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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-23rd June 2023

UK net debt passes 100% of GDP for first time since 1961

The United Kingdom’s public sector net debt has surpassed 100% of its GDP in May, a level not seen since 1961, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The rising debt, excluding state-controlled banks, reached £2.567 trillion ($3.28 trillion), representing 100.1% of GDP. Government borrowing in May, though slightly lower than in April, exceeded expectations and remained at a high level, while inflation remained steady, defying predictions of a decline.

Public Sector Net Debt Surpasses 100% of GDP

The ONS has reported that the UK’s public sector net debt, excluding state-controlled banks, reached £2.567 trillion, equivalent to 100.1% of the country’s GDP. This milestone marks the first time since 1961 that the UK has experienced such high levels of debt relative to its economic output.

Government Borrowing Exceeds Expectations

In May, the government borrowed £20.045 billion, as revealed by the ONS, surpassing the consensus expectations of £19.5 billion from a Reuters poll of economists. While this figure represented a £3 billion decrease from April, it remained more than double the borrowing level from May 2022. It also stood as the second-highest borrowing recorded for the month of May since records began. PwC Economist Divya Sridhar pointed out that this substantial borrowing could lead to increased spending due to higher debt interest payments and inflation-linked benefits and tax credits.

Steady Inflation Adds Pressure

Contrary to economic expectations of a slight decline, the UK’s annual inflation rate remained unchanged in May compared to the previous month, as announced by the ONS. This outcome has added further pressure on both the government and consumers. The steady inflation rate is anticipated to contribute to increased spending, driven by higher debt interest payments and the adjustment of inflation-linked benefits and tax credits.

GE Aerospace Signs MoU with HAL to Produce Fighter Jet Engines for IAF: Marking a New Era for India-US Defence Ties

In a significant development during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the United States, General Electric (GE) Aerospace has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-run Indian aerospace company. The MoU paves the way for the joint production of fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and signifies a new era in the India-US partnership. This agreement holds immense strategic importance, as while many countries manufacture their own fighter aircraft, only a select few possess the advanced technology required to produce jet engines.

Transfer of Technology and Indigenously Developed Capabilities

The MoU between GE Aerospace and HAL includes provisions for a significant transfer of technology and the indigenously developed production of fighter jet engines. The agreement encompasses the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India. GE Aerospace is currently working with the US government to secure the necessary export authorization for this collaboration. The finalization of the deal is contingent upon the resolution of detailed aspects and obtaining approval from the US Congress, which is expected to take approximately 30 days.

HAL’s Role in Engine Production

Once the necessary approvals are obtained, HAL will undertake the production of jet engines at its Engine Division facility in Bengaluru. It is important to note that the collaboration will not be structured as a joint venture. The partnership between GE Aerospace and HAL represents a significant milestone for India’s aviation industry, as it marks the beginning of a new era in the country’s relationship with the United States.

Significance of Jet Engine Technology

Jet engine technology is considered the pinnacle of aviation achievements. While several nations, including India, have successfully developed their own fighter aircraft, the production of jet engines has remained a challenge. With this collaboration, India aims to overcome its decades-long quest to manufacture its own jet engines, enabling the country to achieve self-reliance in this critical area of aerospace technology.

Potential Applications and Future Collaborations

The F414 engine, a highly capable afterburning turbofan engine with a thrust of 22,000 pounds (98 KN), was previously shortlisted by India to power the Mark II version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. Once production commences, the F414 engine will be utilized in various future fighter jet programs, including the Tejas Mk II and the indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) for the Indian Navy. Additionally, the F414 engine powers aircraft such as the Boeing Super Hornets and the Swedish fighter Gripen, both of which are contenders for acquisition by the Indian military.

Sources indicate that this partnership could potentially lead to joint design, development, and manufacturing of more powerful engines in the future. The roadmap includes the phased production of engine components, eventually progressing to full-scale production, which is estimated to take at least a decade.

India’s Pursuit of Jet Engine Technology

India’s pursuit of jet engine technology can be traced back to the challenges faced during the development of the country’s first indigenous fighter aircraft, the HF-24 Marut. Despite initial setbacks, India’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bengaluru embarked on developing the Kaveri engine for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. However, despite extensive testing and development, the Kaveri engine failed to meet the required parameters for fighter aircraft propulsion.

GE’s Involvement in India’s Indigenous Fighter Programs

GE’s involvement in India’s indigenous fighter programs dates back to 1986 when the company collaborated with the Aeronautical Development Agency and HAL to support the development of the LCA using F404 engines. Over the years, GE Aerospace has delivered a significant number of F404 engines for the LCA Mk1 and Mk1A variants. Furthermore, GE has been committed to supplying 99 engines for the LCA Mk2 program. The recent agreement reinforces GE Aerospace’s commitment to expanding its presence in India, including its involvement in the development, testing, and certification of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program.

