Current Affairs

15 March, 2021

International

1st Ever Leader-Level Summit of QUAD Countries held virtually

The First-ever Leader-Level Summit of 4 QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) countries – India, Japan, USA & Australia took place virtually.
Participants
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
US President Joseph Biden
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
Major Announcements
The 4 Countries agreed to work towards an ‘open’ & ‘free’ Indo-Pacific region.
Proposals for setting up 3 Expert Working Groups in areas of Vaccines, emerging technology & Climate were cleared.
They agreed to produce 1 Billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines across Asia by 2022 to fight the pandemic. It would be funded by US & Japan, while Australia will contribute in logistical aspects.

India emerges as 5th attractive Growth Destination, US Tops List: PwC’s Global CEO Survey

According to PwC’s (PricewaterhouseCoopers) 24th Annual Global CEO Survey, India emerged as the 5th most attractive growth destination in the world. India has slipped one position to 5th, after being surpassed by the United Kingdom which took the 4th Position.
The USA emerged as the Number one market favored by CEOs over the next 1 year followed by China, Germany. The survey covered 5, 050 CEOs in 100 Countries & Territories including India. Japan took the 6th position overtaking Australia. 76% of CEOs expect the global economic recovery to improve in 2021.
Position Country
5 India
1 USA
2 China
3 Germany
4 UK
About PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC):
Chairman – Robert E. Moritz
Headquarters – London, UK

National

Foreign Secretary Shringla inaugurates South Asia Group on Energy (SAGE) at RIS, New Delhi

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringala inaugurated the South Asia Group of Energy (SAGE) at the Research & Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in New Delhi. He highlighted various initiatives taken by India through its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
Note – India is the largest producer and consumer of energy in this region.
About Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS):
RIS is an autonomous policy research institute.
Aim- To promote cooperation between developing countries, to strengthen policy coherence on international economic issues & development.
Chairperson – Dr. Mohan Kumar
Director General – Sachin Chaturvedi
Headquarters – New Delhi, India

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Flagged off the 3000 HP Cape Gauge Locomotive for export to Mozambique; Developed by BLW

i.Union Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal flagged off the two 3000 Horse Power (HP) Cape Gauge Locomotive for export to Mozambique. It was indigenously developed by Banaras Locomotive Works (BLW), Varanasi, a production unit of Indian Railways.
ii.This is BLW’s first AC-AC traction system3000 HP, Cape Gauge locomotive.These Locomotives will be exported through Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) Ltd.
iii.Target- India Planned to become a net-zero Railway & power our entire electricity requirements by renewable energy by 2030. India is set to become the first large railway in the world to become 100% electric traction driven.
About Banaras Locomotive Works(BLW):
General Manager – Anjali Goyal
Headquarter – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
About Mozambique:
Capital – Maputo
Currency – Mozambican metical (MZN)
President – Filipe Nyusi

PM Inaugurated the Curtain Raiser Activities of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (India@75)

i.Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the curtain raiser activities of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (India@75) at the event organised in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
ii.He also flagged off the Padyatra from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat as a part of the India@75 programme. This marks the 91st anniversary of Gandhi’s 1930 Dandi March.
iii.He has also launched various cultural and digital initiatives for the celebration of India@75.
iv.Union MoS Prahlad Singh Patel led the first lap of 75 kilometers of the padyatra.

NHSRCL signs MoU with Japan’s JRTC for Track Work of MAHSR, India’s 1st Bullet Train Project

National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) & Japan Railway Track Consultant Co. Limited (JRTC) virtually signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Track works in the 237-km stretch between Vadodara & Vapi in Gujarat for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) also known as Bullet Train Project.
Under the agreement, JRTC will provide design & drawing of major High-Speed Rail (HSR) track components like RC Track bed, track slab arrangement & Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) forces.
It will strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiative & ensure the transfer of technology from the Japanese high-speed rail system to India.
MD – Achal Khare
Head Office– New Delhi

