Current Affairs

15 April, 2022

International

UNDP Announces USD 2.2 Million In Climate Action Grants for Innovators

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners of the Adaptation Innovation Marketplace (AIM) have announced USD 2.2 million in climate action funding for 22 local innovators spanning 19 countries, including India.
The grants focused on resilient agriculture, technology, community-based adaptation, ecosystem-based payments and services, and entrepreneurship. Grants were awarded across 19 countries, including seven from Africa, 11 from Asia, and four from the Latin America and Caribbean region. Ten out of the 22 were from least developed countries or small island developing states.

Adaptation Innovation Marketplace (AIM):

It is a strategic platform that promotes scaled-up adaptation at the local level, focusing on civil society, non-government organizations, and women and youth innovators. It was launched by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021.

The AIM partners — the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, the Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change, the Global Resilience Partnership, the Climate-Knowledge Innovation Community, and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) — provide technical support to the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator.

National

NCR Governments Inks Combined Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement

The Governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh of National Capital Region (NCR) have signed a Combined Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement (CRCTA) covering both Contract Carriage & Stage Carriage since the validity of earlier Agreements of Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement is about to end soon.
The CRCTA has come into force with immediate effect, and it covers all educational institution vehicles as well as all stage carriage buses operated by state transportation companies in NCR member states. For seamless movement, the agreement provides for the countersigning of permits and licences for motor cabs, taxis, and auto-rickshaws registered in the NCR. The agreement also establishes a single-point tariff for intercity buses operated by state transportation undertakings, reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

Note:

National Capital Region (NCR) is a unique example of inter-state regional planning and development for a region with National Capital Territory (NCT) -Delhi as its core. The NCR as notified covers the whole of NCT-Delhi and certain districts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. One of the policy proposals in the Regional Plan-2021 for the National Capital Region is to promote unrestricted mobility of buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws inside the NCR. This will make it easier for the general public to commute between Delhi and the rest of the NCR.

IIT Guwahati & NTPC Partners to Develop Energy Efficient Tech to Capture CO2

The Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Guwahati, Assam has partnered with NTPC Limited (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) to design and develop a highly energy-efficient plant to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants.This indigenous technology was developed by a research team led by Prof. Bishnupada Mandal, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.

This technology works on flue gas (a mixture of gases produced by the burning of fuel or other) using a newly-activated amine solvent (IITGS), consumes up to 11% less energy compared to commercial activated MDEA (Methyl diethanolamine) solvent and up to 31% energy compared to the MEA (monoethanolamine) solvent. This development has the potential impact to combat global climate change and this will also benefit oil, natural gas, biogas industries, and petroleum refineries. IIT Guwahati and NTPC Limited are in the process of patenting the technology. On completion of test studies, the pilot plant has been shifted to NTPC’s NETRA facility

HAL Signed A Contract With Nigerian Army For Phase II Flying Training On Chetak Helicopter

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed a contract with the Nigerian Army for Phase II flying training on Chetak Helicopter for six officers of Nigerian Army Aviation. As part of the training, 70 hrs flying training would be imparted for each Nigerian Army Aviation Officer. Also the Phase I flying training to six Nigerian Army Aviation officers was executed in December 2021. The Phase II has been scheduled from 11 April 2022 and is planned to be completed by December 2022. The contract was signed by General Manager, HAL Helicopter Division, B K Tripathy and Defence Adviser, High Commission of Nigeria in India, Commodore Anthony Victor Kujoh. The platforms used for the Phase II are the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), with a wide range of capabilities, can be of great strength.

India’s Bullet Train Project: Japan To Send Modified Trains Suitable For India

Japan will send its improved high-speed ‘E5 Shinkansen series trains’ from Japan to India based upon the modifications to Indian specifications like temperature, dust and weight. Japan will initially send six trains according to Indian specifications. The coaches will be assembled in India in knockdown condition.
About E5 Shinkansen Series Trains:
The E5 series Shinkansen high-speed trains are built by Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
The high-speed trains are capable of running at a speed of 320 Kilometre per hour (kmph) and are 3.35 metre wide.
The widest trains are also available in countries like France and Germany.
The improved high-speed trains have anti-seismic technology.
Pathway Of E5 Shinkansen Series Trains:
i.According to National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the project is said to complete a 48 km section between Surat-Bilimora in 2027. And the test-run will be held in 2026.

