Current Affairs 24 & 25 October 2021

We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 24 & 25 October 2021, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2021 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

MoS Devusinh Chauhan chaired 7th Meeting of BRICS Communications Ministers 2021On October 22, 2021, Minister of State (MoS) Devusinh Chauhan chaired the 7th meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Communications Ministers 2021 through video conferencing.
Key Points:
i.India’s efforts of extending optical fibers to all six lakh villages of India to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas were highlighted during the meeting.
ii.The participating ministers recognized the significant role of ICT (information and communications technology).
iii.Emphasis were laid on cooperation among BRICS nations for affordable access to communications services and digital technologies for benefitting people, and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
iv.Ministers adopted the Terms of References of Digital BRICS Task Force and supported the advancement in work of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR).
v.The proposal to host the Digital BRICS Forum annually to facilitate sharing of information and knowledge, practices, initiatives, etc. on agreed cooperation areas was also approved.
Other Participants:
Mr. Fabio Salustino Mesquita De Faria, Minister of Communications of Brazil, Ms. Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Communications of Russia, Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technologies China, and Ms. Khumbudzo Phophi Silence Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies of the Republic of South Africa
About BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa):
2021 Chair– India
Theme for India’s Chairship– ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’

Indian Railways Ordered to Dissolve Indian Railway Station Development CorporationThe Railway Board issued the letter stating that the Indian Railways has ordered to dissolve the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation(IRSDC), an organisation under the Ministry of Railways.

  • This is the 2nd organisation under the Ministry of Railways to be dissolved in 2021.

Note: 
The Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuel (IROAF) under the ministry of railways was dissolved on 7th September 2021.
About the closure of IRSDC:
i.The board ordered to initiate all necessary procedural formalities for the closure of IRSDC.
ii.The stations managed by IRSDC and the projects related documents shall be handed over to respective Zonal Railways. The zonal railways will take over the station’s projects.
Background:
The IRSDC has been dissolved in line with the recommendation of Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor of the Finance Ministry for the rationalisation of railway bodies by closing down or merging multiple organisations.
About Indian Railway Station Development Corporation(IRSDC):
IRSDC, a Joint Venture company of Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and Ircon International Limited (IRCON) is a Special Purpose vehicle.
MD&CEO– Sanjeev Kumar Lohia
Incorporated on 12th April 2012
Headquarters– New Delhi

4th General Assembly of ISA held virtually; Inaugurated by Raj Kumar Singhi.On October 18-21, 2021, the 4th General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) held virtually which was inaugurated and presided over by Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh, Ministry of Power and the President of the ISA Assembly.
ii.ISA approved the ‘One Sun’ political declaration for the launch of Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) at COP26 (Conference of the Parties) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31-November 12, 2021.
iii.During the assembly, two new programs of ISA were launched viz. Management of Solar PV panels & battery usage waste; and Solar Hydrogen programme.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA):
ISA co-founded by India and France during the 2015 climate change conference in Paris, France
Director General– Dr. Ajay Mathur
Headquarters– Gurugram, Haryana
>>Read Full News

India Handed over the Jaynagar-Kurtha Cross Border Rail Link to NepalThe government of India handed over the Jaynagar-Kurtha, a 34.9km-long cross-border rail link, which connects Jaynagar, Bihar to Kurtha, Nepal, to the government of Nepal.

  • IRCON International Limited (on behalf of the Government of India), the executing agency of the project handed over the assets of the Jaynagar-Kurtha section to the Nepal Railway Company Limited (on behalf of the Government of Nepal).
  • This will be the first broad gauge cross border rail link between India and Nepal.

