Current Affairs - 13th 14th & 15th January 2023

1 ) MP’s Vidisha Becomes India’s 1st District for on-Ground Deployment of 5G Use Cases Offered by Startups

Vidisha, an aspirational district of Madhya Pradesh(MP) becomes India’s first district for on-ground deployment of 5G(fifth-generation) use cases offered by startups. This is a joint initiative by Vidisha District Administration and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications, under the guidance of V.L Kantha Rao, Additional Secretary (Telecom) & Administrator of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Key points:

• Under 5G use case promotional pilot, the above-mentioned use cases will be deployed at community and district health centres model schools and Agri and Dairy Farmers skill development centres for 1 year. This may be extended subsequently as per the need.
• These digital solutions will also be powered by BharatNet broadband to provide uninterrupted services to user communities of Vidisha.
• DoT is front-ending the “5G use case promotional pilot” for deploying 5G/4G/IoT innovative solutions of Startups & SMEs at Vidisha with a focus on Health, Agriculture, Diary, Education & Skill Development, benefiting the Vidisha community.
• During the event, the purchase cum Service orders and agreements have been signed with C-DOT and 7 Startups in presence of the officials of the Ministry of Communications, C-DOT and Vidisha District Administration at the Vidisha district Collectorate.

2 ) FSSAI notifies first-ever Regulatory Standards for Basmati Rice

For the first time in India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated identity standards for basmati rice (including brown basmati, milled basmati, parboiled brown basmati, and milled parboiled basmati) through Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) First Amendment Regulations, 2023.

Key points:

• As per it, Basmati rice should possess its natural fragrance and should be free from artificial colouring, polishing agents, and artificial fragrances.
• It should also specify various identity and quality parameters for basmati rice such as average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking, maximum limits of moisture, amylose content, uric acid, defective or damaged grains and incidental presence of other non-basmati rice etc.
• As basmati rice are of premium quality rice and fetch a price higher than the non-basmati varieties, it is prone to adulteration for economic gains which may include, undeclared blending of other non-basmati varieties of rice.
• In order to overcome this scenario, and to ensure supply of standardized genuine basmati rice in domestic and export markets, FSSAI has notified regulatory standards for basmati rice.

3 ) India & US Establish New Trade Group to Build Sustainable Supply Chains

• 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.
• The countries also agreed to continue close monitoring of visa issues and increase dialogue on food and agricultural trade issues in 2023 at the Trade Policy Forum meeting co-chaired by India’s trade minister, Piyush Goyal, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

4 ) People aged 65+ worldwide to more than double from 761 mn in 2021 to 1.6 bn in 2050: UN

United Nations (UN) in its World Social Report 2023 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. It is published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). 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.

Key points:

• Northern Africa, Western Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are expected to experience the fastest growth in the number of older people over the next three decades.
• Currently, Europe and Northern America have the highest share of older persons.
• 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.
• The governments should work to eliminate barriers to the participation of older people in the labour force and supporting their learning and skills development throughout the life course.
• Public spending in most countries has not been sufficient to cover the growing demand for long-term care.
• Globally, a child born in 2021 can expect to live, on average, to age 71, with women living longer than men.

5 ) UBI Sanctions 150 Agri Drone Loans for Garuda Kisan Drones under AIF

Chennai-based Drone Startup, Garuda Aerospace Pvt Ltd, partnered with the Union Bank of India (UBI). Under this partnership, 150 Garuda Agri Kisan drones have received sanction for Loan under the Union Kisan Pushpak Scheme. This partnership is for the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme and capital subsidy under sub-mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM).

Key points:

• The UBI has launched the Union Kisan Pushpak Scheme for financing Kisan Drones in the field of digitisation of land records and operations in crop production, spraying of fertilisers, chemicals, growth promoters and pesticides which helps farmers in growing their crop yield and improving their income.
• The AIF scheme will finance 150 drone applications that will benefit the farmer community and create 150 skilled pilots who will engage to become entrepreneurs and improve farmers income.
• Garuda Aerospace is training 1 lakh youth free of cost and is targeting to sell 5,000 drones before 31st March 2023.

6 ) SBI Launches E-Bank Guarantee (E-BG) Facility

• State Bank of India (SBI) has launched an e-Bank Guarantee (e-BG) facility in association with National e-Governance Services Limited (NeSL) to enhance transparency and reduce turnaround time from days to minutes. NeSL’s Digital Document Execution (DDE) platform, which provides e- Stamp and e-Sign functions, will facilitate the e-Bank Guarantee process and also the beneficiaries will instantly receive an e-Bank Guarantee on NeSL’s platform without further verification.
• The introduction of e-BG will replace the existing issuance of guarantees through physical stamping and wet signatures with e-stamping and e-signature.

7 ) L&T Partners with H2Carrier to Develop Floating Green Hydrogen Projects

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) signed an agreement with the Norway-based H2Carrier (H2C) to develop floating green ammonia projects for industrial-scale applications. Under the MoU, L&T and H2C will become a partner for Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) of the topsides for H2C’s floating process plants.

Key points:

• H2C has expertise in developing and integrating Power-to-X (PtX) projects based on affordable, often stranded, non-commercial renewable power.
• H2C plans to build the P2XFloater hull at yards in Asia, and L&T will design and fabricate the topside process and utility modules to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia, including electrolysers, nitrogen generation plant, and ammonia synthesis unit.

8 ) Cognizant appoints Ravi Kumar S as CEO

• Ravi Kumar S succeeds Brian Humphries, who resigned from the post of CEO due to Cognizant’s recent underperformance on 9th January 2023. • Brian Humphries will remain as a special advisor of Cognizant until 15th March 2023 to facilitate a smooth transition.

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.

9 ) UAE Names Oil Chief Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as COP28 Climate President

United Arab Emirates (UAE) has named Sultan Ahmed 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.

Key points:

• The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Dubai, UAE, from 30th November to 12th December 2023.
• His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of the Presidential Court appointed Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as President-Designate for the COP28). Shamma Al Mazrui appointed COP28 UAE Youth Climate Champion.
• Razan Al Mubarak appointed COP28 UAE UN Climate Change High-Level Champion.

10 ) ‘ICGS Kamla Devi’: Last Vessel of FPV Series Commissioned in Kolkata, West Bengal

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) “Kamla Devi,” the fifth and last vessel in the series of fast-patrol vessels (FPVs), was commissioned in Kolkata, West Bengal. The vessel was built indigenously by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), Kolkata, in a public-private partnership (PPP) with Titagarh Wagons Limited (TWL) to the specifications of Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

Key points:

• The ICGS Kamla Devi has a length of 48.9 metres and a width of 7.5 metres, with a displacement of 308 tonnes.
• The vessel has a top speed of 34 knots and an endurance of over 1,500 nautical miles.
• It is propelled by three 71S type III Kamewa waterjets from Rolls-Royce and is powered by MTU 4000 series engines.
• It is equipped with a 40/60 gun as its primary armament and features an Integrated Bridge System.
• The ICGS Kamla Devi will patrol the seas and conduct anti-smuggling, anti-poaching, and search-andrescue missions as needed.

11 ) UP Attracts Investments Worth Rs 76,867 Crore Ahead of UPGIS 2023

• Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has received investment offers worth Rs. 76,867 crore from across India and signed 79 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit (UPGIS) 2023.
• UPGIS 2023 is the flagship investment summit of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and it is set to take place in Lucknow (UP) from February 10 to 12, 2023.
• The proposals and MoUs were signed during the Lucknow Roadshow held on the initiative of Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi, Minister of Industrial Development, UP.

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