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Current Affairs 19 January 2023

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Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0: IA organised a Cyber Threat Seminar Cum WorkshopIndian Army Organises Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0 - A Cyber Threat Seminar Cum WorkshopFrom October 2022 to January 2023, the 2nd edition of Hackathon named ‘Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0’ was organized by the Indian Army (IA) under the aegis of HQ Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh). It was a Cyber Threat Seminar cum Workshop to facilitate engagement with individuals, academia and organizations for identification of suitable talent in the field of Cyber Security.

  • During the workshop, the identified talent was felicitated by General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff (CAS) during a virtual function on January 17, 2023.

Aim of Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0:
i.To seek solutions for operational cyber challenges by providing a platform to identify indigenous talent
ii.To shorten the development time for innovative solutions in the field of Cyber Security
iii.To enhance the standard of training in Cyber Deterrence, Security Software Coding, Electro Magnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ ML).
The Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0 was held under the following four sub-events:
Secure Software Coding:
Its aim was to engage with academia for securing software programs and identifying talent capable of undertaking cyber security requirements in software code.

  • Winner: Mr Aravindha Hariharan M from Coimbatore, a Cyber Security enthusiast

ESMO: Customized Indian Army Specific Stack for Wi-Fi 6:
Its aim was to seek a solution to implement an Indian Army specific version of Secure Wi-Fi stack for increasing the levels of security.

  • Winner: Colonel Nishant Rathee, Commandant, Army HQ Computer Centre

AI/ML: NLP Processing and Decoding of Radio Intercepts:
Its aim was to help in creating an Al stack for addressing translation and decryption of multi lingual radio transmissions.

  • Winner: Master Mithil Salunkhe, a 15 year old class 10 student at Gyan Mata Vidya Vihar, Nanded, Maharashtra

Cyber Deterrence: Capture the Flag (CTF):
This was a seven stage cyber security exploitation challenge for identification of talent for enhancing existing Cyber Security setup.

  • Winner: Shaksham Jaiswal, BE (CS) from MVSR Engineering College in Hyderabad, Telangana

Adani Enterprises partners with Ashok Leyland & Ballard to Develop Asia’s 1st Hydrogen powered mining truckAdani, Ashok Leyland to develop Asia's first hydrogen-mining truckOn 17th January 2023, Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL), the flagship entity of Adani Group, signed an agreement with Chennai(Tamil Nadu)- based Ashok Leyland and Ballard Power Systems of Canada to start a pilot project to develop a hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Truck (FCET) for mining logistics and transportation.

  • This partnership marks the 1st planned hydrogen-powered mining truck in Asia.
  • FCET is planned to be launched in India in 2023.

AEL will lead the demonstration project, Ballard Power will supply the FCmove fuel cell engine for the hydrogen truck, and Ashok Leyland will provide the vehicle platform and technical support.
Hydrogen-Powered Mining Truck:
i. The Hydrogen-Powered Mining Truck will weigh 55 tons, have 3 hydrogen tanks, and a 200-Km working range.
ii. It will be powered by Ballard’s 120 Kilowatt (kW) polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology.
Key Points:
i. AEl focused on both mining operations and developing green hydrogen projects for sourcing, transporting, and building out hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
ii. AEL has previously announced that it intends to invest more than USD 50 billion over the next 10 years in green hydrogen and related ecosystems corresponding to a capacity of up to 3 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually.
iii. The hydrogen-powered mining truck will also enable other businesses’ option of switching fleets in ports, airports, and their industrial activities to long-term sustainable solutions.
iv. Ballard Power Systems signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AEL in February 2022 to explore hydrogen fuel cell solutions in India’s transportation and industrial sectors.
About Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL):
Chairman- Gautam Adani
Managing Director- Rajesh Adani
Headquarters- Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Establishment- 1993
About Ballard Power Systems:
President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Randall MacEwen
Headquarters- Burnaby, Canada
Establishment- 1979

GoI to Hold the First Global Tourism Summit in April 2023 As Part of Its G-20 PresidencyGovt to ogranise first Global Tourism Summit in April as part of G-20As part of its Group of Twenty (G20) presidency, the Government of India (GoI) will host the country’s first “Global Tourism Investors Summit 2023” in April 2023, with participation from all G20 members.

  • India holds the Presidency of the G20 from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023.

