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Current Affairs - 20th 21st & 22nd January 2023

1 ) Cyclone-I: Inaugural Indo-Egypt Joint Special Force Training Exercise held in Rajasthan

Exercise Cyclone-I, the first edition of a joint exercise between the special forces of the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army is being conducted in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan with an aim to boost defence cooperation between the India and Egypt. 14 days long exercise is being conducted since 14th January 2023. The exercise aims to boost the defence cooperation between India and Egypt. Note: Cyclone I which was planned to be held in Jodhpur, Rajasthan from 8th to 22nd January 2022 was postponed.

Key points:

• This first-of-its-kind exercise brings together the special forces of both India and Egypt on a common platform.
• Cyclone I will engage the contingents of both the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army to advance special forces skills like sniping, combat free fall, reconnaissance, surveillance & target designation, and sharing of information on weapons, equipment, innovations, tactics, techniques & procedures.
• The participants of the exercise also undertake joint planning and drills for special forces operations in a mechanised warfare setting as well as surgical strikes on terrorist camps/hideouts to include sniping of high-value targets.
• This is expected to offer insight into the culture and ethos of both armies and foster military cooperation and interoperability to strengthen diplomatic relations between India and Egypt.

2 ) IREDA & MNRE Signs MoU for Setting Performance Target for 2022-23

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to set an annual performance target for 2022-23.

Key points:

• In the second quarter of the fiscal year 2022–23 (FY23), IREDA reported a 67% increase in profit after tax (PAT) compared to the same period in FY22.
• The net NPAs decreased from 4.87% to 2.72% compared to the same period in FY22.
• IREDA has shown significant performance by earning 96.54 points for the FY22 MoU.
• Over 3,068 renewable energy projects have been funded by IREDA so far, with loan accounts totaling Rs. 1,41,622 crore in loan sanction and Rs. 90,037 crore in loan payment.
• It has also contributed to the addition of 19,502 megawatt (MW) of renewable energy capacity in India.

3 ) LIC launches Guaranteed Return Life Insurance Plan ‘Jeevan Azad’

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has unveiled Jeevan Azad (Plan No. 868), a new non-linked, non-participating plan designed for individual savings and life insurance. The plan offers an attractive combination of protection and savings.

Key points:

• LIC Jeevan Azad is a limited-period payment endowment plan that provides financial support to the family in the case of the untimely death of the life assured during the policy term and also addresses liquidity requirements through a loan facility.
• The survivor will also get a guaranteed lump sum amount on the maturity date.
• Subject to a certain condition, the plan also offers participants the option of receiving death or maturity benefits in instalments.
• It provides three optional riders under the plan for the payment of an additional premium: LIC’s Accidental Death and Disability Benefit Rider, LIC’s New Term Assurance Rider, and LIC’s Premium Waiver Benefit Rider.

4 ) Brand Guardianship Index 2023: Ambani tops among Indians, 2nd globally

• According to the Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index 2023, Mukesh Ambani chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is ranked No 1 among Indians and second globally with Brand Guardianship Index (BGI) score of 81.7.
• Jensen Huang, President and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of US-based tech leader Nvidia, is ranked No 1 on the Brand Guardianship Index 2023 globally with a BGI Score of 83.
• Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft is ranked 3rd followed by Shantanu Narayen of Adobe (4th) and Sundar Pichai of Google (5th).
• The Brand Guardianship Index 2023, ranking of the world’s top 100 CEOs or equivalents, was launched during the event hosted in association with Deloitte during the World Economic Forum(WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

5 ) New Goa Manohar International Airport wins Best Sustainable Greenfield Airport Award

New Goa Manohar International Airport (MIA), formerly Mopa International Airport, won the ‘Best Sustainable Greenfield Airport‘ award for the excellent initiatives taken by the GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL) in implementing sustainability as one of their key concepts. The award was presented at the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)’s 14th International Conference-cum-Awards for Civil Aviation 2023 at Hotel Leela Palace, New Delhi, Delhi. GGIAL received the award under Aviation Sustainability and Environment category.

Key points:

• Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, presented the award to the senior officials of the GGIAL.
• The award criteria are contribution, innovativeness, applicability, relevance and impact potential in their respective areas.
• Sustainability being one of the core concepts, the New Goa Manohar International Airport is intended to have a net-zero carbon impact. It will therefore join the elite club of green airports across the world.

6 ) ESAF Bank bags Inclusive Finance India Award 2022

• ESAF Small Finance Bank has won the prestigious Inclusive Finance India Awards 2022 in recognition of its contributions to advancing the goal of financial inclusion and supporting inclusive growth.
• Paul Thomas, Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ESAF Bank, received the award from Anantha Nageshwaran, Chief Economic
Advisor at the 19th Inclusive Finance India Summit held in New Delhi, Delhi.
• The Inclusive Finance India Awards is an initiative of ACCESS Development Services in partnership with HSBC India.
• The award recognises the ESAF’s unique spectrum of Financial Inclusion projects ESAF Dhansree, ESAF Udyog Jyothi, LSEDP (Local Sustainable Economic Development Project), ESAF Balajyothi, ESAF Vayojyothi, and ESAF Garshom.

