Current Affairs

27 August, 2021

International

25th Edition of ‘Exercise Malabar’ held between the Navies of India, USA, Japan & Australia In Western Pacific Ocean

The 25th Edition of Naval Exercise Malabar is conducted between the India Navy, the United States (US) Navy, Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) & the Royal Australian Navy (RAF) in the Western Pacific Ocean. The exercise is hosted by the US Navy from 26th-29th August, 2021. It aims to support free, open & inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order The Sea phase of the exercise includes complex drills including anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, and other manoeuvres and tactical exercises. The Indian Navy’s participation includes Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shivalik and INS Kadmatt and P8I patrol aircraft.

Exercise Malabar
i.The Malabar Started is an annual bilateral exercise started in 1992 between the Indian Navy & the US Navy.
ii.Then it became a trilateral exercise, After Japan joined as the permanent member of the exercise in 2015.
iii.In the 2020 edition, Australia participated in the exercise malabar.
About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) – New Delhi

India Proposed Naval Industry Cooperation at 1st IBSA NSAs meeting to Counter Balance China

India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval hosted the 1st meeting of IBSA(India, Brazil, South Africa) NSAs. The three countries made agreements to enhance cooperation in cyber security and balance China’s expansionist policies in the maritime region .
Note – India is the current IBSA Chair.India is set to host the 6th IBSA summit virtually on 5th September 2021, under the theme “Democracy for Demography and Development”.
Objective of the Meeting-
To enhance participation to combat piracy and drug and human trafficking, sustainalbe exploitation of maritime resources and ensure security.
Highlights: Main focus was given on maritime security as it was identified as a strategic area for future cooperation. Strenghthtening measures to tackle China’s maritime ambitions, combating human trafficking, piracy, securing bordering etc are some of the key areas of discussion . India invited Brazil to take part in MILAN Naval Exercise of 2022 India has proposed to build an Expert Group Meeting on Cyber Security.

About IBSA
i.The IBSA is a trilateral, developmental initiative between India, Brazil and South Africa to promote South-South cooperation and exchange.
ii.The grouping was formalized and named the IBSA Dialogue Forum when the Foreign Ministers of the three countries met in Brasilia (Brazil) on 6th June 2003 and issued the Brasilia Declaration.

National

USTDA & USISPF Launched the US-India Climate Technologies Action Group

The United States(US) Trade and Development Agency(USTDA) and the US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) launched the US-India Climate Technologies Action Group(CTAG) which aims to integrate private and public sector inputs on a concrete initiative that can contribute to advanced global action on climate.

About CTAG:
The US-India CTAG will facilitate, The US industry input on the latest climate resilient technologies. Share the US business models with the Indian market to accelerate the development of the clean energy sector, mobilise capital for climate smart infrastructure projects in India and Strengthen the US-India bilateral relationship.

High level dialogue:
During the launch event, the senior government officials and business leaders from India and US were engaged in a high level dialogue on “Accelerating the Adoption of Climate Technology in India”
Additional info:
During the launch of CTAG, the workshop series titled “Energy Resiliency Workshop Series – India” led by USTDA, IHS Markit and USIN foundation was also launched.
About US Trade and Development Agency(USTDA):
Acting Director– Enoh T. Ebong
Headquarters– Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
About US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF):
President and CEO– Dr. Mukesh Aghi
Headquarters– Washington, DC, USA

Cabinet approvals on August 25, 2021

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to the following proposals:

i.The Union Cabinet has approved the highest ever fair and remunerative price (FRP) of Rs 290 per quintal (qtl) at a recovery rate of 10% for sugarcane farmers for sugar season 2021-22 (October – September). The information for the same was provided by minister Piyush Vedprakash Goyal, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
ii.CCEA has approved Rs 15,000-crore foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal of Anchorage Infrastructure Investment Holding Ltd, a subsidiary of Canada-based pension fund, for the investment in the infrastructure and the construction-development sectors.
iii.The Union Cabinet also approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Institute of Professional Accountants of Russia (IPAR).
About Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI):
Establishment– 1949
President– CA. Nihar N Jambusaria
Headquarter– New Delhi

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Unveiled EASE 4.0; Reviewed PSBs; Increased Family Pension to 30%

Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs unveiled the 4th edition of the Public Sector Bank (PSB) Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 4.0’ (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) for 2021-22 – tech-enabled, simplified, and collaborative banking. The finance minister also unveiled the annual report for the PSB Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 3.0’ for 2020-21 and gave awards for best performing banks on the EASE 3.0 Banking Reforms Index.

