Current Affairs

20 March, 2021

International

Singapore is Building World’s Largest Floating Solar Farms

Singapore, Asia’s biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitter, is building one of the world’s largest floating solar farms, as part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The solar power plant expands from the coast into the Johor Strait that separates Singapore from Malaysia.This project is being built by Sembcorp Industries.

World’s Most Dangerous Roads: South Africa Topped, India Ranked 4th; Norway Topped as World’s Most Safest Roads

i.According to the Study conducted by International driver education company, Zutobi, South Africa was ranked 1st in the World’s Most Dangerous Roads study, it was followed by Thailand. United States ranked 3rd.India was ranked 4thin the study. The Study was conducted among 56 Countries.
ii.Similarly, The Study states that, Norway has the World’s Safest Road & topped in the World’s Safest Roads Study, it is followed by Japan in the 2nd place & Sweden in 3rd Place.
iii.The Study has analyzed each country on the following five factors, giving each one a normalized score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average final score across all five factors.

COVID-19 Crisis best opportunity for Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy: IRENA report

According to the report ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5° C Pathway’ released by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the COVID-19 Crisis is an opportunity for countries across the world to disengage their economies from Fossil Fuels & accelerate their shift to renewable energy sources. Energy transitions are one of the few solutions for containing the rise of global temperature to 1.5° C & halting global warming. It calls for countries around the world to increase their efforts toward the energy transition without delay.

National

Govt Considers To Set Up Ayush Export Promotion Council To Boost Global Trade

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry informed that the AYUSH Ministry consulting with the stakeholders to set up an AYUSH export promotion Council(EPC) and the procedure to set up the council are being taken. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry(FICCI) will coordinate with the Department of Commerce and the Indian Industry members interested in forming a corpus for the EPC. In December 2020, Union Minister, Piyush Goyal and AYUSH minister Shripad Naik jointly decided that both Ministries will work together to boost the export of AYUSH Products.

UNDP Launched ‘Sahi Disha’ Campaign to Celebrate Women’s Livelihoods in Rural India

i.The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched ‘Sahi Disha’ campaign to celebrate the livelihoods and entrepreneurship of women in rural India. The campaign aims to highlight the issues that affect the rural women’s opportunity to access jobs, livelihood and to establish enterprises to become self-reliant.
ii.The Disha initiative is a 5-year partnership between UNDP and IKEA Foundation.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
Administrator– Achim Steiner
Headquarters– New York, United States of America

AIM signs SoI with AWS to Strengthen The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem With Cloud Computing

A Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed between The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, and Amazon Internet Services Private Limited(AISPL), a local legal Indian entity of Amazon Web Services(AWS) to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
Objective: To empower school students with cloud computing skills, and enabling entrepreneurs to build innovative education technology (EdTech) solutions on the cloud.
About Amazon Web Services(AWS):
CEO– Andy Jassy
Headquarters– Seattle, Washington DC, USA

India-US launched U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative

i.Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology stated that, India & United States (US) has launched the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum’s U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative during the launch ceremony organized by Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
ii.Objective – This initiative will enhance the Science & Technology(S&T) relationship between India and the United States to solve problems of both countries.
iii.Through this Initiative, both the countries will share values of openness, transparency, and reciprocity and encourages innovation that will benefit India as well as US.
iv.USIAI Initiative will focus on AI cooperation in critical areas of India & US.It will serve as a platform to discuss opportunities, challenges, and barriers for bilateral Artificial Intelligence(AI) Research & Development(R&D) collaboration.
About Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF):
Executive Director – Dr. Nandini Kannan
Headquarter – New Delhi, Delhi

Overview of Kuwait Foreign Minister’s 2-day visit to India

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah paid a 2-day visit to India from March 17-18, 2021 at the invitation of Dr S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India. The two sides released a Joint Statement on the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers. The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) will be co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait & the Indian Foreign Minister (S. Jaishankar). JCM will act as an umbrella for all bilateral institutional engagements like Foreign Office Consultations and Joint Working Groups.
About Kuwait:
Emir – Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Capital – Kuwait City
Currency – Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)

APEDA & NSIC Signed MoU to Empower Agri Entrepreneurs

i.The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the National Small Industries Corporation Ltd (NSIC) under the Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprise(MoMSMEs) to support and empower agri entrepreneurs.
ii.The MoU was signed by Dr Sudhanshu, APEDA secretary and P Udayakumar NSIC Director in charge of planning and marketing.
iii.Under this MoU both APEDA and NSIC will ensure cooperation in the areas that focus on gaining export potential of agricultural and processed food products manufactured by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
About Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA):
APEDA established under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December 1985.
Chairman– Dr. M. Angamuthu
Headquarters– New Delhi

