Current Affairs

17 December, 2021

International

India & Vietnam Signed LoI to Establish Partnership in Digital Media

Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communication, Government of Vietnam, to enable collaboration in the field of digital media and strengthen the partnership between India and Vietnam.

Features of LoI:

i.The LoI anticipates sharing of information and experience in establishing policies and regulatory frameworks on digital media and social networks.

ii.The LoI also expects to conduct capacity building and training programs for media professionals and officials in both India and Vietnam.

Note:

The year 2021 marks the completion of 5 years of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Vietnam and 2022 is set to mark the 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam.

India Hosts 8th Indian Ocean Dialogue – December 15

India hosted the 8th Edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue virtually with the assistance of the Indian Council for World Affairs and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretariat. The dialogue was jointly hosted by the External Affairs Ministry and Indian Council of World Affairs.

Theme – Post Pandemic Indian Ocean: Leveraging Digital Technologies for Health, Education, Development and Trade in IORA Member States.

About Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA):

i.IORA was formerly known as Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) which is a regional forum, tripartite in nature that brings together representatives of Government, Academia and Business to promote cooperation and closer interaction between them.

ii.IORA strengthens Economic Cooperation, especially on Trade Facilitation & Investment, Promotion and Social Development of the region.

National

Ashok Leyland Signs Pact with DRDO Arm to Develop Combat Vehicle Engines

Ashok Leyland has partnered with Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), a premier lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), to develop and manufacture 600-HP indigenous engines. The partnership will power futuristic combat vehicles under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat mission.

Defence requirements:

i.Pravin Kumar Mehta, Distinguished Scientist and Director General, Armament & Combat Engineering Systems (ACE), inaugurated the testing of the engine at the Engine Development Centre of Ashok Leyland, near Chennai.

ii.The 600-HP engine will undergo rigorous testing in the lab and will be qualified for application in tanks.

NMCG and c-Ganga organized 6th India Water Impact Summit 2021 in Hybrid mode; MoUs inked

i.The 6th edition of the India Water Impact Summit (IWIS) 2021 was organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (c-Ganga) in a hybrid mode. Physically it was held at NMCG office, New Delhi and IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology), Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.ii.This 5-day event was themed at ‘River Resources Allocation “Planning and Management at the Regional Level’.

iii.It was inaugurated by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) along with Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General NMCG; and Dr Vinod Tare, Founding Head, c-Ganga.

iv.It saw the participation of experts from the scientific community across the globe.

About Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS):
Union Minister– Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Constituency- Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Ministers of State (MoS)- Prahlad Singh Patel (Constituency- Damoh, Madhya Pradesh); Bishweswar Tudu (Constituency- Mayurbhanj, Odisha)

Cabinet Approval on December 15, 2021

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi approved the following important initiatives on December 15, 2021.Key Points:

i.The cabinet has approved an incentive scheme with an estimated financial outlay of Rs 1,300 crore (for 1 year i.e. FY22) to promote RuPayDebit cards and low-value (up to Rs 2,000) BHIM-UPI (Bharat Interface for Money – Unified Payments Interface) transactions (Person-to-Merchant (P2M) in India.

ii.Cabinet approved a production linked incentive (PLI) scheme with an outlay of Rs 76,000 crore to boost semiconductor and display manufacturing in India, making the total amount of incentives announced for the electronics sector to Rs 2.30 lakh crore.

iii.Cabinet has approved the extension of implementation of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for 2021-26 with an outlay of Rs 93,068 crore to benefit about 22 lakh farmers, including 2.5 lakh Scheduled Caste and 2 lakh Scheduled Tribe farmers.

iv.The cabinet cleared a Bill on electoral reforms, including one to link the electoral roll with Aadhaar on a voluntary basis to root out multiple enrolments.

v.Cabinet has also approved the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Government of the Republic of India and the Republic of Poland.

Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Financial Intelligence Unit-India signs MoU for Data Exchange

Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND), Ministry of Finance signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for data exchange on an automatic and regular basis. It is on the line of vision of MCA and FIU-INDIA to harness data capabilities to ensure effective enforcement. This MoU will also fulfill the Government’s vision of minimum government, maximum governance.

Signatories:

Manoj Pandey, Joint Secretary, MCA and Manoj Kaushik, Additional Director FIU-India in the presence of Secretary, MCA, and Director (FIU-India).

About MoU:

i.The MoU is an ongoing initiative of MCA and FIU-INDIA under which both entities are collaborating through various existing mechanisms.

ii.A Data Exchange Steering Group also has been constituted which will meet periodically to review the data exchange status and take steps to further improve the effectiveness of the data sharing mechanism.

iii.There will be sharing of specific information such as suspicious transactions, KYC (Know Your Customer) related details and consolidated financial statements of companies registered in the country. On request, both organizations will also exchange any information available in their respective databases, for the purpose of carrying out scrutiny, inspection, investigation and prosecution.

iv.The MoU will also ensure that both entities have seamless linkage for regulatory purposes.

Need behind this MoU:

Notably, MCA21 Version 3 and FINNET 2.0 have been developed that utilizes technology to improve regulatory and facilitating functions. MCA will rollout MCA21 Version 3 in phases while FIU-India is in the process of upgrading existing FINnet 1.0 to FINnet 2.0. FINnet 2.0 project is of national importance and assists FIU-IND to collect, analyze and disseminate financial information for combating money laundering and related crimes through latest the technologies. Therefore, data sharing will play a significant role for the advancement of both entities.
About Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND):
Establishment– 2004
Director– Pankaj Kumar Mishra
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi

Economy

SBI Renews MoU with Indian Army; Offers Benefits to Veterans, Families

The State Bank of India (SBI) has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Army to offer benefits to all serving as well as retired army personnel and their families through its Defence Salary Package (DSP) Scheme.

The MoU was signed in the presence of AG Lt. Gen. Harsha Gupta in New Delhi. Under this MoU, SBI will offer enhanced complimentary personal accidental insurance (Death) cover, air accidental insurance (Death) cover, permanent/partial disability covers. It also supports the education of children and the marriage of girl children of deceased army personnel.

IMF Announces Global Debt Record as $226 Trillion in 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that the Global debt raised a record $226 trillion in 2020 as the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and a deep recession. Global debt rose by 28 percentage points to 256 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020

Challenge: To create a right mix between fiscal and monetary policies in an environment of high debt and rising inflation.

Suggestion by IMF:

Adjusting high gross financing needs or exposure to exchange rate volatility is necessary to preserve market confidence and prevent fiscal distress.
About International Monetary Fund (IMF):
Managing Director (MD) – Kristalina Georgieva
Established – 1944
Headquarters – Washington DC, United States
Member Countries – 190

Pine Labs Partners with AU Small Finance Bank for EMI Offerings

Pine Labs, a merchant commerce platform, has partnered with AU Small Finance Bank, to enable the bank’s credit cardholders to avail equated monthly instalments (EMI) offers. The Partnership offers EMI at the point of sale (PoS) and converts their customer’s regular purchase into interest-free EMIs across the over 2 lakh merchant base of Pine Labs, pan India.

Aim – To empower the underbanked with no cost EMI offers

About Pine Labs:

i.Pine Labs is expanding its ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ offering to international markets.

ii.It has also partnered with Standard Chartered Malaysia to offer zero-interest instalment purchase options to the customers.
Established – 1998
Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
CEO – Amrish Rau

NIPL & Western Union sign MoU to enable Real-time Cross-Border Transactions

NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), international payments arm of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Western Union to enable real-time bank account payout in India.

About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):

i.It is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India. It is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

ii.It has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013).

About NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL):

CEO- Ritesh Shukla

Established- April 2020
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Western Union:
CEO- Hikmet Ersek
Headquarters- Denver, Colorado, US

Sports

Max Verstappen wins Formula One world title

Max Verstappen have won his first “Formula One (F1) world title”, leaving behind Lewis Hamilton, at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Max Emilian Verstappen is a Belgian-Dutch racing driver, who is currently competing in Formula One with Red Bull Racing, under the Dutch flag. He became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One at 2015 Australian Grand Prix. He was 17 years old then. At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he became the first Dutch driver to win Formula One Championship. He has become the 34th Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. He is the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen.

Other wins by him
As of 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen has achieved 19 more victories. It includes first for a Honda-powered driver since 2006. In 2019 and 2020 championships, he finished in third place.

Verstappen at Red Bull
Verstappen at Red Bull is due to remain until the end of 2023 season, following a contract extension.

About Formula One
Formula one is the highest class of international auto racing, organised for single-seater formula racing cars. It is sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). FIA Formula One World Championship was earlier known as World Drivers’ Championship, till 1981. It has been one of the premier forms of racing worldwide, since its first season in 1950.
Grand Prix
Formula One season comprises of a series of races, called as Grands Prix. Grand Prix take place worldwide for the purposes of built circuits and closed public roads.

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton receives knighthood

seven times Formula One (F1) champion Lewis Hamilton has received “knighthood” for services to motorsport.
He received knighthood, days after he lost at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He lost out to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on December 12, 2021.
Lewis Hamilton holds the record of most race wins with 103.
He is tied with Michael Schumacher from Germany, on seven drivers’ championships.
Hamilton is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted.
Before him, late Australian Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and triple champion Jackie Stewart have been knighted.
However, Lewis Hamilton is the only one to have received this award while still racing.
Sportsmen who received Knighthood
Other sportsmen who have received a knighthood include:
Cycling’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins
Olympic 5,000 & 10,000 metres gold medallist Mo Farah
Two times Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and
England cricketer Alastair Cook.
Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton
He is a British racing driver, currently competing in Formula One for Mercedes. He has previously driven for McLaren in between 2007 to 2012. He won a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles in F1 and holds the records for most wins (103), podium finishes (182) and pole positions (103). In 2020 issue of Time, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential people. He was recently knighted in 2021 New Year Honours.

Miscellaneous

IMF Announces Global Debt Record as $226 Trillion in 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that the Global debt raised a record $226 trillion in 2020 as the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and a deep recession. Global debt rose by 28 percentage points to 256 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020

Challenge: To create a right mix between fiscal and monetary policies in an environment of high debt and rising inflation.

Suggestion by IMF:

Adjusting high gross financing needs or exposure to exchange rate volatility is necessary to preserve market confidence and prevent fiscal distress.

About International Monetary Fund (IMF):
Managing Director (MD) – Kristalina Georgieva
Established – 1944
Headquarters – Washington DC, United States
Member Countries – 190

Army Chief Gen Naravane takes charge as Chairman of CoSC

The Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund (MM) Naravane, was appointed as the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC). The CoSC comprises the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. He succeeded General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) passed away in an accident in Tamil Nadu.

Note- General Bipin Rawat took charge as the 1st CDS of India on 31st December 2019. MM Naravane is the Senior most of the Chiefs of all Three Armed forces – Army, Navy & Air Force.

i.MM Naravane took over as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff in 2019, previously served as Vice Chief of the Army and prior to that headed the Eastern Command of the Army which takes care of India’s border with China.

Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee:

i.Previously, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee is selected from the senior-most Chief of Staff of Indian Armed forces.

ii.After the creation of the post of CDS, the Chairmanship of CoSC is taken over by CDS.

Roles played by CDS (Chief of Defence Staff):

i.The CDS also heads the newly created Department of Military Affairs apart from acting as the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Note- It was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee in 2001 and reiterated by the Naresh Chandra committee in 2012.

ii.The CDS has powers on tri-service administrative issues. The CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three service chiefs.

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