Current Affairs

7 March, 2021

International

Closure of Schools due to COVID has impacted 247 Million Children in India:UNICEF Study

According to report titled “Education: From disruption to recovery” released by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), the closure of 1.5 Million schools due to pandemic & its lockdown in 2020 has impacted 247 Million Children enrolled in elementary & secondary schools in India. Globally around 888 Million children continue to face disruptions to their education due to full & partial school closures. Schools in 14 Countries across the world have remained closed since March 2020 to February 2021. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America & Caribbean, it has affected around 98 million schoolchildren in these regions.

India’s position downgraded to ‘Partly Free’ in Freedom in the World 2021 report

According to the ‘Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy under Siege’ released by US based Think Tank Freedom House, India has scored 67 and its position has been downgraded to ‘Partly Free’ from ‘Free’ in 2020. India’s ranking has also fallen to 88 (from 83) out of 211 countries. The ‘most free countries’ with a score of 100 are Finland, Norway & Sweden. Least Free Countries with a score of 1 are Tibet & Syria. This is the 1st time since 1997 that India has been downgraded to ‘partly free’. India’s score has decreased from 71 (in 2020 ). Freedom House is largely funded through USA government grants and is actively tracking the course of democracy since 1941.

Country

Score

Status

India

67

‘Partly Free’

Finland, Sweden, Norway

100

‘Most Free’

Tibet, Syria

1

‘Least Free’

Reliance Power forms JV with Jera for 745 MW project in Bangladesh

i.A joint venture (JV) was formed between Reliance Power and Japan-headquartered Jera Co. Inc to build, own, and operate a 745-MW (net output: 718 MW) gas-fired power generation project in Meghnaghat near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
ii.As a part of this project, Reliance Power’s wholly-owned subsidiary Samalkot Power has received the approval from the Export Import Bank of the United States (US) to sell one module of equipment to Samsung C&T Corporation of South Korea for Rs 1,540 crore.
About Reliance Power:
Chairman– Anil Ambani
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra

More than 931 Million Tonnes of Food waste generated in 2019 : UN Food Waste Index 2021

According to ‘Food Waste Index Report 2021’ compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) found that around 931 Million Tonnes (1.03 Billion Tons) of Food waste was generated in 2019. It equals to 17% of food produced globally. 61% of this waste was generated by households, 26% from food service & 13% from retails. At the Global level, 74Kg per capita of food is wasted each year. In India the per capita food wastage is 50 Kg (at the household level) & it is estimated that India generates 68, 760, 163 tonnes of food waste each year. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 aims to halve food waste & reduce food loss by 2030.

National

Ramesh Pokhriyal unveiled QS World University Ranking 2021 by Subject; 12 Indian Institutes named in top 100

i.The unveiling of QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings by Subject 2021 was held virtually which was addressed by Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Ministry of Education (MoE).
ii.Notably, the number of Indian Institutions in the list of top 100 has increased to 12 from 8. These are IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IISC Bangalore, IIT Guwahati, IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, JNU, Anna University, University of Delhi, and O.P Jindal University.
About Ministry of Education (MoE):
Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ constituency– Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Minister of State (MoS)– Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre

MoHUA releases Rankings for Ease of Living Index 2020 & Municipal Performance Index 2020

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) released the Final Rankings of Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020 & Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020 through an online event. For the purpose of ranking, both EoLI 2020 & MLI 2020 categorized the rankings of Cities (including cities under Smart Cities Program) & Municipalities under 2 categories based on their population – Million+ Category & Less than Million Category. Around 111 cities participated in the assessment which was conducted in 2020.

