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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict 

• The Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict, have been simmering for more than two months, with diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue showing little sign of progress. Russia has more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, sparking Western warnings of an imminent invasion. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, voiced concerns that Russia continues to build up troop numbers along Ukraine’s borders, including in Belarus.

• The Border conflict in Ukraine began with protests in the capital city of Kiev in November 2013 against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a deal for greater economic integration with the European Union. After a violent crackdown by state security forces unintentionally drew an even greater number of protesters and escalated the conflict, President Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014.

• In March 2014, Russian troops took control of Ukraine’s Crimean region, before formally annexing the peninsula after Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the rights of Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Crimea and southeast Ukraine. The Border conflict heightened ethnic divisions, and two months later pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine held a referendum to declare independence from Ukraine.

NATIONAL

Union Minister Giriraj Singh launches Rural Connectivity GIS Data in Public Domain

• Giriraj Singh, who is the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, has released the Rural Connectivity GIS Data in Public Domain. This data includes the GIS data for more than 8 lakh rural facilities which have been collected and digitised using the GIS platform developed for the PM-GSY scheme. Other than Giriraj Singh, other Union Ministers like Faggan Singh Kulaste and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, were also present at the release event.

• An estimate is that more than 6.90 lakh km of roads have been constructed, which connects 1,61,508 habitations with an expenditure of about 2.69 lakh crores of Indian rupees.

• Speed of the construction of rural roads under the PMGSY has seen massive growth during the last few years and the use of new technology has been emphasized which has resulted in a saving of about 5000 crores of Indian rupees.

• The data which has been made available in the public domain can be beneficial to the startups, entrepreneurs, businesses, civil society, academics and other government departments to build products, conduct research,  and plan investments for a quicker disaster response.

IAF to participate in multi-nation air exercise 'Ex Cobra Warrior 22' in UK

• Indian Air Force will participate in a multi-nation air exercise named ‘Exercise Cobra Warrior 22’ at Waddington, in the United Kingdom from March 06 to 27, 2022. IAF Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will participate in the exercise along with fighter aircraft of the UK and other leading Air Forces. Five Tejas aircraft will fly to the United Kingdom. IAF C-17 aircraft will provide the necessary transport support for induction and de-induction.

• The exercise is aimed at providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship. This will be a platform for LCA Tejas to demonstrate its manoeuvrability and operational capability.

OBITUARY

Andhra minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy passes away at 50

• Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy has passed away. The 50 years old Minister returned to India from Dubai Expo. Reddy, was a two-time MLA from the Atmakur Assembly constituency in the Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. He was the Minister for Industries, Commerce, and Information Technology in Andhra Pradesh Government.

Renowned Malayalam Actor Dies At 74

• Veteran Malayalam film and stage actress, KPAC Lalitha has passed away at 74. In a career spanning five decades, she starred in over 550 films in Malayalam and Tamil. Born as Maheswari Amma in Kayamkulam of Alappuzha, the actress had joined K.P.A.C (Kerala People’s Arts Club), a prominent drama troop in Kerala.

• Lalitha won two National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress along with four Kerala State Film Awards. She got the national award for the character in ‘Amaram’ in 1999 and for ‘Shantham’ in 2000. She also held the position of the Chairperson of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy for five years.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS

Centre nominates Sanjay Malhotra as a Director of Central Board of RBI

• The Centre government has nominated Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The nomination of Malhotra, a 1990 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, is effective from February 16, 2022, and until further orders.

• Prior to his appointment as DFS Secretary, Malhotra was the Chairman and Managing Director of REC Ltd. He succeeded Debashish Panda, who completed his term on January 31, 2022.

K.N. Raghavan new Chairman of ISRG

• Executive Director of the Indian Rubber Board, K.N. Raghavan has been elected the new Chairman of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). He will officiate as Chairman of the group for the next two years. He will preside over the meeting of the heads of delegation scheduled for March 31 at Singapore.

• India, being both a producer and a consumer of rubber, will be in a good position to protect the interests of both producers and consumers in the IRSG -the only international commodity body approved by the Common Fund for Commodities for development financing in the rubber sector.

• International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), an intergovernmental organisation of natural and synthetic rubber producing and consuming countries. IRSG is the only forum for natural rubber (NR) and synthetic rubber (SR) producers and consumers to discuss matters affecting the world rubber industry and act as an interface between government and the Industry. International Rubber Study Group Members: Cameroon; Cote d’Ivoire; European Union; India; Nigeria; Russia; Singapore; Sri Lanka.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Central Excise Day 24 February 2022

• Central Excise Day of India is celebrated every year on February 24. The day is being celebrated to honour the service of the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) to the country. The day is celebrated to honour the officers associated with CBEC and their services. The day is celebrated to commemorate the legislation of the Central Excise and Salt act on 24 February 1944.

• The central excise day is celebrated to raise awareness about the contribution of the central excise officers among the general public of the country.

• The jobs of the members of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs in preventing corruption among the manufacturing industries are worth appreciation and encouragement.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India Ratings pegs FY22 GDP growth at 8.6% on data revision

• India Ratings has revised downwards its GDP growth forecast for 2021-22 to 8.6 per cent from the consensus 9.2 per cent projected earlier. According to an India rating analysis, National Statistical Organisation (NSO) is likely to peg the FY22 real gross domestic product growth at Rs 147.2 lakh crore. This translates into a GDP growth rate of 8.6 per cent, down from the 9.2 per cent forecast in the first advance estimate released on January 7, 2022.

• The major reason for the likely downward revision is the upward revision of FY21 GDP to Rs 135.6 lakh crore in the first revised estimate of national income for FY21, which was released on January 31, 2022.

Alternative investment policy: Sebi rejigs panel

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has reconstituted its alternative investment policy advisory committee, which advises the capital markets regulator on a range of issues that impact further development of the (Alternative Investment Fund) AIF space. The committee has now 20 members. The panel, which was constituted by Sebi in March 2015, earlier had 22 members. Till now, the committee has submitted three reports on the AIF industry.

• The committee is chaired by Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy. Apart from Murthy, the committee includes members from Sebi, Ministry of Finance, AIF players and industry associations.

