Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 July 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 19 Jul 2023 17:15 PM IST

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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

1. India recorded 93% DPT3 immunization coverage in 2022: WHO

  • As per a report by World Health Organization and UNICEF, India has surpassed the pre-pandemic record of childhood immunization coverage.
  • DPT3 (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) coverage stood at 93% in 2022. It surpassed the pre-pandemic record of 91% in 2019 and 85% in 2021.
  • The WHO and UNICEF released estimates for national immunization coverage for 2022 on 18 July.
  • DPT3 coverage in WHO South-East Asia Region reached to the 91%.
  • The number of zero-dose children, those that have not received even the first dose of DPT vaccine, halved to 2.3 million in 2022 in South-East Asia.
  • The number of children, who had received at least one dose of the DPT vaccine but did not complete three doses, has reduced from 1.3 million in 2021 to 650,000 in 2022.
  • As per the report, the South Asia region had the best immunization recoveries among all the WHO regions.
  • Indonesia reported a DPT3 coverage of 85% in 2022 while it was 98% in Bangladesh.
  • Global immunization services have covered four million more children in 2022 as compared to the previous year.
  • Out of the total 73 countries that recorded a substantial decline in immunization coverage during the pandemic, 15 have recovered to pre-pandemic levels and 24 are on the route to recovery.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

2. Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated two National Highway projects in Lucknow on 17 July 2023.

  • The projects have been inaugurated at an investment of over Rs 3,300 crore.
  • The inaugurated projects include Madiyav-I.I.M. of the Lucknow-Sitapur section on National Highway 24.
  • This will ensure better connectivity from Lucknow to Sitapur. It will avoid heavy traffic jams at Bhitauli Tiraha and Jankipuram Extention.
  • The inaugurated projects include a four-lane widening of Naviganj to Mitrasenpur on the Aligarh-Kanpur section.
  • This will facilitate traffic between Naviganj, Kannauj, Mitrasenpur and further to Delhi.
  • This section will also provide a boost in the perfume hub of Uttar Pradesh, Kannauj.
  • Shri Gadkari also announced that projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore would be finished in Uttar Pradesh by 2024.
  • He also laid the foundation stones of 164 development schemes worth Rs 475 crores on the occasion.

National Highway projects in Lucknow on 17 July 2023

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Awards and Prizes

3. IIT professor won Eni Award for clean water innovations.

  • Professor T Pradeep from IIT Madras has won Eni Award for his work in providing affordable and sustainable clean water using nanoscale materials.
  • His work focuses on developing cost-effective technologies for removing toxic contaminants from water.
  • He has won the award in the field of Advanced Environmental Solutions. The Eni Awards are given in three categories.
  • The President of Italy will present the award to Professor Thalappil Pradeep.
  • He has earlier won Padma Shri, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and Nikkei Asia Prize.
  • Eni Award was established in 2007. It aims to encourage the development of radical breakthroughs in energy efficiency, renewables, decarbonisation, and environmental preservation.

Topic: Indian Economy

4. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has kept India economic growth forecast at 6.4% for this fiscal year.

  • Indian economy grew 7.2% in 2022-23. ADB said India is expected to grow by 6.7% in FY2024.
  • In an update to Asian Development Outlook (ADO), ADB cut down its inflation projection for this fiscal year (FY24) at 4.9%.
  • It said core inflation will be stubbornly high. Core inflation excludes food and fuel.
  • In this fiscal year, consumption demand in India will recover with rise in both rural and urban demand. Investment growth will remain robust.
  • However, the global economic slowdown has stopped merchandise trade. This will affect growth.
  • ADB has kept inflation for developing economies in Asia this year at 3.6% and 3.4% in 2024. 
  • It said developing economies in Asia and Pacific will grow at 4.8% in 2023.
  • The growth forecast for 2024 is marginally revised down from a 4.8% estimate in April.
  • China’s economy will grow at 5% in 2023. This has remained unchanged from the April forecast.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

5. India has been ranked 80th in the Henley Passport Index 2023, released on July 18, 2023.

  • India’s rank has gone up from 87 to 80 in the Henley Passport Index 2023.
  • Indians can travel to 57 destinations without a visa.
  • India was ranked 87th on the Passport Index in the 2022 ranking.
  • Singapore has overtaken Japan to claim the most powerful passport in the world.
  • Singapore allows passport holders visa-free entry to 192 out of 227 destinations in the world.
  • The second spot is shared by Germany, Italy, and Spain, and the third spot is shared by Austria and Finland.
  • Afghanistan's passport is ranked 103rd with a visa-free score of 27, the worst passport in the world.
  • Iraq ranked 102nd with a visa-free score of 29, second-worst passport in the world.
  • The global passport rankings for 2023 were conducted on the basis of data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA).
  • IATA ranks the world's passports by the number of destinations their holders can access without prior visas.
  • Henley Passport Index:
    • It was launched in 2006.
    • The index covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.
    • Each passport is ranked on the total number of destinations the holder can access visa-free.

