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Current Affairs 19 & 20 June 2022

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India’s 1st Government MLD Desalination Plant for Industrial Use inaugurated in Dahej, GujaratIndia's first 100 MLD desalination plant inaugurated in DahejOn June 16, 2022, India’s first government desalination plant only for industrial use was inaugurated at Dahej in Bharuch (Gujarat) by the Chief Minister (CM) of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel. It was set up with an outlay of ~Rs 881.19 crore.
Developers:
Its construction work was awarded to the joint venture company of Larsen & Toubro and Tecton.  A special purpose vehicle (SPV), Dahej Desal Foundation, has been constituted by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), and the beneficiary industrial units for operation and maintenance of the plant.
Need behind this Plant:
The daily requirement of water for industries in Dahej is around 200 MLD (Million Per Day), which is currently fetched from the Narmada river. The industries will now get treated sea water for their use.

  • Now, through this plant, 100 MLD treated sea water will be delivered daily to the industries at Dahej.
  • The price of 1,000 litres of treated water will be Rs 26.

Key Points:
i.GIDC allocated around 25 acres of land in Dahej for the plant, which will treat sea (salt) water through extra reverse osmosis.
ii.The former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani had laid the foundation for the plant at Dahej in 2019, due to the increased demand for water in industries.
iii.Of the total four PCPIR (petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals investment regions) in the country, Dahej PCPIR is the only functional one.

GoI Reconstitutes Committee to Examine the Representation of Officials Sacked for Alleged CorruptionGovt reconstitutes committee to examine representation of officials sacked for alleged corruptionThe three-member panel of the committee to examine the representation of officials sacked for alleged inefficiency or corruption in the government service has been reconstituted by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Government of India (GoI).
Members of the Panel
i. Arti Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has been appointed in place of Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
ii. Puneet Kansal, Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, has been appointed in place of Ashutosh Jindal, Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat.
iii. One member of the panel will be nominated by the cadre controlling authority (under whose administrative control the alleged corrupt officials come).
Key Points:
i. The committee examines the representation of employees sacked in accordance with Fundamental Rule (FR) 56 (J), (I), and Rule 48 of the Central Civil Services (CCS) Pension Rules, 1972.

  • Under these rules, the government has the absolute right to fire government officials for lack of integrity or ineffectiveness in the public interest and allow the government to examine these cases.

ii. The objective of Fundamental Rules (FR) 56 (J), (I), and Rule 48 of the CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 is to enhance the administrative machinery by fostering responsible and efficient administration at all levels and to achieve efficiency, economy, and speed in the disposition of government responsibilities.

Indian Navy & NCMRWF Inks MoU for Cooperation on Numerical Model-Based Applications in Meteorology and OceanologyIndian Navy Signs A MoU With NCMRWF For Cooperation On Numerical Model Based Applications In METOCThe Indian Navy and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences(MoES), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for “Cooperation on Numerical Model-Based Applications in Meteorology and Oceanology.”
The MoU was signed during a ceremony at NCMRWF in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, by Dr. Ashis K. Mitra, Head of NCMRWF, and Commodore G. Rambabu, Head of the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Oceanology and Meteorology (DNOM), Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy).
Significance
Under this collaboration, the Indian Navy and NCMRWF will share expertise in the domains of weather and ocean modelling, coupled modelling, data assimilation, ensemble forecasting, and satellite data utilisation, with the intent of keeping both organisations up to date with rapid development.

  • This would also promote meaningful interactions that leverage on the professional strengths of both organisations.

Features of the MoU:
i. The NCMRWF, with its highly skilled scientists and cutting-edge facilities, would render support to two of the Indian Navy’s premier establishments in Kochi, Kerala:

  • The Naval Operations Data Processing and Analysis Centre (NODPAC), and
  • The Indian Naval Meteorological Analysis Centre (INMAC)

ii. This will help develop advanced numerical weather prediction systems, including coupled models, that will have greater reliability and accuracy over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and global regions.
iii. The MoU would benefit both NCMRWF and the Indian Navy in the future by fostering meaningful interactions and professional exchanges.

