Current Affairs

8 December, 2021

International

Asia Power Index 2021: India Ranked as 4th most Powerful Country in Asia

As per the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021, India Ranked 4th most powerful country in Asia for comprehensive power out of 26 countries, with an overall score of 37.7 out of 100. India’s overall score declined by 2 points compared to 2020 India again falls short of the major power hreshold in 2021. India is one of 18 countries in Asia to trend downward in its overall score in 2021.

Lowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021:

Rank Country Score/100
4 India 37.7
1 United States (US) 82.2
2 China 74.6
3 Japan 38.7
5 Russia 33.0

Note- The top 10 countries for overall power in the Asia-Pacific region are the US, China, Japan, India, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
About Lowy Institute:
Chairman of the Board – Frank Lowy AC
Headquarters – Sydney, Australia

World Inequality Report 2022: India’s top 10% hold 57% of National Income

As per the ‘World Inequality Report 2022’ released by Paris-based World Inequality Lab, India stands out as a ‘poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite’. In 2021 the top 10 percent and top 1 percent of the Indian population hold 57 percent and 22 percent of total national income respectively, whereas the share of the bottom 50 percent has gone down to 13 percent.
Analysis on Inequalities in India:
i.Income inequality: The average national income of the Indian adult population is Rs 204,200. The bottom 50 percent of the population in India earns Rs 53,610, the top 10 percent earns more than 20 times at Rs 11,66,520.
ii.Wealth inequality: Average household wealth in India is equal to Rs 983,010. The bottom 50 percent own 6 percent of the total (Rs 66,280). The middle class holds 29.5 percent of the total with an average wealth of only Rs 723,930. The top 10 percent and 1 percent own 65 and 33 percent of the total (i.e. of Rs 6,354,070 and Rs 32,449,360).
iii.Gender inequality: Gender inequalities in India are very high. The female labour income share is equal to 18 percent, which is lower than the average in Asia (21%, excluding China).
d.Carbon inequality: India is a low carbon emitter. The average per capita consumption of greenhouse gas is equal to just over 2 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent). The bottom 50%, middle 40% and top 10% respectively consume 1, 2, and 9 tCO2e/capita.
Note – In South and Southeast Asia, India’s top 10/bottom 50 income gap is 22.

National

NITI Aayog launches ‘e-Sawaari India e-bus Coalition’ in partnership with CESL & WRI India

The National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog launched the ‘e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition’ in partnership with Convergence Energy Service Ltd (CESL) and World Resources Institute, India (WRI India) and with the support from Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).
Objective:
To Share knowledge of various stakeholders – Central & State Govt. agencies, transit service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), on accelerating the process towards seamless adoption of e-bus services in India.
NITI Aayog launches Digi-book titled “Innovations for You” Focusing Healthcare Startups
The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched a Digi-book titled “Innovations for You”. It is an initiative of Niti Aayog to share success stories of Atal Innovation Mission’s Startups in different domains.

About National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog:
CEO-Amitabh Kant
Chairperson– Narendra Modi
Formed-1 January 2015
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi
About World Resources Institute, India (WRI India):
CEO– O P Agarwal
Establishment – 2011
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

PMI to WTO inks MoU with CTIL & CTEI for Capacity Building, Research in International Trade Law

The Permanent Mission of India (PMI) to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland; Centre for Trade and Investment Law (CTIL), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi; and the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration of The Graduate Institute, Geneva (CTEI) signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Geneva to collaborate towards research and capacity-building in the field of international trade law and policy.
Signatories:
It was signed by India’s Ambassador and PMI to the WTO Brajendra Navnit, Prof. James J. Nedumpara, Head, CTIL, and Prof. Joost Pauwelyn, Professor of International Law at The Graduate Institute.
Aim of MoU:
To enhance Government of India’s (GoI) capacity in formulating its foreign trade policy and contribute towards ensuring stability in the global trade regime through: Exchange of faculties and staff for study, research or teaching purposes Internship programme for CTEI students at CTIL Submission of India focused projects to CTIL/CTEI TradeLab, a clinical legal education project on trade and investment law.How will this MoU be beneficial?

