Current Affairs

13 December, 2021

International

PM Narendra Modi Attended the Closed-door Session of the 1st Summit for Democracy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has participated in the closed-door virtual Summit Session of the 1st summit for democracy which was convened by United States President Joe Biden. India was among the 12 countries invited to attend the Summit for Democracy Leaders’ Plenary Session. The summit focuses on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

UNICEF: COVID-19 Biggest Global Crisis to Child Progress in UNICEF’s 75 Years

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UNICEF(United Nations Children’s Fund), UNICEF released a report titled “Preventing a lost decade: Urgent action to reverse the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children and young people. The report states that children were most affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making this the biggest threat to progress for children in our 75-year history. The report outlines our current work by taking into account the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on children and the response and recovery path for each child in the future.

Problems of COVID-19:
i.Without proper action, the world will face a lost decade for children, leaving the Sustainable Development Goals an impossible dream.
ii.In less than 2 years around 100 million children have fallen into poverty, this is around 10% increase since 2019.
Dangers:
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Around 1 billion children across the globe and around 50% of all the children in developing countries, suffered at least one severe deprivation without access to minimum levels of education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation, or water.

India re-elected to International Maritime Organisation Council for 2022-2023

India has been re-elected to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council for the 2022-2023 biennium under category B states. The Assembly of the International Maritime Organization has elected the Members of its Council for the 2022-2023 biennium. The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. The Council performs the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.

Candidates for IMO Council:
i.Category (a) 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services: China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States.

ii.Category (b) 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:

India, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates.

iii.For Category (c) 20 States which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Vanuatu.

Note – The newly elected Council will meet, following the conclusion of the 32nd Assembly, for its 126th session (on December 15) and will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium.
About International Maritime Organization (IMO):
i.IMO is the United Nations’ specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.
ii.IMO currently has 175 Member States and three Associate Members.

India Ranked 66th at the Global Health Security Index 2021; USA Tops

As per the Global Health Security (GHS) Index 2021, the world’s average overall GHS Index score was reduced to 38.9 (out of 100) in 2021, from a score of 40.2 in the GHS Index, 2019. India ranked 66 out of 195 countries with an overall Index score of 42.8 and along with a change of -0.8 from 2019. The United States of America (USA) ranked 1st on the index with a score of 75.9 followed by Australia and Finland. No countries scored in the top tier (no country scored above 75.9) of the GHS index, with 58 percent of countries scoring below average for rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic.

Note – India ranked 57th in the GHS Index 2019 with a score of 46.5 out of 100.
Overall ranking of GHS Index 2021:

Rank Country Score Change from 2019
66 India 42.8 -0.8
1 United States of America 75.9 -0.3
2 Australia 71.1 -2.1
3 Finland 70.9 -1.1
4 Canada 69.8 +2.2
5 Thailand 68.2 -0.7

About GHS Index:
It is an assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries. It is developed in partnership with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. It was 1st launched in October 2019.

National

UP, Delhi, Karnataka leads in Total Registered EVs in India

During the Winter Session of the Parliament, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, informed the Rajya Sabha on the state of Electric Vehicles (EV) in India. As per the data release, India has a total of 870,141 registered EVs, with Uttar Pradesh (UP) holding the top spot with 255,700 registered EVs. UP is followed by Delhi (125,347), Karnataka (72,544), Bihar (58,014) and Maharashtra (52,506) in successive positions.

GST on EVs:
The Central Government of India has reduced the Goods & Service Tax (GST) on Electric Vehicles & related products. GST on EVs – 5% (previously 12%) GST on EV Chargers & Charging Stations – 5% (previously 18%)

About Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH):
Union Minister – Nitin Jairam Gadkari (Constituency – Nagpur, Maharashtra)
Minister of State – Vijay Kumar Singh (Constituency – Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh)

MoD signs MoU with IITE, Gandhinagar for Training 800 Sainik School teachers

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Teacher Education (IITE), Gandhinagar to facilitate training for 800 teachers of Sainik Schools. The MoU is signed for 5 years with effect from January 2022. Under the partnership, around more than 800 teachers from all Sainik Schools will be trained through courses named ‘Gurudiksha’ and ‘Pratibaddhta’. The MoU was signed in New Delhi by Rakesh Mittal, Joint Secretary (Land & Works) and Honorary Secretary, Sainik Schools Society (SSS), (on behalf of MoD); and Himanshu Patel, Registrar of IITE.

About Sainik Schools
These are a system of schools established and managed by the Sainik Schools Society under Ministry of Defence (MoD) to prepare students mentally and physically for entry into the NDA and Indian Naval Academy (INA).
Sainik schools were formed in 1961 by V. K. Krishna Menon, the then Defence Minister of India, to rectify the regional and class imbalance amongst the Officer cadre of the Indian Military.
About Ministry of Defence (MoD):
Union Minister – Raj Nath Singh (Constituency – Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State – Ajay Bhatt (Constituency – Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, Uttarakhand)

ISRO, Oppo India Collaborates to Strengthen R&D of NavIC Messaging Service

An agreement has been inked between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Chinese smart devices maker Oppo’s Indian arm to strengthen the Research and Development (R&D) of the NavIC messaging service, an Indian satellite navigation system. NavIC, an acronym for Navigation with Indian Constellation, aims to provide a user-friendly platform.

