Daily Current Affairs 20 December 2021 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.
Ghaziabad Most Polluted City in North India; Delhi, Noida and Faridabad in List: Report
Ghaziabad is the most polluted city in north India and its annual average PM2.5 levels are much worse than those of Delhi, according to data from 137 continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) spread across 56 cities in the region.
- The Centre for Science and Environment, which analysed the PM2.5 data from these CAAQMS from January 1, 2019, to November 30, 2021, also said PM2.5 levels in otherwise cleaner smaller towns can exceed the concentration reported in Delhi during smog episodes in early winters.
- In its most polluted week, Ghaziabad recorded an average PM2.5 level of 360 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3), while the annual average level stood at 110 ug/m3, the highest in north India. Delhi’s annual average PM2.5 levels stood at 97 ug/m3 and the weekly levels were 270 ug/m3.
- Moradabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram recorded their annual average PM2.5 levels at 96 ug/m3, 92 ug/m3, 89 ug/m3 and 88 ug/m3, respectively. Chandigarh recorded the lowest annual average levels at 37 ug/m3, followed by 39 ug/m3 in Bathinda.
Foundational Literacy Index: West Bengal Tops Chart, Bihar at Bottom in Large States Category
West Bengal topped the chart and Bihar languished at the bottom in the ’large states’ category on the ’Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’ — an indicator of literacy among children below 10 years.
- In the ’small states’ category, Kerala grabbed the top spot and Jharkhand was adjudged the worst performer on the index.There are four categories in which regions have been divided — large states, small states, Union Territories and North East.
- Lakshadweep (52.69) and Mizoram (51.64) are top-scoring regions in the Union Territory and Northeast state category, respectively. As far as worst performers are concerned, Ladakh has featured at the bottom in the list of UTs, while Arunachal Pradesh came last in the North East category.
- The report on the ’Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’ was prepared by ’Institute for Competitiveness’ and released by Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) chairman Bibek Debroy.
Tamil Nadu declares ‘Tamil Thaai Vazhthu’ as state song
The Tamil Nadu government announced ‘Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu,’ an invocation sung in praise of Mother Tamil, as the state anthem and directed that all present during its rendition should remain standing.
- The decision comes in the wake of the Madras High Court recently ruling that ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ is a prayer song and not an anthem.
Delhi Gets Rs 11 Crore Under National Clean Air Programme
The Union Environment Ministry has released Rs 11 crore to Delhi under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to cater to critical gaps in air pollution management, officials said.
- This is the first time Delhi has got funds under NCAP, a national-level strategy for a 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
- The NCAP fund will be utilised to meet critical gaps — wherever there is any inadequacy of funds from other sources. The rest of the funding is to be mobilised through convergence of schemes.
India’s first International Arbitration and Mediation Centre opens in Hyderabad
India’s first International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (IAMC) was jointly inaugurated by Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, and Telangana Chief Minister, K. Chandrasekhar Ra.
- The IAMC has come up with 25,000 sq ft temporary accommodation at VK Towers in Gachibowli, an information technology hub.The state government has announced that land for a permanent building will be allotted at Puppalaguda in Hyderabad.
India, US announces new program supporting innovations to tackle climate and clean energy challenges
India and the US have announced a new program supporting innovations to tackle climate and clean energy challenges. The program titled ‘Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero’ constitutes a call for Ignition Grants by the United States-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund.
- It will identify and support ‘technology showstoppers’ or promising joint India-US Science and Tech-based entrepreneurial initiatives in this area.
- The launch of the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership in April this year reiterated the commitment of both nations to work together to achieve their ambitious climate and clean energy targets and to strengthen bilateral collaborations.
Malta becomes the first European country to legalise cannabis
Malta became the first country in the European Union to agree to formally legalize the use and growing of marijuana for recreational purposes, the latest sign of a more liberal approach to the substance being taken in the bloc in recent years.
- The law, which was approved by 36 votes to 27, allows adults in Malta to possess up to seven grams (0.25 oz) of cannabis and grow up to four plants.
- Luxembourg announced similar plans in October but its parliament has yet to give its green light to the measure.
India fourth most affected country by spam calls in 2021
Spam call rates in India have spiked again, with the country moving up in global rankings from 9th position to 4th position owing to a significant increase in sales and telemarketing calls in 2021, according to the latest insights by caller ID, spam detection and blocking company, Truecaller.
- Sales accounted for 93.5% of spam calls, followed by financial services (3.1%), nuisance (2%), and scam (1.4%).Teuecaller noted that one of the most common scams in the country remains the know your customer (KYC) scam where fraudsters claiming to be a bank, wallert, or digital payment services ask for KYC documents.
- Over 202 million spam calls were made by just one spammer in India this year. That’s over 6,64,000 calls every day and 27,000 calls every hour of every day.
- The findings show that other than India, Brazil, Peru, Ukraine, Mexico, Indonesia, Chile, Vietnam, South Africa, and Russia were the top countries affected by spam calls in 2021.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBL Bank authorised by RBI to collect indirect taxes
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has authorised RBL Bank to collect indirect taxes on behalf of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the private sector lender informed.
- Earlier, it had recently been authorised to collect direct taxes on behalf of the CBDT. With this announcement, the bank can now collect both direct and indirect taxes.
IFSCA sets up panel for creating framework for transfer of stressed loan
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) sets up a committee for creating a framework for transfer of stressed loans from domestic lenders to financial institutions in IFSC.
- Former executive director of RBI G Padmanabhan would be chairing the committee which will also include representative from law firm and other market participants possessing expertise in banking and legal issues, IFSCA said.
