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Important Current Affairs 4th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

France takes over EU presidency as national election looms

• France has assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union with effect from January 01, 2022. The country will continue to hold the EU presidency for the next six months till June 30, 2022. This is the 13th time that France has taken over the rotating presidency. The motto of France as EU President is “recovery, strength, belonging.”

• France will work to place the continent’s digitization and climate protection at the forefront. The presidency of the EU rotates every six months among the member states of the 27-nation bloc. Upon the completion of six months presidency, France will be replaced by the Czech Republic.

NATIONAL

Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Meerut. The University will be established at Salawa and Kaili villages of Sardhana town in Meerut at an estimated cost of about 700 Crore rupees. The University will have the capacity of training 1080 sportspersons including 540 female and 540 male sportspersons.

• The Sports University will be equipped with modern and state-of-the-art sports infrastructure including synthetic Hockey ground, Football ground, Basketball, Volleyball, Handball, Kabaddi ground, Lawn tennis court, Gymnasium hall, Synthetic running stadium, Swimming pool, Multipurpose hall, and a Cycling Velodrome.

• It will also house facilities for Shooting, Squash, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Archery, Canoeing, and Kayaking, among other facilities with the capacity of training.

Nirmala Sitharaman chairs 46th GST council meet ahead of Union Budget 2022

• The GST Council’s 46th meeting was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman. The GST Council has recommended deferring the decision to change the rates in textiles recommended in the 45th GST Council meeting. Consequently, the existing GST rates of 5 % instead of 12% in textile sector would continue.

• This convention attains special significance as it comes days ahead of Sitharaman presenting the much-anticipated Union Budget 2022-23 on February 1, for which she has been holding a series of pre-budget consultations with stakeholders.

First electric boat built for Kochi Water Metro Project handed over to KMRL

• In Kerala, the first battery-powered electric boat built for the Kochi Water Metro Project was handed over to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited. The fully air-conditioned boat is among the 23 boats being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the 747-crore rupee Kochi Water Metro project. Kochi Water Metro system will have 78 ferries, linking 38 terminals spread over 76 route kilometres.

• The battery-powered water metro boat can carry 100 passengers. KMRL said it was for the first time in the world a centrally controlled integrated water transport system with a large fleet is powered by the battery.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched 100-day reading campaign 'Padhe Bharat'

• Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched a 100-day reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat. The launch of the 100 Days Reading Campaign is in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which lays emphasis on the promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring the availability of age-appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal language.

• The Minister while launching the campaign has underlined the importance of reading that children need to develop to ensure continuous and lifelong learning. He also reinforced that the habit of reading, if inculcated at an early age, helps in brain development and enhances imagination and provide a conducive learning environment for children.

OBITURY

Hindi film producer Vijay Galani passed away 

• Bollywood film producer Vijay Galani has passed away. He was suffering from blood cancer and was in London for seeking treatment. He is known for producing films like Salman Khan’s Suryavanshi (1992), Govinda and Manisha Koirala’s Achanak (1998), Akshay Kumar’s Ajnabee (2001), Paresh Rawal and Mallika Sherawat’s Bachke Rehna Re Baba (2005), Salman Khan’s Veer (2010). His last production venture was Vidyut Jammwal and Shruti Haasan’s The Power (2021).

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Braille Day 2022: 4th January 

• World Braille Day is observed globally on 4th January since 2019. The day aims to recognize the right of access to braille by blind people and raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people. The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.

• Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Tech Mahindra to acquire 100% stake in Allyis India and Green Investments LLC

• Tech Mahindra has approved a proposal for the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in Allyis India and Green Investments, for a total consideration of up to USD 125 million. The acquisition will bolster Tech Mahindra’s capabilities in Digital Experience Solutions, Learning & Development, Marketing, Instructional Design; Engineering: Cloud & Automation, BI & Analytics, Technical support services.

• Tech Mahindra will pay total consideration of up to $125 million, including employment-related and performance-related earnouts, as per a regulatory update filed with the exchanges. Allyis India Pvt Ltd and Green Investments LLC offer technology consulting and managed services for organisations to help reduce costs, improve performance, and meet their objectives. Allyis India Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2018 whole Green Investments LLC was incorporated in 2013.

Capital markets regulator SEBI reconstituted its Primary Market Advisory Committee

• Capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India has restructured its primary market advisory committee on data. The committee aims to measure pertaining to areas such as securities market data access and privacy. Sebi has appointed Professor at National Law University, Delhi and former chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India S Sahoo as Panel Head. Earlier this panel was headed by Madhabi Puri Buch, an ex-whole time member of Sebi.

• The scope of the work of the committee includes identifying segment-wise data perimeters, data needs and gaps, recommending data privacy and data access regulations applicable to market data. It is responsible for recommending appropriate policy for access to securities market data.

• In addition, the committee recommends standardization of data definitions; data identification logic ( usage of uniform codes for identifying and storing data – raw data and derived data) and data validation techniques (single source of truth, validation).

GST Collection at Rs 1.29 Lakh Crore in December, 13% Higher Than December 2020

• GST revenue collected in December 2021 was over Rs 1.29 lakh crore, 13 per cent higher than the same month in 2020. The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2021 is ₹ 1,29,780 crore, of which CGST is ₹ 22,578 crore, SGST is ₹ 28,658 crore, IGST is Rs 69,155 crore (including Rs 37,527 crores collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 9,389 crore.

• Though the collection was lower than Rs 1.31 lakh crore mopped up in November, December is the sixth month in a row when revenue from goods sold and services rendered stood at over Rs 1 lakh crore. The average monthly gross GST collection for the third quarter (October-December) of the current year has been Rs 1.30 lakh crore against the average monthly collection of Rs 1.10 lakh crore and Rs 1.15 lakh crore in the first and second quarter, respectively.

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Important Current Affairs 1st January 2022

NATIONAL

India votes in favour of UNSC resolution to renew mandate of counter-terrorism committee executive directorate

• India will chair the Counter-Terrorism Committee of UNSC in January 2022 after 10 years. The Counter-Terrorism Committee was established by Security Council resolution 1373 adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. The Committee was tasked with monitoring the implementation of resolution 1373 which requested countries to implement a number of measures aimed at enhancing their legal and institutional ability to counter terrorist activities at home and around the world.

• This includes taking steps to criminalize the financing of terrorism, freezing any funds related to persons involved in acts of terrorism, denying all forms of financial support for terrorist groups, suppressing the provision of safe haven, sustenance or support for terrorists and sharing information with other governments on any groups practising or planning terrorist acts.

Jawaharlal Nehru Road renamed as 'Narendra Modi Marg' by Sikkim Guv

• Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad, has named a new road Narendra Modi Marg. The Governor viewed the road under Kabi Lungchok from Kyongsala, 4th mile. This is an alternative to Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg. The National Monument at National Highway 310 was built by Border Roads Organization. It will be easier for Indian tourists to reach Nathula Border. The stretch, constructed by Border Roads Organisation, has reduced the distance between Gangtok and Tsomgo lake by 15 km.

SPORTS

South African Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock announces retirement from Test cricket

• South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect late. His announcement came just hours after South Africa’s 113-run defeat to India in the first Test of the three-match series.

• De Kock cited his intentions to spend more time with his growing family for the timing. In a statement, the 29-year-old de Kock said he made his decision in order to have more time to spend with his family. De Kock and his wife Sasha are expecting their first child in the coming days.

NewZealand’s senior batter Ross Taylor announces retirement from international cricket

• Veteran New Zealand batter, Ross Taylor has announced retirement from international cricket at the end of the ongoing domestic season. Taylor hence will play his final appearance in the second Test against Bangladesh, where will equal Daniel Vettori’s record of 112 tests for New Zealand. He will be part of the one-day international series in Australia. He is the first cricketer to play more than 100 matches for New Zealand in all 3 formats.

Indian bowler Jasprit Bumrah 100 Test Wickets

• Jasprit Bumrah has achieved the milestone of picking 100 wickets away from home in 22 Test matches. Van der Dussen became Bumrah’s 100th Test victim in overseas conditions. The 28-year-old now has 105 wickets, out of which 101 have come away from home. Bumrah, who made his Test debut in South Africa in 2018, has played 25 Tests, 23 of which have come on the road.

Indian bowler Mohammed Shami becomes 11th Indian bowler to take 200 wickets in Test cricket

• Mohammed Shami became just the 11th Indian bowler to claim 200 wickets in Test cricket in just 55 test matches. During this process, he became the only 5th Indian pacer to bag 200 wickets in the purest format of the game. Also, Shami is the third fastest Indian pacer to reach this milestone as Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath bagged 200 Test wickets in 50 and 54 Tests respectively.

APPOINTMEN & RESIGNATION

ITBP DG Arora to hold additional charge of Sashastra Seema Bal

• ITBP director general Sanjay Arora will hold the additional charge of another border guarding force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) as the latter’s chief Kumar Rajesh Chandra is set to retire on December 31. Arora, a 1988-batch officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, was appointed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DG in August and he took charge of the India-China LAC guarding force on September 1. The SSB is primarily tasked to guard unfenced Indian borders with Nepal and Bhutan.

Anupam Ray to be India's new permanent representative at UN Conference on Disarmament

• Senior diplomat Anupam Ray has been appointed as India’s next permanent representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Ray, a 1994-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently serving as a joint secretary in the MEA’s headquarters in Delhi. Ray will succeed Pankaj Sharma. Sharma, a 1991-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, has been appointed as India’s next ambassador to Mexico.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

 All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) on poultry breeding

• The All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) on poultry breeding, Mannuthy, under the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University (KVASU), bagged the national breed conservation award for 2021. The centre received the prestigious award from ICAR – The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) for the conservation and research activities on the Tellicherry breed, the only registered native chicken breed from the State.

• The centre started conservation of the Tellicherry breed in 2014. Through scientific selection and management, the breed began laying eggs as early as in five months and the annual egg production increased to 160-170 eggs.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

SBI acquires 9.95% stake in India International Exchange (IFSC)

• State Bank of India will acquire up to 9.95 per cent stake in India International Clearing Corporation (IFSC) Ltd subject to a maximum investment of Rs 34.03 crore. The Clearing Corporation is a GIFT City (Gandhinagar, Gujarat) based Market Infrastructure Institution (MII). The Corporation is the first international clearing corporation to be set up at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The Clearing Corporation acts as a central counterparty providing clearing & settlement and risk management services to India International Exchange (IFSC) Ltd.

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Important Current Affairs 31st December 2021

NATIONAL

PM Narendra Modi launches blockchain-based digital degrees at IIT Kanpur convocation

• Under the National Blockchain Project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched blockchain-based digital degrees at the 54th Convocation Ceremony of IIT Kanpur. Later Prime Minister also inaugurated the completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project and the Bina-Panki Multiproduct Pipeline Project. These digital degrees can be verified globally and are unforgeable.

• The blockchain technology being used by IIT Kanpur to award digital degrees has been developed in-house. It is being touted as a revolutionary technology for the education sector. The technology is already being used in the financial sector. The technology has been developed by the institute under the National Blockchain Project.

PM inaugurates Bina (MP)-Panki (UP) Multiproduct pipeline project, Total cost of the project is Rs.1524 crore

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 356 Km long Bina Refinery (Madhya Pradesh)- POL Terminal at Panki (Kanpur, UP) Multiproduct pipeline project ( capacity of 45 million metric tonnes per annum) with an outlay of Rs 1524 crore (Rs. 1227 crores in UP and Rs. 297 crores in MP). The project has been completed and commissioned one month ahead of the approved completion schedule of December 2021 (3 years from PNGRB authorisation) and within the approved cost. It will provide for safe and efficient evacuation of products from Bina Refinery and also improve the availability of products in Eastern U.P, Central U.P., Northern Bihar and Southern Uttarakhand.

• PM has also inaugurated the completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project and undertook a metro ride from the IIT metro station to Geeta Nagar. The entire length of the Metro Rail Project in Kanpur is 32 Km and is being built at a cost of around ₹11,000 crores. PM also attended the 54th Convocation Ceremony of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Kanpur.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

CP Goyal as Director-General of Forests & Special Secretary

• Indian Forest Service officer, Chandra Prakash Goyal has been appointed as the Director-General of Forests & Special Secretary (DGF&SS), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change. Goyal, a 1986 batch IFS officer was previously the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest under Uttar Pradesh Department of Forest.

• The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet approved the appointment of the IFoS officer. He had returned to UP after being on central deputation as Joint Secretary in the Indian Department of Biotechnology.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Sahitya Akademi Announces Winners Of Yuva Puraskar, Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021

• Sahitya Akademi announced its prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 in various languages. According to the board, an engraved copper plate, shawl and an amount of Rs 1 lakh will be given to the main Sahitya Akademi prize winner and an engraved copper plate and an amount of Rs 50,000 each will be given to the Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar.

• The Sahitya Akademi Award 2021 was given in 20 Indian languages, the winner of Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri, and Urdu languages will be announced at a later date. Seven books of poetry, two novels, five books of short stories, two plays, one book each of biography, autobiography, criticism, and epic poetry have won the Sahitya Akademi Awards 2021. Author, Namita Gokhale was awarded for her novel Things to Leave Behind.

RANKING

ARIIA rankings: IIT Madras bags No. 1 spot for third consecutive year

• IIT Madras has bagged the first position in the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2021, for the third consecutive year, under the category of CFTIs/ Central Universities/ Institute of National Importance (Technical). The third edition of the ARIIA ranking was dominated by the IITs in the centrally funded institution category. Seven IITs are on the top-10 list. IIT-Madras is followed by IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IT Kanpur, and IIT Roorkee. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru bagged the sixth position in the category.

• In the state and deemed to be universities category, Panjab University (Chandigarh) topped the ranking followed by Delhi Technological University, and Netaji Subhas University of Technology (Delhi).

• In the government engineering colleges category, the College of Engineering in Pune stood first, followed by PSG College of Technology in Tamil Nadu, and LD College of Engineering in Gujarat.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India welcomes Egypt as member of New Development Bank of BRICS

• Egypt added as the fourth new member of BRICS New Development Bank. Bangladesh, UAE, and Uruguay joined BRICS New Development Bank in September 2021. Membership expansion enables New Development Bank to position itself as a premier development institution for emerging economies. BRICS New Development Bank is a multilateral bank that was established by Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa to finance sustainable development and infrastructure projects.

Real GDP likely to sustain 9% growth rate in FY22 & 23: Icra

• ICRA Credit rating agency has expected India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) will grow with 9% rate in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. The Indian economy has grown at 8.4 percent in the second quarter of the current fiscal year. ICRA said the growth momentum is not enough to confirm a change in the Monetary Policy stance in the February 2022 review. The Future Expectation Index continued to display optimism because of improving the overall economic situation.

Axis Bank is 2nd largest in PoS machines in India

• Axis Bank has become the second-largest merchant-acquiring bank in the country, leapfrogging two spaces during 2021 by installing over two lakh card-swipe machines during the year. This is part of the bank’s ‘Axis One’ strategy where it approaches the customers by offering its entire gamut of products instead of a standalone service.

• Axis Bank’s strategy to increase the number of merchants is to offer the latest in technology to them and address pain points. For instance, the bank installs Android PoS machines and has also come out with a printer-less compact machine. On the agenda are bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solutions that will enable the use of regular smartphones with an attachment for accepting cards.

IndusInd Bank has announced the launch of 'Green Fixed Deposits'

• IndusInd Bank has announced the launch of ‘green fixed deposits’, whereby the deposit proceeds will be used to finance projects and firms supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A green deposit is a fixed-term deposit for investors looking to invest their surplus cash reserves in environmentally friendly projects. These deposits will be offered to both retail & corporate customers.

• The Bank will use the proceeds from these deposits to finance a wide array of sectors falling under the SDG category including, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, sustainable food, agriculture, forestry, waste management and greenhouse gas reduction.

• The interest on the Green deposit remains attractive with an additional benefit of 50 basis points for senior citizens. In all ways, it is similar to a regular bank deposit but in addition, depositors will be issued a ‘Green’ certificate as well as an ‘Assurance’ certificate confirming the end-use of deposit proceeds at the end of the financial year.”

RBI releases report on trend and progress of banking in India

• India’s central bank, RBI has released the latest iteration of its annual report on the financial performance of the country. In its report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) details that, despite the devastation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in India, the financial performance of banks has improved, citing a fall in the gross non-performing asset ratio for scheduled commercial banks (SCBs).

• The report, titled ‘Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India,’ also showed how a rise in profitability of SCBs in 2020-21 was driven less by an increase in income but more via reductions in expenditure.

• The gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) ratio of SCBs fell from 8.2 per cent at the end of March 2020 to 7.3 per cent in March 2021. This decreased further to 6.9 per cent at the end of September 2021.

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Important Current Affairs 30th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

China launched a new satellite 

• China has launched a new satellite with a camera capable of taking photos of the ground with a resolution of five meters, according to the National Space Administration of China (CNSA). The satellite, called “Ziyuan-1 02E” or “Five Meter 02 Optical Satellite”. Beijing time by a Long March-4C rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Beijing Province. Shanxi (northern China). This is the 39th launch of the Longue Marche-4C rocket and the 403rd launch of the entire Long March series.

• The Ziyuan-1 02E weighs approximately 2.5 kilograms and is equipped with infrared, near-infrared and hyperspectral cameras. The cameras can take panchromatic color images of the Earth.

• The satellite will work with the five-meter optical satellite 01 and will reduce the revisiting time of Chinese territory from three days to two days.

The first-ever bus-train dual-mode vehicle launched in Japan

• Japan has introduced a minibus lookalike world’s first dual-mode vehicle (DMV) in its town of Kaiyo. The vehicle can run on normal rubber tyres on the road but its steel wheels, which are in its underbelly, descend when it hits the rail tracks. The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at a speed of 60km/h on rail tracks and can go as fast as around 100km/h on public roads.

• The front tyres are lifted off the track and the rear wheels stay down to propel the DMV onto the railway. This feature of effectively changing into a train-like module easily on a rail track is the first of its kind. Powered by diesel, the small fleet of vehicles comes in different colours. It runs along part of the coast of Shikoku island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering passengers attractive seaside scenery.

NATIONAL

Telangana tops in implementation of Rurban Mission

• Telangana has secured 1st place among the 34 states and Union Territories that implement the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM). Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have secured 2nd and 3rd place on the list respectively. In the Ranking of the Cluster, among the 295 clusters, the Ryakal cluster of Sangareddy and the Jukkal cluster of Kamareddy in Telangana has secured the 1st and 2nd position respectively. The Aibawk cluster of Aizawl in Mizoram has secured the 3rd position.

• The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) follows the vision of “Development of a cluster of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature, thus creating a cluster of “Rurban Villages”. The objective of the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) is to stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well planned Rurban clusters.

Haryana’s CM Manohar Lal Khattar launched Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam portal

• The Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar has launched the ‘Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam portal’ and announced to set up the Atal Park & Smriti Kendra in Gurugram, Haryana. The CM also honoured 78 officers and employees for delivering the best services in various fields. He also launched a magazine ‘Vyavastha Parivartan Se Susashan’ and the 2022 official calendar.

• Now all the problems of the public are being solved easily through CM Window. So far, more than 8.5 lakh issues have been resolved. The government has abolished the practice of remand in the cases of the Revenue Department. Only a maximum of two appeals can be made in this. Apart from this, a run through the system has been implemented to accelerate the file work. The government has abolished the contractual practice in the recruitments made in the departments.

PM Modi launches Rs 11,000 Cr hydropower projects in Himachal

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation of the hydropower projects worth Rs 11000 crore in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. He inaugurated the Sawra-Kuddu Hydro Power Project, a 111 MW Project which has been built at a cost of around Rs 2,080 crore. He also laid the foundation stone of the Renukaji Dam project which has been kept pending for around 3 decades. The 40 MW project will be built at a cost of around Rs 7,000 crore. Other Projects are: Luhri Stage 1 Hydro Power Project and the Dhaulasidh Hydro Power Project, the first hydropower project of the Hamirpur district.

SPORTS

Nitesh Kumar wins double gold at 4th Para-Badminton National Championship in Odisha

• Nitesh Kumar won doubled gold at the 4th Para-Badminton National Championship, which concluded in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Haryana’s Nitesh along with his partner Tarun Dhillon defeated World No. 1 Paralympic Games gold medallist Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar in straight sets 21-19, 21-11 in the Men’s doubles finals to win the gold.

• Earlier, Nitesh also won the gold medal in the Men’s singles category. World No 1 SL3 Para-Badminton player Parul Parmar from Gujarat also secured gold while Mandeep Kaur from Uttarakhand won Silver and Mansi won bronze.

Uttar Pradesh Hockey win Junior National Championship 2021

• Uttar Pradesh has crowned the winners of the 11th Junior National Men’s Hockey Championship following a 3-1 victory over Chandigarh in the final at Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu. Tournament top scorer Sharda Nand Tiwari opened the scoring for Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh Hockey maintained its unbeaten record. In the 3rd/4th Place playoff match, the Hockey Association of Odisha edged out Hockey Haryana 3 – 2 in a closely contested affair to clinch 3rd place in the competition.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

IAS Radhika Jha appointed CEO of Energy Efficiency Services

• Radhika Jha has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer in state-run Energy Efficiency Services (EESL). EESL is a joint venture between NTPC, Power Grid, Power Finance Corp and REC, working to promote energy efficiency in the country.

• Prior to the new posting, the IAS officer was serving as Secretary to the Government of Uttarakhand for the Education Department. She took charge of the post in July this year and navigated the operational guidelines for resuming classes post COVID. Also, Jha played a key role in formulating a detailed strategy to cover up for the learning loss. Earlier, Radhika Jha also led the Centre’s Integrated Power Development Scheme as Executive Director in Power Finance Corp, before moving to the state.

OBITURY

Greece's former president Karolos Papoulias dies at 92

• Veteran Greek politician Karolos Papoulias, who served as president at the height of the economic crisis of the 2010s, died. Papoulias, a longtime socialist lawmaker and minister, was close to Andreas Papandreou, the founder of the Socialist PASOK party. He served two terms between 2005 and 2015.

• Papoulias, who was also foreign minister in 1985-89 and 1993-96, was a high-ranking member of socialist PASOK party and a close associate of its late leader and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou.

EO Wilson, Known as 'Father of Biodiversity,' Dies at 92

• E.O. Wilson, the former Harvard University biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner whose study of ants and human behaviour made him one of the world’s most influential scientists and prompted his calls for action to protect millions of species on the planet, has passed away. He was 92. To protect Earth earned him the nickname “Darwin’s natural heir”.

• He was the author of hundreds of scientific papers and more than 30 books, two of which won him Pulitzer Prizes for nonfiction: 1978’s On Human Nature, and The Ants in 1990. The “father of biodiversity,” as Wilson was also known, attempted to unify the natural sciences with the humanities and said there was still time to reverse a “sixth extinction” of most species on the planet if environmental degradation was halted.

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Important Current Affairs 28th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Docprime launches India’s first ABDM integrated Health Locker

• Docprime tech has launched India’s first health locker integrated with Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). ABDM was launched in August 2020 for developing an integrated digital health infrastructure in the country. ABDM integrated Health Locker will provide users a digital and self-consented health data management system without any charges. It will store and manage health records electronically.

• Users can create digital Health IDs for themselves and for their family members on ABDM integrated Health Locker.

NATIONAL

World Sangeet Tansen festival begin in Madhya Pradesh

• In Madhya Pradesh, the 97th edition of the World Sangeet Tansen festival started in Gwalior. A five-day World Sangeet Tansen festival starts from December 25 to December 30 in the city. The stage of the program has been constructed on the theme of the Siddhanath temple situated in Omkareshwar. Many artists not only from India but also from abroad will participate in the music festival.

• The first seven concerts were held at the stage prepared at the mausoleum of Tansen and the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus. The eighth concert will be held on the banks of the Jhilmil river, in Behat (Birthplace of Tansen) on December 30. The last brief concert will be held at Gwalior Fort on the same day.

Stalin goes green by launching 'Meendum Manjappai' scheme

• Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has launched the ‘Meendum Manjappai’ scheme to promote the use of cloth bags by the public and discourage the use of plastic bags. This awareness campaign on using ‘yellow’ cloth bag or ‘manjapai’ as it is called in Tamil, is aimed at encouraging the people to return to the use of this eco-friendly bag and discard the plastic bags. The state government had enforced a ban on the production, use, storage, distribution, transportation or sale of 14 types of plastics with effect from January 1, 2019.

• A government committee has identified the single-use plastic (SUP) items to be banned based on an index of their utility and environmental impact. 

• The first category of SUP items proposed to be phased out are plastic sticks used in balloons, flags, candy, ice cream and earbuds, and thermocol that is used in decorations.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Kamlesh Gandhi, CMD of MAS Financial Services has been appointed as Co-Chairman, FIDC

• Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC) has announced fresh appointments to its board of directors. Kamlesh Gandhi, CMD of MAS Financial Services has been appointed as Co-Chairman, FIDC in addition to Umesh Revankar, CEO and MD of Shriram Transport Finance Group. Sanjay Chamria has resigned as the Co-Chairman and Director, FIDC.

• Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC), which is a representative body of asset and loan financing NBFCs, has announced fresh appointments to its board of directors. Dinanath Dubhashi, MD and CEO, L&T Finance Holdings has been appointed as an additional Director of FIDC. The appointments were approved at a board meeting of FIDC on December 21.

UAE’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem elected as FIA president

• Mohammed Ben Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates has been elected successor to Jean Todt as the first non-European president of motorsport’s world governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

• The FIA is the governing body for Formula One, the World Rally Championship, World Endurance and Formula E among other series. The 60-year-old Dubai-born former rally driver was standing against British lawyer Graham Stoker, who has been Todt’s deputy president for the sport since 2009.

RBL Bank MD, CEO Vishwavir Ahuja steps aside; Rajeev Ahuja appointed new MD

• The RBL Bank board has appointed Rajeev Ahuja, who’s currently working as the Executive Director at the bank, as interim Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the bank with immediate effect, subject to the regulatory and other approvals. The board of directors at its meeting has accepted the request of Vishwavir Ahuja, Managing Director and CEO of the bank, to proceed on leave with immediate effect.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Anukrti Upadhyay’s Kintsugi wins the Sushila Devi Award 2021 for the best book of fiction by a woman author

• Anukrti Upadhyay has won the Sushila Devi Award 2021 for the Best Book of Fiction for her novel, Kintsugi, which was published by the Fourth Estate imprint. The Ratanlal Foundation and the organizing Committee of the Bhopal Literature and Art Festival announced the winner, for this notable award for fiction written by a woman author and published in 2020. This prize has been instituted by the Shri Ratanlal Foundation.

• Anukrti Upadhyay has post-graduate degrees in Management and Literature, and a graduate degree in Law. She writes in both English and Hindi. She stunned readers and critics alike with the twin novellas Daura and Bhaunri in 2019 and delighted Hindi readers with the short story collection Japani Sarai.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

A new book by the former Indian Army Chief Gen. Nirmal Chander

• A new book by former Indian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nirmal Chander Vij (ret) claims to offer a “full picture” of the conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir and the way forward. The book published by HarperCollins India, the book of General Vij, The riddle of “Kashmir: the quest for peace in a troubled land”.

• In the book, General Vij argues that the conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir are “symptomatic of Indo-Pakistani rivalry” after the partition, and contextualizes the issue by beginning the book with a summary of the history of the region. General Vij had been Director General of Military Operations during the Kargil War. After his retirement in 2005, he was founding vice president of the National Disaster Management Authority and director of the think tank Vivekananda India Foundation.

RANKING

Gujarat tops in composite Good Governance Index 2021

• Good Governance Index 2021 was launched by Union Minister Amit Shah on the occasion of the Good Governance Day on 25 December 2021. GGI 2021 was prepared by the Department of Administration Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG). The GGI 2021 framework covered 10 sectors and 58 indicators. The aim of the Good Governance Index is to create a tool that can be used uniformly across the states for assessing the impact of various interventions that are taken up by Central and State Governments.

• Good Governance Index is an implementable and comprehensive framework that assesses the state of Governance across the Indian States and Union Territories enabling ranking of States and districts.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

HDFC Bank wins coveted CII award for ‘Most Innovative Best Practice’ for financial inclusion

• HDFC Bank has been named under ‘Most Innovative Best Practice’ at the coveted Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Digital Transformation Award 2021 or CII DX Award 2021. It will be recognized for the HDFC’s efforts in world-class financial inclusion in Village Level Executive (VLE) centres along with the Government of India’s Common Service Centres (CSC).

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Important Current Affairs 27th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Indian-origin philanthropist Dr Imtiaz Sooliman named South African Of The Year

• Indian-origin philanthropist and founder of disaster relief group ‘Gift Of The Givers’, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has won the prestigious South African of the Year Award run by the Daily Maverick newspaper.

• South Africans across the board voted for Sooliman, putting Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in second place. Zondo heads the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, which investigates fraud and corruption in the public sector, including state organs.

• Sooliman, in his acceptance speech at the Al Quds Mosque in Cape Town on Friday, called on Muslims worldwide to engage in caring for all communities to change Islamophobic perceptions.

NATIONAL

Gujarat govt launches ‘Nadi Utsav’ to honour rivers, raise awareness about their protection

• The Gujarat government on Sunday launched ‘Nadi Utsav’, or river festival, to honour rivers for their contribution to the development of the state as well as to raise awareness about their protection.

• Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel participated in a state-level launch function at a weir-cum-causeway on Tapi river here, where he worshipped Goddess Tapi with Vedic rituals.

• The state government is committed to building a riverfront on the Tapi river in Surat, Patel said at the function, organised as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, being celebrated across the country, to honour rivers.

Indian Army launched ASIGMA messaging app

• Indian Army has launched a contemporary messaging application named ‘ASIGMA’ (Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application). It is a new generation web-based application developed entirely in-house by a team of officers of the Corps of Signals of the Army. It works as an alternative to Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application which has been in service for the past 15 years. The application has been sent out on Army-owned hardware and will cater to the army from this time forward, lending itself to lifetime support with future upgrades.

• The messaging application is designed to meet all futuristic requirements for the army and boasts of an enhanced user experience. It comes with a variety of contemporary features including multi-level security, dynamic global address book, message prioritisation, and tracking, and options to meet the requirements of the army at present. This future-ready messaging application will meet the real-time data transfer and messaging requirements of the Army, especially in the backdrop of the current geopolitical security environment. ASIGMA has been developed in line with the Government of India’s, Make in India initiative.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Madhya Pradesh govt appoints new public relations chief

• The Madhya Pradesh government has appointed Raghvendra Kumar Singh, a 1997-batch IAS officer, as the new principal secretary and commissioner of the state public relations Department.

• As per a government order, Singh, who was the principal secretary and commissioner of Technical Education, has also been made the managing director of Madhya Pradesh Madhyam, a communication platform of the state government.

OBITURY

Grammy-winning musician JD Crowe dies at 84

• Grammy-winning bluegrass musician J.D. Crowe, whose influential career spanned more than 50 years, has died. He was 84. His son, David, confirmed the death on Saturday to The Associated Press. "We just want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. As great of a musician as dad was, he was even better husband, father and friend," David said in a brief message. Crowe died Friday of undisclosed causes.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Epidemic Preparedness 2021: 27th December

• The United Nations and World Health Organization marked December 27 as the International day for Epidemic Preparedness. Battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, humans have learned about epidemic preparedness the hard way. In a bid to prepare for future outbreaks and sensitise people about epidemics on all levels. The day was first observed last December when the United Nations General Assembly had emphasised on the need to advocate the importance of the preparedness for, prevention of and partnership against epidemics.

• As per a WHO statement, the need of the hour is to invest in systems that can help detect, prevent and respond to outbreaks that have the ability to disrupt health systems, supply chains and livelihood of especially the poorest countries. The UN also aims at popularising the One Health approach that fosters the integration of plant health, human health and animal health along with other relevant sectors.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Greenman Viral Desai Honoured With Global Environment And Climate Action Citizen Award

• Surat’s noted industrialist Viral Desai, popularly known as Greenman for his love for the environment, has been awarded the prestigious Global Environment and Climate Action Citizen Award in Dubai.

• Viral Desai and the other winners were felicitated at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm, on December 23, with the Bharat Gaurav Samman by Sanskruti Yuva Sansthan. The UAE’s Foreign Trade and Economic Development Department’s Director-General Sheikh Awad Mohammed Mugrin graced the ceremony with his presence. Twenty-eight prominent personalities from 11 countries, including the UK, the US, New Zealand, France, and Malaysia, were felicitated with the prestigious awards on occasion, but Viral Desai was the only one from India to have won the honour for climate action.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Paytm Payments Bank, MoneyGram partner to offer international remittance directly to Paytm Wallet

• Paytm Payments Bank has partnered with MoneyGram, a peer-to-peer remittance company to enable international fund transfer directly to Paytm Wallet. Under the Partnership, MoneyGram users abroad can now transfer money to any full Know Your Customer (KYC)-compliant Paytm wallet. MoneyGram transactions in India received digitally stands at nearly 50 per cent of all transactions received in the country. This is MoneyGram’s first mobile wallet partnership in India.

• MoneyGram transactions in India received digitally currently represent nearly 50 per cent of all transactions received in the country. The number of transactions sent directly to bank accounts is up about six times from just under 10 per cent two short years ago.

Federal Bank and Vayana Network bagged the 'Most Effective Bank-Fintech Partnership' award

• Vayana Network, one of India’s largest trade finance platforms, and Federal Bank, a leading Private Sector Bank have been awarded the ‘Most Effective Bank-Fintech Partnership: Agile and Adaptable’ at the IBSi-Global Fintech Innovation Awards 2021. The award was conferred in recognition of Vayana Network’s partnership with Federal Bank, for automating and simplifying Supply Chain Finance. This year, the Innovation Awards attracted global attention with over 190 participants from 48 countries.

• Federal Bank partnered with Vayana Network to provide a seamless onboarding experience to dealers through their unique ‘Full Stack’ tech infrastructure – that facilitates end to end digital solution including client supply chain account set up, monitoring, digital authentication of documents on the transaction platform and notification to customers at every step.

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Important Current Affairs 26th December 2021

NATIONAL

Drinking Water Supply Schemes Of Rs. 164.03 Crore Approved Under Jal Jeevan Mission In Uttarakhand

• Drinking water supply schemes of Rs. 164.03 Crore were approved under Jal Jeevan Mission by Uttarakhand in the State-level scheme sanctioning committee (SLSSC) meeting held on 23rd December, 2021. Of the eight water supply schemes sanctioned, all are multi-village schemes. It will provide tap water connection to more than 9,200 rural homes.

• These eight schemes will benefit 140 villages in Almora, Bageshwar, Dehradun, Nainital and Uttarkashi districts. Masi, Mangurkhal and Jhimar multi-village tap water supply schemes in Almora district will benefit about 20 thousand people living in 68 villages. Shama and Baidamajhera multi-village tap water supply schemes in Bageshwar district will benefit about 18 thousand people living in 38 villages. Basgaon Loshgyani multi-village tap water supply schmes will provide clean tap water to more than 3 thousand people living in 9 villages of Nainital district. Similarly, Kandari multi-village scheme in Uttarkashi and Motidhar Paniyala scheme in Dehradun will benefit more than 7 thousand people living in 25 villages of these two districts.

Union Minister Arjun Munda launches 'TRIFED Van Dhan' a Pictorial Chronicle of Tribal grit and enterprise

• Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Arjun Munda today launched 'TRIFED Van Dhan', a Pictorial Chronicle of Tribal grit and enterprise. It documents the work done for the promotion of tribal enterprise in the country and the achievements of tribal entrepreneurs under the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana. He also launched the formation of 14 Honey Farmer Producer Organizations, MIS Portal for MSP for Minor Forest Produces, communication campaign SAMVAAD and promotional videos for promoting TRIBES INDIA.

• Speaking on the occasion in New Delhi, Mr. Munda said Centre is reaching out to tribals through a multidimensional work plan for their upliftment. He stressed the need for effective connection and communication with tribal community. He said the launch of MIS portal will ensure ready availability of procurement data that can help in effective decision making and enhancing overall transparency.

WADA restores NDTL accreditation

• Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has restored the accreditation of the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), which was suspended in 2019 because of its failure to comply with global standards.

• The NDTL is based in the national capital and can resume testing with immediate effect.

PM Modi announced Covid-19 vaccine for children, Health workers and senior citizens

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the Covid-19 vaccine for children and booster doses for Health workers and senior citizens, amid the Omicron scare. During his address to nation, the Prime Minister urged the people to be cautious while celebrating as coronavirus cases are rising in the country due to highly infectious variant, Omicron. Therefore, from the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that precaution dose of vaccine will also be started for healthcare and frontline workers. It will be started from January 10.

• Children between the age group of 15 to 18 years will be getting the Covid vaccine from January 3, 2022.

• Senior citizens with comorbidities will receive booster doses from January 10, 2022. Citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities will also have the option of a precautionary dose of the vaccine on the advice of their doctor.

Summits & Mou’s

Greater Noida authority inks pact with National Thermal Power Corporation to recycle plastic

• The Greater Noida authority on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to recycle the plastic waste produced in the city, which will be used as fuel to produce electricity at the corporation’s Dadri plant.

• Officials from the Greater Noida authority said it was a challenge to treat the 20 tonne of plastic waste produced daily in the city.

• “We were looking for a solution to handle the plastic waste so that it can be recycled. Now, we are happy since the NTPC will reuse the plastic waste and produce electricity, thereby eliminating the problem of the city to get rid of the plastic waste.

GMR subsidiary awarded contract to develop Indonesia's Kualanamu Airport

• GMR Airports Netherlands B.V., a subsidiary of GMR Airports Limited (GAL), has signed a Shareholders’ Agreement (SHA) and Share Subscription Agreement (SSA) with Indonesia's state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II for the development and operation of the South East Asian country's Kualanamu International Airport.

• GAL has entered into a 49%-51% partnership with the Indonesian company to operate, develop and expand airport at Medan, one of the largest metropolitan cities in the country, for a period of 25 years.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Madan Mohan Malaviya's Birth Anniversary: 25dec 2021

• On the 160th anniversary of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya's birth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union Ministers, BJP leaders, and politicians, including former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan, Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, Union Minister BL Verma, and others extended their tributes to the great educationalist and politician on Saturday.

• Union Minister Nitin Gadkari wrote on Koo, "Humble greetings to the founder of Banaras Hindu University Bharat Ratna Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya ji on his birth anniversary."

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Important Current Affairs 24th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

WADA report: India among world's top three dope violators country

• India is among the world’s top three dope violators country in the world. Indian athletes were involved 152 times in dope-related activities in the year 2019. The report has revealed the latest report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), which has put India into the top-three of the world’s biggest violators behind Russia (167) and Italy (157). Brazil (78) is at fourth and Iran (70) fifth positions.

• In 2019, 152 (17 per cent of the world total) Anti-doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) were reported in India. The maximum dope offenders are from bodybuilding followed by weightlifting (25), athletics (20), wrestling (10), and boxing.

NATIONAL

Maiden test of Pralay surface-to-surface missile successful

• India successfully conducted the maiden flight test of the indigenously-developed, surface-to-surface missile ‘Pralay’ off the Odisha coast. The solid-fuel, battlefield missile developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation is based on Prithvi Defence Vehicle from the Indian ballistic missile programme. The missile, launched from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island.

• The new missile followed the desired quasi ballistic trajectory and reached the designated target with high degree accuracy, validating the control, guidance and mission algorithms. With a range of 150 to 500 km, ‘Pralay’ is powered with the solid propellant rocket motor and other new technologies. The missile guidance system includes state-of-the-art navigation and integrated avionics.

Jharkhand passes Bill to prevent mob violence, lynching

• Jharkhand Assembly has passed the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, which aims at providing “effective protection” of constitutional rights and the prevention of mob violence in the state. After including one amendment, the Bill was passed and sent to the Governor for his assent. Once notified, Jharkhand will become the fourth state to bring in such a law after West Bengal, Rajasthan and Manipur.

• The bill provides a jail term of three years to life imprisonment and fines of up to ₹25 lakh against those involved in mob lynching leading to “injury or death”.

• The Bill defines lynching as “any act or series of acts of violence or death or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence or death, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or any other ground”.

• In case of a lynching incident leading to the victim suffering hurt, the convicts will be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine between ₹1 lakh to ₹3 lakh.

India deploys first S-400 air defence system in Punjab sector, to take care of aerial threats from China, Pak

• Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed the first squadron of the S-400 air defence missile system in the western Punjab sector which will take care of aerial threats from Pakistan and China. The S-400 air defence system was contracted for by India from Russia in a deal worth around Rs 35,000 crores and five squadrons would be provided to India for tackling air threats from up to 400 km.

• The surface-to-air missile system would give India an edge in South Asian skies as they would be able to take out enemy aircraft and cruise missiles from a 400 km distance.

• The S-400 Triumf air defence system is equipped with four different missiles which can engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and AWACS planes at 400 km, 250 km, the medium-range 120 km and the short-range 40 km.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

NITI Aayog enters into agreement with UN WFP to diversify food basket in programmes

• NITI Aayog has signed a Statement of Intent with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The partnership focuses on mainstreaming millets and supporting India in taking lead globally in knowledge exchange using the opportunity of 2023 as an International Year of Millets. The government of India observed 2018 as a year of millets.

• The partnership between NITI Aayog and UN WEP focuses to mainstream the millets and supporting India in taking a lead internationally in knowledge exchange amid the recognition of 2023 as an International Year of Millets.

• This partnership also aims to build resilient livelihoods for small farmers and adaptation capacities towards climate change as well as transforming food systems.

• The Statement of Intent focuses on strategic and technical collaboration between both parties, in order to strengthen climate-resilient agriculture for enhanced food & nutrition security across India.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Consumer Rights Day 2021: 24th December

• National Consumer Rights Day is observed every year on December 24. On this day in 1986, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 received Presidential assent and thus came into force. The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.

• The National Consumer Rights Day was observed for the first time in 1986 under the Consumer Protection Act. It’s different from World Consumer Day, which is celebrated annually on March 15. The Consumer Protection Act came into force in 1986. In 2019, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 was revised. Later, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution announced the CPA 2019 bill put to effect on July 20, 2020.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Jindal Global University won the “Digital Innovation of the Year” award

• O. P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has won the ‘Digital Innovation of the Year Award’ in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Asia Awards 2021 for creating a free, cloud-based application to help schools and universities manage data. JGU was the only Indian University to be shortlisted for the “Digital Innovation of the Year”.

• The university was awarded under the ‘Technological or Digital Innovation of the Year category for its transformative work in the last 2 years. This award is also a reflection of JGU’s commitment to ensure continued education for its students during the ongoing pandemic. In March 2020, we were faced with one of the most unprecedented crises of our time.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘Bachelor Dad’ authored by Tusshar Kapoor

• Tusshar Kapoor has written his first book titled ‘Bachelor Dad’. The actor became a single father to son Laksshya Kapoor via surrogacy in 2016. He has shared his journey of being a single father in the new book. The actor has shared his journey of the ‘slightly unconventional road to fatherhood’ in his debut book, Bachelor Dad. On the cover of the book, he can be seen carrying his son.

• Announcing the book, Tusshar wrote, “I WROTE A BOOK! Becoming a father has been one of the most cherished moments of my life and my first book, Bachelor Dad, talks about how I took a slightly unconventional road to fatherhood.”

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

NPCI partners with Udemy Business to upskill employees

• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has signed a partnership agreement with Udemy Business, to encourage innovative learning and skill development for employees of NPCI. The 3-year partnership with Udemy Business will offer courses on in-demand skills such as tech, domain, behavioural, and leadership skills to all NPCI employees. Through the mission ‘Talent Development for All’ of NPCI, it provides capacity-building programmes in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), etc.

• Under its vision of ‘Talent Development for All’, NPCI is betting big on the capability building of its employees and has increased its budget for Learning & Development (L&D) by seven times. The three-year association with Udemy Business will offer courses on in-demand skills such as tech, domain, behavioural, and leadership skills to all NPCI employees, who will now be able to access challenging assignments to enable experiential learning.

Wipro to acquire cybersecurity provider Edgile for $230 million

• Wipro has signed an agreement to acquire Edgile, a transformational cyber security consulting provider, for $230 million. Founded in 2001, Edgile is recognised by security and risk leaders for its business-aligned cyber security capability, deep understanding of the changing regulatory environment and enabling cloud transformations that help secure the modern enterprise. It has an onsite workforce of 182 employees.

• Together, Wipro and Edgile will develop Wipro CyberTransform, an integrated suite that will help enterprises enhance boardroom governance of cyber security risk, invest in robust cyber strategies, and reap the value of practical security in action.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Leftist Gabriel Boric to become Chile's youngest ever president

• 35-year-old, Gabriel Boric, has won Chile presidential elections, to become the youngest-ever President-elect of Chile. He defeated his opposition Jose Antonio Kast in the elections. Gabriel Boric will assume office in March 2022, will become the youngest president in Chile’s history. Official results gave Mr Boric 56% of the votes against Mr Kast’s 44%. Mr Kast conceded defeat barely an hour-and-a-half after polls closed, and with around half of ballots counted.

• The president-elect also promised to block a controversial proposed mining project which he said would destroy communities and the national environment. Chile’s currency, the peso, plunged to a record low against the US dollar after Mr Boric’s victory. Stock markets fell by 10%, with mining stocks performing particularly badly.

NATIONAL

Punjab : Channi gives Jagannath Rath Yatra ‘state festival’

• The Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi has declared Lord Krishna Balram Jagannath Rath Yatra as an annual state festival. The announcement for the same was made during flagging off the 25th Shri Lord Krishna Balram Jagannath Rath Yatra. He also announced a grant of Rs 2.51 crore for the Iskcon Temple in Ludhiana, Punjab. Notably, Punjab Government is also developing the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana Research Centre on a 20-acre land in Patiala.

• This was not the first time that the Rath Yatra of Ludhiana set the stage for the elections. Ahead of the 2017 Punjab elections, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia of AAP participated in the yatra. He also performed ‘Maha Aarti’ from the stage with party candidates.

PM Modi inaugurated multiple development projects in Goa

• On the occasion of Goa Liberation Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of several development projects worth over 650 crores rupees in Goa. He felicitated freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’ at the function. He appreciated Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for keeping the pace of development up in the state.

• The re-development of Aguada Fort Jail Museum at a cost of over Rs 28 crore.

• A super specialty block at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, which has been constructed at a cost of over Rs 380 crores.

DPIIT launched the Unified Logistics Interface Platform's (ULIP) Hackathon

• The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has launched the Unified Logistics Interface Platform’s (ULIP) hackathon – ‘LogiXtics’ to crowdsource more ideas that will benefit the logistics industry. The Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) Hackathon – LogiXtics is being organised by NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission.

• It is supported by National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC) and NICDC Logistics Data Bank Services Limited (NLDSL).

• ULIP has been designed to enhance efficiency and reduce logistics costs in India by creating a transparent platform that can provide real-time information to all stakeholders.

Manohar Lal Khattar newly opened Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC) Under Karnal Smart City Project

• Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar has opened the new Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC) under the Karnal Smart City project. The new Command and Control Center will enable the functioning of advanced systems such as adaptive traffic control, automatic number plate recognition, detection of red-light violation and speed violation.

• With the inauguration of ICCC, a slew of smart traffic management systems in the city went alive. Over 500 CCTV cameras at various locations now enable the functioning of advanced systems such as adaptive traffic control, automatic number plate recognition, detection of red-light violation and speed violation.

Gujarat Alkalies & Chemicals Limited (GACL) and GAIL (India) Limited signed a MoU

• Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) and GAIL (India) Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up a bioethanol plant with a production capacity of 500-kilo litre per day (KLD) in Gujarat. This MoU was signed on the lines of the roadmap launched by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for 20% Ethanol Blending in Petrol by 2025 in order to reduce the import of crude oil.

• The estimated project cost is Rs. 1,000 crores and it is expected to generate annual revenue of approximately Rs. 1500 crores. An estimated savings of USD 70 million per year in Foreign Exchange is also expected through this project.

OBITUARY

Former SC Judge Justice GT Nanavati passed away

• Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Girish Thakorlal Nanavati who headed two inquiry commissions formed to probe into the 2002 Godhra Riots & 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, passed away. Justice Girish Thakorlal Nanavati was 86. He was elevated as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India with effect in March 1995 and he retired as an SC Judge in February 2000.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Mathematics Day 2021: 22nd December 

• India observes the National Mathematics Day every year on 22 December since 2012. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. This year nation celebrates his 134th birth anniversary of Ramanujan. The main objective behind the celebration of National Mathematics Day is to make people aware of the development of mathematics and its importance in the growth of humanity.

• The day was announced on 26 February 2012 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 Dec 1887- 26 Apr 1920). 2012 was also observed as National Mathematics Year. Ramanujan had a wealth of ideas that have transformed and reshaped 20th-century mathematics. These ideas continue to shape the mathematics of the 21st century.

Good Governance Week: 20-25 December 2021

• Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh has inaugurated the Good Governance Week campaign themed “Prashasan Gaon Ki Aur” aimed at showcasing and replicating the best governance practices to the grassroots level. Good Governance Week is being celebrated on 20-25 December as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration.

• During the week-long event, over 700 Districts Collectors will visit Tehsil and Panchayat Samiti Headquarters in order to provide timely grievance redressal and improve service delivery. It is being celebrated by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in collaboration with various other ministries and departments.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India registers highest-ever annual FDI inflow of 81.97 billion

• India has registered the highest ever annual Foreign Direct Investment inflow of $ 81.97 bn in 2020-21. FDI inflows in the last seven financial years is over $ 440 bn, which is nearly 58 % of the total FDI inflow in the last 21 financial years. The top five countries from where FDI Equity Inflows were received during 2014-2021 are Singapore, Mauritius, USA, Netherland & Japan. 

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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Malta becomes first EU country to legalise cannabis for personal use

• Malta became the first European country to allow limited cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, following a vote in parliament. The Maltese parliament voted in favour of the reform last week, with 36 votes in favour and 27 against.  Adults will be allowed to grow four plants at home and carry seven grams of cannabis, with smoking in public or in front of children remaining illegal.

• The Netherlands also has a liberal attitude towards cannabis, allowing the sale of small quantities in a policy aimed at managing crime and health risks, though officially it is illegal.

• Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. Native to Central and South Asia, the cannabis plant has been used as a drug for both recreational and entheogenic purposes and in various traditional medicines for centuries.

NATIONAL

India successfully test-fired new generation ballistic missile ‘Agni-P’

• The nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni Prime’ was successfully tested off the coast of Odisha by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Recently, DRDO has successful test-firing of the air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on December 7 was a “significant milestone” in BrahMos’ development.

• Agni-P is a new generation upgraded version of Agni class missiles. It’s a two-stage canisterized missile with a range of 1,000 to 2,000 kilometres.

• The ballistic missile is half the weight of the Agni 3 and can be launched from the train or road. It can also be stored for longer periods of time and transported throughout the country as per operational requirements.

Tamil Nadu: CM Stalin declares ‘Tamil Thaai Vazhthu’ as state song

• Tamil Nadu government has announced ‘Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu’ as the state anthem. It should be sung before the start of any functions in all educational institutions, universities, government offices, and public sector undertakings. The decision comes in the wake of the Madras High Court recently ruling that ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ is a prayer song and not an anthem. Government Order to this effect has been issued, mandating that all barring the differently-abled persons should remain standing when the 55-second long song is sung.

• The ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ enjoy official status since 1970. It is the official song of the union territory of Puducherry as well. Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate is the official state anthem of Karnataka and Bande Utkal Janani is the official state anthem of Odisha.

Narendra Modi  laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. PM Modi also addressed a rally at Railway Ground, Rouza on the occasion. After completion of work, it will become the longest expressway of Uttar Pradesh. It will connect the western and eastern regions of the state. It starts near the Bijauli village in Meerut. It will extend till near the Judapur Dandu village in Prayagraj.

• Ganga Expressway is a 594 Km long Expressway. It will be built at a cost of over Rs 36,200 crore.

• It will pass through Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Sambhal, Budaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Prayagraj districts.

• 35 Km long airstrip for emergency take-off and landing of Air Force planes will also be constructed on the Expressway in Shahjahanpur.

Haryana government Introduced ‘Khel Nursery scheme 2022-23’ 

• Haryana’s Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sandeep Singh launched ‘Khel Nursery Scheme 2022-23’ to promote sports in the state. The players of Haryana have given a new identity to the state at the international level with their sports talent. The state government is always striving to develop new sports talents in the state.

• The scheme promotes sports nurseries that will be started in government, private educational institutions and private sports institutions. The sports nurseries are being opened for the sports included in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games.

SPORTS

Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021: India wins 16 medals 

• India concluded the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 with 16 medals – 4 Gold, 7 Silver, and 5 Bronze, held at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Bindyarani Devi was India’s only medallist at the World Weightlifting Championships 2021, that was also held parallelly at Tashkent.

• South Korea’s Son Young-hee won the gold medal at the world championships with an overall lift of 282kg (122+159). New Zealand’s David Liti won the gold medal for a total of 407kg (176+231) followed by Pakistan’s Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt, who lifted 390kg (165+225).

BWF World Championships | Srikanth loses to Loh Kean Yew, bags silver

• Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian man to win a silver medal at BWF World Championships. In the final, Kidambi was defeated by Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew by 21-15, 22-20. This was the first time that a men’s player from Singapore won gold at BWF World Championships. The badminton tournament was held from December 12 to 19, 2021 in Huelva, Spain.

• 2021 BWF World Championships is officially known as “TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021” for sponsorship purpose. The badminton tournament was held from December 12 to 19, 2021 in Huelva, Spain. Huelva was awarded this event in November 2018, when the announcement was made for 18 major badminton event hosts from 2019 to 2025.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Hyundai appoints Unsoo Kim as new MD

• Hyundai Motor Company has appointed Unsoo Kim as the Managing Director (MD) of Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), starting from 1st January 2022. He will replace Seon Seob Kim (SS Kim), who will lead the Global Operations Division in Hyundai headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. HMIL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HMC is India’s first smart mobility solutions provider and the number one car exporter in India.

• He played a key role in positioning the company as a smart mobility solutions provider and bringing Internet-enabled connected cars and kick-starting the electric mobility journey in India with the launch of Kona, an all-electric SUV.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

SAIL receives prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021

• Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), under the Ministry of Steel, has been awarded with the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021 for successive three years. The Award is given to organizations for significant achievements in Environment Management by Environment Foundation (WEF) since 1998.

• The company’s environmental protections measures are focused on adopting various environmental measures including, upgrading of pollution control facilities, water conservation efforts with the aim to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge, efficient handling of different solid wastes (viz. process waste, hazardous waste, canteen/township waste), carbon sequestration through afforestation, eco-restoration of the mined-out area and etc.

RANKING

India fourth most affected country by spam calls in 2021

• Spam call rates in India have spiked again, with the country moving up in global rankings from 9th position to 4th position owing to a significant in sales and telemarketing calls in 2021, according to the latest insights by callerID, spam detection and blocking company, Truecaller. The upward movement is a direct result of a significant increase in sales and telemarketing calls, which in India make up about 93.5% of all spam calls. The report also showed that one particular company, the identity of which Truecaller did not reveal, was responsible for making over 202 million spam calls in 2021, which translates to about 27,000 calls on an hourly basis.

• The top three countries in the world with maximum spam based calls were Brazil, Peru and Ukraine. Interestingly, the USA dropped from 2nd place in 2020 to 20th in 2021, owing to stringent government regulations.

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