- 1. PM launched the Aspirational Block Programme for improving performance of blocks lagging on various parameters.
- 2. Government is planning to dismantle telecom body Digital Communication Commission.
- 3. BPCL launched low-smoke superior kerosene oil (SKO) for the Indian Army operating at a high altitude.
- 4. India and Panama inked an MoU to enhance cooperation for training of diplomats.
- 5. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and eight countries of GOPIO signed MoUs.
- 6. Chetan Sharma will continue to be the chairman of the BCCI's senior men's selection committee.
- 7. NHA launched a new system to assess and grade the performance of empaneled hospitals.
- 8. Kashmir's famous poet Professor Abdul Rehman Rahi passed away.
- 9. Kerala became the first fully digital banking state in the country.
- 10. First meeting of the G-20 'Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion' started in Kolkata on 9 January.
- 11. The census exercise has been postponed till September as of now.
- 12. World Hindi Day 2023/ Vishwa Hindi Diwas: 10 January
- 13. Surinder Chawla has been appointed as MD & CEO of Paytm Payments Bank.
- 14. ‘Jahaan Bandhan, Wahaan Trust’ campaign has been launched by Bandhan Bank.
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
1. PM launched the Aspirational Block Programme for improving performance of blocks lagging on various parameters.
- Aspirational Block Programme was launched during the 2nd National Conference of Chief Secretaries.
- The government had announced the programme in the Union Budget 2022-23.
- It will promote holistic development in those areas that require extra assistance. Initially, it will cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories.
- Half of these blocks will be in 6 states- Uttar Pradesh (68 blocks), Bihar (61), Madhya Pradesh (42), Jharkhand (34), Odisha (29) and West Bengal (29).
- Later, states can add more blocks to the programme.
- Aspirational Blocks Programme has been launched on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme that was launched in 2018.
- PM Modi said that states should focus on pro-development governance, ease of doing business, ease of living and provision of robust infrastructure.
- Aspirational Districts Programme:
- It was launched for the development of under-developed districts across the country.
- It focuses on the strength of each district and identifies sectors for immediate improvement.
Topic: National News
2. Government is planning to dismantle telecom body Digital Communication Commission.
- Digital Communication Commission (DCC) is a multi-ministry apex decision-making body to oversee all critical telecom matters.
- Its responsibilities will be transferred to the Department of Expenditure (DoE) under the Finance Ministry.
- The government is taking this step at a time when the government is expanding and strengthening digital services across the country.
- Telecommunication Commission was re-designated as the 'Digital Communications Commission' in 2018.
- The Telecom Commission was set up by the Government through a resolution in 1989.
- Digital Communication Commission is headed by Telecom Secretary. The CEO of Niti Aayog, and Secretaries of the Department of Economic Affairs and DPIIT are the other members of the commission.
- Now, the Department of Expenditure (DoE) approval is required for any significant communications industry project that exceeds Rs 100 crores.
- The government believes that DCC’s involvement in the clearance of any projects worth Rs 100 crore only leads to the duplication of work and delays the decision making.
Topic: Infrastructure and Energy
3. BPCL launched low-smoke superior kerosene oil (SKO) for the Indian Army operating at a high altitude.
- BPCL became the first company to start the supply of the new LSLA grade SKO to the Army.
- BPCL’s SBU in association with Corporate Research & Development Centre (CRDC) and Mumbai Refinery has developed this low-smoke superior kerosene oil.
- Normal kerosene emits substantial smoke which is hazardous for the health of the Army personnel at higher altitudes.
- The low-smoke kerosene is a step towards providing cleaner fuel to the Indian Army in tough terrain.
- Currently, BPCL supplies 70TKL of petroleum products annually to the Indian Army. BPCL has partnered with Indian Army in the provision of over 100 consumer pumps.
- Superior kerosene oil will be consumed as fuel in room heaters (Bukhari) at the high-altitude camps.
- Northern command consumes about 45 TKL/A while 70 TKL/A is used by Northern and Eastern commands.
- Kerosene oil is a flammable liquid which is used as a fuel in industries and homes.
4. India and Panama inked an MoU to enhance cooperation for training of diplomats.
- India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Panama's Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney Mencomo signed the MoU in a bilateral meeting in Indore.
- They also discussed the ways to improve the economic, health, financial and people-to-people ties between India and Panama.
