Current Affairs

1 May, 2021

International

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad represents India at G-7 Digital & Technology Ministerial Meeting

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology represented India at the G-7 Digital and Technology Ministerial Meeting (Group of 7), which was held virtually on April 28, 2021. India attended the event as a Guest. The meeting was chaired by Oliver Downden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, UK. Theme of the meeting – ‘Building Back Better’. The G-7 countries signed a Joint Ministerial Declaration at the end of the summit. It highlighted the agenda of member countries for digital and technology and includes online safety, developing collaborative regulatory approach, and promoting free flow of data across borders. Ravi Shankar Prasad highlighted steps taken by India to bring digital inclusion and empower ordinary citizens under the Digital India Programme.
About G7 (Group of Seven)
Members – 7, Founded in 1975
2021 Presidency – United Kingdom

COVID-19 has increased Challenges for Countries to Manage Forests : UN Report

According to ‘The Global Forests Goals Report 2021’ released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), COVID-19 has increased the challenges for Countries to manage forests. The most vulnerable segments of society, especially the rural poor and indigenous people have turned towards forests to meet their essential livelihood needs due to the economic hardships caused by COVID-19. This has caused stress on the Forest Ecosystem. The Global Forests Goals Report 2021 is an inaugural report. It presents an overview of progress achieved by Countries on 6 Global Forest Goals under the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030.
About United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
Under-Secretary-General (USG) – Liu Zhenmin
Headquarters – New York, USA

Electric Vehicles to make up 30% of Indian Auto Sales by 2030 : IEA Report

‘Global EV Outlook 2021’ – the recently released Annual Report of International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated that the sale of Electric Vehicles (EVs) will be more than 30% in new vehicle sales in India by 2030. It states that through electrification of two/three wheelers in India, the sales share of EVs can reach almost 50%. In 2020 the global car sales fell by 16% in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the Global EV sales increased by 41% to around 3 Million vehicles in 2020. In 2020, Europe emerged as the World’s Largest EV market for the 1st time, overtaking China. Electric car registrations in Europe doubled to 1.4 Millions, while in China it increased by 9% to 1.2 Million.
About International Energy Agency (IEA)
Executive Director – Dr Fatih Birol
Headquarters – Paris, France

National

India’s Crude Oil Production Fell by 5%; Natural Gas Production Fell by 8% in FY21: MoPNG

According to the data of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas(MoPNG), the crude oil production of India fell by 5% to 30.5 million tonnes in FY21 from 32.17 million tonnes in 2019-2020. The data also shows that Natural Gas production has also fallen by 8% to 28.67 billion cubic metres(BCM) in FY21 from around 31BCM in FY20.
The production of petroleum products fell by 11.2% at 233.4 million tonnes.

Govt Extends Vivad Se Vishwas Deadline for Payments to June 30

The Government of India has extended the deadline for making payments under the Vivad Se Vishwas, the dispute resolution scheme, by 2 months till 30th June 2021 and also extended the deadlines for various compliance under Income Tax Act due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Govt Amended the EDLI Scheme; Increased the Maximum Sum Assured to Rs.7 lakhs from Rs.6 lakhs

Central Government has amended the Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance
Scheme(EDLI),1976 & named it as Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance
(Amendment) Scheme, 2021. In line with the Amendment, the maximum sum, assured payable under the EDLI Scheme was increased from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. It was amended, in exercise of the powers conferred by section, 6C read with sub-section (1) of section 7 of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (19 of 1952).
Existing Provisions Amendments
For availing the fund, one should be in the employment of the same establishment for a continuous period of one year preceding his death. Changed as employment (removed the same establishment)
The claim amount under EDLI is 30 times the average monthly salary in the past 12 months Changed to 35 times
The fund is subjected to a ceiling of 1 lakh 50 thousand rupees Increased to 1lakh and75 thousand rupees
Minimum assurance benefit of not less than Rs 2.5 lakh payable to family members of deceased employees who die while in service. It is continued to effect from February 15, 2020

The maximum sum assured payable under the EDLI Scheme was 6 lakh
Hiked to 7 lakh
Under punishment for failure to submit returns: The fine amount was Rs 4000 Increased to Rs 25000

About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO):
Establishment – 1952
Headquarters – New Delhi
Works under – Ministry of Labour & Employment
Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC)– Sunil Barthwal
About Ministry of Labour & Employment:
Minister of State (Independent charge)– Santosh Kumar Gangwar (constituency – Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh)

TRIFED signs MoU with The LINK Fund for Empowerment of Tribals

TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India ), the commercial wing of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Link Fund, an Philanthropic operational foundation for empowerment of tribals. The MoU was signed by Pravir Krishna, Managing Director of TRIFED & Tony Kalm, CEO & Co-founder of The LINK Fund. The agreement has been signed for a project titled ‘Sustainable Livelihoods for Tribal Households in India’.
About Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED)
It comes under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs
Managing Director – Pravir Krishna
Head Office – New Delhi
About The LINK Fund
CEO & Co-Founder – Tony Kalm
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

5th Session of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs held virtually

The 5th Session of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) was held virtually from April 20-29, 2021. It was inaugurated by Rita Teaotia, Chairperson of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).Dr M.R. Sudharshan is the current Chairman of the Committee. India is the host and Spices Board of India (under Ministry of Commerce & Industry) is the Secretariat of CCSCH. CCSCH is the 1st Codex Commodity Committee to hold a virtual session, around 300 experts from 50 countries took part in it. CCSCH has finalised and recommended quality standards for four spices; cloves, oregano, basil, and ginger. The committee forwarded these four new standards to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for adoption as full -fledged Codex standards.
About Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)
Chairperson – Guilherme da Costa
Headquarters – Rome, Italy
Members – 189
About Spice Board of India
Chairman & Secretary – D Sathiyan
Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala

Economy

Apple Launched $200 million Restore Fund to Reduce Carbon

Apple in partnership with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs launched a first-of-its-kind carbon removal initiative called the Restore Fund of $200 million, to make investments in timber-producing forest properties to remove carbon from the atmosphere and in turn generating a financial return for investors.
The fund aims to remove one million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, which is equivalent to the amount emitted by more than 200,000 passenger vehicles. A goal was set by Apple in 2020, to neutralize its own carbon emissions and those of its suppliers by 2030.

