Current Affairs

21 June, 2021

International

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan virtually addressed WHO Global TB Programme

Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan participated in the high-level event on ‘Global Drive to Scale up TB Prevention’ virtually organized by WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme.
Purpose – Discussed on action taken globally to prevent Tuberculosis (TB) and achieving the 2022 United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) target on TB preventive treatment
Target – The World Health Organisation (WHO) targets to end TB globally by 2030. India targets to increase TB preventive treatment by 2022, develop TB Vaccine by 2023 and reach the goal of “End TB in India” by 2025.

Narendra Singh Tomar addresses 42nd Session of FAO Conference

Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar addressed the 42nd session of Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Conference which took place virtually from June 14-18, 2021.
i.All the 193 members of the FAO plus the European Union endorsed the new Strategic Framework 2022-2031 which will support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ii.The conference elected Ambassador Hans Hoogeveen, the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to UN Organizations in Rome, as the new Independent Chairperson of the Council (ICC) for the next two years (2021-23). He succeeds Khalid Mehboob of Pakistan.
About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Director-General – QU Dongyu
Headquarters – Rome, Italy
Members – 194

Forced People Displacement increased to 82.4 Million in 2020: UNHCR Report

According to the ‘Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2020 Report’ released by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – The number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution, and human rights violations increased to nearly 82.4 million people in 2020, an increase of 3 million people compared to 79.5 million recorded at the end of 2019. Number of people facing Forced Displacement has increased despite COVID-19 related movement restrictions. The report states that more than 1% of the world’s population or 1 in 95 people are now forcibly displaced. This compares with 1 in 159 in 2010. This is the 9th straight annual increase in the number of people forcibly displaced.
About United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
High Commissioner – Filippo Grandi
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

National

India, Japan conduct Bilateral Naval Exercise in Indian Ocean

Indian Navy (IN) and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) conducted a joint naval exercise at the Indian Ocean under the motive ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific‘ (FOIP). The Indian side was represented by INS (Indian Naval Ship) Kulish (P63) while JS (Japanese Ship) Kashima (TV3508) and JS Setoyuki (TV3518) participated from the Japanese side.
Other Exercises between India-Japan:
i.Dharma Guardian: It is a Military Exercise.
ii.Malabar: It is a trilateral Naval Exercise between India, Japan and the United States (US)
iii.Japan–India Maritime bilateral exercise (JIMEX): It is also a Naval Exercise. In September 2020, IN and JMSDF conducted 4th edition of biennial JIMEX-2020 in the North Arabian Sea.

Union Cabinet approves Inland Vessels Bill 2021

Minister of State (I/C) for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya stated that the Union Cabinet has approved the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021. The Bill aims to streamline vessels/ships which run on the 4,000 Kilometres of operational Inland Waterways in India. The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 will replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917.
About Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW)
Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Mansukh Mandaviya (Rajya Sabha – Gujarat)

India & US launch Hydrogen Task Force

The United States Department of Energy (DoE), the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, and the US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) jointly launched the US-India Hydrogen Task Force, under the US-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP). The Task Force aims to promote focused public, private cooperation among the two countries which will help in rapid development & deployment of hydrogen energy technologies. It will help in decarbonizing high-polluting industrial sectors and achieve a greener, cleaner planet. Maithani, Adviser to MNRE will lead the Task Force as the India Co-Chair while Dr. Ken Vincent will be the Co-Chair from the American side. The formation of the task force was announced by US Deputy Secretary of Energy, David M Turk in April 2021.
About US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)
President & CEO – Dr. Mukesh Aghi
Head Office – Washington DC, USA

ECI Released ‘General Elections 2019 India – An Atlas’

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey released the “General Elections 2019 India – An Atlas”, which consists of data and statistical figures of 17th General Elections held in 2019. The Atlas was published by the Election Commission of India(ECI).
About Election Commission of India(ECI):
Chief Election Commissioner– Sushil Chandra
Election Commissioners– Anup Chandra Pandey & Rajiv Kumar
Headquarters– New Delhi

India, Bhutan sign MoU to develop cooperation in areas of Environment

India & Bhutan signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for developing cooperation between the two countries in the area of environment. It will also enable bilateral cooperation in the area of climate change, waste management etc. The MoU was signed by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar from the Indian side and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the National Environment Commission Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji from the Bhutanese side. MoU will strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and expand the areas of cooperation in the field of environment. Both sides will support, exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air Pollution, Waste Management, Chemical Management, Climate Change and others.

