Current Affairs

16 July, 2021


IFSCA Constituted Expert Committee for Development of Longevity Finance Hub in GIFT IFSC

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), the regulator of GIFT- City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), constituted an expert committee to recommend the road map and approach towards the development of the ‘Longevity Finance Hub’ in GIFT International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

Objective: To serve the investment and wealth management needs of the ‘Silver Generation’ (People with age group 60 and above), comprising people aged 60 and above. The expert committee will be co-chaired by Kaku Nakhate, Bank of America, Country Head (India), and Gopalan Srinivasan, Ex-CMD, New India Assurance Company Ltd. As per the global estimates, currently, 1 billion people exist under the Silver Generation with a combined spending power of $15 trillion, and further expansion in the size of the Silver Generation is also expected.
About International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA):
Establishment – April 27, 2020, under IFSCA Act, 2019
Headquarters – GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Chairperson – Injeti Srinivas

1 in 3 Countries not taking Remedial Measures for School Closures – UN Report

The report, “Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures” states that, Schools were or are still closed in 1 in 3 countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic have not yet implemented remedial programmes to mitigate learning loss. At the same time, only 1/3rd of countries are taking steps to measure learning losses in primary and lower second levels, mostly among high-income countries .
i.The report was released jointly by 4 United Nations (UN) Organisations – UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
ii.Schools should be opened at the earliest to ease-out psychological displeasure faced among young childrens and minimize dropouts.
Executive Director – Henrietta H. Fore
Headquarters – New York, USA
Established – 1946


NASSCOM CoE Launched HIC 2.0; Focus on Digital Transformation of Healthcare

In July 2021, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Centre of Excellence (CoE) for ‘Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence’ (IoT & AI), launched Healthcare Innovation Challenge (HIC) 2.0 with a focus on the digital transformation of healthcare. The HIC 2.0 enable Hospitals to nominate Use Cases as per their digital solution needs. NASSCOM CoE was set up in July 2016 as part of the Digital India initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to aid innovative start-ups in emerging technologies. NASSCOM CoE-IoT has centres in Bengaluru (Karnataka), Gurugram (Haryana), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), and Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

Annual Asha Bonalu Festival commenced in Telangana from July 11-August 8, 2021

The state of Telangana commenced its annual month-long state festival ‘Asha Bonalu’ festival on July 11, 2021 at its Golconda Fort in Hyderabad. As part of the festivities, a procession will take place from the Langar Houz to Golconda. During this, Ministers of State Talasani Srinivas Yadav for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Cinematography of Telangana and Allola Indrakaran Reddy for Endowments, Law and Forest, Environment, Science and Technology presented the silk robes to the goddess on behalf of the state government. The festival will culminate on August 8, 2021.

Funds allocation:
The Telangana government has allocated close to Rs 90 crore for Bonalu celebrations. About Rs 15 crore has been allocated for developmental activities in all the Mahakali temples while the remaining Rs 75 crore has been allocated for arrangements.
About Bonalu Festival:
i.During the festival, devotees offer the traditional ‘bonam’ (meaning meals) to the goddess Mahakali at 25 temples across the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Bonam is rice cooked with milk and jiggery.
ii.The first of these offerings i.e. ‘golden bonam’ is offered to the Goddess Jagdamba at the temple in Hyderabad’s Golconda Fort at 12 noon.
iii.It is celebrated during the Hindu calendar month of ‘Ashada’ which falls in the month of July and August.

India’s 1st ‘Grain ATM’ set up as Pilot Project in Gurugram, Haryana

Haryana’s Minister for Food & Civil Supplies Department & Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala stated that India’s 1st Grain ATM called ‘Automated, Multi Commodity, Grain Dispensing Machine’ has been installed in Farrukhnagar, Gurugram district, Haryana. It has been set up as part of a pilot project under the ‘World Food Programme’ of the United Nations. The machine which works like Bank ATMs can dispense approximately 70 kg of grains in 5-7 minutes’ It will dispense the quantity of ration as allocated by the Haryana government per individual family in the respective food bag designated at the ATM machine. The machines are set to be installed at all ration depots across the state; they will address the complaints regarding the time and right measurement of ration quantity. It will bring in more transparency in the Public Food Distribution system. The machine works like a bank ATM, using it 3 types of grains – Wheat, Rice and Millet can be distributed. The grain machine is equipped with Biometry and a touch screen, any error in the measurement of grain is negligible.

