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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-14th July 2023

DAC Approves Procurement of 26 Rafale Marine Aircraft and Additional Scorpene Submarines

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, convened on July 13, 2023, and approved three significant proposals aimed at bolstering India’s naval capabilities.

Under the first proposal, the DAC granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft from the French Government. This procurement will include associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulators, spares, documentation, crew training, and logistic support for the Indian Navy. The decision to acquire these advanced aircraft was made based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between India and France.

Procurement of Three Additional Scorpene Submarines

In another major development, the DAC approved the procurement of three additional Scorpene submarines under the Buy (Indian) category. These submarines will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), further strengthening India’s indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities. The inclusion of higher indigenous content in the submarines’ construction aligns with India’s vision for self-reliance in defense production.

This procurement not only ensures the Indian Navy’s required force level and operational readiness but also generates substantial employment opportunities within the domestic sector. Additionally, it enables MDL to enhance its expertise and capabilities in submarine construction.

Guidelines for Promoting Indigenous Content

The DAC also endorsed a proposal to establish guidelines that promote indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases. This strategic move aims to foster ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) in critical manufacturing technologies and the life-cycle sustenance of defense platforms and equipment through indigenous manufacturing.

By encouraging domestic production, these guidelines will contribute to India’s long-term defense preparedness and reduce reliance on foreign imports, while simultaneously boosting the country’s manufacturing sector.

Numaligarh Refinery in Assam upgraded to ‘Schedule A’ category enterprise

Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has established itself as one of the top 20 CPSEs in India in terms of both sales revenue and profitability. It has gained widespread recognition as a high-performing refinery in the country, setting industry benchmarks for distillate production, specific energy usage, and gross refining profit. Furthermore, NRL has embarked on exporting petroleum products to neighboring countries, solidifying its global presence and playing a vital role in advancing the Act East Policy of the Government of India.

With a refining capacity of 3 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA), NRL holds the distinction of being the largest refinery in Northeast India. Currently, it is undertaking a significant expansion project to triple its refining capacity to 9 MMTPA, alongside the construction of a transnational crude oil pipeline from Paradip in Odisha. NRL is also actively involved in projects valued at Rs. 35,000 crores in the region, representing one of the largest investments in the oil and gas sector.

NRL’s Schedule A Status Upgrade Unlocks Financial Autonomy and Expansion Opportunities

The elevation to Schedule A status also makes NRL eligible for Navratna status, providing greater financial autonomy. This will empower the organization to undertake larger and more complex projects, make prompt decisions regarding joint ventures, strategic alliances, and special purpose entities for strategic expansion.

43 new implementing partners empanelled under SAMARTH Scheme

According to the Textile Ministry, 43 new implementing partners empanelled under SAMARTH schemes with an additional training target of 75,000 beneficiaries and 5% increment in support to implementing partners.

What’s in News?

  • The Empowered Committee for Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector (SAMARTH) announced the inclusion of 43 new implementing partners with an additional training of 75,000 beneficiaries.

  • The decision was taken with the motive to enhance the skill development of the workforce in the textile sector.

  • To provide financial support to industries involved in imparting skills under the SAMARTH scheme, implementing partners will get 5% increment.

  • The ministry of textile has joined forces with a total of 157 Textile Industries/Industry Associations, 16 Central/State Government Agencies and 3 Sectoral Organisation of the Ministry which aims to effectively carry out training programs under SAMARTH Schemes.

  • The expansion of SAMARTH Scheme through the addition of implementing partners and increased training targets, signifies the government’s commitment to promote skill development and create employment opportunities in the textile sector.

About the SAMARTH Scheme:

  • SAMARTH Scheme is a Scheme for Capacity Building in the Textile Sector (SCBTS).

  • SAMARTH is a demand driven and placement oriented umbrella skilling programme of Ministry of Textiles.

  • The scheme was formulated under the broad skilling policy framework.

  • SAMARTH Scheme has been launched by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in 2017 under the Ministry of Textile.

  • Organised and Traditional Sector are targeted under the SAMARTH Scheme.

Silent Features of SAMARTH Scheme:

  • SAMARTH Scheme provides enhanced facility of skill development to the master trainers.

  • Aadhar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS): That ensures the credibility of the trainers and the beneficiaries.

  • CCTV recording of training programmes: To avoid major conflicts in the functioning of the scheme, training institutes are fixed with CCTVs.

  • Dedicated call centre with helpline number.

  • Mobile app-based Management Information System (MIS).

  • On-line monitoring of training processes.

Objective of the SAMARTH Scheme:

  • It provides National Skills Framework Qualification (NSFQ) complaint skilling programmes to over 10 lakh persons.

  • The skilling programmes offered under the SAMARTH Scheme aims to incentivize and supplement the efforts of the Textile Industry.

  • SAMARTH Scheme aims to create job opportunities in the textile and other related sectors.

  • Traditional sectors of handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture and jute will be upgraded through skilling and skill upgradation.

  • It also aims to induce self-employment capabilities among youth and others.

  • It also aims to promote sustainable livelihood to all sections of the society.

PM Narendra Modi’s Visit to France and UAE: Strengthening Bilateral Cooperation

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is embarking on a visit to France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from July 13-15, aimed at deepening cooperation between the countries. With a focus on areas such as defence, security, energy, and global partnerships, PM Modi’s visit holds significance for strengthening bilateral ties. This article provides an overview of the key highlights and objectives of the visit.

France – Strengthening Strategic Partnership:

1.1. Honour at the Military Parade:

PM Modi has been invited as the chief guest at France’s military parade, a signal of high esteem. The last foreign leader to receive this invitation was former US president Donald Trump in 2017.

