Current Affairs - 15th December 2022

1 ) MoTA implements ‘Scheme of Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ aimed to plan Socio-Economic Development of PVTGs3

Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) implemented a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) namely ‘Scheme of Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’. It is aimed at planning for the socio-economic development of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The information for the same was provided by Minister of State (MoS) Bishweswar Tudu, MoTA.

Key points:

• The scheme will utilize habitat development approach so that their culture and heritage is retained. Under this, funds are released in accordance with the Conservation-Cum-Development (CCD) plans prepared by the State Governments.
• It will cover sectors i.e. education, housing, livelihood, drinking water, agricultural development, roads, health, installation of nonconventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, conservation of culture and traditional practices, etc.
• The projects/activities taken up under this scheme are demand driven in nature.

2 ) India hosts 1st G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) meeting under its G20 Presidency in Bengaluru

1st G20 (Group of Twenty) Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) Meeting, under the Indian Presidency, was held in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It was co-chaired by Secretary Ajay Seth, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), and Deputy Governor Dr. Michael Patra, Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It should be noted that India holds the Presidency of the G20 from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023 on the theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” and “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.

Key points:

• The meeting saw seven discussion sessions and two side events viz. ‘Strengthening MDBs to Address Shared Global Challenges of the 21st century’, and ‘Role of Central Banks in Managing Climate Risk and in Green Financing’.
• Discussions were also held on issues relating to the global economy and risks, strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs),  managing global debt vulnerabilities, financing climate action and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities of tomorrow.
• Global economic challenges were also discussed including global inflation, food and energy insecurity and macroeconomic implications of climate change.
• Overall, the meeting saw a broad support on the proposed priorities of India’s G20 Finance Track agenda for 2023.
• The First G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting will be held from 23-25 February in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

3 ) IEX becomes India’s First Carbon-Neutral Power Exchange

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) has become India’s first carbon-neutral Power Exchange, using market based tradable instruments to offset its carbon emissions. EKI Energy, global service provider in Energy, Carbon Credit & Quality Management, was the sustainability partner of IEX by providing advisory & consultancy services.

Key points:

• To reduce its carbon footprints, IEX voluntarily canceled CERs (certified emissions reductions) from clean projects registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and used market-based tradable instruments.
• IEX is committed towards achieving India’s net zero emissions targets.
• According to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) 2022 report, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced 45% by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
• Total global GHG emissions were estimated at around 53 GTCO2eq in 2021.

4 ) IAF Conducts Annual Air Exercise in Eastern Sector

Indian Air Force (IAF) conducts a 2-day exercise in the Eastern Sector on 15 & 16 December 2022. It
involves practically all of its frontline fighter jets and other assets stationed in the region, following the
recent clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

Key points:

•The exercise is intended to assess the IAF’s overall combat capability and military preparedness in the region.
•It is likely to see the activation of IAF bases in the areas around Tezpur, Chabua, Jorhat in Assam and Hasimara in West Bengal.
•The exercise will include the IAF’s frontline fighter jets, including Sukhoi-30MKIs and Rafale jets, and many additional  platforms deployed in the region.
•The exercise will also include all frontline air bases and certain critical Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the Northeast.

5 ) Passport Index 2022 by Arton Capital: India Ranked 66 In The World’s Strongest Passport List

According to Arton Capital’s “Passport Index 2022,” India is
placed 66 in the world’s strongest passport list, while the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ranked 1st in the passport
ranking for 2022.
The Passport Index 2022 ranks the strongest and weakest
passports in the world and indicates the number of countries that can be entered without a visa.

Key points:

• In 2nd rank were ten European countries: Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, along with South Korea.
• The 3rd rank on the list is the United States (US) passport, which grants visa-free access to 116 nations.
• However, Indians with a ranking of 66 can only travel visa-free to 24 countries, require a visa on arrival for 48 countries, and  Require a visa for 126 countries.

6 ) United Nations ECOSOC Voted to Remove Iran from its Women’s Rights Body – UNCSW

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) voted to remove Iran from its Women’s rights body – The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term with immediate effect. Iran was removed from UNSCW due to Tehran’s brutal crackdown on women-led protests.

Key points:

•It was highlighted that Iran undermines and suppresses the human rights of women and girls, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, often with the use of excessive force
• Iran’s government has administered policies flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls.
• The government has used lethal force resulting in the deaths of peaceful protestors including women and girls.
• UNSCW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
• Nations on the women’s commission are elected by the UN Economic and Social Council, whose members are voted on by the General Assembly.

