Endeavor Careers Choicest Blogs: Weekly Current Affairs: November 2021, Week 03

Welcome to the Endeavor Editors’ Weekly 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.

1) International News and Global Economy

China downgrades ties with Lithuania after Taiwan opens de facto embassy

Furious over Lithuania for permitting Taiwan to open a representative office, China downgraded diplomatic ties with it to the level of charge d’affaires, a move that could further damage Beijing’s relations with the European Union, as the tiny Baltic nation with less than three million population is an influential member of the bloc. Charge d’affaires in diplomatic parlance means the embassy will be headed by the chief of mission in the absence of the ambassador. China has already recalled its envoy from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. “The downgrade means a serious setback in China-Lithuania diplomatic relations, as charge d’affaires does not have full authority compared with ambassadors. It indicates that the power of diplomats in both countries will be greatly limited and affected,” Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

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China downgrades its diplomatic ties with Lithuania over Taiwan embassy issue

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Sudan military leaders reinstate deposed prime minister

Sudan’s deposed prime minister has signed a deal with the military that will see him reinstated, almost a month after a military coup put him under house arrest. According to the deal, the military will also release government officials and politicians arrested since the October 25 coup. The country’s top general, Abdel Fattah Burhan, said in televised statements that Abdalla Hamdok will lead an independent technocratic Cabinet until elections can be held. It remains unclear how much power the government would hold. It would still remain under military oversight. It also remains unclear whether all political parties and pro-democracy groups have signed off on the agreement.

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Sudan’s military to reinstate ousted PM Abdalla Hamdok | DW News

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United Nations Security Council? states fresh concern over Myanmar crisis

The United Nations Security Council has issued a press statement expressing “deep concern” about the ongoing violence in Myanmar, whose military-installed government is using force against opponents. The Security Council’s action comes as Myanmar’s army appears to be undertaking a major offensive in the country’s northwest amid warnings that the humanitarian situation throughout the country is sharply deteriorating, with food shortages and a weakened public health system. A press statement carries less weight than an official resolution, and can serve as a way of achieving consensus among the Security Council members that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. The body appears to be constrained from taking more serious action because two of its permanent members, Russia and China, maintain warm relations with Myanmar’s current government.

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In the latest breach, Iran’s Mahan Air hit with a cyberattack

A cyberattack on Sunday disrupted access to Iran’s privately owned Mahan Air, state TV reported, marking the latest in a series of cyberattacks on Iranian infrastructure that has put the country on edge. Mahan Air’s website displayed an error message saying the site couldn’t be reached. The carrier said in a statement that it had “thwarted” the attack and that its flight schedule was not affected, adding it has faced similar breaches in the past. Many customers of Mahan Air across Iran received strange text messages on Sunday. A group calling itself Hoosyarane-Vatan, or Observants of Fatherland, claimed in the mass texts to have carried out the attack, citing the airline’s cooperation with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The self-described hacking group did not provide any evidence. Major cyberattacks have struck various Iranian systems in recent months, with one in October crippling gas stations across the country, leaving angry motorists stranded in long lines unable to use their government-issued cards to buy subsidised fuel.

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Russia reports record COVID-19 deaths for a third straight day

Russian authorities on Friday reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for the third day in a row. Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 1,254 virus deaths, up 1,251 on Thursday and 1,247 on Wednesday. The task force also reported 37,156 new confirmed cases. The daily new infections in recent weeks appear to have taken a downward trend but still remain higher than during previous surges of the virus. The latest surge in infections and deaths comes amid low vaccination rates and lax public attitudes toward taking precautions. Fewer than 40% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine months before most of the world.

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Why are Russians hesitant to get vaccinated?

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COVID curbs spark protests worldwide

Thousands took to the streets across Europe and Australia to protest fresh rounds of COVID restrictions. Several countries have recently reintroduced tighter measures in a bid to combat a resurgent wave of infections. Austria on Friday announced a nationwide partial lockdown — the most dramatic restrictions in Western Europe for months. Other nations on the continent have resorted to less severe restrictions, often choosing to ban unvaccinated people from venues like restaurants and bars.