About World Food Programme
Executive Director – David Beasley
Head Office – Rome, Italy
About Haryana
Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar
Capital – Chandigarh
Governor – Bandaru Dattatreya

Cabinet Approvals on July 15, 2021

After the Expansion & Reshuffling of Cabinet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the first high-level meeting with the new Union Cabinet. During the meeting, the cabinet granted approval to new initiatives. 11th extension of the term of the Commission constituted under Article 340 by 6 months up to 31st January 2022. Continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary till March 31, 2026 at a total cost of INR 9000 crore. Increase in Dearness Allowance (DA) of Central Government employees & Dearness Relief (DR) for pensioners to 28%. INR 1,624 crore for promotion of flagging of merchant ships in India. Continuation of CSS National AYUSH Mission (NAM) Change of Nomenclature & Mandate of North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine (NEIFM) as North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda & Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR) Extension of RoSCTL on Export of Apparel/Garments & Made-ups MoU between India and Denmark on Cooperation in Health and Medicine MoU between India and Russia on cooperation regarding Coking Coal, which is used for Steel making. Implementation of the Livestock sector package worth INR 54,618 crore to boost Livestock sector

DBT, MoES sign MoU for Cooperation in Polar Biology

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) & Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual collaboration in the field of Polar Biology (Biology of Polar regions). Under the agreement, both organizations will work under one roof and work jointly to address relevant questions in Polar Biology. The centre point of collaboration between the 2 entities will be the biotechnological applications of polar microbes. The MoU was signed by Renu Swarup, Secretary of DBT & Dr. Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary of MoES.

MoES’s 2021-26 Plan
MoES’s 2021-26 plan includes a weather forecasting programme for wind and solar energy sectors, in which weather plays a crucial role.
About Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
It comes under the Ministry of Science & Technology
Secretary – Renu Swarup
Head Office – New Delhi
About Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Dr. Jitendra Singh (Udhampur – Jammu and Kashmir)


IFC Invested $16.5 million in MedGenome for COVID-19 Research

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has invested $16.5 million (~Rs 123 crore) in MedGenome, a genetic diagnostics and research company, to increase the access to COVID-19 testing, support research (to better help understand the virus), and manage future outbreaks. The current investment is part of IFC’s $4 billion (~ Rs 29, 820 crore) Global Health Platform, which is providing finance to support the manufacturing and supply of vaccines, medical equipment, etc.

About International Finance Corporation (IFC):
Establishment – 1956
Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
MD – Makhtar Diop
About MedGenome:
Establishment – 2013
Headquarters – Delaware, USA
Founder Chairman and Global CEO – Sam Santhosh

RBI Restricted Mastercard from Enrolling New customers from July 22, 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) restricted Mastercard Asia/Pacific Pte. Ltd. (Mastercard), the payment system operators from on-boarding new domestic customers (debit, credit or prepaid) onto their card networks from July 22, 2021, due to the non-compliance with the directions on Storage of Payment System Data. The restriction was imposed in exercise of powers vested in RBI under Section 17 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act) Mastercard is authorized to operate card networks in India under the PSS Act. Thus the current restrictions will not impact the existing customers.

RBI’s Regulations over Storage of payment system data:
In April 2018, RBI made the following regulation under PSS Act for the storage of payment system data to all the Payment System providers who are authorized/approved by the RBI to set up and operate a payment system in India. Directed to store all the data related to payment systems (full end-to-end transaction details/information collected/carried/processed as part of the message/payment instruction) within 6 months in a system only in India (within October 2018). Also required to submit a board-approved System Audit Report (SAR) conducted by a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) empanelled auditor (within December 2018).
About Mastercard:
Headquarters (Global) – New York, U.S.
Headquarters (India) – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO – Michael Miebach

RBI Extended the Implementation Timeline of ATM Cassette Swap till March 2022

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the implementation deadline for banks to use only lockable cassettes, which could be swapped at the time of cash replenishment (filling up cash) in ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) till March 2022.

i.In accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Currency Movement (CCM) (under the chairmanship of D.K. Mohanty), in 2018, RBI had recommended banks to use lockable cassettes in their ATMs to overcome the risks involved in open cash replenishment/ top-up in ATMs.
ii.The implementation of the lockable cassettes was planned in a phased manner from 2018, i.e covering at least one-third of ATMs operated by the banks every year, such that all ATMs would achieve cassette swap by March 31, 2021.
iii.As various banks have not implemented the lockable cassettes in their entire ATMs within the timeline, RBI has extended it.
Note – From 2019, the central government has restricted the banks from making cash replenishment or cash transportation activities in ATMs after 9 pm in urban areas, and 6 pm in rural areas.
About Types of ATM:
i.White Label ATMs (WLAs): ATMs set up, owned and operated by non-banks (i.e NBFCs) are WLAs. Non-bank ATM operators are authorised under the Payment & Settlement Systems Act, 2007 by RBI.
ii.Green Label ATMs – ATMs for agricultural transactions.
iii.Orange label ATMs – ATMs used for share transactions.
iv.Pink Label ATMs – ATMs that are meant only for women (ease their banking).
v.Yellow Label ATMs – ATMs meant for E-commerce facility.
vi.Brown Label ATMs – ATMs that are outsourced by a bank to a third party (based on the concept of sharing the cost).
vii.Biometric ATM – These are ATMs that use security features like fingerprint scanner and eye scanner of the customer to access the bank details.
viii.Onsite ATMs – ATMs that are located inside the bank’s premises.
ix.Offsite ATMs– ATMs that are located in various places except inside the bank’s premises.

