Current Affairs

28 July, 2021

International

INS Talwar to Participate in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Talwar visited Mombasa, Kenya to participate in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021 (CE21). The Annual Maritime Exercise is to be conducted from 26 July, 2021 to 6th August, 2021 along the East Coast of Africa. The Exercise is sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF). Indian Navy is participating in the exercise in a ‘trainer role’. 13 nations – Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the US are participating in the exercise. The main objective of the exercise is to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

About Kenya
President – Uhuru Kenyatta
Capital – Nairobi
Currency – Kenyan Shilling (KES)
About U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF)
Commander – General Stephen J. Townsend (USA)
Headquarters – Naples, Italy

Philippines becomes World’s 1st Country to approve GM ‘Golden Rice’ for Production

The Philippines became the World’s 1st Country to approve Genetically Modified (GM) ‘Golden Rice’ for Commercial Production. The GM rice will help in increasing the rice productivity in the country. It has been developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute. The rice variety approved by the Philippines is enriched with Vitamin A-precursor beta-carotene to make it more nutritional. In the Philippines, around 17% of children under the age of 5 are deficient in Vitamin A. Rice will help in combating childhood blindness and save lives in the developing world. Crops like rice, wheat, soybeans, and other fruits and vegetables have a naturally occurring fault in the way they photosynthesize that causes the plants to use up energy and resources, drastically decreasing the productivity. Golden Rice was first conceived by Professors Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer in the late 1980s.

Importance of Vitamin A
The Vitamin A enriched in the rice is essential for normal growth and development, and for proper functioning of the immune system, and vision. According to WHO, Vitamin A deficiency causes up to 500,000 cases of Childhood blindness every year.
About Philippines:
President – Rodrigo Duterte
Capital – Manila
Currency – Philippine peso

National

INS Talwar to Participate in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Talwar visited Mombasa, Kenya to participate in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021 (CE21). The Annual Maritime Exercise is to be conducted from 26 July, 2021 to 6th August, 2021 along the East Coast of Africa. The Exercise is sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF). Indian Navy is participating in the exercise in a ‘trainer role’. 13 nations – Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the US are participating in the exercise. The main objective of the exercise is to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

About Kenya
President – Uhuru Kenyatta
Capital – Nairobi
Currency – Kenyan Shilling (KES)
About U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF)
Commander – General Stephen J. Townsend (USA)
Headquarters – Naples, Italy

Citizen Engagement Platform ‘MyGov’ Celebrates 7th Anniversary

India’s Citizen Engagement Platform ‘MyGov’ celebrated the 7th Anniversary of its launch on July 26, 2021. The platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26th July 2014 to promote the active participation of Indian citizens in their country’s governance and development. The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) conducted an event to highlight the contribution of MyGov in promoting participatory governance. The theme of the event was ‘MyGov Positive’ – promoting positive use of Social media. The platform is managed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).

FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge
i.During the event, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for MeitY & Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh announced the launch of FOSS4GOV Innovation Challenge (Free and Open Source Software). It invites FOSS innovators, technology entrepreneurs and Indian Startups to submit implementable open source product innovation in the fields of Health, Education, Urban Governance, Agriculture or any other field related to E-governance for public for 2 categories: Customer relationship management (CRM) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
About Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY)
Union Minister – AshwiniVaishnaw (Rajya Sabha – Odisha)
MoS– Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)

Central Govt to invest Rs 324 crore to set up over 42 VRDLs

The Central Government is all set to expand its lab testing infrastructure by establishing over 42 Virology Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) at a cost of Rs 324 crore during the period of 15th Finance Commission (2021-22 to 2025-26). These will be set up under a Department of Health Research (DHR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scheme. The aim of the scheme is to expand coverage of timely diagnosis and virus identification in case of any epidemic, generation of data about viral diseases, and measures to save human lives.

Background of DHR Scheme: The DHR scheme was approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) in 2013 at an estimated cost of Rs 646.83 crores for the 12th Five-year plan period (2012–17). The Standing Finance Committee gave its approval to the scheme in 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs 488.5 crores for 14th Finance Commission Period (2017-18 to 2019-20). The scheme was extended by one year till 31 March, 2021, in order to tie it up with the 14th Finance Commission Period. Now in a recent standing finance committee meeting in March 2021, the scheme was further approved to be continued.

Targets of DHR Scheme:

i.The target of the scheme was reduced to 125 VRDLs (10 regional laboratories; 25 state level laboratories and 90 medical college level laboratories) from 160 during the 14th Finance Commission. As on 31st March 2021, a network of 124 VRDLs has been established.