Fitch Raises India’s GDP Forecast to 6.3% for FY24, Citing Strong Economic Momentum

Ratings agency Fitch has revised its GDP forecast for India, predicting a growth rate of 6.3% for the financial year 2023-24 (FY24). This upward revision from the previous projection of 6% comes as a result of the country’s near-term momentum and a robust performance in the first quarter. Fitch highlights the broad-based strength of India’s economy, citing various positive indicators such as a 6.1% year-on-year GDP growth in the first quarter, resilient auto sales, PMI surveys, and credit growth in recent months.

Improved Outlook Following Strong Q1 Performance:

The rating agency acknowledges India’s impressive economic performance in the first quarter, which exceeded expectations. Fitch notes the recovery in the manufacturing sector after two consecutive quarterly contractions, a significant boost from the construction industry, and an increase in farm output. These factors contributed to the growth of GDP in the January-March period.

Fitch Raises India’s GDP Forecast to 6.3% for FY24, Citing Strong Economic Momentum

Domestic Demand and Net Trade as Growth Drivers:

Fitch highlights that the GDP growth in expenditure terms was primarily driven by robust domestic demand and a favorable contribution from net trade. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic and the global economic environment, India’s domestic demand remained resilient, supported by various factors such as increased government spending, improved consumer sentiment, and a revival in business activities.

Reassessment of India’s Economic Prospects:

In March, Fitch had revised down its growth forecast for India to 6% from 6.2% due to concerns related to high inflation, interest rates, and weak global demand. However, since then, the country has witnessed a moderation in inflation and a notable pick-up in its domestic economy. These positive developments prompted Fitch to reassess India’s economic prospects and revise its forecast upwards.

Comparative Analysis and Previous Growth Figures:

The projected GDP growth rate of 6.3% for FY24 represents a decline from the 7.2% expansion witnessed in the previous financial year (FY23). Nevertheless, it is important to note that FY23’s growth was achieved amidst the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian economy had experienced a contraction of 7.3% in FY21, making the subsequent recovery in FY22 and FY23 commendable.

President of India presents National Florence Nightingale Awards for 2022 and 2023

On June 22, 2023, the President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, bestowed the National Florence Nightingale Awards for the years 2022 and 2023 to nursing professionals during a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. These prestigious awards were established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in 1973 to honor the exceptional contributions made by nurses and nursing professionals to society.

National Florence Nightingale Awards for 2022

  • ANM= Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife

  • LHV= Lady health visitors

National Florence Nightingale Awards for 2023

Brief history of the National Florence Nightingale Awards

  • Establishment: The National Florence Nightingale Awards were instituted in the year 1973 by the Indian government.

  • Aim: The primary objective of these awards is to acknowledge and appreciate the remarkable work of nurses across India. The awards encourage and motivate nurses to continue their dedicated service and strive for excellence in patient care.

  • Recognition: The National Florence Nightingale Awards are considered one of the highest honors in the nursing profession in India. They highlight the significant role nurses play in the healthcare system and recognize their selfless commitment to saving lives and promoting well-being.

  • Selection Process: The selection of awardees is a rigorous and competitive process. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, invites nominations from various healthcare institutions, including hospitals, nursing schools, and medical colleges. The nominations are evaluated by a committee comprising eminent healthcare professionals.

  • Award Ceremony: The ceremony is typically held in New Delhi and is attended by dignitaries, government officials, nursing professionals, and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector.

  • Award Categories: The National Florence Nightingale Awards are presented in different categories to recognize various aspects of nursing excellence. These categories may include Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife, Lady health visitors and Nurse.

  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50000/-, a certificate and a medal.

Rajnath Singh inaugurates Integrated Simulator Complex ‘Dhruv’

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Integrated Simulator Complex (ISC) ‘Dhruv’ at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi on June 21, 2023. The ISC ‘Dhruv’ houses advanced, indigenous simulators designed to enhance practical training in the Indian Navy. This state-of-the-art facility is expected to provide real-time experience in navigation, fleet operations, and naval tactics, benefiting both Indian Navy personnel and trainees from friendly nations.

Cutting-Edge Simulators in ‘Dhruv’

The ISC ‘Dhruv’ features a range of modern simulators aimed at enhancing practical training for naval personnel. These simulators will enable trainees to gain hands-on expertise in various aspects of naval operations. Among the simulators showcased during the inauguration were the Multi-Station Handling Simulator (MSSHS), Air Direction and Helicopter Control Simulator (ADHCS), and Astronavigation Dome.

Advanced Ship Handling Simulators for Export

The ISC ‘Dhruv’ also boasts Ship Handling Simulators produced by (Applied Research International) ARI Pvt Ltd, New Delhi. These simulators have gained recognition on a global scale, as they have been exported to 18 countries. The export of these technologically advanced simulators not only demonstrates India’s self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) in defence production but also highlights the nation’s potential as a significant player in defence exports.

