Current Affairs

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Daily Current Affairs : 08th April 2021

National News

Dr Harsh Vardhan and Arjun Munda launches Tribal Health Collaborative ‘Anamaya’

  • The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan and the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda jointly launched ‘Anamaya’, the Tribal Health Collaborative on April 07, 2021, through video conference. The initiative is supported by Piramal Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
  • Anamaya is a multi-stakeholder initiative to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India by converging efforts of various Government agencies and organisations.
  • As part of this Collaborative, the Ministry will undertake several activities such as setting up the National Council on Tribal Health to drive policy initiatives in tribal health, the establishment of a Health Cell to closely monitor healthcare delivery in the tribal areas and devising mechanisms to implement the Tribal Health Action Plan.

2. CJI launches top court’s AI-driven research portal ‘SUPACE’

  • The Supreme Court of India has launched it’s Artificial Intelligence portal “SUPACE” (Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Courts Efficiency). Through this portal, the SC intends to leverage machine learning to deal with the vast amounts of data received at the time of filing of cases.
  • Justice L Nageshwara Rao, who is also the chairman of the SC’s Artificial Intelligence Committee, delivered the opening address during the virtual launch of SUPACE.
  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde was the first-ever chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Committee.
  • CJI Bobde first spoke of the use of AI to assist the Supreme Court soon after he took oath as the Chief Justice in 2019.

International News

3. Vietnam National Assembly selects PM & President

  • Vietnam’s legislature voted to make Pham Minh Chinh, a member of the Communist party with a history as a security official, the country’s next Prime Minister. Outgoing Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was appointed the new President.
  • The votes of the nearly 500 members of the National Assembly rubber-stamped the leadership picks the Communist party made during its national congress in January.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Vietnam Capital: Hanoi.
  • Vietnam Currency: Vietnamese dong.

4. Kosovo’s parliament elects Vjosa Osmani as president

  • Kosovo’s parliament elected Vjosa Osmani as the country’s new president. Osmani received 71 votes from the lawmakers at the third round of voting in the Assembly of Kosovo.
  • While 82 deputies participated in the vote in the 120-member parliament, 11 votes were declared invalid. The 38-year-old politician studied law at the University of Pristina in Kosovo and earned a doctorate from Pittsburgh University in the US.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Kosovo Capital: Pristina.
  • Kosovo Currency: Euro.

Appointments News

5. Govt Appoints S Ramann as SIDBI CMD

  • The government has appointed S Ramann as Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). Ramann, a 1991-batch Indian Audit & Accounts Service officer, is currently the CEO of National E-Governance Services Ltd, India’s first Information Utility.
  • The appointment is for a period of three years from the date of his assuming the charge or until further orders. Banks Board Bureau, the headhunter for state-owned banks and financial institutions, had recommended his name for the post.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • SIDBI set up on 2nd April 1990;
  • SIDBI Headquarters: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Banking News

6. RBI to release Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) annually

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will periodically publish a “Financial Inclusion Index” (FI Index) annually in July for the financial year ending previous March.
  • The FI Index would be based on multiple parameters and shall reflect the broadening and deepening of financial inclusion in the country, a statement on regulatory and developmental policies of RBI.
  • Financial Inclusion has been a thrust area for the government, the Reserve Bank and other regulators, with significant progress made over the years. To measure the extent of financial inclusion in the country, the Reserve Bank proposes to construct and publish a Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) based on multiple parameters.

7. RBI increases WMA limits for the State Governments/UTs

  • The Reserve Bank of India has increased the limit for Way and Means Advances (WMA) for the State Governments/UTs from Rs. 32,225 crore (fixed in February 2016) to Rs. 47,010 crore based on the recommendation of a committee headed by Shri Sudhir Shrivastava. This represents an increase of about 46%.
  • RBI has extended the enhanced interim WMA limit of ₹ 51,560 crores (a 60 per cent increase in the current limits allowed by the Reserve Bank during the last fiscal to help states/UTs to tide over the difficulties faced by them during the pandemic) for a further period of six months i.e., from April 1, 2021, up to September 30, 2021.

