Current Affairs 3rd February

National Affairs

1. MeitY, the Meta Announce List of 120 Startups, and XR Startup Program Innovators

The 120 innovators and startups selected for the Extended Reality (XR) Startup Programme in New Delhi, Delhi, have been announced by MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and Meta (Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook). An Accelerator and a Grand Challenge are part of the Program, which aims to improve India’s emerging tech ecosystem.


In India, the program will find, nurture, and accelerate XR Technology innovators and startups.


With a grant of Rs 20 lakh each, the program helps 40 early-stage XR technology startups.

More than 30% of the selected startups are from Tier II or Tier III cities in India, and over 20% of the cohort is led or co-led by women.

2. Drone Destination and IIT Patna sign an agreement to open the first UAV training centre in Bihar.

One of India’s leading training and manufacturing organisations for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Drone Destination Private Limited (DD), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Patna (Bihar) to open Bihar’s first DGCA-authorized drone training centre.


DD is the partner in drone training for the Indira Gandhi National Flying Academy (IGRUA), which is part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and has several locations all over India.

In order to advance the UAV ecosystem, IIT Patna intends to establish a drone centre of excellence.


With IGRUA and Sanskardham, DD’s training partners, Drone Destination became the first drone training organization in India to certify more than 1,200 DGCA-certified drone pilots.


DD plans to jointly open ten new drone centres after becoming the first drone training partner of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).


3. India’s first hydrogen train will arrive on historic routes in December 2023.

As the Union Budget 2023–24 focuses on green growth, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw made the announcement that the first hydrogen train in India will be designed and manufactured in India by December 2023.


The hydrogen train will initially operate on historic routes like Kalka-Shimla before expanding to other locations.


The train will be updated by including new circuits, like the Guru Kripa circuit, to showcase India’s cultural heritage through trains.


In the Union Budget for the years 2023 and 2024, Rs. 2.41 million crores for the railroads.

The “Amrit Bharat Station” plan will revamp the production of Vande Bharat trains and redevelop 1275 stations.

Banking and Finance

1. The Indore Municipal Corporation introduces Rs 244 million in secured, redeemable NCDs.

Secured redeemable Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) with a face value of Rs 1000 each have been issued by the Indore municipal corporation, raising a total of Rs 122 crore.

The total size of the issue is 244 crores, with the option to retain oversubscription up to 122 crores.


The return rate: The issue has a half-yearly rate of return of 8.25 percent.

Each NCD will have four distinct principal tranches, each with a face value of Rs 250 and the ability to be transferred and redeemed.


Key Points:


The NCDs are planned to be listed on the National Stock Exchange of India Limited between February 10 and 14, 2023.


According to India Ratings, the proposed NCDs have been given the ratings “IND AA+/Stable” and “CARE AA;(Stable).”


From the Deemed Date of Allotment, NCD holders would be eligible for benefits like interest on NCDs and any STRPPs (Separately Transferable Redeemable Principal Parts) that are a part of the NCD.


How do debentures work?

Debentures are financial instruments issued by businesses seeking long-term capital.


About NCDs:


NCDs are debentures that cannot be exchanged for shares or stocks.


Because they are considered to be a little risky (due to the long term), they have a higher rate of return than convertible debentures. The NCDs have a fixed maturity value and provide a fixed return on investment.


A credit rating for the issuance of NCDs from one of the rating agencies specified by the Reserve Bank of India should be obtained by an eligible company that intends to issue NCDs.

2. Kotak Mahindra Bank Implements the First Digital Rupee Phase of the RBI

The introduction of the “Digital Rupee” (e) phase of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) has been announced by Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL).


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues the “Digital Rupee” (e), which is legal tender comparable to banknotes and coins but in digital form.


KMBL has been chosen by the RBI as one of eight banks to participate in a pilot project for the issuance of electronic currencies.


At its gourmet food store, Freshpik, Reliance Retail has become the first organized retail chain in India to accept RBI-created and blockchain-based CBDC (e) payments.


