Daily Current Affairs and GK | 21 April 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 18:53 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. Ministry of Jal Shakti released the first census of Water Bodies.

  • The First Census of Water Bodies has been conducted in association with the 6th Minor Irrigation (MI) Census under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Irrigation Census”.
  • In this census, 24,24,540 water bodies have been recorded out of which 97.1% (23,55,055) are in rural areas and only 2.9% (69,485) are in urban areas.
  • 59.5% (14,42,993) of water bodies are ponds while 15.7% (3,81,805) of water bodies are tanks.
  • West Bengal has the highest number of ponds & reservoirs while Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of tanks.
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of lakes and Maharashtra is the leading state in the water conservation scheme.
  • Maximum Water bodies are used in pisciculture, followed by irrigation, groundwater recharge and domestic/drinking purpose.
  • 13,38,735 water bodies are owned by private entities while 10,85,805 water bodies are under public ownership.
  • Out of the total water bodies, 78% (18,90,463) are man-made while 22% (5,34,077) are natural water bodies.
  • 12.7% (3,06,960) of all water bodies have storage capacities greater than 10,000 cubic metres, whereas 50% (12,12,283) have storage capacities between 1,000 to 10,000 cubic metres.
  • 2,29,889 water bodies are covered in District Irrigation Plan/State Irrigation Plan.

Topic: State News/ Haryana

2. Haryana CM launched 3 online services to digitally empower Persons With Disabilities (PwDs).

  • The Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched three online initiatives — Pro-active Divyang Pension Service, ‘Tau se pucho’ WhatsApp chatbot and an online room booking facility at PWD (B&R) rest houses.
  • These initiatives have been launched under the state government’s vision of paperless and transparent governance.
  • WhatsApp Chatbot called ‘Tau Se Poochho’ along with a web-based chatbot solution has been created by the Haryana Parivar Pehchan Authority.
  • ‘Tau Se Pucho’ bilingual chatbot is integrated with WhatsApp and is designed to give quick responses to the queries raised by the citizens.
  • A Portal has been also launched for room booking at PWD (B&R) rest houses.
  • Haryana government is committed to providing all services to PWDs at their doorsteps.
  • Persons With Disabilities (PwDs) will now get their pensionary benefits at home. They don’t have to visit the offices to get their benefits.

Topic: Art and Culture

3. Jitgadhi festival has been celebrated in Nepal.

  • On April 20, the Jitgadhi festival has been celebrated in Butwal of Rupandehi district of Lumbini province.
  • Every year, the festival is celebrated to mark the victory by the Nepal Army over the British Government, the then East India Company.
  • Colonel Ujir Singh Thapa led the Nepal army and conquered the Jitgadhi fort on 7 Baisakh 1872 BS, taking down the British Army.
  • Every year, the festival is celebrated in Butwal Sub Metropolitan City to commemorate the conquest of the fort.
  • On this occasion, the main celebration committee of Jitagadhi Fort welcomed an army contingent, which walked 370 kilometer from Gorkha to participate in the festival.
  • Jitagadh Fort is spread over an area of 500 square feet, East-West length of Jeetgarhi is 205 feet and width is about 55 feet.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

4. 4% reservation for Divyang employees in promotions announced by Maharashtra Govt.

  • This reservation will be applicable to those cadres in which the proportion of recruitment through direct service does not exceed 75%.
  • It was also decided by the state cabinet to pay all the pending dues as per the 7th pay commission to the non-teaching staff serving in all non-agriculture universities.
  • Every year on 1st July, the arrears will be paid in five instalments over the next five years.
  • The cabinet also decided that women belonging to open and backward categories will no longer be required to produce non-creamy layer certificate for the posts reserved for them under the open category.
  • Maharashtra had created a Divyang department for the welfare of differently-abled people in December 2022.It is the first state in India to do so.
  • A proposal to bring 30% of agriculture feeders under solar energy as part of the 'Chief Minister Solar Agriculture Feeder Scheme' has been approved by the state cabinet.
  • Its aim to ensure uninterrupted and sustainable power supply for agriculture pumps.

