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09th April 2022

National News


Ministry of Information and Broadcasting establishes the AVGC Promotion Task Force 

An animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) promotion task group has been established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The task force, which will be led by the I&B Secretary, will produce its first action plan within 90 days. Industry, academics, and state governments are all represented.  In her Budget speech, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the formation of an AVGC promotion task team.  The organisation will develop a national AVGC policy, recommend a national curriculum framework for graduation, post-graduate, and PhD courses in AVGC-related fields, and collaborate with academic institutions, vocational training centres, and industry to assist skilling programmes.  It will increase job possibilities, assist in promotion and market development operations to expand Indian industry's worldwide reach, increase exports, and recommend incentives to attract foreign direct investment in the sector.  According to the I&B Ministry, the country's AVGC industry has the potential to be the torchbearer of Create in India and Brand India.

PM Mudra Yojana celebrates the completion of 7 years

The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, or PMMY, is celebrating its seventh anniversary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the initiative on April 8, 2015, with the goal of granting loans up to ten lakh rupees to non-corporate, non-farm small, or micro-enterprises.  Since the inception of the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, more than 34 crore 42 lakh loans worth 18.60 lakh crore rupees have been sanctioned as per the official statement.  Women Entrepreneurs have received around 68 percent of the total number of loans approved.  New Entrepreneurs have received nearly 22 percent of the loans.  The Scheme has aided in the creation of an enabling environment for small enterprises, as well as large-scale job prospects at the grassroots level.  Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has provided wings to millions of people who have seen their hopes and aspirations realised, as well as a sense of self-worth and independence, thanks to the Yojana PMMY.

Cabinet gives approval to extension of AIM till March Next year

The Union Cabinet approved the continuation of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) until March 2023. AIM's stated goals include developing 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), 101 Atal Incubation Centres (AICs), and sponsoring 200 entrepreneurs through the Atal New India Challenges, according to the statement.  A total budgeted expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore plus will be incurred in the establishment and support of the beneficiaries.  According to the finance minister's proclamation in the 2015 Budget speech, the mission will be run by the NITI Aayog.  The AIM's goals are to foster an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country through interventions at the school, university, research, MSME, and industry levels.  The AIM has concentrated on both infrastructural development and institution formation, according to the statement.  According to the announcement, AIM-supported businesses have received over Rs 2,000 crores from the government and private equity investors, in addition to creating thousands of jobs.  The AIM programmes, which span 34 states and union territories, are aimed at maximising India's demographic dividend by encouraging more engagement in the innovation ecosystem.




AAI launches ‘AVSAR’ Scheme to provide platform to SHGs 

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has launched an initiative “AVSAR” to encourage the talent of women, artisans and craftsmen and provide them with the right opportunities. AVSAR stands for ‘Airport as Venue for Skilled Artisans Of The Region’.  Under “AVSAR” (Airport as Venue for Skilled Artisans Of The Region), which is an initiative of AAI, an opportunity to help the indigent to mobilize their households into functionally effective self-earned groups for self-reliance and self-dependence, has been provided.  An area of 100-200 square feet has been earmarked at each AAI operated airport. The space is being allotted to the self-help groups, turn on a turn basis, for a duration of 15 days.  Few outlets have already been commissioned at Chennai, Agartala, Dehradun, Kushinagar, Udaipur & Amritsar Airport wherein SHGs operated by local women, are showcasing and marketing their homemade local products like Puffed Rice, Packaged Papad, Pickles, Bamboo based Ladies Bag/Bottle/Lamp Sets, local artefacts, traditional craft, natural dyes, embroidery and indigenous weaves with contemporary design to the air travellers.  The initiative to strengthen SHGs by allotting space at AAI Airports will provide huge visibility to these small groups and prepare them to promote/market their products to the wider spectrum, reaching out to the larger population.


Madhya Pradesh government launched Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti Yojana 

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan will launch the Udyam Kranti Yojana. According to officials, the MP Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti plan was announced for the first time in November 2021, as per the MSME department's gazette announcement, but it was never executed.  Loans ranging from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh would be offered to youth under this scheme for self-employment.  The scheme's unique feature is that the state government would provide a 3% interest subsidy as well as a bank guarantee.  Udyam Kranti Yojana will be launched by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. According to officials, the MP Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti plan was first introduced in November 2021, as per the MSME department's gazette announcement, but it was never implemented.  Young people will be able to apply for loans ranging from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh under this plan. The proposal is unique in that the state government will provide a 3% interest subsidy in addition to a bank guarantee.