• Gopal Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, TVS Capital Funds; Gopal Jain, co-founder and managing partner, Gaja Capital; Vipul Roongta, managing director and CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors; and Renuka Ramnath, chairperson, Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) are among the members of the panel, as per Sebi.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2022

NATIONAL

Water taxi services between Mumbai and Belapur flagged off

• Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways & AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal virtually flagged off the ‘Most Awaited’ Water Taxi for citizens of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Water Taxi services will commence from the Domestic Cruise Terminal (DCT) and will also connect nearby locations at Nerul, Belapur, Elephanta island and JNPT. The service promises a comfortable, stress-free journey, is time-saving and promotes eco-friendly transport.”

• The Ministry also informed that the newly constructed Belapur jetty, built at a cost of Rs. 8.37 crore was funded in the 50-50 model under the Sagarmala scheme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. “The new jetty will enable movement of vessels to locations like Bhaucha Dhakka, Mandwa, Elephanta and Karanja.

Caravan tourism kick-starts in Kerala with first park in Vagamon

• Kerala’s first Caravan park is all set to come up in Vagamon, a scenic hill station located in the Idukki district. The park, as part of the state governments new Caravan Tourism policy, would be thrown open to travellers. Caravan Tourism was introduced by the state Tourism department as a safe means for holidaying at a time when people are unable to step out or travel due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

• To meet the rising demands and preferences of tourists in the post-pandemic world, Kerala had announced a comprehensive, stakeholder-friendly Caravan Tourism Policy, promising the visitors safe, customized and closest-to-nature travel experience. Under the initiative, there will be two types of caravans. In one model, two guests shall be accommodated, while the other is for a family of four, department sources said.

India’s Largest Career Counselling Project Paramarsh Launched In Bikaner

• Minister of State for Culture & Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal has launched ‘Pramarsh 2022’, a mega career counselling workshop, for the students of the Bikaner District region in Rajasthan. More than one lakh students from thousands of private & government schools of Bikaner district and mainly from rural areas participated in this workshop. It is the first such incidence in India that more than 1 lakh students participated in Career Counselling in one Workshop.

• The “Pramarsh 2022” workshop is an extension of the effort to bridge the industry-academia gap and impart the knowledge about various choices available to the student, to help them make a more informed decision.

• The Workshop was organised jointly by The National Institute of Career Services (NICS), under the Ministry of Labour & Employment and Bengaluru-based educational start-up Edumilestones, with support from the Directorate of Education, Rajasthan.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Pangolin Day 2022 : 19th February

• World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the “Third Saturday of February” every year. In 2022, the annual World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on 19 February 2022. It marks the 11th edition of the event. The day aims to raise awareness about these unique mammals and speed up conservation efforts. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

IBA's 17th Annual Banking Technology Awards 2021

• Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has announced the IBA’s 17th Annual Banking Technology Awards 2021. In total South Indian Bank has won 6 awards in the event. This year’s IBA Awards celebrating “Next Gen Banking” has recognized technologies and practices in the banking industry that have demonstrated a high degree of innovation over the past year.

Karnataka Bank bags awards at tech conference

• Karnataka Bank has bagged three awards at the 17th Annual Banking Technology Conference and Awards: 2020-21 Next-Gen Banking, instituted by Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The bank has won the awards under categories: Best Technology Bank of the Year; Best Fintech Adoption; and Best Use of AI/ML & Data Analytics — all runner-ups.

• With this focus on technology and digital transformation, the bank endeavours to emerge as ‘Digital Bank of Future’ all the while retaining its core values and identity built on more than 98 years of purposeful banking history.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book titled “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us” authored by Ro Khanna

• A new book titled “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us” has authored by Ro Khanna released. The book highlights the effects of changing lifestyle patterns of Americans due to technological progress. It also mentioned about the digital divide i.e., unequal access to technology and revenue, as it is one of the most pressing issues faced by the United States. Ro Khanna is an Indian-American who is a US Congressman representing the California district that includes the Silicon Valley region.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India's FY22 GDP Growth Seen At 8.8% Says SBI Ecowrap

• State Bank of India (SBI) Research Report, Ecowrap, has revised downwards the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of India for FY22 (2021-22) to 8.8 percent. Earlier this was estimated at 9.3 per cent. The report projects the GDP to grow at 5.8 per cent in the third quarter (Q3) of FY2021-2022 (October-December).

• The country’s economy expanded by 8.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2021-22, to cross pre-pandemic levels. However, the GDP growth in the July-September period was slower than the 20.1 per cent expansion in the previous quarter.

RBI allows NBFCs time till September 30 to comply with new NPA norms

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to comply with new Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) classification norms (the norms are issued by RBI in November 2021) to September 2022 from the earlier deadline of March 2022. As per the ‘Prudential norms on Income Recognition, Asset Classification and Provisioning pertaining to Advances – Clarifications’, which was issued by RBI on November 15, 2021, the loan accounts that are classified as NPAs could be upgraded as ‘standard’ assets only if entire arrears of interest and principal are paid by the borrower.

• Currently, RBI has clarified that, the definition of ‘out of order’ as applicable to all loan products being offered as an OD facility, including those not meant for business purposes and/or which entail interest repayments as the only credits.

• The ‘90 days period’ for determination of the ‘out of order’ status of a Cash credit/Overdraft (CC/OD) account should be inclusive of the day for which the day-end process is being run.

JP Morgan is first bank to enter the metaverse with virtual lounge

• JPMorgan has become the world’s first bank to set up shop in the metaverse. The largest bank in the US has opened a lounge in the blockchain-based world Decentraland. Users can create their virtual avatars, build virtual spaces and roam in the lounge christened ‘Onyx Lounge’ after its suit of Ethereum-based services. The lounge also features a digital image of the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon.

• Metaverse is a virtual universe where users can do multiple activities like socialising, shopping or even attending events through their avatar. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are becoming more pocket-friendly, and both technologies have together contributed to a significantly enhanced user experience.

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Important Current Affairs 21st January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

ILO Report 2022: Global unemployment levelprojected at 207 million

• The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released its World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022 (WESO Trends) report. The report analyses comprehensive labour market projections for 2022 and 2023 and assesses how labour market recovery has unfolded worldwide. In the WESO 2022, ILO has downgraded its forecast for labour market recovery in 2022.

• The global unemployment level in 2022 is estimated at 207 million, compared to 186 million in 2019.

