Daily GK & Current Affairs on 4th August 2023 (For Competitive Exams)

All News in Brief

  1. President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the ‘Unmesha’ – International Literature Festival and ‘Utkarsh’ – Festival of Folk and Tribal Performing Arts in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  2. The government introduced the ‘AYUSH Visa’ category for foreign nationals seeking AYUSH medical treatment in India to promote traditional Indian forms of treatment.
  3. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) to spread awareness about substance use, especially in educational institutions.
  4. The ninth edition of the Malabar River Festival, organized by the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society and Kozhikode District Tourism Promotion Council, started in Kozhikode, Kerala.
  5. India is set to have its first polar research vessel (PRV) within five years, aiming to conduct research in the polar regions.
  6. The Study in India portal was launched to make it easier for international students to pursue education in India, offering information on various educational programs.
  7. NHAI launched the ‘Rajmargyatra’ mobile app to improve the highway user experience and offer efficient complaint redressal on national highways.
  8. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia unveiled the new logo of NMDC, representing India’s largest iron ore producer’s global mining aspirations.
  9. According to a FICCI-EY report, India loses around 1.5 million lives in road crashes annually, accounting for 11% of all road crash deaths worldwide.
  10. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma launched the ‘Amrit Brikshya Andolan’ app to encourage tree plantation and reward individuals participating in the drive.
  11. India’s first beauty and lifestyle festival, Nykaaland, was launched by Nykaa in collaboration with BookMyShow in Mumbai.
  12. Navi Mumbai aims to become the first septic tank-free city in India, with the NMMC constructing sewage drains and treatment plants.
  13. The government launched the ‘Vivad se Vishwas-II’ scheme to resolve contractual disputes involving the government and government undertakings.
  14. The government launched the Digital Crop Survey (DCS) in 12 states on a pilot basis to improve sowing data collection for accurate crop area estimation.
  15. Morgan Stanley upgraded India’s market rating to ‘overweight’, projecting India’s economic growth trajectory to remain the fastest-growing among large economies.
  16. S&P Global’s report predicts India to grow at an average of 6.7% per year from FY24 to FY31, with the GDP reaching $6.7 trillion by FY31.
  17. India’s services PMI reached a 13-year high in July, driven by strong demand, while manufacturing PMI declined slightly.
  18. South Indian Bank launched SIB EXIM Current Account specially curated for customers involved in import and export businesses.
  19. The Union government restricted imports of personal computers, laptops, and certain data processing machines, aiming to promote domestic manufacturing.
  20. Pakistan and the USA signed the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) to enhance defence cooperation and military ties.
  21. Researchers recorded the first instance of captive breeding of the endangered Himalayan vulture at the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati.

President of India Inaugurates ‘Unmesha’ and ‘Utkarsh’ Festivals at Bhopal

President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, launches ‘Unmesha’ – International Literature Festival and ‘Utkarsh’ – Festival of Folk and Tribal Performing Arts in Bhopal

On August 3, 2023, President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, graced the inauguration of two significant festivals, ‘Unmesha’ – International Literature Festival and ‘Utkarsh’ – Festival of Folk and Tribal Performing Arts, held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Speaking at the event, the President emphasized the profound impact of literature in connecting people and fostering unity among communities. She highlighted the significance of art and literature that transcend individual ego and self-centeredness. The translation of major works from various Indian languages into other languages was also hailed as a means to enrich Indian literature.

The President stressed the significance of tribal communities’ progress for India to become a developed nation. It was emphasized that empowering tribal youth and preserving their culture, customs, and natural environment must be a collective endeavor.

AYUSH Visa Introduced for Medical Treatment in India

The Indian government has introduced the “Ayush Visa” category, designed for foreign nationals seeking medical treatment like therapeutic care, wellness, and yoga in India. This visa aims to promote Ayurvedic and other traditional forms of treatment offered in the country.

The introduction of the “Ayush Visa” comes as part of the government’s “Heal in India” initiative, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2022. In conjunction with this, the Ministry of Ayush and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare are developing a one-stop “Heal in India” portal to promote India as a leading medical tourism destination.

To further promote medical value travel in India, the Ministry of Tourism has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to support and promote Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine.

Ministry of Social Justice Launches National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR)

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) with the objective of spreading awareness about substance use, primarily focusing on higher educational institutions, university campuses, and schools.

