Current Affairs

3 February, 2022

International

Dukaan, Simpl Partners to Provide BNPL Services to its Merchants

Dukaan, a platform that supports Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMB) to set up online stores and sell products digitally, has partnered with Simpl, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform, to provide BNPL services to merchants of Dukaan.
About Simpl:
Establishment – 2015
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Co-founder and CEO – Nityanand Sharma

IRDAI Enables Small Entrepreneurs to Tap Insurance Companies for Surety Bonds

While presenting Union Budget 2022-23 in Parliament, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has encouraged the use of surety bonds as a substitute for bank guarantees in case of government procurement and also for gold imports to reduce indirect costs for suppliers and work-contractors.

Requirements of Underwriting of Surety Insurance Business:

As per the guidelines the Insurance companies could offer 6 types of sureties namely, advance payment bond, bid bond, contract bond, customs and court bond, performance bond and retention money.
General Provisions:
i.A general insurer can commence a surety insurance business if it has 1.25 times the solvency margin that it is required to keep. If at any point in time the solvency of the insurer goes below the required level, the insurer has to stop underwriting the new surety insurance business until its solvency margin is restored.

ii.The underwritten premium in a financial year for any general insurers from the surety insurance business should not exceed 10 percent of the total gross written premium subject to a maximum of Rs 500 crore.
iii.Insurance companies could work together with banks or NBFCs (Non-Banking Finance Companies) to share risk information, technical expertise to monitor projects, cash flow amongst other aspects. Click here to know more
Additional Info – The Union budget 2022-23 has also proposed the payment of annuity and lump sum amount to the differently-abled dependent during the lifetime of parents/guardians, i.e., on parents/ guardians attaining the age of 60 years.
About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
Establishment – 2000 (following the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee report)
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana

WHO Report-COVID-19 Medical Waste Poses Threat to Environment & Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released the report titled ‘Global analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19 – Status, impacts and recommendations’ stating that the huge amount of medical waste produced as a result of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, poses a threat to human health and environment. The waste syringes, used test kits and old vaccine bottles have all piled up to create thousands of tons of medical waste causing problems on healthcare waste management systems. The latest available data (from 2019) indicate that 1 in 3 healthcare facilities globally do not safely manage healthcare waste.

India’s Take:
i.India generated approximately 101 tonnes of COVID-19-related healthcare waste per day during the first wave of the pandemic (58), in addition to the 609 tonnes of waste generated daily from routine health services (a total of 710 tonnes).
ii.New Delhi accounts for 11% of India’s daily COVID-19 waste generation but has only two incinerators.
iii.The ministry launched a COVID-19 Biomedical waste mobile application to track generated waste amounts, as well as transport and reception at the treatment centres. This includes tracking of waste vehicles to prevent theft of waste and unauthorised recycling of waste.
From the Report:
i.The report highlighted from 1.5 billion units, approximately 87,000 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) procured between March 2020 and November 2021 to cope with the COVID-19 crisis which mostly has been wasted, according to the WHO report.
ii.Additionally, around 140 million COVID-19 test kits have been shipped which had generated around 2,600 tonnes of plastic, non-infectious waste and 731,000 litres of chemical waste.
iii.The 1st eight billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally produced 144,000 tonnes of additional waste such as syringes, needles and safety boxes.
Solution to reduce medical waste:
The report recommended rational use of PPE kit; using less packaging; developing reusable PPE; using PPE made with biodegradable materials; investing in non-burn waste treatment technology; centralising waste management, and investing in local PPE production.
About World Health Organisation (WHO):
Director-General – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

National

Global Center of Excellence in Affordable and Clean Energy Launched at IIT Dharwad

The one of its kind Global Center of Excellence in Affordable and Clean Energy(GCoE-ACE) was virtually launched at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Dharwad(IITDh), Karnataka.
The center was launched in the presence of Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India.
Aim: To boost research in affordable and clean energy. GCoE-ACE is supported by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) donation from the Honeywell Hometown Solutions India Foundation (HHSIF), a not-for-profit organisation under the multinational conglomerate Honeywell. The partners for this center are the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India, HHSIF, SELCO Foundation (a non-profit arm of Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO)), and IIT Dharwad.

Additional info:
i.The center will also help the Government of India to achieve its goal of meeting 50% of India’s energy requirement from renewables by 2030.
ii.The center will work towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal – 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy and contribute to achieving net-zero emissions.

