PM Narendra Modi inaugurates new Parliament building
On May 28, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially opened the new Parliament building. He arrived at Gate No. 1, wearing traditional attire, and was greeted by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. Accompanied by priests from Karnataka’s Shringeri Math, the Prime Minister participated in a ceremonial “Ganapati Homam” to seek divine blessings for the inauguration of the new Parliament building. Vedic chants added a spiritual atmosphere to the occasion.
PM Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Ministers and CMs of different States attend a multi-faith prayer meeting under way at the new Parliament building. PM Narendra Modi felicitates the workers who helped in the building and development of the new Parliament House.
Installs ‘Sengol’ near Lok Sabha Speaker’s chair
Adheenams hand over ‘Sengol’ to Modi
Modi led a procession carrying the “Sengol“ while traditional “nadaswaram” tunes played and Vedic mantras were chanted. The procession made its way to the new Parliament building, where Modi placed the “Sengol” in a dedicated enclosure on the right side of the Speaker’s chair in the Lok Sabha chamber. During the ceremony, the Prime Minister also honored select workers who had made significant contributions to the construction of the new Parliament building.
About the Sengol
Made of silver and gold, the five-feet long sceptre was handed over by Lord Mountbatten to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on August 14, 1947, as a symbol of the transfer of power, according to the government. The Sengol, a symbol of governance in Tamil kingdoms of yore, was then kept for display in The Allahabad Museum.
About the Parliament building
The new building is located in the Central Vista area of New Delhi and is designed to accommodate the growing size and needs of the Indian Parliament.The new Parliament building has been designed to accommodate future requirements, with seating for 888 members in the Lok Sabha and 384 members in the Rajya Sabha.
The new building will also house six committee rooms equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual systems. This is a significant improvement compared to the present structure, which has only three such rooms.
Unlike the circular shape of the old Parliament building, the new building takes on a triangular shape to optimize space utilization, covering an area of approximately 65,000 square meters.
The four-storey building has been constructed at an estimated cost of ₹970 crore. The building has been designed by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management, and constructed by Tata Projects Limited.
India Secured Approval to Set Up Second Hydropower Project in Nepal
Nepal has decided to allow India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited to develop a second hydropower project in the country. At present SJVN is developing a 900-MW Arun -III hydroelectric project, a run-of-river located on the Arun River in Eastern Nepal, scheduled to be completed in 2024. A meeting of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda approved the draft project development agreement (PDA) to be signed with India’s state-owned SJVN to develop the 669-megawatt (MW) Lower Arun Hydropower project in eastern Nepal.
India Secured Approval to Set Up Second Hydropower Project in Nepal: Key Points
The decision for development comes days before Prime Minister Prachanda visited India.
The draft needs to be endorsed by the Council of Ministers before it gets implemented. The previous meeting of the IBN had approved a Rs 92.68 billion investment for the development of the project.
The development of this 669-MW transformative project will prove to be a milestone for the socio-economic development of the country, according to the statement by the IBN.
The SJVN has formed a local company, Lower Arun Power Development Company, in Nepal.
The Lower Arun project located in the Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts will not have any reservoir or dam and will be a tailrace development of Arun-III, which will mean water re-enters the river for the Lower Arun project.
This is the third project undertaken, all through negotiation windows, on the Arun River after the 900 MW Arun-III and 695 MW Arun-IV hydroelectricity projects.
The three projects will generate nearly 2,300 MW of electricity from the river in the Sankhuwasabha district.
First Vande Bharat Express Train of Northeast to be Flagged Off by PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off Assam’s first Vande Bharat Express train. The state-of-the-art Vande Bharat train will be flagged off by the Prime Minister through video conferencing. The new service will cover the distance of 411 km between Guwahati and New Jalpaiguri in 5 hours 30 minutes reducing the present shortest journey time by the speediest train significantly. Get to know all the features included in the first Vande Bharat Express train of Northeast India.
First Vande Bharat Express Train of Northeast: Features
It is the first of its kind premium semi-high speed aesthetically designed, well-equipped fully Air Conditioner service between Guwahati in Assam and New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal.
The Guwahati- NJP Vande Bharat Express train service will operate six days a week. There will be no service on this train.
This will be the fastest train in this sector and will benefit IT professionals, businessmen, students, and tourists.
The train will stop at Kamakhya, New Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, New Alipurduar, and New Coochbehar and culminate at NJP.
This will be the third Vande Bharat for West Bengal after the Howrah-NJP Vande Bharat Express and the Howrah-Puri Vande Bharat Express.
After the inauguration of Assam’s Vande Bharat, India will operationalize Vande Bharat Express trains on 19 routes across the country.
The Executive chair cars of Vande Bharat Express have a seating capacity of 52 each, normal Chair cars have a seating capacity of 78 each, and the driving trailer coaches have a seating capacity of 44 each.
