Current Affairs

24 July, 2021


UNCDF Launched ‘Agritech Challenge 2021’ for farmers in Asia, Africa

United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), under the Centre for Financial Health in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, the Government of India); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Rabo Foundation; International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bayer launched Agritech Challenge 2021 to address the challenges faced by the smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa.

Aim: To scale up Agritech and Agri-fintech innovators in the 7 selected countries from Southeast Asia and Africa.
Africa: Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia
Asia: India, Indonesia, Malaysia
Agritech Challenge 2021:
i.The programme invites applications from startups that have the solutions to address the challenges identified for the smallholder farmers from the identifiers countries and 20 applicants will be selected as the participants of the programme.
ii.The identified challenges of smallholder farmers: Low Productivity – Access to new technology and innovations Climate Risk – Resilience against climate change and natural hazards and risk management Inefficient Supply Chains – Reduce wastage and enhance market & pricing transparency

iii.The participants of the agritech challenges will get access to the industry and market linkages, investors and mentorship to assist them to expand to the international market of their choice.
iv.As a part of the UNCDF’s work under the Global Centre for Financial Health, the programme will help the participants to build and test their solutions in the new market.
Support for Agritech challenge:
i.UNCDF will also enable collaborations among the developing markets across India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia among others.
ii.UNCDF in partnership with NITI Aayog, Rabo Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Financial Health Programme will support the development and expansion of digital solutions across borders which will reduce the difficulties faced by the smallholder farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF):
UNCDF was established as an autonomous organisation within the United Nations.
Executive Secretary– Preeti Sinha
Headquarters– New York, United States of America
Established in 1966

G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting held in Hybrid format in Naples, Italy; MoEF&CC Minister Bhupender Yadav attended virtually

i.The G20 (Group of Twenty) Environment Ministers’ Meeting 2021 was held in hybrid format which was hosted by Italy (2021 G20 Presidency) in Naples.
ii.In the meeting, India participated virtually and was represented by Union Minister, Bhupender Yadav, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). Minister of State (MoS) Ashwini Kumar Choubey and other senior officers of MoEF&CC also participated in the meeting.
iii.It was held as part of the G20 (Group of Twenty) Leaders Summit 2021, which will be hosted by Italy in October 2021.
About Group of Twenty (G20):
The 2021 G20 is under the Italian Presidency. It is focusing on three broad, interconnected pillars of action: People, Planet, and Prosperity.
Members– 20 (19 countries + European Union)
Establishment– 1999


Indian Navy conducts PASSEX with UK Navy in Bay of Bengal

Indian Navy (IN) participated in a Bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with United Kingdom’s (UK) Royal Navy in Bay of Bengal from July 21-22, 2021. The Maritime Exercise aimed at sharpening the ability of two navies to operate together in the maritime domain. From the Indian side, IN ships Satpura, Ranvir, Jyoti, Kavaratti, Kulish and a submarine participated in the exercise. Anti-submarine warfare capable P8I Aircraft also took part in the exercise. While from the UK side, Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-21led by HMS Queen Elizabeth & comprises Type 23 Frigates and an Astute-class Submarine also participated in the exercise.

ii.The exercise covered a spectrum of maritime operations like Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Air and Anti-Surface warfare.
About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) – New Delhi

DGBR Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry Conducted the Last Blast of Sela Tunnel’s Escape Tube

Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry, Director General Border Roads (DGBR), virtually conducted the last blast of the escape tube of the under-construction ‘Sela Tunnel’ in Arunachal Pradesh to enable its faster completion. The first blast of the escape tube was initiated by DGBR in January 2021. The escape tunnel is 1555 meters in length. This blast will support faster completion of the Sela Tunnel by undertaking simultaneous activities in two tubes i.e., a two-way tube of 1,555 meters, an escape tube of 980 meters, and the 8.8 kms of approach roads.

