Current Affairs

27 May, 2021

International

WHO, Switzerland set to launch 1st WHO BioHub Facility

World Health Organization (WHO), and Switzerland signed an MoU to launch the first WHO BioHub Facility as part of the WHO BioHub System during the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The facility will allow the rapid sharing of viruses and other pathogens between laboratories and global partners. It will be set up in Spiez, Switzerland. Under this agreement, the Spiez Biocontainment Laboratory will be made available to WHO and the lab will act as a repository for Sars-CoV-2 viruses or other pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential. The timely sharing of pathogens will allow the global scientific community to assess the risk and develop counter measures (such as diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines) rapidly.
About World Health Organization (WHO)
Director-General – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
About Switzerland (officially Swiss Confederation)
President – Guy Parmelin
Capital – Bern
Currency – Swiss Franc (NHF)

India to launch ‘UNITE AWARE’ Mobile tech platform for UN Peacekeepers

India will launch ‘UNITE AWARE’, a mobile tech platform for the United Nations Peacekeepers to improve their safety and security in the line of duty. It will be launched during India’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Presidency term in August 2021 (Presidency of the UNSC Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month).
i.UNITED AWARE will increase the situational awareness of the peacekeepers by providing terrain-related information.
ii.India has spent USD 1.64 million for the project and is developing it in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Operational Support.
iii.The information about the platform was shared by India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu during his virtual address to UNSC Open Debate ‘Peacekeeping Operations: Improving safety and security of peacekeepers’.
UN Peacekeeping Force
The Union Nations Peacekeeping mission began in 1948, it is a role held by the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPO). India is one of the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions.
About UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPO)
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations – Jean-Pierre Lacroix
Headquarters – New York, USA
About United Nations Security Council (UNSC):
Established in 1945
Headquarters – New York, USA
Security Council President (for May 2021) – China

National

Government of India Opened Up the Import of Pulses to Boost Availability & Check Price

The government of India has opened up the import of pulses like tur (arhar), moong and urad pulses as the Ministry of Commerce has amended the import coverage of these 3 pulses by transferring them from restricted to open category.
The relaxation for the import is applicable till October 31 and all the imports under this modified norm will have to arrive on or before November 2021. This is aimed to increase the availability of pulses and to sustain the price rise. The Open General License (OGL) under the free import policy enables the traders to import the pulses to fulfil the shortage of pulses.

Mohali International Hockey Stadium was Renamed after Padma Shri Balbir Singh Sr.

The Government of Punjab has officially renamed the Mohali International Hockey Stadium Sector 63 phase 9, Mohali, Punjab, after the 3 time Olympics champion, Padma Shri Balbir Singh Senior. The stadium will be officially known as Olympian Balbir Singh Senior International Hockey Stadium.
The announcement regarding the renaming was made at the tribute ceremony held on 25th May, the first death anniversary of Balbir Singh Sr.He passed away at the age of 96 on 25th May 2020.
Additional info:
i.Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, the Sports Minister of Punjab, has started a scholarship scheme named after Balbir Singh Senior, for the meritorious hockey players of Punjab.
ii.A statue of Balbir Singh Sr. will be installed at the entrance of the stadium.

As per 3rd Advance Estimates, the estimated production of major crops during 2020-21 are as under

Crop Estimated Production
Rice 121.46 MT (record)
Wheat 108.75 MT (record)
Oilseeds 36.57 MT (record)
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW)
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) comes under MoA&FW
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Parshottam Rupala (Rajya Sabha, Gujarat), Kailash Choudhary (Lok Sabha – Barmer, Rajasthan)

India’s Foodgrain production to rise by 2.66% to 305.44 MT in 2020-21: DAC & FW Estimates

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) has released the 3rd Advance Estimates of production of major agricultural crops for 2020-21. According to the estimates, the total foodgrain production in India is estimated to rise by 2.66% to a record 305.44 Million Tonnes (MT) in 2020-21 (compared to 2019). It is an increase of 7.94 MT than the production of foodgrain of 297.50 MT achieved during 2019-20. The 305.44 MT estimate is higher by 26.66 MT compared to average production of foodgrains of the previous five years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The assessment is based on data received from States.

