Current Affairs - Miscellaneous

The da Vinci glow

On May 19, 2023, a glimpse of the Da Vinci glow was witnessed. It is a phenomenon that can happen around sunset when a crescent moon is on the horizon, but the outline of a full moon is visible.

About da Vinci glow

  • Named after Leonardo da Vinci: This phenomenon is named after the legendary Renaissance artist and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Leonardo da Vinci, in the 16th century, became the first person to describe this spectacle, intertwining his artistic perception with scientific curiosity.
  • Sky Retains A Touch Of Darkness: During the Da Vinci glow time, the sky retains a touch of darkness but is not completely devoid of light.
  • Emanates From Light Reflected By The Earth: This enchanting glow, also known as earthshine, emanates from light reflected by the Earth onto the moon's surface, making the lunar night an astounding 50 times brighter than a typical full-moon night on Earth.
  • Provided A Deeper Understanding: Although da Vinci's original explanation had flaws, subsequent advancements in technology and lunar missions have provided a deeper understanding of the da Vinci glow, enhancing the appreciation of this celestial phenomenon.

Panch Karma Sankalp

On May 22, 2023, at the end of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways' (MoPSW) Chintan Shibir in Munnar, Kerala, the 'Panch Karma Sankalp' was announced.

The five major announcements made during the event were as follows:

  1. MoPSW will provide 30% financial support for the promotion of Green Shipping.
  2. Under the Green Tug Transition Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, VO Chidambaranar Port, Paradip Port, and Deendayal Port, Kandla will procure two tugs each.
  3. Deendayal Port, Kandla, and VO Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin will be developed as Green Hydrogen Hubs.
  4. A Single Window Portal will be designed to facilitate and monitor river and sea cruises and their bookings.
  5. Jawaharlal Nehru Port and VO Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin, will become smart ports by 2024.

First Anniversary of India-UAE CEPA

On May 1st, 2023, India and the UAE celebrated the first anniversary of the implementation of their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

  • India-UAE CEPA was signed during a virtual summit between the two countries.
  • It has been in force since May 1st, 2022.
  • It aims to boost bilateral trade between these countries by creating new opportunities for businesses on both sides.

Benefits

  • Significant Impact: Over the past 11 months, the CEPA has made a significant impact on India's bilateral trade with the UAE, especially in terms of India's exports to the UAE.
  • Vital Growth Engine: The CEPA has become a vital growth engine for bilateral trade between the two countries.
  • Boost to Economic Ties: The agreement has boosted economic ties and created new opportunities for businesses on both sides.
  • India's exports to the UAE have registered a multiyear high.
  • Considerable Surge in Exports: Sectors that have experienced a considerable surge in exports include mineral fuels, electrical machinery (particularly telephone equipment), gems & jewellery, automobiles (transport vehicles segment), essential oils/perfumes/cosmetics (beauty/skin care products), other machinery, cereals (rice), coffee/tea/spices, other agri products, and chemical products.

First Global Buddhist Summit

On 20th & 21st April, 2023, the first Global Buddhist Summit was held in New Delhi.

  • The Summit was hosted by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation.
  • The theme of the Summit was “Responses to Contemporary Challenges: Philosophy to Praxis”.
  • A declaration was adopted at the end of the summit on April 21 which sought focus on the need to address the burning challenges both within and globally and offer a sustainable model for future of the world.
  • It also focused on need for environmental sustainability, need to free human race from conflict, peace, preservation and access to Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

India-WFP MoU for Sending Wheat to Afghanistan

On 13th April, 2023, India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Food Programme (WFP) paving the way for sending 10,000 metric tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan.

  • The WFP said it had a massive supply chain and logistics infrastructure in Afghanistan that could help in ensuring that the food supply reached those who need it the most and no one is excluded.
  • The MoU follows from the Indian declaration made last month at the India Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan saying that 20,000 MT of wheat would be sent through the Iranian port of Chahbahar.
  • According to the WFP, nine out of 10 Afghan families could not afford enough food at present and at least 20 million Afghans were facing threat of starvation.

