Current Affairs

14 July, 2021

International

WHO Expert Advisory Committee on HGE released 2 Reports; Prof Maneesha Inamdar, part of committee

The WHO (World Health Organization) Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing has released the two new reports namely ‘Human Genome Editing- Recommendation’ and ‘Human genome editing: a Framework for Governance’. Notably, Indian stem cell and developmental biologist Professor Maneesha S Inamdar is a part of this committee. These two publications provide first global recommendations on appropriate institutional, national, regional and global governance mechanisms for human Genome Editing (HGE) and ensure that HGE should be used for public health, with an emphasis on safety, effectiveness, and ethics.

About Prof. Maneesha S Inamdar:
i.She along with her group, is conducting research at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru (Karnataka) that uses gene-editing tools to manipulate stem cells in vitro. JNCASR is an autonomous Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). This research will generate disease models for scientific insight into human development and devise therapeutic strategies.

ii.She represents the LMIC (Low and Middle-Income Countries) in Asia.
iii.She is a member of the Education, Engagement, and Empowerment (3E) subgroup of the above mentioned Committee.
iv.She was also involved in making recommendations to the Secretariat and WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on global governance structures for HGE.
About Committee:
In December 2018, WHO established a global, multidisciplinary committee (the Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing, hereafter called the Committee) to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with human genome editing (somatic, germline and heritable).

Around 768 Million People in the World Faced Hunger in 2020: UN Report

According to ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World – 2021’ released by 5 Agencies of UN, Between 720-811 million people (768 million being the midpoint of project range) in the world faced hunger in 2020 compared to 2019. It is the 1st comprehensive report on food insecurity and nutrition in the Post-Pandemic era. The 5 UN Agencies are – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) & World Health Organization (WHO). The report states that around 9.9% of the world’s population were estimated to have been undernourished in 2020, compared to 8.4% in 2019.
About International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
President – Gilbert F. Houngbo
Headquarters – Rome, Italy

National

Ministry of Corporate Affairs incorporates NARCL

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has incorporated the ‘National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL)’ also known as Bad Banks/Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) with an authorised capital of INR 100 crore and paid-up capital of INR 74.6 crore.

‘Bad bank’ refers to a financial institution that takes over bad assets of lenders and undertakes resolution’. It has been created in collaboration with both Public and Private Sector Banks, and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). During the 2021-22 Union Budget session, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the setting of an ARC & Asset Management Company (AMC) for resolution of Non-Performing Assets (NPA) in the Indian Banking sector.

Rao Inderjit Singh takes charge as Minister of State for MCA
Rao Inderjit Singh took charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
About Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA)
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)
Minister of State – Rao Inderjit Singh (Lok Sabha – Gurgaon, Haryana)

Central Govt reorganized Cabinet Committees; New Names Included

i.After a major reorganization in Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi led union cabinet, the Government has reconstituted the cabinet committees with the inclusion of new ministers.

Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs:
Head– PM Narendra Modi
Members– It comprises 12 members including new members’ viz. Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, Ministry of Women and Child Development; Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), and Ministry of Labour and Employment; and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), and Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy)
Static:
There are 8 Cabinet Committees which are basically sub-committees within the Union Cabinet to look at specific issues, including security, economy, and even deciding on dates for Parliament sessions.

APEDA-NAFED collaborated to Strengthen Export Linkage of Farmer Cooperatives & FPOs

i.The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) to utilize the export potential of agricultural and processed food products of cooperatives, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), partners and associates.

ii.The facilitation of exports will be done by APEDA while NAFED will promote them.
iii.The MoU was signed by Dr. Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, Chairman APEDA and Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, Managing Director, NAFED.
About Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA):
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Headquarter– New Delhi
About National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED):
Establishment– 1958
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW)
Chairman– Dr.Bijender Singh
Headquarter– New Delhi

NTPC REL, Ladakh sign MoU to set up India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Mobility Project

NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL), the renewable energy arm of NTPC Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Union Territory of Ladakh to set up India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Mobility project in Ladakh. The Agreement will enable NTPC to help Ladakh develop a carbon-free economy based on renewable sources and green hydrogen, which is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Carbon Neutral’ Ladakh. It was signed in the presence of Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh R K Mathur and members of NTPC.

Other initiatives
i.During the event, NTPC’s 1st solar installations in Leh in the form of solar trees and a solar carport were inaugurated.
ii.NTPC has plans to launch 5 Hydrogen Buses in Ladakh. It also aims to set up a solar plant and a green hydrogen generation unit in Leh.
iii.The setting up of a hydrogen generation unit in Leh will make it the 1st city in India to implement a green hydrogen-based mobility project.
NTPC’s Renewable Energy initiatives
Recently, NTPC revised its target of achieving 60 GW renewables capacity by 2032.
About NTPC Ltd
NTPC REL Ltd is a100 % subsidiary of NTPC
CMD – Gurdeep Singh
Headquarters – New Delhi

Economy

Bhutan Became the 1st Country to Adopt UPI Standards for its QR Deployment

NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the international arm of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), in partnership with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) of Bhutan implemented the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) Unified Payments Interface (UPI) QR-based payments in Bhutan.

About NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL):
It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NPCI, devoted to the deployment of NPCI’s indigenous, Real-Time Payment System – UPI and Card Scheme – RuPay, outside India.
Establishment – April 3, 2020
CEO – Ritesh Shukla

RBI Introduced ‘RBI Retail Direct’ Scheme to Facilitate Investment in G-Sec by Individuals

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a scheme named ‘RBI Retail Direct’ to facilitate investment in Government Securities(G-Sec) by retail investors (individuals)..

