Current Affairs

12 July, 2021


“Death toll caused by Famine outpaces that of COVID-19” – Oxfam report

Each minute 11 people die of hunger and there is a 6-fold increase (compared to last year) in the number of people threatened over famine-like conditions, as per the report titled “The Hunger Virus Multiplies” released by global anti-poverty organisation ‘Oxfam’. The report also states that the global death toll of 11/minute from famine outpaces that of COVID-19 (7 deaths/minute).
Findings of the Report:
i.With an addition of 20 million people, the total count of people at the crisis level of food insecurity has increased to 155 million, with major case of poverty being armed conflict
ii.War torn countries like – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen are the ‘Worst hunger hot spots’
iii.Global warming & economic recession caused a 40% increase in global food prices, moving millions of people into poverty.
About Oxfam:
Oxfam was founded in 1942, as a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviating Global Poverty
Executive Director – Gabriela Bucher
Headquarters – Nairobi, Kenya

ADB Formed High-Level Advisory Group for COVID-19 Vaccines

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has partnered with the public health experts, vaccine regulators, and policymakers to form a high-level advisory group – Regional Vaccine Advisory Group – to support its developing member countries (DMCs) with technical and scientific advice on the quality, safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. The inaugural meeting of the advisory group held on 1st July 2021 focused on the ways to increase the supply of the covid-19 vaccines across Asia and the Pacific region.

i.The members of the advisory group include the experts from vaccine regulators across Asia and the Pacific and North America.
ii.The members include, Dang Duc Anh(Viet Nam), Heather Deehan(Canada), Dr Paisarn Dunkum(Thailand), Dr. Rolando Enrique(Philippines), Dr Yasuhiro Fujiwara(Japan), Chenyan Gao(China), Dr. Choong May Ling(Singapore), Dr. Penny Lukito(Indonesia), Dr. In-Sook Park (Republic of Korea), and Dr Renu Swarup (India) along with ADB Health Sector Group Chief Dr Patrick Osewe and World Health Organization Health Systems and Services Director for the Western Pacific Dr Martin Taylor.
Dr. Renu Swarup is the Secretary heading the Department of Biotechnology Secretary under the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.
Efforts of ADB to support DMCs:
The ADB has developed a 500-million-dollar vaccine import facility to work with the private sector to provide support for the vaccine storage logistics and distribution and provide 77 million dollars in technical assistance to support DMCs to procure medical supplies and to roll out vaccine programmes.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966.
President– Masatsugu Asakawa
Headquarters– Metro Manila, Philippines

BRICS agreed to STI-led BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan (2021-24) proposed by India

The 12th meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) S&T (Science & Technology) Steering Committee was hosted by Department of Science and Technology (DST), India where Indian was represented by Sanjeev Kumar Varshney, Advisor & Head International Cooperation. It was attended by scientific ministries and agencies of all BRICS countries. During the meeting BRICS member countries have agreed to a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)-led BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan (2021-24) proposed by India.

1st meeting of India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue held virtually

.The 1st meeting of the United Kingdom (UK)-India Financial Markets Dialogue (FMD) was held virtually to deepen bilateral ties in the financial sector. It was led by senior officials from the Indian Ministry of Finance and Her Majesty’s Treasury from the UK.
ii.FMD was held on the lines of the 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) which was held virtually in October 2020 where UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak and India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman agreed for the creation of FMD.
iii.Both sides agreed to strengthen financial services cooperation between India and the UK.
About the United Kingdom (UK):
Capital– London
Currency– Pound sterling
River Severn is the longest river in the UK, whereas the 2nd longest river, River Thames flows through the capital city of London.

