Current Affairs

24 September, 2021


COVID-19 Slow down the Development Towards SDGs – The 3rd Assessment Report of FAO

According to the report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations(UN) titled ‘Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators 2021’, COVID 19 has set back progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enshrined in the UN’s Agenda 2030, undermining the decades of development efforts. It focuses on eight SDGs, which were adopted at the UN summit in New York in 2015. It’s FAO’s 3rd assessment this time. According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden of chronic hunger. It has pushed around 83 to 132 million people into hunger in 2020. COVID-19 has disrupted the food supply in society, around 14 percent of all food has been lost. The new report coincides with the recent UN Food Systems Summit, which aims to raise global awareness and spur actions to transform food systems, eradicate hunger, reduce diet-related diseases, and heal the planet.

About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
It is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
Headquarters- Rome, Italy
Establishment – 16 October 1945
Director General – QU Dongyu

WMO Report ‘United in Science 2021’: COVID-19 has not Slowed Climate change

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report on the latest climate science information named ‘United in Science 2021’. As per the report, the COVID-19 caused only a temporary decline in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020. Whereas the concentrations of major greenhouse gases – CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021.

Global Climate in 2017- 21: The global average surface temperature for the period from 2017–2021 is among the warmest on record, estimated at 1.06 °C to 1.26 °C above pre-industrial (1850–1900) levels.

Sea level rise: Global mean sea levels rose 20 cm from 1900 to 2018 and at an accelerated rate of 3.7+0.5 mm/year from 2006 to 2018.

About World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
Establishment – 23 March 1950
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
Secretary-general – Petteri Taalas
Members – 193 Member States and Territories

WHO announced new Global Air Quality Guidelines

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced new stringent Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) to assess the effects of air pollution and its health impact. Earlier, WHO issued guidelines in 2005. Yet many countries did not reach 2005 AQGs. Even lower levels of air pollutions have impact on health and climate change In the new AQGs thresholds was set for six key air pollutants — particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Bangladesh, Pakistan and India have recorded the highest air pollution levels with regard to the 2005 WHO guidelines.

About World Health Organization
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Director-General: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


India Virtually Hosted 1st India-UK Consular Dialogue

India virtually hosted the 1st India-United Kingdom (UK) Consular Dialogue. The Indian delegation was led by Devesh Uttam, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and the UK delegation was led by Jennifer Anderson, Director Consular Services, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. India-UK Consular Dialogue is a part of the India-UK 2030 Roadmap, in which both countries discussed ways to strengthen people-to-people contacts between them.

India-UK Roadmap 2030: In May 2021, India and UK have adopted ‘Roadmap 2030’ at the India-UK Virtual Summit 2021, for elevating relations between the two countries to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’. The next round of the Consular Dialogue was scheduled to be held in 2022, in London.
About the United Kingdom (UK):
Capital – London
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson
Currency – British Pound Sterling (GBP)

National Single Window System for Investors and Businesses launched by Piyush Goyal

i.Union Minister, Piyush Vedprakash Goyal, Ministry of Commerce & Industry launched the National Single Window System (NSWS), an online portal to enable global and domestic investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses to identify and obtain approvals and clearances needed in India. It is an effort toward ease of doing business.
ii.This portal is an integration of the existing clearance systems of the Centre and states.
iii.It has been developed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) along with Invest India.
About Invest India:
It is a public-private venture with 49% government’s stake and 51% shareholding is equally held by industry associations- Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).
Establishment– 2009
Managing Director & CEO– Deepak Bagla

MyGov Launches Planetarium Innovation Challenge for Start-ups, Tech Entrepreneurs

In September 2021, MyGov India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), launched the ‘Planetarium Innovation Challenge’ for Indian start-ups and tech entrepreneurs.

Objective: To enable the tech firms and startups in India to build an indigenous planetarium system software using the latest technologies (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Merged Reality). The winners could get an opportunity to know the latest advancements under Planetarium along with cash prizes.
MyGov was launched on 26th July 2014 as a Citizen Engagement Platform which collaborates with multiple Government bodies/ Ministries to engage with citizens for policy formulation.

DAHD signs deal with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support livestock

As a part of on-going celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support India’s livestock sector. Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala signed the deal

i.To support the nation’s food and nutritional security and protect the economic wellbeing of small-scale livestock producers.
ii.The Gates Foundation will provide technical assistance to the department to ensure sustainable growth and prosperity of India’s livestock sector.
Note: As a part of the partnership National One Health platform will be established with an aim.
National One Health
i.To improve coordination, productivity, and support livelihoods of small-scale producers.
ii.It allows tracking and resolution of animal and human health challenges and will prevent possible infection and disease outbreaks.
About Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
CEO: CEO Mark Suzman
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, United States


RBL Bank &Mastercard Launched #UseBefikar, New Campaign for Seamless Payment Experience

