Current Affairs

26 March, 2021

International

Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of Republic of Congo Re-elected with 88% vote

Denis Sassou Nguesso(77 year old), President of Republic of Congo was re-elected as the President with more than 88.57% of the vote. He has been the President of Congo for the accumulated 36 years.
About Denis Sassou Nguesso: i.Denis Sassou Nguesso, of the Congolese Labour Party (Parti Congolais du Travail; PCT), first became the president in 1979.
ii.He later became the president in 1997 after losing the Congo’s first multiparty election in 1992.
iii.He changed the constitution of Congo in 2015 and extended the term limits which barred him from standing for a re-election in 2016.
About Republic of Congo:
Capital- Brazzaville
Currency- Central African CFA franc

India ranked 40th on International Intellectual Property Index 2021; USA Tops the Index

India with a score of 38.40 has been ranked 40th out of 53 Global Economies in the 9th Edition of the ‘International Intellectual Property (IP) Index : Recovery through Ingenuity 2021’ released by US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC). USA, UK & Germany topped the Index. The IIP Index released annually by GIPC evaluates the IP rights, patents, copyright policies, commercialization of IP assets and ratification of International Treaties of 53 Global economies. The report states that the overall global IP environment has improved in 2020, with 32 out of 53 Countries recording positive improvements in their score.
Rank Country Score
40 India 38.40
1 USA 95.31
2 UK 93.90
3 Germany 92.27
India with a score of 38.40 has been ranked 40th out of 53 Global Economies in the 9th Edition of the ‘International Intellectual Property (IP) Index : Recovery through Ingenuity 2021’ released by US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC). USA, UK & Germany topped the Index. The IIP Index released annually by GIPC evaluates the IP rights, patents, copyright policies, commercialization of IP assets and ratification of International Treaties of 53 Global economies. The report states that the overall global IP environment has improved in 2020, with 32 out of 53 Countries recording positive improvements in their score.
Rank Country Score
40 India 38.40
1 USA 95.31
2 UK 93.90
3 Germany 92.27
India with a score of 38.40 has been ranked 40th out of 53 Global Economies in the 9th Edition of the ‘International Intellectual Property (IP) Index : Recovery through Ingenuity 2021’ released by US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC). USA, UK & Germany topped the Index. The IIP Index released annually by GIPC evaluates the IP rights, patents, copyright policies, commercialization of IP assets and ratification of International Treaties of 53 Global economies. The report states that the overall global IP environment has improved in 2020, with 32 out of 53 Countries recording positive improvements in their score.
Rank Country Score
40 India 38.40
1 USA 95.31
2 UK 93.90
3 Germany 92.27
About Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC):
President & CEO – David Hirschmann
Headquarters – Washington D.C., USA

National

Govt. spends Rs. 11.82 cr for Implementing National Digital Health Mission in 6 UTs

Central Govt. has spent Rs. 11.82 crores for Implementing the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) since its roll out in 15th August 2020 under pilot basis in 6 Union Territories– Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep with a total of 9.97 lakhs beneficiaries. National Health Authority (NHA) is the implementing agency of NDHM. NDHM digitizes Medical identity documents of people, thereby creating a National Digital Health Ecosystem which can be used by various organisations including private players.

India & France working on 3rd Joint Satellite Mission

K Sivan, the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) stated that India and France are working on the third joint satellite mission, as a bilateral space collaboration is entering into multiple domains like space exploration and human spaceflight programmes. Note– France is the biggest partner of India in space. ISRO and French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) have already undertaken two joint missions “Megha Tropiques” launched in 2011 and “SARAL Altika” launched in 2013.
Additional info:
i.Both ISRO and CNES have finalised all the interface control documents for accommodating the ARGOS instruments of CNES in ISRO’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.
ii.The ARGOS instruments were delivered to Bengaluru, Karnataka for the integration with the satellite.

India, Madagascar conduct 1st ever Joint Naval Patrolling & ‘PASSEX’

The 1st ever Joint Naval Patrol took place between the navies of India & Madagascar at Madagascar’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). They also conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX).
Objective – To ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Participating assets: From the Indian side INS Shardul, an amphibious warfare vessel participated in the Defence Exercise;From Madagascar’s side, Malagasy Naval Ship ‘Trozona’ took part.
About Madagascar:
President – Andry Rajoelina
Capital – Antananarivo
Currency – Malagasy Ariary (MGA)

Cabinet Approvals on March 23, 2021

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi approved several important proposals.
i.Cabinet was appraised of the progress under the National Health Mission (NHM) during FY 2019-20. NHM comes under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it stated an Expenditure of INR 27, 989 Crore (Central Share) during the FY 2019-20.
ii.Approval of signing of MoU between UPSC, India & Independent Administrative Reforms & Civil Services Commission (IARCSC), Afghanistan.
Objective – To facilitate sharing of experience & expertise of both parties in the area of recruitment.
iii.Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India & Japan in the Water Resources Field.
Objective – To achieve water security, improved irrigation facility and sustainability in water resources development.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III arrives in India

