Current Affairs 4th May

National Affairs

1. India’s CSIR & Israel’s DDR&D sign MoU on Industrial Research and Development Cooperation

A Multi-Sectoral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Industrial Research and Development Cooperation focusing on several key technology areas was signed on May 2, 203, by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST) and the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) under the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel.


The arrangement was endorsed by Dr N Kalaiselvi, Chief General (DG) of CSIR and Dr

Daniel Gold, Head of DDR&D, at the CSIR-Science Center, New Delhi, Delhi in the

presence of Dr Jitendra Singh Association Priest of MoST.


Note: During the meeting between Union Minister Jitendra Singh and the high-level Israel delegation led by Head of DDR&D Dr Daniel Gold, the agreement was signed.


Central issues:


The most important areas of technology covered by this memorandum of understanding are aerospace, electronics instrumentation, civil, infrastructure, and engineering, ecology, environment, earth and ocean sciences, water, mining, minerals, metals, chemicals, and petrochemicals, conventional and non-conventional energy, energy devices, agriculture, nutrition, and biotechnology, and healthcare.


The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and DDR&D signed a bilateral innovation agreement (BIA) in November 2021 to speed up research and development in startups and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in both countries. With this agreement, a new era of partnership between India and Israel will begin in areas like start-ups, technology, and innovation.


India and Israel will celebrate 30 years of successful diplomatic relations in 2023.

2. DoE launches Vivad se Vishwas scheme for relief to MSMEs for COVID-19 period

The scheme known as “Vivad se Vishwas I – Relief to MSMEs” was launched by the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Expenditure (DoE) on May 2, 2023, with the goal of providing assistance to Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) during the COVID-19 period.


It was launched in line with Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister and Minister of Finance,’s announcement of the Union Budget for Fiscal Year 24.


The plan was initiated from April 17, 2023 and the last date for accommodation of

claims is June 30, 2023.


Backdrop: To give help to MSMEs, Nirmala Sitharaman expressed (in the Association Spending plan for FY24) that 95% of the relinquished sum connecting with bid or execution security will be gotten back to them by government and government endeavours in instances of disappointment by MSMEs to execute contracts during the Coronavirus – 19 period.


Central issues:


Ministries have been requested to reimburse performance security, bid security, and liquidated damages deducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with the scheme.


Eligibility: All contracts for the purchase of goods and services that are signed by any Ministry, Department, attached or subordinate office, autonomous body, Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), Central Public Sector Bank, or other financial institution, among others, will be exempt from this obligation. with MSMEs that satisfy the following requirements.


On the date of the claim made by the supplier or contractor, registered as MSME in accordance with the relevant scheme of the Ministry of MSME.


The contract’s initial delivery and completion dates were between February 19, 2020 and March 31, 2022.


During the COVID-19 outbreak, eligible MSMEs will receive the following additional benefits from the government.


Refunds will be made for 95 per cent of the forfeited performance security. The Bid Security will be reimbursed in full at 95%. The deducted Liquidated Damages (LD) will be reimbursed in full at 95%. The Risk Purchase amount will be refunded in full at 95%.


On the off chance that any firm has been suspended exclusively because of default in execution of such agreements, such debarment could likewise be denied, by giving a fitting request by the getting substance.


If the company has been debarred in the interim (between the date of debarment and the date of revocation under this order), no claims will be accepted and no interest will be paid on the amount refunded.


Note that the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has created a separate webpage for this scheme’s implementation. Eligible claims could only be processed by GeM.

3. NITI Aayog Released ‘Best Practices in Social Sector: A Compendium, 2023’ in Collaboration with UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) published “Best Practices in Social Sector: A Summary, 2023′ which highlights 75 contextual investigations which really feature the

topic ‘Achievement@75’ at the grassroot levels.


The book’s frame was also made to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

The 28 States, 8 Union Territories (UTs), and more than 30 Ministries and Departments of the Indian Government served as sources for the case studies.


