Current Affairs

18 July, 2021

International

COAS MM Naravane holds High-level meeting in UK & Italy

India’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General MM Naravane conducted high-level meetings with his counterparts & senior military leaders in the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy as a part of his European Tour between 5th to 8th July 2021.
i.COAS Gen. MM Naravane made his 2-day visit to the United Kingdom on July 5 & 6, where he conducted high level talks on Defence Cooperation with UK’s CODS Gen. Nicholas Carter.
ii.COAS Gen. MM Naravan visited Italy on July 7 & 8, where he inaugurated an ‘Indian Army Memorial’ at Cassino, Italy. The memorial acts as a respect for the sacrifice made by Indian forces during World War II.
About Ministry of Defence:
Union Minister – Rajnath Singh
Minister of State – Ajay Bhatt
General Bipin Rawat was India’s 1st Chief of Defence Staff

India to promote ‘Green Hydrogen’ strategies in International Climate Summit 2021

India will host the International Climate Summit 2021 (ICS) on 3rd September in New Delhi, with key focus on ‘Green Hydrogen’ and making India as a Global hub for Hydrogen production. The event was organised in partnership with the Government of Norway, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the delegates.
i.The Summit is being organised jointly by NITI Aayog, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, CSIR, and the Department of Science & Technology.
ii.It includes India-centric discussions with a special focus on ‘Powering India’s Hydrogen Ecosystem’. Innovative ideas on storing and transportation of liquefied hydrogen are the key agenda of the Summit.
Note – India announced the “National Hydrogen Energy Mission” in the Union Budget of India 2021-22, with targets to build hydrogen energy capacity by 2050.
iii.The Summit also plans on the formation of an ‘International Hydrogen Alliance’ and setting up of ‘Centres of Excellence’ in select Universities across India.
About UN – Conference of Parties (UN-COP) 2021:
Host – United Kingdom & Italy
Schedule – November 2021 at Glasgow
President of COP 2021 – Alok Sharma

National

CII, MEA Organize 1st edition of Indo-Pacific Business Summit 2021

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) organized the 1st edition of Indo Pacific Business Summit from 6-8 July, 2021, over a virtual platform.

Theme of the Summit – ‘Developing a Road Map for Shared Prosperity’
Objective – To discuss how India & other countries in the Indo Pacific Region can enhance economic partnership and collaborate for future economic development.
The Topics of discussion were Physical and digital connectivity, development of supply chains, start-ups, healthcare, investment opportunities in the region, climate change, blue economy and others.

CIL inked pact with Iz-Kartex for 11 Russian Rope Shovels; India’s 1st integrated Carbon Black complex set up in Bellary, Karnataka

i.Coal India Ltd (CIL) signed an agreement for the purchase of 11 20-cubic metre Russian rope shovels for nearly Rs 1,462 crore with Iz-Kartex named after P.G.Korbokov Ltd, a Russian shovel manufacturing company.

ii.India’s first integrated carbon black complex has successfully commissioned its operations in Bellary, Karnataka. It has been set up by Epsilon Carbon Private Limited (ECPL), a coal tar derivatives Indian company with estimated investment of Rs 550 cr.
About Epsilon Carbon Private Limited:
Establishment– 2010
Managing Director (MD)– Vikram Handa
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Coal India Limited (CIL):
It is Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU)
Establishment– 1975
Chairman– Pramod Agrawal
Headquarter– Kolkata, West Bengal

Google India becomes 1st SSMI to publish Transparency report under New IT rules

Google India became the 1st technology company which is qualified as ‘Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMIs)’ to publish a Transparency report under the new ‘Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’. Transparency report includes details of complaints received from users in India and the action taken across Google’s platform between April 1-30, 2021.

SSMIs are technology platforms which have more than 5 million users.

About Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
Union Minister – Ashwini Vaishnaw (Rajya Sabha – Odisha)
MoS – Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)
About Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Union Minister – Anurag Singh Thakur (Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh)
MoS – L. Murugan

Cabinet Approvals on July 8, 2021

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi accorded approval to several initiatives. They are ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II’ scheme will be implemented at a total cost of INR 23,123 crore from July 1,2021 to March 31, 2022. Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Competition Commission of India (CCI) & Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAl) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom (UK). Modifications in the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’. Amendment in Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 for creation of Administrative posts.

About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh),
Minister of State – Sushri Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi Chikmagalur, Karnataka), Kailash Choudhary (Barmer, Rajasthan)
About Competition Commission of India
Chairperson – Ashok Kumar Gupta
Head Office – New Delhi

India, Gambia sign MoU to Strengthen Cooperation in Governance Reforms

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Gambia to strengthen and promote bilateral cooperation in personnel administration and governance reforms. The information for the same was provided by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a part of MoU, both nations’ personnel administration will share best practices in improving performance management system in government, implementation of contributory pension schemes and e-recruitment in government. For the formation of a work plan, a meeting of the joint working group (JWG) will be held.

