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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-25th October 2023

Ashok Vaswani is next Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO

Kotak Mahindra Bank, one of India’s leading private sector banks, has welcomed Ashok Vaswani as its next Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Vaswani brings with him a wealth of experience in the banking and financial sector, having spent over three and a half decades building and expanding businesses in areas ranging from consumer and corporate banking to payments.

Ashok Vaswani’s appointment as the Managing Director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank signifies the bank’s commitment to strong leadership with a global perspective. His vast experience in both traditional banking and fintech innovations is set to drive the bank’s strategic growth and digital transformation in an ever-evolving financial landscape. With RBI’s approval and the founder’s endorsement, Vaswani’s tenure at Kotak Mahindra Bank is anticipated to usher in a new era of progress and innovation for the institution.

Approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

  • RBI’s Seal of Approval: Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) granted its approval for Ashok Vaswani to assume the role of Managing Director and CEO at Kotak Mahindra Bank. This green light marks a significant milestone in Vaswani’s career. Professional Background and Experience:

  • Leadership in Banking and Fintech: Ashok Vaswani is currently the President of Pagaya Technologies, a US-Israeli fintech firm specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). He joined Pagaya in June 2022, showcasing his diverse expertise in both traditional and cutting-edge financial technologies.

  • Track Record with Global Banks: Vaswani’s extensive career includes stints with global banking giants. Notably, he was the CEO of Barclays Bank, UK, where he also assumed leadership of its global consumer, private, corporate, and payments businesses. During his tenure at Barclays, he played a pivotal role in digitizing the UK retail bank and modernizing consumer and payments services.

  • Long-standing Commitment: Before his association with Barclays, Ashok Vaswani dedicated 20 years to Citigroup. His roles included serving as the CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific, which reflects his leadership and strategic influence across international markets.

Appointment Details

Term and Eligibility: Ashok Vaswani’s appointment as the Managing Director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank is for a three-year term, effective from the date he assumes office, expected to be around January 1, 2024. It’s worth noting that Vaswani, who turns 63 on December 1, is eligible for extension, as the retirement age for MD and CEOs in private banks is 70. Founder’s Appreciation:

Uday Kotak’s Commendation: Uday Kotak, the founder and director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, expressed his enthusiasm about Ashok Vaswani’s appointment. He commended Vaswani as a world-class leader and banker with a strong emphasis on digital innovation and customer-centric strategies. Vaswani’s expertise in driving business growth while maintaining high compliance standards is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the bank.

Govt To Invest ₹30,000 Crore To Expand Crop Insurance Portal Coverage

In a significant development for the agricultural sector in India, the government has unveiled plans to allocate ₹30,000 crore to enhance the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal. The primary objective of this initiative is to transform the PMFBY into a comprehensive platform that will extend insurance coverage beyond crops to include a wide range of agricultural assets, such as ponds, tractors, livestock, and even palm trees.

Extending Coverage to 40 Million Farmers through AIDE app

This ambitious project will be driven by the innovative AIDE app, which was launched in July. The AIDE app aims to ensure door-to-door enrollment, making crop insurance more accessible and convenient for farmers. Additionally, through this app, insurance intermediaries will not only enroll farmers for crop insurance but also extend coverage to 40 million farmers for non-subsidized schemes.

The Transition from Portal to Platform

The PMFBY portal, which primarily dealt with subsidized crop insurance, is evolving into a versatile platform. Farmers will soon have the opportunity to secure insurance coverage for their non-subsidized agricultural assets. This expansion is driven by the understanding that farmers may want additional rural products beyond crops to be covered by insurance. The goal is to empower farmers with the ability to protect their assets comprehensively.

Revamping PMFBY: A Turning Point for Crop Insurance

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has been a central government-sponsored crop insurance scheme that integrates all stakeholders onto a single platform. In recent times, the scheme has undergone significant restructuring, incorporating new technological initiatives like YES-Tech, WINDS portal, and the AIDE app. These technological enhancements mark a turning point for crop insurance in India, making it more efficient and accessible to farmers.

Positive Outcomes of PMFBY Restructuring

Following the restructuring of PMFBY, insured agricultural land increased by 12% in 2022-23 compared to the previous year, covering more than 49.7 million hectares. Experts predict that the insured acreage will reach an all-time high of 57.5-60 million hectares in the 2023-24 Kharif season. This expansion demonstrates the growing acceptance and success of the revamped PMFBY scheme.

States Embrace the Redesigned PMFBY

Several Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, have re-enlisted in the scheme, while others are planning to rejoin due to the universal approach under the restructured PMFBY scheme, which aims to cover all farmers in the respective states. Jharkhand, for instance, has decided to re-enter the scheme from the Kharif 2024-25 season after the government settled long-pending claims of ₹765 crores dating back to the 2018-19 Kharif season.

