Current Affairs

12 June, 2021


World Food Price Index of May 2021 highest since 2011 – FAO

As per the data released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Price Index (WFPI) reached 127.1 points in May 2021, reaching the highest level since September 2021. WFPI measures the monthly changes in the price of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.
i.FAO released the 1st ever forecast of World Cereal Production in 2021, which predicts a record output cereal production of 2.821 billion tonnes.

India Ranked 67th, Switzerland tops in Coursera’s Global Skills Report 2021

As per the ‘Global Skills Report 2021’ released by Coursera, India has been ranked 67th overall globally. Switzerland topped the rankings followed by Luxembourg & Austria. India has been ranked number 55 in business and at number 66 in both technology and data science categories. At the Asia level, Japan has topped the rankings (Global Rank – 4). India has been ranked 16th in the Asian region ahead of Philippines & Thailand. The report is based on performance data of about 77 million learners (from across 100 countries) on the platform collected since the onset of the pandemic. It benchmarks skills proficiency across 3 categories – Business, Technology and data science.
Overall Rank Country
67 India
1 Switzerland
2 Luxembourg
3 Austria

1st Meeting of the ‘India – Australia’ JWG on Cyber Security Cooperation

At the 1st meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Cyber Security Cooperation, held virtually on June 10, 2021, India and Australia agreed to broad-base cooperation in the areas of the digital economy and cyber-enabled critical technologies. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reported about the meeting. The Indian delegation at the meeting was led by Paulomi Tripathi, Director (Oceania), Ministry of External Affairs of India, and Rachel James, Special Advisor, Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, led the Australian delegation.
About Australia:
Capital – Canberra
Prime Minister – Scott Morrison
Currency – Australian dollar

Small Island States experienced an estimated 9% fall in GDP in 2020: UNCTAD Report

According to the 2021 edition of UNCTAD’s (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) ‘Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures’ report, Due to pandemic, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) experienced an estimated fall in GDP of 9% in 2020, compared with a 3.3% decline in other developing countries (Based on IMF data). The report has been published ahead of UNCTAD’s 15th Quadrennial ministerial conference to be held virtually from October 3-7, 2021. It will be hosted by Barbados. SIDS are already facing extreme risk from global warming.


Harsh V Shringla released Stamp to mark 70th Anniversary of India-Germany Tie

Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla released a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 70th anniversary of India-Germany diplomatic relations. Walter J. Lindner, Ambassador of Germany and Vineet Pandey, Secretary, Department of Posts, Government of India were also present during the occasion.
About Germany:
Capital: Berlin
Currency: Euro
President: Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Prime Minister:Angela Merkel

Indian Navy receives 1st Set of 3 MH-60 Romeo Helicopters from the US in July

Indian Navy is set to receive the first set of 3 MH-60 Romeo helicopters, a multi-role helicopter from the United States of America(USA) in July 2021. India and the US have signed a deal of over Rs 15,157 crore (2.13 billion USD) to procure 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin in 2020. The MH-60 Romeo helicopters are equipped with multi-mode radars and night-vision devices along with Hellfire missiles, torpedoes and precision-guided weaponry.

Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar Released a Model Panchayat Citizens Charter

Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) in collaboration with the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) prepared a ‘Model Panchayat Citizens Charter’/ framework for delivery of the services across the 29 sectors, aligning actions with localised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report was released by the Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj – Narendra Singh Tomar, virtually for the Panchayats to adopt & customise.
Objective: To provide services to the people in a time-bound manner, redressing their grievances and improving their lives. By 15th August 2021, Panchayats will be utilising the framework to draw up a Citizens Charter and adopt it through a resolution of the Gram Sabha.
About Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs):
i.PRI is the 3rd tier of government in the rural areas and represents the first level of Government interaction for over 60 percent of the Indian populace.
ii.It was constitutionalized through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grassroots level and rural development.
iii.They are responsible for the delivery of basic services as enshrined under article 243G of the Constitution of India, specifically in the areas of Health & Sanitation, Education, Nutrition, Drinking Water.

