Daily Current Affairs - 12-10-2021

Ministry of Civil Aviation has given a no-objection certificate (NOC) to new airline named ‘Akasa Air’ for its operation in India.


About Akasa Air

Akasa Airline is a Ultra-low-cost carrier service (ULCC), which is being launched by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. He holds a 40 per cent stake in the company. He has also onboarded aviation industry veterans like former Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube and Aditya Ghosh, ex-IndiGo president. Vinay Dube is CEO of the Akasa company while Aditya Ghosh is expected to act as Jhunjhunwala’s nominee. This Mumbai-based investor is set to pump in $35 million. It is also planning launch a fleet of 70 planes in next four years. This airline will serve all Indians regardless of their socio-economic or cultural backgrounds.

ULCC model

ULCC stands for “ultra-low-cost carriers”. Under this airline business model, company focuses on keeping operating costs lower than the typical budget airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet. In low-cost carriers (LCC) model, airlines unbundle certain amenities which are usually associated with the full-service airline experience such as seat selection, food and beverages, etc. In the ultra-low-cost model, there will be more unbundling of services including checked-in baggage, cabin baggage, etc. LCCs operate with lower fares while ULCCs operate with minimal costs in order to ensure profitability.

Former chief of State Bank of India, Rajnish Kumar, has joined the Board of BharatPe as chairman.

Key Points

Function as chairman of BharatPe

As the chairman of BharatPe, Rajnish Kumar will advice and counsel the management of BharatPe regarding the matters on business performance as well as corporate governance.

Term as Chairman

Rajnish Kumar completed his term as chairman of India’s largest lender SBI in October 2020. Currently, he is working as advisor (resource raising) to the Andhra Pradesh government. He also serves as an independent non-executive director at HSBC Bank, L&T infotech and Asia.

Term as Managing director

Rajnish Kumar has also served as the managing director of National Banking Group, and managing director (Compliance & Risk) of State Bank of India. The senior bank official had also headed the Capital Markets Ltd as managing director and chief executive officer of State Bank of India.

About Rajnish Kumar

He is an Indian banker, holding the position of Chairman of SBI. He became chairman of SBI on October 7, 2017. His three-year term ended on October 6, 2020. He is the Probationary officer of 1980 batch.

The Ministry of Finance recently released its “Monthly Economic Review for September 2021”. According to the report, Indian economy is on path of swift recovery from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Findings


The report concludes that strategic reforms & rapid vaccination drive has pulled India on the path of recovery. This became possible because vaccination has enabled Indian economy to “navigate the ravaging waves” of covid-19 pandemic.

Debt-to-GDP Ratio

The debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio between government debt and its gross domestic product (GDP). Low debt-to-GDP ratio indicates that, an economy is producing and selling goods & services sufficiently to pay back debts without leading to further debt.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended for third dose of immunocompromised, following a four-day meeting of the “Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization”.  The final report on the matter will be issued in December.

Key Points

Global vaccine strategy by WHO

WHO also announced a Global vaccine strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring all people across the world have access to vaccines. This strategy calls for inoculating 40 per cent of people across the countries by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by 2022. It provides for a three-step approach for vaccination. Under the strategy, priority will be given to older people, high-risk groups of all ages and health workers, followed by adults and then adolescents.

Malaria vaccine

SAGE along with WHO advisory group on malaria reviewed the evidence on world’s first malaria vaccine. They recommended to use RTS,S/AS01 vaccine in areas with moderate to high transmission of the malaria.

President of Tunisia, Kais Saied, unveiled a new government on October 11, 2021.


Power of President Saied

Saied has thrust the democratic gains of 2011 revolution in Tunisia into doubt by seizing the executive authority and suspension of elected parliament. He also provided no clear programme to restore normal constitutional order.  He also awarded himself the power to appoint a committee for amending the 2014 constitution and put it to a referendum.

Concerns in Tunisia

The delay in appointing the government has aggravated Tunisia’s urgent need of financial support by stopping talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a rescue package. Central Bank governor has also warned of economic consequences. Furthermore, there are increasing fears of street confrontations between his opponents.

On October 11, 2021, Alexander Schellenberg was elected as Austrian Chancellor after resignation of Sebastian Kurz.


Investigation against Kurz

Investigation against Kurz was related to a poll and was commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, which supports the Austrian People’s Party and Kurz. As per investigators, misappropriation of funds from Ministry of Finance for conducting public opinion surveys is in the interest of party’s political progress. Publication of allegations in media group comes with more than 1.1 million euros for cooperation. However, allegations were denied by media group.  Kurz was accused for inciting bribery.

About Alexander Schallenberg

He is an Austrian diplomat, jurist and politician of Austrian People’s Party. He currently serves as the Chancellor of Austria. In the second Kurz government, he has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is a member of the Schallenberg family. He is a graduate from College of Europe. He was a career diplomat & became a mentor to Sebastian Kurz when he became foreign minister. Kurz selected him as the director of strategic foreign policy planning as well as the head of European department.