India-Bahrain Navies undertake ‘PASSEX’ in the Persian Gulf under Operation Sankalp

The Indian Navy & Royal Bahrain Naval Force (RBNF) undertook Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Persian Gulf under Operation Sankalp. From India’s side ‘INS Talwar’ Warship took place in the exercise, while the RBNF was represented by the Corvette ‘Al Muharraq’.
Aim – To enhance interoperability, strengthen Maritime cooperation, Reassure safety of Diaspora.
Operation Sankalp : It was initiated by the Indian Government in June 2019 for ensuring the Safety of Indian Merchant ships through the Strait of Hormuz (between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman). The operation is being carried out in close coordination with tall stakeholders including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
About Bahrain:
Crown Prince & Prime Minister – Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Capital – Manama
Currency – Bahraini Dinar (BHD)

Economy

UNCTAD expects India’s GDP to be Contracted 6.9% in 2020 and Grow 5% in 2021

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) released its Trade and Development Report 2020 in which it expected India’s GDP to have contracted 6.9%(-6.9%) in 2020 and grow 5% in 2021.Title of the trade report 2020 – ‘Out of the frying pan… Into the fire?’ The report described the year 2020 as “Annus horribilis”
About United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):
Establishment – 1964, by the United Nations General Assembly
Part of – UN Secretariat and the United Nations Development Group.
Headquarters -Geneva, Switzerland,
Member countries – 195
Acting Secretary-General – Isabelle Durant of Belgium (from 16 February 2021)

India at 8th position in ‘Market-cap’ Among World’s Top 10 Nations: Bloomberg

As per Bloomberg’s recent data on Market capitalization, India remained at the 8th position among the top 10 nations with a market capitalization of $2.8 trillion and its aggregate market capitalization increased 88% in dollar terms this fiscal and leads among the world’s top 10 nations by market value growth. This is the sharpest increase in aggregate market capitalization since FY11.

Sports

Sharath Kamal Becomes First Indian Paddler To Qualify For The Tokyo Olympic Games

Achanta Sharath Kamal, an Indian table tennis player, win over Muhammad Rameez (Pakistan) in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament held in Doha, Qatar and became the first Indian Paddler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This marks the 4th appearance of Kamal at the Olympic games.
He won over Muhammad Rameez in the second men’s singles round-robin match in the South Asia group secured a spot form him in the delayed Games which will begin in July 2021.
Sutirtha Mukherjee, India’s second-highest-ranked female player has also qualified for the Tokyo Olympic games following her win over Manika Batra, India’s top female player.

Miscellaneous

Data Patterns delivers ‘Indigenous Checkout system’ to ISRO for its ‘Gaganyaan’ Mission

Data Patterns India Pvt Ltd handed over the Indigenously developed ‘Checkout System’ to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its ‘Gaganyaan’ Mission (India’s 1st Human Space Flight Programme) at Chennai. A checkout system is used for performing health checks on all cable harness assemblies used in the crew module of ‘Gaganyaan’ Mission. The checkout system was received by K Xavier Raja, Deputy Director of HSFC (Human Space Flight Centre). HSFC is responsible for the implementation of the Gaganyaan project. ISRO’s ‘Gaganyaan’ mission is scheduled for launch in 2022-23.
About Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC):
Established – 2019
Director – Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair
Location – ISRO Headquarters Campus, Bengaluru, Karnataka

Samia Suluhu Hassan became Tanzania’s first woman president

Samia Suluhu Hassan,61 sworn in as Tanzania’s first woman President by succeeding John Magufuli (2015-2021) at the State House in Dar es Salaam, which is the country’s largest city. She is the sixth President of Tanzania and 2nd female president within the East African Community. The inauguration was witnessed by the East African country’s chief justice Ibrahim Jumavowing. Tanzania’s former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-1995), Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015), and the cabinet member Abied Karume (who is the first president of Zanzibar) were present at the event.
Note – Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania.
About Tanzania:
Capital – Dodoma
President – Samia Suluhu Hassan
Prime Minister -Kassim Majaliwa
Currency – Tanzanian shilling

Center Appoints MA Ganapathy IPS as DG of NSG & Kuldiep Singh as DG of CRPF

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of M. A. Ganapathy, 1986 batch Indian Police Service(IPS) officer of the Uttarakhand Cadre has been appointed as the Director-General(DG) of National Security Guard(NSG). He was serving as the DG of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security(BCAS).He will be serving as DG of NSG from the date of joining to 29th February 2024, the date of his superannuation or till further orders. Indo Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) Director-General S S Deswal has held the additional charges as the DG of NSG since the superannuation of A K Singh, DG of NSG on 30th September 2020.

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