The Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, which spans the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, to promote a seamless and efficient entrance process for vehicles entering the forest area.
· The initiative intends to create a payment mechanism based on FASTag at forest entry points.
It would increase the advantages of the Ecosystem Management Coordination
(EMC) fee being collected by FASTag at various Tiger Reserve entry points.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) established IHMCL to carry out electronic tolling.
i.The FASTag system, which uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to permit automatic toll payments at toll plazas, has been mandated throughout India for installation on all vehicles with four wheels or above.
ii.Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of those places without difficulties if FASTag-based payments are enabled at forest entry points.
iii.This collaboration between IHMCL and the Forest Department is a crucial step towards encouraging sustainable tourism and safeguarding natural resources by reducing motor emissions at forest entry points.
About Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL):
IHMCL was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 to carry out Electronic Tolling and other ancillary projects of NHAI jointly with its Concessionaires and Financial Institutions. The shareholding pattern of stakeholders is NHAI-41.38%, Concessionaires-33.81% and Financial Institutions 24.81%.
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) – Ajmer Singh
On April 14, 2023, the Union Minister Parshottam Rupala, Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAHD), launched projects, ‘Animal Pandemic Preparedness Initiative’ (APPI) and World Bank (WB)-funded ‘Animal Health System Support for One Health’ (AHSSOH), under the aegis of National One Health Mission to improve India’s preparedness and response to potential animal pandemics.
· AHSSOH is India’s first animal pandemic response plan in collaboration with the World Bank.
i.The collaborative project will be implemented in 5 states over a five-year period as Central sector scheme with a financial provision of Rs 1228.70 Crore.
ii.The project aims to cover 151 districts in five participating states, wherein it will target upgradation of 75 district/regional laboratories, upgradation/strengthening 300 veterinary hospitals/dispensaries.
iii.The project also intends to train 9000 para-veterinarians/diagnostic professionals and 5500 veterinary professionals.
About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAHD):
Union Minister – Parshottam Rupala (Rajya Sabha Gujarat )
Minister of State – Sanjeev Kumar Balyan ; L. Murugan
As per the data by the Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Private Limited, India’s employment rate has been increased to 36.9% in March 2023 quarter from 36.6% in December 2022 quarter.
· Between July-September 2022 and January-March 2023, about 15 million people joined the labour force.
· A little over 75% of these individuals, or 11.2 million, found jobs during this time.
i. Employment in India increased from 404.3 million in December 2022 to 410.1 million in March 2023. The workforce has increased by about 5.8 million as a result.
· A combination of an increase in labour force participation and a fall in unemployment in India led to an increase in employment.
ii. According to CMIE data, around 3.9 million people joined the labour force in this quarter, which is drastically lower than the numbers recorded previously.
· In March 2023, 444.3 million individuals were employed.
· The labour participation rate (LPR) declined from 40.5% in December to 39.8% in March 2023.
iii. However, the number of unemployed persons fell by close to 2 million, from
36.1 million in December 2022 to 34.2 million in March 2023. As a result,
India’s jobless rate decreased to 7.7%.
iv. Overall, employment in India has been increasing for the previous 3 quarters in a row. This shows that more people who are willing to work are able to find employment.
About the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE):
Managing Director- Mahesh Vyas
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
On April 13, 2023, the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) agreed to connect Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) and Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMAs) under the initiative.
· Objective: To promote innovation in the agricultural sector among school students across India.
i.KVKs, in partnership with ATMA, will collaborate with nearby ATLs to support agricultural-related innovation.
ii.AIM has mapped and shared a list of 55 ATLs (mapping each of the 11 KVKs, and ATMAs with up to 5 ATLs) based on the list of KVKs and ATMAs shared by MoA&FW.
About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare(MoA&FW):
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State (MoS) – Sushri Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi Chikmagalur, Karnataka) ;Kailash Choudhary (Barmer, Rajasthan)
i.The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India (GoI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP), clearing the way for the delivery of 10,000 metric tonnes (the fifth tranche) of wheat for the people of Afghanistan.
· The fifth tranche [to be supplied through Iran’s Chahbahar port] builds on aid already provided by the WFP for people in need in Afghanistan.
ii.This MoU is a result of the Indian declaration in March 2023 that 20,000
metric tonnes of wheat would be transported via the Iranian port of Chahbahar,
which was made at the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan.
iii.According to the WFP, there is a significant problem in Afghanistan, with 9 out of 10 Afghan families currently unable to buy enough food and at least 20 million Afghans in imminent danger of hunger.
The Republic of Ghana has become the 1st country to approve a highly
effective malaria vaccine “R21/Matrix-M” developed at Oxford University
in the United Kingdom (UK).
