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India’s First Bullet Train Project: Japan To Send Modified Trains Suitable For India
Japan will send its improved high-speed ‘E5 Shinkansen series trains’ from Japan to India based upon the modifications to Indian specifications like temperature, dust and weight. Japan will initially send six trains according to Indian specifications.
- The coaches will be assembled in India in knockdown condition.
About E5 Shinkansen Series Trains:
- The E5 series Shinkansen high-speed trains are built by Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
- The high-speed trains are capable of running at a speed of 320 Kilometre per hour (kmph) and are 3.35 metre wide.
- The widest trains are also available in countries like France and Germany.
- The improved high-speed trains have anti-seismic technology.
Pathway Of E5 Shinkansen Series Trains:
i.According to National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the project is said to complete a 48 km section between Surat-Bilimora in 2027.
- The trial run on the Gujarat section of India’s first ever Bullet Train corridor- the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail corridor, will begin in 2026.
ii.In Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a total of 352 kilometres (Kms) have been given to Indian contractors for high-speed rail projects.
About Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project:
i.The first such trial run of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train will be conducted between Bilimora and Surat in Gujarat in the year 2026 at a speed of 350 kmph.
ii.The Bullet Trains will run on special tracks “slab track system”, popularly known as HSR technology for tracks’ construction, patented by Japan.
iii.The longest bridge on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project which is 1.2 km long over the Narama river in Bharuch is likely to be completed by 2024
iv.The total length of the bullet train corridor is 508.17 km and the train is expected to take around 2 hours and 58 minutes to travel between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, covering eight stations in Gujarat and four in Maharashtra.
National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL):
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer – Mr. V. K. Tripathi
Headquarters – New Delhi
Establishment – 2016
HAL Signed A Contract With Nigerian Army For Phase II Flying Training On Chetak Helicopter
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed a contract with the Nigerian Army for Phase II flying training on Chetak Helicopter for six officers of Nigerian Army Aviation. As part of the training, 70 hrs flying training would be imparted for each Nigerian Army Aviation Officer. Also the Phase I flying training to six Nigerian Army Aviation officers was executed in December 2021. The Phase II has been scheduled from 11 April 2022 and is planned to be completed by December 2022. The contract was signed by General Manager, HAL Helicopter Division, B K Tripathy and Defence Adviser, High Commission of Nigeria in India, Commodore Anthony Victor Kujoh.
- The platforms used for the Phase II are the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), with a wide range of capabilities, can be of great strength.
IIT Guwahati & NTPC Partners to Develop Energy Efficient Tech to Capture CO2
The Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Guwahati, Assam has partnered with NTPC Limited (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) to design and develop a highly energy-efficient plant to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants.This indigenous technology was developed by a research team led by Prof. Bishnupada Mandal, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.
This technology works on flue gas (a mixture of gases produced by the burning of fuel or other) using a newly-activated amine solvent (IITGS), consumes up to 11% less energy compared to commercial activated MDEA (Methyl diethanolamine) solvent and up to 31% energy compared to the MEA (monoethanolamine) solvent.
- This development has the potential impact to combat global climate change and this will also benefit oil, natural gas, biogas industries, and petroleum refineries.
- IIT Guwahati and NTPC Limited are in the process of patenting the technology.
- On completion of test studies, the pilot plant has been shifted to NTPC’s NETRA facility
NCR Governments Inks Combined Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement
The Governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh of National Capital Region (NCR) have signed a Combined Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement (CRCTA) covering both Contract Carriage & Stage Carriage since the validity of earlier Agreements of Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement is about to end soon.
The CRCTA has come into force with immediate effect, and it covers all educational institution vehicles as well as all stage carriage buses operated by state transportation companies in NCR member states.
- For seamless movement, the agreement provides for the countersigning of permits and licences for motor cabs, taxis, and auto-rickshaws registered in the NCR.
- The agreement also establishes a single-point tariff for intercity buses operated by state transportation undertakings, reducing traffic congestion and pollution.
Key Highlights of The Agreement:
i.This agreement will include all motor cabs, taxis, auto rickshaws, educational institution vehicles, and stage carriage buses operated by state transport companies (including city bus services) in NCR member states.