IIT Bombay to Launch KCDH; India’s First Center for Digital Health

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has established the Koita Centre for Digital Health (KCDH), India’s first of its kind Center for Digital Health with the contribution from the Koita Foundation.
KCDH will collaborate with government organisations, healthcare technology companies and Healthcare NGO’s
About Koita Foundation:
Founders– Rizwan Koita and Rekha Koita
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Government allocates INR 40, 700 Crore for Waste Management in 2 Lakh villages under SBM-G

The Ministry of Jal Shakti under Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) Phase 2 is set to support around 2 lakh villages to achieve Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) arrangements through an investment of INR 40, 700 Crore during the FY 2021-22. Objective – SBM (G) Phase 2 aims to achieve comprehensive cleanliness in villages (also called Open Defecation Free Plus Status – ODF Plus Status) by focusing on ODF sustainability and ensuring SLWM arrangements in villages).
i.Under SBM-G Phase 2, Around 50 Lakh Individual Household Toilets (IHHLs), 1 Lakh Community toilets, Plastic Waste Management Units in 2400 Blocks of India, Gobardhan projects in 386 Districts, Faecal Sludge Management arrangements in over 250 districts are set to be constructed.
About Ministry of Jal Shakti
Union Minister– Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Rattan Lal Kataria (Ambala, Haryana)

Due to Climate Change India Might Lose 3-10% GDP Annually by 2100: ODI Report

The report ‘The Costs of Climate Change in India: a review of the climate-related risks facing India, and their economic and social costs’ released by the Overseas Development Institute(ODI), a London-based global think tank, stated the possibility for India to lose 3-10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually by 2100 due to climate change. It also estimated the poverty rate of India to rise by 3.5 percent in 2040 due to climate change.
About Overseas Development Institute(ODI):
Headquarters – London, United Kingdom
Chief Executive – Sara Pantuliano

Overview of India’s Export Growth of Agriculture, Organic & Tea during FY 2020-21

India’s export of agriculture and allied products (including marine and plantation products) increased by 17.34 percent to USD 41.25 Billion during 2020-21 (in INR terms the increase was 22.62 percent). Exports during 2020-21 amounted to INR 3.05 lakh crore compared to INR 2.49 lakh crore during 2019-20. India’s Agricultural & Allied Imports for 2020-21 stood at USD 20.67 billion compared to USD 20.64 billion in 2019-20. India’s export figures during 2019-20 stood at USD 35.16 billion. The export figures were stated by Dr Anup Wadhawan, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India during a meeting.

Education Minister releases All India Survey on Higher Education 2019-20 report

Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ released the report of All India Survey on Higher Education 2019-20 (AISHE 2019-20).
i.AISHE Report is released annually by the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education. It provides key performance indicators on the current status of Higher Education (HE) in India. AISHE 2019-20 is the 10th edition in the series of AISHE reports. It is a web-based survey which calculates Indicators of education development such as Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR), Gender Parity Index (GPI) and Per Student Expenditure are calculated from the data.
Indicator Results (for the period 2019-20)
Total Enrolment in Higher Education 3.85 Crore(Uttar Pradesh came at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu)
Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) 27.1%
Gender Parity Index (GPI) 1.01
Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in Higher Education 26
Institution Density 30


ICRA Projected India’s GDP Growth in FY22 at 8.5%

The Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited (ICRA), projected India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in FY22 at 8.5 percent due to decline in COVID-19 cases and easing of restrictions. It forecasted the gross value added (GVA) at basic prices (at constant 2011-12 prices) to grow at 7.3 percent in FY22. In case of accelerated vaccine coverage, ICRA expects India’s GDP expansion in FY22 to 9.5 percent, with a widening upside in Q3 and Q4 of FY22. The agency expects the nominal GDP to expand by 15-16 percent in FY22 and the CPI and WPI inflation to average 5.2 percent and 9.2 percent. Hence the FY22 quarterly GDP growth has been modified by it to 14.9 percent in Q1, 8 percent in Q2, 5.6 percent in Q3, and 7 percent in Q4.

NITI Aayog Recommended Privatisation of Central Bank & Indian Overseas Bank

Government think-tank NITI Aayog has recommended the names of Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) for privatization in the current fiscal (2021-22), as part of the disinvestment process announced in the Union Budget 2021-22. According to the Budget 2021-22,two public sector banks (PSBs) and one general insurance company in 2021-22 will be privatised,as per the new PSE (Public Sector Enterprise) policy for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. Central government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for FY22. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) and Department of Financial Services (DFS) will examine the proposal and discuss legislative changes needed for the privatisation of banks.

Federal Bank Expands its Collaboration with Oracle and Infosys

Federal Bank expanded its collaboration with Oracle and Infosys to provide improved customer experience through the Oracle CX (Customer Experience) platform. Under the collaboration, an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution across marketing, sales, customer service, and social listening will be created to improve Federal Bank’s operations and to deliver customer experiences across touchpoints. To achieve a ‘Single Source of Truth’, Federal Bank plans to launch a single application with a 360-degree view of the customer portfolio for its users. Oracle will co-innovate the application by partnering with the ecosystem of Infosys.