Topic: International Appointment

5. Narayan Prasad Saud has taken charge as Nepal’s new Foreign Minister.

  • Narayan Prasad Saud, Nepali Congress leader, has been sworn in as Nepal’s new Foreign Minister.
  • The newly appointed Foreign Minister, Narayan Prasad Saud, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Chandra Poudel at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • 60-year-old Saud is also a member of the Central Committee of the Nepali Congress and has been elected to the House of Representatives from Kanchan, a constituency in far-western Nepal.
  • Previously, he has also served as the Minister of State for Education and Sports and Minister of Irrigation.
  • In other appointment, Nanda Chapai of the CPN-Unified Socialist has also been sworn in as Minister of State in the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

Topic: Summits/Conference/Meetings

6. On 20 April, two days EU-India Aviation Summit held in New Delhi.

  • During the summit, the Airports Authority of India and Eurocontrol have signed a declaration of intent.
  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has signed a letter of intent with the European Union on Aviation Security for closer cooperation.
  • The summit focused on the EU-India air transport relationship and the shared challenges and opportunities of both regions such as the post-COVID recovery of air traffic, increasing sustainable development, maintaining safety and the development of unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Shri Scindia said that government has improved the regulatory environment in order to make the conditions as favorable as possible for MROs.
  • GST rates on MRO services have been reduced from 18% to 5% and 100% FDI has been allowed in this sector.
  • New MRO guidelines have also been issued in order to rationalize the charges levied on MRO service providers for ease of doing business.
  • Government is encouraging airports to use 100% green energy by 2024 and to achieve net-zero by 2030.  
  • 25 AAI airports are already using 100% green energy.
  • The government aims to make another 121 airports carbon neutral by 2025.

EU-India Aviation Summit

(Source: News on Air)

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Topic: National News

7. An agreement for the settlement of an inter-state boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has been signed.

  • The governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have signed this agreement.
  • On 20 April 2023, Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu signed the agreement in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
  • The agreement will end the dispute relating to 123 villages along the border.
  • After the agreement, the Survey of India will conduct a detailed survey to determine the boundaries of both states.
  • Home Minister Amit Shah said with the signing of this agreement over a 700-kilometer-long border dispute between these two States which was pending for decades, has now been completely resolved.

Topic: National News

8. Millets Fair and Exhibition concluded on 21 April 2023 at Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

  • On the concluding day of the two-day Millets Fair and Exhibition, a detailed discussion was held on promoting the production of Millets.
  • A discussion was also held on promoting Sri Anna (Millet) and its products in foreign countries. 
  • Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was the chief guest on the occasion.
  • Minister of State for Food Processing Prahlad Singh Patel and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Kailash Chowdhary were present as special guests on the occasion.
  • On 20 April 2023, on the first day of the Mahotsav, emphasis was laid on the promotion and advertisement of Millets.
  • The Millets Fair was organized by the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries at Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.

Millets Fair and Exhibition

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Defence

9. Indian Air Force will participate in Exercise INIOCHOS-23 from 24 April to 4 May 2023.

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) will participate in a multi-national air exercise INIOCHOS-23. It will be hosted by the Hellenic Air Force.
  • The exercise will be conducted at the Andravida air base in Greece.
  • Four Su-30 MKI and two C-17 aircraft will participate in the exercise.
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a twinjet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia while the C-17 Globemaster III is a strategic transport aircraft.
  • The main aim of the exercise is to enhance international cooperation, synergy and interoperability among the participating Air Forces.
  • It will be conducted in a realistic combat scenario involving multiple types of air and surface assets.
  • Participating contingents will engage in professional interactions and provide valuable insight into each other’s best practices.
  • Additionally, the USA with F-16s and MQ-9s, Austria with INTEL personnel and Canada with Air Battle Managers will also take part in the exercise.
  • Cyprus with an AW139 Helicopter; France with Rafales; Italy with Tornados; Jordan with F-16s; Saudi Arabia with F-15s; Slovenia with PC-9s will participate in the exercise.