- In the wider public interest of a cleaner NCR, the NCR states have agreed to exempt buses and other vehicles used by educational institutions from taxes, including road taxes.
ii.All licences, including temporary ones (contract carriage and also stage carriage, as applicable), will be provided only on Vaahan Software, as updated from time to time.
iii. Until further directions are issued, the operational validity of stage carriage and contract carriage vehicles has been limited to 10 years for diesel vehicles and 15 years for petrol and CNG vehicles.
iv.However, the directions of the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India (MoRTH), Government of India, as applicable, will have “overriding effects on these provisions”.
v.Except for those specifically exempted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India (MoRTH), all public service vehicles must be equipped with a vehicle location tracking device (VLTD) and one or more emergency buttons.
- On a priority basis, the NCR states will computerise the databases of drivers, car registrations, and other associated information in the NCR districts.
- The new agreement provides for single-point taxation to state owned transport bodies wherein road tax/passenger tax etc. shall be payable by them only in one NCR State and exempted from such taxes/fee in other NCR States.
National Capital Region (NCR) is a unique example of inter-state regional planning and development for a region with National Capital Territory (NCT) -Delhi as its core. The NCR as notified covers the whole of NCT-Delhi and certain districts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- One of the policy proposals in the Regional Plan-2021 for the National Capital Region is to promote unrestricted mobility of buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws inside the NCR. This will make it easier for the general public to commute between Delhi and the rest of the NCR.
UNDP Announces USD 2.2 Million In Climate Action Grants for Innovators
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners of the Adaptation Innovation Marketplace (AIM) have announced USD 2.2 million in climate action funding for 22 local innovators spanning 19 countries, including India.
The grants focused on resilient agriculture, technology, community-based adaptation, ecosystem-based payments and services, and entrepreneurship.
- Grants were awarded across 19 countries, including seven from Africa, 11 from Asia, and four from the Latin America and Caribbean region.
- Ten out of the 22 were from least developed countries or small island developing states.
i.The programme supports local entrepreneurs in developing countries to grow their innovative resilience-building solutions into viable business models that attract commercial financing.
ii.The winning proposals included advanced aquaculture in India, production of climate resilient acai berries in Brazil, reintroduction of ancient climate-resilient construction techniques in the Sahel, and the creation of “blue jobs” in Micronesia.
- The second call for proposals opens in June 2022.
iii. The first round of funding through the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator (AFCIA) window will help achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement’s and Sustainable Development Goals.
iv.The latest IPCC report emphasises the importance of prioritizing the role of social justice and varied forms of knowledge in climate adaptation processes, such as indigenous and local knowledge. It states that,
- Human-caused climate change has resulted in widespread losses and damages to nature and people.
- Africa and small islands in particular face relatively severe challenges.
Adaptation Innovation Marketplace (AIM):
It is a strategic platform that promotes scaled-up adaptation at the local level, focusing on civil society, non-government organizations, and women and youth innovators.
- It was launched by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021.
The AIM partners — the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, the Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change, the Global Resilience Partnership, the Climate-Knowledge Innovation Community, and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) — provide technical support to the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator.
BANKING & FINANCE
PNB Celebrated 128th Foundation Day: Launches Cardless Cash Withdrawal Facility
Punjab National Bank (PNB), a public sector bank, has celebrated its 128th Foundation Day on April 12, 2022.
- Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO of PNB launched a cardless cash withdrawal service and a virtual debit card for its users.
Note: PNB was established by the great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, proudly known as Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of Punjab) in 1894 as the First Swadeshi Bank after being influenced by the swadeshi movement.
i.Apart from cardless cash withdrawal and virtual debit cards, PNB launched a number of other select digital services on its mobile app named PNB One for safe banking transactions.
ii.It has also launched digital initiatives such as,
- Insta Personal Loan to Pensioners
- Application Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) facility on PNB One App
- PNB 360 Information Portal for employees
- Trade Finance Redefined Portal and Collection of loan EMI through Bharat Bill Pay
About Punjab National Bank (PNB):
CEO & MD: Atul Kumar Goel
Establishment – 1894 ( opened for business in 1895)
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Tagline – The name you can bank upon
ICICI Bank Inks MoU with GIFT SEZ To Promote Global, Indian Businesses
ICICI Bank, a leading private sector bank in India, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GIFT SEZ (Special Economic Zone), India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), located at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The MoU aims to promote the GIFT SEZ to Indian and international businesses, particularly in the areas of information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITeS), and financial services.
