Current Affairs

30 April, 2021


MEA’s Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das co-chairs 23rd ASEAN-India Senior Officials Meeting

Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (East) Mrs Riva Ganguly Das virtually co-chaired the 23rd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Senior Officials’ Meeting with Permanent Secretary of Thailand Mr Thani Thongphakdi. Thailand served as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations for the last three years – 2018-21, Singapore will be the next Country Coordinator (2021-24, it is a 3-year term). ASEAN officials welcomed India’s proposal to celebrate the year 2022 as ASEAN-India Friendship Year. The participants discussed steps to be taken for implementing the ASEAN-India Plan of Action (2021-25).
About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Chair of 2021 – Brunei Darussalam (Theme of its ASEAN Chairmanship is “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”).
Secretary-General – H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi (2018 -2022)
Headquarters – Jakarta, Indonesia

UK Became the First Country to Adopt Self-Driving Cars on Motorways

The United Kingdom(UK) government became the first country in the globe to permit self-driving cars on motorways after the announcement of its plan on April 28, 2021, to regulate the use of self-driving vehicles at slow speeds on motorways.
About United Kingdom:
Capital – London
Currency – Pound sterling
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson

Norway Contributes 20 Million NOK to India for COVID 19 Relief Fund

The government of Norway has announced a contribution of 20 million Norwegian Kroners(NOK)(~2.4 million USD or ~Rs.18 crore) to support the COVID-19 relief in India. The fund of Norway will be channelled through the World Health Organization(WHO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). New Zealand will provide 1 million New Zealand Dollars(NZD) (~720365 USD or ~ Rs.5 crore) to the Red Cross to support the COVID-19 relief in India. Canada has pledged to donate 10 Million USD to Indian Red Cross to support the medical emergencies in India due to COVID-19.
About Norway:
Prime Minister– Erna Solberg
Currency– Norwegian Krone
Capital– Oslo
About New Zealand:
President– Jacinda Ardern
Capital– Wellington
Currency– New Zealand dollar


Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act in Delhi comes into Force

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified the ‘Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) (Amendment) Act, 2021’. The provisions of the Act came into effect from April 27, 2021. According to the legislation, the ‘Government’ in Delhi means the ‘Lieutenant Governor’ and the elected government of New Delhi have to seek the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor before taking any executive action. The Act amends the ‘Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991’. The bill was passed in both houses of the Parliament in March, 2021. The amended act states that “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021 (15 of 2021), the Central Government hereby appoints the 27th April 2021 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,”.
About UT of Delhi
Chief Minister – Arvind Kejriwal
Governor – Anil Baijal

India, Russia to establish ‘2+2 Ministerial Dialogue’ between Foreign, Defence Ministers

Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi & Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to establish a ‘2+2 Ministerial Dialogue’ at the Foreign & Defence Minister level between the two countries. It is expected to boost the Bilateral Strategic partnership between India & Russia. Russia is the 4th Country & 1st Non-Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) member country with which India has established the ‘2+2 Ministerial Dialogue’ mechanism. India already has this ‘2+2 Ministerial Dialogue’ mechanism with 3 countries namely – US, Japan & Australia (members of QUAD). The Establishment of the mechanism was announced after a telephonic conversation between PM of India Narendra Modi and President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
About Russia
Capital– Moscow
Currency– Russian Rouble
President– Vladimir Putin

Cabinet approves Agreement between India, United Kingdom for Information sharing, Customs Cooperation

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing and ratification of an Agreement between India & the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island (commonly known as the UK or Britain) on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative
About United Kingdom (UK)
Constituent Countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson
Capital – London
Currency – Pound Sterling (GBP)


Wipro sets to Reach Net-zero GHG Emissions by 2040

Wipro, the IT software major announced its plan to achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2040 and committed an intermediate target to achieve a 55 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to its base year of 2016-17 (April-March).
The targets fixed by the company are in accordance with the Paris Agreement’s objective to cap temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the globally accepted Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Indian Bank Signed an MoU with BSNL to Provide Telecom Services

Indian Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL) to provide telecom services to the bank at a competitive rate.
The MoU was signed in the presence of the executive director of Indian Bank and chief general manager of BSNL Chennai Telephones.
Note: Indian bank already uses the service of BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for the Wide Area Network (WAN) across India.
About Indian Bank:
MD & CEO- PadmajaChunduru
Executive Director– ShenoyVishwanath V
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Founded in– 1907
About Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL):
BSNL was formed by the corporatization of the Department of Telecom Services and came into being on 1st October 2000.
CMD– Pravin Kumar Purwar
Headquarters– New Delhi

