Daily Current Affairs 16th March, 2022

Daily Current Affairs 16 March 2022 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

India’s maternal mortality rate dips to 103; Kerala, UP, Maharashtra mark sharpest decline
The health ministry, announced that the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India had declined by 10 points as per the special bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India.

  • MMR refers to deaths due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This rate in the country has declined from 113 in 2016-18 to 103 in 2017-19, marking a reduction of 8.8 percent as per the latest figures.
  • The country has been witnessing a progressive reduction in MMR from 130 in 2014-2016, 122 in 2015-17, 113 in 2016-18, and to 103 in 2017-19.
  • With this persistent decline, India is on track to achieve the Sustainable Goal Development (SDG) target of 70/lakh live births by 2030.
  • The number of states which have achieved the SDG target has now risen from 5 to 7 and includes Kerala (30), Maharashtra (38), Telangana (56), Tamil Nadu (58), Andhra Pradesh (58), Jharkhand (61), and Gujarat (70).

Country’s first Digital Water Bank ‘AQVERIUM’ launched in Bengaluru aims to provide clean drinking water & sanitation
The country’s first Digital Water Bank ‘AQVERIUM’ was launched in Bengaluru. It is formed by AquaKraft Group Ventures, next-generation sustainability, and impact enterprise focused on providing clean drinking water & sanitation.

  • The waterbank, Kusnur said, will be open to all, where users can create an account and report the amount of surplus water they have as savings. The surplus water will be converted into a token that will go on the blockchain. Similar to the stock market, the value of the token will increase depending on the demand and supply.
  • Further, the initiative will also include the formation of a digital university, the Centre for Innovation, Sustainability & Social Entrepreneurship, to undertake skill building initiatives across the country in rural areas.

Country’s first Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Technology Park launched in Bengaluru
The country’s first Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK) was launched in Bengaluru.

  • It is promoted by a not-for-profit foundation set up by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru, with a seed capital of Rs. 230 crore from the  State and Central governments.
  • The ARTPARK has the objective of channelizing innovations to create a societal impact by executing ambitious mission-mode R&D projects in healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail, and cyber-security aiming to solve problems unique to India.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India emerges as the largest importer of arms in 2017-21
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest report on Trends in International Arms Transfer, 2021, released in March 2022, reveals that India and Saudi Arabia had emerged as the largest arms importers of arms between 2017-21, each accounting for 11% of all global arms sales.

  • Both two countries accounted for 11% of all global arms sales. Egypt (5.7%), Australia (5.4%) and China (4.8%) were the next three largest importers respectively in the top 5.
  • Largest Arms Exporters in 2017-21: USA, with 39% share, retained its standing as the world’s largest arms exporters during 2017-21.
  • Russia was India’s largest supplier of arms in both 2012-16 and 2017-21. However, the volume of India’s imports from Russia fell by 47 per cent between these two periods.
  • Russia at 46% and France at 27% retained their respective positions as the two largest exporters to India even though the former’s exports declined by 3% between 2012-16 and 2017-21.

Sri Lanka receives a US$1 billion line of credit from India to assist pay for crucial imports
Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa signed a US$1 billion credit line with India to help ease crippling shortages of essential items, including fuel, food and medicine, officials said.

  • Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen 70 per cent in the past two years to about US$2.31 billion, leaving it struggling to pay for imports.

India breaks into world’s top five club in terms of market capitalisation
India’s equity market has broken into the world’s top five club in terms of market capitalisation for the first time. The country’s total market cap stands at $3.21 trillion, which is higher than that of the UK ($3.19 trillion), Saudi Arabia ($3.18 trillion), and Canada ($3.18 trillion).

  • This year, India has climbed two positions, despite a 7.4 per cent drop in its market cap. At the start of the year, the UK and France ranked fifth and sixth with a market cap of $3.7 trillion and $3.5 trillion, respectively.
  • Russia’s attack on Ukraine has upended the ranking with European nations seeing the maximum erosion in market cap. Germany, once among the top five markets, has now slipped to tenth.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has climbed three places from 10th to 7th. The country, particularly its biggest firm Aramco, stands to gain from the surge in oil prices this year.


