Current Affairs

3 September, 2021


Russia’s NSCMB signs MoU with CSIR-NIO for research in Marine Science

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) virtually signed a MoU with Russia’s A.V. Zhirmunsky National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science (NSCMB FEB RAS) towards collaboration in the field of Marine research.
Objective – To strengthen mutual cooperation in capacity building & advancement of research in the field of marine science.
About National Institute of Oceanography (NIO):
Established – 1st January 1966
Headquarter – Dona Paula, Goa
Regional Centers – Kochi (Kerala), Mumbai (Maharashtra), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)
About Russia:
In 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was disintegrated into 15 countries with Russia being the largest among them.
Russian Capital – Moscow is located on the banks of river ‘Moskva’

WMO Report:Weather, Climate Disasters Increase Fivefold in 50 years

World Meteorological Organization (WMO), has released a report titled, “The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2019)” which states that number of disasters, such as floods and heatwaves, driven by climate change have increased fivefold over the past 50 years.
About World Meteorological Organization
Secretary General- Petteri Taalas
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Members- 193 member

1st of is Kind WHO Hub for Pandemic & Epidemic Intelligence’ inaugurated in Germany

The World Health Organization (WHO) as a part of its Health Emergencies Programme has set up first hub of its kind ‘WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence’ which was inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Dorothea Merkel and WHO Director General (DG) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Berlin, Germany on September 1, 2021. The hub will receive an initial investment of $100 million from the Government of Germany and will be led by Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the current DG of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The hub will currently operate from a centre provided by the Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin, a University.

MoU between WHO and RKI:
With the above inauguration, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also created between the WHO and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of Germany under which RKI scientists along with WHO experts and other global partners will work in this hub to predict, prevent, detect, prepare for, and respond to worldwide health threats.
Aim behind this Establishment:
Its aim is to create an effective pandemic and epidemic risk management by detecting a pandemic and to monitor disease control measures on a real-time basis. It will provide quick advice to global public health experts and policymakers during a need for urgent decisions. There will be collaboration among public and private sector organizations, researchers, and others to make Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven predictive tools for analyzing data.

Reason behind this Establishment:
The key reason behind this establishment is to fill the gaps in the ability to forecast, detect, assess and respond to outbreaks. This drawback came in limelight after the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus whose origin is still a hypothesis.
About World Health Organization (WHO):
Its decision making body is the World Health Assembly (WHA).
Establishment– 1948
Member Countries– 194 (including India)
Headquarter– Geneva, Switzerland


Solung Festival of Arunachal Pradesh Begins

The popular festival of the Adi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh namely ‘Solung’ has began. Its celebrations will continue till 5 days. It is a harvest festival performed after sowing of seeds and transplantation, to seek for good crops. People perform various rituals and also present gifts of meat and Apong (rice beer) with each other representing family and social relationships.

Days of Solung festival:
i.First day is called Solung-Gidi Dogin or the day of preparations.
ii.Second and the main day of the celebration is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice)
iii.Third day is Binnayat Binam or worshipping the goddess of plenty and prosperity. iv.Fourth day is Yaktor of Ekoph when the villagers prepare bows and arrows and other weapons of war.
v.On the fifth day, the Miri (religious leader or priest) is given a ceremonial send-off when womenfolk sing Ponung songs and dances.
Additional Info:
There are three main parts in the celebration of this festival. They are:
i. Sopi—Yekpi ( also called Limir-Libom), the first part and the sacrificial day;
ii.Binnyat, the second part, the ritual offering to goddess of crops, Kine Nane, and
iii.Ekop (also called Taktor), the ritual made for protection against harms by evil spirits by appeasing to Gumin-Soyin, the household guardian, and Doying Bote, god of wisdom and human welfare. Ardo-Bado is the sacrificial and inaugural day in Solung celebration.
About Arunachal Pradesh:
Governor– Brigadier BD Mishra (retd)
Wildlife sanctuaries– Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, and Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary
Tiger Reserves– Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Pakhui Tiger Reserve, and Kamlang Tiger Reserve

PM Released Special Commemorative Coin on 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi virtually released a special issue of a Rs 125 commemorative coin on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) which is popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. He was born on 1st September 1896 in Calcutta, British India. A booklet on the major contributions and achievements of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is also featured with each coin in a commemorative box.

Coinage Rules:
the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance issued the Coinage (Issue of Commemorative Coin to commemorate the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) Rules, 2021 to mint coins denominations of Rs 125.
The commemorative coins of India can be purchased from the mint or from online platforms of the mints or Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL).

About A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
i.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a leader in the Gaudiya Vaishnava community, a monotheistic tradition within the broader Hindu culture.
ii.He established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1966.
iii.He has authored more than 70 volumes on the Krishna tradition and his writing has been translated into more than 76 languages.
iv.His well-known works include Bhagavad-gita As It Is; the 30-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the 17-volume Sri Caitanya-caritamrita.
About Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL):
SPMCIL is a wholly-owned Schedule ‘A’ Miniratna Category-I company of the Government of India.
Chairman & Managing Director– Tripti Patra Ghosh
Headquarters– Delhi

NMCG signs MoU with SAIARD for ‘Capacity Building on Integrated River Basin Management”

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) & South Asian Institute for Advanced Research & Development (SAIARD) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for creating an academic platform for researchers and young minds and to boost Research and Developing capacity building hubs in the eastern region.

