Current Affairs

6 January, 2022

International

Antigua & Barbuda Becomes 102nd Member of International Solar Alliance

The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as the 102nd member by signing the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement, the India-led global green energy initiative. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne signed the framework agreement in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Dr K. J. Srinivasa to catalyze global energy transition through a solar-led approach. K. J. Srinivasa became the High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the 15-member CARICOM ( Caribbean Community and Common Market) in 2019.

About International Solar Alliance (ISA):
i.ISA was jointly launched by India and France in 2015 during the 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change COP-21 in Paris, France to promote solar energy.
ii.The ISA is an action-oriented, member-driven, collaborative platform for solar resource-rich countries to address special energy needs and to provide a platform for collaboration. It also facilitates energy access, security & transition which creates a global market system by promoting clean energy applications.

iii.At present, 102 countries are signatories to the ISA Framework Agreement, of which 80 countries have submitted the necessary instruments of ratification to become full members of the ISA
Director General– Dr. Ajay Mathur
Headquarter– Gurugram, Haryana
About Antigua and Barbuda:
Prime Minister – Gaston Browne
Capital – Saint John’s
Currency – East Caribbean Dollar

National

WFP & TAPF Partners to Enhance PM POSHAN Scheme

The United Nations(UN)’s World Food Programme (WFP) in India, has partnered with The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF), a not-for-profit organisation, to enhance the effectiveness of the Pradhan Mantri – Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) scheme (earlier known as National Programme for Mid-Day Meal in Schools).

Aim:
The partnership aims to enhance food safety and hygiene projects, capacity building of cooks-cum-helpers and nutritional quality of school meals.
Signatories:
Bishow Parajuli, Representative and Country Director for WFP in India and Chanchalapthi Dasa, Vice Chairman of TAPF has signed the agreement of the collaboration in New Delhi, Delhi.
Features of the Partnership:
i.Under this collaboration, WFP and TAPF will share knowledge through workshops and policy and strategy dialogues with the government to enhance the quality of the school meal programme.
ii.Under this partnership, WFP and TAPF will form a steering committee with representatives from both WFP and TAPF.
iii.The committee will meet quarterly to plan, discuss and review the aspects of the collaboration between both WFP and TAPF.
iv.WFP and TAPF will bring in the required financial resources to support the implementation of the activities.
PM POSHAN Scheme:
i.The PM POSHAN scheme is one of the 3 main food-based safety nets in India, which benefits around 100 million school-aged children with cooked meals.
ii.The scheme plays a major role in the retention of children in school and provides nutritional security.
Background:
In September 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi approved a new meal scheme known as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman’ scheme (PM Poshan Scheme) for government and government-aided schools for the next five years, from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
About World Food Programme (WFP):
Executive Director– David Beasley
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Established in 1961

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh Launches the 75th Platinum Jubilee Year Of CSIR-NPL

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology (S&T), Dr Jitendra Singh released a Special Postage Stamp commemorating the 75th Platinum Jubilee year of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi. It is one of the earliest CSIR laboratories that was set up during independence that the celebration coincides with 75th year of India’s independence and also highlights the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Highlights:
i.Jitendra Singh also dedicated the New Delhi-based ‘LED Photometry Laboratory’ at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory to develop energy-efficient illumination technology.
ii.About LED Photometry Laboratory: LED Photometry Laboratory contributes towards calibration and testing of LED lighting products, which could save the foreign exchange spent on availing testing and calibration services from abroad and also reduces turn-around time.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):
Director – General – Shekhar C.Mande
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

PM Narendra Modi visited Manipur & Tripura; Inaugurated & laid Foundation Stone of Developmental Projects

i.The Prime Minister (PM) of India, Narendra Damodardas Modi, visited the states of Manipur and Tripura. He inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 22 Developmental Projects worth over Rs. 4800 crore in Imphal, Manipur.

