Weekly Current Affairs April 2021

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 April 2021 – Week 1

1. Current Affairs – International News & Global Economy

China finishes ratifying RCEP, member economies inspired to quicken completion of the deal

China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the country has completed the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. The RCEP is the world’s largest free trade zone, planned by 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the agreement, the implementation of the deal requires ratification by at least nine countries in the pact. Japan’s RCEP ratification will be considered significant. For details visit.

What is the RCEP? | CNBC Explains

What’s RCEP, why India walked out & the lure of protectionism versus creative destruction of capitalism

What is RCEP and why has India stayed out of it? What is TPP? Is India simply cautious or averse to the competition? A virtue of creative destruction of capitalism versus protectionist instincts.

Russia warns the U.S. against deployment to Ukraine

Russia is “aggravating” Donbass situation, Ukraine recently claimed. A North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) official has also accused Russia of undermining peace efforts. Meanwhile, the US has promised support to Ukraine. Russia warned the West against sending troops to Ukraine to buttress its ally. Weeks of renewed frontline clashes have shredded a ceasefire and raised fears of an escalation of the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists. For details visit.

Why Ukraine is trapped in endless conflict

‘Lehman moment’ fears arise from Archegos share dump: How will banks be impacted?

Archegos Capital Management, a private investment firm based in New York, resorted to a huge fire sale of stocks worth $20 billion that caused big drops in the share prices of companies linked to the investment firm, putting markets on the edge about the scale of the possible fallout. Nomura said that it faced a possible $2 billion loss due to transactions with a US client while Credit Suisse is estimated to have lost between $3 bn and $4 bn. Deutsche Bank was also exposed to the Archegos sell-off, but its losses are expected to be a fraction of those suffered by other brokers. For details visit.

What is Archegos Fiasco and how is it relevant to Indian Markets

2. Current Affairs – Indian Economy & Other News

India’s forex kitty swells by $101.5 bn in FY21, steepest rise in one financial year

India’s foreign exchange reserves continue to be in record-setting mode – FY21 saw $101.5 billion dollars accretion in reserves. This is the steepest rise ever in foreign exchange reserves in one financial year. Data published also showed the central bank shored up its forex reserves to $579.3 billion as of March 26. This is slightly down from the record high of $590 billion in January-end. India’s forex reserves are ranked third in the world after Japan and China, show Bloomberg. For details visit.

India sends out a clear signal of its clout, foreshadowing coming changes in the world oil scene.

When India’s government last month asked refiners to speed up diversification and reduce dependence on the Middle East – days after OPEC+ said it would maintain production cuts – it sent a message about its clout and foreshadowed changes to the world’s energy maps. “Until recently, the balance of power was skewed towards Saudi Arabia, but increasingly, India is using access to its market and the diversity of options to put pressure on Saudi Arabia,” consultancy Eurasia said in a note. “For Saudi Arabia, losing market share in a global environment in which most developed economies are already seeing their oil demand decline due to green policy implementation, would be a blow”. For details visit.

India pushes back deadline for coal-fired utilities to adopt new emission norms

India has pushed back deadlines for coal-fired power plants to adopt new emission norms by up to three years and allowed utilities that miss the new target to continue operating after paying a penalty, according to a government notice. India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxides. But that was postponed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022. Operators of coal-fired utilities including state-run NTPC Ltd and industry groups representing private companies such as Reliance Power and Adani Power have long been lobbying for dilution of the pollution standards, citing high compliance costs. For details visit.

3. Current Affairs – Politics

PM Modi wraps up Bangladesh visit, calls foR greater bilateral cooperation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina reviewed progress in development and connectivity initiatives even as the two countries signed five agreements in areas ranging from trade to disaster management. Modi handed over a symbolic key to Hasina for 109 ambulances gifted by India, and also donated 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as a grant. For details visit.