The NAPDDR aims to reach out to the masses and create awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. It will particularly target vulnerable populations in 372 identified districts. The goal is to curb drug abuse and promote a healthier lifestyle.

Malabar River Festival Begins in Kozhikode, Kerala

The ninth edition of the Malabar River Festival kicked off at Thusharagiri in Kozhikode, Kerala. Organized by the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society and the Kozhikode District Tourism Promotion Council, this three-day event attracts paddlers from ten countries, including the US, the UK, Israel, Kazakhstan, and South Africa.

The festival will host competitions in Kayak Slalom, Boardercross, and Down River events, attracting participants and spectators from around the world. Additionally, this year’s festival will feature the National Whitewater Kayaking Championship.

India to Get Its First Polar Research Vessel in Five Years

India is set to acquire its first polar research vessel (PRV) within the next five years. The vessel is estimated to cost ₹2,600 crore, and the proposal is likely to be approved by the Cabinet during the current financial year.

The PRV will be a crucial addition to India’s research capabilities in the polar regions. Currently, India has three research base stations, Maitri and Bharati in Antarctica, and the Indian Arctic station ‘Himadri’ in Ny Alesund, Norway. The PRV will facilitate research and logistics in the polar regions and serve as a platform for scientists to conduct oceanic research.

“Study in India” Portal Launched for International Students

The Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, and the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, have jointly launched the “Study in India” portal for international students. This one-stop platform will simplify the process for foreign students pursuing education in India.

The portal offers comprehensive information about higher education institutions in India, covering undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG), and doctoral-level programs. Additionally, it highlights courses in Indian knowledge systems like Yoga, Ayurveda, classical arts, etc.

To ensure quality education, the Study in India program has partnered with educational institutions meeting specific criteria, such as the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation score, and Institute of National Importance (INI) status.

NHAI Launches ‘Rajmargyatra’ Mobile App for Highway Users

To enhance the highway user experience and provide seamless travel on Indian National Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has introduced the ‘Rajmargyatra’ mobile application.

This user-friendly app aims to offer comprehensive information and efficient complaint redressal services for national highway users, ensuring safer and more convenient travel. The app is available for download on both Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.

New Logo Unveiled for NMDC by Civil Aviation Minister

The Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, unveiled the new logo for NMDC, representing India’s largest iron ore producer. The new logo signifies NMDC’s readiness to compete at the global scale in mining.

The Minister praised NMDC for its achievements, including record-breaking production up to July 2023, surpassing 40 metric tonnes of annual production last year. The logo retains the blue cog, symbolizing the mineral mining cycle, while the hand cradling the earth at the center represents NMDC’s commitment to sustainable and responsible mining practices.

FICCI-EY Report Highlights India’s Road Safety Challenges

According to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Ernst & Young (EY), India witnesses around 1.5 million lives lost due to road accidents annually, accounting for 11% of all road crash deaths worldwide.

The report emphasizes the urgency of addressing road safety issues and reducing the number of road accidents. India had committed to the Brasilia Declaration in 2015, aiming to halve global road traffic fatalities and injuries by 2030.

Assam CM Launches ‘Amrit Brikshya Andolan’ App

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma launched the ‘Amrit Brikshya Andolan’ app and web portal for the Department of Forest & Environment. This initiative aims to plant one crore (10 million) commercially-viable saplings across the State on September 17.

Individuals participating in the tree plantation drive can register on the app or portal and upload their geo-tagged photographs of planting saplings to receive a reward of ₹100 in their bank accounts, encouraging more people to participate in this green initiative.

Nykaaland Beauty and Lifestyle Festival Debuts in Mumbai

India’s first beauty and lifestyle festival, Nykaaland, was launched in collaboration between Nykaa and Book My Show. The two-day event held in Mumbai at the Royal Western India Turf Club in Mahalaxmi Racecourse witnessed the participation of leading makeup brands, artists, dermatologists, beauty experts, and content creators.

Nykaaland provides a platform to celebrate diversity, inspire creativity, and redefine the beauty experience in India. The festival offers unique events and experiences, bringing together enthusiasts and professionals from the beauty industry.

Navi Mumbai to Become India’s First Septic Tank-Free City

Navi Mumbai is on its way to becoming India’s first city without septic tanks, as the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has laid a network of sewage drains and established seven state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants. The treated water is being used for industrial purposes and watering gardens.