BharatPe becomes ICC’s official partner till 2023

Lending and digital payments startup, BharatPe has announced that it has inked a three-year-long deal to become an official partner with International Cricket Council (ICC). As per the agreement, BharatPe will promote the association across broadcast and digital platforms, as well as execute in-venue brand activations at all the ICC events until 2023.
The key tournaments include the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (Southampton, UK 2021), Men’s T20 World Cup (India, 2021), Men’s T20 World Cup (Australia, 2022), Women’s World Cup (New Zealand, 2022), U19 Cricket World Cup (West Indies, 2022), Women’s T20 World Cup (South Africa, 2022), Men’s Cricket World Cup (India, 2023) and World Test Championship (2023).
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
Chief Executive Officer of BharatPe: Ashneer Grover;
Headoffice of BharatPe: New Delhi;
BharatPe Founded: 2018.

Aruna Tanwar Became the 1st Indian to Qualify for the Paralympic Games in Taekwondo

A 5-time national champion, Aruna Tanwar was awarded a wild card entry for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games, which will make her the 1st Taekwondo athlete from India to qualify for the Paralympics. Indian Taekwondo president Namdev Shirgaonkar stated Aruna Tanwar as the 1st Indian to qualify for competing in the global multi-para sport event. Tokyo Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5, 2021. She has finished on the podium in the last 4 years at both Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships and World Para-Taekwondo Championships. She is currently World No. 4 in the women’s U-49 category.
Note – Top three of a competition are referred to as podiums or podium finishes.


I-STEM Portal to provide Free Access to COMSOL Multiphysics software suite

Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM), the national portal for sharing R&D facilities, and the COMSOL group have entered into partnership for Indian academic users to access the COMSOL Multiphysics software suite using the I-STEM portal. It is the first of its kind in India. COMSOL software suite developed by COMSOL Group is used globally as a tool for a variety of computer simulations for a variety of computer simulations for R&D and also for learning and instruction. The suite will be hosted on the cloud server to provide user friendly access from anywhere in India. It will assist many students and researchers in India, especially those in remote and less-endowed institutions. Dr Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser launched the COMSOL Platform and the Library of Calibration Standards.

TOI-1231 b : A Cooler Exoplanet with Water Clouds Discovered

A Team of International Astronomers, discovered an exoplanet located 90 light-years away from Earth which has a Cooler atmosphere (57 Celsius) and has the possibility of having water clouds. The exoplanet called “TOI-1231 b”, orbits an M-type, dwarf star in 24 days.
i.TOI-1231 b, with almost the size of Neptune, was discovered using NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
Established – July 1958
NASA Administrator – Bill Nelson
Chief Scientist – Jim Green

BharatPe marks its First Acquisition by acquiring Payback India

Digital Payment application BharatPe has acquired 100 percent stakes of multi-brand loyalty platform PAYBACK India from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund which hold 90 percent and 10 percent stake respectively in the entity. This is the first-ever acquisition by BharatPe. Payback India becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of BharatPe
Managing Director(MD): Pramod Mahanta
Chief Executive Officer(CEO): Rijish Raghavan
About BharatPe:
Founded: 2018
Co Founder & Chief Executive Officer(CEO): Ashneer Grover
Headquarters: New Delhi

GC Chaturvedi Reappointed As Part-Time Chairman of ICICI Bank

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has approved the re-appointment of Girish Chandra Chaturvedi(GC Chaturvedi) as the part-time Chairman of ICICI Bank for a period of three years starting July 1, 2021. Reappointment was approved earlier by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting held on August 14, 2020.
About Girish Chandra Chaturvedi:
i.Girish Chandra Chaturvedi was an IAS Officer, Uttar Pradesh (1977 Batch).
ii.He served as the Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
iii.Currently he is the Chairman of the National Stock Exchange also.
About ICICI Bank:
Corporate Office: Mumbai,Maharashtra
Established: 1994
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Director(CEO):Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline:Hum Hai Na,Khayal Apka

R S Sodhi MD of GCMMF Honoured with APO’s Asia Pacific Productivity Champion of 2020

Dr. Rupinder Singh Sodhi (RS Sodhi) is Managing Director(MD) of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation(GCMMF), Ltd., (AMUL) was honoured with the Asia Pacific Productivity Champion 2020, the regional award of Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Tokyo, Japan. The award recognises India’s enhanced productivity and efficient milk supply chain in the world. He was nominated for the award by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. R S Sodhi became the first Indian to receive this award in the past 20 years.

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