- According to the MoU, ICICI Bank and GIFT SEZ will collaborate to bring global investors and capital market firms to GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to establish Global In-house Centres (GICs).
Note: GIFT SEZ is being developed as a global financial services hub. ICICI Bank has been a prominent player in GIFT SEZ with its banking business since 2016.
i.GIFT SEZ and ICICI Bank will work together to promote GIFT SEZ as a fintech (financial technology) hub in India, with a focus on supporting start-ups and fintech firms.
ii.Additionally, both companies would promote GIFT SEZ as a desirable destination for cross-border trade finance among Indian and foreign MNCs.
iii. GIFT SEZ will be promoted as the destination of choice for industry stakeholders such as Alternate Investment Funds (AIF), Portfolio Management Services (PMS), Broking Entities, Venture Capital, Private Equity Funds, and Custodians looking for a competitive environment to start a capital markets business.
iv.ICICI Bank’s GIFT SEZ branch will offer foreign currency banking services in trade, transaction banking, capital markets, treasury, and wealth management.
About ICICI Bank Ltd.:
CEO & MD – Sandeep Bakhshi
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
IESA & US-SIA inks MoU to foster collaboration in the Semiconductor ecosystem
India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) and United States’ Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to foster collaboration and identify potential opportunities between the two countries’ Semiconductor ecosystem.
i.The MoU will assist both the countries in Semiconductor related matters by co-organising meetings between the member companies in order to promote cooperation on issues of mutual interest.
ii.The IESA and US-SIA wil co-organise joint events to foster India-US cooperation for potential exploration of opportunities within the global semiconductor value-chain.
India’s Initiative in Semiconductor Sector:-
i.The Union Government has launched India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) as a part of Make in India Initiative, aims to build a vibrant semiconductor and display ecosystem with the vision of making India a global hub for electronics manufacturing and design.
ii.A 17-member committee was formed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to steer India’s Semiconductor mission towards building a resilient supply chain and promote ways to increase funding in the Semiconductor sector.
iii.Also the Union Cabinet has announced a Rs 76,000 crore incentive scheme, in December 2021, to encourage semiconductor design and display manufacturing in the country for next six years.
- India accounts for 20 percent of the global workforce in the semiconductor sector.
About India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA):–
i.The IESA is a premier trade group committed to development of a vibrant Indian semiconductor and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) ecosystem and promoting Brand India.
Chairperson – Rajeev Khushu
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka
Report – India Semiconductor Industry Report along with India Brand Equity Foundation
About United States’ Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA):-
i.The US-SIA, represents the chip industry in the US, comprising 99 percent of the US semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-US chip firms.
ii.The SIA includes large chip manufacturing companies such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Global Foundries, and Broadcom.
President and Chief Executive Officer – John Neuffer
Headquarters – Washington DC, USA
Report – Semiconductor Manufacturing Supply Chain report
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Hyderabad And Mumbai Were Recognised As “Tree City Of The World – 2021”
Mumbai and Hyderabad have been recognised as the ‘2021 Tree City of the World’ by Arbor Day Foundation in association with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations, for maintaining urban greenery, while Hyderabad wins ‘Tree City of the World’ for the second consecutive time (2020, 2021).
- There are nearly 138 recognised cities from 21 countries, which have planted 38,787,795 trees in 2020.
- Hyderabad has planted 3,50,56,635 trees over the last two years in 500 volunteer hours.
- While Mumbai planted 4,25,000 Trees in 25,000 volunteer hours.
- Mumbai, which is known as ‘Dream City‘, becomes the second city to receive ‘Tree City’ recognition, while Hyderabad stands first.
- Mumbai becomes the leading global network in urban and community forestry.
- At first the total of 68 cities from 17 countries was recognised under the ‘Tree City’ for planting and fostering trees. Later in 2020, it grew to 120 cities from 23 countries.
Standard of recognition:
- The city should have established responsibility, a tree board responsible for the care of trees within the municipal boundary.