To eradicate open defecation, the NMMC has constructed 406 public toilets, providing facilities for residents, particularly in slum areas. The initiative aims to ensure that every household in Navi Mumbai has access to toilets, promoting sanitation and hygiene.

Government Launches Vivad se Vishwas-II Scheme

The government has introduced the Vivad se Vishwas-2 scheme, enabling the settlement of contractual disputes between the government, government undertakings, and private parties. This move is expected to improve the ease of doing business and clear the backlog of litigation.

The scheme covers domestic contractual disputes involving the Government of India or its organizations, where court orders were issued by 30th April 2023, and arbitral orders were given by 30th January 2023. Approximately 500 cases involving an estimated ₹1 trillion are targeted for resolution under this voluntary settlement scheme.

Government Launches Pilot Digital Crop Survey in 12 States

The Union government has initiated the Digital Crop Survey (DCS) on a pilot basis in 12 states from the Kharif 2023 season. The DCS aims to collect accurate sowing data and facilitate better crop area estimation and farmers-centric solutions.

The DCS reference application has been developed as an open-source, open-standard, and interoperable public good, streamlining the data collection process. The pilot states selected are Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Assam.

Morgan Stanley Upgrades India’s Market Rating to ‘Overweight’

Morgan Stanley has upgraded India’s market rating to ‘Overweight’ from ‘Equal Weight,’ indicating a positive outlook for the Indian economy. This move reflects India’s potential for growth and stability, making it the most preferred market among emerging economies.

The brokerage firm predicts an average annual growth rate of 6.7% for India from fiscal year 2023-24 to FY31, projecting a substantial increase in GDP and per capita GDP. India’s robust reform policies and macro-stability are driving a strong capex and profit outlook, attracting foreign inflows and boosting the market.

S&P Global Predicts India’s Average Growth Rate

S&P Global’s report, titled “Look Forward: India’s Moment,” forecasts India’s economic growth trajectory from fiscal year 2023-24 to FY31. The report projects India to remain the fastest-growing large economy, with an average growth rate of 6.7% per year.

Driven primarily by capital expansion, India’s GDP is expected to reach $6.7 trillion by FY31, with a per capita GDP of approximately $4,500. The report highlights India’s reform policies and macro-stability as crucial factors supporting its growth prospects.

India’s Services PMI Reaches 13-Year High

India’s services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reached a 13-year high level of 62.3 in July 2023, indicating strong demand in the sector. This rise is attributed to an increase in new business intake, with around 29% of survey participants reporting higher demand.

The services sector significantly contributes to India’s GDP, accounting for over 50% of the nation’s economy. In contrast, the manufacturing PMI slightly declined from 57.8 in June to 57.7 in July 2023, with manufacturing representing around 18% of GVA.

South Indian Bank Launches SIB EXIM Current Account

South Indian Bank (SIB) has launched the SIB EXIM Current Account, specifically tailored for customers involved in import and export business. The current account comes in two variants, SIB EXIM Silver and SIB EXIM Gold, with varying Quarterly Forex Throughput (QFT) requirements.

The account offers competitive rates in trade finance transactions and various transactional benefits, making it convenient for businesses engaged in international trade. South Indian Bank is also authorized by RBI as an Agency Bank for the collection of customs duty through the ICEGATE portal.

India Restricts Imports of Computers and Laptops

The Union government has imposed restrictions on the import of personal computers, laptops, palmtops, automatic data processing machines, microcomputers/processors, large/mainframe computers, and certain data processing machines.

Importers of these products are now required to obtain a valid License for Restricted Imports to bring them into the country. These restrictions are part of the government’s efforts to promote domestic manufacturing and reduce imports from countries like China.

Pakistan and USA Sign CISMOA Agreement

Pakistan has approved the signing of the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) with the United States. This agreement will strengthen defense cooperation between the two nations and open avenues for Pakistan to procure military hardware from the US.

CISMOA is a foundational agreement that the US signs with its allies and partner countries, providing legal cover for the sale of military equipment and hardware to these nations.

Himalayan Vulture Captive Breeding Recorded in India

Researchers have recorded the first instance of captive breeding of the Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) in India at the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati. The Himalayan vulture is categorized as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

This milestone achievement is significant for conservation efforts as the Himalayan vulture is a common winter migrant to the Indian plains and a resident of the high Himalayas. Successful captive breeding may aid in safeguarding this endangered species.

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