Aim:
To enhance the trade and commerce activities along with people to people linkage between India and Nepal.
About Nepal: 
President– Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Prime Minister– Sher Bahadur Deuba
Capital– Kathmandu
Currency– Nepalese rupee(NPR)
>>Read Full News

India’s 1st State Government owned Wildlife DNA testing lab inaugurated in NagpurOn 22nd October 2021, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, inaugurated India’s 1st State government owned Wildlife DNA testing analysis laboratory at Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) in Nagpur, Maharashtra. On the occasion he also launched 3 FastTrack DNA testing units in Mumbai & Pune under the Nirbhaya scheme.
i.At present there are 2 Wildlife DNA testing laboratories at Dehradun & Hyderabad, which are fully owned by the Central Government, whereas the newly launched is the 1st in India to be owned by a state government.

  • These laboratories will help in species identification & identify poachers, thereby helping to eliminate crime against wildlife.

ii.With the 3 new FastTrack DNA testing units, Maharashtra has a total of 5 such units to increase the efficiency of criminal investigations.

  • The labs will be exclusively dealing with cases registered under Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
  • The labs were developed at a cost of Rs 53 crore under Central Government’s Nirbhaya Scheme.

About Maharashtra:
Governor – Bhagat Singh Koshyari
Mumbai, the ‘Financial capital of India’ is also known as the “City of Seven Islands”.
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

G7 Countries launches ‘G7 Digital Trade Principles’ to facilitate Digital TradeOn 22nd October 2021, the G7 or Group of Seven countries finalised a set of principles that will govern cross-border data usage & digital trade. The principles named ‘G7 Digital Trade Principles’, were adopted by the respective Trade Ministers of G7 members (UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan) during the G7 Trade Summit that was held at Mansion House, in London, Britain.
Principles – Open Digital Markets; Cross border data flows; Safeguards for workers, consumers & businesses; digital trading systems; Fair & inclusive Global governance.
i.Key obstacles under consideration were on data localisation & cross-border data flows, thereby protecting intellectual property rights, and security of users.
Note- Google India became the 1st technology company which is qualified as ‘Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMIs)’ to publish a Transparency report under India’s new IT Rules
ii.The principles were established in consideration of the highly regulated data protection rules of European countries and the more open ones of the United States.
iii.These new principles will liberalise hundreds of billions of dollars worth international trade.
Note- G7 countries have introduced a Global Minimum Corporate Tax rate of at least 15% on Multinational Companies(MNCs).
About G7:
Founded – 1975
Members – 7 (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan and additionally EU)
2021 Presidency – United Kingdom

Annual Ocean Plastic Pollution Is Projected To Triple By 2040: UNEP’s Report Titled From Pollution To SolutionThe new comprehensive assessment report titled “From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution” released by the United Nations(UN) Environment Programme (UNEP) has stated that without proper efforts to reduce ocean plastic pollution, the amount of plastic waste entering the aquatic ecosystem is estimated to triple from 9-14 million tons per year in 2016 to 23-37 million tons per year by 2040.
With another approach, plastic pollution is estimated to double from 19-23 million tons in 2016 to around 53 million tons by 2030.

  • At present, the amount of plastics in the oceans is estimated to be around 75-199 million tons.

Note: This report will inform the discussion at the 5th session of the UN Environment Assembly(UNEA 5.2) in 2022.
About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
Executive Director– Inger Andersen
Headquarters– Nairobi, Kenya
Incepted in 1972
>>Read Full News

BANKING & FINANCE

AU Small Finance Bank launches QR Sound box for payment alertsIndia’s Largest Small Finance Bank AU Small Finance Bank has launched QR (Quick Response) Code Sound Box to boost its digital payments, while making it the first bank to launch such a product. The QR Sound Box will help small merchants to run their operations smoothly without the hassle of reading SMS every time when a customer makes a payment.
Features :
i.QR Sound box will provide instant voice-based payment alerts to merchant partners that provide hassle free transactions and services to customers.
ii.The sound box has a portable speaker, equipped with a SIM slot for data connectivity, which also gives voice notification.
iii.It will be made available in five languages – Hindi, English, Punjabi, Guajarati and Marathi.
About AU small finance bank
i.AU Small Finance Bank provides paperless services including opening savings accounts through WhatsApp, offers deposit account variants, such as current account and fixed deposit, on tablets, and end-to-end loan process on two-wheeler loans.
ii.It is the first and only small finance bank to have launched credit cards.
Headquarters : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Managing Director & CEO : Mr. Sanjay Agarwal

‘Razorpay TokenHQ’: Razorpay launches Tokenization SolutionOn the lines of the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2021, on October 22, 2021, Fintech firm Razorpay launched a tokenization solution namely ‘Razorpay TokenHQ’. It will work across all major card networks including Mastercard, RuPay and Visa.