Rank

Country

No. of visa-free destinations

1

Singapore

192

2

Germany

190

2

Italy

190

2

Spain

190

3

Austria

189

3

Finland

189

80

India

57

 

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

6. PM Mitra Textile Park was launched in Amravati, Maharashtra.

  • On 16 July, the ambitious Prime Minister's Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Park was formally launched at Amravati in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region.
  • It is expected to attract investment of Rs 10,000 crore and create employment for 300,000 individuals.
  • Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal stated that PM MITRA Park would further strengthen the rapid progress of Maharashtra.
  • Maharashtra significantly contribute to the entire textile value chain from farm to factory.
  • During the event, an MoU was signed between the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the Government of Maharashtra, and the Ministry of Textiles for setting up PM Mitra Park.
  • The park spans across a contiguous 1020 acres of land at Nandgaon Peth, adjacent to the Additional Amravati Industrial Area.
  • India's first Mega Textile Park was launched in Tamil Nadu.
  • PM MITRA:
    • The government issued a notification for setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel in 2021.
    • It was launched with a total outlay of Rs 4,445 crores.
    • It is inspired by the 5F (Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign) vision
    • Sites for PM MITRA Parks are selected by a Challenge Method based on objective criteria.

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Topic: International News

7. A call for proposals on Critical and Emerging Technology: Quantum Technologies and Artificial Intelligence for Transforming Lives have been jointly launched by India and the United States.

  • The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the Secretariat for U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) have designed the program.
  • US Secretary, Department of Energy, Ms Jennifer M. Granholm met with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh on 18 July 2023.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh said through this program, the USISTEF selects promising joint U.S.-India technology innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives.
  • These joint initiatives can be from U.S. and Indian entities including StartUps, government, academic, or commercial endeavours.
  • Provided they focus on practical research and development. They should have significant sustainable commercial potential.
  • A $2 million grant program under the USISTEF has been launched for the joint development and commercialization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantum technologies.
  • The call for proposals will remain open till August 31, 2023.

Topic: Indian Polity

8. 26 opposition parties have formed INDIA to fight the Lok Sabha election.

  • INDIA is the short form for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.
  • The Congress National President Mallikarjuna Kharge made this announcement after the meeting of opposition parties in Bengaluru on 18 July 2023.
  • He said that the INDIA alliance will take on NDA during the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
  • He said that the next meeting will be held in Mumbai. In the Mumbai meeting, a decision will be taken to form an 11 Member Coordination Committee. Under this committee, the Lok Sabha election will be fought.
  • A Convener will be elected among the 11 Committee members. A Secretariat will be established in Delhi.
  • This was the second conclave of Opposition parties. The first Opposition meeting was held in Patna on June 23. It was attended by the leaders of only 15 parties.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

9. China reported 52.2C record temperature in mid-July.

  • The temperature in China touched a new record of 52.2C in mid-July.
  • 52.2 degrees Celsius temperature has been recorded at Sanbao village in Xinjiang region.
  • It has broken the record of 50.6 degrees Celsius which was registered in July 2017.
  • Heatwaves are breaking new records in the whole world. Many Asian countries have been hit by heat waves.
  • As per climate experts, the target of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5°C is moving out of reach.
  • Thailand hit a record high of 45°C in April. India’s two states also witnessed severe heat stroke.
  • Europe is also witnessing heat waves effect. The temperature in Italy is projected to reach 40°C to 45°C.
  • Temperature rise is also witnessed in southern and eastern European countries like France, Spain, Poland and Greece.
  • Dangers of extreme temperature are as follows:
    • Heatstroke and extreme temperatures can affect human health.
    • Heatwaves can reduce water availability, and impact electricity production.
    • Extreme heat could have a negative impact on economic growth.
    • Extreme heat can reduce agricultural production.