About Gambia:
Capital– Banjul
Currency– Gambian dalasi
High Commissioner of India to Gambia– Godavarthi Venkata Srinivas (Concurrently Accredited)

Economy

NIIT, Axis Bank Launched ‘Digital Banking Academy’; Axis Direct Launched ‘Super Options’

NIIT Institute of Finance Banking and Insurance (NIIT IFBI), a subsidiary of National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) Limited, and Axis Bank have made a partnership and launched an 18-week fintech professional programme under the ‘Axis Bank – NIIT Digital Banking Academy’. It is the 1st first Fintech programme being launched under the Axis-NIIT Digital Banking Academy and it would build future-ready professionals for Axis bank. It also offers an opportunity for graduates with 0-3 years of experience to join Axis Bank as Deputy Manager (IT). After the completion of the Programme, the candidate would also be deployed at other Axis Bank’s different FinTech roles.

Axis Direct Launched ‘Super Options’
Axis Direct – the flagship brand of Axis Securities, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Axis Bank, has launched a brokerage plan for traders named ‘Super Options’ to place an option order at Rs 10.

By using the ‘Super Options’, the traders could enjoy low-cost trading and also could have free access to trading tools that are powered by Axis Direct’s RING Technology, such as scanners, advanced 90+ indicators, price bands, and overlays.
About NIIT Institute of Finance Banking and Insurance (NIIT IFBI):
Establishment – 2006
Headquarters – Gurgaon, Haryana
About Axis Direct:
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – B Gopkumar

STPI Signed MoUs with BoB, Yes Bank, Freshworks, Mathworks, Yourstory, Pontaq

The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), a part of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), has entered into a Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Bank of Baroda, Yes Bank, Mathworks, Yourstory, Freshworks and Pontaq to build a robust startup ecosystem in India. Through the 6 agreements, STPI would promote entrepreneurship and create a nurturing ecosystem for Centres of Excellence (CoE), that are set up by the STPI in areas such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain, IoT (Internet of things), big data, and other emerging technologies. Until now, STPI has launched 13 CoEs and it has 177 startups on its platform.

About Software Technology Parks of India (STPI):
It is a premier S&T (Science and Technology) organization under MeitY, engaged in promoting IT/Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS) Industry, innovation, R&D (Research and development), start-ups, and product creation in the field of emerging technologies.
Establishment – 1991
Headquarters – New Delhi
Director General – Omkar Rai
About Bank of Baroda:
It is the 2nd largest bank in India.
Establishment – 1908 (Nationalised in 1969)
Headquarters – Vadodara, Gujarat
MD & EO – Shri Sanjiv Chadha

Mastercard, MMOPL, Axis Bank Launched ‘One Mumbai Metro Card’ for Mumbai People

Mastercard, Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL), and Axis Bank launched ‘One Mumbai Metro Card’ to enable cashless and contactless travel for Mumabi People (Mumbaikars).

Objective: To change the way Indians travel regularly and to modify the transit ecosystem into completely digital.

Type: It is a prepaid, open-loop contactless card, the users could ‘Tap’ their card on a contactless Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminal to make payment. It has a top-up feature for daily payments. Along with metro fare, this card could also be used for all other daily expenses such as food, groceries, medicines, shopping, etc.

About Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL):
It is a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO – Col. Shubhodoy Mukherjee

RBI Directed Banks to Shift from LIBOR to ARR by December 31, 2021RBI Directed Banks to Shift from LIBOR to ARR by December 31, 2021

the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued an advisory to banks and other RBI-regulated entities to prepare for the transition from the international benchmark reference rate, ‘London Interbank Offered Rate’ (LIBOR), to any other widely accepted Alternate Reference Rates (ARR). LIBOR is used widely by the global financial system as one of the interbank benchmarks for a large volume and broad range of financial products and contracts. In March 2021, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ceased the use of LIBOR by any administrator and stated that it would no longer be representative. RBI has advised the Financial Institutions (FI) not to enter into new LIBOR referenced contracts and encouraged them to use any widely accepted ARR. It has also instructed the FI to incorporate robust fallback clauses in all the LIBOR reference-based financial contracts that have maturity after December 31, 2021.

Sports

Germany’s Toni Kroos announces retirement from International football

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has announced his retirement from international football after the European Championship 2020 (due to pandemic it postponed to 2021) but he will continue his club career with Real Madrid. He made his international debut in January 2010 against Argentina, Kroos was an integral part of the German team that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Indian Chess Grandmaster Nihal Sarin wins Serbia Open

Indian Chess Grandmaster Nihal Sarin won the Serbia Open Chess Championship in Belgrade, Serbia. This is the 2nd consecutive win for the 16-year-old from Kerala, after he won the Silver Lake Open Chess Tournament in June 2021.
i.In the Serbian Open, he secured top position with 7.5 points out of 9, which is 0.5 points higher than his nearest competition.
ii.He won the Tournament without a single loss and a draw in the finals, which led him to break into the World’s Top 100 ranking (88th position).
Other Indian Players: Arjun Erigaisi finished in 7th position with 7 points Aditya Mittal, ended at 10th position with 7 points, earning his maiden Grandmaster (GM) norm. V Pranav, earned his 1st GM norm and became an International Master (IM).

