08-04-2021 Current Affairs Summary

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SBI MF becomes first mutual fund house to cross ₹5 lakh crore average AUM mark

SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd on Thursday said that it has become the first mutual fund house in India to cross the 5 lakh crore average assets under management (AAUM) mark. In the last year, SBI MF’s average AUM has grown to 5.04 lakh crore from 3.73 lakh crore, recording a growth of 35 % during the financial year 2020-21. 

According to the company, the market share of the fund house has also grown from 13.82% to 15.71% during the last year.

States must stress on COVID-19 testing, target 70% RT-PCR tests: PM Modi during the meeting with CMs

PM Modi interacted virtually with the Chief Ministers of various states on the Coronavirus situation in the country and the vaccination-related issues on April 8, 2021. The meeting with the Chief Ministers has come in the wake of rising fresh cases of COVID-19 infections in the country. As per the statement by PMO, there has been an alarming rate of growth of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 with 10 states contributing to more than 91% of cases and deaths due to COVID infection. PM Modi’s last interaction with the Chief Ministers was on March 17, 2021. He had expressed concern over the rising cases of infections and had called for quick and decisive steps to check the emerging second peak.

US restores financial aid to UN refugee agency for Palestinian refugees

The Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed on on April 7, 2021 that the US has restored financial assistance to the Palestinian people with a USD 235 million package. The package comprises funding assistance for the UN refugee agency and peacebuilding programs as well as for development in the West Bank and Gaza. He also explained the breakdown of the USD 235 million financial aid of which USD 150 million has earmarked for humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), USD 10 million has been set aside for peacebuilding programs through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and USD 75 million for economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza.

New Zealand temporarily bans Indian travellers

New Zealand on April 8, 2021 temporarily suspended entry for all travellers from India, including its own citizens due to high number of COVID-19 cases in the country. This suspension will be for about two weeks and it comes after New Zealand recorded 23 new COVID-19 cases at its border, 17 of which were from India. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the temporary ban in a press conference, saying “We are temporarily suspending entry into New Zealand for travellers from India."

PM Modi and Seychelles President inaugurates major projects

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan will be jointly inaugurating a range of Indian projects in Seychelles during a high-level virtual meeting today, on April 8, 2021. 

This includes the inauguration of a new Magistrates’ Court Building, one MW solar power plant, 10 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) and handing over of a new Fast Patrol Vessel to Seychelles Coast Guard. These projects are a part of India's Indo-Pacific vision.

This will be the first interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan after the latter came to power following a landmark victory in October 2020 elections. 

Madhukranti Portal launched by the Agriculture Ministry

The Agriculture Minister has launched Madhukranti Portal and Honey Corners. The portal will be for the online registration to achieve the source of honey and other beehive products on the digital platform. The portal will help in spreading ‘Sweet Revolution’ all over the country.

The Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on April 7, 2021, launched Madhukranti Portal and NAFED’s Honey Corners to promote the honey mission in the country. According to the official statement, the Madhukranti Portal is an initiative of the National Bee Board under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission. While the Honey Corners of NAFED- National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation are specially spaces for the sale of honey. Indian Bank is the technical and banking partner for the development of the digital platform. A Memorandum of Understanding between the National Bee Board and Indian Bank was also signed for this project.

Advanced Chaff Technology developed by DRDO

The Defence Research and Development Organisation- DRDO informed that it has developed an Advanced Chaff technology that will help in protecting the naval ships against enemy missile attacks.

The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh extended his congratulatory wishes to the Indian Navy, DRDO, and the Industry for the achievement. G Ashok Kumar, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral also applauded the DRDO’s efforts in developing the significant technology indigenously and cleared for bulk production.

DRDO while commenting on the latest achievement mentioned that the successful development of the Advanced Chaff Technology is one more step towards the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

According to DRDO, the significance of the latest development lied in the fact that a very less quantity of the Chaff material will be deployed in the air. It will act as a decoy to deflect the attacking missiles for the safety of our ships. DRDO has now gained the expertise that will help it in meeting the futuristic threats from the enemies. A unique technology that is not available from the outside.

Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology. It has been used by various countries globally to protect the naval ships from the RF missile seekers and enemy’s radar.

Tribal Health Collaborative launched

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan along with Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda launched the Tribal Health Collaborative ‘Anamaya’ through a video conference on April 07, 2021. Anamaya envisions to build a sustainable, high-performing health ecosystem to improve health of our tribal population.

IAS Officer Sanjeev Kumar appointed Airports Authority of India Chairman

Senior IAS officer Sanjeev Kumar was appointed as the new chairman of the Airports Authority of India on April 7, 2021. Kumar is a 1993 batch IAS Officer from Maharashtra Cadre. He has previously served in various departments and ministries of the Maharashtra state government. He has also worked in the Indian government and has worked as the Director in the power ministry for two years. He has also worked as the Joint Secretary and Mission Director for Housing for all projects in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

MoU signed between Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Ministry of AYUSH

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying operating under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Ministry of AYUSH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce the concept of Ayurveda and its allied disciplines into veterinary science.

The cooperation between the ministries will help to develop a regulatory mechanism for the use of Ayurveda in the veterinary sector. It will also focus on capacity building in related areas through training. The MoU will explore marketing possibilities for herbal veterinary medicines on a sustainable basis. It will provide services for the cultivation, conservation and preservation of medicinal plants. The cooperation will develop herbal veterinary education programmes. It will create awareness among agro-farmers and dairy farmers about the importance and utilization of herbal veterinary medicine and the cultivation of medicinal herbs.

India-Japan: MoU signed for Academic and Research Cooperation

The Union Cabinet recently apprised a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between India and Japan. The MoU was signed between National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) that operates under Department of Space, GoI and the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere called the RISH that operates under Kyoto University of Japan.

INS Sarvekshak: Joint Hydrographc Survey in Mauritius

INS Sarvekshak, a hydrographic survey ship, is on a deployment to Mauritius for undertaking joint hydrographic surveys along with their Mauritian counterparts. During the deployment, training of Mauritian personnel on advanced hydrographic equipment and practices will also be undertaken. The ship visited Port Louis, Mauritius and commenced the hydrographic survey of the 'Deep sea area off Port Louis'. INS Sarvekshak, a specialised survey ship is fitted with state-of-the-art survey equipment like Deep Sea Multi-Beam Echo Sounder, Side Scan Sonars and a fully automated digital surveying and processing system. In addition, the ship carries an integral Chetak helicopter, which would be extensively deployed during the survey. INS Sarvekshak has undertaken various foreign cooperation surveys over the last few years in Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya.

Rise of the 'robo-plants', as scientists fuse nature with tech

Remote-controlled Venus flytrap "robo-plants" and crops that tell farmers when they are hit by disease could become reality after scientists developed a high-tech system for communicating with vegetation. Researchers in Singapore linked up plants to electrodes capable of monitoring the weak electrical pulses naturally emitted by the greenery. The scientists used the technology to trigger a Venus flytrap to snap its jaws shut at the push of a button on a smartphone app. They then attached one of its jaws to a robotic arm and got the contraption to pick up a piece of wire half a millimetre thick, and catch a small falling object. The technology is in its early stages, but researchers believe it could eventually be used to build advanced "plant-based robots" that can pick up a host of fragile objects which are too delicate for rigid, robotic arms.

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