By admin: March 29, 2023

Conservation Plan for Great Indian Bustards

Tags: Government Schemes National News

 ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

The ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is taking various measures for conservation and protection of Great Indian Bustard in the country, including in Rajasthan.

Important steps taken by the Ministry 

  • The Great Indian Bustard is listed in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Highest degree of legal protection from hunting.

  • Important habitats of Great Indian Bustards have been designated as National Parks/Sanctuaries for their better protection.

  • This species has been identified for conservation efforts under the centrally sponsored scheme 'Species Recovery Programme'.

  • Breeding conservation of the Great Indian Bustard has been done in collaboration with the Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra Forest Departments.

  • Sites have been identified for setting up conservation breeding centers for Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican birds in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India and international experts.

  • A satellite conservation breeding facility has been established at SAM, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

About Great Indian Bustard

  • It is considered India's most critically endangered bird species and is especially found in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

  • It is one of the heaviest flying birds endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

  • It is the state bird of Rajasthan.

  • These birds are on the verge of extinction, with barely 50 to 249 surviving, according to a 2021 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • It is a large bird with brown-and-white feathers with black crown and wing markings. It is one of the heaviest birds in the world.

  • Its habitat is Arid grasslands.

  • IUCN Status - Critically Endangered.

  • Listed in Wildlife Protection Act’s Schedule 1.

  • The cause of the decline in numbers is Hunting, Intensification of agriculture, Power lines.

Passing out parade of first batch of Agniveers at INS Chilka

Tags: Defence

2,585 Agniveers celebrated their passing out parade at INS Chilka in Odisha

The first batch of 2,585 Agniveers celebrated their passing out parade at INS Chilka in Odisha on 28 March.

An overview of the news

  • The parade was held under the aegis of Southern Naval Command. 

  • The parade was reviewed by Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, in the presence of Hon’ble Member of Parliament PT Usha, eminent sports personality Mithali Raj and eminent naval veterans.

  • There are also 272 women Agniveers among those passing out in the parade.

  • Khushi Pathania was awarded the General Bipin Rawat Trophy for Best Female Agniveer at the first passing out parade of Agniveers at INS Chilka.

  • Khushi, 19, from Pathankot, is the granddaughter of a Subedar Major and the daughter of a farmer.

  • Amalakanti Jayaram, Agniveer (SSR), Ajith P, Agniveer (MR) were awarded the Chief of the Naval Staff Rolling Trophy and Gold Medal for Best Agniveer SSR and MR in the men's category respectively.

About ‘Agnipath’ scheme

  • Under this scheme, to reduce the rising salary and pension expenses, short-term soldiers will be recruited on contract basis, which will be called 'Agniveer'.

  • Under the scheme the soldiers will be recruited initially for a period of four years and some of them would be retained.

  • Indian youth will be provided an opportunity to serve in the Armed Forces as 'Agniveer'.

  • Women will also be recruited into armed forces under the scheme.

  • This will help in ensuring optimum balance between youth and experience in the Army.

  • The "Agneepath" scheme, earlier named as "Tour of Duty", was initiated in the presence of the Chiefs of the three Services.

  • At present, the Army recruits youth under Short Service Commission for an initial tenure of 10 years, which can be extended up to 14 years.

Salary of Agniveers

  • Agniveers will get a salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per month plus applicable allowance.

  • The Seva Nidhi will be exempt from Income Tax. 

  • No one will be entitled to gratuity and pensionary benefits.

  • Agniveers will be provided a non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh.

Government imposes surcharge for Google Pay and other payment apps

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

Government imposes surcharge for Google Pay and other payment apps

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has issued a circular suggesting "Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI)" charges on merchant transactions on Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

An overview of the news

  • NPCI has introduced an interchange charge of up to 1.1 per cent on merchant UPI transactions done using prepaid payment instruments from April 1.

  • It will be levied on UPI payments above Rs 2,000 made to online merchants, large merchants and small merchants.

  • NPCI has clarified that there will be no charges for UPI payment from bank account to bank account or normal UPI payment.

  • With UPI, customers will have the option of using any bank account, RuPay credit card and prepaid wallet on a UPI-enabled app.

What is the interchange fee?

  • The interchange fee is levied to cover the costs of accepting, processing, and authorising transactions. 

  • This is likely to make the transaction costlier. 

  • Interchange fee is a fee paid by payment service providers to wallet issuers such as banks.

  • These wallets are mainly online payments like Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • NPCI, an umbrella organization for operating retail payment and settlement systems in India, has been initiated by the 'RBI' and the 'Indian Banks' Association' (IBA) under the 'Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007'.