8. RBI enhances maximum balance limit per account in Payments Banks

  • The Reserve Bank of India has enhanced the limit of maximum balance at end of the day maintained in Payments Bank from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per individual customer.
  • The step has been taken to encourage the efforts of Payments Bank for financial inclusion and to expand their ability to cater to the needs of their customers, including MSMEs, small traders and merchants.
  • The extant “Guidelines for Licensing of Payments Banks” issued on November 27, 2014, allow payments banks to hold a maximum balance of ₹ 1 lakh per individual customer.
  • Based on a review of the performance of payments banks and with a view to encouraging their efforts for financial inclusion and to expand their ability to cater to the needs of their customers, including MSMEs, small traders and merchants.

9. RBI enhances Loan limit under Priority Sector Lending against eNWR/NWR

  • The Reserve Bank of India has enhanced the loan limit from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 75 lakh per borrower against the pledge/hypothecation of agricultural produce backed by Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWRs)/electronic-NWRs(e-NWRs) issued by the warehouses registered and regulated by Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA).
  • The Priority Sector loan limit backed by other Warehouse Receipts will continue to be ₹50 lakh per borrower. The circular in this regard will be issued separately.
  • With a view to encourage farm credit to individual farmers against pledge/hypothecation of agricultural produce and leverage the inherent safety of NWRs/(e-NWRs) issued by warehouses registered and regulated by WDRA.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority Established: 2010.
  • Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority HQ: New Delhi.

Agreements News

10. Bharti Airtel sells 800 MHz spectrum in three circles to Reliance Jio

  • Bharti Airtel has entered into an agreement with Reliance Jio Infocomm to transfer ‘Right to Use’ for some of its 800 MHz spectrum in three circles to the Mukesh Ambani-led firm.
  • Following this agreement, Bharti Airtel will receive a consideration of ₹1,037.6 crores from Reliance Jio for the proposed transfer. In addition, Reliance Jio will assume future liabilities of ₹459 crores relating to the spectrum.
  • As per the agreement, which is subject to statutory approvals, Reliance Jio will acquire the right to use spectrum in the 800MHz band in Andhra Pradesh (3.75 MHz), Delhi (1.25 MHz) and Mumbai (2.50 MHz) circles through spectrum trading.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Bharti Airtel CEO: Gopal Vittal.
  • Bharti Airtel Founder: Sunil Bharti Mittal.
  • Bharti Airtel Founded: 7 July 1995.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd Founder: Dhirubhai Hirachand Ambani.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd Chief Executive Officer(CEO): Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Books and Authors News

11. PM Modi to release Hindi version of ‘Odisha Itihaas’ by Dr Harekrushna Mahtab

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the Hindi translation of the book ‘Odisha Itihaas’, written by Utkal Keshari Harekrushna Mahtab, on 9th April at the Ambedkar International Center.
  • The event marking the release of the Hindi version has been organised by the Harekrushna Mahtab Foundation.

Sports News

12. FIFA suspends Pakistan and Chad football federations

  • FIFA has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Chadian Football Association (FTFA) with immediate effect due to claims of outside interference. The suspension will be lifted once the relevant government decisions have been repealed.
  • A group of football officials led by Ashfaq Hussain, which was elected by the Supreme Court in 2018 to run the PFF but was not recognised by FIFA, took over the headquarters recently and seized control from the FIFA Normalisation Committee headed by Haroon Malik.
  • The Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports had stripped the country’s FA of its powers on March 10 following concerns over the way it was being run and a breakdown in communication.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of FIFA: Gianni Infantino; Founded: 21 May 1904.
  • Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland.

Obituaries News

13. India’s first female cricket commentator Chandra Naidu passes away

  • India’s first female cricket commentator Chandra Naidu passed away. She was the daughter of the country’s first Test captain CK Naidu.
  • She had done her first commentary during a match between national champions Bombay (now Mumbai) and MCC in Indore in 1977. She had also penned a book titled ‘CK Nayudu: A Daughter Remembers’ on her late father, who was a distinguished cricketer.

14. Renowned journalist, Padma awardee Fatima Rafiq Zakaria passes away

  • Fatima Rafiq Zakaria, a Padma Shri awardee, renowned journalist, academician and chairman of Maulana Azad Educational Trust and Khairul Islam Trust Mumbai, passed away. She was awarded the Padma Shri in recognition of her work in education in 2006.
  • Ms Zakaria, who had played an eminent role in the field of education, was also honoured with the Sarojini Naidu Integration Award for Journalism in 1983. 

