Current Affairs 23rd February 2022, Daily GK Update
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Centre approved continuation of National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme for 5 years with an outlay of Rs 1,827 crores
- The Centre has approved the continuation of the Central Sector National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS) for a period of five years from 2021-22 to 2025-2, with a financial outlay of Rs 1,827 crores.
- The income ceiling for the scheme has been increased from Rs 1.5 lakh per annum to Rs 3.5 lakh per annum. It was launched in 2008-09.
- Aim: to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections.
Centre approved continuation of umbrella scheme of BIM from 2021-22 to 2025-26 at a cost of Rs 13,020 crores
- Central Government approved the continuation of the Central Sector Umbrella Scheme of ‘Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM)’ over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle from 2021-22 to 2025-26, at a cost of Rs 13,020 crore.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is responsible for the improvement of BIM. This continuation will strengthen the border infrastructure for improving border management, policing, and guarding the borders.
- The BIM scheme will help in the creation of infrastructures such as the construction of border fences, border floodlights, technological solutions, border roads and Border Outposts (BOPs)/Company Operating Bases (COBs) to secure the Indo-Pakistan, Indo-Bangladesh, Indo-China, Indo-Nepal, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Myanmar borders.
India and France signed Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance
- India and France have signed a roadmap to enhance their bilateral exchanges on the blue economy and ocean governance.
- This tie-up will help to explore the potential for collaboration in marine science research for a better understanding of oceans and ensure that the ocean remains a global common, a space of freedom and trade, based on the rule of law.
- India and France underscored that fishery is a vital economic sector and plays a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, particularly for coastal populations.
- The agreement was signed between India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.
- Capital: Paris
- Currency: Euro
- Prime Minister: Jean Castex
Reliance Jio will launch India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system in Maldives
- Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will introduce its next generation multi-terabit India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system in Hulhumale, Maldives in collaboration with Ocean Connect Maldives.
- The new subsea cable system will connect the Maldives, Hulhumale directly with world’s major internet hubs in India and Singapore. Another subsea cable system India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) is also built by RJIL that connects Mumbai and Milan.
- Undersea cable systems along with data centres supports 5G and the digital economy that builds large integrated capacities to enable India’s digital ecosystem.
- Capital: Male
- Currency: Rufiyaa
- President: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Banking and Financial
ICICI Bank bought 9.49% stake in Verve Financial Services for Rs. 19.9 crores
- ICICI Bank signed an agreement with Verve Financial Services (VFSPL). The bank has acquired a 9.49% stake for a cash investment of INR 19.99 crore in the equity shares of VFSPL.
- VFSPL operates ‘Indiafilings’ platform, it provides various services like incorporation, trademark, tax filings, compliance, payroll management, and other business services to MSMEs, corporates, and entrepreneurs.
- The investment agreement is expected to be completed by the end of March 2022. Later, ICICI Bank will hold a 9.49% stake (on a fully diluted basis) in VFSPL through acquisition of 2,29,600 equity shares.
- For the acquisition of shareholding below 10%, regulatory approval is not required under Companies Act 1956.
About ICICI Bank:
- Founded: 1955 (Incorporated in 1994)
- Headquarters: Vadodara
- MD & CEO: Sandeep Bakhshi
- Chairperson: Girish Chandra Chaturvedi
- Executive Director: Anup Bagchi
- Tagline: Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka
Mastercard partnered with SBI Payments to boost digital payments infrastructure in Guwahati, Lucknow & Varanasi
- Mastercard, as an extension of its flagship campaign ‘Team Cashless India’ along with SBI Payments partnered with the Auto Rickshaw Association in Lucknow, All Assam’s Restaurant Association (AARA) in Guwahati, local shopkeepers, and Boat Union in Varanasi to boost the digital payments infrastructure.
- In Guwahati, Mastercard collaborates with All Assam’s Restaurant Association (AARA) in line with the Government’s ‘Digital Northeast Vision 2022’ which equips restaurant and hotel owners with a safe, seamless, secure mode of payment to consumers.
- In Lucknow, Mastercard partnered with local transport bodies, including the Auto Rickshaw Association, to enable more than 700 auto-rickshaw drivers to accept digital payments.
- In Varanasi, Mastercard partnered with the Boat Union to encourage over 1,000 members to accept digital payments from tourists and also local shopkeepers committed to digital payments which have increased tourism.
- Founded: 16 December 1966, United States
- Headquarters: Purchase, Harrison, New York, United States
- CEO: Michael Miebach
- Executive Chairman: Ajay Banga
IIFL Home Finance signed $68-million loan agreement with ADB for affordable Green Housing
- IIFL Home Finance Limited signed a loan agreement of USD 68 million (INR 434 crore) with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide financial support for affordable green housing for lower-income women borrowers in India.
- It mainly focuses on the efficient use of “energy, water, and building materials. These houses are designed to be environmentally more sustainable and climate resilient.
- The funding pattern includes up to USD 58 million direct loans by the ADB and a USD 10 million concessional loans by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector (CFPS) in Asia.
- Under the ADB’s loan, 80% will be lended to women borrowers or co-borrowers and 20% will be allocated to financing mortgages for green-certified homes for low-income households.