Madhya Pradesh top in Land Records Digitisation: 2nd N-LRSI index 2021

i.In accordance with the 2nd edition of NCAER Land Record and Services Index (N-LRSI) 2021, almost 32 States and Union Territories (UTs) have shown an improvement in their effort to digitise land records. Their mean has shown an increase of 16.6% in 2020-21 from 38.7 in 2019-20 to 45.1 in 2020-21 (out of 100 points).
ii.Notably, Madhya Pradesh topped the list for the second year in a row and followed by West Bengal (2nd), Odisha (3rd), Maharashtra (4th) and Tamil Nadu (5th).
About National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER):
Establishment– 1956
President– Nandan M Nilekani
Headquarters– New Delhi

CSIR-NIO to Launch 90-day Cruise Missile to map Genomes in Indian Ocean

CSIR-NIO (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography) is set to launch a 90-day Scientific Cruise Mission to conduct genome & proteome mapping (nutrients) present inside single-cell organisms in the Indian ocean.
About CSIR-NIO (National Institute of Oceanography)
Director – Professor Sunil Kumar Singh
Headquarters – Dona Paula, Goa
Regional Centres – Kochi (Kerala), Mumbai (Maharashtra) & Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)

Economy

PNB Housing Finance Signed a co-lending Agreement with Yes Bank for Home Loans

i.PNB Housing Finance and Yes Bank signed a strategic co-lending service to provide convenient and customized retail loans to homebuyers at competitive interest rates.
ii.Objective: To boost local expertise and assist the bank to increase their footprint in new locations.
iii.Both PNB housing Finance and Yes Bank will jointly do the due diligence and co-originate the loan at agreed ratio.
iv.This partnership between PNB housing finance and Yes Bank will provide a range of real estate financing options to the borrowers.
About PNB Housing Finance:
Managing Director & CEO- Mr. Hardayal Prasad
Headquarters– New Delhi
Incorporated in 1988
Tagline– Ghar Ki Baat
About Yes Bank:
MD & CEO– Mr. Prashant Kumar
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established in 2004
Tagline– Experience our expertise

Kotak Mahindra Bank Signed an MoU with the Indian Army for Salary Account

The private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Indian Army at New Delhi for providing salary accounts to all the active and retired army personnel.

About Kotak:
India’s first non-banking finance company which is converted into a bank.
Establishment – 1985
Headquarters -Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – Let’s Make Money Simple
MD & CEO – Uday Kotak

Sports

Pollard becomes third batsman to hit six 6s in an over in international cricket

West Indies limited-overs format skipper Kieron Pollard became the third batsman in the history of international cricket after Herschelle Gibbs(South Africa) and Yuvraj Singh(India) to hit six 6s in an over. He achieved the feat in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Indian shuttlers Varun Kapur & Malvika Bansod wins 2021 Uganda International titles

Indian Shuttlers Varun Kapur & Malvika Bansod won the 2021’s Uganda International Badminton’s Men’s & Women’s Singles Titles that was held from 25th to 28th of February, 2021, at Lugogo Indoor Stadium, Kampala, Uganda.
i.The 4-day long tournament was scheduled in February with a prize amount of USD 10,000.
ii.In Finals of the Men’s Singles Category, Varun Kapur defeated Sankar Muthusamy.In finals of Women’s Singles category, Malvika Bansod defeated Anupama Upadhyaya.
About Badminton Association of India:
President – Himanta Biswa Sarma
Founded – 1940
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
It’s the Governing body of Badminton recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Founded – 1934
Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
President – Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen

Miscellaneous

New Book “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds” authored by Rajiv Malhotra

Acclaimed Author Rajiv Malhotra, a Physicist and Computer Scientist specializing in Artificial intelligence(AI) has authored a new book titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds”. The book features both the positive and negative impacts of AI.
The book is published by Rupa Publications.
About Rajiv Malhotra:
i.Rajiv Malhotra, the founder of Infinity Foundation(Princeton), contributes to changing the global discourse with new and innovative paradigms.
ii.His works cover a wide range of topics like mind sciences, civilizations, geopolitics and the Future of India.
iii.He has been doing research on civilization and their engagement with technology from the historical, social sciences and mind sciences perspective.
iv.The Infinity Foundation has published a 14 volume series on the History of Indian Science and Technology.

IIT Madras Start-up Pi Beam Launches Electric Two-wheeler called ‘PiMo’

IIT Madras-incubated startup Pi Beam has launched an Electric Two-wheeler called ‘PiMo’ which can charge faster than a smartphone & has a range of 50 Kms. Nearly 90% of PiMo’s product components are manufactured in India to embody the ‘Make in India’ spirit

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