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III arrived in India on a Three-day visit from
March 19-21, 2021. It is the first visit by a Top Official of the newly elected Biden Administration to India. During the visit, he called on PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, EAM S Jaishankar & National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval. The key focus of the discussions was expansion of Strategic, Security ties & also the rising influence of China.
About United States (US):
Capital– Washington, D.C.
Currency– United States Dollar (USD)
President– Joe Biden

India, US agree to reestablish ‘India-US Home Security Dialogue’

India & US have agreed to re-establish the ‘India-US Home Security Dialogue’. Issues like Cybersecurity, emerging technology & addressing Violent Extremism will be discussed. The Security dialogue will take place between India’s Home Ministry & U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The practice of Homeland Security Dialogue between the two countries was discontinued by Donald Trump, the Former President of the USA.

Lakshadweep, Budgam District declared TB Free;Himachal Pradesh tops State TBI Index 2021

During the celebration of the World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Delhi, Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare declared Lakshadweep (UT) & District of Budgam (Jammu & Kashmir) as Tuberculosis (TB) free.
Himachal Pradesh achieved 1st Rank in India amongst the states with a population of more than 50 Lakhs, to end Tuberculosis under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP). India also resolved to end Tuberculosis by 2025. Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). India has 30% of World’s TB cases.

Economy

IOB launched Savings Account for millennials – ‘IOB Trendy’

Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) launched a savings account named ‘IOB Trendy’ which is customised for the millennial population of the country to meet their banking preferences.
About Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)Bank:
Establishment – 10th February 1937
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Tagline – Good people to grow
MD&CEO -Shri Partha Pratim Sengupta

ICICI Bank in Partnership with BillDesk and Razorpay Launched Instant EMI Facility – ‘EMI @ Internet Banking’

ICICI Bank launched an instant EMI (Equated Monthly Instalments) facility in its internet banking platform ‘EMI @ Internet Banking’ in partnership with BillDesk and Razorpay, leading online payment gateway companies. ICICI Bank becomes the first Indian bank to introduce an instant EMI facility on an internet banking platform.
Benefits of ‘EMI @ Internet Banking’ facility: It enables its pre-approved customers to convert their high-value transactions up to Rs 5 lakh into easy monthly instalments. Instant digital processing: It will empower the Bank’s pre-approved customers to purchase or shop for their needs in a completely contactless, instant, digital and secure manner. Higher transaction limit: Customers can do purchases of products or services ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹5 lakh.
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1995(Incorporated 1994)
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum hai na, Khayal Apka

SEBI Issued New Framework for Delivery Default in Derivatives Segment

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) along with the Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIL) framed a new penal structure for the commodity derivatives segment in the event of delivery default.
Key points: In agricultural and non-agricultural commodities, the penalty for delivery default by the seller will now be 4% and 3% of the settlement price plus replacement cost, respectively. The delivery default norms will be effective from the first trading day of May 2021. 1% of settlement price in case of non-agri goods or 2% of settlement price in case of agri goods plus replacement cost will go to a buyer who was entitled to receive the delivery.
About The Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIL):
Establishment – April 2001
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director – Hare Krishna Jena

Sports

IOC congratulates Tokyo 2020 on start of Olympic Torch Relay in Japan

The International Olympic Committee- IOC on March 25, 2021, congratulated the organizing committee of Tokyo 2020 on the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay, in Fukushima, Japan.

The grand start of the Olympic Torch Relay 2020 marks the commencement of the Olympic flame’s journey across all the 47 prefectures of Japan before the flame arrives back in Tokyo for the opening of the much-anticipated games on July 23, 2021.

Thomas Bach, President of IOC while commenting on the start of the Torch Relay stated that earlier today, we all watched with great enthusiasm how the Olympic flame for the games began its journey around Japan. Bach further congratulated the organizing committee of Tokyo 2020 and the people of Japan for this achievement.

Federation Cup: Avinash Sable sets new national record in men’s 3000m steeplechase

Avinash Sable posted a new national record of 8 minutes 20.20 seconds as he won the men’s 3000-metre steeplechase at the National Federation Cup. Avinash has already qualified for Tokyo Olympics. He broke his own record of 8:21.37 at the 2019 Doha World Championships

Miscellaneous

IMD launched a Climate Data Service Portal

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) launched a Climate Data Service Portal with meteorological data of over 100 years(since 1900) which can be accessed by the public. The portal has been developed by IMD, Pune. The platform was developed with climate data management and supply to the users.
About India Meteorological Department (IMD):
Director General of Meteorology– Mrutyunjay Mohapatra
Headquarters– New Delhi

