Current Affairs

16 June, 2021


Overview of EAM Jaishankar’s visit to Kuwait & Kenya

India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar paid a three-day visit to Kuwait from June 9 to 11, 2021 & Kenya from June 12 to 14, 2021.
Kuwait visit
It was Jaishankar’s 1st visit to Kuwait as EAM. During the visit, he held high level meetings and addressed the Indian community in Kuwait.
i.India & Kuwait have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will bring Indian domestic workers in Kuwait under the ambit of a legal framework. It will help in Streamlining the recruitment and providing the workers the protection of the law.
About Kuwait
Emir – Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Capital – Kuwait City
Currency – Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)
About Kenya
President – Uhuru Kenyatta
Capital – Nairobi
Currency – Kenyan Shilling (KES)

Developing Economies Energy Transition needs USD 1 Trillion by 2030 : IEA Report

According to the ‘Financing Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging and Developing Economies’ report released by International Energy Agency (IEA), The Annual Clean energy investment in emerging and developing economies needs to increase by more than seven times – from less than USD 150 billion in 2019 to more than USD 1 Trillion by 2030 to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Annual investment across the entire energy sector in emerging and developing markets have fallen by about 20% since 2016. World’s energy and climate future will depend on how emerging economies manage energy transition successfully. The report has been prepared by IEA in collaboration with the World Bank and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
About International Energy Agency (IEA)
Executive Director – Fatih Birol
Headquarters – Paris, France
Members Countries– 30 member countries

India 14th Most Charitable Country, Indonesia tops: World Giving Index 2021 Report

The World Giving Index 2021 (WGI 2021) report released by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has ranked India as the 14th most charitable country in the world (with a score of 44%) out of 114 countries. Indonesia topped the Index followed by Kenya & Nigeria. The WGI 2021 is based on the year 2020 and highlights the impact of lockdowns on charitable giving. The WGI is an annual report, it uses data gathered by Gallup’s World view World Poll. The 1st edition of the report was released in 2010.
About Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)
Chief Executive – Neil Heslop
Headquarters – London, UK

PM Modi addresses UN ‘High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land degradation and Drought’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually delivered his keynote and highlighted India’s commitment to restore the Degraded land at the UN ‘High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land degradation and Drought (DDLD)’. He is the president of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The meeting aims to maintain momentum on addressing DLDD-related challenges. It was attended by Executive Secretary of UNCCD Ibrahim Thiaw and leaders of various global organizations.
About United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Executive General – Ibrahim Thiaw
Headquarters – Bonn, Germany

WHO released hand book “Estimating the burden of foodborne diseases: A practical handbook for countries”

To address the problem of foodborne illnesses worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a handbook titled ‘Estimating the burden of foodborne diseases: A practical handbook for countries’. It is prepared by WHO Team of Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), Multisectoral Action in Food Systems, and Nutrition and Food Safety. There will be a webinar on June 29, 2021 by WHO for detailed discussion on the handbook.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Inaugurated Two Centres of Excellence of BRO

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated two centres of excellence(CoE) established by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at Seema Sadak Bhawan in New Delhi.The 2 CoE’s are, The Centre of Excellence for Road Safety and Awareness (CoERSA) The Centre of Excellence for Roads, Bridges, Air Fields and Tunnels (CoERBAT)
The main objective of these CoE is to achieve excellence in road safety and to foster growth in construction of roads, air fields, tunnels and bridges.
The first-ever solo woman motorcycle expedition by Kanchan Ugursandi to Umling La Pass in Ladakh was also flagged off on the occasion by Rajnath Singh.

SJVN Ltd Signed a Pact with NIWE To Develop solar & Wind Energy Projects

SJVN Ltd, a hydroelectric power generation company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) for ‘Technical Consultancy Services’ for development of Solar, Wind, Hybrid (Wind & Solar) and Hybrid (Wind, Solar & Battery Storage) Energy Projects of SJVN. The MoU was signed by Nand Lal Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director(CMD) of SJVN Ltd and Dr. K Balaraman Director General of NIWE over a virtual ceremony.
About National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE):
NIWE is an autonomous R&D institution by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.
Director General- Dr. K Balaraman
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Established in– 1998

44th GST Council Meet: GST Cut for Medicines, Oxygen, Tests; Vaccines GST Unchanged at 5%

The 44th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council met virtually under the Chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. As per the group of ministers (GoM) recommendations, the Council has reduced the GST rates on the specified items that are being used in COVID-19 relief and management till September 30, 2021.
Change in GST Rates on Medicines:
S.No Description Present GST Rate Rate recommended by GST Council
1. Tocilizumab 5% Nil
2. Amphotericin B 5% Nil
3. Remdesivir 12% 5%
4. Anti-Coagulants like Heparin 12% 5%
5. Any other drug recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Dept. of Pharma (DoP) for COVID-19 treatment Applicable Rate 5%
Note – The drugs Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, which are exempted from GST are used to treat mucormycosis — black fungus.