The Union Ministry of Tourism will organize the Global Tourism Investors Summit 2023, with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the industry partner, and it is scheduled to take place in New Delhi, Delhi, from April 10 to 12, 2023.
Key Points:   
i.The summit would showcase India’s “major tourist destinations” to a global audience, with stakeholders from various state governments.

  • Additionally, it will offer a number of educational workshops, exhibitions, investment-related discussions, and constructive future-looking dialogues.

ii.The GoI is committed to attracting global investment to the cruise, healthcare, religious, adventure, and eco-tourism industries.
iii.West Bengal (WB) ranks 5th in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, and the state has enacted a number of tourism-related policies, including the WB Tourism Policy 2019, the Tea Tourism Policy (which permits garden owners to use 15% of their land for tourism purposes), and the Homestay Tourism Policy.

  • Durga Puja in Kolkata (West Bengal), which has been designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an intangible cultural heritage in 2021, can be promoted as intangible culture and heritage tourism.

iv.A road show urging various eastern states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to take a proactive role in promoting their states in front of the international investors with niche destinations was held in Kolkata ahead of the Global Tourism Investors Summit 2023.
v.By 2030, the GoI  targets a forex contribution to GDP of USD 56 billion which will generate 140 million jobs.
The India Investment Grid (IIG) is a joint initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), and Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency.

  • It is a tool for enhancing the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in India by displaying the best prospects across states and sectors on a single dynamic platform.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launches ‘Soul of Steel’ Alpine Challenge to Promote Tourism in Border Areas

On 14th January 2023, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched the “Soul of Steel” Alpine Challenge to promote tourism in border areas during the event organised as a part of the 7th Army Veterans’ Day in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
The “Soul of Steel” Alpine Challenge is the world’s 1st Alpine skill and endurance challenge, set to take place from January to June 2023.

  • Additionally, he launched a website where volunteers could sign up for a variety of adventurous activities under the joint initiative of the Indian Army and Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) Global, a veterans’ organisation.
  • He flagged off “Road to the End“, a 460-km-long car rally, as part of a joint expedition by the Indian Army and CLAW Global. The rally ends at the destination in the Garhwal Himalayas, near Niti village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


European Union Establishes Its First Mainland Satellite Launch PortEU opens first mainland satellite launch portThe European Union (EU) has launched its first mainland orbital launch complex, “Spaceport Esrange,” a new satellite launch and reusable rocket test facility at Esrange Space Center near the city of Kiruna in northern Sweden.

  • It was inaugurated by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
  • The EU will utilize it to complement its current launch capabilities in French Guiana.

Note: The European Commission is the executive branch of the EU, a 27-nation bloc.
‘Spaceport Esrange’: Arctic Spaceport
i.The first satellite launch from Spaceport Esrange is scheduled for early 2024.
ii.This Swedish space centre is located at the base of “Radar Hill,” about 200 kilometres (124 miles) above the Arctic Circle.

  • The EU hopes to increase its ability to send small satellites into orbit with this new launchpad in Arctic Sweden.

iii.The Themis programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) will start testing at Esrange in 2023 as part of Europe’s drive towards reusable rocketry.

  • Themis, a project to test reusable rockets, focuses on the testing of reusable rockets, which are rockets able to land back on Earth, like those developed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

iv.This will be a first-stage test aimed at achieving vehicle lift-off and recovery, known as “hop tests.”
Key Points:
i.The rockets being created in Sweden are “micro-rockets,” with a length of about 30 metres (98.4 feet) and with a payload capacity of several hundred kg.
ii.According to the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), there could be 100,000 operational satellites in total by 2040, up from the current total of 5,000.
iii.Kiruna is one of the few major villages in the region—a town developed around the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. It also harbors a huge deposit of rare earths.
Esrange Space Center
i.It was established in 1966 by the European Space Agency (ESA).

  • Objective: To investigate the atmosphere and the phenomenon of the Northern Lights.

ii.It is situated in a remote part of Sweden’s far north, from which over 600 suborbital rockets have already been launched.

  • These rockets are capable of travelling 260 kilometres into space, but they cannot orbit the Earth.

