Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

23rd May 2021 Current Affairs Updates in English

Important Days

International Day for Biological Diversity: 22 May

The United Nations celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May every year to raise awareness about the issue of a significant reduction in biological diversity due to certain human activities.

Biological Diversity comprises a wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms including genetic differences within each species, for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock.

This year 2021 the theme is “We’re part of the solution”. The slogan was chosen to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the over-arching theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, which served as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.
  • Mr Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


DRDO develops Covid-19 antibody detection kit ‘DIPCOVAN’

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a Covid-19 antibody detection kit.

The DIPCOVAN kit can detect both spikes as well as nucleocapsid proteins of Coronavirus with a high sensitivity of 97%. It has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research and has been developed by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences lab of DRDO in association with Delhi’s Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd.

DIPCOVAN is intended for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens.

It offers a significantly faster turnaround time of just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases. The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
  • DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • DRDO Established: 1958.

Bihar govt launches ‘HIT Covid App’ to ensure regular monitoring

Bihar government has launched ‘HIT Covid App’ to ensure regular monitoring and tracking of those Covid-19 patients, who are in home isolation across the state. HIT stands for home isolation tracks.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the app will help the health workers in regular monitoring of home-isolated patients.

Health workers will visit the patients at home every day and feed data in the app after measuring their temperature and oxygen level.

These data will be monitored at the district level. If the oxygen level is below 94, the patient will be shifted to the nearby dedicated Covid health centers for proper treatment.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Bihar: Nitish Kumar; Governor: Phagu Chauhan.

Donations related to Covid-19: Haryana, Gujarat reimburse GST

Haryana and Gujarat have become the first few states to announce reimbursement of Goods and Services Tax (GST) components paid for Covid-19 related medical supplies.

These medical supplies include oxygen concentrators, ventilators, medicines which would be donated free of cost to the state governments. Waiver from Haryana is till June 30, while that of Gujarat is valid till July 31.

Gujarat has announced reimbursement of IGST levied as part of customs on import of Covid related supplies.

Haryana has gone a step further by announcing reimbursement of even the Centre’s GST component by deciding to pay back all state, central or IGST portions on Covid related supplies to the state government.

The Centre had earlier waived IGST till June 30 on the import of Covid-related relief material donated or received from outside India for free distribution.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Haryana Capital: Chandigarh.
  • Haryana Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya.
  • Haryana Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.
  • Gujarat Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani.
  • Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat.


IDBI Bank launches digital loan processing system

IDBI Bank announced the launch of its fully digitized loan processing system, offering over 50 products to MSME and the agriculture sector.

The Loan Processing System (LPS) for MSME and Agri products seamlessly integrate with data fintech, bureau validations, document storage, account management and customer notifications among others.

These features of the fully digitised and automated loan processing system are further aimed at providing a superior tech-enabled banking experience to the bank’s MSME & Agri customers.

The platform is designed to incorporate knock-off criteria & credit policy parameters for superior underwriting standards.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • IDBI Bank CEO: Rakesh Sharma.
  • IDBI Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

RBI to transfer Rs. 99,122 crore surplus to Central Government for FY21

The Reserve Bank of India will transfer Rs 99,122 crore surplus to the Central Government for the accounting period of nine months ended March 31, 2021 (July 2020-March 2021). The Contingency Risk Buffer will remain at 5.50%.

This year RBI has changed its Accounting year from July-June to April-March to coincide with the accounting year of Government.

As a result, the accounting year 2020-21 of RBI has only 9 months. It must be noted that every year, RBI transfers its entire surplus which it has earned as profit to Central Government.

RBI increases the limit for Full-KYC PPIs to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh

The Reserve Bank of India has increased the maximum amount outstanding in respect of full-KYC PPIs (KYC-compliant PPIs) from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh.

Apart from this, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated that all prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) or mobile wallets such as Paytm, PhonePe, and Mobikwik are fully KYC-compliant be made interoperable by March 31, 2022. 

RBI has also permitted cash withdrawal from Full-KYC PPIs of Non-Bank PPI Issuers. The condition on such cash withdrawal shall be:

  • Maximum limit of Rs. 2,000 per transaction with an overall limit of Rs. 10,000 per month per PPI.
  • All cash withdrawal transactions performed using a card/wallet shall be authenticated by an Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) / PIN;
  • RBI has increased the limit of cash withdrawal from Points of Sale (PoS) terminals using debit cards and open system prepaid cards (issued by banks) to Rs 2000 per transaction within an overall monthly limit of Rs. 10,000 across all locations (Tier 1 to 6 centres). Earlier this limit was Rs 1000 for Tier 1 and 2 cities while Rs 2000 for Tier 3 to 6 cities.