BANKING & FINANCE

Bank of Baroda, BNP Paribas AMC join hands to form Baroda BNP Paribas Mutual Fund
Bank of Baroda and BNP Paribas Asset Management have entered into a strategic partnership by combining the strengths of their respective asset management (AMC) businesses in India to form ‘Baroda BNP Paribas Mutual Fund’.

  • This merged entity will be closer to PPFAS MF and LIC MF in terms of assets under management (AUM), and still be around the middle in the 40+ fund-houses jostling for space in the Indian market.
  • Average AUM for the quarter ended December 31, 2021 for Baroda Asset Management India was ₹12,769 crore and BNP Paribas Asset Management India was ₹9,116 crore.

Paytm Payments Bank punished by RBI for data breaching to Chinese firms
Paytm Payments Bank said it is fully compliant with the data localisation rules of the Reserve Bank of India and the entire data of the bank resides in the country.

  • The RBI last week directed Vijay Shekhar Sharma- promoted Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) to stop opening new accounts amid “material supervisory concerns” observed in the bank.

Mutual Fund of HSBC launches fund of CRISIL IBX 50:50 Gilt Plus SDL April 2028 Index
HSBC Mutual Fund (MF) has launched HSBC CRISIL IBX 50:50 Gilt Plus SDL Apr 2028 Index Fund, an open-ended target maturity Index Fund tracking CRISIL IBX 50:50 Gilt Plus SDL Index- April 2028.

  • Target maturity funds have a fixed maturity and follow a predefined index having securities maturing on or before the maturity date of the index.
  • It added that the 6-year segment remains a sweet spot for investments as the steepness of this segment over 1-3 year is high. It is also less volatile than 10 years and above segment.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Retail inflation in February at 6.07%
Retail inflation hit an eight-month high of 6.07% in February, remaining above the RBI’s comfort level for the second month in a row, while wholesale price-based inflation soared to 13.11% on account of hardening of crude oil and non-food item prices, government data showed.

  • Theprevious high for retail inflation was 6.26% in June 2021. The consumer price index (CPI)-based retail inflation, which is taken into account by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) while deciding its monetary policy, rose mainly because of costlier food items, as per the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation in February rose to 13.11% due to hardening of prices of crude oil and non-food items.


ACQUISITION S & MERGERS

Razorpay acquires fifth payments tech startup IZealiant Technologies
Fintech unicorn Razorpay announced its acquisition of IZealiant Technologies, a leading Fintech startup that provides payments technology solutions for banks, for an undisclosed amount.

  • The acquisition of IZealiant will further strengthen Razorpay’s Banking Solutions Arm to build innovative payment banking technologies for partner banks, so that both businesses & their end-consumers enjoy a faster, seamless and secure payment experience.


SPORTS

Indian Women’s Junior Handball Team Wins Maiden Gold in Asian Championships
The Indian women’s handball team scripted history by clinching the country’s maiden gold medal in the Asian junior championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan and qualifying for the world championships later this year.

  • The Indian team beat Thailand 41-18 in its fourth and final match to top the five-team tournament. India finished on top of standings with six points — from three wins and one loss. The team beat Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, besides Thailand and lost to Iran.
  • By virtue of the top-place finish, India qualified for the 23rd IHF Women’s Junior World Championships to be held in Slovenia from June 22 to July 3.


APPOINTMENTS

Bhagwant Mann sworn in as new chief minister of Punjab
AAP leader Bhagwant Singh Mann took oath as 17th Punjab chief minister at a massive swearing-in ceremony in Khatkar Kalan.

  • The 48-year-old comedian-turned-politician has become the first non-Congress and non-Akali leader to make it to the chief minister’s office in the border state since 1966, when its map was last redrawn.
  • The AAP had won 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly, decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine.