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 Malaysian PM’s party wins landslide victory in state polls.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Malay party won a landslide victory in a state election on Saturday, defeating its allies in the ruling coalition as well as the opposition ahead of national polls. The victory in southern Malacca state by Ismail’s United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, was seen as a bellwether that could shape alliances in national elections following a period of political turmoil. The elections are not due until 2023 but are widely expected to be called next year. UMNO had led Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957 but was ousted in the 2018 elections by opposition leader Ibrahim Anwar’s reformist alliance following a multibillion-dollar financial scandal that led to the corruption conviction of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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2) Climate

Climate change altering Ganga’s flow, more floods predicted: Study

A new study from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur hints at more floods from the Ganga basin as human activities and climate change alter its water flow. Increasing human activities have already had disastrous impacts on the river, from severe pollution to changing its course. The study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides insights into how climate change and human activities like building dams affect the region. It analyses the effects of past human activity on the mountainous regions, focusing on two significant tributaries, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda, which merge at Devprayag to form the Ganga. The Alaknanda basin has experienced a doubling of water flow from 1995 to 2005 with an increase in the rate of flow of water, termed extreme flow. Researchers predict an increase in the magnitude of these extreme flows and the occurrence of floods in the Ganga basin.

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What lies behind Delhi’s deadly smog, and why seasonal outrage by courts, media won’t work

Yet again Delhi gets covered in a layer of pollution. Shekhar Gupta explains this seasonal pollution that comes every year. What numbers tell us, how is it caused and why is Diwali not the only reason.

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3) India  

Covid update

Explained: Booster doses in the US, other countries and India’s position

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky expanded recommendations for booster shot doses for Covid-19 to all adults who are 18 years and older. “Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defences against the virus as we enter the winter holidays. Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose,” Walensky was quoted as saying in a release. The WHO has repeatedly urged countries not to administer booster doses. In a note it published in October, it said that evidence for requiring booster doses “remains limited” and inconclusive. In India, there is no intimation as of now about booster doses. Some of the factors that India will need to consider before making a decision on booster shots include vaccine effectiveness, waning immunity and the supply of vaccines. India has administered a total of about 1.15 billion doses since its vaccination campaign began on January 16.

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Other updates

Explained: What farm law repeal means for farmers, govt, Opposition and PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws, which had witnessed protests from farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, on the borders of Delhi for more than a year. As the implementation of the laws has already stayed, there will be no impact of the Prime Minister’s announcement in terms of the administration of these laws. It will, however, bring some relief for the government ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament and the crucial Assembly elections early next year in five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. There may be some deficiencies in the exact design and mechanism of the reforms proposed in the three farm laws, but most advocates of agricultural reform would agree that they were in the right direction. That the government chose to push these reforms through its own set of consultations left many stakeholders feeling left out, and created a backlash. The repeal underlines that any future attempts to reform the rural agricultural economy would require a much wider consultation, not only for better design of reforms but for wider acceptance. The repeal would leave the government hesitant about pursuing these reforms in stealth mode again.

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What farm laws retreat by Modi govt tells us about ruling India like a CM with a brute majority

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Explained: Why JMM MLAs, workers are protesting against Tata Group in Jamshedpur

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has launched a protest against the Tata Group of Companies in Jamshedpur over its decision to shift its office from the Jharkhand capital to Pune in Maharashtra. JMM party workers and several of its MLAs, including Ramdas Soren (Ghatshila), Sanjeev Sardar (Potka) and Mangal Kalinidi (Jugsalai), have blockaded the main entrance of the company in Jamshedpur. This is the first such protest related to jobs after the enactment of the Jharkhand State Employment of Local Candidates in Private Sector Bill that provides for 75 per cent reservation to locals in jobs with salaries up to Rs 40,000 a month in the private sector. The issue surrounds the decision of Tata Cummins – a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Motors Limited and Cummins Inc., USA which designs and manufactures diesel engines – to shift its head office out of Jamshedpur to Pune. The JMM workers allege that this will lead to joblessness in the area and the state in particular – a fact contradicted by the company.

