Current Affairs

12 May, 2021


Nirmala Sitharaman participates in 54th Annual Meeting of ADB 2021

Union Minister of Finance & ADB’s Governor for India Nirmala Sitharaman participated in ADB’s 54th Annual Meeting 2021, which took place virtually from May 3-5, 2021.
ADB’s 5 Point Agenda
Ahead of the 54th Annual Meeting, ADB outlined an 5-point agenda to achieve lasting equitable recovery in Asia and the Pacific in the Post COVID-19 era. They are climate actions, addressing inequality, green and digital infrastructure, strengthening regional cooperation and enhancing domestic resource mobilization.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
Headquarters – Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines
Members – 68 (including India)
Establishment year – 1966

Japan, UNDP India joint efforts to Boost Oxygen Supply in India’s NE Region

The Government of Japan & United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India have partnered to provide oxygen generation plants to the North Eastern (NE) Region in India. The entities will procure and install 8 Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants in the states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. UNDP, India has already been supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with digitization of the supply chain of vaccines & tracking beneficiaries to ensure better access and coverage. India is facing a severe shortage of Medical Oxygen in the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


MoAFW Formulated Special Kharif Strategy To Achieve Self Sufficiency In Pulses

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare(MoAFW) formulated a special Kharif strategy for implementation in the ensuing Kharif 2021 season. The strategy aims to attain self-sufficiency in the production of pulses. A detailed plan for the expansion and productivity enhancement of Tur, Moong and Urad has been formulated through consultations with the state governments. For the 2021 Kharif season more than 20 lakh seed mini kits, 10 times more than 2020-2021, amounting to around Rs. 82 crores are proposed to be distributed. The total cost of these kits will be borne by the Central government. The kits used for the intercropping and sole crop will cover around 4.05 lakh hectare area in the 2021 Kharif season.

MoEFCC notifies area around Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified 48.32 Square Kilometres area around the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS), Thane, Maharashtra as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ). The 48.32 Sq Km notified area extends from 0 – 3.89 km from the boundary of TCFS, which is spread across Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai. ESZ will act as a buffer zone for protected areas and reduce the developmental pressures around a wildlife sanctuary or national park. ESZ is notified by MoEFCC under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
About Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC)
Union Minister – Prakash Javadekar (Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra)
Minister of State – Babul Supriyo (Lok Sabha – Asansol, West Bengal)

IIT Madras, MPFI partner to boost Digital Money Transactions in India

Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) & members of Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI) are set to work together for boosting digital money transactions in India. The two entities will develop voice-based solutions, especially in multiple vernacular languages to enable larger adoption of digital money transactions in India. As part of the collaboration, IIT Madras will work on key technical areas like Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (AI), applied to the digital payments space. The collaboration is part of MPFI’s efforts to achieve 500 million active UPI users in India by 2025. At present, there are more than 100 million active UPI users every month in India. Union Government in its budget for the FY 2021-22 has allocated INR 1, 500 Crore for increasing the adoption of digital payments.
About Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras)
Director – Bhaskar Ramamurthi
Location – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
About Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI)
Chairman – Dr Gaurav Raina

NITI Aayog & Mastercard release report on Digitally Inclusive Bharat

NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) & Mastercard released a report titled ‘Connected Commerce: Creating a Roadmap for a Digitally Inclusive Bharat’. FTI Consulting was the Research and Curation Partner of the report. It identifies the challenges in accelerating digital financial inclusion in India and provides recommendations for making digital services accessible to 1.3 Billion citizens of India. The report was released by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and other key persons. NITI Aayog was the knowledge partner in the five roundtable discussions based on which the report has been prepared.
About Mastercard
CEO – Michael Miebach
Headquarters – New York, USA


