Daily Current Affairs 19 March 2021 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.
Mission Gramodaya launched in Madhya Pradesh
In Madhya Pradesh, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have launched the Mission Gramodaya in the state.
- Under the Gramodaya mission, besides providing housing facilities in rural areas, basic and fundamental infrastructure will also be expanded
India slips to 56th position in home price appreciation: Knight Frank
Roiled by the pandemic, home prices in India fell 3.6 per cent in December quarter 2020, pushing down its global ranking to the lowest 56th as compared to 43rd in the year-ago period, while Turkey continued to lead the tally, says a report.
- According to international property consultancy Knight Frank, India was the weakest-performing housing market in October-December last year with a decline of 3.6 per cent year-on-year in prices.
- In the US, the worst affected by the pandemic, the home prices rose 10.4 per cent in the quarter.In Canada and Britain, prices surged 9 per cent each , Japan saw 5 per cent rise, Singapore( 2.5 per cent) and Russia (14 per cent). Hong Kong and Malaysia both saw annual price growth slip into the negative territory.
633,000 ‘New Middle Class’ households In India: Hurun India report
Hurun India Wealth Report 2020 released has identified a novel household category in India – the ‘New Middle Class’ – with an average savings of Rs 20-lakh per annum.
- These households, the report says, have major allocation towards physical assets such as primary residential property and automobiles. Hurun India pegs the total number of such cumulative households in India at 633,000.
- According to Hurun, there are 412,000 dollar-millionaire households / affluent households in India with a networth of at least Rs 7 crore.
- Hurun Rich Listers have a wealth of Rs 1,000 crore, the report says, and pegs the number of such cumulative households in India at 3,000. At the other end of the spectrum is the ‘Indian middle class’ that has earnings of over Rs 2.5-lakh per annum and a net worth of less than Rs 7 crore.
South Africa has world’s most dangerous roads; India in fourth place: Study
South Africa has been ranked as the world’s most dangerous country to drive in while India came in at fourth place, according to a research study undertaken by international driver education company Zutobi.
- Among the list of 56 countries in the study, Thailand came in second position and the US took up third spot.
- The safest roads in the world can be found in Norway, with its Scandinavian neighbour Sweden having the third safest roads while Japan took second place, according to the study.
India expected to record largest increase in child and maternal deaths in South Asia in 2020 amid Covid: UN
India is likely to register the greatest increase in the number of deaths among children below five years among six South Asian countries in 2020 and also the highest number of maternal deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the country’s health services, according to a Unicef report.
- The ‘Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia’, a report commissioned by Unicef Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) is based on the six most populous countries of the South Asian region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- The largest increase in the number of stillbirths as a result of reduced SRMNCH services are also expected in India (10 per cent) followed by Pakistan.Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are expected to have fewer maternal deaths in the first and second quarter of 2021 in comparison to 2019, however additional unintended pregnancies are still projected to be higher.
- India is expected to be hit hardest with an additional 3,412 adolescent deaths followed by Pakistan (1,629) and Bangladesh (836),” the report said. The rise in deaths has been cited to malaria and typhoid.
- Adding to this, the report also suggested that the highest cost of lower education attainment by this cohort will be borne by India, followed by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
BANKING & FINANCE
SBI and IOCL ink $100 million first SOFR linked deal in the ECB market
The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has been awarded the mandate for the first SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate) linked ECB deal by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL).
- SBI and IOCL have reached a milestone in LIBOR transition with a $100 million deal for 5 years and this will be the first SOFR linked deal in the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) market.
- SOFR is an identified replacement for USD LIBOR, which is expected to be phased out at the end of 2021.
Deutsche Bank executes world’s first green hedge with Continuum
Deutsche Bank and Continuum Energy Levanter Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Continuum Green Energy (Continuum), said they have executed the world’s first green hedging transaction, with a second party opinion based on a specially designed green hedge framework.
- The company’s underlying green project revenues are generated in Indian rupee while the principal and interest are to be repaid in dollar, giving rise to currency risks.
PNB sets-up subsidiary to manage credit card business
State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage its credit card business, the bank said.
- A wholly-owned subsidiary of the bank namely PNB Cards & Services Ltd has been incorporated on March 16, 2021, by the Registrar of Companies, Delhi, it said in a regulatory filing.
- The subsidiary will undertake the non-financial support services related to credit card business of the bank.
- The authorised capital of the company is Rs 25 crore and the paid-up capital is Rs 15 crore.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Reliance Securities named as India’s 10 most promising Share Trading Platforms of 2020
Reliance Securities (RSEC) has been recognised as India’s top 10 most promising share trading platforms of 2020.
- Despite the challenges of last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, RSEC emerged as one of the fastest-growing financial services business in India, enhancing its retail customer base to over 1 million, increasing its financial investment & savings offerings and widening its pan-India presence across 3500+ touch-points and 60+ branches.
- Reliance Securities has been creating continuous value for customers as part of its SDE initiative. It has been continuously developing analytically driven solutions for digital consumer engagements across advisory, research, transactions, education, training and awareness creation.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Govt to sell up to 16% stake in IRCON via OFS
The offer for sale (OFS) for up to 16 per cent government stake at a floor price of Rs 88 per share in railway PSU IRCON will open.
- The base issue size of the OFS is 10 per cent or over 4.70 crore equity shares, with a green-shoe option to retain over-subscription of 6 per cent or over 2.82 crore shares.
- The total issue size, including green-shoe option, comes to 16 per cent or over 7.52 crore shares.
