Daily Current Affairs and GK | 23 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 23 Aug 2023 17:53 PM IST

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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

1. G20 countries spent a record $1.4 trillion to support fossil fuels in 2022.

  • According to a study titled “Fanning the Flames: G20 Provides Record Financial Support for Fossil Fuels”, G20 members spent approximately Rs 116 lakh crore to support fossil fuels in 2022.
  • This study has been released by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and its partners.
  • The support to fossil fuels includes fossil fuel subsidies ($1 trillion), investments by state-owned enterprises ($322 billion) and lending from public financial institutions ($50 billion).
  • The report comes ahead of the Leaders’ Summit in Delhi on September 9-10.
  • Despite the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change, G-20 countries continue to spend massive amounts of public money on fossil fuels.
  • The G20 countries have the responsibility to transform fossil-based energy systems.
  • As per the report, the taxes on fossil fuels in G20 member countries at present don’t reflect their costs to society as many members failed to impose windfall taxes on record profits.
  • Researchers estimated that by establishing minimum carbon taxes levels of $25–75/tCO2e, depending on the country's income, G20 nations could generate an additional $1 trillion annually.

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

2. An MoU signed by Indian Coast Guard, and the Philippines Coast Guard for enhancing maritime cooperation.

  • In a significant step towards strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and the Philippines, this MoU has been signed to enhance maritime cooperation.
  • On 22 August 2023, the MoU was signed by Rakesh Pal, Director General Indian Coast Guard, and PCG Admiral Artemio M Abu, Commandant, at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi.
  • The two sides also held the first bilateral meeting on various issues in the maritime domain.
  • The MoU signed is aimed at enhancing professional partnerships between both the Coast Guard organizations in the field of Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR), and Marine Pollution Response (MPR).
  • The implementation of this MoU will enhance bilateral maritime cooperation between the two countries to ensure safe, secure and clean seas in the region.
  • The first bilateral meeting between the two maritime agencies marks a dedication to strengthening professional ties by sharing best practices and enhancing joint exercise and training cooperation.
  • A five-member PCG delegation is on an official visit to India from 20-24 August 2023.
  • Earlier, the delegation had visited Goa on August 21, where they witnessed the operational capabilities of Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft under 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
  • During the visit, the delegation was also provided with a customer demonstration flight on Indian Coast Guard Advanced Light Helicopter MK-III.
  • The delegates also visited Indian Coast Guard Ship Sujit built by Goa Shipyard Limited.

MoU signed by Indian Coast Guard and the Philippines Coast Guard

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Personality in News 

3. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar would be the ‘National Icon’ for voter awareness and education for the Election Commission of India (ECI).

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed with Sachin Tendulkar for three years at a function on 23 August 2023.
  • The MoU will be signed in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.
  • Through this partnership, the Election Commission aims to bridge the gap between citizens, particularly youth and urban populations, and the electoral process.
  • The Election Commission is trying to address the challenges of urban and youth apathy.
  • In 2022, the Election Commission selected actor Pankaj Tripathi as the National Icon.
  • M.S. Dhoni, Aamir Khan, and MaryKom had been the ECI National Icons during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Books and Authors

4. HarperCollins announces the publication of 'Drunk on Love: The Life, Vision and Songs of Kabir'.  

  • 'Drunk on Love: The Life, Vision and Songs of Kabir' is written by Vipul Rikhi.
  • It captures the life of Kabir, his poetry, and his vision. It captures his life as told through popular legends.
  • It explores his vision through concepts like ‘Jheeni’, ‘Raam’, ‘Guru’, ‘Sahaj’, ‘Shoonya’, and others.
  • Vipul’s other works are One Palace, a Thousand Doorways and I Saw Myself: Journeys with Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
  • Vipul’s famous work with Kabir Project has involved the creation of a vast digital archive called ‘Ajab Shahar’.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

5. BRICS nations have reached an agreement to introduce a new university ranking system.

  • BRICS Education Ministers have reached an agreement to develop an autonomous university rating system.
  • BRICS Education Ministers gathered in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
  • The main subject of the meeting was the need for accountable and pertinent education and training in the modern global landscape.
  • Konstantin Mogilevsky, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education in Russia, emphasized the need for a new evaluation framework.
  • Representatives from the Ministries of Education of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa supported this proposition.
  • China's Deputy Minister of Education emphasized the importance of the upcoming rating system being based on qualitative rather than quantitative benchmarks.