ii.In Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a total of 352 kilometres (Kms) have been given to Indian contractors for high-speed rail projects.
About Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project:
i.The first such trial run of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train will be conducted between Bilimora and Surat in Gujarat in the year 2026 at a speed of 350 kmph.
ii.The Bullet Trains will run on special tracks “slab track system”, popularly known as HSR technology for tracks’ construction, patented by Japan.
iii.The longest bridge on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project which is 1.2 km long over the Narama river in Bharuch is likely to be completed by 2024
iv.The total length of the bullet train corridor is 508.17 km and the train is expected to take around 2 hours and 58 minutes to travel between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, covering eight stations in Gujarat and four in Maharashtra.
National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL):
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer – Mr. V. K. Tripathi
Headquarters – New Delhi
Establishment – 2016

Economy

Hyderabad And Mumbai Were Recognised As “Tree City Of The World – 2021”

Mumbai and Hyderabad have been recognised as the ‘2021 Tree City of the World’ by Arbor Day Foundation in association with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations, for maintaining urban greenery, while Hyderabad wins ‘Tree City of the World’ for the second consecutive time (2020, 2021). There are nearly 138 recognised cities from 21 countries, which have planted 38,787,795 trees in 2020.
Trees Planted: Hyderabad has planted 3,50,56,635 trees over the last two years in 500 volunteer hours. While Mumbai planted 4,25,000 Trees in 25,000 volunteer hours.

Tree City: Mumbai, which is known as ‘Dream City‘, becomes the second city to receive ‘Tree City’ recognition, while Hyderabad stands first. Mumbai becomes the leading global network in urban and community forestry. At first the total of 68 cities from 17 countries was recognised under the ‘Tree City’ for planting and fostering trees. Later in 2020, it grew to 120 cities from 23 countries.

Standard of recognition: The city should have established responsibility, a tree board responsible for the care of trees within the municipal boundary. The city should have a law and official policy that governs the management of forest and trees. The city should have updated inventory of the local tress resources which will support the effective long term plans. The city should have a dedicated budget for the implementation of tree management. The city should hold an annual celebration of trees.

About Arbor Day Foundation:
National Arbor Day is April 29, 2022. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the tree planter’s holiday.National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree planting times in their area.
Chief Executive – Dan Lambe
Founded – 1972
Headquarters – Nebraska, United States.

IESA & US-SIA inks MoU to foster collaboration in the Semiconductor ecosystem

India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) and United States’ Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to foster collaboration and identify potential opportunities between the two countries’ Semiconductor ecosystem.
i.The MoU will assist both the countries in Semiconductor related matters by co-organising meetings between the member companies in order to promote cooperation on issues of mutual interest.
ii.The IESA and US-SIA wil co-organise joint events to foster India-US cooperation for potential exploration of opportunities within the global semiconductor value-chain.
India’s Initiative in Semiconductor Sector:-
i.The Union Government has launched India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) as a part of Make in India Initiative, aims to build a vibrant semiconductor and display ecosystem with the vision of making India a global hub for electronics manufacturing and design.
ii.A 17-member committee was formed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to steer India’s Semiconductor mission towards building a resilient supply chain and promote ways to increase funding in the Semiconductor sector.
iii.Also the Union Cabinet has announced a Rs 76,000 crore incentive scheme, in December 2021, to encourage semiconductor design and display manufacturing in the country for next six years.
Note: India accounts for 20 percent of the global workforce in the semiconductor sector.

About India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA):–
i.The IESA is a premier trade group committed to development of a vibrant Indian semiconductor and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) ecosystem and promoting Brand India.
Chairperson – Rajeev Khushu
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka
Report – India Semiconductor Industry Report along with India Brand Equity Foundation
About United States’ Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA):-
i.The US-SIA, represents the chip industry in the US, comprising 99 percent of the US semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-US chip firms.
ii.The SIA includes large chip manufacturing companies such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Global Foundries, and Broadcom.
President and Chief Executive Officer – John Neuffer
Headquarters – Washington DC, USA
Report – Semiconductor Manufacturing Supply Chain report

ICICI Bank Inks MoU with GIFT SEZ To Promote Global, Indian Businesses

ICICI Bank, a leading private sector bank in India, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GIFT SEZ (Special Economic Zone), India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), located at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The MoU aims to promote the GIFT SEZ to Indian and international businesses, particularly in the areas of information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITeS), and financial services. According to the MoU, ICICI Bank and GIFT SEZ will collaborate to bring global investors and capital market firms to GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to establish Global In-house Centres (GICs).