MoST set up a first-of-its-kind ‘Centre of Excellence’ in the Northeast; Located in Kimin, Arunachal Pradesh

i.The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) will launch a first-of-its-kind Centre of Excellence (CoE) in the Northeast i.e. ‘Centre for Bio-Resources and Sustainable Development’ at Kimin in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh (AR).
ii.The establishment of the Centre was sanctioned by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), MoST and is already complete for formal inauguration.
iii.This decision has been taken to push digital initiatives in the north eastern states under the Centre’s flagship Digital India programme.
About Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST):
Dr Jitendra Singh Constituency– Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir
Departments– Department of Science & Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR)
Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India– Dr. Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan

Economy

Care Ratings Projected India’s GDP Growth Forecast in FY22 at 8.8 to 9%

Care Ratings has estimated India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast in FY22 at the range of 8.8 to 9 percent. Indian economy contracted by 7.3 percent (-7.3) in FY21.

Estimated Projections for FY22 by Care Ratings:

GVA (gross value added) growth 7.8%
Fiscal Deficit Rs 17.38 to Rs 17.68 lakh crore
Non-performing Assets (NPAs) of banks 10-10.5%
Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) USD 18-22 billion; lower than FY21
Foreign Exchange Reserves USD 620-630 billion
The CPI (Consumer Price Index)-based inflation was expected to be elevated at around 6 percent. For a nominal GDP of Rs 222.9 lakh crore, the fiscal deficit ratio is expected to be in the range of 7.8-7.9 percent of GDP
About Care Ratings:
Establishment – April 1993
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Mr. Ajay Mahajan

HDFC Bank, CSC Launched OD Facility up to Rs 10 lakh for Small Retailers

On July 26, 2021, HDFC Bank, the largest private lender of India, in collaboration with Common Services Centres (CSC) e-Governance India Ltd, Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC SPV), launched an OverDraft (OD) scheme named ‘Dukandar Overdraft Scheme’ to provide financial assistance up to Rs 10 lakh to small retailers.
Features of Dukandar Overdraft Scheme:
i.Eligibility: Small retailers who are operating for a minimum of 3 years are eligible under the scheme.
ii.OD limit: The overall limit of OD was from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakhs. For shops that are operational for less than 6 years, the upper limit will be Rs 7.5 lakhs and for those who are in business for more than 6 years,the limit is Rs 10 lakhs.
About CSC Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC SPV):
CSC SPV, the government’s e-governance services delivery arm was set up by the Ministry of Electronics & IT under the Companies Act, 1956 to oversee the implementation of the CSC scheme.
MD – Dinesh Kumar Tyagi

Sports

Weightlifter Zhihui Hou to be tested by anti-doping authorities, Chanu to get medal upgrade?

India’s weightlifter Mirabai Chanu who bagged a silver medal in the 49-kg women’s weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 stands a chance for a medal upgrade to gold.

China’s Hou ZhiZhi won gold in the 49-kg women’s weightlifting has been directed to stay in Tokyo to undergo a dope test. If she fails the dope test, Chanu will be awarded a gold medal.

ZhiZhi had bagged gold for lifting 210-kg while making a new Olympic world record. Chanu bagged a silver for lifting a total of 202-kg, (115-kg in clean and jerk and 87-kg in snatch) in four successful attempts. Indonesia’s Windy Cantika Aisah won a bronze for lifting 194-kg.
After winning a silver, Chanu has become the second Indian weightlifter who has won an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleswari who had won a bronze in the 69-kg category at the 2000 Sydney Games.

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, July 28: PV Sindhu advances to knockouts, Pooja Rani storms into quarter-finals

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, July 27 Highlights: India's Day 6 at Tokyo Olympics 2020 has been loaded with action PV Sindhu first advancing into the knockout stage after beating Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi 21-9, 21-16 to top Group J.

Indian archer Deepika Kumari also defeated USA's Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez 6-4 in the 1/16 eliminations round. She had earlier defeated Bhutan's Bhu Karna. Boxer Pooja Rani also stormed into the quarterfinals of women's middleweight (69-75kg) category after defeating Algeria's Ichrak Chaib in Round of 16.

Indian archer Pravin Jadhav had also defeated ROC's Galsan Bazarzhapov 6-0 in the 1/32 eliminations round. However, he lost 6-0 to USA's Brady Ellison in his second-round match.

The Indian women's hockey team also lost their Pool A match 4-1 to Great Britain. B Sai Praneeth also bowed out of the singles event after losing 14-21, 14-21 to Mark Caljouw.

