Current Affairs

24 May, 2021

International

Harsh Vardhan Chairs 33rd Conference of Health Ministers of Commonwealth Countries

The 33rd virtual meeting of Health Ministers of Commonwealth countries was chaired by India’s Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan. The theme of the meeting: “Commonwealth Response to COVID-19: Ensuring Equitable Access to Vaccines and Building Resilience for Health Systems and Emergencies”. Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and Health Ministers of member states were present at the meeting.

Review about the Initiatives against COVID-19:
i.HarshVardhan mentioned India’s intent to vaccinate the country’s entire adult population by the end of 2021.
iii.Mentioned about COVAX, the vaccine pillar of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccines by the end of 2021 and covering 20 percent of the most vulnerable population in about 92 Low and Middle-Income countries.
iii.He pointed out that black fungus (Mucormycosis) was notified as an epidemic by all the states and UTs of India.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW):
Union Minister – Dr Harsh Vardhan (Constituency: Chandni Chowk, NCT of Delhi)
Minister of State – Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Constituency: Buxar, Bihar)

IMF proposes USD 50 Billion plan to vaccinate everyone by 2022

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has put forth an USD 50 Billion proposal to end the COVID-19 Pandemic, it has set a target of vaccinating at least 40% of the world’s population by end of 2021 & remaining 60% by first half of 2022. The proposal was drafted by IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath and Staff Economist Ruchir Agarwal. It states that vaccinating the entire global population would inject the equivalent of USD 9 trillion into the global economy by 2025 due to fast resumption of economic activity. The proposal was elaborated by the IMF during the Global Health Summit 2021 hosted by Italy (G20 2021 Presidency) & European Commission, held virtually from Rome, Italy on May 21, 2021.

About International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Managing Director – Kristalina Georgieva
Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
Establishment– 1944
Member Countries– 190

UNESCO – Environmental Education to be part of Curriculum by 2025

During the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO has set a new target to make environmental education a core curriculum component in all countries by 2025.

About Tata Communications
MD & CEO – Amur Swaminathan Lakshminarayanan (Lakshmi)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Director-General – Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters – Paris, France

Tata Communications launches CSR Project S.H.E. for empowering Indian Women

During the 2021 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held virtually from Berlin (Germany) between May 17-19, 2021, Tata Communications launched their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project – ‘School of Hope and Empowerment (S.H.E)’ for empowering Indian women.

Objective – To inspire at least a million women from small towns to realise their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. The initiative has been developed by Tata Communications in conjunction with The Better India, an effect driven Indian digital media platform. It will offer business grants, mentorship, digital training, and other key resources for women to realize their entrepreneurial dreams

National

NCPCR Launched ‘SAMVEDNA’ to Provide Psycho-Social Mental Support for Children During Covid-19

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development has been providing Tele-Counselling to children affected during COVID 19 Pandemic through SAMVEDNA -Toll-Free Helpline(1800-121-2830). SAMVEDNA stands for Sensitizing Action on Mental Health Vulnerability through Emotional Development and Necessary Acceptance. The main objective is to provide psychological first-aid and emotional support to children affected during COVID-19 Pandemic

Finance Ministry notifies new rules for increasing FDI in Insurance Sector to 74% From 49%

The Ministry of Finance notified the Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Amendment Rules, 2021 which increases the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in the Insurance sector to 74% from the existing 49%. Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Amendment Rules, 2021 has amended the Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Rules, 2015. Parliament had passed the Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Amendment Rules, 2021 in March, 2021. Note – FDI in the insurance sector was increased from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in 2015.

i.According to the new norms, Majority of board members, Key Management Persons (KMP) need to be resident Indian citizens, as should be at least one of the 3 top positions – Chairperson of the board, the MD and CEO.

About Ministry of Finance
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS) – Anurag Singh Thakur (Lok Sabha – Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh)

India virtually hosts the 7th meeting of BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG)

India virtually hosted the 7th meeting of BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in online mode at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune (Maharashtra) during May 19-20, 2021. The meeting was held under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021 calendar. From the Indian side, IUCAA, Pune, and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India coordinated the meeting. S. K. Varshney, Scientist G & Head International Cooperation presented India’s (DST) perspectives on highlighting research activities and research infrastructure created by India. Researchers, Academicians, astronomers, and Scientific Institutions from all 5 BRICS countries participated in the meeting. BAWG provides a platform for BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy.

About BRICS
Establishment – 2009
Members – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa
2021 Chair – India

Economy

RBI Imposed Monetary Penalty of Rs 1 Crore on City Union Bank Limited, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 1 crore on City Union Bank Limited and Tamilnad Mercantile Bank for non-compliance with certain provisions of RBI such as – Lending to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector Directions, 2017, the circulars on Educational Loan Scheme and Credit Flow to Agriculture Agricultural Loans Waiver of Margin/Security Requirements, and Cyber Security Framework for Banks.
i.RBI imposed Rs 90 lakh penalty on Nutan Nagarik Sahakari Bank, Ahmedabad for non-compliance with directions of Interest Rate on Deposits, Know Your Customer (KYC) and
ii.Rs 10 lakh penalty on Daimler Financial Services India Private Limited impose by RBI for non-compliance with RBI Commercial Paper Directions 2017 and Non-Banking Financial Company – Systemically Important Non-Deposit taking Company and Deposit taking Company (RBI) Directions, 2016.