What is in the agreement?
i.As a part of pact, Oppo India will support ISRO with its R&D capabilities to provide a seamless experience to the users of the NavIC application. There will be an exchange of technical information between ISRO and Oppo.

ii.Oppo will also use NavIC messaging service in its future mobile handset sold in India.
iii.This agreement will also enable both entities for future collaborations to develop indigenous solutions.
What is NavIC?
It is the regional geo-positioning system designed in India by ISRO to provide accurate PNT (Position, Navigation, and Timing) of the Indian mainland and an area up to 1,500 km beyond the Indian mainland. It is equivalent to American GPS (Global Positioning System), Russia’s Glonass and Galileo developed by Europe. NavIC is also capable of broadcasting short messages/safety-of-life alerts in areas with poor or no communication, particularly in the oceans. Also, NavIC is powered by dual frequency (S and L bands) while GPS is dependent only on L band making it more accurate than GPS.

Points to be noted:
i.Oppo phones currently have GPS and Beidou global positioning services.
ii.Currently, Xiaomi is the only company to have used the NavIC on its phones. It collaborated with ISRO for the same in 2020.

iii.The Redmi Note 9 series and the Redmi Note 10 Lite also support NavIC navigation.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Chairman– Kailasavadivoo Sivan

Economy

India’s recovery projected to be higher than other BRICS Nations: BRICS Economic Bulletin 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the 2nd edition of BRICS Economic Bulletin 2021 which is prepared by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) Research Group with members from BRICS central banks. The CRA Research Group is responsible to enhance research, economic analysis and surveillance capacity of the BRICS. This bulletin has addressed the theme of ‘Navigating the Ongoing Pandemic: The BRICS Experience of Resilience and Recovery’. It has covered various factors like economic recovery and its divergences, inflation risks, external sector performances, financial sector vulnerabilities and other macroeconomic risks.

Kotak General Insurance partners Vasai Vikas Sahakari Bank to offer Insurance Solutions

Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Ltd (Kotak General Insurance), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, and Vasai Vikas Sahakari Bank Ltd has entered into a partnership to provide the bank’s customers access to a range of insurance solutions. Under this agreement, Vasai Vikas Sahakari Bank Ltd. will offer Kotak General Insurance’s comprehensive suite of general and health insurance products to its customers across its network of 21 branches. The insurance products will mitigate the risks and secure the assets and health of the customers.

Note – India is one of the countries with the lowest General Insurance penetration.
About Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Ltd
MD & CEO – Suresh Agarwal
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Vasai Vikas Sahakari Bank:
Establishment – October 1984 (Commenced Operation)
CEO – Dilip Sant
Headquarter – Palghar, Maharashtra

IPPB and NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited collaborated for Doorstep Bill Payments Service

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) partnered with NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited (NBBL) to facilitate pan India doorstep bill payments service for IPPB and non-IPPB customers. NBBL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The platform enables customers to pay bills for various utilities and other recurring services.

About NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd (NBBL):
Establishment– 2021
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Noopur Chaturvedi

Sports

World Chess Championship 2021-Magnus Carlsen wins his 5th Title Defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, the defending Champion won his 5th World Chess Championship after defeating Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021’s World Chess Championship that was organised by FIDE (the International Chess Federation) at Dubai, UAE.i.Magnus Carlsen won the finals, with 7.5-3.5, against his Russian opponent Ian Nepomniachtchi.
ii.Game 6 of the finals saw the longest game in the history of the championship, which lasted a record 136 moves, and for 15 minutes short of 8 hours.
iii.Magnus Carlsen has previously won the Championship in 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2018.
About World Chess Championship:
Magnus Carlsen has been holding the Championship since 2013, when he defeated India’s Viswanathan Anand in the 2013 Championship finals. Magnus Carlsen is also the FIDE World No.1 Chess player since 2011.
Organiser – FIDE (the International Chess Federation)
Frequency – Conducted once in 2-years
i.Previously, the 2020 edition was shifted to 2021, and the next edition will be held in 2023.

Miscellaneous

DRDO successfully tests extended range Pinaka at Pokhran Range, Rajasthan

The Extended Range Pinaka (Pinaka-ER) Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System was successfully tested at Pokhran Range, Rajasthan. The system has been designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) laboratory, Pune (Maharashtra), and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune. The new Pinaka ER gives it a range of around 70 km, over the 45 km existing range of the missile which has been with the Indian forces for nearly a decade.

UN appoints Catherine Russell as Executive Director of UNICEF

The United Nation (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Catherine Russell as the Executive Director of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Russell will succeed Henrietta Fore, who resigned in July 2021.
Note– The United States is the largest funder of UNICEF.
About United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Establishment – 11 December 1946
Headquarters – New York, United States
India Representative at UNICEF– Dr Yasmin Ali Haque

Prof Neena Gupta awarded 2021 DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians

Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata, West Bengal has been awarded the 2021 DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from developing countries. The award recognized her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. With this, she became the third woman to receive the Ramanujan Prize after Sujatha Ramdorai, in 2006 and Brazil’s Carolina Bhering de Araujo in 2020. In 2014, she was conferred with the Young Scientists Award of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) for solving the Zariski cancellation problem, a fundamental problem in Algebraic Geometry.

About Ramanujan Prize:
Established in 2005, it is administered jointly by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI), and the International Mathematical Union (IMU). It is given annually to an eminent Mathematician who is less than 45 years of age and has conducted outstanding research in developing countries. The DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize committee is composed of eminent mathematicians from around the world.

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Daily Current Affairs | 20th January 2022

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