21 December, 2021
SOLAW 2021: Land & Water Systems are at Breaking Point; Resources Will Need Safeguarding
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture – Systems at breaking point Synthesis report 2021 (SOLAW 2021), which highlights the worsening state of the earth’s soil, land and water resources and the challenges it poses for feeding a global population which is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. The central theme of SOLAW 2021 is “Systems at breaking point”. SOLAW 2021 is a collaborative effort led by the Land and Water Division of FAO in collaboration with several divisions/units at FAO
The SOLAW 2021 Synthesis Report presents the main findings and recommendations of the full SOLAW 2021 report and background studies, which will be published in early 2022.
About Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations(UN) that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
Director-General– QU Dongyu
Headquarters– Rome, Italy
Truecaller Report: India 4th Most Spammed Country in World; Brazil Tops
According to the 5th edition of Truecallers’ annual report “2021 Global Spam & Scam Report”, which lists the Top 20 Countries Affected by Spam Calls in 2021, India has moved up in rankings from 9th in 2020 to 4th in 2021 due to a significant increase in sales and telemarketing calls.
The report is a detailed, global study on how spam and scam affect all of us.
In 2021, more than 202 million spam calls were made by just one spammer in India. In India, over 93.5% of all spam calls were sales or telemarketing calls, as tagged by users. Financial services comprised 3.1% of the spam calls, followed by ‘nuisance’ at 2.0% and scam at 1.4%. With 32.9 spam calls per user per month, Brazil has retained its title as the most spammed country in the world for the 4th year, followed by Peru and Ukraine. The United States has dropped from 2nd place in 2020 to 20th place in 2021. Cameroon tops the countries affected by spam SMS in 2021 followed by Somalia and Tanzania.
President Ram Nath Kovind’s 3-day visit to Bangladesh: Attended 50th Victory Day Celebrations
i.On the invitation of Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, on December 15-17, 2021, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind was on a 3-day State visit to Bangladesh to attend the 50th Victory Day (Bijay Dibos or Vjay Diwas) celebrations at the National Parade ground in Dhaka as a guest of honour.
ii.He was the only foreign dignitary invited to jointly commemorate these celebrations reflecting a strong bond between two nations.
iii.This was the first visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to Bangladesh since the Covid-19 outbreak.
iv.He was accompanied by the Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Education (MoE) Dr. Subhas Sarkar and a Member of Parliament Rajdeep Roy.
Highlights of Vietnam’s H.E. Nguyen Van Hung visit to India from 15 to 19 December
H.E. Nguyen Van Hung, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) of Vietnam paid a 5-day official visit to India from December 15 to 19, 2021. India and Vietnam are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties in 2022 and the 5th anniversary of the Indo-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021.
Capital – Hanoi
Currency – Vietnamese dong
President – Nguyen Xuan Phuc
NHAI inks MoU with NCC to Reuse Plastic Waste collected by cadets in Building Roads
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between National Cadet Corps (NCC) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to reuse plastic wastes collected by NCC cadets during Puneet Sagar Abhiyan and other cleanliness activities in country-wide road construction by NHAI.
Lt. Gen. Gurbirpal Singh, Director General NCC and Sushil Kumar Mishra, Chief General Manager, NHAI signed and exchanged the MoU.
About Puneet Sagar Abhiyan:
Initiated on December 1, 2021 by NCC, this month-long activity aims to promote and create favourable conditions for environmental safety. Under this, beaches are cleaned along the seashores and also raise awareness about the importance of keeping these places free from plastic wastes. A total of 3,40,000 cadets from 127 Coastal Area NCC Units are participating in this activity. So far, the NCC cadets at different locations have collected plastic wastes amounting to almost 6 tonnes. The collected waste will be handed over to NHAI to be used in road construction.
About National Highways Authority of India (NHAI):
Chairperson– Alka Upadhyaya
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi
‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ Inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of ICH of Humanity
The Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) has inscribed ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of ICH of Humanity during its 16th session of IGC which was held in Paris, France from 13 to 18 December 2021. With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now have 14 ICH elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity. Before Durga Puja, the two latest inscriptions in the ICH list from India are Kumbh Mela (inscribed 2017) and Yoga (inscribed 2016).