7 ) Tata Boeing Aerospace Delivers 1st Fuselage for Indian Army’s Boeing AH-64 Apache Combat Helicopters

• Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), a Joint Venture between Tata Advanced Systems Limited(TASL) and American aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Company, delivered the first fuselage for the Indian Army’s contract for six AH-64E Apache Combat Helicopters.
• The fuselage, which is the primary body of an aircraft, was officially handed over to Lieutenant General Ajay Kumar Suri, Director General and Colonel Commandant of Army Aviation.
• The fuselage was built at the state-of-the-art TBAL facility in Hyderabad, Telangana.
• The Apache attack helicopter is regarded as the world’s most advanced and deadliest attack helicopter, with over 1,275 AH-64 Apaches in operation worldwide.
• Globally, these helicopters have completed over 4.9 million flight hours, 1.3 million of which have been in combat.

8 ) MoA&FW approves ‘Apple Cluster’ for Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian

• Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) approved an “Apple Cluster” for the Shopian district, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), under the Cluster Development Programme.
• The approval was announced during a daylong conference on the “India Cold
Chain Conclave”, organised by the MoA&FW in association with the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHDCCI) and National Center for Cold Chain Development (NCCD), in New Delhi, Delhi.
• The apple cluster of Shopian envisions the development of Shopian apple on 3
verticals including pre-productionproduction, post-harvest management and value addition and logistics, marketing and branding to make it globally competitive.
• The project’s estimated cost is Rs 135.23 crore, of which the MoA&FW will contribute roughly Rs 37.05 crore as a grant-in-aid. It is expected to be implemented in 4 years.

9 ) Ministry of Consumer Affairs issues new Guidelines for Social Media Influencers

• the Ministry of Consumer Affairs unveiled guidelines ‘Endorsements Know-hows!’ for social-media influencers, including celebrities and virtual avatars, for disclosing the promotional content of the products or services they endorse and their material connections with those. • Material connection with a brand covers monetary benefits, hotel stay, awards, employment relationships, sweepstakes entries, and media barters. • The guidelines were briefed by the Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh during a press conference in New Delhi, Delhi Reason behind this Guideline: For promotion activities, the use of social media has been increased. So in order to ensure influencers do not mislead their audiences and to avoid unfair trade practices these guidelines have been framed in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. • These guidelines are also aligned with those given by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

Key points:

• The disclosures should be in simple and clear language, and should be of a duration that is “hard to miss”
• In the case of limited space platforms like Twitter, hashtags with short terms like “ad”, “sponsored”, and “paid” are acceptable.
• The disclosures and endorsements should be in the same language and in live streams, disclosures should be displayed continuously and prominently.
• In picture endorsements, disclosures should be superimposed on the image big enough for viewers to notice them, whereas for video content, they should be placed in the video and not just in the description.
• It should be in both audio and video formats.
• In 2022, the size of the social-media influencer market in India was Rs 1,275 crore and by 2025, it was likely to be Rs 2,800 crore with a compound annual growth rate of about 19-20 percent.

10 ) AIF Inaugurates India’s 1st STEM Innovation and Learning Center in Chennai

American India Foundation (AIF) inaugurated India’s 1st STEM Innovation and Learning Centre (SILC) under the scheme of Vanavil Mandram and launched Drone and Satellite Launch Vehicle (DSLV) Mission at the Government Higher Secondary School, MMDA Colony, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN). Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Minister for School Education, Government of TN, joined the inauguration virtually. The DSLV Mission was mentored and launched by Padma Shri Awardee (2016) Dr Mylswamy Annadurai, The Moon Man of India, Former Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and Vice President of the State Council for Science and Technology, TN.

Key points:

• SILC is designed by AIF’s award-winning flagship education programme, Digital Equalizer (DE).
• It is designed to serve as a one-stop solution for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) among students and instructors.
• SICL introduce students to a Transdisciplinary learning approach through robotics, Artificial intelligence (AI), Space technology, and the STEM Incubation workstation.
• The aim of SICl is to raise curiosity among students in advanced STEM courses.
• It consists of a Technology Corner, which is equipped with a smart lab, for Teachers, which will make it easier for teachers to lead techno-pedagogy-enabled classes for the students and to receive training in the DE Way of Teaching (DEWoT),
• DEWoT is a unique method created by AIF to address all types of students in the classroom.
• The centre also has a Studio Setup to develop high-quality DE Edu reels.

11 ) India’s Civil 20 Engagement Group Inaugurated at Amritapuri, Kerala

India’s Civil 20 Engagement Group (C20), the official engagement group of India’s G20 (Group of 20) leadership representing the voices of non-profit, voluntary citizens’ groups in service to society, was inaugurated at Amritapuri in Kollam, Kerala.

