My Notes - 01-15 sep 2023

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NITI Aayog, UNDP join hands to fast-track SDGs

  • NITI Aayog and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise a cooperative framework to fast-track India's pursuit to achieve its sustainable development goals (SDGs)
  • NITI Aayog is the nodal body for the monitoring of SDGs in India and reviews the process through a nationwide SDG index.
  • The memorandum of understanding between the think tank and UNDP was signed for a period of years.

Revamped ‘Adopt a Heritage 2.0’ programme

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched a revamped version of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme apart from an Indian Heritage app and an e-permission portal.
  • Initially launched in 2017 under the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the ASI which invited corporate stakeholders to adopt from over 3,000 protected monuments spread across the country, ‘Adopt a Heritage 2.0’, is the upgraded version of ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme.

Govt forms committee on simultaneous elections

  • The government has constituted a committee headed by former president of India Ram Nath Kovind to explore the possibility of “one nation, one election”.

Indore ranks first in Clean Air Survey 2023

  • Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav awarded first rank to the Information Technology hub of Madhya Pradesh, Indore, in the Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan-2023 (or Clean Air Survey), conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been implementing the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as a national-level strategy, outlining the actions for reducing the levels of air pollution at city and regional scales in India since 2019.

Cabinet approves eCourts project phase-III

  • The Union Cabinet approved the third phase of eCourts Project as a central sector scheme to be implemented over four years.
  • As part of the National eGovernance Plan, the eCourts Project is under implementation since 2007 for ICT enablement of the Indian Judiciary. The Phase II of the project has concluded in 2023.
  • Phase III of the e-Courts Project, beginning 2023, in India is rooted in the philosophy of "access and inclusion".


India, ASEAN agree to deepen strategic ties

  • India and 10-nation ASEAN agreed to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership with concrete actions through practical implementation of the 'Plan of Action' to implement the ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity.
  • ASEAN was formed on 8 August 1967; five leaders – the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – came together in Bangkok.

India-Middle East-Europe mega economic corridor

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe mega economic corridor.
  • The project includes India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, France, Italy, Germany and the US.
  • The rail and shipping corridor is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) — a collaborative effort by G7 nations to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations.
  • PGII is considered to be the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

A new member in G20

  • The African Union (AU) was admitted as a new member of the G20. The development took place at the ongoing 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in New Delhi.
  • The AU is an intergovernmental organisation of the 55 member states located on the continent of Africa.

Global Biofuel Alliance launched

  • India announced the launch of the Global Biofuel Alliance and urged G20 nations to join the initiative with a plea to take ethanol blending with petrol globally to 20 per cent.
  • The Global Biofuels Alliance is aimed at facilitating cooperation and intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels across sectors, including transportation.

G20 declaration on health

  • All three health priorities of India’s G20 presidency found a mention in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration

The declaration spoke of strengthening primary healthcare, health workforce, and essential health services to better-than-pre-pandemic levels, ideally within the next two to three years.


UPI QR Code-CBDC interoperability

  • With banks enabling the interoperability of Unified Payments Interface’s (UPI) Quick Response (QR) code with their central bank digital currency (CBDC) or e application, users of retail digital rupee will be able to make transactions by scanning any UPI QR at a merchant outlet.
  • Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems, according to the RBI.

India can now issue OIML certificates

  • India has become the 13th internationally accepted authority for issuing International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML) certificates.
  • The OIML established in 1955 and headquartered in Paris, the OIML is an international standard-setting body.
  • It develops model regulations, standards and related documents for use by legal metrology authorities and industry.

Self Regulatory Organisation for fintechs

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has asked fintech entities to form a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO).
  • An SRO is a non-governmental organisation that sets and enforces rules and standards relating to the conduct of entities in the industry (members) with the aim of protecting the customer and promoting ethics, equality, and SROs typically collaborate with all stakeholders in framing rules and regulations.

RBI to discontinue I-CRR

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it would discontinue the incremental cash reserve ratio (I-CRR) in a phased manner.
  • I-CRR was introduced on 10 August 2023, by the RBI to absorb the surplus liquidity generated by various factors, including the return of Rs 2,000 notes to the banking system.