In collaboration with Reliance Retail, ICICI Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL), a payments-focused financial technology company, Innoviti Technologies announced the launch of in-store payments using digital rupees (e-R).

3. Rs. will be paid to IDFC First Bank. 2,200 million dollars from IDFC Ltd.

The board of IDFC Limited gave its initial approval for a Rs 2,200 crore investment in IDFC First Bank, bringing its stake in the institution up to 40% from 36.38%.

The parent company, IDFC Limited, is considering a reverse merger with IDFC First Bank.


In addition, a special interim dividend of Rs. has been approved by the IDFC board. 11 for each share, resulting in Rs. 287 crores to IDFC’s largest shareholder, the Government of India (GoI).


The merger of IDFC and IDFC Financial Holding with IDFC First Bank was initially approved by the boards of IDFC, IDFC Financial Holding Company, and IDFC First Bank in December 2021.


The process of combining IDFC First Bank with IDFC Ltd. and IDFC Financial Holding has begun.

4. In GIFT City, KFin Technologies goes live.


KFin Technologies Limited (KFintech) has announced that it will begin operations in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

In GIFT City, KFintech has formally entered into agreements with four GIFT City funds and two global funds, and discussions with other asset managers continue.


KFintech is a leading provider of technology-driven financial services to the Indian capital markets ecosystem that covers all asset classes and provides comprehensive services and solutions.


It also offers a variety of investor solutions, such as transaction origination and processing for mutual funds and private retirement plans, to asset managers in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.


The rising demand for portfolio management, private wealth management, and alternative investments will be met by KFintech’s Gift City IBU (IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) business unit).

Economy and Business

1. PVR Cinemas opens India’s first multiplex in the Chennai Airport Complex.

PVR Cinemas opened its five-screen cinema at PVR Aerohub in Chennai, Tamil Nadu (TN), at Chennai International Airport. This is the first multiplex in India to be located within an airport complex.


It has 1155 seats and is equipped with cutting-edge cinematic technologies like 2K RGB+ laser projectors, REAL D 3D digital stereoscopic projection for crystal-clear, razor-sharp images, and cutting-edge Dolby Atmos immersive audio.


After this launch, PVR Cinemas will have 12 locations in Chennai with 77 screens, and it will strengthen its position in Tennessee with 14 properties with 88 screens. In 53 properties, its South Indian screen count would rise to 328.

Science and Technology

1. Three AI, drone, and semiconductor projects are launched in India by the US-based GA-ASI.

Following the establishment of a significant India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a major energy and defence corporation based in the United States, has begun three significant projects in India in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), drones, and semiconductors.


The first meeting of ICET was held at the US-India Business Council. In attendance were Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and other senior US and Indian officials. Atmanirbhar India is in line with PM Narendra Modi’s vision for these partnerships.


Three Major Projects:


In the crucial field of aerostructure manufacturing, GA-ASI has formed a partnership with Bharat Forge Limited (BFL), one of India’s leading forging companies.


GA-ASI has collaborated with the Indian artificial intelligence company 114ai to develop the next generation of AI technologies.


GA-ASI has formed a partnership with the Indian startup 3rdiTech in the semiconductor industry.


One of the first winners of the Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) flagship Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) program is 3rdiTech.


India’s IESA and the US SIA have formed a task force to improve the semiconductor 



The establishment of a private-sector task force by the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) will enhance bilateral cooperation in the global semiconductor ecosystem.

Stakeholders from both countries’ private sectors will make up the task force.


Objective: Create a “readiness assessment” to find industrial opportunities in the near future and support the long-term strategic development of semiconductor ecosystems that complement one another.


In addition to contributing to the US-India Commercial Dialogue, this task force will make suggestions to the Department of Commerce and the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) regarding ways to improve India’s position within the global semiconductor value chain, including chip manufacturing.


The task force will also look for and promote opportunities for advanced packaging, R&D, workforce development, and exchange.


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