Miscellaneous

Scientists from India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa will collaborate to develop Covid-19 drug

Collaboration will be made between the scientists from India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa to develop or repurpose drugs against Covid-19. This partnership will comprise experts from bioinformatics, organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, drug screening and parasitologists. The research to be done under this partnership will be supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).

Edtech Company Byju’s Acquired Great Learning for 600 Million USD

Byju’s, Indian Educational technology(Edtech) company based in Bengaluru has acquired the Singapore based higher education platform “Great Learning” for 600 million USD(around Rs 4466 Crore) andafter-school learning app “Toppr” for 150 million USD(around Rs 1117 crore). Byju’s is set to invest an additional 400 million USD to accelerate the growth of “Great Learning”. In 2021, Byju’s has acquired 6 startups across India and the United State(US) and in the past 6 months the company has spent more than 2 billion USD on acquisition.

Axis Bank, ICICI, HDFC Bank Bought Stake in IBBIC

Private sector lenders HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have bought a stake in Indian Banks’ Blockchain Infrastructure Co (IBBIC) Pvt Ltd, a financial technology firm. HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have picked up 50,000 equity shares amounting to 5.55 percent of the issued and paid-up capital of IBBIC. HDFC Bank and Axis Bank invested Rs 5 lakh each for the shares. ICICI Bank has subscribed to 49,000 equity shares constituting 5.44 percent of the issued and paid-up share capital of IBBIC. It paid Rs 4.9 lakh for the shares.

IBBIC Pvt Ltd:
i.The 15 banks including State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and 12 others have formed IBBIC Pvt Ltd company to ease the process of Letters of Credit, GST invoices, and e-way bills.
iii.IBBIC provides Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions for the financial services sector, it will enable secure functioning of a decentralised digital database by storing information securely using cryptography.
About Indian Banks’ Blockchain Infrastructure Co (IBBIC) Pvt Ltd:
Establishment – May 2021
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Axis Bank:
Establishment –1993 (Commenced operation –1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Tagline – Badhtika Naam Zindagi

Govt to Sell 8% Stake in HUDCO via OFS to Raise Around Rs 720 crore

The government is set to sell 8% of stakes in Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO), a Public Sector Company(PSC) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), through an offer for sale(OFS), to raise around Rs 720 crores. President of India, Ram NathKovind, acting through MoHUA, approved the sale of shares in HUDCO through the OFS route. After the sale of stakes, the Government’s holdings in HUDCO will be reduced to 81.81% if it uses the greenshoe option.

About Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO):
HUDCO is a techno-financing public sector enterprise, in the field of housing and infrastructure development in India.
Chairman & Managing Director– Kamran Rizvi
Headquarters– New Delhi

Former PM NajibMikati Named as the New PM-Designate of Lebanon

Former Prime Minister(PM) NajibMikati has been appointed as the new Prime Minister-designate of Lebanon. He will succeed former PM Hassan Diab who resigned in August 2020. According to Forbes, with a net worth of 2.5 billion USD, NajibMikati is the richest man in Lebanon in 2021. NajibMikati is supported by many political parties including Future Movement, Amal Movement, Hezbollah, Marada Movement and Progressive Socialist Party.

About NajibMikati:
NajibMikati has previously served as the Prime Minister of Lebanon in 2005 and from 2011 to 2014.
He has also served as the Minister of Public Works and Transport from 1998 to 2004.
About Lebanon:
President– Michel Aoun
Capital– Beirut
Currency– Lebanese Pound

Kandla Became 1st Green SEZ to Achieve ICBC Green Cities Platinum Rating

Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was awarded Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Green Cities Platinum Rating for successfully achieving the green city standards through Green master planning, policy initiatives, and implementation of green infrastructure. KASEZ became the 1stGreen SEZ to achieve such a rating for Existing Cities. The IGBC Platinum rating was awarded by the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) IGBC. The rating plaque was presented to the KASEZ’s team SatyadeepMahapatra, Joint Development Commissioner and Chandan Singh, Appraiser in the presence of senior officials of the Department of Commerce and DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) The initiatives undertaken by KASEZ for water conservation and afforestation in the Bhuj region of Gujarat was also appreciated. The achievement of KASEZ is considered as a commitment under India@75 – AzadikaAmrutMahotsav.

Note – The India@75 – AzadikaAmrutMahotsav, is a series of events to be organised by the Government of India to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence.
About KASEZ:
i.It was Asia’s 1st Export Processing Zone (EPZ) set up in 1965 and now it is considered as India’s largest multi-product functional SEZ.
ii.The SEZ is located at the port town Gandhidham, Gujarat, 9kms away from Kandla port and 60 Kms from Adani Port in Gujarat.

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Daily Current Affairs | 22nd September 2021

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