Delhi airport introduces RFID-enabled tag to track check-in luggage

In a first in India, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi introduced radio-frequency identification (RFID) enabled baggage tags which will give passengers real-time information about the location of their luggage. The RFID technology will be personalised and help arriving passengers keep track of their check-in luggage.
i.The bag tags will be called ‘Bagg Trax’, and It will not only help domestic and international arrival passengers but also those in transit to track their checked-in baggage.
ii.The tag is a blue-yellow card with a QR code on it. To avail the facility, the passenger will have to register by scanning the QR code or visit “bag.hoi.in” on their phones. After this, they will receive a message confirming the registration of the tag. Flyers will receive real-time SMS alerts with details of baggage on their phone.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland; Co-hosted by KazakhstanWTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Genevai.The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) was co-hosted by Switzerland, and Kazakhstan at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland after a gap of almost five years from June 12-June 16, 2022. It was attended by the Trade ministers of 164 nations.
ii.It was chaired by Timur Suleimenov, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kazakhstan’s President.
iii.Kazakhstan was originally scheduled to host MC12 in June 2020 but the conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
iv.The WTO members agreed on tackling the food insecurity concerns, curbing harmful fishing subsidies, temporarily waiving intellectual property (IP) obligations concerning COVID-19 vaccines, deals on e-commerce, responding to pandemics and reforming the organisation itself.
About World Trade Organization (WTO):
Director-General– Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment– 1995
The WTO has 164 members (including European Union)
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EU Recommends Candidate Status for Ukraine & MoldovaEU recommends Ukraine and Moldova as membership candidatesThe European Commission has made a historic step in recommending that Ukraine and Moldova be granted European Union (EU) candidate status, paving the way for them to progress from former Soviet republics to developed economies in the world’s largest trade bloc, the EU.
On June 17, 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the recommendation.
Backdrop
i. The European Commission’s unprecedented announcement is made in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, which killed many people and caused huge material destruction.
ii. Since 2014, when protesters in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine, deposed an unpopular pro-Russian president, Ukraine has sought EU candidate status.
iii. Pro-Russian and pro-EU politicians have fought for control of Ukraine and Moldova since their independence in 1991.
iv. Russia also has forces stationed in Transnistria, a breakaway, Russian-speaking province on Moldova’s eastern side.
Ukraine’s Scenario
i. If the European Commission’s decision is ratified as expected in the European Summit, it will be a morale boost for Ukraine.
ii. Ukraine and Moldova’s path to full membership in the EU, a 27-nation union, might take years due to the need for reforms to meet democratic and anti-corruption standards.

  • Transparency International ranks Ukraine as one of the world’s most corrupt countries, ranking 122 out of 180 governments.

iii. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s ambition to join EU was backed by France, Germany, Italy and Romania.

  • Despite having a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, he applied to join EU just days after Russia invaded. Moldova and Georgia immediately followed the suit.

What’s Next?
Leaders of the EU will discuss Ukraine’s, Georgia’s, and Moldova’s bids for EU membership in light of the European Commission’s opinions at the European Council on June 23 and 24, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium.

  • The commencement of accession talks requires unanimous approval from all member countries.

Georgia’s Scenario
i. Due to a domestic political crisis, the Commission imposed conditions on Georgia’s candidacy for membership.
ii. Russia waged a brief war with Georgia in 2008 and still has military bases in two of the country’s disputed regions.
Note: Since 2018, EU enlargement as a policy has been stalled. Member states cannot agree on whether to admit Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey as official candidates.
About Republic of Moldova:
President – Maia Sandu
Capital – Chisinau
Currency – Moldovan Leu (MDL)

BANKING & FINANCE

Kotak General Insurance partners with PhonePe to offer motor insurance

Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited (Kotak General Insurance) has partnered with PhonePe Insurance Broking Services Pvt. Ltd (PhonePe), a digital payments platform, to offer motor insurance to 380 million customers on the PhonePe platform.

  • Through PhonePe, Kotak General Insurance will provide quick and seamless car and two-wheeler insurance policies to its customers.
  • This Partnership will empower PhonePe customers to buy car and two-wheeler insurance end-to-end online in just a few clicks from the comfort of their smart phones.

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

WPI inflation rises to Record High of 15.88% in May 2022: DPIIT DataWPI inflation rises to record high of 15.88% in May from 15.08% in AprilIn accordance with the data released by the Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation rose to a record high of 15.88% in May 2022 from 15.08% in April 2022.