About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
i.It was established by UNESCO to ensure better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. This list is published by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
ii.About the Committee: The core functions of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage are to promote the objectives of the Convention, provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.
ii.The list consists of a longer ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, a shorter ‘List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding’, and Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
3rd Meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue held in New Delhi; Chaired by EAM of India S Jaishankar
The 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was held in New Delhi from 18th to 20th December 2021 under the chairmanship of Dr S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister(EAM) of India.The Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the 3rd Meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue. Previously the 2nd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was organized by India in October 2020 in digital video-conference format. The Ministers of Central Asian countries have agreed to hold the next meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue in 2022.
Features of the Meeting:
i.As a part of the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue, the Ministers discussed strengthening the relationship between India and the Central Asian countries with the focus on trade, connectivity and development cooperation.
ii.They also discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the region, following the Taliban’s occupancy.
iii.The ministers exchanged their views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
iv.They also reaffirmed the importance of UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), which unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning, or financing terrorist acts, and called for concerted action against all terrorist groups.
v.The Ministers also emphasised the optimum usage of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as well as the Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor to enhance connectivity between India and the Central Asian countries.
vi.They also welcomed the proposal to include Chabahar Port within the framework of INSTC.
vii.The Ministers have agreed on the implementation of commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement in line with equity, national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
About Ministry of External Affairs(MEA):
Union Minister– Dr S Jaishankar(Rajya Sabha- Gujarat)
Minister of State– V Muraleedharan (Rajya sabha – Maharashtra), Meenakashi Lekhi (Constituency- New Delhi, NCT of Delhi), Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Constituency- Inner Manipur, Manipur)
ESFBL Became the Banking Partner of the Government of Maharashtra
Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited(ESFBL) has empanelled as the banking partner of the state government of Maharashtra with an aim to offer its services to employees of the State Government.
The Bandhan Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, and the South Indian Bank have been assigned the role of distributing salaries and allowances to the government employees.
Features of the partnership:
i.This partnership will enable the ESFBL to distribute salaries and allowances to the existing employees apart from making provision of pension to pensioners.
ii.The state government has authorised the Equitas SFB to open salary and pension accounts for the existing and retired employees across 58 branches of the bank across the state.
iii.The bank is also subjected to withdrawal and disbursement of funds.
iv.This partnership with the state government will open up avenues to leverage its 58 branches to provide tailor-made solutions to institutions.
About Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited:
Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited was formerly known as Equitas Finance Limited.
The Bank commenced the business of SFB on 5th September 2016.
MD & CEO– Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Tagline– It’s Fun Banking
Liberty General ties with CSC e-Governance Services India to Expand Rural Network
Liberty General Insurance signed a partnership agreement with CSC (Common Service Centres) e-Governance Services India under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
To strengthen insurance penetration in rural areas across India by selling insurance products through the CSC network.
i.Liberty General Insurance will offer Motor Insurance products for Two-Wheeler, Private Car and Commercial Vehicle to the customers.
ii.The agreement will provide impetus to improve the access to insurance products for rural India through awareness creation, technology leverage, product innovation.
iii.The agreement will empower the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) through new skills and knowledge of products and services. It will help in financial inclusion and catering to the last mile network of 4.2 lakh, of which 2.74 lakh are in Gram Panchayats.
About CSC (Common Service Centres) e-Governance Services:
i.The CSC is a strategic cornerstone of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), approved by the Government in May 2006. As part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme
CEO-Dinesh Kumar Tyagi,
About Liberty General Insurance:
Director & CEO– Roopam Asthana
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Edelweiss General Insurance, PhonePe Partners to Offers Digital Motor Insurance
Edelweiss General Insurance (EGI) has partnered with PhonePe, a fintech firm in the digital payments space, to offer quick and easy, digital motor insurance products to all its customers. The partnership offers PhonePe customers simple, end to end digital solutions in the motor insurance segment.