Science And Technology

India’s first Sun observatory launched

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Aditya L-1, its first space-based mission to study the Sun, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • The mission’s main objective is to expand our knowledge of the Sun, and how its radiation, heat, flow of particles, and magnetic fields affect us.

Chandrayaan-3 confirms Sulphur in lunar surface

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the Pragyan rover's Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope confirmed the presence of sulphur in the lunar surface near the south pole, through the first-ever in-situ measurements.
  • Pragyan is a lunar rover that forms part of Chandrayaan-3, the lunar mission developed by ISRO.
  • The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument onboard Chandrayaan-3 Rover has made the first-ever in-situ measurements on the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the South Pole.

Largest indigenously developed N-plant starts ops

  • The third unit of the indigenously developed 700-megawatt electric (MWe) nuclear power reactor at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP3) in Gujarat has commenced operations at full capacity.
  • This comes a little over three years since the unit achieved its ‘first criticality’ – a technical term that signifies the initiation of a controlled, but sustained nuclear fission reaction – in July 2020.

Navy's stealth frigate Mahendragiri launched

  • The seventh stealth frigate, under the Indian Navy's Project 17 A, Mahendragiri, was launched.
  • Built at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL), the vessel was developed as part of the push towards the Aatmnirbhar Bharat idea.
  • Mahendragiri, named after a mountain peak in Eastern Ghats located in the state of Odisha, is the seventh ship of the Project 17A Frigates.

Genome secrets of Indian oil sardine

  • In a major breakthrough in marine fisheries research, a team of scientists at the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has decoded the whole genome of the Indian oil sardine, a popular food fish.
  • This is the first time that the genome of a marine fish species from the Indian subcontinent has been decoded.
  • Sardines are an ecologically important part of the marine ecosystem, as they form an intermediate link in the food web and serve as prey for larger predators.

Court allows stem cell therapy for autistic kids

  • The Delhi High Court permitted two children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to undergo stem cell therapy for treatment of their condition.
  • Stem cells are cells from which all other cells, with their respective specialised functions, are generated.

Scientists grew whole model of human embryo

  • Scientists have successfully grown a “human embryo” in the lab without using an egg or sperm.
  • They used a mix of stem cells — early cells that have the ability to differentiate into other types of cells — that was able to spontaneously assemble into an embryo-like structure, mimicking molecular characteristics of an early embryo.

JAXA successful launch lander SLIM on Moon

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) congratulated Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for the successful launch of the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM).
  • This mission was conducted in collaboration with NASA, and it will involve studying light at various wavelengths, temperature assessments, and analysing the shapes and brightness of celestial objects.


Hindi Diwas 2023

  • Hindi Diwas Celebrated on 14 September every year, Hindi Diwas aims to raise awareness about the language and also commemorate the event when it was adopted as one of the official languages of India.
  • On 14 September 1949 the Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the newly independent nation.

‘National disaster’ tag after heavy rains

  • Himachal Pradesh has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the destruction caused by heavy rains in the state a national disaster.
  • There is no official or defined category of “national disasters”. Disasters of this nature come under the 2005 Disaster Management Act, which defines a “disaster” as “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or manmade causes.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

  • An Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) professor Rajnish Kumar has received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize.
  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (SSB) is a science award in India presented annually by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and physics.
  • Started in the year 1985, the award is named after the founder director of CSIR Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.

World's Most Advanced Arabic Large Language Model

  • A unit of Abu Dhabi AI company G42, has released 'Jais', the world's most advanced Arabic large language model. Jais is a bilingual Arabic-English model that has been trained on a massive dataset of text and code.
  • It can be used for a variety of tasks, such as machine translation, text summarization, and question answering.

National Strategy for Robotics

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has invited public comments as well as inputs from stakeholders on the draft "National Strategy for Robotics" (NSR).
  • The strategy is aimed at "strengthening all pillars in the innovation cycle of robotic technology, while also providing a robust institutional framework for ensuring the effective implementation of these interventions.


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