  • This tokenization solution for businesses will allow their customers to have the convenience of saved card transactions with added security.

What are RBI Guidelines for tokenization?
RBI mandated to store customer’s card information in the form of an encrypted form i.e. Card-On-File (COF) tokenization to secure transactions. COF turns sensitive cardholder data into randomly generated numbers called “token” with no meaningful value, if breached. These tokens then allow payments to be processed without disclosing any customer details.

  • Therefore this mandate disallows businesses, payment aggregators, and acquiring banks from storing customers’ credit/debit/prepaid card information.
  • All stakeholders are required to ensure full compliance with the tokenization framework by December 31, 2021.

About Razorpay:
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka
CEO & Co-Founder– Harshil Mathur

RBI Issued Draft Directions to Implement Basel III framework for AIFIsIn October 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued draft directions for implementing the Basel III capital adequacy norms for All India Financial Institutions (AIFIs) that are regulated by RBI viz, Exim Bank, NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), National Housing Bank (NHB), and SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India).

  • The draft directions have consolidated the existing guidelines on exposure norms, classification, valuation and operation of an investment portfolio and resource raising norms issued to the AIFIs.
  • RBI has issued the directions in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 45 L of the RBI Act, 1934.
  • Basel III strengthens the institution-level i.e. micro-prudential regulation, with the intention to raise the resilience of individual financial institutions in periods of stress.
  • Limits on an AIFI’s Investments: An AIFI’s investments in the capital instruments issued by banking, financial and insurance entities should not exceed 10 percent of its capital funds.
  • AIFIs are required to maintain a minimum Pillar 1 Capital to Risk-weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9 percent on an on-going basis.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Subsidiaries of RBI:
i.Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (DICGC),
ii.Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL),
iii.Reserve Bank Information Technology Private Limited (ReBIT),
iv.Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS)
>>Read Full News

RBI Introduced Revised Regulatory Framework for NBFCs – ‘SBR’On October 22, 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced a revised regulatory framework for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) named ‘Scale Based Regulation’ (SBR) to regulate the NBFCs based on their size, activity, complexity, and interconnectedness within the financial sector.

  • All the guidelines over SBR would come into effect from October 01, 2022, whereas the instructions related to the ceiling on IPO (Initial Public Offer) funding would come into effect from April 01, 2022.

About SBR Regulatory framework in Brief:
i.Structure of NBFCs: Under the SBR framework, NBFCs are categorised into 4 layers as Base Layer (NBFC-BL), Middle Layer (NBFC-ML), Upper Layer (NBFC-UL), and a possible Top Layer (NBFC-TL) based on the size, activity, etc.

  • Base Layer includes, Non-deposit taking NBFCs below the asset size of Rs 1000 crore.

ii.The minimum Net Owned Fund (NOF) for NBFC-ICC, NBFC-MFI and NBFC-Factors was increased to Rs 10 crore.
iii.Non-Performing Assets (NPA) Classification: For all categories of NBFCs, the current NPA classification norm was changed to the ‘overdue period of more than 90 days’ i.e. a debt is classified as non-performing when loan payments have not been made for a period of 90 days.
iv.For NBFCs, RBI has set a limit of Rs 1 crore/per borrower for financing subscription to Initial Public Offer (IPO). NBFCs were also allowed to fix more conservative limits.
Key Fact: In India, there are 9,651 NBFCs across 12 different categories focussed on a diverse set of products, customer segments, and geographies.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment– April 1, 1935
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
>>Read Full News

