Current Affairs

17 March, 2021


India’s Import of arms decreased by 33% due to Indigenisation: SIPRI Report

According to a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India’s import of arms decreased by 33% between 2011-15 and 2016-20 due to its increased push for ‘Make-in-India’ initiative and other measures to boost the domestic defence industry. The most affected countries due to decline in India’s imports were Russia & USA. Globally, the five largest arms exporters in 2016-20 were US, Russia, France, Germany & China while top importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia & China. India’s Top 3 Arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (49% imports), France (18%) & Israel (13%).
About Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI):
Director – Dan Smith
Headquarters – Stockholm, Sweden

New focus on SDGs needed to rebuild after COVID-19: ADB report

Asian Development Bank(ADB)’s report titled “ADB’s Support for the Sustainable Development Goals: Enabling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through Strategy 2030” states that, a renewed focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be essential as countries seek to rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic.


INS Jalashwa reaches Comoros to deliver 1,000 tonnes of rice:Mission Sagar-IV

Indian Naval Ship(INS) Jalashwa, the largest amphibious ship of Indian Navy reached Port Anjouan, Comoros to deliver 1,000 Metric Tonnes of rice as part of Mission Sagar-IV. Mission Sagar was India’s initiative to deliver Covid-19 related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean region, which was launched on 10 May 2020. The capital and currency of Comoros is Moroni and Comorian franc respectively.

MG Motor partners with IIT Delhi for Research in Electric, Connected & Autonomous Vehicles

MG Motor India partnered with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi’s Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART) for enhanced research in deployment of Electric, Connected & Autonomous Vehicles in India’s Urban landscape. This partnership for research in CASE mobility (Connected – Autonomous – Shared – Electric) was made through IIT-Delhi’s Industrial Interface Organisation, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT).
i.The Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART) at IIT Delhi will conduct high level research in Electric Vehicles (EV).
About MG Motor India:
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
President & MD – Rajeev Chaba
Founded – 2017
About IIT-Delhi:
Established – 1961
Director – V. Ramgopal Rao

Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Maharashtra lead in usage of Drip Irrigation : Ministry of Agriculture

According to data presented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to Lok Sabha, 4 states namely Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Maharashtra have more than half of the net cultivated farmlands under micro-irrigation in India (12, 908.44 Hectares). The data also shows that 27 States (including UTs) have less than 30% micro-irrigation system out of which 23 have fewer than 15% micro-irrigation. The Totalnet irrigated area in India is 68, 649 Hectares, out of which lands covered under micro-irrigation is 12, 908.44 Hectares.
State Net Irrigated Area* Areas Covered under micro-irrigation
Drip Irrigation Sprinkler Irrigation %
Sikkim 16 6.35 5.26 73
Andhra Pradesh 2, 719 1, 388.13 519.17 70
Karnataka 3, 104 752.82 1, 148.70 61

About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW):
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Lok Sabha MP, Constituency – Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Parshottam Rupala (Rajya Sabha MP representing Gujarat), Kailash Choudhary (Lok Sabha MP, Constituency – Barmer, Rajasthan)

Atal Innovation Mission signs SoI with Aster DM Healthcare to transform Health Care Innovations in India

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with Aster DM Healthcare to change and improve health care innovations & outcomes in India Aster Digital Health Incubator (ADHI), a unit of Aster DM Healthcare Group will also support AIM’s initiatives such as Atal Incubation Centers (AICs), Established Incubation Centres (EICs), Atal Community Innovation Centres (ACICs) & Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs).
About NITI Aayog:
CEO – Amitabh Kant
Headquarters – New Delhi


Vayana Network Partnered with CRIF India to Launch GBS, a Tech-enabled Tools for MSMEs

i.Vayana Network, a leading Supply chain financing platform has partnered with CRIF Solutions India, a global FinTech company and launched Good Business Score(GBS), a tech-enabled tool to support the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises(MSME) in India to effectively measure and manage their businesses.
ii.The GBS is based on the ongoing GST Data, from parameters like frequency, recency, the value of actual transactions and business dependency across customers are derived.
iii.This will act as a point of reference for larger corporates, financial institutions or lenders.
About Vayana Network:
Founder & CEO– R. N. Iyer
Headquarters– Pune, Maharashtra

LIC of India launched an individual life assurance savings plan ‘Bachat Plus’

The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has launched Bachat Plus, a Non-Linked, Participating,Individual, Savings Plan which offers a combination of protection and savings which provides financial support for the family of the deceased policyholder any time before maturity.
The Minimum Basic Sum Assured is Rs 1,00,000/- with no upper limit.
The maturity period of the plan is about five years.
The minimum policy term suitable is 10 years and maximum of 25 years under all the options.

