Current Affairs

6 May, 2021

International

US puts India on Priority Watch list: Special 301 Report

According to the Special 301 report, India has been put on the “Priority Watch List” along with eight other countries by the United States(US). Another twenty-three countries were also put on “Watch List”. The Special 301 report was released by the United States Trade Representative

Global FDI flows fall by 38% in 2020, India 3rd Largest Recipient : OECD Data

According to a new set of data released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the global FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) dropped by 38% in 2020 (compared to 2019) to USD 846 Billion, which is a 15-year low (lowest since 2005). India became the 3rd Largest Recipient of FDI inflows in 2020 with an inflow of USD 64 Billion.
i.China became the largest Recipient of FDI (USD 212 Billion) overtaking the United States (USD 177 Billion) for the 2nd time in six years, while Luxembourg finished 4th.
ii.The largest sources of FDI outflows in 2020 were Luxembourg, the United States and Japan.
iii.In 2020, global FDI flows represented only 1% of world GDP, the lowest level since 1999.
Largest Recipients of FDI in 2020
Country FDI inflow Position
India USD 64 Billion 3rd
China USD 212 Billion 1st
United States USD 177 Billion 2nd
About Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Secretary General – Angel Gurria
Headquarters – Paris, France

National

First electric tractor in India tested at Central Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute.

Recently, the first-ever electric tractor in India has been tested at the Central Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute.This new electric tractor will be more environmentally friendly than other types of tractors.
i.The Central Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute at Budni is a premier institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
ii.This institute has received NABL Certificate of Accreditation for CMVR Test Laboratory on 30th March, 2021.
iii.Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) is a body that includes Testing including Medical Laboratory, Calibration Laboratory, Proficiency Testing Provider, Certified Reference Material Producer.

India notifies Digital Tax Threshold for Non-Resident Technology Firms

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified Digital Tax Threshold for Non-Resident Technology firms like Google, Facebook, Netflix to pay tax in India.
Transaction Threshold – Any non-resident whose revenue exceeds INR 2 Crore for transactions in respect of goods, services or property with any person in India. It includes transactions on download of data or software.
User Threshold – Any entity that systematically and continuously does business with more than 3 Lakh users in India.
About Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
Chairperson – Pramod Chandra Mody
Head Office – New Delhi

Overview of India-UK Virtual Summit 2021 held on May 4, 2021

The India-UK Virtual Summit 2021 between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi & Prime Minister of United Kingdom Boris Johnson took place on 4th May 2021.
i.During the summit, the two leaders adopted ‘Roadmap 2030’ which aims to elevate bilateral ties to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
ii.The UK finalised new deals/trade worth 1 Billion British Pound Sterling (GBP) to create 6,500 jobs in the UK.
iii.They also agreed/announced 9 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs)/Declarations during the summit.
iv.Launch of Enhanced Trade Partnership to double Bilateral trade between the 2 countries by 2030 (current level stands at GBP 23 Billion).
About United Kingdom
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson
Capital – London
Currency – British Pound Sterling (GBP)

Dharmendra Pradhan flags off 1st supply of Used Cooking Oil-based Biodiesel

Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan virtually flagged off the 1st supply of UCO (Used Cooking Oil) based Biodiesel blended Diesel from IndianOil’s Tikrikalan Terminal, Delhi. It is part of the Expression of Interests (EoI) scheme.
i.On Occasion of the World Biofuel Day (10th August) in 2019, various Central Ministries such as Petroleum and Natural Gas, Steel, Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Science initiated an EoI Scheme for ‘Procurement of Biodiesel produced from UCO’ .
ii.It was aimed at creating an ecosystem for collection and conversion of UCO into Biodiesel and develop entrepreneurship opportunities.
iii.India has set a target to achieve 5% blending of Biodiesel in Diesel by 2030.
About Indian Oil Corporation (IOC):
Chairman– Shrikant Madhav Vaidya
Headquarter– New Delhi

