Daily Current Affairs and GK | 17 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 17 Aug 2023 16:45 PM IST

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Topic: National News

1. India’s first Unmanned Aerial Systems Common Testing Centre to be set up in Tamil Nadu.

  • Under the Defence Testing Infrastructure (DTI) scheme, India’s first drone common testing centre will be established in Tamil Nadu.
  • It will be established across an area of 2.3 acres at the SIPCOT Industrial Park, Vallam Vadagal near Sriperumbudur. It will be set up at an estimated cost of ₹45 crore.
  • At present, the testing for UAS (Drones) is conducted component-wise at various centres. It reduces efficiency and increases cost.
  • This testing centre will enable Tamil Nadu to become a preferred destination for aerospace and defence companies, who are looking to establish their Indian operations.
  • The testing centre will help in achieving self-reliance goal of India in the aerospace and defence sectors.
  • The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) had floated a request for a proposal to identify industrial partners for establishing this testing centre.
  • A consortium of companies comprising Keltron, Sense Image Technologies, Standards Testing and Compliance, and Avishka Retailers have been selected as partner of TIDCO for establishing this centre.
  • TIDCO is the nodal agency responsible for the implementation of the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor (TNDIC).

Topic: Personality in News

2. Former DRDO Chief V.S. Arunachalam passed away.

  • Former Chairman of Defence Research Development Organisation, V.S. Arunachalam died at the age of 87.
  • He died in the Bay Area of California in the United States of America.
  • He was the Chief Architect of many strategic programs like the Integrated Missiles Development Programme.
  • IMDP includes development of Agni, Prithvi, Akash and Nag, Light Combat Aircraft and Airborne Early Warning and Control System.
  • He will be remembered for knowledge, passion for research and rich contribution towards strengthening India’s security capabilities.
  • He worked in various reputed organizations like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), National Aeronautical Laboratory, and Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory.
  • He was Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister from 1982-92.
  • He was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1980), Padma Bhushan (1985), and Padma Vibhushan (1990).

DRDO Chief V.S. Arunachalam

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

3. Indian wrestler Mohit Kumar won the Under 20 World Championship in the men's 61 kg freestyle category in Amman, Jordan.

  • In Jordan's Amman, Mohit created history by securing the first position in men's 61 kg freestyle.
  • On 16 August, Mohit became the fourth Indian freestyle wrestler to win the Junior World Championship by defeating Eldar Akhmadudinov of Russia by nine points in the final.
  • Earlier in the year 2001 Palwinder Cheema and Ramesh Kumar and in the year 2019 Deepak Punia won the gold medal of this championship.
  • Jaideep won the bronze medal in the 74 kg weight category by defeating Kyrgyszstan's Zhakshylyk Ruslanovich Baitashov.
  • Sagar Jaglan won the silver medal in the 89 kg weight category, while Deepak Chahal won the bronze medal in the 97 kg category.
  • The Indian team has so far won five medals in the competition.
  • The World Under-20 Wrestling Championship 2023 is being organized from 14 to 20 August in Amman, Jordan.

Mohit Kumar won the Under 20 World Championship

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Art and Culture

4. Malayalam New Year "Chingam" began on 17 August.

  • According to the Malayalam calendar, the day marks the beginning of the month of Chingam, signifying the New Year.
  • This sets the stage for the ten-day Onam festival, which ends on Thiruvonam day, which will fall on 29 August this year.
  • The day also marks the beginning of the harvest season.
  • On this day, clad in traditional dhotis and kasavu sarees, a large number of people offer prayers at temples across the state.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. Government has approved eco-friendly PM-e-Bus service in 169 cities.

  • A bus scheme “PM-eBus Sewa” has been approved for the expansion of city bus operations on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, through which 10,000 e-buses will be operated.
  • The estimated cost of the scheme will be Rs 57,613 crore, out of which Rs 20,000 crore support will be provided by the central government.
  • The scheme will support bus operations for 10 years.
  • The scheme will cover cities with a population of three lakhs and above as per the 2011 census, including all capital cities of union territories, the north-eastern region, and hill states.
  • Under this scheme, priority will be given to those cities where no well-organized bus service is available.
  • Under this plan, around 10,000 buses will be run in city bus operations, which will generate 45,000 to 55,000 direct jobs.
  • City bus operations will be expanded through the approved bus scheme.
  • The associated infrastructure will help in the development/upgradation of depo infrastructure and will enable the creation of behind-the-meter electrical infrastructure (substations, etc.) for e-buses.
  • The plan envisages green initiatives such as bus priority, infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, NCMC-based automatic fare collection system, charging infrastructure, etc.
  • Under the plan, states or cities would be responsible for operating these bus services and paying bus operators.
  • The Central Government will support these bus operations by providing subsidies to the extent specified in the proposed scheme.