  • It is a 'not-for-profit' company established under the provisions of Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 (as amended in 2013), with the objective of providing physical and electronic payment infrastructure to the entire banking system in India.

For the first time in the country, the decision on bail in the case of 'murder' with the help of ChatGPT

Tags: Science and Technology National News


For the first time in the country, the Punjab and Haryana High Court used Artificial Intelligence based ChatGPT (ChatGPT) during the hearing of the bail plea in the murder case on March 27.

An overview of the news

  • Justice Anoop Chitkara used ChatGPT to assess the worldwide outlook on bail in a murder case.

  • He asked AI tool ChatGPT 'What is the jurisprudence on bail when the assailants brutally attack?'

  • ChatGPT then offered a comprehensive three-paragraph reply on bail jurisprudence in such cases.

  • Thereafter, the court refused the bail and dismissed the petition.

  • However, the court clarified that any reference to ChatGPT and any comment made was not an expression of opinion on the merits of the case.

  • The court also asked the trial court not to take into account the observations relating to the response of ChatGPT.

  • The Court noted that the petitioner had a criminal history of two cases of attempt to murder.

What is ChatGPT?

  • It is a natural language processing tool powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows chatbots to do much more than just have human-like conversations.

  • This language model can answer questions and assist with tasks such as writing emails, essays and code.

  • ChatGPT was created by OpenAI, an AI and research company. 

  • The company launched ChatGPT on 30 November 2022. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

  • It is a broad branch of computer science that deals with the creation of smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence.

India’s overall exports cross all time high of 750 Billion US dollars

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

India’s overall exports cross all time high of 750 Billion US dollars

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said on March 28 that India's total exports have crossed US$ 750 billion which is the highest ever and this achievement has come in the 75th year of independence.

An overview of the news

  • In 2021-22, the country's goods and services exports reached an all-time high of US$ 422 billion and US$ 254 billion, respectively, taking total shipments to US$ 676 billion.

  • Exports fell by 8.82 per cent in February 2022, while imports fell by 8.21 per cent, the biggest decline in more than two years.

  • Experts have expressed concern over the slowdown in exports due to recession concerns and weak global demand.

  • Exports declined by 8.8 per cent to $33.88 billion in February 2023 from $37.15 billion in February 2022.

  • Imports also declined for the third consecutive month in February at $51.31 billion, down 8.21 per cent from $55.9 billion a year ago.

  • The country's trade deficit in February stood at $17.43 billion.

IIT Madras researchers develop pocket-friendly device to detect adulteration in milk

Tags: Science and Technology

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Researchers have developed a three-dimensional (3D) paper-based portable device that can detect adulteration in milk within 30 seconds. 

An overview of the news

  • This new technology can be used at home and only one milliliter of liquid sample is required to test for adulteration.

  • The device can detect various commonly used adulterant agents such as detergent, soap, hydrogen peroxide, urea, starch, salt, and sodium-hydrogen-carbonate.

  • The traditional methods to test the purity of milk which are expensive and time consuming, this new technology is cost effective.

  • This new technology can also be used to test other liquids such as water, fresh juices and milkshakes.

  • Only one milliliter sample of any liquid will be sufficient to test for adulteration.

About Device

  • The 3D paper-based microfluidic device has a top and bottom cover, and a middle layer with a sandwich structure.

  • It helps in transporting dense liquids at a uniform speed.

  • A reagent is applied to its paper and left to dry.

  • After drying the paper is applied to the device and both the covers are sealed with double sided tape.

  • Whatman filter paper grade 4 is used in this design, allowing for greater liquid flow and reagent storage.

Second Agriculture Deputies Meeting of AWG held in Chandigarh

Tags: Summits

second agriculture representative meeting of the Agriculture Working Group (AWG)

The second agriculture representative meeting of the Agriculture Working Group (AWG) is being held in Chandigarh from 29 to 31 March 2023.

An overview of the news

  • Along with India, 19 member states and representatives of 10 invited countries and 10 international organizations are also participating in this meeting.

  • The meeting is an important platform for the member countries to come together and discuss ways to ensure sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition.

  • AMIS Quick Response Forum was organized on the first day of the meeting.

  • It is an important initiative to understand and address the food market situation and identify the need for capacity building.

  • The initiative of this Forum will pave a way for future progress.

  • The second and third days of the second meeting of agricultural representatives will focus on drafting the member country communique, which will address the needs and problems of the four thematic areas.

  • These include food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture with a climate smart approach, inclusive agriculture, value chain and food systems and digitization for agricultural transformation.

