Current Affairs

24 December, 2021

International

Global Unicorn Index 2021: India Ranked 3rd Replacing UK; US Tops followed by China

As per the Global Unicorn Index 2021 report released by the Hurun Research Institute, India ranked at third (by adding 33 ‘unicorns’) in 2020 by displacing the United Kingdom (UK) to the 4th spot. In 2020, India ranked at the 4th spot.

US, China comprise 74% of unicorns: The United States (US) and China still continue to bag the top two ranks in the list by adding 254 and 74 unicorns, respectively. India ranked third (with a total of 54 unicorns) with Edtech company Byju’s as the most valuable unicorn in India, with a total valuation of $21 billion followed by mobile ad-tech firm InMobi (US$12bn), travel-stay finder OYO Rooms (US$9.5bn).

Top countries where the world’s unicorns are based:

Rank Country No. of Unicorns
1- USA 487 (+254)
2- China 301 (+74)
3↑ India 54 (+33)
4↓ UK 39 (+15)
5↑ Germany 26 (+16)

Note – Indians founded 119 unicorns, of which 65 are outside of India and 54 are in India.
About Unicorns: Unicorns are privately held start-up companies having a valuation of more than $1 billion.
About the report: The report was released by the Hurun Research Institute in association with the Guangzhou City Commercial Bureau and Huangpu District, a ranking of the world’s start-ups founded in the 2000s, worth at least a billion dollars and not yet listed on a public exchange.

National

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveils indigenous Multi-terrain Artillery Gun 155– BR

On the lines of Government’s Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission, the Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence (MoD) unveiled indigenously built Multi-terrain Artillery Gun (MArG 155) – BR which is the only 155mm 39 calibre gun system mounted on 4×4 HMV (High Mobility Vehicle) in the world. It was unveiled in the presence of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Manoj Mukund Naravane. It is developed by Pune (Maharashtra)-based Indian MNC (Multinational Company) Bharat Forge Ltd.

Security of Offshore Assets in Visakhapatnam, AP reviewed during exercise ‘Prasthan’

The security of the Offshore Development Area (ODA) in Krishna Godavari Basin on the East Coast of India in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (AP) was reviewed during exercise Prasthan, conducted on December 21-22, 2021 for a duration of 24 hours. This biannual exercise was coordinated and controlled by NOIC- Naval Officer-in-Charge (APD) from Joint Operations Centre (JOC) Visakhapatnam under the aegis of Indian Navy.

Cabinet Approvals on December 22, 2021

The Union Cabinet chaired by Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi approved the following proposals which were briefed by Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
i.On the basis of the recommendations provided by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the PM Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for Copra for 2022 season.
ii.The Union Cabinet approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Polish Chamber of Statutory Auditors (PIBR), an audit profession regulator in Poland, to establish mutual co-operation.
iii.The Union Cabinet also approved MoU signing between Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) for promotion and strengthening of co-operation in competition law and policy
About Competition Commission of India (CCI):
Chairperson– Ashok Kumar Gupta
Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi

PM Modi Launches Multiple Development Initiatives in Varanasi, UP

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated or laid the foundation stones of 27 development projects worth Rs 2,095 crore in his Varanasi parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh (UP). PM reviewed the development projects along with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

List of Development initiatives launched:
i.Banas Dairy Sankul: Foundation stone was laid for ‘Banas Dairy Sankul’ at UP State Industrial Development Authority Food Park, Karkhiyaon, Varanasi. The dairy which was spread across 30 acres of land will be built at a cost of about Rs 475 crores and will have a facility for processing 5 lakh litres of milk per day.
ii.Electricity generation plant: The foundation stone was laid by PM for the Biogas based Electricity generation plant for the Milk Producers Cooperative Union Plant, Ramnagar, Varanasi.
iii.Portal and Logo Launch: PM Modi launched a portal and logo which was dedicated to the Conformity Assessment Scheme of milk products, developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) with the help of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
iv.Education Sector: PM inaugurated Union Education Ministry’s Inter University Centre for Teachers Education, built at a cost of around Rs 107 crore, and a teachers’ education centre at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, built at a cost of over Rs 7 crore.
About Uttar Pradesh(UP):
Governor – Anandiben Patel
Festival – Lath Mar Holi, Janmashtami, Taj Mahotsava
Stadium – Eklavya Sports Stadium, Late Mohan Choubey Pahalvan Sports Stadium

Economy

REC signs agreement with KfW Development Bank to finance Power Sector & RE Projects

REC Limited (Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) signed an agreement with KfW Development Bank. The agreement aimed to avail an Official Development Assistance (ODA) term loan worth USD 169.5 million under the Indo-German bilateral partnership. Both organisations will jointly undertake various projects in Power sector & Renewable Energy (RE) projects. The approval was passed by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

About REC Limited (Rural Electrification Corporation Limited):

Chairman and MD– Sanjay Malhotra
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana
About KfW Development Bank:
CEO- Stefan Wintels
Headquarters-Frankfurt, Germany

GoI & EIB sign Finance Contract for 1st tranche loan of Euro 250 million for Agra Metro Rail project

The Government of India (GoI) signed an agreement with European Investment Bank (EIB) for a Finance Contract for the first tranche loan of Euro 250 million for Agra Metro Rail Project, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The Project is working under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (UPMRCL) is the implementing agency.

