Top 10 Current Affairs – 19 October 2021 with FREE PDF

Current Affairs is an important part of preparation for competitive exams like UPSC, IAS, SSC, Bank and CTET. The candidate needs to possess a thorough knowledge of current affairs as that would fetch him high marks. It is vital that he must be updated with the current events happening across the globe especially India somehow related to his/her stream. Current Affairs 19 October 2021 with FREE PDF for UPSC, IAS, SSC, Bank, CTET, Railway exam is given below.

Daily Current Affairs 19 October 2021

Small finance bank licence issued to Centrum-BharatPe consortium

The Reserve Bank of India issued a small finance bank (SFB) licence to a consortium of fintech company BharatPe and Centrum Financial Services Ltd. The new business entity “Unity Small Finance Bank” will see Centrum’s MSME and micro finance businesses merged into itself.

In a statement, Centrum Group’s Executive Chairman Jaspal Bindra said: “We aspire to be India’s first Digital Bank”.

This sheds light on the need for traditional lenders to expand their digital infrastructure in order to address the market’s requirement for digital products.

There have been several examples of small finance banks and non-banking financial companies collaborating with fintech companies to access and monetise the data collected by these consumer tech firms.

This has particularly gained momentum in the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) and the micro-lending models, where companies like Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, etc have partnered with NBFCs to assess creditworthiness of an existing customer and present it to the lender as a potential borrower.

Why India’s Coal Crisis Matters?

The Prime Minister’s Office reviewed the coal stock situation in India’s thermal power plants.

India’s thermal power plants currently have an average of four days worth of coal stock against a recommended level of 15-30 days, with a number of states highlighting concerns about blackouts as a result of the coal shortage.

Coal and lignite fired thermal power plants account for about 54 per cent of India’s installed power generation capacity but currently account for about 70 per cent of power generated in the country.

Purchase bids on the Day Ahead Market (DAM) on the India Energy Exchange (IEX) on October 12 were for 430,778 MWh (Megawatt-hours) up from 174,373 MWh a month ago.

Reasons of shortage in coal

The shortage in coal is a result of a sharp uptick in power demand as the economy recovered from the effects of the pandemic.

A sharp increase in the international prices of coal due to a shortage in China and low accumulation of stock by thermal power plants in the April-June period have also contributed to the coal shortage.

Heavy rains in coal bearing areas in September had also led to a slowdown in the supply of coal to thermal plants.

What is the government doing to address the situation?

The power ministry has also permitted power generators using local coal to use upto a 10 per cent blend of imported coal to boost coal stocks.

India’s Asset Ownership Patterns: How Public and Private Sectors Differ

An analysis of asset ownership data at the household level collected by Lokniti-CSDS during its National Election Study in 2019 was recently released.

Gauging who can afford the five assets of a car, an air-conditioner at home, a desktop or laptop computer, a refrigerator, and a television set, has been seen as an important indicator of economic well-being in a fast-growing, aspirational economy.

An analysis of asset ownership data at the household level collected by Lokniti-CSDS during its National Election Study in 2019 indicates that no more than 3% of Indian households — that is, 1 in every 33 — own all of these five assets at the same time.

The pace of growth of ownership of these assets has been unexceptional in recent years — five years previously, in 2014, the percentage of households that owned these assets was 2%, or 1 in every 50 households.

The data show major differences in asset ownership among the various social groups. Thus, upper-caste Hindu households are seven times more likely to own all the five assets, compared to Dalit (SC) and Muslim households.

Among religious groups, Sikh households were found to be the most prosperous.

The pattern of asset-ownership varies significantly with how urban the area is. As against about 13% of households in cities, only 5% of households in towns, and merely 1% in villages, could boast of having all of the five assets in 2019.

The highly urbanised or high per-capita-income states of Delhi, Punjab, Goa, and Kerala, in that order, emerged at the top of the table in this regard.

New power to BSF, now can arrest within 50 km

The Union Home Ministry has enhanced the powers of the Border Security Force (BSF) to “arrest, search and seize” within 50 km from the international boundary in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab.

Such operational powers to the BSF, a Central Armed Police Force under the Union, will also be applicable to the newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, according to a notification published in the Gazette of India on October 11.

Earlier, the BSF’s limit was fixed up to 80 km from the international boundary in Gujarat and 15 km in Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

The October 11 notification replaces a 2014 order under the BSF Act, 1968, which also covered the States of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.

The violations for which the BSF carries out search and seizure include smuggling of narcotics, other prohibited items, illegal entry of foreigners and offences punishable under any other Central Act among others.