A Platform for Farmers and Insurers

The expanded PMFBY platform will not be limited to crop insurance; it will encompass other insurance requirements and enrollments as well. It will serve as a dynamic sandbox under PMFBY, allowing the introduction of new schemes based on market demand. This approach will help the government understand the specific insurance needs of farmers in different regions.

India To Host World’s Largest Textiles Event, Bharat Tex 2024

The upcoming Bharat Tex 2024 Expo, scheduled to take place from February 26-29, next year, promises to be a groundbreaking event that will significantly impact India’s position in the global textile industry. At a curtain raiser event, Union Minister Piyush Goyal expressed his optimism, emphasizing that this expo will establish India as a true global textiles powerhouse.

Bharat Tex 2024 embodies India’s holistic 5F vision, covering Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.

A Game-Changer in Textile Fairs

Bharat Tex 2024 Expo has been conceived as the largest textile fair in the world in terms of exhibition area. It is set to showcase India’s capabilities as a reliable supplier of textile products, spanning the entire value chain, all under one roof. The event will be hosted in the newly inaugurated Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi complexes, which themselves represent a leap forward in India’s textile infrastructure.

India’s Bid to Become a Global Textiles Powerhouse

Union Minister Piyush Goyal passionately believes that Bharat Tex Expo 2024 will be the event that changes the trajectory of India’s textile industry. He asserted that it will not just set the benchmark for future endeavors but also highlight India’s true capabilities and strengths as a global player. With an exhibition area spread across 2,00,000 square meters, it is set to become the world’s largest textiles exhibition.

A Showcase for Artisans and Craftsmen

Minister Goyal acknowledged the potential of the expo in promoting India’s rich heritage of craftsmanship, handloom, and handmade products. He emphasized that it would provide a platform for weavers, craftsmen, and the handloom sector to showcase their skills and what’s possible on a global stage.

The “Handmade in India” Vision

Goyal expressed his hope that, in line with the expo, the ‘Handmade in India‘ initiative would become a vibrant website with numerous stakeholders. This initiative aligns with India’s vision to produce high-quality, handcrafted products not just for domestic consumption but for the global market.

Encouraging Global Competition

The Minister emphasized that India is no longer afraid of global competition. He urged the industry to build globally recognized brands while concurrently enhancing India’s image as a brand itself. The expo is seen as a platform to help Indian textile businesses achieve this goal.

Launch of Kasturi Cotton Bharat

During the event, the Minister also launched the website for Kasturi Cotton Bharat, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Textiles, the Cotton Corporation of India, trade bodies, and the industry. This initiative aims to enhance the competitiveness of Indian cotton in the global market by focusing on branding, traceability, and certification.

A Comprehensive Expo

Bharat Tex 2024 will not only feature an exhibition with over 2,000 exhibitors from over 40 countries but also include knowledge sessions, conferences, CEO roundtables, B2B, and G2G meetings. The event will also host designer and brand exhibitions, fashion shows, sustainability workshops, and expert talks. This comprehensive approach is aimed at highlighting India’s entire textile value chain and strengths in fashion, traditional crafts, and sustainability initiatives.

Industry-Led Initiative

It’s important to note that Bharat Tex 2024 is an industry-led initiative, with 12 Textile-related Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) and other industry bodies collaborating to make this event a resounding success. With its massive exhibition area and comprehensive approach, it will not only showcase India’s strengths but also pave the way for a bright future for the Indian textile sector, positioning it as a mature and competitive global sourcing destination.

Project Nilgiri Tahr: Tamil Nadu’s Effort to Conserve an Endangered Species

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has launched “Project Nilgiri Tahr,” an initiative aimed at conserving and protecting the endangered Nilgiri Tahr species. The project, with a budget of ₹25 crore, seeks to better understand the Nilgiri Tahr’s population, distribution, and ecology, as well as address immediate threats to their survival. The launch of this project took place at the Secretariat in Chennai, where Chief Minister Stalin also distributed books to school students to raise awareness about this unique species.

Project Nilgiri Tahr represents Tamil Nadu’s commitment to conserving an iconic and endangered species. The comprehensive approach, encompassing research, re-introduction, and public awareness, underlines the state’s dedication to protecting the Nilgiri Tahr and its unique habitat, securing the future of this remarkable species in the Western Ghats.

Project Objectives

  • Understanding Nilgiri Tahr Ecology: A core objective of Project Nilgiri Tahr is to develop a deeper understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr’s population, distribution, and ecological requirements. This knowledge is crucial for their conservation.

  • Re-introduction to Historic Habitats: The project aims to re-introduce Nilgiri Tahr to their historic habitats, helping to restore their natural range and protect their populations.