Economy

LIC Became 10th Most valuable & 3rd Strongest Insurance Brand Globally

Brand Finance, a London-based brand valuation consultancy firm in its annual report on the most valuable and strongest insurance brands – “Insurance 100 2021”, reported the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) as the 3rd strongest and the 10th most valuable insurance brand globally. LIC’s brand value increased by almost 7 percent to $8.65 billion from 2020 to 2021. The report stated a decline in the total value of the world’s top 100 most valuable insurance brands by 6 per cent from $462.4 billion in 2020 to $433.0 billion in 2021.
Top Valuable Insurance Brands in the world:
Position Insurer Country
1 Ping An Insurance China
2 China Life Insurance China
3 Allianz Germany
4 AXA France
10 Life Insurance Corporation India
Top Strongest Insurance Brands in the world:
Position Insurer Country
1 Poste Italiane Italy
2 Mapfre Spain
3 Life Insurance Corporation India
4 Ping An Insurance China
About Life Insurance Corporation(LIC):
Establishment -1956
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman -M R Kumar
Managing Director – Siddhartha Mohanty, Vipin Anand, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Raj Kumar

RBI’s Comprehensive Credit Support Measures Against the Second wave of COVID-19

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) announced a series of measures and Comprehensive strategies to support all stakeholders from the second wave of COVID-19 led economic difficulties.
Measures undertaken by RBI against the pandemic:
i.Term Liquidity Facility of ₹50,000 crores to Ease Access to Emergency Health Services
RBI announced an on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore with 3 years of maturity and at repo rate till March 31, 2022(End of FY22) under the priority sector classification lending and allowed banks to lend under this scheme.
ii.Classification of SFB loan to MFIs for on-lending as PSL
RBI permitted the Small Finance Banks’ (SFBs) lending to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) for on-lending to individuals under the classification of priority sector lending (PSL) for which the MFIs need to have Rs 500 crore asset size (Currently, the SFB’s PSL is not permitted for MFIs for on-lending). (Availability – till March 31, 2022)
iii.Special Long-Term Repo Operations (SLTRO) for SFBs
To support small business, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), and unorganised sectors RBI introduced special three-year long-term repo operations (SLTRO) of Rs 10,000 crore at a repo rate for the SFBs. (SFBs could lend of up to Rs 10 lakh per borrower till October 31, 2021)
iv.RBI allowed the utilisation of 100% floating provisions for non-performing assets
Banks are allowed by RBI to utilise 100 percent floating provisions/counter-cyclical provisioning buffer held by them as of December 31, 2020, for making specific provisions for non-performing assets.
v.RBI Increased State Governments’ OD Facility Tenor to 50 days
To support State Governments to manage their fiscal situation, RBI has increased the maximum number of days of the OverDraft (OD) facility in a quarter from 36 to 50 days and the number of consecutive days of OD from 14 to 21 days.
Along with these measures RBI allowed banks and non-banks to extend the restructuring loan benefits to individual customers and small businesses, and MSMEs through Resolution Framework 2.0 and it has rationalised certain components of the extant KYC norms.
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael DebabrataPatra, M Rajeshwar Rao, and T Rabi Sankar (appointed on May 2021)

Sports

ICC Banned Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Zoysa from Cricket for 6 years due to Corruption

In April 2021, the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned SriLanka’s former cricket player and coach Nuwan Zoysa for 6 years from all forms of cricket after found breaching the ICCs anti-corruption code. On October 31, 2018, he was provisionally suspended by ICC.

ICC Men’s Team Ranking 2021 Annual Update: India Ranked 2nd in T20 & 3rd in ODI Format

