Current Affairs in Short: 1 April 2021
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, will be visiting India as a part of his first Asia tour next week.
US special presidential envoy for climate to visit India next week
•US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, will be visiting India as a part of his first Asia tour next week. He will be holding consultations on increasing climate ambition ahead of US President Joe Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate .
•This will be John Kerry's first trip to Asia since taking office early this year. He will be visiting UAE, India and Bangladesh from April 1-9.
•Kerry will be the second top official of the Biden Administration to visit India after US Defence secretary Lloyd Austin, who visited New Delhi in March.
•Kerry tweeted saying that he looks forward to meaningful discussions with friends in the Emirates, India, and Bangladesh on how to tackle the climate crisis.
Russia registers world's first COVID-19 vaccine for animals
•Russia has registered the world's first Covid-19 vaccine for animals. This was informed by the deputy head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) Konstantin Savenkov on March 31, 2021.
•The vaccine-Carnivak-Cov- has been developed by Rosselkhoznadzor's Federal Center for Animal Health. It is a sorbate inactivated vaccine against the coronavirus infection for carnivorous animals.
•It is currently the world's first and only product for preventing COVID-19 in animals. The mass production of the vaccine may be launched as early as April.
•The clinical trials of the vaccine had begun in October 2020 and it involved cats, dogs, minks, foxes, artic foxes and other animals.
RBI extends deadline for processing auto-debit payments by 6 months
•The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 31, 2021 extended the timeline for processing recurring online transactions by six months to September 30, 2021.
•The RBI had issued a framework for processing of e-mandates on recurring online transactions in August 2019. The framework was initially applicable to cards and wallets but was later extended to cover Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions as well in January 2020.
•To prevent any inconvenience to the customers, the RBI has decided to extend the timeline for the stakeholders to migrate to the framework by six months.The requirement of additional factor of authentication have made digital payments in India safe and secure.
Centre withdraws interest rate cut order on PPF, other small saving schemes
•The centre has withdrawn the lowered rate of interest on Small Savings Schemes that was announced earlier. Now, the rate of interest on these schemes will remain unchanged as the last quarter of 2020-2021. This was informed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on April 1, 2021.
•The Union Minister announced that the interest rates of small savings schemes of the government shall continue to be at the rates that existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021. The earlier rate of interest will remain effective till further orders.
•The rate of interest for savings deposits was reduced from 4 per cent to 3.5 per cent annually, as per an office memorandum of the Ministry of Finance that was issued on march 28, 2021. Similarly, the rate of interest for Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme was also reduced from 7.6 to 6.9 per cent.
Trump's visa ban due to expire
•Former US President Donald Trump's visa ban order is scheduled to expire. The restriction was imposed in June 2020 for certain temporary workers to protect American jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic.
•The expiry of the visa ban means that the H-1B visa applicants no longer have to wait for President Biden to reverse the order.
•Current US President Joe Biden has opted not to renew the suspension in order to restore the pipeline of skilled foreign workers.
•Trump had imposed a ban on US employment permits to year-end and broadened it to include H-1B visas that are used widely in the tech industry, which came as a huge blow to Indians.