Suman Bery, Bad habit Executive, NITI Aayog sent off the abridgment within the sight of

NITI Aayog Individuals Dr. V K Saraswat, Dr V K Paul and Dr. Arvind Virmani and B.V.R

Subrahmanyam, President (CEO), NITI Aayog, and Ms Shoko Noda, Occupant

Delegate, UNDP India.


Central issues:


The compendium is a compilation of innovations in policymaking at the national and state levels in 14 important social sectors, including agriculture, health, education, information technology (IT), the environment, and others.


From more than 200 innovative initiatives received from states/UTs and Ministries, the 75 case studies that include best practices have been selected.


NITI Aayog received assistance from the UNDP in reviewing and compiling these 75 best practices.


The 75 best practices emphasize models that are innovative, long-lasting, scalable, and influential.


The goal of the compendium is to compile lessons for the future that can be used to expand, enhance, and improve everyday life at the local level.


Suman Bery, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, and Dr Yogesh Suri, Senior Adviser of NITI Aayog, led the overall preparation of the Compendium.

4. IA’s MES inks MoU with IIT Kanpur for making Cantonments Carbon-Neutral

In order to transform IA’s stations and cantonments into carbon-neutral campuses, the Indian Army’s Military Engineer Services (MES) Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).


Through coordinated initiatives in sustainable practices, this collaboration will demonstrate a proof-of-concept model.




The MoU was endorsed between Col. Akhil Singh Charak, Leader Works Specialist (CWE)

& IITK former student, and Major Bright Attri, Post Designer from MES Jhansi, and Prof. A.R.

Harish, Senior member of Research and development, IIT Kanpur. 


What will the MoU accomplish?


Under this, five MES Jhansi cantonment grounds will be changed over into net zero carbon, net zero energy, net zero water, and net zero waste grounds in a staged way. In addition to overseeing the entire on-the-ground processes of the Army campuses chosen as part of the MoU, IIT-K will train Army personnel in sustainable practices through on-the-job training.


Central issues:


The key NetZero parameters, which include energy sources, consumption, carbon footprint, adoption of sustainable alternatives, on-site tree planting, and habit-related factors, will be used to transform Army cantonments.


Both the preservation of natural resources and the reduction of carbon emissions will benefit from this initiative.


Utilizing the vast land area that is covered by Army cantonments, both sides intend to create a carbon-neutral roadmap for India in order to achieve India’s goal of net zero emissions by 2070.

International Affairs

1. AIME-23: 1st ASEAN-India Maritime exercise initiated in Singapore


On May 2, 2023, the initial function of the debut ASEAN (Relationship of Southeast

Asian Countries)- India Sea Exercise (AIME-23) was held at the Changi Maritime Base in

Singapore which was introduced and co-administered by Chief of naval operations Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar, Head of the Maritime Staff (CNS), Indian Naval Force (IN) and Back Naval Commander Sean Wat, Head of Naval Force (CNV), Republic of Singapore Naval force (RSN) and senior dignitaries from ASEAN.


Through this exercise, the Naval forces from ASEAN and IN will lead joint drills.


India is addressed by RAdm (Back Chief of naval operations) Gurcharan Singh, the Banner Official Directing Eastern Armada (FOCEF) alongside native warships INS (Indian Maritime Transport) Delhi and INS Satpura, and P8I oceanic watch aeroplane.

2. Highlights of Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh’s 6-day visit to the UK

From April 26 to May 1, 2023, Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Ministry of State (Independent Charge (IC)) Science & Technology, will spend six days in the United Kingdom (UK) to meet with counterpart ministers in the UK government, the Indian diaspora, start-ups, and academics.


Central issues:


The meeting of the India-UK Science & Innovation Council, co-chaired by UK Science Minister George Freeman, was presided over by Jitendra Singh.


Jitendra Singh made the announcement at the council meeting that the India-UK “Net Zero” Innovation Virtual Centre, which will focus on industrial decarbonization, and the first India-UK scientific deep sea voyage will be jointly established.