  • This is the highest WPI in the 2011-12 series.
  • The WPI based inflation was 13.11% in May 2021.

Reason behind this rise:
The high rate of inflation in May, 2022 is primarily due to rise in prices of vegetables, fruits, milk, manufacturing, fuel, power, mineral oils, crude petroleum & natural gas, basic metals, chemicals & chemical products and food products etc.
Key Points:
i.Inflation in food articles in May 2022 was 12.34%, as prices of vegetables, wheat, fruits and potato witnessed sharp as compared to May 2021.
ii.The rate of price rise in vegetables was 56.36%, while in wheat it was 10.55% and in egg, meat and fish, inflation was 7.78% in May 2022.
iii.In the fuel and power basket, inflation was 40.62%, while in manufactured products and oil seeds, it was 10.11 per cent and 7.08 per cent, respectively in May 2022.
iv.Inflation in crude petroleum and natural gas was 79.50% in May 2022.
Retail inflation
Retail inflation in May 2022 was 7.04%, remaining above the Reserve Bank’s upper tolerance level of 6% for the fifth consecutive month.

  • Combined food price inflation eased to 7.97% in May 2022 from 8.31 % in April 2022 but was up from 5.01 % in May 2021.
  • Rural inflation was recorded at 7.01% in May 2022 against 8.38% in April 2022.
  • Urban inflation was 7.08% in May 2022 as compared to 7.09% in April 2022.
  • The highest inflation rate was recorded by Telangana at 9.45% , followed by Maharashtra at 8.52% and Andhra Pradesh at 8.49%.

Airtel launches Xstream multiplex: India’s 1st multiplex in the Metaverse 

Bharti Airtel (Airtel), has launched Xstream multiplex, India’s first multiplex in the metaverse on the Partynite Metaverse platform. The Xstream multiplex is an extension of Airtel’s Xstream Premium offering.
i.Xstream is a 20-screen platform with access to content portfolios from leading (Over-The-Top) OTT partners available on its application.
ii.Xstream multiplex with multiple engagement layers allows the users to interact on Partynite Metaverse.
iii.The idea of the multiplex was initiated by Essence, the integrated media agency of record of Airtel and developed by Gamitronics, creator of Partynite, a blockchain-powered digital parallel universe.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS        

Shreyas G. Hosur becomes the first Indian Railways officer to complete the gruelling ‘Ironman’ Triathlon

Shreyas G. Hosur became the first officer from the Indian Railways to complete the gruelling ‘Ironman’ Triathlon, considered to be the toughest single-day sports event in the world. This event includes 3.8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and 42.2 km of running.

  • Shreyas G. Hosur also became first officer from the non-uniformed Civil Services to complete the event. He completed the event in 13 hours and 26 minutes in Hamburg, Germany.
  • Shreyas G. Hosur, is an Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) officer of the 2012 Batch. He is returned from deputation to National Technical Research Organization (NTRO), Delhi and he is currently serving as Dy. FA&CAO in Construction/SWR.

Ramkrishna Mukkavilli becomes first Indian to be recognised as Global SDG pioneer by UNGC

Ramkrishna Mukkavilli has become the first Indian to be recognised as the Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pioneer for water stewardship by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). It is for the first time that an Indian has been recognised for the position.
i.The UNGC has also named ten new SDG Pioneers, who are corporate leaders who are excelling in advancing the SDGs by implementing the UN Global Compact Ten Principles on human rights, environment, labour, and anti-corruption.
ii.Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, the Founder and Managing Director of Maithri Aquatech, a Make-In-India company, was previously selected as India’s SDG Pioneer by the UN Global Compact Network India (GCNI) earlier in 2022, for his work in building water security with nature-based water solutions across India and 27 countries. Following this, he was recognized as one of the 10 new SDG Pioneers for 2022.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS           

ESFB Receives RBI Approval to Re-Appoint Vasudevan P N as MD & CEOEquitas Small Finance Bank gets RBI nod to reappoint Vasudevan as MD & CEO

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the proposal to reappoint Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan (Vasudevan P N) as the Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Equitas Small Finance Bank (ESFB), for a period of one year with effect from July 23, 2022.