ii.After that, in Agartala, Tripura he inaugurated the New Integrated Terminal Building at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport and will also launch two key development initiatives viz. Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samriddhi Yojana and Project Mission 100 of Vidyajyoti Schools.
iii.In Manipur, the PM inaugurated 13 Projects worth ~Rs 1850 crores and laid the foundation stone of 9 projects worth ~Rs 2950 crore. These projects related to Road Infrastructure, Drinking Water Supply, Health, Urban Development, Housing, Information Technology, Skill Development, Art and Culture, among others.
About Manipur:
Chief Minister– Nongthombam Biren Singh
Rivers– Imphal river, Barak River, Iril River.
Dance- Cymbal Dance, Khamba Thoibi, Lai Haraoba

Economy

SBI, ICICI and HDFC Bank continue to be Domestic Systemically Important Banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that SBI (State Bank of India), ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) and HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited) banks will continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). Therefore they will have to maintain additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital ratios in the same manner prescribed in 2020.

Bucket Banks Additional Common Equity Tier 1 requirement as a percentage of Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs)
5 – 1%
4 – 0.80%
3 State Bank of India 0.60%
2 – 0.40%
1 ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank 0.20%
ii.The additional CET1 requirement is in addition to the capital conservation buffer (2.5% of a bank’s total exposures) to strengthen these bank’s capital. The additional CET1 requirement for D-SIBs became fully effective from April 1, 2019.
iii.SBI and ICICI Bank were first named as D-SIBs in 2015 and 2016 respectively. HDFC Bank was classified as a D-SIB in 2017.

RBI Cancels Authorisation Certificates of Two Payment System Operators

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of two Payment System Operators (PSOs) – Muthoot Vehicle & Asset Finance, and Eko India Financial Services for non-compliance with regulatory requirements. The CoA was cancelled by RBI on 31st December 2021, in the exercise of the powers conferred on it under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

About Muthoot Vehicle & Asset Finance:
Muthoot Vehicle & Asset Finance was incorporated in 1992 (as Muthoot Leasing and Finance Ltd) & in 2008 (changed its name as Muthoot Vehicle & Asset Finance Ltd (MVFL))
About Eko India Financial Services:
Established – 2006
Headquarters – Gurgaon,Haryana
Founders – Abhinav and Abhishek

RBI Introduces Market Making Scheme to Promote PDs to Trade in RD Scheme

To provide liquidity in the secondary market, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced the market-making scheme to promote retail participation in Government Securities (G-Secs) by providing prices/quotes to Retail Direct Gilt Account Holders (RDGAHs) enabling them to buy/sell securities under the RBI Retail Direct (RBI-RD) Scheme. RBI allowed the Primary Dealers (PDs) to be present on the Negotiated Dealing System- Order Matching (NDS-OM) platform (odd-lot and Request for Quotes (RFQ) segments) throughout market hours and respond to buy/sell requests from RDGAHs. RBI has created a special Switch window for bond houses, known as PDs, which will be opened every month, wherein they could exchange the illiquid/semi-liquid securities acquired through the RFQ segment from the RDGAHs with liquid securities from RBI at FBIL (Financial Benchmarks India Limited)/market prices.

Background:
i.On November 12, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launched the RBI Retail Direct (RBI-RD) scheme to enable small investors to have their small savings directly and securely in G-Secs issued by both Centre and state governments.
ii.Under the Scheme, the retail individual investors could open a Retail Direct Gilt (RDG) Account with the RBI (maintained in the books of RBI), using an online portal.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment– April 1, 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar

RBI granted Scheduled Payment Bank Status to Airtel Payments Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) granted a Scheduled Payment Bank status to Airtel Payments Bank by including it into the Second Schedule to the RBI Act, 1934. With this inclusion, it becomes the 4th payment bank to get this status. This status will help Airtel Payments Bank to explore new central and state government business opportunities, including participation in government-issued Request for Proposals (RFP), and primary auctions, along with participation in government-operated welfare schemes.

