Current Affairs

23 December, 2021

International

Pakistan successfully test-fires enhanced range version Babur Cruise Missile 1B

Pakistan successfully test-fired an enhanced range version of its indigenously-built surface-to-surface Babur cruise missile namely ‘Babur Cruise Missile 1B’ that can strike targets up to 900 kilometres from 450 km of former missile. The Babur missile is capable of engaging targets at land and sea with high precision. The launch ceremony of Babur Cruise Missile 1B was witnessed by Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, Director General, Strategic Plans Division; Dr Raza Samar, Chairman National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM); among others.

National

Docprime Health Locker: India’s 1st ABDM integrated health locker launched by Docprime Technologies

Gurugram (Haryana)-based Docprime Technologies Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of PB Fintech has launched, free of cost, India’s first Health Locker integrated with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) namely ‘Docprime Health Locker’ The Locker has received the ABDM Sandbox approval and went live on August 6, 2021. Initially restricted to select UTs (Union Territories), it was nationally rolled out by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi Aug 27, 2021.

IAF deploys first S-400 air defence system in Punjab sector

i.The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed the first squadron of the S-400 air defence missile system in the western Punjab sector which will take care of aerial threats from Pakistan and China.
ii.The S-400 air defence system was contracted for by India from Russia in a deal worth around Rs 35,000 crore and five squadrons would be provided to India for tackling air threats from up to 400 km.
iii.The Indian Army will soon induct a new range of landmines viz. Nipun, Vibhav, Vishal, Prachand and Uluk which will act as the first line of defence against enemy infantry and armoured columns or terrorists trying to infiltrate into Indian territory.
iv.The Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers under Engineer in Chief Lt Gen Harpal Singh is developing anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.
About Punjab:
Chief Minister– Charanjit Singh Channi
Airports– Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji International Airport, Pathankot Airport, and Patiala Airport
Heritage Sites– Beas Conservation Reserve, Keshopur-miani Community Reserve, and Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary

AIM, NITI Aayog Launched 1st of its kind Vernacular Innovation Programme to Empower Entrepreneurs

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has launched the first of its kind Vernacular Innovation Programme(VIP) to empower the entrepreneurs and innovators across India. VIP will enable the innovators and entrepreneurs across India to have access to the innovation ecosystem in 22 scheduled languages of India and English.

About Vernacular Innovation Programme(VIP):
i.AIM will identify and train the Vernacular Task Force (VTF) in each of the 22 scheduled languages to build the required capacity of the VIP.
ii.Each VTF will have vernacular language teachers, subject experts, technical writers, and the leadership of regional Atal Incubation Centers(AICs).
Benefits:
This programme will lower the language barriers in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship and enhance the creative expressions and languages of the transaction.
This will strengthen the design and innovation capabilities of our communities, and assist the local entrepreneurs, artisans and innovators to assimilate the knowledge cum technical materials developed by AIM.
Train the trainer program:
AIM, NITI Aayog will collaborate with the Department of Design, Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Delhi, to coach the VTF in design thinking and entrepreneurship and the adaptation of these subjects in the 22 languages and cultures.
The task force will be trained over the period of December 2021 to April 2022.
About National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog):
NITI Aayog was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015.
Chairman– Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India)
CEO– Amitabh Kant

Economy

UAE committed $100 Billion for Investment and Infrastructure creation in India

The Union Minister Piyush Vedprakash Goyal, Ministry of Commerce and Industry chaired an interaction with the heads of Indian industry and Export Promotion Councils in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was held to discuss global expansion opportunities for Indian businesses through business platforms and infrastructure offered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the meeting it was revealed that UAE has committed $100 billion for investment and infrastructure creation in India. UAE will become a gateway for Indian trade to the Middle East and Africa. Notably, in FY22 India will achieve a $400 billion export target for the first time.

Points to be noted:

i.For the first time ever, UAE allotted land for India to set up a temple.
ii.UAE is celebrating its 50th year of its formation and India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence.
iii.UAE-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is in the advanced stages of negotiation and finalization will be India’s fastest negotiated FTA and the fastest-negotiated Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) ever between two nations.
Participants:
Group Chairman & CEO, DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem; Naresh Bhasin, Regional Chairman, Council of Leather Exports; Amit Sarda, Member, Retailers Association of India (RAI); among others.

Representatives of the Plastic Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL), Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) India, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Tea Board of India, Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL), Spices Board, Retailers Association of India (RAI), Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) and others were present on the occasion. Apart from those present in person, more than 100 companies joined the conference virtually.

Central Bank of India signs Co-lending deal with U GRO Capital

Central Bank of India signed a co-lending agreement with U GRO Capital, MSME lending fintech platform. The agreement will provide INR 1000 crore formal credit to underserved MSMEs at affordable rates across all product categories of U GRO Capital.
What is in the co-lending agreement?
i.Under this partnership, it is aimed to disburse up to INR 1000 crore to U GRO Capital’s varied programmes like Pratham, Sanjeevani, Saathi, GRO MSME and Machinery financing.
ii.Central Bank of India will provide co-lending support through GRO-Xstream platform with the loans originated by U GRO Capital’s distribution network. GRO–Xstream is an online platform, it integrates Application Programming Interface (APIs) with Banks on one side and with multiple FinTechs, NBFCs, NeoBanks, Market places and other digital platforms on the other.

iii.The bank will also leverage GRO–Xstream platform driven by a Data Tripod of GST, Banking and Bureau coupled with its sectoral analysis to solve the problem of credit for small businesses.
About Central Bank of India:
MD & CEO – MV Rao
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
About U GRO Capital:
Chairman & MD– Shachindra Nath
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra

NSE Launches ‘NSE Prime’ to Raise Corporate Governance Standards

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) launched a new corporate governance initiative named, ‘NSE Prime’, which the NSE listed companies can adopt voluntarily. The listed companies that voluntarily choose to be a part of NSE Prime must satisfy pre-defined norms on an ongoing basis, monitored by the NSE.

