- 1. Union Cabinet gave nod to Rs 2,600-cr scheme to promote RuPay and BHIM-UPI.
- 2. DRDO developed a UAV for Operations in Himalayan Frontier.
- 3. High Commission of India signed an MoU to establish a Hindi Chair at Sabaragamuwa University, Sri Lanka.
- 4. Russia will send a rescue spacecraft to the International Space Station to bring back the three stranded crew members.
- 5. 26th National Youth Festival inaugurated by PM Modi in Hubli, Karnataka on 12 January.
- 6. PM will flag off Ganga Vilas Luxury Cruise on January 13.
- 7. New Integrated Food Security Scheme has been named Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY).
- 8. A book titled "Revolutionaries- The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom" was released by Home Minister Amit Shah at a function in New Delhi.
- 9. Union Cabinet approved the setting up of 3 new multi-state cooperative societies.
- 10. Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze becomes the new Prime Minister of Gabon.
- 11. India is ranked 85th in the Henley Passport Index 2023 released on 10 January.
- 12. Virat Kohli equalled record of making 20 ODI centuries of Sachin Tendulkar on home soil.
- 13. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar addressed the 83rd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference in Jaipur.
- 14. DRDO conducted training launch of Prithvi-II, Short-Range Ballistic Missile.
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
1. Union Cabinet gave nod to Rs 2,600-cr scheme to promote RuPay and BHIM-UPI.
- The main aim of this incentive scheme is to boost low-value transactions done through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the use of Rupay debit cards.
- Under this scheme, the financial incentives will be provided to banks for promoting Point-of-Sale (PoS) and e-commerce transactions for the financial year FY 2022-23.
- UPI Lite and UPI 123PAY will be promoted under the scheme as economical and user-friendly digital payments solutions
- The scheme is in support of the government's commitment to boost digital transactions.
- The number of digital payments transactions has increased from 5,554 crore in FY2020-21 to 8,840 crore in FY2021-22.
- Total digital payments transactions registered a year-on-year growth of 59%.
- BHIM-UPI transactions have registered a year-on-year growth of 106% between FY 20-21 to FY21-22.
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and various stakeholders expressed concern related to the adverse impact of the zero MDR regime on the growth of the digital payments ecosystem.
- Besides, the government has also approved renaming of the Kolkata-based National Centre for Drinking Water, Sanitation & Quality as Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee National Institute of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
2. DRDO developed a UAV for Operations in Himalayan Frontier.
- To improve the logistic operations in the Himalayan frontier, DRDO has developed a UAV capable of carrying a load of 5kg.
- This multi-copter was displayed by the DRDO at the 108th Indian Science Congress.
- It can also drop bombs on enemy territories. The trials of the UAV were conducted at Sikkim at an altitude of 14,000 ft.
- It can carry out autonomous missions with waypoint navigation up to a 5 km radius.
- Beacon-based landing accuracy of 100 mm, ground vehicle follow mode and modular design for ease of operation are some prominent features of this UAV.
- The UAV can be used for soldiers deployed at high altitudes or war zones.
Topic: MoUs/ Agreements
3. High Commission of India signed an MoU to establish a Hindi Chair at Sabaragamuwa University, Sri Lanka.
- The MoU has been signed by High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and Vice Chancellor of Sabaragamuwa University Prof. Uday Ratnayake.
- The MoU has been signed for the establishment of the Hindi Chair as part of India's cultural engagement through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
- Appointment of Indian faculties, the Hindi Chair will help in familiarizing the students with India, its history, and culture and also pave the way for popularizing Hindi.
- Mr. Baglay also gave away prizes to the winners of the Hindi Kavita competition organized at the university.
- Indian Mission would award a gold medal to the best-performing student of the Hindi Chair.
Topic: Space and IT
4. Russia will send a rescue spacecraft to the International Space Station to bring back the three stranded crew members.
- In February, Russia will send a spacecraft Soyuz MS-23 to the International Space Station to bring home three crew members.
- A meteorite damaged the spacecraft Soyuz MS-22 which was supposed to bring the crew members back to Earth.
- Last month, a major leak occurred aboard in Soyuz MS-22, as of result radiator coolant spread into space and this made a pair of astronauts to cancel a planned spacewalk.
- The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said that the incident caused no immediate danger to the crew of the space station.
- Roscosmos has decided to launch Soyuz MS-23 on 20 February instead of the planned launch in March.