List of Loan approved by ADB in 2020-21
- $61 Million: loan under ‘Agartala City Urban Development Project’
- USD 300 million: loan to improve access to healthcare in urban areas
- USD 1.5 billion: to India for COVID-19 vaccine procurement
- $125 million: for Uttarakhand water supply and sanitation projects
- USD 500 million: to GoI for enhancing quality of school education mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ learning
- USD 350 million: to improve urban services in India
- $112 million: to establish Assam Skill University
Paytm Payments Bank signed up as acquiring partner for e-RUPI service
- Paytm Payments Bank Limited announced that it is an official acquiring partner for ‘e-RUPI vouchers’, which will be accessible at offline stores across India.
- The PPBL has also partnered with ‘One97 Communications Limited’ (OCL) which owns Paytm for improving its strong merchant base.
- Paytm’s merchants will be able to collect payments through e-RUPI by scanning the voucher and entering the amount to be paid directly into their bank accounts.
- e-RUPI, a Government of India’s (GOI) initiative is a cashless and contactless prepaid voucher–based digital payment solution through which, the users could send e-RUPI e-Voucher/coupon in the form of SMS-string or QR code (instead of Money) to the beneficiaries’ mobile.
- The vouchers were developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform.
About Paytm Payments Bank:
- Founded: 2015
- Headquarters: Noida, UP
- Founder & CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Appointment and Resignation
Vipula Gunatilleka appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Jet Airways
- Former Sri Lankan Airlines CEO, Vipula Gunatilleka has been appointed as the Chief Financial Officer of Jet Airways with effect from March 1, 2022.
- His appointment is made by new promoters of Jet Airways, Jalan Kalrock Consortium. He was the CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines till January 2022.
- He was also the CFO and board member of TAAG Angola Airlines from November 2015 to July 2018 under Emirates Management.
Takuya Tsumura appointed as President & CEO of Honda Cars India
- Japanese auto major Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has announced the appointment of Takuya Tsumura as the new President & CEO of Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) with effect from 1 April 2022.
- The appointment comes as part of the management changes announced annually by the company. Tsumura will take over from Gaku Nakanishi, who moves from India to regional headquarters in Asia and Oceania region – Asian Honda as General Manager, Automobile Business for the region.
- Tsumura has been associated with Honda Motor for more than 30 years. He has worked in several international markets including Thailand, Australia, China, Japan, Turkey, Europe and Asia & Oceania regions.
KN Raghavan appointed as chairman of International Rubber Study Group; India elected for chairmanship of IRSG
- India has been elected for the Chairmanship of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), a Singapore-based inter-governmental organization of natural rubber and synthetic rubber producing and consuming countries. India succeeds Cote’d Ivoire as the chairman of IRSG.
- KN Raghavan, Executive Director of Indian Rubber Board and the Head of the Indian delegation to IRSG will officiate as the Chairman of IRSG for the next 2 years.
- KN Raghavan will preside over the meeting of the Head of Delegations which will be held on 31st March 2022 in Singapore. Macquarie Bank Limited, Singapore has joined the IRSG Panel of Associates.
- IRSG is the only forum for NR and SR producers and consumers to discuss matters affecting the world rubber industry and act as an interface between the government and the industry.
About International Rubber Study Group (IRSG):
- Formed: 1944
- Headquarters: Singapore
- Secretary-General: Salvatore Pinizzotto
- Members: Cameroon; Cote d’Ivoire; European Union; India; Nigeria; Russia; Singapore; Sri Lanka
Neena Gupta received Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians for 2021
- Mathematician of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, Neena Gupta received Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians for 2021.
- She received the award for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
- This prize is awarded annually to researchers from a developing country funded by the Dept of Science and Technology (DST) in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics) and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
Israeli Defence Forces successfully tested C-Dome missile defense system
- Israel has successfully tested the naval configuration of the Iron Dome missile defense system, C-Dome.
- C-Dome system is a naval version of Iron Dome, which has been used to shoot down rockets fired from the Gaza Strip for the past decade. It is developed by Israel Missile Defense Organization.
- It is being installed on Israel’s latest-generation corvette ships, which protect Israel’s coastline and offshore natural gas assets in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Capital: Jerusalem
- Currency: Israeli Shekel
- President: Isaac Herzog
- Prime minister: Naftali Bennett
IIT Roorkee launched ‘KISAN’ mobile app for regional farmers of Haridwar, Uttrakhand
- The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee organized a regional farmers’ awareness programme as part of the ‘Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa’ (GKMS) project and launched KISAN mobile application for the farmers. The app will provide agro-meteorological services to the farmers.
- A book in Hindi titled ‘Agrometeorological Advisory Services for Cereal Crops, Horticultural Crops, and Livestock‘was released at the event. KISAN app provides farmers with easy access to weather forecasts and weather-based Agro-meteorological Advisory Bulletins for all six blocks of Haridwar district through phones.
- The Agro-meteorological Advisory Services are offered jointly by the AMFU (Agromet Field Unit Roorkee) IIT Roorkee and the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
- The app was developed by Dr. Khushboo Mirza, Senior Scientist, Regional Remote Sensing Centre (RRSC), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), New Delhi under the guidance of Dr. C S Jha, Outstanding Scientist and Chief General Manager at RRSC, NRSC, ISRO, Hyderabad.
Noted Malayalam actress KPAC Lalitha passed away
- Renowned Malayalam actress KPAC Lalitha passed away. She was 74. In a career spanning over five decades, KPAC Lalitha acted in over 500 films in Malayalam and Tamil.
- The versatile actress won the national award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the Malayalam film ‘Amaram’ and ‘Santham’. Other awards included Kerala State Film Awards and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
- She also served as the Chairperson of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy.
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