RBI Revised the Guidelines for Private Banks to Undertake Govt Business; Amended the Master Direction on KYC.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), revised the existing guidelines on “Appointment of Scheduled Private Sector Banks as Agency Banks of RBI” for authorising Scheduled Private Sector Banks as agency banks of RBI for conducting government (Central and/or State) business.
About the revised guidelines:
i.The Private Sector Agency Banks which already have agency banking agreements with RBI were authorized to continue the government agency business for Central and/or State Governments without taking any fresh approval from RBI.
ii.For private sector banks that not having agency banking agreement with RBI and if wish to undertake government business, it will be approved by RBI only if it is not under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of the RBI.
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das

Federal Bank ties up with Mashreq Bank of UAE to offer money transfer

Federal Bank has entered into a strategic tie-up with Mashreq Bank of UAE, to facilitate money transfers from the UAE to India. The partnership will support Mashreq’s payment product “QuickRemit”, which was launched in 2017. The agreement made Mashreq bank as the first bank in the UAE to offer instant and same day credit facility to so many places, including the UK, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka and majority of European countries.
• Personal inward remittances to India has a market share of 17%.
• Federal Bank, a major player in the personal inward remittance space with around 90 remittance arrangements across the globe.
About Mashreq Bank:
Mashreq Bank has a presence in twelve countries across Europe, US, Asia and Africa. It is also the only privately-owned bank in the UAE.
Chief Executive Officer(CEO):Ahmed Abdelaal
About Federal Bank:
Director(MD)& Chief Executive Officer(CEO):Shyam Srinivasan
Tagline:Your Perfect Banking Partner

Muthoot Finance tie-up with NIRA to Provide Personal Loans

The Muthoot Finance Limited collaborated with NIRA, a Bangalore-based fintech start-up to strengthen its digital footprint and enhance the personal loans growth. Loan Benefit under the partnership: The salaried customers could avail personal loan up to Rs 1 lakh from Muthoot Finance through the NIRA app (downloadable from Google’s Play store). NIRA fintech is offering small ticket personal loans to salaried customers of India’s middle class. They offer loans to the low-income salaried class starting with an income of Rs 12,000 per month onwards.
About NIRA:
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka
CEO and Co-founder – Rohit Sen
About Muthoot Finance Limited:
Managing Director – George Alexander Muthoot
Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala

ADB launches Asia Pacific Tax Hub to enhance International Tax Cooperation

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched the ‘Asia Pacific Tax Hub’ to enhance International Tax Cooperation.
i.The Hub will create an open and inclusive platform for promoting strategic policy dialogue, improving knowledge sharing & strengthening coordination on tax policy and administration among ADB members and development partners. It will maximise the regional and international resources to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation and international tax cooperation among ADB’s Developing Member Countries (DMCs). The hub will support DMCs on 3 main building blocks – Preparation of Medium-Term Revenue Strategies (MTRS), roadmaps for automation of tax administration, and proactive participation in International Tax Initiatives. ADB will establish a Secretariat to operationalize the hub. The hub will organise a first high-level conference by the end of 2021.


Pakistan’s Babar Azam Wins ICC Players of the Month for April 2021

Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has been named the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for April 2021 for his consistent and stellar performances across all formats in the recently concluded series against South Africa. The ICC Player of the Month Awards recognise and celebrate the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.
Along with Babar, Australian women’s team wicketkeeper-batsman Alyssa Healy also bagged the ICC Women’s Player of The Month accolade for her incredible performances during the month of April. Healy’s consistency with the bat has played a significant role in Australia’s dominance. Healy has shown her class in all conditions and against all types of bowling in the recent series against New Zealand.

New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling to retire after World Test Championship

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling has announced he would be retiring from international cricket after the three Tests, including the World Test Championship final against India, on their upcoming England tour. Watling has played 73 Tests, 28 ODIs and 5 T20Is for the BlackCaps.
Watling became just the 9th wicketkeeper to hit a double hundred and the first to hit a double against England when he did so in Bay Oval in 2019. Watling has been involved in two 350-plus stands, one with Brendon McCullum in 2014 against India and the other with Kane Williamson the following year.


