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Current Affairs 31 December 2021

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

3rd ARIIA 2021: IIT-Madras tops for 3rd consecutive year as Most Innovative Educational InstituteAtal Innovation Rankings 2021i.On December 29, 2021, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) ranked 1st & recognized as the Most Innovative Educational Institute in India in the 3rd edition of Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2021. It is for the 3rd consecutive year that IIT Madras has been recognized. IIT Madras won in the ‘CFTIs (Centrally Funded Technical Institutions)/Central University/Institute of National Importance (Technical)’ category.
ii.Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) ranked 1st in ARIIA 2021. It is for the 3rd consecutive year that it has been recognized as the Most Innovative Educational Institute in India.
iii.Seven institutions from Maharashtra have secured top 10 positions under 5 categories ARIIA 2021.
About Ministry of Education (MoE):
Union Minister– Dharmendra Pradhan (Rajya Sabha- Madhya Pradesh)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Annpurna Devi (Kodarma- Jharkhand); Subhas Sarkar (Bankura- West Bengal); Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur- Manipur)
>> Read Full News

NITI Aayog’s AIM releases ‘Innovations for You’ &The Ingenious Tinkerers’ Digi Books

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog releases ‘Innovations For You’ & ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog released the digital books – ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’ and the 2nd edition of ‘Innovations for You’.

  • The Digital books were released virtually in the presence of Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman, Rajiv Kumar, AIM Mission Director, Chintan Vaishnav and others.

Key points: 
i.The 2nd edition of The ‘Innovations for You’ is a compendium of innovations in Agriculture and allied sectors. It features 70 startups supported by Atal incubation Centers (AICs) of AIM.

  • The 1st edition was also released in October 2021, with main focus on Health Care.

ii.The other book ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’ is a compendium on the innovations in technology, featuring 41 innovations from Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL).
About NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog:
Chairperson- Narendra Modi (Prime Minister of India)
Formed- 1 January 2015
Headquarters- New Delhi, Delhi

UP’s Jhansi Railway Station Renamed As ‘Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station’; Road Named ‘Narendra Modi Marg’ Inaugurated in SikkimJhansi Railway Station now ‘Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station’Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh(UP) has announced that the government of UP has renamed the Jhansi Railway Station, in Jhansi, UP as “Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station” after Rani Laxmibai, the Maharani consort of the Maratha princely state of Jhansi from 1843 to 1853.
Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad Inaugurated ‘Narendra Modi Marg’, Road Named After PM Modi
Ganga Prasad, Governor of Sikkim has inaugurated the “Narendra Modi Marg” named after Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi. The Narendra Modi Marg is the 2nd road connecting the Tsomgo lake and Nathula border pass with Gangtok, Sikkim.
About Uttar Pradesh:
Governor– Anandiben Patel
Capital– Lucknow
Stadium– Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium; Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Sports stadium
>> Read Full News

MHA extends AFSPA, 1958 in Nagaland for 6 more months declaring Nagaland as Disturbed Area

Govt declares entire Nagaland 'disturbed area' In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 (No.28 of 1958) the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declared the entire Nagaland as a ‘disturbed area’ for six more months w.e.f. December 30, 2021 till June 30, 2022.

  • This decision came days after the Union Government constituted a 7-member high-level committee headed by secretary-level officer Vivek Joshi to examine the possibility of withdrawing the controversial AFSPA, 1958 from Nagaland which has been operational since decades, and it has not been withdrawn despite a framework agreement signed in August 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM and the Central Government.

Reason behind the formation of Committee:
In December 2021, a unit of Army personnel killed 14 unarmed civilians claiming that they mistook them for armed insurgents. After that, Nagaland Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to repeal AFSPA.

  • It should be noted that AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives immunity to the forces if they shoot someone dead.

PM Narendra Modi Lays Foundation stone for 23 projects in UttarakhandPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 23 projects

On 30th December 2021 Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 23 projects worth over Rs 17,500 crore in Uttarakhand.

  • Among the 23 projects, the foundation stone is being laid for 17 projects worth over Rs 14,100 crore.

Key Points:
i.According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the projects cover various sectors including irrigation, road, housing, health infrastructure, industry, sanitation, and drinking water supply  (The cumulative cost of the project is around Rs. 3400 Crore).
ii.Multiple road projects have also been inaugurated across the state under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
About Uttarakhand:
Chief Minister – Pushkar Singh Dhami
Heritage Sites – Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (Natural sites), Upper Ganga River (mixed site), Asan Conservation Reserve (mixed site)
Festivals – Butter Festival or Anduri Utsav, Kumbh Mela, Kanwar Yatra
>> Read Full News

ITC Ltd & Invest India Partners to Crowdsource Innovative Ideas for SUP Substitution; ITC PSPD Launched ITC Sustainability Innovation ChallengeITC partners with Invest India to crowdsource innovative ideasITC Limited has collaborated with Invest India, a non-profit venture of the Indian Government for national investment promotion and facilitation, to crowdsource innovative ideas for single-use plastic (SUP) substitution and automate waste segregation.

