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Important Current Affairs 20th December 2021

 

NATIONAL

NHPC plans clean energy projects of 27GW in 9 states and Nepal

• NHPC has plans to set up new hydro and solar projects of more than 27,000 MW capacity in nine states and neighbouring country Nepal, the company's CMD Abhay Kumar Singh said.

• The new capacities would come up in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, Singh.

• NHPC is in talks with some of these states which have shown interest in the projects. Others will also be engaged for the purpose.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Over Rs. 10180 crore allocated to Rajasthan for FY22

• Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Sunday approved the allocation of Rs 10,180 crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2021-22 to Rajasthan, a four-fold increase from Rs 2,522 Crore allocated in 2020-21.

• “To assist the State of Rajasthan, to achieve ‘Har Ghar Jal’, Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat approved Central allocation of Rs 10,180 Crore for Jal Jeevan Mission in 2021-22, a four-fold increase from Rs 2,522 Crore allocated in 2020-21,” said Ministry of Jal Shakti.

• Of 1.01 crore rural households in the State, 11.74 lakh (11.5 per cent) households had tap water supply as of August 15, 2019, when Jal Jeevan Mission was launched.

• “Since the launch of the mission, 9.65 lakh households (9.5 per cent) have been provided tap water connections in the State of Rajasthan,” it said adding that 21.39 (21.1 per cent) lakh rural homes in the State are getting tap water supply in their homes.

SPORTS

Avani Lekhara won ‘Best Female Debut’ honour at 2021 Paralympic Sport Awards

• Indian shooter Avani Lekhara, who has created history by winning India’s first Gold medal in Shooting at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, won the “Best Female Debut” honour at the 2021 Paralympic Sport Awards. The Awards were announced by the International Paralympic Committee. She became the 1st Indian woman to win 2 Paralympic medals in a single edition of the Paralympic Games. India won an unprecedented 19 medals at the Paralympic Games including 5 Gold, 8 Silver & 6 Bronze.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO conducts demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System

• Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra today conducted a flight demonstration of a Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity (CADS-500).

• ADRDE, Agra is an R&D laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the flight demonstration is part of a series of activities organised towards celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, commemorating 75 years of Independence.

• The CADS-500 is used for precise delivery of payloads up to 500 kg at a predetermined location by making use of manoeuvrable capabilities of the Ram Air Parachute (RAP). It uses the Global Positioning System for the coordinates, altitude, and heading sensors for the heading information during its flight.

SpaceX launches 52 Starlink satellites from California base

• A SpaceX rocket carried 52 Starlink internet satellites into orbit from California early on December 18. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base at 4:41 a.m. and arced over the Pacific. The Falcon’s first stage returned and landed on a SpaceX droneship in the ocean. It was the 11th launch and recovery of the stage.

• The second stage continued into orbit and deployment of the satellites was confirmed.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Uttarakhand government appoints Rishabh pant as state brand ambassador

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday appointed India batter Rishabh Pant as the state brand ambassador.

• Taking to his Twitter, the Chief Minister wrote in Hindi, "One of the best cricket players of India, idol of youth and Lal Shri Rishabh Pant of Uttarakhand has been appointed by our government as "State Brand Ambassador" with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health."

Mohit jain elected new president of Indian Newspaper Society

• Mohit Jain of The Economic Times was elected as president of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) president at its 82nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held through video conference on Friday.He succeeds Lakshmipathy Adimoolam of Health & The Antiseptic.

• K Raja Prasad Reddy (Sakshi) is the Deputy President, Rakesh Sharma (Aaj Samaj) is the Vice President and Tanmay Maheshwari (Amar Ujala) is the Honorary Treasurer of the Society for 2021-22. Mary Paul is the Secretary-General.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

HAL signed contract with BEL for 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A fighters

• Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed a Rs 2,400 crores contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for the development and supply of 20 types of systems for 83 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas Mk1A fighter aircraft programme. The duration of the contract is 5 years i.e., from 2023 to 2028. Notably, this is HAL’s biggest order on any Indian company thus boosting the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign. The order for the supply of these systems will be executed by two units of BEL at Bengaluru (Karnataka), and Panchkula (Haryana).

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Human Solidarity Day : 20 December

• International Human Solidarity Day is observed globally on 20 December every year to celebrate unity in diversity and raise awareness about the importance of solidarity. According to the United Nations Millennium Declaration, solidarity is among the fundamental values that are essential to international relations.

