Current Affairs

30 July, 2021


WHO releases Global Tobacco Epidemic 2021 Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) released the 8th edition of the ‘Global Tobacco Epidemic 2021: Addressing new and emerging products’. For the 1st time, the report presents data on e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
i.The report states Children and adolescents who use ENDS have high chances of using conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products in the future.
ii.Use of ENDS affects brain development of adolescents, it also has a damaging impact on the cardiovascular and respiratory health of regular smokers.
iii.Currently, just 32 countries (covering 2.4 billion people) have banned the sale of ENDS, while 79 countries have implemented partial measures to regulate ENDS.
Other findings

Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year.

80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low and middle-income countries.

However, smoking prevalence among people aged over 15 years has decreased from 22.7% to 17.5%.
About World Health Organization (WHO)
Director General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

UN Food Systems Pre-Summit 2021 held in hybrid mode at Rome, Italy; Narendra Singh Tomar participated virtually

On July 26-28, 2021, a 3-day United Nations (UN) Food Systems Pre-Summit 2021 was held in a hybrid mode which was organized by the UN and the Government of Italy in Rome, Italy. There India was represented by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) who led the 15-member delegation. The Union Minister virtually delivered the Ministerial Statement which emphasized the importance of Agriculture in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 as 12 out of 17 SDGs are directly dependent on agriculture.

Other Participants:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, and Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi along with representatives of various countries.
Indian delegation: Minister of State (MoS) Sushree Shobha Karandlaje, (MoA&FW); Dr. Neena Malhotra, Ambassador of India to Italy, among others and officers from Ministries of Rural Development, Women & Child Development; Fisheries, Agriculture Research and Education, Food & Public Distribution and Education.


Gajendra Singh Shekhawat releases ODF Plus Manuals under SBM-G Phase-2

Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat & Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Prahlad Singh Patel jointly released the ODF (Open Defecation Free) Plus Manuals under Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) Phase-2. It was released during an event organized by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS).

Developed by DDWS the manual covers key components of ODF Plus like Grey Water Management, Plastic Waste Management, Faecal Sludge Management and Biodegradable Waste Management. It will help states, districts, and rural local bodies implement solid and liquid waste management initiatives.

SBM-G Phase-2
i.The Phase-2 of the SBM-G was launched in 2020 by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. It aims to achieve comprehensive cleanliness in villages (ODF Plus Status) by focusing on ODF sustainability and ensuring SLWM arrangements in villages. The Ministry of Jal Shakti will support around 2 lakh villages to achieve Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) arrangements through an investment of INR 40, 700 Crore during FY 2021-22.
About Ministry of Jal Shakti
Union Minister – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
MoS – Prahalad Singh Patel, Bishweswar Tudu

Indore -the only Indian city selected for Clean Air Catalyst Programme

India’s cleanest city Indore has become the only city from India to be selected for International Clean Air Catalyst Programme It is a new flagship programme launched by The U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with a group of organisations, led by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) The project will be rolled out for 5 years with the support of Indore Municipal Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board.

Clean Air Catalyst Programme Objective: To accelerate clean air solutions in low and middle income countries. This programme will be piloted in two cities- Indore, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Under this project, USAID and partners will work with local communities to identify and raise awareness of local pollution sources and build focussed groups to deliver solutions which leads to cleaner and healthier air. It has several new and innovative features such as Source awareness, Root cause analysis, Focused Coalition building and others.
Headquarters – Washington D.C
Administrator – Samantha Power

Dharmendra Pradhan proposes to set up National Research Foundation

Union Minister for Education, Dharmendra Pradhan proposed to set up a National Research Foundation (NRF) for strengthening the research ecosystem in India. The total proposed outlay of NRF is INR 50,000 crores over a period of 5 years.

Objective – To seed, grow and facilitate research at academic institutions, where research capacities are in the initial stage. It will fund research projects across 4 major disciplines –Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. It will also fund and support high-impact, large-scale, multi-investigator, multi-institution, interdisciplinary or multi-nation projects in collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments, and other Governmental/non-Governmental entities.