Review on Performance of PSBs:
i.In FY21 the PSBs have reported a profit in FY21 for the 1st time after 5 years of loss. In FY21 they have gained a profit of Rs 31,817 crore compared to a loss of Rs 26,016 crore in FY20.This is the first year when PSBs have reported profit after five years of losses.
ii.Gross NPA: In FY21, the gross non-performing assets (GNPA) of PSBs has been reduced by Rs 62,000 crore to Rs 6.16 lakh crore.
iii.In FY21, PSBs have disbursed around Rs 40,819 crore of fresh personal, home and vehicle loans through digital channels.
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Constituency – Karnataka)
Minister of State – Pankaj Chaudhary (Constituency – Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh), Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad (Constituency – Maharashtra)

MIB officially recognizes NBF’s PNBSA as India’s 1st self-regulatory body for News Media

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has officially granted a status of self-regulatory body for TV news broadcasters to News Broadcasters Federation’s (NBF), ‘Professional News Broadcasters Standards Authority (PNBSA)‘ under the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021. It makes PNBSA the first and only officially recognized self-regulatory body to get the accreditation from the government of India. It will regulate the news media sector while committed to fundamentals of transparency, accountability and strong self-regulation.

‘SUJALAM’ , A 100 Days ODF Plus Campaign launched by Ministry of Jal Shakti

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a 100 Days campaign – ‘SUJALAM’ as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus Status in villages across the country by undertaking waste water management at the village level.

About Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBMG)-phase-Ⅱ
i.It will be implemented from 2020-21 to 2024-25 by the Ministry of Jal Shakti
ii.It focuses on ODF-Plus status which includes ODF sustainability & Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM)
About Ministry of Jal Shakti
Union Minister – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Jodhpur, Rajasthan)
Minister of State (MoS) – Prahlad Singh Patel (Damoh, Madhya Pradesh), BIshweswar Tudu (Mayurbhanj, Odisha)

Economy

Decimal Technologies & Ujjivan SFB Partners to Digitise Loan Origination with Saarathi

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB) Limited has entered into partnership with Decimal Technologies, India’s leading fintech firm, under which the Ujjivan SFB and its channel partners will use Saarathi, digital lending platform of Decimal technologies. This is the 1st ever banking tie up of Decimal technology in this model. This partnership will enable the Ujjivan SFB to digitize its loan sourcing through its sales force and Direct Selling Agents(DSAs). This is a part of the efforts of USFB to strengthen its digital infrastructure.

Features of the partnership:
i.Under this partnership, Saarathi will enable a 100% digitisation of the loan offering by Ujjivan SFB, and provide a simple user interface and assist to perform business operations amid COVID-19 lockdown.
ii.Saarathi is integrated with Credit Bureau, NSDL,Document verifications systems, Google Maps for geo-tagging, bank statement analyser and others, to improve the efficiency of credit underwriting of Ujjivan SFB.
iii.Through this partnership, a robust digital infrastructure will be deployed for the transition loan processes from manual to digital and help the bank to create digital financial solutions through Saarathi and to upgrade the loan delivery process.
About Saarathi:
i.Saarathi is an Artificial Intelligence based ready to use digital lending platform specialised in digitisation of loan origination. It was launched in 2020.
ii.Saarathi can be used by the sales channels of the banks to source loan files digitally.
iii.Saarathi does not need upfront capital investment and reduces the time to market by around 95% i.e, from 6-9 months to one week.
About Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Limited (Ujjivan SFB):
MD & CEO– Nitin Chugh (will step down from his post on 30th September 2021)
Officer on Special Duty (OSD)– Carol Furtado
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
Tagline– Build a Better Life

Google Tie up with Setu to Open FDs on GPay; Google Launched Kids Safety Programme ‘Be Internet Awesome’