ITR filing deadline for FY21 extended by two months to September 30

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the due date for filing income tax returns for assessment year (AY) 2021-22, for individuals, by two months, to September 30, 2021. Earlier the deadline was July 31, 2021.

The decision to extend timelines for compliances under the Income-tax Act 1961 has been taken to provide relief to taxpayers due to the Covid pandemic.

The government has also extended the due date of Income Tax Returns filing for companies for Assessment Year 2021-2022 from October 31 to November 30, 2021.


Sreejesh appointed FIH Athletes’ Committee member

Star India hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was re-appointed as a member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Athletes’ Committee during the virtual meeting of the world body’s Executive Board.

He has been a member of the panel since 2017. The experienced Sreejesh, who has led the Indian team in the past, was one of the four new members appointed by the EB which met two days before the 47th FIH Congress, which will also be held online.

The EB confirmed the appointment of four new members for the Athletes’ Committee. Sreejesh Parattu (IND), Marlena Rybacha (POL), Mohamed Mea (RSA), and Matt Swann (AUS) are now joining the Committee. Steve Horgan (USA), the new chair of the FIH Rules Committee, succeeding David Collier.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • FIH Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • FIH Founded: 7 January 1924, Paris, France;
  • FIH CEO: Thierry Weil.


SBI and HyperVerge Partner for AI-powered Online Account Opening

HyperVerge announced its partnership with SBI, with one of its flagship products, the Video Banking solution, which aims to achieve a 10x improvement in the number of account openings per day per agent.

The new service will offer a quick and completely paperless experience to customers with minimal ID documents. Assisted by AI engines with an accuracy of 99.5%, HyperVerge’s Video Banking solution enables SBI to provide convenient digital banking services to millions of Indians.

Last year, the Reserve Bank of India (equivalent to the Federal Reserve) allowed banks to adopt the Video Customer Identification Process (V-CIP). This measure has proven to be prophetic given the rising Covid-19 cases.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • SBI Chairperson: Dinesh Kumar Khara.
  • SBI Headquarters: Mumbai.
  • SBI Founded: 1 July 1955.

Science and Technology

Microsoft to retire iconic Internet Explorer on 15 June 2022

Tech-giant Microsoft has decided to retire its iconic Internet Explorer (IE) browser, with effect from 15 June 2022, after more than 25 years of its launch. The Internet Explorer (IE) browser was launched in 1995.

Microsoft recommends its users shift to Microsoft Edge (2015) before June 15, 2022, for a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience.

Internet Explorer was once the most widely used web browser, with 95 per cent usage share by 2003.

However, its usage share declined since the launch of Firefox (2004) and Google Chrome (2008), as well as the growing popularity of mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS that do not support Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is the eleventh and final version of the Internet Explorer web browser officially released on October 17, 2013.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Microsoft CEO: Satya Nadella;
  • Microsoft Headquarters: Redmond, Washington, United States.


Barcelona Women beat Chelsea Women to win Women’s Champions League trophy

Barcelona Women beat Chelsea Women to win the Women’s Champions League trophy. Chelsea conceded four goals in the first 36 minutes as Barcelona blew them away to win their first Women’s Champions League in Gothenburg.

Barcelona is the first Spanish side to win the Women’s Champions League. Barcelona becomes the first club to win both the men’s and women’s Champions League, and this was the biggest ever winning margin in a women’s final.


Environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna passes away

Well-known environmentalist and Gandhian, Sunderlal Bahuguna has passed away. He was 94. A pioneer in environmental protection, Mr. Bahuguna led the charge against the construction of big dams in the Himalayas in the 1980s. He was fervently opposed to the construction of the Tehri dam.

Bahuguna, who lived for decades in his Silyara ashram in Tehri Garhwal, inspired many young people in his passion for the environment. His ashram was open to young people, with whom he communicated with ease.

Bahuguna, along with local women, founded the Chipko movement in the Seventies to prevent the felling of trees in the ecologically sensitive zones. The movement’s success led to the enactment of a law to ban the felling of trees in ecologically sensitive forest lands. He also coined the Chipko slogan: ‘ecology is the permanent economy.


Hero Group launches ed-tech platform ‘Hero Vired’

The Munjal family-led Hero Group has launched a new education technology startup ‘ Hero Vired’, which will offer an end-to-end learning ecosystem.

Through this new edtech venture, Hero Group aims to enter the ed-tech space. The platform will offer learners overall professional development to make them industry-ready for employment.

Hero Vired has partnered with top global universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Singularity University, to offer full-time and part-time programs in finance and financial technologies; game design; integrated programs in data science, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI); entrepreneurial thinking and innovation; and full-stack development.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • CMD of Hero Group: Pankaj M Munjal;
  • Hero Group HQ: New Delhi.

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