Current Affairs

6 August, 2021


GoI, World Bank Signed $250 million Loan Agreement under DRIP Phase II

The Government of India (GoI) has signed a US $250 million (Rs 1,855 crore) loan agreement with the World Bank (WB) for the Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2) Phase II, the world’s largest dam management program. The agreement is the 1st phase of ‘DRIP Phase II and Phase III’. The loan will be provided from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the lending arm of WB Group and it has a maturity of 13 years with a grace period of 6 years. DRIP Phase II will provide financial support to the GoI’s long-term National Dam Safety Program and improve the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India. The agreement was between the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Central Water Commission (CWC), representatives of 10 participating states (Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu) and the WB.

About World Bank:
President – David R. Malpass (13th President)
Headquarters – Washington DC, USA
World Bank Country Director in India – Junaid Ahmad

Germany becomes 5th country to sign ISA Framework Agreement after Revisions

Germany became the 5th country to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement after amendments to the ISA Agreement entered into force on 8th January 2021. Germany’s Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner deposited signed copies of the ISA Framework Agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs, which is the depositary of ISA Framework Agreement. The Signed copies of the ISA Framework Agreement were handed over to the Additional Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Revised ISA Framework Agreement: The new amendment opened the alliance membership to all Member states of the UN. Prior to this, it was open only to countries that were partially or entirely located within the Tropics.

International Solar Alliance (ISA): It was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi & the then-French President Francois Hollande.

Objective – To work for efficient consumption of solar energy for reducing dependence on fossil fuels & contribute to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement through the massive deployment of solar energy. In Total, 98 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA)
Director General – Dr. Ajay Mathur
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana


GoI reduces MUDRA Loan Target to INR 3 trillion in FY 2021-22

Government of India (GoI) has set the Loan Disbursement Target under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) at INR 3 trillion for the current Financial Year (FY) 2021-22. It is less than the target set in the FY of 2020-21 – INR 3.21 Trillion.
i.The target has been lowered due to the increased allocation under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for small businesses.
ii.In FY22, as on June 25th, loans worth INR 3,804 crore have been sanctioned by 13 Public Sector Banks (PSBs).
iii. In the previous FY 2020-21, the total loans disbursed under PMMY stood at INR 3.12 trillion, out of the sanctioned amount of INR 3.21 trillion.
Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY)
It was launched in 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is implemented by the Ministry of Finance. It provides collateral free loans up to INR 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises. MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd) is a financial institution, which provides funding to the non-corporate small business sector through Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)

About MUDRA (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency)
Established in April 2015 at New Delhi
Chairman – Sivasubramanian Raman
Head Office – Mumbai

BRO Constructed World’s Highest Road in Ladakh at 19,300 Feet Altitude; Beats Bolivia’s Record

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) constructed the world’s highest 52-km-long tarmac road or motorable pass at Umling LA Pass in eastern Ladakh at an altitude of 19,300 feet which has surpassed the record of a road in Bolivia, South America at 18,953 ft which connects to its volcano Uturuncu. This road will enhance socio-economic conditions and promote tourism in Ladakh.

Points to be noted
i.The road has been constructed at an altitude higher than the base camps of Mount Everest. The north base in Tibet is at 16,900 feet, whereas the south base camp in Nepal is 17,598 feet.
ii.It is also above the altitude of Siachen Glacier which is at 17,700 feet and the Khardung LA Pass in Leh, Ladakh is at an altitude of 17,582 feet.
iii.It connects the important towns in Chumar sector of eastern Ladakh by offering an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh.

Cabinet Approvals on August 04 2021

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following initiatives on August 04, 2021.

Cabinet has approved the continuation of 1023 Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) including 389 exclusive POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Courts as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for 2 years from April 2021 to March 2023 with an outlay of Rs 1572.86 crore (Rs 971.70 crore Central Share and Rs 601.16 crore State share). Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the extension of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for 5 years i.e., from FY22 to FY26 (2021-22 to 2025-26) with a financial outlay of Rs 2,94,283.04 crore (Central share of Rs 1,85,398.32 crore). Cabinet approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands, the oldest and largest Dutch public technological university, for academic programmes and research in Science and Technology.
About Ministry of Education:
Union Minister – Dharmendra Pradhan (Constituency – Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Annpurna Devi (Constituency – Kodarma, Jharkhand), Subhas Sarkar (Bankura, West Bengal), Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Manipur)


SBI Payments, Hitachi Payment Services Partnered for e-RUPI

SBI Payments partnered with Hitachi Payment Services to introduce e-RUPI transactions on the Yono SBI Merchant app.