Key points:

• The representatives of G20 and C20, government officials and other dignitaries virtually participated in the event.
• Sri Mata Amritanandamayi(Amma), the chair of C20, Amitabh Kant, Former Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of NITI Aayog(National Institution for Transforming India), Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament(MP), Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, V Muraleedharan Union Minister of State(MoS) for External Affairs, RN Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu and V Sivankutty, Public Education Minister of Kerala were among the participants.

12 ) Jaipur Literature Festival 2023: 16th edition of the Festival begins in Jaipur, Rajasthan

• The Jaipur Literature Festival 2023, the 16th edition of the festival celebrating the power of literature, art and culture with a focus on Indian languages is being held from 19th to 23rd January 2023 in Hotel Clarks Amer in Jaipur, Rajasthan., The 16th edition of the festival features a range of women writers and their exemplary works. The keynote address was delivered by Abdulrazak Gurnah, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (2021), on ‘writing as a form of resistance’.
• Major honours including the Nobel, Booker, International Booker, Pulitzer, Sahitya Akademi, Baillie Gifford, PEN America Literary Awards, and DSC Prize for South Asian Literature will be given out at the festival.
• There will be sessions in five venues featuring 21 Indian and 14 international languages.

13 ) Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched a book titled “India’s Knowledge Supremacy” by Dr Ashwin Fernandes

• Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education, launched the book titled “India’s Knowledge Supremacy: The New Dawn” authored by Dr Ashwin Fernandes, the International Indian expat. The thought-provoking book is published by Bloomsbury Prime. The book was launched at the event organised at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi, Delhi.
• Dr Ashwin Fernandes presented the rich educational heritage of India through his book and which covers a lot of aspects of Indian knowledge systems and the evolution of education in India.
• Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that the world has always benefited from India’s knowledge systems and traditions.

14 ) Startup IG Drones develops India’s first 5G-enabled drone, Skyhawk

Startup firm IG Drones has developed India’s first 5G-enabled drone namely ‘Skyhawk’ that is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and can be used in defence and medical applications, among other sectors.

Key points:

• These drones can be controlled with much more precision and can be controlled from the command centre directly rather than being on the field.
• It uses Artificial intelligence (AI) and thermal imaging capabilities which can monitor border intrusion and also during regular patrolling by the defence forces.
• It is IP67 rated and can be controlled via a combination of NavIC + GPS navigational satellites which remain connected in the upper range of 50 to 60 in case of failsafe activation.
• The drone is also capable of operating through satellites in case an internet link is not available.
• If 5G services are not available at any locations, they will be downgraded to 3G or 4g.
• The drone, if operated at its peak speed, can cover almost 100 kms in 12-15 minutes IG Drones startup is formed out of the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) campus in Odisha’s Sambalpur.

15 ) Geotail Spacecraft, 1st joint mission of NASA-JAXA, Retires After Data Recorder Failure

Geotail spacecraft, the first joint mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) retired after 30 years in orbit. The mission operations of Geotail were ended due to the failure of its remaining data recorder.

Key points:

• Geotail, which was launched on 24th July 1992 orbited earth and gathered datasets on the structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere, Earth’s protective magnetic bubble.
• Geotail was originally slated for a fouryear run, but the mission was extended several times due to its high-quality data return.
• One of Getotail’s 2 recorders failed in 2012 and the 2nd continued until experiencing an anomaly on 28th June 2022.
• Following the failed attempts to repair the recorder, the mission operations ended on 28th November 2022.

16 ) Himachal Pradesh Targets to be 1st ‘Green Energy State’ by 2025

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Chief Minister(CM) of Himachal Pradesh(HP) announced that Himachal Pradesh targets to become the “first Green Energy State” by the end of 2025. This will be achieved by harnessing hydro, hydrogen and solar energy and switching on to green products that enhance the premium and advantage in export.

Key points:

• The CM also directed all the concerned departments including, Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd, (HPSEBL), Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (HIMURJA), Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) and Department of Energy, to initiate action in this direction and make policy changes, wherever required.
• He also recommended opening all the solar power projects(SPP) up to 5 MW capacity for allotment.
• The government is set to invest in Solar plants and will install 500 MW Solar projects during the year 2023-24. 200 MW of this would be installed by HPPCL.
• CM noted that the Solar projects up to 150 MW capacity would be installed by HIMURJA through private participation. The capacity of the projects will range from 250 KW to 1 MW

17 ) Ministry of Minority Affairs Discontinues Padho Pardesh Scheme

R K Mathur, Lieutenant Governor(LG) of the Union Territory(UT) of Ladakh, launched a 14-digit Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) in Ladakh. The initiative was welcomed by both hill councils of Kargil and Leh.

Key points:

• The ULPIN would support the digitisation of land records and also reach a conclusive land titling.
• The LG termed ULPIN as a “game changer” and the next step in ‘SVAMITVA’(Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) for digitisation and computerisation of land revenue records.
• ULPIN, a part of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP), is a Single, Authoritative Source of Truth for information on any parcel of land or property to provide Integrated Land Services to the citizens as well as all stakeholders.

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