Current Affairs - 4th January 2023

1 ) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended MoU Exchange Ceremony ‘Outreach Programme with MoE & MoSDE’ in New Delhi

• On January 3, 2023, Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence (MoD) attended the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Exchange Ceremony ‘Outreach Programme with Ministry of Education (MoE) & and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE)’ in New Delhi, Delhi.
• The event saw the signing of MoUs and Agreements by MoD, MoE, MoSDE, Indian Army (IA), Indian Navy (IN), and Indian Air Force (IAF) with various stakeholders for the education and skill development of Agniveers.
• These MoUs will enable Agniveers to timely complete their education, develop additional qualities and skills while serving in the Armed Forces. These will also provide appropriate skill certificates in accordance with their expertise and experience.

2 ) NTPC Launches India’s First Green Hydrogen Blending Operation in PNG Network

NTPC Ltd. (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), India’s state-owned and largest energy conglomerate, has launched India’s first green hydrogen-blending operation in the piped natural gas (PNG) network of its Kawas township in Surat, Gujarat.

Key points:

• P. Ram Prasad, Head of the project, Kawas, launched the first molecule of green hydrogen.
• NTPC Kawas also hosted awareness workshops for township residents upon the launch of the blending operation.
• The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), has approved a 5% volume/volume blending of green hydrogen with PNG to begin, with the blending level gradually increasing to 20% in a phased manner.
• Green hydrogen, when combined with natural gas, lowers carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while maintaining the same net heating content.
• With this accomplishment, India has joined a select group of nations that includes Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK) and is now at the centre of the world’s hydrogen economy.
• As a result, India would be able to export green hydrogen and green chemicals to the world at large, reducing its dependence on hydrocarbon imports and earning foreign exchange (forex). 

3 ) Manipur: Zeliangrong Community Celebrates Gaan Ngai Festival

Zeliangrong or Kabui Community of Manipur celebrates the Gaan-Ngai festival to bring peace, prosperity and unity to the people of Manipur. The festival also marks the beginning of the new year and bids farewell to the old year. The Gaan Ngai festival is one of the major festivals of Manipur which is annually after harvesting.

Key points:

• Gaan-Ngai festival is one of the biggest cultural and religious post-harvest festivals of the Zeliangrong community that marks the end of the year when the farmers stores their harvest in their granaries.
• The festival is celebrated by all non-Christian villages of Zeliangrong tribes which includes, Zeme, Liangmei, Rongmei, Kabui, Inpui and others living in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.i.Zeliangrong Naga tribe (comprising of Rongmei, Liangmei, Zemei and Pumei) are Tibeto-Burman (Indo Mongoloid) of the Sino-Tibetan family of the Mongolian race.
• They are one of the major indigenous Naga communities living in the tri-junction of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in India.
• The term Zeliangrong was coined on 15 February 1947 in Imphal, Manipur by combining the first syllables of the names of the three sub. ethnic groups: Ze, Liang, and Rong.
• It is classified as an ethno-cultural entity.

4 ) PM Narendra Modi addresses 108th Indian Science Congress through Video Conferencing

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister(PM) of India, virtually inaugurated and addressed the 108th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC), also known as ISC 2023, organised at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj (RTM) Nagpur University, Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Key points:

• PM Narendra Modi noted that India is being counted among the top countries of the world as India moved to 40th place in the Global Innovation Index in 2022 from 81st place in 2015.
• India is ranked 3rd in terms of the number of Doctors of Philosophy (PhDs) and startup ecosystems, followed by the United States (US) and China.
• The session is focused on sustainable development with inclusive involvement of all sections of society including women, and deliberate on holistic growth, reviewed economics, and sustainable goals.
• PM Narendra Modi noted that on the initiative of PM Modi and the proposal of the Government of India, the United Nations(UN) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

5 ) ADB, India sign $220 million loan pact to Strengthen Power Sector in Tripura

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India (GoI) signed a $220 million loan pact for Tripura Power Distribution Strengthening and Generation Efficiency Improvement Project. The loan amount will be utilized towards improving energy security, quality of supply, efficiency, and resilience of power sector in Tripura.

Key points:

• The project will support the Government of Tripura’s efforts to strengthen its power sector through replacement of inefficient power plants, strengthen the distribution network and installation of smart meters that will help in increasing generation capacity, reduce distribution losses and to meet the increasing electricity demand.

• The Project will also fund the replacement of Rokhia power plant with a highly efficient combined cycle gas turbine that will reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs).

• The project will support at least 15 selected women self-help groups (SHGs) under Tripura rural livelihood mission.

• The project components will be designed to withstand heavy rainfall, lightning, and storms.

• The distribution underground cabling will be installed by the horizontal directional drilling method or tunneling method to minimize road openings and reduce socio-environmental impacts during project implementation.