Union Bank partners with CDAC to launch 1st of its kind initiative on Cyber Security Awareness In October 2021, the Union Bank of India (UBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad to launch a 1st of its kind initiative on Cyber Security awareness. 
Aim – CDAC will assist UBI in educating its employees & customers with awareness on Cyber Security & tips to protect themselves from Cyber fraud.
Signatories – The MoU was virtually signed by Rajkiran Rai G, MD & CEO of UBI, and P.R.Lakshmi Eswari, Director of CDAC – Hyderabad.
i.Under this initiative, Online/Offline sessions on Cyber Security Awareness, along with mass Social Media campaigns they will also prepare materials on information security in Audio/Video & Booklet forms.
ii.The Bank has previously launched  an e-book & an online game ‘Spin-N-Learn’, as a part of National Cyber Security Awareness month(October).
About Union Bank of India:
Establishment – 1919
Tagline – Good People to Bank with
MD & CEO – Rajkiran Rai G
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
About Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC): 
Director General– A.K. Nath
Headquarters– Pune, Maharashtra

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS 

Dr Rajiv Nigam, Former NIO Scientist Selected for Joseph A. Cushman Award 2022; 1st Indian to be Selected for the Award The Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research selected Dr Rajiv Nigam, Former Chief Scientist, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography(CSIR-NIO), Goa as the recipient of 2022 Joseph A. Cushman Award for Excellence in Foraminiferal Research, the highest honour of the Cushman Foundation.

  • He became the first Indian to be selected for this lifetime achievement award.
  • He was selected as the recipient of the Joseph A. Cushman Award(JA Cushman Award) for his research work on foraminifera (microfossil).

The selection was made during the Annual Board of Directors meeting of the Foundation held in Portland, Oregon, the United States of America(USA).
The award will be presented at the Cushman Reception at the Geological Society of America(GSA) Connects 2022 which will be held in Denver, Colorado, USA, from 9th to 12th October 2022.
About Joseph A. Cushman Award:
i.Joseph A. Cushman Award(JA Cushman Award) was established by the Cushman Foundation for foraminiferal Research in 1979.
ii.The award honours the researcher’s outstanding contribution in the field of Foraminiferology.
About Dr Rajiv Nigam:
i.Dr Rajiv Nigam joined NIO as science in 1978 and retired as the head of the Geological Oceanography Division and Marine Archaeology Unit of NIO.
ii.He has also served as an Emeritus Scientist at NIO.
Works:
i.He has contributed to the field of Marine Geology (Micropaleontology) using foraminifera as a tool to understand oceanographic processes and their role in environmental and paleoenvironmental assessments.
ii.He has worked on the application of Foraminifera in the field of Marine Archaeology which involves,

  • settling the controversy of the dockyard at Lothal, the world’s oldest dockyard ever to be discovered.
  • reporting the thick wall of ~18 meters at Dholavira as the oldest record of tsunami protection measures in India.

Other Awards: CSIR Young Scientist Award; National Mineral Awards; Bhalla Gold Medal for excellence in Micropaleontology by Paleontological Society of India
About The Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, Inc:
President– Pamela Buzas Stephens
Founded in 1950 

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS 

“Invest India” Elected As The President Of WAIPA

Invest India, a young ‘start-up’ within the Government of India has been unanimously elected as the President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) for 2021-2023.
Leader : Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Committee :
The President – Narendra Modi.
Two Vice Presidents – Egypt and Switzerland.
Nine Regional Directors- Brazil, South Korea, Finland, Kuwait, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Ghana, and Samoa.
About WAIPA :
i.WAIPA is the primary nodal global agency for Investment Promotion Agencies(IPA), representing 105 countries.
ii.WAIPA council members are United Nations organisations including the UNCTAD, WTO (World Trade Organisation), ILO (International Labour Organisation), UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation), the World Bank, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the OECD and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
iii.As WAIPA President, Invest India shall be guided by Prime Minister Modi’s vision of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (‘the whole world is my family’ in Sanskrit) to promote prosperity for all through sustainable investment.
Established in : 1995, Under UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)
Headquarters : Geneva, Switzerland              

