) to establish a Centre
    for Maritime Economy & Connectivity. The MoA has been signed in the presence of the
    Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal.
  3. The Udupi Cochin Shipyard Limited (UCSL), a subsidiary of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the
    Department of Fisheries and five fishermen Self-Help Group (SHGs) societies from Kerala
    have signed a tripartite agreement for the production of Ten Deep-Sea Tuna Longliner-CumGill netter fishing vessels. The financial outlay for these advanced fishing vessels will be Rs.14
    crores.
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  4. National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has allowed the transfer of ownership of Jet Airways
    to the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium (JKC). A total cash infusion of Rs.1,375 crore, including Rs.475
    crore for payment to stakeholders, has been proposed by the consortium.
  5. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh
    Thakur has joined the Bhoomi Pujan (groundbreaking ceremony) of the first National
    Centre or Excellence (NCOE) being set up with the joint partnership of the Sports Authority
    of India (SAI) and the Indian Railways.
    The NCOE will be instrumental in bringing about a big change in the sports ecosystem in
    North Bengal.
    This is the first-ever NCOE set up by SAI in partnership with another organization.
  6. The Adani Renewable Energy Holding Two Ltd (ESUCRL), an arm of Adani Green Energy,
    will acquire 50 percent equity in Essel Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Ltd from Essel
    Infraprojects for a cash consideration of Rs.15 crore. The remaining 50 percent of the equity
    shares will continue to be held by the Government of Rajasthan.
  7. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has recently signed a Memorandum of
    Understanding (MoU) with Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON)
    and R C Hobbytech Solutions (RCH) to improve and advance drone-based technology in
    Northeast India.
  8. Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems
    Limited and American aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Company, has delivered the first
    fuselage for the Indian Army’s contract for six AH-64-E Apache Combat helicopters. The
    fuselage was built at the state-of-the-art TBAL facility in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  9. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) has signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
    (MNRE) to set an annual performance target for 2022-23.
    For 2022-23, the Government of India (GoI) has set a target of Rs.3,361 crore for revenue
    from operations, an increase of 18% from 2021-22.