- Both leaders have also shared their perspectives on global situations.
- India–Panama relations:
- The diplomatic relations between India and Panama were established in 1962
- India established the resident embassy in Panama in 1973.
- India and Panama’s relationship is from the time of the construction of the Panama Canal.
- In 2019-20, trade between both countries was US$314.35.
- Visa Exemption Agreement for Diplomatic & Official Passport holders was signed between both countries in 2018.
(Source: News on AIR)
5. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and eight countries of GOPIO signed MoUs.
- Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and eight countries of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) signed MoUs in Indore.
- The MoUs were signed on the occasion of the 17th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Convention.
- These MoUs were signed with France Metropole Paris, Reunion Island, Martinique, Sri Lanka, GOPIO International, Malaysia, and Mauritius.
- Sheo Shekhar Shukla on behalf of the Tourism Board and presidents of eight countries of GOPIO signed the MoUs.
- The objective of the MoUs is to promote cooperation in the development of the tourism sector of the state and to promote tourism destinations.
- It also seeks to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation in research, promotion, and tourism development.
(Source: News on Air)
6. Chetan Sharma will continue to be the chairman of the BCCI's senior men's selection committee.
- On 7 January, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the reappointment of Chetan Sharma as the chairman of selectors.
- BCCI also announced four names for the Senior Men’s National Selection Committee.
- The panel will consist of Shiv Sundar Das, Subroto Banerjee, Salil Ankola, and Sreedharan Sharath, with Chetan Sharma as the chief selector.
- The Cricket Advisory Committee interviewed 11 candidates before finalizing the five-member panel.
- The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) consists of Ms. Sulakshana Naik, Mr. Ashok Malhotra, and Mr. Jatin Paranjpe.
Topic: Government schemes and Initiatives
7. NHA launched a new system to assess and grade the performance of empaneled hospitals.
- The National Health Authority (NHA) is launching a new system to measure and grade hospital performance under its flagship scheme- Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
- It aims to assess the performance of hospitals on the basis of the value of health care services rather than the quantity of services provided.
- This new system will introduce the concept of 'value-based care', where payment will be outcome based.
- Hospitals will be paid commensurate with the quality of treatment provided.
- Under the new model, service providers will be rewarded for helping patients improve their health, resulting in reducing the impact of the disease among people in the long term.
- The move promises a significant increase in overall healthcare benefits and is expected to benefit all relevant stakeholders, from patients to healthcare providers, payers, and suppliers.
- Patients will experience better health outcomes and greater satisfaction with the services they receive, and providers are set to achieve improved care capabilities.
- NHA has implemented several measures to ensure that PM-JAY beneficiaries have access to cashless health benefits and quality care at each empaneled hospital.
- The performance of AB PM-JAY empaneled hospitals under “Value-Based Care” will be assessed on the basis of five performance indicators.
- These are:
- Beneficiary satisfaction
- Hospital Readmission Rate
- The extent of Out-of-Pocket Expenditure
- Confirmed Grievances
- Improvement in-patient’s Health-Related Quality of Life
Topic: Personality in News
8. Kashmir's famous poet Professor Abdul Rehman Rahi passed away.
- On 9 January, noted academic, poet, and Kashmir's first Jnanpith awardee, Professor Rahman Rahi passed away at the age of 98 in Srinagar.
- Rahi was born on May 6, 1925.
- He wrote many poetry collections and translated the works of some famous poets into Kashmiri.
- Rahi received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961 for his poetry collection Navroz-e-Saba.
- In 2007, he was awarded the Jnanpith Award, the country's highest literary award for his collection "Siyah Rood-e-Jaerenn Manz" (In the black downpours).
- In the year 2000, he was awarded the Padma Shri award for his works.
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Topic: State News/ Kerala
9. Kerala became the first fully digital banking state in the country.
- On 7 January, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced Kerala as the first state in the country to go completely digital in its banking service.
- Vijayan said this achievement has been possible due to infrastructure development and technological advancement in the banking sector.
- The CM also said that the state government's ambitious Kerala Fiber Optic Network (K-FON) project, which is almost 90% complete, would reduce the digital divide.
- K-FON will ensure internet facilities for all in the state, and in this project, a 17,155-kilometer-long fiber-optic cable network has been laid.