Objective: To enable the merchants to use the ‘UPI Voucher’ feature on the Yono SBI Merchant App to accept prepaid UPI e-vouchers. Under the partnership, the Hitachi Payment Services will support SBI Payments in merchant on-boarding and merchant transaction settlements for e-RUPI.

About e-RUPI:
i.e-RUPI, the prepaid electronic voucher-based digital platform, that was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), was launched on August 2, 2021, to enable fund transfer and redeem via e-voucher in the form of SMS-string or QR code. Click here to know more
ii.The e-RUPI was first implemented by SBI Payments at a private covid-19 vaccination centre in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
About SBI Payments:
It is a Joint Venture (JV) between the State Bank of India (SBI) and Hitachi Payment Services Private Limited (HPY).
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Girikumar M Nair
About Hitachi Payment Services:
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Rustom Irani

RBI Extended the Timeline for Banks to Implement Opening Current Accounts Norms till October 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the timeline for Banks to implement the revised rules on opening current accounts to 3 months till October 30, 2021.
i.In August 2020, RBI revised the directions on opening and operating current accounts by banks and restricted the banks from opening current accounts for customers who have availed credit facilities from the bank in the form of cash credit (CC)/ overdraft (OD).
ii.Earlier the deadline was fixed by RBI till July 2021 to implement the regulations.
RBI’s New Guidelines:
i.Now RBI allowed banks to open current accounts for customers who have not availed of any CC/OD facility in the bank and with exposure (in the bank) of less than Rs 5 crore.
ii.RBI also allowed banks to open a current account of customers with exposure between Rs 5 crore to Rs 50 crore. Non-lending banks were also enabled to open current accounts for such borrowers only for collection purposes.

iii.RBI has directed the banks to reach the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for guidance if they couldn’t resolve the cases by themselves.
iv.The banks are also not permitted to open current accounts for borrowers who have availed agricultural/ personal OD or OD against deposits.
About OverDraft(OD):
i.It is a credit facility that will be provided by banks to allow customers to use or withdraw money from their savings or current account even when there is no balance or minimum balance up to the approved limit.
ii.OD will work like an approved loan but the banks will charge interest only on the utilized amount for the time when it is used.

NABARD Partners with CWC to Offer Storage Facility for FPOs

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has partnered with the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) through the NABFoundation, to offer storage facilities for the Farmers Producer Organisation (FPOs) at lower rates for the next 5 years.

Objective: To enhance the agricultural infrastructure in India.
Features of the partnership:
i.Under this partnership, the state-of-the-art storage facilities of CWC will be made accessible for the 5000+ FPO’s across India.
ii.The CWC will offer a 30% discount to FPO’s promoted by NABARD, on using the CWC Storage space in 423 warehouses across India.
iii.The CWC will assist the FPOs with access to air cargo operations, handling and transportation, and pest control services.
Benefits: This partnership between NABARD and CWC will help the farmers to meet the immediate storage requirement for crop warehousing space when the price drops due to surplus supply during harvest season.
About Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC):
CWC was established under ‘The Warehousing Corporations Act, 1962
Chairman– Atish Chandra, IAS
Managing Director– Arun Kumar Shrivastava
Headquarters– New Delhi


India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Aug 6 Highlights: Bajrang Punia loses in semifinals, to play for bronze

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020: Bajrang Punia lost his semifinal bout 11- 5 to Azerbijan's Haji Aliyev in men's freestyle 65kg semifinal at Tokyo Olympics 2020. He is not out yet, will be playing for the bronze medal.

Bajrang Punia had earlier advanced to the semifinals of the men's freestyle 65kg event at the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Iran's Morteza Ghiasi Cheka in the quarterfinals. Aditi Ashok is at the 2nd position after the end of round 3 of women's individual event in Golf.

Sjoerd Marijne steps down as Chief Coach of Indian women’s hockey team

The Indian women's hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne stepped down from his position on August 6, 2021. He revealed that India's bronze medal match against Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics was his last assignment with the Indian side.

