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Current Affairs (21th April, 2023)

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The National Quantum Mission Has Been Approved by India

  • India's Union Cabinet, in a meeting held on April 19th, has given approval for the National Quantum Mission. The mission aims to propel economic growth through quantum technology and position India as a prominent nation in this field.
  • The mission involves a cost to ₹ 6,003.65 crore from 2023-24 to 2030-31.
  • India will be the sixth country to have a dedicated quantum mission after the US, Austria, Finland, France and China.

India Has Advanced its Target to Achieve 20% Ethanol Blending in Petrol from 2030 to 2025-26

  • The Union Minister for Petroleum, Hardeep Singh Puri, announced that the government has brought forward its goal to achieve a 20% ethanol blending in petrol from the year 2030 to 2025-26.
  • During his speech at the Global CBG Conference hosted by the CBG Producers Forum of the Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE), Puri stated that the Indian government has officially declared the ‘National Policy on Biofuels’ in 2018, with an aim to promote the adoption of biofuels in the country's energy and transportation industries.
  • The government has set a target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15% in 2032 to make India a Gas based economy.

NTPC Signs MoU to Explore Feasibility of Bamboo-Based Bio-Refinery in Assam

  • NTPC, the most prominent electricity-generating utility in India, and Chempolis India, a subsidiary of the Finnish bio-refining technology provider Fortum, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to evaluate the potential of creating a bio-refinery that uses bamboo as its primary source of material in Bongaigaon.
  • In collaboration with NTPC, Chempolis will conduct a feasibility study for a project that will use bamboo as a raw material to produce 2G Ethanol, Bio-Coal for thermal power plants, and other value-added products.
  • The proposed bio-refinery is designed to be an integration project with the NTPC Bongaigaon Power Plant, where the power plant will provide all necessary utilities such as steam and power, and the Bio-Coal produced by the bio-refinery will replace some of the coal used in the power plant, effectively converting 5% of the power plant's output to green energy.
  • This project will support NTPC's decarbonization efforts, create employment opportunities, and establish a sustainable model by promoting the use of locally available resources. M/s EIL is the project consultant appointed by NTPC to prepare the detailed project report.
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of NTPC's Director-HR, Mr. Dilip Kumar Patel, EIL's Director-HR, Mr. Ashok Kumar Kalra, and the President & CEO of Chempolis, Mr. Markus Alholm.

Animal Birth Control Rules of 2023

  • The Central Government has released a notification on March 10th, 2023, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act of 1960, called the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023, which supersedes the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules of 2001.
  • These rules have been developed in accordance with the guidelines established by the Supreme Court during a writ petition that involved the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the People for Elimination of Stray Troubles.

Asha Bhosle to be Honoured with the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award

  • The Mangeshkar family has announced that the renowned singer Asha Bhosle will receive the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award.
  • The Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar is presented annually to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the nation, its people, and society. The inaugural recipient of this award was Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • On April 24, which marks the anniversary of their father's death, Asha Bhosle, the younger sister of Lata Mangeshkar, will receive the award during the ceremony.

For the Sixth Consecutive Time, Tata Steel Has Been Recognized as a Champion of Sustainability

  • Tata Steel has been named the Steel Sustainability Champion by the World Steel Association for the sixth consecutive year.
  • The announcement of the Sustainability Champions was made during the world steel Special General Meeting of the Board of Members held in Vienna, Austria.
  • The award recognises Tata Steel's ongoing commitment to sustainability, which has been evident since the programme's inception in 2018, and its position as a top-tier steel producer.

World's 1st Smart Gun

  • A biometric identification system developed by Biofire, a company based in the United States, is integrated into "smart guns" that restrict firing to only authorized individuals.
  • Kai Kloepfer, the founder of Biofire, began working on this handgun at the age of 15. Kloepfer's aim is to reduce accidental firing-related deaths of children and lower suicide rates in the United States with the help of this technology-laden 9mm handgun.
  • The standout characteristic of the Biofire Smart Gun is its biometric recognition system, which includes a fingerprint sensor on the grip and a facial recognition sensor at the rear of the weapon.

Chennai Has Emerged as One of the Top Digital Payment Transactions Cities in 2022

  • According to a report by payment services company Worldline India, Chennai has become one of the leading cities in the country for digital payment transactions in 2022. The report states that the city has conducted 14.3 million transactions with a total value of USD 35.5 billion.
  • Bengaluru has emerged as the top city in terms of digital payment transactions in 2022 with 29 million transactions worth USD 65 billion.
  • New Delhi came in second with 19.6 million transactions worth USD 50 billion, followed by Mumbai with 18.7 million transactions worth USD 49.5 billion, and Pune with 15 million transactions valued at USD 32.8 billion.

Thawe Festival organised in Bihar

  • In Gopalganj, Bihar, the Thawe Festival was arranged collaboratively by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Art and Culture on April 15th and 16th with the objective of boosting tourism in the region and drawing more visitors to the Thawe Durga Temple.

About Thawe Festival

  • A yearly occasion known as the Thawe Festival is celebrated in Gopalganj, Bihar with the aim of promoting tourism in the region and enticing visitors to discover the prominent attraction of the area, the Thawe Durga Temple.
  • Since 2012, the festival has been held, featuring a range of cultural and entertainment events, with the Home Guard Ground serving as the festival's location, near the Thawe Durga Temple.

SATHI Portal and Mobile App Launched by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

  • Under the theme of "Uttam Beej - Samriddh Kisan," Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched the SATHI (Seed Traceability, Authentication, and Holistic Inventory) Portal and Mobile App today, which aims to tackle the obstacles of seed production, quality seed identification, and seed certification.