Delhi sees hottest day in 72 yrs in April 1st half with max temperature at 42.4°C

The maximum temperature in Delhi reached 42.4°C on Saturday, making it the hottest day of April's first half in 72 years. Today's temperature broke the previous record for April 1-15 of 41.6°C, recorded on April 8 this year, and April 12 and 13 in 2010. IMD has said that Delhi recorded April's hottest day in five years on Saturday.

International News



UK PM Boris Johnson meets Ukraine President Zelenskyy in Kyiv, pic surfaces

UK PM Boris Johnson met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit to Kyiv on Saturday. The embassy of Ukraine in London shared a photo of the two leaders meeting face to face, with the caption, "Surprise." "Boris Johnson's visit in Kyiv began just now with a tete-a-tete meeting with President Zelenskyy," an aide of Ukraine President said on Facebook.


China successfully launches new satellite Gaofen-3 03 for Earth Observation

China successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite Gaofen-3 03 on April 07, 2022, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on board a Long March-4C rocket. The new satellite will become part of its land-sea radar satellite constellation by forming a network with the orbiting Gaofen-3 and Gaofen-3 02 satellites.  They will then capture reliable, stable synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, to help Beijing safeguard its maritime rights and interests.  The Earth Observation (EO) satellites produce a large number of SAR images every day, which are characterised by all-weather operation, high spatial resolution, among other things.

Defence News

Khanjar 2022: The 9th edition of the India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise 

The 9th Edition of the India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise was held in March-April, 2022 at Special Forces Training School, Bakloh (HP).  Special Forces contingents from India and Kyrgyzstan have shared their experience and best practices in terms of tactics, techniques, and procedures for countering present and emerging threats throughout the conflict spectrum.  During the Exercise, combat shooting, sniping, mountain survival, hostage rescue drills, and unarmed warfare were all extensively performed.  The collaborative training reinforced the existing link between India and Kyrgyzstan, which has grown over years of mutual respect for strategic autonomy, democratic ideals, and zero tolerance for terrorism.  A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deploy-able forces prior to deployment from a home base.


PNB implements Positive Pay System compulsory for cheque payments worth Rs 10 lakh

Punjab National Bank has implemented the Positive Pay System (PPS) being compulsory for cheque payments worth Rs 10 lakh and above. This is being done as a move to protect its over 180 million customers from any security threats.  The bank had announced to make the Positive Pay System mandatory last month, and the same has been implemented today. Under the new system, high-value cheques worth Rs 10 lakh and above will be cleared using the PPS, after reconfirmation with the issuer of the cheque.  As per the Positive Pay System (PPS) developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a customer issuing a high-value cheque has to reconfirm some essential details. The details are then cross-checked while presenting the cheque in clearing before payment.  Positive Pay System will be available for all account holders issuing cheques for amounts of Rs 50000 and above. Availing of this facility will be at the discretion of the account holder.  However, only those cheques which are compliant with instructions of the Positive Pay System shall be accepted under the dispute resolution mechanism at the (Cheque Truncation System) CTS grids, PNB had said in a statement last year. The PPS had come into effect in January last year for PNB.

RBI Monetary Policy 2022: key rates unchanged (REPEATED SECOND TIME PURPOSELY)

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent. MPC committee keeps the reverse repo rate unchanged at 3.35 per cent as Russia's invasion of Ukraine added to a rise in inflation.  The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee headed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das kept the repo rate unchanged for the 11th consecutive time. The repo rate or the short-term lending rate was the last cut on May 22, 2020. Since then, the rate remains at a historic low of 4 per cent.

The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and bank rates remain unchanged:

Policy Repo Rate: 4.00%

Reverse Repo Rate: 3.35%

Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 4.25%

Bank Rate: 4.25%

CRR: 4%

SLR: 18.00%

Key Points:

The GDP growth forecast has been lowered to 7.2 per cent, owing to inflationary pressures due to the ongoing Russia Ukraine War. Earlier, the central bank had kept the GDP growth rate at 7.8 per cent.  RBI announced that now people can withdraw money from ATMs without a card in all banks across the nation. This has been done to give a push to Digital India.  Net worth requirement for Bharat Bill Payments System Operating Units lowered from Rs 100 crore to Rs 25 crore.  Rationalisation of risk weights for individual housing loans to be extended till March 31, 2023.  RBI sees the Current account deficit at sustainable levels and forex reserves at $606.5 billion.  Inflation is now projected at 5.7% in 2022-23 with Q1 at 6.3%, Q2 at 5%, Q3 at 5.4% and Q4 at 5.1%.  India's 10-year bond yield rises to 7%, the highest since 2019.