The vaccine was approved by Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
· The R21/Matrix-M vaccine has been licenced for use in children aged 5-36 months, who are most at risk of dying from malaria.
· Oxford’s R21/Matrix-M vaccine, meanwhile, was found to be 77 percent effective at preventing malaria
· This vaccine is the first to surpass the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of 75% efficacy.
· The vaccine R21 contains Matrix-M, a saponin-based adjuvant from Novavax that increases immune system response and increases the vaccination’s potency and durability.
WHO estimates that 619,000 people died from malaria in 2021, the majority of whom were children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
· In Ghana, where the disease is both endemic and perennial, an estimated 5.3 million cases and 12,500 deaths were recorded.
The ‘Singara Chennai Card’ [National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)] was introduced by Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) in collaboration with State Bank of India (SBI), its banking partner, in order to facilitate seamless transportation for passengers.
· SBI provides the card free of charge in the stations, however, passengers are required to provide identity proof and pay a fee of 1.8% of the amount they recharge the card.
The Singara Chennai cards are now available in Chennai metro stations as well as other metros that take RuPay NCMC cards, such as the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) Mumbai Line 2A & 7, Bangalore Metro, Delhi Metro Airport Line, Kanpur Metro, BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) Buses in Mumbai, and Kadamba Transport Buses in Goa.
· The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) developed the technology for the RuPay NCMC cards.
Singara Chennai Card – National Common Mobility Card (NCMC)
i.Initially, the Singara Chennai cards are available for purchase in 7 stations in Chennai (Tamil Nadu), including Koyambedu, Chennai Central, Chennai Airport, High Court, Alandur, Thirumangalam and Guindy, and can be used at the automatic gates of all the metro stations.
ii.The NCMC card contains a unique feature called ‘Stored Value Area’, which can hold up to Rs. 2,000 and may be utilised for offline ticket purchases.
· The NCMC, an inter-operable transport card, is designed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
iii.These cards will eventually allow commuters to use MTC buses, suburban
trains, tolls, parking, smart cities, and shops across most of India.
iv.For new card applications and recharging, SBI provides a dedicated website
· The card balance can be topped up with cash or using online bank accounts.
v.The end-to-end ticketing system for CMRL will be managed by Paycraft, a provider of digital financial services.
· Following its successful launch on the Pune Metro in March 2022, this will be Paycraft’s second ticketing system to be introduced in a year.
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
NPCI is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
MD & CEO– Dilip Asbe
Incorporated – 2008
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has announced the launch
of a pilot scheme ‘Mission 50K-EV4ECO‘ to unlock the electric vehicle
market by providing better financing terms and understanding other solution
bouquets needed to address the better adoption of electric vehicle (EV).
i.The scheme will provide direct finance at competitive rates for the purchase of EVs to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
ii.This would cover vehicle aggregators, fleet operators, and leasing companies.
iii.SIDBI will also fund non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that provide loans for EV purchases and push electrification in the three-wheeler segment.
iv.Direct finance will also be provided to the developing charging infrastructure, including battery-swapping.
i.The pilot phase of the scheme intends to strengthen the EV ecosystem, including uptake for two, three and four-wheelers through direct and indirect lending.
ii.Electric two- and three-wheelers offer the greatest potential for EV adoption in India, accounting for 79% of passenger road activity, and are being cost-competitive relative to conventional vehicles.
iii.To support India’s commitment to [email protected], SIDBI has adopted EV as a priority and by launched the mission 50K- EV4ECO to promote the entire EV value chain.
iv.Under the guidance of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), DFS (Department of Financial Service), MoF (Ministry of Finance) and GoI (government of India), SIDBIs Mission 50K-EV4ECO intends to provide better financing terms.
i.In a letter dated April 10, 2023 to HDFC Capital Advisors Limited (HCAL), the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approved the proposed change in control of HCAL subject to a few conditions.
· HCAL is a subsidiary of HDFC Limited and a co-investment portfolio manager.
· The proposed merger is contingent upon receiving final SEBI clearances for the transfer of control of specific subsidiaries of HDFC Limited.
ii.According to the proposed composite amalgamation scheme, HDFC Investments
Limited and HDFC Holdings Limited – wholly-owned subsidiaries of Housing
Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC Limited), will first be merged
into HDFC Limited and subsequently into HDFC Bank.
iii.HDFC has already secured the necessary approvals from SEBI, the shareholders of HDFC and HDFC Bank, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), and the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
· The merger is expected to be completed by the second or third quarter of FY24.
· The combined asset base of the proposed business will be nearly Rs. 18 lakh crore.
iv.Once the transaction is completed, HDFC Bank will be 100% owned by public shareholders, with existing shareholders owning 41% of the bank.
· Every HDFC shareholder would receive 42 shares of HDFC Bank for every 25 shares owned.
On April 12, 2023, the State Bank of India (SBI) decided to reintroduce the retail term deposit scheme ‘AMRIT KALASH’. It is a special scheme of 400 days tenor with an interest rate of 7.6% for senior citizens and 7.1% for others.
· Backdrop: In February 2023, the SBI launched ‘AMRIT KALASH’, the retail term deposit scheme with a specific duration with validity from February 15, 2023, to March 31, 2023.
· Now the Scheme was reintroduced with validity from April 12, 2023, to June 30, 2023.
· Domestic retail term deposits, including non-resident Indian (NRI) rupee term deposits (less than Rs.2 crore), new and renewals, term deposits, and special term deposits are eligible for this specific tenure deposit scheme.
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is to set up a joint venture(JV) with United States of America (USA)-based clean energy technology company LanzaJet Inc, and multiple domestic airlines for the manufacturing of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This will be India’s 1st Green Aviation Fuel Firm.
· The proposed venture will build a plant to manufacture SAF using alcohol-to-jet technology at the Panipat refinery in Haryana at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore.
· IOCL and LanzaJet will invest Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 750 crore, respectively.
· IOCL will hold a 50% stake while LanzaJet Inc will hold 25%. The remaining 25% stake would be offered to a bunch of airline companies.
On 11th April 2023, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, received the Business Leader of the Decade Award at All India Management Association’s (AIMA) 13th Managing India Awards ceremony in Durbar Hall, Taj Palace, New Delhi, Delhi.
· Kumar Mangalam Birla won the award for his contributions to the Indian industry over the last decade. He is credited for taking control of the diversified group and successfully consolidating its operations since his early days
· T V Narendran, Chairman of Tata Steel Limited, was facilitated with the “AIMA-JRD Tata Corporate Leadership” award.
· ABB India, the leading engineering services company, bagged the “MNC in India of the Year” award.
· The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) received the ‘Outstanding PSU of the Year’ award.
· Sanjiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Finserv received the Transformational Business Leader Award and Venu Srinivasan, Chairman Emeritus, TVS Motor Company was given the Outstanding Institution Builder Award.
On 11th April 2023, the Russian Defense Ministry executed a successful test
launch of an “advanced” Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) of a mobile
ground-based missile system from the Kapustin Yar test site in Russia’s
southern Astrakhan region.
The combat crew of the Strategic Missile Forces participated in the tests.
· The purpose of the launch was to test the advanced combat equipment of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
· This launch confirmed the correctness of the design and technical solutions used in the development of new strategic missile systems
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the missile hit the target at the Sary-Shagan training ground in Kazakhstan.
On 13th April 2023, Aman Sehrawat, a freestyle wrestler, won India’s 1st gold medal, under the men’s 57kg freestyle category, at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2023.36th edition of Asian Wrestling Championships was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 9 April to 14 April 2023.
· Aman Sehrawat won the gold medal by defeating Kyrgyzstan’s Almaz Smanbekov (9-4), who won the bronze medal in 2022.
· India has won 14 medals(one gold, three silvers and 10 bronze) and is ranked 7th in overall medal tally.
· Kazakhstan was topped in medal tally followed by Japan and Iran.
Medals for India:
Aman Sehrawat (57kg)
Deepak Mirka (79kg) & Anirudh Gulia (125 kg)
Men’s Greco-Roman wrestling
Rupin Gahlawat (55kg)
Neeraj Chhikara (63 kg)
Vikas Dalal (72 kg)
Sunil Kumar (87kg)
Antim Panghal (53kg),
Nisha Dahiya (68kg)
Anshu Malik (57kg)
Sonam Malik (62kg)
Manisha Bhanwala (65kg)
Reetika Hooda (72kg)
Priya Malik (76kg)
i. The gold medal at the 2023 Asian Wrestling Championships is the 2nd podium of the year for Aman Sehrawat. He won bronze at the Zagreb Open 2023 wrestling, held from 1 to 5 February 2023 in Zagreb, Croatia.
· Ravi Kumar Dahiya, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, won the 57kg men’s freestyle wrestling category in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
ii. Deepak Mirka (79kg) & Anirudh Gulia (125 kg) had won Silver in men’s freestyle wrestling category. Rupin Gahlawat, 19 years old, won silver in the men’s 55kg Greco-Roman wrestling. The reigning U-23 world champion Pouya Dadmarzof Iran defeated Rupin 3-1.
