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Overview of the 23rd SCO-CHS Summit 2023 under India’s First SCO Chairmanship
On July 4, 2023, the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi chaired the 23rd Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit which was held in a virtual format.
i.India, as the Chair of the SCO, hosted the SCO-CHS Summit for the first time. India assumed the chairmanship of the SCO in September 2022.
ii.The theme of the summit was ‘Towards a SECURE SCO’. It stands for Security; Economy (and Trade); Connectivity; Unity; Respect (for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity); and Environment.
iii.During the summit, the member nations signed the New Delhi Declaration coined by the Indian Government to fight against terrorism. It envisages developing common principles and approaches to form a unified list of terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO Member States.
iv.The PM Narendra Modi presented the AI (artificial intelligence) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)-based language platform ‘Bhashini’ at SCO summit which can transcend language barriers by translating in-real time.
v.During the summit, Iran became the new permanent member (9th) of SCO. Now, the member nations of SCO increased to 9 viz. China, Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
>> Read Full News
India, Singapore Have Extended MoU to Co-operate on Public Administration Till ‘2028On 6th July 2023, The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions(MoPPG &P), and the Public Service Division, of the Republic of Singapore have signed a protocol document to extend the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Personnel Management and Public Administration for another five years till 2028.
i.The MoU aims to strengthen the partnership between India and Singapore public services.
ii.The activities that are covered under the MoU includes cooperation in the areas of Administrative Reforms & Public Sector Transformation, Public Service Delivery, Leadership and Talent Development, E-Governance, Capacity Building and Training.
Signing of the MoU:
i.The MoU was signed by V Srinivas, secretary on behalf of DARPG, and High Commissioner of Singapore to India, Simon Wong.
ii.The signing ceremony was attended by senior officers of the Singapore High Commission and DARPG. Permanent Secretary, Public Service Division, Republic of Singapore also attended and addressed the event virtually.
About Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions(MoPPG&P):
Union minister- Narendra Modi (Prime Minister)(Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of state- Dr. Jitendra Singh(Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir)
3rd Edition of NeSDA: DARGP launched portal for NeSDA 2023On 6th July 2023, V. Srinivas, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, launched the 3rd edition of the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA 2023) portal (nesda.gov.in).
- With the launch of the NeSDA 2023 portal, DARPG has begun its work towards the preparation of the 3rd edition of the NeSDA (NeSDA 2023) study.
About the framework of NeSDA 2023:
i.3rd edition of the NeSDA framework developed by DARPG aims to analyse the depth and effectiveness of existing e-Governance service delivery mechanisms from the citizen’s perspective.
ii. This framework, based on the Online Service Index (OSI) of the United Nations (UN)’s E-Government Survey, has been revised for the Indian federal structure and the e-Governance landscape of the States and Union Territories (UT)’s.
iii. Framework for NeSDA 2023 is elaborated under 3 dimensions:
- Portals Coverage
- Mandatory Services Coverage
- Assessment Parameters
1. Portals Coverage:
i. All Government Portals assessed during NeSDA are classified into two categories viz., (i) State, UT, Central Ministry Portal and (ii) State, UT, Central Ministry Services Portals.
ii. NeSDA 2023 framework will evaluate the maturity of e-Government at the City level by assessing City Portal i.e., the official portal of respective City/Urban Local Body that provides a single window access to the information and links to the services being provided for the citizens and other stakeholders in the city.
2. Focus Sectors and Mandatory Services Coverage:
i. The NeSDA framework covers G2C (Government to Government) and G2B (Government to Business) services across 7 sectors, such as Finance, Labour Employment, Education, Local Governance Utility Services, Social Welfare (including Health, Agriculture, Home Security), Environment (including Fire) and Tourism sectors.
In NeSDA 2023, 5 mandatory services at State/UT level and 12 services at Central Ministry level would be evaluated.
A total of 59 mandatory services will be assessed for every State & UT and 37 services will be assessed for Central Ministries.
3. Assessment Parameters:
The 2023 NeSDA framework proposed to include three additional assessment parameters: Open Government Data (OGD), E-Participation, and Leveraging Emerging Technologies, to make the framework more robust with leading global digital government trends.
NeSDA is a biennial study undertaken by the DARPG to enhance the e- Governance Service Delivery of the States/UT’s and Central Ministries and helps to improve their citizen-centric delivery of services and share best practices across India.
- The DARPG has successfully released 2 editions of NeSDA study: NeSDA 2019(released in 2020) and NeSDA 2021 (released in 2022).