ILO Report ‘WESO Trends’ 2023: Jobs Growth Slow, Unemployment High, More People Pushed to Poverty  Jobs growth slow, unemployment high, more people pushed to povertyAccording to the “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2023” (WESO Trends), released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the present global economic slowdown is anticipated to worsen social and economic inequalities.

  • As a result, more workers will be forced to accept lower-quality, poorly paid jobs with no job security or social protection, increasing inequality that has already been worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.

According to projections, global employment would expand by 1.0% in 2023, a significant drop (less than half the level) from the 2.3% growth rate in 2022.

  • Global unemployment is expected to rise slightly in 2023, by roughly 3 million, to 208 million. This amounts to a 5.8% unemployment rate.

The report also defines the ‘Global Jobs Gap’ as a new, comprehensive indicator of unmet employment needs.
About the International Labour Organization (ILO):
Director-General– Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment– 1919
>> Read Full News


South Indian Bank ties up SAIL for Financing DealersSouth Indian Bank ties up SAIL for financing dealersA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been inked between the South Indian Bank (SIB) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) to provide financial assistance to the dealers of SAIL across India.
The MoU was exchanged between Praveen Joy, Head-Transaction Banking Group, SIB and Surendra Kumar Sharma, Chief General Manager (CGM), Finance & Accounts, SAIL.
Key Points:
i.The bank will serve the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) and corporate customers of SAIL by providing financial assistance for working capital, especially steel procurement through its 928 branches.
ii.It will boost India’s steel production, in lines with the Central government’s infrastructure and industrial push.
About South Indian Bank (SIB):
MD & CEO– Murali Ramakrishnan
Headquarters–  Thrissur, Kerala
Tagline– Experience Next Generation Banking
About Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL):
Chairman– Soma Mondal (First Female Chairperson of SAIL)
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Mastercard expands Girls4Tech Programme to promote STEM Studies among Girl Students

On 17th January 2023, Mastercard announced the expansion of its flagship Girls4Tech, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programme in India. This programme will benefit over 10,800 girls from 30 government schools in Tamil Nadu.

  • The Girls4Tech programme is supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund in partnership with the American India Foundation (AIF).
  • It aims to reach an additional 1 lakh female students in India by 2024 to encourage them to pursue STEM education; this includes 10,800 students in Tamil Nadu. STEM courses will be offered to girls aged 8 to 14.
  • In 2020-2021, the programme reached 17,820 girls across 3 districts in Tamil Nadu, with an aim to narrow the gender gap in STEM.


India’s FY23 fiscal deficit to be at Rs 17.5 Lakh cr, FY24 Rs 17.95 Lakh cr: SBI ReportSBI estimates India's FY23 fiscal deficit at Rs 17.5 trn, FY24 Rs 17.95 trnThe State Bank of India (SBI) in its Ecowrap report has estimated India’s fiscal deficit for FY 2023-24 (FY24) at around Rs 17.95 lakh crore or 6% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

This will result in a fiscal consolidation of 40 bps from FY23.

  • In FY23, the fiscal deficit is expected to come to Rs 17.5 lakh crore. However, higher nominal GDP growth (15.4%) estimates will help in keeping the fiscal deficit at 6.4% of the GDP.

i.The net market borrowing of the Central Government in FY24 will be around Rs 11.7 lakh crore, and with repayments of Rs 4.4 lakh crore, gross borrowing is expected at Rs 16.1 lakh crore.
ii.In FY24, the overall gross borrowing by the Central and States is estimated at Rs 24.3 lakh crore (up from Rs 22.2 lakh crore in FY23) and net borrowings Rs 17 lakh crore (Rs 16.7 lakh crore in FY23).

  • In FY24, the government expenditure can to increase by around 8.2% over FY23 estimates to Rs 46 lakh crore

iii.For FY23, the total receipts of the government are estimated to be higher than Budget Estimates (BE) by around Rs 2.3 lakh crore, due to higher direct tax receipts (Rs 2.2 lakh crore), higher GST (Goods and Service Tax) receipts (Rs 95,000 crore) but lower dividends (Rs 40,000 crore), lower fuel tax net of cess (Rs 30,000 crore) and lower disinvestment receipts (Rs 15,000-20,000 crore).