Department of Atomic Energy to build India’s 1st Research Reactor on PPP Model

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) stated that India’s 1st Radioisotope Production (reactor) and processing facility complex will be built on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model. It will be the 1st of its kind PPP in the world. The facility complex will be one of the largest single facilities for production/processing of isotopes in the world in terms of volume. The reactor will be designed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and constructed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), a subsidiary of DAE. The capital expenditure for construction will be provided by DAE. The main objective behind the construction of the Radioisotope reactor is to make treatment for cancer and other diseases affordable, provide help in the farm sector (for food preservation), and make India self-reliant in production of key radioisotopes. DAE will share the technology of production of nuclear medicines with private entities which invest in construction of the reactor and processing units, these entities also get exclusive rights to process and market the radioisotopes produced in the reactor.
About Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
It comes under the control of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds the portfolio of DAE (Lok Sabha – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Minister of State – Dr Jitendra Singh
About Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)
Director – Dr. Ajit Kumar Mohanty
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Cabinet Approvals on May 25, 2021

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi granted approval to several key initiatives. They are
i.MoU signed by ICoAI and ICSI with Foreign Countries/Organisations – To facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications and collaborative activities for exchange of knowledge, experience sharing & technical cooperation.
ii.Creation of the post of Director in Senior Administrative Grade (SAG), at National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Academy in Nagpur, Maharashtra for better administration and to achieve the goals of the NDRF Academy.
iii.Opening of a New Consulate General of India in Addu City, Maldives in 2021, It is India’s 1st Consulate in Maldives.
About Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICoAI)
President – Biswarup Basu
Head Office – Kolkata, West Bengal
About Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
President – Nagendra D Rao
Head Office – New Delhi
About Maldives
President – Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Capital – Male
Currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa

Economy

HDFC To Raise Up To Rs 7,000 Cr By Issuing Bonds

India’s largest private sector bank by assets and by market capitalization,HDFC Bank has announced that it will raise up to Rs 7,000 crore by issuing bonds on private placement basis.
About HDFC Bank:
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Director(CEO)– Sashidhar Jagdishan
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– We understand your world
HDFC bank received the approval of the Reserve Bank of India to set up a private sector
bank in 1994.

‘Pockets’-ICICI Bank’s e-wallet Became the 1st to be Linked with UPI Network

In collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) Bank has launched a facility for linking a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) ID with its digital wallet, ‘Pockets’ and became the 1st one in the industry to link e-wallet with UPI Network. By linking Pockets with UPI, ICICI enables its customers to undertake UPI transactions from their wallet balance instead of their savings account, as the users can directly use the balance in the wallet for smaller transactions.
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1955(Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum hai na, Khayal Apka

PNB, PNB Housing Enters New Brand Agreement

In May 2021, Punjab National Bank (PNB) and PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNB Housing) made a fresh brand agreement, to provide PNB with the right to withdraw its brand name from PNB Housing. Currently, PNB is holding 33 percent in PNB Housing. The existing brand arrangement (dated December 7, 2009) will continue to govern the use of the PNB trademark until PNB’s shareholding in the PNB Housing company is 30 percent or more. The new agreement (dated May 24, 2021) will replace the existing agreement when PNB’s shareholding falling below 30 percent.
New agreement Terms:
i.If PNB’s shareholding in PNB Housing falls below 20 percent, the PNB Housing will be allowed a transition period of up to 24 months for changing of the brand name.
ii.Royalty Fee: When PNB’s stake falling below 30 percent, PNB Housing will pay a royalty between Rs 14.97 crore to Rs 30 crore and it would be 0.2 percent of its revenue and 2 percent of net profit.
About Punjab National Bank(PNB):
Establishment – May 19, 1894 (Commenced Operations – April 12, 1895)
Headquarters– New Delhi
MD & CEO – CH. S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao
Tagline– The name you can bank upon
About PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNB Housing):
Establishment – November 11, 1988
Headquarters – New Delhi
MD & CEO – Hardayal Prasad