International Energy Agency (IEA) has invited India to become its full-time member.

Key Points

India as associate member

India became an associate member of the IEA in March 2017. IEA is a Paris-based body that advises industrialised nations regarding the energy policies. In January 2021, IEA members & India agreed to enter into a strategic partnership in order to strengthen their collaboration with respect to energy security and clean energy transition.

IEA report

IEA members

IEA comprises of 30 member countries and eight associate nations. Four countries are seeking for a full membership namely, Colombia, Chile, Israel and Lithuania.

Conditions for IEA members

As per IEA, a member country must maintain “crude oil and/or product reserves equal to 90 days of net imports in previous year. For this purpose, government has immediate access and it can be used to address disruptions in global oil supply. The current strategic oil reserves are equal to 9.5 days of its requirement, in India. Furthermore, the IEA members has to show “a demand restraint programme for reducing national oil consumption by up to 10%.

About IEA

IEA was founded in 1974 by industrialised countries under the framework of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn and industrial group, Siemens launched the first automated & driverless train of the world on October 11, 2021.


World’s first self-driving train

This project is being developed by ‘Siemens and Deutsche Bahn’. It is being dubbed as “world first”. The project is part of a 60-million-euro modernisation of rapid urban rail system of Hamburg. These automated trains will offer a reliable service without laying a single kilometre of new track. These trains can transport “up to 30 percent more passengers”. Besides improving the punctuality, these trains will save more than 30 percent of energy.

Who will run the trains?

Though the train is controlled by digital technology and is fully automated. But a driver will sit on the train to supervise journeys of the passengers on board.

Deutsche Bahn

It is a German railway company, having its headquarter in Berlin. It is a private joint-stock company. The Federal Republic of Germany is the only shareholder in the company. It is the second-largest transport company in the world. In the year 2015, Deutsche Bahn was the largest railway company of the world by revenue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on October 12, 2021.

Key Points

Agenda of the meeting

During the meeting, top world leaders will discuss the response to humanitarian needs as well as access to basic services & livelihood in Afghanistan. Leaders will also discuss the issues of counter terrorism, security and human rights.

SCO-CSTO outreach summit

PM Modi had also participated in “SCO-CSTO outreach Summit” on Afghanistan. On the occasion, he had highlighted the challenges associated with peace and security in the region. He had warned the countries that, recent developments in Afghanistan could result into an uncontrolled flow of drugs, illegal weapons as well as human trafficking.

Role of G20 in Afghanistan

The G20 grouping consists of 20 world’s major economies. This platform helps in building international consensus as well as facilitate a coordinated approach between the multilateral organisations, including the United Nations (UN) and its agencies. It also facilitates coordination among global and regional actors in order to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

About Group of Twenty (G20)

G20 is an intergovernmental forum consisting of 19 countries and European Union (EU). The group addresses major issues related to global economy like climate change mitigation, international financial stability and sustainable development. This grouping was founded in 1999 in the backdrop of several world economic crises. Since 2008, the group meets at least once a year. The G20 summits involves head of government or state, foreign minister, finance minister, and other high-ranking officials. EU is represented by European Commission and European Central Bank.

The traditional dye-painted figurative called Karuppur Kalamkari Paintings, and Kallakuruchi wood carvings have received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.


About Kalamkari

The Karuppur Kalamkari Paintings are done in Thanjavur region. These are traditional dye-painted figurative and patterned clothes. They are made for temples like ceiling cloth, cylindrical hangings, umbrella covers and chariot covers. Thanjavur tradition of Kalamkari had canopies, umbrella covers, thombai (cylindrical hangings), and ‘thoranams’ (door hangings) comprising of motifs of yazhi, peacock, swan, flowers, and images of deities. They are used in temples and mutts.

Background of Kalamkari

Artisans from Sikkalnaikkanpettai near Kumbakonam have been practicing this traditional art form for many generations. Artisans enjoyed royal patronage in times of yore. Presently, this traditional art form is practised at Karuppur in Udayarpalayam taluk of Ariyalur district as well as in villages around Sikkalnaikkapettai and Tiruppanandal in Thanjavur district.

Kallakurichi Wood Carvings

These carvings are done for designs and ornaments. These are indigenous to Madurai region

Geographical Indication

GI is a tag used to identify products originating from a definite geographical territory and have some special characteristics. The tag is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 in India. The Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai issues these tags. The tag is valid for a period of 10 years. It is also a part of the “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)” by World Bank.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021 was released by “United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)” and “Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)”.


World Scenario

Indian Scenario

About MPI

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was launched by the UNDP and the OPHI in the year 2010. MPI uses three dimensions and ten indicators including:

  1. Education: Years of schooling and child enrolment (1/6 weightage each)
  2. Health: Child mortality and nutrition (1/6 weightage each)
  3. Standard of living: Electricity, drinking water, flooring, sanitation, cooking fuel and assets (1/18 weightage each).

Three United States-based economists namely, David Card, Joshua D Angrist and Guido W Imbens have been conferred the “Nobel prize in Economics 2021”.


Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences

2021 edition