Current Affairs

18 August, 2021


Indian Navy Participates in the US Navy led Multilateral Naval Exercise ‘SEACAT 2021’ in Singapore

The Indian Navy participated in the United States (US) Navy led Exercise South East Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2021, an annual Multilateral Naval Exercise held in Singapore virtually. This is the 20th Edition of the Exercise.
Objective: It aims to foster enhanced cooperation between Southeast Asian countries by incorporating tactics, standardized training, and procedures to combat contingencies or illegal activities in the maritime domain. Navies of 21 countries participated in the exercise. They include Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam,

About South East Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT)
SEACAT began in 2002 as South East Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism.
About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) – New Delhi
About Singapore
Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong
Capital – Singapore
Currency – Singapore Dollar(SGD)

Narendra Singh Tomar addresses 6th SCO meet of Agriculture Ministers

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar addressed the 6th meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The meeting was held virtually from Dushanbe, Capital of Tajikistan. It was held under the Chairmanship of Tajikistan (2021 SCO Presidency). Tajikistan appreciated the performance of the agricultural sector in India during COVID pandemic crises. The Agriculture Minister of India stated that Food production, export have registered a significant growth in India. He also mentioned that bio- fortified varieties are a source of staple diet, and micronutrients rich food can help to tackle malnutrition in the country. For Doubling Farmers Income by 2022, India has launched several programmes for irrigation facilities, optimum utilisation of water, food subsidy etc. India is a full time member of SCO. The meeting promotes cooperation in food security, supply chain and nutrition especially in the time COVID pandemic.

About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
Secretary-General – Vladimir Norov
Headquarters – Beijing, China
Chairmanship of 2021 – Tajikistan
Total Members – 8 (China,India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Sushri Shobha Karanlaje (Udupi, Karnataka), Kailash Choudhary (Barmer,Rajasthan)

UP’s Ghaziabad 2nd Most Polluted City in 2020; China’s Hotan at 1st: HouseFresh Report

British company HouseFresh has released a report on the 50 ‘most polluted cities’ in the world in 2020 titled – ‘The World’s Best and Worst Towns and Cities for Clean Air’, in which, Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city ranked as the 2nd most polluted city in the world in 2020. China’s Hotan city in Xinjiang province topped the list and was adjudged as the most polluted city. As per the report, India became the 3rd most polluted country. Bangladesh ranked as the most polluted country across the world in 2020 followed by Pakistan, India and Mongolia. Out of the 50 most polluted cities of the world, 49 are in Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, and India.

About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
Wildlife Sanctuary – Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahaveer Swami WL Sanctuary, Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological Park – Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden, Kanpur Zoological Park


Kaziranga Becomes India’s 1st National Park with Satellite Phones Facility

Kaziranga National Park of Assam became India’s first National park to be equipped with satellite phones, an initiative to boost anti-poaching measures in the park. Jishnu Barua, Chief Secretary of Assam presented 10 satellite phones to forest personnel at the National Park. The meeting chaired by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma Chief Minister(CM) of Assam decided to provide the satellite phones to the forest personnel of the park. The 10 satellite phones were procured by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority(ASDMA) at an estimated cost of Rs 16 lakhs. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL) will be the service provider.

‘Exercise INDRA-2021’, Joint Military Exercise between India and Russia in Volgograd, Russia

The 12th Edition of Exercise INDRA-2021, a bilateral Military Exercise held between Indian Army and the military forces of Russian Federation in Volgograd, Russia (from 1st to 13th August,2021). It will further strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability between the Indian and Russian Armies and enable sharing of best practices between the contingents of both the countries. INDRA is a joint biennial military exercise started in 2003 between India and Russia.

India and UK Navies conduct ‘Exercise Konkan 2021’ in Portsmouth, UK

‘Exercise Konkan- 2021’, a bilateral Naval Exercise held between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain in Portsmouth, United Kingdom (UK).
Indian Naval Ship (INS Tabar), a Talwar class stealth frigate of Indian Navy and HMS Westminster of the Royal Navy undertook the exercise in non contact form due to Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to enhance interoperability, synergy and cooperation between both the Navies.
Exercise Konkan:
It is held annually since 2004 between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain. The 2019 Edition was held on the English Channel, UK.
About United Kingdom
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson
Capital – London
Currency- Pound Sterling

President Ram Nath Kovind gives Assent to ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021′

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021‘ which amends the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) and the Finance Act, 2012.
i.Objective of Bill – To nullify retrospective tax provision & end retrospective taxes imposed on Indirect Transfer of Indian Assets made before May 28, 2012.
ii.The Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha as a Money Bill.

About Ministry of Finance
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman(Rajya Sabha,Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS) – Dr S Bhagwat Karad (Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra) and Shri Pankaj Chaudhary (Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh)

Narendra Singh Tomar Inaugurated the World’s 2nd Largest Refurbished Gene Bank at the NBPGR, New Delhi

Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank (NGB) at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources(NBPGR), Pusa, New Delhi. This will cater the need of biofortified crop varieties. Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved.