• Total working hours globally in 2022 is projected to be 2% below the pre-pandemic level, and that is equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs.

• The global labour force participation rate in 2022 is projected to remain 1.2 percentage points below that of 2019 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.

NATIONAL

India Successfully Test-Fires New BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile Off Odisha Coast

• BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, with increased indigenous content and improved performance, was successfully test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

• The launch was conducted by Brahmos Aerospace in close coordination with Defence Research and Development Organisation. This flight test was monitored by all the sensors of the range instrumentation including telemetry, radar and electro-optical tracking systems deployed across the eastern coast and the down range ships.

• Brahmos was successfully test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on January 20, 2022.

• The flight test is a major milestone in the way forward for BrahMos programme.

• The highly maneuverable missile cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and all mission objectives were met.

Odisha teams up with WFP to improve food security, farmers' resilience

• The United Nations World Food Programme and the Odisha Government joined hands to improve the food security of small and marginal farmers in India by strengthening their resilience to climate change.

• In a participatory pilot initiative, climate advisories will be tailored to enable smallholder farmers to adapt to the impact of climate change. Smallholder farmers, who constitute 90 percent of farming communities in Odisha, will be able to select the right farming and livelihood options to improve their food security and incomes.

SPORTS

Babar Azam named captain of ICC Men's T20 Team of Year 2021

• Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has been named as the captain of the ICC Men’s T20I team of the year for 2021. The ICC Team of the Year recognises the 11 best players in men’s cricket who have impressed one and all with their performances in a calendar year, either with the bat, ball or their all-round performance. No Indian male player has found a place in the team of 11.

• However, in ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021, Smriti Mandhana is the only Indian women player named in the 11 member team. Smriti has made in the list for third time in the T20I team of the year after 2018 (opener) and 2019 (number three). England’s Nat Sciver has been made the captain of ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021.

Sania Mirza: India tennis star to retire after 2022 season

• Sania Mirza, the most successful woman in Indian tennis history, has decided that she is bidding adieu to the sports at the end of 2022.

• The 35-year-old had already bowed out of singles competitions in 2013. Sania has six Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles to her name. Her last headline-grabbing win came with Chinese partner Shuai Zhang in women’s doubles at the Ostrava Open on September 26, 2021.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Vikram Dev Dutt appointed new CMD of Air India

• Senior bureaucrat Vikram Dev Dutt has been appointed as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India Ltd. Dutt is a 1993-batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre. He has been appointed as the Air India chief in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry. Prior to this, he was the Principal Secretary (Tourism) in Delhi government.

• The Centre had in October last year accepted Tata Son’s bid of Rs 18,000 crore to acquire 100 per cent of the debt-laden state-run carrier. The takeover has not been completed yet. Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of the holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate, had made the winning bid of Rs 2,700 crore cash and Rs 15,300 crore debt takeover.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

IIMK LIVE, Indian Bank ink Landmark MoU

• Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode’s (IIMK) Business incubator Laboratory for Innovation Venturing and Entrepreneurship (LIVE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Bank to financially support early-stage startups. Under the MoU, a startup funding scheme, ‘IndSpring Board’ has been launched. Under this scheme loans up to Rs, 50 Crore will be disbursed to the startups.

• The startups can use the loan amount to meet their operational expenditure and capital expenditure which includes working capital, purchase of fixed assets and other expenses.

• The loan amount disbursed to startups under the IndSpring Board scheme from IIMK LIVE and Indian Bank can be used to meet a startup operational expenditure and capital expenditure which includes working capital, purchase of fixed assets and other expenses.

• Startups selected under this scheme would have to be committed towards working on innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or present a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI: Digital payments up 39.6% in Sept 2021

• The RBI’s Digital Payment Index, which shows the deepening of payments through digital modes in India, rose by 39.64 per cent to 304.06 in September 2021 against 217.74 in the year-ago month. The RBI-DPI Index continues to demonstrate significant growth in adoption and deepening of digital payments across the country. RBI has introduced Digital Payments Index in January 2021 with March 2018 as the base year to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country. This means that the DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100.

• RBI has started publishing the Digital Payments Index (DPI) on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months. This means that the DPI will be released by RBI for March and September every year in the months of July and January respectively.

• The RBI-DPI comprises five broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country over different time periods, viz. payment enablers (with 25 per cent weight), payment infrastructure—demand-side factors (10 per cent), payment infrastructure—supply-side factors (15 per cent), payment performance (45 per cent) and consumer centricity (5 per cent). These parameters have sub-parameters which, in turn, consist of various measurable indicators.

Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone

• Microsoft Corp. is set to acquire game making company, Activision Blizzard Inc., in an all-cash transaction for $68.7 billion. ($95.00 per share). This acquisition will boost the competitiveness of Microsoft in the mobile gaming business and virtual-reality technology, across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

• Activision Blizzard is famous as the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty, Xbox, among other leading video games. Upon the completion of the deal, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. This is the biggest deal ever by Microsoft and also the largest-ever deal in the history of the gaming industry.

SEBI Launched Saa₹Thi Mobile App for Investor Education

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has launched Saa₹thi, a mobile app on investor education.

• The new app aims to empower investors with accurate knowledge about the securities market. The app will cater largely to individual investors, who have recently entered the markets and carry out trading via their mobile phones. The app will be helpful in easily accessing all the relevant information like the basic concepts of Securities Market, KYC Process, trading and settlement, mutual funds, recent market developments, investor grievances redressal mechanism, etc.It is currently available in Hindi and English.

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Important Current Affairs 29th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Japan launches huge Inmarsat-6 F1 communications satellite into orbit

• Japan has launched Inmarsat-6 F1, a communication satellite, through a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIA204 rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center that will enter geostationary orbit, about 22,240 miles (35,790 kilometres) above the earth. It is developed by the London-based company Inmarsat as a part of its next-generation satellite broadband service. The satellite is 12,060-pound (5,470 kilograms) and is the first of two ‘I-6’ spacecraft.

• Designated H-IIAF45, Inmarsat-6 F1 launch is Japan’s third orbital flight of 2021 and H-IIA’s second mission of the year, marking the 45th flight of the H-IIA vehicle overall.