They will work together to build integrated river basin management, using geospatial technologies etc. With this MoU SAIARD will be considered as a regional capacity building centre for NMCG in the eastern region of India.

About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, is a society registered on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860. It acted as the implementation arm of the National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA). Aim To clean Ganges and its tributaries.
Director General- Rajiv Ranjan Mishra
Headquarters- Delhi

DAHD & MoRD signed MoU for Rural Economic Growth

i.‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostav’, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between Department of Animal husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) of Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAHD), and Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) on September 1, 2021 for rural economic growth.
ii.It was signed by Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, DAHD; and Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Department of Rural Development (DoRD), MoRD.
Under the MoU, a new accredited model namely ‘A-HELP (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production)’ is introduced which will be implemented pan-India.
About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying:
Union Minister– Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala (Constituency- Gujarat)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Sanjeev Kumar Balyan (Constituency- Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh), Dr. Loganathan Murugan (Constituency- Tamil Nadu)


EarlySalary Partnered with HDBFS to Improve Digital Lending

EarlySalary, a consumer lending platform, has partnered with HDB Financial Services Ltd (HDBFS), a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) to improve Digital Lending.
About HDB Financial Services Ltd (HDBFS):
It is the subsidiary of India’s largest private lender HDFC Bank.
Establishment – 2007
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – G Ramesh
About EarlySalary:
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
Co-founder & CEO – Akshay Mehrotra

RBI Plans to Set up 5 Member Committee on NUE Licences Headed by P Vasudevan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) plans to set up a 5-member committee headed by P Vasudevan, chief general manager of RBI, to examine applications and give recommendations on New Umbrella Entity (NUE) licences.

i.To speed up the cashless payment, 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).
ii.RBI has fixed March 31, 2021, as the deadline for making applications to form NUEs. But now for data safety concerns, RBI has put NUE license issuance under hold.
New Umbrella Entity (NUE):
i.NUEs will be a non-profit entity that will perform as like NPCI and operate new payment systems, especially in the retail space such as ATMs, white-label point of sale terminals (PoS), Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services, operation of clearing and settlement systems for participating banks and non-banks, etc.
ii.NUEs will be participating in the RBI’s payment and settlement systems.
iii.So far, around 6 consortiums, including those led by Amazon, Google, Facebook, and the Tata group, applied for the NUEs licences, in partnership with companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, and Axis Bank.
iv.State Bank of India and Union Bank were barred by the finance ministry from seeking NUE licences as they were shareholders in NPCI.
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

IMF Allocated USD 17.86 billion to India under SDRs

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) allocated a Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) 12.57 billion (equivalent to around USD 17.86 billion at the latest exchange rate) to India in August 2021. The total SDR holdings of India now stands at SDR 13.66 billion (equivalent to around USD 19.41 billion at the latest exchange rate).

The largest-ever SDR Allocation:
i.In August 2021, the Board of Governors of the IMF had approved a general allocation of about SDR 456 billion to its members in proportion to their existing quotas in the IMF.
ii.The SDR 456 billion is the largest ever SDR allocation by the IMF. It was approved by it on August 2, 2021 (effective on August 23, 2021). Click here to know more
iii.Under the general allocation, the share of India is SDR 12.57 billion (around 2.75 percent).
About International Monetary Fund (IMF):
Establishment – 1944
Headquarters – Washington, D.C, United States (US)
Managing Director – Kristalina Georgieva
Members – 190 Countries (Including India)

PFRDA Increased the NPS Entry Age from 65 to 70 Years

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) increased the maximum age for joining the National Pension System (NPS) from 65 years to 70 years of age. Following the change in age, the NPS has revised the guidelines on entry and exit options. The existing age of entry which is 18-65 years were revised to 18-70 years. Any Indian Citizen, resident or non-resident and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) between the age of 65-70 years are eligible to join NPS and continue their NPS Account up to the age of 75 years. The customers could exercise the choice of Pension Fund (PF) and Asset Allocation with the maximum equity exposure of 15 percent and 50 percent under Auto and Active Choice respectively.

About Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA):
Establishment – 2003
Headquarters – New Delhi
Chairperson – Supratim Bandyopadhyay


ICC Test Rankings: Joe Root ranked world's number one Test batsman after nearly 6 years, Rohit Sharma surpasses Virat Kohli

ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings: India's Rohit Sharma has surpassed skipper Virat Kohli to be ranked fifth, becoming the highest-ranked Indian in the latest ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings. Check full ICC Men's Test Rankings here.