Oxford Economics Revised down India’s GDP Growth Forecast for 2021 from 11.8% to 10.2%

Oxford Economics, Global forecasting firm has revised down India GDP growth forecast for 2021 from 11.8 per cent to 10.2 per cent due to increasing burden of COVID-19 and lack of appropriate strategy by the government to curtain the pandemic. It has forecasted world GDP growth to 6.1% in 2021 and 4.3% in 2022.

IFC to invest $40 million in Upgrad; $150 million loan to Bajaj Finance for 5 years

International Finance Corporation (IFC) a member of the World Bank Group, plans to invest USD 40 million (about Rs 290 crore) in Upgrad, an online up-skilling platform and IFC has proposed to loan up to $150 million to Bajaj Finance Ltd.
About International Finance Corporation (IFC):
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
Establishment – 1956
MD, Executive Vice President – Makhtar Diop
Headquarters – Washington D.C., USA

ICICI Bank tie-up with Decentro to offer customized business banking APIs

ICICI Bank and Decentro Tech Private Ltd, a full-stack Application Programming Interfaces(API) banking platform, made a partnership to offer customized business banking APIs to fintechs, startups, and corporates and e-commerce companies. ICICI Bank’s seven business banking APIs from different categories, like deposits, payments, and collections were integrated by Decentro to provide a powerful kit to the end users. This initiative enables the ICICI Bank customers to have a quick and stable access to all business banking APIs.About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1995(Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum haina, Khayal Apka

RBI Became a member of Network for Greening the Financial System

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) joined as a member of Central Banks and Supervisors’ Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).
Important points about NGFS: It was launched at the Paris One Planet Summit on December 12, 2017 and RBI became a member of it in April 23,2021. NGFS consists of a group of central banks and supervisors willing, on a voluntary basis, they will share best practices and experiences for the development of environment and climate risk management in the financial sector The central Banks will organize the finance to support the transition towards a sustainable economy. RBI also will contribute to global efforts on green finance and climate change.
About Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS):
Establishment – December 2017
Headquarters – Paris, France
Members – 90 members and 13 observers.
Chair – Frank Elderson (Dutch central banker)

Sports

WTC Final 2021: Tickets to be allocated through ballot process, Know all important dates here

The ICC World Test Championship Final 2021 is scheduled to take place at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton from June 18-23, which includes a reserve day.

The tickets for the match will be allocated through ballot process, which shall be governed by certain terms and conditions. The tickets are being restricted due to public health restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICC said in a release that separate terms and conditions will govern the subsequent sale of tickets to successful applicants and their presence inside the venue for the match.

Srihari Nataraj creates national record in 50m backstroke swimming

Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj won his second Gold in 50m backstroke swimming and made a national record in Uzbekistan Open Championship. This was Srihari’s third national record in the last two days as he had made a new record twice in 100m backstroke. Indian swimmers got a total of 29 medals, which comprise 18 Gold, seven Silver and two Bronze in the event.

Miscellaneous

NASA ‘Perseverance’ Mars Mission – Oxygen Produced from Mars for the 1st Time

NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Rover ‘Perseverance’ landed on Mars in February, 2021. It has produced Oxygen from Mars using an instrument called ‘MOXIE’ – Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. It is the 1st time that Oxygen is being produced on another planet. MOXIE produced 5 grams of Oxygen from Carbon dioxide which is enough for an astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes on Mars. It works through Electrolysis using extreme heat to separate oxygen atoms from molecules of carbon dioxide. The atmosphere on Mars is about 95% carbon dioxide. The production of Oxygen is critical to human exploration of Mars, both as a source of air for astronauts and as an essential ingredient for rocket fuel to fly astronauts back home.
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Administrator – Steve Jurczyk
Headquarters – Washington D.C., USA

High-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean developed by Indian Scientists

High-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean named MACS 1407 has been developed by Indian Scientists by the method of conventional cross breeding. The new variety MACS 1407 gives 39 quintals per hectare
About Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR):
It is the apex body for coordinating,guiding and managing research and education in agriculture for the entire country under the aegis of Department of Agricultural Research and Education,Ministry of Agriclture and Farmers Welfare.
Headquarters: New Delhi
President of the ICAR Society: Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriclture and Farmers Welfare.

Indian American Vanita Gupta appointed as Associate Attorney General of USA

Indian-American Vanita Gupta has been appointed Associate Attorney General of United States.With this she became the first Indian-American to serve in this role. Prior to this she has been the President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She has also headed civil rights division in the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration.

Niraj Bajaj Named The Chairman Of Bajaj Auto; Rahul Bajaj To Be Named Chairman Emeritus

Bajaj Auto has named Niraj Bajaj, the non-executive Director of Bajaj Auto as its new chairman. He will succeed Rahul Bajaj with effect from 1st May 2021.
The company has also named Rahul Bajaj as Chairman Emeritus for a period of 5 years with effect

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