1.2. Formal Talks and Engagements:

Modi will hold formal talks with President Emmanuel Macron, followed by a state banquet and a private dinner hosted by the French president. Meetings with French counterparts and interactions with the Indian diaspora, business leaders, and notable personalities are also scheduled.

1.3. Defence Cooperation:

The visit is expected to finalize several agreements to enhance defence cooperation, including the acquisition of 26 naval variants of the Rafale combat jet and three Scorpene-class submarines. Additionally, discussions on joint development of fighter jet engines with Safran, a French aircraft equipment manufacturer, and a roadmap for defence-industrial cooperation are anticipated.

UAE – Strengthening Comprehensive Strategic Partnership:

2.1. Building on Strong Ties:

The India-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership has been steadily strengthening, and PM Modi’s visit aims to identify ways to enhance cooperation in various domains such as energy, education, healthcare, food security, fintech, defence, and culture.

2.2. Talks with UAE President:

PM Modi will hold talks with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, to discuss bilateral cooperation and future prospects.

2.3. Global Engagement:

Discussions will encompass global issues, particularly in the context of the UAE’s presidency of COP28 (Conference of the Parties) and India’s G20 presidency, where the UAE is a guest country.

Harshvardhan Bansal appointed president of NAREDCO Delhi Chapter

The National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has announced establishment of its Delhi chapter. Harshvardhan Bansal, Director of Unity Group, has been appointed as the president of the NAREDCO Delhi Chapter. NAREDCO is a leading national organization that represents the real estate sector, it works under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Other Appointments & Objectives

National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has also appointed PK Gupta, the current CMD of NBCC, as the Chairman, while Vineet Kanwar, the Group Executive Director of DLF, has been designated as the Vice Chairman. Additionally, Gaurav Jain, the CEO of India Infracorp Bahrain, has been selected as the President Elect. The objective of NAREDCO Delhi chapter is to establish a favorable atmosphere in the real estate sector that will foster sustainable growth and encourage investment by closely partnering with the government, industry professionals, and other key participants.

Expansion Plans: Uttarakhand Chapter

At present, NAREDCO has established state chapters in Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan. Following the prosperous launch of the Delhi chapter, NAREDCO is actively engaged in the process of establishing a chapter in Uttarakhand.

World Youth Skills Day 2023: Date, Theme, Significance and History

World Youth Skills Day, observed annually on July 15th since 2014 as declared by the United Nations, serves the purpose of recognizing the significance of imparting young individuals with the necessary skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship. With the continuous progress of technology and changes in the labor market, it is essential to equip young people with adaptable and flexible skill sets.

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) play a crucial role in addressing these needs by reducing barriers to accessing employment, ensuring the relevance and certification of acquired skills, promoting environmentally-friendly skills and practices, and providing skill development opportunities for youth who are not engaged in education, employment, or training.

Theme of World Youth Skills Day 2023

The theme for World Youth Skills Day 2023 is Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future. It highlights the essential role that teachers, trainers and other educators play in providing skills for youth to transition to the labour market and to actively engage in their communities and societies.

Why is World Youth Skills Day important?

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. Since then, World Youth Skills Day events have provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy makers and development partners. Participants have highlighted the ever-increasing significance of skills as the world is embarking on a transition towards a sustainable model of development.

History of World Youth Skills Day

During the aftermath of the Second World War, the United Nations was founded on October 24, 1945, after its Charter was ratified by China, France, the U.S.S.R., the U.K., and the United States, along with other signatories. The aim of the organization has always been to maintain global peace and security, give humanitarian support, defend human rights, and uphold international law. It was created as a successor to the League of Nations that disintegrated prior to the Second World War.

Over its years of functioning, the United Nations has been an active part of the global polity. It has modified its functioning with changes in international relations: in the face of decolonization of the Global South, the end of the Cold War, the rise of the U.S. as a hegemon, climate change, refugee crises, etc. Today, the U.N. works to attain its 17 sustainable development goals.

In 2014, the U.N. announced World Youth Skills Day. The objective of this day was to shed some light on the necessary skills for the employment and entrepreneurship of young people and their strategic importance for the future. This day is a unique opportunity for policy partners, employers, development partners, and vocational and training educational programs to dialogue with young people about the skills needed as the world transitions into a sustainable development model.

A new book released ‘Prism: The Ancestral Abode of Rainbow’ before Chandrayaan 3 launch

National award-winning filmmaker-writer Vinod Mankara’s new book was released from the rocket launchpad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The unique launch of ‘Prism: The Ancestral Abode of Rainbow’, a collection of science articles, was held at the SDSC-SHAR, as preparations were going on full swing there for the country’s much-awaited Moon mission Chandrayaan-3.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath released the book by handing it over to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director S Unnikrishnan Nair while the countdown for the historic launch was progressing at the space centre. SDSC-SHAR Director A Rajarajan, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) director V Narayanan, former ISRO Director K Radhakrishnan, and many other space scientists were present besides Lipi Publications managing director Lipi Akbar, the publisher of the book, during the function.

The essence of the book:

  • Published by Kozhikode-based Lipi Books, ‘Prism’ is a compilation of 50 interesting articles from various streams of science including space science, astronomy, biology, anthropology and mathematics. It covers various topics such as the James Webb space telescope, dark sky tourism, black hole confirmation, the dog Laika’s first space journey and so on.

  • Somanath himself has penned the foreword for the 167-page book in which he said it was full of the “marvels of science”.

  • ‘Prism’ is an exploration into the aesthetic and poetic aspects of science and it would help common people develop a close bond with science and feel its beauty. Mankara is the maker of ‘Yanam’, a science-Sanskrit documentary on India’s historic Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’. He has won national and state awards multiple times, has six films and 685 documentaries to his credit.

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