The International Cricket Council(ICC) released the men’s team rankings following the annual update carried out on 3rd May 2021. India has retained its 2nd place behind England on the ICC team ranking in the Twenty20(T20) Format. India has dropped to the 3rd position in the ODI Ranking behind New Zealand(1st) and Australia(2nd). This annual update excludes the results from 2017-2018 and halves the weighting of matches played in 2019-2020, which includes the World Cup 2019. The current update which rates all the matches played since May 2020 at 100 percent and the matches played in the previous 2 years at 50 percent.
ICC team Test ranking 2021:
i.The annual update of the test ranking will be carried out after the conclusion of the ongoing Pakistan-Zimbabwe series.
ii.At present the test ranking is topped by India followed by New Zealand and Australia respectively.
Highlights:
i.5 countries – Gambia, Ghana, Hungary, Sierra Leone and Sweden – have lost their rankings after the update.
ii.To remain in the rankings, 80 countries have played 6 T20Is over the past 3 years despite the global pandemic.
Top 3 of ICC team Ranking 2021:
Rank Team Rating
ODI
1 New Zealand 121
2 Australia 118
3 India 115
T20
1 England 277
2 India 272
3 New Zealand 263
About International Cricket Council(ICC:
Chairman- Greg Barclay
Chief Executive- Manu Sawhney
Headquarters- Dubai, UAE

Indian Gymnast Pranati Nayak Gets Asian quota, to compete at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Pranati Nayak, 26-year-old Indian Gymnast from West Bengal, is set to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She has won the bronze in vault at the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship 2019. She has qualified through the Asian quota.

She is the 2nd reserve after Elpitiya Badalge Dona Milka Geh of Sri Lanka for the Asian quota.
Both the Gymnasts will compete in the Olympics starting on 23rd July 2021.

Miscellaneous

Lightest form of Uranium called Uranium-214 Created

Scientists have created the new uranium isotope called Uranium-214 at the Heavy Ion Research Facility in Lanzhou, China and this is the lightest ever known. This discovery helps to reveal more about an alpha particle that gets ejected from certain radioactive elements as they decay.This is much lighter than more common uranium isotopes. It has 30 more neutrons than protons, one fewer neutron than the next-lightest known uranium isotope and neutrons have mass.

Facebook Launched in App Vaccine Finder Tool in India

Facebook partnered with the Government of India to launch the Vaccine Finder Tool on the mobile application – Facebook – in India. The app available in 17 languages, will enable the public to locate the nearby place to get vaccinated. The tool will also collect and display the walk-in option for the users of age 45 or above along with a link to register on the Cowin portal and schedule an appointment to get a vaccination. Facebook has also announced a 10 million USD grant to India for its emergency response against the COVID-19 situation.

SpaceX Launches another batch of 60 Starlink Satellites into Orbit

SpaceX launched another batch of 60 Starlink Internet satellites into Orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The satellites were launched aboard the Falcon 9 Rocket.
i.It was the 13th Launch of 2021 for SpaceX. So far in 2021, SpaceX has launched 610 Starlink Satellites into space. Out of 13 Falcon 9 launches in 2021, 10 have been dedicated to Starlink satellites. The 11th mission – Transporter-1 rideshare mission also carried 10 Starlink satellites.
Starlink Project
It is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX for providing Satellite Internet access. It is the largest Satellite Constellation in the world.
SpaceX
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk.

Mamata Banerjee becomes West Bengal CM for 3rd Consecutive Term

Mamata Banerjee who belongs to the party of Trinamool Congress (TMC) took oath as the Chief Minister (CM) of West Bengal for 3rd Consecutive Term (2011-2016, 2016-21).
i.She is the 8th Chief Minister of West Bengal (WB).
ii.Mamata Banerjee was administered the oath of office by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
iii.Mamata Banerjee took oath as CM, even though she was defeated in her constituency of Nandigram.
About West Bengal:
Governor – Jagdeep Dhankhar
Chief Minister – Mamata Banerjee
Capital – Kolkata

11th Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival 2021: Jungle Cry won Best Film Jury Award

“Jungle Cry” directed by Sagar Ballary won the Best Film (Jury) award at the 11th Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival 2021.
The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards is annually presented to appreciate the talents and skills of the film industry.
Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival:
i.Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival is India’s only independent film festival established in 2011 in Delhi NCR.
ii.The Film Festival is annually organised on 30th April to mark the birth anniversary of Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, the father of Indian Cinema, who is fondly known as ‘Dada Saheb Phalke’.

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Daily Current Affairs | 25th September 2021

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