Current Affairs

20 October, 2021


Indian Pension System Ranked 40th out of 43 systems on overall index ranking: 2021 MCGPI

Mercer Consulting, a leading global management consulting firm, has released the 13th edition of the Mercer Global Pension Index (2021 MCGPI). With an overall index value of 43.3, Indian Pension Systems ranked 40th out of the 43 systems on the overall index ranking and has the lowest rank in the adequacy sub index with 33.5.
The 2021 MCGPI, has added 4 new retirement systems: Iceland, Taiwan, UAE and Uruguay.
India in MCGPI 2021:
i.According to the 2021 MCGPI, India needs strategic reforms to revamp the Indian pension system to ensure adequate retirement income.
ii.India has scored 33.5 in adequacy; 41.8 in sustainability; and 61.0 in integrity.
2021 MCGPI:

Rank Country Overall Index value
40 India 43.3
1 Iceland 84.2
2 Netherlands 83.5
3 Denmark 82.0
43(lowest) Thailand 40.6

About Mercer:
President and CEO– Martine Ferland
Headquarters– New York, United States

Global Transport Sector needs $ 49.9tn investment by 2040 to reduce GHG: Report by UNOPS

i.In accordance with the report by United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), there is dire need of cleaning up the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contain global warming.
ii.To achieve this, there is also a need for massive investments for green mobility like electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles estimated at $ 49.9 trillion by 2040.
iii.The report highlighted that 16% of the GHG emissions are through the transport sector after energy and buildings.
About United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS):
Executive Director– Grete Faremo
Headquarters– Copenhagen, Denmark


India, UK hold inaugural maritime dialogue, discuss cooperation in Indo-Pacific

India and UK held virtual maritime dialogue associated with cooperation towards maritime domain, Indo-Pacific and regional or multilateral cooperation.The dialogue held as the two countries agreed Roadmap 2030 in a virtual roadmap held on May 2021.

Outcomes :
i.The two foreign ministers affirmed their vision on a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
ii.Lawful commerce and Peaceful resolution of disputes without any restrictions.
iii.The discussion also encouraged the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight in the international waters.
iv.It also added territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav participated in virtual LMDC Ministerial meeting

Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change, virtually participated in the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) Ministerial meeting titled “Preparations for COP 26 on Climate Change – Expectations and Challenges”.

The virtual LMDC Meeting was hosted by the Plurinational State of Bolivia on 18 October 2021.
Note: LMDC comprises around 25 developing countries from Asia and other regions.
Purpose of the meeting:
The meeting was convened to gather perspectives on the way forward for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26), which is to be held in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12, 2021.
Address by Union Minister Bhupender Yadav:
i.He called for the rapid reduction of emissions by the developed countries in this decade.
ii.He also highlighted that between 2005 and 2016, India has achieved a reduction of 24% in emission intensity of its GDP, and achieved its pre-2020 voluntary target.
iii.He noted that the commitments of carbon neutrality and to raise ambitions in nationally determined contributions to be in line with climate justice and principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
iv.He highlighted the climate actions of India in areas such as renewable energy, energy access, and efficiency, sustainable transport including e-mobility, sustainable agriculture, and enhancing green cover.
v.Highlighting the importance of global partnerships and cooperation, he requested the LMDC countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) launched by India.
Click here for the LMDC ministerial statement
About Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC):
Union Minister– Bhupender Yadav(Rajya Sabha- Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Ashwini Kumar Choubey(Constituency- Buxar, Bihar)

Working Group Constituted to overhaul PMFBY; Headed by Ritesh Chauhan

i.The Central Government has constituted a Working Group (WG) to be headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PMFBY, currently Ritesh Chauhan to roll out an overhauled Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) from Kharif 2022.

ii.The group will submit its report in six months.
iii.The key reason for the WG formation is the quitting of the scheme by many states due to the share of premium.
About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY):
Initiated– 2016
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW)

NITI Aayog Launches Geospatial Energy Map of India

NITI Aayog along with ISRO has launched the Geospatial Energy Map of India which will provide a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country. This map identifies and locates all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation.Geospatial Energy Map of India was launched by Rajiv Kumar (Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog), Dr. V K Saraswat (Member, NITI Aayog), and Shri Amitabh Kant (CEO, NITI Aayog).
i.Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India will help in providing a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country with a visualization of energy installations including power plants, oil and gas wells, petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks, district-wise data on renewable energy power plants, and so on.
ii.This brings together the power of a geographic information system in 27 thematic layers to bring together all of them in a relatable fashion.
About NITI Aayog :
The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), is a think tank of the Government of India established as a replacement for the Planning Commission to provide with relevant strategic, directional and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of development process.NITI Aayog will monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes.


