Current Affairs

14 January, 2022


India’s Passport Ranked 83rd on Henley’s Passport Index Q1-2022; Japan & Singapore Tops

As per the ‘Henley Passport Index: Q1 2022 Global Ranking’, released by Henley & Partners, India has been ranked as 83rd Most Powerful Passport (with the visa-free score – 60). India’s ranking has improved by 7 places from 90th in Q4 2021. The index has been topped by Japan and Singapore as they allow visa-free travel to 192 countries to their passport holders. Notably, this is the 4th consecutive year that Japan has been in the top spot. India ranked 83 as it allows its passport holders to travel to 60 countries without the need of a prior visa.
Henley Passport Index: Q1 2022 Global Ranking:
Rank Country Visa-free score
83 India; Sao Tome and Principe 60
Top 3 1 Japan; Singapore 192
2 Germany; South Korea 190
3 Finland; Italy; Luxembourg; Spain 189
Bottom 3 109 Syria 29
110 Iraq 28
111 Afghanistan 26
About Henley & Partners:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Juerg Steffen
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom


Indian Railways renames ‘Kevadiya Station’ as ‘Ekta Nagar Railway Station’

The Ministry of Railways approved the renaming of the Kevadiya railway station under the Vadodara division of Narmada district (Gujarat) as the Ekta Nagar railway station. The new station code of Ekta Nagar railway station will use the station code EKNR and the numerical code of the station will be 08224620.
About Ministry of Railways:
Union Minister- Ashwini Vaishnaw (Rajya Sabha Odisha)
Minister of State- Danve Raosaheb Dadarao (Jalna, Maharashtra), Darshana Vikram Jardosh (Surat, Gujarat)

Dr Jitendra Singh Launches AI Driven Start-Up for Water Purification;MoU Signed Between TDB & Swajal Water Private Limited

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology (S&T), Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space Dr Jitendra Singh launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Start-Up by Indian Institute Technology (IIT) alumni for water purification through innovative technology with financial support from Technology Development Board (TDB). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between TDB, a statutory body of the Department of S&T and Swajal Water Private Limited.

Aim – To provide clean drinking water at a lower price than the market price.
About the AI Project:
i.This project will empower communities to plan & monitor drinking water needs with community ownership with affordable, accessible, reliable, and clean drinking water 24×7 throughout the year (365 days).
ii.The company’s patented system, ‘Clairvoyant’ uses artificial intelligence to optimise purification systems and predict future breakdowns.
iii.They have also developed clean drinking water solutions in the form of Water Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which use solar energy combined with internet of Things (IoT) to pump water from rivers, wells, ponds or groundwater depending upon the location. The pumped water is then treated with appropriate technology to make the water healthy and pure for drinking. The cost of purified water can be brought down to as low as 25 paise per litre.

iv.This helps in achieving India’s target of providing clean drinking water to all by 2024.
Note – The Center has launched National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), Jal Jeevan Mission and state-of-the-art Heli-borne survey technology for groundwater management for providing clean drinking water for households.
About Swajal Water Private Limited:
CEO and Co-founder – Vibha Tripathi
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana

PM Modi Inaugurated MSME Technology Centre & Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam in Puducherry

On the occasion of the National Youth Day 2022, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated an ‘MSME Technology Centre’, which will function under the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), in Puducherry.

The centre was inaugurated during the inauguration event of the 25th National youth Festival (12th & 13th January 2022) in Puducherry. He also inaugurated the ‘Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam’, a modern auditorium with an open-air theatre in Puducherry.

About the Centre:
i.The technology centre was built at a cost of ~Rs 122 crore with a focus on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector.
ii.This will contribute to train around 6400 trainees per year.
About Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam:
i.The auditorium, which can accommodate more than 1000 people, was constructed at a cost of ~Rs 23.15 crore funded under Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO) loan assistance.
ii.The auditorium with an open-air theatre, constructed by the Government of Puducherry.
iii.It will be primarily used for educational purposes.


NABARD signs pact with Arthimpact Digital Loans to Support SHGs

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a partnership agreement with Arthimpact Digital Loans (ARTH) to provide end-to-end fintech (financial technology) solutions to support self help groups (SHGs).
Highlights of Agreement:
i.ARTH will provide credit, payments and insurance solutions support to micro-MSME enterprises.
ii.Both organisations will work to provide micro financial services and forward linkage support to SHGs.The specialized entities across occupations to 500 enterprises across Uttar Pradesh impacting 2500 households.

