Current Affairs

17 February, 2022


Deloitte’s 2022 CxO Sustainability Report: Indian Businesses Rank 5th In Concern for Climate Change

As per the ‘Deloitte’s 2022 CxO Sustainability Report: The Disconnect Between Ambition and Impact’ Indian businesses acknowledge the risks of climate inaction and ranks 5th amongst 21 countries in their concern for climate change. The report is based on a survey of 2,083 C-level executives. The survey was conducted by KS&R Inc. and Deloitte, during September and October 2021, polled respondents from 21 countries.

Highlights of EAM S.Jaishankar visit to Australia and Philippines

i.Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India visited Australia and Philippines to impart further momentum to bilateral relations.

ii.On February 10-13, 2022, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar paid an official visit to Australia which was his first visit as India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) to Australia. It was also the first high level visit to Australia from India after the opening of its borders amid Covid-19 pandemic.
iii.EAM also met Secretary of National Defense of Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of Finance of Philippines, Carlos Domineguez III, and Secretary of Agriculture of Philippines, William Dar and discussed issues strengthening cooperation in Defence, Finance and Agriculture sectors respectively.
iv.On February 13-15, 2022, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar paid a bilateral visit to the Philippines which was also his first visit to the Philippines as EAM. There he held talks with his counterpart, Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
About Ministry of External Affairs (MEA):
Union Minister– Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Constituency- Rajya Sabha, Gujarat)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Vellamvelly Muraleedharan (Rajya sabha – Maharashtra); Meenakashi Lekhi (New Delhi, NCT of Delhi) ; Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur, Manipur)


Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project: Longest Tunnel T-49 Connected

The main tunnel T-49 between Sumber and Arpinchala station of the Katra-Banihal Section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link(USBRL) Project, the longest tunnel of the Indian Railway has been connected. T49 is a tunnel of length 12.758 kilometres (km) long has become the longest tunnel surpassing the Peer Panjal Tunnel of 11.2 km length constructed by USBRL on the Banihal-Qazigund section. The Northern Railways has entrusted the construction of the project to IRCON International Ltd under the Ministry of Railways.

Note: Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla Railway line is the biggest project in the construction of a mountain railway since independence.
i.The south portal (SP) of Tunnel T-49 is located at a distance of 45 km from the District headquarters of Ramban, Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) at an altitude of 1400 meters(m) and the North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is near Arpinchala village Tehsil Khari, Ramban District, J&K in Mahu-Mangat Valley at an altitude of 1600m.
ii.The designed speed of the tunnel is 100 Kmph and the ruling gradient of 1 in 80.
iii.According to the International standard, the escape tunnel is being constructed parallel to the Main Tunnel is connected by cross passages at an interval of 375 meters.

About Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link(USBRL) Project:
i.The USBRL Project planned for 345 km aims to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu & Kashmir.
ii.The project is divided into 3 sections Udhampur -Katra; Katra- Qazigund; and Qazigund -Baramulla and it is sub divided into 3 legs, Udhampur-Katra ( 25 Km); Katra-Qazigund (129KM); and Qazigund –Baramulla (Km 119 ).

4th India–Australia Energy Dialogue 2022 held virtually; LoI signed on New & Renewable Energy Technology

The 4th India–Australia energy dialogue 2022 was held virtually which was co-chaired by Raj Kumar Singh, Indian Minister of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), and Angus Taylor, Australian Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. It is an annual forum to discuss bilateral engagement between both nations on energy and resources.

Signing of LoI:
The dialogue saw the signing of a Letter of Intent (LoI) between India and Australia to reduce the cost of renewable energy (RE) technologies and to increase the manufacturing and deployment of ultra low-cost solar and clean hydrogen to reduce global emissions.

About Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE):

Union Minister– Raj Kumar Singh (Constituency- Arrah, Bihar)
Minister of State (MoS)- Bhagwanth Khuba (Constituency- Bidar, Karnataka)

Union Cabinet approves setting up of Secretariat for India’s G20 Presidency

India is all set to hold the Presidency of the G20 (Group of Twenty) from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023. In this regard, on February 15, 2022, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi approved the setting up of a G20 Secretariat and its reporting structures. This Secretariat, functional till February 2024, will be responsible for the implementation of overall policy decisions and affairs needed for India’s G20 Presidency. India to host the 2023 G20 Summit in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

About Secretariat:
It will be guided by an Apex Committee headed by the PM, and comprising the Finance Minister, Home Minister, External Affairs Minister, and G20 Sherpa (Union Minister Piyush Vedprakash Goyal, Ministry of Commerce & Industry; Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution). A Coordination Committee will also be set up to oversee all G20 preparations and report to the Apex Committee. The Secretariat will handle work relating to knowledge, content, technical, media, security and logistical aspects of India’s G20 Presidency. It will include officers and staff from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Finance, and other relevant line Ministries / Departments and domain knowledge experts.

Points to be noted:
i.G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation that plays an important role in global economic governance.
ii.India was originally expected to be President of the G20 in 2022, coinciding with the 75th year of the country’s Independence. It had arranged a swap with Italy, which was to be the chair in 2022 but agreed to take on the presidency in 2021. During the G20 Summit in November 2020, India made another swap with Indonesia, which took on the presidency for 2022.


