Current Affairs

22 December, 2021

International

India’s EAM S.Jaishankar & Tajikistan’s FM Sirojiddin Muhriddin Signs Agreements on Diplomatic Training

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar met Tajikistan foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin who was on an official visit to India from 18 to 20 December 2021 to attend the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue. They have signed agreements on diplomatic training and program of cooperation. Both of them exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in energy, connectivity, trade, security and capacity building.

India-Central Asia Dialogue:
i.EAM S. Jaishankar hosted the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue in New Delhi from 18-19 December 2021. Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting.
ii.The Ministers discussed strengthening of relations between India and Central Asian countries with particular focus on trade, connectivity and development cooperation.
Note – The 2nd meeting was organized virtually by India in October 2020.
Additional Points:
i.Tajikistan is India’s key partner in Central Asia in the fight against cross-border terror and radicalisation. It also hosts India’s lone military base.
ii.Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tajikistan in July 2015 and both countries decided to step up cooperation in the spheres of defence, connectivity and in the fight against terrorism.
iii.President Ram Nath Kovind paid a state visit to Tajikistan in October 2018 and announced a grant of $20 million for Tajikistan.
About Tajikistan:
Capital – Dushanbe
Currency – Tajikistani somoni
President – Emomali Rahmon

National

NITI Aayog & UN-WFP Signed SoI to Mainstream Millets & Support India in Knowledge Exchange

The National Institution for Transforming India, known as NITI Aayog has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with the United Nations(UN) World Food Program(WFP) for mainstreaming of millets and supporting India in taking lead globally in knowledge exchange using the opportunity of 2023 as International Year of Millets. The SoI focuses on strategic and technical collaboration between NITI Aayog and WFP to strengthen climate-resilient agriculture for enhanced food and nutrition security in India.

Aim:
To build resilient livelihoods for small-holder farmers and adopt the capacities to climate change and transforming food systems.
AIM, NITI Aayog & UNCDF Launched 1st AgriTech Challenge Cohort 2021
NITI Aayog, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has launched the first AgriTech Challenge cohort for its Agri-tech program that aims to help smallholder farmers across Asia and Africa to address their challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic.

India’s EAM S.Jaishankar & Tajikistan’s FM Sirojiddin Muhriddin Signs Agreements on Diplomatic Training

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar met Tajikistan foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin who was on an official visit to India from 18 to 20 December 2021 to attend the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue. They have signed agreements on diplomatic training and program of cooperation. Both of them exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in energy, connectivity, trade, security and capacity building.

India-Central Asia Dialogue:
i.EAM S. Jaishankar hosted the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue in New Delhi from 18-19 December 2021. Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting.
ii.The Ministers discussed strengthening of relations between India and Central Asian countries with particular focus on trade, connectivity and development cooperation.
Note – The 2nd meeting was organized virtually by India in October 2020.
Additional Points:
i.Tajikistan is India’s key partner in Central Asia in the fight against cross-border terror and radicalisation. It also hosts India’s lone military base.
ii.Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tajikistan in July 2015 and both countries decided to step up cooperation in the spheres of defence, connectivity and in the fight against terrorism.
iii.President Ram Nath Kovind paid a state visit to Tajikistan in October 2018 and announced a grant of $20 million for Tajikistan.
About Tajikistan:
Capital – Dushanbe
Currency – Tajikistani somoni
President – Emomali Rahmon

GIS based ‘Automatic Water Supply System’, 1st of its kind in India launched by Rajnath Singh

On the occasion of Defence Estates Day 2021 i.e. December 16, 2021, Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence has launched India’s first of its kind Geographic Information System (GIS) Based ‘Automatic Water Supply System’ for citizens of Cantonment Boards under eChhawani project. It is an easy and fast application with 100% automatic process. The module for this system has been developed by Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo informatics (BISAG) under the guidance of Defence Secretary and Director General of Defence Estates (DGDE), Delhi. Its integration with the e-Chhawani portal is done by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

About e-Chhawani Project:
It is a citizen-centric project of the Directorate General of Defence Estates, Ministry of Defence. Under this initiative, Cantonment Boards provide online citizen services to more than 20 lakh residents across 62 Cantonments in the country through the unified e-Chhawani Portal. These services are being provided in a paperless, faceless and cashless environment.