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Andhra Pradesh floods: Main rail, road routes cut off after heavy rains

The main rail and road routes in Andhra Pradesh, connecting the south and east, remained cut off as the Penna River in spate caused heavy destruction on Sunday. The Chennai-Kolkata National Highway-16 had to be closed down for traffic in the SPS Nellore district following a heavy breach of the road at Padugupadu. At least 17 Express trains were cancelled on the Chennai-Vijayawada grand trunk route as the flood overflowed on the railway track at Padugupadu. Three other trains were partially cancelled or diverted. The State Disaster Management Authority said more than two lakh cusecs of floodwater flowed out of the Somasila reservoir in SPS Nellore district, leading to the deluge. This caused a breach of the National Highway-16 at Kovuru as well. Consequently, traffic on the NH-16 between Nellore and Vijayawada has been suspended, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded for kilometres on either side.

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Indore cleanest city in India for 5th consecutive year, Chhattisgarh cleanest state

Indore was adjudged India’s cleanest city for the fifth time in a row in the central government’s annual cleanliness awards while Chhattisgarh retained the first position in the cleanest state category. The second and third positions in the ‘cleanest city’ category of the ‘Swachh Survekshan Awards, 2021’ were secured by Surat and Vijayawada, respectively. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, having more than 100 urban local bodies, have been adjudged the second and third cleanest state in the country. In the category of states with less than 100 urban local bodies, Jharkhand has been ranked first, followed by Haryana and Goa.

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4) Economy

India received record FDI in last 7 years; hope to see the trend continue: Piyush Goyal

India attracted “record” foreign direct investments in the last seven years and the trend is expected to continue in the coming years as well on account of major structural reforms being undertaken by the government, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said. He also said that India is focusing on integrating its quality standards with the world and the country needs to let go of the mindset of a particular product being for the domestic market and others for the export market. “Last seven years, we have seen record FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments). I hope to see that continue, looking at major structural reforms being undertaken. This pickup in economic activity is here to stay and the future looks to be extremely bright,” he said at industry body CII’s National Conference on MNCs 2021.

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 5) Markets, Banking and Finance

RBI retail direct scheme: Advisors warn of possible mark to market losses

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has garnered nearly 32,000 registrations from retail investors to buy government bonds in just six days, reflecting investor eagerness for the asset class that was hitherto an institutional monopoly. While the investment may be safe, portfolio advisors are cautioning that investors should be aware of potential mark-to-market losses because of the interest rate risk in an upward cycle that could begin as early as the first quarter of next year. Bond prices and interest rates move in opposite directions.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme last Friday. In a rising interest rate scenario, investors are likely to incur mark-to-market losses if they sell it before the scheduled maturity. The interest rate cycle is set to change amid rising consumer prices.

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Bank lending, as well as deposits, pick up by over Rs lakh crore during Diwali fortnight

In a clear indication of the post-COVID revival of economic activity, banks see a sharp surge in business during the Diwali fortnight as both loans and deposits rise by over Rs one lakh crore. Bank loans rose Rs 1.19 lakh crore during the fortnight ended November 2021 to Rs 111.63 lakh crore. This translates into a year-on-year growth rate of 7.14 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent in the previous fortnight. The bulk of the loan demand is expected to be in the retail space as consumers spent a record Rs 1.25 lakh crore this Diwali according to data by the Confederation of All India Traders. The latest data on the sectoral flow of credit offtake consumer durable loans have risen by 40 per cent in September compared to 14.9 per cent in the same period a year ago, with borrowers taking advantage of the reduced interest rates. “The latest TransUnion Cibil’s credit market indicators CMI shows that India’s retail credit market is poised for strong growth supported by a significant resurgence in credit demand as well as supply, despite the second wave of the pandemic. Inquiry volumes have increased by 54% between February 2021 and October 2021, as economic activity gained momentum” said Rajesh Kumar, Managing Director and CEO of TransUnion CIBIL.

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Biggest IPO, biggest crash: Paytm tanks 27% on Day 1

After India’s largest-ever initial public offering (IPO), Paytm parent One97 Communications set another record on debut—the biggest drop on opening day for share sales worth more than Rs 1,000 crore. The stock was listed at Rs 1,950, a discount of 9.3% to its offer price of Rs 2,150, and closed at Rs 1,564.15, down 27%. This is the first of six recent start-up IPOs to list below the offer price. Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Power plunged 21% on debut in February 2008 after an Rs 11,700 crore IPO. At the closing price, One97 commanded a market capitalisation of Rs 1.01 lakh crore ($13.3 billion), less than the $16 billion valuations at which the company raised around $1 billion in November 2019.