Madhya Pradesh Celebrates Mandu Festival in Dhar District

Mandu Festival is annually celebrated in Madhya Pradesh(MP), organised by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. The festival is also dedicated to the Hindu God Ganesha. Mandu festival is celebrated in Mandu, Ujjain and Indore Mandu or Mandavgad is an ancient city in the present-day Mandav area of the Dhar district. The Mandu Festival has been celebrated from 30th December 2021 to 3rd January 2022.

Mandu cultural heritage is the logo of the conducting Mandu festival over the past several years Phuchanen in November-December.
The 5-day festival is celebrated in collaboration with the district administration by Ustad Alauddin Khan Music and Art Academy (Bhopal).
Significance:
i.The festival showcases live concerts, local craft and cuisine, adventure sports, cycling expeditions among others.
ii.The festival also acts as a window to the cultural heritage and tradition of Madhya Pradesh.
About Madhya Pradesh(MP):
Chief Minister– Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Wildlife Sanctuary– Son Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary; Veerangana Durgavati Wildlife Sanctuary
Airports– Raja Bhoj International Airport; Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport

Karnataka’s Hoysala Temples Nominated for UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites List 2022-2023

The Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somnathapura, the ‘Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala’, in Karnataka have been finalised as India’s nomination for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCOs) World Heritage List for the year 2022-2023. Permanent Representative of India to the UNESCO Vishal V Sharma formally submitted the nomination of Hoysala Temples to UNESCO Director of World Heritage Lazare Eloundou. These Hoysala Temples have been on UNESCO’s Tentative list since April 15, 2014, for its rich historical and cultural heritage of India. A team from UNESCO will visit the sites and conduct an inspection in September or October 2022. After the inspection, it will be decided whether the monuments can be declared as heritage sites.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO):
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France

Economy

Sri Lanka to Buy Fuel from Indian Oil to Face Energy Crisis

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Energy has decided to purchase 40,000 metric tonnes petrol and 40,000 metric tonnes diesel from the Indian Oil Corporation (India) as part of the Sri Lankan government’s bid to face the current fuel and energy crisis. Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe foreign exchange crisis with falling reserves and the country is struggling with a shortage of almost all essentials, due to the lack of dollars to pay for the imports. Sri Lanka has imposed power cuts at peak hours as the state power entity is unable to obtain fuel to run turbines.

About LIOC:
The Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), the Sri Lankan subsidiary of India’s oil major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), has been in operation in Sri Lanka since 2002.
Background:
i.In January 2022 the Indian government announced a billion-dollar assistance package in addition to other balance of payment support to Sri Lanka.
ii.The billion-dollar loan credit facility is to prevent the food crisis while allowing for the import of items and medicines. Additionally, the Indian government has extended a $500 million-Line of Credit (LOC) to Sri Lanka for urgent fuel imports
About Sri Lanka:
Prime Minister – Mahinda Rajapaksa
Capital – Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Currency – Sri Lankan Rupee

Sports

Mithali Raj secured Second Rank in ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings

Indian cricketer Mithali Raj has reached second rank in the Women’s ODI Batting Rankings released by ICC (International Cricket Council), ahead of the upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022. Alyssa Healy (Australia) secured first position and Lizelle Lee (South Africa) secured third position in the ranking.
Note – 2022 ICC Women’s ODI World Cup will be hosted by New Zealand
Highlights:
i.Mithali Raj scored a total 738 points to her credit, only behind Alyssa Healy with 750 points.
ii.Smriti Mandhana, at 6th rank, is the only other Indian player in the top 10 ODI batting rankings.
Note– Smriti Mandhana was awarded the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021 for her brilliant performances.
iii.In ODI All Rounder Ranking of ICC, Indian cricketer Deepti Sharma secured fourth rank and Ellyse Perry from Australia secured first.
ICC Women ODI ranking:

Ranking Player’s Ranking Team Ranking
1 Alyssa Healy (Australia) Australia
2 Mithali Raj (India) South Africa
3 Lizelle Lee (South Africa) England

In the team ranking, India is currently at the 4th place.
About ICC (International Cricket Council):
Members– 106 countries
Chairman-Greg Barclay (New Zealand)
Headquarters-Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Founded-1909

New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell Named winner of ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2021

New Zealand cricketer, Daryl Mitchell, has been named the winner of the International Cricket Council(ICC) Spirit of Cricket Award 2021 for his gesture of refusing to take a single in the high-pressure 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Semi-Finals against England at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. He has become the 4th New Zealand player to win the award after Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