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

6. Mutual Recognition Arrangement of Authorised Economic Operators between India and Australia approved by Cabinet.

  • The signing and ratification of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) has been approved between the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), India, and the Department of Home Affairs, Australia.
  • The objective of this arrangement is to provide mutual benefit to recognized and credible exporters of both the signatory countries in clearance of goods by the customs authorities of the importing country.
  • Mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators is a key component of the World Customs Organisation's SAFE Framework Standards.
  • It makes global trade safe and convenient by strengthening the end-to-end security of supply chains while providing high facilitation to trade globally.
  • This arrangement will benefit exporters sending goods to Australia and thus boost trade relations between the two countries.

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Topic: Banking System

7. State Bank of India plans to open 300 new branches across India in the current financial year.

  • It currently has 22,405 branches across the country. It has 235 foreign branches and offices.
  • According to the SBI chairman Dinesh Khara, SBI is also looking at having more business correspondents.
  • In the first quarter of the current fiscal, SBI reported its highest-ever quarterly profit at 16,884 crore rupees.
  • Its net profit in the year-ago quarter was 6,068 crore rupees.
  • State Bank of India (SBI):
    • It is a nationalized public sector bank. Dinesh Kumar Khara is its chairperson.
    • Its headquarters is in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its tagline is The Banker to Every Indian.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. Union Cabinet approved PM Vishwakarma scheme.

  • It is a new Central Sector Scheme to support traditional artisans and craftspeople of rural and urban India.
  • It has a financial outlay of Rs.13,000 crore for five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28).
  • It aims to strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople.
  • It also aims at improving the quality and reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople.
  • It aims to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
  • Under this scheme, the artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card.
  • They will also be provided Credit Support up to Rs.1 lakh (First Tranche) and Rs.2 lakh (Second Tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%.
  • Further, they will be provided Skill Upgradation, Toolkit Incentive, and Incentives for Digital Transactions and Marketing Support.
  • Eighteen traditional trades will be covered in the first instance under the scheme. These trades are given in the following table.

(i) Carpenter (Suthar)

(ii) Boat Maker

(iii) Armourer

(iv) Blacksmith (Lohar)

(v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker

(vi) Locksmith

(vii) Goldsmith (Sonar)

(viii) Potter (Kumhaar)

(ix) Sculptor (Moortikar, stone carver), Stone breaker

(x) Cobbler(Charmkar)/ Shoesmith/Footwear artisan

(xi) Mason (Rajmistri)

(xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver

(xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional)

(xiv) Barber (Naai)

(xv) Garland maker (Malakaar)

(xvi) Washerman (Dhobi)

(xvii) Tailor (Darzi)

(xviii) Fishing Net Maker

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

9. Cabinet approved MoU between India and Suriname in the field of Medical Products Regulation.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 4th June 2023 between India and Suriname has been approved in the field of Medical Product Regulation.
  • This was signed during the visit of the President of India to Suriname.
  • The main aim of the MoU is to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the laws and regulations related to medical products.
  • The main areas of cooperation include the exchange of information and cooperation on Good Laboratory Practices, Good Clinical Practices, etc.
  • The signing of the MoU will facilitate a better understanding of medical products regulation.
  • Cabinet also approved the MoU between India and Suriname in the field of the regulation of medicines. It was also signed during the visit of the President of India to Suriname.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate the export of medical products leading to foreign exchange earnings.