What is the National Gene Bank?
Established in 1996, its aim is to preserve the seeds of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations. It has the capacity to preserve about 1 million germplasm in the form of seeds. Germplasm is a living tissue from which new plants can be grown. Presently it is protecting 4.52 lakh accessions, of which 2.7 lakh are Indian germplasm and the rest have been imported from other countries. It is also conserving in-situ (on-farm or wild) and ex-situ (gene or field bank) germplasm through Delhi Headquarters and 10 regional stations in the country.


SBI Life Insurance Launched New Insurance Plan – SBI Life eShield Next

SBI Life Insurance launched a new Individual, Non-Linked, Non-Participating Life Insurance solution named ‘SBI Life eShield Next’. It will ‘levels up’/improve the protection coverage of the insured person when he achieves life’s major milestones like getting married, becoming a parent or buying a new house. It has 3 different plan options such as Level Cover, Increasing Cover, and Level Cover with Future-Proofing Benefit. It provides the option to pay the premium as per the customer’s convenience (viz, single, monthly, half-yearly, and yearly). The minimum policy terms (in years) was about 5 years. It provides Life cover up to 100 years (Whole life) or 85 years (other than Whole Life) and also includes Terminal Illness Benefit, Death benefit, etc.

About SBI Life Insurance:
Establishment -2000
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Mahesh Kumar Sharma
Tagline – With us, You’re sure

RBI Introduced Financial Inclusion Index

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced the ‘Financial Inclusion Index’ (FI-Index) to measure the extent of financial inclusion across India. The FI-Index will be published annually in July month (for the financial year (FY) ending previous March). The annual FI-Index for the FY21 (period ending March 2021) is 9 as against 43.4 of FY17. The FI-Index contain 3 different parameters with variant weightage viz, Access (35 percent), Usage (45 percent), and Quality (20 percent). The FI-Index has no ‘base year’.

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

KVGB Partnered with Karnataka Govt Launched FRUITS Portal

The Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) made a partnership with the Karnataka government (govt) and launched the ‘Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System’ (FRUITS) portal to store the farmers’ land details. The portal is the first-of-its-kind initiative in India by the Karnataka government to gather the land details of the farmers. Now the FRUITS portal was launched by KVGB as a pilot project. The Karnataka govt plans to launch it in other financial institutions too. The portal was inaugurated by Niraj Kumar Verma, Chief General Manager of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).

Features of the Portal:
i.Under the portal, all the farmers of the state will be registered and given a FRUITS ID (FID) number comprising Aadhaar, land record, and mobile number.
ii.The FID numbers will be used by the financial and lending institutions to know the details of the land of the farmers while lending.
iii.The portal will act as an organised farmers’ database and it will overcome the difficulties faced by farmers while availing benefits.
About Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB):
Establishment – 2005
Headquarters – Dharwad, Karnataka
Chairman – P Gopi Krishna
About Karnataka:
Chief Minister – Basavaraj Bommai
Wildlife Sanctuary – Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries, Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tiger Reserve – BRT/Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Bhadra Tiger Reserve.

PayNearby ties up with RBL Bank, Visa for payment devices

i.PayNearby has collaborated with Visa and RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank) to launch SoftPoS and mPoS for its over 1.5 million retail network.
ii.With this, as per PayNearby, it becomes the first company to launch an all-inclusive digital package for retailers.
iii.SoftPoS allows merchants to accept contactless payments of up to Rs 5,000 through tap and pay mechanism on NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled smartphones,
iv.mPOS (mobile point of sale) machine allows easy acceptance of cards.
About PayNearby Technologies Pvt. Ltd(PayNearby):
It is a Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Certified Fintech Company registered under The Startup India program of the Government of India
Establishment– April 2016
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Anand Kumar Bajaj
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Anand Kumar Bajaj

SEBI Set up Panel to Analyse the Shift of Trade Settlement Cycle from T+2 to T+1

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a panel of experts to analyse the process of shifting India’s trade settlement cycle from the current T+2 (Trade plus 2 days) to T+1 (Trade plus 1 day). The panel consists of experts from exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories. The shift to T+1 will reduce the settlement time and risk involved and increase the liquidity and trade turnover.

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – 1992 in accordance with the SEBI Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi


Sports Minister Anurag Thakur launches Fit India Freedom Run 2.0 - Know how you can register?

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on August 13, 2021, launched a nationwide program of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0 to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.

Union Youth Minister Thakur along with Minister of State for Sports Nisith Pramanik flagged off the Freedom Run 2.0 from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi. The Freedom Run has been launched at 75 iconic locations on August 13.

As per the official release by the Ministry, the event will witness 75 physical events at different historical locations on the launch day of the program. Rendering of National Anthem, Pledge, Freedom Run, spreading awareness among youth volunteers to participate and organize Freedom Runs in their villages, etc are some of the key activities of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0.

Overview of the World Archery Youth Championships 2021 held in Wroclaw, Poland

The 16th Edition of World Archery Youth Championships 2021 held in Wroclaw, Poland (from 09th to 15th August 2021). India(1st) topped the Medals tally with 15 Medals (8-Gold, 2-Silver, 5-Bronze), followed by France (2nd) and Mexico (3rd). It was organised by World Archery Federation, the governing body of the sport of Archery.Junior events were held for those aged under 20 years and Cadet events for those aged below 18. It included Recurve and Compound archery games for both Junior and Cadet groups.