Alia Bhatt named PETA India's Person of the Year

• People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has named Bollywood star Alia Bhatt its 2021 Person of the Year. She is an animal lover and often shares pictures with her pets. This year, Alia Bhatt invested in Phool, the company behind Fleather, which is a vegan leather made from discarded temple flowers.

• Her vegan kidswear line, Ed-a-Mamma, also won a 2021 PETA India fashion award for helping to nurture kids’ love for animals and nature. Alia also starred in a pro-adoption PETA India campaign to help cats and dogs. She has used her position to call for stronger animal protection laws.

NATIONAL

Centre sets up high-level committee to examine possibility of lifting AFSPA from Nagaland

• The Government of India has decided to constitute a ‘five-member’ committee to look into the demand for withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act “AFSPA” in Nagaland. The committee headed by Vivek Joshi, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, would submit its recommendations within 45 days. Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry Piyush Goyal will be its Member-Secretary. The Chief Secretary and DGP of Nagaland and the DGP of Assam Rifles will be the other members of the committee.

• Vivek Joshi, who is Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, will head the five-member committee while Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Piyush Goyal will be the member secretary of the panel. Other members of the committee are the chief secretary and DGP of Nagaland and the DGP of the Assam Rifles.

NITI Aayog releases fourth edition of state health index

• NITI Aayog has released the fourth edition of the State Health Index for 2019–20 that provides incremental performance in health outcomes and status. The index is developed by: NITI Aayog, World Bank, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The report, titled “Healthy States, Progressive India”, ranks states and Union Territories on their year-on-year incremental performance in health outcomes as well as their overall status. The index is being compiled and published since 2017. The reports aim to nudge states/UTs towards building robust health systems and improving service delivery.

• Among the ‘Larger States’, in terms of annual incremental performance, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Telangana are the top three ranking states.

CEBR: India expected to become 3rd largest economy by 2031

• The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) from the United Kingdom has predicted that the Indian economy will become the world’s third-largest by the year 2031. In the year 2022, India is set to regain its sixth position in World Economic League Table (WELT) from France, as per CEBR.

• In the year 2020, India’s GDP had witnessed a contraction of 7.3% due to the C-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown leading to constraints on economic activity. India has witnessed a large scale spread of infections and has the third-highest death toll worldwide, behind US and Brazil. However, with the help of emergency aid and prompt measures taken by the Indian government, the country has recovered from the second wave of C-19.

• The annual league table also predicted that China will overtake the US to be the largest economy in 2030 (two years later than the forecast in 2021). The world economy is set to surpass $100 trillion for the first time in 2022.

Rajnath Singh inaugurates Brahmos missile manufacturing unit in Lucknow

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has laid the foundation stone of the BrahMos Aerospace cruise missile manufacturing unit in Lucknow. He also laid the foundation of DRDO Defence Technology and Test Centre in Lucknow. BrahMos Project will help in creating 5,500 fresh job opportunities.

• BrahMos is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and the NPOM of Russia. BrahMos missile derives its name from the Brahmaputra river of India and the Moskva river of Russia.

• All the three wings of the Indian defence forces have already inducted the BrahMos advanced weapon system.

• Recently, India successfully test-fired the air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the integrated test range of Chandipur.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Government of India has appointed Atul Kumar Goel as the new MD and CEO of PNB

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO of UCO Bank, as MD & CEO of Punjab National Bank (PNB) with effect from February 1 next year. Goel will serve as PNB chief until December 31, 2024, which is his attaining the superannuation age. Goel will replace Mallikarjuna Rao, incumbent MD & CEO of PNB.  Rao was given a three-month extension that will end on January 31, 2022.

• Meanwhile, the ACC has appointed Soma Sankara Prasad, currently Deputy Managing Director at State Bank of India, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in UCO Bank. He will serve as MD & CEO of UCO Bank till the date of attaining the age of superannuation on May 31, 2023.

Aarati Krishnan: SEBI Member Of MF Advisory Panel

• Aarati Krishnan, Editorial Consultant with BusinessLine, has been inducted as a member of the Securities & Exchange Board of India’s Advisory Committee on Mutual Funds. The committee, chaired by Usha Thorat, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India, advises SEBI on matters related to mutual fund regulation to ensure investor protection, development of the industry and disclosure requirements. It suggests measures required to be taken to render the legal framework for mutual funds transparent and simple for investors and constituents.

• The committee has 24 members comprising CEOs of leading mutual fund houses as well as representatives from academia, exchanges, consumer interest groups, fund trustees, rating agencies, distribution firms and media.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Global Environment And Climate Action Citizen Award 2021: Viral Desai honoured

• Viral Sudhirbhai Desai, an industrialist from Surat, who is popularly known as the Greenman or green man of Gujarat has been honoured with the Global Environment and Climate Action Citizen Award 2021. Among the 28 personalities from 11 countries (which includes the United Kingdom(UK), the United States(US), New Zealand, France, and Malaysia,) who were honoured with this award, Viral Desai was the only Indian to win the honour for climate change.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Indipaisa partners with NSDL Payments Bank to launch a new Fintech platform targeting India's flourishing 63 million SME sector

• Indipaisa has signed a partnership agreement with NSDL Payments Bank to launch Financial Technology (Fintech) solutions targeting India’s 63 million Small & Mid-sized Enterprise (SME) sector. To empower SME owners & operators to provide facilities and services that help them grow businesses, comply with government tax laws and build a sustainable future.

• Indipaisa’s mission is to empower SME owners and operators to take charge of their finances as well as give them facilities and services that help them grow their businesses, comply with government tax laws, and build a better future for their families.

• Indipaisa plans to introduce multiple financial products and services customized from the ground up to match the specific needs of Indian SME owners and operators.

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Important Current Affairs 18th June 2021

INTERNATIONAL

SIPRI has released the SIPRI Yearbook 2021

•Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI) has released the SIPRI Yearbook 2021. The report assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security. China is in the middle of significant modernisation and expansion of its nuclear weapon inventory, and India and Pakistan also appear to be expanding their nuclear arsenals.

•According to the yearbook, India possessed an estimated 156 nuclear warheads at the start of 2021 compared to 150 at the start of last year, while Pakistan had 165 warheads, up from 160 in 2020.

•China’s nuclear arsenal consisted of 350 warheads up from 320 at the start of 2020.

•The nine nuclear-armed states – the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – together possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021.