BANKING & FINANCE

  1. World Bank (WB) has decided to get agricultural officers from Sub-Saharan countries to
    visit Karnataka to learn from its experience of the REWARD (Rejuvenating Watershed for
    Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development) Project.
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  • Karnataka has been identified as a “lighthouse partner” by the World Bank in developing
    the science-based watershed model.
  • It is the first State to develop a Land Resource Inventory portal (the portal will contain the
    details on the appropriate measures to be taken for different types of land with respect to
    agriculture, groundwater, crop, and soil health) that has details of 14 lakh hectares of land
    coming under the project.
    Watershed Management:
    The conservation of water and improvement of water quality and conservation of the soil is
    called watershed management.
    REWARD Project:
    The project aims to help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management
    practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change, and promote higher productivity
    and better incomes. It is a World Bank-supported multi-State project.
    The project is being implemented in three to four Indian States for 6 years for:
  • Prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rainwater harvesting, and
    recharging of the groundwater table.
  • Enabling multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities.
  1. VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest bank, has launched direct payments in rupees. This will
    significantly increase bilateral trade and investment.
    Russian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) clients can now make transfers without
    double conversion, which simplifies the work on foreign trade contracts with India.
  2. VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest bank, has launched direct payments in rupees. This will
    significantly increase bilateral trade and investment.
    Russian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) clients can now make transfers without
    double conversion, which simplifies the work on foreign trade contracts with India.
  3. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the
    Department of Financial Services for extending the term of Managing Director (MD) and Chief
    Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of Baroda (BoB) Sanjiv Chadha for about 5 months till 30th
    June 2023 i.e. when he attains 60 years, the retirement age.
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  4. The Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA) has signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State Bank of India (SBI) to facilitate lowinterest rate loans to farmers.
    The MoU has been signed with the intent of promoting awareness about the new loan
    product called Produce Marketing Loan to exclusively fund against e-NWRs (electronic
    Negotiable Warehouse Receipt) with features such as Nil processing fee, No Additional
    collateral and attractive interest rates.
  5. Kolkata-based VFS Capital has tied up with the Small Industries Development Bank of
    India (SIDBI) to extend MSME loans upto Rs.5 lakh at 13 percent interest rate per annum.
    This association will provide loans to the SME and MSME sectors.
  6. Paytm Payments Bank has received final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to
    operate as a Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) under the Payment and Settlement
    Systems Act, 2007.
    Under Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), a BBPOU is allowed to facilitate bill payment
    services of electricity, phone, DTH, water, gas insurance, loan repayments, FASTag recharge,
    education fees, credit card bill and municipal taxes.
    BBPS is owned by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
    Other related news:
    Protean eGov Technologies, formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure, has received
    approval from the RBI for its wholly owned subsidiary to operate as an Account Aggregator
    (AA) with an NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company)-AA certificate.
  7. Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace Private Limited has recently collaborated with the Union
    Bank of India (UBI). Under this collaboration, 150 Garuda Kisan Drones have received
    sanction for drone loans under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF).
    The drone loans will help farmers to digitise land record operations for crop production, and
    spraying of fertilisers, chemicals, growth promoters and pesticides with the help of drones.
    AIF has about Rs.1 lakh crore out of which Rs.1000 crore have been allocated to drones.
  8. Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace Private Limited has recently collaborated with the Union
    Bank of India (UBI). Under this collaboration, 150 Garuda Kisan Drones have received
    sanction for drone loans under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF).
    The drone loans will help farmers to digitise land record operations for crop production, and
    spraying of fertilisers, chemicals, growth promoters and pesticides with the help of drones.
    AIF has about Rs.1 lakh crore out of which Rs.1000 crore have been allocated to drones.
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  9. The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed Alternative Investment Funds
    (AIFs) to participate in the Credit Default Swaps (CDS) market to protect buyers and sellers.
    This will facilitate deepening of the domestic corporate bond segment.
    CDS is a specific kind of counter-party agreement which allows the transfer of third party
    credit risk from one party to another.