  • Under this partnership, ITC Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) has launched the ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge, which will support innovative start-up ideas on sustainable packaging and smart waste management solutions.

ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge:
Through the Startup India portal, ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge of the ITC PSPD will invite the responses from start-ups towards challenges of ITC to find the sustainable and smart technology-based solutions for sustainable packaging and Waste segregation, Collection and Handling with technology-based solutions to improve efficiency and speed.
Theme for challenges: Sustainable Solution.
Problem Statement:

  • Sustainable Packaging Solutions
  • Waste segregation, collection and handling

Key Points:
i.For sustainable packaging, ICT is inviting ideas to replace plastic-based products with compostable food delivery solutions based on wood fibre, agri-waste etc.
It also invites solutions under recyclable and/or compostable barrier coatings for the papers and paperboards category.
ii.For waste segregation, collection, and handling, ITC focuses on innovative and technology-based solutions for managing the household and municipal waste based on different material types, such as paper, metal, glass and rigid plastic.
The idea should also include an effective revenue model for the waste management ecosystem and lead to significant incremental benefits as the outcome of the solutions.
About ITC Limited:
CMD– Sanjiv Puri
Headquarters– Kolkata, West Bengal.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Welcomes Egypt as Member of New Development Bank of BRICS

On 29th December 2021 India welcomed Egypt as the fourth new member of the New Development Bank (NDB) that was established by BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South-Africa) in 2015.
About New Development Bank (NDB):
Aim –  To mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies.
i.Members – The NDB admitted Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uruguay as its new members in September 2021 whereas Brazil, Russia, India, China and South-Africa were admitted in July 2015.
ii.The NDB has approved about 80 projects worth USD 30 billion in member countries in areas such as transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure and urban development.
About BRICS:
The BRICS Countries represent 41 percent of the global population, 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 percent of the global trade.
About Egypt:
Egypt is one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, a major economy in the African continent and the Middle East region as well as a key player in development finance institutions.
President – Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Capital – Cairo
Currency – Egyptian Pound (EGP)
About New Development Bank (NDB):
President – Marcos Prado Troyjo
Establishment – 2015
Headquarters – Shanghai, China

Women less likely to receive COVID-19 relief from government: UN Women reportWomen less likely to receive COVID-19 relief from governmentIn accordance with the report by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women aka UN Women titled Women and girls left behind: Glaring gaps in pandemic responses, women were significantly less likely to report receiving pandemic-related cash relief from governments or non-profits.

  • The report compiled and analysed the results of Rapid Gender Assessment surveys (RGA) from April 2020-March 2021, which include 58 countries across all regions.
  • It has been prepared in partnership with national statistical offices, governmental entities, international partners or private sector.This was calculated using data from the UNDP-UN Women Gender Response Tracker.

Key Points:
i.At least 29% of working mothers living with children lost their jobs compared to only 20% of working men living with children.
ii.56% of Young women living with children seeing reduced paid work hours versus only 44% of young men living with children.
iii.Women and girls disproportionately suffered the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19.
iv.8% of Women without children (single, widowed or partnered) were also less likely to receive cash relief as compared to 17% of men.
v.Among women, those aged 60 years and older were most likely to report receiving cash relief (12 per cent), unemployment insurance (17 per cent) and support from non-profits (16 per cent).
vi.Nearly 95% women in Asia and 89% of women in sub-Saharan Africa earn income through informal labour.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI’s 24th FSR 2021: Banks GNPA may Rise to 8.1% by September 2022Banks' gross NPAs may rise to 9-5 per cent in Sept 2022

On December 29, 2021, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the 24th issue of its bi-annual Financial Stability Report (FSR) 2021. It estimated the Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPAs) to rise from 6.9 percent in September 2021 to 8.1 percent of total assets by September 2022(under a baseline scenario) and to 9.5 percent (under severe stress scenario).
What is FSR?
It is the bi-annual collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the ‘Financial Stability and Development Council’ (FSDC-SC) on risks to financial stability.
Financial Stability Report Key Projections:
i.SCBs’ GNPA and NNPA Ratio Projection at end-September 2021:

Type GNPA  Ratio Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPA) Ratio
All SCBs 6.9% 2.3%
Public Sector Banks (PSBs) 8.8% 3.0%
Private Banks (PVBs) 4.6% 1.3%
Foreign Banks (FBs) 3.2% 0.6%


ii.The capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) of SCBs increased to a new peak of 16.6 percent and their provisioning coverage ratio (PCR) stood at 68.1 per cent in September 2021.
iii.CET-1: The common equity Tier I (CET 1) capital ratio of SCBs may reach 12.5 percent by September 2022 (under the baseline scenario).
iv.Credit growth of All SCBs, PSBs, PVBs and FBs in end-September 2021 stood at 6.7 percent, 3.5 percent, 10.8 percent, and 16.0 percent (y-o-y) respectively.
About Reserve Bank of India(RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors –  Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
>> Read Full News