Kapil Dev inducted into PGTI as board member
Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev was inducted as one of the board members of the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
- Kapil played 131 Tests and 225 ODIs for the Indian cricket team. In the longest format of the game, the all-rounder amassed 5,248 runs and picked 434 wickets. Under his leadership, India lifted the 1983 World Cup after defeating West Indies in the final.
MA Ganapathy appointed chief of National Security Guard, Kuldiep Singh made head of CRPF
Senior IPS officers MA Ganapathy and Kuldiep Singh were appointed Director General of National Security Guard and the Central Reserve Police Force, respectively.
- Ganapathy, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, is currently Director General, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
- Singh, a 1986 batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre, is presently the Special DG, CRPF.
Ajay Mathur takes over as Director General of International Solar Alliance
Dr Ajay Mathur has assumed office as the Director-General of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with effect from March 15, 2021.
- He has been appointed for a period of four years which can be renewed for an additional term.
- Dr Ajay Mathur has replaced Upendra Tripathy, who completed his term on March 15, after serving as the Director-General since 2017.
Poet Arundhathi Subramaniam among 20 winners of 2020 Sahitya Akademi Award
Poet Arundhathi Subramaniam is among the 20 writers to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2020. Subramaniam won the award for her poetry collection When God is a Traveller in English.
- The 2020 winners’ list includes seven books of poetry, four novels, five short stories, two plays, and one each of memoirs and epic poetry in 20 Indian languages.
- Apart from Subramaniam, the others who won the award in poetry include Harish Meenakshi (Gujarati), Anamika (Hindi), RS Bhaskar (Konkani), Irungbam Deven (Manipuri), Rupchand Hansda (Santali), and Nikhileswar (Telugu).
- Nanda Khare (Marathi), Maheshchandra Sharma Gautam (Sanskrit), Imaiyam (Tamil) and Sri Hussain-ul-Haque were named as winners for their novels.
- Apurba Kumar Saikia (Assamese), (late) Dharanidhar Owari (Bodo), (late) Hiday Koul Bharti (Kashmiri), Kamakant Jha (Maithili) and Gurdev Singh Rupana (Punjab) have received the award for short stories.
- The Akademi has named Gian Singh (Dogri) and Jetho Lalwani (Sindhi) the winners for their plays, while Shankar (Mani Shankar Mukhopadhyay) in (Bengali) received the award for memoir.
- While writer-director Venita Coelho has been named as the recipient for the Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2020 for her book Dead as a Dodo, English author Yashica Dutt received the Yuva Puraskar for her memoir Coming Out As Dalit among other recipients of the respective awards.
France’s Jean-Philippe Vassal and Anne Lacaton win Pritzker Architecture Prize 2021
Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, known for transforming and revitalizing neglected buildings across France, have been named winners of Pritzker Architecture Prize equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
- Vassal, 67, and Lacaton, 65, received the accolade — which was first awarded in 1979 and comes with $100,000 in prize money — for their work transforming urban housing into uplifting and sustainable spaces on modest budgets.
- Moreover, Lacaton became the first French female architect to ever win the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ISRO launches sounding rocket to study attitudinal variations
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a sounding rocket to study attitudinal variations in the neutral winds and plasma dynamics from Sriharikota spaceport.
- ISRO has developed a series of sounding rockets called Rohini series, important among them being RH-200, RH-300 and RH-560, number in the name indicating the diameter of the rocket in mm.
- Sounding rockets are one or two stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research.
India Commissions 15,000-tonne Ocean Surveillance Ship INS Dhruv
In an attempt to pushback the Chinese Navy’s rapidly-expanding People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the Indian Navy is all set to commission INS Druv (codenamed VC 1118) ship, which is capable of tracking nuclear missiles and satellites from a distance.
- This ocean surveillance ship is also equipped with game changer active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that can help India collect accurate data, not just about an enemy nation’s missile range and capabilities, but will also track India’s own strategic missiles that are in the trial stage.
- INS Dhruv has been jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and Indian Navy. The indigenously-developed surveillance ship has been built at Hindustan Ship Yard Ltd in Vishakhapatnam under the Make in India initiative.
- This 15,000-tonne ship, which is also one of the largest warships built at an Indian shipyard, has cost nearly Rs 725 crore.
Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens passes away at 94
Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer who is credited with the invention of the audio cassette tape, has passed away. He was 94.
- Ottens founded the cassettes in the year 1960s, while he was employed with tech giant Philips. Later it led to the invention of the first reel-to-reel walkman in 1963.
- He is also known for helping develop the concept of magnetic tape players and the computer discs (CDs).
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Battle Ready for 21st Century Book released by Army Chief
A book titled “Battle Ready for 21st Century” co-edited by Lt Gen AK Singh, Distinguished Fellow CLAWS and Brig Narender Kumar, Visiting Fellow CLAWS was released by Gen Bipin Rawat, CDS and Gen Deepak Kapoor, Former Chief of the Army Staff at Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).
- The book “Battle Ready for the 21st Century” has endeavoured to postulate and define emerging areas of conflict, desired capabilities and doctrinal issues that need careful examination.
Global Recycling Day
Global Recycling Day is observed globally on 18th March every year by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and celebrated globally every year to raise awareness of the importance of recycling.
- The main aim of the day is to turn ‘waste’ into a valuable resource.
- The theme for this year’s Global Recycling Day is “celebrating our Recycling Heroes”.
Ordnance Factory Day
Ordnance Factory Day celebrated on March 18 with a slew of programmes. The day is observed to commemorate the foundation of the first Ordnance Factory at Cossipore near Calcutta in 1801.
- Employees and their families celebrated the 220th Ordnance Day by organising an awareness rally on ‘Hygiene and Healthy Life,’