  • On the other hand, the expenditure is likely to be on the higher side of the BE by around Rs 3 lakh crore due to higher subsidy bill and additional spending.

iv.The subsidy bill which increased significantly in FY23 is estimated to be reduced in FY24 to around Rs 3.8-4 lakh crore and capital expenditure is expected to grow by 12%.
Points to be noted:
i.So far in FY23, the Central Government’s fiscal deficit was recorded the highest in September 2022 at Rs 3.52 lakh crore, followed by June at Rs 2.1 lakh crore and October at Rs 1.8 lakh crore.
ii.The SBI report also noted that due to the global environment of declining inflation, it will be challenging for the Central Government to follow the roadmap for fiscal consolidation for the upcoming Indian budget for 2023-24.

  • It will be difficult to set a nominal GDP number significantly higher than 10%, with a deflator of 3.5%.


Captain Surbhi Jakhmola Becomes 1st Woman Officer Posted on Foreign Assignment at BROCaptain Surbhi Jakhmola, 1st woman officer posted on foreign assignment at BROCaptain Surbhi Jakhmola, an Indian Army officer from 117 Engineer Regiment, has been posted in the Project Dantak of Bhutan, she becomes the 1st woman officer to be posted on a foreign assignment at the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
Project Dantak: 
i.Project Dantak, is an overseas project of the Border Roads Organisation under the Ministry of Defence of India.
ii.Project Dantak was established in April 1961 as a result of the vision of His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
iii.The project identifies the importance of connectivity in spurring the socio-economic development and growth of Bhutan. It is tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in Bhutan.
Avani Chaturvedi becomes 1st IAF Woman Fighter Pilot to Participate in Aerial Wargames Abroad
Su-30MKI pilot Squadron Leader Avani Chaturvedi, one of the first 3 woman combat pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), is scheduled to participate in the inaugural air exercise Veer Guardian 2023 in Japan. She becomes the first IAF Woman Fighter Pilot to participate in aerial wargames abroad.

  • Veer Guardian 2023 aims to strengthen the bilateral air defence cooperation between India.
  • Veer Guardian 2023, from 16th to 26th January 2023, will be held at the Hyakuri Air Base and its surrounding airspace in Omitama, as well as the Iruma Air Base in Sayama, Japan.

The IAF women officers have been participating in the wargames with foreign contingents in India but this will be the first occasion where women officers represent the nation abroad.
The Indian Air Force has the highest proportion of women officers, accounting for 13.69%, followed by the Indian Navy at 6% and the Indian Army at 3.97%. 

1171 Indian peacekeepers awarded UN Medals for Outstanding Service in South SudanIndian peacekeepers awarded UN medals1171 Indian Peacekeepers were honoured with the prestigious United Nations (UN) medals for their vital work in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Upper Nile, South Sudan.

  • Out of the 1,171 recipients of UN medals in 2023, 5 were women.

According to the UN, the Indian contingent will be renowned for its efforts in safeguarding civilians as well as building and repairing critical infrastructure.

  • Lieutenant General Subramanian, the Force Commander of the peacekeeping mission, was there to present the well-deserved awards to the proud recipients.

Key Highlights:
i. Major Jasmine Chattha was the first woman to lead the huge contingent’s parade, comprising infantry, engineers and medical officials, at the award ceremony in Upper Nile.

  • She was one of 5 women to be honoured with the UN medal for their exceptional work, which also includes Captain Karishma Kathayat, an engineer.

ii. Although the work of the Indian contingent with the UNMISS may be best known for its efforts to build and repair critical infrastructure, protecting civilians is another important and sometimes deadly part of their role.
iii. Untold suffering and injuries have been inflicted by the deadly violence that has taken place in Adhidiang and Kodok, where around 11,000 displaced people are still gathering close to a UNMISS military base.
iv. Indian medical personnel have performed crucial emergency surgeries since September 2022, saving the lives of five children.
i. India is one of the countries that send large troops to UN peacekeeping operations.

  • Its peacekeepers are praised for their excellent performance and for going above and beyond their duties while serving in the missions.

ii. As of June 2022, India had 2370 military personnel deployed with UNMISS, the 2nd highest after Rwanda (2637).
UN Medal
The UN medal was established by the Secretary-General in 1966 for the award, subject to the Regulations for the United Nations Medal, to military personnel and civilian police who are or have been in the service of the UN.

Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited bags Best Small Bank Award 2022

Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) Limited has bagged the Best Small Bank award in the best banks survey for the year 2022 done by Business Today-KPMG (BT-KPMG Best banks survey).
The award was received by S. Krishnan, Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Award (CEO) of TMB limited, from Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) of India, in a function held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The bank received this award in the category of banks with a book size of less than Rs. 1 lakh crore.
  • The TMB has shown its ability to perform well enough to win the respective category.


India Assumes Presidency of 13th International Renewable Energy Agency  India Assumes Presidency Of 13th International Renewable Energy AgencyIndia has assumed the presidency of the 13th assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the first international organisation solely dedicated to renewable energy, which was held from January 13–15, 2023, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

  • Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh (R.K. Singh), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), delivered the opening remarks at IRENA’s 13th assembly.

13th Assembly of IRENA
i.The theme of the 13th IRENA assembly is “World Energy Transitions: The Global Stocktake.”

  • Objective: To establish energy transition priorities in advance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28), which will be hosted by the UAE from November 30 – December 12, 2023.

ii.It was held in 2023 as the first annual milestone on the global energy agenda.
iii.IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation with the mission to promote adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy while facilitating cooperation and knowledge development.
Key Points:
i.According to the 14-member Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation, the Indian presidency of IRENA will strengthen India’s leadership in sustainability activities.
ii.The Smart City Programme and Green Hydrogen Hubs are avenues through which UAE companies like Masdar could invest in India.

  • Masdar is an Abu Dhabi-based, government-owned provider of renewable energy that specialises in sustainability and green hydrogen projects.

iii.The UAE offers prospects for rooftop solar and captive regeneration to the Indian sector.
iv.The UAE and India can strengthen their bilateral cooperation on accelerated climate action and the implementation of the Paris Agreement (2015), including public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the deployment of renewable energy, the production of green hydrogen, sustainable finance, and the establishment of carbon markets.
Note: In 2023, India will host the Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerials.
National Green Hydrogen Mission
i.The National Green Hydrogen Mission, with a total outlay of Rs. 19,744 crore, was approved by the Union Cabinet on January 4, 2023.

  • Its objective is to transform India into the world’s leading producer of green hydrogen.

ii.The government of India (GoI) has allocated Rs. 17,490 crore for the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) programme, Rs. 1,466 crore for upcoming pilot projects, Rs. 400 crore for R&D, and Rs. 388 crore for other mission components of the overall outlay of Rs. 19,744 crore for the mission.
About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):
Director-General – Francesco La Camera
Established – 1981
Headquarters – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Members – 167 countries & the European Union (EU)

Former BSF DG Pankaj Kumar Singh appointed Deputy NSAPankaj Kumar Singh appointed Deputy NSAThe Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Pankaj Kumar Singh, as Deputy National Security Adviser (Dy NSA) in the National Security Council Secretariat of India. He has been appointed on a re-employment contract of 2 years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or until further orders.

  • Pankaj Kumar Singh, a 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, previously served as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) and retired on 31st December 2022.

About Pankaj Kumar Singh:
i. Pankaj Kumar Singh was the 29th Director General (DG) of BSF. He is the son of Ex BSF DG Prakash Singh, who served as the DG of BSF from 1993 to 1994.
ii. He served as the head of the Induction Training Session for the United Nations (UN) “Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (1997–1998).

  • He also travelled to 3 South American countries (Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile) to select officers from these countries for the UN Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

iii. He has also served the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Development Council (NDC).
iv. In 2021, Pankaj Kumar Singh proposed to hold the BSF’s Raising Day in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

  • The government has now ordered all parliamentary groups, including the Army, to hold their foundation and raising days outside of Delhi.

v. He has authored and published various articles including the book “Journey to the country of Shiva.”
i. He has been decorated with several DG’s Discs and commendations.
ii. He was also awarded UN Peace Medal (Bar), Police Medal for Meritorious Service and President Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
About the National Security Council (NSC):
The National Security Advisor post was created in 1998. Brajesh Mishra served as India’s 1st National Security Advisor (NSA).
National Security Advisor- Ajit Kumar Doval
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi

Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc Resigns Amid Anti-Corruption DriveVietnam President Phuc resigns amid ministers’ corruption scandalPresident of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc(68 years old), submitted his resignation after the communist party blamed him for the violations and wrongdoings by the senior ministers under him during his 2016-2021 stint as Prime Minister(PM) of Vietnam.