- The city should have a law and official policy that governs the management of forest and trees.
- The city should have updated inventory of the local tress resources which will support the effective long term plans.
- The city should have a dedicated budget for the implementation of tree management.
- The city should hold an annual celebration of trees.
About Arbor Day Foundation:
National Arbor Day is April 29, 2022. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the tree planter’s holiday.National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree planting times in their area.
Chief Executive – Dan Lambe
Founded – 1972
Headquarters – Nebraska, United States.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS
Eminent Scholar-Academician Dr Manoj Soni Appointed as Chairman of UPSC
On 5th April 2022, Eminent scholar-academician Dr Manoj Soni has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), India’s premier government recruiting agency.
- His tenure as the Chairman will end on 27th June 2023.
- He has been appointed to replace UPSC Chairman Pradip Kumar Joshi.
- Prior to this appointment, he was serving as a Member of UPSC.
About Manoj Soni:
i.Previously Dr Manoj Soni has served three terms as the Vice-Chancellor(VC), which includes 2 consecutive terms as VC of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU) from 1st August 2009 through 31st July 2015, and one term as VC of Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda from 2005 to 2008.
ii.While joining MSU as VC, He became the youngest ever VC in India and the MSU.
iii.He has also served on the Boards of Governors of several institutions of higher education and public administration.
iv.He also served as a member of a quasi-judicial body constituted by an Act of the Gujarat Legislature.
v.His research on “Post-Cold War International Systemic Transition and Indo-U.S.
Relations” was published as a book titled “Understanding the Global Political Earthquake” by Ashgate Publishing Limited in 1998.
Awards & Recognition:
- “Honorary Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge” by the Mayor-President of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America(USA) in 2013
- World Education Congress Global Award for Distance Learning Leadership from Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, London, the United Kingdom(UK) in 2015.
About Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):
UPSC was established on 1st October 1926 as Public Service Commission and later renamed as Federal Public Service Commission by the Government of India Act 1935.
With the inauguration of the Constitution of India on 26th January 1950, it was renamed as Union Public Service Commission(UPSC).
Chairman– Dr Manoj Soni
Headquarters– Dholpur House, New Delhi, Delhi
Padma Shri Mahesh Verma was Appointed as Chairman of NABH
Padma Shri Professor, Dr Mahesh Verma has been appointed the new chairman of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers (NABH).
He is serving as the vice-chancellor of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. NABH is a constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI), operates accreditation, certification and empanelment programmes for healthcare organisations.
- He is also the Professor Emeritus at Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences.
- He received the Padma Shri in 2014 for Medicine. He is also a recipient of Dr B. C. Roy Award and the National Science and Technology award.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
UBI to Buy out 75% Stake Jointly held by BoB & IOB in IIBM
Union Bank of India (UBI) is set to buy out 75% stake held jointly by Bank of Baroda (BoB) – 40% and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) – 35%, in India International Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (IIBM). Following this, the IIBM will become a 100% UBI unit.
Background:IOB wanted to discontinue the venture due to its capital issues as it was under the Reserve Bank of India(RBI)’s prompt corrective action framework.
Approval: The proposal is yet to receive formal approval from the RBI and the approval from the Government of India and Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) since IIBM is a bank of strategic importance.
i.IIBM was incorporated on 13th August 2010 and commenced its operations on 11th July 2012.
ii.India International Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (IIBM) was a locally incorporated three-way joint venture between the Bank of Baroda (40%), the IOB (35%) and Andhra Bank (25%).
iii.Following the amalgamation of Andhra Bank with Union Bank in April 2020, the stakes of IIBM held by Andhra bank was transferred to UBI.
About India International Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (IIBM):
Chairman– Santhanam Vangal Jagannathan
Headquarters– Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
About Union Bank of India:
MD & CEO– Rajkiran Rai G
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Fino Payments Bank to buy 12.19% stake in Paysprint Pvt Ltd
The board of Fino Payments Bank has approved a minority strategic investment for up to a 12.19% stake in Paysprint Pvt Ltd(Paysprint), a New Delhi based fintech company.
This is the first strategic investment for Fino Payment Bank after its public listing.