Astronavigation Dome: A First in the Indian Navy

The Astronavigation Dome, developed by Infovision Technologies Pvt Ltd, is a unique addition to the Indian Navy’s training infrastructure. This dome offers specialized training in astronavigation, a critical skill for naval personnel. Its introduction showcases the Indian Navy’s commitment to adopting advanced technologies and methodologies to strengthen its capabilities.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Export Potential

The development of these indigenous simulators within the ISC ‘Dhruv’ reflects the spirit of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative. These cutting-edge simulators, designed and manufactured within the country, not only meet the Indian Navy’s training needs but also hold tremendous potential for defense exports. The Ship Handling Simulators produced by ARI Pvt Ltd have already gained significant traction in the international market, underscoring India’s prowess in defense technology.

About defence ministry

  • It is charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the Indian Armed Forces.

  • It provides the policy framework to the Armed Forces to discharge their responsibilities in the context of the defence of the country.

  • Union minister of defence ministry is Rajnath Singh and it is headquartered in New Delhi.

About Applied Research International

  • ARI is a global leader in the design and development of high-specification sophisticated simulation systems used in training, screening, and feasibility analysis and process development.

  • CEO & Managing Director of ARI is Mr. Shravan Rewari.

Himachal partners with NDDB to set up milk processing unit

In a significant move to boost the dairy industry, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh recently announced the establishment of a state-of-the-art milk processing plant in collaboration with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). With an estimated cost of Rs 250 crore, this ambitious project aims to revolutionize milk production and processing in the region. The venture is expected to bring substantial economic and social benefits to the state while enhancing its position in the dairy sector.

Collaboration with the National Dairy Development Board

The partnership with the NDDB marks a key milestone for Himachal Pradesh‘s dairy industry. The NDDB, established in 1965, is a premier organization dedicated to promoting, planning, and implementing dairy development programs in India. The NDDB will provide assistance, ranging from marketing support to operational guidance, ensuring the successful establishment and functioning of the plant.

About the plant

The capacity of Dagwar plant would range from one lakh to three lakh litres, in which high-quality products of milk would also be prepared. Establishment of the plant at Dagwar would benefit the farmers of regional areas like Kangra, Hamirpur, Una and Chamba districts also. NDDB will also conduct a survey for milk collection system in these areas.

Environmental Considerations and Rural Economy

The government has also emphasized on commitment to environmental sustainability. The packaging of dairy products will be free from plastic, and alternative materials will be explored to protect the climate and air quality in the state. Recognizing the close relationship between animal husbandry and agriculture in the state, the state government aims to strengthen the rural economy and increase farmers’ income.

Fulfilling the Congress Party’s Manifesto Promise

The state government had pledged to purchase cow milk from dairy farmers at Rs 80 per liter and buffalo milk at Rs 100 per liter and sell it to improve the financial condition of the state. This will also protect milk producers from regional and seasonal price fluctuations, particularly those from poorer sections of society.

About Himachal Pradesh

  • About 90% of the population of the state lives in rural areas

  • It has two capitals Shimla in Summers & Dharamshala in Winters

Centre allocates ₹145 crore to Nagaland for Unity Mall

The Central government has allocated ₹145 crore to Nagaland for the construction of a Unity Mall in Dimapur. This funding is part of the Union Budget 2023-24, which has set aside ₹5,000 crore for the establishment of Unity Malls across the country. The mall in Nagaland aims to promote and showcase the state’s One District One Product (ODOP) offerings, highlighting the unique products and industries of the region.

ODOP Sampark Event and Focus on Local Industries

The announcement was made during an (One District One Product) ODOP Sampark event organized by the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in collaboration with Invest India and the Department of Industries and Commerce, Nagaland. The event aimed to create awareness about the ODOP and PM Gati Shakti initiatives, with a focus on promoting local industries and improving logistics.

National Programme for Organic Production Drive in Kohima

Sumita Dawra, Special Secretary of DPIIT, highlighted the efforts of DPIIT and Invest India in conducting a National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) Drive in Kohima. The drive specifically focused on chili farming, and more than 30 farmers from Kohima participated in the workshop. During the event, documentation for organic certification was completed for 15 chili farmers, with ongoing verification for others. This certification will provide better market access and improved prices for the farmers, especially in international markets.

Government’s Commitment for Improving Logistics

Dawra emphasized the government’s commitment for improving logistics for ODOP products from Nagaland, including chili, turmeric, kiwi, and pineapple. Initiatives such as Krishi UDAN and expanding railway connectivity will be implemented to enhance facilities and streamline the transportation of these products.

Emphasis on Integrated Customs Depot and Improved Connectivity

Local officials representing various departments, including Industries, Agriculture, Horticulture, and APEDA, highlighted the need for an integrated Customs Depot, a dedicated Krishi rail wagon up to Dimapur, and improved connectivity under the Krishi Udan Scheme for organic products. These initiatives aim to facilitate the seamless movement of goods and strengthen the supply chain for ODOP offerings.


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