Current Affairs

27 January, 2022

International

Transparency International’s CPI 2021 – India Ranks 85th

According to the 2021 edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Berlin-based non-profit organisation Transparency International, India has ranked 85th on the index (CPI score: 40) that ranks 180 countries and territories based on their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero to 100 (where 0 implies highly corrupt and 100 implies very clean). India’s rank has slipped from 80th in 2019 to 86 in 2020.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand (Score: 88) have shared the 1st rank followed by Norway (Score: 85) in the 4th rank.
About CPI:
i.The index relies on 13 independent data sources and surveys on business executives.
ii.The CPI has been the leading global indicator of public sector corruption since its inception in 1995.

India Pays $29.9 Million in UN Regular Budget Assessments for 2022

India has paid USD 29,990,679 million in United Nations(UN) regular budget assessments for the year 2022. As of 21st January 2022, 24 Member States of the UN have paid their regular budget assessments in full.
UN Status of India:
India is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council whose 2-year term is set to end on 31st December 2022.
Committee on Contributions:
i.The Committee on Contributions advises the General Assembly on the apportionment of the expenses of the organization among the Member States according to their capacity to pay.
ii.The Committee on Contributions annually meets for 3 to 4 weeks, in June.
About United Nations(UN):
Secretary general– António Guterres
Member States- 193
Headquarters– New York, United States of America
UNGA President– Abdulla Shahid

National

India’s 1st Graphene Innovation Centre to be established at Thrissur, Kerala

The Digital University Kerala (DUK) has announced partnership with the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) in Thrissur, Kerala to establish India’s first Graphene Innovation Centre in Kerala. The project will also receive a funding of Rs 86.41 crore from the Ministry of Elections and Information Technology, to set up India’s first ever Graphene Research and Development (R&D) incubator.
About Graphene:
i.Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice nanostructure.
ii.The graphene has the potential to replace indium and it will lower the cost of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens in smartphones.
iii.Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material in the world. It also has good chemical stability, high electrical conductivity and a large surface area while being transparent and lightweight.

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw unveils MeitY’s vision document for $300bn Electronics Production in India

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) released a 5-year roadmap and Vision Document 2.0 for the electronics sector namely ‘$300 billion Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026’. It’s first volume titled ‘Increasing India’s Electronics Exports and Share in GVCs’ was released in November 2021′. It is prepared by MeitY and presented by India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA). The document has envisioned $300 billion electronics production which aims to increase India’s electronics export to $120 billion (bn) by 2026 from the current $15 bn. The Indian market is expected to increase from $65 bn to $180 bn over the next 4-5 years.

India, Israel launch Commemorative Logo marking 30th anniversary of Diplomatic Ties

India and Israel launched a commemorative logo marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between them which were established on January 29, 1992. The logo was unveiled virtually during an online event in the presence of Indian envoy to Israel, Sanjeev Singla and Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon. The 30th anniversary will be marked throughout the year with an array of cultural events.
About Logo:
i.It features Ashoka Chakra and Star of David which represents National Flags of both countries.
ii.It forms the numeral 30 depicting the 30th anniversary of bilateral relations.
iii.It symbolizes the strong friendship, love and admiration that exists between the people of the two nations. It also depicts the growing strategic partnership.

Economy

Pencilton Launches India’s 1st Debit Card with NCMC for Teens: PencilCard

Pencilton, a teen-focused fintech company in partnership with Transcorp has launched PencilCard, India’s 1st debit card with National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) for teens.
About PencilCard:
i.PencilCard is an NCMC – compliant RuPay debit card specially designed for the teenager which will serve as an all-in-one card (debit card, metrocard & bus card) for multiple needs for both online & offline payments.

Note – The debit card can already work as a metro card for travel in Delhi (Airport line) & as a bus card in Goa (across Kadamba Transport Corporation buses).

ii.PencilCard is also a Platinum RuPay Card with additional benefits like free access to lounges at all airports in India. They can also be used for payments including retail shopping offline, online shopping, travel and also includes tolls and parking in the future.

iii.It can store seasonal tickets & monthly passes through which the Mumbai local authorities allow season ticket holders to top up or purchase their ticket via the card.
iv.Pencilton is offering the virtual PencilCard for free. The physical card’s actual price is Rs199 but as part of the launch promotion, users can get their PencilCard for just Rs.99.
About Pencilton application (app):
i.PencilCard can be activated through the Pencilton app for loading money, getting a category-wise spend analysis, blocking/unblocking cards, setting limits, setting savings goals, saving in a ‘digital piggy bank’, finishing chores given by parents for bonus pocket money and accessing a variety of other functions.
ii.The Pencilton app allows for gamified learning and also includes quizzes and exercises at various levels by which the youngsters can earn PencilPoints while learning about money.
Note – PencilCard is also scheduled to be accepted for metro travel in Pune, Chennai & Mumbai Bombay Electric supply & Transport (BEST) buses very soon.
About Pencilton:
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Co-founder and CEO – Vishwajit Pureti