Economy

BNP Paribas Cardif has sold a 4.99% stake in SBI Life Insurance

The foreign partner of SBI Life Insurance, BNP Paribas Cardif (BNPPC), sold the major part of its share in SBI Life through the open market process. Over 5 crore shares are sold which is around 4.99% stake. Post this selling, now BNPPC holds 0.20% stake representing 20,03,612 equity shares of SBI Life Insurance.
Share Distribution of SBI Life Insurance: SBI Life was incorporated as a joint venture between State Bank of India (SBI) and BNPPC as a 74:26 equity ratio.
Past Transaction by BNPPC: In March 2019, BNPPC had sold 5 crore shares of the insurance company for Rs 2,889 crore & during the same month, Carlyle Group had acquired a 9 per cent stake in the life insurer from BNP Paribas Cardif. In June 2019, BNP Paribas Cardif (BNPPC) had sold 2.5 crore shares in the insurer, equivalent to 2.5 per cent, in an offer for sale process for Rs 1,702 crore. At the end of December 2020, SBI held a 55.50 per cent stake in the insurer and BNPPC 5.20 per cent.
About BNP Paribas Cardif(BNPPC):
Location – France
CEO -Renaud Dumora
About SBI Life Insurance:
Incorporated – October 2000 (Registered with IRDAI in March 2001)
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO– Mahesh Kumar Sharma
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara

SEBI limited MF’s investment in Debt Instruments to 10% and Banned close-ended schemes investment in perpetual bonds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in its circular set a limit for Mutual Funds (MF’s) investment to 10% in debt instruments with special features such as perpetual bonds and 5% for single issuers and stated the maturity for perpetual bonds as 100 years. The limits will be applicable only to new investments beginning 1 April According to PRIME Database, nearly Rs 37,000 crore was invested by MFs in perpetual bonds, as of January.
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
Establishment – On April 12, 1992 in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Regional offices – Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, and Delhi
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

Sports

India-New Zealand World Test Championship final in Southampton

India will play their inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl Stadium, England from June 18-22. Initially, the final was supposed to be held at the Lord’s but Southampton, with a five-star facility inside the stadium, will make it easier for both the ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board to create a bio-bubble for the two teams.

Miscellaneous

World Economic Forum announced the 2021 Class of Young Global Leaders

i.The World Economic Forum(WEF) released the list of 112 Young Global Leaders(YGL) 2021. 7 Indians ( Shreevar Kheruka, Aditi Avasthi, Srikanth Bolla, Gazal Kalra, Ameya Prabhu, Hriday Ravindranath and Hitesh Wadhwa) joined the Class 2021 of WEF’s Forum of Young Global Leaders.
ii.The Forum of Young Global leaders is a group of remarkable people under the age of 40 from diverse communities and industries across the globe.
iii.The Forum of YGL was created in 2004 by Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
About World Economic Forum(WEF):
Founder & Chairman– Klaus Schwab
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Founded– January 1971

DPIIT to launch ‘Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra’ portal for domestic investors

In order to strengthen the efforts to promote domestic investments, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is in the process of finalising a dedicated digital portal – Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra – for hand holding, information broadcasting, and provide assistance of domestic investors. It is under the supervision of the commerce and industry ministry.
Features of the Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra:
One-stop-shop to access all MSME portals; Information about the Approvals, Licenses, Clearances, Incentives & Schemes applicable to specific businesses across different sectors and Information on Manufacturing Clusters and Land Availability.

ISRO launches Sounding Rocket RH-560 to Study Altitude Variations in Neutral Winds, Plasma Dynamics

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a new Sounding rocket from its Rohini Series, RH-560 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota Range (SHAR), Andhra Pradesh. This Sounding rocket will help in carrying out studies in the upper Atmospheric regions, on Altitude Variations in the Neutral Winds and Plasma Dynamics. RH-560 is a 2-stage rocket that can reach a maximum launch altitude of 548 Kms.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman – K. Sivan
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka

SERB set up Portal ‘SERB – PRISM’ to Get Inclusive Information on Projects

the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has set up a portal called ‘SERB – PRoject Information System & Management (SERB – PRISM)’ to retrieve real-time information about research support provided by them.
Functions of SERB – PRISM Portal:
Purpose: It will provide a whole range of information regarding all projects sanctioned by SERB from 2011 onwards.
Headquarters – New Delhi
Chairman -Prof Ashutosh Sharma
Secretary – Prof Sandeep Verma

Department of Food & Public Distribution launches ‘Mera Ration’ Mobile app under ONORC Plan

The Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution launched the ‘Mera Ration’ Mobile app under the ‘One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)’ plan. It aims to benefit ration card holders who move to new areas for livelihoods. The mobile app has been developed by the Department of Food & Public Distribution along with the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Objective – To ensure better implementation of the ONORC Scheme.

Indian and Japan Space Agencies review cooperation on LUPEX Mission

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) & Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) virtually reviewed the progress made under the Joint Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) mission. LUPEX is a robotic Lunar mission that aims to send a lander and rover to the Moon’s south pole in the year 2024. The two sides also reviewed the on-going cooperation in earth observation, lunar cooperation & satellite navigation.
About ISRO:
It operates under the Department of Space (DoS)
Established – 1969
Headquarters – K Sivan

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