National CoE for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics
Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur stated that the Government will set up a National Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics. It will be set up in collaboration with IIT Bombay. The CoE will help in realizing the needs of Indian as well as Global industry.

About Ministry of Education (MoE)
Union Minister – Dharmendra Pradhan (Rajya Sabha – Madhya Pradesh)
MoS – Annpurna Devi (Koderma, Jharkhand), Dr. Subhas Sarkar (Bankura, West Bengal), Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur, Manipur)

Gold Reserves in India Estimated at 501.83 MT

As per the data of the National Mineral Inventory, the total reserves/resources of gold ore (primary) in India have been estimated at 501.83 million tonnes (MT) as of April 1, 2015. Recently, the Government of India has amended the Minerals Evidence of Mineral Contents (MEMC) Rules to allow auction of composite licence at G4 level for deep-seated minerals including Gold, and to reduce the cost of gold extraction. As per the Central Electricity Authority data, the total coal receipt to the thermal power stations in FY21 was 596.015 MT, in which 75 percent of coal (444.97 MT) was supplied by Coal India Ltd (CIL).

About Ministry of Mines, Coal and Parliamentary Affairs:
Union Minister – Pralhad Joshi (Constituency – Dharwad, Karnataka)
Minister of State – Danve Raosaheb Dadarao (Constituency – Jalna, Maharashtra)

Cabinet Approval on July 28, 2021

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved several important initiatives. They are Amendment to the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Act, 1961 Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) Creation of 2 posts each of judicial, administrative members in Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) benches in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Amendment to Limited Liability Partnership Act (LLP), 2008.

Amendment to DICGC Act, 1961
Deposit Insurance & Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2021 will amend the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Act, 1961. The new amendment provides account holders access to their deposits of up to INR 5 lakh funds within 90 days of a bank coming under Moratorium imposed by RBI.

Amendment to Limited Liability Partnership Act (LLP), 2008
The Government approved the Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which amends the Limited Liability Partnership Act (LLP), 2008.
About Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC)
Chairman – Dr. M.D. Patra (Deputy Governor of RBI). Nominated by RBI under Section 6(1)(a) of The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra


Prest Loans and U GRO Capital partnered to provide MSME Credit in Tier 3 and 4 Cities

Digital lender NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) Prest Loans signed a strategic alliance agreement with U GRO Capital to provide secured business loans to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) units. As a part of tie-up Prest Loans will offer U GRO Capital’s ‘GRO Micro’ product to its small businesses and MSME customers in tier 3 and tier 4 cities who lack the access to formal credit at affordable price without the requirement of too many documents. The cities with population of 20,000 to 49,999 are Tier 3 cities and with 10,000 to 19,999 are Tier 4 cities.

No need of Complex Financial documents for Loans
With the help of Prest Loans algorithm ‘Prest Score’ and its experience, the small ticket collateral-based loans will be disbursed to small businesses without needing complex financial documents like GST (Goods and Service Tax) returns, ITR (Income Tax Return) or audited financials etc. The ‘Prest Score’ algorithm gives weightage to non-financial parameters like family and social information to assess ‘intention to pay’ of the borrower along with ability to pay.

About Prest Loans:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Ashok Mittal
Headquarters– New Delhi
About U GRO Capital:
Executive Chairman and Managing Director– Shachindra Nath
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

RBI Allowed Non-banks to Participate in CPS – RTGS, NEFT

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed Non-banks to participate in its Centralised Payment Systems (CPS) viz, Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) systems, in a phased manner. In the 1st phase, authorised non-bank Payment System Providers (PSPs) such as Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) Issuers, Card Networks, and White Label ATM Operators will be allowed to participate in CPS as direct members. To be eligible to get direct access to CPS, the Non-bank PSPs need to have a valid Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) from the RBI under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act). Their Net-worth has to be Rs 25 crore or as prescribed as per CoA, whichever is higher.

About RTGS and NEFT:
i.RTGS is a funds transfer system where it allows a continuous and real-time settlement of fund transfers, individually on a transaction by transaction basis (without netting) (introduced in 2004).
ii.NEFT is a nationwide centralized payment system that allows the transfer of funds from one bank’s account to another (introduced in 2005).
iii.The NEFT and RTGS systems were made available 24x7x365 with effect from December 2019 and December 2020.

