Current Affairs

30 October, 2021


USAID Launched 5-year Initiative ‘SAREP’ To Accelerate Clean Energy Transition & Improve Energy Access in South Asia

The United States Agency for International Development(USAID) has launched South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP), a new 5 year, 49 million USD initiative to facilitate collaboration among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.This initiative will harness the clean energy potential of the South Asian region to reduce emissions, combat climate change, and stimulate economic growth and powers health systems.The initiative aims to improve access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy.

During the April 2021 Leaders Climate Summit, Joe Biden, President of America and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India launched the US India climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership.
SAREP will support various regional activities established under this collaboration and assist both countries to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient development across the region.
i.SAREP will offer opportunities to move forward using advanced technologies and infrastructure and assist to facilitate a transition to sustainable energy, including through innovative financing.
ii.The clean energy transition will support women’s economic empowerment and lead to a wide range of economic and health benefits for the 1.5 billion citizens of the South Asian region.
iii.The initiative which is customised to the priorities of each country will enable the deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, transform and modernize utilities, drive regional cooperation, and stimulate private-sector participation and investments.
iv.SAREP also includes an additional 12 million USD Partnership Fund to issue several grants to demonstrate and advance innovative business models, technologies, and financing mechanisms.
About United States Agency for International Development(USAID):
Administrator– Samantha Power
Executive Secretary– Jeremy Bernton
Created in 1961
Headquarters– Washington, D.C, United States of America

South Asia Suffers most loss of Human Capital due to Air Pollution – World Bank report

As per the latest “The Changing Wealth of Nations 2021 : Managing Assets for the Future” released by the World Bank, South Asia suffered the most loss in the world on human capital due to air pollution. The report was prepared by the World Bank, measuring wealth creation & distribution in 146 countries covering a period of 20-years from 1995-2018.
i.As per the World Bank, Human Capital is defined as “Earning over a person’s lifetime”.
Parameters Measured – Economic Value of Renewable Natural Capital, Non-renewable natural capital, human capital, produced capital, Net foreign assets.This is the 1st time that the report measured Blue natural capital (mangroves & ocean fisheries)

Findings on South Asia:
i.Between 1995 & 2018, 50% of wealth creation was made through Human capital.
ii.South Asia is the most severely affected country in the South Asian region due to air pollution, which also severely impacts human capital.
iii. Gender parity will increase human capital by 42 percentage points in South Asia, where men account for 80% of wealth creation.
Other Findings:
Human Capital, the largest source of wealth generation, accounted for 64% of Total Global Wealth Generation in 2018.There was a 8% per capita decline in Forest wealth in 2018 compared to 1995 among the Low & Middle income countries.With 8% of Global population, only 1% of the wealth creation was made from the Low-income countries.
About World Bank:
President – David R. Malpass (13th President)
Headquarters – Washington DC, USA
World Bank Country Director in India – Junaid Ahmad


PM Narendra Modi Co-Chairs the 18th India-ASEAN Summit 2021 & Participated in 16th EAS 2021

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi co-chaired the virtual 18th India-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit 2021 at the invitation of Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah (the current Chair of ASEAN). Leaders of ASEAN Member States have participated in the summit.
-PM Participated in 16th EAS
On October 27, 2021, PM had virtually participated in the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS). The EAS leaders also accepted the 3 Statements on Mental Health, Economic recovery through Tourism, and Sustainable Recovery, which have been co-sponsored by India.
About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
Establishment – 8 August 1967
Headquarters – Jakarta, Indonesia
Secretary-General – H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi
Members – 10 (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)

IRCTC & Truecaller Partners to Provide Passengers With Greater Trust in Communication

The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has partnered with Truecaller India to provide passengers with greater trust in communication. This partnership aims to reduce fraud in the railways.Under this partnership the integrated National Railways Helpline 139 has been verified by Truecaller Business Identity solutions.This partnership aims to assure the passengers that critical communications such as booking details and PNR status are delivered only by IRCTC.

Features of the partnership:
i.Under this partnership, a green verified business badge logo will be displayed while making calls to 139 helpline.
ii.A verified sms message header will also be used to ensure that the customers are communicating about their bookings and other travel details from IRCTC only.
About IRCTC Helpline:
i.National Railways Helpline 139, an enquiry and Helpline Services was started by IRCTC in 2007.
ii.Bharat BPO Services Limited is the technical partner of this project.
About Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) :
IRCTC is a “Mini Ratna (Category-I)” Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways.
CMD(Additional Charge)– Rajni Hasija
Incorporated on 27th September 1999
Headquarters– New Delhi

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana Emerge as Topper in Governance Performance – PAI 2021

According to the report of 6th edition, Public Affairs Index (PAI 2021) by the Public Affairs Centre (PAC) , a Bengaluru- based non-profit think tank, the top three slots have been taken by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana among 18 large states.PAI 2021 highlights the state government’s quality governance and specially the state’s government involvement over the curb of Covid-19.Public Affairs Index (PAI 2021) ranks the states and Union Territories based on three pillars of equity, growth and sustainability along with 5 themes, 14 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and 43 indicators.