Medals Tally

Indian Individual Event Winners
S.No Winners Category Medal
1. Komalika Bari Women’s Junior Recurve Gold
2. Sakshi Chaudhary Women’s Junior Compound Silver
3. Priya Gurjar Women’s Cadet Compound Silver
4. Rishabh Yadav Men’s Junior Compound Bronze
5. Bishal Changmai Men’s Cadet Recurve Bronze
6. Manjiri Manoj Alone Women’s Cadet Recurve Bronze
7. Parneet Kaur Women’s Cadet Compound Bronze

About Archery Association of India
President – Arjun Munda
Headquarters – New Delhi
About World Archery Federation
Founded in 1931
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
President – Ugur Erdener


HAL’s 1st ever Civil Aircraft, Hindustan-228 carries Ground Run and LSTT

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) 1st Civilian Aircraft Hindustan-228(VT-KNR) has carried out Ground Run and Low Speed Taxi Trials (LSTT) successfully at its facility in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. This is the 1st fixed wing Made in India civil Aircraft.
i.The Ground run and LSTT was carried for DIrectorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) certification which will help HAL to get an International certification for the aircraft.
ii.This indigenous Commercial Aircraft will help in the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme- Regional airport development and Regional Connectivity Scheme of Government of India.
About Hindustan-228

The Aircraft is a 19- seater Multirole Utility Aircraft. It can be used in various roles such as VIP Transport, Para jumping, Cloud seeding, Aerial surveillance, Photography, Passenger transport, Air ambulance, and In flight Inspection role.

About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– R Madhavan
Headquarter– Bengaluru, Karnataka

ARTL to Acquire 49% Stake in MBCPNL

Adani Road Transport Ltd (ARTL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited(AEL) is set to acquire a 49% stake in Maharashtra Border Check Post Network Limited(MBCPNL), a subsidiary of Sadbhav Infrastructure Project Limited (SIPL), with an option to acquire additional stakes subject to regulatory approval.
About the Acquisition:
The acquisition at an enterprise value of Rs 1680 crore is 7 times its current EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).
Additional info:
i.MBCPNL has 24 integrated check-posts with exclusive service fee collection rights from commercial vehicles for all key traffic routes in and out of Maharashtra.
ii.MBCPNL connecting Maharashtra with 6 states, covers around 20% of the commercial road traffic of India.
About Adani Enterprises Limited(AEL):
Chairman- Gautam Adani
Managing Director– Rajesh Adani
Headquarters– Ahmedabad, Gujarat
About Maharashtra Border Check Post Network Limited(MBCPNL):
Founder Chairman and Managing Director– Vishnubhai M. Patel
CMD– Shashin V Patel
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Amway India Appointed Olympian Mirabai Chanu as Brand Ambassador for Nutrilite

Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. (Amway India) has appointed Olympian Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) as the Brand Ambassador for Amway’s Nutrilite range of products.
As the brand ambassador, she will lead the company’s campaigns on its product range like Nutrilite Daily, Omega and All Plant Protein among others across various platforms. Nutrilite, a vitamins and dietary supplements brand, is known for its plant-based approach to dietary supplements.

About Saikhom Mirabai Chanu:
i.Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, 26 years old weightlifter hails from Imphal, Manipur.
ii.She won the silver medal in the Weightlifting event (-49kg category) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
iii.She has been placed 2nd on the absolute ranking list issued by the International Weightlifting Federation.
iv.She was honoured with the Khel Ratna Award in 2018.
About Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.(Amway India):
CEO– Anshu Budhraja
Headquarters– Gurgaon, Haryana

69 Employees Received Prime Minister’s Shram Awards 2018

Prime Minister’s Shram Awards (PMSA) for the year 2018 were announced on 12th August 2021. A total of 39 awards were presented to 69 workers of Departmental & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central & State Governments and Private Sector Units.
PMSA 2018:
i.Out of the total awardees (69), 49 workers are from the public sector while 20 workers are from the private sector. The awardees also include 8 women workers.
ii.This year awards were given out in 3 categories, Shram Bhushan Awards (a Sanad & Rs 1 Lakh each) – 4 Awards Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awards (a Sanad & Rs 60,000 each) – 12 Awards Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards (a Sanad & Rs 40,000 each) – 17 awards

iii.The Shram Ratna Award for the year 2018 was not announced. Shram Ratna is India’s highest award given by the Labour Ministry.
Click here for the details of all the awardees
About PMSA:
i.The awards were instituted by the Government of India in the year 1985.
ii.The awards cell of the Ministry of Labour and employment operates the PMSA.
iii.It recognises the performance, innovative ability and outstanding contribution in production and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind.
About Ministry of Labour & Employment:
Union Minister– Bhupender Yadav (Rajya Sabha Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Rameswar Teli (Constituency- Dibrugarh, Assam)

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