NATIONAL

Validity of Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum extended till 31 December 2021

•The extension would facilitate the holders of EM Part II and UAMs to avail benefits of the provisions under the various existing schemes and incentives including Priority Sector Lending benefits of MSME, the ministry said.

•In a bid to provide relief to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) amid the Covid scenario, the government has extended the validity of the Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM) from March 31 to December 31.

•The ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises has issued an amendment to the original notification and extended the validity of Enterprise Memorandum (EM) Part II for the same duration as well. The extension would facilitate the holders of EM Part II and UAMs to avail benefits of the provisions under the various existing schemes and incentives including Priority Sector Lending benefits of MSME, the ministry said.

Telangana government has launched the Telangana AI Mission (T-AIM)

•Telangana government has launched the Telangana AI Mission (T-AIM) powered by Nasscom and as part of the T-AIM, an accelerator programme called “Revv Up” has been launched to enable and empower AI startups. The programme that will begin its first cohort in July is another step towards making Telangana and Hyderabad a global destination for AI and other emerging technologies.

•The accelerator programme, exclusively designed for growth-stage AI startups, will cover various sectors.

•Telangana Industries and IT principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan stated, “Telangana is committed to its vision of positioning the State as the leader in AI.

Government of India launched “Project O2 for India” initiative

•The government of India has launched ‘Project O2 for India’ to step up production of medical oxygen to meet the potential increase in demand due to further waves of the pandemic. ‘Project O2 for India’, an initiative of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India (GoI), aims to help stakeholders working to augment the country’s ability to meet the rise in demand for medical oxygen.

•Under the project, a ‘National Consortium of Oxygen’ is enabling the supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators. Besides, the consortium is also working to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for long-term preparedness.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Approved Budgetary Support of Rs 499 cr for innovations

•Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore for iDEX-DIO (Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organisation) for the next five years. The funds will be used to provide financial support to nearly 300 start-ups, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and individual innovators with a larger goal of ensuring self-reliance in the defence sector. The scheme is in sync with the government’s push to cut imports of military hardware and weapons and make India a hub for defence manufacturing.

•Facilitate rapid development of new, indigenized, and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector in shorter timelines.

•Create a culture of engagement with innovative startups, to encourage co-creation for defence and aerospace sectors.

•Defence Innovation Organisation(DIO) is a not-for-profit Organisation, incorporated under Section 8 of the Companies Act.

•Founding Members: Its two founding members are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) & Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) – Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

SPORTS

Madhya Pradesh’s para shooter wins gold at Peru event; creates world record

•Madhya Pradesh shooter Rubina Francis has set a world record and won herself the gold in the 10-metre air pistol para women event at World shooting Para Sport Cup in Peru on Wednesday. Rubina, 21, scored 238.1 points and beat the world record of Aysegul Pehlivanlar of Turkey, also securing the Paralympic quota for India at the Tokyo games this year.

•Rubina started the learning basics of shooting in 2006 in a camp organised by an academy in Jabalpur where she practised for 10 years before moving to Bhopal. In 2017, she started practising at MP Shooting Academy.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Autistic Pride Day 2021: 18 June

•Every year, Autistic Pride Day is observed on June 18 globally to create awareness about autism among people and recognise the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society.

•The day is represented by a rainbow infinity symbol which denotes the infinite possibilities that autistic people have. Autistic Pride Day was first celebrated in Brazil in 2005, at the initiative of an organisation named Aspies for Freedom.

Sustainable Gastronomy Day 2021: 18 June

•Sustainable Gastronomy Day is observed on 18 June globally to focus the attention of the world on the role that sustainable gastronomy plays in our lives. The day was designated by UN General Assembly on 21 December 2016.

•Gastronomy means the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food. In other words, Sustainable gastronomy takes into account where the ingredients are from, how the food is grown and how it gets to our markets and eventually to our plates. The day reaffirms that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development.

RANKING

Turkey first & India ranked Second in share of central bank surplus transfers

•The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was second in terms of reserves transferred to the government as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year 2020-21. Turkey has been ranked first.

•RBI has transferred Rs 99,122-crore surplus to the government for FY21 which is 73% higher than the Rs 57,128 crore paid out in 2019-20. The surplus transferred by RBI constitutes 0.44% of GDP, while that of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey constitutes 0.5% of GDP.

15th edition of Global Peace Index 2021 released

•The 15th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) announced by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) Sydney, the GPI is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. The index ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. This report presents the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies.

Global

•Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008.

•It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia.

•Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq.

South Asia:

•India has moved up two notches from its previous year’s ranking to become the 135th most peaceful country in the world and the 5th in the region.

•Bhutan and Nepal are named as the first and second most peaceful in this region.

•Bangladesh has been ranked 91th out of 163 countries in Global Peace Index for 2021. According to the list, Bangladesh is the 3rd most peaceful in South Asia.

•Sri Lanka has slipped down 19 rungs from 2020, to become 95th globally in this year’s rankings, and the 4th in South Asia.

•The largest improvement in peacefulness in South Asia occurred in Pakistan, which ranked 150th globally and 6th in the region, by moving up two notches from the previous year’s ranking.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ICICI Bank launched ‘ICICI STACK for Corporates’

•ICICI Bank has announced the launch of ‘ICICI STACK for Corporates’, a comprehensive set of digital banking solutions for corporates and their entire ecosystem including promoters, group companies, employees, dealers, vendors and all other stakeholders. The wide range of 360-degree solutions enables corporates to seamlessly meet all banking requirements of their ecosystem in an expeditious and frictionless manner.

•With this launch, ICICI Bank aims to be the preferred banking partner for companies and their entire ecosystem. The environment in which corporate customers operate is becoming increasingly dynamic and competitive with accelerated digital adoption transforming every business. In this ever-changing environment, a banking partner, which can serve not only the corporates but also the entire ecosystems where they operate, adds significant value to corporate customers.

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Important Current Affairs 24th September 2020

National 

Government implements O-SMART Scheme
• The Ministry of Earth Sciences has implemented the Ocean Services, Modelling, Applications, Resources, and Technology(O-SMART) Scheme. 
• The scheme covers 16 sub-projects related to the Ocean development activities including resources, services, technology, observations, and sciences. The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre is also working under the O-SMART Scheme.
• The Scheme generates and regularly update information on Marine Living Resources and their relationship with the physical in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Government to set up Neutrino Observatory in the country
• The central government is planning to set up a Neutrino Observatory in the country. This was informed by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh on September 21, 2020 in a written reply in the lower house of the Parliament, Lok Sabha.
• The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover that will study the neutrinos produced in the atmosphere of the Earth.