About Sela Tunnel:
i.In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the Sela Tunnel Project in Arunachal Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 687 crore to provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh through the Balipara(Chhattisgarh) – Charduar(Assam) – Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) Road.
ii.The tunnel covers a total distance of 12.04 kms and it has two tunnels of 1790 and 475 meters each.
iii.The tunnel is being constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under Project Vartak using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) and the project would increase connectivity with the entire Northeast.
Note – After completion of the project, Sela Tunnel will be the longest bi-lane road tunnel in the world at an altitude above 13,000 feet.
About Border Roads Organisation (BRO):
It works under the control of the Ministry of Defence.
Headquarters – New Delhi
Director-General – Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry

Cabinet Approvals on July 22, 2021

The Union Cabinet which is held on July 22, 2021, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following initiatives.
i.Integrated Multi-purpose infrastructure Development Corporation for Ladakh:
The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the 1st ‘Integrated Multi-purpose infrastructure Development Corporation’ for the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.
ii.PLI Scheme for Specialty Steel:
To increase the production and minimise the imports of ‘value-added steel/Speciality Steel’, the cabinet has approved the PLI Scheme.
iii.100 percent FDI in public sector refiners:
The cabinet has approved a proposal to allow 100 percent FDI under automatic route in oil and gas public sector unit (PSU), which has received ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment in its sector.
About Ladakh:
National Park – Hemis National Park Ladakh
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Karakoram Wildlife Sanctuary, Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary


IBM Signed 10-year Partnership Deal with BIAL

IBM (International Business Machines) Corporation and Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), the operator of the Kempegowda International Airport, have signed a 10-year partnership deal to make the BIAL a Smart Airport. IBM will provide IT solutions to create a new ‘Airport in a Box’ platform to transform the travel experience of the passengers of BIAL. Under the partnership, the IBM companies viz, IBM Hybrid Cloud capabilities, Red Hat Automation as well as Kyndryl will support the airport operator to improve its productivity, automate IT and minimize/reduce costs.

Max Bupa Health Insurance Rebranded as ‘Niva Bupa’

The Max Bupa Health Insurance company limited which was renamed as Niva Bupa Health Insurance Company Limited has rebranded itself as ‘Niva Bupa’.

The brand transition of the company will be completed by December 2021.
The rebranding of Max Bupa as Niva Bupa is due to the shareholder transition of Max Bupa from Max India to True North.
Magma Fincorp Limited Renamed as Poonawalla Fincorp Limited
Magma Fincorp Limited (Magma), a non-banking finance company, was renamed as Poonawalla Fincorp Limited with effect from 22nd July 2021, following the acquisition of controlling stakes by Rising Sun Holdings Private Limited(RSHPL) owned by Adar Poonawalla.
About Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd:
Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd. (Max Bupa) is a joint venture between True North, a leading Indian private equity firm, and the UK based healthcare services expert, Bupa.
MD &CEO– Krishnan Ramachandran
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana

RBI: IDFC can exit as promoter of IDFC First Bank; Imposed Rs 1 lakh penalty on Melur Co-operative Urban Bank

i.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Company) Limited can exit as the promoter of IDFC First Bank Limited after the expiry of lock‐in period of 5 years which already ended on September 30, 2020.
ii.RBI in exercise of powers vested in RBI under provisions of Section 47 A (1) (c) read with Section 46 (4) (i) and Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (AACS- As Applicable to Cooperative Societies) imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 1 lakh on Melur Co-operative Urban Bank Ltd. located in Melur, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu.
About IDFC FIRST Bank:
Establishment– In 2018, by merging erstwhile IDFC Bank and former Capital First.
Managing Director (MD) & CEO (Chief Executive Officer)– V. Vaidyanathan
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra


Brisbane to host 2032 Olympics, Games return to Australia after 32 years: All you need to know!

Brisbane won the right to host the 2032 Olympics at the 138th Session of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Tokyo on 21 July, 2021.

This will bring Olympic Games back to Australia 32 years after Sydney hosted the event in 2000. Melbourne was the first Australian city to host the Olympics before that in 1956.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that in an 11-min live video, “We know what it takes to deliver a successful games in Australia."

Why was Brisbane the inevitable winner to host the 2032 Olympics?
Brisbane was awarded the hosting rights after it won the vote 72-5 at the IOC meeting held ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. This was just a formal decision though as Brisbane was almost decided as the host of the 2032 Olympics edition months ago.