Sjoerd Marijne decided to step down after coaching the Indian women's hockey team to its best-ever performance in the Olympic Games, guiding them to a commendable fourth-place finish. The Indian women's hockey team narrowly missed the bronze medal after a 3-4 loss against Great Britain earlier today.
The team's achievements received a lot of praise back home and Prime Minister Narendra Modi specially called the team to urge them to hold their heads high, as despite not winning the medal, they won a lot of hearts with their spirited performances.


CBIC launched Compliance Information Portal to provide information for ~12,000 customs tariff items

The Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launched an Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal (CIP)- for providing free access to information on all customs procedures and regulatory compliance for nearly 12,000 customs tariff items. In this regard, any interested person with up-to-date information on the legal and procedural requirements of Customs and Partner Government Agencies (FSSAI-Food Safety and Standards Authority of India; AQIS; PQIS-Plant Protection, Quarantine, and Storage; Drug Controller etc.) for carrying out imports and exports can get relevant information.

About Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC):
Former Name– Central Board of Excise & Customs
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Finance
Chairman– M. Ajit Kumar
Headquarter– New Delhi

INS Vikrant – India’s 1st Indigenous Aircraft Carrier begins Sea Trial

India’s 1st Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) INS Vikrant has been launched for sea trials off the coast of Kochi, Kerala. A sea trial is the last phase of testing.
i.INS Vikrant has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND), Indian Navy and is built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
ii.The total cost of the project is around INR 23,000 crore. Over 76% of the material and equipment on board is indigenous
iii.It has been named as INS Vikrant in remembrance of India’s 1st Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant, which played a major role in the 1971 war against Pakistan. It was decommissioned in 1997.
iv.After its induction, INS Vikrant will be the second aircraft carrier after INS Vikramaditya, the Navy’s only aircraft carrier at present which entered service in 2013.
v.An Aircraft Carrier is one of the most important marine assets, it will enhance the Navy’s capability to travel far from the shores and to carry out many operations.
About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence – New Delhi.

CCI Approves Acquisition of Equity Stake in PNBHFL by Carlyle Group

Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of equity shares in PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) by Pluto Investments, an entity of Carlyle Group and Salisbury Investments Pvt. Ltd, under the Green channel facility.
The transaction approved under Green Channel is deemed to be approved under regulation 5A of the CCI. The CCI’s approval of the proposed investment of Rs 4000 crore, makes Carlyle group the majority shareholder of PNBHFL.

Carlyle Group to Exit SBI Life by Selling 1.9% stake
CA Emerald Investments, an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners, is exiting the SBI Life Insurance Company (SBI Life) by selling the remaining 1.9% Stake worth Rs 2,160 crore through the stock exchange platform.
About Competition Commission of India (CCI):
CCI was established in March 2009 under the Competition Act, 2002.
Chairperson- Ashok Kumar Gupta
Headquarters– New Delhi
About Carlyle Group:
Chief Executive Officer– Kewsong Lee
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., United States

RBI Approves Reappointment of Prakash Chandra as Non-Executive Chairman of RBL Bank

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has approved the reappointment of Prakash Chandra as the non-executive(part-time) Chairman of the RBL Bank for a period of 3 years with effect from 3rd August 2021. The reappointment and the revision of his remuneration have been approved by the Board of Directors following the recommendation of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the board. Previously in June 2020, the RBI had reappointed him as the non-executive part-time chairman of the RBL till 23rd July 2021.

About Prakash Chandra:
i.Prakash Chandra, a retired Indian Revenue Service(IRS) officer of the 1973 Batch, is currently enrolled as an advocate and a member of the High court and Supreme Court Bar Association.
ii.He has served as an advisor to the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) and India’s Department of Personnel Government.
ii.He has held various positions in different ministries which include, Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Delhi; Director of Department of Supply, Ministry of Commerce; Director of Border Roads Development Board, Ministry of Defence and Director General of Income Tax (International Taxation), Delhi.
About RBL Bank:
RBL bank, formerly known as Ratnakar Bank, was established in 1943.
Non-Executive Part-Time Chairman– Prakash Chandra
MD & CEO– Vishwavir Ahuja
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Apno Ka Bank

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