Railway plans to complete 100 % electrification of its broad gauge routes by 2023
• The Indian Railways have set the target to achieve 100 percent electrification of its broad gauge routes by 2023.
• This information was stated by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on 23 September 2020.

Banking and Economy

Sebi constitutes technical group on social stock exchange
• Sebi set up a technical group on social stock exchange to develop a framework for onboarding non-profit organisations and for-profit enterprises as well as prescribe disclosure requirements on financials and governance.
• The regulator has constituted the technical group under the chairmanship of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, former chairman of Nabard.
• Other members of the group include Ingrid Srinath, founder-director, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University; Pushpa Aman Singh CEO of Guidestar; and Santhosh Jayaram, Partner and Head- Sustainability and CSR Advisory at KPMG.

HDFC Life enters into partnership with YES Bank to sell insurance policies
• HDFC Life said it has entered into a partnership with YES Bank to sell policies to the bank’s customers.
• This CA arrangement will enable customers of YES Bank to avail HDFC Life’s wide range of life insurance products, which include solutions for protection, savings and investment, retirement and critical illness.

UNCTAD sees India growth moderating at -5.9% in 2020
• United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has predicted that the GDP of India will contract by 5.9% in the year 2020.
• For the year 2021, UNCTAD projects the Indian economy to grow by 3.9%.The projection was made in its Trade and Development Report 2020.

Acquisitions and Mergers

KKR to invest in Reliance Retail for 1.28% stake
• Global investment firm KKR is going to invest in the Reliance Retail ventures Limited (RRVL). With investment of Rs 5,550 crore, KKR will be acquiring 1.28% equity stake in the RRVL on a fully diluted basis.
•  This is the second such investment deal with Reliance Retail in past one month after American private firm Silver Lake invested Rs 7,500 cr into the company for a 1.75% Stake.
• This is also KKR’s second investment in a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, as earlier this year, the firm had invested Rs 11,367 crore in Jio Platforms for a 2.32 percent stake.

Science and Technology

DRDO successfully test fires high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT)- ABHYAS
• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested an indigenously-developed unmanned aerial vehicle, Abhyas, that can be used as target for evaluation of various missile systems.
• Two Abhyas vehicles, developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), were flight tested from a test range off Odisha coast.
• The High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was launched using twin underslung booster.

Sports

Former cricketer Ash Barty wins Golf Club Championship
• Ashleigh Barty, who is the top-ranked WTA player in the world, and a former professional cricket player, has now added another feat in her sporting list by winning golf club championship.
• The 24-year-old, world number one Australian, has won the Brookwater Golf Club women’s championship.
• Ash Barty had withdrawn from participating in US Open and French Open due to C-19 pandemic.

Appointments and Resignations

RBI appoints AK Das as the new administrator of PMC Bank
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed AK Das (ex-general manager at Union Bank of India), as the new administrator of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank.
• He has replaced JB Bhoria who has stepped down from his role as the administrator of the bank due to health reasons.
• In September 2019, the RBI had superseded the board of PMC bank due to fraud and financial irregularities in the PMC bank.

Bah Ndaw named Mali’s interim president
• Former Mali defense minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw has been named the president of the country’s new transition government, while the leader of the junta that seized power last month. 
• Colonel Assimi Goita, was appointed vice president of the country.
• He will be in power for 18 months before holding elections and returning Mali to civilian rule.

Simanchala Dash appointed as advisor to IMF Executive Director
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the proposal to appoint Simanchala Dash as an advisor to Executive Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Romila Thapar
• A new book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Historian Romila Thapar will be jointly published by Penguin Random House India and Seagull Books. 
• The book is a historical essay that explores dissent, including its articulation and public response to its forms, with a focus on the recent protest in India against the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.

 

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Important Current Affairs 5th September 2020

National

India to host Quad meet and 2+2 dialogue

• India will soon be hosting the Quad meet involving Australia, Japan and the United States and the 2+2 dialogue with the United States. The details are being worked out for the same. 

• The information regarding the diplomatic engagements was shared by the Ministry of External Affairs at the regular weekly briefing on September 3, 2020.

• The Quad or quadrilateral security dialogue is a grouping of four democracies - India, Australia, Japan and the United States. Two of the quad countries- Australia and Japan have assured huge investments in India's infrastructure technology and supply chain.

India’s First Regional Voters’ Awareness Centre to Come Up in Jaipur

• Election Commission of India (ECI) will set up the country’s first regional voters’ awareness centre in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

• It will cater to four states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

• The centre will carry out various awareness activities under the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme. Sunil Arora is the present Chief Election Commissioner.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel virtually attends 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meet

• The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Russian Federation. India was represented by Union Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in the 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meet.

• The participants of the meeting deliberated on the impact of the epidemiological situation on the cultural sphere in the BRICS countries. It also reviewed the possible implementation of joint cultural online-projects within BRICS.

• The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting featured the participation of delegates from Culture Ministries of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of South Africa.

Banking and Economy

RBI releases revised Priority Sector Lending Guidelines

• The Priority Sector Lending (PSL) Guidelines have been reviewed by the Reserve Bank of India. The review was executed to align the PSL Guidelines with evolving national priorities.

• In the revised PSL Guidelines, the Reserve Bank of India has included some fresh categories eligible for finance under priority sector. These include loans to farmers for installation of solar power plants; loans for establishment of Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) plants; and bank finance to start-ups of up to Rs 50 crore.

• The new guidelines will make better credit penetration into credit deficient areas and increase the lending to small as well as marginal farmers and weaker sections. It will also enhance credit to renewable energy, and health infrastructure.

Summits and Mou’s

SIDBI, Maharashtra Govt ink pact to develop MSME ecosystem

• Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maharashtra Government to develop the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) ecosystem in the state.

• Under the agreement, a Project Management Unit (PMU) will be deployed by SIDBI with the Government of Maharashtra.