The IOC Executive Board had earlier proposed Brisbane 2032 to the IOC Session as host for the Games of the XXXV Olympiad, following a recommendation by the Future Host Commission for the Games. The proposal was put up for vote at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo.

The Brisbane 2032 committee made a presentation during the recent IOC session in Japan, which IOC described as a passion-driven, athlete-centric offer from a sports-loving nation. Brisbane 2032's masterplan proposes to use 84 percent existing and temporary venues and the remaining venues are expected to be made ready to meet the needs of a fast-growing population.

Google celebrates Tokyo Olympics 2020 with animated Doodle Champion Island Games- How to play?

The interactive Google Doodle on Tokyo Olympics let the users play the games as Lucky-the Ninja Cat on behalf of the four teams- Red, Blue, Green, Yellow- with a real-time global leaderboard.
An anime-inspired game- Doodle Champion Island Games-by Google will commemorate the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020. The multi-sport event will begin on July 23 after being deferred for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doodle Champion Island Games: Creation of Google Doodle on Tokyo Olympics
The cutscene animations and characters for the Doodle Champion Island Games by Google have been created by a Tokyo-based animation studio.

The creators while speaking about a creative process said that they first identified the folktales and stories from all over the country with the characters that are highly recognized.
Next, they connected these folktales and characters with each of the sports events included in the Google doodle game.


Tata Boeing Aerospace delivers 100th Fuselage for the AH-64 Apache Helicopter to Boeing

Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) delivered the 100th fuselage for AH-64 Apache combat helicopter to Boeing’s AH-64 Apache manufacturing facility at Arizona, USA. These fuselages developed in Hyderabad under Make in India policy will be used by Boeing in its Global production of the state-of-art AH-64 combat helicopters.
i.TBAL is Boeing’s 1st Joint Venture Company in India, that was set up in Hyderabad, Telangana as a result of the 2015 agreement between Tata Advanced Systems and Boeing.
About Boeing:
President & CEO – David L. Calhoun
Headquarters – Chicago, USA
About Tata Advanced System:
Established – 2007
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana

Razorpay Acquired TERA Finlabs in its 3rd Acquisition

Razorpay, a converged payments solution company in India, has acquired the TERA Finlabs, artificial intelligence (AI)-based risk analysis platform based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. This is the 3rd acquisition of Razorpay since its inception. TERA Finlabs is the Indian subsidiary of GAIN Credit, a United Kingdom(UK)-based digital lender. The technology stack and risk management capabilities and onboarding solutions of TERA will be used to create a credit line for the merchant network of Razorpay. Razorpay will use this acquisition for Razorpay Capital, the small and medium enterprise (SME)-based lending business of Razorpay, which was launched in 2019. Previously Razorpay has acquired the Thirdwatch in 2018 and Opfin in 2019.

Shiv Nadar steps down as HCL Tech MD, C Vijayakumar to succeed

The founder of HCL Group, Shiv Nadar (76), has resigned as managing director and director of HCL Technologies Ltd, a subsidiary of HCL, with effect from July 19, 2021. He is succeeded by C. Vijayakumar, president and chief executive officer (CEO), as the managing director for five years.
About HCL Technologies Ltd:
Establishment– 1991
Headquarter– Noida, Uttar Pradesh

ICAR Awards 2020: Kajal Chakraborty won Norman Borlaug National Award 2020

Kajal Chakraborty, Principal Scientist Marine Biotechnology Division of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI), Kochi, Kerala has been honoured with the ICAR Norman Borlaug Award 2020, the National Award For Excellence In Agricultural Research
ICAR Awards 2020:
Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare announced the ICAR Awards 2020 under 16 categories during the virtual event organised to mark the 93rd Foundation Day of ICAR. 60 awardees under 16 different categories, comprises 4 Institutions, 1 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP), 4 Krishi Vigyan Kendras(KVK), 39 scientists, 11 farmers. 12 among the 50 awarded persons were women. Click here for the complete list of ICAR Awards 2020

About Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR):
ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
Director General– Trilochan Mohapatra
Headquarters- New Delhi
Established on 16th July 1929

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