  • Under the new norm, Category-I and Category-II AIFs can buy CDS on underlying
    investment in debt securities only for the purpose of hedging.
  • Category-III AIFs can purchase CDS for hedging or any other permissible leverage.
  • With regard to selling, Category-II and Category-III AIFs may sell CDS by earmarking
    unencumbered government bonds or Treasury bills equal to the amount of the CDS
    exposure.
  • AIFs which transact in CDS will have to maintain a 30-day cooling off period between the
    two periods of borrowing.
    Others approvals by SEBI:
  • SEBI has allowed Mutual Funds with active Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) to
    launch passively managed open-ended ELSS schemes. This will provide a cost-effective
    and tax-saving alternative to individual investors.
  • SEBI has allowed stock exchanges to launch multiple contracts in the same commodity in
    a bid to encourage broader participation of investors in commodity derivatives market.
  1. ESAF Small Finance Bank has won the Inclusive Finance India Awards 2022 in recognition
    of its contributions to advancing the goal of financial inclusion and supporting inclusive
    growth.
    The Inclusive Finance India Awards is an initiative of ACCESS Development Services
    constituted in 2009 in partnership with HSBC India.
  2. Punjab National Bank (PNB) has become the first public sector bank (PSB) to introduce a
    credit card against fixed deposits (FDs) digitally, for customers who do not fulfil the eligibility
    criteria for regular credit cards.
    PNB has introduced two types of consumer credit cards: ‘PNB Global Gold’ and ‘PNB Global
    Classic’.
    These are global credit cards that are developed in association with Visa.
  3. The South Indian Bank (SIB) has tied up with the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)
    to provide financial assistance to the dealers of SAIL across India.
    The lender will serve the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) and corporate
    customers of SAIL by providing financial assistance for working capital, especially steel
    procurement through its 928 branches.
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  4. Mastercard has announced the expansion of its flagship Girls4Tech, STEM (Science,
    Technology, Engineering and Math) education program in India. This programme will benefit
    over 10, 800 girls from 30 government schools in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Girls4Tech Programme is supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund in partnership
    with the American India Foundation (AIF).
  • It aims to reach an additional 1 lakh female students in India by 2024 to encourage them
    to pursue STEM education; this includes 10,800 students in Tamil Nadu.
  • STEM courses will be offered to girls aged 8 to 14.
  1. The State Bank of India (SBI) in its Ecowrap report has estimated India’s fiscal deficit for
    2023-24 (FY24) at around Rs.17.95 lakh crore or 6% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This
    will result in the fiscal consolidation of 40 bps from FY23.
  • In FY23, the fiscal deficit is expected to come to Rs.17.5 lakh crore.
  • However, higher nominal GDP growth (15.4%) estimates will help in keeping the fiscal
    deficit at 6.4% of the GDP.
  • The net market borrowing of the Centre in FY24 will be around Rs.11.7 lakh crore and
    with repayments of Rs.4.4 lakh crore, gross borrowing is expected at Rs.16.1 lakh crore.
  • In FY24, the overall gross borrowing by the Central and States is estimated at Rs.24.3 lakh
    crore (Rs.22.2lakh crore in FY23) and net borrowings Rs.17 lakh crore (Rs.16.7 lakh crore
    in FY23).
  • The subsidy bill which increased significantly in FY23 is estimated to be reduced in FY24 to
    around Rs.3.8-4 lakh crore and capital expenditure is expected to grow by 12 percent.
  1. Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) has won the ‘Best Small Bank Award’ in the ‘Best Banks
    Survey for the year 2022′ done by Business Today-KPMG (BT-KPMG Best Banks Survey). The
    lender has received this award in the category of banks with a book size of less than Rs.1 lakh
    crore.
  2. The Forest officials of the Katarniaghat division and the National Bank for Agriculture
    and Rural Development (NABARD) have planned to give skill-development training to
    Tharu people that live near the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) and are much affected
    by human-wildlife conflicts.
    Tharu people:
  • They are ethnic group indigenous to Terai region of Himalayan foothills, located in
    southern Nepal.
  • In India, they mostly lived in Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand.
  • They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of Indo-Aryan subgroup.
    Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS):
    It is situated in the Upper Gangetic plain falling in the Terai of Bahraich district of Uttar
    Pradesh.
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  1. Apax Partners, through unit Dynasty Acquisition, is likely to sell its entire stake, up to 1.73
    crore shares or 4.63 percent stake, in Shriram Finance through a block deal. The deal is
    valued at approximately Rs.2,250 crore and is being offered at a discount of about 6% to the
    current market price.
  2. Alibaba Group has sold a 3.1-percent stake in Indian digital payments firm Paytm for
    USD 125 million through a block deal. Alibaba, which owned a 6.26% stake in Paytm as of
    September 2022, sold its stake at Rs.536.95 apiece.
  3. The State Bank of India (SBI) has raised Rs.9,718 crore through its 2nd infrastructure bond
    issuance at a coupon rate of 7.70% per annum for the 15-year bond. The pricing of 7.70%
    represents a spread of 17 basis points (bps) over the G-Sec (Government Security) curve. This
    is the 2nd fundraising of SBI since December 2022.

