Current Affairs

13 August, 2021


CEC Sushil Chandra Inaugurates 11th Annual Meeting of FEMBoSA for 2021

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India and the current chairman of FEMBoSA, Sushil Chandra inaugurated the 11th Annual meeting of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) for the year 2021. The virtual meeting was hosted by the Election Commission of Bhutan. The theme of the meeting was the “Use of Technology in Elections”.

i.During the meeting, the Outgoing Chairman of FEMBoSA, Sushil Chandra passed the Chairmanship to Dasho Sonam Topgay (New Chairman), Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan for the year 2021-22.
ii.‘Thimphu Resolution’ was unanimously adopted by the members of the FEMBoSA to extend the tenure of chairmanship for two years due to the current COVID pandemic.
Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA)
FEMBoSA was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held at New Delhi in May, 2012. It aims to increase mutual cooperation in respect to the common interests of SAARC’s Election Management Bodies.

About Election Commission of India(ECI)
Established under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution
Chief Election Commissioner – Sushil Chandra
Election Commissioners – Anup Chandra Pandey & Rajiv Kumar
Headquarters – New Delhi
Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA)
New Chairperson (2021-22) – Dasho Sonam Topgay (Bhutan)
Members – 8

2021 Skytrax World Airport Awards – Delhi Airport ranked 45th, Doha Airport World’s Best

In the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021 list, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport secured 45th rank (from 50 in 2020 rankings), while Qatar’s Doha Hamad Airport topped the rankings. Delhi’s IGI has been awarded as the ‘Best Airport in India & Central Asia‘ for the 3rd Consecutive time.
i.Three Other Indian Airports featured in the Top-100 list – Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport – 64, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport – 65, Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport – 71.
ii.The Skytrax best Airports Awards are voted based on customer reviews. It is regarded as the quality benchmark for the world airport industry.

Rank Airport
1 Doha’s Hamad International Airport, Qatar
2 Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan
3 Changi Airport Singapore
45 Indira Gandhi International (IGI), Delhi
About Skytrax company
Skytrax is a United Kingdom based company. It publishes world airline rankings and reviews on its website.
CEO – Edward Plaisted
Headquarters – London, United Kingdom

15th India-Singapore Foreign Office Consultations held virtually

The 15th round of Foreign Office Consultation between India & Singapore took place virtually. The Indian side was led by Riva Ganguly, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and the Singapore delegation was led by Mr Lee Kiong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.
Highlights Both sides discussed ways to strengthen economic engagement, ease travel restriction & resuming people-to-people contact. Issues related to ASEAN-India relations and India Singapore cooperation in the Indo-Pacific were also discussed. Singapore is performing the role of country coordinator for India in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the period of 3 years(2021-2024).
About Singapore
President – Halimah Yacob
Currency – Singapore dollar


Dr Bibek Debroy releases Quality of Life for Elderly Index 2021

i. Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the Quality of Life for Elderly Index 2021 measuring the quality of life led by the elderly in India. It has been created by the Institute for Competitiveness (IFC) at the request of EAC-PM.
ii.The report identifies the regional patterns of ageing across Indian States and assesses the overall well-being of the ageing population in India.
iii.The index analyzed 45 different indicators across four key domains viz. Financial Well-being, Social Well-being, Health System, and Income Security.
iv.Among the 4 domains, the domain of Health System observed the highest national average of 66.97, followed by 62.34 in Social Well-being, 44.7 in Financial Well-being, and 33.03 in Income Security.
v.Rajasthan has topped the ranking of Aged states while Himachal Pradesh is top-scorer in Relatively Aged States. Chandigarh and Mizoram are top-scoring regions in Union Territory (UT) and North-East States category, respectively.
About Institute for Competitiveness (IFC):
India Headquarter– Gurugram, Haryana
Honorary Chairman– Professor Amit Kapoor
About Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM)
It is an independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.
Present Composition– Dr. Bibek Debroy (Chairman), Ratan P. Watal (Member Secretary), Dr. Sajjid Chinoy (Part-Time Member), Dr. Anantha Nageswaran (Part-Time Member), Neelkanth Mishra (Part-Time Member) and Nilesh Shah (Part-Time Member)
Headquarter– New Delhi

India’s Cleanest City Indore Declared as 1st Water Plus City of India

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has declared Indore, Madhya Pradesh, the cleanest city of India, as the 1st ‘water plus’ city of India. Indore received the 1st Swachh Certification of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Water Plus from the MoHUA under the Swachh Survekshan 2021(SS2021). It is a certificate provided by the MoHUA to a city for maintaining cleanliness in rivers and drains of its administration. A city/ward/circle/zone could be declared as Water Plus only if all wastewater released from households, etc. is treated before releasing it to the environment. The certification of SBM Water Plus is valid for 6 months and the certification process needs to be carried out every 6 months.

About Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA):
Union Minister – Hardeep Singh Puri (Constituency – Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State – Kaushal Kishore (Constituency – Mohanlalganj, Uttar Pradesh)

GeM organizes 5th edition of National Public Procurement Conclave 2021

The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized the 5th edition of National Public Procurement Conclave 2021 (NPCC 2021) on August 9th & 10th, 2021. Theme of the Conclave was “Technology enabled Government Procurement – Towards Efficiency, Transparency, and Inclusiveness”.

i.It was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel.
ii.The 2021 Conclave provided an opportunity for Government buyers, sellers, industry, and academia to interact with each other.
iii.The top performing buyers and sellers were awarded for leading the procurement efforts through GeM in the FY 2020-21. Central Government Buyers – Winner – Ministry of Defence, Runner up – Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. State Government Buyers – Winner – Uttar Pradesh, Runner-up – Gujarat. Centre Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) – Winner – GAIL India Limited, Runner up – Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. On the seller’s front, the award was presented to TATA Motors Ltd, for best sales performance with Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. being the runner up in this category.

About Government e-Marketplace (GeM)-
It was launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Chairperson of GeM – Dr Anup Wadhwan
Headquarters – New Delhi
Launched date – August 9, 2016


RBI Introduced Scheme to Penalise Banks for Cash Out in ATMs

In August 2021, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a scheme named ‘Scheme of Penalty for non-replenishment of ATMs’ to levy monetary charges/Penalty on Banks & White Label ATM Operators (WLAOs) for cash-out (i.e. the non-availability of cash) in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) due to non-replenishment of cash.

Objective: To ensure sufficient cash availability in the ATMs for public needs and overcome the inconvenience caused due to cash-outs in the ATM.

Effective date: The Scheme would be effective from October 01, 2021. RBI will issue a penalty of Rs 10,000 per ATM/ WLAs for banks for Cash-out for more than 10 hours in a month. RBI imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Gadhinglaj Urban Co-operative Bank Limited, Gadhinglaj, Maharashtra, for violation of the operational instructions.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Established – 1st April 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar

10 Top banks Launched SLMA to Support Secondary Loan Market

The 10 major banks including State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI bank formed a Secondary Loan Market Association (SLMA) with an online platform for trading corporate loans in the secondary market.Sanjay Srivastava is the Chairman of SLMA. SLMA, which is a self-regulatory body, was formed on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Task Force on the Development of Secondary Market for Corporate Loans. SLMA’s website and logo were digitally launched by Saurav Sinha, Executive Director, RBI.

Members of the SLMA-The top 10 banks: State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, Canara Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, and HDFC Bank.

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 that 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.

Agritech Start-up Arya Tie-up with SBM Bank India for Commodity Financing

Agritech start-up and India’s 1st Post Harvest Solutions Platform, Arya Collateral Warehousing Services Private Ltd (Arya) made a partnership with State Bank of Mauritius-India (SBM Bank India) for commodity financing.

Objective: To offer easy on-time customised finance solutions to agri-traders and agri-entrepreneurs across the country. Through the partnership, Arya will work with SBM Bank India to ease the financing process for providing instant credit to the clients in the agriculture value chain.

Features of Arya:
i.It helps farmers, aggregators, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), food processors and end-user corporations to overcome the post-harvest losses.
ii.Its platform assists users to avail additional services such as warehouse management, financial access, quality testing, storage protection services, and connecting produce to buyers.
i.It is a type of Producer Organisation formed with farmers (especially the primary producers) as its members to ensure better income for farmers by enhancing the economy of scale and their bargaining power. The members also include producers of agricultural, non-farm products, artisan products, etc.

ii.The FPO needs to register on eNAM (National Agriculture Market), the online trading platform for agricultural commodities in India.
iii.The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, has mandated the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) to support the State Governments for the formation of FPO.
About State Bank of Mauritius-India (SBM Bank India):
In 2018, it became the 1st foreign Bank in India to operate as a new Indian bank. It is a part of the Mauritius-based SBM group.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Sidharth Rath