On April 26, 2023, India and the UK consented to a milestone arrangement to team up on

science and development that will drive monetary development, make talented positions and further develop lives in the UK, India, and around the world.


Under the understanding, India was named as an accomplice for the UK’s Global Science

Associations Asset, conveying forward the UK-India science organization worked through the

Newton-Bhabha store.

3. EAM Dr S. Jaishankar visits Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic – 21-29 April 2023

Between April 21 and April 29, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar visited Guyana, Panama, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic on an official visit. This denotes his first-ever official visit to this large number of Latin American nations and the Caribbean as an Association Clergyman of Outside Issues of the public authority of India.


Features of his visit:


India and Guyana signed an Air Services Agreement (ASA) on April 22, 2023, to make travel between the two countries easier.


Dr S Jaishankar joined Irfaan Ali, Leader of Guyana in the authorizing function of

the Nursery arrived at Shipbuilders and Architects Restricted (GRSE)- assembled maritime passengercum-freight ship MV ‘Mama Lisha’ at Georgetown, Guyana.


On 28th April 2023, Roberto Alvarez and EAM Dr S. Jaishankar together introduced the

Consulate of India in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, within the sight of Raquel Pena,

VP of the Dominican Republic, Eduardo Estrella, Leader of the Senate of the

Dominican Republic and other bureau clergymen.

4. Global Fintech 2023: APAC to Become World’s Top Fintech Market by 2030

The publication titled “Global Fintech 2023: The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is anticipated to outpace the United States of America (USA) and become the world’s top fintech market by 2030 with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27%, according to a joint publication by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and QED Investors titled “Reimagining the Future of Finance.”


By 2030, it is anticipated that the fintech industry, which currently accounts for approximately 2% of global financial services revenue, will generate USD 1.5 trillion in annual revenue—a sixfold increase—with banking-related fintech accounting for 25% of all banking valuations.

By the end of this decade, revenue share is expected to reach 7% in the industry.

Banking and Finance

1. Airtel Payments Bank Partners with NPCI to Roll out Face Authentication for AePS

Face Authentication for AePS (Aadhaar-enabled Payment System) was implemented by Airtel Payments Bank and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) at its 5 lakh banking points to promote financial and digital inclusion.


Through this send off, Airtel Installments Bank became perhaps the earliest four bank to offer face verification for AePS in India.


Authentication currently in use: Up until now, the customer’s Aadhaar number and a match between their fingerprint or iris and the records kept by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) were being used to verify transactions.


Feature for Face Authentication:


Customers could use face authentication and their Aadhaar number to validate a transaction through the face authentication facility.


Process: The Aadhar Face confirmation RD Administration Application which was created in-house by UIDAI will be utilized for handling validation.


Customers will be able to use their Aadhaar number or virtual ID to access their Aadhaar-linked bank account to conduct both financial and non-financial transactions at any banking point thanks to the NPCI’s AePS feature.

Face Authentication at Airtel Payments Bank:




The Banking Correspondent (BC) will enter the customers’ information, such as their Aadhaar number, into the business app and verify that the customers want to use fingerprint or face authentication.


The BC enters their mPIN and completes the transaction if the customer selects face authentication. The face authentication RD App will then capture the customer’s live image.


The face validation office was conveyed via Airtel Installments Bank in various stages.

Non-financial transactions like balance inquiries and mini-statements make up the first phase.


Airtel Payments Bank was supposed to provide the face authentication feature for financial transactions within a few weeks.


Customers of Airtel Payments Bank who are enabled for face authentication only now have access to the facility.


Additionally, Airtel Payments Bank intends to make the functionality available to both Airtel Payments Bank customers and customers of other banking establishments.

2. Pine Labs Partners ICICI Bank to Accept Digital Rupee on its PoS Terminals

On April 2, 2023, Pine Labs India, the Shipper business stage, reported the

acknowledgement of the advanced Rupee (e-Rupee-e₹) or national bank computerized cash (CBDC), on its PoS (retail location) terminals across key retail outlets in Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Bengaluru (Karnataka) in association with ICICI Bank.