ICICI Bank Launched Digital Banking Service for Merchants – ‘Merchant Stack’

ICICI Bank launched ‘Merchant Stack’, a digital banking services as a continuation of its ‘ICICI Stack’, for retail merchants especially for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Entrepreneurs.
Important components of the ‘Merchant Stack’: A new account called – Super Merchant Current Account 2 Instant credit facilities based on Point of Sale (POS) transactions – Merchant Overdraft and Express Credit Digital Store Management facility to support merchants in online business
About ICICI Bank:
Establishment – 1995(Incorporated in 1994)
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD& CEO – Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline – Hum haina, KhayalApka

Govt Retained the GPF Interest Rate Unchanged at 7.1% for Q1 FY22

Ministry of Finance, Government of India(GoI) retained the General Provident Fund (GPF) and other non-government PF, Gratuity funds interest rate unchanged at 7.1 per cent for the first quarter Q1 of FY22. In April 2020, the GPF interest rate was changed from 7.9% to 7.1% and after that, the interest rates are being unchanged consecutively for 5 quarters. In April 2021, the Finance Ministry has also retained the Interest Rate of Small Savings Scheme for Q1FY22.
About General Provident Fund (GPF):
GPF is a saving instrument only for government employees, they can contribute a portion of his/her salary regularly till the time he/she is employed. On retirement, the employer transfers the total accumulated amount in the GPF account to the employee.
Note – Private sector company employee is not eligible for the GPF
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Rajya Sabha MP representing Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS) – Anurag Singh Thakur (Lok Sabha MP, Constituency – Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh)

Axis Bank Board Approved the Reclassification of NIACL from Promoter to Public Investor

The board of Axis Bank approved the reclassification of New India Assurance Co Ltd (NIACL) from promoter category to public category investor. As of April 22, 2021, 0.67 per cent of the total issued and paid-up equity share capital of the Axis bank was held by NIACL. The approval of the stock exchanges, statutory/regulatory authorities and shareholders of the bank are also subjected to reclassification.
About Axis Bank:
Commenced operations – 1994(founded – 1993)
MD & CEO – Amitabh Chaudhry
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – Badhtika Naam Zindagi


Delhi Capitals (DC) squad IPL 2021, team profile, top records and other details

Delhi Capitals (DC) representing the National Capital Delhi is one of the teams of IPL 2021 that has not released too many players before the auction.

Steve Smith, on April 1, 2021, became the first player to be picked at the Indian Premier League mini-auction as the Delhi Capitals picked the former Australian Captain for Rs. 2.20 crores, which is almost his base price.

In 2020, the team appeared in their first IPL final under the Captaincy of Shreyas Iyer. However, for IPL 2021, the 23 years old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been named the Captain after Shreya Iyer suffered a shoulder injury. He has been ruled out of the entire season.

Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das wins gold in Archery World Cup

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari won the men and women individual recurve gold medals respectively in the Archery World Cup Stage 1 in Guatemala on April 25,2021. Atanu beat Daniel Castro of Spain 6-4, while Deepika defeated Mackenzie Brown of the USA 6-5 (9-9), via the tie-breaker, in the gold medal matches Atanu has also won bronze in mixed category with Ankita.The Indian recurve archers finished with four medals (three gold and one bronze medal ) in the event.


China Launches Core Module for Permanent Space Station & Robot Prototype for Space Cleaning

China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched the Core Module named ‘Tianhe or Heavenly Harmony’ for its new permanent space station called ‘Tiangong Space Station’. It was launched on a Long March 5B rocket from Wenchang Launch Center, Hainan, China. it is the 1st of 11 missions needed for constructing the New space station of China. The Module contains living quarters for crew members of ‘Tiangong’ Along with the Tianhe Module, ‘NEO-01’, a robot prototype for cleaning space debris in Low Earth Orbit was also launched. The robot is designed by Origin Space, a Chinese Space Mining Company.
About China National Space Administration (CNSA):
Administrator – Zhang Kejian
Headquarters – Beijing, China

UK to get World’s Most Powerful Weather Climate Forecasting Supercomputer by 2022

Microsoft and the United Kingdom(UK)’s Met Office are collaborating to build the world’s most powerful weather and climate forecasting supercomputer in the UK.It is likely to be operational in 2022.
The Met Office has signed an agreement with Microsoft for the provision of a leading supercomputing capability to enhance weather and climate forecasting.
This state of the art supercomputer will be developed at a cost of 1.2 billion pounds(~ ₹12,400 crore). This is a part of the UK Government’s commitment towards achieving Net Zero by 2050. The capabilities of this supercomputer are one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable, which is powered by 100% renewable energy, delivered through market-leading energy efficiency.

