Current Affairs 2023

PM Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline [18 Mar 2023]

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (IBFP)  in a virtual mode. The foundation stone for the construction of this pipeline was laid by both Prime Ministers in September 2018. Numaligarh Refinery Limited has been supplying petroleum products to Bangladesh since 2015. This is the second cross-border energy pipeline between India and its neighbours. Cooperation in the power and energy sector has become one of the hallmarks of India-Bangladesh relations. IBFP is the first cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh with a capacity to transport 1 Million Metric Ton Per Annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel (HSD) to Bangladesh. Enhanced connectivity with Bangladesh will further strengthen people-to-people linkages between the two sides.

Meghalaya gets Electric trains for the first time [17 Mar 2023]

Indian Railway is progressing at full throttle for becoming Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030. In an endeavour for complete electrification, Northeast Frontier Railway has achieved another milestone by commissioning Dudhnai – Mendipathar (22.823 Track Kilometre) single-line section and Abhayapuri – Pancharatna (34.59 Track Kilometre) double line section. The Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE) has carried out the electrification works in these sections. Mendipathar is the only railway station in the northeastern state of Meghalaya that is in operation since 2014 after being inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. After the commissioning of electric traction, trains hauled by electric locomotive will now be able to operate directly from Mendipathar in Meghalaya which will increase the average speed.

Eric Garcetti appointed as the new US Ambassador to India [17 Mar 2023]

Eri Garcetti, the former Mayor of Los Angeles is becoming the Ambassador to India after winning a vote in the US Senate. His nomination was otherwise delayed by almost 2 years over concerns about the mishandling of a case of sexual harassment during his tenure in office. Garcetti was reportedly considered by President Joe Biden as the Ambassador to India in May 2021 and was officially announced as a nominee in July of the same year. His nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 2022.

Gianni Infantino Re-elected FIFA President [16 Mar 2023]

Gianni Infantino was re-elected unopposed as FIFA president during the 73rd Congress in Kigali, for another four year-term. Infantino had no opponent in the election and won by acclaim instead of a formal vote by the FIFA Congress in Kiagli, Rwanda. He was first elected to the top post of FIFA, the global football governing body in 2016.

Indian Industrialist Ratan Tata appointed in 'Order of Australia' [16 Mar 2023]

Australia's High Commissioner to India, Barry O'Farrell informed that Australia's Governor-General has made this appointment announcement. For distingui¬shed service to the Australia- India bilateral relationship, particularly to trade, investment, and philanthropy, Indian industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata has been appointed as an Hono¬rary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO).

Indian and Australia sign agreement on Mutual Recognition of Qualification [15 Mar 2023]

Indian and Australia have signed an agreement for establishing a framework mechanism for mutual recognization of qualifications, aimed at facilitating the two-days mobility of young people for education and employment purposes. The agreement covers both the education and skill qualifications of the two countries, will create more opportunities for students and professionals, and pave the way for making education the biggest enabler in taking India-Australia bilateral relationship to greater heights. The two countries have also agreed to explore ways of enhancing research and academic collaborations between universities through the mechanism of joint/ dual/ Twinning degrees that have been introduced under India's National Education Policy 2020.

Shaktikanta Das, Governor of RBI, named 'Governor of the Year' [15 Mar 2023]

Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has been named the 'Governor of the Year' for 2023 by the international economic research journal Central Banking. The publication praised Das for his steady leadership during challenging times, including the collapse of a major non-bank firm, the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inflationary impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Under Das's leadership, the RBI implemented critical reforms, introduced innovative payment systems, and provided growth-supportive measures during the pandemic. This is the second time an Indian central bank governor has won the award, with Raghuram Rajan being the last recipient in 2015.

Lithium Deposits Found - GSI to Carry out More Exploration in J&K [15 Mar 2023]

Geological Survey of India (GSI), an attached office of the Ministry of Mines, carried out a G3 stage mineral exploration project during Field Season 2020-21 and 2021-22 in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district, Jammu & Kashmir and estimated an inferred resource (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium ore and the report has been handed over to the Government of Union Territory of J&K.

