Current Affairs

2 April, 2021


Overview of EAM Dr S. Jaishankar’s visit to Tajikistan

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar reached Dushanbe (Capital of Tajikistan) as part of his official visit to Tajikistan from March 30-31, 2021. He is visiting Tajikistan at the invitation of Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan. During the visit, EAM held discussions with Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan; Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, Defence Minister of Tajikistan; Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan. Dr S Jaishankar also attended the 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) Ministerial Conference held at Dushanbe, Tajikistan EAM attended the inaugural virtual session of the Doha talks.
About Tajikistan:
President – Emomali Rahmon
Capital – Dushanbe
Currency – Tajikistan Somoni (TJS)

Dr Harsh Vardhan participated on first ever ‘World Immunisation and Logistics Summit 2021’ Virtually

HOPE Consortium’s first ever World Immunisation & Logistics Summit 2021 held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare of India virtually participated in a final panel discussion on ‘Focus on Asia: Vaccine production and distribution across Asia’.Abu Dhabi launches The Hope Consortium launched by Department of Health ,Abu Dhabi for full global vaccine distribution. The two-day summit was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to focus and enhance the cooperation to tackle COVID-19 across the world.

India ranked 140th out of 156 Countries, Iceland tops in WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021

India with a score of 0.625 has been ranked 140th out of 156 countries in the 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2021’. Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world (for the 12th time) followed by Finland & Norway. India has slipped 28 places to 140 in 2021 (from 112 in 2020). The Global Gender Gap score in 2021 stands at 67.7% (remaining gap to close – 32.3%), the gap has widened by almost 0.6 percentage points. The global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years (an increase of 36 years), due to the effect of the Pandemic. Among the South Asian Countries, Bangladesh was the top performer on the Gender Gap Index with a global ranking of 65. India, home to 0.65 Billion women, has widened its gender gap from around 66.8% in 2020 to 62.5% in 2021.
About World Economic Forum (WEF):
Executive Chairman – Klaus Schwab
Headquarters – Cologny, Switzerland


Mansukh Mandaviya Inaugurated Cruise Ship Service between Surat & Diu

Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways virtually flagged off the Cruise Ship service between Hazira Port of Surat and Diu.
Note- In November 2020, PM Modi inaugurated a RoPAX service, “Hazira-Ghogha” between Surat & Bhavnagar in Gujarat.
About the Cruise Service:
i.Planned to conduct 2 round trips in a week, each with one side voyage time of 13 to 14 hours at a marginal cost of Rs. 900.
ii.300 passengers can be accommodated in the 16 cabins.
Facilities – Gaming Lounge, VIP Lounge, with other modern entertainment amenities.
About Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways:
Minister of State – Mansukh L. Mandaviya (Constituency-Gujarat)
National Waterways 1 – “Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly” river system connecting Haldia and Prayagraj.

LG Manoj Sinha attended the 4th edition of Purvanchal Festival “Maati”

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha attended the fourth edition of Purvanchal Festival “Maati” at India International Centre, New Delhi. Purvanchal is “a geographical region of the eastern end part of Uttar Pradesh” and one of the most ancient regions of India. It enjoys a rich heritage and culture, particularly because of its association with some historical places. In popular terms, Purvanchal is well known as ‘The land of warriors’. To celebrate this Purvanchal spirit and strengthen the sense of belonging among Purvanchalis living in Delhi-NCR, an initiative called “Maati” was launched with a grand festival in 2018.

Government Retains the Interest Rate of Small Savings Schemes for Q1 of FY22

i.Ministry of Finance, Government of India(GoI) had retained the Interest Rate of Small Savings Scheme for the 1st quarter(Q1) for the Financial Year 2021-22 (FY22) same as 4th quarter (Q4) for the Financial Year 2020-21 (FY 21).
ii.This is the 4th consecutive quarter, that GoI had retained the Interest Rates of the small saving schemes.
iii. Ministry of Finance can revise the Interest Rates of Small Savings Scheme, in excise of the power conferred by Rule 9(1) of the Government Savings Promotion General Rules, 2018.
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Constituency – Karnataka).
Minister of State – Shri Anurag Singh Thakur (Constituency – Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh).

‘AIM-PRIME’ Launched to support Science-based Deep-tech Startups & Ventures

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog launched an initiative called AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship) for promoting & supporting science-based deep-tech startups & ventures across India.
Under the initiative, Technology Developers & Incubation managers will be provided Training & Guidance on Deep Technology Entrepreneurship over a period of 12 months.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) will act as the supporting agency for the initiative, while ‘Venture Center’, a non-profit technology business incubator will be responsible for the implementation of the program.
The program aims to support startups/incubators by providing training & guidance to them for commercializing their deep-tech ideas.


GE Power India Signs Maintenance Contract With Reliance Bangladesh LNG & Power

GE Power India had signed a 22-year maintenance services agreement for the upcoming 718-megawatt (MW) combined cycle power plant at Meghnaghat, Narayanganj, Bangladesh.The power plant belongs to Reliance Bangladesh LNG & Power Ltd, a joint venture between India’s Reliance Power Limited and Japan’s JERA Co., Inc. It is expected to start in early 2023 and the plant will utilise re-gasified liquified natural gas to generate the equivalent electricity needed to supply more than 850,000 homes in Bangladesh. The agreement includes equipment maintenance on the gas and steam turbines, and auxiliaries, and implementation of plant-wide digital solutions on cloud asset performance maintenance, operations performance maintenance, performance intelligence, and a base Line security centre. GE Digital will provide the digital solution to support the growth of the power sector in Bangladesh.