Dabba Trading

Recently, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) issued a string of notices naming entities involved in ‘dabba trading’. It cautioned retail investors to not subscribe (or invest) using any of these products offering indicative/assured/guaranteed returns in the stock market as they are prohibited by law.

  • Dabba (box) trading refers to informal trading that takes place outside the purview of the stock exchanges. Traders bet on stock price movements without incurring a real transaction to take physical ownership of a particular stock as is done in an exchange. In other words, it is gambling centred around stock price movements.
  • The primary purpose of such trades is to stay outside the purview of the regulatory mechanism, and thus, transactions are facilitated using cash and the mechanism is operated using unrecognised software terminals.
  • Since there are no proper records of income or gain, it helps dabba traders escape taxation. They would not have to pay the Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) or the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on their transactions.
  • Dabba trading is recognised as an offence under Section 23(1) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA), 1956 and upon conviction, can invite imprisonment for a term extending up to 10 years or a fine up to ₹25 crore, or both.

Nifty REITs and InvITs Index

On 11th April, 2023, NSE Indices Ltd, an arm of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), launched the country’s first-ever Real Estate Investment Trusts and Infrastructure Investment Trusts index — Nifty REITs and InvITs Index.

  • The index aims to track the performance of REITs and InvITs that are publicly listed and traded on the NSE.
  • A real estate investment trust (REIT) or an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) is an investment vehicle that owns revenue-generating real estate or infrastructure assets.
  • REITs invest in real estate projects, whereas InvITs invest in infrastructure projects with a long gestation period.
  • Through these trusts, investors get exposure to diversified regular income-generating real estate and infrastructure assets.
  • The Nifty REITs and InvITs index has a base value of 1,000 and the index will be reviewed and rebalanced on a quarterly basis.

Geoffrey Bawa

On March 17, 2023, External Affairs Minister of India inaugurated the Sri Lankan exhibition "Geoffrey Bawa: It is Essential to be There" at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.

  • The exhibition features the works of Sri Lanka's iconic architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, and marks the 75th anniversary of Indo-Lanka diplomatic relations.
  • This is the first major retrospective exhibition of Bawa's works to be shown internationally since 2004, and includes over 120 documents from the Bawa archives.
  • The exhibition explores relationships between ideas, drawings, buildings, and places, and the different ways in which images were used in Bawa's practice.
  • The exhibition, organized under the Sri Lanka-India Cultural Exchange Programme, will be on display until May 7, 2023.

Moody raised the India’s growth projections

On February 28, 2023, Moody’s released its global macroeconomic outlook, which included upgraded growth projections for several G20 economies, such as India, the US, China, Russia, and the Euro area, for the year 2023.

  • Budget allocation to ₹10 trillion (3.3% of GDP) for the fiscal year 2023-24, up from ₹7.5 trillion for the fiscal year ending in March 2023.
  • India's fiscal budget for the year 2023-24 has seen an upward revision.
  • The capital expenditure budget allocation has increased to ₹10 trillion, which is 3.3% of GDP.
  • This is a significant increase from the previous fiscal year's capital expenditure budget allocation of ₹7.5 trillion, which is set to end in March 2023.

As per Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), India's manufacturing sector showed growth in output and new orders for the 20th consecutive month in February.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is an index of the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors. A reading above 50 on the PMI index indicates growth in activity.

Great Backyard Bird Count

On February 24, 2023, a report is released by the Bird Count India (BCI) to document bird sightings during the Global Big Birding Challenge 2023.

  • West Bengal reported the highest number of species with 489 species among the 35 participating States and Union Territories in Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2023 across India.
  • Kerala recorded the highest number of checklists of birds, with 9,768 lists of birds uploaded on e-Bird, an online platform to record bird observations.
  • More than 46,000 checklists and a total of 1,067 avian species were uploaded on e-Bird, indicating a remarkable increase in participation across the country.
  • Pune birders uploaded more than 5,900 lists, the most among urban centres.

Bird Count India (BCI): BCI is an informal partnership of organisations and groups working together to increase collective knowledge about bird distributions and populations.

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