About Daryl Mitchell:
i.Daryl Mitchell has been called into New Zealand’s Test team in 2019 as a replacement for the injured Colin de Grandhomme.
ii.He had made his international debut against India in T20 cricket in February 2019.
iii.He has also made his first-class debut at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Miscellaneous

Indian Navy Conducts Flight Tests of Rafale-M Fighter Jet

The Indian Navy successfully flight tested the marine version of French-made Rafale-Maritime (Rafale-M) fighter jets at Shore Based Test Facility at Indian Navy Ship (INS) Hansa in Goa where conditions similar to that on the indigenously-developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant were simulated. The Rafale-M is pitted against the US-made Super Hornet, both of which are being evaluated for possible purchase by the Indian Navy for deployment on the 44,000-tonne INS Vikrant.

About INS Vikrant:
i.INS Vikrant which is codenamed as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC 1), is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy that is currently in sea trials near the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. IAC 1 is expected to be commissioned as ‘INS Vikrant’ on 15th August 2022.

India’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant has been designed as a ski-jump launch ship, different from many other such carriers, which use a catapult launch for their jets.

About Rafale-M test:
i.The Rafale-M jet was tested for 12 days at Goa’s INS Hansa facility using a 283 metre mock ski-jump facility. The ski-jump ramp uses short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) technology.

ii.Boeing’s Super Hornet (F/A-18) jet, which is also being offered to India, will undergo similar tests at INS Hansa. The suppliers have made modifications to both Rafale-M and Super Hornet to make them suitable for the Indian order.

Background:
i.India had placed the Rafale order in 2016 with Dassault in a fly-away condition.
ii.India has already received 35 Rafales and the 36th will be sent before the deadline in April 2022.
Note – The Indian Navy will be phasing out the Mikoyan MiG-29Ks, currently being used on INS Vikramaditya — a modified Kiev class carrier — in 2034.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral R.Hari Kumar
Integrated headquarters (Ministry of Defence) – New Delhi, Delhi

North Korea Test Fires Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile “Hwasong-12”

North Korea successfully test fired Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), :Hwasong-12″ from North Korea’s Jagang Province toward the East Sea. This is North Korea’s seventh test fire in 2022. Purpose – To verify the overall accuracy of the missile.

About the test:
i.The missile flew about 800 km (497 miles) with the maximum altitude reaching 2,000 km (1,243 miles). At full power and at a standard trajectory, the missile can travel as far as 4,000km. It is estimated that it has an operational range between 3,700 to 6,000 km.
ii.The test was carried out using the ‘highest-angle launch system’ to ensure the safety of neighbouring countries and the warhead of the system carried a camera to take photos while in space.
Background:
The Hwasong-12 was first revealed to the international community in a military parade on 14 April 2017 celebrating the Day of the Sun which is the birthday anniversary of North Korea’s founding President, Kim Il-sung.
Other test fires by North Korea:
i.In February, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
ii.North Korea also flight-tested 2 purported long-range cruise missiles, which it is not barred from testing by United Nations sanctions.
iii.North Korea will launch a frenzy of missiles before the start of the Beijing Olympics 2022
About North Korea:
Supreme leader – Kim Jong-un
Capital – Pyongyang
Currency – North Korean won

China honors PLA Galwan commander Qi Fabao as Winter Olympics Torchbearer

The government of China, selected People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander Qi Fabao, who was involved in the Galwan Valley Clash as the Torchbearer of 2022 Winter Olympic that will be held in Beijing.
Highlights:
i.The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially called the XXIV Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Beijing 2022, will be organized between 4- 12 February 2022 in Beijing, China.
ii.President of China Xi Jinping and other world leaders across the world, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, five Central Asian Presidents and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the ceremony.
iii.Wang Meng, who is China’s four-time Olympic short track speed skating champion, handed over the flame to Qi Fabao at Winter Olympic Park, Beijing.
About Galvan Valley Clash:
i.In 2020, Ladakh’s Galwan Valley witnessed a violent clash between the Armies of India and China. India lost 20 Indian soldiers which led to a military standoff with China.
ii.The Galwan Valley area lies just to the east of the Siachen glacier and is the only point that provides direct access to Aksai Chin from India.
iii.The Indian and Chinese armies were engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh.
About China:
Currency- Renminbi
Capital-Beijing
President- Xi Jinping

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