RBI Released RBI-DPI of March 2021; Digital Payments Grew 30.19% in FY21

On July 28, 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the RBI – Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI) in March 2021 at 270.59, increased from 207.84 in March 2020. The digital payments of the country have recorded a growth of 30.19 percent in FY21 due to COVID-19. It is the index launched by RBI in January 2018 with March 2018 as the base period (ie. DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100) to identify the extent of digitisation of payments across the country. The index will be released semi-annually.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, and M Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar

Yes Bank, Indiabulls Housing Finance inked Co-Lending Agreement for Home Loans

A co-lending agreement was inked between Yes Bank and Indiabulls Housing Finance for home loans. This collaboration aimed to enhance capabilities of providing seamless experience to retail home loan customers. Under this, home loans will be provided at competitive interest rates.

What is the Co-Lending Model (CLM)?
The framework of co-lending was provided by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with an objective to join the low-cost funding model of a bank with cost-efficient sourcing and servicing capabilities of Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) to unserved and underserved sectors of India. The co-lending bank will take its share of the individual loans on a back-to-back basis in their books, while NBFC is required to retain a minimum of 20% share of the individual loans on its books. The CLM is not applicable to foreign banks (including WOS- wholly owned subsidiaries) with less than 20 branches.

About Yes Bank:
Establishment– 2004
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Prashant Kumar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline– Experience our Expertise
About Indiabulls Housing Finance:
Managing Director (MD)– Gagan Banga
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra


Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and K Gowtham have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The news comes three days after Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19. After Krunal Pandya had tested positive on July 27, 2021, eight Indian players were identified as his close contacts including Yuzvendra Chahal, K Gowtham, Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey. The second T20 match was rescheduled after Krunal Pandya tested positive. All his close contacts were isolated immediately and did not participate in India's last two T20Is against Sri Lanka.

India at Tokyo Olympics 2020, July 30 Highlights: Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain has assured India another medal by winning her women's welterweight quarterfinal clash on India's Day 8 at Tokyo Olympics 2020.

World no. 3 Lovlina Borgohain beat world no 2 Chen Nien-Chin of Chinese Taipei 4-1 to secure at least a bronze medal. She will now face current world no.1 Turkey's Busenaz Surmeneli in the semifinals on August 4.

After Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and K Gowtham test positive for COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and K Gowtham have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The news comes three days after Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19.

After Krunal Pandya had tested positive on July 27, 2021, eight Indian players were identified as his close contacts including Yuzvendra Chahal, K Gowtham, Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey.

The second T20 match was rescheduled after Krunal Pandya tested positive. All his close contacts were isolated immediately and did not participate in India's last two T20Is against Sri Lanka.


Russia’s Nauka Module launched to ISS

Recently Russia’s Space Agency ‘Roscosmos’ launched its Largest Space Laboratory ‘Nauka (meaning Peace)’ to the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. ‘Nauka’ will replace the Russian Module ‘Pirs’ on the ISS. Pirs arrived at the Space Station in 2001. It will serve as a research facility and is equipped with an oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet, and a robotic cargo crane built by the European Space Agency (ESA). Nauka was sent into orbit using a Proton rocket.

China plans to build the world’s 1st ‘Clean’ commercial Nuclear Reactor

Chinese scientists have unveiled plans for a first of its kind commercial Nuclear reactor which runs on liquid Thorium rather than uranium This prototype reactor being developed by a team of scientists at the Shanghai Institute of Applied physics will be completed by August and the first tests will begin from September A full scale commercial reactor is expected to be ready by 2030. It uses molten salt instead of water for cooling.