Through this partnership, academic and research opportunities will be provided to the professional staff of CTIL and the officials of GoI in the field of international trade and investment law. Also various capacity-building programmes and activities will be carried out for the next 3 years.
About World Trade Organisation (WTO):
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the 7th Director-General of the WTO and the first woman and the first African to serve this position.
Member Nations– 164 (including India)
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland

PM Inaugurated AIIMS, Fertilizer plant & ICMR centre in Uttar Pradesh

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated several development projects worth Rs 10,000 crore including the Fertiliser Plant, AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), and a new building of the regional centre of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The foundation stone for AIIMS and fertilizer plant was laid 5 years ago i.e. in 2016. The fertiliser plant will enhance farmer’s income by supplying them with ample urea fertiliser. The plant will serve the needs of the farmers in Purvanchal, UP. The regional centre of ICMR would support in eradicating Japanese Encephalitis from the Purvanchal. The misuse of urea was stopped by the government of India (GoI) by introducing a 100% neem coating of urea. Soil health cards are given to crores of farmers to identify the fertilizer that is needed for their farm.

Note – Recently, the UP government increased the remunerative price for sugarcane farmers up to Rs 300.
About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
RAMSAR Sites – Sur Sarovar, Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
Bird Sanctuary – Parwati Arga Bird Sanctuary, Lakh-Bahosi Bird Sanctuary

MeitY organized ‘Digital Payment Utsav’ in New Delhi; Yes Bank launched RuPay-branded Credit Card on Payment Platform

i.The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) organized ‘Digital Payment Utsav’ at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, Delhi as a part of the week-long ‘Azadi Ka Digital Mahotsav’ (November 29 – December 5, 2021). It was attended by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY); and MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MeitY, among others.
ii.The day/utsav acknowledged the rise of digital payments in India by bringing together leaders from the Government, Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), and startups.
iii.During the event, Yes Bank joined hands with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch RuPay-branded credit card on Payment Platform to enhance the scope of purchase for its customers.
iv.The Union Minister launched various initiatives viz. unveiling of the DIGIDHAN logo, launch of an awareness campaign called Digital Payments Sandesh Yatra, among others.
About Yes Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– Prashant Kumar
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Experience Our Expertise

Economy

RIL partnered with TA’ZIZ to form Chemical Production JV Named “TA’ZIZ EDC & PVC”

India Based Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) partnered with Abu Dhabi Chemicals Derivatives Company RSC Ltd (TA’ZIZ) to form the new chemical production Joint Venture (JV) named “TA’ZIZ EDC & PVC” in the TA’ZIZ Industrial Chemicals Zone in Ruwais, UAE (United Arab Emirates). Both the companies will invest more than $2 billion in a chemical production facility. The JV will construct and operate a chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride (EDC) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production unit, These chemicals will be produced for the first time in the UAE. It is also RIL’s first investment in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region

Signatories:
The signing of the JV terms was done by Khaleefa Al Mheiri, Acting CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of TA’ZIZ; and Kamal Nanavaty, President Strategy and Business Development of RIL in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Managing Director; and Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani.

Fitch Ratings cuts India’s FY22 GDP Growth Forecast to 8.4%

Fitch Ratings slashed India’s economic growth forecast in financial year 2021-22 (FY22) to 8.4 percent and raised the growth projection to 10.3 percent for FY23, compared October, 2021 ratings projections of 8.7 percent (FY22) and 10 percent (FY23).

Note – In India, less than one-third of the population is fully vaccinated and the new Omicron variant poses a new risk to the recovery.

About Fitch Ratings:
President – Ian Linnell
Headquarters – New York, United States

KVGB signs MoU with Liberty General to Boost Insurance Penetration

Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB), a Regional Rural Bank (RRB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Liberty General Insurance to sell general insurance products through the 629 branches of KVGB. It will boost insurance penetration in Karnataka.
About Regional Rural Bank (RRB):
i.RRBs are financial institutions which ensure adequate credit for agriculture and other rural sectors.
ii.Regional Rural Banks were set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Narasimham Working Group (1975), and after the legislation of the Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976. The first Regional Rural Bank “Prathama Grameen Bank” was set up on 2nd October, 1975.

iii.Stakeholders: The equity of a RRB is held by the Central Government, concerned State Government and the Sponsor Bank in the share proportion of 50%, 15% & 35% respectively.
About Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB):
Chairman – P Gopi Krishna
Headquartered-Dharwad, Karnataka
About Liberty General Insurance:
CEO-Roopam Asthana
Headquarters-Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded- 2013

Sports

Davis Cup 2021

The Davis Cup 2021 was won by the Russian Tennis Federation.
The Davis Cup 2021 was won by the Russian Tennis Federation.