RBI Extends Deadline for Periodic KYC Update till March 31, 2022RBI extends deadline for KYC in bank accounts till March 31, 2022The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline for periodic Know Your Customer (KYC) updation in bank accounts till March 31, 2022, from the previous deadline of December 31, 2021, due to the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 in India.
Key Points:
i.The deadline was extended so that no restriction can be placed on bank accounts related to cash deposits, withdrawals etc. due to non-compliance with KYC requirements.
ii.Section 38 of the Master Direction on KYC dated February 25, 2016, mandated the REs (Regulated Entities) to carry out periodic updation of KYC of existing customers.
Periodic KYC Updation:
Periodic updation of KYC needs to be carried out at least once every 2 years for high-risk customers, once in every 8 years for medium risk customers and once in every 10 years for low risk customers from the date of opening of the account or last KYC updation.
iii.RBI has also directed that the RE is required to undertake KYC compliance in terms of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 and the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005.
KYC requirements:
KYC is a process under which banks gather their customers’ information while opening an account including Permanent Account Number (PAN), address proof such as Aadhaar, passport etc., latest photograph and other details as requested by the bank.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar rao and Rabi sankar.

Federal Bank Signed a MoU with Schwing Stetter India to Offer Customised Financial SolutionsFederal Bank partners Schwing Stetter IndiaOn December 2021, the Federal Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Schwing Stetter (India) Ltd, a subsidiary of Schwing GMBH, Germany, one of the largest manufacturers of Concrete and Construction equipment in India.

  • The MoU would enable both Federal Bank and Schwing Stetter to offer customised financial solutions to their customers.
  • The MoU was signed by Harsh Dugar, Group President and Country Head, Wholesale Banking, Federal Bank, and V G Sakthi Kumar Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India Pvt Ltd.

Key Points:
i.The Bank will work to cater to the customers’ needs through Commercial Equipment loans with easy monthly repayment plans.
ii.Federal Bank with its ‘Digital at the Fore and Human at the Core’ mantra, it is aiming to become the Most Admired Bank of every stakeholder.
iii.Stetter India is the one-stop solution provider for the complete concreting and construction industry.
iv.Concreting and Construction equipment that are offered by Schwing Stetter India includes Concrete batching Plants, Self-loading Mixers, Truck-mounted Boom pumps, recycling plants and other specialized concreting equipment.
About Federal Bank:
Establishment – April 23, 1931
Headquarters – Aluva, Kerala
MD & CEO – Shyam Srinivasan
Tagline – Your Perfect Banking Partner

IRDAI Relaxes Current Account Criteria for Insurance IntermediariesCurrent ac criteria eased for insurance intermediariesOn 29th December 2021, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) announced that insurance intermediaries and their entities can maintain current accounts in various banks to meet regulatory requirements and reinsurance business.
Key Highlights:
i.In August 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had instructed banks to not to open current accounts for customers who have already availed credit facilities in the form of cash credit or overdraft from the banking system.

  • Later, RBI permitted banks to open particular accounts which are under various directions of different regulatory departments, without any restrictions.

Note – IRDAI circular has stated that the insurance intermediaries are maintaining multiple current accounts with banks at different operational levels (branch offices, corporate offices, etc), for regulatory and other purposes.
About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
Chairman – Subash Chandra Khuntia
Establishment – 1999 (Incorporated on 1st April 2000)
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana     

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS   

Diplomat Anupam Ray Appointed as India’s Permanent Representative at UN Conference on Disarmament in GenevaDr. Anupam Ray appointed India's Ambassador to UN Conference on DisarmamentSenior diplomat Dr Anupam Ray, a 1994 batch of Indian Foreign Service(IFS) officer, has been appointed as India’s next permanent representative(PR)/Ambassador to the United Nations(UN) Conference on Disarmament(CD) in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • He is currently serving as the joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA).
  • He replaces Dr Pankaj Sharma, a 1991 batch IFS officer who has been serving as the Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN on Disarmament since 2018.

UN Conference on Disarmament (CD):
i.The Conference on Disarmament (CD), was recognized by the 10th Special Session on Disarmament  (SSOD) (1978) of the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) as single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.
ii.The CD meets in an annual session, which is divided into 3 parts of 10, 7 and 7 weeks.
Aim: To negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements.
Members: 65 member States, including the 5 Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT) nuclear-weapon States and 60 other States of key military significance.
About Dr Anupam Ray:
i.Dr Anupam Ray has served in the Embassy of India in Bonn, High Commissions of India in Dhaka and London, in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York.
ii.He has also served as the Consul General of India in Houston, United States of America(USA).
Appointment of Pankaj Sharma:
Dr Pankaj Sharma has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Mexico.

