Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

31st Dec 2021 Current Affairs in English

National

PM Modi launches blockchain-based digital degrees at IIT Kanpur

Under the National Blockchain Project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched blockchain-based digital degrees at the 54th Convocation Ceremony of IIT Kanpur. Later Prime Minister also inaugurated the completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project and the Bina-Panki Multiproduct Pipeline Project.

These digital degrees can be verified globally and are unforgeable. The blockchain technology being used by IIT Kanpur to award digital degrees has been developed in-house. It is being touted as a revolutionary technology for the education sector.

The technology is already being used in the financial sector. The technology has been developed by the institute under the National Blockchain Project.

PM Modi laid the foundation stone of 4 hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation of the hydropower projects worth Rs 11000 crore in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.

He inaugurated the Sawra-Kuddu Hydro Power Project, a 111 MW Project which has been built at a cost of around Rs 2,080 crore. He also laid the foundation stone of the Renukaji Dam project which has been kept pending for around 3 decades.

The 40 MW project will be built at a cost of around Rs 7,000 crore. Other Projects are the Luhri Stage 1 Hydro Power Project and the Dhaulasidh Hydro Power Project, the first hydropower project of the Hamirpur district.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Himachal Pradesh Capital: Shimla (Summer), Dharamshala (Winter);
  • Himachal Pradesh Governor: Rajendra Arlekar;
  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur.

International

Japan introduced the world’s 1st Dual-Mode Vehicle

Japan has introduced a minibus lookalike world’s first dual-mode vehicle (DMV) in its town of Kaiyo. The vehicle can run on normal rubber tyres on the road but its steel wheels, which are in its underbelly, descend when it hits the rail tracks.

The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at a speed of 60km/h on rail tracks and can go as fast as around 100km/h on public roads.

The front tyres are lifted off the track and the rear wheels stay down to propel the DMV onto the railway. This feature of effectively changing into a train-like module easily on a rail track is the first of its kind.

Powered by diesel, the small fleet of vehicles comes in different colours. It runs along part of the coast of Shikoku island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering passengers attractive seaside scenery.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Japan Capital: Tokyo;
  • Japan Currency: Japanese Yen;
  • Japan PM: Fumio Kishida.

State News

Haryana CM launched ‘Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam’ Web-portal

The Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar has launched the ‘Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam portal’ and announced to set up the Atal Park & Smriti Kendra in Gurugram, Haryana.

The CM also honoured 78 officers and employees for delivering the best services in various fields. He also launched a magazine ‘Vyavastha Parivartan Se Susashan’ and the 2022 official calendar.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Haryana Capital: Chandigarh;
  • Haryana Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya.

Karnataka govt partnered with NPCI & SBI to implement ‘e-RUPI’

Karnataka government has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) & State Bank of India (SBI) to enable and implement the ‘e-RUPI’ payment solution to students under its scholarship programme.

For redeeming e-RUPI, the identified institutes will scan the QR code or SMS string displayed by the students using an application. The e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless payment solution provided by NPCI and It will be used to ensure leak-proof delivery transactions.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Karnataka: Basavaraj S Bommai;
  • Karnataka Governor: Thawar Chand Gehlot;
  • Karnataka Capital: Bengaluru.

Appointments

Diplomat Vikram Misri named as Deputy National Security Advisor

Diplomat Vikram Misri has been appointed as deputy national security adviser in the national security council secretariat. The appointment of Misri, a 1989-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, came after he served as the Indian ambassador to China for nearly three years.

He served in various capacities at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as well as in the Prime Minister’s Office. Misri will report to national security adviser Ajit Doval.

At present, Rajinder Khanna, Pankaj Saran and Dattatray Padsalgikar are serving as deputy NSAs. Misri has also served in various Indian Missions in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. The government has already appointed Pradeep Kumar Rawat as India’s new envoy to China.

CP Goyal appointed Director-General of Forests & Special Secretary

Indian Forest Service officer, Chandra Prakash Goyal has been appointed as the Director-General of Forests & Special Secretary (DGF&SS), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.

Goyal, a 1986 batch IFS officer was previously the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest under Uttar Pradesh Department of Forest.

The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet approved the appointment of the IFoS officer. He had returned to UP after being on central deputation as Joint Secretary in the Indian Department of Biotechnology

Banking

RBI’s latest report on ‘Trend and Progress of Banking in India’

India’s central bank, RBI has released the latest iteration of its annual report on the financial performance of the country. In its report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) details that, despite the devastation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in India, the financial performance of banks has improved, citing a fall in the gross non-performing asset ratio for scheduled commercial banks (SCBs).

