16 January, 2021
World’s Most Powerful Passports 2021: India ranks 85th in Henley Passport Index
i.A “Henley Passport Index:Q1 2021 Global Ranking” released where India was ranked 85th with visa-free score 58. The visa-free score states that Indian passport holders get to visit 58 countries without a prior visa. India shared its rank with Tajikistan.
ii.In 2020, India held 84th position.
iii.The index was topped by Japan with visa-free score of 191. It has been holding the position for three consecutive years.
NHPC Signs Definitive Agreement for implementation of Takeover Plan of 120 MW Rangit-IV HE Project of JPCL in Sikkim
NHPC Limited (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd) has signed Definitive Agreement for implementation of the Approved Resolution Plan for takeover of 120 MW Rangit-IV HE Project of Jalpower Corporation Limited (JPCL) in Sikkim. The outlay of the project is estimated as Rs.943.20 Crore. The financial creditors for this agreement are Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) and Punjab National Bank (PNB). It was signed in presence of Yamuna Kumar Chaubey, Director(Tech) NHPC, R.P. Goyal, Director (Finance) NHPC and senior officers from NHPC and PFC.
About NHPC Limited:
It is Mini Ratna Category-I Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– Abhay Kumar Singh
Headquarter– Faridabad , Haryana
Cabinet Approves Procurement of 83 LCA Tejas from HAL for IAF worth Rs. 45,696 Cr; India-UAE MoU Approved
i.As a part of Atmanirbhar programme, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi approved the procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) at the cost of Rs. 45,696 Crore for Indian Air Force (IAF). These include 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircrafts and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircrafts.
ii.LCAs are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
iii.The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on scientific and technical cooperation between the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
About United Arab Emirates:
Capital– Abu Dhabi
Currency– UAE Dirham
About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– R Madhavan
Headquarter– Bengaluru, India
RBI forms WG to Examine Lending Transactions via Online Portals, Apps; Chaired by Jayant Kumar Dash
i.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has formulated a 6-member Working Group(WG) to study all aspects of digital lending activities(including lending through online platforms and mobile apps) in the regulated financial sector as well as by unregulated players so that an appropriate regulatory approach can be put in place.
ii.The group will be chaired by Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI and will submit its report within three months.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Formation– 1 April 1935
Deputy Governors– 4 (Bibhu Prasad Kanungo, Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao)
CARE Lowered Centre’s Fiscal Deficit Projection to 7.8% of GDP from 9-9.5%
i. CARE Ratings has downgraded its projection of the Centre’s fiscal deficit to 7.8% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) during FY21 against its earlier estimate of 9-9.5%. As per this the Fiscal deficit is likely to be around Rs 15.3 lakh crs.
ii.This revision followed the release of the first advance estimate of GDP for FY21 by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI).
iii.It should be noted that, if borrowings of Rs 1.1 lakh crs for GST shortfall is added separately, the fiscal deficit could widen to 8.4% of GDP.
About CARE Ratings:
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Ajay Mahajan
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
RDO & Indian Army Developed India’s 1stIndigenous Machine Pistol ASMI; RLG systems handed over to Indian Navy
i.The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune (Maharashtra) in collaboration with the Indian Army has developed India’s first indigenous machine pistol ASMI. It will replace the 9mm pistols used by defence forces.
ii.Notably it has been developed by a young officer ‘Lt Col Prasad Bansod’ from Infantry School, Mhow in a record time of four months.
iii. Apart from above, Retractable landing gear (RLG) systems built by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), a unit of the DRDO in Chennai (Tamil Nadu), were handed over to the Navy as a part of ‘Atmanirbhar’ programme.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Establishment – 1958
Chairman– G Satheesh Reddy
Headquarter– New Delhi
Parent Ministry – Ministry of Defence
About Indian Army:
Chief of the Army Staff– Manoj Mukund Naravane,
Headquarters– New Delhi
IRDAI formulated expert committee to improve health insurance in India
India’s insurance regulator IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) formulated a 10-member advisory committee to improve the product quality and coverage of the health insurance in the country. The committee will be chaired by IRDAI chairman and will have tenure of 1 year.
Responsibilities of Committee:
–To examine the availability of products, suggest approaches on the coverage of specific diseases, and develop a strategy on treatment protocol or rate structure.
–To examine that policy conditions are protecting the interest of the policyholders.
Reason behind the formation of committee:
It is a move to improve penetration of health insurance in India, which is at less than 4% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is quite low as compared to most advanced and emerging economies. Also, the demand for Health Insurance in India has grown significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. So, there is a need to reform.