Topic: National Appointments

10. R Doraiswamy has been appointed as MD of LIC.

  • The government has appointed R Doraiswamy as the managing director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
  • Doraiswamy is currently the executive director at the central office in Mumbai.
  • His appointment will come into effect from 1 September 2023. His tenure will be till the date of superannuation (i.e.31.08.2026), or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • The Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) had recommended the name of Doraiswamy as MD. The FSIB was headed by Bhanu Pratap Sharma.
  • In July 2023, Sat Pal Bhanoo was appointed as Managing Director of Life Insurance Corporation.

Topic: Space and IT

11. India's first space mission to study the Sun Aditya L-1 is ready for launch.

  • Indian Space Research Organisation is preparing for the launch of the Aditya L-1 satellite in August.
  • This will be India's first space mission to study about the Sun.
  • The satellite will carry three instruments to study the solar atmosphere, solar magnetic storms, and its impact on Earth's environment.
  • It will be sent to the hollow orbit at the L-1 point between the Earth and the Sun.
  • The satellite will take about 109 earth days to reach the hollow orbit after launch and will cover a distance of more than 1.5 million kms.
  • The Aditya L-1 spacecraft has been built at the UR Rao Satellite Center (URSC) in Bengaluru and reached the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota for launch.
  • Aditya-L1 aims to study the solar corona, solar emissions, solar winds and flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), besides imaging the Sun round the clock.
  • The spacecraft will carry seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the topmost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic and particle and magnetic field detectors.

first space mission to study the Sun Aditya L-1

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Economy

12. Retail inflation hits a 15-month high of 7.44%.

  • Retail inflation shot up again to 7.44% in July, up from 4.87% in June. Consumers faced a sharp rise in food prices to 11.5%.
  • This is the highest pace of retail inflation since April 2022 and the first time since September 2022 that the price rise has crossed 7%.
  • Prices of vegetables rose by 37.3%, mainly due to tomatoes, while cereals and pulses became costlier by over 13%, increasing food bills by over 12.3% for urban consumers and 11% for rural consumers.
  • According to the National Statistical Office, rural residents faced a higher overall inflation rate of 7.63% in July.
  • The consumer price index was up 2.9% from June's level. Food prices rose 6.7% month-on-month.
  • A slight softening of tomato prices in August may help ease the inflationary trend, but higher prices of pulses, spices (up 21.6%), milk (up 8.34%), and cereals remain a cause for concern.
  • Wholesale prices remained in deflationary mode for the fourth consecutive month in July.
  • The prices of food and primary articles rose by over 7.5%, causing overall prices to fall sharply to -1.36% from the 92-month low of -4.1% recorded in June.
  • Inflation in primary food articles at the wholesale level stood at 14.3%.
  • Meanwhile, goods exports fell 15.9% to $32.25 billion in July, while imports fell 17% to $52.9 billion.
  • This is the eighth time in ten months that merchandise exports have declined.
  • However, the decline in the value of exports, excluding petroleum and gems and jewelry, was only 5.7%.

Topic: International News

13. India made the first crude oil payment in local currency to the UAE.

  • India and UAE started their bilateral trade settlements in their respective local currencies.
  • Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) made a payment in rupees for a million barrels of oil purchased from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
  • India and UAE trade in local currencies is part of the enhanced bilateral cooperation.
  • The main objective of this step is to streamline transactions and reduce costs by removing the need for dollar conversions.
  • Both countries also agreed to establish a real-time payment link for simplifying cross-border money transfers.
  • The bilateral trade between India and the UAE reached $84.5 billion.
  • India is planning to replicate similar local currency arrangements with other countries to reduce the cost of imports and foster export.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

14. Youth 20 Summit will be organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports in Varanasi.

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will organize Youth 20 Summit-2023 from 17th to 20th August.
  • More than 100 delegates from G20 countries, Guest countries and International Organizations will discuss on five themes of Y20.
  • The themes are: Future of Work: Industry 4.0, Innovation and 21st Century Skills, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation: Ushering in an Era of No War, and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • Youth experts, decision-makers and youth representatives from G20 countries will participate in the meeting.
  • They will negotiate, finalize and sign the Y20 Communiqué created from the conclusions of the meetings held in the past few months.
  • 14 Youth-20 Consultations have been conducted at educational institutions.
  • Brainstorming sessions, Y20 Chaupals and various Jan Bhagidari events conducted across the country.

Youth 20 Summit

(Source: News on AIR)

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