Google partnered with Setu, a fintech company, to enable its users to open fixed deposits (FDs) through Google Pay. At first, Google plans to offer FDs of Equitas Small Finance Bank (SFB) for 1 year. Ujjivan SFB and AU SFB will also be included in future. The fintech Setu which is specialising in providing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) has already created the beta version of the API for offering FDs. The beta version of the API offers FDs of various tenors such as 7-29 days, 30-45 days, 46-90 days, 91-180 days, 181-364 days, and 365 days, with interest rates ranging from 3.5 percent (for the shortest FD) to 6.35 percent (for the one-year FD).

Kids Safety Programme: Google partnered with comic book publisher Amar Chitra Katha and launched a kids safety programme named ‘Be Internet Awesome’ to promote safe internet practices among children.
About Google:
Google Pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system developed by Google.
Headquarters – California, United States
CEO – Sundar Pichai

Karnataka Bank Launched “KBL FASTag”, for seamless toll deduction

The Karnataka Bank launched its KBL FASTag in association with the National Payment Corporation of India(NPCI) and M/s Worldline, the FASTag processor. KBL FASTag is a prepaid payment instrument that offers seamless movement of vehicles at toll plazas across India through automatic dedication of the toll amount.
KBL FASTag:
i.KBL FASTag will offer an easy and convenient transit through the toll plaza for the users by saving time, fuel and money.
ii.The users can avail KBL FASTag on the website of Karnataka Bank or at any branch of the Bank.
iii.The FASTag can be pre-loaded digitally for a required amount and it can be recharged through credit card, Debit Card, Net Banking, (Immediate Payment Service) IMPS, among others.
iv.The KBL FASTag can be used across all the toll plazas across India which are registered in the National Electronic Toll Collection(NETC) programme.
About Karnataka Bank:
MD & CEO– Mahabaleshwara MS
Tagline– Your Family Bank Across India
Headquarters– Mangaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka
Incorporated on 18th February 1924

Sports

Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Indian paddler Bhavina Patel storms into quarterfinals

Indian paralympic table tennis player Bhavina Patel stormed into the quarter-finals of Tokyo Paralympics on August 27, 2021 after 3-0 win over Brazil's Joyce de Oliviera in the Class 4 round of 16 match in women's singles.

Bhavina Patel beat Joyce in three straight sets of 12-10, 13-11, 11-6 to clinch the match and move into the next round. The Brazilian player had started the game on a high as she early lead in the game but Bhavina made a strong comeback to save a game point and take the first set 12-10.

Indian Table Tennis Player G.Sathiyan wins 2021 ITTF Czech International Open

Indian Table Tennis Player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran won the 2021 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Czech International Open. The tournament was held from 21-25th August, 2021 in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Sathiyan beat Yevhen Ryshchepa of Ukraine in the finals in straight sets 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 14-12. He did not lose a single set throughout the tournament. The victory marks Sathiyan’s the 3rd ITTF challenger title after 4 years in 2017 Spanish Open and 2016 Belgium Open. Sathiyan was born in January 1993 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

ITTF Rankings:
Senior Mixed Doubles Pair-Rankings

Rank Name Country
20 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra India
1 Jun Mizutani & Mina Ito Japan
2. Liu Shiwen & Xu Xin Taipei
In August 2021, The Indian duo of Table Tennis players Manika Batra & G. Sathiyan wins the Mixed Doubles Final in World Table Tennis (WTT) contender 2021, held in Budapest, Hungary.

Miscellaneous

GoI & BRICS partnered to setup SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium to study COVID-19 on TB patients

Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have collaborated to implement SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium and multi centric programme to study the impact of severe COVID-19 conditions on Tuberculosis (TB) patients.It will also Setup Network of Genomic Surveillance. SARS-CoV-2 NGS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2-Next-generation sequencing (NGS).

About SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium:
It is an interdisciplinary collaboration to advance COVID-19 health-relevant knowledge in order to improve health outcomes. It will accelerate the translation of genomic data which will help in clinical and public health research and interventions from clinical and surveillance samples. This research will be done with high-end genomic technologies, epidemiologic and bioinformatics tools.