The bogies of Vande Bharat Express are equipped with fully suspended traction motors for 160 kmph operational speed.
Bank of Maharashtra Emerges as Top Performer in NPA Management during FY23
Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), a Pune-based state-owned lender, has been recognized as the best bank in managing bad loans, achieving a remarkably low net non-performing assets (NPAs) ratio of 0.25% during the financial year that ended in March 2023. This achievement positions BoM as the leader among all banks with total business exceeding Rs 3 lakh crore, not limited to public sector banks (PSBs), according to the published yearly data of banks.
Impressive Rankings in NPA Management:
Bank of Maharashtra: BoM secured the top spot with a net NPA ratio of 0.25%.
HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank followed closely with a net NPA ratio of 0.27%.
Kotak Mahindra Bank: Kotak Mahindra Bank secured the third position with a net NPA ratio of 0.37% of net advances.
Leading Public Sector Banks (PSBs):
Among the public sector banks (PSBs), Bank of Maharashtra was at the forefront of NPA management, closely followed by State Bank of India (SBI) with a net NPA ratio of 0.67% and Bank of Baroda at 0.89% at the end of March 2023.
High Provision Coverage Ratio (PCR):
BoM stands out with its exceptional provision coverage, having almost fully provided for the NPAs. The bank boasts the highest Provision Coverage Ratio of 98.28%, followed by UCO Bank at 94.50% and Indian Bank at 93.82%.
Strong Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR):
In terms of Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), Bank of Maharashtra demonstrates its robust financial position with the highest CAR of 18.14% among PSBs, followed by Punjab & Sind Bank at 17.10% and Canara Bank at 16.68%, as of March 31, 2023.
Impressive Loan Growth:
Bank of Maharashtra maintains its leading position in terms of loan growth among scheduled commercial banks, recording a remarkable 29.49% increase on an annual basis, according to published banking data.
Deposit Growth and CASA Deposits:
While HDFC Bank takes the lead in deposit growth rate with a 20.80% increase, followed by Federal Bank at 17% and Kotak Mahindra Bank at 16.49%, Bank of Maharashtra excels in low-cost Current Account and Savings Account (CASA) deposits. BoM secures the top spot with a CASA deposit growth rate of 53.38%, closely followed by IDBI Bank at 53.02% and Kotak Mahindra Bank at 52.83%.
GDP expected to grow 6-6.5 per cent in FY24: BoB Eco Research
Experts from various agencies have estimated India’s economic growth for the fiscal year 2023-24 to be in the range of 6-6.5%. While there are slight variations in decimal points, the consensus suggests a positive outlook for the country’s GDP growth. Factors such as improved agricultural output, rebounding contact-intensive sectors, and government initiatives are expected to drive this growth. However, there are also downside risks, including geopolitical tensions and slowing external demand.
RBI Projects 6.4% Growth for FY24
Governor Shaktikanta Das of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has projected a real GDP growth rate of 6.4% for FY24. He cited increased rabi output, which enhances prospects for agriculture and rural demand. Additionally, the sustained recovery of contact-intensive sectors is expected to support urban consumption. Das also highlighted broad-based credit growth, improved capacity utilization, and the government’s focus on capital spending and infrastructure as factors that will bolster investment activity.
CARE Ratings Forecasts 6.1% GDP Growth in FY24
CARE Ratings, a credit rating agency, estimates India’s economic growth for FY24 to be 6.1%. The agency emphasizes the government’s emphasis on capital expenditure (capex) and the growing intent of the private sector to invest, which should support investment demand. However, lower external demand and rising interest rates pose risks to investment revival. For FY23, CARE Ratings projects GDP growth at 7%, taking into account improving rural demand, rising rural wages, and the need for domestic demand to accelerate.
Moody’s Predicts 6.5% Growth for 2024
Moody’s Investors Service, a global credit rating agency, forecasts India’s growth rate to be 6.5% for 2024 and 5.5% for 2023. Moody’s attributes the primary drivers of economic growth in these years to the decisions made by central banks regarding interest rates. They expect global economic growth to slow in 2023 due to cumulative monetary policy tightening. Moody’s forecasts a gradual improvement in G20 global economic growth, from 2.0% in 2023 to 2.4% in 2024.
Acuite Ratings & Research’s Outlook
Acuite Ratings & Research predicts that India’s economic growth for FY23 will be around 7.0%. Looking ahead to FY24, they consider factors such as the impact of higher interest rates on urban demand, stability of the monsoon, and absence of base factors. For now, Acuite Ratings & Research maintains a GDP growth forecast of 6% for FY24, without factoring in additional risks from monsoons and external factors.
Sudarshan Shakti Exercise 2023: Enhancing India’s Defense Capabilities
The Sapta Shakti Command of the Indian Army recently conducted the highly anticipated exercise ‘Sudarshan Shakti 2023’ along the western borders in Rajasthan and Punjab. The exercise aimed to transform the forces into a modern, lean, and agile fighting combination capable of leveraging new-age technologies. With a focus on operational planning in a network-centric environment, this exercise validated the Indian Army’s combat power, combat support, and logistic support capabilities.