• The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the twenty-first century, and in that regard decided to proclaim 20 December of each year International Human Solidarity Day.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

A book on Yogi Adityanath “The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh” released

• The book titled “The Monk Who Transformed Uttar Pradesh: How Yogi Aditynath Changed UP Waala Bhaiya’ abuse to a Badge of Honour”, authored by Shantanu Gupta. A new book chronicles how Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath transformed the state in various aspects like law and order, connectivity, education, health infrastructure, and overall growth. The book underlines the journey of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, from being born in Uttarakhand to becoming a Nath Panthi saint, to CM of Uttar Pradesh.

• Gupta’s previously authored books include “BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY: Past, Present and Future: Story of the World’s Largest Political Party” (2019) and “The Monk Who Became Chief Minister” (2017).

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Important Current Affairs 19th December 2021

NATIONAL

Hemant Soren launched SAHAY scheme for maoist-hit areas

• The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren has launched a Sports Action toward Harnessing Aspiration of Youth (SAHAY) scheme aimed at nurturing young sporting talents in Maoist-hit districts of the state. This scheme has been launched to curb the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) which affected 19 of the state’s 24 districts. Boys and girls in the 14-19 age group from villages to ward level will be registered under the scheme and will be given opportunities to display their skills in basketball, volleyball, hockey and athletics.

• In order to instil a culture of sports and identify talent in the state, CM Hemant Soren had earlier given directions to sports department officials to work on a special sports scheme named Sahay for youth from Naxalite-affected areas. Officials were asked to work extensively to connect youth below the age of 19 with the Jharkhand Sahay Scheme. Under Sahay Yojana, potential sports talent will be identified from the panchayat level and taken to the block level and district level where they will be prepared for national and international sports events.

Union Cabinet approved a ₹76,000 crore scheme to boost semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country

• Union Cabinet approved a Rs 76,000-crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for boosting semiconductor and display manufacturing in India. With this, the total amount of production linked incentive (PLI) announced for the electronics sector increase to Rs 2.30 lakh crore.

• This scheme was approved in order to position India as a global hub for hi-tech production, as well as to attract large chip makers. It would also strengthen India’s ambitions to be self-reliant in electronics manufacturing and bring huge investments.

• The government will also set up an independent ‘India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)’, for driving the long-term strategies to develop a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in India.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

ISRO Inks Deal With 4 Countries For Commercial Satellite Launches In 2021-2023

• The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed six agreements with four countries for launching foreign satellites during 2021-2023. About 132 million Euros would be earned through the launching of these foreign satellites on a commercial basis. The ISRO-Indian space agency, founded in 1969 to develop an independent Indian space program. Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Dr Jitendra Singh has said that ISRO has launched a total of 342 satellites from 34 countries since 1999.

• ISRO through its commercial arm, New Space India Limited (NSIL), has been launching satellites belong to other countries from Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Total 124 indigenous satellites have been put into Earth’s orbit including 12 student satellites.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Goa’s Liberation Day 2021: 19th December

• Goa Liberation Day is observed on 19 December every year in India and it marks the day Indian armed forces freed Goa in 1961 following 450 years of Portuguese rule. The year 2021 marks the 60 years of Goa’s independence. Goa Liberation Day is marked by an abundance of events and festivities in Goa though this time because of the pandemic the celebrations are expected to be muted. A torchlight procession is ignited from three different locations in the state, eventually all meeting at the Azad Maidan.

• The Portuguese colonised several parts of India in 1510 but by the end of the 19th-century Portuguese colonies in India were limited to Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Anjediva Island.

• The Goa liberation movement, which sought to end Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, started off with small scale revolts.

• On August 15, 1947, when India gained its Independence, Goa was still under the Portuguese rule.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

TiE Global Summit Awards: KM Birla named Global Entrepreneur of the Year

• Aditya Birla Group’s chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla has received the Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award- Business Transformation from The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) based out of Silicon Valley. Birla is the first Indian Industrialist to receive the award for global entrepreneurship along with top global business leaders Satya Nadella, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos. The awardees were selected by an independent jury chaired by Venture Capitalist, Tim Draper, Founder, Draper University.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘Gandhi Topi Governor’ released by Vice President of India  

• Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu has released the Telugu book titled ‘Gandhi Topi Governor’ by Padma Awardee Dr Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, Chairman, Official Language Commission, Andhra Pradesh. The book chronicles the life of Barrister Idpuganti Raghavendra Rao. I R Rao was a prominent freedom fighter, Legislator and the Governor of the Central Provinces in the British Administration.

Book “Rewinding the first 25 years of MeitY! authored by SS Oberoi

• The book titled ‘Rewinding of First 25 years of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’ authored by S S Oberoi, the former adviser at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was launched by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary of MeitY. The book consists of life experience, challenges working as an advisor under the MeitY. He was the first head of the Software Development Agency and the first adviser of Information Technology.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI imposes penalty on ICICI Bank and PNB for rule violations

• A penalty of Rs 1.8 crores has been imposed on Punjab National Bank (PNB) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), while ICICI Bank has been fined Rs 30 lakh for deficiencies in regulatory compliances. According to a statement issued by the central bank, PNB was found guilty of contravening provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, related to pledge of shares by it.