- The stakes of Paysprint will offer APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in banking, payments, travel, lending, insurance and investments.
- This investment is a part of the bank’s attempt to create a digital ecosystem as part of the ‘Fino 2.0’ journey.
- PaySprint was identified as a “profitable fintech” which had an annual gross merchandise value of Rs 5500 crore in its first full year of operations in FY22
Reykjavik Open chess 2022 – Indian GM R Praggnanandhaa won 9 rounds securing Rank 1
The 16 year old Indian Grandmaster (GM) Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has won the ReyKjavik Open Chess 2022 tournament with 7.5 points from nine rounds held at Harpa Conference Centre in Reykjavík,captial of Iceland between April 6th to 12th.
- Recently he defeated the world no. 1Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen in an online tournament.
i.Praggnanandhaa won all the nine rounds and finished with wins over France GM Matthieu Cornette and the Indian GM Dommaraju Gukesh in the last two rounds.
ii.Notably, Praggnanandhaa had won over American GM Abhimanyu Mishra who last year became the then youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years and four months.
iii.With the Triumph, Praggnanandhaa (ELO 2624) gained 13.2 ELO points.
iv.The Second place was bagged by Netherland GM Max Warmerdam and the Third place by Denmark GM Mads Anderson who scored seven points each.
|1||India||GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa|
|2||Netherland||GM Max Warmerdam|
|3||Denmark||GM Mads Anderson|
|4||Iceland||GM Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn|
Ranking of Other Indian Grandmaster:-
|8||India||GM Gupta Abhijeet|
|17||India||GM Dommaraju Gukesh|
|21||India||IM Tania Sachdev|
|36||India||GM Adhiban Baskaran|
Telangana and Thailand Signs MoU to Promote Trade, Investment Promotion
The Industries & Commerce Department of the Government of Telangana and the Ministry of Commerce, the Royal Thai government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to promote trade and investments between Telangana and Thailand.
- KT Rama Rao, Telangana’s Minister for Information Technology and Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce were virtually present to sign the MoU.
Features of the MoU:
i.The MoU will kickstart the cooperation between Telangana and Thailand in Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Startups through the business incubator and innovation ecosystem “T-Hub” and “Thaitrade.com” of Thailand with the “GlobalLinker” of Telangana.
ii.Under this MoU both the government will explore the possibility of potential trade & investments in various key focus sectors, like agro-based food processing, wood processing and wood-based industry.
This MoU signing ceremony is a part of the events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Thailand.
Prime Minister– Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Currency– Thai Baht
Chief Minister– K. Chandrashekar Rao
Lakes– Pakhal Lake; Laknavaram Lake
Dams– Nagarjunasagar Dam; Indira Priyadarshini Jurala dam; Lower Manair Dam
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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)
|S.no||Current Affairs 15 April 2022|
|1||India’s First Bullet Train Project: Japan To Send Modified Trains Suitable For India|
|2||HAL Signed A Contract With Nigerian Army For Phase II Flying Training On Chetak Helicopter|
|3||IIT Guwahati NTPC Partners to Develop Energy Efficient Tech to Capture CO2|
|4||NCR Governments Inks Combined Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement|
|5||UNDP Announces USD 2.2 Million In Climate Action Grants for Innovators|
|6||PNB Celebrated 128th Foundation Day: Launches Cardless Cash Withdrawal Facility|
|7||ICICI Bank Inks MoU with GIFT SEZ To Promote Global, Indian Businesses|
|8||IESA & US-SIA inks MoU to foster collaboration in the Semiconductor ecosystem|
|9||Hyderabad And Mumbai Were Recognised As “Tree City Of The World – 2021”|
|10||Eminent Scholar-Academician Dr Manoj Soni Appointed as Chairman of UPSC|
|11||Padma Shri Mahesh Verma was Appointed as Chairman of NABH|
|12||UBI to Buy out 75% Stake Jointly held by BoB & IOB in IIBM|
|13||Fino Payments Bank to buy 12.19% stake in Paysprint Pvt Ltd|
|14||Reykjavik Open chess 2022 – Indian GM R Praggnanandhaa won 9 rounds securing Rank 1|
|15||Telangana and Thailand Signs MoU to Promote Trade, Investment Promotion|