The report, titled ‘Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India,’ also showed how a rise in profitability of SCBs in 2020-21 was driven less by an increase in income but more via reductions in expenditure.

Key Highlights:

  • The gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) ratio of SCBs fell from 8.2 per cent at the end of March 2020 to 7.3 per cent in March 2021. This decreased further to 6.9 per cent at the end of September 2021
  • Capital to risk-weighted assets ratios(CRAR) – a vital measure of a bank’s stability – of SCBs improved from 14.8 per cent at the end of March 2020 to 16.3 per cent at the end of March 2021
  • Banks have been plagued with an increase in the incidences of fraud in the current fiscal.
  • The report notes that the number of frauds between April and September 2021 rose in comparison to the corresponding period last year.

IndusInd Bank launched ‘green fixed deposits’

IndusInd Bank has announced the launch of ‘green fixed deposits’, whereby the deposit proceeds will be used to finance projects and firms supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A green deposit is a fixed-term deposit for investors looking to invest their surplus cash reserves in environmentally friendly projects. These deposits will be offered to both retail & corporate customers.

The Bank will use the proceeds from these deposits to finance a wide array of sectors falling under the SDG category including, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, sustainable food, agriculture, forestry, waste management and greenhouse gas reduction.

Axis Bank is 2nd largest in PoS machines

Axis Bank has become the second-largest merchant-acquiring bank in the country, leapfrogging two spaces during 2021 by installing over two lakh card-swipe machines during the year.

This is part of the bank’s ‘Axis One’ strategy where it approaches the customers by offering its entire gamut of products instead of a standalone service. Axis Bank’s strategy to increase the number of merchants is to offer the latest in technology to them and address pain points.

For instance, the bank installs Android PoS machines and has also come out with a printer-less compact machine. On the agenda are bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solutions that will enable the use of regular smartphones with an attachment for accepting cards.

Economy

ICRA rating agency expects India to grow at 9% in FY22-23

ICRA Credit rating agency has expected India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) will grow with 9% rate in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. The Indian economy has grown at 8.4 percent in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

ICRA said the growth momentum is not enough to confirm a change in the Monetary Policy stance in the February 2022 review. The Future Expectation Index continued to display optimism because of improving the overall economic situation.

Defence

DRDO named Paras Defence for handing over border surveillance systems tech

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) selected Paras Defence and Space Technologies for handing over the technology of border surveillance systems as developed by Instruments Research & Development Establishment and DRDO.

This technology has been transferred by a licensing agreement for the transfer of technology (ToT) for border surveillance systems entered between the company, Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Ranks and Reports

Telangana topped in Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission

Telangana has secured 1st place among the 34 states and Union Territories that implement the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM). Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have secured 2nd and 3rd place on the list respectively.

In the Ranking of the Cluster, among the 295 clusters, the Ryakal cluster of Sangareddy and the Jukkal cluster of Kamareddy in Telangana has secured the 1st and 2nd position respectively. The Aibawk cluster of Aizawl in Mizoram has secured the 3rd position.

Sports

National Dope Testing Laboratory regained WADA accreditation

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has restored the accreditation of the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in accordance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL), which had been suspended since August 2019.

With this, NDTL’s Anti-Doping testing and activities will be resumed with immediate effect. NDTL has also been collaborating with other WADA accredited laboratories for strengthening its research activities and anti-doping efforts.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • World Anti-Doping Agency Founder: Dick Pound;
  • World Anti-Doping Agency Founded: 10 November 1999;
  • World Anti-Doping Agency Headquarters: Montreal, Canada;
  • World Anti-Doping Agency President: Craig Reedie.

Books and Authors

A book titled ‘Dr. V L Dutt: Glimpses of a Pioneer’s Life Journey’ by V L Indira Dutt

Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu has launched the book titled ‘Dr. V L Dutt: Glimpses of a Pioneer’s Life Journey authored by Dr. V L Indira Dutt, Chairperson and Managing Director of KCP Group, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The book is based on the life of Late Velagapudi Lakshmana Dutt (V.L. Dutt), the former Chairman of KCP Group.

Obituary

Seven-term Rajya Sabha MP and industrialist Mahendra Prasad passes away

Seven-time Rajya Sabha MP from the Janata Dal (United) & industrialist, Mahendra Prasad passed away. He was a seven-term Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar and was also elected to the Lok Sabha once.

He was first elected to the Lok Sabha on a Congress ticket in 1980. Estimated to be one of the richest members of Parliament, the founder of Aristo Pharmaceuticals was a seven-term Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar and was also elected to the Lok Sabha once.

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