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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

25 Feb 2021


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FATF Commends Mauritius for Progress on Action Plan

  • Mauritius has provided clarifications to the queries posed by the assessors of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body which sets anti-money laundering standards.
  • The assessors commended the island nation for the sustained progress made in implementing the FATF action plan despite the pandemic. This has raised hopes that the country will be able to come out of the grey list sometime this year.
  • The observations were made during a virtual meeting held last month between Mauritius and the FATF African Middle East Joint Group.
  • The next FATF plenary session will be held this month during which the second progress report will be considered along with the report of the assessors.

Iran Stops Sharing Nuclear Site Footage

  • Iran said that it would stop handing over footage of nuclear sites to the UN's nuclear watchdog in response to a US refusal so far to lift sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump.
  • Iran's move underlines the task facing US President Joe Biden as he tries to reverse Trump's decision to withdraw from a historic 2015 deal.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Tehran would stop the daily and weekly handover of recordings.
  • Tehran's civilian nuclear agency the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has promised to preserve the tapes for three months.
  • The AEOI said that it would then hand the recordings over to the AEOI – but only if Iran is granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, the recordings will be deleted – narrowing the possibility of any diplomatic breakthrough.
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New Species of Alpine Plant Discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

  • A group of scientists of three institutes have discovered a new species of alpine plant in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • The new species of plant belongs to the family of Himalayan sunflower.
  • It has been named as Cremanthodium indicum.
  • This species of plant generally flowers from July to August.
  • It is endemic to the Penga-Teng Tso Lake of Tawang district.
  • As per the IUCN Guideline, this alpine plant species has been listed as critically endangered.
  • Tawang district is the smallest districts out of the 16 administrative districts of Arunachal Pradesh. It has a population of 49,977 which makes the state as the eighth least populous district in India. This district is inhabited by the Monpa people.
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Federal Bank Aims 'Mid-Teen' Growth in Credit for Fiscal 2022

  • Private sector lender Federal Bank is aiming for an acceleration in credit growth into "mid-teen" figures in 2021-22 on the back of an economic recovery.
  • The bank's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shyam Srinivasan said that the increase in virus infections in states like Maharashtra needs to be watched, but exuded confidence that it will not affect the overall economic activity, terming it a "minor blip".
  • Srinivasan said that a majority of the loan segments will grow at over 20 per cent levels and a few like corporate will also grow around 10 per cent to achieve the credit growth target next fiscal.

Centre Signs $304 Million Pact with AIIB for Power Transmission Network in Assam

  • The Centre signed an agreement with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for borrowing $304 million (over Rs. 2,200 crore) to improve power transmission network in Assam.
  • The fund will be utilized for the 'Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project', aiming to improve reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the state.
  • The total estimated cost of the project is $365 million, of which $304 million will be financed by the AIIB and the rest by the state government.

Axis Entities Get IRDAI Approval to Acquire Stake in Max Life Insurance

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has given its nod to Axis entities — Axis Bank and its subsidiaries — for acquiring up to 12 per cent stake in Max Life Insurance, paving the way for Axis firms to become a joint venture partner in the life insurance company.
  • Axis Bank will acquire 9 per cent stake in the life insurance company while Axis Capital and Axis Securities will acquire another 3 per cent in the first leg of the transaction. Furthermore, Axis entities — Axis Capital & Axis Securities — will have the right to acquire another 7 per cent in the life insurance company, something they intend to do in the coming years.
  • Max Financial Services is the holding company of the private sector life insurer Max Life Insurance.
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Karnataka to Host Khelo India University Games in 2021

  • The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, announced that Karnataka will be hosting the second Khelo India University Games (KIUG) in the year 2021.
  • The Khelo India University Games will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Games will be held in the Jain University and other venues of the state.
  • Jain University will organise the games in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).
  • KIUG is a national level multi-sport the largest University game in India.
  • The event observes the participation of athletes from universities across the country who compete with each other in different sport disciplines.
  • It is organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and Sports Authority of India (SAI) in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities, Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federation.
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Gujarat Civic Polls: BJP Retains Power

  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept elections to six municipal corporations in Gujarat by winning 483 out of 576 seats.
  • The ruling party retained power in all the six municipal corporations in the state -- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.
  • The main opposition Congress got a drubbing, as it won only 55 seats and failed even to open an account in Surat.
  • On the other hand, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) put up an impressive show by winning 27 seats, all in Surat, and emerged as the main opposition in the Surat Municipal Corporation.
  • The AAP had for the first time fielded 470 candidates across all six corporations.

