Current Affairs

7 December, 2021


G7 Finance Leaders set Guidelines for CBDCs

G7 (Group of Seven) advanced economies’ central banks have been working to set common standards toward issuing ‘Central Bank Digital Currency’ (CBDC). As per the statement of G7, any CBDC issued by a central bank should not harm the bank’s ability to fulfill its mandate on monetary and financial stability, and also should meet the standards.

What is CBDC?
i.A CBDC is a legal tender that would be issued by the central bank in a digital form. It is exchangeable one-to-one with fiat currency and it would appear as a liability (currency in circulation) on a central bank’s balance sheet.
ii.A CBDC would complement cash and could act like a liquid, safe settlement asset and an anchor for the payments system.
G7’s Statement on CBDC:
i.Any CBDC should be grounded in long-standing public commitments to transparency, rule of law and sound economic governance
ii.The currencies must be issued in a way that does not violate the central banks’ mandates and meet rigorous standards of privacy, transparency and accountability for the protection of user data.
iii.CBDCs could enhance cross-border payments and minimize harmful spillovers to the international monetary and financial system. Currently, China has been leading toward issuing a digital currency.
Note – In July 2021, the Reserve Bank of India’s Deputy Governor T. Rabi Sankar stated about the RBI’s plan for the phased introduction of a CBDC. Click here to know more
About G7
Members – The G7 is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of 7 members (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States)
2021 Presidency – United Kingdom

EAM S Jaishankar addresses 5th Indian Ocean Conference in Abu Dhabi

The Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (EAM) visited Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference on December 4-5, 2021. The theme of the conference was ‘Indian Ocean: Ecology, Economy, Epidemic’. The Conference is chaired by Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Vice Chairs are S.Jaishankar, Vivian Balakrishnan, Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi. The conference is being organised by India foundation in collaboration with the RSIS Singapore, Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), Sri Lanka, and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), UAE.

About United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Currency– Dirham
Emirates– 7 Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah


NMPB & CSIR-CIMAP Lucknow Signed MoU to Promote the Production of Medicinal Plants

The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), under the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, (CSIR-CIMAP), lucknow to collaborate in promoting the production of Quality Planting Material (QPM) of medicinal plants.

Features of the MoU:
i.The MoU will support the development of QPM of medicinal plants and herbs identified by NMPB and help in establishment of their nurseries for QPM development, promotion, conservation and cultivation of the appropriate medicinal plants in various agro climatic zones.
ii.Under this MoU, CSIR-CIMAP will undertake the research on mass multiplication, agro technology development, quality planting material generation of selected medicinal plants and herbs.
iii.Under this MoU NMPB will work through the implementing agencies in collaboration with CSIR-CIMAP, Lucknow and support projects related to QPM Development of Medicinal plants species.
The implementing agencies include, State Medicinal Plant Boards, State Horticulture Departments, Regional-cum-facilitation centres across India.
About National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB):
Chief Executive Officer– Prof. (Dr.) Tanuja Nesari
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Established on 24th November 2000
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP):
CIMAP, is a frontier plant research laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
It was established as Central Indian Medicinal Plants Organisation (CIMPO) in 1959.
Director– Dr. Prabodh Kumar Trivedi
Headquarters– Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

PM Modi Inaugurated thought Leadership Forum on FinTech – ‘InFinity Forum’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated a thought leadership forum on FinTech, ‘InFinity Forum’. The event was hosted by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), under the aegis of the Government of India in collaboration with GIFT City and Bloomberg on December 3 and 4, 2021. Indonesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom were the partner countries in the 1st edition of the Forum.