- In NeSDA 2021, 1400 services across all States and UTs were assessed as compared to 872 in 2019, an increase of over 60%.
Key Takeaways of NeSDA 2021:
- Increase in e-Service Delivery
- Rise in use of Integrated / Centralised Portals for delivery of e-Services
- Improvement across assessment parameter scores
2023 WHO-UNICEF JMP report: Women, girls bear the burden of Water, Sanitation CrisisAccording to the report by World Health Organization(WHO)- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) titled “Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2022: Special focus on gender”, gloablly women and girls bear the burden of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) crises.
- Women and girls spend more than ten times as much time fetching water for households than men.
- Girls are nearly twice as likely as boys to bear the responsibility.
Note: This is the first in depth analysis of gender inequalities in WASH in household.
Gist of the report:
i.Globally, around 1.8 billion people live in households without water supplies on the premises.
ii.Women and girls(age 15 or above) are responsible for water collection in 7 out of 10 households without water supplies on premises.
iii.Girls under 15 (7%) are also more likely than boys under 15 (4%) to fetch water.
iv.The report also noted that women and girls are likely to feel unsafe using a toilet outside of the home and disproportionately feel the impact of lack of hygiene.
v.Around 500 million people across the globe share sanitation facilities with other households.
vi.According to a recent survey, 22 countries show that among households with shared toilets, women and girls are more likely than men and boys to feel unsafe walking alone at night and face sexual harassment and other safety risks.
i.According to the WHO Data, Globally, 1.4 million lives are lost each year due to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.
- 2.2 billion people (1 in 4) lack safely managed drinking water at home.
- 3.4 billion people(2 in 5) lack safely managed sanitation.
- 2 billion people(1 in 4) cannot access soap and water at home to wash their hands.
Points to be noted:
i.Achieving universal access to WASH services by 2030 requires substantial progress and integrated gender considerations.
ii.Sustainable Development Goal: SDG 6 – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
iii.The report highlighted that between 2015 and 2022,
- Household access to safely managed drinking water increased from 69 to 73%.
- Safely managed sanitation increased from 49 to 57%.
- Basic hygiene services increased from 67 to 75%.
BANKING & FINANCE
IBA sets up 5-member group to implement RBI committee’s recommendations on ARCs
Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has formed a five-member working group for the Implementation of recommendations from the Reserve Bank of India’s committee on the working of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs).
- The primary focus of the working group is to conduct a thorough review of assignment agreements and trust deed templates related to the acquisition of distressed assets by ARCs from lenders.
- The aim of this review is to update these templates to align with the evolving changes and expectations within the ARC sector, enabling them to meet the growing demands of the financial industry.
- Ajit Kumar, MD and CEO, Secondary Loan Market Association (SLMA)
- Hari Hara Mishra, CEO, Association of ARCs in India
- MythiliBalasubramanian, Executive Director, Edelweiss ARC;
- Dharmendra Pali, senior official from State Bank of India
- AnupamaRanade, senior official from ICICI Bank
RBI’s action on Sudarshan Sen Committee:
i. The formation of the working group follows the establishment of an RBI committee chaired by Sudarshan Sen, a former Executive Director of RBI. The committee was tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of the functioning of ARCs, and its report was released on November 2, 2021.
ii. The RBI has instructed the IBA and SLMA to form a Group to promptly implement the committee’s recommendations, in consultation with lenders and ARCs.
Role of IBA & Secondary Loan Market Association (SLMA):
The central bank has directed the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and Secondary Loan Market Association (SLMA) to proactively implement the committee’s recommendations without delay. The implementation should be done in close coordination with the lenders and Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), ensuring their active involvement in the process.
i. IBA is anticipated to furnish lenders with a standardized procedural document to guarantee certainty and transparency during their auctions.
ii. To ensure transparency and consistency in the sale of distressed assets (non-performing loans), there are plans to potentially create a dedicated online platform. The infrastructure developed by SLMA could be utilized for this purpose.
- In order to streamline documentation procedures, the Secondary Loan Market Association (SLMA) will create standardized templates for documents.
About Asset Restructuring Company(ARC):
i.The ARC framework plays a vital role in the financial sector by allowing originators to focus on lending activities while transferring distressed financial assets (non-performing loans) to ARCs.
ii.ARCs act as primary agents for recovery after acquiring these assets. The framework also aims to assist borrowers in revitalising their businesses, protecting viable and productive assets, and ensuring better returns for banks and financial institutions from stressed assets.