EXERCISE LA PEROUSE – 2023 [13 Mar 2023]

The third edition of the multilateral exercise La Perouse is scheduled to be conducted in the Indian Ocean Region from 13 to 14 March 2023. This edition will witness the participation of personnel, ships, and integral helicopters of the Royal Australian Navy, French Navy, Indian Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, Royal Navy, and the United States Navy. The biennial exercise La Perouse is conducted by the French Navy and is aimed at enhancing maritime domain awareness and optimizing maritime coordination among the participating navies in the Indo-Pacific Region. The two-day exercise provides an opportunity for like-minded navies to develop closer links in planning, coordination, and information sharing for seamless maritime operations. The exercise will witness complex and advanced naval operations including surface warfare, anti-air warfare, air defence exercises, cross-deck landings, and tactical manoeuvres. Indigenously built guided missile frigate INS Sahyadri and fleet tanker INS Jyoti will be participating in this edition of the exercise. Participation of the Indian Navy in the exercise showcases the high levels of synergy, coordination, and interoperability between the friendly navies, and their commitment to a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.

TCS debuts on Forbes list of America’s Best Large Employers [13 Mar 2023]

TCS has hired more than 21,000 people over the last three years. They collaborate with global teams to help customers innovate, transform, and grow. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been featured on the Forbes annual list of America’s Best Large Employers. The list was made out of an independent survey of 45,000 employees working for American companies with more than 1,000 employees, according to a company press release.

Surekha Yadav Becomes First Loco Pilot in Asia [13 Mar 2023]

Surekha Yadav becomes Asia's first woman loco pilot. According to the Central Railway, she became the first female to operate the newly-introduced semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express train. She piloted the semi-high-speed train between Solapur station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai.

PM dedicates world's longest railway platform in Hubballi [12 Mar 2023]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the "longest railway platform in the world" at Shree Siddharoodha Swamiji Hubballi Station in Karnataka. The record has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records recently, officials said, adding that the 1,507 m long platform has been built at a cost of about Rs 20 crore.

Madhav Kaushik elected Sahitya Academy Chairman [11 Mar 2023]

Hindi language poet and writer Madhav Kaushik from Uttar Pradesh was elected the new Chairman of Sahitya Academy. Madhav Kaushik defeated Kannada writer Mallepuram G. Venkatesh and another Marathi writer Ranganath Pathare to emerge to the top post of the academy. Kumud Sharma won the Vice-President post in the Academy. Kumud is the head of the Hindi department at Delhi University. C Radhakrishnan, the Kerala litterateur who contested for the Sahitya academy Vice-President post lost the election by one vote.

India and US Sign MoU on Semiconductor Supply Chain [10 Mar 2023]

India and the US signed a memo¬randum of understanding (MoU) on semiconductor supply chain and innovation partnership during the Com¬mercial Dialogue 2023. The India-US Commercial Dialo¬gue was re-launched to discuss cooperation for unlocking new trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. The MoU seeks to establish a collaborative mechanism between the two governments on semiconductor supply chain resiliency and diversification in view of the US's CHIPS and Science Act and India's Semiconductor Mission. They also launched a standards and conformance cooperation program (Phase III) to be carried out in partnership between ANSI (American National Standard Institute) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).

It aims to leverage complementary strengths of both countries and facilitate commercial opportunities and development of semiconductor innovation ecosystems through discussions on various aspects of the semi-conductor value chain. The CHIPS and Science Act was signed by President Joe Biden in 2022 to boost funding for the American semiconductor industry.

Dilma Rousseff elected as the Head of New Development Bank (NDB) [10 Mar 2023]

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been 'unanimously elected' as the head of the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral financial institution set up by the five BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries, replacing Marcus Troyjo, who is also from Brazil. Rousseff's appointment as the Shanghai-headquartered NDB President.

CAG Shri Girish Chandra Murmu selected as ILO external Auditor [10 Mar 2023]

Comptroller and Auditor General of India Girish Chandra Murmu has been selected as the External Auditor of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva for a four-year term from 2024 to 2027. Shri Murmu's appointment is a recognization of Indian CAG's standing among the international community as well as its professionalism, high standards, global audit experience, and strong credentials. ILO had formed a selection panel for the appointment of an External Auditor and invited bids from the Supreme Audit Institutions. Based on the technical experience and other criteria, ILO shortlisted three Supreme Audit Institutions - India, Canada, and the United Kingdom for technical presentations in which India topped the score.

Ram Chandra Poudel elected as Nepal President [09 Mar 2023]

Nepal elected Ram Chandra Poudel as its President. Poudel, 78, secured a comfortable victory over rival Subash Chandra Nembang. In the Presidential election, senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel is supported by eight parties while Subash Chandra Nembang, the sole candidate from CPN-UML, is expected to be supported by independent lawmakers. Before being elected as the President, Ram Chandra Poudel served as Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister, cabinet minister, and Speaker.