Modernizing the Forces for Future Challenges The primary objective of Sudarshan Shakti Exercise 2023 was to initiate the transformation of the Indian Army by embracing new technologies and adopting innovative strategies. The exercise sought to enhance the forces’ capabilities to effectively counter emerging threats and perform at a high tempo during operations. By integrating force multipliers, special forces, and niche technologies such as drones, tethered drones, and loiter ammunition, the exercise aimed to create a synergistic application of combat power.
Sudarshan Shakti Exercise 2023
Validating Operational Plans in a Network-Centric Environment:
Sudarshan Shakti Exercise 2023 served as a platform to validate operational plans in a network-centric environment. The exercise simulated various scenarios, encompassing all domains of enemy threat, including Grey Zone Warfare. By doing so, the Indian Army aimed to strengthen its readiness to counter unconventional challenges and operate effectively in complex and dynamic battlefields.
Leveraging New-Age Technologies and Specialized Capabilities:
The exercise highlighted the integrated use of force multipliers and specialized capabilities. Special forces played a vital role in demonstrating their expertise in conducting unconventional operations and enhancing the overall combat effectiveness. Additionally, the exercise showcased the significance of niche technologies such as drones and tethered drones, which can provide real-time situational awareness and enhance the effectiveness of surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Embracing Electronic Warfare:
Sudarshan Shakti Exercise 2023 also emphasized key aspects of electronic warfare. The exercise aimed to enhance the Indian Army’s ability to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, disrupt the adversary’s communication networks, and protect its own critical information infrastructure. By developing robust electronic warfare capabilities, the Indian Army aims to maintain an advantage over potential adversaries in future conflicts.
Aligning with the Five Pillars of Transformation:
The exercise played a crucial role in meeting the objectives set forth by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Manoj Pande, in January 2023. Sudarshan Shakti 2023 contributed to the five pillars of transformation outlined by General Pande, which include operational preparedness, force modernization, human resource development, strategic partnerships, and jointness among the armed forces. Through this exercise, the Indian Army showcased its commitment to achieving these goals and adapting to the evolving nature of warfare.
International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2023 observed on 29th May
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed annually on May 29th. It is a day dedicated to honoring the contributions and sacrifices of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in maintaining peace and security around the world. The day also serves as a tribute to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
International Day of UN Peacekeepers- Theme
The theme of the 75th anniversary “Peace begins with me” recognizes the service and sacrifice of peacekeepers, past and present, including more than 4200 who have given their lives under the UN flag. It also pays tribute to the resilience of the communities that we serve, who continue to strive for peace despite many obstacles.
This campaign also calls on each of us to join the global movement for peace. Alone, we can never succeed. But, together, we can be a strong force for change.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers holds great significance for several reasons:
Recognizing Peacekeeping Efforts: The day serves as a global recognition of the crucial role played by UN peacekeepers in maintaining peace and security around the world. It acknowledges their commitment and tireless efforts in preventing conflicts, protecting civilians, and promoting stability in areas affected by violence and war.
Honoring Fallen Peacekeepers: The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is an occasion to honor and remember those peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. It pays tribute to their bravery and sacrifice, emphasizing the profound impact they have made in the pursuit of peace. The day offers an opportunity to express gratitude and support to the families and loved ones of fallen peacekeepers.
Promoting Awareness and Understanding: The day raises awareness about the challenges faced by UN peacekeepers and the complex nature of their work. It helps foster understanding and appreciation among the general public, highlighting the significance of peacekeeping operations in resolving conflicts and preventing the escalation of violence. By promoting awareness, the day encourages support and solidarity for peacekeeping efforts.
Advocating for Peace and Security: The International Day of UN Peacekeepers serves as a platform for advocating peace and security at the international level. It encourages governments, organizations, and individuals to recommit themselves to the principles of peacekeeping and to strengthen their support for UN peacekeeping missions. The day emphasizes the need for collective action and cooperation to address global conflicts and promote a more peaceful world.
Strengthening International Peacekeeping: The day provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements, challenges, and future directions of UN peacekeeping. It encourages discussions and dialogue on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping operations, including the development of new strategies, technologies, and approaches. The day’s significance lies in its role as a catalyst for advancing the field of international peacekeeping and promoting continuous improvement in peacekeeping practices.
International Day of UN Peacekeepers- History
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers has its origins in the United Nations General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly designated May 29th as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to honor the memory of peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the service of peace.
The choice of May 29th as the date for this observance was significant. It marks the anniversary of the creation of the first UN peacekeeping mission. On May 29, 1948, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to oversee the ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This mission became the first-ever peacekeeping operation conducted by the United Nations.