Current Affairs - News Crux

Indo-US Defence Industrial Cooperation

On June 5th , 2023, Indian Defence Minister and U.S. Secretary of Defence concluded a bilateral meeting, during which they outlined a road map for 'Defence Industrial Cooperation' between the two countries.

  • Aims of Roadmap: It aims to guide policy direction for the next few years, emphasizing cooperation in high technology areas and identifying opportunities for co-development and co-production.

Key Highlights

  • Strengthening Industrial Cooperation: The meetings focused on enhancing industrial cooperation between India and the U.S. in the defence sector.
  • Collaboration in Defence Start-up Ecosystems: The ministers discussed ways to foster collaboration between the defence start-up ecosystems of both countries. This cooperation aims to leverage the innovation and expertise of start-ups in the defence industry.
  • Convergence of Strategic Interests: The discussions emphasized the convergence of strategic interests between India and the U.S. Both sides expressed their commitment to enhancing defence cooperation and security collaboration.
  • Free and Open Indo-Pacific: The critical role of the India-U.S. partnership in ensuring a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region was emphasized. Both nations acknowledged the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region.
  • Robust Bilateral Defence Cooperation: It highlighted the robust and multifaceted nature of bilateral defence cooperation between India and the U.S. The momentum of engagement will be sustained, and recent successful dialogues on defence Artificial Intelligence and defence space were acknowledged.

Indian Scientists Discover New Exoplanet

Recently, an international team of scientists from India, Germany, Switzerland and the USA discovered a new Jupiter-size exoplanet with the highest density known till this date.

The key findings are:

  • Telescope: The discovery of the massive exoplanet was made using the indigenously made PRL Advanced Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search spectrograph (PARAS) at the 1.2 m telescope of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) at its Gurushikhar Observatory in Mt. Abu by measuring the mass of the planet precisely.
  • The Star: The newly discovered exoplanet is found around the star called TOI4603 or HD 245134.
  • The Planet: Using PARAS, the scientists discovered it as a planet by measuring the mass of the secondary body and hence, the planet is called TOI 4603b or HD 245134b.
  • Location: It is located 731 light years away.
  • It orbits a sub-giant F-type star TOI4603 every 7.24 days.
  • It orbits very close to its host star at a distance less than 1/10th the distance between our Sun and Earth.
  • Mass: The new exoplanet has a mass 13 times that of Jupiter.

The detection of the new exoplanet provides valuable insights into the formation, migration, and evolution mechanisms of massive exoplanets.

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.

Third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit

On 22 May, 2023, during the third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit, India unveiled a 12-step initiative to strengthen collaborations with Pacific Island nations.

  • The inaugural meeting of the Forum for FIPIC was convened by the Indian Prime Minister in Fiji in 2014, followed by the second meeting in Jaipur in 2015, where various initiatives were announced for promoting development and well-being.
  • Initiatives Announced By India: The initiatives announced by India include the FIPIC SME Development Project, solar projects for government buildings, provision of desalination units for drinking water, supply of sea ambulances, establishment of dialysis units, setting up of 24x7 emergency helpline, Jan Aushadi Kendras, and Yoga centers.
  • India’s Earlier Support: India has supported Fiji and Papua New Guinea by providing indelible ink for their general elections and organizing healthcare initiatives such as the Jaipur Foot Camp in Fiji, where customized prosthetic limbs were provided to approximately 600 Fijians.
  • India has also extended Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to Pacific Island countries and provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by supplying vaccines and medical supplies.
  • UN Development Partnership Fund: In 2017, India established the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, focusing on supporting sustainable development projects tailored to the specific needs and demands of developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small Island developing states (SIDS).

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.

Regulation of Global Methane Emissions

Recently, a study conducted by researchers revealed that only approximately 13% of global methane emissions are regulated, despite methane being responsible for at least 25% of current global warming.