India Bags Golden & Silver Star at The International ‘Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2023 at ITB, Berlin 2023 [09 Mar 2023]

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has bagged a Golden & Silver Star at The International ‘Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2023’ in the ‘TV/Cinema Commercials International and Country International’ Category at ITB, Berlin 2023. The awards were received by Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism) Government of India on 08th March 2023 at ITB, Berlin being held from the 7th to 9h March 2023. The Golden City Gate Tourism Multi-media Awards are given annually in various categories related to the Tourism and Hospitality sectors. The ‘Golden City Gate’ is a creative multi-media international competition for countries, cities, regions, and hotels. The entries received for the awards are judged by an international jury comprising film and tourism experts. The annual award ceremony takes place at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading tourism trade show.

Manik Saha sworn in as 13th CM of Tripura [08 Mar 2023]

Dr. Manik Saha, a dental surgeon-turned-politician, was sworn in as the chief minister of Tripura for the second BJP-led government in the state, in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Governor Satyadev Narian Araya administered his oath of office and secrecy to Saha and eight cabinet members. However, three ministerial berths of the cabinet have been kept vacant, according to sources, these would be filled up with the members of the second-largest party TIPRA Motha if they agree to join the government.

Shaliza Dhami: first woman IAF officer to command combat unit [07 Mar 2023]

The Indian Air Force (IAF) announced the selection of Group Captain Shaliza Dhami to take over command of a frontline combat unit in the Western sector. With this, she became the first woman IAF officer who has been given command of a frontline combat unit. Born in Punjab’s Ludhiana, her first solo flight was in 2003 in a HAL HPT-32 Deepak. With over 15 years of experience, she has many firsts to her credit, News18 reported. In 2019, Shaliza Dhami became the first woman IAF officer to have been promoted to the post of the Flight Commander of a flying unit.

Shri S.S. Dubey takes charge as Controller General of Accounts (CGA) [06 Mar 2023]

Shri S.S. Dubey took charge as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) here today. Shri Dubey is the 28th Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Controller General of Accounts (CGA) is ‘the Principal Advisor’ on Accounting matters to the Union Government. CGA is responsible for establishing and managing a technically sound Management Accounting System and preparation & submission of the accounts of the Union Government. CGA is also responsible for exchequer control and conduct of internal audits for the Central Government.

23rd Commonwealth Law Conference held in Goa [06 Mar 2023]

The 23rd Commonwealth Law Conference held in Goa. The five-day conference, which was held from March 5-9, 2023, was also attended by Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju and Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant. The Conference has 500 delegates from 52 countries in attendance.

Karnataka Wins Santosh Trophy 2022-23 [04 Mar 2023]

Karnataka emerged as champion of the National Football Championship, popularly known as the Santosh Trophy as it prevailed over Meghalaya 3-2 in a close contested final at the King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. This was the first trophy for Karnataka, which had previously won four times as the princely state of Mysore, after a gap of 54 years (after 1968-69).

NTPC conferred with the CBIP Award 2022 for ‘Outstanding Contribution in Power Generation [03 Mar 2023]

NTPC Limited has been honoured with the CBIP Award 2022 for ‘Outstanding Contribution in Power Generation’, attributed to its Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, the largest power station in the country for its efficiency and high level of generation. NTPC stands committed to generating power responsibly and sustainably and occupies the premier position in the Indian energy sector in terms of size and efficiency. The CBIP Awards are conferred to institutions/individuals for their outstanding contributions to the development of water, power, and Renewable Energy Sectors. The award stands as testimony to NTPC’s enduring contribution to the generation of power in the country.

Deakin University becomes first foreign university to set up its International Branch Campus in India at the GIFT City [03 Mar 2023]

The Deakin University, which is a premier University in Australia, has become the 1st foreign university to receive approval of the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) to set up an International Branch Campus (IBC) in GIFT-IFSC, GIFT City, Gujarat. Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget 2022-23 announced that “World Class Foreign Universities and Institutions will be allowed in the GIFT City to offer courses in Financial Management, FinTech, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, free from domestic regulations, except those by the IFSCA to facilitate the availability of high-end human resources for financial services and technology”. The IFSCA, which is the unified financial regulator for IFSCs in India, notified IFSCA (Setting up and Operation of International Branch Campus and Offshore Education Centres) Regulations, 2022 in October 2022, which has received encouraging response from reputed foreign universities from across the world. The IFSCA has granted in-principle approval to Deakin University based on the recommendation of the Committee of Experts set up by GIFT City Company Limited. By virtue of this approval, Deakin University will be able to offer the same degree courses it offers in Australia in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Financial Management in GIFT IFSC to both Indian and foreign students. The degree offered shall be identical or similar to that offered in the home jurisdiction.

