Current Affairs

26 July, 2021


World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm to be Built in Indonesia

Singapore’s Sunseap Group and Batam Indonesia free zone authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build the world’s largest floating solar farm and energy storage system Indonesian city Batam at the cost of $2 billion, to double its renewable power generation capacity. The floating photovoltaic system will have a capacity of 2.2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) and will be located on the Duriangkang Reservoir in Batam Island spanning around 1,600 hectares. The project would begin in 2022 and would be completed by 2024).
Note – India’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant of 100 MegaWatt (MW) capacity is being constructed at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district of Telangana. It will be India’s largest floating solar plant in a single location.

61% of Global Drowning Deaths in 2019 was in Asia Pacific region: WHO report

The World Health Organization (WHO) released 2 reports ‘Regional status report on drowning in the Western Pacific’ & ‘Regional status report on drowning in the Asia Pacific region’. It is the 1st WHO regional assessment on drowning prevention. In 48 of 85 countries, drowning is among the top 5 causes of death for children under the age of 15 years. The report states that on average, men were 3-4 times more likely to drown than women. Drowning accounts for 75% of all deaths in flood disasters. Countries in South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions are particularly vulnerable to Flood disasters due to climate change.
About WHO
Director General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia)
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

UN Adopts 1st Resolution on Vision – ‘Vision for Everyone’ to Help 1.1 billion

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a new first-ever resolution on vision named ‘Vision for Everyone’ to make eye care services an integral part of universal health coverage and address the increasing impact of vision loss on sustainable development.

Objective: To provide eye care service for at least 1.1 billion people with vision impairment by 2030, especially those who lack eye service.

Background: The resolution – ‘Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)’ was introduced by Bangladesh’s U.N. Ambassador Rabab Fatima and proposed by Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh and Ireland to the UN General Assembly.

Limited Access: Globally, over 2 billion people are living with vision impairment/ blindness and at least 1.1 billion people are living with vision loss due to the limited access to proper vision care for conditions like short and far-sightedness, glaucoma and cataract.

About United Nations General Assembly:
It occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UNs.
Establishment – 1945 under the Charter of the UN
Headquarters – New York, USA
President – Volkan Bozkır (Turkey)
Members – 193


MoSJE formulated SMILE scheme Covering Comprehensive Measures for Welfare of Beggars

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) initiated a welfare scheme namely ‘SMILE – Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise’ covering several comprehensive measures for the welfare of beggars. SMILE also includes a sub scheme – ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’. This information was given by Minister of State (MoS) Abbaiah Narayanaswamyin, MoSJE. Under this Scheme, funds allocated for the next five years are given below:

Year Funds requirement (Rs. in Cr)
2021-22 50.00
2022-23 33.00
2023-24 33.00
2024-25 33.00
2025-26 33.00
TOTAL 182.00
Pilot project: The sub scheme of SMILE is initiated in 10 cities by MoSJE. The cities are Delhi, Bangalore (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad (Telangana), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Mumbai (Maharashtra), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Patna (Bihar) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat).

Cabinet Approved Establishment of a Central University in Ladakh at a Cost of Rs 750 cror

The Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur informed about the Union cabinet’s approval for the formation of a Central University in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with a project cost of Rs 750 crore. The 1st phase of the university will be completed in 4 years and the jurisdiction of the upcoming Central University will cover the entire Ladakh region, including Leh and Kargil. Leh and Kargil were left out of the jurisdictions of central universities in Jammu and Kashmir after the state was bifurcated into 2 UTs. The bill for amending Central Universities Act, 2009 will be introduced to support the formation of Central University in Ladakh. The Cabinet has also approved the establishment of the 1st ‘Integrated Multi-purpose infrastructure Development Corporation’ for the UT of Ladakh.
About Ladakh:
Capital – Leh
Lieutenant Governor – Radha Krishna Mathur

NITI Aayog & IEA launch ‘Renewables Integration in India 2021’ Report

Dr. Rakesh Sarwal, Additional Secretary of NITI Aayog & Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security, International Energy Agency (IEA) jointly launched the ‘Renewables Integration in India 2021’ prepared by NITI Aayog & IEA. The report is based on the outcome of Workshops held with State Governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. The workshops were held to understand the specific energy transition challenges faced by the renewable-rich states. The joint report uses IEA modelling results to show the effects of different flexibility options on the power system. The report provides suggestions for states to manage the integration of renewable energy sources.

About NITI Aayog
CEO – Amitabh Kant
Headquarters – New Delhi
About International Energy Agency (IEA)
Executive Director – Dr Fatih Birol
Headquarters – Paris, France


RBI Plans to Introduce Central Bank Digital Currency in Phases

The Reserve Bank of India’s Deputy Governor T. Rabi Sankar stated about the RBI’s plan for the phased introduction of a ‘Central Bank Digital Currency’ (CBDC).
What is CBDC?
A CBDC is a legal tender that would be issued by the central bank in a digital form. It is exchangeable one-to-one with fiat currency and it would appear as a liability (currency in circulation) on a central bank’s balance sheet.
Reasons for Adopting CBDC:
i.To meet the public’s need for digital currencies and to protect people from the usage of private virtual currencies.
ii.To make the transition from RBI’s paper currency into a more acceptable electronic form of currency.
iii.To make more efficient issuance (like Denmark, Germany, Japan, and the US);
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
i.Key Appointments in RBI – Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister appoints the governor and deputy governors of RBI.
ii.Section 7 in The RBI Act, 1934, empowers the government to issue directions to the RBI governor.
iii.Shaktikanta Das – The 25th governor of RBI from 11 December 2018