• In the case of ICICI Bank, the RBI said that after conducting a statutory inspection for supervisory evaluation of the bank, it found non-compliance with directions related to levy of charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in saving accounts. The RBI however made it clear that in both the cases, penalties were levied on deficiencies in regulatory compliances and it was not a pronunciation on the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the banks with their respective customers.

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Important Current Affairs 16th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

China successfully launched “Shijian-6 05” satellites for Space Exploration

• China successfully launched a new group of satellites Shijian-6 05 into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China for space exploration and new technology tests. The satellites were launched by a Long March-4B rocket which marked the 400th mission of Long March series carrier rockets. The information about the number of satellites has not been specified. As the message reads, they will be used for space exploration and new technology tests.

NATIONAL

DRDO successfully tests long-range 'Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo'

• India has successfully test-fired a long-range Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo (SMART) off the Balasore coast in Odisha. The weapon system is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Navy. The system has been designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo.

• The system is a next-generation missile-based standoff torpedo delivery system. During the test, the full range capability of the missile was successfully demonstrated. The system has been designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo. This was a textbook launch, where the entire trajectory was monitored by the electro-optic telemetry system, various range radars including the downrange instrumentation and downrange ships. The missile carried a torpedo, parachute delivery system and release mechanisms.

SPORTS

David Warner & Hayley Matthews Named ICC Player Of The Month For November

• Australia opener David Warner and West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews have been voted the ICC Players of the Month for November. Warner, nominated for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award alongside Pakistan’s Abid Ali and New Zealand’s Tim Southee, emerged victorious with the most votes, following his crucial role in Australia’s triumph in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

• Australian opener David Warner has bagged the ICC Player Of The Month for November. The southpaw has been in scintillating form in recent times. He was the Player of the Tournament as Australia won their maiden T20 World Cup title. He then started the Ashes series with a bang by scoring 94 in the first Test at The Gabba.

• West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews secured the Women’s Player of the Month award. David Warner scored 289 runs in seven matches in the tournament at a strike rate of 146.70, out of which 209 runs came from four games in November. He scored 89 against West Indies in a Super 12 game against the West Indies which was his highest score of the tournament.

BCCI formed a committee for the differently abled cricketers

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) has formed a committee for the differently-abled cricketers of the country. Disability cricketers have welcomed the decision of the BCCI to form a Differently Abled Committee for the differently-abled cricketers. On the basis of the recommendation of the Justice Lodha committee, a board of three former disabled cricketers was being awaited for the last several years. The Proposal was approved by BCCI headed by president Sourav Ganguly & secretary Jay Shah.

AIBA becomes IBA as key constitutional amendments approved to secure boxing's Olympic future

• The International Boxing Association has changed its acronym from AIBA to IBA, promising to adopt a set of governance reforms so as to keep the sport’s inclusion at the 2028 Olympics. Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon were all left off the initial list of sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Games and were asked to make changes by the International Olympic Committee.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

BPCL, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre join hands for green Hydrogen production

• Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has tied up with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to scale-up Alkaline Electrolyze technology for Green Hydrogen production. This is a first of its kind initiative to support India’s commitment to achieve renewable energy targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electrolyser plants are presently imported and the collaboration is to “scale-up Alkaline Electrolyser technology for Green Hydrogen production”.

• India has set a target to reach net zero emissions by 2070 and towards that objective it is looking to raise the share of renewables in its energy mix to 50 per cent by 2030 from 38 per cent currently. This is a first of its kind initiative to support the country’s commitment to achieve renewable energy targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

OBITUARY

Captain Varun Singh passed away

• Group Captain Varun Singh, who was rescued after the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, has passed away. He was being treated for severe burns at a Bengaluru military hospital after he was moved from Wellington in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor. His condition in the last few days continued to be “critical but stable”.

• In August this year, Group Captain Varun Singh was conferred the Shaurya Chakra for averting a possible mid-air accident after his Tejas light combat aircraft developed a major technical snag last year.  Hailing from Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria, Singh’s father KP Singh retired from the Indian Army as colonel whereas his brother Lieutenant Commander Tanuj Singh is an officer in the Indian Navy.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Vijay Diwas 2021: 16th December

• In India, Vijay Diwas (also called Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16. The country is celebrating the 50th Vijay Diwas in 2021. Vijay Diwas is observed to commemorate the service, valour, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces’ victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. On this day, we pay homage to all the soldiers who had defended the nation in the war.