PhonePe Launched One Stop POS Solution for its Merchants
On 6th July 2023, PhonePe launched its Point-of-sale (POS) device that enables merchants to accept payments through Debit Cards, Credit Cards and UPI, with a simplified settlement experience.
- The device comes preloaded with the PhonePe POS App and supports transactions through tap/swipe/dip and interoperable dynamic QR (Quick Response) codes.
- The POS device, built on the Android platform, can be accessed in areas of cellular coverage.
- Reliable and security being its top features, it has PCI-PTS 6(Payment Card Industry-PIN Transaction Security) certification safeguarding both merchant and consumer data.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Meta launches a new app , Threads
On 6th July 2023, Threads, an app launched as a new text-based microblogging platform, developed by Facebook parent Meta for sharing text updates and joining public conversations.It is built by the Instagram team,photo and video sharing social networking service owned by American company Meta Platforms.
- The new app is rolled out in 100 countries (currently unavailable in EU region) including India and is available in iOS(iPhone Operating System) and Play Store.
- It is said to be the text-based version of Meta’s photo-sharing app Instagram.Thread users will need an Instagram account to log in.
- The posts in Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long .
- Threads app has similarities to Twitter. Both platforms focus on text-based updates and public conversations. Threads aims to provide a microblogging experience similar to Twitter, allowing users to share their thoughts, engage with others, and participate in public discussions.
THDCIL Signs MoU with NHAI for Technical Services for Road Safety
On 4th July 2023, THDC India Ltd (THDCIL), a Mini Ratna category-I company under National Thermal Power Corporation Limited(NTPC) and a Schedule ‘A’ Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at the NHAI headquarters in New Delhi, Delhi to provide technical services as the technical consultant.
- The collaboration aims to enhance road safety in the National Highway, by addressing the risks associated with landslides.
i.The MoU was signed by Atul Jain, Executive Director(ED)(Technical) THDCIL, and Amarendra Kumar, CGM (Technical) of NHAI.
ii.THDCIL will be responsible for assessing landslide susceptibility areas and recommending mitigation measures for vulnerable slopes between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu&Kashmir on NH(National Highway) 44.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
IAU named Minor Planets after Aswin Sekhar, 1st Indian meteor astronomer, & 3 other Scientists The International Astronomical Union (IAU) through its Working Group Small Bodies Nomenclature (WGSBN) named Minor Planets after 4 Indians namely Aswin Sekhar, India’s prominent meteor astronomer from Kerala, Ashok Kumar verma, an Indian astrophysicist, Kumar Venkataramani, an Indian astronomer and Rutu parekh, planetary geologist from Gujarat.
This honour was conferred at the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors (ACM) Conference 2023, held in Arizona, the United States of America (USA), from June 18-23, 2023.
Aswin Sekhar is the first professional meteor astronomer from India in modern times.
i. Minor planets are small celestial bodies within the solar system that are orbiting the sun. These include the asteroids, Pluto and other icy worlds beyond Neptune, and a diverse host of other bodies.
ii. Ceremonial naming system and Non-ceremonial naming system are the 2 types of naming systems for the Minor Planets.
iii. The Minor Planets named after the 4 Indians are: 2000LJ27 named after Aswin Sekhar; 2000HD73 named after Rutu parekh; 2000SM362 named after Kumar Venkataramani; 2001FG122 named after Ashok Kumar Verma
About Aswin Sekhar:
i. AswinSekhar was born in 1985 in Ottapalam, Kerala.
ii. He is currently affiliated with the Paris (France) Observatory which comes under the Ministry of science, technology and education, government of France.
iii. He was a solar system dynamicist at Centre for Earth Evolution & Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo, Norway for the Crater Clock Project funded by the Research Council of Norway.
iv. The IAU honoured him, as an international association of professional astronomers, at the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level and beyond.
v. He has made important contributions to the field of meteors in meteoroid stream dynamics, particularly in the effects of relativity and resonances in meteoroid streams.
About Ashok Kumar Verma:
He is a senior flight dynamics engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, the United States of America (USA).
About Kumar Venkataramani:
He is an astronomer at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in California, the USA, specialising in spectroscopic observations of comets and asteroids.
About Rutu Parekh:
i. She is a planetary geologist studying icy surfaces on various celestial bodies, including Mars.
ii. She is currently serving as a post-doctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the USA
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS
Sheo Kumar Singh-I appointed as acting chairperson of NGT
Justice Sheo Kumar Singh-I was appointed as the acting chairperson of National Green Tribunal (NGT) by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) with the effect from July 6, 2023 until further notice.
