Current Affairs

1 October, 2021

International

North Korea Test-Fired Hypersonic Missile: Hwasong-8

The North Korean Academy of National Defense Science has test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile, ‘the Hwasong-8’. Hwasong series missiles used liquid-propellant engines with an ampoule fuel system. North Korea has used the ampoule fuel system for the 1st time. The missile has nuclear capabilities and they have named it a ‘strategic weapon’.

About Hypersonic Missile:
i.Hypersonic are the missiles that are capable of travelling at least 5 times the speed of sound. They are more difficult to track and intercept.
ii.The ampoule is the Russian term for liquid-propellant missiles that could be fueled during production and then sent to the field in canisters.

Quick Launch Time: This technology reduces the launch time as it allows missiles to be pre-fuelled and then sent to the field in canisters. Thus the soldiers do not need to fuel the missiles in the field as they could potentially stay launch-ready for years.

iii.Russia, China and other countries are also developing hypersonic weapons systems. South Korea also launched a new submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles.
Note – In July 2021, Russia announced its successful launch of a hypersonic missile that reached a speed of 8659.88km/h (5381mph) from a frigate in the White Sea.
About North Korea:
Capital – Pyongyang
Supreme leader – Kim Jong-un
Currency – North Korean won

India Ranks 59th in ‘Digital Quality of Life Index 2021; Denmark Tops

India was positioned at an overall rank of 59th among 110 countries in the 3rd edition of ‘Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) 2021’ prepared by cybersecurity company ‘Surfshark’. This is 2 positions lower than the 57th rank secured by India in the 2020 Index.
i.For the 2nd consecutive time, Denmark topped the ranking, followed by South Korea & Finland in 2nd & 3rd positions.
ii.Ethiopia is the lowest (110) ranked Country.Cambodia ranked at 108th Position & Cameroon ranked at 109th Position .
iii.The Index ranks India at 17th place among the Asian countries and 1st in the South Asian region.
iv.The report evaluates countries’ digital quality based on 5 fundamental principles.
Note – India shares 49th rank along with Thailand, in the ‘2021 Inclusive Internet Index’ by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), where the ranking was topped by Sweden.
About Surfshark:
Founded – 2018
CEO – Vytautas Kaziukonis

National

Expert group for minimum wages reconstituted

Barely three months after the committee was set up, the Labour Ministry reconstituted the expert group responsible for determining the national floor level minimum wages under the Code on Wages.

Economist and statistician SP Mukherjee will lead the 9-member group. Ajit Mishra, who headed the previous panel, excused himself from discharging his duty on account of his personal and other professional commitments.The group includes Arup Mitra of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) and Rupa Chanda of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore were added as members to the group along with a representative from the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The group has been constituted for a period of three years and will continue to provide technical inputs to the ministry going forward.

About Labour Code on Wages
i.The Labour Code on Wages was passed in 2019.
ii.It gives legislative protection of minimum wages to all workers.
Additional Information
i.Prior to the wage code in August 2019, the Labour Ministry had set up a similar committee chaired by Prof Anoop Satpathy.
ii.In January 2019, the seven-member committee suggested a national minimum wage at Rs 375 per day or Rs 9,750 per month irrespective of sectors, skills, occupations and rural-urban locations.
iii.It also suggested a monthly housing allowance of Rs 1,430 for city-based workers.
Note: The Economic Survey of 2018-19 suggested that India needs to have a mandatory national-level minimum wage to promote social justice and curb distress migration.

DAC approves Defence Procurement worth Rs. 13,165 crores

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the Chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for defence procurement worth Rs. 13,165 crores for modernisation of Indian Armed Forces.

i.87% (Rs. 11,486 crores) of the Rs. 13,165 crores were approved for domestic procurement to boost ‘Make in India’ in the Defence Sector. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture 25 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mark III helicopters for the Indian Army at an approximate cost of Rs. 3,850 crores.

About Ministry of Defence:
Union Minister – Rajnath Singh (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State – Ajay Bhatt (Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, Uttarakhand).

Cabinet Approval on September 29, 2021

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the following important initiatives on September 29, 2021.

Modification: Cabinet has approved renaming the Mid-Day Meal Scheme into PM POSHAN (Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman). The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved the listing of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) Ltd., an unlisted Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) through the Initial Public Offer (IPO) on the Stock Exchange under the SEBI’s (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018.

About Ministry of Education:
Union Minister – Dharmendra Pradhan (Constituency – Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Annpurna Devi (Kodarma, Jharkhand), Subhas Sarkar (Bankura, West Bengal), Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur, Manipur).

Economy

RBI takes Indian Overseas Bank out of Prompt Corrective Action framework

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) removed Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) from the Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF) as the performance of bank is compliant with the PCA parameters. This decision has been taken during the performance review of Indian Overseas Bank by the Board for Financial Supervision. With this, IOB committed to comply with the norms of Minimum Regulatory Capital, Net NPA (non-performing assets) and leverage ratio on an ongoing basis.