Indian hockey player Salima Tete has been appointed as the Athlete Ambassador of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF)

Tags: Person in news Sports News

Indian women's hockey team midfielder Salima Tete

Indian women's hockey team midfielder Salima Tete has been appointed as the Athlete Ambassador from India by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) for two years.

An Overview of the News

  • It was announced during the AHF Congress held in Mungyeong, South Korea on March 23, 2023.

  • AHF athlete ambassadors are Lee Jong Joon (South Korea), Abdul Hannan Shahid (Pakistan) and Asai Yu (Japan).

  • Salima Tete, as an AHF Athlete Ambassador, will play a key role in the international representation and development of athletes.

  • She will also work towards promoting awareness of the rights and welfare of athletes in the region.

  • Salima Tete received the AHF Emerging Player of the Year (Women) award on March 24, 2023 for her outstanding performance in 2022.

About Asian Hockey Federation (AHF)

  • It is the governing body for field hockey and is responsible for organising international field hockey events in the region.

  • It is a member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and works closely with the FIH to promote the sport of field hockey around the world.

  • The AHF is responsible for organising several field hockey tournaments in Asia, including the Asia Cup, the Asian Games and the Asian Champions Trophy.

  • The AHF is committed to promoting gender equality in the sport of field hockey and has established a women's committee to oversee the development of women's hockey in Asia.

President - Dato' Fumio Ogura

Formation - 1958

Established - Tokyo, Japan

Headquarters - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Patron - Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah

Dilma Rousseff appointed as new President of BRICS New Development Bank

Tags: Person in news International News

Dilma Rousseff appointed as new President of BRICS New Development Bank

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been elected as the new President of the New Development Bank (NDB), also known as the BRICS Bank.

An Overview of the News

  • She replaced Marcus Troyjo as the President of NDB.

  • Rousseff is an economist who served as the President of Brazil for two consecutive terms from January 2011 to August 2016.

  • During her presidency, Rousseff prioritised social policies, including poverty reduction and increased access to education and healthcare.

  • The NDB has so far approved $23 billion in loans for projects including renewable energy and transportation infrastructure in its member countries.

About New Development Bank (NDB)

  • It is a multilateral development bank established in 2014 by the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

  • It was created with the aim of mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies.

  • It is headquartered in Shanghai, China and has regional offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and São Paulo, Brazil.

  • Its authorised capital is $100 billion, with each founding member contributing $10 billion.

  • Its main focus is on financing infrastructure projects including energy, transport and water supply.

  • It operates on the principle of "co-ownership, governance and shared benefit", which means that member states have equal representation and decision-making power.

  • It is seen as an alternative to established financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are dominated by Western countries.

Assam's Tapoban NGO honoured with Children's Champion Award

Tags: Awards State News

Assam's Tapoban NGO honoured with Children's Champion Award

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights conferred the Assam-based Tapoban NGO with the Children's Champion Award 2023 and the award was presented in the Health and Nutrition category.

An Overview of the News 

  • Kumud Kalita, founder-president of Tapoban and a political science teacher at a junior college of the school, received the award from Justice S Muralidhar, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court in New Delhi.

  • This NGO focuses on supporting children with special needs and autism.

  • The Children's Champion Award recognizes individuals and organisations for their significant contribution to the welfare of children in areas such as education, justice, health, nutrition, sports and creative arts.

  • Tapoban has been recognized in the Health and Nutrition category for its remarkable contribution to the welfare of children with special needs and children with autism.

About Tapoban

  • Tapoban Pathshala, established in 2005, is an NGO based in Assam.

  • It runs a care home for 18 differently-abled and orphaned children and has helped over 700 children so far.

  • Chief Minister's Best Community Work Award in 2011 and Mr. Kalita receiving the State Teacher Award in 2021.

Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 passed by Lok Sabha

Tags: National National News

Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 passed by Lok Sabha

On March 29, 2023, the Lok Sabha passed the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill aims to reduce the time limit for CCI to pass orders on such transactions from 210 days to 150 days.

An Overview of the News 

  • The Bill proposes a framework for settlement and commitment to more quickly resolve investigations into anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position.

  • Certain offences under the Competition Act, such as failure to comply with CCI orders and directions of the Director General relating to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, will be decriminalised under the Bill. The nature of punishment for these offences will change from fine to civil punishment.

  • The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2022 and was referred to the Standing Committee in the same month. The Standing Committee submitted its report in December 2022.

About Competition Act of 2002

  • It is a law enacted by the Parliament of India to promote fair competition and prevent anti-competitive practices in the Indian market.

