Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18 July 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 18 Jul 2023 17:53 PM IST

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Topic: International News

1. United Kingdom formally joined the trans-Pacific trade bloc.

  • Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch formally signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in New Zealand.
  • With the signing of agreement, the United Kingdom becomes the first European country to join the bloc since 2018.
  • More than 99% of the UK's current goods exported to CPTPP countries would become eligible for zero tariffs.
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership includes Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, among others.
  • The Indo-Pacific trade bloc was formed in 2018 to counter Chinese dominance in the region.
  • This bloc has a combined GDP of £12 trillion ($15.7 trillion), and accounts for 15% of global GDP.
  • This trade bloc will give British businesses trade access to a market of more than 500 million people.
  • This agreement is expected to come into force in the second half of next year.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership:
    • It is trade agreement between Pacific Rim countries.
    • It came into force on 30 December 2018.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

2. President Murmu will give ‘Bhoomi Samman' 2023 in New Delhi.

  • Bhoomi Samman will be presented to nine State Secretaries and 68 District Collectors along with their teams.
  • It will be presented to those who have excelled in achieving saturation of the core components of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme.
  • Revenue and registration functionaries of the State would receive the “Bhoomi Samman” for the first time in the state in the last 75 years. 
  • Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Giriraj Singh said that Bhoomi Samman Scheme is a very good example of Centre-state cooperative federalism.
  • He informed that the Department of Land Resources has achieved 94% digitization targets pan-India.
  • It is targeting to achieve 100% saturation of the core components of digitization of land records in all the Districts of India by 31st March 2024.

Topic: Agriculture

3. The sale of subsidized Chana Dal under the brand name ‘Bharat Dal’ has been launched.

  • Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal launched the sale at the rate of 60 rupees per kilogram for a one-kilogram pack and 55 rupees per kilogram for a 30-kilogram pack.
  • This is a step of the Central Government to make pulses available to consumers at affordable price by changing chana stock of the government into chana dal.
  • The chana dal is being sold at the retail outlets of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) in Delhi-NCR.
  • It will also be made available at retail stores of the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India Limited (NCCF), Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy's Safal.
  • NAFED undertakes the milling and packaging of the chana dal. Chana is the most abundantly produced pulse in India.
  • In 2019-20, Madhya Pradesh (1st), Rajasthan (2nd) and Maharashtra (3rd) were the top three chana-producing states in India.
  • NAFED was set up in 1958. It is headquartered in New Delhi. Dr. Bijender Singh is its current Chairman.

Topic: Important Days

4. Nelson Mandela International Day: 18 July

  • It is observed each year on July 18 in commemoration of the birthday of Nelson Mandela.
  • United Nations officially declared Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, and it was first celebrated on 18 July 2010.
  • This year’s theme for Nelson Mandela International Day is "The Legacy Lives on Through You: Climate, Food, and Solidarity."
  • The theme calls for the public to take steps to address key global issues like food insecurity and climate change.
  • The "67 minutes" concept is a significant component of Nelson Mandela International Day.
  • It urges people to give 67 minutes of their time to humanitarian causes in order to make a difference in their society.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

5. 3rd edition of the Export Preparedness Index 2022 report released by NITI Aayog for States/UTs of India.

  • On 17 July, the report was released by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Shri. Suman Bery in New Delhi.
  • The Export Preparedness Index, by NITI Aayog in association with the Institute of Competitiveness, goes deeper beyond states and examines exports at the district level.
  • According to this, the coastal states have performed best on all the indicators.
  • Tamil Nadu has topped NITI Aayog's Export Preparedness Index 2022. Maharashtra and Karnataka are on the second and third positions respectively.
  • Gujarat and Haryana are on the fourth and fifth positions.
  • The report states that the higher average of the coastal states reflects their better preparedness and contribution to national exports.
  • EPI 2022 report evaluates the performance of states on four pillars- Policy, Business Ecosystem, Export Ecosystem, and Export Performance.
  • These pillars are further based on ten sub-pillars– Export Promotion Policy, Institutional Framework, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Transport Connectivity, Export Infrastructure, Trade Support, R&D Infrastructure, Export Diversification, and Growth Orientation.
  • 73% of the districts in the country have prepared export action plans and more than 99% of the districts are covered under the One District One Product scheme.
  • One hundred districts of the country export about 87% of the total exports.
  • Noting the lack of adequate transport connectivity, the report said that the lack of air connectivity hinders the movement of goods in landlocked states.
  • The report suggested to the states need to invest in research and development for the development of market-specific products and product quality improvement.