India’s Agriculture Exports Cross USD 50 Billion Mark for First Time

Exports of agricultural products from India surpassed the USD 50 billion mark for the first time during the financial year 2021-22 (FY22), owing to significant growth in sugar, rice, wheat, and other cereals exports.  The Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has released provisional figures stating that agricultural exports rose to USD 50.21 billion in 2021-22, which is 19.92%.  The growth rate is significant since it exceeds the 17.66% growth rate of USD 41.87 billion obtained in 2020–21, and it was achieved despite unprecedented logistical obstacles such as high freight prices, container shortages, and so on.

Gujarat Govt to receive Rs 7,500 Cr Loan from World Bank, AIIB

The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) stated that the Gujarat government's Mission School of Excellence project, which aims to improve education quality in the state, will receive a loan worth Rs 7,500 crore.  The state government will spend Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years on the Mission School of Excellence initiative, which would cover all 35,133 government and 5,847 grant-in-aid schools in the state.  In the state's 41,000 government and grant-in-aid schools, the monies will be used to develop 50,000 new classrooms, 1.5 lakh smart classrooms, 20,000 new computer labs, and 5,000 tinkering labs.  In the next few years, it is expected that almost one crore school pupils will directly benefit from this ambitious effort.  The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have authorised a Rs 7,500 crore credit for the mammoth project.  The World Bank sent a group to Gandhinagar to look at the School of Excellence project.


Two separate Sebi panels to review ownership norms of MFs, trustees

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has formed two expert groups to look into the responsibilities, qualifications, and functions of sponsors and trustees at asset management firms (AMCs).  A sponsor, similar to a promoter, provides funds for the establishment of an AMC, whereas a trustee serves as a supervisor and is responsible for safeguarding the interests of investors.  Sebi stated in a statement that an alternative set of eligibility standards might be developed to allow new players who would otherwise be ineligible to function as a sponsor to do so.  Balasubramanian, MD & CEO of Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, will chair the working group on sponsors.
The Sebi has intimated that it may enable private equity (PE) firms to establish AMCs.



Awards News

Grammys 2022: Indian-American Singer Falguni Shah, Winner Of Best Children's Music Album

Indian-American singer Falguni Shah won a Grammy Award for A Colorful World in the Best Children's Album category. Falguni Shah has even performed and collaborated with music maestro AR Rahman and she is the only Indian-origin woman to be nominated in the Best Children's Music Album category at the Grammys twice.  Falguni Shah was earlier nominated for a Grammy in the same category for her 2018 album Falu's Bazaar.  The other nominees in the category were 'Actívate' by 123 Andrés, 'All One Tribe' by 1 Tribe Collective, 'Black To The Future' by Pierce Freelon, and 'Crayon Kids' by Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band. Born in Mumbai and now based out of New York, Falu was even nominated in the same category in 2019 for her previous album called 'Falu's Bazaar'.

Ranks and Reports News

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: IIT Bombay & IIT Delhi among top 100

QS Quacquarelli Symonds released the 12th edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, the subject-wise rankings of institutes across the world are compilations of multiple lists. The QS World University Rankings by Subject are compiled annually to help prospective students identify the leading universities in a particular subject.  Indian Institute of Technology(IIT)-Bombay ranked 65th and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Delhi ranked 72nd, are the only Indian institutes to be featured among the top 100 ranks under the Engineering and Technology category. IIT Bombay has scored 79.9 and IIT Delhi has scored 78.9.

Top institutes under each category:


Top Institute (Rank 1)

Arts and Humanities

University of Oxford (UK)

Engineering and Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

Life Sciences & Medicine

Harvard University (USA)

Natural Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)(USA)

Social Sciences & Management

Harvard University (USA)


Science and Technology News

Astronomers detect identical twin of Jupiter

Astronomers have discovered an identical twin of Jupiter dubbed as K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, Which has a similar mass and is at a similar location (420 million miles away) from its star as Jupiter is from our Sun (462 million miles away).  The study has been published as a preprint on and submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.  The exoplanet is about 17,000 light-years from the Earth, and it was first detected by the Kepler space telescope in 2016.  To spot the planet, scientists used Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Gravitational Microlensing.  K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb is “the first bound microlensing exoplanet to be discovered from space-based data.