Highlights:
i.NSE’s initiative raises the standards of corporate governance in India.
ii.Improved corporate governance standards, greater transparency and better disclosures will help companies build stronger and sustainable businesses. This will also help companies and investors to accelerate high market development

About NSE Prime:
NSE Prime is a framework that prescribes higher standards of corporate governance for listed companies with additional disclosure requirements for providing higher quality of public information and greater transparency.
Features:
i.An NSE Prime company needs at least 40 percent public shareholding as against 25 percent under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rules.
ii.The chairperson & managing director must be different and the Board members of these companies cannot serve on the boards of more than five listed companies.
About National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE):
i.NSE is the first stock exchange in India to implement electronic or screen-based trading.
ii.It is the largest stock exchange in India in terms of total and average daily turnover for equity shares every year since 1995, based on SEBI data.
Founded – 1992 (commenced operations in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO & Managing Director – Vikram Limaye

Sports

BWF Ranking Men’s Single: India’s Kidambi Srikanth Ranked 10th, Lakshya Sen Ranked 17th ; Viktor Axelsen Tops

As on December 21, 2021, Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth has re-entered the top 10 in the Badminton World Federation(BWF) world rankings. He moved up 4 spots and secured the 10th position in the ranking. He won the silver medal (men’s single) in the 2021 BWF World Championship and became the first Indian man to achieve the feat. Lakshya Sen, who won the bronze (men’s single) in the 2021 BWF World Championship and B Sai Praneeth has ranked 17th and 18th respectively. Sameer Verma and Prannoy Haseena Sunil Kumar (Prannoy H. S.) has ranked 25th and 26th respectively.
The ranking is topped by Viktor Axelsen of Denmark followed by Kento Momota of Japan and Anders Antonsen of Denmark in 2nd and 3rd spot.

Miscellaneous

National Mathematics Day 2021 – December 22

National Mathematics Day is annually celebrated across India on 22nd December to mark the birth anniversary of renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who was born on 22nd December 1887 in Erode, Madras Presidency, British India (now Tamil Nadu).
The day is observed to highlight the importance of mathematics in the development of the nation and to honour the works of Srinivasa Ramanujan. 22nd December 2021 marks the 134th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanuja.

Background:
i.In 2012, to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared the 22nd December of every year as the National Mathematics Day.
ii.He also declared the year 2012 as the National Mathematics Year.

KUFOS to Join Research Project under NASA-ISRO Collaborative Programme

The Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), Kochi, Kerala, is set to join the research project backed by the Space Application Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) NASA–ISRO collaborative programme. KUFOS is selected as one of the nodal agencies in South India to implement the project. The project will be headed by Girish Gopinath, Associate professor of Remote Sensing and geographic information system (GIS) at KUFOS and U Surendran, senior scientist at Centre for Water Resources Development and Management(CWRDM).
About Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS):
Chancellor– Arif Mohammed Khan (Governor of Kerala)
Location– Kochi, Kerala
Established in 2010

India Successfully Tests ‘Pralay’ missile off the Coast of Odisha

India successfully test fired short-range, surface to surface-guided ballistic missile ‘Pralay’ from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha.Highlights:
Pralay is the solid-fuel, battlefield missile based on Prithvi Defence Vehicle from the Indian ballistic missile programme.
Developed by – Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
About Pralay:
i.Pralay is a 350-500 km short-range, surface-to-surface missile with a payload capacity of 500-1,000 kg.
ii.The missile is powered with a solid propellant rocket motor with state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics which can be launched from a mobile launcher.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
Chairman – G. Satheesh Reddy
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

JGU wins “Digital Innovation of the Year” at the THE Asia Awards 2021

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) won the ‘Digital Innovation of the Year Award’ in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Asia Awards 2021 for creating a free, cloud-based application to help schools and universities manage data. JGU was the only Indian University to be shortlisted for the “Digital Innovation of the Year”. The university was awarded under the ‘Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year category’ for its transformative work in the last 2 years.

Note – Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) bagged the prize for Asia’s ‘Leadership and Management Team of the Year’ category at THE Asia Awards 2021.
About Times Higher Education (THE):
First issue– October 1971
Headquarter– London, United Kingdom (UK)

HDFC Life Wins the ‘Best Governed Company Listed Segment: Large Category’

HDFC Life, one of India’s leading life insurance companies has won the ‘Best Governed Company Listed Segment: Large Category’ at the 21st edition of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) National Awards for Excellence in Corporate Governance.
Process of selection:
i.The awardees were selected through a comprehensive six-step evaluation process with various compliance and governance parameters followed by the evaluation based on principles of good corporate governance.
ii.The next step is the verification of the Independent Directors and the regulatory response confirming the credentials of the company.
iii.The screening of shortlisted companies will be done by experts as the final step prior to the selection.
About HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (HDFC Life):
HDFC Life is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd, India’s leading housing finance institution and abrdn plc (formerly known as Standard Life Aberdeen plc), a global investment company.
Established – 2000
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO & Managing Director – Vibha Padalkar
Motto – ‘Sar UthaKeJiyo’

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Daily Current Affairs | 20th January 2022

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