Highlights:
The Davis Cup finals happened between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev of Russia.
And Daniit Medvedev won the match, taking victory to the Russian Tennis Federation.
The Davis Cup is also named the World Cup of Tennis as it is an international team competition in men's tennis.
The Billie Jean King Cup is the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation conducts it on hard courts.
It first happened in 1900 as a trial between the US and Britain, and by 2016, 135 countries were participating in the tournament.
The most victorious countries of the Davis cup are the USA, Australia, New Zealand, where the USA has won the Davis Title 32 times, Australia has won 28 times.
It is a single-elimination tournament, as each match's loser is immediately eliminated from the tournament.
The other type of tournament held is Playoff, where the top competitors determine the league champion.
The most common type is the "regular season", also called Group Tournament. The teams are divided into groups, and each group plays a specific number of games against their opponent.

India successfully test-fired the Vertically Launched Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur off the coast of Odisha for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges, including sea-skimming targets. The VL-SRSAM is indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Navy The test launch was monitored by senior officials of the DRDO and Indian Navy. Previous trial: The first trial was conducted on 22nd February 2021 to prove the consistent performance of the weapon system. About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman – G.Satheesh Reddy Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi Parent Ministry – Ministry of Defence (MoD)

In The BWF World Tour 2021 finals between PV Sindhu of India and Seyoung of Korea, Seyoung won the cup, and Sindhu settled in for a silver medal. Highlights: The BWF World Tour 2021 finals happened between PV Sindhu of India and Seyoung of Korea. Seyoung won the cup, and Sindhu compensated for a silver medal.

Miscellaneous

India Successfully Test-fires Vertical Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile

India successfully test-fired the Vertically Launched Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur off the coast of Odisha for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges, including sea-skimming targets. The VL-SRSAM is indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Navy The test launch was monitored by senior officials of the DRDO and Indian Navy.

Previous trial:
The first trial was conducted on 22nd February 2021 to prove the consistent performance of the weapon system.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Chairman – G.Satheesh Reddy
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Parent Ministry – Ministry of Defence (MoD)

President Ram Nath Kovind Presented ‘President’s Standard’ to Indian Navy’s 22nd Missile Vessels Squadron

Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, presented the ‘President’s Standard’ to the 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron of the Indian Navy, which is also known as the Killer Squadron at the ceremonial parade held at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, Maharashtra. To mark this occasion, the postal department has released a special day cover and a commemorative stamp. The year 2021 also marks the 50 years of inception of the Missile Vessel Squadron, also known as Killers.

What is the President’s Standard?
i.The President’s Standard is the highest honour bestowed by the President, the Supreme Commander, to a Military unit in recognition of the Service rendered to the nation.
ii.President’s Standard is the equivalent to that of President’s colours, but this is awarded to relatively smaller military formations or units.
About 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron:
i.The 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron carreid out the ‘Operation Trident’ and bombed the Pakistan’s Karachi Port during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
ii.The squadron has also taken part in several missions including the Operation Vijay, Operation Parakram and also during the heightened security state following the 2019 Pulwama attack.
iii.The squadron had received several battle honours including 1 Maha vir Chakra, 7 Vir chakras and 8 Nausena Medals(Gallantry).
iv.22nd Missile Vessel Squadron was formally established in Mumbai, Maharashtra in October 1991 with 10 Veer Class and 3 Prabal class missile boats.
Additional info:
The Indian Navy was awarded the President’s Colours on 27 May 1951 by the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman Ranked 37th on Forbes’ 2021 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women; Nykaa’s Falguni Nayar Ranked 88th

Finance Minister(FM) of India, Nirmala Sitharaman has ranked 37th on the Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2021 or 18th Edition of Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She has been featured on the list for the 3rd year in a row. She was ranked 41st on the list in 2020 and 34th in 2019. India’s seventh woman billionaire and the wealthiest self-made billionaire, Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa was ranked 88th on the list. Only 4 Indian Women ranked in Forbes 2021 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women List.

