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Current Affairs (17th April, 2023)

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India-Spain Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation in New Delhi

  • Commerce Secretary, Shri Sunil Barthwal, and Ms. Xiana Mendez, Secretary of State for Trade, Government of Spain co-chaired the 12th Session of India-Spain Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) on 13th April 2023 in New Delhi.
  • Both sides celebrated this Golden Jubilee edition of India-Spain Joint Commission mechanism which was established in 1972. During the past 50 years, a remarkable enhancement of bilateral trade and investment has taken place.
  • Renewable energy, shipping, ports, tourism, infrastructure, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and defence are just a few of the key areas in which the Indian and Spanish governments have recently agreed to increase their collaboration.

G20 Meeting in Varanasi

  • A three-day Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) under India's G20 presidency will kick-start on Monday in Varanasi and will discuss on sustainable agriculture and food systems for healthy people and planet.
  • Agriculture research and development, including food security and nutrition, climate smart agriculture, digital agriculture, public private partnership etc., will be deliberated in the meeting being organized by the Union agriculture ministry.
  • The theme of the meeting is "Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems for Healthy People and the Planet.'

Actress Uttara Baokar Passes Away at 79

  • Renowned National Award-Winning Actress and theatre artist Uttara Baokar passed away at the age of 79 in Pune city of Maharashtra following a prolonged illness.
  • Baokar, who studied acting at the National School of Drama (NSD), played various roles in different plays such as Padmavati in ‘Mukyhamantri’, Mena in ‘Mena Gurjari’, Desdemona in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, mother in playwright Girish Karnad’s ‘Tughlaq’, among others.

India-European Union Trade Pact

  • An important step in fostering trade relations between the two regions is the prospective signing of a free trade agreement between India and the European Union.
  • The advantages of such a deal, which may act as a catalyst for improving relations between India and the EU, have been stressed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

NHAI Enables FASTag Based Payments at Forest Entry Points

  • Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), a company established by National Highways Authority of India NHAI to carry out electronic tolling, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve.
  • The goal of this agreement is to make the process of vehicles entering the forest area as smooth as possible.
  • The initiative aims to offer a payment system based on FASTags at forest entry points and will make it easier to collect Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC) fees via FASTags at various Tiger Reserve entry points.
  • The FASTag framework utilizes Radio Recurrence Recognizable proof (RFID) innovation to empower programmed cost installments at cost courts and appendage of FASTag on each of the 4-wheelers and above vehicles have been ordered across India.
  • Visitors can enjoy the forest's natural beauty and wildlife without having to deal with long lines or delays by enabling FASTag-based payments at entry points.
  • By reducing vehicle emissions at forest entry points, this partnership between IHMCL and the Forest Department is a significant step toward preserving natural resources and promoting sustainable tourism.

PM Modi Launches Railway Project, Methanol Plant in Assam

  • In addition to putting into operation a methanol plant and laying the groundwork for a bridge over the Brahmaputra River, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched several railway projects throughout the Northeast.
  • From the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, where Modi is on a day-long tour, he virtually inaugurated the five railway works and other projects.
  • The Digaru-Lumding and Gauripur-Abhayapuri sections of his new railway projects were inaugurated, as was the doubling of the tracks between New Bongaigaon and Dhup Dhara.
  • Modi also initiated the electrification of the sections of Raninagar-Jalpaiguri-Guwahati, Senchoa-Silghat, and Senchoa-Mairabari. These projects cost Rs 7,300 crore altogether.

The Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train Tour

  • The Bharat Gaurav Tourist train tour on Ambedkar Circuit was flagged off today by Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of Tourism, Culture and DONER, & Dr. Virendra Kumar, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, New Delhi.
  • On the occasion Shri G.K Reddy said that the Bharat Gaurav Tourist train aims to give glimpses of life of Bharat Ratna Baba Saheb Ambedkar to all the passengers.
  • The train aims to promote domestic tourism and the spirit of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.

Telangana CM Unveils 125 ft-tall Ambedkar statue

  • Telangana Boss Pastor K. Chandrasekhar Rao unveils a 125-feet tall bronze sculpture of Dr B R Ambedkar at the Hussain Sagar Lake on his 132nd birth commemoration.
  • Built of over 360 tons of steel and 100 tons of bronze, the statue of Ambedkar is the tallest in the country.
  • It cost nearly Rs 145 crore to make. Ambedkar's grandson, Prakash Ambedkar, was welcomed as the main visitor and went to the unveil during reciting of psalms by Buddhist priests. A helicopter showered blossom petals on the sculpture from a higher place.