The Election Commission’s new rule for polling agents, and TMC’s objections to it

The Election Commission’s recent decision to change the rules for appointing polling agents has sparked off a debate in West Bengal. As per the new regulations, a political party can now nominate a polling agent for any booth within the assembly segment he/she is a voter from. Earlier, the polling agent had to be a voter of the booth or an adjoining booth that he/she is working at. The Trinamool has been opposing the change in rules, calling it “arbitrary, motivated and biased” and has also written to the Election Commission seeking withdrawal of the order. The BJP, on the other hand, has been supporting the move saying it ensures free and fair elections. For details visit.

Modi vs Mamata

With the BJP yet to announce a chief ministerial candidate for the state and heavily banking on the personal charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it will most likely boil down to a Modi versus Mamata battle. A look into the history of Modi vs Mamata.

4. Current Affairs – Markets, Banking, and Finance

Government withdraws small savings scheme rate cut

The Centre has pulled back its decision to cut interest rates of small savings schemes. This came after the Ministry of Finance had on March 31 announced a cut in small savings deposit rate from 4 percent to 3.5 percent for the first quarter of the financial year starting April 1, 2021. Besides this, rates of other small saving schemes were also cut. The ministry said the rate cuts “are in line with overall interest rate movement in the financial system.” The announcement, however, was met with intense backlash from the public, a probable reason why the cut was rolled back. For details visit.

Tiger Global raises its thirteenth global fund of $6.65 billion

New York-based investment firm Tiger Global has raised its thirteenth global fund of $6.65 billion, its biggest corpus so far, at a time when it is doubling down on India taking bigger bets in the country across various sectors. Tiger has been on a major funding spree in the Indian market over the last two years, again becoming a very active investor in the local ecosystem. According to data from Venture Intelligence, up to March 1, the fund had pumped in $189 million in six companies such as Innovaccer, Infra. Market, Ally, Cred, and Zomato. Till date, the fund has invested $3.4 billion across 83 companies in India, data from Venture Intelligence showed. For details visit.

No plans to exit India biz: Franklin Templeton’s Sanjay Sapre

Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund said its commitment to India remains ‘steadfast’ and the fund house has no plans to exit its operations in the country. This comes following media reports suggesting intervention by the fund house’s US-headquartered parent seeking the diplomatic route for a “just and fair” hearing by market regulator SEBI in the investigation pertaining to six wound-up debt schemes. According to the reports, Franklin Templeton had threatened to exit India if it was not given a fair hearing. For details visit. 

Post FY21’s magic returns, how will domestic equities fare in FY22?

Tune in to understand how markets will fare in FY22, what to expect from Q4 earnings, sectors that look attractive, and more. For details visit. 

5. Current Affairs – Business

Pawan Goenka to bid goodbye to Mahindra Group after 27 years

Mahindra Group announced that Pawan K Goenka will retire as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, as well as Member of the Board of Directors of the company, with effect from April 2, 2021. Goenka will be replaced by Dr Anish Shah, who is currently the Deputy Managing Director and Group Chief Financial Officer at Mahindra & Mahindra, from April 2. In November, when Chairman Anand Mahindra transitions to the role of Non-Executive Chairman, Shah will become the first professional MD and CEO in the history of the Mahindra Group to have complete oversight of and responsibility for the Mahindra Group businesses. For details visit. 

Mahindra Group’s Anish Shah on Growth & Restructuring Plans ahead

Anish Shah the newly appointed MD and CEO outlines the Mahindra 3.0 strategy & plans to drive growth, their restructuring plans & the road ahead.

Dr. Pawan Goenka & Mahindra – A Story of 25 Years | Mahindra’s Auto Journey

Shapoorji Pallonji Group promoters set to receive a Rs 5,000-crore lifeline

The promoters of Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group, the Mistry family, are all set to receive a Rs 4500-Rs 5000 crore lifeline from Ares SSG and US hedge fund Farallon Capital, two top special situations financiers that will help them meet their immediate liquidity concerns. The term sheet between both sides has already been signed and an announcement is expected within the next 7-10 days. For details visit. 