About International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA):
Headquarters – Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Chairperson – Injeti Srinivas


Aditya Birla Health Insurance Launches Activ Health Essential Plan for Senior Citizens

Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd. (ABHICL), the health insurance subsidiary of Aditya Birla Capital Limited (ABCL) has launched a new affordable health solution plan named ‘Activ Health Essential’ to meet the special health need of senior citizens.
i.The plan offers health solutions such as Day 1 Chronic Management Program coverage i.e. a policyholder will be covered from Day 1 in case of an existing condition and if it is developed at a later stage, it will be covered at no additional cost.
ii.Many of the health covers come with a 20 percent mandatory co-pay whereas, in the case of Activ Health Essential, it can be waived off by choosing to pay an extra premium.
Note – As per the recent study by an NGO, around 26 percent of the elderly population were impacted by some of the health issues.
About Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd. (ABHICL):
It is a joint venture between Aditya Birla Group and MMI Holdings of South Africa.
Establishment – 2015
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO & Whole Time Director – Mayank Bathwal

Paytm Partners with AWS to Offer Startup Toolkits for Entrepreneurs

Paytm, a leading digital ecosystem for consumers and merchants, has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer Paytm Startup Toolkit with exclusive payment services to early-stage Indian startups. Paytm will help entrepreneurs to grow businesses with payment, distribution, and growth solutions who are operating in India in the AWS Activate.

Objective – To help startups enhance brand visibility and grow their customer base

About Paytm Startup Toolkit:
i.The Paytm Startup Toolkit is a single-stop platform that offers solutions in the domain of payments, payouts, banking and distribution with services including,

Paytm Payment Gateway – Makes digital payments easier.

Paytm Payouts – It helps in streamlining payments to employees, vendors, distributors and channel partners

Paytm Payments Bank – They Include nodal banking that provides digital banking.

ii.The program also provides access to low-cost, quick-to-build Paytm Mini Apps that can be built using Open Source technologies like HTML and JavaScript.
About Paytm Group:
Founder & CEO – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh

PNB Launches Android App for Differently-Abled Employees – ‘PNB Pride-CRMD module’

Punjab National Bank (PNB) launched PNB Pride-CRMD module tool, an android-based application for differently-abled employees to monitor and effectively follow up with the special mention account (SMA) borrowers. The Pride-CRMD module has built-in TalkBack software that allows the visually impaired to access the system freely and to interact with customers by tapping on their phones.

Objective – To promote the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities.

SMA Accounts:
Under SMA accounts, the stressed loans are recognized early to enable banks to initiate timely actions to prevent such borrowers from converting into Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)
i.The module is developed through a participatory model to focus on visually impaired employees in utilizing their talents within the concept of PNB Yoddha (PNB warriors) and PNB Gaurav (PNB Pride).
ii.The bank plans to make the module compatible with iOS in future.
Note – PNB observed “International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)” on 3rd December 2021.
About Punjab National Bank (PNB)
CEO & Managing Director (MD) – S S Mallikarjuna Rao
Established – 1894
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Tagline – The Name You Can Bank Upon


Lewis Hamilton Wins inaugural edition of Saudi Arabian GP

Mercedes Driver Lewis Hamilton (Britain) won the inaugural edition of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (GP), by surpassing Max Verstappen (Netherlands) in the event held at the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) coastal resort area in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is scheduled to be held on 12th December, is the last race of ‘2021 Formula One World Championship’, which will decide 2021’s Winner. Currently the top position is shared by Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton with 369.5 points each.

i.Hamilton has eight wins in the F1 season, who ties up with Verstappen.
ii.Red Bull Racing Honda’s Max Verstappen (Netherlands) still leads the championship on most wins (9-8).
About Lewis Hamilton
i.He won his 1st World Driver’s Championship in 2008.
iii.Records – Most F1 wins (102), only driver to have won 100 F1 races.
–Reema Juffali appointed as the ambassador of Inaugural Saudi GP
Reema Juffali, has been appointed as an ambassador for the first edition of the Saudi Grand Prix, under the Formula 1 (F1) World Championship. Reema Juffali is the 1st Female F1 driver of Saudi Arabia.