About All India Chess Federation:
President – Sanjay Kapoor
Founded – 1951
Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, was the 1st recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Miscellaneous

France Tests ‘HELMA-P’ Laser-Powered Anti-Drone System

The French Armed Forces used ‘HELMA-P (High-energy Laser for Multiple Application – Power)’, a Laser-Powered Anti-Drone System to destroy a drone during a test of technology conducted near the Atlantic coast in Southwestern part of France. HELMA-P which is manufactured by a French startup ‘CILAS’ is capable of detecting lightweight commercial drones from a distance of up to 3 Km (1.8 miles). It can track & destroy drones once they are within 1 Km radius of the system. The laser ray produced by the prototype is one million times more powerful than the one used by QR code readers. The system can be used to protect military bases and nuclear plants, as well as major events, against small low-flying drones that can escape radar detection. France is aiming to use the technology to protect the Paris 2024 Olympic games.

About France
President – Emmanuel Macron
Capital – Paris
Currency – Euro,CFP franc

MoD implemented Web-based SPARSH for Sanction & Disbursement of Defence Pension

i.The Ministry of Defence (MoD) headed by Union Minister Rajnath Singh implemented SPARSH, an acronym for System for Pension Administration (Raksha), for automation of sanction and disbursement of defence pension.
ii.As a part of SPARSH, service centres will also be set up for the pensioners who are unable to directly access the SPARSH portal. In this regard, an agreement was signed between MoD, State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) under which both banks will co-opt as service centres.
About Ministry of Defence (MoD):
Union Minister– Raj Nath Singh (Constituency- Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister State– Ajay Bhatt (Constituency- Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, Uttarakhand)
About Indian Army:
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS)– General Manoj Mukund Naravane
Headquarters– New Delhi

Satish Agnihotri Appointed as new MD of NHSRCL

Satish Agnihotri, retired Indian Railways Service of Engineers (IRSE) officer(1982 batch), has been appointed as the new Managing Director(MD) of the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd(NHSRCL). He succeeds Achal Khare, the first MD of NHSRCL(2017 to 2021). He has served as the Chairman and MD of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited(RVNL), schedule A Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) under the Ministry of Railways. He has also served as the Chairman, High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (HSRC), a fully owned subsidiary of RVNL.

NHSRCL was incorporated on 12th February 2016 with an aim to finance, construct, maintain and manage the high-speed rail corridor in India.

Former West Indies Cricketer Daren Sammy named Brand Ambassador of Fun88

Fun88, a leading online gaming operator, has named Saint Lucian cricketer and Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy as its brand ambassador. Fun88 is a renowned brand in the sports sector that offers real-time news and analysis on various sports like cricket, kabaddi, football and others.

About Fun88:
Fun88, the online gaming company, has its presence across the United Kingdom and Asia offers a wide range of products like Sportsbook, in-play sports betting, live casino, slot games. Fun88 was launched in India in august 2020. The brand ambassadors of fun88 include football legend Robbie Fowler, Canadian basketball player Steve Nash and American basketball player Kobe Bryant.

ICC CEO Manu Sawhney resigns over abrasive conduct

Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has resigned from his post with immediate effect following the report against his “abrasive behaviour” with his colleagues.
Geoff Allardice will continue as the acting CEO of ICC.
Background:
i.In March 2021, Manu Sawhney was sent on leave after the allegations against him emerged during the internal investigation conducted by the audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
ii.In the absence of Manu Sawhney, Geoff Allardice was appointed as the acting CEO.
About Manu Sawhney:
i.Manu Sawhney was appointed as the CEO of ICC in July 2019 for a tenure till 2022.
He took over from Dave Richardson after the 2019 ICC Men’s World Cup.
ii.Manu Sawhney has served as the CEO of the Singapore Sports hub and as the Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports.
iii.He is a non-executive director and a member of the Audit Committee of Manchester United Limited.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
Chairman– Greg Barclay
CEO– Geoff Allardice(Acting CEO)
Headquarters– Dubai, United Arab Emirates(UAE)

RBI Imposed Penalty on 14 Banks for Non-compliance with Rules

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a monetary penalty aggregating Rs 14.5 crore on 14 banks for non-compliance with certain provisions of directions issued by it. RBI imposed Rs 2 crore penalty on the Bank of Baroda and Rs 50 lakh on State Bank of India (SBI). RBI imposed Rs 1 crore penalty each on 12 other banks viz, Bandhan Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Credit Suisse AG, Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, Karnataka Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, South Indian Bank, The Jammu & Kashmir Bank and Utkarsh Small Finance Bank.

SEBI Revised the Timelines for Stock Exchanges to Modify CDCs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has reduced the ‘Advance Intimation timelines’ for Stock Exchanges to make modifications in the contract specifications of ‘Commodity Derivatives Contracts’ (CDCs).
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – 1992
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

Debit, Credit Cards Contain ‘Accident Insurance Cover’

Debit and credit cards issued by banks will have a complimentary ‘Personal Accident Insurance Cover’.General Condition: To claim the insurance, the card should be in active use and the claims should be made within a particular time frame.

Example: To claim insurance under the Rupay insurance programme, the insured person needs to intimate within 90 days from the date of the accident and the card should have active transaction before 90 days of the accident.

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