- He succeeded Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, chairperson of NGT (July 2018 -July 2023), who retired on July 6, 2023.
- He was part of the NGT as a judicial member since March 11, 2020.
About Sheo Kumar Singh-I:
i.Sheo Kumar Singh-I joined Judicial Service in 1984 and worked as district judge in different districts of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Registrar (Judicial) of Supreme Court, Registrar General at High Court of Judicature at Allahabad before his elevation as high court judge.
ii.He was appointed Observer of the Ram Janam Bhumi in Ayodhya by the Supreme Court to monitor the excavation work carried out by the expert team of Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
iii.He also served as a judge of the Industrial Tribunal in Uttar Pradesh and the chairman of the Oversight Committee in the state constituted by the NGT.
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
i.Purpose:According to the National Green Tribunal Act (2010), the National Green Tribunal was founded in 2010 as a specialised judicial body with expertise primarily for the purpose of mediating environmental cases.
ii.Functions:The Tribunal is responsible for providing an effective and timely remedy in situations involving environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources, and enforcement of any environmental legal right.
iii.Jurisdiction:The Tribunal’s orders are binding, and it has the authority to offer affected persons relief in the form of compensation and damages.
About National Green Tribunal (NGT):
Acting Chairman Person – Sheo Kumar Singh-I
Established – 2010
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
LIC Reduces 2% Stake in India Cements Through Open Market Transactions
Life Insurance Corp (LIC),Indian state-owned insurance group and investment company has reduced its stake by 2% in India Cements Ltd from 5.87% to 3.83%. The reduction has taken place between November 2017 and July 2023 through open market transactions.
- Post the sale of 63.28 lakh share, LIC currently holds 1.19 crore shares of India Cements.
Note: India Cements currently runs eight integrated plants and two grinding units across India, with a total cement production capacity of around 15.5Mta (million tons per annum).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
NSIL Signs MoU with Voyager Space to explore Opportunities in Space TechnologyVoyager Space, a global leader in space exploration, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
- The MoU aims to foster collaboration in spacecraft launch and deployment opportunities on-board NSIL’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Voyager Space and NSIL will engage in joint research and development efforts to explore the use of space qualified components from NSIL.
- The collaboration extends beyond launch services and encompasses spacecraft manufacturing, deployment, operations, and other areas of mutual interest.
- By leveraging NSIL’s expertise in space technology and Voyager Space’s domain knowledge, the partnership aims to drive innovation and advancement in the small satellite launch industry.
- This is particularly significant as small satellite launches have been gaining prominence in recent years due to their cost-effectiveness and versatility.
Note: Voyager Space has already achieved success in flying customer satellites on two PSLV missions. The collaboration with NSIL further strengthens Voyager Space’s presence in the Indian space market and opens up new avenues for commercial space exploration in India and beyond.
About NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) – The commercial arm of ISRO:
Chairman & Managing Director(CMD) – Radhakrishnan Durairaj
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established in – 2019
World Kiswahili Language Day 2023 – July 7 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Kiswahili Language Day is annually celebrated across the globe on 7th July to recognise the role of Kiswahili language as a language of unity.
- The day highlights the role of Kiswahili in promoting cultural diversity, creating awareness and encouraging dialogue among civilizations.
- 7th July 2023 marks the 2nd commemoration of the World Kiswahili Language Day.
The 2023 theme of World Kiswahili Language Day is “Unleashing Kiswahili’s potential in the digital era“, which highlights the important role played by Kiswahili in the digital landscape.
i. In November 2021, UNESCO in its 41st session of the General Conference adopted the resolution 41 C/61, proclaimed the 7th July of every year as the World Kiswahili Language Day.
ii. The first-ever World Kiswahili Language Day was observed on 7th July 2022.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Founded in- 16 November 1945
Director-General- Ms Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters- Paris, France
>> Read Full News
Odisha CM Launches ‘Ama Pokhari’ to Rejuvenate Water BodiesOn 6th July 2023, Odisha Chief Minister(CM) Naveen Patnaik launched ‘Ama Pokhari’ scheme, which aims to rejuvenate 2,000 large water bodies in 115 urban local bodies at Lokseva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
- The ‘Ama Pokhari’ scheme is implemented at a cost of Rs 120 crore.