 


Daily Current Affairs – 02 July 2021

Days

World UFO Day: 02 July

  • The World UFO Day (WUD) is held on July 2 every year globally. It is a day dedicated to the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) by World UFO Day Organization (WUFODO).
  • WUD aims to raise awareness about the existence of UFOs and encouraging people to think about the possibility of us not being alone in the Universe.
  • Initially, the day was observed on June 24. Later, WUFODO established July 2 to commemorate the day.

World Sports Journalists Day: 02 July

  • World Sports Journalists Day is observed on July 2 every year to celebrate the services of sports journalists for the promotion of sports.
  • Th day was established in 1994 to commemorate 70th anniversary of International Sports Press Association (ISPA).
  • The ISPA was founded in London on the July 2, 1924 during the Summer Olympics in Paris.

 

National

 

Government keeps interest rates on Small Savings Schemes unchanged for Quarter-2 of 2021-22

  • Government of India has announced that the rate of interest on Small Savings Schemes for the second quarter (July-Sept) of 2021-22 will remain unchanged as the last quarter (April-June) of 2021-2022.
  • It must be noted hat the Government notifies the Interest rates for small savings schemes on quarterly basis.

India records current account surplus of 0.9% in FY21

  • According to the data released by the Reserve Bank of India, India reported a current account surplus of 0.9% of GDP in the FY 21. In FY 20 there was a current account deficit of 0.9%.
  • The reason for Current Account Surplus in FY21 is sharp contraction in the trade deficit to US$ 102.2 billion from US$ 157.5 billion in 2019-20.
  • Current Account Surplus/Deficit is difference between Export and Import.
    • Current Account Surplus implies that Export from India was more than Import into India.
    • Current Account Deficit implies that Import into India was more than Export from India.
  • India has seen a Current account surplus for first time in 17 years.

Ranking

India Ranks 20th in Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2021, the US tops: Startup Blink report

  • India has moved up three spots to be ranked at the 20th spot among the top 100 countries in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2021 by Startup Blink.
  • India was at 23rd spot in 2020.
  • The US has once again retained its position as the top country while, the UK, Israel, Canada and Germany continue to be the top five countries respectively like previous year.
  • Each country is ranked based on three parameters, which are, quantity, quality and business environment. Each parameter further comprise of various elements.
  • City-Wise Ranking
    • In terms of City-wise ranking, 43 Indian cities are listed in the top 1000 globally.
    • Bengaluru (10th) is the highest ranked Indian city in the list, while New Delhi (14) and Mumbai (16) are the other Indian cities in the top 20.
    • Overall, San Francisco, United States has topped the cities list. It is followed by New York (2nd), Beijing (3rd), Los Angeles (4th), and London (5th).
  • The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Index ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide, to track both momentum (quality and frequency of innovation) as well as trends within the startup ecosystem, around the world.

Banking

World Bank expands Coronavirus Vaccine Funding to $20 billion to be used through 2022

  • The World Bank has announced an additional funding of $8 billion for Covid-19 vaccines, for developing countries.
  • With this the total financing available for Covid-19 vaccine reaches $20 billion. Earlier the World Bank had announced $12 billion for the same.
  • This funding will be used over the next 18 months till 2022 end.
  • World Bank Group President David Malpass has also called on countries with surplus doses to release it for use by developing countries, and requested vaccine manufacturers to prioritise the available doses for such developing countries that urgently need them.

Business

Flipkart launches Shopsy App, to enable Indians to start their online businesses

  • Flipkart has launched Shopsy app that will enable Indians to start their online businesses without any investment.
  • Flipkart aims to enable over 25 million online entrepreneurs by 2023 with the help of Shopsy.
  • Users of Shopsy will be able to share catalogues of a wide selection of 15 crore products offered by Flipkart sellers. These users can share catalogues with potential customers via popular social media and messaging apps, place orders on their behalf and earn commissions on the transactions.