Odisha welcomes Agricultural Year through ‘Raja Parba’ Festival

A 3-day long annual festival welcoming the agricultural year in Odisha namely ‘Raja Parba’ aka ‘Mithuna Sankranti’ is being celebrated in the state from June 14, 2021 to June 16, 2021. Many programmes and events are conducted by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation to observe the celebrations.
The day was observed,
i.To greet the agricultural year through biological symbolism in mid-June.
ii.To highlight the end of summer season and the arrival of the monsoon making the soil ready for cultivation and productivity.
Historical Belief of Raja Parba:
Raja Parba is dedicated to Mother Earth (Bhuma Devi) and celebrates womanhood. Bhumi Devi is the wife of Lord Vishnu. As per the beliefs Mother Earth menstruates during the first three days and prepares herself for agricultural activities with monsoon appearance. The festival concludes on the fourth day with a custom called Vasumati Snana or the bathing of Bhuma Devi.
i.During the three days, women get a break from household work and play indoor games.
ii.The first day is called “Pahili Raja”, second is “Raja Sankranti” and third is “Bhumi Dahana or Basi Raja”.
iii.The second day signifies the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna which indicates the initiation of monsoon.
About Odisha:
Chief Minister– Naveen Patnaik
Capital– Bhubaneswar (Temple City of India)
Governor– Ganeshi Lal
OTDC Chairperson– Shreemayee Mishra

NHPC signs MoU with BSHPC for Implementation of 130.1 MW Dagmara HE Project in Supaul district of Bihar

An agreement was signed between NHPC (erstwhile National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) and Bihar State Hydroelectric Power Corporation (BSHPC) for the implementation of 130.1-megawatt (MW) Dagmara Hydro-Electricity project (HEP) on river Kosi in Supaul district of Bihar on an ownership basis by the former.
i.The MoU was signed through video conference by NHPC Director (Projects) Biswajit Basu on behalf of NHPC and BSHPC Managing Director Alok Kumar.
ii.A grant of Rs 700crore will be provided by the Bihar Government for Capex (Capital expenditures) requirements of the project .
About NHPC:
It is a Mini Ratna Category-I Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and largest organisation for hydropower development in India.
Establishment– 1975
Chairman & Managing Director (CMD)– Abhay Kumar Singh
Headquarter– Faridabad, Haryana


Policybazaar Gets Insurance Broking Licence From IRDAI

Leading web aggregator Policybazaar has got approval from regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to function as an insurance broker. Policybazaar will undertake business including insurance aggregation under the broking umbrella and it will surrender its web aggregator licence to IRDAI. The broking licence will allow the company to enter into segments like claims assistance, offline services, and establish Points of Presence network.
About Policybazaar:
Policybazaar is one of the largest online distributors of health, motor and term life insurance.The group has other fintech brands including Paisabazaar, b2b venture ZPhin and a lending & insurance marketplace in the UAE region.
PolicyBazaar has a market share of 25 percent in the life insurance segment and10 percent in health insurance.
CO Founder & CEO: Yashish Dahiya
About IRDAI:
Founded: 1999
Headquarters: Hyderabad,Telangana
Chairperson: Subhash Chandra Khuntia

Ujjivan SFB Collaborates with MoEngage

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (SFB) collaborated with MoEngage, a customer engagement platform to drive digital banking experiences in the unserved and underserved regions of the country. Objective: To build a vast presence of the bank for connecting with customers in unserved and underserved regions through multiple digital touchpoints. SMS campaigns: Under the tie-up along with MoEngage, Ujjivan SFB targets SMS (Short Message Services) campaigns to encourage digital repayments, under which, the customers are enabled with options to make payments either digitally or through cash deposit. MoEngage will drive the campaigns in 12 different regional languages and will educate customers on online bill payments.
About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (SFB):
Establishment – 2017 (set up by Ujjivan Financial Services Limited)
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
MD & CEO– Nitin Chugh
Tagline – Build a better life