North Korea fires 2 Ballistic Missiles in Sea

The United States and Japan announced the firing of 2 Ballistic Missiles by the North Korean military into the Sea. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has banned North Korea from testing ballistic missiles & holding Nuclear programs.
i.North Korea also fired 2 Non-ballistic missiles in the Yellow Sea in March.
ii.Previously in March, the USA and South Korea held a Joint Military Exercise in Korean peninsula.
Note- North Korea has not conducted a single missile test since the 2018 Singapore meeting with Donald Trump. In June 2019, then US President Donald Trump became the 1st US President to step into North Korea.
About North Korea:
The 38th parallel line demarcates North Korea from South Korea.
Supreme Leader – Kim Jong-un
Capital – Pyongyang
Currency – North Korean Won

ICGS OPV ‘Vajra’ commissioned into service at Kattupalli, Chennai Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Vajra’ (meaning Thunderbolt), the 6th Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was formally commissioned into service at Kattupalli in Chennai. It has been indigenously designed and built by L&T Shipbuilding Ltd under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. ICGS Vajra will be commanded by Deputy Inspector Alex Thomas and will be based at Tuticorin under the operational control of Coast Guard Eastern Region. ‘Vajra’ is the 6th OPV in the series of 7 OPV. The contract was awarded by the Ministry of Defence to L&T Shipbuilding ltd. With the joining of this ship, ICG will have 156 Surface Assets & 62 Aircraft in its inventory. About Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Director General – Krishnaswamy Natarajan Headquarters – New Delhi

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Vajra’ (meaning Thunderbolt), the 6th Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was formally commissioned into service at Kattupalli in Chennai. It has been indigenously designed and built by L&T Shipbuilding Ltd under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. ICGS Vajra will be commanded by Deputy Inspector Alex Thomas and will be based at Tuticorin under the operational control of Coast Guard Eastern Region. ‘Vajra’ is the 6th OPV in the series of 7 OPV. The contract was awarded by the Ministry of Defence to L&T Shipbuilding ltd. With the joining of this ship, ICG will have 156 Surface Assets & 62 Aircraft in its inventory.
About Indian Coast Guard (ICG)
Director General – Krishnaswamy Natarajan
Headquarters – New Delhi

Indian Government has announced to sell 15% of its stake in Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) through an Offer for Sale (OFS) for Rs. 750 crores. Of this 15% stake, Govt. will diverse 10% (208.5 million shares) of the total paid-up equity capital through OFS and 5% (104.25 million shares) through the Green Shoe option. The shares were sold to Non-Retail & Retail investors on 24th & 25th of March. This sale comes as a part of Indian govt’s Rs 1.75 lakh crore disinvestment plan. About Rail Vikas Nigam Limited: RVNL was established in 2003, as a 100% Public Sector Company under the Ministry of Railways. Chairman & MD- Pradeep Gaur Headquarters- New Delhi

Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) acquired 100% stake in 50 MW Telangana Solar Power Project, from SkyPower Global. In this regard, AGEL has signed a share purchase agreement with SkyPower Global.
i.50 MW Telangana Solar Power Project, was commissioned in Oct 2017 and has a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana.
ii.With this acquisition, AGEL will raise its operating renewable capacity to 3,395 MW with a total renewable portfolio of 14,865 MW including under-construction and awarded projects.
Note – Target of AGEL – 25 GW by 2025 to become the largest renewable energy company in the world.
AGEL– MD & CEO – Vneet S.Jaain; Headquarter – Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
SkyPower Global – Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer – Kerry Adler; Headquarter – Toronto, Canada

Government Sells 15% stake in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd

Indian Government has announced to sell 15% of its stake in Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) through an Offer for Sale (OFS) for Rs. 750 crores. Of this 15% stake, Govt. will diverse 10% (208.5 million shares) of the total paid-up equity capital through OFS and 5% (104.25 million shares) through the Green Shoe option. The shares were sold to Non-Retail & Retail investors on 24th & 25th of March. This sale comes as a part of Indian govt’s Rs 1.75 lakh crore disinvestment plan.
About Rail Vikas Nigam Limited: RVNL was established in 2003, as a 100% Public Sector Company under the Ministry of Railways.
Chairman & MD- Pradeep Gaur
Headquarters- New Delhi

NSE bought 26% stake in IGX from IEX and became its co-promoter

The Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) has divested 26% of its equity holding in the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) to National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).
About Indian Gas Exchange Ltd. (IGX): Indian Gas Exchange Ltd. (IGX) is India’s first automated national level Gas Exchange to promote and sustain an efficient and robust Gas market and to foster gas trading in the country. It will facilitate in achieving the Government of India’s target of increasing the share of natural gas in India’s energy basket from current 5% to 15% by 2030. IGX started operations on 15 June 2020 as a gas trading platform and has been operating as the Gas Exchange since December 2020. The Exchange operates under the regulatory framework of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).

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