Topic: Personality in News

6. Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy passed away at the age of 79.

  • Oommen Chandy was the Chief Minister of Kerala twice, from 2004 to 2006 and from 2011–16.
  • The veteran leader began his tenure as an MLA by winning the 1970 state assembly elections at the age of 27.
  • Later, he won 11 consecutive elections. He represented the Puthupally assembly constituency and was the longest-serving MLA in the state assembly.
  • He is the only Indian Chief Minister to receive an award for public service from the United Nations.
  • He was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress party.
  • In 2018, he was appointed as the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee in charge of the crucial state of Andhra Pradesh.

Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: National News

7. Cooperation Minister Amit Shah launched the ‘CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal’ on 18 July 2023.

  • In its order dated 29th March 2023, Supreme Court ordered transferring of Rs 5000 Crores out of the “Sahara-SEBI Refund Account” to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS).
  • This amount was to be transferred to CRCS for disbursement against the legitimate dues of the genuine depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies.
  • A Portal has been created for authentic depositors of the four Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies to submit legitimate claims.

Topic: Sports

8. Australia’s Victoria State will not host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

  • It will not host the games due to projected exceeding expenditures.
  • According to Victoria State Premier Dan Andrews, the cost of the Games was going more than twice the estimated economic benefit the Games would bring to the state.
  • According to Andrews, the cost of the Games could be more than 7 billion Australian dollars from a budgeted 2.6 billion Australian dollars.
  • The 2026 Games were set to take place in the Victorian cities of Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland, and Shepparton from March 17 to March 29.
  • Commonwealth Games take place every four years. Australia hosted the Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast.
  • The 2022 Commonwealth Games took place in Birmingham, England between 28 July and 8 August 2022.
  • Victoria is a state in southeast Australia. Its capital is Melbourne.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

9. Union Minister Amit Shah chaired the Regional Conference on 'Drug Trafficking and National Security'.

  • Union Home Minister chaired the Regional Conference on 'Drug Trafficking and National Security' in New Delhi.
  • More than 1.40 Lakh kg of narcotics worth Rs. 2,378 Crore were destroyed in different parts of India by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in coordination with the Anti Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) in the presence of Amit Shah.
  • He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is continuously running a campaign against drugs trafficking.
  • The government is aiming to make India’s youth drug-free by the time the centenary of the country's independence is celebrated.
  • In the last year, a total of more than 1,40,288 kg of drugs have been destroyed.
  • At the international level, the term "Golden Triangle" and "Golden Crescent" have been replaced by "Death Triangle" and "Death Crescent".
  • The Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) was also established in 2019. It holds meetings at four different levels.
  • 35 States/UTs have formed dedicated Anti-Narcotics Task Forces (ANTF).

Drug Trafficking and National Security

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Space and IT

10. China launched world’s first methane-powered rocket to space.

  • A private company of China has launched the world's first methane-liquid oxygen rocket.
  • The Zhuque-2 carrier rocket took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
  • China has beaten its rivals like US, India, and Europe in developing the next-generation launch vehicle.
  • It is the second attempt of China to launch the Zhuque-2. It was earlier launched in December but failed.
  • The rocket successfully delivered a test payload into a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
  • This methane-powered rocket is also known as Methalox. It uses methane as the fuel and liquid oxygen as the oxidizer.
  • Propellant choice and performance characteristics are the main differences between methane-liquid oxygen rockets and traditional launch vehicles.
  • It operates on the same principles as traditional launch vehicles.
  • Methane is a hydrocarbon fuel that can be produced from various sources like natural gas.
  • LandSpace also became the second private Chinese company to launch a liquid-propellant rocket.
  • China also announced plans to send two rockets to the moon by 2030. One rocket will carry the spacecraft that will land on the moon's surface while the other will transport the astronauts.

