Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 09 January 2021
Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 09 January 2021
India, Japan sign pact for 50-bn yen loan to support poor hit by Covid-19
India and Japan on Friday signed an agreement for a loan of up to 50 billion yen (about ₹3,550 crore) to back New Delhi’s economic support programmes for the poor and vulnerable affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
CS Mohapatra, additional secretary in the department of economic affairs and Japanese ambassador Satoshi Suzuki signed the agreement in New Delhi for the loans with an interest rate of 0.65% per annum and a repayment period of 15 years, including a five-year grace period.
Japan had earlier provided budget support of 50 billion yen and grant assistance worth one billion yen (about ₹71 crore) to support the Indian government’s efforts to counter the Covid-19 crisis.
The Japanese embassy said vulnerable groups, including the poor and women, had been severely affected by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
The financial support aims to support the Indian government’s programmes such as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), which aims to mitigate socio-economic impacts and strengthen socio-economic institutions. This includes schemes for distributing food grains to the poor and vulnerable, provision of assistance and support to construction workers, and provision of special insurance for health workers fighting Covid-19.
India to chair 3 key UNSC committees
India took a tacit swipe at Pakistan for backing cross-border terrorism as it announced it would be chairing three key UN sanctions committees, including the Taliban sanctions committee, during 2021-22.
TS Tirumurti, India’s envoy to the UN, said the country was asked to chair three important subsidiary bodies of the Security Council – the Taliban sanctions committee, the counter-terrorism committee and the Libya sanctions committee. The move follows India joining the Security Council as a non-permanent member for 2021-22.
India will chair the Taliban sanctions committee – also called the 1988 sanctions committee as it was formed through resolution number 1988 in 2011 by splitting the 1267 sanctions regime on al-Qaeda – amid growing concern worldwide at alarming levels of violence in Afghanistan that has been blamed on the Taliban.
“Our position on the peace process has also been articulated. The peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. As an important stakeholder, we look forward to working towards a peaceful, prosperous, sovereign, democratic and united Afghanistan,” he said.
Referring to the counter-terrorism committee, which will be chaired by India in 2022, Tirumurti noted the panel was formed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and that India had led it during its last stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during 2011-12.
France offers to shift Panther chopper assembly line to India; Rafale too
India and France have decided to intensify defence cooperation with Paris offering to shift 100 per cent assembly line for Panther medium utility helicopters as well as 70 per cent of the assembly line for Rafale fighters under “Make in India” rubric with full transfer of technology, people familiar with the matter.
The offers were made in the course of conversations between Indian leaders and Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron who was in the country for the 34th India-France strategic dialogue this week.
Officials said there was a real possibility that India, which has a contract for 36 omni-role fighters, could buy more Rafale jets in light of the French offer to bring 70 per cent of the assembly line including local vendor development. This would reduce the cost of subsequent acquisition of the fighter jets.
According to senior officials, India has decided to consider the French offer of six Airbus 330 multi-role transport tankers on lease while making it clear that French defence technologies shared with Indian military should not be given to its adversaries. To this, the French have informed India that their relationship particularly in the defence sector has reached a new low with Pakistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan attacked President Macron personally over a terrorist incident.
Fiscal deficit to be 7.5 pc of GDP during FY 2020-21: Experts
India's fiscal deficit is expected to be around 7.5 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal owing to moderation in revenue collection due to the Covid-19 crisis, experts said.
This would be a 100 per cent jump from the Budget estimate of 3.5 per cent of GDP pegged for the current fiscal.
The government had pegged the fiscal deficit at ₹7.96 lakh crore or 3.5 per cent of the GDP in the Union Budget 2020-21, which was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February 2020.
The finance minister in Budget 2020-21 had pegged the gross market borrowing, which is also a reflection of fiscal deficit, at ₹7.80 lakh crore for the current fiscal.
Hard-pressed for funds to combat the Covid-19 crisis, the government had in May increased its market borrowing programme for the current financial year by more than 50 per cent to ₹12 lakh crore.
Nominal GDP or GDP at Current Prices in the year 2020-21 is likely to attain a level of ₹194.82 lakh crore, as against the provisional estimate of GDP for the year 2019-20 of ₹203.40 lakh crore, released on May 31, 2020.
The growth in nominal GDP during 2020-21 is estimated at (-) 4.2 per cent. Nominal GVA at Basic Prices is estimated at ₹175.77 lakh crore in 2020-21, as against ₹183.43 lakh crore in 2019-20, showing a contraction of 4.2 per cent.
UK-US race for mini trade deal slowed by Trump’s mob crisis
With less than two weeks in the Trump administration, the goal is still to resolve parts of a longstanding transatlantic dispute over illegal aid to Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. A so-called mini deal would see the US end tariffs on some UK imports, including on Scotch whisky, a month after Britain made a similar gesture to Washington.
The US and the UK were racing to reach a limited trade agreement before the political crisis in Washington jeopardized plans to announce a deal within days, according to three people briefed on the negotiations.
But recent events in the US, which saw President Donald Trump’s supporters storm both chambers of Congress and spark a crisis that threatens his ability to govern in his final 13 days, appear to have slowed efforts to announce a deal soon, two of the people said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Thursday that Trump was “completely wrong” to cast doubt on the US election results and unreservedly condemned the president’s actions.
::Science and Technology::
'Iron Man' bacteria could help protect environment
Researchers during a new study have found how some microbes can stand up to a toxic metal. This has led towards opening the door for its applications in recycling and remediation.
This study was published in the journal, Frontiers in Microbiology. When Michigan State University's Gemma Reguera first proposed her new research project to the National Science Foundation, one grant reviewer responded that the idea was not "environmentally relevant."
As other reviewers and the program manager didn't share this sentiment, NSF funded the proposal. And, now, Reguera's team has shown that microbes are capable of an incredible feat that could help reclaim a valuable natural resource and soak up toxic pollutants.
"The lesson is that we really need to think outside the box, especially in biology. We just know the tip of the iceberg. Microbes have been on earth for billions of years, and to think that they can't do something precludes us from so many ideas and applications," said Reguera, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
Cobalt is a valuable but increasingly scarce metal used in batteries for electric vehicles and alloys for spacecraft. It's also highly toxic to livings things, including humans and bacteria.
"It kills a lot of microbes," Reguera said. "Cobalt penetrates their cells and wreaks havoc."
But the team suspected Geobacter might be able to escape that fate. These microbes are a hardy bunch. They can block uranium contaminants from getting into groundwater, and they can power themselves by pulling energy from minerals containing iron oxide. "They respire rust," Reguera said.
German Zverev splits with coach Ferrer ahead of new season
German Alexander Zverev will head into the 2021 season looking for a new coach after splitting with Spaniard David Ferrer, the world number seven confirmed on social media.
Zverev added former world number three Ferrer to his coaching team around the middle of 2020 and reached his maiden Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, where he went down to Dominic Thiem after winning the first two sets.
The German picked up two ATP titles in Cologne and also made the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris in an encouraging close to the season.
"I would like to thank David for the months we have shared, the times on and off the court, wishing him only the best in the future," Zverev wrote on his Instagram account.