The amendment “establishes uniformity in defining the area within which the BSF can operate” as per its charter of duties, adding that this would enable improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans-border crimes.

After a suspect has been detained or a consignment seized within the specified area, the BSF can only conduct “preliminary questioning” and has to hand over the suspect to the local police within 24 hours. The BSF does not have the powers to prosecute crime suspects.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi criticised the move as an attack on federalism, and sought a rollback of the decision.

Origin of COVID-19: Challenge Humanity

World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the establishment of a scientific advisory group to identify the origin of COVID-19 and other future outbreaks.

The WHO’s Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens, or SAGO, will include 26 scientists from the US, China and about two dozen other countries to find out the answer the question of how the novel coronavirus first infected humans.

The group will also be responsible for establishing a framework to combat future pandemics.

Indian 7-Year Old Wins Global Peace Photo Award

Aadhyaa Aravind Shankar, a seven-year-old hailing from Karnataka’s Bangalore has scripted history by becoming the first-ever Indian to win the Children’s Peace Image of the Year-Global Peace Photo Award.

In Partnership with UNESCO and the Austrian Parliament, the Global Peace Photo Award is awarded annually by Lammerhuber Editions.

The award honours and acknowledges photographers from around the world whose pictures reflect human efforts towards a peaceful world.

Peat Could Be Key to Making Cheaper Sodium-Ion Batteries

Peat, plentiful in bogs in northern Europe, could be used to make sodium-ion batteries cheaply for use in electric vehicles, scientists at an Estonian university say.

Sodium-ion batteries, which do not contain relatively costly lithium, cobalt or nickel, are one of the new technologies that battery makers are looking at as they seek alternatives to the dominant lithium-ion model.

Scientists at Estonia’s Tartu University say they have found a way to use peat in sodium-ion batteries, which reduces the overall cost, although the technology is still in its infancy.

The process includes heating decomposed peat to a high temperature in a furnace for 2-3 hours. The university expects the government to fund a small-scale factory in Estonia to try out the technology.

Distillers in Scotland dry malt over peat fires to flavour whisky, and some northern European countries use peat to fuel factories and households, or as fertilizer.

As bogs are drained to mine peat, they release trapped carbon dioxide, raising environmental concerns. But the Estonian scientists say they are using decomposed peat, a waste product of traditional extraction methods that is usually discarded.

Indian Army to Participates in Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2021

As part of the ongoing Indo-US Defence Cooperation, the Joint Military Training Exercise “Ex Yudh Abhyas 2021” will be conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska (USA) from 15 to 29 October 2021.

Exercise YudhAbhyas is the largest running joint military training and defence cooperation endeavor between India and USA.

This will be the 17th Edition of the joint exercise which is hosted alternately between both countries.

The previous version of this exercise was held at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Bikaner, Rajasthan in February 2021.

Vishwakarma Vatika, Chance to Learn Crafts

Union Minister for Minority Affairs announced that “Vishwakarma Vatika” will be set up at “Hunar Haats”, to promote and preserve precious traditional skills of artisans and craftsmen where they will also be displaying live how India’s traditional exquisite and elegant indigenous handmade products are made.

The first such “Vishwakarma Vatika”, which has been set up in “Hunar Haat” at Rampur, Uttar Pradesh to protect, preserve and promote India’s glorious legacy of centuries-old skills and craftsmanship, will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan on 16th October, 2021

Proficient craftsmen, sculptors, stonemasons, blacksmiths, carpenters, potter and other artisans from across the country, will give live demonstrations of hundreds of India’s traditional art and craft at one place in these “Vishwakarma Vatika”.

BPCL introduces UFill, a digital customer experience

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) – a PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has announced the launch of “UFill” – a digital customer experience which delivers on BPCL’s promise of ensuring that their customers have complete control over Time, Technology and Transparency as part of their fuelling experience.

With UFill, the invitation to customers is to “Fast forward your fill”, leveraging the latest in digital technology which obviates the need for looking at zero or final reading and such offline manual interventions.

The UFill proposition has been launched in 65 cities across India and will soon be launched across the country.

The technology provides the customer with control of fuelling as well as touch less pre-payment solution with the dispensing unit getting automatically preset for the value of fuel paid for by him/her in advance and eliminates any manual intervention at the point of sale.

UFill is yet another milestone in Company’s digital transformation journey that is aimed to improve customer’s turn-around time (TAT) at fuel outlet and increase transactional transparency, thereby providing enhanced retail like experience.

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