Current Affairs

24 December, 2020


UNICEF Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard

The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) launched ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard’. The interactive tool enables countries, partners and industry to follow the developments of COVID-19 vaccine market and the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility to confirm that there is fair and equitable access for each and every country in the world.
About the Dashboard:
i.The dashboard, in this 1st release offers a routinely updated overview of the global research and development pipeline, the projected production capacity, the bilateral and multilateral supply agreements, that were announced publicly and the reported price points.
ii.The dashboard will be expanded to see the progress towards the goal of the COVAX Facility to achieve 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
iii.This will happen after the ongoing joint UNICEF-Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) tender on behalf of the COVAX Facility comes to an end.
iv.The dashboard, in 2021 will offer an update about the UNICEF’s status of procurement and other buyers participating in the COVAX Facility
v.It will also monitor UNICEF’s status of delivery and also of the other participating national and institutional buyers.

India, Israel sign MoU for cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine & support to ‘Green Healthcare’

India & Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the fields of Health and Medicine, sharing expertise in building climate resilient infrastructure & support to ‘Green Healthcare’. The MoU was signed by Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi & Sanjeev Kumar Singla, India’s ambassador to Israel.
i.On November 4, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the signing of MoU between India & Israel.
ii.The Agreement will replace the existing MoU signed between both countries in September, 2003.
Key Points of the Agreement:
i.Exchange & Training of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals between the two countries.
ii.Sharing of expertise for facilitating climate resilient infrastructure & support for development of ‘Green Healthcare’ – Climate resilient hospitals.
iii.Exchange of information between the two sides regarding the regulation of pharmaceutical, medical devices and cosmetics.
About Israel:
Prime Minister- Benjamin Netanyahu
Capital– Jerusalem
Currency– Israeli Shekel


India plans to set up Coastal Radar Stations in Maldives, Myanmar & Bangladesh to expand area under CSN

India is planning to set up Coastal Radar Stations in Maldives, Myanmar & Bangladesh as part of its plan to expand the area under Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN). An expanded CSN will help in Real time monitoring of the high seas for threats & Expanding India’s assistance for capacity building to Indian Ocean littoral (places close to shore) states.
i.India has already integrated Mauritius, Seychelles & Sri Lanka into its CSN, and discussions are being held to bring Bangladesh & Thailand into the network.
ii.CSN a surveillance system gained momentum after the 26/11 Terror Strikes in Mumbai. Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is responsible for implementing it.
About Indian Coast Guard (ICG):
Director General of ICG (DGICG) – Krishnaswamy Natarajan
Motto-“Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”
Headquarters – New Delhi

Govt. of Karnataka Inaugurated, 1st of its Kind FRUITS Portal;Canara Bank Becomes 1st FI to access FRUITS Portal

i.The 1st of its kind Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System(FRUITS)Portal, a project of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka is integrated with BHOOMI Package of the Karnataka State to fetch and validate land details.
ii.Canara Bank will take the project on a pilot basis.
iii.It is the first of its kind technology adoption from the Karnataka govt to combine all 70 lakh farmers in the state with land and other details under a single platform.
About Canara Bank:
Syndicate Bank was amalgamated into Canara Bank on April 2020
Founded– July 1906 by Shri Ammembal Subba Rao Pai.
Tagline– Together We Can
Headquarters– Bangalore, Karnataka
Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– L V Prabhakar

L&T Defence Received ‘Green Channel Status’ for Naval Weapon Delivery Systems: Defence Ministry

L&T Defence, defence manufacturing hub of Larsen and Toubro received ‘green channel status’ from Defence Ministry. It has received the status from the Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) under the Ministry of Defence for its major naval weapon delivery systems.
i.This status also provides deemed registration status and waiver from pre-dispatch inspection to L&T Defence.
ii.Rear Admiral Atul Khanna, Additional Director General and Head of Naval Quality Assurance awarded the green channel status’ to L&T Defence team.
About L&T Defence
L&T Defence is India’s leading private sector company for the development and supply of Defence Equipment and Systems. A leading supplier to the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard and also partner to the Indian Army for providing Land-based Systems of Strategic importance.
Headquarters – Mumbai,Maharashtra
Whole-time Director, and Senior Executive Vice President – Mr. J D Patil

TRIFED and DIVINITI Join Hands to Sturdy The Market of Tribal Made Products: Minister for Tribal Affairs E-Launched New Tribes India Outlet in Assam

Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED) are in motive to promote the livelihood of the tribal artisans with various initiative. As a part of the event,
i.Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda E-launched new Tribes India Outlet at the International Airport, Guwahati in Assam.
ii.TRIFED and Shree Swarnam Divine Products Private Limited (DIVINITI) made an MoU aimed to create market-leading products and to be labelled as “TRIFED-DIVINITY Premium Range” in New Delhi.
Other Participants: –Smt. Renuka Singh, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Shri Ramesh Chand Meena, Chairman, TRIFED, Smt. Pratibha Brahma, Vice Chairman, TRIFED, Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED and Director, Airport Authority of India, Guwahati.
About Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED)
TRIFED was established in August 1987 under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 by the Government of India as a National level Cooperative body.It is a national level cooperative body under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
Managing Director – Shri Pravir Krishna
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs – Shri Naval Jit Kapoor


SBI Tops in UPI transaction Among UPI Remitter Banks & PPBL Record lowest Decline Rate in November 2020: NPCI

i.The ‘UPI Ecosystem Statistics’- November 2020 of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), has released Unified Payments Interface(UPI) Top 30 Banks Performance(for Remitter Banks and Beneficiary Bank).
ii.The State Bank of India(SBI) secured the topspot in UPI Transaction among the UPI Remitter Banks with 607.92 million transactions.
iii.The list is followed by Axis Bank(241.92 million transaction), HDFC bank (179.40 million transaction) and Paytm Payments Bank ltd- PPBL(169.25 million transaction).
iv.PPBL has the lowest Technical Decline(TD) rate at 0.08% among all UPI remitter banks and 0.06% among all UPI beneficiary banks. Oriental Bank of Commerce also has a TD rate of 0.08% among all UPI remitter banks, but it has less than 1% of total volumes.
About National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI):
Incorporated– Under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013)
Established– 2008
MD & CEO– Mr. Dilip Asbe
Head Office– Mumbai, Maharashtra

ICICI Bank Becomes 1st bank in India to Launch ‘Infinite India’, an Online Platform for Foreign Companies; Industry-first initiative

i.ICICI Bank Ltd launched ‘Infinite India’, an online platform for foreign companies who set up or expand business in India.
ii.The portal unifies different banking and value-added services on one platform for foreign companies throughout their business lifecycle.
iii.With this launch, ICICI bank becomes the 1st bank in India to offer such facilities. This initiative is an industry first initiative.
About ICICI Bank:
At September 30, 2020, the consolidated total assets of the bank was at Rs 14,76,014 crore.
It was formed in 1955 at the initiative of the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry.
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline– Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka


Indian Men’s Hockey Team to finish 2020 in 4th Position, Women’s Team in 9th Position : FIH Rankings

According to the latest rankings released by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Indian Men’s Hockey Team will finish 2020 in the 4th Position, while the Women’s Hockey Team will finish at the 9th Position. Belgium Men’s Teamwill finish 2020 at the top position, while Netherlands women’s team finished 1st.
i.In January, 2020, FIH released a new method for calculation of World Ranking.
ii.The new method is based on a match-based rankings model, moving away from Tournament-based rankings followed by FIH.
Hockey Men’s Team 2020 end ranking:
Rank Country
4 India
1 Belgium
2 Australia
3 Netherlands

Hockey Women’s Team 2020 end ranking:
Rank Country
9 India
1 Netherlands
2 Argentina
3 Germany
About International Hockey Federation (FIH):
President – Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland


China Launches 5 Satellites into space with its New Space Carrier Rocket ‘Long March-8’

China’s new Space Carrier Rocket ‘Long March-8’ successfully launched 5 satellites into a preset orbit in its maiden flight, the rocket was launched from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, Hainan, China. The rocket has been developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).
i.The 5 satellites will perform in-orbit verification of microwave imaging and other technologies and conduct experiments in Space Science, remote sensing & Communication technologies.
ii.XJY-7, a classified remote sensing technology test satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) was the main payload of the satellite. Mass of the satellite is understood to be around 3 tons.Four smaller payloads were also launched along with this.
iii.China National Space Administration (CNSA)has stated Long March-8 series is equipped with a recyclable design, the future variant of the rocket can be reusable.
iv.The launcher of the rocket was developed using China’s new-generation cryogenic rocket engine which adopts no-toxic propellants, making the launch process environment friendly and efficient.
About China National Space Administration (CNSA):
Administrator – Zhang Kejian
Headquarters: Beijing, China

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