RBI IN NEWS

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a report titled “State Finances: A Study of
    Budgets of 2022-23”, an annual publication that provides information, analysis and an
    assessment of the finances of State governments for 2022-23 against the backdrop of actual
    and revised/provisional accounts for 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively.
    The theme of the 2023 Report is “Capital Formation in India – The Role of States”.
    Highlights of the report:
  • The States’ gross fiscal deficit (GFD) is budgeted to decline from 4.1 percent of gross
    domestic product (GDP) in 2020-21 to 3.4 percent in 2022-23.
  • The States’ debt is budgeted to ease to 29.5 percent of GDP in 2022-23 as against 31.1
    percent in 2020-21.
  • In 2022-23, States have budgeted higher capital outlay than in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-
  • States are suggested to create a Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) buffer fund during good
    times when revenue flows are strong.
  • To crowd in private investment, the State governments may continue to focus on creating
    a congenial ecosystem for the private sector to thrive.
  • States also need to encourage and facilitate higher inter-state trade and businesses to
    realise the full benefit of spillover effects of State capex across the country.
  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated in its “Reserve Bank of India (Acquisition
    and Holding of Shares or Voting Rights in Banking Companies) Directions 2023” that
    anyone who intends to make an acquisition that is likely to result in a major shareholding in a
    banking company should first obtain the RBI’s prior approval by submitting an application.
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    Any person who wants to acquire more than 5 percent stake in a bank will need prior
    approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    The RBI has defined “major shareholding” as “aggregate holding” of 5 percent or more of the
    paid-up share capital or voting rights in a banking company by a person.
  • After an acquisition, if the shareholding falls below 5 percent, the person will be required
    to seek fresh approval from the RBI if the person intends to again raise the aggregate
    holding to 5 per cent or more.
  • Any person from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) non-compliant jurisdiction will
    not be allowed to acquire a major shareholding in a bank.
  • Banks whose aggregate shareholding of entities does not meet the guidelines will be
    required to comply within 6 months.
  • The RBI will specify a differentiated shareholding dilution plan for Private Banks where the
    state or union government owns a stake.
  • The RBI has allowed promoters to hold 26% from the current 15% of the paid-up share
    capital or voting rights of a bank after the completion of 15 years from commencement of
    its business.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  1. USA’s R’Bonney Nola Gabriel, a fashion designer from Houston, Texas, has won the Miss
    Universe 2022 title at the grand finale of the 71st Miss Universe contest held in New Orleans,
    Louisiana. She has been crowned by Miss Universe 2021 Harnaz Sindhu.
  • First runner-up: Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela
  • Second runner-up: Andreina Martinez of Dominican Republic
    Note: Armi Kuusela from Finland won the first Miss Universe title in 1952.
  1. Telugu movie RRR has won two awards ‘Best Song Award’ for Nattu Nattu and ‘Best
    Foreign Language Film Award’ at the 28th edition of the Critics’ Choice Awards held in Los
    Angeles, USA.
    Earlier, RRR’s song Nattu Nattu has also won Golden Globes Award for Best Song.
CategoryWinners
Best Animated Series“Harley Quinn”
Best Comedy Special“Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special”
Best Talk Show“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
SeeHer AwardJanelle Monáe
Lifetime Achievement  AwardJeff Bridges
Best Picture“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Best DirectorDaniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Best ActorBrendan Fraser, “The Whale”
Best ActressCate Blanchett, “Tár”

Critics’ Choice Awards:
It was earlier known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award. It is presented annually
by American-Canadian Critics Choice Association. It was first presented in 1996.

