17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting conducted virtually
External Affairs Minister (EAM), S. Jaishankar addressed the 17th BIMSTEC (The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Ministerial Meeting via video conferencing, held from Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 1st April 2021. Sri Lanka chaired the Meeting virtually. The strategic importance of the master connectivity plan among the South and Southeast Asian countries was highlighted in the address by EAM, S. Jaishankar.
BIMSTEC is group of 7 Asian countries,
– 5 South Asian Countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka
– 2 Southeast Asian Countries – Myanmar and Thailand.
Free movement of People & Goods between BIMSTEC countries is the proposed plan.
Headquarters, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Secretary General- H. E. Mr. Tenzin Lekphell
India-US Strategic Energy Partnership to be revised by India and USA
India and the United States (US) have agreed to revise the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP). With a greater focus on promoting clean energy with low-carbon pathways, the revised SEP will accelerate green energy cooperation.
An introductory meeting was held between Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOPNG) & Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, on March 29, 2021.
India and U.S are focussing to accelerate efforts to take advantage of advanced U.S Technologies & India’s rapidly growing energy market.
Both sides gave a nod to hold the Third meeting of a revised India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership at an early date.
The focus areas of the partnership will be Biofuels, hydrogen production, CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage), and carbon sequestration through technological exchange.
Both India and US have agreed to carry out a joint Research & development through Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R) among other initiatives.
About United States of America
President – Joe Biden
Capital – Washington DC
Fourth batch of 3 Rafale Fighter Jets arrived in India
The fourth batch of 3 Rafale fighter jets from France was received by the Indian Air Force (IAF), raising the total aircraft fleet count to 14. Earlier, India ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation for an estimated cost of Rs. 59,000 crores. In July 2020, the 1st batch of 5 Rafale jets reached India.
Notably, in the last 23 years, this is India’s 1st major acquisition of fighter planes, only after Russia’s Sukhoi jets deal.
The 1st Rafale squadron is under operation in the Ambala air force station.
India topped the list of countries with most number of real-time transactions in Digital Payments
According to the report, launched by ACI Worldwide and GlobalData, titled Prime-Time for Real Time-2021, with 25.5 Billion transactions India topped the list of countries with most number of real-time transactions in Digital Payments in 2020. It was followed by China at 15.7 Billion real-time transactions & South Korea at 6.0 Billion.
The report further states that:
It is expected that by 2025, Digital Payments will account for 71.7% of all Transactions in India, while Cash, Cheques & other forms of payments will occupy only 28.3 %.
Globally, Total number of real-time transactions in 2020 was 70.3 Billion, which is an increase of 41% compared to 2019, wherein there were only 50 Billion Transactions.
Global real-time payment growth:
The real-time share of Global electronic transactions in 2020 was 9.8% (up from 7.6% in 2019). And by 2025, it is expected to reach 17.4%.
The value of real-time transactions rose from USD 69 Trillion to USD 92 Trillion (an increase of 32.8%).
About ACI Worldwide
President – Odilon Almeida
HQ – Florida, USA
Actor Rajinikanth to be honoured with 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019
On 1st April 2021, Union Minister, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced that actor Rajinikanth (70 years old) will be honoured with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2019 as a recognition of his dedication and contribution to the film industry as an Actor, Producer and screenwriter.
Rajinikanth will become the 12th South Indian to be presented with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
The inaugural or 1st Dadasaheb Phalke Award was presented to actor Devika Rani at the 17th National Film Awards held in 1970.
Dadasaheb Phalke Award is the highest honour for the artists of the Indian Film Industry. It was instituted in 1969.
About Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:
Union Minister- Prakash Javadekar (Rajya Sabha – Maharashtra)
Eduard Heger, Former Slovak Finance Minister to be appointed as Prime Minister of Slovakia
President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova appointed Former Slovak Finance Minister Eduard Heger, 44 as the Prime Minister of Slovakia. Eduard Heger will succeed Former Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who now have been appointed as the Finance Minister of Slovakia.
From 2016 to 2020, Eduard Heger was a manager and parliamentary deputy from Matovic’s OLANO party.
The above appointment had been done after Igor Matovic’s sudden acquisition of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in March 2021.
UN World Autism Awareness Day observed
United Nations (UN)’s World Autism Awareness Day is annually observed across the world on 2nd April. This day is observed to call attention to the needs to improve the quality of the life of the people living with autism.
On 18th December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/62/139 and proclaimed the 2nd April of every year as the World Autism Awareness Day starting from 2008.
On 2nd April 2008, the first World Autism Awareness Day was observed.
A virtual event was organised by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the UN Department of Global Communications, in collaboration with the Specialisterne Foundation, as a part of the observance of World Autism Awareness Day.