Indian Air Force will participate in Exercise INIOCHOS-23

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

10. Ministry of Health proposed to develop 100 Food Streets in 100 districts.

  • The Ministry of Health in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs urged States and Union Territories to develop 100 food streets in 100 districts across India.
  • This initiative has been started as a pilot project for ensuring hygienic and safe food practices across the country.
  • The main aim of the initiative is to encourage safe and healthy food practices among food businesses and community members.
  • Safe and healthy food practices will help in reducing foodborne illnesses and improving the overall health of people.
  • This initiative will be implemented through National Health Mission (NHM) in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The technical support will be provided by FSSAI.
  • For this initiative, States/UTs will be given financial assistance of Rs 1 crore per food street/districts to address critical deficiencies. 100 food streets will be opened up in 100 districts across the country.
  • The financial assistance will be provided under National Health Mission (NHM) in the ratio of 60:40.
  • Financial assistance will be provided in the ratio of 90:10 with the condition that standard branding of these food streets will be done as per FSSAI guidelines.

Topic: Important Days

11. National Civil Services Day 2023: 21 April

  • Every year on April 21, India celebrates Civil Services Day.
  • The day is celebrated to mark the efforts of civil servants who work tirelessly in various departments and organizations to ensure the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery.
  • The theme of the Civil Services Day 2023 is 'Viksit Bharat'— 'Empowering Citizens and Reaching the Last Mile'.
  • Civil servants are responsible for the formation and implementation of government programs.
  • The government decided to celebrate National Civil Services Day on 21 April because on 21 April 1947 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister of India, addressed the newly appointed and constituted civil service officers.
  • In 2006, the first National Civil Service Day was observed.
  • Charles Cornwallis is known as the "Father of the Indian Civil Service" for his contribution to the reform and modernization of India's civil services.
  • 16th Civil Services Day programme has been inaugurated by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar in New Delhi on April 20.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

12. 8th Defense Dialogue between India and Thailand held in Bangkok on 20 April.

  • Nivedita Shukla Verma, Special Secretary, Ministry of Defense co-chaired the meeting along with General Nuchit Sribunsong, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Defense of Thailand.
  • Nivedita Shukla Verma was on an official visit to Bangkok from April 20-21, 2023.
  • Defense cooperation between the two countries reviewed in the dialogue and new initiatives sought to strengthen bilateral relations.
  • The two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of common interest.
  • India and Thailand have an important partnership and the defense sector is a major pillar of this cooperation.
  • Bilateral defense ties have expanded over time between both countries. It includes Defence Dialogue meeting, military-to-military exchanges, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes and bilateral exercises.

8th Defense Dialogue between India and Thailand

(Source: News on Air)

Topic: National News

13. MeitY proposed rules for Aadhaar authentication by entities other than Government Ministries and Departments.

  • To make Aadhaar people-friendly, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has proposed rules to enable Aadhaar authentication by entities other than Government Ministries and Departments.
  • In 2019, entities were allowed to perform authentication through an amendment in the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
  • Entities were only allowed to perform authentication after UIDAI get satisfied with their standards of privacy and security.
  • As of now, Government Ministries and Departments are allowed to undertake Aadhaar Authentication in the interest of good governance.
  • MeitY has now proposed that any entity other than Government Ministry or Department has to prepare a proposal and has to prove that authentication sought is in the interest of the state.
  • The proposal should be for promoting ease of living and enabling better access to services, preventing dissipation of social welfare benefits, innovation and spread of knowledge, etc.
  • If the Ministry/Department believes that the proposal submitted fulfils the purpose and is in the interest of the state then it could forward the proposal to MeitY.
  • The proposed amendments has been posted for the feedbacks of stakeholders and the general public.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

14. India ranked third in Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2023.

  • India retained third place with 68 unicorns in the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2023.
  • According to the report, there are currently 1,361 unicorns globally.
  • Edtech firm BYJU’S topped the list from India with a valuation of $22 billion.
  • Foodtech platform Swiggy, and gaming company Dream11 are the other top unicorns of India.
  • Globally, logistics unicorn Delhivery is on the 14th spot in the list of top IPOs of last year.
  • 70 unicorns were started by Indian co-founders outside of India. The total number of unicorns founded by Indians globally rises to 138.
  • The United States is in the first position with 666 unicorns while China is in the second spot with 316 unicorns.
  • The Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2023 has been designed to give an insight of the future’s economy.
  • According to Hurun Global Unicorn Index, the number of countries with at least one unicorn has doubled from 24 to 48.
  • The period of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the fastest unicorn creation rate in history, with almost one new unicorn every day.
  • A privately-owned startup company worth more than $1 billion is called a “Unicorn”.
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