Current Affairs

1 December, 2021

International

Russian Navy Test-Fired Zircon, a Hypersonic Missile, in the White Sea

The Russian navy successfully test fired the Tsirkon/Zircon cruise missile, a hypersonic missile, in the White sea, a southern inlet of the Barents Sea, northwest coast of Russia.
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate launched the Zircon cruise missile which striked the practice target at 400 kilometers (215 nautical miles) away. This is the latest launch in a series of tests of Zircon, will be commissioned into the Russian navy in 2022.
About Zircon:
i.Zircon, a anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.
ii.It is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
iii.This will boost the capability of Russia’s military.
iv.Russia is planning to arm the Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines with Zircon.

China launches Zhongxing-1D Communications Satellite into Space

China launched a new communications satellite named Zhongxing-1D from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province, China.Zhongxing-1D is also known as ChinaSat-1D.

Other initiatives of China:

i.In November 2021, China launched three new remote sensing satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. The satellites belong to the Yaogan-35 family. They were launched by a Long March-2D carrier rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully. This was the 396th mission for Long March series carrier rockets of China.

ii.Micius- Quantum-Enabled Satellite:
In 2020, Micius satellite of China sent light particles to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Micius-It is the world’s first quantum communications satellite, launched by China in 2016.
About China:
President-Xi Jinping
Capital- Beijing
Currency-Renminbi

National

1st Edition of India Young Water Professional Programme was Launched

The 1st edition of the India Young Water Professional Program (IYWPP) launched virtually to provide a structured platform for capacity building with strategic and long-term investment to support the water management reforms in India. The program has been taken up under the National Hydrology Project, a Central Scheme of DOWR (Department Of Water Resources), River Development (RD) and Ganga Rejuvenation (GR) and supported by the Australian Water Partnership. This Program will be implemented by Australia India Water Centre (a consortium of Australian and Indian universities).

Note – IYWPP lead Professor -Basant Maheshwari, Western Sydney University

About the Program:
i.A total of 20 participants (10 men and 10 women) have been selected for the 1st edition of this Programme from central and state implementing agencies of the National Hydrology Project.
ii.About 70 percent of the program is focused on project based learning through Situation Understanding and Improvement Projects (SUIP).
iii.IYWPP will equip water professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, behaviours and networks to enable them to contribute to the development and management of water resources in India.
iv.Australia is a valued partner for India in the field of water resources and the launch of IYWPP marks a significant milestone in Australia-India Water relationship.
v.Based on the success of this edition, a second phase of YWP will be planned in the second half of 2022.

About Ministry of Jal Shakti:

Union Minister – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Constituency – Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of State – Prahlad Singh Patel (Constituency – Damoh, Madhya Pradesh), Bishweswar Tudu (Constituency – Mayurbhanj, Odisha)

Alternative Mechanism approved GoI’s 100% stake sale in CEL to Nandal Finance and Leasing Pvt. Ltd

i.Over Rs 210 Crore bid by Nandal Finance and Leasing Pvt. Ltd received an approval from ministerial panel namely ‘Alternative Mechanism’ to acquire 100% equity shareholding of Government of India (GoI) in Central Electronics Ltd (CEL).
ii.CEL is a CPSE (Central Public Sector Enterprises) under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).
iii.This is the second strategic stake sale by GoI after Air India.
iv.Incorporated in 1996, Nandal Finance and Leasing Pvt Ltd is based in New Delhi, Delhi.
What is Alternative Mechanism?
Initiated in 2017 after Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approval, it is a framework to speed up and supervise the mergers of CPSEs, minority stake sales, and the Centre’s new exchange traded fund.

NITI Aayog releases report on Online Dispute Resolution policy for Speedy Access to Justice

i.On November 29, 2021, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog released a report on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) namely ‘Designing the Future of Dispute Resolution- the ODR Policy Plan for India’ which states a futuristic model for speedy access to justice. Click here for Official Report
ii.For the initiation of ODR, NITI Aayog constituted a committee in 2020 to formulate an action plan for ODR. It is headed by Justice (Retd) Arjan Kumar Sikri as its Chairman.
iii.ODR is aimed at resolving disputes outside of the court system through arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. Mainly, it is the use of technology to resolve disputes.
About NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog:
Established– 2015
Chairperson– Prime Minister of India (Currently- Narendra Modi)
Headquarters– New Delhi

Economy

Agriwise Finserv & Central Bank of India enters Co-lending partnership for Agri-Loan Disbursals

Agriwise Finserv Limited, an agri-focussed Non Banking Financial Corporation (NBFC), has entered into a co-lending agreement with Central Bank of India for agri-loan disbursal to underserved & unserved rural customers of India. The agreement ensures the loan at affordable interest rates as per the RBI directive for the farmer, agri and allied community in a simple, transparent and speedy manner.

Highlights:
i.The co-lending agreement allows Agriwise to enlarge service to rural customer segments and increase offerings to current customers at blended interest rates.
ii.Central Bank of India focuses on lending to the agriculture sector as a goal to empower our farmer community under priority sector lending and the tie-up reaches the customers in the rural and agri-sector.
About Agriwise Finserv Limited:
Managing Director – Suresh Goyal
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Central Bank of India:
CEO & Managing Director – Matam Venkata Rao
Established – 1911
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – ‘Central’ to You Since 1911

SBI signs MoU with Usha International for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Usha International Limited (UIL) for empowering women entrepreneurs by providing financial assistance named ‘NAVCHETNA’ by SBI. The financial assistance will be provided under the Joint Liability Group model.

