Today’s Current Affairs: 3rd March 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
First Meeting Of The Governing Board Of BIMSTEC Energy Centre:
India hosted the first meeting of the Governing Board of BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) on 27th February, 2023 at Shangi-La Hotel. Bengaluru.
- Shri Ajay Tewari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, and chairperson of the Governing Board of the BEC, welcomed the delegates from BIMSTEC member countries and gave a brief background about ongoing cooperation among BIMSTEC countries.
- There was active participation from all BIMSTEC countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand along with BIMSTEC Sectt.
- All member states appreciated the opportunity to have been able to convene after a long hiatus.
- India’s “Neighbourhood first” and “Act East” Policies were highlighted during the meeting.
- As the Host of the BIMSTEC Energy Centre, India made a presentation on establishing the BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) in India.
- It was conveyed to the member countries that the BEC will be housed in the premises of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bengaluru.
- Considering the current energy scenario in BIMSTEC region, the Meeting recommended to add the additional following areas under the specialized Wings of BEC: (a) Cyber Security, (b) Green Hydrogen (c) Energy Transition
- The member countries appreciated India’s efforts for organizing the first meeting of the Governing Board of BIMSTEC Energy Centre. All countries also expressed that such meetings of the BIMSTEC may happen more frequently.
Country Reports On Terrorism 2021: India
As per ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2021: India’, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, are the terrorist groups active in India.
- Terrorist tactics showed a shift toward attacks on civilians and greater reliance on IEDs( improvised explosive device ), including an explosives attack using drones on an air force base.
- The Indian government made significant efforts to detect, disrupt, and degrade operations of terrorist organizations.
- During 2021, there were 153 terrorist attacks in J&K, causing 274 deaths that included 45 security personnel, 36 civilians, and 193 terrorists.
- Other notable attacks included an attack on November 1 in Manipur, in which the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur and Naga People’s Front killed seven persons in an ambush, including an Indian Army officer and with his wife and minor son.
Proton Beam Therapy : For Cancer Treatment
There are no government facilities that offer proton beam therapy treatment in India. The treatment is considered a viable alternative to radiation for treating solid tumours, especially for head and neck cancers.
- PBT is a type of cancer treatment that uses a beam of high-energy protons to destroy cancer cells.
- A proton is a positively charged elementary particle that is a fundamental constituent of all atomic nuclei.
- Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which uses X-rays, PBT can precisely target the tumour while minimising radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
- PBT is typically delivered via a large, complex machine called a cyclotron, which accelerates protons to high speeds and delivers them to the tumour site.
- Apollo Hospital in Chennai is the only centre in South and West Asia that offers PBT.
- The hospital has treated up to 900 patients, and 47% of cases were brain tumours.
- Prostate, ovaries, breast, lungs, bones, and soft tissues cancer patients have also seen promising results through PBT.
FCRA License Of The Centre For Policy Research Suspended:
The Centre suspended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) following prima facie inputs regarding the violation of funding norms.
- Foreign Contribution Regulation Act was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations.
- The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be
- Registered under the Act
- To open a bank account for the receipt of foreign funds in the State Bank of India, Delhi.
- To utilise those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.
- The Government of India recognizes CPR as a not-for-profit society and contributions to the Centre are tax-exempt – according to its website.
- CPR receives grants from the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and is a Department of Science and Technology-recognized institution.
- CPR receives grants from a variety of domestic and international sources, including foundations, corporate philanthropy, governments, and multilateral agencies.
E-pharmacy In India : Show Cause Notices To Companies
In February 2023, the Ministry of Health issued show cause notices to at least 20 companies, including Tata-1mg, Flipkart, Apollo, PharmEasy, Amazon, and Reliance Netmeds for selling medicines online.
- The growth of e-pharmacy in India has been significant in recent years and is expected to grow at a robust growth rate of 21.28% compound annual growth rate during 2021-2027.
- The main factors driving this growth include increasing internet and smartphone penetration, rising healthcare costs, and a growing demand for convenience and accessibility.
- The acute need for doorstep delivery of drugs was felt during Covid-19. Nearly 8.8 million households used home delivery services during the lockdown.
- E-pharmacies call themselves facilitators of doorstep delivery and claim tie-ups with retail chemists for vending medicines.
What Is Social Stock Exchange?
The National Stock Exchange of India received the final approval from the markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to set up a Social Stock Exchange (SSE).
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting the Union Budget back in 2019, had proposed to initiate steps for creating a stock exchange
- The SSE would function as a separate segment within the existing stock exchange and help social enterprises raise funds from the public through its mechanism.
- It would serve as a medium for enterprises to seek finance for their social initiatives , acquire visibility and provide increased transparency about fund mobilisation and utilisation.
- Retail investors can only invest in securities offered by for-profit social enterprises (SEs) under the Main Board.
- In all other cases, only institutional investors and non-institutional investors can invest in securities issued by SEs.
Success Of “SWAYATT” Initiative:
A function was held to commemorate the success of “SWAYATT”, an initiative that was first launched in February 2019.
- SWAYATT Initiative is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions on Government eMarketplace (GeM).