• The role of the PMU will be to design schemes/programmes in the areas of equity support, interest subvention, resolution of stressed MSMEs, supporting MSME entrepreneurs and facilitate other need-based intervention based on evaluation of the existing status of MSMEs.

Andhra Pradesh signs MoU with CSIR for a bulk drug pharma park in the state

• The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (APIIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) to establish a bulk drug park in the state.

• CSIR-IICT is the knowledge partner and will offer needed technical backing to make the proposal which will be submitted by the Andhra Pradesh government to the Department of Pharmaceuticals to seek financial assistance from the Centre.

Science and Technology

IIT Delhi incubated startup launches ‘‘Chakr DeCoV’’ to decontaminate N95 masks

• In our series on Atmanirbhar Bharat, IIT Delhi incubated startup Chakr Innovation has launched ‘Chakr DeCoV’ to decontaminate N95 masks.

• Designed in the shape of a cabinet, Chakr DeCoV is built with an innovative decontamination mechanism, which utilises the high penetrability of Ozone gas for cleaning the pores of the N95 mask, ensuring complete decontamination of its intricate layers.

Sports

India’s P Iniyan wins World Open Online Chess Tournament

• Indian Grandmaster P Iniyan has won the prestigious 48th Annual World Open online chess tournament.

• He scored 7.5 points out of a possible 9 with six victories and three draws to finish on top.

• A total number of 120 players from 16 countries participated in the event which included more than 30 Grandmasters.

Ranking

Oxford University tops THE World University Rankings 2021; IISc top Indian

• Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2021 has been released and under the overall category, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, has topped the list. It has retained the top spot for the fifth consecutive year.

• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, is the top-ranked University from India and is ranked in the 301-350 band. A total of 63 universities from India qualified for the ranking.

• Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar and IIT Indore are the next best-ranked University/college from India.

India ranked 3rd in largest solar market in 2019: Mercom global listing; Top- China

• India has been ranked third in terms of the largest solar market in 2019 as per Mercer Global listing for 2019. India had 9% of the world’s installed capacity.

• China has topped the ranking with 30 Gw (26% of world capacity). The US is on the second rank.

• Adani Green Energy has emerged as the top Solar Developer in 2019 with 12.3 Gw capacity.

Days

Teachers Day 2020

• In India, Teachers Day is celebrated on 5 September every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan - First Vice President of India and the Second President of India and an educationist at heart.

• Globally, Teachers Day is celebrated on 5th October. Teachers Day is important for the students as it gives them a chance to understand the efforts put in by their teachers to ensure that they get a proper education.

International Day of Charity

• International Day of Charity is celebrated on 5 September every year to commemorate the death anniversary of Mother Teresa and to make people understand about the importance of charity.

• The International Day of Charity officially was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012. Also, this day was created by the Hungarian Civil society initiative in 2011 with the support of the Hungarian parliament and Government.

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Important Current Affairs 31st August 2020

National

NITI Aayog Launches Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) India Component

• NITI Aayog virtually launched the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) on 27 August 2020.

• The NDC–TIA is a joint programme supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China.

Piyush Goyal Attends 8th East Asia Summit (Economic Ministers’ Meeting)

• 8th East Asia Summit Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) was held virtually which was attended by Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States.

• The Meeting was chaired by Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam. From Indian side it was attended by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry.

• During the meet discussions were held to accelerate economic growth, maintain supply chains and market stability, and strengthen the economic resilience of the EAS region post C-19.

CISF launches Pension Corner mobile app

• The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has introduced the Pension Corner mobile app. the Pension Corner app will help to fulfil the needs of all its retired personnel.

• The app has been made as part of an e-office initiative and has been introduced in the wake of the C-19 disease.

Banking and Economy

Reliance Retail to acquire Future Group's retail, wholesale businesses for Rs 24,713 crore

• Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) announced on August 29, 200 that it is acquiring the retail, wholesale business, logistics and warehouse business of Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore.

• The announcement has come amid ongoing concerns on a slump sale basis for lumpsum aggregate consideration. Reliance Retail will be buying the businesses from the Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore, subject to adjustments as set out in the composite scheme of arrangement.

• The acquisition is a part of Future Group's decision of merging certain companies and carrying on the businesses into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL). Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited.

•  Under the new acquisition agreement, Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited will be taking over the retail and wholesale undertaking of Future Group.

Obituary

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman passes away at 43

• American actor Chadwick Boseman, who became a global icon for his role as Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has passed away after battling cancer since past four years from 2016.He was 43.

• Chadwick made his Marvel superhero debut as T’Challa/Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, after which he became a household name.

• He made his big-screen debut in 2008 in the biopic The Express: The Ernie Davis Story where he played Floyd Little.

‘Scooby Doo’ Co-Creator Joe Ruby Passes Away at 87

• Joe Ruby, the co-creator of the cartoon series Scooby-Doo, has passed away due to natural cause. He was 87.

• Ruby, an American animator, television editor, writer, and producer, created the much-loved characters of beloved kids show Scooby-Doo, along with his creative partner Ken Spears.

• Together, the pair started their own production company Hanna-Barbera Productions and created other memorable cartoons as well.

Sports

India’s first: Joint champions in chess Olympiad

• India and Russia have been jointly annouced the winner of first-ever FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020. This was the first time FIDE was holding the Olympiad in an online format.

• India were initially declared to have lost the final round against Russia. Two Indian players (Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh) were declared to have lost on time in the final round after an apparent loss of internet connection for them.

• After this, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich had made a decision to give gold medals of to both teams.

Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Belgian Grand Prix 2020

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix 2020 held on August 30, 2020. This was his 5th win of the season.

• Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) came second followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) at third place.

Appointments and Resignations

Banks Board Bureau recommends Dinesh Kumar Khara as next SBI chairman

• The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) recommended SBI’s senior-most managing director Dinesh Kumar Khara as the next chairman of the country’s largest lender.

• Khara will replace SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar, whose three-year term comes to an end on October 7.

Ranking

Amul (16th) becomes first Indian dairy company to be in Rabobank’s Global Top 20 list; Top- Nestle

• Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has been ranked 16th in the Rabobank’s Global Top 20 Dairy Companies list. Amul has achieved an annual turnover of $5.5 billion.

• Switzerland’s Nestle topped the list with a turnover of US $22.1 billion. Amul is the first Indian company to enter the top 20 ranking of Rabobank’s Global Top 20 Dairy Companies list.

