Current Affairs, Weekly Current Affairs

Welcome to the Endeavor Editors Current Affairs Choicest Blog series. Get a  weekly roundup -on news from business, economy, markets, policy, and more. A quick capsule format news summary and update to keep you abreast with all the latest current affairs.

Current Affairs March 2021 – Week 2

1. Current Affairs – Global Economy

First Quad Summit held

The first Quad Summit was held virtually on 12th March marking a historical move for the Australia-India-Japan-U.S. coalition. While the special COVID-19 vaccine initiative which will draw on India’s manufacturing capabilities, U.S. research, and funding from Japan and Australia’s distribution network is the highlight, there were many other messages especially from the U.S. on building a region free from coercion, a possible barb at China, also a clear sign from Mr. Biden on the importance of Indo-Pacific strategy. Mr. Modi said the Quad is a force for global good and has come of age.

Quad nations may build rare earths to outplay China

The US, Australia, Japan, and India are on the verge of joining hands to build a rare-earth procurement chain to take on the dominance of China in supplying the elements to makers of everything from smartphones to high-performance motors to EV batteries. For details visit.

2. Current Affairs – Indian Economy

Double whammy: India’s IIP contracts to 1.6% in Jan; retail inflation rises to 5.03% in Feb

The National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for January 2021 and Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers for February 2021. As per the data, the contraction in the IIP in January was mainly on account of a decline in output of capital goods, manufacturing and mining sectors. Meanwhile, retail inflation rose to 5.03 percent in February mainly on account of higher food prices. For details visit.

India’s Oil demand falls 5% in February as record-high prices hinder demand recovery

India’s fuel consumption fell for the second month in a row in February to its lowest since September as record-high prices hindered demand recovery. Petrol and diesel prices across the country rose to their highest levels last month before state-owned fuel retailers put on hold any further price increase ostensibly to contain political fallout for the ruling party in the ensuing assembly elections in states like West Bengal. For details visit.

With an investment of Rs 10,000 crore in 5 years, NSIL pegged to be a major space service provider

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) the commercial arm of ISRO, announced that it was all set to own and operate space assets such as satellites and launch vehicles on a commercial basis. The central public sector enterprise is in advance discussion with the Department of space to take ownership of two communication satellites and has also bagged four contracts to provide launch vehicles in the near future. For details visit.

3. Current Affairs – Politics

China grabs hold of Hong Kong elections with Patriot-Only rule

Chinese lawmakers approved an extensive overhaul of how Hong Kong chooses its leaders, ensuring that Beijing can have a veto over any elected official in the Asian financial hub’s political system. Japan, the European Union, the U.K., and the U.S. expressed concern about the vote, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a “direct attack” on the autonomy promised to Hong Kong. For details visit.

Why Beijing’s security law could lead to the death of Hong Kong | FT

Explained: Who is new Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat; what challenges does he face?

Tirath Singh Rawat has been sworn in as the new Uttarakhand chief minister. The 56-year-old MP from Pauri replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat who stepped down from the post. Tirath Singh Rawat is a face without any controversy and has experience of party organizational affairs. He is soft-spoken and has had no direct confrontation with any party leader in the past. Due to his clean background, RSS agreed to give him the command to mitigate dissent and improve the image of the BJP government ahead of the 2022 assembly polls. For details visit.

Explained: The A to I of PC Chacko leaving Congress

Senior Congress leader and former MP P C Chacko quit the party claiming allocation of seats was done only on the basis of groups in Kerala. The allegations of factionalism in the state Congress are not new, nor is Chacko the only one to make them. For details visit.

4. Current Affairs – Markets, Banking, and Finance

Explained: Why have Sebi’s new AT1 bond norms raised a storm among mutual funds?

The decision of the Securities and Exchange Board of India to slap restrictions on mutual fund investments in additional tier-1 (AT1) bonds has raised a storm in the MF and banking sectors. The Finance Ministry has asked the regulator to withdraw the changes as it could lead to disruption in the investments of mutual funds and the fund-raising plans of banks. For details visit.