Background:
The RBI had put IOB under the PCAF in October 2015 due to high NPAs and negative Return on Assets (RoA). IOB was barred from increasing risk-weighted assets.
About PCAF:
The PCAF was introduced in 200 under which RBI imposes certain business restrictions on banks with weak financial metrics due to poor asset quality, or vulnerable due to loss of profitability.
Points to be noted:
i.Currently, Central Bank of India is the only lender under the RBI’s PCA framework.
ii.Recently, RBI also took UCO Bank out from the PCA framework.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment– 1st April 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar

SEBI Board Approved List of Key Amendments, Initiatives

The board of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under its board meeting issued frameworks for Gold Exchange, social stock exchange, delisting framework, and superior voting rights shares and approved some amendments

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – On April 12, 1992, in accordance with the SEBI Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

Stellapps, Airtel Payments Bank partner for Cashless Fund Transfer to Small Dairy Farmers

Dairy-tech startup Stellapps and Airtel Payments Bank have joined hands to enable cashless payment transfers to small dairy farmers.
Need behind this partnership:
Farmers have been facing a challenge of long travel to the nearest ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) or bank branch for withdrawing cash. Now under this partnership, stellapps milk collection centers will act as banking points which will enable farmers to open a bank account, withdraw and deposit cash, earn interest on savings, access Aadhaar enabled payments, get government pension schemes, and make bill payments. This project will be initiated in Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi & Kanpur) and Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior). These centres will be powered by mooPay (Stellapps fintech platform) with access to ecosystem partnerships to assist in farm improvement, animal healthcare, and nutrition services.

About Stellapps:
It has been closely working with dairies and their milk collection centers to facilitate direct payments to the bank account of the dairy farmers through mooPay.
About Airtel Payments Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– Anubrata Biswas
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi

Sports

Tokyo Olympic medalist Rupinder Pal Singh announces retirement from hockey

The Olympic bronze medal-winning Indian hockey player, Rupinder Pal Singh has announced his retirement from international hockey to make way for young and talented players. The 30-year-old Rupinder represented the Indian hockey team in 223 matches in his 13 years hockey career. Rupinder was part of the Indian hockey team that won the bronze medal in the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics, held in July – August 2021.

Sania Mirza-Shuai Zhang wins 2021 Ostrava Open women’s doubles title

Sania Mirza and her Chinese partner Shuai Zhang won the 2021 Ostrava Open women’s doubles title by defeating the pair of Kaitlyn Christian and Erin Routliffe in the women’s doubles final of the Ostrava Open held in Ostrava, Czech Republic. It is Sania’s 43rd (Women’s Tennis Association) WTA title and her first title of 2021.The second seeded Indo-Chinese duo defeated the third seeded pair of American Christian and New Zealander Routliffe 6-3, 6-2 in the summit clash in one hour and four minutes.Sania and Zhang had defeated the Japanese pair 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals of the WTA 500 event.

Note: It was Sania’s second final of the season, following a runner-up finish at the WTA 250 Cleveland event in the USA in August, 2021, with Chirstina Mchale.
Sania Mirza ranks 62 with 1432 points in double in world ranking Barbora Krejcikova, Czech professional tennis player tops the table in the same followed by Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic and Elise Mertens of Belgian in second and third spot respectively.

Miscellaneous

US’ Earth-monitoring satellite ‘Landsat 9’ launched from California

i.the United States (US) satellite, Landsat 9, was launched through the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket that lifted off from the foggy Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, US.
ii.It will monitor the Earth’s land surface by taking the orbital track of Landsat 7, which will be decommissioned.
iii.It is a project of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
Administrator – Bill Nelson
Headquarter– Washington, DC, United States

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida Set to Become the 100th PM of Japan

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida(64 years old) has been elected as the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party(LDP) and set to become the next and the 100th Prime Minister(PM) of Japan.
He will be succeeding Yoshihide Suga, who stepped down as Japan’s PM.
About Fumio Kishida:
i.Fumio Kishida hails from Hiroshima, Japan.
ii.He served as the LDP policy chief and Japan’s longest-serving post-war foreign minister under the premiership of Shinzo Abe from 2012 to 2017.
About Japan:
Emperor of Japan– Naruhito
Capital– Tokyo
Currency– Japanese Yen

Delhi-based organisation, LIFE wins 2021 Right Livelihood Award

Delhi-based environmental organisation Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) has won the 2021 Right Livelihood Award, for empowering communities in areas ranging from child protection to environmental defence. The award is also known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize given by the Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation.
Other Award Winners
LIFE shared the award with three other winners including Freda Huson, a Canadian indigenous rights campaigner, Marthe Wandou, a Cameroonian woman fighting sexual violence against girls, and Vladimir Slivyak, a Russian environmental campaigner.

About LIFE organisation
It stands for Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE).It works to protect the environment in India through the creative use of law and legal processes and it works at grass roots level.
Founders – Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary
Founded In – 2005

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