- The plan changed so that it can be used to bring Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and American astronaut Francisco Rubio back to Earth.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: National News
5. 26th National Youth Festival inaugurated by PM Modi in Hubli, Karnataka on 12 January.
- The event is being organized on National Youth Day which is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda to remember his thoughts, teachings, and contribution.
- The main objective of the festival is to empower the talented youth of the nation and inspire them toward nation-building.
- The diverse culture of the country is brought together on a single platform in keeping with the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.
- This year the theme of the festival organized in Dharwad, Hubli is- Developed Youth-Developed India.
- Five themes of the G-20 and Y-20 events will be discussed during the Youth Summit at the festival.
- These include future employment prospects, industry, innovation, and 21st-century skills, climate change and disaster risk reduction, peacebuilding and reconciliation, and health and well-being.
- More than 60 eminent experts will participate in the conference.
- During this, many programs including various competitions will be organized.
- Food festival, young artist camp, exciting sports activities and a competition named 'Know all three forces' will also be organized.
(Source: News on AIR)
Topic: National News
6. PM will flag off Ganga Vilas Luxury Cruise on January 13.
- The world's longest river cruise MV Ganga Vilas will be flagged off by PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi on 13 January.
- The Prime Minister will also inaugurate and lay foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worth over Rs 1000 crore during the event.
- On January 12, the Ministry of Culture organized a grand cultural program 'Sur Sarita - Symphony of Ganga' on the eve of the launch of the world's longest river cruise in Varanasi.
- MV Ganga Vilas will start its journey from Varanasi and travel approximately 3,200 km in 51 days crossing 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh.
- MV Ganga Vilas has three decks with all luxury amenities, 18 suites with a capacity of 36 tourists.
- On the first trip, 32 tourists from Switzerland are going for the entire trip.
- The trip will give tourists a wonderful experience and an opportunity to indulge in the art, culture, history and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
- The journey of MV Ganga Vilas will continue on rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra and will end at Dibrugarh in Assam on March 1.
- The cruise will visit 50 major tourist destinations, including heritage sites like the famous Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, and sanctuaries like Kaziranga National Park and Sunderbans Delta.
(Source: News on AIR)
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives
7. New Integrated Food Security Scheme has been named Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY).
- Earlier, Union Cabinet had approved this scheme for providing free food grains to Antodaya Ann Yojna (AAY) and Primary Household (PHH) beneficiaries.
- Implementation of the new scheme has started from 1st January 2023.
- All Primary Household and Antodaya Ann Yojna beneficiaries would receive free food grains under PMGKAY in 2023, as per entitlement under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
- PMGKAY subsumes the two subsidy schemes of the Department of Food & Public Distribution.
- These schemes are Food Subsidy to FCI and Food Subsidy for decentralized procurement states dealing with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains to the states under NFSA.
- The Central Government will spend over two lakh crore rupees in 2023 as food subsidies under NFSA and other welfare schemes.
Topic: Books and Authors
8. A book titled "Revolutionaries- The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom" was released by Home Minister Amit Shah at a function in New Delhi.
- The book is authored by economist Sanjeev Sanyal. Sanjeev Sanyal is also a member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
- HM Shah said the Prime Minister has given a call of Panch Pran. Out of these Panch Pran, two important resolves are to remove any trace of colonial mindset and take pride in our roots.
- He said that people responsible for evaluating and writing a history of India’s independence for the youths made mistakes because they failed to provide the perspective.
- He said that although the British were gone, their mentality remained and that this new book will help to clear up that confusion.
Topic: National News
9. Union Cabinet approved the setting up of 3 new multi-state cooperative societies.
- A national-level multi-state cooperative seed society will be set up under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) Act, 2002.
- It will work as an apex organization for the production, procurement, processing, branding, labelling, packaging, storage, marketing and distribution of quality seeds.
- It will promote strategic research and development and also develop a system for the preservation and promotion of indigenous natural seeds.
- It will promote seed replacement rate (SRR) and Varietal Replacement Rate (VRR) and help in enhancing productivity.
- Union Cabinet also approved the setting up of a national-level multi-state cooperative organic society under the MSCS Act, 2002.
- It will be an umbrella organization for the procurement, certification, testing, branding and marketing of organic products.
- The Union Cabinet has also approved the setting up of a national level multi-state cooperative export society under the MSCS Act, 2002.
- This multi-state cooperative export society will facilitate the export of surplus goods and services produced by various cooperative societies.
- A Cooperative Society is a voluntary organization of individuals to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations.