6 ) ICICI Bank Introduces First-of-its-Kind Digital Solutions for Exporters

In a first-of-its-kind industry initiative, ICICI Bank Limited, a leading private sector bank in India, has launched Digital Solutions For Exporters, a comprehensive set of banking and value-added services on a single platform. The initiative intends to improve operational efficiency of exporters by decongesting the current time-consuming manual procedures.

Key points:

• The set of solutions digitizes every stage of the export process, including market research, export financing, foreign exchange (forex) services, and receiving export incentives.

• Additionally, the package of solutions provides first-in-theindustry features including Trade APIs (Application Programming Interface) and instant disbursal of Export Packing Credits (Insta EPC).i.Exporters with an ICICI Bank relationship will benefit from the ease of instant and digital Export Packing Credit (EPC).
• This service is available for export-import transactions through ‘Trade Online’, the flagship digital platform of ICICI Bank.

7 ) GA-ASI partners with Bharat Forge to Manufacture Aerostructures in India

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a subsidiary of General Atomics(GA) based in San Diego, California, United States of America(USA), has partnered with Bharat Forge Limited, a part of Kalyani Group, to manufacture aerostructures – main landing gear components, subassemblies, and assemblies of remotely piloted aircraft in India.

Key points:

• The partnership aims to support the development of a manufacturing ecosystem for high-end drones.
• The partnership between GA and Bharat Forge aims to enhance the capacity building of both companies and provide momentum to the large unmanned aircraft industry of India.
• Under this partnership, GA-ASI will work with Bharat Forge in the critical field of aerospace manufacturing.
• Bharat Forger will offer full-service su

8 ) Capt Shiva Chouhan Becomes 1st Woman Officer to be Deployed at Siachen, World’s Highest Battlefield

Captain Shiva Chouhan, hailing from Rajasthan, has become the first woman officer of the Indian Army to get operationally deployed at Siachen Glacier, Karakoram range in the Himalayas in Ladakh, the world’s highest battlefield after training at Siachen Battle School.

Key points:

• She is posted at the “Kumar Post” at an altitude of 15,632 feet where night temperatures are close to -25 degree Celsius.
• Capt Shiva Chouhan is an Engineer Officer from the Bengal Sappers. The Sappers team led by her will be in charge of numerous combat engineering tasks.
• Kumar Post is named after the late Colonel Narinder ‘Bull’ Kumar (retd.), who was instrumental in launching ‘Operation Meghdoot’.

9 ) Pushan-Alpha: Digantara launches 2nd satellite to Monitor Space Weather onboard Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, US

Bengaluru (Karnataka) based space situational awareness (SSA) start-up Digantara launched its second satellite Pushan- Alpha as a rideshare on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, carrying Transporter-6 mission to the low earth orbit (LEO), from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States (US).

Key points:

• Pushan-Alpha will serve as a space weather testbed in the sun synchronous orbit for enhancing precision driven SSA applications.
• Digantara is developing infrastructure to address the difficulties of space operations and space traffic management through its Space Mission Assurance Platform.
• The founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digantara Aerospace is Anirudh Sharma.

10 ) IIT Guwahati Aeromodelling Club Engineered Indigenous Multipurpose Drones

Aeromodelling club of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati(Assam) has engineered 4 state-ofthe- art Indigenous Multipurpose Drones capable of surveillance, precision photography and warehouse management. The drones were designed and developed in IITGuwahati by the students in collaboration with the professors

Key points:

• The 4 drones include,
“Warehouse Drones” for complex warehouse and inventory management;
“Reaper Drones” for military and law enforcement usage,
“Ornithopters” based on the design of birds for surveillance in tight spaces and wildlife photography, and
“RAVEN” an indigenously built VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) capable fixed-winged aircraft which can be used as a delivery or surveillance drone.
• The club has recently raised a seed fund from the Technology Incubation Centre (TIC) IIT-Guwahati to develop Reaper for commercialisation.

11 ) World Braille Day 2023 – January 4

United Nations (UN)’s World Braille Day is annually observed across the globe on January 4 to highlight and raise awareness about the importance of Braille as a means of communication for the partially sighted and blind.

Key points:

• World Braille Day commemorates the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, a 19th-century French educator, who invented Braille in 1824.
• 4th January 2023 marks the observance of the 5th World Braille Day and the 214th birth anniversary of Louis Braille.
• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/73/161 on 17th December 2018 and declared January 4 of each year as World Braille Day.
• The 1st ever World Braille Day was observed on 4th January 2019.

12 ) Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi Inaugurates Octave 2023 – Northeastern Cultural Festival

• Tamil Nadu(TN) Governor Ravindra Narayana Ravi(RN Ravi) Inaugurated the Octave 2023 – Northeastern Cultural Festival held under the aegis of the South Zone Cultural Centre, (SZCC) Thanjavur, TN, under the Union Ministry of Culture, to showcase the indigenous art and culture of North East India.
• Octave 2023 is being organised at the Open Auditorium, Bharatiya Vidyashram, Kilpauk, Chennai, TN, from 3rd to 6th January 2023.
• Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are among the participating states.

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