IMF Reduced India’s Potential GDP Forecast by 25 bps to 6%

In its ‘2021 Article IV consultations with India’ report, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced India’s potential GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast in the medium term by 25 basis points (bps) to 6 percent from 6.25 percent due to the impact of COVID-19 on investments and labour markets.
What is Potential Growth?
Potential growth is the rate of growth that an economy can sustain over the medium term without generating excess inflation.

About IMF’s Article IV Consultation:
i.Every year IMF will hold bilateral discussions with members under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.
ii.A team will visit the country and collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. This year’s discussions were virtual.
About International Monetary Fund (IMF):
Establishment – 1944
Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
Member Countries – 190
MD – Kristalina Georgieva

Dvara E-Dairy & Jana SFB tie-up to Finance Small and Medium Dairy Farmers

Agri-fintech firm Dvara E-Dairy Solutions Private Limited has entered into a collaboration with Jana Small Finance Bank (Jana SFB) to service small dairy farmers by empowering small and medium dairy farmers with financial and cattle management solutions using digital technologies.
i.Through Jana SFB’s extensive branch network in rural and agricultural regions across India, Dvara E-Dairy intends to expand the credit and underwriting process for cattle loans.
ii.The Dvara E-Dairy’s digital identity (ID) tag Surabhi e-Tag will provide accurate cattle identification based on the muzzle identity. Click here to know more
iii.The Surabhi Score based on digital assessment, complements the underwriting of cattle loans based on dairy activities and customised cattle management recommendations. This helps dairy farmers to improve their livelihood and achieve household financial goals.

About Jana Small Finance Bank (Jana SFB)
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founded– 2008
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director– Ajay Kanwal
About Dvara E-Dairy Solutions
Establishment – 2008
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Founder and CEO-Ravi KA

NABSanrakshan signs Trust Deed for Rs 1000cr Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for FPOs

NABSanrakshan Trustee Private Limited (NTPL), a subsidiary of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) signed a trust deed for Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Farmer Producer Organisations (CGFTFPO). This led to the setting up of a dedicated credit guarantee fund of Rs 1, 000 crore for 10,000 FPOs. The trust is registered at Mumbai (Maharashtra) and signed by officials of the Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) and NTPL.


Tennis: Overview of 2021 BNP Paribas Open held at Indian Wells, USA

The 2021 BNP Paribas Open, also known as the 2021 Indian Wells Masters or 2021 Indian Wells Open, was held from 4th to 17th October 2021 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Indian Wells, California, the United States of America(USA).
This marks the 47th edition of the men’s BNP Paribas Open(ATP Masters) and the 32nd Edition of the women’s BNP Paribas Open(WTA Masters).
Winners of 2021 BNP Paribas Open:

Category Winners Runners
Men’s singles Cameron Norrie(UK) Nikoloz Basilashvili(Georgia)
Women’s singles Paula Badosa(Spain) Victoria Azarenka(Belarus)
Men’s doubles John Peers(Australia)
Filip Polášek(Slovakia)

Aslan Karatsev(Russia)
Andrey Rublev(Russia)

Women’s doubles Hsieh Su-wei (Chinese Taipei)
Elise Mertens (Belgium)

Veronika Kudermetova(Russia)
Elena Rybakina(Kazakhstan)

Rankings 2021:
i.ATP rankings as of 18th October 2021,(rank 1) Novak Djokovic of Serbia tops the ranking followed by Daniil Medvedev(Russia) and Stefanos Tsitsipas(Greece) at rank 2 and 3 respectively. For the first time in around 5 years, Roger Federer of Switzerland has dropped out of the Top 10 in the ATP ranking. At present, he is ranked 11th in the ATP ranking.

ii.WTA Rankings as of 18th October 2021, Ashleigh Barty of Australia tops the ranking followed by Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Karolina Pliskova of Czechia at rank 2 and 3 respectively.

Indian GM Praggnanandhaa won Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour 2021

The 16 year-old Indian Grandmaster (GM) Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has won the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour 2021 finals after defeating Christopher Yoo of the USA (United States of America). The event was launched by the Play Magnus Group in April 2021 to give young chess stars a springboard to stardom during the pandemic.

i.Praggnanandhaa has defeated Christopher Yoo by 3-0 in the final and won USD 12,500 and secured a regular spot at the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.
ii.24 talents from around, representing 13 countries have participated in the chess tour.
iii.The Tour has also been nominated for a prestigious ESG Award for its work promoting gender equality.
Top 3 of FIDE (The International Chess Federation) Rankings:
i.Carlsen, Magnus (Norway)
ii.Caruana, Fabiano (USA)
iii.Ding, Liren (China)


NASA Launched 1st Mission to Study Trojan asteroids ‘Lucy’; Plans to Launch DART, Psyche Mission

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the 12-year mission of ‘Lucy’, which is its 1st expedition to the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter to study the evolution of the solar system and the formation of giant planets. The spacecraft Lucy was launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States. The mission will be powered by solar energy and it will run for 12 years during which it will visit 8 asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion kilometres.