Amazon signed contract with three firms to launch its satellite internet

The tech firm has secured up to 83 launches over a five-year period, which the company claims is the greatest commercial launch vehicle procurement in history. Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have agreed to deploy the majority of Amazon's Project Kuiper satellites, which aim to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide variety of clients around the world.  The tech firm has secured up to 83 launches over a five-year period, which the company claims is the greatest commercial launch vehicle procurement in history.  The contracts call for 18 launches on Arianespace's Ariane 6 rockets, 12 launches on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin's New Glenn, with options for up to 15 more launches, and 38 flights on ULA's newest heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Vulcan Centaur.  The announcement brings Amazon's satellite internet constellation one step closer to reality, as Elon Musk's SpaceX continues to launch more Starlink satellites, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites launched to about 2300, and increasing Starlink's global subscriber base to about 2.5 lakh.

Books and Authors News

‘Tomb of Sand’ becomes first Hindi novel to get shortlisted for International Booker Prize

In the history of the International Booker Prize, the novel ‘Tomb of Sand’, authored by Geetanjali Shree, has become the first Hindi language work of fiction to be shortlisted for the prestigious literary prize.  The novel has been translated into English by Daisy Rockwell. The book Tomb of Sand will compete with five other novels from around the world. The literary prize comes with a cash award of 50,000 pounds, which is split equally between the author and translator.

'Not Just A Nightwatchman: My Innings with BCCI', book by Former CAG Vinod Rai

Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and chief of Supreme court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) in 2017, Vinod Rai has penned a book titled as, "Not Just A Nightwatchman: My Innings with BCCI" in which the former bureaucrat encapsulates his 33-month stint at the BCCI.  In the book, Rai – whose stint of overseeing the administration of one of the richest sports bodies in the world ended in September 2019 – has made some major revelations. Notwithstanding his ardent support for the game, Rai refused to be blind to the flaws in its governance.  And so the nightwatchman decided to play on the front foot; a characteristic style that he carries forward as he describes his innings in Not Just a Nightwatchman.



“Tiger of Drass: Capt. Anuj Nayyar, 23, Kargil Hero” authored by Meena Nayyar & Himmat Singh Shekhawat

Meena Nayyar, Mother of Captain Anuj Nayyar and Himmat Singh Shekhawat, a part of Rashtriya Riders, a biking group that pays homage to martyrs and their families has authored a new book titled “Tiger of Drass: Capt. Anuj Nayyar, 23, Kargil Hero”, published by HarperCollins Publishers India.  The book features the story of Capt. Anuj Nayyar (23 years old), who martyred during the 1999 Kargil War while fighting to secure the Drass sector which was critical to the success of Operation Vijay and India’s victory in Kargil. Captain Anuj Nayyar was honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra (posthumously), the second-highest gallantry award in 2000.


Riya Jadon wins 11th DGC Ladies Open Amateur Golf Championship

Thirteen-year-old Riya Jadon won the DGC Ladies Open Amateur Golf Championship, following a close fight with older sister Lavanya Jadon. Riya, who carded 78, 80 and 74, also won the junior girls trophy.  Over a hundred women golfers took part in this year's tournament, which resumed at the Delhi Golf Club after a two-year hiatus.  Usha International vice-president Anju Munjal, who was present during the presentation ceremony, said, “As part of our ethos of promoting an active and healthy lifestyle, Usha is proud to have supported golf platforms that have paved the way for juniors and amateurs as champions in the making.


Miscellaneous News

NCW Launches Anti-Human Trafficking Cell

The National Commission for Women launched an Anti-Human Trafficking Cell to improve effectiveness in tackling cases of human trafficking, raising awareness among women and girls, capacity building and training of Anti Trafficking Units and increasing responsiveness of law enforcement agencies.  The Cell has been set up with an aim of increasing awareness among law enforcement officials and facilitating their capacity building.  The Cell will conduct Gender Sensitization Training and Workshops in combating human trafficking for police officers and for prosecutors at the regional, state and district levels.  The complaints related to human trafficking received by the Commission will be addressed by this cell.  The Commission has observed that some of the major issues faced in combating trafficking include lack of rehabilitation for victims and insensitive attitude towards trafficked survivors and their families.

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