Current Affairs - 19th January 2023

1 ) Ministry of Minority Affairs Discontinues Padho Pardesh Scheme

Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) has discontinued the ‘Padho Pardesh – Scheme of Interest Subsidy On Educational Loans for Overseas Studies for The Students Belonging to The Minority Communities’. The scheme was implemented by Canara Bank, which served as the scheme’s designated nodal bank, and will be phased out in 2022-23. According to MoMA’s most recent annual report, Canara Bank received an amount of Rs. 20.20 crore to reimburse interest subsidies paid to fresh plus renewal candidates under the Scheme during the fiscal year 2020–21 (FY21).

Key points:

• The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) notified all banks in December 2022 that the Padho Pardesh Interest Subsidy Scheme would be phased out during 2022-23.
• Existing beneficiaries (as on March 31, 2022) will remain entitled to the interest subsidy during the moratorium period of the loan, subject to compliance with the existing guidelines.
• On December 11, 2022, MOMA notified that the “Maulana Azad National Fellowship” (MANF) scheme has also been discontinued since it overlaps with various other government schemes for higher education.

2 ) India Ranks 4th Globally for Tech VC Investments in 2022; US tops

According to the report by the Dealroom and London & Partners, India ranked 4th globally, with USD 24.1 billion worth of venture capital (VC) investments in 2022. At a national level, the top 3 countries for tech investment in 2022 were the United States of America(USA) with USD 233.3 billion tech investment, followed by China with USD 48 billion and the United Kingdom(UK) with USD 29.9 billion. Bengaluru (Karnataka) accounted for five of the top 10 deals for Indian tech companies in 2022.

3 ) UNGA adopts resolution on ‘Education for Democracy’ co-sponsored by India

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution by consensus titled ‘Education for Democracy’ that reaffirms the right of ‘education for all’ and contributes to the strengthening of democracy. The resolution is co-sponsored by India.

Key points:

• This resolution will recognize the importance of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.
• It also encourages member states to integrate education for democracy into their education standards.
• In 2015, a similar resolution was passed at the Assembly encouraging all UN entities to use education to promote peace, human rights, and democracy.

4 ) Poorest Learners Benefit the Least from National Public Education Funding: UNICEF Report

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report titled Transforming Education with Equitable Financing, globally children from the poorest households benefit the least from national public education funding in both low- and middle-income countries.

Key points:

• Among low-income countries, only 11% of public education funding goes to the poorest learners, while 42% goes to the richest.
• compared to the children from the poorest households, the children from the wealthiest households benefit from more than 6 times the amount of public funding for education.
• In middle-income countries, the richest learners receive around four times more gets more than 4 times the spending compared to the poorest.
• In high-income countries, the richest usually benefit from 1.1 to 1.6 times as much public education spending as the poorest.
• The report discovered that just a 1% increase in the allocation of public education resources to the poorest learners could lift 35 million primary school-aged children out of learning poverty.
• The report stated that children living in poverty are less likely to have access to school and drop out sooner.
• The education system across the globe was largely failing since millions of school-going children did not grasp basic reading or mathematics skills.
• It is estimated that around two-thirds of all 10-year-olds across the globe cannot read or understand a simple story.

5 ) Bengaluru tops Start-up Funding in India with USD 10.8 Billion in 2022

According to data provided by Tracxn, a leading global market intelligence platform, Bengaluru (Karnataka) topped the startup funding chart in India with $10.8 billion in 2022. It is followed by Mumbai (Maharashtra) at USD 3.9 billion, and Gurugram (Haryana) at USD 2.6 billion. Startups in Delhi and Chennai (Tamil Nadu) registered USD 1.2 billion each in funding, and Pune (Maharashtra) at $1 billion.