About State Bank of India (SBI):
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara
Established – 1955
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

ADB Approves $125 Million Loan for Uttarakhand Water Supply and Sanitation Projects

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $125 million (around Rs 938 crore) for water supply and sanitation projects in Uttarakhand. The funds will be utilised to improve access to quality water supply and sanitation services to the entire population of about 154,000 people of the state. About 17,410 households in Dehradun will be connected to the sewerage system. Around 40,000 people, including 4,000 urban poor and vulnerable groups will be benefited with the water pipe system.

Focus – To build cost-effective city-wide sanitation, wider-reach and less water-dependent, and to engage the private sector in building the skills of concerned urban local bodies.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
Established – 1966
Headquarters – Manila, Philippines
Members – Owned by 68 members (49 from Asian and Pacific Regions)

RBI supersedes Board of Reliance Capital; appoints Nageswar Rao Y as New Administrator

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) superseded the Board of Directors of Reliance Capital Ltd (RCL), a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), by exercising its power conferred under Section 45-IE (1) of the RBI Act, 1934. RCL is promoted by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani’s Reliance Group. The reason behind this is the defaults made by RCL for various debt obligations payments and serious governance concerns. In this regard, the apex bank has appointed Nageswar Rao Y (Ex-Executive Director, Bank of Maharashtra) as the Administrator of the company under Section 45-IE (2) of the RBI Act.

Sports

India tour of South Africa 2021 likely to be delayed due to Omicron threat

The Russian navy successfully test fired the Tsirkon/Zircon cruise missile, a hypersonic missile, in the White sea, a southern inlet of the Barents Sea, northwest coast of Russia.
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate launched the Zircon cruise missile which striked the practice target at 400 kilometers (215 nautical miles) away. This is the latest launch in a series of tests of Zircon, will be commissioned into the Russian navy in 2022.

About Zircon:
i.Zircon, a anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.
ii.It is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
iii.This will boost the capability of Russia’s military.
iv.Russia is planning to arm the Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines with Zircon.

Miscellaneous

PNB to pick up 9.5% stake in ONDC Ltd

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) will become the promoter of Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) limited by investing over 9 % (~9.5 %) stake in the company. ONDC is yet to be incorporated by the Companies Act 2013.

Highlights:
i.For the acquisition of less than 10 % shareholding, regulatory approval is not required. PNB will have 9.5 % equity capital in the ONDC or INR 25 crore, whichever is lower.
ii.ONDC is an infrastructure development private company which facilitates e-commerce to all marketplace players.
iii.ONDC will develop a platform in the form of an open network for digital commerce. In this platform buyers can sell their entities without registering themselves.
About Punjab National Bank (PNB):
MD & CEO– S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao
Headquarters-New Delhi
Founded-1894 (Commenced Operation on -1895)
Tagline- The Name You Can Bank Upon

Sweden elect 1st Female Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson

The former Finance Minister of Sweden, Eva Magdalena Andersson from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won her 2nd election and became 1st female Prime Minister (PM) of Sweden. On 24 November 2021 she was first elected as the PM but later resigned after her coalition partner (Green Party) quit the government and the budget failed to pass. Swedan’s Parliament is known as Riksdag. Sweden is the last Nordic country to get a female Prime Minister.

About Magdalena Andersson:
i.Magdalena Andersson was born on 23 January 1967. She is a 54 year old Swedish politician and economist serving as the PM from the Social Democratic Party or SDP.
ii.She began her political career as a political adviser to then PM Goran Persson in 1996 and then as Director of Planning.
iii.In 2004 she began to work in the Ministry of Finance as State Secretary.
iv.She became the head of the SDP on November 4, 2021. She is the second woman leader of the SDP.
About Sweden:
i.It is among the five Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark.
ii.It is a member of the Arctic Council that comprises eight countries- Canada,Denmark,Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden,and the United States.
Capital- Stockholm
Currency-Swedish krona

Indian-American Parag Agrawal Takes Over as CEO of Twitter; Jack Dorsey Stepped Down

The board of directors of Twitter has decided to appoint Indian American, Parag Agrawal, the Chief Technology Officer(CTO) of Twitter, as the new Chief Executive officer(CEO) of Twitter.
He was appointed following the resignation of Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, from the post of CEO. Parag Agrawal will also be joining the board of directors of Twitter. Bret Taylor, a member of the board of Directors, Twitter, has been named as Independent Chair of the board succeeding Patrick Pichette.

About Parag Agrawal:
i.Parag Agrawal is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Stanford University.
ii.He joined Twitter in 2011 as a software engineer and has been serving as the CTO since October 2017.
About Jack Dorsey:
i.Jack Dorsey the co-founder of Twitter is also the CEO and Co-Founder, Square, a digital payments company.
ii.Jack Dorsey will remain a member of the board of Twitter till 2022.
iii.He has served as the CEO of Twitter from 2006 to 2008, and again from 2015 to 2021.
About Twitter, Inc.:
CEO– Parag Agrawal
Headquarters– San Francisco, California, United States
Founded in 2006

65th Ballon d’Or: Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or Award for 7th time; Alexia Putellas won Women’s Award

Argentina’s Lionel Andrés Messi (Lionel Messi), who plays as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain has won the Ballon d’Or award for the 7th time and Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas has won the Women’s Ballon d’Or award. This is Alexia’s first Ballon d’Or Award. The year 2021 marks the 65 edition of the Ballon d’Or Ceremony. The 2021 Ballon d’Or ceremony was held on 29th November 2021 in Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France.

Other Winners:
i.Italy and PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has won the 2021 Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper.
ii.Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski won the Striker of the Year award 2021.
iii.19-year-old Pedro González López, known as Pedri, of Spain won the Kopa trophy which is presented to the best male player age 21 or under.
iv.Chelsea FC won the 2021 Club of the Year at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony.

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