Ambuja Cement Foundation Joins with NABARD to Skill Rural Youth

Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Ambuja Cements Ltd, which is working towards the empowerment of rural communities, joins hands with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for the implementation of its ‘Employability through Skill Initiative Project (ESIP) Phase II. Objective: To empower youth with practical skill development training and empower them for a better future. ACF received grant assistance from NABARD under the Gramya Vikas Nidhi, a fund created for the development of off-farm sector activities.
About Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF):
Establishment – 1993
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Director and CEO – Pearl Tiwari
Chairman – Narotam Sekhsaria
About National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):
NABARD was established on the recommendations of the B.Sivaraman Committee (by Act 61, 1981 of Parliament) to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.
Establishment – 12 July 1982
Chairman– Govinda Rajulu Chintala
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

RBI has released the Consultative Document on Regulation of Microfinance

RBI has released the Consultative Document on Regulation of Microfinance for feedback from all stakeholders. It intends to address the over-indebtedness of microfinance borrowers and enable a market mechanism to bring down interest rates by empowering the borrowers to make an informed decision. It suggests a common definition of microfinance loans that is uniformly
Establishment – 1989 by the G-7 Summit.
Headquarters – Paris, France
President – Marcus Pleyer (Germany)
Member countries – 39

RBI Issued Norms for FATF Non-Compliant Jurisdictions’ Investment in PSOs; Released Consultative Document on Regulation of Microfinance

Under Section 18 read with Section 10(2) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued regulations for investments in Payment Systems Operators (PSOs) by new entities from Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Non-compliant Jurisdictions (Countries).
Restrictions imposed by RBI:
i.RBI has not permitted new investors from or through non-compliant FATF jurisdictions to acquire, directly or indirectly, ‘significant influence’ in PSOs (existing PSOs/ entities seeking authorisation as PSOs).
ii.Fresh investments (directly or indirectly) from those non-compliant FATF jurisdictions, in aggregate, should account for less than 20 percent of the voting power (including potential voting power) of the PSO.


ICC Test Team Ranking 2021: New Zealand becomes world's no.1 Test Team, India pushed to second rank

New Zealand toppled India on June 13, 2021 to become the world's number one ranked Test team. The team achieved the feat after it beat England 1-0 in the two-match Test series on the same day.

While the first test had ended in a draw, New Zealand won the second Test comfortably by eight wickets on Day Four at Edgbaston in Birmingham on June 13. This is England's first Test series defeat at home since 2014.

New Zealand now has 123 points in ICC Men's Team Test Rankings and stands at the first place, while India with 121 points has been pushed to to the second spot.

Australia is ranked third with 108 points while England is positioned at the fourth rank with 107 points in the ICC Men's Test Team Rankings List.

Indian Wrestler Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Poland Open ranking Series

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won the women’s 53kg category gold medal at the Poland Open ranking Series, She played the final against Khrystyna Bereza of Ukraine. This was India’s second medal at the event after Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s won silver in the men’s 61kg category.


European Space Agency’s EnVision mission to Venus in 2030

European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the launching of its probe called ‘EnVision’ to study Venus. It will probably be launched in early 2030.
To study the planet’s atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse its surface composition.
Note: NASA recently selected two missions to the planet Venus namely,DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. Previously, an ESA-led mission to Venus called ‘Venus Express’ (2005-2014) focussed on atmospheric research and pointed to volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface. Other than this, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has also been studying the planet’s atmosphere since 2015.

IIT Ropar developed “Jivan Vayu”, India’s first power free CPAP device

Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Ropar(Punjab) developed a device named “Jivan Vayu”, India’s first Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that can function without electricity. Jivan Vayu can be used as a substitute for the CPAP machine. Dr Khushboo Rakha, Assistant Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, developed the device at the Advanced Materials and Design Lab of IIT Ropar.

Italian car maker Ferrari appointed Benedetto Vigna as CEO

Italian car maker Ferrari has appointed Benedetto Vigna as a Chief Executive Officer(CEO) effective from September 1, 2021. He replaces former Chief Executive Louis Camilleri who retired in December 2020.
He currently holds an executive role at STMicroelectronics(ST), Europe’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer

IIT Kanpur Professor Mukesh Sharma Appointed as Honorary Member of WHO Body

Mukesh Sharma, who is a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has been appointed as honorary member of WHO’s (World Health Organization) Global Air Pollution and Health-Technical Advisory Group (GAPH-TAG). His appointment is made by the Director General of WHO,Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Mukesh Sharma is an air quality expert with the civil engineering department at IIT-Kanpur. He will be part of the interventions and policies for air pollution control in 194 member states of WHO

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