Current Affairs - 17th 18th December 2022

1 ) India-Nepal joint Training Exercise Suya Kiran XVI begins at Saljhandi, Nepal

16th Edition of Indo-Nepal joint training Exercise ‘Surya Kiran-XVI’ between India and Nepal began at Nepal Army Battle School, Saljhandi in the Rupandehi district of Lumbini Zone, Nepal. The exercise will be conducted till 29th December 2022. Participants – Nepal Army soldiers of Shree Bhawani Baksh Battalion and Indian Army soldiers from the 5th Gorkha Rifles (5 GR) will participate in the exercise

Key points:

• The exercise would mainly focus on evolution of combined drills for planning and conduct of tactical perations at unit level in counter terrorism operations and disaster response mechanism and also role of armed forces in management of disaster.
• During the exercise, participants will be trained together to develop inter-operability and share their experience in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations as well as humanitarian relief operations.
• Both the armies would familiarise themselves with each other’s weapons, equipment, tactics and procedures while operating in a Counter Insurgency environment, especially in mountainous terrain.
• Also, the participating contingents will be exposed to scenarios dealing with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, high altitude warfare and jungle warfare operations for further enhancing the scope and scale of the exercise.

2 ) Urgent Action Needed in South Asia to Curb Deadly Air Pollution: World Bank report

World Bank (WB) has released its report titled ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’ stating that South Asia is home to 9 of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution, and there is a requirement of urgent action to curb it. It is causing an estimated 2 million premature deaths across the region each year and incurs significant economic costs

Key points:

•The concentrations of fine particulate matter such as soot and small dust (PM 2.5) in some of the region’s most densely populated and poor areas are up to 20 times higher than the WHO limit (5 μg/mᶾ).
•Exposure to such extreme air pollution impacts adversely including stunting and reduced cognitive development in children, to respiratory infections and chronic and debilitating diseases.

3 ) RBI imposes curbs on RazorPay, Cashfree Payments for on-boarding New Merchants

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed curbs on RazorPay and Cashfree Payments for on boarding new merchants till they get the final Payment Aggregator (PA) licence.

Key points:

• RazorPay was one of the first three firms to receive the RBI’s in-principal approval licence along with Pine Labs and US-based Stripe.
• Cashfree Payments received its in-principal approval in September 2022.
• As part of the payment aggregator framework formed by the RBI in March 2022, only entities approved by RBI can facilitate payments for merchants and other e-commerce sites.

4 ) IHDFC Securities Launches Google Search-Driven Education Platform – Roots

HDFC Securities Limited, a stock brokerage firm, has launched “Roots”, a dedicated search-driven Education platform that provides comprehensive investor education and market analysis.

Key points:

• The Unique Selling Point (USP) of the platform is that it produces content which is being searched on Google by current and prospective investors and traders.
• The portal offers multiple forms of valuable information, including articles, bite-sized tips, podcasts by experts, video tutorials and explainers, and live social media feed on the Indian financial markets.
• It also includes an User Generated Content (UGC) section where investors and traders can suggest topics they want to learn and can also explore exclusive live webinars by registering themselves through the

5 ) India and Moscow Signed a Memorandum to Enable Russian Companies to Enters Indian Etrade Platforms

Minister of the Government of Moscow, and Head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow (DEEIR) signed a
memorandum with the Indian Chambers of International
Business (ICIB) and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) in New Delhi.
The memorandum was signed after identifying the potential
in promoting the products of Russian companies on major
trading platforms in India such as Flipkart. This was signed during a session at the “Business Dialogue: Regional cooperation as a driver of economic development” held in New Delhi, Delhi.

Key points:

• The total volume of accumulated investment from India into Moscow’s economy as of January 2022 is
USD 143 million.
• The trade turnover between Moscow and Indian partners in 2021 has increased by 43.5% compared to
2020 and amounted to USD 3446.7 million.
• In 2022, Moscow traced an upward trend in trade turnover. In the first half of 2022, an increase to USD
1,468.7 million was recorded.
• Compared to the same period in 2021, this is around 6.3% more.