  1. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan with an estimated net worth of Rs.627 million (USD 770
    million) has become the richest actor in Asia and 4
    th richest actor globally in the list of the
    world’s richest actor released by World of Statistics.
    Richest actors in the world:
  2. Jerry Seinfeld (US): $1 Billion
  3. Tyler Perry (US): $1 Billion
  4. Dwayne Johnson (US): $800 million
  5. Shah Rukh Khan (Indian): $770 million
  6. Tom Cruise (US): $620 million
  7. Jackie Chan (Hong Kong): $520 million
  8. George Clooney (US): $500 million
  9. Robert De Niro (US): $500 million
  10. Odisha has won the “Bronze Award” in the United Nations Human Settlements
    Programme’s (UN Habitat) “World Habitat Awards 2023” for the Jaga Mission, a 5T
    (Transparency, Technology, Teamwork, Time, Transformation) programme of the state.
  • Jaga Mission is a land ownership and slum upgradation program aimed at empowering
    the lives of slum dwellers.
  • Earlier in 2019, Odisha’s Jaga Mission received the World Habitat Award for its success in
    providing land security for slum dwellers.
    UN Habitat’s World Habitat Awards:
    It was established in 1985 as part of the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the
    Homeless. This award is given annually by World Habitat, a UK-based organization, in
    collaboration with UN-Habitat.
  1. Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has recently felicitated the
    winners of the National Startup Awards (NSA) 2022 during the award ceremony held in
    New Delhi, Delhi.
    He has also launched the MAARG platform (Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience, and
    Growth), which will facilitate mentorship between startups and entrepreneurs across sectors,
    stages, and functions.
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    The 3rd edition of NSA 2022 has recognized 41 startups, 2 incubators, and 1 accelerator as
    winners in their respective categories.
    National Startup Awards (NSA):
    NSA was initiated by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT),
    under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
    Cash prize of Rs.5 lakh each will be given to the winning startups and Rs.15 lakh cash prize
    to one exceptional Incubator and one Accelerator.
    Note: India is the 3rd largest ecosystem in the world, after the USA and China, with 107 Unicorns.
    In India, startups increased from 471 in 2016 to 84,012 in 2022.
  2. According to the estimates released by consulting firm EY in its report ‘India@100: Realising
    the potential of a $26 trillion economy’, India will become a $26 trillion economy by 2047,
    which will also be the 100th year of India’s independence.
    The report has also shown that India’s per capita income will exceed $15,000, placing it
    among the top developed economies.
    The report has also recognized key enablers of growth that will impact sectors across India
    and play a critical role in propelling the growth engine.
    These are:
  3. World’s Information Technology and Information Hub
  4. Digitalisation: A Force Multiplier
  5. Reaping the demographic dividend
  6. Making domestic manufacturing competitive
  7. Building the infrastructure of the future
  8. Transition to sustainable energy
  9. Policy recommendations
    The report has been launched by Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the sidelines
    of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
  10. The New Goa Manohar International Airport (MIA), formerly Mopa International Airport,
    has won the ‘Best Sustainable Greenfield Airport’ award for the excellent initiatives taken
    by the GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL) in implementing sustainability as one
    of their key concepts. GGIAL has received the award under Aviation Sustainability and
    Environment category.
    Other Civil Aviation Awards:
    GMR Aviation for the Best Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Services, Airbus for the
    Best Aircraft Manufacturer, Pawan Hans for the Best Helicopter flights, SpiceJet for the Best
    Cargo Carrier, Adani for the Best Airport Technology and more.
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  11. Over 1000 Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan
    (UNMISS) have been awarded the United Nations (UN) medals for their exceptional service.
    Around 1,171 Indians have received UN medals for their vital work in Upper Nile, South

BOOKS & AUTHORS

  1. A new book titled “Irrfan Khan: A Life in Movies” has been authored by Shubhra Gupta, a
    film critic, and author.
    The book explores actor Irrfan Khan’s life and achievements, starting from his days at the
    prestigious National School of Drama (NSD) to his nearly decade-long stint in television and
    his gradual ascent in the film industry.
    The book will be published by Pan Macmillan India. The book will be released in March 2023.
  2. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has released a book titled “Revolutionaries: The Other
    Story of How India Won its Freedom” at a function in New Delhi.
    The book has been authored by Economist Sanjeev Sanyal, member of the Economic
    Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). The book is published by HarperCollins
    India.
    His other books include: Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography, The Ocean
    of Churn: How the Indian Ocean Shaped Human History and Life over Two Beers.
  3. The English version of the book titled ‘Come! Let’s Run’ by Tamil Nadu Minister for Health
    and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian has been released by Krishnamachari Srikanth,
    former Captain of the Indian cricket team.
    The Tamil version of the same book ‘Odalam Vanga’ was released on 8th March 2021.
    The book has been published by Emerald Publishers and the English translation has been
    done by Geeta Padmanaban along with J.Joicy and Sharon.

