Current Affairs

19 March, 2022

International

UNGA Proclaims 15th March of Every Year as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’

The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/76/254 and proclaimed the 15th March of every year as the ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’. The resolution also urges all countries to organise and support “high-visibility events” to increase awareness about Islamophobia. Islamophobia is the fear of, hatred of, or prejudice against the religion of Islam or Muslims.

About the Resolution:
i.The resolution was introduced by the Pakistan envoy, Munir Akram (Pakistan’s ambassador), on behalf of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) under the agenda item Culture of peace.
ii.The resolution, introduced by the OIC, was co-sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Why March 15?
15th March marks the day when a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people and injuring 40 others on 15th March 2019.

National

Visakhapatnam Railway Station Becomes 1st Station in East Coast to Implement ‘One Nation, One Product’

Visakhapatnam Railway Station, Andhra Pradesh(AP) is set to implement the ‘One Nation, One Product’ concept of the Government of India on a pilot basis for 15 days. This will become the first railway station in the East Coast railway to implement ‘One Nation, One Product’.
Background:
The Railway Board of the Indian Railways has identified one station in every zone for implementing the pilot project for a period of 15 days.
One Station One product:
i.‘One station One product’ concept, based on the successful ‘One District, One Product’ scheme, was announced by the government of India while presenting the budget for 2022-23.
ii.Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to popularise the ‘One Station One Product’ concept for the Railways to support the local businesses and supply chains using Railways.
Additional info:
i.Tirupati Railway Station will be the first station under the purview of South Central Railway to implement the ‘One Nation, One Product’ concept.
ii.The artisans involved in Kalamkari textiles and arts, and woodcraft, which are considered local to Tirupati were invited to sell their products in the station.

Telangana Becomes First State in India to Implement Crop Diversification Index

Telangana turned out to be the first state in India to adopt the Crop Diversification Index (CDI) by way of recording their crop diversification pattern in the form of an index.
According to the CDI, Telangana grows 77 varieties of crops, out of which only 10 crops (mostly grains) are chosen for crop diversification. The districts of Nirmal, Vikarabad, and Sangareddy emerge as the most diverse, ranking in the top 3 in the state. The least diversified districts (bottom 3) in the state in terms of crop diversification would be Peddapalli, Karimnagar, and Suryapet, where paddy is the most cultivated crop, showing a decrease in the cropping areas of maize and an increase in the cropping areas of cotton.

About Crop Diversification Index (CDI):
i.All the areas under the 77 different crops, which include food, non-food, and cash crops, as well as the areas under floriculture practices, have been considered to calculate the index.
ii.The index has a starting value of ONE representing the percentage of total cultivated area devoted to a single crop.
iii. Many districts in the state have index values ranging from 0 to 5, and the higher the value, the greater the agricultural diversification.
iv.The index would serve as the baseline for future crop diversification in the state.
v. Next to paddy and maize, which are the traditionally grown crops in the state, pulses were the most preferred crops by the farmers.
About Telangana:
Governor – Tamilisai Soundararajan
Forts – Golkonda Fort, Warangal Fort, Gadwal Fort

CSL and DCI Signed An Agreement To Build India’s First Make in India Dredger

Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) signed an agreement with Dredging Corporation of India (DCI – a Miniratna Indian public sector unit) to build India’s first Make in India dredger in collaboration with the Industriële Handels Combinatie (IHC) Holland. The construction of the dredger costs around Rs 920 crore and will be delivered in 34 months.
i.The initiative to build the indegenous dredger is to promote ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant).
ii.IHC Holland is a Dutch firm, which provides basic design and technical assistance for a dredger.
Objective:
The objective of the dredger is to fulfil the Maritime India Vision 2030, with well-equipped dredgers for operation of ports to bring down the logistic cost of the cargo.
Note:
Dredging – Dredging is the process of desilting river bodies, or removal of soil, mud, and dirt at the shores or the bottom.
About The Dredger:
A dredger is a boat which is fitted with a special machine that is used to increase the size of harbours, rivers, and canals.
i.The 127-metre-long, 28-metre-wide vessel (dredger) is based on the ‘Beagle’ platform of IHC.
ii.The ‘first beagle’ series is a 12 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) with a capacity of 12,000 cubic metre.
iii.As all the TSHD dredgers were owned and operated by DCI from foreign countries. CSL takes a step forward to build India’s largest dredger within the country.
iv.The construction of the vessel leads to a port development initiative of the government of India.
Additional Information:
Dredge Brahmaputra vessel
The DCI Dredge Brahmaputra vessel, is used for desilting water bodies at a large scale and will be instrumental in facilitating the smooth mobility of both freight and passenger vessels.
About Dredging corporation of India Limited (DCIL)
Major shares of DCIL Visakhapatnam dredging company are held by the association of four major port authorities,

Visakhapatnam Port
Paradip Port
Jawaharlal Nehru Port
Deendayal Port
Static Part
Chairman & MD of CSL – Madhu Nair
MD & CEO of DCI – Dr G.Y.V Victor
Union Ministry – Minister of Ports Shipping and Waterways – Sarbananda Sonowal

Economy

SEBI amends Rules for Category III Alternative Investment Funds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has amended the rules regarding investment aspects of Category III of alternative investment funds (AIFs). The new norms will be called as ‘SEBI’s AIF Regulations, 2022’ w.e.f. March 16, 2022. Category III AIFs* trade with a view to make short term returns. These are open ended, and no specific incentives are given by the government or any other Regulator. These include hedge funds, PIPE (private investment in public equity) Funds, etc.