Topic: National News

6. Annual Capacity Building plan launched by Union Minister Giriraj Singh in New Delhi.

  • On 22 August, the Annual Capacity Building Plan of the Department of Rural Development, Department of Land Resources, and Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been launched in New Delhi.
  • The Annual Capacity Building Plan is a comprehensive strategic document designed to assist in the development and improvement of the skills of individuals.
  • The scheme would play a vital role in the delivery of services, implementation of programs, and core functions of governance.
  • Along with this, officers will also be imparted training to acquire the necessary skills for better performance, so that the ministry/department can perform better by achieving public-oriented objectives.
  • The annual Capacity Building Plan (ACBP) is a planning document prepared based on the capacity enhancement needs of the officials of the Ministry/Department/Organization (MDO).
  • This is determined through a Capability Needs Analysis (CNA), prioritization of capabilities against the need of the officers, and the importance of the capability to the Ministry.
  • A Capacity Building Unit (CBU) has been created in all three departments to implement and sustain the ACBP.
  • For the implementation of ACBP, 2.5% expenditure of the salary head of the department will be earmarked.

Annual Capacity Building plan

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

7. PM Modi took part in the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue in Johannesburg on 22 August 2023.

  • He addressed the BRICS Business Forum Leaders' Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • While addressing the BRICS Business Forum Leaders' Dialogue, he said that despite economic turmoil in the global economy, India remains the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
  • He said that India will soon become a five trillion dollar economy.
  • PM Modi reached South Africa on 22 August to attend the 15th BRICS Summit.
  • He was received by Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile.
  • The theme of the BRICS Summit is BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism.
  • PM Modi will also take part in BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue event.
  • From South Africa, PM Modi will go to the Greek capital Athens. He will go to Athens at the invitation of Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This will be his first visit to Athens.
  • BRICS include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRICS represent over 42% of the global population, 23% of world GDP, and 18% of global trade.

Topic: International Appointments

8. Srettha Thavisin has been elected as the new prime minister of Thailand.

  • Srettha Thavisin has been elected after months of political deadlock.
  • After a deadlock, Thailand has been administered by a caretaker government since March.
  • In May, the election was won by the Move Forward party led by liberal Pita Limjaroenrat.  
  • However, Pita Limjaroenrat fell 51 votes short of the majority needed from Thailand’s bicameral National Assembly.
  • Srettha Thavisin belongs to the Pheu Thai Party. He required 375 votes to become premier. He won 482 votes.
  • Pheu Thai was Thailand’s second-largest party. It had formed an 11-party alliance.
  • Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand for the first time since 2008.
  • Thailand:
    • It is a country in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos.
    • It is bordered to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia.
    • It shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the southeast, and Indonesia and India to the southwest.
    • Its capital is Bangkok. Baht is its currency. It is a unitary parliamentary semi-democratic constitutional monarchy.

Topic: New Developments

9. Union Minister Jitendra Singh launched CSIR Prima ET11.

  • CSIR Prima ET11, India’s first indigenous e-Tractor, has been developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted the role of Agri StartUps in India’s economy and called for the adoption of new and AI-driven technologies in Agriculture.
  • Many new startups are venturing into the Agriculture sector with different technologies including e-Tractor, recycling garbage, drip irrigation, and Genome sequenced farming.
  • On this occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh released a book by CSIR-CIMAP and a compendium on 75 technologies developed by CSIR.
  • The CSIR-CMERI will celebrate the theme-based campaign “One Week One Lab” from 11-15 September 2023.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh also proposed the creation of a separate cell for encouraging investment.
  • Under this campaign, the laboratory's cutting-edge research, products and technologies will be showcased.