Topic: Sports

11. India won 27 Medals in 2023 Asian Athletics Championships.

  • In the Asian Athletics Championships 2023, Indian athletes won a total of 27 medals, including six gold, 12 silver and nine bronze medals.
  • The championship was held from 12 to 16 July at Suphachalsai National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • India finished third in the medals table behind Japan (37) and China (22).
  • India's Jyoti Yaraji, Parul Chowdhary, Tajinder Pal Singh Toor, Abdullah Abubakar, Ajay Kumar Saroj and the mixed relay team won gold medals.
  • This year, Lord Hanuman was chosen as Thailand's Asian Athletics Championships official mascot.
  • The logo of the 25th Asian Athletics Championships 2023 depicted the athletes participating in the Games, their skills, the athletes' teamwork, athleticism, dedication and display of sportsmanship.

Indian athletes won a total of 27 medals

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

12. The new Integrated Terminal Building of Port Blair Veer Savarkar International Airport will be inaugurated on 18 July.

  • The new Integrated Terminal Building of Port Blair Veer Savarkar International Airport will be inaugurated by PM Modi through video conferencing.
  • The new building has been constructed at a cost of Rs 710 crore. This airport will play a major role in increasing connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar.
  • The new terminal building of the airport has been constructed in an area of 40 thousand 8 hundred square meters. Every year 50 thousand passengers will be able to travel from here.
  • An apron has been constructed at the airport at a cost of Rs 80 crore which is suitable for two aircraft of Boeing 767-400 and Airbus 321 type.
  • With its construction, the airport will be able to park 10 aircraft at a time.
  • The shape of this airport is based on the structure representing the sea and the island.
  • The new airport terminal building has many facilities that will reduce power consumption.
  • Along with this, arrangements have also been made to get maximum natural sunlight so that the use of artificial lighting system in the building is reduced.
  • Apart from this, L.E.D. Lighting has also been used. To save water, an underground arrangement has been made to store rain water here.
  • A plant has also been installed to clean the dirty water and use it again.

Port Blair Veer Savarkar International Airport

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

13. NITI Aayog launched National Multidimensional Poverty Index.

  • NITI Aayog released a report titled ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023’.
  • It has been released by Suman Bery, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog.
  • As per this report, 13.5 crore people moved out of multidimensional poverty between 2015-16 and 2019-21.
  • This second edition of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) shows India's progress in reducing multidimensional poverty between both the surveys, NFHS-4 (2015-16) and NFHS-5 (2019-21).
  • This report is based on the baseline report of India's MPI launched in November 2021.
  • The National MPI tracks deprivations across dimensions of health, education, and standard of living based on 12 SDG-aligned indicators.
  • Nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts are the 12 indicators of SDG.
  • As per the report, India’s multidimensionally poor percentage has declined from 24.85% in 2015-16 to 14.96% in 2019-2021.
  • Poverty declined in rural areas was faster as compared to urban areas.
  • Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in number of poor. Around 3.43 crore people came out of multidimensional poverty.
  • This report estimates poverty for 36 States and Union Territories and 707 Administrative Districts.
  • The fastest reduction in the proportion of multidimensional poor has been registered in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
  • The MPI value has nearly halved from 0.117 to 0.066 between 2015-16 and 2019-21. The intensity of poverty has reduced from 47% to 44%.
  • Government focus on improving access to sanitation, nutrition, cooking fuel, financial inclusion, drinking water, and electricity has led to significant improvement.
  • All 12 parameters of the MPI have shown improvement.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

14. Foreign Ministers meeting of BIMSTEC started in Bangkok, Thailand.

  • The first-ever Foreign Ministers’ meeting of the BIMSTEC started in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attend the meeting.
  • On 16th July, Jaishankar Co-chaired the 12th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting in Bangkok.
  • Many issues will be discussed during this meeting including the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.
  • BIMSTEC:
    • It was established in 1997 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration
    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional multilateral organisation.
    • Around 22% of the world’s population lives in member countries of BIMSTEC. It has a combined GDP of around $2.7 trillion.
    • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are members of BIMSTEC.
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