- Once the project is completed, internet will be available to everyone in the state either at affordable cost or free of cost.
- Kerala also received three 'Digital India' awards for its advancement in the digital sector.
- Kerala got Silver Medal for Ksheersree Portal, Platinum Award for Digital Workforce Management System and Gold Medal for District Administration of Kottayam.
- The CM also warned the people to be alert about the rise in cyber-crimes, which may increase with the advancement in the banking sector.
- To deal with such cyber-crimes, the government has also created an Economic Offenses Wing in the state police.
10. First meeting of the G-20 'Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion' started in Kolkata on 9 January.
- It has been attended by invited guests and dignitaries from around the world.
- The meeting began with a discussion on the topic of opening up digital transactions to the underprivileged sections for financial progress and productivity.
- The theme of this year's G-20 conference is "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam."
- The three-day meet will focus on principles of digital financial inclusion, remittance costs and SME finance availability.
- It will also include symposiums, exhibitions and a domestic outreach program on digital financial literacy involving over 1,800 students from various schools.
- Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attend the meeting and stated that her government is working with a humanitarian approach for the development of the people.
- 12 international speakers, including senior officials from the World Bank, Singapore, France, and the Monetary Authority of Estonia participated in the discussion.
- G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI):
- It is a platform for all G20 countries, interested non-G20 countries and relevant stakeholders to carry forward work on financial inclusion.
- It was officially launched on 10 December 2010 in Seoul.
Topic: National News
11. The census exercise has been postponed till September as of now.
- The government has informed the States regarding extension of date of freezing of administrative boundaries till June 30, 2023.
- According to the rules, census can be done only 3 months after freezing of administrative boundaries such as districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations.
- The general elections are expected to be held in March-April 2024 and completing Census before that is nearly impossible. It would be possible only if some rules are changed and a shorter process is introduced.
- The first phase of Census 2021 was scheduled to be conducted from April-September 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The second phase and the main phase- the population enumeration- was to be concluded by March 5, 2021.
- As per provisional data compiled by the RGI till June 2021, the number of districts have increased from 640 in 2011 to 736.
- The delay in Census data would continue to deprive more than 10 crore people of subsidised food grains under the targeted PDS.
- Census is significant for policy planning, budgeting and administration.
- Census in India:
- The first synchronous census was conducted in India in 1881.
- It is conducted once every ten years.
- Population Census is a Union subject.
- It is conducted by the Office of Registrar General and Census Commissioner under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- 2021 Census is the eighth census since independence.
Topic: Important Days
12. World Hindi Day 2023/ Vishwa Hindi Diwas: 10 January
- It is celebrated every year on 10 January to mark the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference organized in Nagpur on 10 January 1975.
- It was celebrated for the first time on 10 January 2006.
- Hindi was spoken for the first time in the United Nations General Assembly in 1949.
- Its main aim is to create awareness and promote the Hindi language across the world.
- Hindi is the third most-spoken language in the world.
- In India, Hindi Diwas is observed every year on 14th September.
- 12th World Hindi Conference will be held in Nadi, Fiji in February 2023.
Topic: National Appointments
13. Surinder Chawla has been appointed as MD & CEO of Paytm Payments Bank.
- He was earlier Head of Branch Banking at RBL Bank. He replaces Satish Kumar Gupta. Gupta retired in October 2022.
- Since then Deependra Singh Rathore has been serving as the interim CEO of Paytm Payments Bank.
- One 97 Communications said his appointment as MD& CEO has been approved by RBI.
- Paytm Payments Bank is an associate company of One 97 Communications, which owns the Paytm brand.
Topic: Banking System
14. ‘Jahaan Bandhan, Wahaan Trust’ campaign has been launched by Bandhan Bank.
- The campaign features cricketer Sourav Ganguly as its brand ambassador.
- This is the first time that Bandhan Bank has appointed a pan-India brand ambassador.
- Leo Burnett Orchard conceptualized the campaign. Leo Burnett Orchard was brought in as the bank’s creative agency in August 2022.
- In the last seven years, Bandhan Bank has established its presence in 34 states and union territories.
- Bandhan Bank:
- It is a Kolkata based Indian banking and financial services company.
- Dr. Anup Kumar Sinha is its current chairman. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh is its MD and CEO. It started operations on August 23, 2015.