Topic: National News

10. TRAI released recommendations on “License Fee and Policy Matters of DTH Services”.

  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry should provide a reliable method for the deduction verification procedure through a single window site, according to TRAI's recommendation.
  • It also stated that DTH Licensee should pay an annual license fee equivalent to 3 per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue.
  • In the next three years, License Fee for DTH Licensees should be brought down to zero.
  • After the end of the financial year 2026-2027, DTH Licensees should not be charged any License Fee.
  • The Licensee should submit an initial Bank Guarantee of five crore rupees for the first two quarters from any Scheduled Bank to the Ministry.
  • The DTH operation in India is governed by the policy guidelines for obtaining the license for providing DTH broadcasting services.
  • These guidelines prescribe a License Fee, which is a non-tax cost imposed on a service provider in exchange for permission of carrying out a licenced activity.

License Fee and Policy Matters of DTH Services

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

11. The first respiratory syncytial virus vaccine approved by US Food and Drug Administration.

  • The first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine has been approved for use in women during pregnancy to protect the baby.
  • Pfizer has developed this respiratory syncytial virus vaccine.
  • Its approval allows the vaccine to be given to women 32 to 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTD) and severe disease in infants up to six months of age.
  • Maternal vaccination can prevent a large number of hospitalizations due to RSV.
  • The syncytial virus is considered a common cause of illness in children, while infants are at the highest risk of severe illness.
  • RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms but can also lead to severe illness and hospitalization.
  • The vaccine, name Abrysvo, is already approved for use in adults aged 60 and older to block infection from the disease.
  • This disease kills an estimated 1,60,000 people globally each year.
  • It is estimated that 58,000 to 80,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized each year in the United States due to RSV infection.

syncytial virus vaccine approved by US Food and Drug Administration

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National Appointments

12. Parminder Chopra became the first woman to be appointed as head of the Power Finance Corporation.

  • On August 17, Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC) appointed Parminder Chopra as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD).
  • Her appointment took effect on August 14, 2023, making her the first woman to lead the company.
  • Earlier, she was holding the additional charge of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) with effect from June 1, 2023, and Director (Finance) of PFC with effect from July 1, 2020.
  • Parminder Chopra was honored with the 'Icon of the Year' and 'Finance Leader of the Year' awards for his significant contribution to the field of business, finance, society, and nation.
  • Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC):
    • Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) was formed in 1986. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
    • Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is its subsidiary.
    • PFC is the largest infrastructure finance company dedicated to the power sector.
    • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

13. Government is planning to launch 'Mera Bill Mera Adhikar' GST reward scheme in 6 states.

  • The government will launch the 'Mera Bill Mera Adhikar' invoice incentive scheme.
  • Under this scheme, a cash prize from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 crore will be provided to six states and Union Territories.
  • It will be launched in the states of Assam, Gujarat and Haryana; and the UTs of Puducherry, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
  • Under the Invoice incentive scheme, Cash prizes will be given on uploading GST invoices.
  • All invoices issued by Goods and Services Tax (GST) registered suppliers to consumers will be eligible for the 'Mera Bill Mera Adhikar' scheme.
  • The minimum purchase value for the invoice to be considered for the lucky draw is Rs 200.
  • The 'Mera Bill Mera Adhikar' mobile app will be also launched on both IOS and Android platforms.
  • The seller's GSTIN, invoice number, amount paid, and tax amount should all be included on the invoice that is uploaded to the app.

Topic: Appointments 

14. Neelkanth Mishra has been selected as the part-time Chairman of UIDAI.  

  • After Nandan Nilekani, he will be the 2nd non-bureaucrat to chair UIDAI.  
  • Neelesh Shah and IIT Delhi Professor Mausam has been appointed as members of the UIDAI.  
  • The Chairperson and the Members will hold the office for three years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, from the date on which they assume office.  
  • Neelkanth Mishra is Chief Economist with Axis Bank. He is also part of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. 
  • Nilesh Shah is the Managing Director (MD) of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management. 
  • Unique Identification Authority Of India (UIDAI): 
    • It was established as a statutory authority under the Aadhaar Act 2016. 
    • It works under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). 
    • Amit Agrawal is the Chief Executive Officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India. 
    • It consists of a Chairperson, two part-time Members and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  
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