NPCI Launched ‘UPI-Help’ Feature on BHIM UPI app

i.National Payments Corporation Limited (NPCI), launched ‘UPI-Help’ on BHIM UPI, a part of its Digi-Help stack.This Feature will enhance the hassle-free experience on issue resolution for BHIM UPI app users.
ii.Initially, this feature will be available for the customers of State Bank of India (SBI), AXIS Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. Customers of Paytm Payments Bank and TJSB Sahakari Bank will also be able to use UPI-Help soon.
iii.It will enable users to use their app to Check status for pending transactions, Raise complaints for transactions that have not been processed or money not credited to the beneficiary etc.
About National Payments Corporation Limited (NPCI):
MD & CEO – Dilip Asbe
Headquarter – Mumbai, Maharashtra

SEBI approved Paytm UPI handle to enable payment mandated for IPO applications

The Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) has approved Paytm UPI handle to enable fast and seamless payment mandates for IPO applications to benefit millions of users to invest in capital markets through various brokerage platforms using their @Paytm UPI Handle. As per the latest National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) report, PPBL registers the lowest technical decline rate of 0.02% as compared to all UPI remitter banks and 0.04% as compared to all UPI beneficiary banks Similar to Paytm Money, @Paytm UPI will soon be activated across all brokerage platforms
About Paytm(pay through mobile) and its launches over years:
Founded in August 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in Noida, New Delhi as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform.
November 2017 – Paytm Payments Bank
March 2018 – Paytm Money
May 2019 -Paytm partnered with Citibank to launch Paytm First credit card
July 2020 – Partnered with Tata Starbucks allowing its customers to order food online during COVID-19.

RBI insisted all banks implement the image-based CTS by September 30

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the apex monetary institution asked all the banks in India to implement the image-based Cheque Truncation System (CTS) under respective grids in all its branches by September 30, 2021, to faster the settlement of cheques resulting in better customer service. About 18,000 bank branches are still outside any formal clearing arrangement hence, it is proposed to bring all such branches under the CTS image-based clearing mechanism by September 2021.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Key Appointments in RBI – Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister appoints the governor and deputy governors.
Section 7 in The RBI Act, 1934, empowers the government to issue directions to the RBI governor in the public interest
Shaktikanta Das – 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 11 December 2018


India to host 2021’s Asian Boxing Championship in May at New Delhi

International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced that 2021’s Edition of Asian Boxing Championship will be held between May 21-31 at New Delhi, India. This will be the 1st boxing tournament in Asia in 2021, acting towards evaluating boxers’ readiness for the Olympic games.
2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships:
For the 1st time in the tournament’s history both men & women fought in the same championship.
Host – Bangkok, Thailand
About International Boxing Association:
Founded – 1946
President – Umar Kremlyov
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland


Centre Appoints High-Level Team led by Dr. SK Singh to Review Medical Care Arrangements for Haridwar Kumbh Mela

A 3-member high-level team led by Dr S K Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been appointed by the Government of India to review the Medical care and public health arrangements for the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar, Uttarakhand which will start on 1st April 2021.
Members of the high-level team:
Dr SK Jain, Additional Director, NCDC.
Dr Meera Dhuria, Deputy Director, NCDC.

Renew Power,Second Indian firm added to WEF Global Lighthouse Network

India’s leading Renewable energy company “ReNew Power,” one of the two Indian companies has been named the Global Lighthouse Company by World Economic Forum(WEF). WEF Global Lighthouse Network recognizes companies using new technologies to achieve environmentally sustainable, community-supportive, profitable growth.
World Economic Forum(WEF)
Headquarters – Cologny/Geneva, Switzerland
Executive Chairman – Klaus Schwab
ReNew Power
Chairman and Managing Director – Sumant Sinha
Headquarters – Gurgaon(Gurugram, Haryana)

63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards (2020): Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish Received Top Honours

i.The 2021 GRAMMY Awards officially known as the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Award (2020) was presented over the hybrid ceremony. The award recognised the recordings released between 1st September 2019 and 31st August 2020. Trevor Noah, an award-winning comedian from South Africa hosted the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, United States.
ii.The awards were presented under 83 categories and the 63rd Grammy Awards for Best Immersive Audio Album will be announced next year in addition to the 64th Grammy nominations.
iii.American Singer and Songwriter Taylor Swift won the award for the Best Album of the year for her album “Folklore”.
iv.American pop star, Billie Eilish O’Connell won the record of the year award for her song “Everything I Wanted”.
v.Beyonce won 4 awards and broke the record of most ever Grammy wins by female artists with 28 Grammys.
About Grammy Awards:
The Grammy Awards are presented by the Recording Academy since 1958.
The award recognises and celebrates excellence in the music community.

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