INS Tabar participated in Maritime Partnership Exercise with Italian Navy on Tyrrhenian Sea

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar participated in a Maritime Partnership Exercise with ITS Antonio Marceglia, a frontline frigate of the Italian Navy, on 4- 5 July in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
i.They conducted a wide range of naval operations including – Air defence procedures, replenishment at sea, communication drills and cross deck helo operations by day and night.
ii.INS Tabar is currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, visited Italy’s Port of Naples on 3 July
iii.INS Tabar is a Talwar class vessel, which has the capability to be equipped with supersonic BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles and Barak 1 missiles
iv.Notably, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane visited Italy on 7th July and inaugurated an “Indian Army Memorial” at Cassino, Italy
About Indian Navy:
Chief of the Naval Staff – Admiral Karambir Singh
Founded – 26 January 1950
INS Arihant – India’s 1st Indigenously built Nuclear Submarine, jointly developed by Indian Navy, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)

Human-wildlife conflict among Greatest Threats to Animal Species: WWF & UNEP report

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report titled ‘A future for all – the need for human-wildlife coexistence’ which states that world’s most iconic species are in threat due to conflict between humans and animals as one of the key reason. The analysis of the report is based upon the contributions from 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries. Empower gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972. Utilise add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PM-FBY) for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC.

Points to be noted:
i.India will be most-affected by human-wildlife conflict because it has the world’s second-largest human population as well as large populations of tigers, Asian elephants, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions and other species.
ii.WWF India during 2003-2004 developed the Sonitpur Model by which community members were connected with the state Forest Department and given training on how to work with them to drive elephants away from crop fields safely and human habitations.


Indian Army names firing range in Gulmarg as ‘Vidya Balan Firing Range’

Indian Army named a military firing range in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir as “Vidya Balan Firing Range”. This comes as a move to honour the veteran Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, for her varied accomplishments in the field of Cinema & as a woman. Notably, she was the only actor to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the governing body behind the Oscars.

Nitin Gadkari virtually addressed the 16th Annual Conference on “Road Development in India”

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari virtually participated in the 16th Annual Conference on “Road Development in India”. The conference was organised by India Infrastructure Publishing, a leading provider of information on the infrastructure sectors.

Objective – To discuss emerging trends in roadways & with special focus on import substitution, cost-effective, pollution-free alternative fuel.
Overview of the Conference:
i.India surpassed its targets and constructed over 13,000 km of national highways in 2020-21, averaging 37 km per day
ii.Indian Government will invest 1.4 trillion dollars (Rs 111 lakh crores) in infrastructure development through the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)
iii.Total Capital investment on Road Sector has an allocation of Rs 20 trillion under the NIP for 2020-25, with major focus on Bharatmala Programme
iv.National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to construct 22 new expressways and economic corridors across by 2025, with an investment of around Rs 3 trillion
v.India Targets to construct 60,000 km National highways at the rate of 40 km per day
About Ministry of Road Transport & Highways:
Union Minister – Nitin Gadkari (Constituency – Nagpur, Maharashtra)
Minister of State – VK Singh (Constituency – Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh)

India, Nepal sign LoE to revise 2004 India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement

India & Nepal signed a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to revise the 2004 India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA). The revised agreement will facilitate the import and export of goods through the Indian railway freight services and will come into force from 9th July, 2021. The revised agreement aims to increase the efficiency, and cost-competitiveness of the rail freight sector. It is seen as a step by India to enhance regional connectivity under the ‘Neighbourhood First’

Revised RSA Agreement
i.The revised pact permits all types of cargo train operators (public, private, special freight, automobile) authorized by the Indian Railways (IR) to use the Indian Railway Network for carrying Nepal’s container and freight – both bilateral between India & Nepal or Third country from Indian ports to Nepal.
ii.The Revised pact will benefit the Nepalese traders, transporters and consumers as it will reduce transportation costs for automobiles and certain other products whose carriage takes place in special wagons.
Background of RSA – 2004 & LoE
RSA was executed on 21.05.2004 between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Supplies (now Ministry of Commerce), Nepal for introduction of freight train services between the two countries to/from Birgun (Nepal) via Raxaul (India). It acts as a guide for the rail movement between India & Nepal.
About Indian Railways
Chairman & CEO of Railway Board – Suneet Sharma
Headquarters – New Delhi

Industrial Land Bank System to get Pan-India integration by Dec 2021

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry indicated that the India Industrial Land Bank (IILB) will achieve pan-India integration by December 2021. IILB is a GIS (geographic information system) based portal that acts as an repository for industrial infrastructure-related information, including connectivity, infrastructure, natural resources and terrain, plot-level information on vacant plots, line of activity, and contact details.