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

IFSCA Issued Framework for Setting up ITFS in IFSC

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) issued a framework for setting up and operating an ‘International Trade Finance Services’ (ITFS) platform to provide trade finance services at International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs).

About International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA):
Establishment – April 27, 2020, under IFSCA Act, 2019
Headquarters – GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Chairperson – Injeti Srinivas

Sports

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Olympic oath updated, number of oath-takers doubled

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Olympic oath has been updated from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23, 2021.

The number of oath-takers at the ceremony have also been doubled from three to six to ensure gender parity at the Tokyo Games. Japan will pick one male and one female participant from each group for the event that has been an integral part of the Games since 1920.

Besides them, two coaches and two judges will also take the Olympic oath this time. In the past, the Olympic oath was taken by an athlete from the host country on behalf of all competitors along with a coach and a judge.
Why have the number of oath-takers been increased?
The decision was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee in their drive towards achieving gender equality to enable full gender balance amongst those taking the oath on behalf of all Games participants.

Chris Gayle becomes 1st Cricketer to Score 14,000 runs in T20

West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle popularly known as “Universal Boss” created history by becoming the 1st ever batsman to score 14,000 runs in T20 format. He achieved this feat during the ongoing T20 Internationals between Australia & West Indies. He also holds the record for Highest individual score of 175 runs in T20 format in 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL).

Miscellaneous

40th anniversary of APPLE Satellite – organised by Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University organised the 40th anniversary celebration of India’s 1st Communication satellite – APPLE Satellite. On the occasion, Prof. RM Vasagam, Director of Project APPLE, was awarded ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by Chandigarh University.
i.Ariane Passenger PayLoad Experiment (APPLE), satellite program launched in 1981. APPLE played a foundational role in development of ISRO’s INSAT and other communication satellites.

Indian Navy receives 10th P-8I Aircraft from Boeing

US-based Aerospace company Boeing has delivered the 10th P-8I Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (Poseidon 8I) to the Indian Navy at INS Hansa, Goa. It is the 2nd P-8I Aircraft to be delivered by Boeing to Indian Navy under the Option Contract signed by the Ministry of Defence in 2016. P-8I is used for maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare. They are part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron and are based at Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon used by the US Navy, it is developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security India was Boeing’s 1st International customer for P-8I with the 1st P-8I aircraft being inducted into the Indian Navy in 2013. The 9th P-8I was inducted in November, 2020.

i.Indian Navy uses its existing fleet of 9 P-8I aircrafts to track the movement of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) & humanitarian missions during disaster.
Background
The Defence Ministry had 1st signed a contract for eight P-8I aircraft in 2009, later in 2016, it signed a USD 1.1 Billion deal with the US for Four Additional P-8I Aircrafts.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters MoD (Navy)– New Delhi
About Boeing
President & CEO – David L. Calhoun
Headquarters – Chicago, USA

IISc Scientists discover 2 Species of FEBs in Superfluid Helium

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Karnataka have discovered the existence of 2 species of Few Electron Bubbles (FEBs) in superfluid Helium for the 1st time. The study has been published in Science Advances. The Team of Scientists was led by Professor Ambarish Ghosh at Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc. Neha Yadav, a former PhD student at the Department of Physics; Prosenjit Sen, Associate Professor at CeNSE were the other scientists in the team. The discovery will serve as a model to study the energy states of electrons and interactions between them in a material that influences its properties.
About Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
Director – Govindan Rangarajan
Location – Bengaluru, Karnataka

CCI Approved – Summit India(Tripura) to Acquire 23.5% Stake in OTPC & SVF II Songbird to Buy Stake in Swiggy

Competition Commission of India (CCI), approved the proposed acquisition of 23.5 per cent stake equity share capital in ONGC (Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited) Tripura Power Company by Summit India (Tripura).
CCI Approves SoftBank Group Entity Buying Stake in Swiggy
CCI approved the acquisition of stakes in Bundl Technologies Private Limited, a private limited company incorporated in India and is engaged in operating Swiggy, by the SVF II Songbird, a SoftBank Group entity.
About Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Chairperson- Ashok Kumar Gupta
Director-General– Dr Atul Verma
Headquarters- New Delhi
Established on 14th October 2003
About ONGC Tripura Power Company(OTPC):
Managing Director– Sanil C. Namboodiripad
Headquarters– Gomati, Tripura

NS Srinivasa Murthy Became the 1st Honorary Consul General of Vietnam from India

Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed Nama Subbiah Setty Srinivasa Murthy as the Honorary Consul General of Vietnam for Bangalore, Karnataka through the Vietnamese Embassy in India. He is the 1st honorary consul general of Vietnam from India and the 19th across the world. Role: He will provide consular protection of the State’s interests and lawful rights and interests of Vietnamese citizens in Bangalore along with promoting Vietnamese investments, trade and tourism within Bangalore, Karnataka. His appointment is for 3 years. He is the owner and Managing partner of N. K. Subbiah Setty & Sons, the Incense Stick Manufacturers.

Note – Currently in Bangalore, there are Consulate Generals of 8 countries (Switzerland, Germany, UK, France, Japan, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands) and Honorary Consulates of a further 25 countries.
Consulate General: It is a representative of one country’s government in another territory, to protect the citizens of the consul’s own country.
About Vietnam:
Capital – Hanoi
President – Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Currency – Vietnamese dong
Ambassador of Vietnam to India – Pham Sanh Chau

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