ATMAN AI-DRDO Developed AI Tool for COVID-19 Detection in Chest X-rays

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an artificial intelligence(AI) tool named ATMAN AI for COVID detection from chest X-rays.
DRDO’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), with the support of 5C Network & HCG Academics have developed this AI tool.

Mayflower 400, World’s First AI Ship to Navigate across The Atlantic

World’s First Artificial Intelligence(AI) Ship named “Mayflower 400” is set to Navigate Across Atlantic.It is an Unmanned Vessel & was built by the marine research organization ProMare in collaboration with IBM.
It will begin its transatlantic voyage on May 15, 2021, to track aquatic mammals, analyze plastic in the water, and study marine pollution.

SpaceX to launch DOGE-1 Satellite to the Moon in 2022; to be fully funded by Cryptocurrency

SpaceX is set to launch the ‘DOGE-1’ Satellite to the Moon in 2022. It will accept the cryptocurrency ‘Dogecoin’ as full payment for the mission. It will be the 1st ever commercial lunar payload in history to be paid entirely with a Cryptocurrency. The Satellite is being developed by Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC), and will be launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket.
About SpaceX
Chief Executive Officer – Elon Musk
Headquarters – California, USA

MMFS Extended the Date of Investment in Sri Lanka’s Ideal Finance to September 30, 2021

Due to COVID-19, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services (MMFS) has extended the date of investment of the third and final tranche for the acquisition of shares of Ideal Finance Ltd (from its existing shareholders) to September 30, 2021.
Note – Ideal Finance Ltd, is a Sri Lankan non-banking financial company.
i.On August 20, 2019, a “Share Subscription, Share Purchase and Shareholders’ Agreement” executed by MMFS with Ideal Finance and its existing Shareholders.
ii.As per the agreement, 58.20 percent of the Equity Share Capital of Ideal Finance, has to be subscribed/ acquired by MMFS in one or more tranches, for an amount not exceeding Sri Lankan Rupee 200.30 crore (~ $ 11.25 million, or Rs 80.77 crore) by March 2021.
About the Date Extension:
i.Both MMFS and Ideal Finance have mutually agreed to extend the date of completion of the acquisition of shares by 30th September 2021 (from March-end 2021).
ii.Till now, 38.20 percent of the equity share capital of Ideal Finance was acquired by MMFS, to acquire the remaining shares from existing investors.
About Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services (MMFS):
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Non-Executive Chairman – Anish Shah
Vice-Chairman & MD – Ramesh Iyer
About Ideal Finance Ltd:
Establishment – March 2012
Chairman – Nalin Welgama
Headquarters – Colombo, Sri Lanka
Director/CEO – Duminda Weerasekare

CPP Invests Rs 1,005 cr in Indinfravit for an Additional 15.9% Stake

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) acquired an additional 15.9 percent of the total units in IndInfravit Trust, an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), through 2 separate transactions, for Rs 1,005 crore (~173 million Canadian dollars ). About the deal: CPP Investments has acquired 7 percent of the units from Sadbhav Infrastructure Project, and 8.9 percent from L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd (L&T IDPL).After the acquisition, CPP’s stake in IndInfravit increased from 27.9 percent to 43.8 percent.
About CPP Investments:
Establishment – 1997
President & CEO – John Graham
Headquarters – Toronto, Canada

Jose J Kattoor Appointed as Executive Director of RBI

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has appointed Jose J Kattoor as its Executive Director (ED) with effect from 4th May 2021. He has been serving as the Regional Director for Karnataka at the Bengaluru Regional Office of RBI. His appointment comes after RBI’s Executive Director, T Rabi Sankar appointed as the 4th Deputy Governor of RBI in April 2021. As the ED of RBI he will manage the Human Resource Management Department, Corporate Strategy and Budget Department and Rajbhasha Department.