What are the amendments?
i.Category III AIFs cannot invest more than 10% of the investable funds in an investee company, directly or through investment in units of other AIFs.
ii.The large value funds for accredited investors of Category III AIFs can invest up to 20% of the investable funds in an investee company, directly or through investment in units of other AIFs. This investment limit can be calculated of either the investable funds or the net asset value of the scheme.

iii.For investment in listed equity of an investee company, Category III AIFs may calculate the investment limit of 10% of either the investable funds or the net asset value of the scheme.
What are AIFs?
AIFs are defined in Regulation 2(1) (b) of SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012. These are privately pooled investment vehicles which collect funds from investors whether Indian or foreign for investing these funds in India.
These are of 3 types:
Category I: Mainly invests in start- ups, SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) or any other sector which Govt. considers economically and socially viable.
Category II: These include AIFs such as private equity funds or debt funds for which no specific incentives or concessions are given by the government or any other Regulator
Category III : Mentioned above*
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – 1992
Chairperson – Madhabi Puri Buch
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

SBI to Grant USD 1 Billion Credit Line to Sri Lanka to Recover from Economic Crisis

In light of the country’s deteriorating economic circumstances, India announced a USD 1 billion Line of Credit (LOC) to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to deal with its economic crisis. An agreement extending the LOC was signed between SBI and Government of Sri Lanka for the procurement of food, medicine, and other essential items. Previously, the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) had extended an LOC of USD 500 million to Sri Lanka, which is in the midst of a financial crisis, to finance the purchase of petroleum goods.

Background:

Hambantota Port Development Project was a combined initiative of the previous government of Sri Lanka led by Mahinda Rajapaksa and China, which eventually turned out to be a failure and Sri Lanka struggled to make payments on the debt and under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, Sri Lanka handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years to China.

Highlights:
i.The timely help of India to Sri Lanka also laid foundations for improving relationships with its immediate neighbours within the SAARC community.
ii.In addition to the USD 1 billion LOC, India has also offered a series of economic package announcements like a currency swap arrangement of USD 400 million and a debt deferral of USD 515 million for two months to Sri Lanka to wipe away its immediate problems.

Note: Sri Lanka has invited the Indian Prime Minister to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit, which is to be held in Colombo (Sri Lanka), to engage in substantive bilateral talks.
About Sri Lanka:
President – Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Administrative Capital – Sri Jayewardenepura
Commercial Capital – Colombo
Official Languages – Sinhala, Tamil and English

NPCI to launch ‘On-Device Wallet-UPI Lite for Small Value Transactions’ in Offline Mode

i.The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will launch On-Device Wallet i.e. ‘UPI Lite’ for UPI users which will enable small value transactions in an offline mode. UPI stands for (Unified Payments Interface).
ii.This functionality enables transactions without additional factor authentication (AFA) or a UPI PIN (Personal Identification Number).
iii.Designed by NPCI, it will be launched as a pilot with multiple banks and app providers in the next 10 days.
iv.In this, the Upper Limit of payment transaction is Rs 200.
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
CEO & MD– Dilip Asbe
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Products– RuPay, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) System, Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), National Financial Switch (NFS), UPI, Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), and National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC)

Sports

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Miscellaneous

ICGS Saksham – Fifth of The Series of OPV Commissioned in Goa

As a significant step toward strengthening India’s maritime security, the Defence Secretary of India Dr Ajay Kumar has commissioned Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Saksham, the fifth in the series of 105-metre Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) class, at Goa. Goa Shipyard Limited designed and built the 105-meter OPV, which is equipped with advanced technology, navigation and communication systems, sensors, and machinery. The ship will be based in Kochi once it joins the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) force. Ship will be used extensively for surveillance in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and other missions mandated by the Coast Guard charter.

Highlights:
i.The ship is equipped with an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Power Management System (PMS) and High Power External fire-fighting (EFF) system.
ii.The ship will be equipped with a twin-engine helicopter and four high-speed boats, including two inflatable boats, for boarding, search and rescue, law enforcement, and maritime patrol.
iii. The ship can displace approximately 2,350 tonnes (gross registered tonnage) and is propelled by two 9,100 KW diesel engines to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots and also has an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles at an economical speed.
iv.The introduction of this vessel will give a boost to the marine defence of our extensive Western coastal shoreline.
Note:
i.The Indigenous Offshore Patrol Vessel Project was launched by the Prime Minister of India in 2016 under which five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) were planned to be launched.
ii.The first four of the five ICGS which have already been commissioned in 2020 are ICGS Sachet (1st); ICGS Sujeet (2nd); ICGS Sarthak (3rd); and ICGS Sajag (4th) in 2021.

NASA Rolls Out Integrated SLS Rocket & Orion spacecraft of Artemis-1 Moon Mission for the 1st Time

For the first time, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rolled out the integrated Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft (crew capsule) of Artemis 1, the first mission of NASA’s Artemis Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, United States of America (USA). The SLS rocket and Orion capsule were hauled out from the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39B on NASA’s giant crawler-transporter 2 (CT-2).

RBI approved Extension of Rajeev Ahuja as RBL Bank’s Interim CEO & MD for 3 Months

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the extension of Rajeev Ahuja, interim Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RBL Bank for another three months w.e.f from 25 March, 2022 or till the appointment of a regular MD & CEO, whichever is earlier.

About RBL Bank:

Headquarters-Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founded- 1943
Tagline – ‘‘Apno Ka Bank’’

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