ETtech Deals Digest: Byju’s, Firstcry raise funds, Wipro buys Ampion

A consortium of private equity investors – TPG, ChrysCapital, and Premji Invest – has invested around $315 million in Firstcry, valuing the omnichannel children’s retailer at around $1.9-$2.1 billion. Ed-tech leader Byju’s raised around $460 million as part of its ongoing Series F round, led by MC Global Edtech Investment Holdings LP and participation from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, among other investors. The investment values the Bengaluru-based company at a little over $13 billion. For details visit. 

Bengaluru cab driver’s death shows Ola, Uber have more to fix than Profits

The financial distress that has befallen India’s cab drivers after the arrival of Ola and Uber saw 32-year-old Pratap, a cab driver with the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), die by self-immolation near the Bengaluru airport. Tanveer Pasha, president of the Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber (OTU) Drivers’ Union in Bengaluru has stated that an indefinite strike may be on the cards if Ola and Uber fail to guarantee better prices to their drivers. He also mentioned that after deducting the cab aggregator’s commission on every ride and the GST surcharge, a driver is able to pocket only 70% of the ride fare. For details visit. 

The Economics of Uber

6. Current Affairs – Policy

Govt proposes up to 25% tax concession on new vehicles if owners submit scrappage certificate

As per the draft notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, personal vehicles purchased with a certificate of vehicle scrapping will be given a concession of 25 percent on motor vehicle tax, while commercial vehicles will be given a concession of 15 percent. The tax concession will be for a period of eight years for commercial vehicles, while for personal vehicles the concession will be for a period of 15 years from the date of registration, the government said. For details visit. 

7. Current Affairs – Sports

Explained: Why football’s super agents and FIFA are on collision course

The Football Stakeholders Committee and the FIFA Council unanimously endorsed last year a series of reform proposals concerning football agents with the aim to protect the integrity of football and prevent abuses. These measures were the result of an extensive consultation process with stakeholders (players, clubs, leagues, and member associations), as well as agents who were invited to several consultation meetings. In 2019, a group of super-agents, including Raiola, Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett formed the ‘Football Forum’. It’s a group that has specifically been created to unionize in the face of Fifa’s reforms. While the Football Forum is ready to take Fifa to court — should the reforms be made legal — their activities have forced Fifa’s hand. For details visit. 

8. Current Affairs – Opinion

Explained: Why resignation of military chiefs spells trouble for Brazil

Many are on edge in Brazil after the chiefs of all three branches of its armed forces jointly resigned after embattled right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro appointed a new, like-minded defence minister as part of a major cabinet rejig. The united exit of the commanders is said to be unprecedented for the Latin American country, which saw its last dictatorship end in 1985, and is being seen as a protest against Bolsonaro’s efforts to exert greater influence over the military. For details visit. 

India’s Post COVID Opportunity | Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Sanjeev Sanyal | India Economic Conclave 2021

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Scholar & Risk Expert), Sanjeev Sanyal (Principal Economic Adviser, GOI) discuss India’s post-COVID opportunity, with Mihir Bhatt, Chief Editor, Times Network. Nassim Nicholas analyses whether India’s lockdown in March 2020 was a black swan event. How different are the classes of diseases that are yet to come and how have we coped with pandemics in the past? 

The Economic Times CEO Roundtable

A star cast of global and Indian business leaders give their take on issues that matter most – Indian and the global economy, how long before the shadow of Covid starts lifting, are we looking at V or a W-shaped recovery, impact on technology and business.

ET Startup Awards 2020. How will digital power the future of financial services?

What Happens When China Becomes Number One?

Kishore Mahbubani, former Singapore diplomat & Distinguished Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute talks at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

Kishore Mahbubani on why India should stop being protectionist & talk to adversaries like China

Kishore Mahbubani, former Singapore diplomat & Distinguished Fellow at National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute explains why India must never stop talking to its adversaries like China, lessons India can draw from ASEAN countries and why the refusal to join RCEP was a mistake.

With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs April 2021 -week 1. 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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