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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - September 2021

Sep 2021

Dec 05, 2021

Ahead of Punjab Polls, Former DGP S. S. Virk, others Join BJP

  • Ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls, several prominent people from the state, including former director general of police (DGP) Sarbdeep Singh Virk, joined the BJP.
  • Union minister and the BJP's in-charge for Punjab Gajendra Singh Shekhawat welcomed them into the party and said that their induction would further strengthen the organisation in the state.
  • Virk, former chairman of Punjab Cooperative Bank Avtar Singh Zira, industrialist Harcharan Singh Ranauta and former SAD leader Sarabjit Singh Makkar were among those who joined the BJP.
  • Several noted personalities from Punjab have joined the BJP in the past few days and some more are expected to join it ahead of the Assembly polls early next year.

Jayesh Salgaocar Resigns from the State Assembly

  • Goa Forward Party (GFP) lawmaker Jayesh Salgaocar resigned from the state assembly and said that he would join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a day later amid resistance within the party over the expected induction.

India, South Korea Agree to Strengthen Strategic Cooperation

  • India and the South Korea agreed to strengthen strategic cooperation including in dealing with challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalisation.
  • The two sides discussed a range of key issues at the third India-Republic of Korea strategic dialogue held in the national capital.
  • Both sides agreed to further strengthen and deepen mutually beneficial strategic cooperation in areas of bilateral, regional and global interest.

Dec 04, 2021

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates InFinity Forum

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a leadership Forum on Financial Technology (FinTech). This is the first edition of the summit and was inaugurated via virtual conference.
  • The summit saw participation from more than 70 nations, while Indonesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom were partner countries.
  • The two-day summit brought together the leading minds of the world in business and technology together and discussed how technology and innovation can be leveraged by the FinTech industry for inclusive growth and serving humanity at large. It was hosted by the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) under the aegis of the Government of India in collaboration with GIFT City and Bloomberg.
  • The agenda of the forum focused on the theme of 'Beyond', with various sub-themes including FinTech beyond boundaries, with governments and businesses focussing beyond the geographical boundaries in the development of global stack to promote financial inclusiveness; FinTech beyond Finance, by having convergence with emerging areas such as SpaceTech, GreenTech and AgriTech to drive sustainable development.

India Finds Key Place in Germany's New Coalition Treaty

  • India and the Indo-Pacific found a prominent place in the treaty concluded by the three parties that will form the next coalition government in Germany, reflecting the importance of the partnership between the two countries.
  • The recent German elections resulted in the formation of a tripartite coalition for the first time by the Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats. The three parties finalised a deal for governing the country and outlined the way ahead in a coalition document.
  • This document has a strong reference to India and the importance of strengthening the Indo-German strategic partnership. India is mentioned very prominently in the coalition treaty, signalling the ever-growing importance of the partnership between the two countries.

Govt. Extends Smart Cities Mission Timeline to 2023

  • The Centre has extended the timeline for the implementation of the Smart Cities Mission to June 2023, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs informed Parliament. According to officials, the delay was caused by the pandemic.
  • The physical progress of the ambitious programme, aimed at developing citizen-friendly and self-sustainable urban settlements, was earlier expected to be measurable only by 2021, when the first 20 of them were to be completed.
  • The Union government had announced the project for developing 100 cities as "smart" ones on June 25, 2015. Cities were chosen through four rounds of selection from January 2016 to June 2018.
  • A minimum of five years is given for a city to be completed; the first 20 cities were selected in January 2016.

Dec 03, 2021

Minister of State for Communications Releases Commemorative Postage Stamp on the Mahindra Group

  • Minister of State for Communications, Devusinh Chauhan released a commemorative postage stamp on the Mahindra Group to mark 75 years of the company. Chauhan urged the group to collaborate with the postal department to improve the delivery of social services in rural areas.
  • The commemorative stamp design features the founders of the Group- JC and KC Mahindra and is inspired by miniature art and uses a modern graphical style to illustrate the various facets of the Group. A closer look at the stamp reveals the various business and life centric activities of the Mahindra Group. In the release function a First Day Cover (FDC) and an Information Brochure were also unveiled.