· Rupin was settled for his 1st medal in the International senior circuit.
iii. Deepak Mirka (79kg) won bronze in the men’s 79kg
iv. Neeraj Chhikara (63 kg),Vikas Dalal (72 kg) and Sunil Kumar (87 kg) had won bronze in Men’s Greeco Roman Wrestling.
v. In the Women’s Wrestling, Antim Panghal (53kg) and Nisha Dahiya (68kg) won silver, and Anshu Malik (57kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Manisha (65kg), Reetika Hooda (72kg), and Priya (76kg) bagged bronze.
World Chagas Disease Day (WCDD) is annually observed across the globe on April 14 to raise awareness about Chagas Disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, a life-threatening disease that can cause serious heart and digestive issues.
· American trypanosomiasis is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi).
World Chagas Disease was observed on 14th April 2023 under the theme “Time
to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care”.
i. In May 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly declared April 14 of every year as World Chagas Disease Day.
ii. The 1st ever World Chagas Disease Day was observed on 14th April 2020.
Why April 14?
On this day in 1909, Brazilian doctor and researcher Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas diagnosed the 1st human case of the disease, a 2-year-old girl called Berenice Soares de Moura.
About the World Health Organisation (WHO):
Director General- Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment- 7 April 1948
14th April is annually observed as National Fire Service (NFS) Day across India to pay homage to the firefighters who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and emphasize the importance of fire service.
· The day is also commemorated as a Martyr’s Day to pay homage to the Fire Service personnel who lost their lives on 14th April 1944 during the massive Bombay explosion at the Victoria Dock in the Mumbai Port.
· April 14 to 20 is observed as “Fire Service Week”.
· The theme of National Fire Service Day/week 2023 is “Awareness in Fire Safety for Growth of National Infrastructure” (AGNI)”.
Note – 2022 year theme of the National Fire Service Day was “Learn Fire Safety, Increase Productivity”.
Fire Service Week or Fire Prevention Week:
i.Fire Service Week (FSW) or Fire Prevention Week is observed every year nation-wide under the guidance of the Fire Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs from April 14 – 20.
ii.The National Safety Council (NSC) has been promoting the FSW Campaign since 1999 with a view to propagate Fire Safety awareness among employees, their families and the public.
World Art Day is annually celebrated on April 15 by the
International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), a non-governmental organisation
(NGO), a partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO), to encourage the development, diffusion, and enjoyment
i. World Art Day was proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019.
ii. The day was proposed at the International Association of Art’s 17th General Assembly in Guadalajara, Mexico.
· The day was recognised for the 1st time in 2012, when the IAA proposed adopting April 15 as World Art Day.
International Association of Art (IAA):
The IAA was established in 1948 in Beirut, Lebanon, during the 3rd General Conference of UNESCO. It became an independent body in 1954 and was declared a UNESCO partner.
President- Teemu Mäki
About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General- Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters- Paris, France
Establishment- 1945 (came into force in 1946)
Members- 193 Members and 11 Associate Members.
Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister (CM) of Uttarakhand, launched the “A-HELP” (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme at Survey of India Auditorium Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
· Women have been chosen to improve livestock-related activities in remote rural areas under the A-HELP programme, which was envisioned by the Government of India.
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has launched the initiative through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between DAHD and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) under the Department of Rural Development (DoRD), Ministry of Rural Development(MoRD).
i. Under the A-HELP Programme, trained A-HELPs will give their vital contribution to preventing various infectious diseases of animals, artificial insemination under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), tagging of animals and animal insurance.
ii. A-HELP was created to provide primary services and bridge the gap between local veterinarian clinics and livestock owners.
iii. Under RGM, the livestock breed improvement program will be conducted with the help of a large number of trained A-HELP workers who are interested in performing Artificial Insemination by providing them additional training.
Note: The programme was successfully piloted in Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir (UT).
i. Saurabh Bahuguna, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, highlighted the significant role of women in livestock rearing and allied activities.
ii. Women have many prospects in the livestock sector, but institutional support has been lacking until now.
iii. The programme will ensure the economic upliftment of livestock owners in addition to the active participation and involvement of women’s power.
iv. As an organic connection between livestock producers and veterinary services, A-HELP will act as the farmers’ “first port of call” when they are in need.
v. The primary responsibility of an A-HELP worker is to address the healthcare needs of the livestock population in a village.
Chief Minister- Pushkar Singh Dhami
Governor- Gurmit Singh
Festivals- Butter Festival or Anduri Utsav; Kumbh Mela
Stadium- Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium
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