RBL Bank launched ‘#UseBefikar’, a new campaign with Mastercard to provide shopping offers and rewards for the existing cardholders.
With the #UseBefikar campaign, the RBL bank’s Mastercard holders can avail of exclusive offers with assured safety and security.
Features of the campaign:
i.The campaign is running through a series of videos that aims to resonate with the cardholders at the start of the festive season.
ii.The videos will be amplified through social media and online promotions.
iii.The campaign features celebrities like Riteish Deshmukh, Mirabai Chanu and Vikrant Massey.
iv.The campaign highlights the card’s offering for everyone, focusing on various categories like health and fitness, e-commerce, online bill payments and food delivery.
About RBL Bank:
MD & CEO– Vishwavir Ahuja
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Apnoka bank

Federal Bank partners with OneCard to launch mobile-first credit card

On September 22, 2021, Federal Bank joined hands with fintech company OneCard to launch a mobile-first credit card to cater the individual’s credit demand for the upcoming festive season. The cards will be powered by Visa. The bank is targeting consumers aged between 23 and 35 years representing the Gen Z and millennials. This card powered by OneCard app, ‘slick’, and can be activated and used instantly in virtual format until the physical card gets delivered. Users can control their cards through the app.

Recent collaboration of OneCard with other Banks:
i.With SBM-India (State Bank of Mauritius) to launch mobile-based credit card.
ii.With South Indian Bank to launch the app base ‘SIB-OneCard Credit Card’.
About Federal Bank:
It was established in 1931 as the Travancore Federal Bank. Its name was changed to Federal Bank Limited in 1949.
Managing Director & CEO– Shyam Srinivasan
Tagline– Your Perfect Banking Partner
Headquarters– Aluva, Kerala
About OneCard:
Chief Executive Officer– Anurag Sinha
Headquarter– Pune, Maharashtra


Howzat Fantasy Sports Platform Signed Cricketer Suresh Raina as Brand Ambassador

Howzat Fantasy Sports Platform, a product of Junglee Games has signed former Indian international cricketer Suresh Raina as its brand ambassador to promote its brand among sports lovers across India. With this partnership with Suresh Raina, Howzat aims to attract cricket fans to the platform and become the most rewarding fantasy sports app in India. The brand is already endorsed by former Indian international cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan.

Howzat fantasy sports platform launched in 2019 is owned and operated by Howzat Private Limited.
About Suresh Raina:
i.Suresh Kumar Raina from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh is known as the first Indian cricketer to score a hundred in all three formats of the game.
ii.He is the 3rd Indian batsman in the world and the first Indian to hit a century in T20.
iii.He has represented Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Lions(captain) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

Indian Archer Abhishek Verma Elected to World Archery Athletes Committee

Indian Compound Archer and Arjuna Awardee Abhishek Verma, 3-time world cup gold medalist, has been elected to the Athletes Committee of World Archery, the international federation for the Olympic sport of archery. He has been elected for a term of 4 years till 2025. The Compound women’s world champion Natalia Avdeeva (Russia) was also elected to the Athletes Committee for 4 years till 2025.

Athletes Committee:
Chair– Naomi Folkard(Great Britain)
Members– Crystal Gauvin(USA); Sjef van den Berg(Netherlands); Abhishek Verma(India); Natalia Avdeeva(Russia)

About Abhishek Verma:
i.Abhishek Verma won the gold medal in the Men’s compound event at the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup stage III held in Paris, France.
ii.He won the individual medal in 2015 at World Cup Stage 3 in Wroclaw.
iii.He won 2 medals (1 in individual and 1 in team) at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and a silver medal in the team event in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
iv.The government of India honoured him with the Arjuna Award for archery in 2014.
About World Archery:
Secretary General– Tom Dielen
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland


4 amateur astronauts return to earth after 3 day space trip

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission is a success as the four amateur astronauts who went on a 3 day private space trip landed safely back to Earth on September 18 night. The spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida in the United States at approximately 7:07pm EDT (around 4:37am IST). The flight was part of a massive fundraising effort for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to raise $200 million for childhood cancer research. While in orbit, the crew performed many medical experiments, collecting samples and data which will help researchers better understand how microgravity affects the human body. They travelled to an altitude of 357 miles (575 kilometres) above the surface of the Earth, which is much further and deeper into space than the International Space Station (ISS).

About SpaceX
i.Space Exploration Technologies Corp is an American aerospace manufacturer, space transportation services and communications company
ii.Founder and CEO: Elon Musk
iii.Headquarter: Hawthorne, California, United States

Bill & Melinda Gates foundation honoured South African Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former United Nations(UN) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Women, with the 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award. As a part of its annual Goalkeepers campaign, the foundation also announced the winners of the 3 additional Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards. These awards were instituted by the Foundation to recognise the efforts taken by the people to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).

2021 Global Goalkeeper Award:
The 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award has been awarded to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to recognise her global leadership on gender equality and her efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls across the globe.
Winners of 2021 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards:
i.Progress Award 2021- Jenifer Colpas(Colombia)
ii.Changemaker Award 2021 – Fairooz Faizah Beether(Bangladesh)
iii.Campaign Award 2021- Satta Sheriff(Liberia) These awards recognize their contribution in supporting the global goals in their local communities.

About Bill & Melinda Gates foundation:
Co-chair and Trustee– Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates
Headquarters– Seattle, Washington, United States

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