Delhi Metro Rail Corp Gets New Director of Operations

  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation appointed Vikas Kumar, an Indian Railway Traffic Service officer, as the director of operations.
  • The DMRC has the largest operational metro network in the country, spanning over 390 km, and has strengthened its operation and maintenance (O&M) wing with new appointments.
  • Vikas Kumar was an officer of the 1988-batch of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.

Dec 02, 2021

Sanjeev Kaushal is Haryana's New Chief Secretary

  • Haryana government appointed 1986-batch IAS officer Sanjeev Kaushal as the new chief secretary. He replaced 1985-batch IAS officer Vijai Vardhan. Additional chief secretary, power, PK Das was posted as additional chief secretary, revenue and disaster management in place of Kaushal.
  • Prior to this, Kaushal had worked with Centre as Joint Secretary, two state governments, two large PSUs as Managing Director, and also the largest Municipal Corporation of Haryana (as the Chief Administrator of Faridabad Complex with the responsibilities of the Mayor and Commissioner both).

Shiromani Akali Dal Leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa Joins BJP

  • Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa joined BJP ahead of the upcoming Punjab assembly elections.
  • Sirsa, who was also the chief of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, was inducted into the saffron camp in the presence of Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. After joining, he met Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J. P. Nadda.
  • Before joining the BJP, Sirsa in a tweet had announced his resignation from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

Congress Setback Continues in Meghalaya

  • Days after 12 of its 17 MLAs including former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma joined the TMC, Meghalaya Congress' working president James S. Lyngdoh resigned from the primary membership of the party without citing any reasons.
  • The switch over of the 12 Congress MLAs last week has made the TMC, a political newbie in Meghalaya, the principal opposition party in the assembly.

Sambit Patra is Chairman of India Tourism Development Corporation

  • BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was appointed as the chairman of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
  • IAS officer, GKV Rao will hold the post of managing director of ITDC.
  • ACC approved the proposals of the Ministry of Tourism of splitting of the post of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) into two posts of Chairman, ITDC and Managing Director (MD) ITDC.

Dec 01, 2021

Government Launches 'Unique' Face Recognition Techology for Pensioners

  • Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh launched a "unique" face recognition technology for pensioners.
  • The face recognition technology would act as a proof of life certificate' for pensioners.
  • It will ensure ease of living for retired & elderly citizens.
  • All pensioners are required to submit their life certificate annually in order to receive pension.
  • Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has also implemented a facility to give certificate digitally.
  • This face recognition technology has been devised by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in collaboration with the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). The initiative to provide digital life certificates was launched by the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare (DoPPW).

India - ITU Joint Cyber Drill 2021

  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Department of Telecommunications operating under the Ministry of Communications conducted a Joint Cyber Drill 2021.
  • The cyber drill was conducted for the Critical Network Infrastructure operators of India. The Critical Network Infrastructure is the systems, assets and networks that are essential to ensure the security of a country.
  • It aimed to improve the cyber security readiness of India. Also, it aimed to improve the protection and incident response capability of the country.
  • During the cyber drill, the cyber attacks and information security incidents were simulated. And the participants were trained to defend and respond against such incidents. Thus, the drill helped to test the cyber capabilities of an organisation.

Govt. Seeks Names of Farmer Leaders for Panel on MSP, other Issues

  • To constitute a committee for discussion on MSP and other issues, the Centre has sought five names from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and it will be decided by the umbrella body of farmer unions in its December 4 meeting.
  • The move comes a day after both Houses of Parliament passed a Bill to repeal the three contentious farm laws against which farmers have been protesting for a year.
  • The SKM, an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions, has been spearheading the farmers' movement against the three farm laws and their other demands, including a legal guarantee for MSP.

Centre Appoints Committee to Revisit Criteria for Determining EWS

  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment formed a three-member committee to review the criteria for reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category in terms of the provisions of the explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution. The committee has been asked to complete its work within three weeks. Former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey heads the committee.
  • The announcement to appoint a committee and revisit the EWS reservation criteria came after the Supreme Court intervention. The SC is hearing petitions challenging the government notice issued in July which provides for a 10 per cent EWS quota in NEET admissions.
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