CoinDCX becomes India’s first Crypto Unicorn

CoinDCX has become the first Indian cryptocurrency exchange to grab the title of ‘unicorn’ with valuation to $1.1 billion (Rs 8,150 crore). The exchange achieved this status after a $90-million (Rs 668 crore) series-C funding round, led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital. It should be noted that Unicorns are startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

Utilization of Funds:
i.The funds will be used for marketing, strengthening, and on new business initiatives to expand crypto investor base and to make crypto a popular investment in India.
ii.The exchange has earmarked Rs 10 crore for its educational initiatives across platforms.
iii.It is also looking forward to entering into partnerships with key fintech players to set up a research & development (R&D) facility, strengthening the policy conversations through public discourse, working with the government to introduce favourable regulations, education, and ramping up the hiring initiatives.
Points to be noted:
i.Other startups that attained an unicorn status in August 2021 are Bharatpe, MindTickle, and Upgrad. Now, India has 22 startups that became Unicorns in 2021 tally taking the total to 63 (as per Inc42).
ii.The company, co-founded in 2018 by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sumit Gupta and Neeraj Khandelwal and is registered as Primestack Pte. in Singapore.Its Headquarter is Mumbai, Maharashtra. It helps people buy and sell crypto tokens along with crypto-based financial products such as lending.


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ReNew Power Acquires Solar Power Projects in Telangana & Hydropower Project in Uttarakhand

ReNew Power Private Limited (ReNew Power) has signed 2 agreements to acquire a 99 megawatt (MW) Hydropower Project – Singoli Bhatwari hydroelectric project – in Uttarakhand and the 260 MW/330 Megawatts-peak(MWp) of operating solar projects in Telangana. The combined enterprise value of the solar and hydropower assets is Rs 2850 crore. The solar and hydropower assets are expected to generate Rs 380 to 400 crore of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) annually.

About the hydropower assets:
i.The 99 MW Singoli Bhatwari Hydroelectric Project(SBHEP) was acquired from Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for ~Rs 985 crore. SBHEP is located on the Mandakini river in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.

ii.This acquisition marks the entry of ReNew Power in the Hydropower sector.
iii.The L&T Uttaranchal Hydropower Limited which owns SBHEP will be acquired from the L&T Power Development Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro(L&T) India, India’s leading engineering and construction firm.
About Solar power assets:
i.260 MW/330 MWp of operating solar projects in Telangana was acquired from Acme Solar for ~Rs 1,865 crore.
ii.The solar power project in Telangana has a 25-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana limited(NPDCTL) and Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (SPDCTL).
The acquisition has increased the commissioned and contracted capacity of the company by more than 10 GW.
This is in line with the target to reach 18GW of capacity by 2025.
About ReNew Power Private Limited:
Chairman and Managing Director– Sumant Sinha
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana

DRDO Successfully Testfires Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) with a new Made-in-India Turbofan Engine ‘Manik’ from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Odisha. The missile flew for around 150 km with an indigenous cruise engine. The missile has been designed and developed by DRDO. It is an Advanced version of Nirbhay Missile – a Subsonic Cruise Missile. This is the 1st successful test firing with the indigenous booster engine ‘Manik’, after the previous unsuccessful attempt in October, 2020.

Manik Engine: The Manik engine has been designed and developed by DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment in Bengaluru. It will pave the way for development of different versions of the engine and long range cruise missiles.
About Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO)
Chairman – Dr G Satheesh Reddy
Headquarters – New Delhi

Gajendra Singh & Anjani Kumar Tiwari Appointed as a members of PNGRB

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Gajendra Singh, Former Director of GAIL (India) Ltd, and Anjani Kumar Tiwari, Director(Finance) of GAIL (India) Limited as the members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), a regulator of downstream activities in the petroleum and natural gas sector. The appointed members of the PNGRB will serve a period of 5 years from the date of assumption of charge or till the age of 65. Gajendra Singh took charge as a member of PNGRB on 9th August 2021. Tiwari will join the board after completing his term as director in GAIL, his term ends in November 2021.

About Gajendra Singh:
i.Gajendra Singh has served in various leadership and strategic positions at GAIL.
ii.He has also served as the General Manager (Gas Sourcing and Gas Marketing), Executive Director (Operations & Maintenance) at GAIL.
About Anjani Kumar Tiwari:
i.Anjani Kumar Tiwari, a Cost Accountant(CA), is serving as the director of GAIL since December 2018.
ii.He has also served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL).
About Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB):
Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is a statutory body constituted under The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006.
The PNGRB consists of a chairman and 4 members including one member(Legal).
Headquarters– New Delhi

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