About Reema Juffali:
i.Reema Juffali is a 29-year-old driver, who has competed in the British Formula 3 championship 2021
ii.She is the first racer to take a lap on the street circuit in Jeddah and also participate in the Williams team car display, dating back to 1979 that is sponsored by Saudi Airlines.
i.Juffali’s Racing career started with competing in the Formula 4 category and racing in Boston despite a ban on women to drive or be granted a driving licence in Saudi Arabia.
ii.Juffali became the first Saudi female license holder and racer in 2018 after the lift of ban on women in driving
About Federation Internationale de l’ Automobile (FIA)
The F1 championships are organised by FIA
President – Jean Todt
Headquarters – Paris, France

Argentina beat Germany to lift 12th Men’s FIH Junior Hockey World Cup 2021 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Argentina junior men’s hockey team defeated Germany by 4-2 in the final of the 2021 Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup (WC) or 12th edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey Junior WC to clinch their second Junior Men’s Hockey WC title at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. This was held from November 24, 2021- December 5, 2021. This makes them only the third team after Germany (six titles) and India (2001, 2016) to win multiple Junior Hockey WC titles. The third place was clinched by France after defeating India by 3-1 in the Bronze medal match.

Point to be noted:
This biennial men’s under-21 field hockey world championship was organized by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Other Awards:

Best Player of the Tournament: Timothée Clément (FRANCE)
Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Anton Brinckman (GERMANY)
Hero Top Scorer of the Tournament: Miles Bukkens (NETHERLANDS) (18 goals)
Odisha Fair Play Award: Team Chile

Odisha Fans Choice Award for Best Goal of the Tournament: Ignacio Nardolillo (ARGENTINA)
Hockey India Maximum Team Goals: NETHERLANDS (45 goals)
Hockey India Best Goal Saved of the Tournament: Mahmoud Seleem (EGYPT)
AM/NS India Best Coach of the Tournament: Johannes Schmitz (GERMANY)


Unix signs Jasprit Bumrah as Brand Ambassador

Unix, an Indian Mobile Accessories manufacturing brand, has signed Indian Cricket Fast Bowler Jasprit Bumrah as its Brand Ambassador to increase visibility of their products.
Owners of Unix – Naresh Jain, Imran Kagalwala, Sandeep Bafna and Krunal Bafn were present during the official appointment.
UNIX Products:
The products include wearable mobile electronics such as Chargers, Earphones, Data Cables, Power Banks, Wireless Speakers, Smartphone Batteries, Bluetooth neckbands and TWS are mostly manufactured and marketed across India through distributors.
About UNIX
UNIX is a popular Indian brand which offers the latest and widest range of mobile accessories for your smartphones.
Established – 2006
Headquartered – Mumbai (Manufacturing facility – Gujarat)

Alka Upadhyaya appointed as New Chairperson of NHAI

Alka Upadhyaya, IAS officer (1990 batch) of Madhya Pradesh cadre appointed as Chairperson of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) by the Government of India. She succeeded Giridhar Aramane, who was given additional charge of the Chairperson of NHAI after Sukhbir Singh Sandhu steps down. Prior to this appointment Alka Upadhyaya was serving as the Additional Secretary (AS), Department of Rural Development.

Other appointments:
i.Sanjay Bandopadhyay, AS, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), has been appointed as the Chairman of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.
ii.Sundeep Kumar Nayak has been appointed as Director-General, National Productivity Council, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade.

About National Highways Authority of India (NHAI):
i.Yogendra Narain was the first Chairman of NHAI in 1988. He is a retired IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre.
ii.It is the nodal agency of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH)
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Government Expands SCALE Committee with 3 New Members

The government has expanded the Steering Committee for Advancing Local Value-Add and Exports (SCALE committee) by adding three new members from different industries.

About SCALE Committee:

i.The SCALE Committee is formed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, working closely with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under Ministry’s guidance.
i.Current Members – 14 (Headed by former Mahindra CEO Pawan Goenka)
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
Union Minister – Piyush Goyal (Constituency – Maharashtra)
Minister of State – Som Parkash (Constituency – Hoshiarpur, Punjab), Anupriya Singh Patel (Constituency – Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh).

Adama Barrow wins second term as Gambia’s President

The President of Gambia, Adama Barrow, won the second term as President during Gambia’s presidential election by achieving over 53% votes from 50 of 53 constituencies. He defeated his main challenger Ousainou Darboe who won 27.7% of vote. The results of the election were declared by Electoral commission Chairman Alieu Momarr Njai.

Point to be noted:
Adama Barrow’s assumption as President 5 years ago ended more than 20 years of dictatorship of former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
About Gambia:
Capital– Banjul
Currency– Gambian dalasi

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