  • Vasudevan P N, the founder and CEO of ESFB, had urged the lender to choose his successor in May 2022 because of his plan to step down.
  • ESFB is a small-cap company with a market capitalization of Rs. 4,833 crore.

Note: Small-cap companies have a market capitalization of less than Rs 5,000 crore. These are smaller enterprises with great development potential.
About Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan:
i. He is a qualified company secretary from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He is also the MD of Equitas, which started out as a microfinance firm in 2007 before becoming ESFB in 2016.
ii. He was the MD of Equitas Holding (EHL) before joining ESFB.
iii. He had been the Executive Vice President and Head of Consumer Banking Group at Development Credit Bank Limited for more than one and half years.
iv. He also spent nearly two decades with Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Limited, a part of Murugappa Group, where he started as a management trainee and rose through the ranks to vice president and head of vehicle finance.
v. He was also the Chairman of the Managing Committee of The South India Hire Purchase Association for Fiscal 2006.
vi. Vasudevan and his wife established the Varshini Illam Trust, a public charitable trust to provide quality medical and therapy treatment to children aged 0 to 3 years in rural and semi-urban areas.
About Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited (ESFB):
It is the first Private Sector Bank from Tamil Nadu to commence operations post Indian Independence.
MD & CEO – Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan
Commencement of Operation – September 5, 2016
Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Tagline – “It’s Fun Banking”

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

Rubber Board’s electronic trading platform ‘mRube’ goes live 

mRube, the electronic trading platform promoted by Rubber Board went Live on June 8 2022.
The board intends to complement the existing trade system for rubber by introducing more transparency coupled with quality assurance and payment security through mRube. The technology partner for developing the mRube is Ahmedabad(Gujarat)-based i– Sourcing Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 

  • KN Raghavan, Executive Director of the Rubber Board, launched the beta version of the electronic platform at a function in the presence of the Rubber Producer Society and other industry representatives.
  • Rubber Board is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. It was constituted as per the Rubber Act, 1947 and Rubber Rules 1955, for the overall development of the rubber industry in India. Rubber Board Founded on 18 April 1947 and Head Office is located in Kottayam, Kerala.

SPORTS

 US, Canada, & Mexico To Host FIFA World Cup 2026;1st time to be Hosted by 3 Countries Los Angeles, Toronto, Mexico City named World Cup 2026 host citiesFederation Internationale de Football Association(FIFA -International Federation of Association Football) announced that the FIFA World Cup 2026 will be jointly hosted by the United States (US), Canada, and Mexico. for the first time in the history of FIFA world Cup the event will be hosted by 3 countries. FIFA has selected 16 cities from these countries through a bid.

  • Los Angeles (US), Toronto (Canada) and Mexico City (Mexico) are among the host cities for the tournament.
  • This will be the first World Cup hosted by more than one nation since 2002. Japan and South Korea jointly hosted the 2002 World Cup.

The 16 selected cities are:
i.US– Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and New York/New Jersey.
ii.Mexico– Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey
iii.Canada– Vancouver and Toronto.
Key Points:
i.It will also be the first time that 48 teams will feature in the tournament, an increase from the 32 that will contest in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 from November 21  – December 18.
ii.60 matches will take place in the US, including all matches from the quarter-finals onward, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each.
iii.Mexico also hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986.
iv.US will be the second-time host (following 1994). this will be Canada’s first men’s FIFA World Cup, having hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

About FIFA World Cup:
The FIFA World Cup is an international football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the FIFA, the sport’s global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years.

  • The 2018 world cup was hosted by Russia & France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Sustainable Gastronomy Day: June 18, 2022Sustainable Gastronomy Day 2022

Sustainable Gastronomy Day is celebrated across the world every year on June 18th to raise public awareness of gastronomy’s role in sustainable development.

  • The objective of this day is to recognize the practices involved with sustainable food consumption, particularly the art of collecting and preparing the food we eat.

The three dimensions of sustainable development—people, planet, and profit—are all considered in the celebrations on this important day.
What is Sustainable Gastronomy?
Sustainable Gastronomy refers to cuisine that considers where the ingredients come from, how the food is cultivated, and how it gets to our markets and, ultimately, our plates.