PERSON IN NEWS

  1. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has named Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and
    Advanced Technology of UAE and Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of
    the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), as President of the COP28 climate summit.
  • Shamma Al Mazrui has been appointed COP28 UAE Youth Climate Champion.
  • Razan Al Mubarak has been appointed COP28 UAE UN Climate Change High-Level
    Champion.
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    The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework
    Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Dubai, UAE from 30th November to
    12th December 2023.
  1. Cognizant, an Information Technology company, has appointed Ravi Kumar S as its Chief
    Executive Officer (CEO) with immediate effect. He has also named as a member of the Board
    of Directors of Cognizant. He has succeeded Brian Humphires.
  • Stephan J Rohleder has been elected Chair of the Board.
  • Surya Gummadi has been named President of Cognizant Americas.
  1. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed former Director General
    of the Border Security Force (BSF) Pankaj Kumar Singh as the deputy National Security
    Advisor in National Security Council Secretariat for a period of two years.
    He is a 1988-batch IPS Officer of the Rajasthan cadre.
    National Security Council (NSC) of India:
    It is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues
    of strategic concern. It was formed in 1998. Its headquarters is based in New Delhi.
  • National Security Adviser: Ajit Kumar Doval
  1. Captain Surbhi Jakhmola of the Indian Army’s 117 Engineer Regiment has become the
    first woman officer to be posted on a foreign assignment at the Border Roads Organisation
    (BRO). She will be sent to Bhutan to implement actions under Project Dantak.
    Project Dantak:
    The project was established in April 1961 as a result of the vision of His Majesty the Third
    King and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. The project identifies the importance of
    connectivity in spurring the socio-economic development and growth of Bhutan.
  2. Su-30MKI pilot Squadron Leader Avani Chaturvedi, India’s one of the first three woman
    fighter pilots, is scheduled to participate in the inaugural air exercise Veer Guardian 2023 in
    Japan. She has become the first Indian Air Force (IAF) Woman Fighter Pilot to participate in
    aerial wargames abroad.
  • Veer Guardian 2023 aims to strengthen the bilateral air defence cooperation between
    India.
  • It is being held from 16th to 26th January 2023 at the Hyakuri Air Base and its surrounding
    airspace in Omitama, and the Iruma Air Base in Sayama in Japan.
  1. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has elected Inger Andersen of Denmark as
    Executive Director (ED) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a second,
    4-year term beginning from 15th June 2023 to 14th June 2027.
    She is currently serving her initial 4-year term from 2019-2023.
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  2. Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) has appointed Sujeet Sharma as Vice President (VP) – active
    network and commercial. He will oversee the procurement for the company.
  3. Vishal Kapoor, CEO of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), has assumed the
    additional charge as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Convergence Energy Services
    Limited (CESL), a subsidiary of state-owned EESL. He has succeeded Mahua Acharya.