  • His resignation is a part of the anti-corruption drive which also led to the dismissal of 2 Deputy Prime Ministers.
  • The anti-corruption drive is led by Nguyen Phu Trong, the Communist party general secretary.

About Nguyen Xuan Phuc: 
i.Nguyen Xuan Phuc, hailing from Que Son District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam,  served as PM of Vietnam from 2016 until April 2021, when he was elected president.
ii.He received more than 97% of the votes to become the 11th President of Vietnam since 1945, the establishment of the democratic republic of Vietnam.
iii.The president of Vietnam is the top representative in both internal and external affairs; and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
iv.He also served as the Deputy to the National Assembly in the 11th, 13th and 14th tenures.
Four pillars of Vietnamese politics: General Secretary of the Communist Party, President, Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Assembly.
The resignation of the president requires approval from the National Assembly of Vietnam.
Vietnam dismissed 2 Deputy PMs: 
Vietnam’s National Assembly has voted to dismiss 2 deputy prime ministers – Pham Binh Minh and Vu Duc Dam – from their posts amid anti-corruption drive.

  • The parliament also ratified the appointment of the environment minister, Tran Hong Ha, and the party chief of Haiphong City, Tran Luu Quang, as the 2 new deputy prime ministers.

About Vietnam:
Prime Minister– Pham Minh Chinh
Capital– Hanoi
Currency– Vietnamese Dong         


CMPDIL invents New Dust Control Technology

Ranchi (Jharkhand)- based Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL), a consultancy subsidiary of Coal India Limited(CIL) has invented a “System and Method for Controlling Generation and Movement of Fugitive Dust” to minimize and control the fugitive dust in mining areas. CMPDIL received a patent (Patent No. 416055) for its invention in December 2022.

  • The invention relates to the coordinated application of windbreak (WB) and vertical greenery systems (VGS) to reduce the production and dispersion of fugitive dust.
  • This system can be utilised to reduce and control fugitive dust in mines, thermal power plants, railway sidings, ports, and construction sites where coal or other minerals/fugitive materials are stored outside.

WB- it reduces the intensity of the ambient air to pick up dust while blowing over the source.
VGS- it acts as a filter and reduces the quantity of residual dust.


MoEF&CC puts Neelakurinji on the List of Protected PlantsCentre puts Neelakurinji on the list of protected plantsThe Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has listed Neelakurinji or Kurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, including it to the list of protected plants.

  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, prohibits picking, uprooting or destroying plants and also prohibits the cultivation and possession of these plants.
  • Neelakurinji has been included in the list after the Center expanded the earlier protected list of six plant species to 19.

About Neelakurinji:
i.Neelakurinji is a tropical plant species and is native to the shola forests in the Western Ghats. It is also found in Shevaroy Hills in the Eastern Ghats, Annamalai Hills in Kerala and Sanduru Hills in Karnataka.

  • It does not grow in any other part of the world.

ii.It grows on mountain slopes at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 meters to a height of 30 to 60 cm.

iii.Its flowers are violet-blue in colour and bloom once in 12 years.They have no scent or medicinal value.

  • Because of these flowers, the Nilgiri hills at the southern end of the Western Ghats are called the Blue Mountains.

iv.The most recent blooming of Neelakurinji was over a vast area on the Kallippara hills at Santhanpara in Idukki, Kerala.

Additional info:
i.Most of the Strobilanthus species have unusual flowering behaviour varying from an annual to 16- year blooming cycle.
ii.The genus Strobilanthus has about 250 species. Out of that, around 46 species are found in India.


Tennis: India’s Yuki Bhambri-Saketh Myneni wins Men’s doubles in Bangkok Open 2023(2)

India’s Tennis players, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni(1st seed), have won the Men’s doubles title at the Bangkok Open 2023(2) held in Nonthaburi, Thailand from 9th to 14th January 2023.

  • The Indian duo defeated Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia and Akira Santillan of Australia in the finals.