India and Australia sign a Framework Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Qualifications [02 Mar 2023]

India and Australia signed a Framework Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Qualifications that will help ease the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries. The agreement was signed following a bilateral meeting in New Delhi today between India’s Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and the Australian Education Minister Mr. Jason Clare. This agreement is part of the commitment by Prime Ministers of both countries at the 2nd India-Australia Virtual Summit held on 21st March 2022, wherein they had agreed to establish a Joint Taskforce for mutual recognition of qualifications.

The signing of G-to-G mechanism for mutual recognition of qualifications, the announcement of the IEIF Critical Skills Project and 11 institutional MoUs mark a landmark moment in educational relations between India and Australia. The developments today will create more opportunities for two-way mobility of students and professionals for the purpose of education and employment, and pave the way for making education the biggest enabler in taking India-Australia bilateral relationship to greater heights realise shared aspirations.

Vinod Kumar Shukla wins 2023 PEN/ Nabokov Lifetime Achievement Award [02 Mar 2023]

Hindi short story writer, novelist, and poet Vinod Kumar Shukla was felicitated with the 2023 PEN / Nabokov Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Literature in New York. Shukla, 87 years old, is known for novels like Naukar Ki Kameez (1979) and poetry collections like Sab Kuch Hona Bacha Rahega (1992). Shukla has previously won the Sahitya Akademi award and the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize.

India hosts first meeting of Governing Board of BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) [01 Mar 2023]

India hosted the first meeting of the Governing Board of BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) on 27th February 2023 at Shangi-La Hotel. Bengaluru. Shri Ajay Tewari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, and chairperson of the Governing Board of the BEC welcomed the delegates from BIMSTEC member countries and gave a brief background about ongoing cooperation among BIMSTEC countries. There was active participation from all BIMSTEC countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand along with BIMSTEC Sectt. All member states appreciated the opportunity to have been able to convene after a long hiatus. India’s “Neighbourhood first” and “Act East” Policies were highlighted during the meeting. A snapshot of areas where BIMSTEC countries could learn from each other was also presented. As the Host of the BIMSTEC Energy Centre, India made a presentation on establishing the BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) in India. It was conveyed to the member countries that the BEC will be housed in the premises of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bengaluru. Considering the current energy scenario in BIMSTEC region, the Meeting recommended to add the additional following areas under the specialized Wings of BEC: (a) Cyber Security, (b) Green Hydrogen (c) Energy Transition. The member countries appreciated India’s efforts for organizing the first meeting of the Governing Board of BIMSTEC Energy Centre. All countries also expressed that such meetings of the BIMSTEC may happen more frequently.

Prime Minister inaugurates Shivamogga airport in Karnataka [27 Feb 2023]

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly constructed Shivamogga Airport along with various development projects that cost over Rs 3,600 crore in Shivamogga, Karnataka. The new airport is developed at a cost of around Rs 450 crore. The Passenger Terminal Building of the airport is spread over 4340 sq. meters and can handle 300 Passengers per hour. The Prime Minister's focus on enhancing air transportation throughout the country will receive further reinforcement with the opening of the Shivamogga Airport.

Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to India [27 Feb 2023]

The Notes were exchanged today between Mr. Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and Mr. Suzuki Hiroshi, Ambassador of Japan, to India for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Project (III) of JPY 30.755 billion Rs. 1,728 crores approx.) and Project for the Establishment of Mizoram State Super-Specialty Cancer and Research Centre of JPY 9.918 billion (Rs. 560 crores approx.). Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link Project aims to improve connectivity in Mumbai Metropolitan Region by connecting Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, thereby contributing to the mitigation of traffic congestion and promoting regional economic development. This is a tranche-III loan for the project. Project for the Establishment of Mizoram State Super-Specialty Cancer and Research Centre aims to improve access to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment as well as human resource development and research that support cancer control system, thereby contributing to achieving Universal Health Coverage through strengthening the healthcare system pertaining to cancer in the state. India and Japan have had a long and fruitful history of bilateral development cooperation since 1958. In the last few years, the economic cooperation between India and Japan has steadily progressed. This further consolidates and strengthens India and Japan's Strategic and Global Partnership.

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