Brio Hydroponics signs with Israeli Firm to Launch Rain Safety Approach

BRIO Hydroponics, an Ahmedabad based agritech startup, made a joint venture with an Israeli firm Pic-Plast Limited for a rain protection technique that will help grow plants hydroponically.
i.The startup is to boost the production of blueberries hydroponically to sell at an affordable price.
Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture which involves growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent.
Process of Pic-Plast
The process involves implementing a rain defence layer on the hydroponics plant in the course of rains and taking it away when there is no rain.
Techniques of Hydroponics
i. “Pure hydroponics” with no media to mature but a nutrient drinking water-soluble film is made use of. It also improves the best leafy veggies via Nutrient Film Approach (NFT).
ii. “Aggregate hydroponics” with all vegetables that flower and yield fruits developed in an inert media, typically substantial-excellent cocopeat.
About Brio Hydroponics
CEO – Amit Kumar Verma
Headquarters – Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Standard Chartered Bank Launches Interest-only Home Loan Facility

Standard Chartered Bank, India has launched the ‘interest-only home loan’ facility for completed residential properties where borrowers can pay only the interest without principal deduction during a limited period. This facility is available to both new and existing clients of Standard Chartered Bank.

About the facility:
i.Borrowers can choose to pay only the interest amount without principal through Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI) for an initial period of up to 1-3 years, after which it will be treated like a normal loan account where the EMIs comprise of both the principal and interest till the maturity of the loan. Borrowers can also start their full instalments earlier with no penalty fees.

ii.The facility is available for a loan amount ranging from Rs 35 lakh to Rs 3.5 crore with the maximum tenure of 30 years for salaried individuals and 25 years for self-employed individuals.
iii.Clients can also avail the Interest Only Home Loan facility to transfer their existing home loans from another financier to Standard Chartered.

RBI Extends Deadline for NBFCS to meet new NPA Upgradation Norms till September 2022

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the deadline for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to comply with new Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) classification norms (the norms are issued by RBI in November 2021) to September 2022 from the earlier deadline of March 2022.

Background: As per the ‘Prudential norms on Income Recognition, Asset Classification and Provisioning pertaining to Advances – Clarifications’, which was issued by RBI on November 15, 2021, the loan accounts that are classified as NPAs could be upgraded as ‘standard’ asset only if entire arrears of interest and principal are paid by the borrower. Currently, the NBFCs are provided with a timeline till September 2022 to implement the above provision.

Current Clarification: Currently, RBI has clarified that, the definition of ‘out of order’ as applicable to all loan products being offered as an OD facility, including those not meant for business purposes and/or which entail interest repayments as the only credits. The ‘90 days period’ for determination of ‘out of order’ status of a Cash credit/Overdraft (CC/OD) account should be inclusive of the day for which the day-end process is being run.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar


Keegan Petersen, Heather Knight ICC players of the month for January

South Africa’s Test sensation Keegan Petersen and England women’s team captain Heather Knight were voted ICC Players of the Month for January 2022. In the men’s category, South African batter Keegan Petersen was a sensation during the home Test series against India. He ended the series as the highest run-scorer with 276 runs and was named the Player of the Series.


Navars Edutech Launches 100 Satellite Constellations in Collaboration with Skyroot Aerospace

Navars Edutech Pvt Ltd, a hyderabad-based space startup in collaboration with Skyroot Aerospace will launch 100 student-developed satellites constellations in the next 5 years.
i.After the partnership, Navars Edutech will be India’s first Space Education startup for K12 students to design and launch satellites to space, using an indigenously developed private launch vehicle of Skyroot Aerospace.
ii.The first set of Satellites will be launched to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with Skyroot’s maiden launch Vikram-I in December-2022. The students will develop the intended satellite constellations for astronomical observations. Navars will lead this exciting EdTech transformation for the first time in the country at the school level.

About Navars Edutech Pvt Ltd:
Navars Edutech is a leading Astronomy & Space education company with a primary focus to drive awareness and education through engagement and innovation by offering real-life experience through live content, software tools, hardware kits, and experiences among K12 students.
Establishment – 2017
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Co-Founder & CEO – Sravan Varma
About Skyroot Aerospace:
Skyroot Aerospace is a national award-winning Indian Start-up developing small satellite launch vehicles (Vikram Series).
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Co-Founder , CEO & chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Pawan Kumar Chandana.

Manoj Tiwari appointed as Brand Ambassador of Khadi & handicrafts of Bihar

Manoj Tiwari, a Member of Parliament(MP) – Lok Sabha and Bhojpuri singer, has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Khadi and other handicrafts of Bihar. The announcement was made by Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Minister of industries of Bihar.

About Manoj Tiwari:
i.Manoj Tiwari, who hails from Bihar, is well known for his works like Gangs of Wasseypur and jiya ho Bihar ke lala.
ii.He was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament, from the North East Delhi ,NCT of Delhi Constituency representing the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP).

Gaming app A23 Signs Shah Rukh Khan as Brand Ambassador; Manoj Tiwari to be Brand Ambassador of Khadi in Bihar

A23, the gaming application owned by Head Digital Works, an online skill gaming company, has roped in Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador. Shahrukh Khan will feature in A23’s ‘Chalo Saath Khele’ campaign, along with a first of its kind responsible gaming campaign, which showcases all the multi-gaming platforms of A23 such as carom, fantasy sports, pool and rummy, among others. As the brand ambassador, Shah Rukh will support to elevate the brand among Indians who relate to using their skills to win.

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