Multinational Exercise PANEX-21 inaugurated at Pune, Maharashtra comprising BIMSTEC Nations

i.The 3rd edition of multi-national – multi-agency exercise, PANEX-21, was organized at Pune (Maharashtra) to develop capabilities in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations among BIMSTEC nations.
ii.BIMSTEC is an acronym for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
iii.The inaugural address for this exercise was delivered by Lt Gen Jai Singh Nain, Army Commander, Southern Command at Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) also addressed over video conference.
About Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC):
Established in 1997, initially it was known as BIST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation). With the admission of Myanmar and Bhutan it became BIMSTEC.
Secretary General– Tenzin Lekphell
Secretariat– Dhaka, Bangladesh

Economy

Mastercard Partners with Google Pay on Tokenisation for Card-Based Payments

Mastercard and Google announced a tokenization method that enables Google Pay users to safely transact using their Mastercard credit cards and debit cards. Android users of Google Pay can scan and pay across all Bharat QR-enabled merchants, tap-and-pay, and make in-app transactions through their Mastercard debit and credit card.

About Google:
Google Pay is the digital wallet platform and online payment system developed by Google.
Headquarters – California, United States (US)
CEO – Sundar Pichai

KGB Signed MoU with Care Health Insurance to Offer Health Insurance Products

The Karnataka Gramin Bank (KGB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Care Health Insurance Ltd to market health insurance products for customers of the bank across 22 districts of Karnataka. Under the partnership, the bank focuses on its rural customers by covering maximum people, including farmers, artisans and rural population under health insurance. The bank was also working on a tailor-made product to suit farmers and Kisan Credit Cardholders to face challenges arising out of illness and hospitalisation, through products at an affordable premium. The MoU was signed by Shreenath Joshi, Chairman of KGB and Atul Sabharwal, Enterprise Head of Care Medical insurance Ltd in Ballari, Karnataka.

About Karnataka Gramin Bank (KGB):
Establishment – 2019 (by the amalgamation of two Regional Rural Banks i.e. Pragathi Krishna Gramin Bank &Kaveri Grameena Bank).Karnataka Gramin Bank established under the sponsorship of Canara Bank.
Headquarters – Ballari, Karnataka
Chief Executive Officer – Nandini K R, IAS
About Care Health Insurance Ltd:
Headquarters – Gurgaon, Haryana
MD & CEO – Anuj Gulati

NPCI ties up with Udemy Business to upskill its Employees

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) signed a partnership agreement with Udemy Business, to encourage innovative learning and skill development for employees of NPCI.Highlights:
i.The 3-year partnership with Udemy Business will offer courses on in-demand skills such as tech, domain, behavioural, and leadership skills to all NPCI employees.
ii.Through the mission ‘Talent Development for All’ of NPCI, it provides capacity building programmes in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), etc.
iii.NPCI provides a Differentiated Growth Map (DGM). The company has developed an effective succession plan for critical roles through the Leadership Development Program (LEAD) and executive coaching.
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
MD and CEO- Dilip Asbe
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra

Sports

Highlights of 2021 BWF World Championships

The 2021 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World championship (officially known as the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021), an annual tournament was held between 12th December 2021 and 19th December 2021 in Huelva, Spain
Venue – Palacio de los Deportes Carolina Marin, Spain
Winners of Bwf World Championship:

Category Winner Runner
Men’s Singles Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) Srikanth Kidambi (India)
Women’s Singles Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) Tai – Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
Men’s Doubles Takuro Hoki & Yugo Kobayashi (Japan) He Jiting & Tan Qiang (China)
Women’s Doubles Chen Qingchen – & Jia Yifan (China) Lee So-hee & Shin Seung-Chan (South Korea)
Mixed Doubles Dechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand) Yuta Watanabe & Arisa Higashino (Japan)

Highlights:
i.Kidambi Srikanth has won India’s first medal at the 2021 World Championships.
ii.It was Kidambi’s first-ever World Championships podium and also India’s third medal at the World Championships in men’s singles.
iii.Loh Kean Yew is the first player from Singapore to win a world championship title.
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
Established – 1934
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
President – Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen

Miscellaneous

DRDO Scientist Atul Dinkar Rane Appointed DG BrahMos Aerospace Limited

Senior DRDO(Defence Research and Development Organisation) Scientist Atul Dinkar Rane has been appointed as the Director-General(DG) of the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited, Which manufactures the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. He was a part of the core team of BrahMos Aerospace, since its foundation as a joint venture with Russia.

