Current Affairs

2 August, 2021

International

Rajnath Singh Attends SCO Defence Ministers Conclave 2021 held at Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited Dushanbe, Capital of Tajikistan from July 27-29, 2021 to participate in the annual meeting of the Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.
i.The SCO Defence Ministers Meeting 2021 was held on 28th July 2021. It was chaired by Tajikistan (2021 SCO Presidency Chair).
ii.During the visit, Rajnath Singh reviewed the progress of the key Highway being built by India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Dushanbe.
iii.The next meeting of the Defence Ministers was agreed to be held in Uzbekistan in 2022.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Secretary-General – Vladimir Norov
Headquarters – Beijing, China
Chairmanship of 2021 – Tajikistan
Total Members – 8 (China,India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)

Mumbai, Bangalore Ranked above 100 in QS Best Student Cities 2022

Mumbai, Maharashtra and Bangalore, Karnataka ranked above 100 in the ‘QS Best Student Cities 2022’ ranking of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, they became the only 2 cities to get ranked from India. Mumbai ranked as 52nd among the top 100 cities globally in the ‘employer activity’ indicator and Bangalore, Karnataka ranked 42nd among the top-10 under the indicator of ‘affordable cities’ for students. QS Best Student Cities 2022 is the annual ranking used to provide an overview to international students for the best places to live and study around the world based on the current students’ opinions on affordability, quality of life, and the standard of University.

Overall QS – Best Student Cities 2022 Ranking:

Rank City
106 Mumbai
110 Bangalore
1 London (United Kingdom)
2 Munich (Germany)
3 Seoul (South Korea) and Tokyo (Japan)
About QS Quacquarelli Symonds:
Establishment – 1990
Headquarters – United Kingdom
Founder and CEO – Nunzio Quacquarelli

ndia chaired 6th meeting of BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group 2021

On July 28-29, 2021, the 6th meeting of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) 2021 was held virtually which was chaired by Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary for Counter-Terrorism, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).India Chaired the Meeting. During the meeting they finalized the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan. All BRICS nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa participated in the meeting.

About BRICS:

BRICS represents 41 per cent of the global population, 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade.
2021 Chair – India
2021 India’s Theme – ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.

National

Intel Launched ‘AI For All’ Initiative In partnership with CBSE

Intel collaborated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and launched the initiative ‘AI For All’ under its ‘AI For Citizens’ programme to create a basic understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) for Indian people. It plans to introduce AI to 1 million people in its 1st year of launch. The 4-hour self-paced learning programme ‘AI For All’ will explain AI in an easier way, it is available in 11 vernacular languages and it is divided into two sections such as AI Awareness (1.5 hours) and AI Appreciation (2.5 hours).

JICA Tie up with IITH for Technical Cooperation Project – FRIENDSHIP Phase II

In July 2021, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a Record of Discussions with the Indian government to strengthen its technical cooperation project with the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) – Phase 2 of FRIENDSHIP (Future Researchers at IITH to Enhance Network Development with Scholarship). Under Phase 2 of FRIENDSHIP, JICA experts will be dispatched to IITH for launching the Japan Desk at IITH, conducting student exchange programmes, and providing JICA research funds to enhance research and technology development and industrial collaboration between India and Japan.

Collaboration between JICA and IITH:
i.JICA and IITH started their collaboration in 2007 and so far, they have worked under different projects for technical cooperation, research, public-private partnership, etc. They have also offered Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loans for campus development.
ii.FRIENDSHIP is the core project between them, it was initiated from 2nd January 2011 for a period of 8 years till 31st March 2020 to establish a sustainable platform for academic and industrial collaboration between India and Japan at IITH.
iii.So far under Phase 1 of FRIENDSHIP, IITH has signed 32 MoUs with Japanese universities and 15 MOUs between IITH and Japan industries. The project has provided scholarships for 116 beneficiaries, and exchanged 271 faculty members between Japan and IITH.
About Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA):
Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan
President – Shinichi Kitaoka

Jitendra Singh released ‘Biotech-PRIDE’ Guidelines, 1st of its kind by DBT

i.Minister of State (Independent Charge) Dr Jitendra Singh, Ministry of Science & Technology released ‘Biotech-PRIDE (Promotion of Research and Innovation through Data Exchange) Guidelines’ developed by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology.
ii.These Guidelines will be implemented through Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) at Regional Centre for Biotechnology supported by DBT.
iii.The Minister also launched the website of IBDC.
iv.Biotech-PRIDE is the 1st of its kind by the DBT.
About Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
Establishment– 1986 under the Ministry of Science & Technology
Secretary– Dr. Renu Swarup
Headquarters– New Delhi

Economy

USD 25 million for India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The US Government announced an additional USD 25 million (~ INR 186 Crores) to support India’s COVID-19 Vaccination programme. The fund will be provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
US, India Agree to Expand Multilateral Security Partnership
India and the US agreed to expand their Multilateral Security Partnership. Both countries are concerned about the growing influence of China in the Asia-Pacific & Indo-Pacific region.
About United States (US)
Capital – Washington, D.C.
Currency – United States Dollar (USD)
President – Joe Biden

MSME Loan Disbursals Rise 40% in FY21: SIDBI-TransUnion Cibil MSME Pulse Report

As per the report of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) lender SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) and Transunion-Cibil, MSME Pulse – Edition XII, the value of new loans disbursed to the MSME sector in FY21 (COVID-19 period) was Rs.9.5 lakh crore, 40% higher than Rs.6.8 lakh crore in FY20 (pre-COVID-19 period). It was mainly supported by the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), the government’s initiative under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat programme. Credit Growth: India’s total on-balance sheet commercial lending exposure in March 2021 stood at Rs 74.36 lakh crores with a YOY (Year-on-Year) growth rate of 0.6 percent in which, the MSME sector’s credit exposure was about Rs 20.21 lakh crores with 6.6 percent YOY growth rate. NPA Rate: Due to the strong credit inflow, the NPA (Non-Performing Assets) rates of MSMEs in March 2021 was controlled at 12.5 percent compared with 12.6 percent in March 2020.

About Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS):
i.It was launched by the Finance Ministry in May 2020 as a part of the Government’s ‘Atma Nirbhar’ to provide credit Rs 3 lakh crore unsecured loans to COVID-19 hit MSMEs.
ii.Under ECLGS 3.0, the scope of ECLGS was extended to new sectors, such as hospitality, travel and tourism, and the lending under it was extended till September 30, 2021.
iii.Under ECLGS, 100 percent guarantee coverage was provided by NCGTC (National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company) to public and private banks and NBFCs (Non-banking Finance Companies).

Sports

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Aug 1 Highlights: PV Sindhu wins bronze, Men's hockey team in semifinals

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Aug 1 Highlights: Indian shuttler PV Sindhu has created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals after beating China's He Bingjiao to clinch the bronze on August 1, 2021.

Indian men's hockey team has also proceeded to the semi-finals after beating Great Britain 3-1 in the quarter-finals. The Indian women's hockey team have also qualified for the quarterfinals.

India discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur has also qualified for the finals after finishing second in the women's discus throw qualification event. She was the only second thrower to achieve automatic qualification of 64.00m after USA's Valarie Allman who threw 66.42m in her first attempt.

Hockey Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Indian men's and women's hockey teams create history, reach semifinals

Indian men's national field hockey team have recreated history by reaching the semi-finals of Tokyo Olympics 2020. This is the first time that Indian men's hockey team has reached the semifinals in 41 years. The Indian women's hockey team has also advanced to their first-ever semifinals in the Olympics after beating Australia.
The Indian men's hockey team defeated Great Britain 3-1 to reach the semi-finals on August 1, 2021. The last time Indian men's hockey team had advanced to the semifinals was during 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, where the team led by V Baskaran had won the eighth gold medal for India.
The men's hockey team led by Manpreet Singh has performed incredibly well this year and made a great comeback after their 7-1 defeat against Australia, never losing a single game after that. Fans from across the country are elated about their achievement so far.

Miscellaneous

ESA launches ‘Eutelsat Quantum’ – World’s 1st Commercial Re-Programmable Satellite into Space

European Space Agency (ESA) launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’ – the world’s 1st commercial reprogrammable satellite into space aboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It is a fully flexible software-defined satellite.
i.The satellite has been developed under an European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat, Airbus & Surrey Satellite Technology.
ii.An reprogrammable satellite allows the user to repurpose it even after being launched into orbit. It can be reprogrammed in real-time to suit the changing purposes of the user.
iii.The Quantum satellite is capable of responding to changing demands for data transmission and secure communication during its lifespan of 15 years and will cover the areas from West Africa to Asia.

Ordnance factory Tiruchirappalli launched high-tech carbine ‘TriCa’

The Ordnance factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT) in Tamil Nadu launched a new high-tech and low sound weapon called TriCa (Trichy Carbine), a mini version of the Trichy Assault Rifle (TAR). It was unveiled by General Manager of OFT Sanjay Dwivedi, IOFS (Indian Ordnance Factories Service) during a function. It was developed by the in-house research and development unit of the Ordnance Factory.

Features of TriCa:
Size: 7.62 X 39 mm portable weapon launched on the carbine platform
Weight: 3.17 kg (including the magazine) and
Range: 150 to 175 metre
About Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT):
It is under the aegis of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India.
Establishment– 1966

OMERS Acquired 19.4% Stake in Azure Power Global for $219 million from IFC

Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS) acquired a 19.4 percent stake in Azure Power Global for $219 million from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and IFC GIF Investment Company. Azure Power was India’s 1st renewable energy company to get listed on the US stock market (New York Stock Exchange). It is OMERS 2nd direct infrastructure investment in India after the 2019 investment of $121 million for a 22.4 percent stake in the IndInfravit Trust toll road platform. In May 2021, India has granted income tax exemption to OMERS Administration Corporation for infrastructure investments in India. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Brookfield Asset Management were some of the other Canadian investors in India.

About Azure Power Global
Headquarters – New Delhi
CEO – Ranjit Gupta
About International Finance Corporation (IFC):
It is one of the 5 organizations of the World Bank (WB).
Headquarters – Washington DC, United States (US)
MD – Makhtar Diop

‘Guido Bellido’ becomes the new Prime Minister of Peru

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo named Guido Bellido as the New Prime Minister of Peru. He will hold power from 2021-26.
i.Bellido belongs to the Free Peru party and previously worked in the statistics agency of the Peru government.
ii.On 28th July, Pedro Castillo Terrones took charge as the 63rd President of Peru
iii.The Peru parliament is known as Congress.
Fact – Peru is the World’s No. 2 Copper producer (Chile is leading Copper producer).
About Peru
Capital – Lima
Currency – Sol

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Daily Current Affairs | 22nd September 2021

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