Current Affairs

15 December, 2021

International

AIM NITI Aayog, & Embassy of Denmark Launched AIM-ICDK Water Innovation Challenge 2.0 to Address Global Water Distress

Atal Innovation Mission(AIM), NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) and the Royal Embassy of Denmark to India launched the 2nd edition of the water innovation challenges, “AIM-ICDK Water Innovation Challenge 2.0” to address the global water distress through innovations. This is a part of the Indo-Danish Bilateral Green Strategic partnership. The 2nd edition of the water challenge (2022 AIM-ICDK Water Challenge) was launched under the partnership of AIM, NITI Aayog and Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) under the aegis of the Denmark Embassy in India, and the Denmark Technical University (DTU).

Aim:
To identify innovative and next-generation solutions to solve the proposed challenges in collaboration with corporate and public partners.
Dignitaries:
Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, Ambassador at the Royal Danish Embassy H. E. Freddy Svane, Dr Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director, AIM, and others were present during the launch.
About the 2nd edition of Water Innovation Challenges:
i.This initiative will engage the youths from various leading universities and innovation hubs across India to build their skills and utilise their technical disciplines and innovation capacities.
ii.The challenges will identify 2 young students and 2 startups from India working on innovative technologies that address the water challenges of India.
iii.The winners of the 2nd edition of the Water Innovation Challenges will represent India at the International Water Congress 2022.
iv.The Denmark Embassy in India and DTU will prepare the Indian participants for the Global Next Generation Water Action (NGWA) program which will be hosted by DTU. NGWA: Next Generation Water Action(NGWA) is a university-powered initiative to boost international cross-sectorial innovation to inspire, empower and connect the next generation of young talents from across the globe.

National

IIT-Delhi signs MoU with IAF to Improve Indigenisation Efforts

IIT-Delhi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Air Force (IAF) to support requirements towards indigenous solutions in various weapon systems.The MoU was signed by Air Vice Marshal Samir V Borade, Deputy Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, Headquarters Maintenance Command, IAF, and M R Ravi, Head of Department for Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Delhi.
Note – In 2017, IIT-Delhi established a Joint Advanced Technology Center, funded by (DRDO) Defence Research and Development Organisation.
About Indian Air Force (IAF):
Establishment – 8th October 1932
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Chief of the Air Staff– Vivek Ram Chaudhari
Motto– Touch the Sky with Glory

Uttarakhand’s Askot Wildlife Sanctuary Declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone

According to the gazette of India dated 2nd December 2021 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC), an area of 454.65 square kilometres around the boundary of Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand has been declared as the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone(ESZ).The notified area extends from 0 to 22 km around the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary.

Background:
The government of India notifies the ESZ, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) and clauses (v) and (xiv) of sub-section (2) and sub-section (3) of section 3 of the environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), read with sub-rule (3) of rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
About Askot Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-Sensitive Zone(ESZ):
Boundaries:
North – International Boundary of Tibet
South – Boundary of Askot Wildlife Sanctuary
East – River Kali and boundary of Nepal and Tibet
West – River Gori and Chiplakedar
Note:
The 0 extent of the ESZ towards Southern, Western and Eastern sides of the Sanctuary is due to the international border and in other places, the 0 extent is due to the resolution taken with public consultation with the local community and primitive tribal groups (Van Raaji) habituating area.
Zonal Master Plan:
The Government of Uttarakhand will prepare the Zonal Master Plan within 2years.
About Askot Wildlife Sanctuary:
i.The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary was established to protect the endangered flagship species Musk Deer and its habitat
ii.The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Musk Deer Park.
iii.Askot Wildlife Sanctuary is located mostly in the watershed areas of the river Kali and its tributaries Dhauli and Gauri.
About Uttarakhand:
Chief Minister– Pushkar Singh Dhami
Airports– Jolly Grant airport; PantNagar airport
UNESCO site– Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Govt Lays Foundation for Maa Umiya Dham Development Project

Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of Umiya Mata Dham temple and temple premises under Maa Umiya Dham Development Project at Umiya Campus in Sola in Ahmedabad, Gujarat along with several developmental projects including a railway bridge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually attended and addressed the foundation stone laying of the project on 13th December 2021. He stated the Project as an example of the notion of ‘SabkaPrayas’ (Efforts of everyone). Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was also present on the occasion.

