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Important Current Affairs 8th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Jeff Bezos tops Forbes’ Annual Billionaire list fourth year in a row

•The Amazon.com Inc founder, Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes’ annual world’s billionaires list for the fourth consecutive year. India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani ranked at 10th position with a total net worth of USD 84.5 billion.

•The 35th edition Forbes World’s Billionaires list was released on April 06, 2021, comprising a record-breaking 2,755 billionaires. The list is prepared based on the wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5, 2021.

Carl Bildt appointed WHO special envoy for ACT-Accelerator

•Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), appointed Carl Bildt as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). Bildt succeeds Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Andrew Witty in the special envoy role. He will help lead the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator in his new role, mobilising support and resources so it can deliver against its strategy for 2021.

•The ACT-Accelerator is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, treatments and vaccines, according to the WHO website.

•It brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations.

•These include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO and the World Bank.

NATIONAL

India completes arch of world’s highest railway bridge in J&K

•The construction of the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge that soars 359 metres above the bed of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir was completed. The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge aims to boost connectivity to the Kashmir Valley and it is being constructed at a cost of ₹ 1,486 crores as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.

The iconic Chenab Bridge:-

•The construction of the Chenab bridge was declared as a national project in 2002.

•Indian Railways is constructing the iconic Arch Bridge on River Chenab as a part of the USBRL project to connect the Kashmir valley to the rest of the nation.

•This bridge is 1315m long.

•This is the highest Railway Bridge in the world being 359m above the river bed level.

•It will be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris (France).

•The overall weight of Arch is 10,619 MT.

•The most sophisticated ‘Tekla’ software used for structural detailing.

•Structural steel was suitable for -10°C to 40°C temperature.

•Bridge designed to bear earthquake forces of highest intensity zone-V in India.

•Bridge designed to withstand high wind speed up to 266 Km/Hour.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships

•The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships against missile attack. The development of Advanced Chaff Technology by the DRDO lab is another step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.

•Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology used worldwide to protect naval ships from enemy’s radar and Radio Frequency (RF) missile seekers. The importance of this development lies in the fact that a very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as a decoy to deflect the enemy’s missiles for the safety of the ships.

OBITUARY

Gita Press president Radheshyam Khemka passes away

•The president of Gita Press, Radheshyam Khemka, passed away. He is credited for taking the Sanatan literature to the masses. Khemka for 38 years was the editor of the prominent 'Kalyan' magazine printed at the press.

•He last edited the magazine's April 2021 issue. Gita Press is the world's largest publisher of Hindu religious texts.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Justice N V Ramana to assume charge as next CJI

•The senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana has been appointed as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI).

•Justice Ramana would succeed incumbent CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde to take over as the 48th CJI. He would assume charge of the office from April 24, 2021, till August 26, 2022.

Cabinet Appoints Tarun Bajaj as new Revenue Secretary

•The Central Government has approved the appointment of Tarun Bajaj as the new Revenue Secretary under the Ministry of Finance.

•Prior to this, Bajaj, a 1988 batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, was serving as the Economic Affairs Secretary since April 30, 2020. The cabinet has also approved the appointment of Ajay Seth, a 1987 batch Karnataka-cadre IAS officer, as new Economic Affairs Secretary in place of Bajaj.

Chintan Vaishnav appointed as Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission

•Noted socio-technologist, Dr Chintan Vaishnav has been appointed the mission director of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the government’s flagship initiative under NITI Aayog. Vaishnav will take over from Ramanathan Ramanan later this month. Ramanan has been leading AIM as its first mission director since June 2017. Vaishnav is currently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. He holds a PhD in technology, management, and policy from MIT.

•AIM’s mission is to create and promote a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. Over the past four years, since its inception, AIM’s various initiatives have achieved notable successes. So far, AIM has established 72,59 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across 650 districts, providing over 3.5 million students access to emerging technologies.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI to release Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) annually

•The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will periodically publish a “Financial Inclusion Index” (FI Index) annually in July for the financial year ending previous March. The FI Index would be based on multiple parameters and shall reflect the broadening and deepening of financial inclusion in the country, a statement on regulatory and developmental policies of RBI.

•Financial Inclusion has been a thrust area for the government, the Reserve Bank and other regulators, with significant progress made over the years. To measure the extent of financial inclusion in the country, the Reserve Bank proposes to construct and publish a Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) based on multiple parameters.

RBI Monetary Policy: Policy Rate unchanged

•The six-member monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided to keep key lending rates unchanged for the fifth consecutive time, in its April 2021 policy review meeting held between April 5 to 7, 2021. The Reserve Bank of India is likely to keep policy rates unchanged amid the uncertainty created by a fresh surge in coronavirus infections.

Major Decisions of Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

• Policy Repo Rate: 4.00%

• Reverse Repo Rate: 3.35%

• Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 4.25%

• Bank Rate: 4.25%

• CRR: 3%

• SLR: 18.00%

RBI Monetary Policy Key Decisions:

• The Consumer Price Index of 2022 is predicted to be at 5.1%.

• RBI has also kept the accommodative monetary stance unchanged.

• Meanwhile, the GDP growth of India is projected at 10.5% in the financial year 2021-22.

• RBI is to buy Rs 1 lakh crores of G-Sec under the G-Sec Acquisition Programme.

• The Apex Bank has increased the centre’s Ways and Means Advances by 46%. The current limit is Rs 32,225 crores. It has now been increased to Rs 47,010 crores.

• Maximum End of Pay balance for payment banks has been doubled to Rs 2 lakhs.

• Additional liquidity facility of Rs 50,000 crores announced for NABARD, SIDBI and NHB in 2021-22.

IMF revises GDP growth forecast of India to 12.5% for FY22

•International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its growth forecast for the Indian economy by 100 basis points to 12.5 per cent for the fiscal year 2021-22. GDP growth for FY23 is pegged at 6.9 per cent.

•The revised forecast was published in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. India is the only country among major world economies that is projected to grow at a double-digit rate during FY22.