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Vijay Shekhar Sharma exclusive with Udayan Mukherjee, Paytm Lists on D-street

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ICICI Bank ex-executives face EOW Probe

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police has begun a probe into charges of alleged wrongdoing by ICICI Bank officials in a case filed by a hotelier. The case pertains to a complaint filed by a hotelier in July this year against five former senior bank officials and an asset reconstruction company (ARC) for allegedly duping him of ?120 crore. The development comes soon after the recent controversial arrest of former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri – which arose out of a complaint filed by a Jaisalmer-based hotelier over the sale of his hotel to an ARC by SBI in 2014.

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Amid Start-ups IPO frenzy, SEBI proposes cumulative 35% Cap on use of proceeds for M&As & GCP

Given the increasing number of start-ups going through the public listing mode, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed a slew of changes in a discussion paper published on November 16. The market regulator has proposed putting a cap on IPO proceeds earmarked for making future acquisitions without identifying specific targets. Currently, in the draft offer documents, issuer companies have the limit to earmark 25% of the funds to, “fund inorganic growth activities”. These include new business initiatives, partnerships, without setting a target or specific acquisition. On the other hand, start-ups or “new age technology companies” (NATCs), as SEBI puts it, have another 25% capping on booking funds reserved for general corporate purposes (GCP). GCPs are funds allocated with no specific object and are unmonitored by SEBI. SEBI has been mulling putting a combined cap of 35% on funds earmarked for “inorganic growth activities” and GCP. However, it has added that such limits will not apply if the proposed acquisition or strategic investment object has been identified and suitable specific disclosures are made at the time of filing of the offer document.

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RBI working group releases report with recommendations on Digital Lending

The report by the working group chaired by RBI executive director Jayant Kumar Dash has made recommendations mostly focused on enhancing customer protection and ensuring that the digital lending ecosystem remains safe and secure. In the report, the working group made short-term recommendations to subject DLAs to a verification process by a nodal agency to be set up in consultation with the stakeholders. “A nodal agency should be set up which will primarily verify the technological credentials of DLAs of the balance sheet lenders and LSPs operating in the digital lending ecosystem. It will also maintain a public register of the verified apps on its website,” said the report. Other short-term recommendations include restricting balance sheet lending through DLAs to entities regulated by the RBI or registered specifically for conducting a lending business and the constitution of a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) covering participants in the digital lending ecosystem.

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RBI working group hints on formation of a separate law for Digital Lending

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6) Business

Reliance and Saudi Aramco to revaluate proposed O2C investment

Reliance Industries Limited has announced that they will be re-evaluating Saudi Aramco’s proposal to acquire a stake in the Indian conglomerate. In a press release, the oil majors reiterated their desire to remain preferred partners, with Reliance set to continue as the Saudi company’s collaborator in the subcontinent. “Due to [the] evolving nature of Reliance’s business portfolio, Reliance and Saudi Aramco have mutually determined that it would be beneficial for both parties to re-evaluate the proposed investment in O2C business in light of the changed context,” read the press release. Talks are being reset in light of Reliance making forays into new energy businesses in recent months; there are also plans to invest $10 billion in alternative energy over three years. Reliance has already bought a German photovoltaic solar wafer manufacturer and signed a deal with a Danish company to manufacture hydrogen electrolysers in India.

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DIPAM aims to privatise BPCL, BEML and 4 others by end of the current fiscal

The Centre set to seek financial bids for privatising at least six central PSUs including BPCL BEML and Shipping Corp, by December- January, DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said. After 19 years, we will see 5-6 privatisation this year. BPCL is in the due diligence stage. BEML, Shipping Corp, Pawan Hans, Central Electronics, NINL, financial bids can take place in December-January so that we can close it by this year itself,” he said. while addressing Global Economic Summit, organized by CII. Dipam learnt to have also invited private players to bid for these companies which are up for privatisation, besides transfer of management control. On the initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), the secretary said that it is expected in the January-March quarter (fourth quarter) of this fiscal. On Air India, he said that the Government aims to complete the handover of the national carrier by December.