Economy

Wipro joined WEF’s Partnership for New Work Standards Initiative

Wipro Limited joined the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Partnership for New Work Standards initiative to establish a healthy, resilient and equitable future of work. The initiative aims to build human-first work standards by co-creating new frameworks, and utilizing tools and technologies. Wipro is also undertaking initiatives to support its people with dedicated programmes for physical, social, financial and mental well-being. The WEF was established in 1971 with headquarters at Cologny, Switzerland.

SEBI Imposed Rs 15 crore Fine on Franklin Templeton, 8 Others

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed a cumulative fine of Rs 15 crore on 9 entities, including Franklin Templeton Trustee Services, senior officials and fund managers associated with the six debt schemes wound up by the Franklin Asset Management Company. Rs 3 crore fine on Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Pvt Ltd Rs 2 crore fine each on Franklin Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd’s President Sanjay Sapre and Chief Investment Officer Santosh Kamat. Rs 1.5 crore each on Kunal Agarwal, Sumit Gupta, Pallab Roy, Sachin Padwal Desai and Umesh Sharma who were the fund managers for various Franklin Templeton schemes at the time of the violation. Rs 50 lakh fine on chief compliance officer Saurabh Gangrade

IDFC First Bank Launched COVID-19 Relief Program – ‘Ghar Ghar Ration’

IDFC First Bank has launched an Employee-funded relief program named ‘Ghar Ghar Ration’, for its low-income customers whose livelihoods are affected due to COVID-19.
Features of Ghar Ghar Ration:
i.Under the program, a Customer COVID Care Fund was set from the contribution of the bank employees’ personal income (Employees contributed one day to one month’s salary).
ii.Ration kits will be supplied under the program to 50,000 COVID-19 affected low-income customers of IDFC FIRST Bank. The ration kits include the essentials that are needed to support a small family for about a month viz, 10 kg rice/ flour, 2 kg dal (lentils), 1 kg sugar and salt, 1 kg cooking oil, 5 packets of assorted spices, tea and biscuits, etc.
iii.The ration kits are delivered directly in-person to the customers in rural locations but in urban locations, pre-paid cards worth Rs 1800 were provided to the customers, which can be used by them to buy the essentials.
iv.Under the pilot program, 1000 ration kits are already distributed by the bank’s employees in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana. (overdue customers are also eligible under the program).
About IDFC FIRST Bank:
Establishment – IDFC Bank Ltd and Capital First Ltd merged on December 18, 2018, and formed the IDFC FIRST Bank.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – V Vaidyanathan

PayPoint India Signed pact with Banks, NBFCs for Lending Services

PayPoint India, a technology-enabled distribution network of financial services, signed ‘lead generation agreements’ with 12 financial institutions viz, Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, Deutsche Bank, and Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) such as Bajaj Housing, Piramal Housing, and Hero Fincorp, among others.
Objective: To assist with loans to the underserved using technology, and to generate leads for housing, personal and business loans through the partnership with banks and NBFCs. Under the agreement, PayPoint India will help the financial institutions to get access to the remote locations where they are unable to reach on their own, and provide capital. As per RBI data, under the loan category of Rs 1-10 lakh, businesses have borrowed only around Rs 94,000 crore (low when compared with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India), hence PayPoint India intends to address the gap.

SEBI Issued – Norms for MF’s Participation over IRS; Framework for Supervisory Body of IAs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has issued guidelines for the participation of Mutual Fund(MF) schemes in Interest Rate Swaps (IRS).
SEBI’s Guidelines to MF:
i.SEBI allowed MFs to enter into plain vanilla IRS for hedging purposes, but the value of the notional principal in such cases must not exceed the value of respective existing assets being hedged by the scheme.
ii.If the MF is entering into the IRS through counter transactions, the counterparty has to be an entity recognized as a market maker by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – On April 12, 1992, in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

RBI granted approval to CFSL for taking over PMC Bank via SFB route

i.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) granted in-principle approval to Centrum Financial Services Limited (CFSL) to set up a small finance bank (SFB).
ii.Through this SFB, Centrum will take over crisis-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank (PMC) as a separate process.
iii.For the setting up of SFB, there will be capital infusion of Rs 1,800 crore by the Centrum Capital, holding entity for CFSL, and its partner BharatPe.
About BharatPe:
Establishment– 2018
Chief executive officer (CEO)– Ashneer Grover
Headquarter– Delhi
About Centrum Financial Services Limited:
Managing Director (MD) & CEO– Ranjan Ghosh
Headquarter– Mumbai

Sports

Max Verstappen wins 2021 French Grand Prix

Max Verstappen (Netherlands-Red Bull) has won the 2021 French Grand Prix. This race is the seventh round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship. With this win, Max Verstappen has 131 points and now leads Lewis Hamilton (119 points) in the Formula One drivers’ title race, after seven matches. Lewis Hamilton (Britain-Mercedes) stood second and Sergio Perez (Mexico- Red Bull) stood third.