  • Previously he served as the Joint Secretary and Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs (D&ISA) at MEA between 2016 and 2018.
  • He was on deputation to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (POCW) in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 2012 to 2016.

SPORTS

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor Confirms Retirement from International CricketRoss Taylor announces retirement from international cricketSenior cricket player of New Zealand, Ross Taylor announces to retire from international cricket after playing in the Two-Test series against Bangladesh and his last ODIs (One Day Innings) against Australia and the Netherlands in March 2022.

  • Ross Taylor was the World’s 1st player to play 100 international matches in all 3 formats of cricket.

Early life & career:
i.Ross Taylor is a 37-year-old international cricketer and former captain of the New Zealand national team.
ii.In Indian Premier League (IPL), he was a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore season from 2008 to 2010 and then became a part of Rajasthan Royals team.
Major records:
i.Ross Taylor holds several records including scoring most runs for New Zealand in ODI (8,581) & Test (7584)
ii.He also holds the record of most catches by a New Zealand cricketer 346 catches & scored most hundreds (40) for New Zealand.
iii.He is one of the only four New Zealand cricketers to play 100 test matches, after Daniel Vettori (112), Stephen Fleming (111), and Brendon McCullum (101).

STATE NEWS

Durga Shankar Mishra becomes new Chief Secretary of Uttar PradeshSr bureaucrat Durga Shankar Mishra to be new Chief SecretaryThe Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary of India, Durga Shankar Mishra   got approval from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet to take charge as the new Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

  • He will succeed Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, the present Chief Secretary of UP, who is due to retire in February 2023.
  • Durga Shankar Mishra is IAS officer of a 1984 batch, UP cadre.

Other appointment:
i.The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions also announced Manoj Joshi to be the new Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary upon superannuation of Durga Shankar Mishra.

  • He is an IAS officer of 1989 batch, Kerala cadre and is appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affair (MoHUA).

About Uttar Pradesh (UP):
UNESCO Heritage Site- Agra fort, Taj Mahal
Dance– Ramlila, Braj Raslila, Charkula

Odisha Launches Digital Life Certificate  for PensionersOdisha launches digital life certificate mechanism for pensionersOn 29th December 2021, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Digital Life Certificate system for pensioners virtually while attending the orientation programme for newly recruited 153 officers of Odisha Civil Services.

  • Odisha is the first state in the country to implement such a digital service for pensioners.

Key Highlights:
i.Under the Digital Life Certificate system, identification and life certificates can be submitted by the pensioners using an Artificial Intelligence-based video-verification process.
ii.CM also launched E-Diary, under which all information contained in the government diary can be readily and conveniently accessed by citizens using their mobile phones.
Note – The introduction of digital life certificates and E-dairy were part of Odisha’s 5T and ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiatives.
About Odisha:
Governor – Ganeshi Lal
Dance – Ranapa Dance, Jodi Sankha Dance, Chaiti Ghoda Dance
Ramsar Sites –  Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Chilika Lake

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S.no Current Affairs 31 December 2021
1 3rd ARIIA 2021: IIT-Madras tops for 3rd consecutive year as Most Innovative Educational Institute
2 NITI Aayog’s AIM releases ‘Innovations for You’ & ‘The Ingenious Tinkerers’ Digi Books
3 UP’s Jhansi Railway Station Renamed As ‘Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station’; Road Named ‘Narendra Modi Marg’ Inaugurated in Sikkim
4 MHA extends AFSPA, 1958 in Nagaland for 6 more months declaring Nagaland as Disturbed Area
5 PM Narendra Modi Lays Foundation stone for 23 projects in Uttarakhand
6 ITC Ltd & Invest India Partners to Crowdsource Innovative Ideas for SUP Substitution; ITC PSPD Launched ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge
7 India Welcomes Egypt as Member of New Development Bank of BRICS
8 Women less likely to receive COVID-19 relief from government: UN Women report
9 RBI’s 24th FSR 2021: Banks GNPA may Rise to 8.1% by September 2022
10 RBI Extends Deadline for Periodic KYC Update till March 31, 2022
11 Federal Bank Signed a MoU with Schwing Stetter India to Offer Customised Financial Solutions
12 IRDAI Relaxes Current Account Criteria for Insurance Intermediaries
13 Diplomat Anupam Ray Appointed as India’s Permanent Representative at UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
14 New Zealand’s Ross Taylor Confirms Retirement from International Cricket
15 Durga Shankar Mishra becomes new Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh
16 Odisha Launches Digital Life Certificate  for Pensioners