Objective:To provide safe, reliable, affordable and environment friendly and sustainable public Mass Rapid Transit System (RTS) for Agra.
Signatories:
Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of GoI and Edvardas Bumsteinas jointly with Roger Stuart, Head of Divisions on behalf of European Investment Bank (EIB).
Highlights:
i.The EIB approved a total loan of Euro 450 million to fund the Agra Metro Rail Project.the project will improve mobility and provide support for planned urban development in Agra.
ii.The financial support from EIB will help in the construction of 29.4 km metro corridor comprising Corridor-1 from Sikandara to Taj East Gate (14 km) & Corridor-2 from Agra Cantt to Kalindi Vihar (15.4 km) in Agra .
About Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA):
Minister- Hardeep Singh Puri (Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State- Kaushal Kishore (Mohanlalganj,Uttar Pradesh)

Paytm Partners with MoneyGram for International Fund Transfer

Paytm Payments Bank has partnered with MoneyGram, a peer-to-peer remittance company to enable international fund transfer directly to Paytm Wallet. Under the Partnership, MoneyGram users abroad can now transfer money to any full Know Your Customer (KYC)-compliant Paytm wallet. This is MoneyGram’s first mobile wallet partnership in India.
About Paytm Payments Bank
Paytm Payments Bank is India’s 1st bank to have zero balance & zero digital transaction charge accounts.
MD & CEO – Satish Kumar Gupta
Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
About MoneyGram International Inc:
Chairman and CEO – Alex Holmes
Headquarters – Dallas, Texas, United States (US)

Sports

India Wins Bronze in Men’s Hockey Asian Champions Trophy 2021

Indian Men’s Hockey team under the Captaincy of Manpreet Singh won a bronze medal in the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy Hockey tournament 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh after defeating Pakistan.Tournament Held at – Mawlana Bhashani Hockey Stadium, Dhaka, Bangladesh Harmanpreet Singh scored from the penalty corner, who was adjudged as the Player of the Match, where India defeated Pakistan in 4-3 game, to win Bronze.The Men’s Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Trophy 2021 was won by South Korea and silver for Japan.

Highlights:
i.Harmanpreet Singh, Sumit, Varun Kumar and Akashdeep Singh scored the goals for India while Arfraz, Abdul Rana and Nadeem were the scorers for Pakistan in the third-place playoff in Dhaka.
ii.India won the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy in 2016 and secured joint winners with Pakistan in 2018 which was held at Muscat, Oman.
About Men’s Asian Champions Trophy:
i.The Men’s Asian Champions Trophy is an event held annually by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) which features Asia’s top six field hockey teams competing in a round robin format.
ii.Pakistan and India were the most successful teams in the Men’s Asian Hockey Champions Trophy thrice.
About Asian Hockey Federation (AHF):
President – Al-Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah
Founded – 1958 (during Asian Games in Tokyo)
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Miscellaneous

Indian Army Launches in-House Messaging Application ASIGMA

The Indian Army, launched a contemporary messaging application named ‘ASIGMA’ (Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application). It is a new generation web-based application developed entirely in-house by a team of officers of the Corps of Signals of the Army. It works as an alternative to Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application which has been in service for the past 15 years.

Highlights:
i.The ASIGMA will be deployed in the internal network of the Army. The application provides lifetime support with future upgrades and fielded on Army-owned hardware.
ii,ASIGMA applications meet all “futuristic user requirements” with a simplified user interface. The app can be expected to provide the basics of group chat, video and image sharing, voice memos and more.
iii.It is equipped with features including multi-level security, message prioritisation, and tracking, a dynamic global address book and various options
iv.It will also provide support for the current geo-political security environment and more accuracy.
About Indian Army:
Chief of the Army Staff– Manoj Mukund Naravane
Headquarter – New Delhi, Delhi

IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Appoints HO Suri as MD and CEO

Private sector IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance appointed H O Suri as new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective October 1, 2021. Earlier, Suri was the financial advisor, head, internal audit & legal of the IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company

About Suri:
i.Suri is a chartered accountant by profession and started his professional journey in 1982 with IFFCO, the world’s largest fertiliser manufacturer in the Cooperative Sector.
ii.He is one of the founding members of IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company.
About IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company:
i.IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture of IFFCO and Japan’s Tokio Marine Group. The firm offers retail products like motor, health, travel, home and personal accident insurance and corporate insurance products.

Established – 2000
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
Chairman – K. Srinivasa Gowda

Emma Raducanu named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021

US Open Women’s Singles Champion, Emma Raducanu(World Rank: 19), a British professional tennis player has been voted as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021. The award ceremony was broadcasted from MediaCityUK, Salford, England. Winning her first major title at the 2021 US Open, Emma Raducanu became the 1st qualifier in the open era to win a grand slam tennis tournament.

The other award winners of 2021 BBC Sports Personality 2021 are
Team of the Year 2021: England men’s football team
World Sport Star of the Year 2021: Rachael Blackmore
Young Sports Personality of the Year 2021: Sky Brown
Unsung Hero 2021: Sam Barlow
Lifetime Achievement Award 2021: Simone Biles
Coach of the Year 2021: Gareth Southgate
Helen Rollason Award 2021: Jen Beattie

Vayana Network & Federal Bank Bags the ‘Most Effective Bank-Fintech Partnership’ award

Vayana Network, one of India’s largest trade finance platforms, and Federal Bank, a leading Private Sector Bank have been awarded the ‘Most Effective Bank-Fintech Partnership: Agile and Adaptable’ at the IBSi-Global Fintech Innovation Awards 2021. The award was conferred in recognition of Vayana Network’s partnership with Federal Bank making Supply Chain Finance at ease. The 2021 Innovation award includes the participation of 190 participants from 48 countries.

About Federal Bank Ltd:
Establishment – April 23, 1931
CEO & MD – Shyam Srinivasan
Headquarters – Aluva, Kerala
Tagline – Your Perfect Banking Partner

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