Current Affairs

21 July, 2021


India chairs 27th Meeting of BRICS CGETI 2021

The 27th Meeting of BRICS CGETI 2021 (Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues) held from July 12-14, 2021 was chaired by India. India is the Chair of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) for the year 2021, while the Department of Commerce was the national coordinator for the BRICS CGETI 2021.
i.Of various groups of BRICS, the CGETI is responsible for economic and trade matters.
ii.During the meeting, BRICS members discussed the proposals circulated by India, for strengthening and increasing the Intra-BRICS cooperation trade.
iii.India also proposed several events to strengthen the trade and economy. BRICS Trade Fair – To showcase & have buyer/sellers virtual meet from August 16-18, 2021. It will be organized by the Department of Commerce.
2021 Chair – India

Indo-Nepal Trial Movement of 1st Train between Jaynagar (Bihar) – Kurtha Railway link succeeded

The first rail section between India and Nepal i.e. Jaynagar – Kurtha Railway link saw the successful trial movement of high-speed train between India’s Jaynagar Madhubani district of Bihar and Nepal’s Kurtha in Mahottari district. This 50 km-long rail section covering 5 stations (Jaynagar, Inarwa, Khajuri, Baidehi and Kurtha) has been built with an outlay of Rs 619 crore. It has been set up by IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Limited) under India – Nepal friendship rail project and is financed by the Indian government.


NER renames Manduadih Railway Station as Banaras Railway Station

North Eastern Railways (NER) has renamed the Manduadih Railway Station in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh as Banaras Railway Station. The approval for the change was given by the Railway Board. The formal renaming of Manduadih railway station as Banaras Railway Station was done on September 16, 2020 in view of the NOC given by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 31, 2020.

Cisco, NSDC partner for Digital Upskilling of Indian Workforce

Cisco Networking Academy & the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) have announced a partnership for Digital Upskilling of the Indian workforce.
i.Objective – To upskill the existing talent in emerging technologies to drive innovation, accelerate growth, and transform India into a Digital Talent Nation.
ii.The courses will cover content on Networking, Cybersecurity, Programming, the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Essentials, and Linux.
iii.The courses will be hosted on NSDC’s eSkill India platform.
iv.The partnership aims to address the shortage of tech-proficient workforce in India & create career opportunities for millions of workers in the digital economy.
v.The courses will develop foundational Information & Communication Technology (ICT) skills needed to design, build and manage networks, along with soft skills like problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking. India’s demand for a digitally skilled workforce is expected to increase by nine times by 2025.

About Cisco
Chairman & CEO – Chuck Robbins
Headquarters – California, USA
About National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
CEO – Ved Mani Tiwari
Headquarters – New Delhi

India Became 4th Country & Maharashtra Became 1st State – To Implement Blockchain-Powered Educational Documents

The government of Maharashtra, with the help of LegitDoc, a blockchain startup, plans to implement the world’s largest blockchain-powered educational credentialing system by issuing tamper-proof digital diploma certificates under the blockchain system. Through such initiative, the Govt of Maharashtra became the 1st state in India to implement a blockchain-based educational document registry, and around the globe, India (Maharashtra Government) became the 4th country to achieve such registry after Malta, Singapore, and Bahrain. LegitDoc, a SaaS (software as a service) based platform, has supported the Maharashtra govt in issuing and verifying around 1 million digital diploma certificates for students of ‘Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development’ (MSBSD) across 8 academic years.

About Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development (MSBSD):
Establishment – 1986
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
President – Anil M. Jadhav

MECL signs MoU with DMG, Goa to Explore New Iron Ore Mines

Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL), a Mineral Exploration Agency under the Ministry of Mines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Directorate of Mines & Geology (DMG), Goa for exploration of Iron ore reserves in Goa. The MoU enables MECL to assess mineral resources in Goa (by conducting Geo-Scientific exploration), finalise the blocks to be auctioned and also establish Goa’s mineral inventory. The MoU was signed by Dr. Ranjit Rath, CMD of MECL & Vivek H P, Director of DMG, Goa.

About Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL)

CMD – Dr. Ranjit Rath
Head Office – Nagpur, Maharashtra
About Directorate of Mines & Geology (DMG)
Director – Vivek H.P.,
Head Office – Panaji, Goa

IOC to Build India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Plant at Mathura Refinery, UP

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is set to build India’s 1st ‘Green Hydrogen’ plant at Mathura refinery, Uttar Pradesh (UP). Through this, it aims to cater to the growing demand for cleaner forms of energy. It will be India’s 1st Green Hydrogen Unit. Previous projects have been announced to produce ‘green hydrogen’ using fossil fuels such as natural gas. Green Hydrogen will replace the carbon-emitting fuels used in Mathura refinery to process crude oil into value-added products like petrol and diesel. Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by splitting water by electrolysis. The process to make green hydrogen is powered by renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. IOC has set a vision to focus on Petrochemicals, hydrogen and electric mobility in the next 10 years.

DAHD sets up Dairy Investment Accelerator to Promote & Facilitate investments in the Dairy sector

i.In order to promote and facilitate investments in the Indian Dairy sector, the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) of Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying on July 19, 2021 has setup Dairy Investment Accelerator under its Investment Facilitation Cell.
ii.The Investment Accelerator is a cross functional team to act as intermediary with investors.
iii.Accelerator will work with DAHD to organize events with international & local industry participants to facilitate direct interactions with government officials and other players in the industry.
About Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying:
Union Minister– Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala (Constituency- Gujarat)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Sanjeev Kumar Balyan (Constituency- Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh), Dr. Loganathan Murugan (Constituency- Tamil Nadu)


ADB Projected India’s GDP Growth Forecast for FY22 at 10%, FY23 at 7.5%

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 Supplement has reduced India’s GDP growth forecast for FY22 by 1 percent to 10 percent, from its earlier projection of 11 percent due to COVID-19.

ADB’s Projection for India: The GDP growth estimation for FY23 was increased by ADB to 7.5 percent from its earlier projection of 7 percent. India’s Inflation forecast for FY21 was increased by ADB from 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent, whereas the forecast for FY22 was kept unchanged at 4.8 percent. ADB’s projection towards inflation indicated successive inflation for 3 years at the range of 6 percent (The inflation target set by RBI was 2-6 percent).

About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
Establishment – 1966
Headquarters – Manila, Philippines
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
Members – 68 members (49 within Asia and the Pacific, 19 outside)

LIC Launched Health Insurance Plan – Arogya Rakshak

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) launched a non-linked, non-participating, regular premium, individual, health insurance plan named – ‘Arogya Rakshak’ to provide fixed benefit health insurance cover against certain specified health risks. The plan will provide timely financial support under medical emergencies to the insured and his family. Payment Method: Arogya Rakshak is a defined benefit policy and it has a different mode of payment than the regular health insurance plan, i.e it will pay the total benefit amount insured irrespective of actual medical costs. Minimum & Maximum Age at Entry: Insured Person(IP)/spouse/parents – 18 to 65 years; Children – 91 days to 20 years.
About Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC):
Establishment -1956
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – M R Kumar

PPB Became 1st in India to Make Payments from FD a/c held with IndusInd Bank

Paytm enabled its Paytm Payments Bank‘s (PPB) customers to make instant payments across online platforms through its all-in-one payment gateway using balances available in their Fixed Deposit (FD) account, which is held with IndusInd Bank, the partner bank of Paytm. Using FD as a payments source under the Paytm gateway is the first-of-its-kind solution of PPB. PPB enables its customers to open FD accounts with IndusInd Bank and it also allows its customers to redeem the FD from IndusInd Bank into a PPB account in real-time. Through this, PPB became the 1st bank in India to allow real-time redemption of FD balances into customer’s current and savings accounts for making payments.

About IndusInd Bank:
Establishment – 1994
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Sumant Kathpalia
Tagline – We Make You Feel Richer

Dhanlaxmi Bank Partners with SMC Global to Offer Online Trading Services

Dhanlaxmi bank made a strategic partnership with SMC Global Securities Limited (SMC Global) to offer online trading services to its customers. 3-in-1 account: Under the partnership, the bank will offer an integrated 3-in-1 account, comprising a Savings, Demat and Trading account to provide a convenient trading experience to its customers. Under the partnership, SMC Global will open the Trading Account and the Bank will maintain the Savings account and Demat account of the customer. The trading account could be availed through SMC Global’s portal, mobile trading app (SMC ACE), and desktop-based software.