About Umiya Mata Temple:
i.Umiya Mata Temple is the Temple of Goddess Umiya, who is worshipped as the clan-deity or kuldevi of Kadava Patidars (the farming community from north Gujarat)
ii.It is located in the center of Unjha in the Mehsana district of Gujarat which celebrated its silver jubilee in November 2009.
Note – An Umiya Mata temple was also commissioned by the Kadva Patidar Samaj in Macon, Georgia, in 2013.

Other Inaugurations:

i.Umiya Dham complex in Ahmedabad, Gujarat is being built by the Kadava Patidar community.
ii.Amit Shah also inaugurated a 4-lane railway overbridge and a water distribution station built by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in Sola, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
iii.He also laid the foundation stone for an affordable housing project of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority.
About Gujarat:
Governor – Acharya Devvrat
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Wild Ass Sanctuary, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary
National Park – Gir National Park, Blackbuck National Park

Govt launches 2nd edition of Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge

i.The 2nd edition of ‘Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge’ or ‘Animal Husbandry Startup Grand Challenge 2.0’ was launched by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), in partnership with Startup India.ii.It was launched by Union Minister Parshottam Rupala, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying (MoFAHD) during an event celebrating ‘National Milk Day’ in Anand, Gujarat to commemorate the birth centenary of Dr. Varghese Kurien.
iii.This challenge will explore innovative and commercially viable solutions to address six problems faced by the animal husbandry and dairy sector.
About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying:
Union Minister– Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala (Constituency- Gujarat)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Sanjeev Kumar Balyan (Constituency- Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh), Dr. Loganathan Murugan (Constituency- Madhya Pradesh)

Economy

SBI Cards launches Fitness-Focused Credit Card – ‘SBI Card PULSE’

SBI Card, India’s largest pure-play credit card issuer, launched the first-of-its-kind fitness & wellness-focused credit card – ‘SBI Card PULSE’. The Card is designed with unique features and benefits to complement cardholder’s with benefits towards health and wellness.

Highlights:
i.The SBI Cards provides an annual membership fee of Rs.1,499 that has been launched on Visa Signature platform. The renewal fee waiver is applicable on achieving annual spending of Rs.2 lakh within the card membership year.

ii.SBI Card PULSE credit card provides Noise ColorFit Pulse Smartwatch worth Rs.4,999 as a welcome gift on payment of the joining fee.
Joining benefits:
i.The customers can avail unlimited online fitness sessions of workouts including Yoga, Dance, Cardio, Pilates and more.
ii.A Complimentary 1 year membership of Fitpass Pro, includes: FITPASS Membership allows access to a network of more than 4,000 gyms and fitness centers across India.

About SBI Cards:
SBI Card was launched by State Bank of India (SBI) and GE Capital which is incorporated as SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Limited (SBICPSL)
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara
Established – 1998
Headquarters – Gurgaon, Haryana

LIC Introduced Individual Savings Life Insurance Plan – ‘Dhan Rekha’

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has introduced a new Non -Linked, Non-Participating, Individual Savings Life Insurance Plan named ‘Dhan Rekha’. The plan will offer special premium rates for female lives and it is also allowed for the third gender. The minimum sum assured under this plan is Rs 2 lakh and there is no limit for the maximum sum assured. The minimum age at entry ranges from 90 days to 8 years and the maximum age at entry ranges from 35 years to 65 years based on the chosen policy term. A percentage of the basic sum under the plan will be assured as a survival benefit at regular intervals starting from the end of the premium paying term (only when the policy is in force). The plan will also take care of liquidity needs through a loan facility. Optional riders are available under this plan on payment of additional premium (with certain conditions).

About Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC):
Chairperson – M R Kumar
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

BoB Launches Wearable Payment Solution – bob World Wave

Bank of Baroda (BOB) in partnership with National Payments Corporations of India (NPCI) launched bob World Wave, a wearable line of products for payments, integrated with a complete health ecosystem. A bob World Wave wearable device will allow customers to monitor their Saturation of Peripheral Oxygen (SpO2), body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.