TransUnion’s Onboarding Solution Implemented By YES Bank

Yes Bank digitises onboarding of credit card customers by implementing TransUnion’s Onboarding Solution.This solution will enable YES BANK to onboard its credit card customers seamlessly, efficiently, and quickly.
About TransUnion’s seamless onboarding:
i.TransUnion’s seamless onboarding delivers a full range of identity, fraud, decisioning and credit solutions through a single platform and API calls to make integration easy and convenient for the lender.
ii.Advantages: Fewer customer information fields to input No physical paperworkComparatively lesser time required for completing the credit card applications
About YES Bank:
Establishment – 2004
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Director(CEO) – Prashant Kumar
Tagline– Experience our Expertise

Sports

Germany Footballer Sami Khedira announced retirement

Germany’s midfielder 2014 FIFA World Cup-winner Sami Khedira announced retirement, He began his football career at VfB Stuttgart and won the Bundesliga title in 2007. He has also won the La Liga and UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, and five Serie A titles with Juventus. Khedira played 77 games for Germany scoring seven goals and helped them win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Robert Lewandowski Won Europe’s Golden Shoe Award

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (Poland) was awarded with Europe’s Golden Shoe also known as European Golden Boot, as he finished as the top scorer in Europe’s leading domestic leagues. He scored a record-breaking 41 goals in the Bundesliga en route to Bayern’s ninth consecutive league title. The Award was presented by European Sports Media. Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the maximum number of awards (6 awards).
About European Golden Shoe:
It is also known as European Golden Boot, is an award that is presented each season to the leading goalscorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league.

Miscellaneous

HDFC Ltd Sold 3.08 percent Stake of RInfra for Rs 43.91 crore

Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Ltd, an Indian financial services company, sold further 81,05,677 shares equivalent to 3.08 percent share capital of Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra) for worth over Rs 43.91 crore. HDFC held these shares on account of invocation of pledge through Axis Trustee Services.
About Reliance Group:
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Group Chairman & CEO – Anil Dhirubhai Ambani
About Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Ltd:
Establishment – 1977
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO – Mr. Keki M. Mistry

Subodh Kumar Jaiswal DG of CISF was Appointed as the Director of CBI

The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has appointed Subodh Kumar Jaiswal as the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) for a period of 2 years from the date of assumption of charge. He has been serving as the Director-General(DG) of the Central Industrial Security Force(CISF). He was recommended for the post by the 3-member selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
About Subodh Kumar Jaiswal:
i.Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, 1985 batch IPS officer of Maharashtra cadre, has served as the Director-General of Police Maharashtra.
ii.He has also served as the Mumbai Police Chief between 2018 and 2019.
About the Selection Committee:
The 3 members high-level Selection committee led by PM Narendra Modi consists of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
About Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI):
CBI was established as the Special Police Establishment in 1941
Director– Subodh Kumar Jaiswal
Headquarters– New Delhi

IFSCA Constituted Expert Committee on Investment Funds – Headed by Nilesh Shah

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), the regulator of GIFT- City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), constituted a 12-member expert committee on investment funds(IF) under the Chairmanship of Nilesh Shah, Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co. Ltd., to recommend a roadmap to promote IF at International Financial Services Centres(IFSC). The Committee consists of leaders from the entire Fund Management ecosystem including from areas such as technology, distribution, legal, compliance, and operations.
Objective: Aims to develop a comprehensive and consistent regulatory framework for IF based on global best practices with a special focus on ease of doing business.
About International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA):
Establishment – April 27, 2020, under IFSCA Act, 2019
Headquarters – GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Chairperson – Injeti Srinivas

Bernard Arnault overtakes Jeff Bezos to become world’s richest person

According to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, on 24th May 2021, French tycoon Bernard Arnault, CEO and majority owner of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton(LVMH), became the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of 186.3 billion USD. He overtook Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, whose net worth was 186 billion USD and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla whose net worth was 147.3 billion USD. The net worth of Bernard Arnault has risen from 76 Billion USD (March 2020) to 186.3 billion USD with a massive rise of around 110 Billion USD in 14 months.

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