FinMin to infuse Rs 14,500 crore in banks under PCA soon

The finance ministry is likely to infuse Rs 14,500 crore mainly in the banks that are under the RBI’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework in the next few days to improve their financial health. Indian Overseas BankCentral Bank of India, and UCO Bank are currently under this framework that puts several restrictions on them, including on lending, management compensation, and directors’ fees. The infusion will be made in the next few days. For details visit.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Nazara Technologies IPO opens next week; grey market premium strong

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Nazara Technologies’ much-awaited IPO is set to open next week. Nazara Technologies, a gaming and sports media platform, looks to raise Rs 582.91 crore in the upcoming public issue. The initial public offering will entirely be an offer for sale (OFS) by existing shareholders and will have no fresh issue of equity shares. Promoters of the company Mitter Infotech LLP will also trim their stake through the IPO. Ace investors Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who owns a 10.82% stake in the company, doesn’t look to sell his stake. For details visit.

Know about the Rise of Indian Gaming Industry

CNBC-TV18 interviews Ankush Gera, Founder & CEO of Junglee Games, Vivek Goyal, CEO & Co-Founder of PlayShifu, Ashwin Haryani, Co-Founder of GamingMonk, and Andrew Bowell, Vice President-Product of Unity Technologies to discuss the rise of India’s gaming industry.  

5. Current Affairs – Business

Tatas? to ?buy? BigBasket for more than $1 billion

Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd has agreed to acquire control of India’s largest online grocer BigBasket, according to a filing with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. In this deal, most of the large non-promoter investors will get an exit, while the founding shareholders will continue to have a stake. Tata has proposed to buy the 64.3% from existing non-founder, non-promoter investors. Alibaba which owns 29% in BigBasket, is likely to sell its entire stake to the Tata group through this transaction. This acquisition will help Tata in shaping its larger strategy to conceptualize and establish its ‘Super App’ by adding a wide range of household items and grocery products from BigBasket. For details visit.

Tesla and Tata Power explore arrangement on charging infrastructure

Electric Vehicle maker Tesla and India’s largest integrated power company, Tata Power, are exploring an arrangement on charging infrastructure as the former gears to launch its electric cars in India. Tesla is officially launching its electric vehicles in the country with two-three sales outlets to gauge the market. For details visit.

Dissecting Ola’s audacious electric dreams

Ola Electric wants to become India’s Tesla. Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal wants to export millions of electric scooters from India, but the company still lacks a viable, market-ready product. Given the long-term potential of the EV market, Aggarwal’s reputation as an entrepreneur, and the lack of established EV rivals, Ola Electric is likely to soon close another round of funding. For details visit.

Gautam Adani beats Musk, Bezos with biggest wealth surge

The net worth of Gautam Adani, , has jumped $16.2 bn in 2021 to $50 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This has made him the year’s biggest wealth gainer, beating even Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, who have tussled in 2021 for the title of world’s richest. Adani has been rapidly expanding his conglomerate, adding ports, airports, data centers and coal mines in India, while doggedly proceeding with his controversial Carmichael coal project in Australia. For details visit.

7. Current Affairs – Policy

Explained: Google’s New Taxation Policy for YouTubers

Search giant Google has announced a new policy that can be worrying for YouTubers in India and other parts of the world, as it requires creators outside of the US to pay additional taxes. These additional taxes will be applicable to all your US-based YouTube earnings, including “YouTube Premium, Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel memberships”, read a statement on the Google support page. The policy will come into effect from June 2021.  For details visit.

Monetization drive: Govt targets Rs 1.3 lakh crore from the rail, telecom assets

The government is targeting half its asset monetization target of Rs 2.5 lakh crore from railways and telecom while scouting for new areas, including warehouses to store food grains, coal, and other mines and tourism infrastructure, to mop-up resources that are proposed to be deployed to create fresh assets. Asset monetization and privatization are the two key focus areas of the 2021-22 Budget, which aim at bringing about a complete shift in the economy to make it more efficient and provide space for the private sector to help in the recovery. For details visit.

Days after Haryana, Jharkhand cabinet approves 75% jobs for locals in private sector

The Jharkhand Cabinet approved an employment policy ensuring 75 percent of the private-sector jobs up to a salary of Rs 30,000 for local candidates only. Earlier, CM Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government had notified its policy of reserving 75 percent jobs in the private sector that offer a monthly salary of less than Rs 50,000 for local people only. For details visit.