- The main aim of the Multi-State Co-operative Organizations (MSCS) Act 2002 is to organise and operate cooperative societies with jurisdiction in more than one state in a more convenient way.
- The benefits of the proposed societies are given below:
- It will help in achieving the goal of “Sahakar-se-Samriddhi” through the inclusive growth model of cooperatives.
- It will help in achieving the export potential of Indian cooperatives by getting benefits of various export-related Government schemes and policies.
- Higher exports will increase the production of goods and services thereby leading to more employment in the cooperative sector
Topic: International Appointments
10. Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze becomes the new Prime Minister of Gabon.
- Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze has taken place of Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, the first female Prime Minister of Gabon.
- Ossouka Raponda becomes the first female vice president of Gabon.
- Bilie-By-Nze formed a new government composed of 45 ministers. He is a close ally of Gabon's President Ali Bongo.
- Ossouka Raponda was appointed Prime Minister in July 2020 after her predecessor stepped down.
- It is a country on the west coast of Central Africa.
- It shares a border with Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and Gulf of Guinea.
- Ali Bongo Ondimba is the current President of Gabon.
- Libreville is the Capital and the Central African CFA franc is the currency.
Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings
11. India is ranked 85th in the Henley Passport Index 2023 released on 10 January.
- Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residency advisory firm, has released the Henley Passport Index for the year 2023.
- The Indian passport is ranked 85th in the World's Most Powerful Passports Index 2023 and gives visa-free entry to 59 destinations across the world.
- Earlier, India was ranked 82nd in 2019, 84th in 2020, 85th in 2021, and 83rd in 2022.
- Indian passport holders can travel visa-free to 59 destinations such as Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macau, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran, Qatar, etc.
- Japan ranked first on the list of the most powerful passports in the world. Japanese citizens can travel to visa-free or on-arrival access destinations in 193 countries around the world.
- The second spot is shared by Singapore and South Korea, and third spot is shared by Germany, Spain.
- Afghanistan's passport is ranked 109th with a visa-free score of 27, the worst passport in the world.
- Iraq ranked 108th with a visa-free score of 29, second worst passport in the world.
- Henley Passport Index:
- It was launched in 2006.
- The index covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.
- It is based on the data collected from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
- The Index's scoring system was developed to give users a nuanced, practical and reliable overview of the power of their passport.
- Each passport is scored on the total number of destinations the holder can access visa-free.
Singapore, South Korea
Finland, Italy, Luxembourg
Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden
12. Virat Kohli equalled record of making 20 ODI centuries of Sachin Tendulkar on home soil.
- On 10 January, Kohli scored 113 runs off 87 balls against Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the three-match series.
- Kohli scored his 20th ODI century on home soil in only 99 innings, while Sachin did it in 160 innings.
- With his most recent century, Kohli has 73 across all formats to his credit, second only to Tendulkar's 100 centuries.
- Kohli has so far scored 45 ODI centuries, 27 Test centuries and one T20 century.
- Kohli has also broken Tendulkar's record of scoring most hundreds in ODIs against Sri Lanka.
- Virat Kohli now has nine centuries against Sri Lanka, compared to Tendulkar's eight.
(Source: News on AIR)
13. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar addressed the 83rd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference in Jaipur.
- Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman and speakers and deputy speakers of legislative assemblies were present in two-day conference.
- Vice President said that the main concern is optimisation of the contribution of the elected representatives in Parliament and Legislature for the welfare of people.
- Lok Sabha speaker said that the time of debate and discussion in the house is reducing.
- 83rd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) was held in Rajasthan after 11 years. The conference was earlier held in Rajasthan in 2011.
- 82nd edition of All India Presiding Officers' Conference was held in Shimla.
- The first edition of AIPOC was also held in Shimla in 1921.
- Presiding Officers:
- The Presiding Officers have the responsibility to conduct the proceedings of the House.
- The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are the Presiding Officers of the Lok Sabha.
- Chairman and Deputy Chairman are the Presiding Officers of the Rajya Sabha. Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
14. DRDO conducted training launch of Prithvi-II, Short-Range Ballistic Missile.
- On 10 January, a successful training launch of Prithvi-II missile was carried out by DRDO from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur.
- It is an indigenous ballistic missile developed by DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). IGMDP started in 1982-83 and completed in 2008.
- It has been an integral part of India’s nuclear deterrence.
- It is a surface-to-surface short range ballistic missile.
- It has a range of about 350 kms. It can carry payloads of 500-1000 kg.
- It was first tested in 1996. It got inducted into the Indian armed forces in 2003.