India becomes World’s Largest Exporter of ‘Cucumber’ & ‘Gherkins’

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that India has exported $114 million worth of Cucumber & Gherkins in April-October 2021 to became the World’s largest exporter of Cucumber and Gherkins. In the financial year 2020-21 (FY21), India crossed the export of worth $200 million of agricultural processed product, pickling gherkins, cucumber or cornichons.

What is Gherkins?
i.Gherkin is also known as pickled cucumber. It is made from younger cucumbers that are seasoned using vinegar or acetic acid. Gherkins are smaller than typical cucumber pickles.

ii.Gherkin cultivation, processing and exports started in India during the early 1990s in Karnataka and later extended to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
iii.Currently, India grows around 15% of world’s total gherkins production. India currently exports Gherkins to 20 countries, including USA, France, Germany, Australia.

Production of gherkins and development:
i.Gherkins are exported under two categories – prepared and preserved by vinegar, acetic acid provisionally preserved.
ii.India had shipped over 2,23,515 tonnes of cucumber and gherkins worth $223 million in FY21.
iii.Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is providing infrastructural and developmental support in the global market.
About Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA):
The APEDA succeeded the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
Commenced operation– 13th February, 1986
Chairman- Dr. M. Angamuthu
Headquarters- New Delhi

Bank of Maharashtra Partners with Lendingkart Technologies to Offer MSME Loans

Lendingkart Technologies Private Limited, a subsidiary of Lendingkart Finance, partnered with Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) to co-lend business loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) at low rates.

Aim – To make economical credit available to MSME borrowers which is powered by the ‘zero touch’ technology platform Lendingkart ‘2gthr’.

About the partnership:
i.The technology platform Lendingkart ‘2gthr’ enables banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to distribute unsecured business loans up to Rs. 10 lakh to MSME borrowers. The platform also enables co-lenders to verify loan applications using cash-flow-based assessment model ‘cred8’.

ii.BoM supports credit flow and uses Lendingkart’s origination platform ‘xlr8’ to distribute MSME loans which are sourced through multi-channel strategies.
iii.The distribution of loans in co-lending arrangement will be under priority sector lending which allows the loan to reach beneficiaries at an affordable cost.
About Bank of Maharashtra (BoM):
Establishment – 16th September 1935
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – A S Rajeev
Tagline – Ek Parivaar, Ek Bank (One Family One Bank)
About Lendingkart Technologies Private Limited:
Headquarters – Ahmedabad, Gujarat
CEO & Co-founder – Harshvardhan Lunia

RBI conducts Overnight VRR auction of worth Rs. 75,000 crore

On 24th January 2022 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) offered overnight liquidity to the banking system of India with Rs 75,000 crore against banks bid of around Rs 1.37 lakh crore through variable rate repo (VRR) auction under liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) and 25th January 2022 will be the date of reversal.
Operational Guidelines:
i.The auction will be conducted on Core Banking Solutions (CBS) (e-Kuber) platform with Rs.1 crore as minimum bid amount for the auction and the allotment would be in multiples of Rs.1 crore.
ii.Banks must place their bids in percentage terms with up to 2 decimal places and can also place multiple bids. RBI will reserve the right to inject marginally higher amounts than the notified amount due to rounding effects and also inject less than the notified amount without assigning any reasons.

iii.The other terms and conditions that are applicable to LAF operations will also be applicable to the auction which shall be reviewed periodically.
About Variable Reverse Rate Auction (VRRR) Auction:
i.RBI said it would conduct a 28-day VRRR of Rs 50,000 crore and a Rs 2 trillion VRRR for three days. The cut off rate for 3 days was fixed at 3.99 percent and the weighted average rate at 3.99 percent. The cut off rate for 28 days was fixed at 3.99 percent and the weighted average rate at 3.97 percent.

ii.VRRR reverses nearly Rs.2.49 trillion after the 28 day and 7-day maturity and another Rs 4.35 trillion will be reversed after the 14-day VRRR maturity.