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Important Current Affairs 25th July 2020

National

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launches ‘RestartIndia’ advisory platform for MSME sector

• The Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), Shri Nitin Gadkari launched a mentoring platform ‘www.restartindia.in’, on 23 July 2020, with the main objective to help the sector in restarting businesses across the country.

• This website has been developed jointly by Muthoot Fincorp and INKtalks as an open platform for advisory support, and is in sync with Atmanirbhar project.

• The objective of Restart India is to raise the self-confidence primarily of small businesses by creating an environment for the re-establishment and progress of their businesses.

Largest Solar Power Plant of Indian Navy Commissioned

• Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command commissioned a 3 MW Solar Power Plant at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala on July 22, 2020 through virtual conferencing.

• The solar plant is Indian Navy’s largest plant and has an estimated life of 25 years. Its launch is in line with the centre’s initiative of ‘National Solar Mission’ to achieve 100GW of solar power by 2022.

• All components of the plant were indigenously sourced including 9180 highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels employing the latest technology.

Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) Gujarat attains its first criticality

• The Unit 3 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat achieved its ‘first criticality’ at 9.36 am on 22 July 2020.

• KAPP-3 is India’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) as well as biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

• A nuclear reactor attains criticality when every nuclear fission event releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of reactions or a self-sustaining chain reaction.

International

India-UK affirm shared commitment towards Free Trade Agreement

• India and the United Kingdom affirmed their shared commitment towards a Free Trade Agreement during the 14th Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting on July 24, 2020.

• The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.

• The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri and UK’s Minister of State for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena had also attended the meeting.

Sports

IPL 2020 Schedule announced: IPL to begin from September 19 & finals on November 8

• The schedule of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been announced by IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel on July 24, 2020. As per the schedule, IPL will begin from September 19, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The IPL finals will be held on 8th November 2020.

• The final details of the tournament will be finalised by IPL Governing Council next week.

Appointments and Resignations

Sahil Seth appointed as honorary adviser for BRICS CCI

• Sahil Seth has been appointed as an honorary adviser to the steering committee for the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) young leaders.

• He has been appointed for the period 2020-2023. Seth is presently serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Customs.

Tata AIA Life Ltd appoints Naveen Tahilyani as its MD & CEO

• Naveen Tahilyani has been appointed by Tata AIA Life Limited as its Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

• He will take over from the current CEO Rishi Srivastava, who has been appointed as chief executive officer, group agency distribution, AIA Group, Hong Kong.

Partha Pratim Sengupta becomes new MD & CEO of IOB

• Government of India has appointed Partha Pratim Sengupta as the new Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

• He will replace Karnam Sekar, who retired from the post of the MD and CEO at IOB on June 30, 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd July 2020

National

Union Power Minister inaugurated India’s first of its kind public EV Charging Plaza

• Union Minister for Power, New & Renewable Energy, Shri R.K Singh, inaugurated India’s first public Electric Vehicle (EV) charging plaza at Chelmsford Club in New Delhi on 20 July 2020.The initiatives focus on energy efficiency, promoting e-mobility, and improving indoor air quality.

• RAISE (Retrofit of Air-conditioning to improve Indoor Air Quality for Safety and Efficiency) is a joint initiative of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) MAITREE programme.

Odisha Government Includes Transgender Community under Madhu Babu Pension Yojana

• The official notification of The Department of Social security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) informed that, Odisha Government has included the transgender community under MadhuBabu Pension Yojana(MBPY), a social security scheme by amending to Rule 6 of the Madhu Babu Pension Rules 2008.

• In addition to transgenders women, those who are fighting divorce cases in courts are also included.

• Under this scheme, about 6,000 transgenders will receive Rs. 500, Rs. 700 and Rs. 900 per month as a pension under various categories depending on their age.

Summits and Mou’s

Defence Ministry signed contract with BEML for procurement of 1,512 Mine Plough for T-90 tanks

• Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) for procurement of 1,512 Mine Plough (MP) for Tank T-90 S/SK. The move comes as a major boost to the Make in India initiative of the Government of India.

• The contract was approved by the Acquisition Wing of MoD.The procurement will cost approximately Rs 557 crore. These mine ploughs when fitted on T-90 Tanks will provide individual mobility to Tanks while negotiating mine field.

Obituary

Veteran Odia Actor Bijay Mohanty passes away

• Veteran Odia Actor, Bijay Mohanty passed away. He started his career with theatre as a performer and directed many plays before venturing into movies. His performance in his debut film, Chilika Tire, earned him several accolades including the National Film Award.

Former Australia Test cricketer Barry Jarman passes away

• Former Australian test wicketkeeper and ex-International Cricket Council match referee, Barry Jarman passed away.

• He made his test debut in 1959. He became the first-choice wicketkeeper for Australia only after the retirement of Grout in 1966.

Appointments and Resignations

Karur Vysya Bank appoints Ramesh Babu Boddu as MD & CEO

• Board of Directors of the Karur Vysya Bank has appointed Ramesh Babu Boddu as a Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the bank.He will succeed PR Seshadri who resigned on 31st March 2020.

• He has also been co-opted as an Additional Director. Ramesh Babu Boddu has earlier served as Deputy Managing Director in State Bank of India and retired in April 2020.

SAP appoints Kulmeet Bawa as new India MD

• Systems, Applications & Products in Data Processing (SAP) has announced the appointment of Kulmeet Bawa as President and Managing Director for SAP Indian Subcontinent.

• He will replace the incumbent Deb Deep Sengupta.

Days

Space Exploration Day

• Every year on July 20, the Space Exploration Day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of man’s first historic landing on the moon.

• Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz became the first humans to land on moon’s surface. The Armstrong-Aldrin duo spent 21.5 hours on the surface of the moon. Also, they spent 2.5 hours outside of their capsules. The day is mainly celebrated in the United States.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Suraj Kade Marda Nahi” authored by Baldev Singh Sadaknama

• Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Baldev Singh Sadaknama has authored a book ‘Suraj Kade Marda Nahi’ (sun never dies). The book portrays many aspects of freedom fighter Udham Singh.

• The book is published by Unistarbooks. The book has been released and will be formally launched on July 31, 2020. Udham Singh 80th death anniversary will fall on July 31, 2020.

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