  • Gastronomy is often known as the “art of food.” It relates to regional cuisine and food.
  • Sustainability refers to the concept of doing something (such as agriculture, fishing, or even food preparation) in a way that does not waste natural resources and can be continued in the future without harming our environment or health.

Significance
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, sustainable gastronomy, which is celebrating seasonal ingredients and producers, safeguarding wildlife and culinary traditions, proves to be more important than ever.
As the food system changes due to environmental changes, Sustainable Gastronomy Day serves as a reminder to the human race to change and adapt in order to protect our planet.
Background
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution A/RES/71/246 on December 21, 2016, designating June 18 as Sustainable Gastronomy Day as an international observance.

  • The decision acknowledges gastronomy as a form of cultural expression linked to the natural and cultural diversity of the world.

Work of UN System for a Sustainable Gastronomy
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN General Assembly work to facilitate the observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day, in collaboration with Member States, UN organizations and other international and regional bodies, as well as civil society.
Some of UNESCO’s initiatives include:
i. Launching the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), created in 2004 with the goal of sharing best practices and encouraging collaboration in seven creative fields: crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature, and music.

  • 36 cities have been designated as Creative Cities of Gastronomy as of 2021.
  • In 2019, the UCCN designated Hyderabad, Telangana, as a UCCN city in the gastronomy category.

ii. Using clean energy in local restaurants (using gas and electricity instead of coal, using natural gas rather than carbon).
iii. Raising public awareness of sustainable gastronomy through television (TV) food channels and gastronomy shows and through food cultural exhibitions, intended for the food industry and farmers.
iv. The FAO promotes green culture diets that are not only healthy, but sustainable and suggests that countries that already have dietary guidelines should begin to consider a process of incorporating sustainability into them.
Note: Other Indian cities on the UCCN list are: Srinagar – Crafts and Folk Arts (2021); Mumbai – Film (2019); Chennai – Creative city of Music (2017); Jaipur – Crafts and Folk Arts (2015); Varanasi – Creative city of Music (2015).

STATE NEWS

TN CM M.K. Stalin Flags Off Luxury Tourism Cruise Ship “Empress” In Chennai Port

Tamil Nadu(TN) Chief Minister(CM) Muthuvel Karunanidhi(M.K.) Stalin flagged off the luxury
tourism cruise Ship “Empress” from Chennai port, Tamil Nadu.The cruise is being
operated by Cordelia Cruises.

  • This is the first luxury cruise liner to be operated from Tamil Nadu.
  • The 11-storey tourist vessel can accommodate up to 2000 passengers and about 800 crew members.
  • The ship will go to the high seas from chennai port and will also anchor at Pondicherry and Visakhapatnam harbours.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.noCurrent Affairs 19 & 20 June 2022
1India’s 1st Government MLD Desalination Plant for Industrial Use inaugurated in Dahej, Gujarat
2GoI Reconstitutes Committee to Examine the Representation of Officials Sacked for Alleged Corruption
3Indian Navy & NCMRWF Inks MoU for Cooperation on Numerical Model-Based Applications in Meteorology and Oceanology
4Delhi airport introduces RFID-enabled tag to track check-in luggage
5WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland; Co-hosted by Kazakhstan
6EU Recommends Candidate Status for Ukraine & Moldova
7Kotak General Insurance partners with PhonePe to offer motor insurance
8WPI inflation rises to Record High of 15.88% in May 2022: DPIIT Data
9Airtel launches Xstream multiplex: India’s 1st multiplex in the Metaverse
10Shreyas G. Hosur becomes the first Indian Railways officer to complete the gruelling ‘Ironman’ Triathlon
11Ramkrishna Mukkavilli becomes first Indian to be recognised as Global SDG pioneer by UNGC
12ESFB Receives RBI Approval to Re-Appoint Vasudevan P N as MD & CEO
13Rubber Board’s electronic trading platform ‘mRube’ goes live
14 US, Canada, & Mexico To Host FIFA world Cup 2026;1st time to be Hosted by 3 Countries
15Sustainable Gastronomy Day: June 18, 2022
16TN CM M.K. Stalin Flags Off Luxury Tourism Cruise Ship “Empress” In Chennai Port