OBITUARIES

  1. Mukarram Jah, also known as Nawab Mir Barkat Ali Khan Siddiqi Mukarram Jah
    Bahadur, has recently passed away in Istanbul, Turkey. He was born on 6th October 1933 in
    Nice, France.
    He was the last and eighth Nizam of Hyderabad.
    He became the titular Nizam of Hyderabad after the death of his grandfather, Mir Osman Ali
    Khan (Nizam VII), in 1967.
    The Government of India recognized him as Nizam VIII of Hyderabad and Berar in 1969.
  2. Noted British linguist and specialist in Dravidian languages Ronald Eaton Asher (RE
    Asher) has recently passed away in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK). He was born
    on 23rd July 1926 in Gringley-on-the-Hill, England, UK.
    He is known for translating and propagating several Tamil and Malayalam literary works.
    He wrote his first book on Tamil, “A Tamil Prose Reader” with R. Radhakrishnan in 1971.
  3. Social worker and Padma Shri awardee Prabhaben Shah of Union territory of Dadra and
    Nagar Haveli, Daman, and Diu has recently passed away in Daman, India.
  • She was born on 20th February 1930 in Bardoli town of Surat district of Gujarat.
  • She was fondly known as ‘Daman ki Divya’.
  • She was awarded Padma Shri by the Indian Government for her contribution in social
    work in 2022.
  • She started the Women Cooperative Society, and Women Credit Society.
  • She also started Gujarati and English medium Balwadi (nursery), and a library for students
    from economically weaker sections.
  1. Indian politician Santokh Singh Chaudhary has recently passed away in Jalandhar, Punjab.
    He was born on 18th June 1946 in Dhaliwal, Jalandhar district, Punjab. He was a Cabinet
    Minister of Punjab and a Member of Parliament from Jalandhar (Lok Sabha constituency).
  2. Dr A.D. Damodaran, leading scientist and former director of the CSIR-National Institute for
    Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), has recently passed away in
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    Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He also served as the Chairman of the Kerala State Council for
    Science, Technology and Environment.
  3. President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc has submitted his resignation after the
    communist party blamed him for the violations and wrongdoings by the senior ministers
    under him during his 2016-2021 stint as Prime Minister of Vietnam.
  4. The Vice President of the West African nation of Gambia, Badara Alieu Joof, has recently
    passed away in India at the age of 65. He was born on 1958 in Gambia. He became the Vice
    President of Gambia in 2022.
  5. Nilmani Phookan, a renowned Assamese poet, has recently passed away in Guwahati,
    Assam. He was born in 1933 in Dergaon, Assam. His notable works include Surya Henu Nami
    Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Gulapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita.
    Awards & Honours:
  • 56th Jnanpith Award: 2020
  • Sahitya Akademi Award: 1981
  • Padma Shri: 1990

SPORTS

  1. World’s No.1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark has won the Men’s singles title after defeating
    World’s No.6 Kodai Naraoka of Japan at the Petronas Malaysia Open 2023 held from 10th to
    15th January 2023 in Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    Akane Yamaguchi of Japan has won the Women’s singles title after defeating An Se Young
    of South Korea.
CategoryWinners
Women’s DoublesChen Qingchen and Jia Yifan  (China)
Men’s DoublesFajar Alfian and Muhammad  Rian Ardianto (Indonesia)
Mixed  DoublesZheng Siwei and Huang  Yaqiong (China)
  1. The cricket team of Sri Lanka has toured India for 3 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and
    Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) from 3rd to 15th January 2023. Team India has defeated Sri
    Lanka in both ODIs, and T20Is.
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    Captains:
  • Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (for both ODI and T20I)
  • India: Rohit Sharma (ODI) and Hardik Pandya (T20I)
    Player of the series:
  • ODI: Virat Kohli (India)
  • T20I: Axar Rajeshbhai Patel (India)
    Key achievements:
  • Suryakumar Yadav has become the fastest player to reach 1,500 runs in T20
    International cricket in terms of balls faced.
  • Team India has broken the record of New Zealand by defeating Sri Lanka in the largest
    ever one-day victory margin of 317 runs in the 3rd and final ODI held in Greenfield
    International Stadium, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala.
  • Virat Kohli has equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of scoring 20 ODI centuries on home
    soil.
  1. Welsh footballer Gareth Bale, a 5-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and
    Wales men’s all-time leading goalscorer, has announced his retirement from international
    and club football with immediate effect. He holds the record for being named Welsh player
    of the year for a record 6 times.

IMPORTANT DAYS

  1. National Startup Day is observed annually on 16th January to appreciate and promote the
    Indian Startup Ecosystem. The day was first observed in 2022.
    Note: Start-up India Innovation Week has been observed from 10th January 2023 to 16th
    January 2023.
  2. The NDRF Raising Day is observed annually on 19th January by the National Disaster
    Response Force (NDRF) in India to highlight the role of the NDRF personnel for their help and
    assistance during disaster situations in India. In 2023, the day marks the celebration of the
    18th NDRF Raising Day.
  3. Kokborok Day (Tripuri language Day) is observed annually in the Indian state of Tripura to
    celebrate the development of the Kokborok language. It is observed on 19 January every
    year.
  • The Kokborok language is an official language in Tripura.
  • This day is chosen to commemorate its initial recognition as an official language in 1979.
  • The year 2023 marks the observance of the 45th Kokborok Day.

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