About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
Union Minister– Piyush Vedprakash Goyal (Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra)
Minister of State (MoS)– Anupriya Singh Patel (Constituency-Mirzapur,Uttar Pradesh), Shri Som Parkash (Constituency-Hoshiarpur, Punjab)


India’s Might Face 3rd Covid-19 Wave from August 2021: SBI report

The report by the State Bank of India (SBI) named ‘Covid-19: the race to finishing line’, projected India to face the 3rd wave of the COVID-19 from August 2021, meanwhile, it is expected to reach its peak in September 2021. It also expected India to experience daily Covid-19 cases of around 10,000 from the second week of July 2021. The projections are based on ‘historical trends’.

Finance Ministry Scrapped LIC’s Chairman Post; Replaced it with MD & CEO

The Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, removed the position of chairman from the IPO (Initial Public Offer) bound – Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and replaced it with Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), by making amendments over the LIC Act 1956. The MD and CEOs will be appointed by the Central Government under section 4 of the LIC Act 1956. Currently, LIC has MR Kumar as its chairman and 4 MDs viz, Vipin Anand, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Raj Kumar, and Siddhartha Mohanty.

About Life Insurance Corporation(LIC):
Establishment -1956
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Axis Bank Announced its 1st Transaction in SOFR Linked Derivative

Axis Bank announced its 1st derivative transaction linked to ‘Secured Overnight Financing Rate’ (SOFR), by replacing the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Eg. LIBOR, SOFR, Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (SONIA), etc.

About Axis Bank:
Establishment –1993 (Commenced operation –1994)
MD & CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – Badhtika Naam Zindagi

RBI Issued 10-year G-Sec at Higher Cut-off Yield of 6.10 percent

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued the new 10-year Government Security (G-Sec) (that would mature in 2031), at a cut-off yield of 6.10 percent per annum, higher than the earlier cut-off yield of 5.85 percent.
G-sec Auctions: RBI sold 3 auctions such as New 10-year G-Sec 2031 at 6.10 percent (for Rs 14,000 crore), 2023 G-Sec at 4.3 percent (Rs 3,000 crore), and 2061 G-Sec at 7.18 percent (for Rs 9,000 crore). Through the 3 auctions, an aggregate of Rs 26,000 crore was raised by the government.

About Primary and Secondary market:
i.Primary Market: It is a financial market in which the new stocks and bonds are sold to the public for the 1st time through different types of issues like IPO (Initial Public Offer). Under the primary market, the investors could purchase securities directly from the issuer.

ii.Secondary Market: It is the market in which it contains the previously issued financial instruments such as stocks, Equity shares, bonds, preference shares, treasury bills, debentures, etc. from the primary market. The financial instruments in the secondary market would be traded by market participants.


Samir Banerjee: Indian-American wins Wimbledon boys singles title, all you need know!

Indian-American Samir Banerjee won his first junior Grand Slam singles title by beating Victor Lilov in the Wimbledon boys' singles final on July 11, 2021.

The 17-year-old was playing his second junior Grand Slam and he became the new Junior Boys Wimbledon champion with a straight-sets (7-5, 6-3) win over Victor Lilov. The Wimbledon boys' singles lasted for one hour and 22 minutes.
Banerjee's first appearance in a Junior Grand Slam event was at this year’s French Open, in which he crashed out in the first round. He is currently ranked 19 in the world among junior boys.

Pawan Singh Becomes 1st Ever Indian juror at Tokyo Olympics

Pawan Singh, Joint Secretary-General of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), has become the 1st ever Indian juror to be selected to officiate an Olympics Games. The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) has selected Pawan Singh as a juror to officiate at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in shooting sports. He has been selected as one of the 4 RTS (Result, Timing, Score) Jury members. Other than jury members from Japan (Host country), he is the only jury member in Rifle/pistol discipline from Asian countries.