DRDO conducts successful Maiden Trial of Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile in Goa

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully conducted the Maiden trial of 5th Generation Python-5 Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in Goa. The missile would add to the air-to-air combat capability of India’s Indigenous LCA Tejas (Light Combat Aircraft). Python-5 Missile is an infra-red guided missile manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Israel and has a range of 20 km. The test also validated the enhanced capability of Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Medium Range AAM Missile, which has a range of 50 km. Both missiles were fired from Tejas aircraft of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
About Rafael Advanced Defence Systems
CEO – Yoav Har-Even
Headquarters – Haifa, Israel

CCI Approved the 64.3% Stake Acquisition from BigBasket’s SGS by Tata Digital

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Tata Digital Ltd(TDL) to acquire the 64.3 per cent of the total share capital of Supermarket Grocery Supplies Private Ltd (SGS) and its sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts (IRC) Private Ltd, the company that runs online grocery delivery platform BigBasket.
About Tata Digital Ltd(TDL):
TDL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Private Ltd (Tata Sons)
Chief Executive Officer – Pratik Pal
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Supermarket Grocery Supplies Private Ltd (SGS):
Establishment – October 2011
Headquarters – Bangalore, Karnataka
Chief Executive Officer – Hari Menon

Amitabh Chaudhry re-appointed as MD & CEO of Axis Bank

The board of Axis Bank approved the re-appointment of Amitabh Chaudhry as the Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Axis Bank for a period of 3 years, with effect from January 1, 2022 up to December 31, 2024. Also the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and shareholders of the bank have to approve the appointment.
About Amitabh Chaudhry:
i.Amitabh Chaudhry was appointed as MD and CEO of Axis Bank for a period of three years, from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021.
ii.Prior to joining Axis Bank, Amitabh Chaudhry was MD and CEO of HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company
About Axis Bank:
Establishment: 1993
Headquarters: Mumbai,Maharashtra
Tagline: Badhti ka Naam Zindagi

Expenditure Secretary TV Somanathan appointed as Finance secretary

The Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan was recently appointed as the Finance Secretary by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.He will succeed Ajay Bhushan Pandey In the Finance Ministry the senior most secretary among the four secretaries in the finance ministry is designated as the finance secretary.
About TV Somanathan:
i.TV Somanathan is a 1987 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre. Somanathan was awarded the Gold Medal for the Best IAS trainee of his cohort.
ii.Somanathan was appointed as the Secretary,Department of expenditure(DoE)in finance ministry in December 2019.
iii.Prior to that, he was serving as a principal secretary in Tamil Nadu cadre.
iv.Earlier, he has served as a joint secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister: Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of State(MoS): Anurag Singh Thakur
Secretary, Department of Financial Services: Debasish Panda
Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM): Tuhin Kanta Pandey
Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs: Ajay Seth

Jio Platforms, Byju’s in Time’s first list of 100 most influential firms

Reliance Industry Limited’s (RIL) technology wing Jio Platforms and e-learning startup Byju’s have made it to the TIME Magazine’s first-ever list ‘TIME100 Most Influential Companies’, which is an expansion of the TIME100 franchise.
The key factors considered for evaluation are,
• Relevance
• Impact
• Innovation
• Leadership
• Ambition
i.Jio Platforms was listed under the Innovation category alongside Zoom, Adidas, TikTok, Ikea, Moderna and Netflix.
ii.The magazine has listed Jio Platform for “leading digital transformation” in India.
iii.Byju’s was listed under the Disruptors category alongside Tesla, Huawei, Shopify, Airbnb and DiDi Chuxing.
About Jio Platforms:
Parent Company:Reliance Industries
Founder:Mukesh Ambani
About Byjus:
Founder:Byju Raveendran

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