- The committee would submit its report to the chairperson, IFSCA, within one month from the date of its first meeting, it said.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Tata Motors Partners with Maharashtra Govt to Set Up Vehicle Scrappage Facility
Tata Motors said it has joined hands with the Maharashtra government to support setting up of a registered vehicle scrapping facility (RVSF) in the state.
- The auto major has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government to help set up the scrappage centre with a recycling capacity of up to 35,000 vehicles a year for end-of-life passenger and commercial vehicles.
- The state industries, energy and labour department will support in facilitating the necessary approvals as per the rules and regulations for setting up of the facility, the company said.
Purnima Pandey Sets 8 National Records as She Wins Gold at Commonwealth Championship
Indian lifter Purnima Pandey created eight national records on the way to a gold in the women’s +87kg category at the Commonwealth Championships.
- Purnima lifted 229kg (102kg+127kg) to stand on top of the podium and directly qualify for the Commonwealth Games next year. Purnima created eight national records, two in the snatch section and three each in clean and jerk and total category.
- Lovepreet Singh lifted 348kg (161kg+187kg) to win the silver in the men’s 109kg event.The Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship bronze medallist created three national records in the snatch section, and one each in the clean and jerk and total here.
- In the women’s 87kg event, Anuradha Pavunraj bagged the bronze medal with a total effort of 195kg (90kg+105kg).
India’s Hansini Mathan Rajan Beats Tokyo Olympics’ Youngest Athlete to Win ITTF Title
India’s Hansini Mathan Rajan defeated Syria’s Hend Zaza, the youngest athlete of this year’s Tokyo Olympics, to win the girls singles event at the 2021 ITTF Hopes and Challenge table tennis tournament in Amman.
- Playing in the U-12 category, the reigning cadet national champion outplayed Zaza 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 in the final played on December 14. Parth Prabhakar was India’s entry in the boys singles event which was won by Iran’s Komeil Niknejad Divshali.
BWF World Championships 2021: Yamaguchi Wins Women’s Singles Gold; Thai Pair Win Mixed Doubles Title
Second seeded Akane Yamaguchi clinched the title of women’s singles at the BWF World Championship in Huelva (Spain). The 24-year-old Japanese shuttler beat World No.1 and top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei with convincing win in two games, 21-14, 21-11 in 39 minutes at Carolina Marin Stadium.
- Second seeded Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai won the mixed doubles title as they beat third-seeded Japanese duo Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino in straight game, 21-13, 21-14 in the final match.
- This title is the second ever one that Thailand players have won in the history, while the first one was made by women’s single player Ratchanok Intanon who grabbed the gold medal in 2013 Guangzhou edition.
Mohit Jain elected as new president of Indian Newspaper Society
Mohit Jain of The Economic Times was elected president of The Indian Newspaper Society, an apex body of Publishers of Newspapers, Magazines & Periodicals in the country, for the year 2021-22.
- He succeeds L Adimoolam of Health & The Antiseptic.
- While K. Raja Prasad Reddy (Sakshi) was elected the deputy president, Rakesh Sharma (Aaj Samaj) the vice-president and Tanmay Maheshwari (Amar Ujala) was elected the honorary treasurer of the Society for 2021-22.
Karl Nehammer sworn in as Austria’s third chancellor in two months
Karl Nehammer was sworn in as Austria’s third chancellor in two months, capping a round of upheaval triggered by the decision last week of Sebastian Kurz, the country’s dominant political figure of recent years, to bow out of politics.
- Nehammer, 49, has been Austria’s interior minister since early 2020.
- He also is taking over as leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party, which Kurz led to election wins in 2017 and 2019.
World’s Most Admired: Sachin Tendulkar Among Top 3 Sportspersons Alongside Lionel Messi And Cristiano Ronaldo
Legendary Sachin Tendulkar has been adjudged as the world’s 12th ‘Most Admired Man’, as per a survey conducted by YouGov, an internet-based market research and data analytics firm.
- According to the YouGov ‘World’s Most Admired Man list’, former US President Barack Obama has retained his top position this year.Bill Gates ranked second in the ‘Most Admired Man list’ while Chinese President Xi Jinping stood third. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was adjudged as the world’s 8th ‘Most Admired Man’, as per a survey conducted by YouGov.
- Michelle Obama has also held the position as the world’s most admired woman for the third year running. Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie continue to be the world’s second-most admired woman, ahead of third placed British monarch Queen Elizabeth II.Pakistani human rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai and Indian actress Priyanka Chopra have risen farthest in the ranks this year, climbing five places to 9th and 10th respectively.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India Successfully Tests Nuclear-capable Ballistic Missile ‘Agni P’
India successfully tested the new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the Odisha coast, the Defence Research and Development Organisation said.
- The ‘Agni P’ is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
- This second flight-test has proven the reliable performance of all the advanced technologies integrated into the system. The surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a range of 1,000 to 2,000 km.
Former Union Minister R.L. Jalappa passes away
Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister R.L. Jalappa passed away in Kolar following age-related issues. He was 96.
- Mr. Jalappa was elected to the Lok Sabha from Chickballapur constituency on the Janata Dal ticket in 1996 and became the Union Minister for Textiles in the governments headed by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral.
- He later joined the Congress and was re-elected from the same constituency in 1998, 1999, and 2004. He served as member of several parliamentary committees.
- Mr. Jalappa was chairman of Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College in Kolar, and R.L. Jalappa Institute of Technology, Doddaballapur. He founded both institutions.