India at Tokyo Paralympics: Check India’s Medal Tally and List of Indian Paralympic Medal Winners – Avani, Sumit Antil and Others

Indian athletes at Paralympics 2020: Avani Lekharan has become the first Indian woman to win two medals at Paralympics. She won bronze in R8 Women's 50m Rifle 3P SH1 Event. She had won the gold earlier in women's 10m Air Rifle R2 SH1 Event. Check India's complete medal tally at Tokyo Paralympics 2020 and full list of Indian Paralympic Medal Winners


Angelina Jolie has Written Child Rights Book titled ‘’Know Your Rights and Claim Them”

The book ‘‘Know Your Rights and Claim Them: Guide for Youth” is written by the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie in collaboration with Human Right lawyer Geraldine Van Buren and Amnesty International. The book is like a guide for every child and young person who access their rights. It talks about gender rights, racial equality, free expression, healthy environment and sustainable life.

Note – Geraldine is one among the drafters of the United Nations Convention of the Child Right in 1989.

About Angelina Jolie
She is a hollywood actress, works for human rights awareness, for children, women and other society.she is also working as a special envoy for UN Refugee agency UNHCR.
About Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
i.The CRC was adopted by the United Nations in 1989. It came into existence in 1990 after receiving the minimum of 20 ratifications.India ratified UNCRC on 11 December 1992.
ii.It has been ratified by all members of the UN except for the United States. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the history of the world.
iii.The Convention on the Rights of the child defines a child as “every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable, majority is attained earlier”.

New Book Titled “The Murderer, The Monarch And The Fakir” Authored by Appu Esthose Suresh & Priyanka Kotamraju

Investigative journalist Appu Esthose Suresh and Gates Cambridge scholar Priyanka Kotamraju has co-authored a new book titled “The Murderer, The Monarch And The Fakir: A New Investigation of Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination”. The book is set to release on 1st October 2021.
The book will be published by ‎HarperCollins Publishers India Private Limited.
About the book:
i.The book based on various unseen intelligence reports and police records recreates the circumstances of the murder of Mahatma Gandhi and the investigation of the murder.
ii.The book also examines the role of princely states, hypermasculinity and a militant right-wing in the context of a country that just got independence.
iii.The book relies on investigative journalism and new evidence to reveal the significance of the event.
About Authors:
Appu Esthose Suresh:
i.Appu Esthose Suresh, the founder of Pixstory has worked as an editor in Hindustan Times and has also worked with the Indian Express and Mint, among other publications.
ii.He was a part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) team that investigated the offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands and the HSBC Swiss accounts.
Priyanka Kotamraju:
i.Priyanka Kotamraju has served as the editor of Khabar Lahariya, an award-winning grassroots media organization.
ii.She has also worked with the Indian Express and the Hindu Business Line
iii.She is the co-founder of the Chitrakoot Collective, a feminist research collective.

IIT Madras launches ‘e-Source’ – an Open Source platform to track e-waste

e-Source”, an open source platform for tracking & recovery of electronic wastes (e-waste) is under beta level of testing by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. The initiative is promoted by the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (ICGS) in IIT Madras.
Objective – To trace e-waste from the formal & informal sector and facilitate proper measures for recycling, thereby making the hazardous e-waste back into the circular economy which helps to reach $50 billion economy.
i.e-Source will also act as an online marketplace for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), linking buyers and sellers from various sectors.
ii.The open source platform uses machine learning techniques in a combination of image processing & natural language processing to update data into the e-waste database.
Note – ‘NeoBolt’, India’s 1st indigenous motorized wheelchair was developed by IIT Madras
iii.IGCS was established in 2010 under the premises of IIT Madras to provide a platform for research on various aspects of promoting sustainable development in Germany, India and South Asia.
iv.India becomes world’s third largest e-waste producer which generated 38 percent from 2019 to 2020.
About IIT Madras:
IIT Madras was established in 1959, with technical assistance from Germany.
Director – Bhaskar Ramamurthi

Dorje Angchuk – 1st Indian Honorary member of International Astronomical Union

International Astronomical Union (IAU) has inducted India’s Dorje Angchuk as one of its Honorary Members, along with 10 other inductees. He is the 1st and only Indian to become an Honorary member of IAU. Dorje Angchuk, who currently serves in the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Ladakh, was recognised by IAU for his work towards astrophotography.
i.IAU honours individuals with Honorary membership, for their significant contribution towards astronomical research.
ii.He is the Engineer in charge of IIA’s Indian Astronomical Observatory in Hanle, Ladakh is popularly known for his astrophotography work on the Milky Way.
iii.Recognition of Dorje Angchuk, who was known for preserving the Dark Skies of Ladakh, will promote astro-tourism in the region.
About International Astronomical Union (IAU):
President –Debra Meloy Elmegreen
Founded – 1919
Headquarter – Paris, France
About Astronomical Society of India (ASI):
President – G C Anupama (1st Woman President of ASI)
Founded – 1972
Vainu Bappu is known as the “Father of Modern Indian Astronomy”
Nicolaus Copernicus is known as the “Father of Modern Astronomy”

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