ESFBL Became the 1st SFB to Offer Online Account Opening for NRIs

Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd(ESFBL) became the first Small Finance Bank(SFB) to offer the online process of account opening for Non-Resident Indians(NRIs). It also became the first SFB to have Virtual Relationship Managers(VRM) based on time zones.
Objective: Aimed to increase the opportunities for ESFBL’s NRI account holders to manage their investments, deposits and the income earned in India.
About Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd(ESFBL):
MD and CEO– Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan (P N)
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Commenced the business of SFB – September 5, 2016
Tagline – It’s Fun Bankin

SEBI Doubled the Overall limit for Overseas Investment by AIFs, VCFs to $1,500 million

In consultation with the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) doubled the overall limit of the investment in overseas markets by alternative investment funds(AIFs), and Venture Capital Funds(VCFs) registered under SEBI (VCFs) Regulations, 1996, from $750 million to $1,500 million (~Rs10,000 crore).
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – On April 12, 1992, in accordance with the SEBI Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

RBI Board Approved Transfer of Rs 99,122 crore as Surplus to Govt

The board of Reserve Bank of India(RBI) approved the transfer of Rs 99,122 crore as surplus to the Central government for the accounting period of 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021 under the 589th virtual meeting of the Central Board of Directors of the RBI. The current surplus fund transfer is 50 percent higher than Rs 57,128 crore, the transfer approved in the accounting year 2019-2020. The board also decided to maintain the Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.50%. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Shaktikanta Das, RBI governor.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das

Sports

English Golfer Richard Bland Won Betfred British Masters 2021; Indian Golfer Shubhankar Sharma tied 34th

English professional golfer Richard Bland won the Betfred British Masters 2021 hosted by Danny Willett. He won his first European Tour victory defeating Guido Migliozzi of Italy.
Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma ended tied 34th, he was the only Indian to make the cut among the 4 participants(Ajeetesh Sandhu, SSP Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar).

Cricket:Ireland and England Fast-Bowler Boyd Rankin Retires from International Cricket

Former Ireland and England fast bowler Boyd Rankin announced his retirement from international cricket ending an 18 year long cricket career.
About Boyd Rankin:
i.Boyd Rankin is the only cricketer who have played for two countries in all three formats of the game.
ii.He is one of only 15 players in the history of cricket to represent two countries in Test matches
iii.He made his Ireland debut in 2003 and played last for the country in a T20 against Afghanistan in Greater Noida in 2020.
iv.He debuted for England against New Zealand in a T20 match in 2013.He made his Test debut in an Ashes Test against Australia in 2014,while playing for England.
v.He also had a successful 15-year career in English county cricket where he played for Warwickshire County Cricket Club for 11 years.

Miscellaneous

Indian Navy’s 1st Destroyer ‘INS Rajput’ decommissioned after 41 years of Service

Indian Navy’s 1st destroyer INS Rajput was decommissioned at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh after 41 years of service (commissioned on May 4, 1980). It was the 1st Indian Navy ship to be associated with an Indian Army Regiment – ‘Rajput regiment’, and the 1st ship to be fitted with anti-ship supersonic cruise missile ‘Brahmos’ in 2005. The destroyer was built by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) under her Russian name ‘Nadezhny’ meaning ‘hope’ at 61 Communards Shipyard in Nikolaev, present-day Ukraine. It was commissioned at Poti, Georgia (erstwhile USSR) by I K Gujral, the then Indian Ambassador to the USSR; Captain Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani was the 1st Commanding Officer of INS Rajput. With the motto of ‘Raj Karega Rajput’ it was the lead ship of the Kashin-class destroyers. It was decommissioned in the presence of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command, who was the Chief Guest of the occasion.

About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) – New Delhi

LIC Hiked its Stake in Union Bank to over 5%

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) acquired around a 2 percent stake in the state-run Union Bank of India(UBI) and hiked its stake hold in UBI to 5.06 percent. Earlier, the LIC held a 3.09 percent stake in UBI, representing 19,79,23,251 equity shares of the bank, now it was increased to 5.06 percent (34,57,64,764 shares). UBI had closed its Qualified Institutions Placement (QIP), in which it raised a total of Rs 1,447.17 crore.

About Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC):
Establishment -1956
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – M R Kumar
About Union Bank of India(UBI):
Establishment – November 11, 1919
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Shri Rajkiran Rai G.

Indian-American Neera Tanden Appointed as Senior Adviser To US President Joe Biden

The U.S administration has announced that Indian-American Neera Tanden is set to join the White House as a senior adviser to President Joe Biden.
i.She is currently working as the president and CEO of a progressive think-tank, Center for American Progress (CAP).
ii.Neera Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
iii.The two main tasks given to her are, Launching a review of the US Digital Service, and Planning contingencies that could result from the Supreme Court’s consideration of Republican lawsuits seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Arvind Kumar to Become Next MD of Chennai Petroleum Corporation

The Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has recommended Arvind Kumar as Managing Director(MD) of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), a unit of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Arvind Kumar is currently working as an executive director at Indian Oil Corporation. Currently, CPCL’s Director (Finance) Rajeev Ailawadi is holding the additional charge of CPCL’s MD post.

About Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL):
i.Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) a group company of Indian Oil is an Indian state-owned oil and gas corporation headquartered in Chennai.
ii.The company was formed as a joint venture in 1965 between the government, AMOCO and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)
iii.It is one of the largest refineries in South India, with an installed refining capacity of 10.5 million tonnes (mt).

Hockey India Won the Etienne Glichitch Award by FIH

Hockey India won the Etienne Glichitch Award in recognition of Hockey India’s contribution towards the growth and development of Hockey.
Various individuals, teams and organisations received the Fédération Internationale de Hockey(FIH) Honorary Awards at the virtual conference organised by the FIH as a part of its 47th Congress.
About Etienne Glichitch Award:
i.The Award is given every two years by the Executive Board on the recommendation of the Awards Panel.
ii.The award is presented once every two years in conjunction with the Ordinary Congress.
About Hockey India:
President- Gyanendro Ningombam
Secretary General– Rajinder Singh
Headquarters– New Delhi

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