India’s GDP Estimated to Grow in the range of 7.5% to 12.5% in FY22: World Bank report

The World Bank reported its South Asia Economic Focus report for the year 2021, titled “Sour Asia Economic Focus Spring 2021: South Asia Vaccinates” and it has estimated India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth to be in the range of 7.5% to 12.5% for the Financial year 2021-22 (FY22) and contraction of 8.5% (-8.5%) for FY21.
About World Bank:
Establishment – 1944 as The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
President – David Robert Malpass
Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States

RBI Extended the Timeline for AFA Norms on e-Mandate to September 30,2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the timeline for Banks to process the recurring payments through online transactions with Additional Factor Authentication (AFA)on e-mandate by 6 months i.e. till September 30,2021.
Background: The framework for e-mandate was first issued by RBI in August 2019 and fixed the timeline up to March 31, 2021 however, banks have not developed capabilities to support the new system and hence it is finally extended to September 30.
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das

RBI Fixed the WMA limit to Rs 1.2 lakh Crore for the 1st Half of FY22

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the Government, decided the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the centre to Rs 1.2 lakh crore for the first half of the financial year 2021-22(FY22) i.e. April 2021 to September 2021.

ICICI and AXIS Bank tied up to form NUE with Amazon and Visa as Partners

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, have tied up to launch a New Umbrella Entity(NUE) for retail payments along with global e-commerce major Amazon and cards major Visa as their partners. ICICI Bank and Axis Bank will be co-leading with each having a 20% stake (40%) and the other partners including Amazon, Billdesk, Pine Labs and Visa will be holding a stake of 15% each (60%)
Background: RBI allowed other organisations to set up umbrella entities for payments systems to create an alternate mechanism(rivalry) to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for speeding up the cashless payment.
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1995(Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum hai na, Khayal Apka


Kamalpreet Kaur – India’s Latest Discus Throw Sensation

Kamalpreet Kaur, An Indian women’s Discus thrower qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games set to be held in Japan (from July 23 – 8 August, 2021), after she sent the discus to 65.06 metres at the 24th Federation cup Senior Athletics Championships held in Patiala, Punjab. With this, she set a new national record & breached the Olympic Qualification mark of 63.50 m. She became the 1st Indian women to breach the 65m Barrier in discus throw.

9 Host Cities in Australia & New Zealand announced for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

FIFA has announced the 9 host cities & 10 stadiums for the 2023 Women’s Football World Cup spread across Australia & New Zealand.
Notably, the opening match will be held in Auckland, New Zealand and the Finals in Sydney Australia. And Two of the semifinals are split between the countries.
Note- Previously, New Zealand & Australia Co-hosted Cricket World Cup in 2015
About FIFA:
FIFA Men’s World Cup-2022 will be hosted by Qatar.
Headquarters– Zurich, Switzerland
Motto– For the Game. For the World
President– Gianni Infantino
FIFA started to award world player awards in 1991.


ARIES Solar Physicists develop New Algorithm for Tracking Solar Eruptions

Solar Physicists of ARIES (Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences), Nainital, Uttarakhand have developed a New Algorithm called ‘CIISCO’ (CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona) for detecting & tracking the accelerating solar eruption in the lower/inner corona of the Sun. The algorithm will be used in India’s 1st Solar Mission – Aditya – L1 (set to be launched in 2022). The ejections from the sun are technically called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). A Research team led by Mr. Ritesh Patel, Dr. Vaibhav Pant, and Professor Dipankar Banerjee from ARIES collaborated with the Royal Observatory of Belgium for the development of the Algorithm.
About Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES):
It is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST)
Director – Dr. Dipankar Banerjee
Location – Nainital, Uttarakhand

Ministry of Jal Shakti to deploy IoT devices for Monitoring Rural Drinking Water Supply Systems

The Ministry of Jal Shakti is set to deploy sensor-based IoT (Internet of Things) devices to monitor the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in more than six lakh villages. With this, it aims to monitor the rural drinking water supply systems in villages. For this purpose, The National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) undertook pilot projects in villages of 5 states – Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra & Himachal Pradesh. For the pilot project, NJJM partnered with Tata Community Initiatives Trust (TCIT) & Tata Trust (the pilot projects went live in September 2020).
About Ministry of Jal Shakti:
Union Minister– Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Constituency- Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Rattan Lal Kataria (Constituency- Ambala, Haryana)

ATL Acquired WKTL from Essel InfraProjects Ltd for Rs 3,370 crore

Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL) has entered into definitive agreements with Essel InfraProjects Ltd for the acquisition of Warora-Kurnool Transmission Limited (WKTL) for Rs 3,370 Crore.
i.Now, the total network of ATL will stand at 17,200 ckt km, of which 12,350 ckt km is already operational and 4,850 ckt km (including this asset) is in various stages of execution.
Note – ATL is India’s largest private sector power transmission and retail distribution company.
ATL: MD & CEO- Anil Sardana ; Headquarter – Ahmedabad, Gujarat

RBI extends tenure of J&K Bank CMD, R K Chhibber by 6 months

RBI extends tenure of J&K Bank CMD, R K Chhibber by 6 months

Subhash Kumar, Finance Director Of ONGC, Assumes Additional Charge as its CMD

According to the order issued byMinistry of Petroleum and Natural Gas ,Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)’s Finance Director Subhash Kumar assumes additional charge as Chairman and Managing Director(CMD) due to the retirement of current CMD Shashi Shanker.
i.He had worked as Head Business Development, Finance and Budget and also as Head Treasury Planning and Portfolio Management Group at ONGC Videsh Ltd., from April 2010 to March 2015.
ii.He was also the Chief Financial Officer of Mansarovar Energy Colombia Limited, a 50:50 joint venture of ONGC Videsh and Sinopec of China.
iii.He is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Associate Member of ICSI. He is an alumnus of Punjab University, Chandigarh.

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