About SMC Global Securities Limited (SMC Global):
Establishment – 1990
Headquarters – NewDelhi
Director and CEO – Ajay Garg
About Dhanlaxmi Bank:
Establishment – 1927
Headquarters – Thrissur, Kerala
MD & CEO – Shivan J.K


World Chess Day 2021 – July 20

The United Nations(UN)’s World Chess Day is annually observed across the globe on 20th July to highlight the role of the World Chess Federation or International Chess Federation (FIDE) towards international cooperation for chess activity and improving harmony among the people across the globe.

The day also focuses on the importance of chess in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).
World Chess Day 2021 also marks the 97th anniversary of the FIDE.
i.As an initiative of the FIDE, the International Chess Day, has been observed on 20th July by Chess players across the globe since 1966.
ii.The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/74/22 on 12th December 2019 and proclaimed the 20 July of every year as World Chess Day.
iii.The first UN’s World Chess Day was observed on 20th July 2020.
Why July 20?
The date marks the establishment of the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) in Paris in 1924.
About International Chess Federation (FIDE):
President– Arkady Dvorkovich
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland
Founded in 1924 in Paris, France.

Football: Gokulam Kerala FC to Represent India in AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021

Gokulam Kerala FC (GKFC) has been nominated by All India Football Federation (AIFF) to represent India in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2020-21 to be held in Amman, Jordan from November 7-12, 2021. The AFC championship is hosted by Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is the 1st time that a club from India is taking part in the women’s continental cup. AIFF had nominated GKFC to represent India, as they are the champions of the 4th edition of Hero Indian Women’s League.


IIT-M Researchers Developed AI Tool NBDriver to Study Cancer-Causing Mutation

Researchers from the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI), Indian Institute of Technology Madras(IIT-M) has developed the mathematical model based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), called NBDriver (neighbourhood driver) to study the cancer-causing mutations in cells. By looking at the neighbourhood or context of a mutation in the genome, the tool can be used to differentiate the harmful ‘driver’ mutation from the neutral ‘passenger’ mutation. The researchers explain the effects of the neighbourhood on the nature of the mutation and the use of NBDriver in differentiating the mutation, in the paper published in the journal “Cancers”.

DRDO develops Indigenous Titanium Alloy for Aerospace Industry

Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Indigenous High Strength Metastable Beta Titanium Alloy. It will be useful in manufacturing intricate components for aerospace applications.

i.The beta titanium alloy has higher strength, ductility, fatigue, and fracture toughness – making them increasingly attractive for aircraft structural applications. The advantages of using Beta titanium alloys are weight savings, lower lifetime cost, excellent durability and high strength-to-weight ratio. Components of beta titanium alloy are Vanadium, Iron, Aluminium and Titanium. It is increasingly used by several developed countries as a substitute for the heavier & traditional Ni-Cr-Mo (Nickel-Chromium-Molybdenum) structural steels.

ii.The Defence Ministry’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) identified over 15 steel components which may be replaced by beta titanium alloy forgings. This is expected to result in weight savings of around 40%.
About Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL)
Director – Dr G Madhusudhan Reddy
Location – Hyderabad, Telangana

Pedro Castillo was declared the President-Elect of Peru

Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones (51 years old), a former school teacher turned politician of Free Peru National Political Party, was declared as the President-Elect of the Republic of Peru. He will be succeeding Francisco Sagasti, the incumbent president of Peru. Pedro Castillo will be sworn in as President of Peru on 28th July 2021 and serve as the president for the period of 5 years from 2021 to 2026. He won the 2021 Presidential election against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori.

About Pedro Castillo:
i.Pedro Castillo has worked as an elementary school teacher for around 25 years in San Luis de Puna, Cajamarca, Peru.
ii.He led the largest teacher strike in 2017, to get better pay for the teachers.
Congress of Republic of Peru:
i.The Congress of the Republic of Peru (Congreso de la Republica del Peru) is the unicameral body that assumes legislative power in Peru.
ii.The Congress is composed of 130 seats.
About the Republic of Peru:
President- Francisco Sagasti
President Elect- Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones
Capital- Lima
Currency- Peruvian sol

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