Current Affairs - 11th & 12th January 2023

1 ) Indian High Commission signs MoU to establish Hindi Chair at Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka

The Indian High Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sabaragamuwa University to establish a Hindi Chair at the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka.

Key points:

• Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner, and Professor Udaya Rathnayake, Vice Chancellor of Sabaragamuwa University, signed the MoU to establish the Hindi Chair as part of India’s cultural connect through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
• The Hindi chair will help familiarise students with India, its history, and culture as well as pave way for popularising Hindi by deputing Indian faculties.
• At the university’s Hindi Kavita competition, Gopal Baglay also presented awards to the winners.

2 ) Henley Passport Index 2023: Indian Passport Ranks 85th; Gives Visa-Free Entry to 59 Destinations Worldwide

According to the ‘Henley Passport Index 2023’ released by Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm, the Indian passport ranks 85th in the Henley Passport Index 2023, the world’s most powerful passport index, and gives visa-free entry to 59 destinations worldwide.

Key points:

• Previously, India was ranked 82nd, 84th, 85th, and 83rd in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.
• Indian passport holders can travel visa-free to 59 countries, including Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macao, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran, and Qatar.

3 ) WEF Global Risks Report 2023: Cost of Living Crisis and Digital Inequality Among India’s Risks

World Economic Forum (WEF) has published ‘The Global Risks Report 2023’ (18th Edition), which lists the biggest risks for India over the short and medium terms. These risks include cost-of-living crisis, digital inequality, geopolitical competition for resources, natural disasters, and extreme weather events. The Global Risks Report 2023 summarises the findings of the latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS).

Key points:

• Globally, the greatest risks over the next 2 years [2023–2025] include: cost-of-living crisis, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, geoeconomic confrontations, failure to control climate change, and occurrences causing significant environmental damage.
• The biggest risks over the long term (10 years) [2023-2033] are failures to adapt to and mitigate climate
change, loss of biodiversity, massive involuntary migration, and natural resource crises, among others.

4 ) OAG’s Punctuality League report: IndiGo Airlines & Coimbatore Airport are Among World’s 20 Most Punctual airlines & Airports.

According to OAG’s Punctuality League report that was released on 11th January 2022, India’s largest airline IndiGo and Airports Authority of India (AAI)- owned Coimbatore airport are among the 20 most punctual airlines and airports globally with On-Time Performance (OTP).

Key points:

• The OTP can be defined as, flights that arrive or depart within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival or departure times.
• An airline’s OTP is calculated on the basis of arrivals data, while both departures and arrivals data are taken into consideration for an airport’s OTP.
• IndiGo has been ranked 15th with OTP of 83.51 percent in 2022, while Coimbatore airport is at the 13th position under the same category.
• Both IndiGo and the AAI-owned Coimbatore airport are the only Indian airline and airport, respectively, that were ranked in the OAG’s Punctuality League report.
• The list is topped by Garuda Indonesia with an OTP of 95.63 percent, followed by Safair (95.30 percent) in the 2nd position and Eurowings (95.26 percent) in third spot.
• In the top 20 list, IndiGo is ahead of Thai Smile Airways (16th rank), Delta Air Lines (17), Viva Air Colombia (18), Etihad Airways (19) and Emirates (20).
• Among the top 20 mega airlines by OTP, IndiGo is at fifth place in the list, topped by All Nippon Airways (88.79 per cent) and with Japan Airlines (88.07 per cent) in the second place, followed by LATAM Airlines Group (85.03 per cent) and Azul Airlines (84.87 per cent) in the 3rd and 4th position respectively.

5 ) IN-SPACe signs MoU with Nascent Info Technologies for GIS Applications

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nascent Info Technologies Private Limited for technical collaboration for the development of various Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. Geographic Information System (GIS) Applications: A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system that maps and examines changes on Earth by analysing and displaying spatially related data from a range of data sources.

Key points:

• According to the MoU, Nascent Info Technologies will use its expertise and resources to research the functional requirements of various stakeholders in the fields of limestone, bauxite, clay, coal, etc.
• It develops various algorithms and applications that will increase the efficiency of mineral identification and mapping while also enhancing operational safety, surveillance, and environmental compliance.
• The built applications would be made available for business use both on-premises and in the cloud.
• IN-SPACe will provide Nascent with assistance by facilitating access to Earth Observation data and developing an algorithm for the identification of minerals including limestone, bauxite, clay, and coal, among others, and using other resources.

6 ) RITES Signs MoU with IIT-Kanpur to Explore Opportunities in Sustainability Sector

• Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) Limited, a Miniratna (Category-I) and Schedule ‘A’ Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways (MoR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh for exploring opportunities in the areas of sustainability and carbon-related works including carbon neutrality, particularly in sectors such as steel and power.
• The MoU also includes research and development-related works on air quality sensors to address air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste management.

7 ) RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” wins Best Original Song Award

Hollywood Foreign Press Association® (HFPA) announced the winners of the 80th Annual Golden Globe® Awards 2023, at an event held in The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA).

Key points:

• The Golden Globe awards have been annually presented by HFPA since 1943.
• The 2023 award recognises excellence in film, both American and international, and American television of 2022.
• “Naatu Naatu” Song from SS Rajamouli’s Telugu film “RRR” won the Best Original Song- Motion Picture. The award was shared among M M Keeravani, composer of the track, and Chandrabose, lyricist of the song.

8 ) India carries out successful test launch of Prithvi-II from Chandipur, Odisha

India successfully test launched nuclear capable tactical ballistic missile Prithvi-II from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. The missile struck its target with high accuracy. This test was done to test the missile’s night time capabilities.

Key points:

• Prithvi-II, a short-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, is the first missile to have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
• It is a part of India’s Prithvi missile series, which includes the Prithvi-I, Prithvi-II, Prithvi-III, and Dhanush.
• It is powered by light propulsion twin engines.
• It has a range of around 350 km and can carry 500-1,000 kg of warheads. It uses an advanced inertial navigation system to strike the set target
• It will be primarily used by the Indian Army.

9 ) NASA’s TESS mission discovers 2nd Earth-sized planet in “Habitable Zone”

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission has made a discovery, identifying a 2nd Earth-sized, called TOI 700 e, a rocky planet within the habitable zone of a star.

Key points:

• The three planets in the same system were previously found by NASA:
• TOI 700 b (90% Earth’s size)- orbits the star every 10 days.
• TOI 700 c (2.5 times bigger than Earth)- completes an orbit every 16 days.
• TOI 700 d (near-Earth-sized)- a 37-day orbit
• In January 2020, scientists announced the discovery of TOI-700 d, the 1st Earth-sized planet discovered by TESS in the habitable zone.
• Since Planet e is around 10% smaller than Planet d, the system shows how additional TESS observations enable the discovery of smaller and smaller worlds.
• Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, presented the result on behalf of her team at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Association in Seattle, Washington, United States (US).
• A paper about the newly discovered planet was accepted by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

10 ) National Road Safety Week from 11th to 17th January 2023

National Road Safety Week is annually observed across India from 11th to 17th January to create awareness about the importance of road safety and to highlight the importance of road safety measures to prevent accidents.

Key points:

• The observance of the week is led by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways(MoRTH).
• 2023 marks the observance of the 34th Road Safety Week.
• Road Safety Week 2023 is observed under “Swachhata Pakhwada 2023” to propagate the cause of safer roads for all.
• Note: ‘Swachhata Pakhwada’ is a concept inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to engage all ministries and departments in “swachhta” related activities, and making it “everyone’s business”.

11 ) National Youth Day 2023- January 12

National Youth Day is annually celebrated across India on January 12 to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu spiritual leader, Philosopher and reformer in India, whose contributions to India’s freedom movement and revival of nationalism were enormous.

Key points:

• 12th January 2023 marks the 160th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
• On National Youth Day 2023, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated the 26th National Youth Festival (from 12th to 16th January 2023) in Hubbali, Karnataka.
• The theme of National Youth Festival 2023 is “Viksit Yuva-Viksit Bharat”.
• In 1984, the Indian government declared the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda as National Youth Day to honour and recognise his teachings.
• The 1st ever National Youth Day was observed on 12th January 1985.

12 ) OTPC & APDCL signed MoU to Develop 250 MW Battery Energy Storage in Assam

ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) and Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a battery energy storage system project in Assam at an investment of Rs 2000 crore. The 250 megawatts (MW) / 500 MW-hour system will be developed in a phased manner by incorporating a joint venture company. OTPC is a joint venture of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd, Government of Tripura and India Infrastructure Fund-II.

Key points:

• The development project would assist Assam in realising its goal of becoming a leader in the green energy transition.
• The battery storage projects are essential for the successful integration of future solar power projects in Assam, which has been developing a significant amount of solar energy potential.
• The benefit of this project is to improve power availability during peak load hours, integrate renewable energy generation into the electricity grid and increase grid reliability.

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