Key points:

• Byju’s has topped the list of highest funding raised in 2022 with over USD 1.2 billion from existing investors.
• This amounted to almost 50% of the total funding received in the edtech sector.
• There were 22 unicorns in 2022, compared to 46
in 2021, and average funding before the unicorn
round was around USD 160 million.
• It is now taking an average of 5.1 years from Series A funding to the Unicorn round for the Indian startups.
• A total of 11 tech IPO (Initial Public Offering) were launched in 2022.
• LetsVenture, AngelList, and Y Combinator have topped the list of most active investors in 2022 to date.

6 ) CMAI & AREAS signed MoU to exchange knowledge & developments in the Carbon Market

Carbon Markets Association of India (CMAI), and the Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a regular exchange on policy and regulatory developments in carbon trading and assist in the development of an Indian carbon market.

Key points:

• The MoU between CMAI and AREAS will ensure a regular exchange of knowledge, information, innovation, policy and regulatory developments in the carbon market.
• Both CMAI and AREAS will work towards enhancing the development of Renewable Energy (RE) projects to reduce emissions with a focus on community development.
• Under this MoU, both entities will work towards end-to-end carbon offset management of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation projects and generate carbon finance by guiding their associates about carbon neutrality and net zero goals with collaborative recommendations for a structured roadmap towards a net zero future.

7 ) UN-Habitat’s World Habitat Awards 2023: Odisha Wins Bronze Award for Slum Upgradation Program “Jaga Mission”

Odisha has won the “Bronze Award” in the United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UN-Habitat) “World Habitat Awards 2023” for the Jaga Mission, a 5T programme of the state. [5T: Transparency; Technology; Teamwork; Time & Transformation] Jaga Mission – ‘Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission’ is India’s largest land titling and slum upgrading initiative, and one of the largest in the world.

Key points:

• The Jaga Mission is an ongoing project in Odisha aimed at improving the lives of slum dwellers. It uses a
comprehensive strategy to combat poverty, focussing on three key issues.
• The Government of Odisha has set an aspirational target of becoming the first slum-free state in India, and
it is leading the Jaga Mission to upgrade all 2,919 slums in the state.

8 ) UNGA confirms Inger Andersen for Second Term as Executive Director of UNEP

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Inger Andersen of Denmark as Executive Director (ED) of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for a second, 4-year term beginning from 15th June 2023 to 14th June 2027. She is currently serving her initial 4-year term from 2019 to 2023.

Key points:

• Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent a note to the 193 General Assembly members nominating Inger Andersen for reelection.
• Russia circulated a “draft decision” that required Antonio Guterres to present candidates for the position of executive director of UNEP.
• The assembly defeated the Russian proposal by a vote of 13-77 with 62 abstentions.
• The secret ballot on Inger Andersen’s nomination was approved by a majority of 136-0 with 31 abstentions.

9 ) Norway Archaeologists find ‘World’s Oldest Runestone’

• Archaeologists in Norway have found the oldest runestone in the world. The inscriptions are up to 2,000 years old and date back to the earliest days of the enigmatic history of runic writing in Oslo, Norway.
• The runestone, which measures 31 by 32 centimetres, has numerous inscriptions that include runes and letters related to the Germanic alphabet. Eight runes on the front of the stone read “idiberug”.
• The runestone was discovered in 2021 during the excavation of a grave at Tyrifjord, west of Oslo, Norway, in a region known for many monumental archaeological finds.
• Items found in the cremation pit, such as burned bones and charcoal, indicate that the runes were most likely inscribed between A.D. 1 and 250.
• According to the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway, the carved scribbles on the flat, square slab of brownish sandstone could be the earliest example of words ever found in writing in Scandinavia.

10 ) 18th National Disaster Response Force Raising Day – 19th January 2023

• National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Raising Day is annually observed across India on January 19 to commemorate the establishment of the NDRF, under the Ministry of Home Affairs on 19th January 2006.
• 19th January 2023 marks the observance of the 18th NDRF Raising Day.
• The 1st ever NDRF Raising Day was observed on 19th January 2006.
• The NDRF is a specialist force that is prepared to respond to various disasters, including man-made disasters (chemical spills and terrorist attacks) and natural disasters (floods, cyclones, and earthquakes).

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