- The renovation and maintenance of the water bodies will be done in collaboration with members of Mission Shakti Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs).
Note – During the event, Odisha CM felicitated Anand Malligavad, known as the ‘lake man’ of India.
Objectives of the Scheme:
- Address water scarcity in a natural and sustainable manner.
- Ensure the availability of clean water for communities.
- The project developed for recreation of citizens helps in getting an aesthetic appeal and to improve the climate of the coastal and surrounding areas by strengthening the ecological fabric.
Governor – Prof. Ganeshi Lal
Folk dance- Bhaagha Naacha, Goti Pua, Ghumura, Chhau.
Wildlife sanctuary- Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary.
Gujarat signed six MoUs with private industries for mangrove plantation under MISHTI schemeOn 6th July 2023, The government of Gujarat signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six industries for the mangrove plantation over 3000 hectares of land, under the MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes) scheme.
- The objective of these agreements were to increase the mangrove plantation cover along the coastline of Gujarat.
- The 6 MoUs were signed with Digvijay Cement Limited, Nayara Energy Limited, RSPL Limited, Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development, Cairn Oil and Gas (Vedanta Limited) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
The MoU was signed during the event organised to launch the Hariyali Mahotsav, a drive to plant mangroves in Dwarka town of Devbhumi Dwarka district, Gujarat.
The MoUs were signed in the presence of Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, , Poonamben Madam, Member of Parliament(MP- Lok Sabha – Jamnagar and Dwarka), and Mulubhai Bera, Minister of Tourism, Cultural Activities & Forest and Environment, Government of Gujarat.
Details of MoUs:
The 6 companies have agreed to support mangrove plantation in cumulatively 3006 ha and pledged Rs 6 crore for the same.
Digvijay Cement has pledged to support mangrove plantation in 40 ha, Nayara in 250 ha, RSPL Limited in 100 ha, Tata Chemicals in 200 ha, Vedanta in 1000 ha and RIL in 1416 ha.
Details of the MoU between RIL & Gujarat:
Under the MoU between RIL and Gujarat Government, mangrove forest in around 1416 hectares area of Marine National Park will be developed under the MISHTI Scheme.
- The mangroves forest will be developed at a cost of Rs 510 lakh in the next 5 years.
Mangrove Coverage in Gujarat:
i.Mangrove cover in Gujarat is the second largest after West Bengal.
ii.Mangrove forests are found in the thirteen coastal districts of Gujarat, Kachchh and Jamnagar districts have the most mangrove coverage among others.
About MISHTI Scheme:
i.MISHTI Scheme initiated with an aim of increasing the Mangroves covering approximately 540 Sq. Kms, spreading across 9 States and 4 Union Territories within 2027-2028.
ii.The Centre will fund 80% of the project, while state governments will cover the remaining 20%.
iii.The MISHTI initiative aims to share best practices in plantation techniques, conservation measures, management practises, and resource mobilisation through Public Private Partnership.
Chief Minister– Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel
Governor– Acharya Devvrat
Ramsar sites in Gujarat (Total 4 sites) – Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Wadhvana Wetland.
Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)
|S.no||Current Affairs 8,9 & 10 July 2023|
|1||Overview of virtual 23rd SCO-CHS Summit 2023; Chaired by India for 1st time|
|2||India, Singapore Have Extended MoU to Co-operate on Public Administration Till ‘2028|
|3||3rd Edition of NeSDA: DARGP launched portal for NeSDA 2023|
|4||2023 WHO-UNICEF JMP report: Women, girls bear the burden of Water, Sanitation Crisis|
|5||IBA sets up 5-member group to implement RBI committee’s recommendations on ARCs|
|6||PhonePe Launched POS Solution for its Merchants|
|7||Meta launches Twitter’s rival app Threads by Instagram|
|8||THDCIL Signs MoU with NHAI for technical services|
|9||IAU named Minor Planets after Aswin Sekhar, 1st Indian meteor astronomer, & 3 other Scientists|
|10||Sheo Kumar Singh-I appointed as acting chairperson of NGT|
|11||LIC Reduces 2% Stake in India Cements Through Open Market Transactions|
|12||NSIL Signs MoU with Voyager Space to explore Opportunities in Space Technology|
|13||World Kiswahili Language Day 2023 – July 7|
|14||Odisha CM Launches ‘Ama Pokhari’ to Rejuvenate Water Bodies|
|15||Gujarat signed six MoUs with private industries for mangrove plantation under MISHTI scheme|