Central Govt launched Secured Logistics Document Exchange & Calculator for GHG Emissions

As a part of efforts for improving the ease of doing business, the Central Government launched the ‘Secured Logistics Document Exchange (SDLE)’ and ‘Calculator for Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions’. While SDLE is to replace the manual process of logistics documents with a digitized, secure and seamless document exchange system, the GHG emission calculator will choose sustainable and right mode of transport for freight movement. These launches are on the lines of Logistics Division mandate of ‘Integrated Development of the Logistics Sector’.

ii.The GHG Calculator allows for commodity-wise comparison of GHG emissions and total cost of transportation, including their environmental cost, between movement by road and rail.
The Launch Event was attended by more than 75 participants including Special Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry Pawan Kumar Agarwal and representatives from Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Container Freight Station Association of India (CFSAI), etc, among others Central Ministries, Banks, IT (Information Technology) companies, international organizations, logistics sector stakeholders and industry bodies.

IFC Acquires 4.99% Stake in Federal Bank for Rs 916 Crore

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of World Bank and IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund and IFC Emerging Asia Fund, 2 investment funds managed by IFC Asset Management Company has acquired a 4.99% stake in the Federal Bank for Rs 916 crore.
This is IFC’s first investment in India in line with Greening Equity Approach. The board of Federal bank approved the issuance of 10.5 crore equity shares of face value Rs 2 each to IFC Group at Rs 87.39 per share. The IFC will pick up 3.1 crore shares to acquire 1.5%, IFC FIG and IFC EAF will acquire 3.6 crore shares each to own a 1.75% stake each.

About Federal Bank:
MD & CEO– Shyam Srinivasan
Headquarters– Aluva, Kerala
Tagline– Your Perfect Banking Partner
Incorporated on 23rd April 1931 as the Travancore Federal Bank Limited and renamed as the Federal Bank Limited in December 1949.

Nasir Kamal IPS Appointed as DG of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed Nasir Kamal, 1986 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, as the Director-General(DG) of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security(BCAS), an independent department under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He will hold the post till 31st July 2022, the date of his superannuation. He has previously served as the Director of the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science.

Pham Minh Chinh Re-elected as PM of Vietnam

Pham Minh Chinh was re-elected as the Prime Minister (PM) of Vietnam for 2021-2026 through the 15th National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam. At first, he was elected as PM of Vietnam on 5 April 2021. Pham Minh Chinh, is a member of the Politburo of the 13th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), was re-elected with a 95.99 percent approval rate among deputies at the ongoing first session of the 15th NA.
About Vietnam:
Capital – Hanoi
President – Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Currency – Vietnamese dong

Bharat Bill Pay Appoints Former PayU Executive Noopur Chaturvedi as CEO

Bharat Bill Payment System(BBPS) appointed Noopur Chaturvedi, a former executive of PayU India and Airtel Payments Bank as its new Chief Executive Officer(CEO). She succeeds the outgoing CEO AR Ramesh. BBPS is a bill payment system conceptualised by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) and driven by the National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI).

About Noopur Chaturvedi:
i.Noopur Chaturvedi has served as Country Head of Small and Midsize Business (SMB) at PayU India.
ii.She has also worked with Airtel Payments Bank, Samsung, ING Vysya Bank and Citibank at various senior capacities.
Additional info:
i.In April 2021, NPCI transferred all its BBPS transaction mandates to its new subsidiary, the NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited (NBBL).
ii.According to the RBI, the BBPS transactions have increased 16% month-on-month to 45.47 million in June, amounting to Rs 7,934.71 crore.
About Bharat Bill Payment System(BBPS)):
CEO– Noopur Chaturvedi
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Satpura Tiger Reserve won Natwest Group Earth Heroes Award- 2021

The Satpura Tiger reserve in the state of Madhya Pradesh has won the Natwest Group Earth Heroes Award-2021 in the Earth Guardian category for best management. Natwest Earth Heroes Award formerly known as RBS Earth Heroes Award, takes place annually, since 2011. The Awards bring recognition and honour to individuals and institutions who work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect our critical ecosystems.

Gist about Satpura Tiger Reserve
i.Satpura Tiger Reserve is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh (India) and it is part of the Deccan bio-geographic zone of India.
ii.It has placed in the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
About Madhya Pradesh
Governor– Mangubhai Changbhai Patel
Chief Minister – Shivraj Singh Chouhan

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