AWARDS

Shryeas Iyer, Amelia Kerr Win ICC Players of the Month Award for February 2022
India batter Shreyas Iyer and New Zealand’s all-rounder Amelia Kerr were adjudged the ICC Players of the Month for February 2022.

  • Following his brilliant white-ball exploits during the home series against West Indies and Sri Lanka respectively last month, Iyer bagged the ICC men’s Player of the Month award. He pipped fellow nominees, UAE’s Vriitya Aravind and Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee to claim the award.
  • The right-hander struck a match-winning 80 in the third ODI against the West Indies in Ahmedabad and followed it up with a brisk 16-ball 25 in the closing game of the subsequent three-match T20I series.

Axis Bank bags IFR Asia’s Asian Bank of the Year and India Bond House Award
Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector bank has been awarded IFR Asia’s Asian Bank of The Year, for its breadth of coverage and depth of expertise in the Asian investment banking space.

  • The award acknowledges the bank’s outstanding performance in equity and debt issuance, across all major products and segments.
  • Axis Bank was the only local house to serve as a global coordinator for the record Rs. 183 Bn Paytm IPO, and was also the global coordinator for Macrotech Developers’ Rs. 25 Bn IPO.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO successfully tests solid booster stage for new SSLV 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed the ground test of the solid-fuel based booster stage (SS1) of its new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), completing the ground testing of all three stages of the launch vehicle.

  • The new launch vehicle is now ready for its first development flight, which is scheduled for May this year.
  • The SSLV was designed to be smaller, cheaper, and quickly assembled for commercial launches on demand. The SSLV is likely to cost R 30 crore as compared to R 120 crore for each Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which is India’s workhorse. It can be assembled by a team of six within seven days in comparison to a team of 600 that takes a couple of months to assemble a PSLV.


OBITUARIES

WWE legend Razor Ramon passes away
Former wrestler and World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer Scott Hall, who reached stardom as “Razor Ramon” during the heyday of his career in the 1990s, has died. He was 63.

  • Hall wrestled for various organizations across the country throughout the 1980s before joining World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1991, according to WWE. Hall signed with WWE in 1992 and became a four-time Intercontinental champion performing as Razor Ramon.
  • Hall was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as Razor Ramon in 2014 and again as a member of the nWo in 2020, according to WWE.

Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda passes away
Zambia’s former president Rupiah Banda died at the age of 85 after a long battle with colon cancer.

  • The southern African country’s fourth leader since independence from Britain served for three years from 2008 — a term remembered for economic growth and corruption allegations.
  • Banda was vice-president when his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa unexpectedly succumbed to a stroke, propelling him into the top job.

Former Andhra Pradesh Governor Kumudben Joshi passes away
The former Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Kumudben Manishankar Joshi has passed away in Changa Dhanori village near Gandevi. She was 88.

  • Ms. Joshi served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh from 26 November 1985 to 7 February 1990. She was the second female Governor of the state after Sharda Mukherjee. Joshi had been a member of the Rajya Sabha thrice.
  • Kumudben Manishankar Joshi also became Deputy Minister of information and Broadcasting (October 1980 – January 1982) and Deputy Minister of Health and Family Welfare (January 1982 – December 1984).


BOOKS & AUTHORS

Diplomat Abhay K’s book-length poem published by Sahitya Akademi
Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters has published a book-length poem ‘Monsoon’ by Indian poet-diplomat Abhay K on the occasion of its 68th anniversary.

  • Monsoon is a poem of 150 stanzas of 4 lines each (quatrain/ruba’i) that commences its journey in Madagascar and follows the path of the monsoon invoking the rich flora and fauna, languages, cuisine, music, monuments, landscapes, traditions, myths and legends of the places through which monsoon travels and acts as a messenger to carry the poet’s message from Madagascar to his beloved in Srinagar in the Himalayas.


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