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO successfully tests Abhyas high-speed expendable aerial target

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted the successful flight test of the indigenously-designed Abhyas – High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, off the coast of Bay of Bengal in Odisha.
i.ABHYAS is designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru.
ii.The aircraft is equipped with MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS) for navigation along with the Flight Control Computer (FCC) for guidance and control.
iii. Abhyas’s radar cross-section (RCS) and its visual and infrared(IR) signatures can be used to simulate a variety of aircraft for air-defense weapon practices.
About DRDO
Headquarters: DRDO bhawan, New Delhi.
Founded: 1958
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO – Dr G. Satheesh Reddy
>>Read Full News

ENVIRONMENT

Arunachal Pradesh spots 3 new fish speciesThree new fish species of the genus Aborichthys of family Nemachelidae had been discovered in the Department of Zoology of Dera Natung Government College of Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. The species names are Aborichthys uniobarensis, Aborichthys barapensis and Aborichthys palinensis.

  • The discovery has been published in international journals like Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, Journal of Threatened Taxa and FishTaxa.
  • The species are distributed in streams senki, barap and palin which are among the brahmaputra river system.
  • Till date, more than 250 fish species have been identified in the region.

About Aborichthys
i.Aborichthys is an elongate and slender-bodied present in moderate to fast flowing freshwater of mountain streams of the Brahmaputra river system.
ii.It is endemic to the eastern Himalaya.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Snow Leopard Day 2021 – October 23International Snow Leopard Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd October to create awareness about the snow leopards and promote the conservation of the species and their natural habitat.

  • On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is listed as a species vulnerable to extinction.

Background:
i.During the first Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum held from 22-23 October 2013 in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, the 12 snow leopard range countries adopted the Bishkek Declaration on the Conservation of the Snow Leopard’ and declared the 23rd October of every year as the International Snow Leopard Day.
ii.The first ever International Snow Leopard Day was observed on 23rd October 2014. 

  • The declaration has also declared the year 2015 as the International Year of the Snow Leopard.

12 snow leopard range countries:
Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
>>Read Full News

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S.no Current Affairs 24 & 25 October 2021
1 MoS Devusinh Chauhan chaired 7th Meeting of BRICS Communications Ministers 2021
2 Indian Railways Ordered to Dissolve Indian Railway Station Development Corporation
3 4th General Assembly of ISA held virtually; Inaugurated by Raj Kumar Singh
4 India Handed over the Jaynagar-Kurtha Cross Border Rail Link to Nepal
5 India’s 1st State Government owned Wildlife DNA testing lab inaugurated in Nagpur
6 G7 Countries launches ‘G7 Digital Trade Principles’ to facilitate Digital Trade
7 Annual Ocean Plastic Pollution Is Projected To Triple By 2040: UNEP’s Report Titled From Pollution To Solution
8 AU Small Finance Bank launches QR Sound box for payment alerts
9 ‘Razorpay TokenHQ’: Razorpay launches Tokenization Solution
10 RBI Issued Draft Directions to Implement Basel III framework for AIFIs
11 RBI Introduced Revised Regulatory Framework for NBFCs – ‘SBR’
12 Union Bank partners with CDAC to launch 1st of its kind initiative on Cyber Security Awareness
13 Dr Rajiv Nigam, Former NIO Scientist Selected for Joseph A. Cushman Award 2022; 1st Indian to be Selected for the Award
14 “Invest India” Elected As The President Of WAIPA
15 DRDO successfully tests Abhyas high-speed expendable aerial target
16 Arunachal Pradesh spots 3 new fish species
17  International Snow Leopard Day 2021 – October 23





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