Arthur Cazaux of France won the Men’s Singles title defeating Lloyd Harris of South Africa. This marks his 2nd Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger title.
About Bangkok Open 2023 (2): 
i.Bangkok Open 2023 (2) also known as 2023 Nonthaburi Challenger II, is a part of the ATP Challenger tour(Challenger 75).
ii.This is an international men’s professional tennis tournament with a total prize value of USD 80000.
iii.The event is played in the Hard Court
The singles title winner gets a prize money of USD 10,840 while the winners of doubles titles share a prize money of USD 4,645.
Key Points:
i.With this win, Yuki Bhambri reached his career-high doubles rank of 90 and Saketh Myneni reached a carrier high rank of 74 in the ATP doubles ranking.
ii.Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni have won five Challenger Tour titles and 2  International Tennis Federation (ITF) events in the 2022 season.

  • Bangkok Open 2 – 2023 marks their 7th finals as a pair.

iii.They have been given a wild card entry for the Australian Open 2023, the first grand slam event of the 2023 season.
Winners of Bangkok Open 2 – 2023:

CategoryWinner Runners
Men’s SinglesArthur Cazaux (France)Lloyd Harris (South Africa)
Men’s Doubles Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni (India)Christopher Rungkat (Indonesia) and Akira Santillan (Australia)


British Linguist Ronald E Asher, Specialist in Dravidian Languages, Passes Away

Renowned British linguist Ronald Eaton Asher (R E Asher) who specialized in Dravidian languages has passed away in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK). He was born on 23rd July 1926 in Gringley-on-the-Hill, England, UK.

Ronald E Asher is known for translating and propagating several Tamil and Malayalam literary works.

  • He is well-known for translating the works of Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer (Malayalam) and Pudumaipithan (Tamil).
  • In 1971, he wrote his 1st book on Tamil,  “A Tamil Prose Reader” with R. Radhakrishnan.
  • He served as the president of the International Association for Tamil Research from 1983 to 1990.
  • In 1983, he received the Gold Medal from the Kerala Sahitya Akademi for “distinguished services” in Malayalam. In 2007, the Sahitya Akademi elected R E Asher as an Honorary fellow.


Home Minister Amit Shah releases book titled “Revolutionaries” by Sanjeev Sanyal

Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs, released a book titled “Revolutionaries- The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom” authored by Economist Sanjeev Sanyal, member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM), at a function in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • He was the Principal Economic Adviser to the Finance Minister for 5 years till February 2022.
  • He authored several books including Land of the Seven Rivers, The Ocean of Churn, India in the Age of Ideas, and the Indian Renaissance. He co-authored and edited six Economic Surveys of the Government of India between 2017 and 2022.


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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.noCurrent Affairs 19 January 2023
1Sainya Ranakshetram 2.0: IA organised a Cyber Threat Seminar Cum Workshop
2Adani Enterprises partners with Ashok Leyland & Ballard to Develop Asia’s 1st Hydrogen powered mining truck
3GoI to Hold the First Global Tourism Summit in April 2023 As Part of Its G-20 Presidency
4Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launches ‘Soul of Steel’ Alpine Challenge to Promote Tourism in Border Areas
5European Union Establishes Its First Mainland Satellite Launch Port
6ILO Report ‘WESO Trends’ 2023: Jobs Growth Slow, Unemployment High, More People Pushed to Poverty
7South Indian Bank ties up SAIL for Financing Dealers
8Mastercard expands Girls4Tech Programme to promote STEM Studies among Girl Students
9India’s FY23 fiscal deficit to be at Rs 17.5 Lakh cr, FY24 Rs 17.95 Lakh cr: SBI Report
10Captain Surbhi Jakhmola Becomes 1st Woman Officer Posted on Foreign Assignment at BRO
111171 Indian peacekeepers awarded UN Medals for Outstanding Service in South Sudan
12Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited bags Best Small Bank Award 2022
13India Assumes Presidency of 13th International Renewable Energy Agency
14Former BSF DG Pankaj Kumar Singh appointed Deputy NSA
15Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc Resigns Amid Anti-Corruption Drive
16CMPDIL invents New Dust Control Technology
17MoEF&CC puts Neelakurinji on the List of Protected Plants
18Tennis: India’s Yuki Bhambri-Saketh Myneni wins Men’s doubles in Bangkok Open 2023(2)
19British Linguist Ronald E Asher, Specialist in Dravidian Languages, Passes Away
20Home Minister Amit Shah releases book titled “Revolutionaries” by Sanjeev Sanyal