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7) Technology

Invesco Mutual Fund puts Blockchain fund launch on hold

Invesco Mutual Fund has put on hold the launch of its blockchain fund in India—the first of its kind here. The fund house planned to launch Invesco India – Invesco CoinShares Global Blockchain ETF Fund of Fund on November 24 but has now put it on the backburner due to uncertainty around rules on cryptocurrency investments in India. “There was a likelihood that the fund would have been perceived as a crypto fund even though it is not one, given the unusual craze around cryptocurrency at the moment. It’s a precautionary move by the fund house,” says Dhirendra Kumar, Founder, Value Research. Sources said Invesco’s Blockchain Fund Fund does not invest directly in cryptos. While Blockchain is widely associated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, it is not the same as crypto. Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency.

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PhonePe says clocked record 2 billion monthly transactions in October

PhonePe, part of Walmart Inc.-controlled Flipkart Group, clocked more than two billion transactions across payment channels in October, according to a statement. That includes payments made using the Unified Payments Interface and Bharat Bill Payment System. It was only in February that PhonePe had recorded one billion monthly transactions. PhonePe’s rapid growth—one billion transactions added in just eight months—is indicative of the wider adoption of digital payments in India, accelerated by a pandemic that shut down all but essential goods and services in large parts of the country over a span of 18 months. The value of transactions using the ubiquitous UPI crossed the $100-billion mark for the first time last month. A whopping 4.2 billion UPI transactions amounting to Rs 7.71 lakh crore (about $103 billion) were clocked in the month, marking all-time highs on both counts for the five-year-old payments channel. The spurt was largely on the back of increased demand for online shopping amid the festive season sales. The gradual reopening of the economy since the ebbing of the second wave also aided this growth.

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Post-Covid work arrangements bring cyber insurance into the spotlight

Remote and hybrid work arrangements post-Covid have made cyberattacks easier and more attractive for cybercriminals as a result of which insurance costs for protection against such eventualities have increased. Moody’s Investor Services estimates that the total premium paid for protection against cyber frauds and ransomware attacks have increased to $1.6 billion in 2020 from $1.2 billion in 2019. However, increasing ransomware attacks have also led to a jump in loss ratio to 65% in 2020 from 44% in 2019. Moody’s said that entities that fail to adapt will be at the most risk with risks rising across the board during periods when organizations transition to new cybersecurity procedures. Also, reduced cyber security coverage will have a negative impact on the credit profile of companies.

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Flipkart enters crowded health tech sector with SastaSundar acquisition

The Flipkart Group has signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in online pharmacy Sastasundar Marketplace to launch its own healthcare business amid a pandemic-triggered consolidation in India’s healthtech industry. Flipkart Health+, as the new entity will be known, will leverage the Walmart Inc.-controlled company’s pan-India network and SastaSundar’s health tech expertise to provide consumers access to quality and affordable healthcare—first through an e-pharmacy and later via e-diagnostics and e-consultation, according to a statement issued on Friday. Flipkart’s Senior Vice President Ajay Veer Yadav will take the helm of the new business unit.

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India extends lead in fintech investments: S&P Global

India continued to lead fintech investments in the Asia-Pacific region with $1.93 billion raised across 66 deals in the July-September quarter, S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a note. Southeast Asia is quickly catching up. Fintech investments in Southeast Asia more than doubled on a quarter-over-quarter basis to $1.90 billion with deal volume growing by 32% to 62 deals. Payment fintechs are at the forefront of fintech funding in Asia-Pacific, contributing seven out of the 10 largest transactions in the third quarter. While consumer-facing payment apps have dominated funding into the payment sector in the past, business-to-business payment fintechs have been attracting more investors’ attention of late. The surplus of capital flowing into fintechs has pushed up valuations, but public market investors have largely appeared unfazed by the lofty price tag. Perhaps seeing the potential of a lucrative exit, some venture capitalists have recently raised fresh funding targeted at tech start-ups in the region. This leads us to believe that fintech funding in Asia-Pacific still has legs despite a record quarter.