About Pawan Singh:
i.Pawan Singh is a former rifle shooter and shooting coach for the Indian team.
ii.Pawan Singh has been the competition manager of the ISSF World Cup held in New Delhi in 2017.
iii.He is also a member of the ISSF’s RTS juries and has officiated various World Cup events.
iv.He was also the first Indian official to conduct the ISSF B License Judges course in China.
v.He is the founder and director of the Gun for Glory Shooting Academy in Balewadi, Pune, Maharashtra.


Indian Researchers spot rare SuperLuminous Supernova

A Team of Indian Researchers spotted the very rare SuperLuminous Supernova (SLSNe) using the special arrangements at India’s Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT-3.6 m), Nainital, Uttarakhand along with 2 other Indian telescopes – Sampurnanand Telescope (1.04 m), Nainital & Himalayan Chandra Telescope (2.0 m) in Ladakh. The study was led by Amit Kumar, a Ph.D. student working under Dr. S.B. Pandey. It has been published in the monthly notices of the UK-based Royal Astronomical Society. The study established the role of DOT 3.6 in exploring very rare and distant SLSNe in the future.
About Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)
Director – Prof. Dipankar Banerjee
Location – Manora Peak, Nainital, Uttarakhand

FAA develops New Tool to Limit Disruptions caused by Space Operations

USA’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed a new tool called ‘Space Data Integrator (SDI)’ which will help in better tracking of rocket launches and space vehicles returning to Earth, it will help in shortening the time that airspaces are closed. During space operations, airspaces around the area of space operation are closed due to safety reasons. Due to this, Airlines reroute flights causing them to burn more fuel and fall behind schedule. A single launch can affect hundreds of flights. The new tool addresses this problem by automating the near-instant delivery of data about a space vehicle’s flight path (Telemetry data) to the USA’s Air Traffic Control System. At present, the sharing of data between the entities and air traffic control managers was done manually. The instant delivery of data will help in reopening the airspace more quickly and reduce the number of aircraft and other airspace users affected by a launch or reentry.

About Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Administrator – Steve Dickson
Headquarters – Washington D.C., USA

Haiti’s Senate Named Joseph Lambert as Interim President of Haiti

Haiti’s Senate, the upper house of the Haitian Parliament, adopted a resolution declaring Joseph Lambert, President of the Haitian Senate as the interim President of Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Joseph Lambert will take over as head of state until 7th February 2022, when the term of Jovenel Moise ends. He will take the constitutional oath in Parliament and take charge of the functions to form a new government.

RBI Approved 3-year Extension to Federal Bank’s MD & CEO – Shyam Srinivasan

On July 09, 2021, the Reserve bank of India (RBI) approved the re-appointment of Shyam Srinivasan as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Federal Bank for 3 years i.e. from September 23, 2021, to September 22, 2024.
i.This extension was held as a backdrop of the RBI’s recent circular over the tenure of the MD & CEO’s of private sector banks.
ii.In April 2021, RBI fixed 15 years as the tenure for the MD & CEOs/Whole-Time Directors(WTDs) to hold their post in a bank. Click here to know more
About Shyam Srinivasan:
i.He joined the Federal Bank as its MD & CEO in September 2010, in July 2020, his tenure was increased to 1 year i.e. till September 2021 by RBI (as per the board of bank’s request).
ii.After the current extension Shyam Srinivasan has become the longest-serving MD & CEO of the bank after the bank’s founder, K P Hormis.
Note – Earlier in 2021, a term extension for 3 years was given by RBI to Chandra Shekhar Ghosh as the MD &CEO of Bandhan bank, and it also had approved a 1-year extension to Vishwavir Ahuja as the MD &CEO of RBL Bank Ltd.
About Federal Bank Limited:
Establishment – April 23, 1931 (as Travancore Federal Bank Limited), December 2, 1949 (Renamed as Federal Bank Ltd)
Headquarters – Aluva, Kerala
Tagline – Your Perfect Banking Partner

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