7. Current Affairs – Sports

Mithali Raj becomes 1st Indian woman cricketer to score 10,000 international runs

The 38-year-old Mithali, who leads the Indian ODI team, joins England’s Charlotte Edwards in the elite club. Mithali achieved the feat with a boundary off Anne Bosch in the 28th over of India’s innings during the ongoing third ODI against South Africa. For details visit.

8. Opinion

Gold ‘failing’ as equity hedge, faces headwinds, says BlackRock

Global money manager BlackRock Inc. just delivered a double-barreled warning on the merits of holding traditional haven gold right now. Bullion is proving to be a less effective hedge against moves in other assets, such as stocks, as well as inflation, according to Russ Koesterich, portfolio manager for BlackRock’s Global Allocation Fund. Moreover, gold faces headwinds should the recovery pick up the pace, he warned in a blog post. For details visit.

Cryptocurrency in India: The past, present and uncertain future

No one knows exactly when, but the government is expected to ban all “private” cryptocurrency in India and simultaneously announce a sovereign digital currency. This despite numerous appeals from the industry and a failed attempt by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at sneaking in a ban in 2018 by preventing banks from touching crypto. The Supreme Court ruled this ban was unconstitutional last March.

To understand the ongoing controversy over cryptocurrency in India,  visit.

How India Plans To Regulate Its Cryptocurrency Trade? | Explained

Explained: How ‘Vaccine Passports’ would work, benefits & concerns

Countries around the world, the World Health Organisation, private organizations, and technology companies have been mulling over the idea of a certification system that allows people with proper documentation of vaccination access to travel, leisure activities, gyms, hotels, and workplaces. Know about the arguments in favor of such digitized systems, the degree of implementation, and readiness as well as the primary concerns. For details visit.

How Covid-19 could change India’s job market and cities

A small part of the Indian workforce working from home could have a huge impact on commercial real estate and low-wage support jobs. But, on the other hand, high and middle-income occupations are more likely to see bigger growth in the post-Covid job market, consultancy firm McKinsey says in a report. The report notes that some of the largest firms in India, like TCS and Infosys, have said they would continue with remote work after the pandemic. But the report also adds that the “vast majority” of India’s workforce of 464 million is employed in jobs that cannot be done remotely – think agriculture and retail trade. For details visit.

E-mobility: Is India’s future electric? – BBC News

According to an earlier Greenpeace report, 15 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India. The government is keen to clean up the air, and one idea is to push for more electric vehicles on the roads to address toxic vehicular emissions. It has announced tax incentives for consumers who purchase electric vehicles and is pushing to set up more charging stations. But there are some bumps along the way. Does going electric really address air pollution? Is the required infrastructure in place? And are manufacturers and consumers ready to make the shift?

Also, know about the top 10 Indian EV Startups that are driving India towards a greener future

International Women’s Day – #ChoosetoChallenge

Last week we celebrated the 110th International Women’s Day. The day is a global celebration of the social, economic, and political achievements of women. It’s a worldwide event where people come together to champion women’s rights, female empowerment, and gender equality. The video below explains the origins of the day, looks at how it’s celebrated around the world and why we still need it today. 

Also, know about the much-debated Gender Pay gap – How Bad Is The Gender Wage Gap In The Indian Labour Market?

Xavier Estupinan, International Labour Organisation’s wages specialist, talks about the wage trend in India, gender pay gap, role of trade unions and what the numbers tell us about wage inequality.

Women face gender bias and unequal opportunities for career growth, say IIM alumni and students

Women students and alumni of the elite Indian Institutes of Management said they lack a level playing field at the workplace. About 35% of the respondents in a pan-IIM survey said they do not have equal opportunities for career growth as the men in their organizations. While this number has declined from 49% in the previous survey, there is still scope for improvement. For details visit.

8. Other Topics

China harvesting 20% of the world’s data including from India

As the virtual private network (VPN) usage grows in countries like India to have a more secure and private Internet browsing experience, a new report has warned that the Chinese government has access to massive sets of data like private emails, messenger conversations, and personal records, as most of the VPNs being used are Chinese-owned, a new report has warned. For details visit.

With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs March 2021 -week 2. Hope you have liked it. Write in your feedback in the comments below and let us know if anything else you would like us to cover.

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