About bob World Wave:
i.The device will provide contactless payments of up to Rs. 5,000 in all Near-Field Communication (NFC) enabled Point of Sale (PoS) devices and also enable payments above Rs 5000 using the PIN. It is anticipated that 10 percent of the small ticket payments will be made through wearable devices, in the next 2 years.

iii.The Bob wave world line of products will be priced between Rs. 100 and Rs. 5,000.
Benefits from BoB:
i.BOB will provide a 3-months free wellness package along with a personal health coach, doctor tele-consultation and interactive video coaching.
ii.BOB will also provide a dummy plastic card, with the same card number printed as that of the wearable device along with expiry date and Card Verification Value (CVV) to enable customers to do e-commerce transactions at ease.
About Bank of Baroda (BoB):
CEO & Managing Director (MD) – Sanjiv Chadha
Established – 1908
Headquarter – Vadodara, Gujarat
Tagline – ‘India’s International Bank’
In a first three-way amalgamation, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank were merged with Bank of Baroda from April 1, 2019
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
In 2012, NPCI launched ‘RuPay’ – an Indian Multinational Payment System
CEO & Managing Director (MD) – Dilip Asbe
Established – 2008
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Sports

Max Verstappen wins Formula One world title

Max Emilian Verstappen is a Belgian-Dutch racing driver, who is currently competing in Formula One with Red Bull Racing, under the Dutch flag. He became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One at 2015 Australian Grand Prix. He was 17 years old then. At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he became the first Dutch driver to win Formula One Championship. He has become the 34th Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. He is the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen.

Formula one is the highest class of international auto racing, organised for single-seater formula racing cars. It is sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). FIA Formula One World Championship was earlier known as World Drivers’ Championship, till 1981. It has been one of the premier forms of racing worldwide, since its first season in 1950.

Miscellaneous

SMALLCAP World Fund Increased its Stake in IIFL Finance to 5.1863%

SMALLCAP World Fund, Inc., has increased its stake in IIFL Finance Limited, a leading finance & investment services company in India from 4.2473% to 5.1863% through the open market.
The acquisition of about 35.61 lakh shares at Rs 300 apiece, translating into a deal value of Rs 106.85 crore was made on 9th December 2021.
Fairfax divested a 3.2% stake in IIFL Finance
Fairfax Group, backed by Prem Watsa, an Indian-Canadian billionaire, has divested a 3.2% stake in IIFL Finance for Rs 365 crore through an open market transaction. Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel (HWIC) Asia Fund, an affiliate of Fairfax Financial Holding sold 12,165,000 shares of IIFL Finance, amounting to a 3.2% stake. The shares were sold at Rs 300.04 apiece, valuing the transaction size at Rs 365 crore.

About IIFL Finance Limited:
IIFL Finance Limited was formerly known as IIFL Holdings Limited.
Chairman– Nirmal Jain
Managing Director– Venkataraman Rajamani
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Elon Musk named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ 2021

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla & SpaceX, Elon Musk named ‘Person of the Year 2021’ by Time magazine. He took over the title from US President Joe Biden & Vice President Kamala Harris, who received the title in 2020. In April 2021, NASA granted Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX an exclusive contract to put United States (US) astronauts on the moon for the first time since 1972.

About Elon Musk:
i.Elon Reeve Musk was born on 28 June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa.
ii.He is an entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder, CEO and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, and CEO – Product Architect of Tesla.
iii.In 2021, Elon Musk became the world’s richest person with a total worth of USD 300 billion. He succeeded Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who previously held the position of World’s Richest Person.
Additional Info:
i.COVID-19 Vaccine scientists Kizzmekia Corbett, Barney Graham, Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman named ‘Heroes of the year 2021’ by Time Magazine. They were involved in developing the m-RNA for COVID-19 Vaccine.
ii.American singer Olivia Rodrigo has been named the TIME’s ‘Entertainer Of The Year 2021’.
iii.American artistic gymnast Simone Biles has been named the TIME’s ‘Athlete of the Year 2021’.
About Time Magazine:
‘Person of the Year’ recognition has been annually made by the Time Magazine since 1927.
Headquarters – New York, USA

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