Arun Kumar Singh Appointed as CMD of BPCL: PESB

Arun Kumar Singh was appointed as the Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) panel.The post was vacant after D.Rajkumar retired in August, 2020. Currently he is serving as Director (Marketing) in BPCL and also holds additional charge of the post of Director (Refineries). Currently, BPCL’s Director (HR) K Padmakar holds the additional charge of the BPCL CMD post. Padmakar was given an additional charge of the post in September 2020 after Rajkumar’s superannuation.
About Arun Kumar Singh:
i.Arun Kumar Singh is a Mechanical Engineer with the first rank from the National Institute of Technology, Patna.

ii.He has also held the position of President (Africa & Australasia) in Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPCL.
iii.He was also a Director on the board of Bharat Gas Resources Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPCL.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres honored Indian UN Peacekeeping officer Yuvraj Singh,

who died in line of duty in 2020, during the UN annual Memorial Service 2021. Permanent Representative of India to UN, T S Tirumurti saluted Yuvraj Singh’s valour and contribution, and conveyed condolences to the family. Corporal Yuvraj Singh was among the 336 UN personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty due to the COVID-19 and related circumstances between January 1 and December 31, 2020.

Justice Gita Mittal became 1st Indian to Receive Arline Pacht Global Vision Award for 2021 by IAWJ

Justice Gita Mittal, Former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) High Court received the Arline Pacht Global Vision Award for 2021 by the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ). She became the first India Judge to receive the honour.
She was declared as one of the recipients of the award. She shared the award with Justice Margarita Luna Ramos of Mexico. The award was presented at IAWJ’s Biennial Conference during the virtual opening ceremony.
About Arline Pacht Global Vision Award:
The Arline Pacht Global Vision Award was instituted by IAWJ in 2016 to recognise the contribution of the sitting or retired women judges to the IAWJ and the goals of IAWJ.
About International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ):
President- Hon. Vanessa Ruiz
Founded in– 1991
Headquarters– Washington, DC, United States
Indian UN Peacekeeping Officer Yuvraj Singh Honored by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Tahera Qutbuddin won 15th annual Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2021;1st Indian to Win the Award

Mumbai born American, Tahera Qutbuddin, Professor of Arabic Literature, Department of NELC, University of Chicago, won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2021 for her book titled “Arabic Oration: Art and Function”. She became the first person from India to win the award. She won the award under the Arab Culture in Other Languages category. The awards under 8 different book categories were announced at the 15th annual Sheikh Zayed Book Award held in Abu Dhabi. The awards will be formally presented to the winners in a digital ceremony in
Category Awardees Book title
Literature Iman Mersal (Egypt) Fee Athar Enayat Al-Zayyat (In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat)
Children’s Literature Mizouni Bannani(Tunisia) Rehlat Fannan (An Artist’s Journey)
Young Author Dr. Asma Muqbil Awad Alahmadi(Saudi Arabia) Eshkalyat Al Thaat Al Saredah Fee Al Rwayah Al Nesaayah Al Saudiah(The Problems of the Narrated Self in the Saudi Feminist Novel, 1999 to 2012: A Critical Study)
Translation Michael Cooperson(translator- United states) Maqamat al-Hariri (Impostures)
Author: Al-Hariri
Literary and Art Criticism Khelil Gouia(Tunisia) Masar Al Tahdeeth fe Al Fonoon Al Tashkelyah, men Al Orsomah ella Al Lawha (The Path of Modernization in the Visual Arts, From Drawing to Painting)
Contribution to the Development of Nations Dr. Saeed El-masry(Egypt) Turath Al Iste’ela’a bayn Al Folklor wa Al Majal Al Deeny (Legacy of Supremacy between Folklore and Religion)
Publishing and Technology Dar Al Jadeed (Lebanon) –
May 2021 in Abu Dhabi.
Other Winners of 2021:

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