Appointment

Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari Takes Charge as Vice Chief of IAF

  • Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari has been sworn in as the new Vice Chief of Indian Air Force on July 01, 2021.
  • He succeeds Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora, who retired from service on June 30, 2021.
  • Prior to this, Air Marshal Chaudhari was serving as commander-in-chief of the IAF’s Western Air Command (WAC).

Sports

12-Year-old Indian-Origin Abhimanyu Mishra Becomes Youngest Grand Master in Chess History

  • An Indian origin boy, Abhimanyu Mishra, who hails from New Jersey, has become the youngest-ever Grandmaster in chess on June 30, 2021.
  • Abhimanyu became the youngest GM at the of 12 years 4 months and 25 days.
  • He beat the previous record held by GM Sergey Karjakin, who became the youngest GM at 12 years and 7 months in 2002.

Obituary

Filmmaker Raj Kaushal Passes Away at 49

  • The writer-director-filmmaker Raj Kaushal, who was the husband of veteran television actress Mandira Bedi, has passed away after a massive heart attack. He was 49.
  • Kaushal started his career as a copywriter and as a filmmaker, he rose to fame with three of his films in his career, namely Pyaar Mein Kabhie Kabhie, Shaadi Ka Ladoo and Anthony Kaun Hai. 
  • In 1998, he started his own advertising production company and directed over 800 commercials.
  • Raj Kaushal and Mandira married in 1999.

 


Daily Current Affairs

India-France Defence Partnership

                Recently, at the India-France strategic dialogue, both countries resolved to expand the defence and security partnership by enhancing intelligence sharing, bolstering capabilities, expanding military drills and pursuing new initiatives in maritime, space and cyber domains.

Highlights of the Dialogue:

Support to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’: France reiterated its commitment to India’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)” and defence industrialisation, joint research and technology development in India across a wide range of advanced capabilities.

France’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: France stressed its continuing commitment to the Indo-Pacific region as a “resident power”, and partnership with India as a “major pillar” of its strategy for the region.

Moreover, the French Presidency of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2022 is expected to give a further shape to the EU’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

A resident power is one that does not own territory or have a territorial presence in a particular region of the world, but is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with in the international politics of that region.

Significance of the Meeting: France’s reiteration to expand strategic cooperation with India has come after the unveiling of a new security alliance (AUKUS) by Australia, the UK and the US.

The unexpected announcement of the alliance, which involves building submarines for Australia, had angered the French government after Australia pulled out of a separate submarine deal with France.

AUKUS is a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).

India-France Strategic Relations:

Background:

France was one of the first countries with which India signed a “strategic partnership” after the end of the Cold War, in January 1998.

France was one of the very few countries to support India’s decision to test nuclear weapons in 1998.

Defence Cooperation: Both countries have a defence dialogue at the Ministerial level.

The three services have regular defence exercises; viz.

Exercise Shakti (Army)

Exercise Varuna (Navy)

Exercise Garuda (Air Force)

Recently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted French Rafale multi-role combat aircraft.

India entered into a contract with a French firm to build six Scorpene submarines in India’s Malegaon dockyards through a technology-transfer arrangement in 2005.

The two countries also signed the Agreement regarding the Provision of Reciprocal Logistics Support.

This agreement will help to facilitate the replenishment of fuel, rations, spares, and berthing and maintenance for the other nations’ warships, military aircraft and troops during routine port calls, as well as during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

Indian Ocean, the Common Shared Interest:

France needs to protect its colonial territorial possessions like reunion island and Indian ocean being the zone of influence for India.

Recently, France became the 23rd member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

It is the first time that a country whose mainland is not on the Indian Ocean has been brought into the fold of the IORA.

Counter Terrorism: France backed the India’s proposal for a global conference on terrorism. Both the countries also support organising a new “No Money for Terror” - an International Conference on Fighting Terrorist Financing.

France Backing India: France also continues to steadfastly back India on Kashmir while its relations with Pakistan have plummeted in the recent past and China has become an object of suspicion.


The Hindu Editorial Analysis

       09 November 2021          

Breaking the hype around Metaverse:

Its commodification in the hands of one corporation could be detrimental to the Web 3.0 decentralisation movement

About Metaverse: