Current Affairs

17 June, 2021

International

India extended 4th LOC of $108.28 mn to Eswatini

i.The Government of India (GoI) has extended its 4th Line of Credit (LOC) worth USD 108.28 million to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) for construction of their new Parliament building. With this the total value extended to Eswatini as a soft loan has reached USD 176.58 million.
ii.These LOCs are being utilized towards the projects of information technology, disaster management, agriculture, and construction.
iii.The agreement for the same was inked by Nirmit Ved, General Manager, Exim Bank, and Neal H Rijkenberg, Finance Minister of Eswatini.
About Eswatini:
It is a country in Southern Africa and is Africa’s smallest country.
Capitals– Mbabane, Lobamba
Currency– Swazi lilangeni (SZL)
India High Commissioner to Eswatini– Radha Venkataraman

RBI Permitted ‘Mobile Prepaid Recharges’ under BBPS; Expanded its Scope

Under Section 10 (2) read with Section 18 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded the scope of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) by permitting the addition of ‘mobile prepaid recharges’ as an additional biller category in BBPS on a voluntary basis. This was intended to support mobile prepaid customers with more options to recharge and it will be implemented on or before August 31, 2021.

Piyush Goyal represents India at UN Trade Forum 2021

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal represented India at the UN Trade Forum 2021 which took place virtually from June 14-15, 2021. Theme of the Forum – ‘Towards a green and inclusive recovery’ UN Trade Forum is a high-level political forum of the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ).
About UNCTAD
Headquarters -Geneva, Switzerland,
Member countries – 195
Acting Secretary-General – Isabelle Durant

India’s GERD on Research unsatisfactory: UNESCO Science Report 2021

The ‘UNESCO Science Report 2021: The race against time for smarter development’ released by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that India’s Investment in Research remains unsatisfactory. India’s Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research & Development (GERD) remained at 0.7% of the GDP for several years. India has one of the lowest GERD/GDP ratios among the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations.India’s Investment in Research
In 2020, the task force drafting India’s new Science & Technology Policy set the target date for 2% of GDP for R&D to 2030.
Positive Aspects
The number of scientific publications by India researchers on latest technologies has increased significantly from 80, 458 in 2011 to 1.61 lakh in 2019.
About UNESCO
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France

India, China & Pakistan expanding Nuclear Arsenals: SIPRI Report

The ‘SIPRI Yearbook 2021 (52nd Edition)’ released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) states that India, Pakistan & China are expanding their Nuclear arsenals. At the start of 2021, India with 156 Nuclear warheads (at the start of 2021) is behind Pakistan (165 Nuclear warheads) & China (350 warheads). The 9 nuclear armed states in the world (US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) possessed an estimated 13, 080 Nuclear warheads at the start of 2021, an decrease compared to 2020 stockpile – 13400. Russia & US together possess around 90% of the global nuclear weapons, they have extensive and expensive modernisation programmes. Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China were the five largest importers of major arms in the world between 2016 and 2020.
World Nuclear Forces, as of January 2021
Country Total Warheads in 2021 (estimated)
USA 5550
Russia 6255
China 350
India 156

National

GMR Aviation Academy, Emirates Group Security Signed MoU

Aviation training providers viz, Emirates Group Security (EGS) and GMR Aviation Academy (GMR AA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation in the exchange of information, technical expertise and aviation security. Objective: To create a foundation for an international partnership that will benefit a myriad of aviation professionals. Under the MoU, both EGS and GMR AA committed to providing training, education and development in the field of aviation, cyber and general security. More than 75 aviation and security courses in both online and conventional classroom settings — certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate — to thousands of professionals in India as well as in the Middle East and Asian regions will be offered by them. They provide customised programmes which will help in the up-skilling of the aviation professionals.
About GMR Aviation Academy (GMR AA):
It is a part of the GMR Group, the 4th largest private airport company in the world.
Establishment – 2009
Headquarters – New Delhi
About Emirates Group Security (EGS):
Establishment – 1992
Headquarters – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Malaria No More, IMD & ICMR launch Expert Committee to eliminate Malaria in India