Topic: International News

10. Russia refused to renew Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine.

  • Russia has decided to withdrawn itself from an UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine.
  • Russia refuse to renew the grain deal, which assured the safe passage of ships carrying grain from Ukraine.
  • The Black Sea grain deal expired on 17 July 2023.
  • Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest exporters of food grains and a major contributor to the UN’s food aid programmes.
  • The non-renewal of the deal could impact the global food grains supply.
  • Why has Russia not agreed to renew it?
    • Russia claimed that promises of the deal haven’t been met. It is struggling in exporting many agricultural products and fertilizers due to sanctions from many countries.
    • Russia blamed Ukraine that it has exported food grains to mainly high-and middle-income countries while the deal was agreed to ensure global food security.

Topic: State News/ Madhya Pradesh

11. A Chatbot launched by MP governmentt and UNFPA for adolescents on sexual health issues.

  • On 16 July, an Artificial Intelligence-enabled chatbot was launched by the Madhya Pradesh government and the United Nations Population Fund.
  • MP Health Minister Prabhuram Choudhary and UNFPA India Representative Andrea M Wojnar launched the 'Just Ask/Khulke Poochho' chatbot.
  • The chatbot will address social issues among adolescents and young adults. It will provide accurate and accessible information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
  • This platform will help users with questions related to body changes, menstruation, reproductive health, pregnancy and family planning, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other SRHR topics.
  • The Chatbot is designed to make the user experience secure, personalised, multilingual and empathetic.
  • It features two aspiring role models, Dhruv and Drishti, who convey information in a simple and relevant manner.

Topic: National Appointment

12. UP government appointed Arvind Kumar as chief of UPERC.

  • On 15 July, Arvind Kumar, a retired IAS officer, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC).
  • He has been appointed for a period of five years from the date of appointment or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
  • He has replaced Raj Pratap Singh, who completed his term as the chairman on June 30.
  • Kumar was appointed as an advisor on industries to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after the retirement in February 2023.
  • UPERC
    • It is a quasi-judicial body vested with the power to regulate bulk and retail power tariffs.
    • It aims to regulate the power sector in such a way that uninterrupted and cost-effective electricity is available to every household in Uttar Pradesh.
    • It is headquartered in Lucknow.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

13. India will host Global Food Regulators Summit, 2023 in New Delhi.

  • This summit will be organized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • For the first time, this summit is being held outside Rome, Italy.
  • India is planning to launch ‘food-o-copoeia’ which is a collection of safety and quality regulations for each food category.
  • A Common Digital Dashboard will be also launched. It will act as a unified portal for food-related regulations and norms.
  • The common regulator platform ‘SaNGRAH’ (Safe food for Nations: Global food Regulatory Authorities Handbook) will be also launched at the summit.
  • It is a comprehensive database of Food Regulatory Authorities from 76 countries.
  • The logo of the summit has been launched by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
  • The Global Food Regulators Summit, 2023 will be organized on 20 and 21 July.
  • This event will give a platform for participants to deliberate on food safety and regulatory aspects.
  • It will also help in understanding compliance requirements and best practices, experiences and success stories will be exchanged during the summit.
  • In this summit, Food regulators from more than 40 countries will participate along with representatives from 30 International Organizations and 25 International Research Institutes and universities.
  • Many global organizations and institutes like World Health Organization (WHO), CODEX, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) (Germany), etc. will participate in the summit.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

14. Directorate General of Foreign Trade implemented Advance Authorisation Scheme under the Foreign Trade Policy.

  • Advance Authorisation Scheme allows duty-free import of inputs for export purposes.
  • The eligibility of input will be decided by Sector-specific Norms Committees based on input-output norms.
  • The DGFT has created a user-friendly database of Ad-hoc Norms to make the norms fixation process more efficient.
  • These standards can also be used by any exporter without the need for review by the Standards Committee as mentioned in the Foreign Trade Policy 2023.
  • This facility simplifies the advance authorization and norms fixation process. It will reduce the turnaround times for exporters and improve ease of doing business.
  • The database on the DGFT Website will allow users to search using Export or Import Item Description, Technical Characteristics, or Indian Tariff Classification ITC (HS) codes.
  • Directorate General of Foreign Trade:
    • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • It is responsible for implementing the Foreign Trade Policy for promoting export.
    • The Director-General advise the central government in formulating Foreign Trade Policy.
    • Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
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