Other Indian women on the list:
i.Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of the HCL Technology, the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India was ranked 52nd on the list.
ii.Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairperson and founder of Biocon was ranked 72nd on the list. She founded India’s largest listed biopharmaceutical firm in India in 1978.
Highlights of the list:
i.The 3rd richest woman in the world, MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was topped Forbes’ 2021 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women replacing the outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel who topped the 15 out of 17 iterations of the list.
ii.Kamala Harris, the first woman and the first person of colour(Black) to become the Vice President of the United States of America was ranked 2nd on the list.
iii.Janet Yellen, the first woman to be named the U.S. Treasury Secretary has ranked 39th on the list.
iv.The list also features Oprah Winfrey (23), Jacinda Ardern (34), Rihanna (68), and others.
v.Taylor Swift (31 years old) ranked 78th, is the youngest woman featured in the list and Queen Elizabeth II (95 years old) ranked 70th, is the oldest.

WTA Award 2021: Australia’s Ashleigh Barty won the WTA Player of the Year for 2nd time

Women’s Tennis Association(WTA)’s World No.1 Ashleigh Barty, Australian professional tennis player, has won the 2021 WTA Player of the Year Award.She won the award for the 2nd Time, previously she won the WTA Player of the year in 2019.

WTA announced the winners of the WTA Player Awards 2021 as voted by the members of the International media that recognise the outstanding performance from the current season.
About Ashleigh Barty:
i.Ashleigh Barty ended the 2021 season securing WTA’s World No.1 ranking for the 3rd consecutive year. She became the 5th woman to achieve this feat after Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.
ii.She won the tour leading 5 WTA Titles in 2021 including the 2021 Wimbledon Title, her 2nd career Grand Slam title. She won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open 2019.
iii.She also won the titles at the 2021 Miami Open, Florida, United States; 2021 Yarra Valley Classic, Melbourne, Australia; 2021 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany; and the 2021 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati, Ohio.
WTA Newcomer of the Year 2021:
i.Emma Raducanu, British professional tennis player who made her Grand Slam main draw debut at 2021 Wimbledon has been named the WTA Newcomer of the Year 2021.
ii.She reached the last 16 in the 2021 Wimbledon and became the youngest British woman to reach this stage at the All-England Club.
iii.She won the 2021 US Open title, and became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam.
Winners of the 2021 WTA Awards:

Category Winner
WTA Player of the Year Ashleigh Barty(Australia)
WTA Doubles Team of the Year Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic)
Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic)
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic)
WTA Newcomer of the Year Emma Raducanu(United Kingdom)
WTA Comeback Player of the Year Carla Suárez Navarro(Spain)

About Women’s Tennis Association(WTA):
Chairman & CEO– Steve Simon
President– Micky Lawler
Founded in 1973
Headquarters– Florida, United States of America(USA)

Nilmani Phukan & Damodar Mauzo wins Jnanpith Awards

Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr & Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo won the country’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith award for their outstanding contribution to literature. Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr won the 56th Jnanpith Award and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo won the 57th Jnanpith Award.

About Damodar Mauzo:
i.Damodar Mauzo is 77 years old, from Majorda, Goa has written many well known books and his books have been translated into several Indian languages.
ii.He has won the Vimala V Pai Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Puraskar award for his novel ‘Tsunami Simon’ in 2011. Some of his short stories were televised by Doordarshan, while the film ‘Sood – The Revenge’ was based upon his novella of the same name.

Note – Damodar Mauzo is the second awardee of Jnanpith Award for a Konkani writer. The first being Ravindra Kelekar in 2006.
About Nilmani Phookan Jr:
i.Phookan is 90 years old from Guwahati, Assam and has won Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awards.
ii.He is a poet of renown and has written Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Gulapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita.
iii.He was one of the pioneering art critics from Assam, and worked on folklore and folk art
Note – Phookan is the third Assamese writer to receive the Jnanpith. The previous awardees were Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya in 1979 and Mamoni Raisom Goswami in 2000.
About Jnanpith Award:
i.The award is recognized as the highest literary award of the country for English and other Indian languages.It is sponsored by the cultural organization bharatiya jnanpith.
ii.It was instituted in 1961 by Bharatiya Jnanpith trust founded by the Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain family that owns the Times of India newspaper group.
iii.The Award is open only for Indian citizens and is awarded annually. The prize carries a cash award of 11 lakhs, a citation, and a bronze replica of Vagdevi (Saraswati), the Goddess of learning.

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