BUSY Accounting Software tied-up with ICICI Bank for Banking Solutions

i.A business accounting software BUSY has collaborated with ICICI ((Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank for banking solutions.

ii.This integration will allow BUSY users to reconcile their bank statements automatically, do accounting, fetch bank details, make payments, etc., directly from the software. This will improve their business efficiencies.
BUSY Accounting Software:
Establishment– 1993
Managing Director (MD)– Dinesh Kumar Gupta
Chairman– Harish Chander
Headquarters– Delhi
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment– 1955 (Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline– Hum hai na, Khayal Apka


Tokyo Olympics 2020: What happens if an athlete tests Covid-19 positive? – Explainer of the Day

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in collaboration with the International Sports Federations, issued the Tokyo 2020 Sport-Specific Regulations (SSR) on July 11, 2021. The regulations specify what happens in case an athlete test COVID-19 positive at the Tokyo Olympics that begins July 23, 2021.

The Tokyo 2020 SSR lays down the principles on a sport-by-sport basis to follow in case of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case during the Games. These regulations provide a framework of COVID-19 countermeasures for a safe and secure Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 SSR: What are the three main principles?

No athlete or team will be designated as ‘disqualified’ if tested positive COVID-19. Instead, if an athlete is unable to take part due to COVID-19, they will be considered ‘Did Not Start’ (DNS).
The result of the athlete or team being unable to compete due to COVID-19 will be protected, keeping the phase of competition in consideration.
The next most eligible athlete or team will take place of an athlete or team unable to compete due to COVID-19 on a sport-by-sport basis.

Haryana postpones ‘2021-Khelo India Youth Games’ to February 2022

Haryana State government which is set to host the 4th edition of Khelo India Youth Games in November 2021, has postponed the event to February 2022. This comes after reviewing the situation of possible 3rd wave of COVID-19 in India, by the Organising-cum-Coordination Committee chaired by Haryana Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar.
i.The event is planned to be held in 5 cities – 3 in Haryana (Panchkula, Shahbad, Ambala) & 2 Union Territories (Delhi & Chandigarh)
ii.A total of 25 Sporting events, including 5 indigenous games (Yoga, Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamb) will be conducted for Under18 age group Mascot for 2021 – ‘Dhakad’

iii.Sport Minister Anurag Thakur, announced possibilities of conducting some events in Himachal Pradesh
iv.Decisions were also taken to conduct BRICS Games-2021 along side Khelo India
About Khelo India Youth Games:
i.National level multi-sporting event, that is conducted annually. The inaugural edition was conducted in 2018 at New Delhi.
ii.Events are conducted for 2 categories: Under-18 School Students & Under-21 College Students
Note – Maharashtra was the Champions of 2020-Khelo India Youth Games


RBI Cancels License of Dr Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar Urban Co-operative Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the license of Dr Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar Urban Co-operative Bank Limited in Nilanga, Latur district of Maharashtra with effect from the close of business on 14th July 2021.Under Section 5(b) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, following the cancellation of the license, the bank is prohibited to conduct the business of ‘banking’ including the acceptance and repayment of deposits, with immediate effect. Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CC & RCS) Maharashtra, has been requested to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank.

About CC & RCS, Maharashtra:
Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CC & RCS), Maharashtra.
Commissioner for cooperation– Anil Kawade (IAS)
Headquarters– Pune, Maharashtra

ISRO conducts 3rd Long Duration Hot Test of Vikas Engine for Gaganyaan Program

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the 3rd Long duration Hot test of the Liquid propellant Vikas Engine for the core L110 liquid stage of human rated GSLV MkIII vehicle, as part of the engine qualification requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme (India’s 1st Human Space flight programme). The engine was tested for 240 seconds at the engine test facility of ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Chairman – Dr.K. Sivan
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
About Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC)
Established – 2019
Director – Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair
Location – ISRO Headquarters Campus, Bengaluru, Karnataka

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