RBI has been continuously doing VRRR auctions to remove excess liquidity from the banking system.
Note – The banking system has been in a liquidity surplus mode since June 2019. The liquidity surplus widened significantly and averaged Rs 7.7 trillion in 2021.
Banking terms:
Repo rate – Repo rate is the rate at which RBI gives loans to commercial banks against government securities.
Reverse repo rate – A reverse repo rate is a rate at which RBI borrows money from commercial banks.
About Reserve bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935 (in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, M.D. Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar

CUB & GOQii Launches CUB Easy Pay Fitness Watch Debit Card

City Union Bank (CUB), the oldest Private Sector Bank in India, in association with smart-tech-enabled preventive healthcare platform GOQii has launched CUB Easy Pay Debit Card in a Fitness Watch, a wearable & contactless RuPay On-The-Go payment solution, powered by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). On 24th January 2022, V.R.Venkatachalam, chancellor of Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research received the 1st watch in Chennai.
About CUB fitness watch Debit Card:
i.The Customers can raise a request for the Fitness Watch Debit Card through Net banking or Mobile banking and later the Usage can be managed by customers themselves through CUB All in One Mobile App. The introductory price of a smartwatch debit card is Rs 3,499 (as compared to an actual cost of Rs 6,499).
ii.Customers can simply hold this wristwatch in front of the Point of Sale (PoS) device during payment like tapping the card on PoS. The customers need to enter their PIN for payments above Rs 5,000 and can also set limits for their payments using Net Banking or Mobile Banking.

iii.The Short Message Service (SMS) will be sent to the registered mobile number for each transaction done by the customers using the watch.
Features of the watch:
i.Fitness Watch also monitors the Oxygen Level (Sp02), Body Temperature, Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and 18 Exercise Modes.
ii.In addition, for early adopters of the watch, GOQii offers a Free wellness package for 3 months which includes personal health coach, doctor tele-consult and interactive video coaching.
Note – CUB had earlier launched Debit Card in a Key Chain which also enables contactless Payment On the Go solutions.
About City Union Bank (CUB):
Establishment – 31st October, 1904
Headquarters – Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
MD & CEO – N. Kamakodi
Tagline – Trust and Excellence Since 1904
About GOQii:
GOQii provides solutions for consumers to lead a healthy life.
Establishment – 2014
Headquarters – California (CA), United States of America (USA)
CEO & Founder – Vishal Gondal

Sports

ICC Awards 2021: India’s Smriti Mandhana grabs Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

i.The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the 2021 edition of ICC awards where India’s Smriti Mandhana (25) won Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
ii.Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan (29) named ICC Men’s T20I (Twenty 20 International) Cricketer of the Year 2021 while England’s Tammy Beaumont (30) named the ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year. She finished the year as the third-highest run-getter in women’s T20Is.
iii.Babar Azam (27) of Pakistan named ICC Men’s ODI (One Day International) Cricketer of the Year while Lizelle Lee (29) of South Africa (SA) named ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
It is the global governing body for cricket. Indra Nooyi is the Independent Female Director of ICC.
Chairman – Greg Barclay
Headquarters– Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Members– 106

Miscellaneous

Meta built World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer ‘RSC’

Meta’s (erstwhile Facebook) CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Mark Zuckerberg has announced the development of an AI (Artificial Intelligence) supercomputer i.e AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) to train machine learning systems across company’s businesses. It will be the world’s fastest supercomputer once it is completed later in 2022.

Mansukh Mandaviya launches Revamped CGHS Website & Mobile App – “MyCGHS”

Union Minister for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Dr.Mansukh Mandaviya virtually launched the revamped version of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) website (www.cghs.gov.in) and mobile app, ‘MyCGHS’ with multiple user friendly features. The launch also saw the presence of Minister of State for MoHFW, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar.
Highlights:
i.The Website was developed in accordance with GIGW (Guidelines for Indian Government Websites), in compliance with 3Us -Usable, User-Centric and Universal Accessibility.
ii.The revamped CGHS website is aimed at benefiting more than 40 lakhs citizens (both in-service and retired personnel), with real-time information from the convenience of their homes.
iii.It is equipped with various features such as tele-consultation and made available in Bilingual (Hindi and English). The eSanjeevani Teleconsultation facility is now directly linked to the CGHS website.

iv.The revamped version also provides the facility such as tracking of Medical Claims, grievances, status of CGHS card, downloading of CGHS card, accessing history of medicines, online appointment system and various other facilities.
v.The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) is the nodal healthcare provider to Central Government employees, pensioners and other categories of beneficiaries.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW):
Union Minister- Dr.Mansukh Mandaviya (Gujarat)
Minister of state– Bharati Pravin Pawar (Dindori, Maharashtra)

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