  • It aims to create a level playing field for businesses, protect the interests of consumers and encourage innovation and efficiency.

  • The Act establishes the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as the primary regulatory body to enforce competition laws and prevent abuse of dominant positions by companies.

  • The CCI has the power to investigate and impose penalties on companies found to be indulging in anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, and abuse of dominant market positions.

Axis Bank launches 'Micropay' on 'PIN on Mobile' technology

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

Axis Bank launched a groundbreaking payment solution called "Micropay" by Razorpay and MyPinpad in association with technology partners Ezetap.

An Overview of the News

  • Micropay is a "Pin on mobile" solution that enables a merchant's smartphone to act as a Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal, providing a unique customer experience and simplifying digital payments.

  • This solution has the potential to revolutionise digital payments in India, especially in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities where retail and grocery stores often have limited working capital and need cost-effective payment options.

  • The launch of Micropay by Axis Bank is expected to have a significant impact on small businesses, making digital payments more accessible and cheaper.

About 'Micropay' and 'PIN on Mobile' technology

  • The new Pin on mobile technology offers merchants an affordable way to accept payments through cards, UPI and BAR codes while maintaining high security standards.

  • Pin on mobile technology is a small, low-cost card reader that connects via Bluetooth to a merchant's smartphone.

  • Customers can enter their Pin directly on the merchant's device, in compliance with PCI standards for software-based Pin entry on COTS phones, ensuring the security of the Pin.

Harshil Mathur, CEO of Razorpay

Beas Nambisan, CEO of Ezetap

Employees' Provident Fund Organization increased the interest rate on Employees' Provident Fund to 8.15%

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

Employees' Provident Fund Organization increased the interest rate on Employees' Provident Fund to 8.15%

Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has fixed the interest rate on Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) deposits at 8.15% for the financial year 2022-23, which is higher than the previous year's interest rate of 8.10%.

An Overview of the News 

  • Last year's interest rate of 8.10% The interest rate provided by EPFO for EPF deposits was the lowest in more than 40 years.

  • EPFO has sought approval from the Finance Ministry for the new interest rate.

  • The CBT will also review the annual accounts of EPFO along with the interest rate on EPF deposits for the financial year 2022-23.

  • EPFO has given four months time to the subscribers of Employees' Pension Scheme 1995 to opt for higher pension as per the order of the Supreme Court.

  • Members can opt for higher pension till May 3, 2023.

About Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)

  • It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Labor and Employment, responsible for operating provident funds, pension schemes and insurance schemes for the organised sector workforce in India.

  • It manages a corpus of over Rs 17 lakh crore with over 6 crore clients.

  • EPFO aims to provide social security benefits to workers in the organised sector and ensure their financial stability and well-being.

  • Since its inception in 1951, the EPFO has expanded its ambit to include pension and insurance benefits, and in 2014, it launched the Universal Account Number (UAN) to ease EPF account management and ensure transparency. 

About Employees Provident Fund (EPF)

  • It is a mandatory retirement savings scheme in India for employees with income below a certain salary limit.

  • Both the employer and the employee contribute 12% of the employee's basic salary and dearness allowance to the EPF account every month.

  • Employees can withdraw their EPF balance after a certain period or in case of certain contingencies, and EPF is an important component of an employee's retirement plan.

Naveen Jindal conferred with 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by University of Texas

Tags: Awards

Naveen Jindal conferred with 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by University of Texas

Jindal Steel & Power Chairman Naveen Jindal conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of Texas (Dallas) and the award ceremony was held on March 25, 2023.

An Overview of the News 

  • Jindal, an alumnus of UT Dallas 1992 batch, received the award for his outstanding achievements in industry, politics and academia.

  • Jindal is the second person after Nobel laureate Aziz Sansar to receive this prestigious award from the University of Texas, Dallas.

  • As a student at UT Dallas, Jindal served as both vice president and president of the student government and was honoured with the Student Leader of the Year award and also received the university's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010.

  • In 2011, to celebrate Jindal's massive success, UT Dallas renamed its School of Management the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the University of Texas (Dallas) to individuals who have made significant contributions in a variety of fields over a distinguished career of at least 25 years.

  • Past laureates include Mary McDermott Cook, Ralph Hawkins, and Robert S. Kaplan.

About The University of Texas Dallas (UT Dallas)

  • It is a public research university located in Richardson, Texas, United States and was established in 1969.

  • It is part of the University of Texas System and offers more than 140 academic programs across its eight schools, including programs in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, management, and the arts and humanities.

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