- Aim: To promote the inclusion of various categories of sellers and service providers on the portal by taking proactive steps to facilitate their training and registration, develop women’s entrepreneurship, and encourage the participation of the MSME sector and startups in public procurement.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM)
- GeM is an Online Market platform that was set up in 2016 to facilitate the procurement of goods and services by government ministries, departments, public sector undertakings (PSU) etc.
- It has been envisaged as the National Procurement Portal of India.
- This portal was developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (Ministry of Commerce and Industry) with technical support from the National e-governance Division (Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology).
Exercise Shinyuu Maitri:
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in Exercise Shinyuu Maitri with the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).
- Exercise Shinyuu Maitri is a bilateral military exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).
- The exercise is being organized on the sidelines of the Indo-Japan Joint Army Exercise, Dharma Guardian.
- The IAF contingent is participating in the exercise with one C-17 Globemaster III
- The first phase of the exercise consists of discussions on transport operations and tactical manoeuvering, followed by the second phase of flying drills by IAF’s C-17 and JASDF C-2 transport aircraft.
- The exercise will enhance mutual understanding and interoperability between the two air forces.
VAIBHAV Fellowship Scheme:
On the occasion of “National Science Day”, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology launched the VAIBHAV Fellowship scheme for the Indian Diaspora abroad.
- The fellowship offers Non-Resident Indian (NRI) researchers an opportunity to work for a minimum of one month to a maximum of two months a year with a research institution or an academic institution in India.
- Duration: Three years with the government offering the researchers an amount of up to Rs 37 lakh for the entire period.
- Aim: Improving the research ecosystem of India’s Higher Educational Institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
- This is done through the mobility of faculty/researchers from overseas institutions to India.
- Researchers from institutions featuring in the top 500 QS World University Rankings will be eligible for the fellowship.
- The applicant should be a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and she or he must have obtained Ph.D/M.D/M.S degree from a recognized University.
Procurement Of 70 HTT-40:
The Union Cabinet recently approved the procurement of 70 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft costing Rs 6,828 crore for the Indian Air Force.
- The Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) is a basic trainer aircraft (BTA).
- It is designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- It is a turboprop aircraft designed to have good low-speed handling for better training effectiveness.
- It has a maximum take-off weight of 2.8 tonnes.
- It can achieve a top speed of 450 Km/hr and a maximum range of 1,000km.
- The fully aerobatic tandem seat HTT-40 has an air-conditioned cockpit, modern avionics with multifunction displays, hot refueling, and zero-zero (zero speed and zero altitude) ejection seats.
- The aircraft will meet the shortage of BTAs for the training of newly inducted pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- It will be used for basic flight training, aerobatics, instrument flying, and close formation flights, in addition to undertaking secondary missions such as navigation and night flying flights.
Expected Credit Loss (ECL) Regime:
Credit rating agency India Ratings and Research recently said that banks would have adequate time and financial strength to absorb the impact of transition to expected credit loss regime.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently proposed to move the banking system to an expected credit loss-based provisioning approach from an “incurred loss” approach.
- The RBI defines a loan loss provision as an expense that banks set aside for defaulted loans.
- Banks set aside a portion of the expected loan repayments from all loans in their portfolio to cover the losses either completely or partially.
- In the event of a loss, instead of taking a loss in its cash flows, the bank can use its loan loss reserves to cover the loss.
- The level of loan loss provision is determined based on the level expected to protect the safety and soundness of the bank.
- Expected Credit Loss (ECL) regime a bank is required to estimate expected credit losses based on forward-looking estimations rather than wait for credit losses to be actually incurred before making corresponding loss provisions.
- As per the proposed framework, banks will need to classify financial assets (primarily loans) as Stage 1, 2, or 3, depending on their credit risk profile, with Stage 2 and 3 loans having higher provisions based on the historical credit loss patterns observed by banks.
- This will be in contrast to the existing approach of incurred loss provisioning, whereby step-up provisions are made based on the time the account has remained in the Non-Performing Asser (NPA) category.
Advisory To The Print Media On Paid News : Press Council Of India
The Press Council of India (PCI) recently issued an advisory to the print media on ‘paid news’.It says newspapers should not misconstrue or misquote the statements given by any leader
- Political news published in competing newspaper with similar content strongly suggests such reports to be paid news.
- Two newspapers publishing same news item verbatim during election days is not accidental and it is evident that such news items have been published for consideration.
- The manner of presentation of a news item/photograph that too in favour of a particular party/candidate as also the appeal for voting in favour of a particular party is suggestive of paid news
- The Council said projecting a candidate’s success in election, who was yet to file a nomination, was also suggestive of paid news.
- News reports on campaign meeting and enthusiasm because film stars were present cannot be termed paid news.
Press Council of India (PCI):
- The PCI was first set up in 1966 by the parliament on the recommendations of the First Press Commission under the chairmanship of Justice J.R Mudholkar.
- The present council functions under the Press Council Act 1978.
- It is a statutory, quasi-judicial body that acts as a watchdog of the press in India.
- Primary Function: To check the media practice and to keep an eye on the freedom of the press.