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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-4th August 2023

NHAI launches mobile app ‘Rajmargyatra’ for national highway users

To improve the highway user experience and offer seamless travel on Indian National Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has taken a significant step by introducing the ‘Rajmargyatra‘ mobile application.

This unified app aims to provide comprehensive information and efficient complaint redressal for national highway users, making travel safer and more convenient.

Key features of the Rajmarg Yatra app include:

User-Friendly App for All

  • The ‘Rajmargyatra’ app is designed to be user-friendly and is available for download on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

  • This availability makes it accessible to a wide range of travellers who can now access comprehensive information about Indian National Highways at their fingertips.

  • The app is currently available in both Hindi and English, catering to users across various linguistic backgrounds.

Comprehensive Information at Fingertips

  • Users can access real-time weather conditions to stay updated about any potential adverse conditions along their journey.

  • Timely broadcast notifications keep travellers informed about important updates, road conditions, and other crucial information.

  • In addition, the app provides details about nearby toll plazas, petrol pumps, hospitals, hotels, and other essential services. This ensures that travellers can plan their stops efficiently and have access to necessary facilities, contributing to a seamless and safe journey on National Highways.

Efficient Complaint Redressal System

  • One of the key features of the ‘Rajmargyatra’ app is its efficient complaint redressal system.

  • Users can report highway-related issues directly through the app and even attach geo-tagged videos or photos for better clarity and understanding.

  • The complaints are promptly addressed, with system-generated escalations to higher authorities in case of delays or unresolved issues.

Transparency in Grievance Handling

  • To promote transparency, the app allows users to track the status of their grievances.

  • This feature empowers travellers to know the progress of their complaints and ensures that they are being addressed effectively.

  • The transparent approach fosters trust between the authorities and the users, encouraging active participation in reporting issues and contributing to a more efficient road network.

Integration of FASTag Services

  • The ‘Rajmargyatra’ app also integrates FASTag services, making it even more versatile for users.

  • FASTags are essential for electronic toll collection, and the app allows users to recharge their FASTags seamlessly.

  • Additionally, users can avail monthly passes and access other related banking services within the app itself, further streamlining the payment process for highway travel.

Promoting Responsible and Safe Driving Behavior

  • In line with the NHAI’s commitment to road safety, the app sends over-speeding notifications to users.

  • This feature aims to promote responsible driving behavior and reduce the occurrence of accidents on national highways.

  • Furthermore, the app offers voice-assistance, ensuring that users can access important information hands-free, enabling them to focus on the road ahead.

About The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was established as a Central Authority through the enactment of the National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988, by the Parliament.

  • Its primary purpose is to develop, maintain, and oversee the National Highways that have been entrusted to it by the Government of India.

  • NHAI operates as a nodal agency under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, responsible for the efficient management and maintenance of these vital road networks.

Oil India Upgraded to Maharatna, ONGC Videsh to Navratna by Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry of India elevated two major oil sector companies, Oil India and ONGC Videsh, to the esteemed Maharatna and Navratna categories, respectively, granting them increased autonomy for investment, joint venture establishment, and other financial decisions.

Oil India’s Journey to Maharatna Status

  • Oil India, previously classified as a Navratna company, has now been granted the esteemed Maharatna status, making it the 13th Maharatna CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprises) in the country.

  • The company reported a commendable annual turnover of Rs 41,039 crores and a net profit of Rs 9,854 crores for the fiscal year 2022-23.

  • Being a fully integrated exploration and production company in the upstream sector, Oil India has a rich history dating back to 1889 when oil was first discovered in India.

  • Under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Oil India stands as the second-largest national oil and gas company in the country.

ONGC Videsh’s Transition to Navratna CPSE

  • ONGC Videsh is a part of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

  • ONGC Videsh’s core focus lies in exploring for oil and gas reserves beyond India’s borders, encompassing activities such as exploration, development, and production of these valuable resources.

  • Having obtained a status upgrade to a Navratna CPSE, the company becomes the 14th Navratna CPSE in the country.

  • ONGC Videsh has reported an annual turnover of Rs 11,676 crore and a net profit of Rs 1,700 crore for the fiscal year 2022-23.

The Significance of the Maharatna Status

  • The Maharatna status was introduced for CPSEs with the aim of empowering them to expand their operations and become global leaders.

  • Notable CPSEs like BHEL, Indian Oil, ONGC, BPCL, HPCL, and SAILs have already been conferred Maharatna status.

  • Companies aspiring for Maharatna status must fulfill specific criteria, including holding Navratna status, being listed on the Indian stock exchange with a minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations, maintaining an average annual net profit exceeding Rs 2,500 crore over the last three years, and demonstrating significant global presence or international operations.

Benefits of Navratna Status

  • A Navratna CPSE is bestowed with various privileges that enhance its operational capabilities. Some of these benefits include the authority to incur capital expenditure without any monetary ceiling for purchasing new items or replacements.