Note: GIFT SEZ is being developed as a global financial services hub. ICICI Bank has been a prominent player in GIFT SEZ with its banking business since 2016.
About ICICI Bank Ltd.:
CEO & MD – Sandeep Bakhshi
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

PNB Celebrated 128th Foundation Day: Launches Cardless Cash Withdrawal Facility

Punjab National Bank (PNB), a public sector bank, has celebrated its 128th Foundation Day on April 12, 2022. Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO of PNB launched a cardless cash withdrawal service and a virtual debit card for its users.
Note: PNB was established by the great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, proudly known as Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of Punjab) in 1894 as the First Swadeshi Bank after being influenced by the swadeshi movement.About Punjab National Bank (PNB):
CEO & MD: Atul Kumar Goel
Establishment – 1894 ( opened for business in 1895)
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Tagline – The name you can bank upon

Sports

Reykjavik Open chess 2022 – Indian GM R Praggnanandhaa won 9 rounds securing Rank 1

The 16 year old Indian Grandmaster (GM) Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has won the ReyKjavik Open Chess 2022 tournament with 7.5 points from nine rounds held at Harpa Conference Centre in Reykjavík,captial of Iceland between April 6th to 12th. Recently he defeated the world no. 1Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen in an online tournament.
i.Praggnanandhaa won all the nine rounds and finished with wins over France GM Matthieu Cornette and the Indian GM Dommaraju Gukesh in the last two rounds.
ii.Notably, Praggnanandhaa had won over American GM Abhimanyu Mishra who last year became the then youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years and four months.
iii.With the Triumph, Praggnanandhaa (ELO 2624) gained 13.2 ELO points.
iv.The Second place was bagged by Netherland GM Max Warmerdam and the Third place by Denmark GM Mads Anderson who scored seven points each.

Rank Country Name
1 India GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa
2 Netherland GM Max Warmerdam
3 Denmark GM Mads Anderson
4 Iceland GM Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn
Ranking of Other Indian Grandmaster:-
Rank Country Name
8 India GM Gupta Abhijeet
17 India GM Dommaraju Gukesh
21 India IM Tania Sachdev
36 India GM Adhiban Baskaran

Miscellaneous

UBI to Buy out 75% Stake Jointly held by BoB & IOB in IIBM

Union Bank of India (UBI) is set to buy out 75% stake held jointly by Bank of Baroda (BoB) – 40% and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) – 35%, in India International Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (IIBM). Following this, the IIBM will become a 100% UBI unit.
Background:IOB wanted to discontinue the venture due to its capital issues as it was under the Reserve Bank of India(RBI)’s prompt corrective action framework.
Approval: The proposal is yet to receive formal approval from the RBI and the approval from the Government of India and Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) since IIBM is a bank of strategic importance.
About India International Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (IIBM):
Chairman– Santhanam Vangal Jagannathan
Headquarters– Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
About Union Bank of India:
MD & CEO– Rajkiran Rai G
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Padma Shri Mahesh Verma was Appointed as Chairman of NABH

Padma Shri Professor, Dr Mahesh Verma has been appointed the new chairman of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers (NABH).
He is serving as the vice-chancellor of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. NABH is a constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI), operates accreditation, certification and empanelment programmes for healthcare organisations.

He is also the Professor Emeritus at Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences.
He received the Padma Shri in 2014 for Medicine. He is also a recipient of Dr B. C. Roy Award and the National Science and Technology award.

Eminent Scholar-Academician Dr Manoj Soni Appointed as Chairman of UPSC

Eminent scholar-academician Dr Manoj Soni has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), India’s premier government recruiting agency. His tenure as the Chairman will end on 27th June 2023. He has been appointed to replace UPSC Chairman Pradip Kumar Joshi. Prior to this appointment, he was serving as a Member of UPSC.

About Manoj Soni:
i.Previously Dr Manoj Soni has served three terms as the Vice-Chancellor(VC), which includes 2 consecutive terms as VC of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU) from 1st August 2009 through 31st July 2015, and one term as VC of Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda from 2005 to 2008.
ii.While joining MSU as VC, He became the youngest ever VC in India and the MSU.
iii.He has also served on the Boards of Governors of several institutions of higher education and public administration.
iv.He also served as a member of a quasi-judicial body constituted by an Act of the Gujarat Legislature.
v.His research on “Post-Cold War International Systemic Transition and Indo-U.S.
Relations” was published as a book titled “Understanding the Global Political Earthquake” by Ashgate Publishing Limited in 1998.
Awards & Recognition:

“Honorary Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge” by the Mayor-President of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America(USA) in 2013 World Education Congress Global Award for Distance Learning Leadership from Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, London, the United Kingdom(UK) in 2015.

About Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):
UPSC was established on 1st October 1926 as Public Service Commission and later renamed as Federal Public Service Commission by the Government of India Act 1935.
With the inauguration of the Constitution of India on 26th January 1950, it was renamed as Union Public Service Commission(UPSC).
Chairman– Dr Manoj Soni
Headquarters– Dholpur House, New Delhi, Delhi

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