Vision of PhonePe – To be a one-stop destination for all the insurance needs of customers.About Edelweiss General Insurance:
Executive director & CEO – Shanai Ghosh
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO – Sameer Nigam
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka
BWF World Championships 2021:Kidambi Srikanth Becomes 1st Indian Male Shuttler To win Silver Medal at BWF World Championships
Kidambi Srikanth (India) made history by becoming the 1st Indian shuttler to win a silver medal in the men’s singles at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) world championships. He achieved this feat by winning silver medal after losing to Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in the finals of Men’s Singles in the BWF World Championships 2021(officially known as the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021) held in Huelva, Spain. This is also the first time that a Men’s(Loh Kean Yew) player from Singapore has won gold Medal at the BWF World Championships. India’s Lakshya Sen & Denmark’s Anders Antonsen won the Bronze Medal in the Men’s Singles in BWF World Championships 2021.
Note-Apart from Kidambi Srikanth 3 Other Men from India had also won the medal in the BWF Championship, they are Prakash Padukone (bronze in 1983), B Sai Praneeth (bronze in 2019) and Lakshya Sen (bronze in 2021).
About Kidambi Srikanth:
Born – 1993, at Ravulapalem, Andhra Pradesh
i.With the entry into Badminton world in 2014, Srikanth and Sai Praneeth became the first Indian badminton pair in 2017 to reach the finals of a ranking event at the Singapore Super Series.
ii.At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Srikanth won a Gold in Mixed Team event and a Silver in Men’s Singles at Gold Coast in Australia.
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
President – Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
DRDO Conducts Flight Demonstration of CADS
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a flight demonstration of its Controlled Aerial Delivery System (CADS) by the DRDO’s Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) in Agra, New Delhi. The flight demonstration is part of a series of activities organised towards the commemoration of the 75th Independence day – ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
About The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Parent Ministry – Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Chairman – G Satheesh Reddy
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Uttarakhand State appoints Rishabh Pant as Brand Ambassador
Uttarakhand Chief Minister (CM) Pushkar Singh Dhami appointed Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant as the ‘State Brand Ambassador’ with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health.
Note – In December 2021, Actor Salman Khan was appointed as the COVID Vaccination Ambassador of Maharashtra.
i.Rishabh Rajendra Pant is a 24 year old cricketer, who was born in Roorkee, Uttarakhand.
ii.He is an Indian cricketer who plays as a middle order wicket-keeper batsman for India, Delhi, and the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
iii.In 2015, he was named in India’s squad for the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Biosphere reserve- Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Dance- Barda Nati, Langvir Nritya, Ramola
Gabriel Boric becomes Youngest President Elect of Chile
Gabriel Boric, 35 year old, won Chile presidential elections, to become the youngest-ever President elect of Chile. He defeated his oppositionJose Antonio Kast in the elections.Key points:
i.Gabriel Boric will assume office in March 2022, will become the youngest president in Chile’s history.
ii.He secured 56 percent of the votes, while 44 percent votes were won by Jose Antonio Kast.
About Gabriel Boric:
i.Gabriel Boric on 11 February 1986 in Punta Arenas, Chile.
ii.He belongs to the Social Convergence party and he has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies since 2014, representing the Magallanes district, Chile.
It is a South American country occupying a narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chuquicamata is the World’s largest copper mine located in Chile.
President- Sebastian Pinera (Outgoing President)
SAIL Receives Prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021
The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), awarded with the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award (GPEMA) 2021 in the Steel Sector by the Institute of Directors (IOD). SAIL received this award for the 3rd consecutive year.
About the Golden Peacock Environment Management Award:
i.Golden Peacock Environment Management Award is a prestigious award that was instituted by the World Environment Foundation in 1998.
ii.It encourages corporate companies to enhance their environmental performances.
Some Achievements of SAIL includes,
Solid waste management initiatives, water conservation efforts and plantation.
carbon footprint reduction, deployment of state-of-the-art environment friendly technology
Environmental auditing and environmental accounting.
Note – Jamshedpur, popularly known as the ‘Steel City of India’ was established by Jamsetji Tata in 1919.
About Institute of Directors (IOD), India:
It is a Society (National Level), registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. It was established in July 1990.
About Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL):
Chairperson- Soma Mondal (1st Woman Chairperson of SAIL)
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi