Current Affairs






Weekly One Liners 15th February 2021 to 21th February 2021



Four Women Scientists wins SERB Women Excellence Award 2021

The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has announced the SERB Women Excellence Award for the year 2021,on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Four young women fellows of National Science Academies have been awarded SERB Women Excellence Award 2021.


The winners include:

• Dr Shobhna Kapoor - Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, working in the area of Chemical Biology with expertise in ‘HostPathogen Interactions and Membrane Biology, Chemical Biology and Biophysics’

• Dr Antara Banerjee – Scientist B National Institute For Research In Reproductive Health, Mumbai, Maharashtra from the Health Sciences area with expertise in Signal Transduction, Biology of Reproduction and Endocrinology,

• Dr Sonu Gandhi –Scientist D from National Institute Of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad from Bionanotechnology area focusing on Nanosensors, Design and Fabrication of Label-free Biosensors .

• Dr Ritu Gupta – Assistant Professor at Indian Institute Of Technology Jodhpur, Rajasthan working on Nanotechnology with expertise in Materials Science, Nanodevices and Sensors, Health & Energy About SERB Women Excellence Award 2021

• It is a one-time award being presented by SERB to women scientists since 2013 to support basic research in the frontier areas of science and engineering.

• The women scientists should be below 40 years of age.

• She must have received recognition from any one or more of the National Academies such as Young Scientist Medal, Young Associateship, etc.

• The award provides a grant of Rs. 15 lakhs for a period of three years to the awardees to pursue their research ideas.


Bhim Army's Chandra Shekhar Azad named in TIME's list

Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad and five Indian-origin personalities have been featured in the 2021 TIME100 Next.

TIME100 Next 2021 is the second edition of the annual list of Time magazine’s 100 ‘emerging leaders who are shaping the future.

About Bhim Army:

Bhim Army is a Dalit rights organisation based in Uttar Pradesh to help Dalits escape poverty through education.

It was founded by Satish Kumar, Vijay Ratan Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad in 2015.

The five Indian-origin persons in Time100 Next list are:

• Twitter lawyer: Vijaya Gadde

• UK’s Finance Minister: Rishi Sunak

• Instacart founder and CEO:: Apoorva Mehta

• Get Us PPE executive director and doctor: Shikha Gupta

• Founder of nonprofit Upsolve’s: Rohan Pavuluri.


National Affairs:

• Union road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari has launched India’s first-ever diesel tractor, converted to a much cleaner (compressed natural gas) CNG variant. With this, farmers will be able to save more than ₹1 trillion annually on fuel cost, which will help them to improve their livelihood.

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently launched an online portal ‘e-Chhawani’ and mobile app, to facilitate ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of doing’ for the residents of the Cantonment Boards across the country. The ‘e-Chhawani’ portal will provide online municipal services to more than 20 lakh citizens across all 62 Cantonment Boards of India while sitting at home.

• The National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has launched an instant messaging platform called “Sandes”. Similar to WhatsApp, the new government instant messaging systems (GIMS) platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone using a mobile number or email id.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually launched ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ initiative in Assam. He laid the foundation stone for the Dhubri Phulbari bridge. PM also perform the bhumi puja for the construction of Majuli Bridge in Assam.

PM has announced the details stated that the landmark day in the development journey for Assam as Mahabahu-Brahmaputra initiative is going to be launched.


International Affairs:

• The former European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Italy on 12 February 2021.

• The United States has extended the “New START” nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia for a period of five years. The New START, which stands for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation.

• The People’s Republic of China has overtaken the United States (US) as the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU) in 2020, according to the data by the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat. Britain, which left the European Union in 2020, was the third-largest trading partner for the bloc, behind China and the United States.

• The first day of the spring called ‘Pahela Phagun’ was celebrated in Dhaka, Bangladesh despite the continued shadow of Corona pandemic in the country. Cultural organisations held programmes at different venues in the city to herald the beginning of the spring. Programmes were held at the Suhrawardy Udyan, Nandan Manch of Shilpakala Academy and several other locations.

• The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia has announced his resignation. The 45-year-old Gakharia served as the Prime Minister from 8 September 2019 to 18 February 2021. He was stepping down because of disagreements within his own team over the decision to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the United National Movement opposition party.


pApointments/Resignations:

• Tata Motors Limited has appointed Marc Llistosella as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD). The appointment of Llistosella will be effective from July 1, 2021.

• The International Solar Alliance (ISA) has announced Dr Ajay Mathur as its new DirectorGeneral following his election at the first special assembly of ISA members. Dr Mathur replaces Mr Upendra Tripathy, who has served as DirectorGeneral since the ISA was founded in 2015.

• The UN Capital Development Fund has appointed Indian-origin investment and development banker Preeti Sinha as its Executive Secretary, the highest leadership rank in the institution. She succeeds Judith Karl. He will work with a focus on providing micro-finance assistance to women, youth, small and medium-sized enterprises in under-served communities.

• Ajai Malhotra became the first Indian to be elected as the Chairperson of the United Nations Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council. He has been on the Indian team negotiating issues such as biological diversity, climate change, desertification, education, energy, forestry, health, human rights, human settlements, intellectual property, international law, labour, ozone depletion, sustainable development and trade.


Defence News:

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has handed over the indigenous main battle tank Arjun Mk-1A to the Army in a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane received the model of the tank, designed and developed by Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), a unit of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

• India joined Iran and Russia in the naval exercise dubbed as “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021”, which kicked-off in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The Chinese navy will also join the exercise. The purpose of the drill is to enhance the security of international maritime trade, confront maritime piracy and terrorism, and exchange information.

• Indian Naval Ship Pralaya reached Abu Dhabi in UAE to participate in the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 21) and International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 21) from February 20 to 25, 2021. NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 is one of the leading international naval and defence exhibitions of the region.

• Defence Research and Development Organisation has successfully carried out joint user trials of indigenously developed Helina and Dhruvastra Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from the Advanced Light Helicopter at the Pokhran deserts in Rajasthan.


Obituaries:

• Noted jurist and a former Governor of Bihar and Jharkhand, Justice (Retd.) M. Rama Jois has passed away. The former Rajya Sabha MP, had also served as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was also a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India.

• War veteran Major General (retired) Basant Kumar Mahapatra, who had participated in major battles including the 1962 Indo-China war, and 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan war, has passed away.

• Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Captain Satish Sharma passed away. He served as the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1993 to 1996 in the Narasimha Rao government.



Weekly Current Affairs 8th February 2021 to 14th February 2021



RBI Releases Annual Report of Ombudsman Schemes for 2019-20

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released the Annual Report of the Ombudsman Schemes for the year 2019- 20. There was an increase of around 65 per cent in the receipt of complaints out of which almost 92 per cent have been disposed of. RBI has three OmbudsmanBanking, Non-Banking Finance Company (i.e. NBFC) and digital transactions. A common man can approach this Ombudsman for their grievances. As per the RBI’s report, all three received in total 3,30,543 complaints in 19-20 as compared to 2,00,362 in 18-19. Banking Ombudsman received major complaints regarding ATM & Debit Cards, Mobile & Electronic Banking while NBFC’s Ombudsmen received most complaints about non-observance of regulatory guidelines, lack of transparency in contract/ loan agreement and levy of charges without notice.


Important Points:

• The Banking Ombudsman received major complaints regarding ATM & Debit Cards, Mobile & Electronic Banking.

• NBFC’s Ombudsman received most complaints about non-observance of regulatory guidelines, lack of transparency in contract/ loan agreement and levy of charges without notice.

• Digital Transactions Ombudsmen received most complaints about fund transfer. RBI has taken various measures for creating awareness among various stakeholders to minimize the grievances.

• As announced in the Monetary Policy Statement last week, the three Ombudsman Schemes are being merged and integrated into a single scheme which will be rolled out starting from June this year.


Steve Smith claims Allan Border Medal for third time in his career

Former Australian captain Steve Smith won the third Allan Border Medal of his career at the Australian Cricket Awards for the period 2020-21. The Allan Border Medal recognizes the most outstanding male Australian cricketer of the past season as voted by his peers, the media and umpires. Apart from this, Beth Mooney bagged Belinda Clarke Award, the top honor for a female player at the Australian Cricket Awards. This is the maiden Belinda Clarke Award for Mooney.


List of 2021 Australian Cricket Awards:

• Belinda Clark Award: Beth Mooney.

• Allan Border Medal: Steve Smith.

• Men’s Test Player of the Year: Pat Cummins.

• Women’s One Day International Player of the Year: Rachel Haynes.

• Male One Day International Player of the Year: Steve Smith.

• Female International Twenty20 Player of the Year: Beth Mooney.

• Male International Twenty20 Player of the Year: Ashton Agar.

• Female Domestic Player of the Year: Elyse Villani.

• Male Domestic Player of the Year: Shaun Marsh.

• Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year: Hannah Darlington.

• Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year: Will Sutherland.

• Community Impact Award: Joshua Lalor.

• Hall of Fame inductions: Johnny Mullagh, Merv Hughes, Lisa Sthalekar.


National Affairs

• As per the recent data by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), four more states have completed the reforms in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’, as stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. The four states are- Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

• The Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Kailash Choudhry has inaugurated the National Horticulture Fair (NHF) 2021 on February 08, 2021, in Bengaluru via virtual mode. The five-day-long event has been organized by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), from February 8 to February 12 at its IIHR campus situated in Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru. The theme of NHF 2021 is ‘Horticulture for Start-Up and Stand-Up India’.

• The Government of India will organize the first ever ‘The India Toy Fair, 2021′ from February 27, 2021, to March 02, 2021, on a virtual platform. The official website for India Toy Fair-2021 is www.theindiatoyfair.in. This initiative is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of making India a global hub for the Toy Industry.

• The glacier burst took place at the Rishiganga power project after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on 7th February morning and damaged the Rishiganga dam on Alaknanda river. National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan Vishnugad project on Dhauliganga river and Rishi Ganga Power Corporation Ltd’s project, with a planned capacity of 520 MW and 13.2 MW, respectively, have been nearly washed away.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the ‘Asom Mala’ programme in Dhekiajuli of Sonitpur district, Assam. As per the PMO, this initiative will boost the state’s road infrastructure and contribute to Assam’s economic progress and improve connectivity.

• Uttar Pradesh government has introduced a system of issuing a unique 16-digit Unicode to mark all kinds of landholdings in the state. The main purpose of the system is to check the cases of land disputes, put an end to fake registries of the disputed land and save people from falling into the trap of fraudsters.

• The health department in Madhya Pradesh has launched the Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (‘SAANS’) campaign. The main purpose of the campaign is to reduce the death rate due to pneumonia among infants a strategy is being chalked out under the Social awareness campaign in which medical staff is being trained.

• The Central government has given its approval for the creation of a fifth tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu that will encompass the Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuaries. It will be the 51st Tiger Sanctuary of India.

• The Karnataka government issued an official gazette notification to declare Vijayanagara as the 31st district of the state. The new district has been carved out of Ballari and named after the Vijayanagara empire that ruled from this region.

• A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Meghalaya police and the State Bank of India for implementation of the e-Challan within the jurisdiction of the Shillong Traffic Police (STP). The e-Challan system which will be launched in the days to come is a digital traffic enforcement solution whereby, imposing penalties on violators of traffic rules and generating of challan will be done digitally.

• Indian Govt and Chhattisgarh Govt has signed a $100 million for CHIRAAG (Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth) project with the World bank. The main purpose is to develop sustainable production systems that allow tribal households in remote areas of Chhattisgarh to practice round-the-year production of diversified and nutritious food.

• The state government of Madhya Pradesh has launched a water conservation campaign called ‘Jalabhishekam’, under which more than 57,000 water structures has been constructed. The campaign was inaugurated by the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh virtually.


International Affairs

• President Moon Jae-in-led, South Korea Government has approved a plan to build the world’s largest wind power plant in the country by 2030. Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is Hornsea 1 in Britain, which has 1.12 GW capacity. The project will help to foster an environmentally-friendly recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and fasten the step to achieve the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

• The 14th International Children’s Film Festival of Bangladesh (ICFFB) came to an end in Dhaka. A total of 12 awards were presented to the winners at the concluding ceremony. Dutch Film Jackie and Oopjen were awarded the Best International Feature Film Award. Bangladeshi film Maati got The Young Talent Award while Lottery won the Special mention under the Young Talent Award.

• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has put a probe called Hope in the orbit around the MARS. UAE has become the fifth country to launch the spacecraft into the orbit of MARS after United States, Soviet Union, Europe and India. With the successful launch of spacecraft in orbit, UAE scientists can now study the planet’s atmosphere.


Agreements/MoUs Signed

• The defence ministry has signed a contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to procure a software-defined radio tactical (SDR-Tac) shipborne system worth over Rs 1,000 crore. The procurement of SDR-Tac (software-defined radio tactical) “will bring strategic depth to the armed forces.

• India’s first-ever geothermal power project will be implemented by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at Puga village of eastern Ladakh. The project, known as Geothermal Field Development Project, will be implemented in three phases and is planned to commission by the end of 2022.

• Skyroot Aerospace has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bellatrix Aerospace to make use the Orbital Transfer Vehicle, being developed by Bellatrix Aerospace, in the upper stage of Vikram series of launch vehicles, being developed by Skyroot. The vehicle is expected to launch to low earth orbit in 2023 on the Vikram rocket. The vehicle is expected to help global operators reduce time and costs for launching communication and earth observation satellites.

• India and Afghanistan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU over videoteleconferencing (VTC), for the construction of the Shahtoot Dam (Lalander Dam) on a tributary of the Kabul river in Afghanistan. The project, which costs nearly $ 300 million, is a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan.

• Digital payments platform, PhonePe has announced that it has partnered with Axis Bank on a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) multi-bank model. The partnership will provide PhonePe users with the option to create and use multiple UPI IDs with Axis Bank’s “@axl” handle. This collaboration with PhonePe strengthens our commitment towards digitisation of the Indian payment ecosystem. It will help expand our reach to customers and the merchant community while offering secure and seamless payment experiences.


Banking/Economy/Business News

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that it will purchase four government securities (G-Secs) that amount to ₹20,000 crores. The central bank will purchase it on February 10, 2021, under the open market operations (OMOs). This move was announced in aftermath of the yields that were moving up to touch the intra-day high of 6.1634 per cent recently. The RBI was concerned about the higher government borrowing.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched the Financial Literacy Week (FLW) from February 8-12, 2021, to propagate financial education. RBI conducts Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme every year across the country, through a focused campaign. The theme for 2021 FLW is ”Credit Discipline and Credit from Formal Institutions”.

• The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Economic Research Department has revised GDP estimates of India for FY21 to contract 7.0%. Earlier this was estimated GDP at -7.4%. The SBI Research Report has retained its GDP forecast for FY22 at 11 per cent.

• India’s growth would bounce back to 10.4% in the upcoming fiscal according to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). FY22 would broadly be covering the lost ground of FY21. Regarding this reduced allocation to the rural employment guarantee scheme. The rating agency expects GDP growth to turn positive at 0.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of FY21 after shrinking in the first nine months of the year.

• The New Development Bank (NDB) has committed to invest USD 100 million (Rs 727.6 crore), into the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited (NIIF) Fund of Funds (FoF). With NDB’s investment, the total commitments secured by the FoF has reached $800 million (about Rs 5,820 crore). This investment marks NDB’s first equity investment into India and its first-ever investment into a Fund of Funds .

• The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) will provide USD 400 million to the Maldives through Line of Credit (LoC) to fund the Greater Male Connectivity Project. The agreement under the LoC will be effective from January 28, 2021. The 6.7 km Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) will be the largest civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives, connecting Male with three neighbouring islands – Villingili, Gulhifahu and Thilafushi.


Defence News

• The India-US joint military exercise “Yudh Abhyas 20” commenced in Mahajan Field Firing Range of Bikaner district in Rajasthan. This is the 16th edition of an annual bilateral joint exercise of both the armies. It will continue till the 21st of this month.

• A maiden contingent of 34 CRPF women personnel has been inducted into its specialized jungle warfare commando force CoBRA. The contingent will soon be deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid of the country. This women’s contingent will undergo pre-induction training for 3 months and then deployed with the units in Naxal violenceaffected districts of Chhattisgarh like Dantewada, Sukma, and Bijapur. The members of the 34 CRPF women personnel contingent have been chosen from the 6 all-women battalions of CRPF.

• The Indian Navy is carrying out a mega war game involving almost all operational assets like warships, submarines and aircraft over a vast geographical expanse in the Indian Ocean Region to test the force’s combat readiness in a complex multi-dimensional scenario. The biennial ‘Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX)’ aims to validate the Navy’s offensive as well as defence capabilities and safeguard national interests in the maritime domain besides promoting peace and stability in the Indian Ocean.


Awards and Recognitions

• Robert Irwin, an Australian wildlife photographer, has won the first prize in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award Contest. Robert won the award for the image titled ‘bushfire’, which is the picture of the devastating Australian Bushfire in 2020, he captured using a drone, near the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland. The image shows a line of fire burning in between the bushes, dividing it into parts.

• The Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) or Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru has bagged global recognition from the Airports Council International World’s ‘Voice of the Customer’ award. The ‘Voice of the Customer’ recognises airports that continued to prioritise their customers and remained committed to ensuring that their voice was heard during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

• The Tamil film “Koozhangal” has won “Tiger” award, at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. The Tiger award is the top honour of the festival, given for best film. Koozhangal (meaning Pebbles) has been Produced by Nayanthara and directed by Vinod Raj PS.

• Telangana-based Manasa Varanasi has been crowned as the winner of VLCC Femina Miss India World 2020. Manasa Varanasi was crowned by the winner of Miss India 2019, Suman Ratan Singh Rao from Rajasthan. The 23-year-old will now represent India at the 70th Miss World pageant in December 2021. Born in Hyderabad, Manasa Varanasi is an engineer by profession and works as a financial information exchange analyst. Manika Sheokand of Haryana: Miss Grand India 2020, Manya Singh of Uttar Pradesh: Miss India 2020 runner-up.


Science and Technology

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected spaceflight company, SpaceX to launch its SPHEREx Mission. Through this mission, NASA aims to perform an all-sky survey to measure the near-infrared spectra of approximately 450 million galaxies across the universe and 100 million stars inside our Milky Way galaxy.

• The newly constituted Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council has approved for the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope. The telescope will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence. To look into some of the unexplored areas of the universe and seek answers about its history and evolution, study fundamental physics in extreme environments and know about galaxies over cosmic time.

• The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has announced to set up the first ‘Thunderstorm Research Testbed’ of the country at Odisha’s Balasore district. The main objective of the “Thunderstorm Research Testbed” is to minimalise human fatalities and loss of property due to lightning strikes.

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has opened its UR Rao Satellite Centre for testing satellites developed by the private sector for the first time in its history. Two satellites, developed by the Indian startups SpaceKidz India and Pixxel (incorporated as Sygyzy) were tested at the UR Rao Satellite Centre.

• The Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has won the inaugural ICC Player of the Month award 2021. Apart from this, Shabnim Ismail of South Africa has been named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month following her performances across three ODIs and two T20Is in January 2021.

• Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma became the sixth Indian and third pacer from the country to take 300 wickets in Test cricket. The 32-year-old Ishant reached the milestone in 98 matches, more than the other Indian bowlers in the club. Besides Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434), Ravichandran Ashwin (377 before this game), Harbhajan Singh (417), and Zaheer Khan (311) are the other bowlers from the country who have reached the landmark. Important Day.


Obituaries

• Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer, who rose to prominence for his critically-acclaimed film ‘Sound of Music’, has passed away. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award.

• Tennis legend Akhtar Ali, a father figure in Indian tennis, passed away. He represented India in eight Davis Cup ties agains Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Mexico, Japan and Monaco between 1958 and 1964.

• Founder of Rang Vidushak and theatre director Padma Shri Bansi Kaul passed away. He was born in 1949 in a Kashmiri Pandit family, Bansi Kaul was a Hindi theatre director and the founder of Rang Vidushak, a theatre group and theatre institute in Bhopal.

**• Bollywood actor and Raj Kapoor’s son Rajiv Kapoor passed away. He made his acting debut with 1983 movie Ek Jaan Hain Hum. He gained recognition with his father’s last directorial Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).



Weekly Current Affairs 1st February 2021 to 7th February 2021



Union Budget 2021-22 is being presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting the Union Budget 2021 for the 3rd time in a row. The Union Budget is the yearly financial report estimating the income and expenditure presented to outline future policies to be adopted by the government for sustainable growth and development. The Economic Survey 2020-21 was released on 29th January 2021 by the Chief Economic Advisor of India, Krishnamurthy Subramanian. According to the survey, India’s economy could contract 7.7 per cent in the financial year that ends on March 31. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her Budget speech at 12.50 pm. In February 2020, FM Nirmala Sitharaman spoke for a record 162 minutes — two hours and 42 minutes — in Lok Sabha. FM Sitharaman only had two pages of her Budget speech unread, when she appeared uneasy and her Budget speech was cut short.


Here are the key highlights from the Union Budget 2021-22:

• Total COVID-19 support measures amount to 13 per cent of GDP and total COVID-19 support measures by government and RBI amounts to Rs 27.1 lakh crore. The ‘Aatmanirbhar’ Packages accelerated India’s rate of reform.

• India has two COVID-19 vaccines available and we expect two more vaccines soon. India currently also has one of the lowest death rate and active cases in the world. India’s economic contraction is due to a global pandemic. The government is fully prepared to support and facilitate economic reset.

• Three times has a Budget followed contraction in the economy. Vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Part-A of the Budget speech. ‘Aatmanirbharta’ consists of doubling farm income and strong infrastructure. It consists of good governance and women empowerment. Proposals for the FY22 Budget rests on 6 pillars.

• First of six pillars Aatmanirbhar Yojana in addition to the National Health Mission introduce the Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years. This will strengthen the National Centre for Disease Control. Besides this, the government will also set up 15 Health Emergency Centres.

• Jal Jeevan Mission with an outlay of Rs 2.87 lakh crore to cover houses and to be implemented over five years. Budget 2021 will also launch Mission Poshan 2.0. Besides this, the launch of urban ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ 2.0 with an outlay of Rs 1.42 lakh crore has been made.

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced voluntary vehicle scrapping policy. Vehicles to undergo fitness test – which is 20 years for passenger vehicles and 15 years for commercial vehicles. Further details of the scrappage policy to be announced shortly.

• Fitness testing for both PVs and CVs a positive move to create not only employment opportunities but a move that will ensure a cleaner environment as part of the Health Infrastructure pillar. This will also boost demand for more cleaner vehicles.

• The government has set an ambitious target of building infrastructure in the country. But funding these infrastructure projects would have posed a steep challenge because of the revenue constraints and the stress on the loan books of banks. FM Sitharaman is likely to announce a dedicated development financial institution to facilitate the financing of greenfield infrastructure projects.

• Rs 35,000 crore to be allocated for further funds for COVID-19 vaccines. we will provide more for COVID-19 vaccines if required. The private sector may be kept out of vaccination efforts it appears, a disappointment for them. At a blended cost of Rs255/dose (in the first phase), that will cover 2 doses of the vaccine for 68.6crore people in FY22.

• Government has committed Rs 1.97 lakh crore for Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) covering 13 sectors. Further, 7 textile parks will be launched for over three years.

• National Infrastructure Pipeline has been expanded to 7,400 projects. Further, projects worth Rs 1.1 lakh crore have been completed under the National Infra Pipeline. The government will also introduce a bill to set up DFI providing Rs 20,000 crore to launch the National Asset Monetisation Pipeline to fund new infra projects.

• The FM has announced that a Bill will be introduced to set up a DFI or developmental financial institution to fund long-term infra projects with a capital of Rs 20,000 crore. Rs 5 lakh crore will be lent by DFI in three years time.

• An asset monetisation dashboard will be created to provide clarity to investors. For 2021-22; capital expenditure is seen at Rs 5.54 lakh crore which is up by 34.5 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

• NHAI has sponsored one InVit to attract investors. Thus 5 operational roads with Rs 5,000 crore value being transferred to NHAI InVit. NHAI operational roll roads are to be monetised.

• Meanwhile, Railways will monetise dedicated freight corridors after commissioning. The next lot of airports will also be monetised for operations and management. AAI airports in tier-2,3 cities and other railway assets are to be monetised.

• Amendment in InvIT and REIT structures for debt investors will ease fundraising and will provide the momentum to the commercial real estate asset class.

• More than 13,000 km of roads awarded under Bharat Mala project. Around 3,800 km have been constructed in Bharatmala so far and 8,500 km to be awarded by March 2022. Will complete additional 11,000 km of NH corridor by March 2022. More economic corridors are being planned – 3,500 km of NH works are ongoing in Tamil Nadu.

• Power transmission assets of Rs 7,000 crore is to be transferred to Power Grid InvIT. The Centre will also provide Rs 2 lakh crore to states and autonomous bodies for Capex. We will nudge states for more capital expenditure. FY22 Capex has targetted at Rs 5.54 lakh crore v/s FY21’s Rs 4.39 lakh crore. The alternatives will be worked out so that consumers could choose from more than one power distribution companies. It’s a positive for Tata Power.

• Bloomberg reports that fiscal deficit will be 9.8 per cent of the GDP for FY21 and 6.8 per cent for FY22.

• The government will allot Rs 1.03 lakh crore for National Highway Projects in Tamil Nadu; Rs 65,000 core for National Highway Projects in Kerala; Rs 25,000 crore for National Highway Projects in West Bengal.

• The Eastern Freight Corridor is to be taken up this year via PPP mode. Further, three future dedicated freight corridors — East Coast, East-west, Northsouth are in works. These will have an automatic system on high-density rail routes to avoid collisions. Complete, 100% electrification of broadgauge rail routes will be done by December 2023.

• Proposed to update the definition of small companies to be raised up to rs crore from Rs 50 lakh net worth.

• Rs 2,217 crore for 42 urban centres with a millionplus population, to tackle the burgeoning problem of air pollution.

• Supplementary Nutrition Programme and POSHAN Abhiyaan to be merged, Mission POSHAN 2.0 to be launched, To strengthen nutritional content, delivery and outcome, Intensified strategy for improving nutritional outcomes in aspirational districts.

• In Budget 2021, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 1.1 lakh crore for Indian Railways.

• A record Rs 1,10,055 crore has been provided for Indian Railways. Out of the total, Rs 1,07,100 crore will be provided for capital expenditure in 2021-22, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

• The government plans to sell part of its holding in Life Insurance Corporation of India through an initial public offering in the coming year. An amendment to the existing Act to facilitate the public offer, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

• The government plans to further strengthen the NCLT framework and continue with the e-court system for faster resolution of bad debts. A separate framework for MSMSe will also be made by the government.

• Strategic disinvestment of companies including BPCL, Air India, Pawan Hans, IDBI Bank, Container Corporation of India to be completed in 2021-22, Sitharaman has announced. The government will ask Niti Aayog to start working on identifying the next list of companies for strategic sale.

• FM announces further infusion of Rs 20,000 crore for public sector banks. • FDI in insurance sector proposed to be hiked to 74% from 49% now.

• Rs 1,000 crore to solar energy corporation and Rs 1,500 to renewable energy development agency.

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces a new gas pipeline project for Jammu and Kashmir.

• Centre to provide Rs 18,000 crore for public buses, announces FM.

• FM Sitharaman proposes an increase in agriculture credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore. “The MSP regime has undergone a change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities. The total amount paid to paddy farmers surged to Rs 1.72 lakh crore in 2020-21.”

• The government has announced the extension of benefits of the Ujjawala scheme to an additional 1 crore people. The scheme, which provides LPG connections with financial assistance from the central government and currently benefits 12 crore households, will be extended further to provide clean cheap cooking fuel.

• The government has announced an independent gas transport system operator for booking and coordination to ensure for unbiased allocation of natural gas transportation capacity. The government aims to address concerns of bias in the allocation of gas transportation capacity by players such as Gail involved in both the supply and transportation of natural gas.

• FM says the definition of small companies to be revised by raising the capital base to Rs 2 cr from the current limit of Rs 50 lakh.

• FM puts disinvestment receipts at Rs 1.75 lakh cr for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2021. Two PSBs and one general insurance company to be divested, legislations amendments to be introduced in this session.

• The government has allocated close to Rs 3.60 lakh crore in the Budget towards launching a “revamped”, reforms-based, result-linked power distribution sector scheme.

• National Education Policy got a good reception, FM said. “Over 15,000 schools to be qualitatively strengthened under the National Education Policy.

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earmarks Rs 1,500 crore for promoting a digital mode of payment.

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an allocation of Rs 300 crore to the state of Goa for celebrating the 60th anniversary of the liberation from Portuguese rule.

• Social security benefits to be extended to gig and platform workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers and will be covered under ESIC. This will impact around 15 million gig workers in India, in addition to online platform providers across sectors such as transportation (Uber and Ola), food delivery (Swiggy and Zomato), and the contract workers in IT and software firms.

• FM announces a special scheme for the welfare of women and children in Assam and West Bengal. Rs 1,000 crore for Bengal, Assam tea workers.

• Fiscal deficit estimated at 9.5% of GDP for 2020-21. Fiscal deficit for 2021-22 at 6.8% of GDP.

• Forthcoming Census could be India’s first digital Census, says Sitharaman allocating Rs 3,768 crore for FY-21.

• Allocation to rural infra development increased to Rs 40,000 cr in next fiscal from Rs 30,000 crore in FY21.

• FM announces development of 5 major fishing hubs.

• 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with the electronic national market. • Central University to be set up in Leh, Ladakh.

• Operation green scheme to cover 22 more perishable commodities.

• Social security benefits will be extended to gig and platform workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers. Women will be allowed to work in all categories and also in night shifts with adequate protection. To further extend efforts towards unorganised labour force, I propose to launch a portal to collect relevant information on gig workers, building/construction workers among others. It’ll help formulate health, housing, skill, insurance credit &food schemes for migrant workers.

• Non-resident individuals with entrepreneurial potential are now enabled to set up One Person Companies (OPC) with no paid-up capital and turnover restrictions, reducing registration timeline from 182 days to120 days. Earlier only Indian resident citizens were permitted to set up OPCs. This would be attractive to the Indian Diaspora.

• In the 75th year of Independence of our country, we shall reduce the compliance burden on senior citizens. For senior citizens who only have a pension and interest income, I propose exemption of filing of income tax returns: FM

• In serious tax evasion cases, only where there is evidence of concealment of income of Rs 50 lakh or more in a year, can reassessment be opened for 10 years. For others, assessment reopening only for 3 years.

• NRIs to be spared from double taxation. New rules to be notified. Tax audit limit increased from Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore.

• Govt proposes setting up of a conciliatory mechanism for quick resolution of contractual disputes.

• Govt proposes to introduce the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill

• Govt proposes national language translation initiative.

• Govt proposes deep ocean mission with an outlay of more than Rs 4,000 cr over five years.

• The government has given relief measures for senior citizens by removing the need to file income tax returns for those aged over 75 years. It has also announced a halving of the time frame for reopening of income-tax assessment cases from 6 years to 3 years. For reopening of serious tax evasion cases up to 10 years, the government has put in a monetary limit of cases involving over Rs 50 lakh in a year. This is expected to reduce instances of tax harassment of income taxpayers.

• Late deposit of employee’s contribution to PF by employers will not be allowed as a deduction to the employer.

• Tax holiday for start-ups increased by one more year – till March 31, 2022. • NRIs allowed operating One Person Companies or OPCs in India.

• Tax exemption for aircraft leasing company may finally see India getting its first player in this aviation segment. Till now, the Indian aviation industry is dominated by lessors from Ireland and Hong Kong.

• Customs duty on copper scrap cut to 2.5 per cent. Customs duty on some auto parts to be raised to 15 per cent.”

• No deduction to employers for late deposit of employee contribution to Provident Fund.

• To extend eligibility for startups to claim tax holiday by 1 year.

• Nifty Metal index drops by nearly 2 per cent from its top as custom duties on steel and copper are reduced.

• Easing Compliance requirements of Small Companies – Threshold increased to Share Capital up to Rs.2 crore and Turnover up to Rs.20 crore will be Small Companies.

• National Language Translation Mission will be set up to boost regional languages and translation for our regional speakers. This will phenomenally help in increasing the utilisation of internet services and augment the vision of digital India.

• 100 new Sainik #schools will be set up in partnership with the NGOs, private schools and States.

• Exemption duty on steel scrap up to March 2022; customs duty on naphtha cut to 2.5 pc: FM

• Rationalising customs duties on gold and silver says FM in Budget for 2021-22

• Customs duty on cotton increased to 10%, silk to 15% • Customs duty on solar lanterns cut to 5%.

• The Finance minister surprised taxpayers by not announcing any change in income tax slab rates. Some relief in filing ITR for senior citizens above 75. No Covid tax, surcharges on income tax.


Indian-American Bhavya Lal appointed Acting Chief of Staff of NASA

Indian-American Bhavya Lal was appointed by NASA as the Acting Chief of Staff of the US space agency. She served as a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for the agency and oversaw the agency’s transition under the administration of President Joe Biden. Lal brings extensive experience in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defence Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020.


Appointments

• Facebook Inc. has appointed Henry Moniz as its first-ever Chief Compliance Officer. He will join Facebook on February 8 to lead the company’s global compliance team, to enhance its global compliance and risk management and promote the highest standards of legal and ethical conduct at the company. Prior to this, Henry Moniz had been the chief compliance officer and chief audit executive at media company ViacomCBS Inc.

• Amazon.com Inc founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos has announced that he would step down as CEO of the company and become Executive Chairman in Q3 of 2021, i.e. with effect from July 01, 2021. Andy Jassy, who is currently serving as the chief executive of Amazon Web Services (AWS), will replace Bezos as CEO of Amazon. Bezos started the company 27 years ago, on 5 July 1994, as an internet bookseller.

• Spicejet chairman Ajay Singh defeated Ashish Shelar in a high-profile contest to get re-elected as president of Boxing Federation India for a second term.

• Department of Personnel and Training, under Personnel Ministry, has appointed Praveen Sinha, as the interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), with immediate effect on 03 February 2021. He has been appointed in place of the incumbent chief RK Shukla, whose tenure came to an end on February 03, 2021.


Defence News

• Defence minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) second Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas production line in Bengaluru, ahead of the upcoming Aero India 2021. The deal to be signed in the next few days with HAL would strengthen the Indian Air Force’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCA-Tejas’ and overall combat capability.

• The Aero India 2021 event, country’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition, kick-started at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru. The 13th edition of the international event touted as the world’s first-ever hybrid aero and defence show will see several aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army, Navy, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), and the Coast Guard participating in the show.

• The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a futuristic high altitude pseudo satellite with a start-up company, to strengthen the country’s military strike capabilities. It is a first of its kind project in the world, where a manned aircraft will operate within the boundary and the unmanned aircraft will enter the enemy zone and can carry out strikes deep inside the enemy territory.


Awards and Recognitions

• Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has presented the 50th Kerala State Film Awards 2019 and the J C Daniel Award at a function here. Pinarayi Vijayan released the stamp published in connection with the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). Veteran filmmaker Hariharan, who was conferred with the J C Daniel Award, is an artist who had travelled with cinema for about half a century and made films which went on to become milestones in the annals of Malayalam tinsel town. The film awards were also distributed. Culture Minister A K Balan presided.

• Music composer AR Rahman and social activist from Saidapet Hari Krishnan were among the 14 people who were presented the fourth edition of the Alert Being Awards 2020 by the NGO ALERT, for their Good Samaritan work. In his video message, Mr Rahman said ALERT had been doing a brilliant job in empowering a common man to save lives. Hari Krishnan had been appointed by the Greater Chennai Corporation as a district volunteer head for Covid-19 relief work.


Obituaries

• The Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul J. Crutzen, has passed away. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, jointly with Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland, for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone.

• Pioneering US actress Cicely Tyson has passed away. Cicely Tyson, the pioneering Black actor who gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper’s wife in ‘Sounder’ & won a Tony Award in 2013 at age 88. She touched TV viewers’ hearts in ” The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” & won 2 Emmys for playing the 110-yearold former slave.



Weekly One Liners 25th January 2020 to 31st January 2021



Republic Day 2021: India celebrates its 72nd Republic Day

The nation celebrated the 72nd Republic Day with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath, Delhi. This day is celebrated by all Indians and 26th of January has been declared as a national holiday by the government of India. The Republic Day Parade ceremony will commence with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial. The National Flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. The Indian Republic Day is celebrated all across India with lots of patriotism and fervour. At Rajpath, in Delhi, magnificent parades by regiments of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, police, and paramilitary forces are witnessed. India’s defensive prowess is on display too, with the latest missiles, aircraft, and weapon systems. Beautiful tableaus, representing the uniqueness of all the states of India are also showcased during the parade. The celebration usually ends with numerous air shows and flypasts by the Indian Forces.


Ministry of Home Affairs Padma Awards 2021 announced

The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced a list of 119 personalities who will be conferred the Padma Awards by President Ram Nath Kovind this year. These awards cater to various disciplines including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports and civil service. While ‘Padma Shri’ is awarded for distinguished service in any field, ‘Padma Bhushan’ is awarded for distinguished service of a high order.

Padma Vibhushan Awards : 1. Shinzo Abe, Japan 2. S P Balasubramaniam (Posthumous), Tamil Nadu 3. Belle Monappa Hegde, Karnataka 4. Narinder Singh Kapany (Posthumous), USA 5. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Delhi 6. B. B. Lal, Delhi 7. Sudarshan Sahoo, Odisha

Padma Bhushan Awards : 1. Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, Kerala 2. Tarun Gogoi (Posthumous), Assam 3. Chandrashekhar Kambara, Karnataka 4. Sumitra Mahajan, Madhya Pradesh 5. Nripendra Misra, Uttar Pradesh 6. Ram Vilas Paswan (Posthumous), Bihar 7. Keshubhai Patel (Posthumous), Gujarat 8. Kalbe Sadiq (Posthumous), Uttar Pradesh 9. Rajnikant Devidas Shroff, Maharashtra 10. Tarlochan Singh, Haryana


RBI forms six-member working group to regulate digital lending frauds

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a working group to study digital lending activities of the regulated and unregulated players, due to the growing instances of frauds in digital lending space. The group will suggest steps to regulate digital lending includingonline lending platform and mobile lending. The group will evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities. The six-member panel comprises of following four RBI internal and two external members: 1. Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI (Chairman) 2. Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Chief General Managerin-Charge, Department of Supervision (Member) 3. P Vasudevan, Chief General Manager, Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, RBI (Member) 4. Manoranjan Mishra, Chief General Manager, Department of Regulation (Member Secretary) 5. Vikram Mehta, Co-founder, Monexo Fintech (External Member) 6. Rahul Sasi, Cyber Security Expert & Founder of CloudSEK (External Member).


RBI forms six-member working group to regulate digital lending frauds
  • Shri Gulfam Ahmed Art Uttar Pradesh
  • Ms. P. Anitha Sports Tamil Nadu
  • Shri Rama Swamy Annavarapu Art Andhra Pradesh
  • Shri Subbu Arumugam Art Tamil Nadu
  • Shri Prakasarao Asavadi Literature and Education Andhra Pradesh
  • Ms. Bhuri Bai Art Madhya Pradesh
  • Shri Radhe Shyam Barle Art Chhattisgarh
  • Shri Dharma Narayan Barma Literature and Education West Bengal
  • Ms. Lakhimi Baruah Social Work Assam
  • Shri Biren Kumar Basak Art West Bengal
  • Ms. Rajni Bector Trade and Industry Punjab
  • Shri Peter Brook Art United Kingdom
  • Ms. Sangkhumi Bualchhuak Social Work Mizoram
  • Shri Gopiram Bargayn Burabhakat Art Assam
  • Bijoya Chakravarty Public Affairs Assam
  • Shri Sujit Chattopadhyay Literature and Education West Bengal
  • Shri Jagdish Chaudhary (Posthumous) Social Work Uttar Pradesh
  • Shri Tsultrim Chonjor Social Work Ladakh
  • Ms. Mouma Das Sports West Bengal
  • Shri Srikant Datar Literature and Education United States of America
  • Shri Narayan Debnath Art West Bengal
  • Chutni Devi Social Work Jharkhand
  • Ms. Dulari Devi Art Bihar
  • Ms. Radhe Devi Art Manipur
  • Ms. Shanti Devi Social Work Odisha
  • Shri Wayan Dibia Art Indonesia
  • Shri Dadudan Gadhavi Literature & Education Gujarat
  • Shri Parshuram Atmaram Gangavane Art Maharashtra
  • Shri Jai Bhagwan Goyal Literature and Education Haryana
  • Shri Jagadish Chandra Halder Literature and Education West Bengal
  • Shri Mangal Singh Hazowary Literature and Education Assam
  • Ms. Anshu Jamsenpa Sports Arunachal Pradesh
  • Ms. Purnamasi Jani Art Odisha
  • Matha B. Manjamma Jogati Art Karnataka
  • Shri Damodaran Kaithapram Art Kerala
  • Shri Namdeo C Kamble Literature and Education Maharashtra
  • Shri Maheshbhai & Shri Nareshbhai Kanodia (Duo) * (Posthumous) Art Gujarat
  • Shri Rajat Kumar Kar Literature and Education Odisha
  • Shri Rangasami Lakshminarayana Kashyap Literature and Education Karnataka
  • Ms. Prakash Kaur Social Work Punjab
  • Shri Nicholas Kazanas Literature and Education Greece
  • Shri K Kesavasamy Art Puducherry
  • Shri Ghulam Rasool Khan Art Jammu and Kashmir
  • Shri Lakha Khan Art Rajasthan
  • Ms. Sanjida Khatun Art Bangladesh
  • Shri Vinayak Vishnu Khedekar Art Goa
  • Ms. Niru Kumar Social Work Delhi
  • Ms. Lajwanti Art Punjab
  • Shri Rattan Lal Science and Engineering United States of America
  • Shri Ali Manikfan Others-Grassroots Innovation Lakshadweep
  • Shri Ramachandra Manjhi Art Bihar
  • Shri Dulal Manki Art Assam
  • Shri Nanadro B Marak Others- Agriculture Meghalaya
  • Shri Rewben Mashangva Art Manipur
  • Shri Chandrakant Mehta Literature and Education Gujarat
  • Dr. Rattan Lal Mittal Medicine Punjab
  • Shri Madhavan Nambiar Sports Kerala
  • Shri Shyam Sundar Paliwal Social Work Rajasthan
  • Dr. Chandrakant Sambhaji Pandav Medicine Delhi
  • Dr. J N Pande (Posthumous) Medicine Delhi
  • Shri Solomon Pappaiah Literature and Education- Journalism Tamil Nadu
  • Ms. Pappammal Others- Agriculture Tamil Nadu
  • Dr. Krishna Mohan Pathi Medicine Odisha
  • Ms. Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat Trade and Industry Maharashtra
  • Shri Girish Prabhune Social Work Maharashtra
  • Shri Nanda Prusty Literature and Education Odisha
  • Shri K K Ramachandra Pulavar Art Kerala
  • Shri Balan Putheri Literature and Education Kerala
  • Ms. Birubala Rabha Social Work Assam
  • Shri Kanaka Raju Art Telangana
  • Ms. Bombay Jayashri Ramnath Art Tamil Nadu
  • Shri Satyaram Reang Art Tripura
  • Dr. Dhananjay Diwakar Sagdeo Medicine Kerala
  • Shri Ashok Kumar Sahu Medicine Uttar Pradesh
  • Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Singh Sanjay Medicine Uttarakhand
  • Ms. Sindhutai Sapkal Social Work Maharashtra
  • Shri Chaman Lal Sapru (Posthumous) Literature and Education Jammu and Kashmir
  • Shri Roman Sarmah Literature and Education- Journalism Assam
  • Shri Imran Shah Literature and Education Assam
  • Shri Prem Chand Sharma Others- Agriculture Uttarakhand
  • Shri Arjun Singh Shekhawat Literature and Education Rajasthan
  • Shri Ram Yatna Shukla Literature and Education Uttar Pradesh
  • Shri Jitender Singh Shunty Social Work Delhi
  • Shri Kartar Paras Ram Singh Art Himachal Pradesh
  • Shri Kartar Singh Art Punjab
  • Dr. Dilip Kumar Singh Medicine Bihar
  • Shri Chandra Shekhar Singh Others-Agriculture Uttar Pradesh
  • Ms. Sudha Hari Narayan Singh Sports Uttar Pradesh
  • Shri Virender Singh Sports Haryana
  • Ms. Mridula Sinha (Posthumous) Literature and Education Bihar
  • Shri K C Sivasankar (Posthumous) Art Tamil Nadu
  • Guru Maa Kamali Soren Social Work West Bengal
  • Shri Marachi Subburaman Social Work Tamil Nadu
  • Shri P Subramanian (Posthumous) Trade and Industry Tamil Nadu
  • Ms. Nidumolu Sumathi Art Andhra Pradesh
  • Shri Kapil Tiwari Literature and Education Madhya Pradesh
  • Father Vallés (Posthumous) Literature and Education Spain
  • Dr. Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan (Posthumous) Medicine Tamil Nadu
  • Shri Sridhar Vembu Trade and Industry Tamil Nadu
  • Shri K Y Venkatesh Sports Karnataka
  • Ms. Usha Yadav Literature and Education Uttar Pradesh
  • Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir Public Affairs Bangladesh

  • 51st International Film Festival of India Concludes

    The 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held from 16 January to 24 January 2021 at Shyamaprasad Stadium near Panaji in Goa. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was held in hybrid mode, there was the physical and virtual screening of 50 films out of 224 films across various categories. Bangladesh was a country of focus at the festival. Four films of Bangladesh was included in ‘country of focus’ section.


    The winners of the IFFI awards are listed below:

    • Golden Peacock Award for Best Film: Into the Darkness

    • Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Male): TzuChuan Liu, The Silent Forest

    • Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Female): Zofia Stafiej, I Never Cry

    • Silver Peacock Award for Best Director: Chen-Nien Ko, The Silent Forest

    • Best Debut Director Award: Cássio Pereira dos Santos, Valentina

    • Special Mention Award: Kripal Kalita, Bridge

    • Special Jury Award: Kamin Kalev, February

    • ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Award: Ameen Nayfeh’s 200 Meters

    • Indian Personality of the Year Award: Biswajit Chatterjee

    • Lifetime Achievement: Vittorio Storaro (Italian cinematographer).


    India Ranks 7th in Global Climate Risk Index 2021

    India has been placed among the top 10 most affected countries by climate change, in the Global Climate Risk Index 2021 published by the Bonn-based environmental think tank Germanwatch. India ranked as the seventh worst-hit country in terms of climate change in 2019. The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 is the 16th edition of the annual report and has taken into account the data available for 2019 and from 2000 to 2019. The index analyses and ranks to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of climate-related extreme weather events (storms, floods, heatwaves etc.).


    Top 3 countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Bahamas were the top three most affected countries in 2019 respectively. Top 3 Countries most affected in the past 20 years: Between 2000-2019, Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti were the countries most affected by the impacts of such weather events. About the Global Climate Risk Index: The Global Climate Risk Index indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events, which countries should understand as warnings in order to be prepared for more frequent and/or more severe events in the future.


    Ram Temple tableau of Uttar Pradesh on Republic Day wins 1st prize

    The Ram Temple tableau of Uttar Pradesh that was on display during the Republic Day 2021 has bagged the first prize among all tableaux. The theme of Uttar Pradesh’s tableau was ‘Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh’. The cultural heritage of ancient holy town Ayodhya, a replica of a Ram temple, a glimpse of ‘Deepotsav’ and various stories from Ramayana epic were depicted in the tableau. The Tripura tableau won the second prize for the Republic Day parade. Uttarakhand’s tableau on the theme ‘Dev Bhoomi — The Land of the Gods’ was adjudged third among the states and union territories. The tableau of Central Public Works Department (CPWD), with the theme ‘Amar Jawan’, bagged a special prize for paying tribute to the fallen heroes of the armed forces.


    Economic Survey 2021: Key highlights of Economic Survey

    Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has presented Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Parliament on 29 January 2021. The major focus of this year’s economic survey is the losses and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey will provide an assessment of how the Indian economy has been impacted by the deadly COVID-19 virus and how it is improving. It will also project India’s gross domestic product growth for 2021-22.

    The Economic Survey document is prepared by the Economics Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian. The Economic Survey 2020-21 will be followed by the Union Budget 2020-21 which will be tabled on February 1. The theme of Economic Survey, 2020-21: • #SavingLives&Livelihoods • #VshapedRecovery.


    Here are the key highlights from the Economic Survey 2020-21:

    • The real GDP of the country to record a growth of 11% in the financial year 2021-22 and nominal GDP by 15.4%.

    • V-shaped economic recovery will be seen due to COVID-19 Vaccination Drive, recovery in the services sector, and growth in consumption and investment.

    • According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, the GDP of the country is projected to decrease by 7.7% in the fiscal year 2020-21. It will include a sharp 15.7% decline in the first half and a 0.1% decreases in the second half.

    • The agriculture sector has remained the silver lining while manufacturing, contact-based services, construction were the hardest hit sectors.

    • In quarter 1, the GDP contraction was by 23.9% due to lockdown and Q2 saw a V-shaped recovery with a 7.5% decline.

    • Food prices were high driving inflation. However, the inflation reached under the RBI’s target range of 4+/-2% in December 2020 to reach 4.6%.

    • Credit growth to agriculture and allied activities increased to 7.4% in October 2020 in comparison to 7.1% in October 2019.

    • Credit growth to the services sector increased to 9.5% in October 2020 in comparison to 6.5% in October 2019.

    • Exports are projected to decrease by 5.8% and imports by 11.3% in the second half of the year. India is expected to have a Current Account Surplus of 2% of GDP in FY21, a historic high after 17 years.

    • The fiscal deficit of the country is expected to overshoot the initial estimates, 3.5% of GDP, in the financial year 2020-21.

    • The Economic Survey 202-21 highlighted that the year 2020 was dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in the global economic slowdown.


    Awards and Recognitions

    • The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) for the year 2021 has been conferred to 32 children, hailing from 32 districts of 21 States/UTs. The PMRBP award is given by the Government of India to the children with exceptional abilities and outstanding accomplishments, in the fields of innovation, scholastic, sports, arts & culture, social service and bravery.

    • The Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021 has been conferred upon Dr Rajendra Kumar Bhandari in the Individual category and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) in Institutional category. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh and a certificate for an institution and Rs 5 lakh and a certificate in case of an individual.


    Obituaries

    • The iconic American radio and television host, and paid spokesman, Larry King, has passed away. He rose to fame in 1978 as a radio host of The Larry King Show and then hosted Larry King Live on CNN for about 25 years from 1985 to 2010.

    • Noted historian, author, poet and retired bureaucrat Narendra Luther has passed. A 1955 batch IAS officer, Luther was closely associated with the history and culture of erstwhile Hyderabad state and its rulers. He had served in various positions before retiring as the chief secretary of the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 1991.

    • Former Indian National Football team goalkeeper, Prasanta Dora has passed away. He was represented Tollygunge Agragami, Calcutta Port Trust, Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in domestic football.

    • Oscar winning-actor Cloris Leachman has passed away. The late star was known as one of Hollywood's most prolific performers having won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and eight Primetime Emmy Awards.



    Weekly One Liners 11th January 2020 to 17th January 2021



    First time in history, Union Budget 2021 to be paperless

    Union Budget 2021, slated to be presented on February 1, is going to be completely paperless in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This will be the first time since independence that the budget papers will not be printed. The Centre has received permission for the same from both houses of parliament. The decision has been taken as several people (approximately 100) would be required to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight amid the COVID-19 fear. The budget papers are usually printed at the ministry’s in-house printing press in the North Block. This year’s budget may reportedly witness several conventions being broken as the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony, which is a given every year is also not likely to take place, or a low-key function may be held with limited gathering in attendance.


    Donald Trump becomes first U.S. President to be impeached twice

    President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time on January 13, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office. He was first impeached in 2019 over his Ukraine dealings. The House voted 232-197 to impeach Mr Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Mr. Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, urged on by the President’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.


    RBI forms six-member working group to regulate digital lending frauds

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a working group to study digital lending activities of the regulated and unregulated players, due to the growing instances of frauds in digital lending space. The group will suggest steps to regulate digital lending includingonline lending platform and mobile lending. The group will evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities. The six-member panel comprises of following four RBI internal and two external members: 1. Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI (Chairman) 2. Ajay Kumar Choudhary, Chief General Managerin-Charge, Department of Supervision (Member) 3. P Vasudevan, Chief General Manager, Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, RBI (Member) 4. Manoranjan Mishra, Chief General Manager, Department of Regulation (Member Secretary) 5. Vikram Mehta, Co-founder, Monexo Fintech (External Member) 6. Rahul Sasi, Cyber Security Expert & Founder of CloudSEK (External Member).



    India Ranks 85 in Henley Passport Index 2021

    The Henley Passport Index 2021 has been released by Henley & Partners, based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As per the latest report, India has been ranked 85th among 110 countries, in the Henley Passport Index for 2021, with a visa-free score of 58. The index presents the original ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. Japan has once again topped the list of being the most powerful passport in the world, for the third consecutive year. Japanese citizens can travel to as many as 191 countries visa-free. Singapore is in second place (190) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (189). Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are the countries with the worst passport, with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.


    National Affairs

    • The Government of Japan has committed Official Development Assistance loan of 30 billion Japanese Yen which is approximately Rs 2113 crore rupees for a programme loan to support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has recently formed a technical expert group to study the adverse findings from the National Family Health Survey-5. The Ministry has set up the technical committee of medicine and nutrition experts under the leadership of Joint Secretary Preeti Pant.

    • Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will be launching an innovative new paint developed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The eco-friendly, non-toxic paint, called “Khadi Prakritik Paint” is a first-of-its-kind product, with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties.

    • The Government of India launched the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana on 15 January 2021. The scheme has been rolled out for the current financial year, ending March 2021, and will be implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The training will be imparted through 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empanelled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 industrial training institutes (ITIs). Further, a five-year PMKVY will be launched in 2021-22 with an enhanced target of skilling 1.5 crore youth.

    • According to External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, due to the global COVID-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign Head of State or Head of Government as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day event. President Ramnath Kovind will take the salute at the parade this time. This will be the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.


    International Affairs

    • US President-elect Joe Biden named IndianAmerican Sumona Guha as senior director for South Asia and Tarun Chhabra as senior director for Technology and National Security. Guha was co-chair of the South Asia foreign policy working group on the Biden-Harris campaign and serves on the transition’s State Department Agency Review Team.

    • Twitter Inc has deleted new tweets posted by U.S. President Donald Trump on official government account @POTUS and suspended the account of his presidential campaign, after booting his personal account of the platform permanently. @POTUS Twitter account is an official Twitter account of US President Donald Trump. The Account is named President Trump.

    • A passenger plane of Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air carrying 62 people on board crashed into waters off Jakarta. The Boeing 737-500 was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island.

    • The frontrunner in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election, Sadyr Japarov, has won by a landslide. According to the Central Election Commission, Mr Japarov had won 79% of votes cast. Mr Japarov, who served time in jail for taking a rival hostage, will also have sweeping new presidential powers after voters by a similar margin opted to amend the constitution in a referendum.

    • Incoming First Lady, Jill Biden has named IndianAmerican Garima Verma as her digital director and Michael LaRosa press secretary, the Biden transition team has announced. She served as audience development and content strategist on the Biden-Harris campaign.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the licence of Maharashtra-based Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank, with immediate effect. Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd will now not be allowed to conduct the business of ‘banking’, including acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits, with effect from the close of business on January 11, 2021.

    • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Deutsche Bank AG for noncompliance with certain provisions of directions concerning interest rate on deposits. The central bank said the statutory inspection of Deutsche Bank’s financial position as on March 31, 2019, and the Risk Assessment Report revealed noncompliance with the ‘Reserve Bank of India (Interest Rate on Deposits) Directions, 2016’.

    • Domestic rating agency ICRA Ratings expects the real gross domestic product (GDP) of India to grow by 10.1% in the financial year 2021-22 (FY2022). The rating agency ICRA had earlier projected a contraction of 7.8% for the ongoing fiscal 2020-21.

    • India’s retail inflation fell sharply to 4.59 per cent in December, mainly due to declining food prices, government data showed. Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.93 per cent in November.


    Awards and Recognitions

    • The All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhubaneswar has proved its mettle once again for promoting cleanliness, hygiene and creating sustainable practices in public health facilities by winning the Kayakalp Award Scheme. AIIMS Bhubaneswar will get an award of Rs 2 crore for the performance.


    Sports News

    • Jay Shah has been named as the official representative of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meetings. Shah is the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

    • Jigmet Dolma from India secured the fourth position in the Dhaka Marathon 2021. Jigmet Dolma is an SPO of Ladakh police. In the marathon, Hicham Lakohi of Morocco came first in the elite competition of the marathon in men’s category while Angela Jim Asunde from Kenya won the women’s category in the same event.

    • The oldest surviving Olympic champion, Ágnes Keleti, celebrates her 100th birthday. She is one of her country’s most successful Olympians, having won 10 medals for Hungary in gymnastics, at the Olympic Games Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956. Her haul included five golds.


    Obituaries

    • Veteran Congress leader Madhavsinh Solanki, who served as former External Affairs Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, has passed away. He had served as External Affairs Minister of India from June 1991 to March 1992. He had been the Chief Minister of Gujarat for three times between 1976 to 1990. He was the longest-serving chief minister of the state before Narendra Modi.

    • Veteran journalist and orator (public speaker) Sri Turlapati Kutumba Rao has passed away. He is known for his service to journalism in the Telugu language.

    • Pulitzer Prize-winning author & journalist Neil Sheehan passed away. He covered the Vietnam War for United Press International and the Times from 1962 to 1966. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1989 for “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.”

    • Indian American writer Ved Mehta passed away. The Indian-American novelist overcame blindness & was widely known as the 20th-century writer most responsible for introducing American readers to India.

    • Social activist and Padma Shri winner, D Prakash Rao has passed away. He was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2019 for his contribution towards boosting the value of education among slum kids in Cuttack. Apart from this, Rao was also a well-known blood donor.



    Weekly Current Affairs 04th January 2020 to 10th January 2021



    DCGI gives final approval for Covid-19 vaccines of SII, Bharat Biotech

    The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has formally announced the final approval for OxfordAstraZeneca “Covishield” and Bharat Biotech “Covaxin” vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for emergency use. CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) accepts the subject expert committee reform rations on Serum and Bharat Biotech Covid vaccines.


    India to chair 3 key subsidiary bodies of UN Security Council

    The Permanent Representative of India to the UN, T S Tirumurti has announced that India has been asked to chair three important committees of the UN Security Council (UNSC), during its tenure as a non-permanent member of the powerful 15-nation UN body.

    The three highly significant committees include: 1. Taliban Sanctions Committee 2. Counter-Terrorism Committee 3. Libyan Sanctions Committee Among these, India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of UNSC in 2022, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. India began its two-year term at UNSC from January 01, 2021. It is the eighth time that the country has joined UNSC as the nonpermanent member. In 2021, along with India, Norway, Kenya, Ireland and Mexico joined as non-permanent members in the Council.


    RBI introduces the RBI-Digital Payments Index

    Reserve Bank of India has launched a Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitization of digital/electronic payments across the country. This RBIDigital Payments Index (DPI) has 5 broad parameters that will be used for the measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments. These parameters and their weightage are as under:

    • Payment Enablers (weight 25%),

    • Payment Infrastructure – Demand-side factors (10%),

    • Payment Infrastructure – Supply-side factors (15%),

    • Payment Performance (45%) and

    • Consumer Centricity (5%). The base period for RBI-DPI is March 2018. This means that the DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100. RBI has calculated the DPI for March 2019 and March 2020 at 153.47 and 207.84 respectively, indicating appreciable growth. RBI-DPI shall be published on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months.



    Modi inaugurates Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 450- km Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline built at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore via video conferencing. The event marks an important milestone towards the creation of One Nation One Gas Grid. Natural gas pipeline network will be doubled in 5-6 years and CNG stations will be raised to 10,000 from current 1,500. The pipeline will carry natural gas from Kochi in Kerala through Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod districts to Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

    • It has been built by GAIL (India) Limited. It will carry natural gas from the LNG Regasification Terminal at Kochi. The pipeline will supply environment-friendly PNG.


    National Affairs

    • India has been chosen as the co-chair of the IUCNsupported Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) for a period of three years till November 2023. India will replace South Korea, which held the post for 3 years until November 2020.

    • The Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Union Minister WCD and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani jointly launched Toycathon-2021 and the Toycathon Portal. Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub. Toycathon will provide a platform to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children.

    • The Central Government has set up a high-level group to build a South Asia-focused energy security architecture. The high-level group, named the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), will be headed by former Union Power Secretary Ram Vinay Shahi. SAGE has been set up under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-run think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the 306-km New Rewari-New Madar section of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) to the nation. Through video-conferencing, Modi also flagged off the world’s first double-stack long-haul 1.5-km-long container train hauled by electric traction from New Ateli-New Kishangarh.


    International Affairs

    • The U.S. Congress has passed the ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ to increase the number of scholarships for Pakistani women in higher education under merit and needs-based programme. The bill was passed by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1.

    • Alexander Ellis has been appointed British high commissioner to India and will take up the key role later this month. He has held several posts, including deputy national security adviser in the cabinet office, director-general in the department for exiting the European Union, and the British ambassador to Portugal.

    • President-elect Joe Biden will nominate federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to be the next U.S. attorney general. He serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of 13 federal appeals courts.

    • Indian-American Dr Raj Iyer has taken over as the first Chief Information Officer of the US Army, after the Pentagon created the position in July 2020. Dr Raj Iyer is one of the highest-ranking Indian-American civilians in the US Department of Defence.

    • Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry company and Kyoto University aims to launch the world’s first woodbased space satellite by 2023 to combat the problem of space junk. Faustin-Archange Touadera was re-elected as the president of the Central African Republic with more than 53% votes. The 63-year-old president has been in power since 2016 but has struggled to seize control of vast parts of the nation from armed militias.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    • IDBI Bank announced the launch of video KYC account opening (VAO) facility for savings bank accounts. Through the facility, a customer can open a savings account with the lender from the convenience of his/her home or office as there are no physical forms to be filled or visits to be made to the branch.

    • Uttar Pradesh-based, Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank (SMCB) has become the first urban co-operative bank (UCB) in India to receive a licence from RBI to operate as a Small Finance Bank (SFB). The RBI had given an 18-month timeline to commence business.

    • The Reserve Bank of India has introduced Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) for all payment transactions of value Rs 50 crore and above undertaken by entities (non-individuals) via Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT). The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-digit number used to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions worldwide.

    • IDFC Mutual Funds has launched its latest pan-India investor awareness campaign titled #PaisonKoRokoMat. With this new campaign, IDFC Mutual Fund aims to shift the conversation regarding wealth creation from the traditional to the contemporary.

    • World Bank has projected the Indian economy to contract by 9.6 per cent in the fiscal year 2020-21, in its Global Economic Prospects report. World Bank estimates Growth to recover to 5.4 per cent in 2021. Apart from this, the global economy is estimated to expand by 4 per cent in 2021 by the World Bank. According to the report, global growth is projected to moderate to 3.8 per cent in 2022.

    • The GDP of India is expected to contract by 7.7 per cent in the current fiscal year 2020-21, as per the first advanced estimates released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) on January 07, 2021. The first advance estimates of GDP of a financial year are released before the Union Budget. This data helps in the budget-making process.

    • Indian multinational two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturing company, Bajaj Auto has become the most valuable two-wheeler company in the world, after it crossed a market capitalization of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore, on January 01, 2021.


    Defence News

    • The Indian Navy has signed a contract with the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), to procure Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Dazzlers (Laser Dazzlers). Initially, agreement has been signed for 20 Laser Dazlers. The Laser dazzler technology has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and would be manufactured by BEL, Pune plant. It is the first time that this unique product is indigenously designed and developed for the Armed Forces.

    • Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has delivered the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) MK IV class vessel ‘IN LCU L-58’ (Yard 2099) to the Indian Navy. The amphibious ships, to be based in the strategic location of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is close to various routes leading to the South China Sea. LCU L-58 is the final ship in the series of 8 LCUs being manufactured by GRSE for the Indian Navy.

    • India and Israel successfully tested a MediumRange Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) defence system. The MRSAM missile defence system has been developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to deal with airstrikes by enemy countries. Currently being used by all three wings of the Indian Army as well as Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the air and missile defence system was a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the IAI.


    Ranks and Reports

    • India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) dropped down to 12th spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2021 (as on 2nd January 2021). The net worth of Ambani dropped from 90 billion USD (around Rs. 6.62 lakh crore) (in early 2020) to 76.7 billion USD (around Rs. 5.6 lakh crore). Zhong Shanshan, referred to as “Lone Wolf”, has replaced Ambani as Asia’s richest person, he is one of the fastest in the history to achieve the feat. Zhong Shanshan is Chinese billionaire whose net worth is 78.2 billion USD, which is attributed to the listing of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprises Co and Nongu Spring Co, a bottled water firm.

    • According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Tesla CEO Elon Musk overtakes Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person. Elon Musk had a net worth of more than $188.5 billion.


    Sports News

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    • Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has inaugurated the two-day Virtual International Akhand Conference ‘EDUCON 2020’ through video conferencing. This two-day International Conference is being organized by the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda (CUPB) in collaboration with the Global Educational Research Association (GERA). The focal theme of EDUCON2020 is Envisioning Education for Transforming Youth to Restore Global Peace. Ranks and Reports

    • India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) dropped down to 12th spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2021 (as on 2nd January 2021). The net worth of Ambani dropped from 90 billion USD (around Rs. 6.62 lakh crore) (in early 2020) to 76.7 billion USD (around Rs. 5.6 lakh crore). Zhong Shanshan, referred to as “Lone Wolf”, has replaced Ambani as Asia’s richest person, he is one of the fastest in the history to achieve the feat. Zhong Shanshan is Chinese billionaire whose net worth is 78.2 billion USD, which is attributed to the listing of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprises Co and Nongu Spring Co, a bottled water firm.

    • According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Tesla CEO Elon Musk overtakes Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person. Elon Musk had a net worth of more than $188.5 billion.

    • Former India striker Abhishek Yadav has been appointed as the first deputy general secretary of All India Football Federation (AIFF) after the sports body decided to create a new post in its hierarchy.


    Obituaries

    • Former Union Minister and senior Rajasthan Congress leader Buta Singh passed away. The veteran politician Buta Singh served as Home Minister of India in the Rajiv Gandhi government from 1986 to 1989. He was a four-time MP from Jalore-Sirohi Lok Sabha constituency. He served as the Chairperson of the National Commission For Scheduled Cast from 2007 to 2010.

    • Ace mountaineer Colonel Narendra ‘Bull’ Kumar, who helped India secure the Siachen Glacier, passed away. He was responsible for the success of Operation Meghdoot in 1984. He was the first Indian to climb Mount Nanda Devi.

    • Former Maharashtra cabinet minister and seven-time Congress MLA Vilas Patil Undalkar has passed away.

    • Olympic bronze and World Cup-winning hockey player Michael Kindo passed away. He played 3 Men’s Hockey World Cup in 1971,1973 & 1975 where India bagged bronze, silver & gold medals. He also represented in 1972 Olympic Games where India secured a bronze medal. Kindo received the Arjuna Award in 1972.



    Weekly Current Affairs 28th December 2020 to 03rd January 2021



    ICC Awards of the Decade 2020 announced

    The winners of the prestigious ICC Awards of the Decade were announced on 28th December 2020. The ICC Awards of The Decade recognise the best players across Cricket over the past 10 years.


    List of Winners :

    • ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade: MS Dhoni (India) ICC Men’s Awards

    • Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade: Virat Kohli (India)

    • ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade: Virat Kohli (India)

    • ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Decade: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

    • ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Decade: Steve Smith(Australia)

    • ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Decade: Kyle Coetzer (Scotland) ICC Women’s Award

    • Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade: Ellyse Perry (Australia)

    • ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade: Ellyse Perry(Australia)

    • ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Decade: Ellyse Perry (Australia)

    • ICC Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Decade: Kathryn Bryce (Scotland).


    Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice 2020

    Harmony Foundation hosted the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice. The Awards in its 16th year is the only award endorsed by Sister Prema, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, the organization started by Mother Teresa. The theme for this year’s awards was, ‘Celebrating Compassion In Times Of Covid ‘.

    Awardees this year included:

    • Dr Anthony Fauci (USA) is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA. He and his task force were among the first ones to realize the seriousness of this pandemic.

    • Father Fabio Stevenazzi (Milan, Italy), decided to return to medical practice in order to help those infected with COVID 19 has thrust him to be the modern-day example of St Charles Borromeo who in 1576 during the Great Plague that hit the city of Milan and cut the population by half, stayed behind to nurse the sick and renovate hospitals.

    • Dr Pradeep Kumar (Chennai) took it upon himself to give a befitting burial to his colleague with the help of two ward boys, at a cemetery in the city in the middle of the night.

    • IPS Sanjay Pandey (DG Home Guards, Maharashtra) went beyond the call of duty as a police officer to open the first relief camp in the Mumbai city suburbs for migrant workers whose livelihood were disrupted by the lockdown to contain the pandemic.

    • Vikas Khanna (Manhattan, USA) heart still moves to serve the lonely and underprivileged here in India.

    • KK Shailaja (Minister of Health, Kerala), her extraordinary efforts and pro-activeness in dealing with the pandemic by following experts and scientific advice helped countless Keralites survive the terrors of this pandemic, serving as an example for governments of other states countries to follow.


    Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) SEHAT scheme

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (ABPMJAY) SEHAT scheme. The main aim behind the scheme is to extend health insurance coverage to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

    About the AB-PMJAY Scheme :

    • SEHAT stands for Social, Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine. It is a health insurance scheme for the Union Territory.

    • It provides free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K.

    • It also provides financial cover up to Rs.5 Lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K and an operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approximately) additional families.

    Important points about PM- JAY :

    • It is the world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the government, provides a cover of Rs 500,000 per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.

    • The benefit of Rs 5,00,000 is on a family floater basis. This means that it can be used by one or all members of the family.

    • It covers medical procedures including oncology, cardiology, nephrology etc and up to three days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days post-hospitalisation expenses like diagnostics and medicines are also included in the scheme.


    Harsh Vardhan launches India’s 1st indigenous pneumonia vaccine ‘Pneumosil’

    The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched India’s first indigenously developed vaccine against pneumonia. The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) named ‘Pneumosil’ has been developed by Punebased Serum Institute of India (SII) in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH, an international, nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle.

    About the vaccine:

    The vaccine will provide protection against 10 variants of pneumococcus bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis, ear, and blood infections in children. Pneumococcal disease is the largest contributor to underfive mortality rate worldwide.

    India’s 1st Testbed TiHAN launched at IIT Hyderabad

    Union Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has virtually laid the foundation stone of “TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad”, India’s first Testbed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial) at IIT Hyderabad. The Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Systems (TiHAN) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles at IIT Hyderabad.


    National Affairs

    The World Bank has approved 4 India projects worth over $800 million. The projects will support a range of development initiatives that supports the efforts of India to rebuild itself by creating a sustainable and resilient economy. The projects that have been approved are: 1. $400 million Second Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program. 2. $100 million Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth Project (CHIRAAG). 3. $68 million Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project. 4. $250 million Second Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Project (DRIP-2).


    National Affairs

    • ‘New Bhaupur- New Khurja section’ of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) will be inaugurated by the PM Narendra Modi on 29th December, 2020 at 11 AM through video conferencing. During the event, Prime Minister will also inaugurate EDFC’s Operation Control Centre (OCC) at Prayagraj.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the country’s first-ever fully-automated driverless train service on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. Apart from this, PM also launched fully operational National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) on the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, to connect DMRC with the NCMC service.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the 100th ‘Kisan Rail’ on 28th December 2020. The 100th run of the Kisan Rail was flagged off from Sangola in Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal virtually. Kisan Rail is a mobile cold storage to move perishable things like fruits, vegetables, milk, fish, etc., with complete security.

    • The Central government has further extended the deadline to file an income tax return (ITR) for FY 2019-20 by 10 days, up to January 10, 2021. Earlier this deadline was December 31, 2020.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) at six sites across six States through video conference on 1st January 2021. The LHPs will be implemented at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).


    International Affairs

    • The Myanmar Navy has officially inducted the submarine INS Sindhuvir, which was handed over by the Indian Navy to the country in October 2020. This is the first submarine in the Myanmar Navy’s arsenal. The submarine has been refurbished for the Myanmar Navy by state-run defence shipbuilder, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Visakhapatnam.

    • USA’s plan to set up the first nuclear reactor on the moon by the end of 2026. In early 2021, the US Department of Energy in collaboration with NASA intends to solicit industry design proposals. It also got an impetus with a recent White House directive.The outgoing President Donald Trump, issued the “National Strategy for Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion” on 16 December.

    • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has become an Associate Member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). The Headquarter of IOSCO is at Madrid, Spain


    Agreements/MoUs Signed

    • AU Small Finance Bank has announced a strategic partnership with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to offer life insurance solutions. The tie-up aims to deliver “paperless, secure, and hassle-free life insurance”.

    • Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Pune has recently signed an MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to co-create India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB). This is the first time that a government body will act as the ‘outcome funder’ in a bond, whereas traditionally most government-funded public projects require large and early investments by the government with a substantial gestation period of outcomes and involve various kinds of risks.


    Appointments/Resignations

    • Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has been nominated as the board member of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). The seat is currently held by Myint Htwe of Myanmar. Dr Vardhan will represent the South East Area Regional Office (SEARO)/ Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) constituency on the GAVI Board. Dr Vardhan will assume the charge with effect from January 1, 2021, and serve till December 31, 2023.

    • The Central Government has approved the extension of the term of ISRO Chairman K Sivan, for a period of one year. He was due to retire on January 14, 2021. Sivan will now continue as ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space up to January 14, 2022.

    • Soma Mondal has taken over as the new Chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) with effect from January 01, 2021. She is the first-ever women-head of the body. She replaces Anil Kumar Chaudhary, who superannuated on 31 December 2020.

    • The appointments committee of the Cabinet has approved Suneet Sharma appointment as Chairman & CEO of Railway Board, Ministry of Railways and exofficio Principal Secretary to Government of India. He took over in his new role with effect from January 01, 2021.

    • Umesh Sinha has been named as the deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India. Sinha, a 1986-batch IAS officer (retired) is at present serving as secretary-general in the commission.


    Defence News

    • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal to export indigenously-developed Akash Missile System. The Cabinet has also approved to set up of a committee for faster approvals of exports. The export version of Akash will be different from System currently deployed with Indian Armed Forces.


    Awards and Recognitions

    • The Dr Narendra Dabholkar Memorial Award for this year has been conferred upon Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani. The award was instituted in the memory of the Maharashtra-based rationalist Dabholkar.

    • Senior scientist Hemant Kumar Pandey has been honoured with DRDO’s ”Scientist of the Year Award” for his contribution in developing several herbal medicines, including the popular drug Lukoskin meant for the treatment of leucoderma.

    • The chairman & CEO of Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav has been conferred with the prestigious “Eminent Engineer Award for the Year 2020’. This award is given by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for his outstanding contribution towards modernization and reforms over Indian Railways.

    • In Madhya Pradesh, 96th Tansen Music Festival began in Gwalior with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place. In the inaugural ceremony renowned santoor player, Pandit Satish Vyas was conferred upon the prestigious Tansen Samman. Bhopal-based institution Abhinav Kala Parishad was honoured with Raja Mansingh Tomar award. The festival pays tribute to Tansen, one of 9 gems in Akbar’s court.


    Science and Technology

    • A68a, the giant Antarctic iceberg has become a cause for concern for South Georgia Island.The giant iceberg A68, the biggest block of free-floating ice from Antarctica with an area of about 5,800 sq. Km. Since 2017, it has been drifting in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to an ocean current, this year the iceberg was propelled into the South Atlantic Ocean and since then it has been drifting towards the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. It is a British Overseas Territory (BOT). This has prompted fears about the impact the iceberg could have on the island’s abundant wildlife.

    • Indian Space startup, Skyroot Aerospace has successfully test-fired a solid propulsion rocket engine, named Kalam-5. With this, it has become the first private company of India to successfully design, develop and test a full solid-fueled rocket stage. This crucial propulsion technology will be used for their maiden rocket Vikram-1, which is under active manufacturing and is targeted to be launched in December 2021 with the help of ISRO.


    Sports News

    • Indian wrestler, Anshu Malik has become the first wrestler of the country to finish on the podium position at the Individual Wrestling World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

    • The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has imposed a 5-year ban on Russian shuttler Nikita Khakimov for charges of “betting, wagering and irregular match results. Khakimov was part of the Russian men’s team that won the bronze medal at the 2020 European Team Championships.

    • M S Dhoni won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade for his gesture of calling back England batsman Ian Bell after a bizarre run out in the Nottingham Test in 2011. The incident won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award in 2011.

    • The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the ICC Teams of the Decade based on the performances, consistency of players over the period of last 10 years. Former Indian captain and wicketkeeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been named as the captain of the ICC ODI Team of the Decade. Dhoni has also been named the skipper of the ICC T20I Team of the Decade. Similarly, Virat Kohli has been named the captain of the ICC Test Team of the Decade. Ravi Ashwin is the only other Indian in this list.


    Obituaries

    • Padma Shri awardee dance historian and critic, Sunil Kothari has passed away. He was qualified as a Chartered Accountant, before turning to the study of Indian dance forms. He authored more than 20 books on the subject of Indian dance forms.

    • Former professional wrestler Jon Huber, who was popularly known by his ring name ‘Luke Harper’ in the WWE has passed away, due to a non-COVID-19 related lung illness.

    • Veteran broadcaster, Indira Joseph Venniyoor passed away. She was a renowned broadcaster, All India Radio veteran & first English news announcer of Travancore Radio when its English service began in 1949.

    • Legendary Odia musician, Shantanu Mohapatra passed away. He was the first Odia music composer to work with legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey and Md Rafi and also the first to work in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese and Telugu film industries.



    Weekly Current Affairs 21st to 27th December 2020



    Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards announced

    Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has presented the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards, including a cash award of Rs 50,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively, to both awardees. The nominations were called for the first time for the year 2018.


    First Prize:

    • Sreenivas Karanam, Bengaluru was selected for the FIRST prize for his contribution in developing a costeffective customized technical solution under the brand ‘C mobile’, for deep-sea communication, operating along the Kerala coast, facilitating communication among fishermen and issue of weather alerts etc.

    • The service enables the fishermen to have one-one voice calls, group calls, SMS, Location services and Emergency services while they are out of GSM coverage area. The service is available from Thiruvanathapuram to Calicut, almost 500km along Kerala coast, with devices installed in nearly 900 motorboats.

    Second Prize:

    • Subrat Kar, New Delhi was selected for the SECOND prize for his innovative solution on development & deployment of a large scale sensor network and devices to avoid a train-animal collision, which works without interfering with natural movements/behaviour of animals, thereby helping in wildlife conservation.

    • The system under the pilot phase is installed in Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, to prevent elephant deaths by train-elephant collision.

    About Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards:

    • This award is given to motivate the Telecom Skill ecosystem, DoT launched Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards scheme in 2017, to reward the successful telecom skilled people for their special contributions in the areas of Telecom Skilling, Telecom Services, Telecom Manufacturing, Telecom Applications in deploying telecom dependent sectoral solutions for different fields such as agriculture, commerce, health, education etc. The award was named after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji to commemorate his birth centenary.


    Prakash Javadekar releases ‘Status of Leopards in India 2018’ report

    The Union environment minister, Prakash Javadekar has released a report titled the ‘Status of Leopard in India 2018’. As per the report, the population of leopard in India has increased by 60 per cent in four years since 2014. India now has 12,852 leopards as per 2018 estimate, compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted in 2014. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783, and 1,690 respectively.


    Indian Boxers bag 3 Gold at Cologne Boxing World Cup

    Indian boxers have bagged 9 medals including three gold, two silver and four bronze at the Cologne Boxing World Cup 2020, held in Cologne, Germany. India finished 2nd in the overall Medals List, Germany topped the list with 16 medals. The Cologne Boxing World 2020 was hosted by the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC).


    List of Medal Winners

    • Gold: The three gold medals for India were bagged by Amit Panghal (52kg), Manisha Moun (57kg) and Simranjit Kaur (60kg) in their respective categories.

    • Silver: Silver medals were claimed by Sakshi Choudhary (57kg) and Satish Kumar (91kg).

    • Bronze: Sonia Lather (57kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) Gaurav Solanki (57kg) and Mohamed Hussamudin (57kg) claimed the bronze medal in their respective categories.


    World Bank approves several projects to support development in India

    The World Bank has approved 4 India projects worth over $800 million. The projects will support a range of development initiatives that supports the efforts of India to rebuild itself by creating a sustainable and resilient economy. The projects that have been approved are: 1. $400 million Second Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program. 2. $100 million Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth Project (CHIRAAG). 3. $68 million Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project. 4. $250 million Second Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Project (DRIP-2).


    National Affairs

    The Minister of State for Skill Development, Raj Kumar Singh has inaugurated the first Centre of Excellence (CoE) for ‘skill development in the power sector’ in Gurugram. The CoE has been established in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurugram, Haryana. The Union Power Ministry, R. K. Singh has framed the new ‘Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. These rules shall empower the consumers of electricity and added that these Rules emanate from the conviction that the power systems exist to serve the consumers and the consumers have rights to get the reliable services and quality electricity.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch ‘SEHAT’ – Health Insurance Scheme for the entire Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on 26th December. This scheme will cover the remaining One crore population which was not covered under Ayushman Bharat Scheme. Under Ayushman Bharat PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), eligible beneficiaries were covered under Health Cover of Rs 5 Lakh.

    • The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in mainstreaming safety and green technologies. The $500 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a lending arm of World Bank Group, has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.

    • The Union Cabinet approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services, allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as increasing the licence period to 20 years.

    • The Cabinet approved the merger of four government-run film and media units — the Films Division, the Directorate of Film Festivals, the National Film Archives of India and the autonomous body Children’s Film Society, with the National Film Development Corporation.


    International Affairs

    The Hawker Culture of street food in Singapore has been inducted by UNESCO in its prestigious ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. The Hawker Culture is a popular Singaporean style of street dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban environment.

    • FIFA has cancelled men’s U-20 and U-17 World Cup tournaments in 2021 for the novel coronavirus. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to cancel the 2021 editions of the men’s FIFA U-20 World Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cup, and to appoint Indonesia and Peru respectively, who were due to host the tournaments in 2021, as the hosts of the 2023 editions.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    Reserve Bank of India has further extended the restrictions on crisis-ridden Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank by three months till 31 March 2021. The bank has also received four Expression of Interest (EoI) for its revival. To examine them, the bank would need some more time. These proposals will be examined by the bank with regard to their viability and feasibility taking into account the best interest of the depositors.

    • ICICI Bank has launched an online platform ‘Infinite India’ to support foreign companies to establish or expand business in India. The one-stop portal will offer banking solutions as well as value-added services such as the incorporation of a business entity, corporate filings, licences and registrations, HR services, compliances and taxation among others.

    • Bank of Baroda (BoB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard under which the bank would offer customised services along with a host of facilities to account holders. The bank has also renewed its existing MoU with the Indian Army to offer specially customised banking services through ”Baroda Military Salary Package. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has projected the Indian economy to contract 7.3 per cent in FY21, compared to -12.6% forecast in September 2020. The Delhi based economic think tank released its mid-year review of the Indian economy virtually on 21 December 2020.

    • India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised India’s GDP estimate for the current financial year 2020-21 (FY21) to -7.8 per cent from -11.8 per cent estimated earlier. This lower contraction rate is mainly due to the easing of COVID-19 curbs and better-than-expected recovery in the second quarter. Ind-Ra has also estimated the GDP to grow by 9.6% in 2021-22 (FY22).

    • The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the banking licence issued to Subhadra Local Area Bank Ltd., Kolhapur, Maharashtra to carry on banking business in India. The Reserve Bank cancelled the licence of the Subhadra Local Area Bank Ltd as it had breached the minimum net worth requirement for two quarters in the financial year 2019-20.

    • The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced to invest $54 million in India to support the development of critical infrastructure projects in the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DFC will invest this $54 million in equity for the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in India.


    Defence News

    The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh recently handed over three indigenously developed high technology systems to chiefs of the three armed forces: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. The three systems namely, Border Surveillance System (BOSS), Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System (IMSAS) and ASTRA Mk-I Missile, have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

    • Union Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the advanced Hypersonic Wind Tunnel (HWT) test facility of the DRDO in Hyderabad, Telangana. The state-of-the-art HWT Test facility has made India as the only third country in the world, after the US and Russia, to have such a huge facility in size and capability


    Awards and Recognitions

    Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the ‘ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020’ via video conferencing. The week-long Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) Foundation Week was organised from 15 to 19 December 2020. The theme of the programme was ‘India’s resilience: Atmanirbhar roadmap towards $5 trillion economies.’ As a part of the celebration, PM Modi also presented the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ to Shri Ratan Tata, on behalf of the TATA Group, for his distinguished contributions to the country.

    • US President Donald Trump has presented America’s highest military decoration, ‘The Legion of Merit’, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The prestigious Legion of Merit was given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in elevating strategic partnership of the two countries.

    • Srinagar based Amar Singh College has been recognized with the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The restoration of the Amar Singh College brought back one of the most prominent institutional buildings in Kashmir to its former glory.

    • The winners of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation Book Prize 2020 for the best nonfiction book on contemporary/ modern India were announced. The Prize was given jointly to Amit Ahuja for his Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) and to former Union minister Jairam Ramesh for his A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon (Penguin Random House), a biography of politician and diplomat VK Krishna Menon.

    • Country’s largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has been conferred “Excellence” in the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020 in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Domain. NTPC has been honoured in the Corporate Excellence Category, Commendation for Significant Achievement.


    Sports News

    The Sports Ministry has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of Khelo India Youth Games 2021, which is scheduled to be held in Haryana. The four new games are, Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba.

    • Formula 1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020. This is the second time that the 35-year-old Hamilton has been crowned Sports Personality of the Year. Prior to this, he won the award in 2014.


    Obituaries

    Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue, MG Vaidya has passed away. He was a veteran journalist, a Sanskrit scholar and the first official spokesperson of the RSS. He became a member of the RSS in 1943.

    • Veteran Congress leader, Motilal Vora has passed away following post-COVID-19 complications. He was born at Jodhpur in Rajasthan and began his career as a journalist. The late Congress leader served as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh twice, once from 1985 to 1988 and then again in 1989 for 11 months.

    • Renowned poet and activist, Sugathakumari passed away, after testing positive for the coronavirus. She was one of the most active campaigners of the Save Silent Valley Movement when it took shape in the 1970s.

    • Former English first-class batsman John Edrich has passed away. He was amongst the best players of his generation, during a career that ran from 1956 to 1978.

    • Legendary Urdu poet and critic, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi has passed away, a month after recovering from COVID-19. He received Saraswati Samman in 1996 for his work ‘She’r-e Shor-Angez’, a fourvolume study of the eighteenth-century poet Mir Taqi Mir. The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of Padma Shri in 2009.



    Weekly Current Affairs 07th to 13th December 2020



    Cabinet approves Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana

    The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in the formal sector by encouraging the businesses to do fresh hiring amid the pandemic. ABRY will also incentivize the creation of new employment opportunities under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.


    About the Yojana:

    • The Cabinet has approved an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crores for the current financial year and Rs. 22,810 crores for the entire scheme period from 2020 to 2023.

    • The scheme will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after October 1, 2020, and up to June 30, 2021.

    • The government will pay both 12 per cent employees’ contribution and 12 per cent employers’ contribution i.e. 24 per cent of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing up to 1,000 employees for two years

    • It will pay only employees’ share of EPF contribution i.e. 12 per cent of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1,000 employees for two years.


    Eligibility

    • An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15,000 who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) before October 1, 2020, and did not have a Universal Account Number (UAN) or EPF Member account number prior to October 1, 2020, will be eligible for the benefit.

    • Any EPF member possessing Universal Account Number (UAN) drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15,000 who made exit from employment during COVID pandemic from March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, and did not join employment in any EPF covered establishment up to September 30, 2020 will also be eligible to avail benefit.


    Centre Launches QRMP scheme for GST payers

    The Central Government has launched ‘Quarterly Return filing & Monthly Payment of Taxes (QRMP)’ scheme for small taxpayers under the GST system. Taxpayers with an aggregate annual turnover of up to Rs 5 crore in the preceding financial year and have filed their October GSTR-3B (sales) return by November 30, 2020, are eligible for this scheme. The notifications for the same were issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).


    About QRMP Scheme:

    • Persons with aggregate turnover up to Rs 5 crore would be allowed to furnish their GSTR-1 and GSTR3B returns on a quarterly basis, beginning JanuaryMarch quarter of 2020-21. Quarterly GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B can also be filed through an SMS.

    • Taxpayers can also make GST payments every month, through challan, with effect from January 1, 2021.

    • This can be done either by self-assessment of monthly liability or 35% of net cash liability of previous filed GSTR-3B of the quarter.

    • Under this, the registered person or a taxpayer will furnish a return for every quarter, under sub-rule (1) of rule 61A of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017 and pay the monthly tax under subsection (7) of section 39 of the same Act.

    • After the above changes, the act is named as the Central Goods and Services Tax (Thirteenth Amendment) Rules, 2020.

    Bajrang Punia, Elavenil Valarivan bag Sportsperson of the Year awards

    Indian athletes, Bajrang Punia (Freestyle-Wrestling) and Elavenil Valarivan (Shooting), bagged the top honours at the virtually held FICCI India Sports Awards 2020 on the back of the 10th Global Sports Summit. The two athletes, who have had an impressive 2019-20 season, won the Sportsperson of the Year awards in their respective categories.


    Here is the list of Winner in different Categories:

    Award

    Personality

    Sportsperson of the Year (Female)

    Elavenil Valarivan

    Sportsperson of the Year (Male)

    Bajrang Punia

    Best State Promoting Sports Award

    Madhya Pradesh

    Best Company Promoting Sports (Private Sector)

    Anil Kumble.

    About the award: The sports awards are an attempt by industry body, Federation of Indian Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.


    Gwalior, Orchha in UNESCO world heritage cities list

    The historical fort cities of Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of UNESCO’s world heritage cities under its The World Heritage Cities Programme. Under the plan, UNESCO will suggest best measures and resources for the development and beautification of these places as per the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape recommendations. With this Inclusion, the total number of UNESCO World Heritage Cities of India will increase to 40.s

    • The inclusion will lead to the beautification of both cities by the MP Tourism Department in collaboration with UNESCO.

    • In this regard, UNESCO team will visit the state in 2021 and will prepare a master plan for their development and conservation under the Historic Urban Landscape recommendation.

    • Chemical treatment of historic spots like Mansingh Palace, Gujri Mahal and Sahastrabahu Temple will also be done so that art inscribed on them will become more visible.

    • Guards will also be deployed at both places to welcome tourists as per the Indian traditions.


    Joe Biden, Kamala Harris jointly named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ 2020

    US President-elect, Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have been jointly named Time magazine’s 2020 “Person of the Year”. The TIME magazine releases the annual list since 1927, to recognise a person or organisation who affected the news or impacted the country and world the most, for better or worse, during the calendar year. Apart from this, Time magazine has named the Korean pop group BTS as its Entertainer of the Year, and basketball star LeBron James as Athlete of the Year. Zoom founder Eric Yuan was aptly named Businessperson Of The Year, as the video communications company has come to define the way millions have connected with each other during the pandemic.


    National Affairs

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the construction work of the Agra Metro project in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The Agra Metro project comprises 2 corridors with a total length of 29.4 km. It would connect major tourist attractions like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Sikandra with railway stations and bus stands.

    • The Union Cabinet has approved a scheme called the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Initiative (PM-WANI), to improve wireless connectivity and pave the way for free wireless internet in public spaces across the country.

    • The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated the 1.5 km long Koilwar bridge over Sone river in Bihar through Video Conferencing. This newly inaugurated bridge is a part of the six-lane bridge being made in place of the existing two-lane bridge, for both rail and road traffic, which is 138 years old.

    • The Manila-based multilateral lending agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 2.5 million (about Rs 18 crore) technical assistance to support advanced biofuel development in India. The grant will be funded from the Asia Clean Energy Fund, financed by the Government of Japan under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility, and the Republic of Korea’s e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund.


    International Affairs

    • Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan, which will allow duty-free access to a range of goods between the two countries and hence boost bilateral trade between them. Under the PTA, 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan, while 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh. Further items can be added in the list later on the basis of discussion between the two countries.

    • China has become the second country in the world to unfurl its national flag on the moon surface. Earlier this feat was achieved only by the USA when it planted its flag on the Moon during the Apollo mission in 1969. If the return journey concludes successfully, China becomes the only third country globally to have samples from the moon. Till date, this record is maintained only by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

    • Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has re-appointed Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah as prime minister. The move comes two days after Sheikh Sabah submitted his government’s resignation in a procedural step following parliamentary polls.

    • The Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban has stepped down from his post after his ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) lost in 2020 parliamentary election. Following this, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis appointed the Minister of National Defense, Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca as the interim prime minister of the country.

    • The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched an initiative called, the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), for its developing member countries. The bank has allocated USD 9 billion for APVAX.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    • The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will be made available round the clock on all days of the year with effect from 00:30 hours on December 14, 2020. Presently RTGS system is available for customers between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM

    • Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a techbased loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’, to speed up and maintain accuracy in online loan processing and sanctioning of credit proposals. It is envisaged to be implemented in a phased manner for all kinds of loans. Under the Mudra scheme, the processing and sanction of credit proposals up to Rs 10 lakh including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSME) loans (fresh, renewal, enhancement and review) will be done by LenS.

    • The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a new version of its mobile payment app called iMobile Pay, to offer payment and banking services to customers of any bank. The latest version of the app is interoperable and will now allow payments and other banking services to even those customers who do not hold an ICICI Bank account.

    • The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the licence of Karad Janata Sahakari Bank Ltd in Maharashtra, as it does not have adequate capital and earning prospects. As such, it does not comply with the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. More than 99 per cent of the depositors of the bank will get full payment of their deposits from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC).

    • Bank of Baroda (BoB) has recently launched the Atmanirbhar Women Scheme as part of its Baroda Gold Loan. This scheme aims to target the self-reliant woman in India. Under the scheme, the bank is offering loans at 0.50 per cent concession for women. The bank under the gold loan scheme is offering agrigold loan at 0.25 per cent concession and for a retail loan at 0.50 per cent concession.

    • Fitch Ratings has revised the GDP growth rate for India in its Global Economic Outlook, and now expects the economy to contract 9.4 per cent in the current financial year 2020-21, as compared to (- )10.5 per cent forecast earlier. Fitch has also projected the FY22 GDP growth at 11 per cent and 6.3 per cent growth in FY23. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected India’s economy to contract 8 per cent in 2020, as against (-)9.0 per cent previously forecast. In its latest Asian Development Outlook report released on 10 December 2020, ADB also expects the GDP of India to bounce back with growth of 8.0 per cent in 2021.

    • RBL Bank and ICICI Prudential have joined hands under a bancassurance partnership. 398 RBL Bank branches across 28 states will distribute ICICI Prudential Life's protection and savings products. The protection products of ICICI Prudential Life will help the bank’s customers to develop a strong financial plan and its long-term savings products will help the customers of the bank to achieve their financial goals.


    Obituaries

    • Veteran Bengali actor Manu Mukherjee passed away. He started his film career with Mrinal Sen’s Nil Akasher Niche (1958). The actor is best remembered for his roles in Satyajit Ray’s Joy Baba Felunath and Ganashatru. He had also been part of children’s fantasy film Patalghar’.

    • Ravi Patwardhan, a popular face in Marathi entertainment industry, has passed away. The veteran actor became a household name for his role in Marathi TV series Agabai Sasubai.

    • Narinder Singh Kapany, also known as the father of fibre optics, passed away. The India-born American physicist was named as one of the seven “Unsung Heroes” by Fortune in their ‘Businessmen of the Century’ issue of November 1999.

    • Eminent Hindi writer, Madhukar Gangadhar passed away. He was the lead storyteller of the new story movement. He was an associate of Renuji in Patna Akashvani, director of All India Radio in Allahabad & Deputy Director General at Delhi AIR.

    • Paolo Rossi of Italy, who scored 6 goals in the 1982 World Cup, passed away. He is the only male player in history to win the World Cup, the Golden Boot, the Golden Ball and Ballon d'Or in the same year. In 1982 was Italy's first victory after 1938.



    Weekly Current Affairs 30thNov to 06th December 2020



    RBI Monetary Policy: Policy Rate unchanged

    The six-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided to maintain the status quo on policy rate amid sticky rate of inflation. At this point, the repo rate or the rate at which RBI lends to banks stands unchanged at 4 per cent. The reverse repo rate also stayed unchanged at 3.35 per cent. The MPC committee members voted unanimously in favour of the decision.


    The key decisions taken in the Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

    • The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been kept unchanged at 4.00%.

    • The reverse repo rate under the LAF has been kept unchanged at 3.35%.

    • The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been kept unchanged at 4.25%. RBI Monetary Policy Highlights & Key Decisions:

    • Governor Shaktikanta Das proposes to put in place criteria for NBFC dividend distribution, introduces risk-based audit in large NBFCs & co-op banks.

    • RTGS will soon be made 24X7 in the next few days. • The business sentiment of manufacturing firms is gradually improving.

    • CPI inflation is seen at 6.8% for Q3 and 5.8% for Q4.

    • Real GDP growth for FY21 is projected at -7.5%. Q3 FY-21 GDP is seen at +0.1% while Q4 FY-21 GDP is seen at +0.7%.

    • Corporate bond spreads have narrowed to pre-covid levels.

    • RBI proposes to enhance limits for contactless card payments from ₹2000 to ₹5000 from Jan 2021.

    • On-tap Targeted Long Term Repo Operations (TLTRO) will be expanded to cover other stressed sectors in tandem with Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) scheme.


    Reliance Industries tops Fortune India 500 Ranking 2020

    Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has topped the 2020 Fortune 500 list of Indian companies, released. The revenue of RIL clocked Rs 615,854.00, accounting for 7% of cumulative revenues and 11 per cent profit of the companies. The country’s biggest oil firm, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), bagged the second spot, followed by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at the third position. The list was published by Fortune India, which is part of the Kolkata-based RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.

    Here is the list of top 10 companies on the 2020 Fortune India-500 list: 1. Reliance Industries 2. Indian Oil Corporation 3. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation 4. State Bank of India 5. Bharat Petroleum Corporation 6. Tata Motors 7. Rajesh Exports 8. Tata Consultancy Services 9. ICICI Bank 10. Larsen & Toubro.


    National Affairs

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a three-city visit on 28 November 2020, to personally review the COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing process at facilities in these cities. Facilities visited by PM Modi are Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the 33rd PRAGATI meeting to review multiple projects, grievances and programmes. PRAGATI stands for “Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation”. The projects worth around Rs 1.41 lakh crore, related to ten states and union territories, were reviewed.

    • The Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar recently unveiled a new initiative called Sahakar Pragya. Sahakar Pragya is an initiative of National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), to help in capacity development of the cooperative sector in India, through the training programme.

    • The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda has launched the first-ever virtual edition of Aadi Mahotsav – Madhya Pradesh. The event will showcase the tribal traditions of the various tribal communities by having their crafts and natural products on display.

    • United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is expected to be the chief guest at 2021 Republic day with Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally inviting him. Johnson, on his part, has invited PM Modi to the G-7 summit in the United Kingdom next year. The last British prime minister at the Republic Day parade was John Major in 1993.

    • The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar virtually inaugurated Honey Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) Programme in five states, for producing honey.

    • The 9th edition of the International Sand Art Festival and the 31st edition of the Konark Festival has kicked-off in Odisha. International Sand Art Festival is being held at the Chandrabhaga Beach of Konark in Puri district of Odisha. About 70 artists from across the country are taking part in the festival. The world-renowned sand artist and Padmashree Awardee, Sudarsan Pattnaik, has been appointed as Chief Curator of the festival.


    International Affairs

    • New Zealand has declared a “climate emergency” and promised to make its public sector carbon neutral by 2025. New Zealand now joins 32 other countries that have declared a climate emergency. They include Japan, Canada, France and the United Kingdom

    • The first coal-based power plant of Arab Gulf country is being developed in Saih Shuaib, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The 2,400MW Hassyan clean coal power station will be built at an estimated cost of $ 3.4 billion.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    • Private lender YES Bank has launched an ‘SMS Pay’ functionality on POS terminals, which would allow merchants to accept contactless and remote payments from their customers. YES Bank has collaborated with French payment services company Worldline to launch the new facility.

    • The UBS has projected India’s real GDP to contract 10.5% in FY21, in its Global Economics & Markets Outlook 2021-2022 report. For the fiscal 2021-22 (FY22) UBS expect India’s real GDP growth to rebound to +10% in FY22. UBS also estimates India’s GDP to stabilise at 6.2 per cent YoY in FY23.

    • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has marginally raised its GDP forecast for India to a contraction of 9.9% in 2020- 21 (FY21) from its earlier projection of (-)10.2% in September 2020. OECD expects the GDP to rebound to 8% in 2021-22 (FY22) and 5% in 2022-23 (FY23).

    • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has given its in-principle approval for the merger of Bharti AXA General Insurance with ICICI Lombard. The merged entity will have a market share of around 8.7 per cent on a proforma basis in the general insurance business.

    • Axis Bank Ltd in partnership with Rupifi and Visa launched ‘Axis Bank Rupifi Business Credit Card’ for MSMEs(Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). This Contactless Co-Branded credit card, powered by Visa is applicable only to the MSMEs businesses that transact on the aggregator platforms partnered with Rupifi PAN (Permanent Account Number) India for their business purchases. The card offers credit solutions to such MSMEs. It is only for domestic transactions.


    Appointments/Resignations

    • Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has appointed senior IAS officer Utpal Kumar Singh as Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha and Lok Sabha Secretariat. His appointment will come into effect from December 1, 2020. He will succeed incumbent Snehlata Shrivastava.

    • The Government of India has appointed IAS officer Varsha Joshi as the new Chairperson of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

    • Footwear major Bata Shoe Organization has appointed Sandeep Kataria as the new global Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is the first Indian to be appointed to the global role of Bata (HeadquarterLausanne, Switzerland). He takes over from Alexis Nasard, who has stepped down after almost five years in the role.

    • Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary has been appointed as the 27th Director General of Border Roads Organisation (BRO). His appointment is effective from 1st December 2020.

    • Srinagar born Wushu coach and the first Dronacharya Awardee from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Kuldeep Handoo is appointed as the Ambassador of Fit India movement.


    Defence News

    • India successfully test-fired the anti-ship version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. The test was conducted as part of the ongoing trials being conducted by the Indian Navy. The DRDO-developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with a strike range of 300 Km was launched from Indian Navy’s INS Ranvijay and it successfully hit its target ship near the Car Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

    • The Indian Navy (IN) and the Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) are undertaking Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The exercise will help in enhancing interoperability, improving understanding and imbibing best practices between both the friendly navies. It involves advanced surface and antisubmarine warfare exercises, weapon firings, seamanship exercises and helicopter operations


    Awards and Recognitions

    • Ranjitsinh Disale, a government teacher from Zilla Parishad Primary School, in Paritewadi village, Solapur district of Maharashtra, has won the 2020 Global Teacher Prize. He is the first Indian to win this award, which carries prize money of $1 million (Rs 7.4 crore).

    • The Indian-American young scientist and inventor, Gitanjali Rao, has been named as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ by the iconic TIME magazine. This is the first time that the TIME magazine has launched the Kid of The Year” award.


    Ranks and Reports

    • Lahore, the cultural capital Pakistan, has been ranked as the world’s most polluted city, according to air pollution data released by the US Air Quality Index (AQI). Lahore reported a particulate matter (PM) rating of 423. New Delhi stood second with a PM of 229, while Nepal’s capital Kathmandu ranked the third with a PM of 178.

    • In the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2020, India has been ranked at 8th spot globally in the list of countries most affected by terrorism in 2019. With a score of 9.592, Afghanistan has topped the index as the worst terror impacted nation among the 163 countries. It is followed by Iraq (8.682) and Nigeria (8.314) at second and third place respectively.

    • Chairperson of HCL Technologies, Roshni Nadar Malhotra has topped the list of wealthiest women in India, according to the second edition of ‘Kotak Wealth Hurun–Leading Wealthy Women’ report. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon and Leena Gandhi Tewari of USV are at the second and third rank respectively in the Kotak Wealth Hurun wealthy women list 2020.

    • The Nongpok Sekmai Police Station in Manipur topped the list of best police stations in India, while Sooramangalam All Women Police Station at Salem, Tamil Nadu was adjudged the second best police station in the country. The Kharsang PS, Arunachal Pradesh‘s Changlang district was adjudged the country’s third-best police station.


    Sports News

    • Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli scripted another record in the game. He broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record and became the quickest batsman to complete 22,000 runs.

    • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. The race was the fifteenth round of the 2020 Formula One World Championship. This is the 11th victory for Hamilton of the season, and 95th F1 win of his career.

    • Virat Kohli became the fastest to reach 12,000 runs in One-day International cricket. Kohli breached the mark in the third ODI against Australia in Canberra. He got to the milestone in his 242nd inning thus bettering the previous record set by Sachin Tendulkar, who got his 12000th run in his 300th inning.

    • Dawid Malan of England has attained the highestever rating points for batsmen in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings. The 33-year-old Malan has reached 915 points, and thus became the first player to cross the 900-point mark in the format.


    Obituaries

    • British character actor David Prowse, best known for playing ‘Darth Vader’ in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away. • Senegal’s professional footballer, Papa Bouba Diop, who helped the country win the FIFA World Cup match in 2002, has passed away.

    • The owner of MDH Masala, Dharampal Gulati passed away. He was born in 1923 in Sialkot, Pakistan. He was fondly called ‘dalaji’ and ‘Mahashayji’.

    • American decathlete and film actor, Rafer Johnson, who was 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, has passed away.

    • The former President of France, Valery Giscard d’Estaing has passed away at the age of 94, from the complications of coronavirus. He had served as the third president of the Republic of France from 1974 to 1981.

    • The 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zafarullah Khan Jamali passed away. He served as PM from November 2002 to June 2004 for a duration of 1 Year, 7 Months and 3 days.

    • Lakshadweep Administrator, Dineshwar Sharma passed away. He was earlier headed the Intelligence Bureau and was also the Interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir.



    Weekly Current Affairs 16thto 22nd November 2020



    PM Modi Virtually Attends 12th BRICS Summit

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually addressed the 12th (BRICS) Summit. The Summit was held under the Chairmanship of Russian President Vladimir Putin. India will be taking over the Chairmanship of the BRICS in 2021 and host the 13th BRICS Summit in 2021. It would be the third time that India will take over the BRICS Presidency since its inception. Previously India was the Chair in 2012 and 2016. The theme of the 12th edition of BRICS Summit was “Global stability, shared security and innovative growth”. The key issues discussed by the leaders included intra-BRICS cooperation and other key issues in the global context, like the reform of the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation in CounterTerrorism, trade, health, energy and people to people exchanges.


    National Affairs

    • The Chief of Janata Dal (United), Nitish Kumar has taken an oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar and he will begin his 7th term on 16th November 2020. Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Kumar at Raj Bhavan in Patna. BJP legislature party leader Tarkishore Prasad and Deputy leader Renu Devi have been made the new Deputy Chief Ministers.

    • The Madhya Pradesh government, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has decided to set up a ‘Gau Cabinet’ for the protection, conservation and promotion of cows in the state. The Cabinet will comprise of the departments of animal husbandry, forests, panchayat and rural development, revenue, home and farmers welfare.

    • The world heritage site of Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar empire, will soon be part of a new district. The Karnataka Government has approved to carve out Vijayanagara as a new district of the state. Vijayanagara will be the 31st district of the State. The new district would be carved out of Ballari and named after the Vijayanagara empire that ruled from this region.

    • The Government of India and the New Development Bank(NDB) have signed a loan agreement for lending USD 500 million for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’. This Regional Rapid Transit System provide fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the National Capital Region (NCR).

    • India has extended financial contribution of USD 1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 17th ASEAN-India Summit, which was held virtually.


    International Affairs

    • Japan and Australia have signed a ‘landmark’ defence pact in a bid to counter China’s growing influence in the South China Sea and over the Pacific island nations. The deal called Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was signed between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.


    Banking Awareness

    RBI puts Lakshmi Vilas Bank under moratorium

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed cashstrapped Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) under a moratorium for a period of one month and restricted withdrawals at Rs 25,000 for depositors, owing to a serious deterioration in the lender’s financial position. The central bank also superseded the board of directors of LVB for a period of 30 days owing to a serious deterioration in the financial position of the bank. The move was announced through an order by the Ministry of Finance. Reserve Bank has come to the conclusion that in the absence of a credible revival plan, with a view to protecting depositors’ interest and in the interest of financial and banking stability, there is no alternative but to apply to the Central Government for imposing a moratorium under section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

    • The Investment bank, Goldman Sachs has revised upwards the growth forecast for India in FY21 to - 10.3% from its earlier projection of -14.8% in September 2020. For the financial year 2021-22 (FY22), the Goldman Sachs has projected India’s GDP at 13%.

    • Moody’s Investors Service has revised India’s GDP growth forecast to -10.6 per cent for the current fiscal 2020-21 (FY21), in its November 2020 update, from its earlier estimate of -11.5 per cent in September 2020. For next fiscal 2021-22, Moody’s projected India to grow at 10.8 per cent, as against the previous estimate of 10.6 per cent. • Barclays has revised down its GDP forecast for India in the current fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21) to – 6.4% from its earlier estimate of – 6%. However, Barclays has raised its FY22 (2021-22) growth forecast to 8.5 per cent from 7 per cent.


    Defence News

    • India successfully test-fired the Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system off the coast of Balasore in Odisha. The system achieved a major milestone by a direct hit on to a Banshee Pilotless target aircraft at medium range and medium altitude. Indian forces have carried out at least seven tests earlier of the missile system.

    • The second phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 has been organised in the Northern Arabian Sea from 17 to 20 November 2020. The first Phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 was conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 03 to 06 November 2020. Exercise Malabar 2020 is the 24th edition of MALABAR. The second phase will witness joint operations, centred around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.

    • The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) was held between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy. The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies participated in the CORPAT.


    Awards & Recognitions

    • Sadat Rahman from Bangladesh has been awarded the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize 2020. He was awarded the prize for his involvement in setting up his social organization and mobile app ‘Cyber Teens’ to stop cyberbullying. The award was presented to 17-year-old Sadat by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, during a ceremony in the Netherlands. He was selected out of 142 applicants from 42 countries.

    • Dr Susanta Kar, Senior Scientist, Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research- Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI) was honoured with “Prof. A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award 2020” by Society of Biological Chemists (India), Bengaluru. The award is given to him for his contribution towards defining the survival tactics of Leishmania Donovani.

    • Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ will be conferred with the Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Award. This award will be conferred to the Minister for writing, poetry and other literary works.

    • Scottish writer Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction. He has been awarded for his debut novel, “Shuggie Bain”. The 44-year-old Stuart is only the second Scot to have won the prestigious literary prize.

    • The North Police Station in Kohima was awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management System. It is the first government agency of the state that has received such recognition. The ISO certificate helps to ensure that the police personnel routinely evaluates its working and implement remedial measures, as and when required.


    Sports News

    • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Istanbul Park, Turkey. Sergio Perez (Racing Point-BWT- Mexico) secured the second position and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari finished third.

    • Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has given the ATP Tour No. 1 trophy on 15 November 2020, for finishing 2020 as the year-end No. 1 (world number one). With this, he has become the only second player in tennis history, after Pete Sampras, to receive the trophy sixth time.

    • The 2021 U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in India, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It has also been decided that India will host the 2022 edition of the World Cup. While Costa Rica will get the chance to host the 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup.

    • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced its partnership with Mobile Premier League (MPL) Sports, the athleisure wear and sports merchandise brand from Mobile Premier League, India’s largest sports platform, as the new kit sponsor and official merchandise partner for the Indian Cricket Team.


    Obituaries

    • Noted journalist and writer Ravi Belagere passed away. He was from Karnataka. He was famous for writings on the crime world and his column ‘Paapigala Lokadalli’ was very popular.

    • The legendary Bengali actor and Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient Soumitra Chatterjee passed away. He became famously known after his collaborations with Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in fourteen films. He had won a number of awards in home and abroad.

    • Former Lt Governor of Pondicherry, Chandrawati passed away. She has a number of 1st to her credit as she was the 1st Member of Parliament (1977), the 1st MLA, 1st minister (1964-66 and 1972-74) & 1st leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly (1982- 85).

    • Physicist Masatoshi Koshiba, who shared 2002 Nobel prize for the detection of cosmic neutrinos, passed away. Koshiba’s most famous work involved detecting neutrinos from a distant supernova explosion using a vast detector based in a mine in central Japan. Koshiba, a distinguished professor at the University of Tokyo.

    • Rajasthan Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal passed away. The five-time MLA represented the Sujangarh assembly constituency of Churu district of the state.

    • Former Governor of Goa and veteran BJP leader, Mridula Sinha passed away. She was the first woman Governor of Goa.



    Weekly Current Affairs 02ndnovember to 8th November 2020



    PM Modi launches India’s first seaplane service in Gujarat

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the country’s first seaplane service between the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya in Gujarat’s Narmada district and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. He travelled in the maiden flight of the twin-engine plane from pond-3 close to Sardar Sarovar Dam and landed at Sabarmati riverfront where a water aerodrome has been set up.


    About the seaplane service:

    • The 19-seater seaplane will be managed by private airline SpiceJet

    • The service will cover the 200km distance between Sabarmati and Kevadia, in just 45 minutes by flight, which usually takes 4 hours.

    • The flight will be able to accommodate 12 passengers and tickets will cost Rs 4,800 per person.

    • There will be four flights a day between Ahmedabad and Kevadia on each side, which means four arrivals and four departures.


    National Affairs

    • The Union Minister of Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan has launched the ‘SERB – POWER’ schemes which aim to encourage and support emerging as well as eminent women researchers to undertake R&D activities in frontier areas of science and engineering. SERB-POWER stands for Science and Engineering Research Board – Promoting Opportunities For Women in Exploratory Research.

    • The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, jointly inaugurated India’s first-ever E-resource centre and the virtual court called “Nyay Kaushal” at Judicial Officers Training Institute in Nagpur.

    • As a part of Mission Sagar-II, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat has reached Sudan with 100 tonnes of food aid. Under Mission Sagar-II, INS Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Ganga Utsav-2020 has been organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) jointly with the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The three-day-long Ganga Utsav-2020 has been organised from 02 to 04 November 2020, virtually amidst COVID-19 precautions.

    • Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel virtually inaugurated the “Tourist Facilitation Centre” facility at Guruvayur, in Kerala. The facility has been constructed under the project “Development of Guruvayur, Kerala” under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, at the cost of Rs. 11.57 Crores.

    • The Chief of Army Staff General, MM Naravane was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. He was honoured at a special ceremony at the President’s official residence ‘Shital Niwas’ in Kathmandu, Nepal.

    • The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted a four-member committee, to assess the existing Television Rating Points (TRP) of TV channels. The committee will be chaired by Prasar Bharati CEO, Shashi S Vempati.

    • The committee will be responsible to address the ‘needs of the stakeholders’ and make necessary recommendations for a rating system which shall be ‘robust, transparent and accountable’.


    International Affairs

    • Super Typhoon Goni, claimed as the world’s strongest typhoon of 2020 has hit the south of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. Goni is one of the strongest storms to hit the Philippines since 2013’s Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people.

    • Portugal MP,

    • Duarte Pacheco has won the elections for the post the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The term of the Duarte Pacheco will be from 2020-2023. He will be the 30th President of the IPU and will succeed Mexican MP Gabriela Cuevas Barron who completed the tenure in October 2020.

    • The incumbent President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has won a third 5-year term in a landslide victory, gaining more than 94 per cent of the votes polled.

    • Bangladesh and US navies launched the ‘Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2020’ to expand relationships and broaden maritime awareness between the two countries.

    • The President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli has been sworn for a second five-year term.

    • The United States has officially withdrawn from the Paris climate accord on 04 November 2020. With this, the US has now become the only country to formally pull out of the deal since it was adopted in 2015.


    Banking/Economy/Business News

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed monetary penalty on DCB Bank and Jio Payments Bank for various rule violations. The central bank has imposed a penalty of Rs 22 lakh on DCB Bank for noncompliance with certain provisions on marketing/distribution of mutual fund/insurance etc. The penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c) read with Section 46(4)(i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

    • Private lender ICICI Bank has launched a comprehensive banking programme for its millennial customers, (in the age bracket of 18 years to 35 years ), called ‘ICICI Bank Mine’. The ‘ICICI Bank Mine’ is India’s first and unique product launched by the bank to offer a mobile-first, highly personalised and experiential led banking experience to the millennial customers.

    • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has handed over the Lucknow airport to the Adani group on lease for a period of 50 years. Apart from this, the Adani group has taken over/will take over operations of 5 more airports.

    • Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has enhanced the investment limits for Mutual Fund companies for overseas investments. Mutual Funds can make overseas investments subject to a maximum of US $ 600 million per Mutual Fund, within the overall industry limit of US $ 7 billion. Earlier it was USD 300 million.

    • WhatsApp has partnered with five Indian banks to process its payment services. These are State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Jio Payments Bank. The Facebook-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp Inc., has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payments services in India, to let users send or receive money across the country.


    Appointments/Resignations

    • Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, Rajiv Jalota has been appointed as the chairman of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).

    • The Electronics Sector Skill Council of India (ESSCI) announced the appointment of PVG Menon as its chief executive officer.

    • AK Gupta, the new Managing Director and CEO of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) took charge. Before this, he was Director (Operations) of the company.

    • National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) Chairman, Dilip Rath has been unanimously elected to the board of global dairy body International Dairy Federation (IDF). Manipur’s Gyanendro Ningombam was elected unopposed as the President of Hockey India, while former President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad is back in the Hockey India Executive Board after being Elected Unopposed for the Senior Vice President post.


    Defence News

    • The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test-fired an air-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi fighter aircraft in the Bay of Bengal. The aircraft took off from an airbase in Punjab & reached the Bay of Bengal after mid-air refuelling.

    • The Navies of India, the US, Japan and Australia began the four-day-long phase first of the Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal. From the Indian side, destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, off-shore patrol vessel Sukanya, fleet support ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj will be part of the drill. US Navy Ship USS John S McCain (Guided-missile destroyer), Australian Navy Ship HMAS Ballarat (long-range frigate) and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship (JMSDF) Ship JS Onami (destroyer) are participating along with Indian Navy units.

    • The enhanced version of PINAKA rocket system was successfully flight tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. This enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets. While Mk-1 had a range of 40 km, the new variant can hit a target 45 to 60 km away.

    • India receives the second batch of three Rafale Aircraft, bringing total Rafale Jets with IAF to eight. The second batch of three Rafale jets landed in Jamnagar, Gujarat on 4th November 2020, after flying non-stop from France.

    • Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has conducted a three-day Tri-Service Combat Exercise code-named “Bull Strike” at Teressa Island in Nicobar Group of Islands. The exercise focussed on interoperability and synergy among three services – Army, Navy and Air Force to maximise combat potential.

    • A two-day joint coastal security exercise, “Sagar Kavach” was launched at Paradip Coast, Odisha. The exercise is being carried out by a joint effort of the state of Odisha and West Bengal governments.


    Awards & Recognitions

    • Noted Malayalam writer, Paul Zacharia has been selected for this year’s Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the Kerala government’s highest literary honour. Zacharia was chosen for his contribution to Malayalam literature during the past five decades.

    • Noted filmmaker Hariharan has been selected for the JC Daniel Award, the state government’s highest honour for lifetime contributions to Malayalam cinema. The award carries a purse of Rs 5 lakh, a citation, and a sculpture.


    Obituaries

    • Veteran Politician and former prime minister of Turkey, Mesut Yilmaz has passed away.

    • The Scottish actor, best known for his portrayal of James Bond, Sean Connery passed away.

    • Noted actor, filmmaker and voiceover artiste, Ashish Kakkad, has passed away.

    • Noted violin maestro and Padma awardee, TN Krishnan passed away. His full name was Tripunithura Narayanaiyer Krishnan.

    • Former Chief Minister and Socialist of Bihar, Satish Prasad Singh passed away. He was born on January 1, 1936, in Korchakka(now known as Satish Nagar) Village, Khagaria district, Bihar.

    • Bollywood actor Faraaz Khan passed away. He had acted in several popular Bollywood films in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


    Miscellaneous

    • The Indian Railways has introduced a new initiative called “Meri Saheli” to provide safety and security to women passengers during their train journeys. The Meri Saheli initiative has been launched by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Indian Railways.

    • India’s border areas with Pakistan in Rajasthan would soon be illuminated with renewable energy. The state government will soon ink an MoU with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to establish Ultra Mega Renewal Energy Power Park. The park to be set up near borders areas will be of 8,000 megawatts (MW) capacity, which will comprise 4,310 MW of wind energy; 3,760 MW of solar energy and 120 MW of power from biomass.

    • Indian-origin New Zealand politician, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has created history by becoming the first Indian-Kiwi woman to become a minister in New Zealand. Radhakrishnan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

    • The iconic Indian superhero, Chacha Chaudhary, whose brain works faster than a computer has now come forward to join hands with the Namami Gange Programme.



    Weekly Current Affairs 05th to 11th of October 2020




    1. Swachh Bharat Awards 2020 announced

    The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria virtually conferred the Swachh Bharat 2020 Awards to the best performing States/UTs, districts, blocks, GPs in various categories. The Ministry of Jal Shakti is observing the Swachh Bharat Diwas, 2020 on 2nd October to mark six years of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).


    The Swachh Bharat 2020 Awards were conferred under three categories which are:

    1. Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) campaign

    2. Samudayik Shauchalaya Abhiyan (SSA)

    3. Gandagi Se Mukt (GMB) campaign.


    Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) campaign

    • Best State: Gujarat

    • Best District: Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

    • Best Block: Khachrod, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

    • Best Gram Panchayat: Chinnaur, (Salem).


    Samudayik Shauchalaya Abhiyan (SSA)

    • Best State: Uttar Pradesh (GKRA) and Gujarat (NonGarib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA)]

    • Best District: Prayagraj (GKRA) and Bareilly (NonGKRA)

    • Best Gram Panchayat: Borigaon, Bongaigaon, Assam.


    Gandagi Se Mukt (GMB) campaign

    • Best State: Telangana and Haryana.

    • Best District: Moga, Punjab.

    GoI appoints three new economists as RBI’s MPC members

    The Government of India has appointed three new economists as members of the six-member rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee(MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The government had formed a committee for selection of these three new members of MPC. This search-cum-selection committee for MPC was headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj.

    The new members are:

    • Prof. Ashima Goyal, a professor at the Mumbai-based Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Research

    • Prof. Jayanth R Varma, a professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad

    • Dr. Shashanka Bhide, an agricultural economist and a senior adviser with the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi.

    About Monetary Policy Committee:

    • MPC committee of RBI comprises six members which include three officials of the Reserve Bank of India and three external members nominated by the Government of India.

    • The three members from RBI Side are Dr. Mridul K. Saggar, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra and Shri Shaktikanta Das.

    • Governor of RBI is the Ex-Officio Chairman of MPC.

    • They replace the three previous external MPC candidates, Chetan Ghate, Ravindra Dholakia and Pami Dua, whose terms expired with the last policy meeting in August 2020.

    RBI’s 3rd Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2020-21 Released

    The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India met on 7th, 8th and 9th October for its third meeting of 2020-21. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das has announced crucial policy decisions at the Bank’s 3rd bi-monthly monetary policy.

    On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting decided to:

    • The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been kept unchanged at 4.00%.

    • The reverse repo rate under the LAF has been kept unchanged at 3.35%.

    • The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been kept unchanged at 4.25%.

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will introduce on-tap targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO) for banks to borrow up to Rs 1 trillion from the window and invest in corporate bonds and other debt instruments of certain sectors. The on-tap TLTROs will have tenors of up to three years at a floating rate linked to the policy repo rate and the scheme will be available up to 31 March 2021.

    • Real GDP growth is expected to be negative. The RBI’s MPC has pegged the real GDP growth for FY21 to contract by 9.5%.

    Accommodative stance of RBI’s Monetary Policy Statement:

    The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target going forward.


    2. Indian Air Force Day: 08 October

    Indian Air Force Day is celebrated every year by the Indian Air Force on 8th of October. This year Indian Air Force celebrated its 88th anniversary. Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932 by the British Empire as the Royal Indian Air Force. The name was changed to Indian Air Force in 1950. The special occasion will be celebrated with a ceremonial parade and flypast involving a variety of aircraft at the Hindon airbase. IAF’s frontline warplanes like Rafale, Su30MKI, Apache, Tejas, ‘Gajraj’ will showcase its lethal firepower. 56 aircraft, including 19 fighters and seven transport aircraft along with 19 helicopters, would be taking part in aerial display during this year’s Air Force Day Parade. The Rafale fighter aircraft would fly in the ‘Vijay’ formation along with the Jaguars and then in the ‘Transformer’ formation with the Sukhoi-30 MKI and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter aircraft during the IAF Day parade this year.


    3.PM Modi dedicates Atal Tunnel to the nation

    The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has dedicated Atal Tunnel to the nation, on 3rd October 2020. In December 2019, the Government has decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel in honour of the former Prime Minister and scholar Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had taken the decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass on June 3, 2000, and the foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.

    About Atal Tunnel:

    • Atal Tunnel is the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).

    • The tunnel has been named after former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

    • Atal tunnel has been built, by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway in Himachal Pradesh.

    • The total length of the tunnel is 9.02 km and at an elevation of 3,100 metres (10,171 ft).

    • The overall cost of completion of the project is around Rs. 3200 crore.


    4.International Affairs

    • An IEEE Spectrum report, the Beijing-based company is set to send the world’s first mining robot named ‘asteroid mining robot’ into space by November 2020 to identify and extract resources. The mining robot will be launched into space by a Chinese Long March series rocket.

    • The Kuwaiti government, headed by Prime Minister(PM) Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah submitted its resignation to Emir Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah in anticipation of the upcoming general elections that are due to be held in November 2020. He took charge as the PM in 2019.


    • Russia successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in the Arctic. The Missile was fired from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the White Sea, Russian Arctic. The missile covered a distance of 450 km with the maximum altitude of its trajectory at 28 km.

    • King of Jordan, Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein has appointed Bishr al-Khasawneh, policy advisor to the king, as new Prime Minister of the country.


    5.Banking/Economy/Business News

    The World Bank projected India’s GDP to contract by 9.6% this FY-21, which is reflective of the national lockdown and the income shock experienced by households and firms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank earlier in June had estimated the Indian economy to shrink by 3.2% in the current fiscal.


    6. Defence News

    • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired a new version of the surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile “Shaurya” at Balasore, off the coast of Odisha

    .

    • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the “Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo” (SMART) from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

    • The seventh offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), ”Vigraha” was formally unveiled at the Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The vessel, built by Larsen and Toubro, is the last in the series of seven OPVs contracted to the company by the Ministry of Defence in 2015.

    • The DRDO has successfully flight-tested a new generation Anti-Radiation Missile (RUDRAM-1) at the Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile was launched from SU-30 Mk1 fighter aircraft.

    • A two-day Coastal Security Exercise namely ‘Sagar Kavach’ conducted by the Indian Navy along with Indian Coast Guard and all stakeholders involved in Coastal Security from the coast of Kerala. The exercise was monitored from Joint Operations Centre, Kochi.


    7. Science and Technology

    • World Space Week (WSW) is observed from October 4 to 10 every year to celebrate science and technology, and their contribution towards the betterment of the human condition. The 2020 theme is “Satellites Improve Life.”

    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft named “SS Kalpana Chawla” after its astronaut Kalpana Chawla.

    • The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will be commissioning India’s largest HPC-AI supercomputer ‘PARAM Siddhi – AI’. This initiative will place India among the top countries in global AI supercomputing research and innovation. The initiative was headed by Abhishek Das, Scientist and Program Director (HPC-AI Infrastructure Development) at C-DAC, who conceived the idea and designed the architecture for the largest HPC-AI infrastructure in India.


    8. Awards and Recognitions

    • The Right Livelihood Award Foundation has announced the four winners of the 2020 Right Livelihood Award 2020 which is also known as the alternative Nobel Prize in Stockholm. The four activists Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, Nasrin Sotoudeh of Iran, Bryan Stevenson of the United States(US) and Lottie Cunningham Wren of Nicaragua shared the 2020 award for their contribution towards equality, democracy, justice and freedom.


    • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2020 was awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter(America), Charles M. Rice (America) and Michael Houghton (Britain) for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.

    • The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has presented the lifetime achievement award to business icon Ratan Tata for his pioneering role in the Business Relations of India-USA and for his lifetime achievement in Global Leadership. This award was announced in the virtual event of IACC “COVID Crusader Award-2020”.


    • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. The other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.


    • The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing”. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.


    • The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.


    • Noted Odia poet, Nityanand Nayak will be conferred the prestigious Sarala Puraskar for his poetry work ‘Setebelaku Nathiba’, published in 2017.


    • The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP). The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger.


    • The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani, has topped the Forbes India Rich list for 2020. The tycoon added $37.3 billion to his net worth, to bring his total fortune to $88.7 billion, a rise of 73% over the previous year. The second spot has been retained by Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Tech tycoon Shiv Nadar acquired the third spot with a net worth of $20.4 billion.


    9. Obituaries

    • Three-time member of Legislative Council and veteran Samajwadi Party leader from Auraiya, Mulayam Singh Yadav passed away. He had been the block chief of Auraiya’s block, Bhagya Nagar for more than a decade.

    • Veteran Bollywood actor, Vishal Anand has passed away. He came to fame with 1976 super-hit song and film ‘Chalte Chalte’..

    • Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan passed away. He was born on 5 July 1946. He was also the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, eight-time Lok Sabha member and current Rajya Sabha MP.

    • Mario José Molina, the only Mexican scientist to receive the Nobel Prize, passed away. He was born on 19th March 1943 in Mexico City, Mexico. He shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Frank Sherwood Rowland of the United States(US) and Paul Crutzen of the Netherlands for their 1970 research on the damage to the Ozone layer.

    • Former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Justice KK Usha, passed away. She served as a judge from 1991 to 2000. And when she was appointed Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court from 2000 to 2001, Justice Usha became the first woman to join the High Court Judiciary from the Bar and became a Chief Justice.



    Weekly Current Affairs 28th September to 04th October 2020




    1.RBI extends enhanced borrowing limit for banks under MSF till Mar 31, 2021

    • RBI extended the enhanced borrowing facility provided to banks under the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) scheme by six months till March 31, 2021. • It was initially available up to June 30, 2020, and was later extended up to September 30, 2020, due to economic disruptions amid COVID-19. • On March 27, this borrowing limit for scheduled banks was increased from 2% to 3% of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL).


    2.All India Football Federation awards 2019-20 announced

    All India Football Federation (AIFF) awards 2019-20 has announced. Indian men’s team Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has won the 2019-’20 AIFF Player of the year awards in men’s category. The women’s squad’s midfielder Sanju Yadav from Haryana has won the 2019- ’20 AIFF Player of the year awards in women’s category.

    Here is the complete list of 2019-20 AIFF AWARDS:

    • 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

    • 2019-20 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year: Sanju Yadav.

    • 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Emerging Footballer of the Year: Anirudh Thapa.

    • 2019-20 AIFF Emerging Women’s Footballer of the Year: Ratanbala Devi.

    • 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee: P. Vaira-Muthu (from Tamil Nadu).

    • 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Referee: L. Ajit Kumar Meetei (from Manipur).

    • 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Grassroots Development Programme: West Bengal (based on E-licence courses and Golden Baby Leagues).


    3. Kerala Tourism wins PATA Grand Award 2020

    Kerala Tourism’s ‘Human by Nature Print Campaign’ bagged the Prestigious Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Title Winner 2020 for Marketing. The awards were announced during a presentation ceremony of Virtual PATA Travel Mart 2020 in Beijing. The PATA Awards are supported and sponsored by Macao Government Tourist Office (MGTO).

    PATA Grand Title Winners 2020:

    S.No

    PATA Grand Title

    Category winner

    1.

    PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 for Marketing

    ‘Human by Nature Print Campaign’
    by Kerala Tourism, India

    2.

    PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 for Sustainability

    ‘Anurak Community Lodge’
    by YAANA Ventures, Thailand

    3.

    PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 in Human Capital Development

    ‘Unleashing Greatness’
    by MGM China, Macao,China.


    4. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020 announced

    The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020 was announced by the Union science and technology minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at the Foundation Day celebration of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 26th September.

    The Prize is awarded annually for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in the following disciplines:

    • Biological Sciences

    • Chemical Sciences

    • Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences

    • Engineering Sciences • Mathematical Sciences

    • Medical Sciences • Physical Sciences.

    Here is the list of (14) Fourteen scientists awardees:

    Biological Sciences:

    • Dr Subhadeep Chatterjee,

    • Dr Vatsala Thirumalai

    Chemical Sciences

    • Dr Jyotirmayee Dash,

    • Dr Subi Jacob George

    Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences

    • Dr Abhijit Mukherjee

    • Dr Suryendu Dutta

    Engineering Sciences

    • Dr Amol Arvindrao Kulkarni

    • Dr Kinshuk Dasgupta

    Mathematics Sciences

    • Dr UK Anandavardhanan,

    • Dr Rajat Subhra Hazra

    Medicine Sciences

    • Dr Bushra Ateeq

    • Dr Ritesh Agarwal

    Physics Sciences

    • Dr Rajesh Ganapathy

    • Dr Surajit Dhara


    5.National News

    • Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched the ICMR’s vaccine web portal and National Clinical Registry for Covid-19. This vaccine web portal will provide information related to the COVID-19 vaccine development in India and abroad. ICMR’s Mobile Stroke Unit was also launched. The Mobile Stroke Unit will ensure timely and appropriate treatment to people suffering from heart disease and hypertension.

    • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will begin a Sanitation Literacy Campaign (SLC) in Karnataka to promote literacy on ‘WASH’ (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in 2,000 villages covering one lakh rural population.

    • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot e-launched the “Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission (ASIIM)” under the Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes (SCs) to promote innovation and enterprise among SC students studying in higher educational institutions.

    • Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda has launched the Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Programme. • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a special refinance facility of Rs 800 crore for Fiscal Year 2021. With this, NABARD will support the Government of India’s Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.

    • West Bengal government has launched the “Pathashree Abhijan” scheme. It is a road repair scheme, where more than 7,000 stretches of roads comprising 12,000 kilometers across the state will be repaired in a mission mode and in a time-bound manner.


    6.Banking/Economy/Business News

    • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted in-principle approval to Vakrangee Ltd to set up Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) to handle payment services related to bills. It will operate BBPOU under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

    • Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) become the first to implement the new feature of document embedding facility with Letter of Credit (LC) / Bank Guarantee (BG) messages over SFMS (Structured Financial Messaging System) platform of Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS).

    • Indian Bank has launched a green initiative named “IB-eNote” to enable a total paperless working environment. This tool enables processing and tracking of notes put up by various offices digitally. The Bank also launched ‘Ind Guru’, an e-learning platform for its employees.

    • National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has projected the GDP growth for the Indian economy at -12.6% for 2020-21 (FY21). • Rating agency ICRA has revised its forecast for the contraction in India’s FY21 GDP to 11%.


    7. Appointments/Resignations

    • Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Neetu David as the Chairman of the 5 member women’s national selection panel. The other member of the newly-elected panel includes Mithu Mukherjee, Renu Margrate, Arati Vaidya and V Kalpana.

    • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission has appointed Sunil Sethi as its Advisor. He will succeed fashion designer Ritu Beri.

    • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed P.D. Vaghela as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI). He will succeed RS Sharma.

    • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced Shekhar Kapur as the new President of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society and Chairman of FTII Governing Council. He will replace television producer BP Singh.


    8.Sports News

    • Australian woman cricketer and wicketkeeper, Alyssa Healy broke the record of “Most Dismissal by Wicket Keeper” of MS Dhoni.

    • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) has won the Formula One Russian Grand Prix 2020 held at Sochi Autodrom, Russia.

    • The Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju has launched the new logo of Sports Authority of India’s (SAI). The new logo of SAI features a flying figure which indicates the freedom an athlete to leapfrog his/her career in SAI.


    9. Science and Technology

    • IIT Madras has successfully developed ‘MOUSHIK’, an indigenously-made microprocessor for the Internet of things (IoT) devices. ‘MOUSHIK’ is a processor cum a system-on-chip that can cater to the rapidly-growing IoT devices, an integral part of smart cities of a digital India.


    10. Defence News

    • The fourth edition of biennial Japan-India Maritime bilateral Exercise (JIMEX) kicked off in the northern Arabia Sea.

    • ITBP Director General, S S Deswal has been given the additional charge of counter-terrorism force National Security Guard (NSG) as its incumbent chief A K Singh is going to retire on September 30.

    • BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile featuring indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ subsystems was successfully flight tested from ITR, Balasore in Odisha.

    • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC 4) during the iDEX event. iDEX4Fauji initiative and Product Management Approach (PMA) guidelines were also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the event.

    • The second edition of Indian Navy (IN) – Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise Bongosagar commences in Northern Bay of Bengal. • The Indian Coast Guard Vessel Karnaklata Barua was commissioned at Kolkata. It is the fifth and last in a series of Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.


    11. Obituaries

    • The former Union Minister, Jaswant Singh passed away.

    • Renowned economist, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia passed away. She served as the director and then the chairperson of Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

    • Assam’s first and only woman chief minister, Syeda Anwara Taimur passed away.

    • Veteran songwriter, Abhilash passed away. He was best known for the song ‘Itni Shakti Hame Dena Daata’ from the 1986 film Ankush.

    • Veteran writer and critic Dr G S Amur passed away.



    Weekly Current Affairs 21th to 27th of September 2020




    1. 8 Indian beaches recommended for ‘Blue Flag’ eco-label

    In a first-of-its-kind initiative, eight beaches of India have been recommended for the Blue flag certification. The selection of the beaches was made by an independent national jury composed of eminent environmentalists and scientists. This announcement was made by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Prakash Javadekar on 18 September during a virtual event. What is Blue Flag certification? • The Blue Flag certificate is an internationally recognized eco-label given by ‘Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark’. • Blue Flag beaches are considered the benchmark for clean and hygienic beaches in the world. The eight beaches selected for Blue flag certification are 1. Shivrajpur in Gujarat 2. Ghoghla in Daman & Diu 3. Kasarkod in Karnataka 4. Padubidri beach in Karnataka 5. Kappad in Kerala 6. Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh 7. The golden beach of Odisha 8. Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar During the event, Union Minister Javadekar also announced the launch of India’s own eco-label ‘Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services’ (BEAMS).
    About BEAMS: This initiative has been launched under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project. The project will be implemented by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), under MoEFCC BEAMS program aims to mitigate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.


    2.RBI publishes “’Technology Vision for Cyber Security’ for UCBs

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will implement the “Technology Vision for Cyber Security’ for Urban Cooperative Banks (2020-2023) to enhance the IT security system of Urban Co-operative banking to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyber attacks. The Technology Vision Document aims at enhancing the cyber security posture of the Urban Co-operative banking sector against evolving IT and cyber threat environment. RBI will achieve this objective using its five-pillared strategic approach ‘GUARD’. GUARD denotes: G – Governance Oversight, U – Utile Technology Investment, A – Appropriate Regulation and Supervision, R – Robust Collaboration D – Developing necessary IT, cyber security skills set. To accomplish the five pillared approach, RBI has established 12 specific action points spires to: • Involve more Board Oversight over Cyber security. • Enable UCBs to better manage and secure their IT Assets. • Implement an offsite supervisory mechanism framework for UCBs on cyber security-related controls. • Develop a forum for UCBs so that they can share best practices and discuss practical issues and challenges. • Implement a framework for providing awareness/ training for all UCBs.


    The cyber security landscape will continue to evolve with the wider adoption of digital banking channels, thus necessitating the UCBs to manage the associated risks effectively. Active collaboration within UCBs and their stakeholders would be necessary for sharing and coordinating various measures taken on cyber security aspects. The implementation of this Technology Vision document will strengthen the cyber resilience of the Urban Co-operative Banks.


    3.72nd Emmy award 2020 announced

    The 72nd Emmy Awards 2020 marks the beginning of Hollywood’s first major show in the times of COVID-19. The ceremony was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at an empty theatre in Los Angeles with cutouts of the nominees placed in the audience.

    Here’s the winners’ list of the Emmy Awards 2020:

    • Drama Series: Succession • Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Julia Garner, Ozark • Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Billy Crudup, The Morning Show • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Succession • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Succession • Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Zendaya, Euphoria • Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jeremy Strong, Succession • Limited Series: Watchmen • Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Uzo Aduba, Mrs America • Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen • Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Unorthodox • Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series: Watchmen • Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True • Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Regina King, Watchmen • Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek • Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek • Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek • Competition Program: RuPaul’s Drag Race • Variety Talk Series: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver • Outstanding Television Movie: Bad Education.
    About Emmy Award : An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry. It is presented at numerous annual events held throughout the calendar year, each honouring one of the various sectors of the television industry.


    4. India ranked 116th in the World Bank’s Human Capital Index

    World Bank released the report titled “The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19”. The Human Capital Index (HCI) 2020. is a collaboration between the Human Development Practice Group and the Development Economics Group of the World Bank. India has been ranked at the 116th position among 174 countries in the Human Capital Index 2020.

    Top 3 Human Capital Index 2020:

    1.

    Rank

    Country

    Score

    2.

    116

    India

    0.49

    3.

    1

    Singapore

    0.88

    4.

    2

    Hongkong and China

    0.81

    5.

    3

    Japan

    0.80


    5. PM Modi in Time Magazine’s ‘100 most influential people of 2020’ list

    Time Magazine has released the TIME 100 Most Influential People List 2020. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi is the only politician on the list. He has been named in this for the fourth time since coming in power in 2014. The List has named people in five categories: Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans, Icons.
    The following Indians have also been named in this list: • Professor Ravindra Gupta (Pioneer), is a Professor of Clinical Microbiology and has worked for the cure of HIV. • Ayushmann Khurrana (Artists). • Bilkis (Icons), the ‘Dadi from Shaheen Bagh’.


    6.International Affairs

    • Mali’s former defence minister, Bah Ndaw has been named as Interim President of the country’s new transition government. On 19th August 2020, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation with immediate effect following a military mutiny in the Republic of Mali. • Former rebel military commander, Ishmael Toroama has been elected as president of Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. This was the first general election since Bougainville voted overwhelmingly to separate from Papua New Guinea in November 2019. • President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed Mohamed Hussein Roble as the new Prime Minister of Somalia. He will replace former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who was voted out of office by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.


    7.Books and Authors

    • Former US President, Barack Obama has announced his first presidential memoir titled “A Promised Land.” A Promised Land is the first of two volumes of the book. This volume tells about his early political life, his presidential campaign in 2008, and ending with the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. • Star chef Vikas Khanna has authored a book titled “Kitchens of Gratitude” in which he has written about his Feed India initiative. Feed India initiative is one of the largest food drives in the world, serving meals to the underprivileged. The book will be released in 2021. He will also be honoured with the 2020 Asia Game Changer Award in October. • A new book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Historian Romila Thapar will be jointly published by Penguin Random House India and Seagull Books. The book is set to publish in October 2020.


    8. Defence News

    • The Indian Navy (IN) has commenced a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the East Indian Ocean Region. The exercise would involve participation of HMAS Hobart from the Australian side and Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk. • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a successful flight test of ABHYAS, a High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from the Interim Test Range, Balasore in Odisha. ABHYAS can be used as a target for evaluation of various missile systems. ABHYAS has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO. • Flight Lieutenant, Shivangi Singh to become the first woman fighter pilot of India to fly the Rafale combat aircraft that was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force(IAF) September 10, 2020. She is one of the 10 Indian women fighter pilots in IAF. Five Rafale Aircraft were formally inducted into the IAF’s 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ on September 10, 2020, at a function held at Air Force Station, Ambala (Haryana).


    9. Science and Technology

    • A 17-year-old girl, Khushi Chindaliya has been appointed as Regional Ambassador for India by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)- Tunza Eco-Generation. In her new role, Khusi will raise awareness about climate change and the importance of environmental conservation and the need to safeguard environmental treasures.


    10. Awards and Recognitions

    • Kerala has won the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases Awards 2020 for its “outstanding contribution” towards the non- communicable diseases-related sustainable development goals. Kerala has been awarded for the tireless service of the state in the health sector. This is the first time for Kerala to be recognised by this annual UN Award and along with Kerala 6 other health ministries across the globe have won the 2020 UNIATF Award.


    11. Ranks and Reports

    • According to the World Risk Index (WRI) 2020, India has been ranked at the 89th spot among 181 Countries. WRI has been developed in cooperation with the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNUEHS) and calculated by the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV).


    12. Sports News

    • Novak Djokovic has defeated Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 7-6, 5-3, to win 2020 Men’s Single Italian Open title and his fifth overall Rome title. In Women’s single, Simona Halep defeated champion Karolina Pliskova, 6-0, 2-1, to win her first Italian Open title. • The top-ranked Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) player in the world and a former professional cricket player, Ashleigh Barty has now added another feat



    Weekly One Liners 14th to 20th of September 2020




    1. India becomes member of UN’s ECOSOC body

    India has been elected as a member of the United Nation’s Commission on Status of Women, a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). India will be a member of United Nation’s Commission on Status of Women for four years, 2021 to ‘25. India, Afghanistan and China had contested the elections to the Commission on Status of Women. Even as India and Afghanistan won the ballot among the 54 members, China could not cross the half-way mark. About ECOSOC: The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits


    2.IMD’s Global Smart City Index 2020

    The Institute for Management Development, in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), has released the Smart City Index 2020. In 2020 Smart City Index, 109 cities were surveyed. The index ranks cities based on economic and technological data, as well as by their citizens’ perceptions of how “smart” their cities are. The index has been topped by Singapore, followed by Helsinki and Zurich as top three smart cities. In the 2020 Smart City Index, Hyderabad was the top Indian city, placed at the 85th position. The Indian cities have witnessed a significant drop in their rankings in the Smart City Index 2020.


    List of Indian cities in the index: • Hyderabad: 85 (67th in 2019) • New Delhi: 86 (68th in 2019) • Mumbai: 93 (78th in 2019) • Bengaluru: 95 (79th in 2019).


    3. National Affairs

    India and the United States held a bilateral 2+2 Intersessional meeting in virtual mode. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress and developments in bilateral ties in defence, security, and foreign policy areas. • Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi has addressed the ‘GrihPravesham’ event in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing. Under this, 1.75 Lakh Families in Madhya Pradesh were delivered pucca houses under the PradhanMantriAwasYojana- Grameen (PMAY-G). • Central Government has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to oversee the process of the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is the chairman of this EGoM. • The Lok Sabha has passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 15 September 2020. The bill seeks to cut salaries of all Members of Parliaments (MPs) by 30 per cent for a period of one year commencing April 1, 2020, to meet the urgent financial need arising out COVID-19 pandemic.


    4. International Affairs

    Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, YoshihideSuga has been elected as the new Chief of country’s ruling, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Prime Ministerdesignate of Japan. The 71-year-old will assume charge of the office from 16 September 2020. • TikTok has chosen Oracle to be its technology partner for its American operations. Microsoft was also in a bid to acquire TikTok in the United States but the Chinese owner of the video-sharing platform “TikTok” chose Oracle over Microsoft to be its technology partner for its American operations. • Mexico has become the first country in the world to issue a sovereign bond linked to the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. It has raised EUR 750 million ($890 million) by such bonds. The SDG bond will mature in September 2027 and offers a yield to maturity rate of 1.603% and a coupon rate of 1.350%. This new bond was issued under Mexico’s new “SDG Sovereign Bond Framework,” which was released in February in partnership with French investment bank Natixis.


    5. Banking/Economy/Business News

    The Indian rating agency, CARE Ratings has projected the GDP of India to contract in the range 8 to 8.2% for 2020-21 (FY21). This is more than its earlier projection of -6.4%. The decline in GDP growth by around 8 per cent would also be associated with a decline in the gross fixed capital formation. • S&P Global Ratings has projected the GDP of India to contract by 9% in the fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21), as against its previous estimate of a 5% contraction, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the FY22 (2021-22), S&P expects GDP growth of 6% and for the FY23 (2022-23), GDP growth is projected at 6.2%. • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that the GDP of India is expected to contract by 9% in fiscal 2020-21 (FY21). This estimate is worse than ADB’s previous estimate of -4%. • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects the Indian economy to contract by 10.2% in FY21 (2020-21) as compared to its previous estimate of 16.7% in June. For FY22 (2021-22), the Paris-based OECD projects India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 10.7%.


    6. Appointments/Resignations

    Subhash Kamath has been elected as the chairman of the board of governors of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). Kamath, who was serving as ASCI vice-chairman, will replace Rohit Gupta, president, Sony Pictures Networks. • Citigroup has named Jane Fraser as its next chief executive officer. She will be the first female CEO of this major global bank. She will succeed Michael Corbat, who is retiring in February 2021. • A 1988 batch IAS officer, Rajesh Khullar has been appointed as Executive Director at World Bank in Washington DC. • Janata Dal (United) parliamentarian Harivansh Narayan Singh has been re-elected as the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Takeo Konishi as its new Country Director for India. Konishi will replace Kenichi Yokoyama who has taken over as Director-General of ADB’s South Asia Department.


    7. Defence News

    The 10th Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Group Meeting was held virtually by the Indian and U.S. Defense Delegations. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Raj Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, from the Indian Ministry of Defence and Ms. Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, from the U.S. Department of Defense.


    8. Summits & Conferences

    Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan participated in the 27th ASEAN regional forum. During the 27th ASEAN regional forum, the minister shared India’s views on maritime security, counter terrorism as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stated that India will co-chair ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) workshops on port security and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. • The Environment Ministerial Meeting (EMM) of the G20 countries was held through video conferencing under the Presidency of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Union Environment, Climate Change and Forest Minister ShriPrakashJavadekar represented India in the meeting. • External Affairs Minister of the Republic of India, Shri S. Jaishankar, chaired the customary meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers through video conferencing. During the meet, India, Brazil and South Africa emphasized the need for the international community to redouble efforts to achieve tangible progress for accelerated and comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. The ministers adopted the IBSA Joint Ministerial Statement on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as a common endeavour of the Global South. • 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security was held virtually by the current chair of BRICS i.e. Russia. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval represented India in a virtual meet of top security officials from Brazil-Russia-India-ChinaSouth Africa (BRICS) grouping.


    9. Awards and Recognitions

    Managing Director of HDFC Bank, AdityaPuri has been conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by Euromoney Awards of Excellence 2020. He has been awarded for his skills in building a world-class bank in India at a time where there were no similar institutions in existence. The Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) in Rome, Italy, has become the first airport in the world to be certified with “COVID-19 5- star airport rating” from Skytrax, a U.K.-based airport and airline review firm. FCO, also known as the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, is the busiest airport in Italy. • Chef VikasKhanna has been chosen to be honoured with the prestigious Asia Game Changer Award 2020. This award is given to him for feeding millions of people across India in the COVID-19 pandemic through a massive food distribution drive ‘FeedIndia’. • Margaret Atwood has won the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize's lifetime achievement award. The award celebrates literature's power to foster peace, social justice and global understanding.


    10. Sports News

    Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to clinch the Women’s Singles title in the 2020 US Open Tennis tournament. • Austria’s Dominic Thiem defeated Alexander Zverev to win the men’s singles title at the 2020 US Open tournament. • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Tuscan Grand Prix 2020 held at Mugello Circuit, Italy. This was his 6th win of the season and 90th F1 win of his career. • The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced that the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup, which were scheduled to be held from 3 to 11 October 2020 in Denmark, has been postponed for 2021.


    11. Obituaries

    Former Union minister and veteran leader of RashtriyaJanata Dal (RJD), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh passed away. He was a member of the 15th LokSabha of India and represented the Vaishali constituency of Bihar. • Veteran Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh minister, Chanesh Ram Rathiya passed away due to COVID-19. He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 1977 from Dharamjaigarh constituency in the then undivided Madhya Pradesh. • Former Maharashtra cricketer, SadashivPatil passed away. He had represented India in only one Test and played 36 first-class matches between 1952 and 1964. • Social activist and AryaSamaj leader, Swami Agnivesh, who is widely known for his work against slavery and bonded labour, has passed away. • Veteran scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture and art history, DrKapilaVatsyayan passed away. She was the founding Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She was the former Member of Parliament and had served as Education Secretary. • Former President of Republic of Mali, who was in power from 1968 to 1991, General MoussaTraore passed away. • The shortest-serving Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, AmitabhaGhosh passed away. He had served as the 16th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for 21 days between January 15, 1985, to February 4, 1985. • RajyaSabha MP from Karnataka, Ashok Gasti passed away due to COVID-19. He was born in 1965 and belonged to Raichur district, Karnataka. • Tamil Nadu based prominent Indian Ayurveda physician, PR Krishnakumar passed away. He was the Founder and Managing Director of the iconic Coimbatore AryaVaidya Pharmacy (AVP) as well as the Chancellor of the renowned Avinashilingam University in Coimbatore.


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