Overall PAC Index 2021
Toppers among large states – Kerala (1.618), Tamil Nadu (0.857),and Telangana (0.891)
Toppers among small states – Sikkim (1.617), Meghalaya (1.144) and Mizoram (1.123)
Toppers among Union Territories – Puducherry (1.182), Jammu and Kashmir (0.705) and Chandigarh (0.628)
Recent Related News
India with an index score of 0.516 has been ranked 49th in Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) 2021 – 1st Edition produced by Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG). The Index was topped by Finland, Switzerland and Singapore. Index has ranked 104 countries in terms of government capabilities and outcomes. The 2021 report is the 1st Edition of the CGGI. It measures each country over 50 open data points.
About Public Affairs Centre (PAC)
Chairman – Dr. A. Ravindra , IAS (Former Chief Secretary, Karnataka)
Location – Bengaluru, Karnataka

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launches 6th Edition of NFI 2021

Union Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Ministry for Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) launched the “6th Edition of National Formulary of India (NFI) 2021’’. The NFI has been published by Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC).NFI 2021 will act as a guidance document for all the healthcare professionals such as clinicians, pharmacists, nurses and dentists. It will play a crucial role in daily clinical practices.

Objective– To promote rational use of medicines in the country.The 6th Edition of NFI 2021 has been drafted by adopting the principle ‘do not miss critical and do not overload’ the information by revising the appendices, chapters and drug monographs.

About Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW)
Union Minister: Mansukh Mandaviya (Rajya Sabha, Gujarat)
Minister of State: Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar (Dindori,Maharashtra)

SEEI 2020: Karnataka Topped; Rajasthan Ranked 2nd

Rajasthan has ranked 2nd after Karnataka on the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2020, which was released by the Union Ministry of Power.The State Energy Efficiency Index 2020 was developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and the Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE).

Top 5 States and Progress Comparison:

Rank State SEEI 2020 Score SEEI 2019 Score
1 Karnataka 70 51
2 Rajasthan 61 18.5
3 Haryana 59.5 59.5
4 Maharashtra 57.5 38
5 Tamil Nadu 51.5 37.5

SEEI 2020 Key Assessments:
i.In SEEI 2020, 27 states and UTs improved their scores from SEEI 2019. Karnataka and Rajasthan were in the ‘Front runner’ category, having scored 70 and 61 out of 100.
ii.Under SEEI 2020, each state/UT has been classified as a Front runner, Achiever, Contender, and Aspirant based on their scores.
iii.7 states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu have improved their scores by more than 10 points.
About Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE):
It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
Establishment – 2002 (under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001)
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Director General – Abhay Bakre


Facebook Inc rebranded as “Meta”

As part of a major rebrand, Facebook Inc has changed its corporate name to Meta (Meta Platforms, Inc.), in an effort to include its virtual reality vision for the future. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled his plans to build “Metaverse”, an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment. The word “Meta” comes from the Greek word meaning “Beyond”. The company has also unveiled its new sign, a blue infinity shape, at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The new sign replaces its thumbs-up “Like” logo.

i.The branding ‘Facebook’ will be removed from Whatsapp, Instagram, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, Novi and other places.
ii.The names of the social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp, which are now under meta are not changed.
What is Metaverse?
i.Metaverse is a set of virtual spaces which will allow the user to create and explore with others who are not in the same physical space.
ii.The term ‘Metaverse’ was first coined in the 1992 novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
About Meta Platforms, Inc.:
Meta Platforms, Inc. was formerly known as Facebook, Inc.(launched in February 2004) until October 28, 2021.
Founder, Chairman & CEO– Mark Zuckerberg
Headquarters– Menlo Park, California, United States of America

PayU launches ‘PayU Token Hub’ – a Unique Tokenization Solution

Pay U, India’s leading online payments solutions provider, launched a unique tokenization solution service called ‘PayU Token Hub’.Pay U launched this service with the compliance of RBI’s latest guidelines on online card data storage and also allows issuing banks to generate their own tokens (original data will be in string of characters/symbols).
About PayU
CEO of PayU India – Anirban Mukherjee
CEO, PayU Global – Laurent Le Moal .

Max Life Insurance became 1st Life Insurer to Join AA System

Max Life Insurance Co. Ltd became the 1st life insurer to join the Account Aggregator (AA) framework, which was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2021.Max Life is joining the AA network as a Financial Information User (FIU), for which it has collaborated with a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) FinVu, which is also an AA, and Finarkein, a data analytics company.

Objective: To access the customer’s financial information in a seamless and secure manner from the AA ecosystem and reduce the timelines for policy issuance.

What is Account Aggregator (AA)?
i.AA is a data access fiduciary, which will be used for the exchange of financial information from FIPs to Financial Information Users (FIUs) in a safe manner with due customer consent.
ii.AA network will not store/read the customers data in turn it will act as a pipeline between FIPs and FIUs.
Note – In September 2021, 8 banks have joined the AA Network as financial information providers (FIPs) Click here to know more
About Max Life Insurance Co. Ltd:
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana
MD & CEO – Prashant Tripathy

KMB, NPCI Partnered to Launch Rupay Credit Cards ‘Veer’ for Armed Forces

Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch Kotak credit cards on the RuPay network named ‘Veer’ for Indian armed forces i.e the Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel.The launch of Veer credit card for the armed forces marks Kotak’s 1st credit card under the RuPay network.