F1 Champion Michael Schumacher with 91 Wins is Out of Coma After 6 Years

Formula One(F1) Champion Michael Schumacher, a retired German racing driver who has recorded the most wins – 91, pole positions – 68 and Podium finishes – 155 has got out of coma after 6 years. He was placed under a medically induced coma after a head injury. He won 2 titles representing Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and won 5 titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) representing Ferrari. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton hold the record for the most World Drivers’ Championships with 7championship. He belonged to notable teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Miscellaneous

Formula One(F1) Champion Michael Schumacher, a retired German racing driver who has recorded the most wins – 91, pole positions – 68 and Podium finishes – 155 has got out of coma after 6 years. He was placed under a medically induced coma after a head injury. He won 2 titles representing Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and won 5 titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) representing Ferrari. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton hold the record for the most World Drivers’ Championships with 7championship. He belonged to notable teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Formula One(F1) Champion Michael Schumacher, a retired German racing driver who has recorded the most wins – 91, pole positions – 68 and Podium finishes – 155 has got out of coma after 6 years. He was placed under a medically induced coma after a head injury. He won 2 titles representing Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and won 5 titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) representing Ferrari. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton hold the record for the most World Drivers’ Championships with 7championship. He belonged to notable teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes.

F1 Champion Michael Schumacher with 91 Wins is Out of Coma After 6 Years

Formula One(F1) Champion Michael Schumacher, a retired German racing driver who has recorded the most wins – 91, pole positions – 68 and Podium finishes – 155 has got out of coma after 6 years. He was placed under a medically induced coma after a head injury. He won 2 titles representing Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and won 5 titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) representing Ferrari. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton hold the record for the most World Drivers’ Championships with 7championship. He belonged to notable teams: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Indo-French Researchers Developed New Way of Imaging Through Fog

A team of Indo-French researchers from various Indian institutions including Raman Research Institute (RRI – Bengaluru) and ISRO’s Space Applications Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad, and Université Paris-Saclay, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique(CNRS), France has developed a new improved imaging method to make a clear image of objects in foggy weather conditions. This work was partially funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research.

CARH, Carlyle’s Subsidiary Sold 5.1% Shares Worth Rs 4,811 Crore in SBI Card

Ca Rover Holdings(CARH), a subsidiary of Carlyle group sold its 5.1 percent shares in SBI Card and Payment Services Ltd (SBI Card) worth about Rs 4,811 crore through open market transactions on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE).
About Carlyle group:
Establishment – 1987
Headquarters – Washington, DC., United States
CEO – Kewsong Lee
About SBI Card:
It is the 2nd largest credit card issuer in India
Establishment – 1998
Headquarters – Gurgaon, Haryana
MD & CEO – Rama Mohan Rao Amara

Antonio Guterres re-elected as UN Secretary General for 2nd 5-year term starting Jan 1, 2022

Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres (72) aka Antonio Guterres, was re-elected as the Secretary General of United Nations (UN) for a 2nd 5-year term from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026. His appointment was made by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the recommendation of the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) and announced by the President of the 75th session of the UNGA, Volkan Bozkir. It should be noted that as per UN Charter, the Secretary-General is appointed by the UNGA on the recommendation of the UNSC.
About Antonio Guterres:
i.An ex-Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, he has been serving as the Secretary General since 2017.
ii.He is the 9th person to assume the position of UN Secretary General .
iii.He also served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.
iv.Recently, he called for debt relief extension for middle-income countries amid COVID-19 crisis.
Points to be noted:
i.There has been no woman Secretary General in the UN’s 75-year history
ii.India has also supported the re-election of Antonio Guterres.
About United Nations (UN):
Establishment– 1945
Members– 193 (India became its member on October 30, 1945)
Secretariat– New York, United States (US)

Indian-American Sumita Mitra Won European Inventor Award 2021

Indian-American chemist, Sumita Mitra won the European Patent Office’s (EPO) European Inventor Award 2021 under the Non-EPO countries category for her innovative dental filling invention using Nanotechnology. The 2021 European Inventor Award ceremony was held digitally.
Sumita Mitra’s Invention:
i.She was the 1st one to have successfully integrated nanotechnology into dental materials, and has invented stronger, durable & aesthetically pleasing dental fillings.
ii.The filling is developed by Mitra along with her team using a technique for creating linked clusters of nanoparticles or ‘nanoclusters’.
About European Patent Office (EPO):
It is the world’s leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
Headquarters – Munich, Germany
President – António Campinos

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