  • Navratna CPSEs are also allowed to enter technology joint ventures or strategic alliances and obtain technology and know how through purchases or other arrangements.

  • Additionally, they can raise debt from domestic and international markets, subject to the approval of RBI/Department of Economic Affairs, and establish financial joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries in India or abroad within an investment ceiling of Rs 1,000 crore.

PM Modi to attend BRICS Summit in S. Africa this month

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed his attendance at the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 22 to 24, 2023. This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled his visit to the same event. The summit gains significance due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and discussions on expanding the membership of BRICS, a topic of interest to both Russia and China.

1. PM Modi’s Confirmation for BRICS Summit:

PM Modi to attend BRICS Summit in S. Africa this month

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24, 2023. This confirmation comes after a telephonic conversation between Mr. Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

2. Russian President’s Cancellation:

The telephonic conversation between Mr. Modi and Mr. Ramaphosa took place following the cancellation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

3. Event’s Significance Amid Ukraine Crisis:

The upcoming BRICS Summit in Johannesburg acquires special importance due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Leaders from member countries will likely discuss regional and global implications during the summit.

4. Discussions on BRICS Expansion:

The event is expected to hold substantive discussions on the expansion of BRICS membership, which both Russia and China have been advocating for. Some 25 countries have applied to join BRICS, and a decision on the matter will be taken during the summit.

5. Positive Bilateral Cooperation:

During the telephonic conversation, both leaders positively assessed the progress in bilateral cooperation between India and South Africa, which are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2023.

6. India’s Influence in BRICS:

Despite China’s attempts to dominate the BRICS forum, India, along with Brazil, holds a significant role in this multilateral institution. Both countries have the opportunity to express their views and play a vital part in the functioning of BRICS.

7. Interest from Other Nations:

Close allies such as Saudi Arabia and UAE, among others, have expressed interest in joining the BRICS institution. Approximately 25 countries have applied for membership, and the decision on expansion will be a key topic at the Johannesburg summit.

8. Regional and Global Issues:

During the telephonic conversation, PM Modi and President Ramaphosa exchanged views on various regional and global issues of mutual interest. They likely discussed matters of significance in the BRICS context and beyond.

9. Support for India’s G-20 Presidency:

President Ramaphosa conveyed his full support for India’s initiatives during its ongoing G-20 Presidency and expressed his anticipation of attending the G-20 Summit in India.

RBI fines four major Indian PSUs for late overseas investment reporting

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed late submission fees amounting to ₹2,000 crore on four major public sector undertakings namely, ONGC Videsh Ltd, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, GAIL (India) Ltd, and Oil India Ltd for failing to promptly report their overseas investments.

The delayed reporting has prompted RBI to take restrictive measures, affecting further remittances and transfers until the discrepancies are resolved. These includes:

Ceasing outward remittances

In response to the delayed reporting, the authorized dealer banks have been directed not to facilitate any outward remittance or financial commitments by individuals residing in India towards foreign entities until the reporting issues are regularized. This regulatory measure has raised concerns among the affected companies regarding the smooth functioning of their overseas subsidiaries.

Penalty for delayed submission has been implemented

The RBI’s Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Regulations, 2022, clearly outline the consequences for failing to submit investment evidence within the prescribed timeframe. The late submission fee has been introduced with retrospective effect, covering a significant number of ODI (Overseas Direct Investment) remittances processed since 2000. The companies involved, including SBI, have reported all ODIs based on the documents provided by the remitting

Companies Seek Extension from RBI to Prevent Disruptions and Comply with Regulations

In an attempt to prevent operational disruptions and ensure compliance with RBI’s regulations, the companies have sought additional time from the central bank. Indian Oil Corp. executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, emphasized their efforts to avoid any potential interruptions in operations and reiterated their commitment to reconciling the late submission fee along with the SBI ODI (Overseas Direct Investment) Cell.

NABARD sanctions Rs 1974 crore to Rajasthan govt

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned a total amount of Rs 1,974.07 crore to the Rajasthan government under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) for the financial year 2023-24.

This substantial funding aims to uplift the living conditions of rural communities and drive economic growth in the region.

1.Rural Drinking Water Supply Projects

A major portion of the sanctioned amount, Rs 930.44 crore, has been earmarked for three crucial rural drinking water supply projects. These projects will be implemented in the districts of Ajmer, Jalore, and Kota, with the objective of providing clean and potable water to households in 2,500 villages. Approximately 2.87 lakh households are expected to benefit from these initiatives, significantly improving access to safe drinking water in the targeted regions.

2.Improvement of Rural Roads

In an effort to enhance connectivity and transportation infrastructure, NABARD has sanctioned Rs 926.48 crore for the construction of 676 rural roads. These roads will primarily be developed in the desert and tribal areas of the state. The improved road network is expected to enhance accessibility and facilitate easier movement of goods and people in 1,229 villages spread across 12 districts.