Consortium Team:
Indian team consists members from National Institute of Biomedical Genomics-NIBMG (Professor Arindam Maitra, Professor Saumitra Das, Dr Nidhan K Biswas), Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics-CDFD (Dr Ashwin Dalal) and Indian Institute of Science-IISc (Dr Mohit K Jolly).
Members from Other Countries: National Laboratory for Scientific Computation – LNCC/MCTI (Dr Ana Tereza Ribeiro de Vasconcelos) from Brazil Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Professor Georgii Bazykin) from Russia, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Professor Mingkun Li) from China. University of KwaZulu-Natal (Professor Tulio de Oliveira) from South Africa will participate in this consortium

About Multi Centric Programme:
It is an interdisciplinary team of researchers from India, Brazil and South Africa who will investigate the impact of severe COVID-19 on transient peripheral immunosuppression and lung hyperinflammation conditions in TB patients for epidemiology and comorbidity.
Programme Team:
Indian team consists from National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis-NIRT (Dr. Subash Babu, Dr. Anuradha Rajamanickam, Dr. Banurekha Velayutham and Dr. Dina Nair) from India, Lapclin-Tb/ Inifiocruz (Dr. Valeria Cavalcanti Rolla), IMU, LIB, MONSTER/ IGMFIOCRUZ (Dr. Bruno de Bezerril Andrade), LAPCLIN-TB/ INIFIOCRUZ (Dr. Adriano Gomes da Silva) and LBB/ INI-FIOCRUZ (Dr. Maria Cristina Lourenço) from Brazil. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (Dr. Bavesh Kana, Dr. Bhavna Gordhan, Dr. Neil Martinson and Dr. Ziyaad Waja) from South Africa.

RBI Promoted 3 Grade F officers as Executive Directors for 2021-22

The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has promoted 3 Grade F officers – Ajay Kumar, A.K. Choudhary and Deepak Kumar – as the Executive directors for the year 2021-2022.

Ajay Kumar has been serving as the regional director of RBI regional Office, New Delhi

A.K. Choudhary has been serving as the Chief General Manager in charge of the Department of Supervision, RBI Mumbai.

Deepak Kumar has been serving as the chief General Manager in charge of the Department of information Technology(IT), RBI Mumbai.

Note:
At present RBI has 12 executive directors and 30 chief General Managers, under the 4 deputy governors.
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governor– Mahesh Kumar Jain; Michael Debabrata Patra; M. Rajeshwar Rao; and T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established– 1st April 1935

Indian Idol 2021 Winner Pawandeep Rajan Appointed as Uttarakhand’s Brand Ambassador for Art, Tourism, Culture

Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister(CM) of Uttarakhand, has announced that Pawandeep Rajan, winner of the Indian Idol Season 12(2021), a music reality show, has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand’s art, tourism and culture. 23 years old Pawandeep Rajan hails from Champawat, Uttarakhand.

ACC Approved to Extend the Tenure of 3 MD & CEOs and 10 EDs of PSB

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the Department of Financial Services(DFS) to extend the tenure of 3 Managing Directors(MD) and Chief Executive officers(CEO), and 10 Executive Directors(EDs) of Public Sector Banks(PSB) including the Punjab National Bank(PNB).
MD & CEO: The term of SS Mallikarjuna Rao, the MD and CEO of PNB have been extended until 31st January 2022, the date of his superannuation. The term of Atul Kumar Goel, MD and CEO of UCO Bank has been extended for a period of 2 years. The term of A S Rajeev, MD and CEO of Bank of Maharashtra has been extended for a period of 2 years.

About Punjab National Bank(PNB):
MD & CEO– S.S. Mallikarjuna Rao
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Tagline-The name you can bank upon
Founded– 19th May 1894
Commenced Operations– 12th April 1895
About UCO Bank:
UCO Bank formerly known as the United Commercial Bank Limited.
MD & CEO– Atul Kumar Goel
Incorporated in 1943
Nationalized in 1969
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal
About Bank of Maharashtra:
MD & CEO– A S Rajeev
Headquarters– Pune, Maharashtra
Incorporated on 16th September 1935

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