6 ) NHIDCL Signs MoU with NIT Manipur for Innovation in Highways Construction

National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRT&H), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Manipur through a video conference. The MoU was signed between Dr Gautam Sutradhar, director, NIT Manipur and Chanchal Kumar, managing director, NHIDCL. This MoU will foster research and collaboration in the field of highways and infrastructure.

Key points:

• India has traditionally been a major trade and economic partner of Moscow.
• The total volume of accumulated investment from India into Moscow’s economy as of January 2022 is USD 143 million.
• The trade turnover between Moscow and Indian partners in 2021 has increased by 43.5% compared to 2020 and amounted to USD 3446.7 million.
• In 2022, Moscow traced an upward trend in trade turnover. In the first half of 2022, an increase to USD 1,468.7 million was recorded.
• Compared to the same period in 2021, this is around 6.3% more.

7 )ReNew signs pact with Microsoft India to supply 150 MW Green Energy

ReNew Power (ReNew) has signed an agreement with Microsoft India to supply 150 megawatts (MW) of green energy from a recently commissioned solar site near Bikaner, Rajasthan.

Key points:

• This venture will assist Microsoft in achieving its goal of switching to a 100% renewable energy supply by 2025 and turning
carbon negative by 2030.
• ReNew is one of the largest renewable energy-independent power producers in India and globally. It develops, builds, owns, and operates wind, solar, and hydropower facilities to offer energy to corporations and utilities.

8 ) Actress Sonakshi Sinha named as PETA India’s ‘Person Of The Year 2022’ Title

Actress Sonakshi Sinha has been awarded PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) India’s 2022 Person of the Year title for advocating Animal Adoption & Vegan Fashion.

Key points:

• Sonakshi’s activities helped save many animals that would have been killed for fashion, but she was given the title because of her strong support for dog and cat rights.
• According to PETA India’s anti-leather campaign, more than 4 billion cows, sheep, goats, dogs, cats and other animals are killed every year for Leather accessories that no one needs.
• John Abraham and Fatima Sana Shaikh are PETA India’s Most Beautiful Vegetarians of 2022.

9 ) US-France satellite SWOT launched successfully to map world’s Oceans, Rivers, Lakes

United States (US)-France satellite ‘SWOT aka Surface Water and Ocean’ was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, US. It will map all of the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers. This USD 1.2 billion project is developed by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in
collaboration with the French Space Agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the United Kingdom (UK) Space Agency. The SWOT mission lifetime is 3 years.

Key points:

• The satellite will measure the height of water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface, allowing scientists to track the flow and identify potential high-risk areas.
• It will also survey millions of lakes as well as 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometres) of rivers, from headwater to mouth.
• It will shoot radar pulses at Earth, with the signals bouncing back to be received by a pair of antennas, one
on each end of a 33-foot (10-metre) boom.

10 ) Tamil Nadu Introduces “Friends of Library” Scheme to Promote Reading

Minister of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu (TN), has introduced the “Friends of Library” scheme, which would personally deliver books to people who are unable to visit state-run libraries.

Key points:

• The scheme will benefit differently abled people, senior citizens, children, and hospital in-patients, among others, who are unable to visit a library, and the help of volunteers will be employed for this objective.
• Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin (M.K. Stalin), Chief Minister (CM) of Tamil Nadu (TN), inaugurated the “Sanitation Workers’ Development Scheme” to protect the welfare of conservancy workers in TN during a ceremony held at the Arignar Anna Complex, headquarters of Madurai Corporation, in TN.
• The CM also introduced a sanitation worker logo and launched a mobile app called SHWAS (Sanitation Workers Health Welfare and Safety) to assist in the identification and collection of sanitation worker
census data.

11 ) Mangaluru International Airport received ACI accreditation

• Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) has received the certificate of accreditation from the Airports Council International (ACI) for level 2 of the airport customer experience accreditation programme.
The accreditation was issued on 14th December 2022, and it is valid for a year.
• The certificate recognises the commitment of MIA to continue with its customer experience improvement.
• It aims to further strengthen the continued endeavour of this Gateway To Goodness’ to enhance customer experience enhancement.

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