  • Addressing Immediate Threats: Project Nilgiri Tahr focuses on identifying and addressing immediate threats to the Nilgiri Tahr’s survival. This includes actions to protect and conserve their habitat.

  • Public Awareness: Increasing awareness among the public about the Nilgiri Tahr species is a vital component of the project. Education and outreach efforts are essential to garner support for conservation.

  • Eco-Tourism Development: The project also envisions the development of eco-tourism activities at selected sites to promote conservation through sustainable tourism.

Key Activities

  • Bi-annual Surveys: Regular bi-annual surveys will be conducted across the Nilgiri Tahr’s habitat to monitor their populations.

  • Tranquilization and Monitoring: The project involves the tranquilization, collaring, and monitoring of Nilgiri Tahr individuals to collect crucial data for conservation efforts.

  • Re-introduction: Re-introducing Nilgiri Tahr to their natural habitats is a key component of the project to restore their populations.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment: The project includes diagnosis and treatment for affected individuals, ensuring their health and well-being.

  • Shola Grassland Restoration: The pilot project aims to restore Shola grasslands in the Upper Bhavani region, a critical habitat for the Nilgiri Tahr.

Project Implementation

  • Project Office: The Forest Department has established a project office in Coimbatore to oversee and manage the various aspects of Project Nilgiri Tahr.

  • Project Leadership: A full-time Project Director and a Senior Scientist, assisted by four Senior Research Fellows, have been appointed to lead and execute the project’s activities.

The Significance of Nilgiri Tahr

The Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species native to the Western Ghats, is renowned for its remarkable ability to navigate steep cliffs and challenging terrain. This species has historical and cultural significance, with references in ancient Tamil literature, including the epics Silappathikaram and Sivakasindamani, which provide descriptions of the Nilgiri Tahr and its habitat.

Distinguished Attendees

The launch of Project Nilgiri Tahr saw the participation of key officials, including Minister for Forests M. Mathiventhan, Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena, Secretary of Environment, Climate Change, and Forests Department Supriya Sahu, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas R. Reddy.

NLC India Green Energy Limited To Boost India’s Green Energy Capacity

NLC India, a Navratna public sector company, has unveiled its latest venture into the renewable energy sector. On a mission to bolster India’s green energy capacity, the company has established a wholly-owned subsidiary known as NLC India Green Energy Limited (NIGEL). The subsidiary is set to play a pivotal role in the country’s sustainable energy journey, focusing on the expansion of renewable energy projects and technological innovations.

NIGEL’s Inaugural Board Meeting

NLC India Green Energy Limited (NIGEL) officially began its operations with a remarkable milestone—the convening of its first board meeting. During this meeting, key managerial positions were appointed, and the company’s logo was unveiled. This symbolic event marks the commencement of NIGEL’s journey towards fostering a cleaner, greener energy landscape in India.

Embracing Renewable Energy

With environmental sustainability taking center stage on a global scale, NIGEL is geared towards spearheading the renewable energy movement. The company recognizes the urgent need to accelerate renewable power generation, and it aims to do so with unwavering dedication.

NIGEL’s Focus on Renewable Energy (RE) Projects

Chairman Prasanna Kumar Motupalli, the driving force behind NIGEL, emphasized the subsidiary’s commitment to renewable energy projects. NIGEL aims to rapidly increase India’s renewable energy power generation capacity. The chairman’s vision aligns perfectly with the industry’s optimistic climate, which predicts robust growth in renewable energy, including advanced storage systems like pumped hydro systems and battery energy storage systems.

Ambitious Capacity Expansion by 2030

One of NIGEL’s ambitious objectives is to establish renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 6 GW by 2030. Currently, the company is actively developing projects that collectively contribute 2 GW of power generation capacity across various regions in India. These projects will play a pivotal role in reducing the nation’s carbon footprint and increasing its energy security.

Leveraging the Potential of Battery Energy Storage

NIGEL recognizes the immense potential of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the nation’s power grid. As per the “Optimal Energy Mix Report 2030 of CEA, Ministry of Power,” the estimated BESS capacity required on the grid is approximately 41.65 GW. This presents a remarkable opportunity for the development and deployment of cutting-edge energy storage systems, aligning with the Indian government’s vision for a greener energy landscape.

NLC India’s Commitment to Green Projects

NLC India Ltd. has shown unwavering commitment to its green energy endeavors by incorporating NIGEL. This wholly-owned subsidiary will be entrusted with the crucial tasks of planning, participating in upcoming renewable energy tenders, executing projects, and commissioning green energy initiatives. This move underlines the parent company’s dedication to sustainability and marks a significant step forward in India’s transition to clean and renewable energy sources.

Legendary Spinner and Former Indian Captain, Bishan Singh Bedi Passes Away at 77

Bishan Singh Bedi, one of India’s most iconic cricketers, passed away at the age of 77. A left-arm spinner and former captain of the Indian cricket team, Bedi’s contributions to the sport left an indelible mark on the cricketing world.

Bishan Singh Bedi’s legacy in the world of cricket is monumental. His prowess as a spinner, leadership on the field, and contributions to Indian cricket as a mentor and selector will forever be celebrated. As the cricketing fraternity mourns his loss, his impact on the sport remains evergreen, and his name continues to inspire future generations of cricketers.

Bishan Singh Bedi, A Storied Career

Debut and Test Performances: Bishan Singh Bedi made his Test debut against Australia in the 1969-70 series, and from that point on, he became a force to be reckoned with. His Test career was nothing short of exceptional, with memorable performances against top cricketing nations.

Leading India: In 1976, Bedi was appointed captain of the Indian cricket team, succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. He achieved a historic victory against the formidable West Indies in Port-of-Spain, and his captaincy laid the foundation for India’s dominance in international cricket.

Spin Bowling Revolution: Bedi, along with Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar, and S. Venkataraghavan, played a pivotal role in India’s spin bowling revolution. Their collective efforts significantly elevated India’s cricketing prowess.

County Cricket Success: Bedi’s influence extended beyond international cricket. He had a successful stint in County cricket, playing 102 First-Class games for Northamptonshire and picking 434 wickets from 1972 to 1977.

Bishan Singh Bedi, Contributions Beyond the Field

Manager and Selector: Bedi’s association with Indian cricket didn’t end with his playing career. He served as the manager of the Indian cricket team during tours of New Zealand and England in 1990. Additionally, he held the role of a national selector, influencing the selection of talented spinners like Maninder Singh and Murali Kartik. Legacy and Accolades

Padma Shri: In 1970, Bishan Singh Bedi was honored with the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to cricket.

Left-arm Spin Maestro: Bedi is widely regarded as one of the greatest left-arm spinners in the history of the game. His artistry and skill with the ball earned him the respect and admiration of cricket enthusiasts worldwide.

Indian Government Grants Approval for Non-Basmati Rice Exports

In a significant move, the Indian government has given the green light for the export of 1.34 million tonnes of Non-Basmati White Rice to seven countries. This export approval has been issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

Recipient Countries

The approved exports are intended for seven countries, namely Nepal, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Republic of Guinea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Seychelles.

Export Quotas by Country

  • The Philippines will receive the largest quota, with up to 295,000 metric tonnes of non-Basmati white rice eligible for export.

  • Cameroon is allotted 190,000 metric tonnes.

  • Malaysia will import up to 170,000 metric tonnes.

  • Both Cote D’Ivoire and the Republic of Guinea will receive 142,000 metric tonnes each.

  • Nepal is set to receive 95,000 metric tonnes.

  • Seychelles will be supplied with 800 metric tonnes.

Export Management

The responsibility for executing these exports falls to the National Cooperative Export Limited.

Sanjay Kumar Jain selected as CMD, IRCTC

In a significant development for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Sanjay Kumar Jain, an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) of the 1990 batch, has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). His appointment comes after a vacancy in the position since the retirement of Mahendra Pratap Maal in January 2021. The recommendation for his appointment was made by the Search-Cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) and subsequently approved.

Sanjay Kumar Jain’s appointment as the CMD of IRCTC is expected to bring fresh leadership and vision to the organization. Given his extensive experience within the Indian Railways and his previous role as Joint Secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises, he is well-equipped to guide IRCTC in fulfilling its mission of providing top-notch catering and tourism services to the public. His tenure as CMD will be closely watched as he takes on the responsibilities of this significant role.

Sanjay Kumar Jain’s Impressive Background

Mr. Sanjay Kumar Jain is a seasoned officer with a remarkable track record. Before his elevation to the role of CMD, he served as the Principal Chief Commercial Manager in the Northern Railway. His diverse experience within the Indian Railways has allowed him to gain valuable insights into the functioning of the organization.

Former Role as Joint Secretary

Jain’s journey in the civil services also includes a significant stint as the Joint Secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises under the Government of India. His role as Joint Secretary reflects his ability to navigate the complexities of public enterprises and policy matters.

The Vacancy Since January 2021

The position of CMD at IRCTC had been vacant since the retirement of Mahendra Pratap Maal in January 2021. The appointment of a new CMD was eagerly anticipated to provide leadership and direction to the organization, especially considering the pivotal role that IRCTC plays in India’s railway and tourism sectors.

Appointment Process and SCSC Recommendation

Sanjay Kumar Jain’s appointment as CMD is the result of a recommendation by the Search-Cum-Selection Committee (SCSC). This committee’s role in selecting individuals for key leadership positions is crucial in ensuring that deserving and competent candidates are chosen to steer important organizations like IRCTC.

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