Paisalo Digital selected as SBI’s National Corporate Business Correspondent

State Bank of India (SBI) selected Paisalo Digital as National Corporate Business Correspondent of the Bank. It has been selected to ensure greater financial inclusion and to increase the delivery of its financial services.

i.As a Business Correspondent (BC), Paisalo Digital will provide banking services through Kiosks.
ii.As a Business Correspondent for SBI, Paisalo Digital will focus on boosting the fully digital small loan business under SBI-Paisalo Loan Co-origination.
iii.The engagement will help Paisalo Digital to increase the share of fee and service income in total income in future. Paisalo aims to enter the INR 8 lakh crore market opportunity of small ticket loans for India’s unbanked population, which stands at 365 million.

Business Correspondents (BCs)
BCs are retail agents engaged by banks for providing banking services at locations other than a bank branch/ATM. The BC model was introduced by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in January 2006. As per the RBI guidelines the products provided by BCs are: Small Savings Accounts, Fixed Deposit and Recurring Deposit with low minimum deposits, Remittance to any BC customer, Micro Credit and General Insurance.

About State Bank of India (SBI)
Established – 1st July 1955
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – The Banker to Every Indian
About Paisalo Digital
MD – Sunil Agarwal
Headquarters – New Delhi

RBI Allowed Loan of up to Rs 5 Crore to Other Bank’s Directors Without Board Approval

After 26 years, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended the regulatory restrictions on personal loans and advances that are granted to bank directors and their relatives. RBI has increased the threshold of ‘personal loans’ that could be granted to any directors and their relatives of other banks to Rs 5 crore from Rs 25 lakh (which was fixed by RBI in 1996). The revised threshold regulations were applicable only for the personal loans of the directors (not for business loans), whereas the limit of Rs 25 lakh was allowed to continue for business loans.

Regulations under Lending to directors and their relatives:
i.As per the revised regulation, the banks no need to get approval from the board of Directors/Management Committee to grant loans above Rs 5 crore to the spouses and minor/dependent children of the Chairmen, Managing Directors (MD) or other Directors of their own bank and other banks.

ii.But, the banks need to get approval from the board of Directors/Management Committee to grant loans above Rs 5 crore to the relatives of the directors, major shareholders of the bank, and partner or guarantor of the bank. A shareholder needs to hold 10 percent or more of the paid-up share capital/ Rs 5 crore in paid-up shares, whichever is less in the bank.

iii.RBI also allowed banks to sanction loans to directors and their relatives for an amount less than Rs 5 crores (earlier it was Rs 25 lakh) through its appropriate authority (without board approval) under powers vested with it (but need to report that to the Board).
Note – Personal loans refer to loans given to individuals and it includes consumer credit, education loans, loans for creation/ enhancement of immovable assets (eg. housing) and loans for investment in financial assets (shares, debentures, etc).
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar


India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, July 26: Manika Batra to take on world no.10, Sumit Nagal to face Daniil Medvedev

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, July 25 Highlights: After a mixed Day 2, India would be looking to see some good performances today at Tokyo Olympics 2020. The star players who we will see in action today include Manika Batra, who made history by winning the first table tennis match for India since 1992 and Sumit Nagal, who also became the first Indian to win a singles match in the Olympics after 1996.

Manika will take on world no. 10 Sofia Polcanova at 1 PM, while Sumit Nagal will face world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev from Russia in the third match on a court where play began at 7:30am.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Day 4 India Full Schedule: Get Complete Schedule of Indian athletes- Date, Medal Events

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Day 4 India Full Schedule: India kicked off its campaign at Tokyo Olympics 2020 on July 23, 2021 with the archers going up first. Team India has been having mixed days so far with several disappointing loses starting with the shocking defeat of tennis duo Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina in the first round of women's doubles.

The brightest spot till yet has been weightlifter Mirabai Chanu who won the first Olympic medal for India by clinching the historic silver medal in the women's 49-kg category at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on July 24, 2021.

The other highlights have been PV Sindhu, Manika Batra and Boxer Mary Kom who have kept India's medal hopes alive. The Olympic Games this time are taking place without spectators due to the current COVID situation. The host city Tokyo is under a state of emergency, which will remain in place till after the Games.


NASA selects SpaceX for Europa Clipper Mission

US Space Agency NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) for the Europa Clipper Mission. It will be Earth’s 1st mission to conduct detailed investigations of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The Europa Clipper mission will be launched in October 2024 aboard Falcon Heavy Rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. Total Contract award amount for launch services comes to around USD 178 million.

About Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX)
CEO – Elon Musk
Headquarters – California, USA
About National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):
Administrator – Steve Jurczyk
Chief Scientist – Jim Green

Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar honoured with Alexander Dalrymple award

Indian Chief Hydrographer – Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar was honoured with the ‘Alexander Dalrymple award’, a top award of the United Kingdom. For his distinguished contribution towards hydrography, he was listed for the award in 2019, but the award ceremony was delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
i.The Alexander Dalrymple award is conferred since 2006, to honour the contribution of the first hydrographer Alexander Dalrymple.

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