Central issues:


The dynamic QR built into Pine Labs’ smart Android PoS terminals makes the entire e-Rupee payment process entirely digital.


Merchants using Pine Labs PoS terminals will benefit from an increase in operational efficiencies as a result of the acceptance of the e-Rupee, which will provide users with a simple method of payment.


The Pine Lab and ICICI Bank are launching the e-Rupee as a payment option as part of a pilot project run by the Reserve Bank of India because the e-Rupee will accelerate the transition from paper-based to digital currency.




The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the e-Rupee, an electronic sovereign currency, as part of its retail digital currency pilot program on December 1, 2022.


Leading financial institutions like State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and HDFC Bank are participating in the RBI’s CBDC pilot for P2P and P2M rupee transactions.


This controlled retail CBDC pilot is supposed to grow to additional banks, clients, and

areas, notwithstanding more applications.


In the wake of being officially acquainted with dish India as a legitimate delicate, the e-Rupee is supposed to diminish the functional expenses of the administration of actual money, work on monetary consideration, what’s more, convey flexibility and proficiency in instalment exchanges.

3. Bharti Airtel & Dialog Axiata signs Binding Term Sheet for the Merger of their Sri Lankan Subsidiaries

A legally binding term sheet for the merger of their Sri Lankan subsidiaries was signed by Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel), an Indian multinational telecommunications services company, and Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunications service provider.


The limiting is to consolidate the tasks of Bharti Airtel Lanka (Private) Restricted,

Airtel’s completely possessed auxiliary, with Discourse, an auxiliary of Malaysian worldwide

broadcast communications aggregate Axiata Gathering Berhad. The new company will soon be Sri Lanka’s largest telecom provider.


Key Features:


As part of the deal, Airtel would get a stake in Dialog that is equivalent to Airtel Lanka’s fair market value. Upon the consummation of the exchange, new portions of Discourse would be given to Airtel.


According to the applicable laws and regulations, the proposed transaction is still taking place between the parties and with the relevant regulatory authorities.


Legal agreements must be signed before the proposed deal can close, and necessary closing conditions like shareholder approval and regulatory clearances must be met.




Discourse Axiata has 17.4 million supporters, representing 57% of the nation’s versatile



Airtel Lanka serves more than 5 million customers in 25 administrative districts and distributes its 4G and 2G services to more than 50,000 retailers in Sri Lanka’s major cities.

4. Dvara SmartGold & Jana SFB Partners to Offer Gold Loans

Dvara SmartGold Private Limited, a fintech company based in Mumbai (Maharashtra) and a portfolio company of Dvara Holdings (formerly Dvara Trust), has formed a strategic partnership with Jana Small Finance Bank (SFB) based in Bengaluru (Karnataka) to provide customers in Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra with gold loans.


With Jana SFB acting as the lender, Dvara SmartGold will offer customers gold loans as part of this partnership.


Clients of Dvara SmartGold will have the choice to apply for gold credits through the

stage and get cash into their financial balances.


The loans will have flexible repayment terms and competitive interest rates.


This partnership aims to divert customers away from moneylenders and pawnbrokers’ conventional, unregulated channels.

Economy and Business

1. ICAI & ICAEW Renews their MoU

The two most prestigious and well-known accounting organizations in the world, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). As a result, opportunities will be made available to members of both institutes who are “appropriately qualified.”


The Memorandum of Understanding was extended on April 24, 2023, in London, United Kingdom, and will be reviewed after three years.


While the ICAEW has more than 2 lakh members, the ICAI has more than 3.8 lahks.

In the presence of Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal, Vice President of ICAI, as well as other Council Members, ICAI, and senior ICAEW officials, Aniket Sunil Talati, President of ICAI, and Julia Penny, President of ICAEW, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.


The first MoU between the two Organizations laid out the connection between

ICAI and ICAEW were endorsed in 2008.


Note: The term “appropriately qualified” refers to members of each Institute who have successfully completed the training and education requirements of their respective Institutes.


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