7 ) SIPRI Report: India’s HAL, BEL Rise in Rankings Among Top 100 Global Arms Manufacturers

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think-tank, released a report titled ‘Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies 2021’, which lists companies making arms, weapons, military planes and equipment.

Key points:

• India’s military equipment manufacturing companies Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) have been listed in the top 100.
 • HAL has improved to 42nd position in 2021 ranking, compared to 43rd in 2020 and BEL has secured 63rd position, showing improvement from 69th position in 2020.
• The United States (US) has topped the list followed by China, for the second successive year.

8 ) Indian Government allows Sri Lankans to hold USD 10,000 worth of Indian Rupees in cash

Indian Government has allowed Sri Lankan citizens to hold up to USD 10,000 (8.14 lakh Indian rupees) in Indian rupees in cash, though the Indian Rupees would not be legal tender in Sri Lanka.

Key points:

• To enable this, Sri Lankan banks must enter into an agreement with an Indian bank to open INR Nostro accounts held in another bank in a foreign currency.
• This will provide much-needed monetary support to Sri Lanka, which is experiencing an economic crisis due to a lack of dollar liquidity.
• All current account transactions including exports, imports, and remittances can be undertaken between Lankan residents and non-residents.
• Sri Lankan banks’ Offshore Banking Units (OBU) have been granted permission to accept nonresident savings, time, and demand deposits.

9 ) Microsoft & Viasat Partners to Deliver Satellite Internet Globally by 2025

Viasat, a global satellite communications company and also the first satellite partner to joined hand with Microsoft Inc, a tech giant to deliver satellite internet access to 10 million people across the world by 2025,including five million across Africa.

Key points:

•According to the International Telecommunication Union at the United Nations (UN), around one-third of the world’s population, that is, 2.7 billion people, have still never used the internet.
•Microsoft will use Viasat satellite to reach remote areas for
conventional connectivity and  shall rapidly scale and expand Airband’s reach, exploring a wider pipeline of projects.
•Both the companies will provide and pilot technologies including, satellites (both geostationary orbit and low earth orbit) and fixed wireless.
• They will also combine their expertise and assets to enable telehealth, distance learning and education, precision agriculture, clean power and other services to reach new and also remote areas through the transformational provision of power and connectivity.

10 ) NASA Astronauts successfully Install Roll-Out Solar Array on ISS

The two NASA astronauts, Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio have
successfully installed a Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) on the starboard truss structure of the International Space Station (ISS).

Key points:

• After being installed on the station’s Starboard-4 truss segment, the roll-out solar array successfully extended to its full length of 60
• On 27th November 2022, the array was delivered by Space X’s Dragon cargo plane and will provide up to 30% more power to the ISS, totalling 120,000 watts of electricity during orbital daytime.
• On December 3, 2022, they installed their 1st ROSA on the station’s Starboard-4 truss segment opposite the P4 (Port 4).
• The 2nd ROSA is expected to be installed on 19th December 2022.

11 ) Assam CM Launches Orunodoi 2.0 DBT Scheme to Benefit over 10 Lakh People

Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma launched ‘Orunodoi 2.0’, the flagship scheme of the Assam government with a financial outlay of Rs.4142 crore per annum, in a virtual meet in Guwahati, Assam. This financial outlay of Rs 4142 crore, makes it one of the largest direct beneficiary transfer (DBT) schemes in India. The scheme aims at providing financial security to financially disadvantaged families.

Key points:

• During the 1st phase of Orunodoi, around 17 lakh women have been receiving a guaranteed cash flow of Rs 1,250 each on the 10th of every month through DBT.
• With the addition of another 10.54 lakh new beneficiaries, the scheme would reach a total of 27 lakh-plus beneficiaries.
• From April 2023, all the existing beneficiaries of the Deen Dayal Divyangan Pension Yojana and Indira Miri Widow Pension Scheme would be subsumed under Orunodoi 2.0. The beneficiaries of Indira Miri Universal Widow Pension Scheme will get Rs. 1,200 per month under Orunodoi.
• Also, Divyangans, transgenders and the households having members who are a dwarf or suffering from conditions such as cerebral palsy, thalassemia and hemophilia will be included under Orunodoi scheme

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