Other Missions of NASA:
i.DART Mission: After Lucy, the next mission of NASA was DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), which was scheduled to be launched on November 23, 2021, to prevent a hazardous near-earth binary asteroid Didymos from striking Earth.
ii.Psyche Mission: NASA also set to launch another mission named ‘Psyche’ to study the ‘Psyche asteroid’ that orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. Psyche asteroid is 280 kilometres wide and it is largely made up of metals.
iii.Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced the successful completion of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) mission. The DSAC was the primary payload onboard GA-EMS’ Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite that was launched on June 25, 2019.

iv.Water vapour on Jupiter’s Europa: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s observations recorded water vapour in only one hemisphere of Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa.
About Jupiter:
i.Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun and it is the biggest planet in our solar system.
ii.Jupiter is a gas giant and it is made mostly of hydrogen and helium. They also have rings (but they are too faint to see very well). It has around 79 confirmed moons.
iii.Time: Since Jupiter rotates once about every 10 hours, one day on Jupiter goes by in 10 hours (a Jovian day). One year on Jupiter is the same as 11.86 Earth years.

CCI Approved Acquisition of HGS’ healthcare BPO services by Betaine BV & GCAPH by Starnmeer B.V

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of worldwide healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO) services of Hinduja Global Solutions Ltd(HGS) along with certain assets, contracts and employees by Betaine B.V.
CCI Approved Acquisition of GCAPH by Starnmeer:
CCI has also approved the acquisition of Global Content Alpha Partners Holdco Pte. Ltd. (GCAPH) by Starnmeer B.V. (Starnmeer) under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002.m The proposed combination under Sections 5(a) of the Competition Act, 2002, concerns the acquisition of up to the entire issued share capital of GCAPH from its existing shareholders.

Starnmeer B.V. (Starnmeer):
Starnmeer B.V. is owned and controlled by funds comprising the Baring Asia Private Equity Fund VII, a fund affiliated with BPEA.
i.GCAPH is involved in the provision of services within the IT & ITeS sector (particularly in BPO) and assists the customers involved in the communications, media and service sectors and education sector.
ii.In India, GCAPH is present through its subsidiaries: LearningMate Solutions Pvt Ltd; SPI Technologies India Pvt Ltd.; Scope e-Knowledge Center Pvt Ltd; and Scientific Publishing Services Pvt Ltd.

Reliance Industries Tops Indian Firm, Ranked 52nd in Forbes’ World’s Best Employer Rankings 2021

According to the World’s Best Employers ranking 2021 published by Forbes, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) placed at the 52nd position in the overall ranking of 750 global corporations and topped the Indian firms under the ranking.
Top companies:

Rank Company Country
1 Samsung Electronics South Korea
2 IBM (International Business Machines) USA
3 Microsoft USA
52 RIL India

Other Indian Companies:
i.In addition to RIL, the other Indian companies under top 100 rankings include ICICI Bank (65), HDFC Bank (77) and HCL Technologies (90).
ii.Other Indian firms include – The State Bank of India (SBI) (119), Larsen & Toubro (L&T) (127), Bajaj (215), Axis Bank at 254, Indian Bank (314), Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) (404), Amara Raja Group (405), Kotak Mahindra Bank (418) and Bank of India (451), ITC (453), Cipla (460), Bank of Baroda (496), Life Insurance Corp (LIC) (504), Infosys (588), Tata Group (746).
Process of evaluation:
i.The rankings were compiled after surveying 150,000 full-time and part-time workers from 58 countries working for multinational companies and institutions.
ii.Forbes has partnered with market research company Statista for the evaluation process.
iii.Parameters used during the survey for the ranking include the image, economic footprint, talent development, gender equality and social responsibility.
Additional information:
Reliance, which is India’s biggest company by revenues, profits and market capitalisation, was recently recognised as ‘India’s Best Employers among Nation Builders 2021‘ by the Great Place to Work institute – a global authority on workplace culture.
About Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)
Chairman and Managing Director: Mukesh Ambani
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra

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