India 2nd Biggest Target of Cybercriminals in Asia Pacific in 2020

  • According to an IBM report, India was the second most attacked country by cyber criminals after Japan in Asia Pacific in 2020. 
  • In 2020, IBM Security X-Force observed attackers pivoting their attacks to businesses for which global COVID-19 response efforts heavily relied on, such as hospitals, medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as energy companies powering the COVID-19 supply chain.
  • India was the second most attacked country in the Asia Pacific. Attacks on India made up 7 per cent of all attacks X-Force observed on Asia in 2020.
  • Finance and insurance was the top attacked industry in India (60 per cent), followed by manufacturing and professional services.

PM to Inaugurate Multiple Development projects in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of various development initiatives. The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for 4 laning of NH45-A - 56 km Sattanathapuram - Nagapattinam package of Villupuram to Nagapattinam project covering Karaikal district in Puducherry.
  • The capital cost to be incurred in this project is about Rs. 2,426 crores. He will also lay the foundation stone of the Medical College Building at Karaikal New Campus - Phase I, Karaikal District (JIPMER). The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 491 crore.
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MoD Approves Rs. 8,379 cr to Buy 118 Arjun Tanks

  • An upgraded version of the Arjun tank, having better firing and mobility, has been okayed by the Ministry of Defence for induction by the Indian Army.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accorded its approval to the project that will entail making 118 tanks for Rs 8,379 crore.
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be issued a formal request for a proposal to produce these tanks and formal signing of the contract could take a year.
  • The first tank will roll out within 30 months of signing the contract. The existing facility at Avadi in Tamil Nadu will produce these tanks.
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Jindal Power Appoints Anil Kumar Jha as New Chairman

  • Jindal Power Ltd (JPL) announced the appointment of former bureaucrat Anil Kumar Jha as its Chairman.
  • A veteran of the mining industry, Jha is the former chairman of Coal India Limited.
  • JPL is a subsidiary of steelmaker Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL).
  • Jha brings with him a rich experience of over three decades in the field of mine planning, production, management, supervision, direction and control of underground as well as open cast mines.
  • Jha is a mining graduate, he also holds an M.Tech degree from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad.

Former TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar Passes Away

  • Former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Rahul Khullar passed away in New Delhi.
  • Khullar, a 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was appointed as TRAI chief in May 2012. He served at TRAI for three years. Before being appointed as TRAI chief, he was a secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

Wipro Names Rene Mulder as Country Head and MD of Switzerland

  • IT services major Wipro announced the appointment of Ren Mulder as Country Head and Managing Director of its Switzerland operations.
  • Prior to joining Wipro, Mulder served in leadership roles with Siemens, Swisscom, T-Systems and DXC Technology in Switzerland as well as in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • Mulder has proven experience in leading large organisations and has a successful track record of driving growth, building profitable businesses and creating sustainable and successful relationships with customers, partners and local authorities.
  • Switzerland is an important market for Wipro, with a solid customer base and growing demand for digital transformation as companies expand their offerings.
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Pagdi Sambhal Diwas at Delhi Borders

  • Farmers organised "Pagdi Sambhal Diwas" at the Delhi borders to register their opposition to the government's three agricultural laws.
  • Wearing colourful turbans, the agitating farmers at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders, celebrated the day following a call by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha. The move is to assert the self-respect of farmers in memory of 'Chacha' Ajit Singh, the uncle of iconic revolutionary Bhagat Singh and founder of the "Pagdi Sambhal" movement. 
  • The song "Pagdi Sambhal", written by Banke Dayal, was a precursor to the peasant movement against agricultural laws by the colonial British government, in 1906. The reflections of the movement that Chacha Ajit Singh had started at that time can be observed in this farmers' movement as well.   
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Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards

  • The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2021, has honoured late actor Sushant Singh Rajput with the Critic's Best Actor accolade in the award ceremony.
  • Best Actor (Female) - Deepika Padukone, Chhapaak, Best Actor (Male) - Akshay Kumar, Laxmii, Critic's Best Actress - Kiara Advani, Guilty, Critic's Best Actor - Sushant Singh Rajput, Best Film - Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Best International Feature Film – Parasite.
  • The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival is a unique platform to honour and encourage the most creative Artists, Creators, filmmakers, and to infuse life into their career. DPIFF hosts the Most Prestigious Award Function to honour and appreciate the Entertainment & Film Industry and commemorate those deserving storyteller, creative writers, passionate filmmakers, and maverick artists who are part of great Indian cinema.
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Mukhyamantri Abhyudaya Yojana

  • Under the Mukhyamantri Abhyudaya Yojana, the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated 'path pradarshak', a free coaching facility for students across the state. The initiative is meant to provide free coaching for aspirants of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and other exams.
  • The Yojana is aimed towards facilitating coaching benefits for those who do not have enough resources and money to buy one. So, those who are interested in availing the benefit of this scheme can register themselves through their online website.
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India and World Bank Sign $68 mn Project for Improving Education in Nagaland

  • Indian government, Government of Nagaland and the World Bank signed a $68 million project to enhance the governance of schools across Nagaland as well as to improve teaching practices and learning environments in select schools.
  • As per a Finance Ministry statement, the "Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project" will improve classroom instruction; create opportunities for the professional development of teachers; and build technology systems to provide students and teachers with more access to blended and online learning as well as allow better monitoring of policies and programs.
  • About 150,000 students and 20,000 teachers in the government education system in Nagaland will benefit from the statewide reforms in schools.

Project Udbhav Launched to Promote Hygienic Practices Post Covid-19

  • In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, a unique initiative 'Udbhav' has been launched to promote hygienic practices for school-going children in Sikkim.
  • Every child-friendly school requires appropriate wash initiatives that keep the school environment clean and free of smells and inhibit the transmission of harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites.
  • Project 'Udbhav' was launched in 10 schools of Sikkim with the association of Education Department of Sikkim and Alkem Foundation and Sulabh School Sanitation Club, New Delhi. The aim of this project is to ensure that all students continue their studies in a safe and healthy environment.
  • This programme shall focus on the development of life skills and the mobilization and involvement of teachers, students, parents, communities, governments and institutions to work together to improve hygiene, water and sanitation conditions in the identified schools of Sikkim.

IIM Ranchi Launches Five-year Integrated Course

  • Surrounded by a lack of opportunities amid the pandemic, IIM Ranchi has emerged as a shining beacon of hope by announcing its new program that is the Five-Year Integrated Program in Management (IPM). IIM Ranchi is next in the line after IIM Indore, Rohtak, and Bodh Gaya to announce this programme.
  • This programme is specifically designed for students who clear the Class 12 board exam and want to pursue a career in management.
  • The average CTC of IIM Ranchi stood at 15.11 lakh per annum making it a good proposition for the future.
  • Having a total of 120 seats, this five-year integrated program will provide students with more options to study and get practical exposure to become market-ready. Since the notification is out for IIM Ranchi students are now looking to take SAT to stand a chance to get into this prestigious institution. Many students have filled the form and are preparing for the next attempt.
  • There is no age limit for the applicants. The course structure is designed to provide a multidisciplinary foundation borrowing from humanities, social sciences, arts, and sciences.
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TAAI to Hold Knowledge Conclave

  • Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) will be hosting a national knowledge conclave at Kevadiya (Statue of Unity) in Gujarat between March 9 and 11.
  • According to Jyoti Mayal, National President of TAAI, around 200 travel agents from across India will participate in the three-day conclave.
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