Key findings of the research are:

  • Limited knowledge: The researchers found that there is limited knowledge regarding the effectiveness of existing policies, as estimations are often used instead of actual measurements.
  • Adopted in Three Regions: The findings showed that 90% of identified national policies were adopted in three regions namely North America (39%), Europe (30%), and the Asia Pacific (21%).
  • Methane emissions are currently increasing at a rate faster than any time since the 1980s.
  • Satellites to Monitor Methane Emissions: The researchers suggest that using technologies like satellites to monitor methane emissions can assist policymakers in measurement, verification, compliance, and detection of significant emitters.
  • Policies Tend To Be Less Stringent: While there has been a gradual increase in methane policies globally since 1974, policies targeting fossil methane emissions from coal, oil, and gas sectors tend to be less stringent compared to those addressing biogenic methane sources, particularly in the waste sector.
  • Introducing Policies With Broader Coverage: The study emphasize the importance of introducing policies with broader coverage, mitigation solutions for major sources, and measurable objectives to achieve a significant reduction in methane emissions.
  • To meet the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement, man-made methane emissions should be reduced by at least 40 to 45% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

Samudra Shakti - 23

The 4th edition of India-Indonesia Bilateral exercise Samudra Shakti-23 is being held from 14-19 May, 2023.

  • INS Kavaratti (indigenously designed & built ASW Corvette), an Indian Navy Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft and Chetak helicopter are participating in the exercise.
  • The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability, jointness and mutual cooperation between both the navies.
  • Samudra Shakti -23 will showcase the high level of interoperability between the two navies and their shared commitment towards peace and stability in the region.

Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi Scheme

On 10th May, 2023, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) launched the ‘Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’ scheme.

  • ECCE Program: It is an Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program.
  • Aim: It aims to create the world's largest universal high-quality preschool network, as envisaged by the National Education Policy.
  • Focus Areas: It will focus on enhancing Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and will target the overall development of children mentioned in the National Curriculum Framework such as:
    • ­Physical and motor development;
    • ­Cognitive development;
    • ­Socio-emotional-ethical development;
    • ­Language and literacy development; and
    • ­Education in the mother tongue, as per the National Education Policy.
  • Preschool Teaching: It will ensure that every child gets at least two hours of daily, high-quality preschool teaching.
  • It will ensure that the ECCE material percolates to every Anganwadi in the country through new training methodologies, with the able guidance of officers in the ministry and the participation of state governments and those in communities and civil societies.

SAKSHAM Learning Management Information System

Recently, the Union Health Ministry launched the SAKSHAM (Stimulating Advanced Knowledge for Sustainable Health Management), a Learning Management Information System (LMIS).

  • This digital learning platform has been developed by the National Institute of Health & Family Welfare (NIHFW), New Delhi.
  • SAKSHAM is a dedicated and unified platform for providing online training and medical education to all health professionals in the country.
  • Currently SAKSHAM is hosting more than 200 public health and 100 clinical courses through online mode.
  • Health professionals can register themselves for these courses on the portal through url: and get the certification after undergoing requisite training and qualifying the required assessment criteria.
  • This digital learning platform will ensure inclusive capacity building of health professionals from primary health centres located in rural and remote areas all the way up to tertiary care and corporate hospitals in metropolitan cities.

First Meeting of National MSME Council

On 10th May, 2023, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises, Government of India, organised the first meeting of the National MSME Council at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

The meeting was held with a focus on Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance Programme (RAMP).

The key points of the meeting are:

  • Objective: The meeting aimed to oversee inter-Central Ministerial/Departmental coordination, Centre-State synergies, and monitor progress on reforms mandated in the MSME sector, including the RAMP programme.
  • RAMP Programme: The meeting was organized under the Central Sector Scheme "Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance" launched in June 2022.
  • The RAMP programme aims to improve access to markets and credit, strengthen institutions and governance at the Centre and State levels, enhance Centre-State linkages and partnerships, address delayed payments, and promote green practices in MSMEs.
  • State Commitment: The representatives from the states/UTs expressed enthusiasm about the RAMP programme and reaffirmed their commitment to making it successful.
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