Malaria No More, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in partnership with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) & Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) established an India Interagency Expert Committee on Malaria and Climate (IEC) to explore and advance climate-based solutions for accelerating malaria elimination in India. India has set a target to eliminate Malaria by 2030. It is making steady progress to achieve it. Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases are highly influenced by weather and weather events. IEC aims to use weather data and malaria data to aid Malaria controlling interventions, as it is a cost effective method. IEC’s launch is part of a global initiative ‘Forecasting Healthy Futures’ to develop weather data-informed strategies and policies to improve health outcomes and accelerate progress against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
Director General – Balram Bhargava
Headquarters – New Delhi
About Malaria No More
CEO – Martin Edlund
Headquarters – Seattle, USA

Arjun Munda launches ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi-Mission Van Dhan’ & several other initiatives

The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs launched the Tribal Livelihoods Initiative ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi-Mission Van Dhan’. Along with the initiative, the Union Minister also launched 7 new Tribes India Outlets, Tribes India Coffee table book, Van Dhan website, software application,and new TRIFED Head Office in New Delhi. The initiatives were launched in hybrid mode i.e both physically and virtually. All the initiatives are aimed at sustainable livelihoods for the tribal population Sarnath outlet is the 1st successful collaboration with the Ministry of Culture at an ASI (Archaeological Survey of India ) heritage site. With these outlets, the total number of Tribes India outlets have gone up to 141.
About Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA):
Union Minister – Arjun Munda (Khunti, Jharkhand)
Minister of State – Renuka Singh Saruta (Surguja, Chhattisgarh)

Ministry of Shipping & Civil Aviation Ministry sign MoU to develop Seaplane services in India

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) & Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for development of Seaplane services in India. The agreement will help in development of new water aerodromes & also operationalization of new seaplane routes in India. The agreement was signed in the presence of Minister of State (I/C) for MoPSW Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of State (I/C) for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.
About Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW)
Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Mansukh Mandaviya (Rajya Sabha – Gujarat)
About Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA)
Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Hardeep Singh Puri (Rajya Sabha- Uttar Pradesh)

Economy

Axis Bank Enabled Whatsapp Business Solution By Partnering With Karix Mobile

In partnership with Karix Mobile(a wholly owned subsidiary of Tanla Platforms), Axis Bank makes banking conversational by enabling secure communication over WhatsApp. It includes full scale integration of banking products across Savings Account,Credit Cards,Deposits and loans. It helps to accelerate customer engagement and turn-around time with a personalized experience,while ensuring complete data security and privacy.

Merging of DHFL, PCHFL: RBI Changed DHFL’s Deposit-taking Status into Non-Deposit Taking HFC

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revoked the deposit-taking status of Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) and reclassified it as a non-deposit taking housing finance company (HFC), before approving the Piramal group‘s bid to take over it towards the end of the resolution process. DHL became the 1st financial services firm to go for bankruptcy proceedings.
About Piramal Group:
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Piramal
About Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd.(DHFL):
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Administrator– R. Subramaniakumar

LIC CSL Launched Prepaid Gift Card on IDBI Bank’s RuPay Platform

LIC Cards Services Limited (LIC CSL) partnered with IDBI Bank to launch “Shagun”, a contactless prepaid LIC gift card powered by the IDBI Bank on the RuPay platform.
The NPCI and LIC CSL have partnered for this initiative.
Aim: To expand the gift card market and to promote cashless ways of gifting.
About ‘Shagun’:
i.In the initial phase, the Shagun Gift Cards will be available only for the official use of LIC and its subsidiaries and associates.
About LIC Cards Services Limited (LIC CSL):
LIC Cards Services Limited, a subsidiary of LIC, came into existence on 11th November 2008.
Headquarters– New Delhi

ICICI Bank Launched Digital Banking Solution for Corporates – ‘ICICI STACK’

ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank launched a first-of-its-kind initiative, a comprehensive set of digital banking solutions named – ICICI STACK for corporates and their entire ecosystem including promoters, group companies, employees, dealers, vendors and all other stakeholders. Under ICICI STACK, the companies are provided with customised digital banking services in over 15 sectors such as financial services, IT/ITES, pharmaceuticals, steel and their entire ecosystem. ICICI STACK consists of nearly 500 services and the services are tailor-made for companies within an industry. It has a 24×7 facility and avoids customers visiting a bank branch amidst COVID-19.
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1955(Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum hai na, Khayal Apka

Sports

Kathryn Bryce, Mushfiqur Rahim named ICC Players of the month for May

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced Scotland’s Kathryn Bryce and Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim as the winners of the ICC Player of the Month Awards for May. ICC Player of the Month Awards aims to recognise and celebrate the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket throughout the year.
About the Kathryn Bryce:

All-rounder Kathryn Bryce from Scotland was deservingly voted the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for May 2021 as she is the first player from Scotland, male, or female, to make it to the top 10 of the batting or bowling lists in the ICC Player Rankings released recently. Kathryn played four T20Is against Ireland where she scored 96 runs and took 5 wickets with an economy rate of 4.76 in the month of May.

About the Mushfiqur Rahim:
From the Bangladesh camp, Mushfiqur Rahim was named the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for May 2021. He played one Test and three ODIs against Sri Lanka in the month of May where he helped Bangladesh win their first ODI series against Sri Lanka by scoring 125 in the second ODI.

Wrestler Vinesh Phogat clinched gold medal in Poland open

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal in the 53 kg category at the Poland Open. It is her third title of the season. Earlier, She had won gold at the Matteo Pellicone event (March) and Asian Championship (April). She defeated Ukraine’s Khrystyna Bereza in the final. Khrystyna Bereza won the silver medal at the Poland Open. Earlier, Indian wrestler Anshu Malik pulled out of the 57kg competition due to fever.

Miscellaneous

Rocket Lab to Design 2 Photon Spacecraft for NASA’s ESCAPADE Mars mission

Rocket Lab was awarded a contract to design 2 of its Photon spacecraft for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) potential – Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission to Mars in 2024. ESCAPADE mission is a part of NASA’s Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program. The spacecraft will orbit around Mars to understand the structure, composition, variability, and dynamics of Mars’ unique hybrid magnetosphere.
About Rocket Lab:
Establishment – 2006
Headquarters – California, United States
Founder, CTO, and CEO – Peter Beck
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA):
It is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research.
Establishment– 1958
Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
Administrator –Bill Nelson (14th administrator of NASA on May 2021)

WISA Woodsat: New Zealand to launch Finland designed World’s First Wooden Satellite

In an introductory move, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the world’s first wooden satellite, WISA Woodsat, designed and built in Finland, on Earth’s orbit by the end of 2021. It will be launched on a Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from the Mahia Peninsula launch complex in New Zealand. It is a brainchild of Jari Makinen, co-founder of Arctic Astronautics, a satellite replicas making company. The sending work satellite is being done by this company.

Shenzhou-12: China to launch first human spaceflight since 2016

China is all set to blast off its first human spaceflight since 2016 namely ‘Shenzhou-12’ which means ‘Divine Vessel’. It will be launched from Gobi Desert on a Long March rocket in the coming days with three men onboard. The crew will stay there for 3 monthse. until September 2021 and will engage in practicing spacewalks, conduct repairs along with scientific operations. This duration will succeed the 33-day record set by Shenzhou-11 in 2016. Notably, this will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China’s space station by 2022. Among them, four will be missions with people on board, covering 12 Chinese astronauts into space. This is also China’s 7th crewed mission overall.

Canara Bank To Be The Lead Sponsor of NARCL With 12% Stake

Public sector lender Canara Bank will be the lead sponsor and biggest shareholder of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) or Bad Bank with a 12 percent stake in the entity. NARCL is being formed by all the banks and some of the Non Performing Assets(NPA) of these banks will be transferred to NARCL for recovery. In the initial phase,22 bad loans worth Rs 89,000 crore were to be transferred to NARCL.
About Canara Bank:
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive officer(CEO)– L.V.Prabhakar
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Tagline– Together We Can
Founded in– July 1906
Syndicate Bank was amalgamated into Canara Bank on April 2020

Finance Ministry Official Anand Mohan Bajaj Appointed in SEBI Board

Anand Mohan Bajaj, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has been appointed as Member of the Board of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by the Government of India. He will succeed Tarun Bajaj, who is now the Revenue Secretary. The other Central Government appointed official in the SEBI Board is K V R Murty, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

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