About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):
Established – 12 July 1982
The formation was recommended by the committee under the Chairmanship of Sivaraman, former member of Planning Commission.
Chairman– G R Chintala
Total Regional Offices – 31
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra

Federal Bank Launches Instant Loan Approval Portal for MSMEs

Federal Bank, a private sector lender, launched an online lending platform, to ease credit approvals of up to Rs 50 lakh for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across India. The platform enables borrowers to avail loans in less than 30 minutes digitally by simply uploading their income tax (I-T) returns, bank account statement and online verification of Goods and Services Tax (GST) details.

i.The platform uses algorithms to read and analyse data points from various sources such as I-T returns, GST data, bank statements and Credit Bureau.
ii.Based on the borrowers’ data and loan requirements, suitable products will be identified and the Loan will be made available after completing the documentation process by visiting the bank branch.
iii.Data entry by the client is kept minimal and the MSME borrowers are provided with the liberty to choose their Federal Bank branch while applying.
About Federal Bank Limited:
CEO & MD – Shyam Srinivasan
Establishment – 23rd April, 1931
Headquarters – Aluva, Kerala
Tagline – Your Perfect Banking Partner

UCO Bank Launched RuPay Select Contactless Debit Card in partnership with NPCI

UCO Bank (formerly United Commercial Bank Ltd) in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched the ‘UCO Bank RuPay Select Contactless Debit Card’ with a host of benefits for its premium/HNI (High Networth Individuals) customers. This launch was made on the occasion of the 79th Inauguration Day of the bank i.e. January 6, 2022.
About UCO Bank:
Establishment– 1943
MD & CEO– Soma Sankara Prasad
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal


AISCD gets approval to hold first World Deaf T20 Cricket championship 2023

The All India Sports Council of the Deaf has got approval from the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to host the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in Kerala from January 10-20, 2023. This championship was planned to be conducted in 2020-21 but due to the sudden outbreak of coronavirus, it was postponed first to 2022 & now fixed for 2023. A minimum of eight countries are expected to take part in the championship and this kind of international event is being held in India with the approval of the ICSD for the first time.”


DRDO Flight Tests Final Deliverable Configuration of MPATGM

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the final deliverable configuration of the Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) at a range in Southern India. It is indigenously developed anti-tank missile low weight (15kg), fire and forget missile and is launched from a man portable launcher, integrated with thermal sight. The test was held to demonstrate the consistent performance of the missile at its minimum range. It has a maximum range of 5 Km. The missile destroyed the target with precision. It has already completed a similar successful test for maximum range.
The successful launch of the low-weight missile derived from the Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile is a boost to the development of advanced technology-based defence systems.

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas Named as IMF’s Economic Counsellor and Head of Research Department; Replaces Gita Gopinath

French-born University of California-Berkeley economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas has been appointed as the Economic Counsellor and Head of Research Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He will succeed Gita Gopinath, who is set to join the IMF’s management team as First Deputy Managing Director. He will begin his work as IMF’s chief Economist on 24th January 2022 on a part-time basis transitioning to full time on 1st April 2022. He is also Program Director of International Finance and Macroeconomics at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Chennai International Airport Ranks 8th in Global List for ‘On-Time Performance’

As per the report released by Cirium titled ‘the On-Time Performance Review 2021 Airlines and Airports’, the Chennai International Airport has ranked globally 8th under the large airports category, and is the only Indian Airport to enter the top 10 positions of the list. The first 3 positions have been acquired by United State’s Itami Airport, Japan’s Fukuoka Airport, and Haneda Airport.Cirium analysed about 70 international routes taken by flights at Chennai airport and the ‘On-Time Departure’ were about 89.32 percent.

Features of Chennai Airport:
i.The achievement of Chennai Airport represents Customer service quality and Operational excellence.
ii.The airport plans to develop new facilities to boost its per hour handling capacity along with customer delight.
iii.One rapid exit taxiway (C1) and two parallel taxiways (R&N) have already been commissioned.
iv.Multilevel car parking and a new integrated terminal T2 will be commissioned in near future.
About Cirium:
Cirium is an organisation that offers aviation data to travel, finance, aerospace, and aviation industries.
CEO – Jeremy Bowen
Establishment – 1909
Headquarters – London, United Kingdom

HDFC Bank Adjudged Best Private Bank in India at the Global Private Banking Awards 2021

The HDFC Bank was named as the ‘Best Private Bank’ in India at the ‘Global Private Banking Awards 2021’ which was organised by Professional Wealth Management (PWM) in a virtual ceremony. PWM is a wealth management Magazine, published by the Financial Times Group.

i.The award was given for contributing to accelerate key trends, including digitalisation, communication and investment in environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.
ii.The PWM helps in analysing the growth strategies of private banks and the other regional financial institutions in various factors like risk taking abilities, digitization, asset management etc. The PWM received over 120 submissions which were reviewed by a panel of 16 judged from four continents.

Note – In 2021, HDFC Bank & Common Services Centres (CSC) e-Governance India Ltd, had launched an OverDraft (OD) scheme named ‘Dukandar Overdraft Scheme’ to provide financial assistance up to Rs 10 lakh to small retailers.
About HDFC Bank:
CEO & MD- Sashidhar Jagdishan
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded- 1994
Tagline- We Understand Your World

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