1)Home Minister launches nano DAP, says it will increase crop productivity

Union minister for home and cooperation, Amit Shah, on Wednesday launched nano DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), a locally developed liquid form of the fertilizer widely used by the farm sector, the world’s first such product. He urged the farmers to use the nano urea and reduce import dependence.

India has already shifted to nano urea, based on a similar technology, which allows fertilisers to be changed from powdery stuff to liquid form, improving efficiency and reducing weight. Nano (liquid) DAP will start replacing conventional DAP and “is an important beginning towards becoming self-reliant in the fertiliser sector”, said Shah said on Wednesday launching the crop nutrient whose patent is owned by IFFCO’, the country’s largest fertilizer cooperative.


The use of nano urea and nano DAP will lead to a reduction in imports as well as the government’s fertiliser subsidy bill, he said, adding that nano fertilisers can be easily stored and transported.

2)India’s First Undersea Tunnel Nears Completion: Mumbai Coastal Road Project
The Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) is a Rs 12,721-crore initiative by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to link Marine Drive to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The most significant feature of the project is the construction of India’s first undersea tunnel, which is set to open by November 2023. The 2.07-kilometer twin tunnels run 17-20 meters below sea level, connecting Girgaon to Priyadarshini Park via the Arabian Sea, Girgaon Chowpatty, and Malabar Hill.

The construction of the twin tunnels involved cutting through complex geological strata using a massive Chinese Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) and a team of 35 men. The TBM, named Mavala, is the largest ever used in India, weighing over 1,700 tonnes and standing about 12 meters tall. It was manufactured by the China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Company Ltd (CRCHI) and was assembled and launched a year ago.


1)Telangana Govt to Implement Insurance Scheme for Toddy Tappers
The Telangana government has announced a new insurance scheme for toddy tappers called ‘Geetha Karmikula Bhima.’ The scheme is similar to the ‘Rythu Bhima’ program for farmers and is aimed at providing financial assistance to the families of toddy tappers who die due to accidents while collecting toddy from palm trees in the fields.

Benefits of the scheme

The new insurance scheme will provide several benefits to the families of toddy tappers. Firstly, the insurance amount will be disbursed within a week of the accident, providing immediate financial assistance to the family. Secondly, the insurance scheme will ensure that the family members of the deceased receive a substantial amount of money to help them cope with their loss. This will help them with funeral expenses and other immediate financial needs. Under the new scheme, an insurance amount of Rs. five lakh will be deposited directly into the bank account of the family members of the deceased toddy tapper. The insurance amount will be disbursed within a week of the accident, which is much faster than the current ex-gratia process.

2)Non-tax revenue growth- Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has projected a growth of 32% in its non-tax revenue for 2023-24. This is the highest in four years. Earlier, the State had seen over 30% growth in its non-tax revenue in 2018-19.

Non-tax revenue consists of

o Interest receipts;

o Dividend and profits;

o Mining and other departmental receipts.


USCIRF’s 2023 Annual Report on Religious Freedom

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released its 2023 Annual Report, which highlights the status of religious freedom across the globe during 2022. The report provides recommendations to improve the promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad. India criticised this report after it recommended that the country be designated for the fourth year in a row that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern”.

The USCIRF recommends that 17 countries be designated as Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs) for violating the right to freedom of religion or belief. Additionally, five new countries, including India, are recommended to be designated as CPCs.

The report also highlights the status of religious freedom in countries that do not meet the criteria for CPC or SWL recommendations. The report encompasses various areas, including religious freedom issues in Europe, emerging religious freedom concerns in other countries, laws that restrict religious freedom, transnational influence by religious freedom violators, the fight against anti-Semitism, and religious freedom concerns faced by indigenous communities in Latin America.


Two New Species of Jumping Spiders

Two new species of jumping spiders have been discovered by researchers at the Zoological Survey of India. These spiders are similar to other members of the genus Phintella, which typically inhabit under leaves and barks of shrubs and grasses. Their discovery is a major contribution to arachnology, a branch of science that deals with the study of arachnids, which includes spiders, scorpions, and pseudoscorpions. Prior to the discovery of these latest species of jumping spiders, there were already 12 identified species of Phintella that were acknowledged in India.


Indian origin Ajay Banga confirmed as the next President of World Bank
Ajay Banga, who is of Indian origin, has been officially selected as the new President of the World Bank. The 25-member executive board of the World Bank elected Ajay Banga, who previously served as the CEO of Mastercard, to hold the position for a period of five years, starting from June 2.

The nomination of Ajay Banga for this post was made by US President Joe Biden in February. Joe Biden added that Ajay Banga, along with World Bank leadership and shareholders, will play a crucial role in steering the institution as it develops and expands to address global challenges, particularly climate change, which directly impact the World Bank’s fundamental goal of reducing poverty.

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