About Atul Dinkar Rane:
Career:
i.Atul Dinkar Rane joined DRDO in 1987 and started his career as System Manager at Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL).
ii.He has served as the Director of International Cooperation & Joint Venture at DRDO Headquarters, New Delhi.
iii.He led the development of Onboard Mission Software for Agni-I missile, as part of the OBC division, Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
iv.He has also established the integrated testbed facility for seamless test and evaluation of Onboard Systems for various missile projects.
Expertise:
He is well known for his Research and Development (R&D) contribution in the design and development of mission-critical Onboard Computers(OBC), hardware in loop simulation studies, systems analysis, development of mission software and avionics technologies for defence applications.
About BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited:
BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between DRDO of India and Joint Stock company Military Industrial Consortium NPO Mashinostroyenia(formerly known as Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPOM of Russia).
The name BrahMos represents the fury of the Brahmaputra and the grace of the Moskva rivers.
Director-General– Atul Dinkar Rane
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

PV Sindhu Re-elected as Member of BWF’s Athletes’ Commission for 2nd term till 2025

Former World Champion and India’s 2-time Olympic medallist shuttler PV Sindhu (Pusarla Venkata Sindhu) was re-elected as a member of the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s Athletes’ Commission for a 2nd term till 2025. She is among the 6 appointed members of the Commission. PV Sindhu was first elected as a member of the BWF’s Athletes’ Commission in 2017. She is the only member who stood for re-election. PV Sindhu was the 2nd Indian to become a member of the BWF’s Athletes Commission. In 2017, Sana Nehwal joined the commission as a representative of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.

Member of BWF’s Athletes Commission 2021-2025:
i.P V Sindhu (India)
ii.Kim So-yeong (South Korea)
iii.Iris Wang (United States of America-USA)
iv.Robin Tabeling (Netherlands)
v.Greysia Polii (Indonesia)
vi.Zheng Siwei (China)
Note:
The Chair and Deputy Chair will be decided among the six members.
The elected chair of the BWF’s Athletes Commission will become a member of the BWF Council until the next elections in 2025.
About PV Sindhu:
i.PV Sindhu is currently ranked 7th in the BWF Ranking (Women’s Singles). She has ranked 3rd (Women’s Single) on the HSBC BWF World Tour 2021 ranking.
ii.PV Sindhu was the 1st Indian to win Silver at the 2016 RIO Olympics.
iii.She won the Bronze at Tokyo 2020 and became the 2nd Indian and the 1st Indian woman to win 2 Olympic medals.
iv.She became the 1st Indian to Win BWF World Championship Gold (Women’s Single) in 2019. Before winning the gold in the BWF World Championship 2019, she won the bronze in 2013 and 2014, and the silver in 2017 and 2018.

Bank of Baroda achieves top position in Digital Payments for 2020-21

Bank of Baroda (BoB) grabbed the top spot in overall digital transactions among large banks for FY20-21. It was felicitated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) at the Digital Payments Utsav which was held to commemorate 75th anniversary of Independence of India. Click here to read BoB has been conferred with five DigiDhan awards for FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 in various categories. The award was received by Akhil Handa, chief digital officer at BoB, which was presented by Union minister Ashwini Vaishnav, MeitY and MoS (Minister of State) Rajeev Chandrashekar, MeitY.
About Bank of Baroda (BoB):
Managing Director & CEO– Sanjiv Chadha
Headquarter– Vadodara, Gujarat
Amalgamated banks– Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank

Divya Hegde Wins UN Women’s Award For Leadership Commitment

Divya Hegde, an Indian Climate Action Entrepreneur from Udupi, coastal Karnataka, has won the United Nation (UN) Women’s Award for Leadership Commitment at the 2021 Regional Asia-Pacific Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) Awards ceremony. She has been recognised for her sustained efforts in advancing gender equality through climate action efforts. Baeru Environmental Services, Divya’ s organisation works towards waste management, creation of livelihoods for rural women, and developing a circular economy in the region.

Other Winners –
i.Youth Leadership – Pallavi Sherring
ii.Gender-inclusive Workplace – Natwaste Group
iii.Gender-Responsive Marketplace – Dharma Life
iv.Community Engagement & Partnerships – The Very Group
v.Transparency & Reporting – Biocon Ltd India
vi.SME Champions – Namita Vikas
About Baeru Environmental Services:
Headquarters – Coastal Karnataka (a global biodiversity hotspot)
Aim – To address the disconnect between the rising climate crisis and local coastal communities and empower them to find climate solutions for rural populations.
i.The Organisation empowers women to take proactive climate action measures by generating employment and offering them access to training programmes in lingual and regional context
ii.Effective workshops for women and children are conducted through the medium of local arts and culture for better understanding
About The UN Leadership Commitment Award:
i.This award is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact aimed at empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors.
ii.It also recognises leaders who promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.
About Karnataka:
Governor – Thawar Chand Gehlot
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Melkote Wildlife Sanctuary, Mookambika wildlife sanctuary, Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary
Airports – Hubballi domestic Airport, Belgaum domestic Airport, Bellary domestic Airport, Mysore Airport (Mandakalli airport)

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