3.Expansion of Veterinary Healthcare Facilities

Prioritizing the healthcare needs of the rural population, NABARD has already allocated Rs 117.15 crore for the construction of 104 veterinary hospitals and 431 sub-centres. These healthcare facilities will be established in all districts of the state, ensuring that livestock owners and farmers have access to quality veterinary services. This move is likely to boost livestock health and contribute to the overall well-being of rural communities.

4.Micro-Irrigation Support

NABARD is also collaborating with the Rajasthan government to bring 4.28 lakh hectares of agricultural land under micro-irrigation. This endeavor has received financial support amounting to Rs 740 crore from the Micro Irrigation Fund. By adopting modern irrigation techniques, farmers can optimize water usage and improve agricultural productivity, thereby strengthening the rural economy.

5.Infrastructure Development Assistance for Canals

Another crucial infrastructure development project supported by NABARD is the lining of 450 km of earthen canals in the districts of Kota and Bundi. The undertaking has been made possible through a financial assistance of Rs 623.38 crore under NABARD Infrastructure Development Assistance. This initiative is aimed at conserving water resources and ensuring efficient water distribution for irrigation purposes, benefiting farmers and agricultural activities in the region.

About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) serves as the apex regulatory authority responsible for overseeing the functioning of regional rural banks and apex cooperative banks across India. It operates under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. NABARD’s core responsibilities encompass policy formulation, planning, and implementation of credit facilities for agriculture and various economic endeavors in rural regions of India.

Endangered Himalayan Vulture, bred in captivity for the First Time in India

The Assam State Zoo recently recorded the breeding of a Himalayan Vulture in captivity for the first time in India. Details of the successful breeding were recently published in a paper titled ‘Breeding of Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis Hume, 1869 in the Assam State Zoo, Guwahati, Assam.

The species categorised as ‘Near Threatened’ with an estimated population of 66,000, witnessed a significant moment of hope in their conservation journey.

Conservation of Himalayan Vulture

The ground-breaking captive breeding of the Himalayan Vulture was recorded on 14th March, 2022, at the Assam State Zoo, making a significant achievement for wildlife preservation. These Vultures, which are native to the high Himalayas, were rescued from various poisoning and accident incidents in 2011-2012. The successful breeding comes as a dedicated effort to create a suitable environment for the birds and acclimate them to the tropical conditions of the zoo.

Challenges

Breeding the Himalayan Vulture in Guwahati was a challenging task as this species breeds in snow-clad mountains. However, with the passage of time, the vulture adapted to the zoo’s tropical surroundings. Researchers provided necessary care, created artificial brooding facilities with precise temperature and feeding schedules, to ensure the successful hatching and rearing of the nestling.

Significance

The successful breeding of Himalayan Vulture at the Assam State Zoo is the second instance in the world, after France, where these vultures have been bred in captivity. This accomplishment underscores the significant role of zoos and breeding centre in conservation efforts, particularly for endangered species like vultures.

Efforts for Conservation of Vulture’s Population

Vulture population have experienced drastic declines in recent years, leading to ‘Critically Endangered’ status for three resident Gyps vulture species.

The conservation breeding centres at four locations, including the Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre at Rani, Assam playing a pivotal role in augmenting vulture populations.

With 39 White-rumped vultures released into the wild from the VCBC in Haryana and West Bengal, researchers and conservationists are closely monitoring their progress through transmitters. This monitoring helps track the vultures’ movements and behaviour, further informing conversation strategies.

Steel Minister unveils new logo of NMDC

In a special event in New Delhi, Jyotiraditya Scidia, the Union Minister of Steel and Civil Aviation, revealed the new logo of NMDC. The launch of new logo is a big step for NMDC, showing its commitment to responsible mining and global standards.

About New Logo of NMDC

The new logo is a perfect blend of modern style and meaningful symbolism. This new logo represents more than just a visual change, it represents the essence of NMDC’s role as a leader in India’s sustainable path. Embracing the elements of nature, NMDC now stands committed to creating a world in a responsible and harmonious manner.

The new logo represents past achievements, present commitment and future aspirations of NMDC. It represents the scale and strength of the company’s future, driven by innovation and sustainability.

Significance of the new logo of NMDC

The new logo unveiled by Union Minister of Steel and Civil Aviation, signifies the company’s future scale and strength after achieving a record production of 40 million tonnes for two consecutive fiscals. The new logo signifies the NMDC’s journey of transformation and advancement.

A Bright Path Ahead

NMDC’s new logo is a symbol of exciting transformation. As a leader in mineral exploration and production, NMDC aims to use advanced technologies to be more-efficient and eco-friendly. Together with the government’s support, NMDC is on its way to make India shine in the mining world.

About National Mineral Development Corporation

The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Steel, established in 1958 as a fully government-owned company. It’s headquarter is in Hyderabad, Telangana.


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