Sports

Sri Lankan Cricketer Bhanuka Rajapaksa announces Retirement from International Cricket

The Sri Lankan Cricketer Bhanuka Rajapaksa proposed a letter of resignation to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). He announced his retirement from International cricket with immediate effect, due to personal reasons.
i.Bhanuka Rajapaksa is a 30-year-old Srilankan cricket player, who has represented the country in 5 ODIs (One Day International) and 18 T20Is, scoring a total of 409 across formats which included two fifties.
iii.He was part of Sri Lanka’s ICC (International Cricket Council) Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 team. Where he scored 155 runs in 8 matches and became the 3rd highest run-scorer of the tournament.
About Sri Lanka:
i.Sri Lanka was formerly known as ‘Ceylon’.
ii.It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.
President-Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Capitals- Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Currency-Sri Lankan rupee

Miscellaneous

Ajay Kumar Choudhary & Deepak Kumar Appointed as Executive Directors of RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed Deepak Kumar, Chief General Manager, Department of Information Technology, RBI and Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Supervision, RBI, as the new Executive Directors (ED) of RBI with effect from 3rd January 2022. Choudary will look after the fintech department, risk monitoring department and inspection department and Deepak Kumar will look after Foreign Exchange Department, Department of Communication and Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the RBI.

BoB Appoints cricketer Shafali Verma as Brand Endorser

Bank of Baroda (BoB) appointed Indian Women’s Cricketer Shafali Verma as the Brand Endorser of the bank. A contract was signed between the Bank and the Cricketer Shafali Verma to confirm their association.
i.Shafali Verma is a 17 year old young cricketer, hails from Rohtak, Haryana. She plays for the Indian women’s national cricket team.
ii.In 2019, at the age of 15, Shafali became the youngest cricketer to play in a Women’s Twenty20 International match for India.
Note – Previously in 2021, Shafali Verma became the 1st Women Cricketer to Hit 3 Sixes in Test Match
Related information:
In 2021, the Bank launched ‘BoB World Wave’ – a wearable payment solution with a complete health ecosystem, under the bob World umbrella. It offers seamless digital payment option on-the-go which gives a convenience to shop and transact with ease.

About Bank of Baroda (BoB):
MD & CEO- Sanjiv Chadha
Headquarters- Vadodara, Gujarat
Amalgamated banks- Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank (2019)

Indian Numerologist JC Chaudhry Achieved 1st Guinness World Record on Numerology; the 1st Record of 2022

JC Chaudhry, India’s one of the top numerologists, has achieved the first-ever Guinness World Record in Numerology and the first world record of 2022 by educating about ancient science to around 6000 participants, enthusiasts of numerology joined from the United States, the United Kingdom(UK), Middle East, and India. The Guinness World Record London office has opened a new category, “Numerology” for this achievement. The initiative was organised by CNPL (Chaudhry Nummero Pvt Ltd) and the Indian Institute of Numerology to create awareness regarding numerology, which is prevalent across ancient cultures like Greece, Egypt, China, Chaldea and India.

South Indian Bank wins UiPath Automation Excellence awards 2021 for Best Automation

The South Indian Bank (SIB) won the UiPath Automation Excellence Awards 2021 for Best Automation under ‘Crisis for Business Continuity’.

Other Awards:

Category Individual/Organisation
Best Cognitive Automation EY Global Delivery Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers
Best First Time Automation Teejay and Shapoorji Pallonji and Co.
Best Automation Center of Excellence Reckitt and JSW Global Business Solutions
Best Citizen Developer Program Firstsource Solutions and HP Inc
Special UiPath Recognition JSW Steel Limited and Omega Healthcare

About South Indian Bank (SIB):
CEO- Murali Ramakrishnan
Headquarters-Thrissur, Kerala
Tagline- Experience Next Generation Banking
Online Assistant- Sona

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