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Need deeper discussions on Crypto: RBI Governor cites ‘Serious’ financial stability concerns

Reiterating the central bank’s strict reservations on cryptocurrencies, RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das said that the discussions and deliberations on the virtual currency should be more profound and well informed as it involves “serious concerns” of macroeconomic and financial stability. Speaking at the 8th SBI Banking & Economics Conclave, Das also said that the number of accounts trading in crypto or the participants in the market is “exaggerated”, but in volume terms, the number is “definitely increasing”. Das said that a bulk of the investors in the crypto market have invested a minimal amount like INR 500, INR 1,000 or INR 2,000. He added that feedback suggests that people are given cashbacks and offers to open accounts on crypto trading platforms or apps. His latest comment comes just a day after a parliamentary standing committee meeting concluded on the consensus that digital currency cannot be stopped and must be regulated.

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RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Crypto concerns

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8) Politics

All Rajasthan ministers resign ahead of Cabinet reshuffle

All Rajasthan ministers resigned on Saturday during a meeting at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence here. Their resignation has come ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle. “All ministers resigned in the meeting,” Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, who held the charge of the transport minister, told reporters. State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra, who on Friday resigned as education minister along with two other ministers, had moved a proposal at the beginning of the meeting following which all ministers resigned.

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 9) Sports

AB de Villiers announces retirement from all forms of cricket

One of contemporary cricket’s greatest batters, South African legend AB de Villiers has announced his retirement from all forms of the game, which he dominated for 17 years with his 360-degree batting. The 37-year-old versatile cricketer’s decision has effectively ended his association with his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. He made the announcement on Twitter, ending an illustrious career, which saw him play in 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is for the Proteas. The former South Africa captain and batting mainstay had retired from international cricket in 2018.

Since starting his association with RCB in 2011, he has enjoyed 11 fruitful seasons with the franchise and was its batting mainstay alongside Virat Kohli. De Villiers has played 156 matches for RCB and scored 4,491 runs. He is the second all-time leading run scorer behind Kohli and holds the second and third-highest individual run total in RCB history with 133 not out against Mumbai Indians (in 2015) and 129 not out against Gujarat Lions (in 2016).

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Hockey diplomacy after 3 years: Pakistan junior team arrives for World Cup

India and Pakistan have stepped up people-to-people engagement — from reopening the Kartarpur corridor earlier this week to restarting hockey diplomacy after three years. For the first time since 2018, the Pakistan men’s junior hockey team reached Delhi on Saturday to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup. The World Cup is being held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5. The last time a Pakistan hockey team was in India was for the senior World Cup in 2018. Before that, they had travelled for the Champions Trophy in 2014. Officials said the Pakistan players were not issued visas for the Junior Hockey World Cup in 2016 – the year of the Pathankot (January 2016) and Uri (September 2016) attacks, which was followed by the surgical strikes (September 2016). In 2019, Pakistan’s shooting team missed the Delhi World Cup for the same reason – they were not issued visas – which almost led to India’s sporting isolation. This happened in the shadow of the Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 security personnel were killed. But, following a stern warning by the International Olympic Committee, the government gave a written assurance that sportspersons from Pakistan would not be stopped from coming to India.

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10) Opinion

Farm law rollback: Move may hit sourcing and expansion plans of food processing companies

The withdrawal of farm laws could impact sourcing and expansion plans and dash the industry’s hopes of cheaper input costs, said executives belonging to food processing companies while describing Friday’s development as a setback. The Indian processed foods market is estimated at over ?2.6 lakh crore, and large companies were drawing up fresh plans to benefit from sourcing directly from farmers. “The withdrawal of the farm laws will increase input costs of the industry and could create regulatory hurdles in some states which are ruled by parties in opposition,” said Subodh Jindal, president, All India Food Processors’ Association, which represents large packaged foods companies such as Nestle, Britannia, Marico and Haldiram.

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Russian S-400 missile system: What it can do & why it’s worth it for India to risk US sanctions

As India starts receiving delivery of the S-400 missile system from Russia, Shekhar Gupta explains the whole missile system and whether it is worth spending 5.2 billion for, as US sanctions hover over India with this buy. And where does it place India with Pakistan and China.