2 Variants: The credit card is available in two variants such as – Kotak RuPay Veer Platinum and Kotak RuPay Veer Select.The credit cards are designed to fulfil the needs of the armed forces, who have dedicated themselves to the service of the nation.The contactless cards have a zero joining fee and provide multiple benefits such as fuel, and railway surcharge waivers, including a safe, rewarding, and contactless shopping experience for the armed forces personnel and their families.

About Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB):
Establishment – 2003 (Kotak Mahindra Finance Ltd. became India’s 1st non-banking finance company to be converted into a commercial bank KMB.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Uday Kotak
Tagline – Let’s make money simple
About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI):
It is an organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
It is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
Establishment – 2008
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO -Dilip Asbe


England Women’s Cricketer – Fran Wilson retired from International Cricket

In October 2021, England’s Fran Wilson, 29-year old, announced retirement from International Cricket. Still she will be playing in domestic games for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Charlotte Edwards Cup and The Hundred.
i.Fran Wilson made her debut to international cricket in 2010 representing England, and has played 64 matches including 3 World Cups tournaments.
ii.She was also a part of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup trophy winning England Squad.
iii. Her highest score came in 2019, a 85 against Pakistan in an ODI (One Day International) match.
Note – Ramesh Powar is the Head Coach of Indian Women’s Cricket Team
Sri Lankan allrounder Eshani Lokusuriyage retires from International Cricket
Eshani Lokusuriyage, Sri Lankan cricket allrounder, announced her retirement from international cricket after suffering from a leg injury.
i.She debuted for Sri Lanka in 2005, and since then played 89 ODIs and 68 T20 internationals, taking 49 wickets in ODI & 36 in T20s.
About International Cricket Council(ICC):
Chairman– Greg Barclay
Independent Female Director – Indra Nooyi
Headquarters– Dubai, UAE


FSSAI launches ‘Food Safety Connect’ Mobile App For License & Registrations

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched a mobile application “Food Safety Connect’’ for the purpose of granting licences or registration to food businesses. The mobile app would be a one place solution for food businesses having all the relevant information from procedures related to compliance with the FSS Regulations, to laboratories and others.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).

Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi
Chairperson: Rita Teaotia

INS Tushil – 7th Talwar Class Frigate of Indian Navy Launched in Russia

7th ship of P1135.6 class (Talwar Class Frigate) of the Indian Navy was launched at Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad, Russia.The ship was named as INS Tushil by Smt.Dalta Vidya Varma in the presence of Ambassador of India (Moscow) D Bala Venkatesh Varma and other dignitaries. Tushil is a sanskrit word which means ‘Protector Shield’.

Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarthak’ Dedicated to the Nation

The indigenously built Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Sarthak’ was commissioned and dedicated to the nation on October 28, 2021 by the Director General of Indian Coast Guard K Natarajan for significantly boosting the maritime safety and security of the nation. The ship is based at Porbandar, Gujarat and operates in the Coast Guard Region (Northwest).

Operated by the Operational and Administrative Control of the Commander on India’s Western Seaboard.

i.ICGS Sarthak is the fourth in the series of Offshore Patrol Vehicle (OPV), which is capable of undertaking concurrent operations and is built by the Goa Shipyard Limited for the Indian Coast Guard.
ii.The ship is 105-meter-long that displaces 2,450 tons and is propelled by two 9,100 kilowatt diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots.
iii.The state-of-art technology, sensors and weapons enables the functionality in the ship including search and rescue, combating maritime crimes, and protecting the maritime environment.

Shaktikanta Das got 3-year Extension as RBI Governor till 2024

The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the extension of the term of Shaktikanta Das, the current Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by another 3 years i.e. up to December 2024.
About Shaktikanta Das:
i.He was appointed as the 25th Governor of RBI (succeeding Urjit R. Patel) for 3 years from December 12, 2018. The current extension will be his 2nd term as RBI Governor.
ii.He was a 1980 batch IAS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre and before assuming charge as the governor, he served as the Secretary, Department of Revenue and Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India (till May 2017), and Member of 15th Finance Commission and G20 Sherpa of India.
iii.He has also served as India’s Alternate Governor in the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), New Development Bank (NDB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and he has represented India in international fora like the IMF (International Monetary Fund), G20, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), etc.

About the Central Board of Directors of RBI:

i.The RBI’s affairs are governed by a central board of directors. The board will be appointed/nominated by the Government under the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 for a period of 4 years.
ii.Classification of the directors:

Official Directors: It includes the Governor and Deputy Governors (not more than 4) of RBI.

Non-official Directors: Government will nominate the directors on the Central Board in which 10 directors represent different sectors of the economy, such as, agriculture, industry, trade, and two secretaries from the finance ministry along with 4 directors from four Local Boards (one Director from each) of RBI.

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