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Why the exclusive emphasis on manufacturing firms in the MSME sector is imperative to transform the Indian economy

MSME manufacturing firms have been imperative to the growth of the Indian economy. These small to medium-sized ventures have always contributed largely to the country’s GDP, and to different aspects of its development.  The Indian MSME sector contributes about 29 per cent towards the GDP through national and international trade. As per MSME Ministry data, as of May 16, 2021, India has approximately 6.3 crore MSMEs (including both service and manufacturing firms). It must be noted that this sector still has a lot of unexplored territories for growth. It won’t be wrong to say that with so much growth potential, emphasising the development of MSME manufacturing firms can work as a long-term development tool for India.

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Why it’s important to green the world with climate fintech

Fusing climate into fin and tech has become a necessity today. Fintech accelerators and incubators will play a significant role in integrating climate fintech and sustainability into every budding start-up ecosystem. Rethinking strategies to embrace a cashless economy and paperless transactions will be a crucial step towards climate fintech. Aligning corporate goals with the Paris Climate Accords, banks, financial institutions, and fintechs focus on reducing financed emissions, i.e., emission levels of client businesses. They enable the transformation and transition of clients (especially in the manufacturing, energy, and power sector) to a low-carbon economy by devising programmes that track and measure greenhouse gas discharge. Significant financing is directed towards sustainability agenda that facilitates hassle-free transition towards renewables, energy efficiency, and green transport. Budding fintech firms need to understand their responsibility in accelerating decarbonisation. Efforts need to be channelled towards building business ecosystems and value propositions to promote incubation and scaling of fintechs that decarbonise the global economy. One such promising climate fintech application could be APIs that help neo banks estimate carbon footprints and recommend offset strategies to systematically remove excess emission.

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Can fabless be the next SaaS for India?

The ongoing global semiconductor crisis has adversely impacted over 170 manufacturing industries – from personal computers and smartphones to dishwashers and automobiles. As the COVID-19 pandemic pushed economies into multiple lockdowns, chip production facilities had to remain shut, consequently running global stocks dry. The demand for chips, however, did not decline. Rather, the worldwide shift to remote work led to a surge in demand for smartphones, personal computers, smart home devices, gaming consoles, and myriad home appliances. Even the demand for automobiles bounced back quickly as lockdowns gradually eased across countries. The crisis, which is tipped to continue into the next year, is expected to vastly alter the dynamics and the scale of the global chip manufacturing industry. In September, technology research firm IDC forecasted that the semiconductor market would grow by 17.3 percent in 2021, compared to 10.8 percent last year when the worldwide revenues stood at $464 billion. The global chip shortage and geopolitical developments involving the United States and China may present India with opportunities to accelerate growth. India, over the past two decades, has made considerable progress in the fabless segment. India has deep design, verification, firmware talent – the necessary ingredients for the success of a fabless start-up.

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11) Weekly special

How slice founder Rajan Bajaj got inspired by Airbnb to plunge into entrepreneurship

Bengaluru-based fintech start-up Slice (formerly SlicePay) was started six years ago by Rajan Bajaj. Rajan started his entrepreneurial journey in his early 20s with Mesh Internet in 2015. He later founded slice in 2016 to ease the financial anxiety that new-age customers go through when it comes to payments and credit. Slice is essentially a prepaid card, which comes with a credit line.  Speaking to YourStory, Rajan says, Bengaluru-based slice is going after the millennials and Gen Z, and the company’s vision is to focus on providing a best-in-class experience to its users. Currently, the start-up has more than 4 million users, and it aims to grow 10x in the next few years.

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12) Did you know?

What is 3D hockey and why Hockey went 3D?

3D skills in hockey are advanced ways of keeping control of the ball by flicking the ball into the air and over obstacles. 3D skills are also known as lifts, jinks, or pops, are some of the hardest skills to defend against and can be used by all outfield positions.

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With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs November 2021 -Week 3. Hope you have liked it. Write your feedback in the comments below and let us know if there is anything else you would like us to cover.

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