• The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India. It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini. The end of the war also resulted in the subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

LIC introduced Dhan Rekha plan savings life insurance plan

• The Life Insurance Corporation of India has launched a new non-linked, non-participating, individual savings life insurance plan called Dhan Rekha, it offers special premium rates for female lives. The plan is also allowed for the third gender adding that all benefits under the plan are fully guaranteed. There are special premium rates for female lives. The plan is allowed to Third Gender. All Benefits under the plan are fully guaranteed.

• Under this plan, the minimum sum assured is Rs 2 lakh, with no upper restriction on the maximum sum assured.

• Depending on the policy term, the minimum age to enter ranges from 90 days to 8 years.

• Depending on the policy term, the maximum age at the entrance can range from 35 to 55 years old.

Bank of Baroda launches bob World Wave, a wearable payment solution

• Bank of Baroda (BoB) has launched a solution for digital banking payments, named bob World Wave. Wearable technology is witnessing the rise of tremendous interest across the world and lenders are using this opportunity to adopt the more convenient and cashless digital payments systems. This is an innovative solution, intended to perfectly deliver preventive health actions as well as easier payment transactions.

• Bank’s on the go wearable payment solution, bob World Wave is designed to ensure convenient and seamless digital payments by our customers. It is anticipated that 10% of the small ticket payments will be made via wearable devices in the next two years.”

• The bob World Wave wearable device will allow customers to monitor their Sp02, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.

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Important Current Affairs 15th December 2021

NATIONAL

DM Rajnath Singh inaugurated Swarnim Vijay Parv

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Swarnim Vijay Parv commemorating 50 years of India’s victory in the 1971 war. He inaugurates ‘Wall of Fame -1971 Indo-Pak War’ at the inaugural ceremony. Swarnim Vijay Parv is an event commemorating the valour & professionalism of the Armed Forces and their contribution to the liberation of Bangladesh in the Indo-Pak 1971 war, at India Gate Lawns in New Delhi on December 12, 2021.

• The event marks the culmination of year-long celebrations of 50 years of India’s victory in 1971. The event will be opened to the public after the inauguration. Many dignitaries, including those from Bangladesh, will be present.

Union Minister Virendra Kumar launched National Helpline against atrocities on SCs, STs

• Union Minister Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar has launched National Helpline against atrocities on SCs, STs. The objective of the helpline, reportedly, is to build awareness about the provisions of the Act that are aimed at ending discrimination and providing protection to all. The Helpline will be available 24-7 on toll-free number – 14566.

• This Service will be available in Hindi, English, and Regional languages of the States. The objective of this helpline is to spread awareness about the provision of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

• All registered complaints will be investigated and all charge sheets filed are prosecuted in the Courts for decision within the given timelines in the Act. A docket number will be given for each complaint received from Victim/Complainant/NGOs regarding non-compliance with The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955 and the Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act, 1989.

MP government organised first drone Mela at Gwalior

• In Madhya Pradesh, the first drone fair in the country was organised at Gwalior. Gwalior Drone Mela was organised jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Government of India, the Government of Madhya Pradesh, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

• Addressing the youths and farmers present at the “Drone Mela” in Gwalior, MP Chief Minister said that Madhya Pradesh will be made a leading state by using drone technology. Mr Scindia said that five Drone Schools will be opened in Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Satna in Madhya Pradesh.

Centre Government granted GI Tag to Bihar’s Mithila Makhana

• The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) under the Central Ministry of Commerce has accepted the petition to rename Bihar Makhana as Mithila Makhana and has also suggested further changes to the brand logo to better reflect its origins. It also suggested amendments in the brand logo to highlight its origins and protect the product’s Geographical Indications (GI) rights.

• The Sabour based Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) initiated an application on behalf of the Mithilanchal Makhana Utpadak Sangh (MMUS) to name their produce as Mithila Makhana for the welfare of fox nut growers in the Mithila region.

Maharashtra tops state in the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana

• Maharashtra has topped the list of states with the maximum number of beneficiaries under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY), followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. As many as 6,49,560 beneficiaries were recorded in Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu (5,35,615), Gujarat (4,44,741) and Karnataka (3,07,164). In Maharashtra, the beneficiaries have been provided with a total of Rs 409.72 crore under the scheme to new employees of 17,524 establishments.

• The government had launched ABRY to incentivize employment generation in Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) registered establishments during C-19 for a period from October 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022. This scheme, being implemented through the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), reduces the financial burden of the employers of various sectors/industries and encourages them to hire more workers.

PM Modi inaugurated the Saryu Nahar National Project in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Saryu Nahar National Project in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh. The project will provide assured water for irrigation to over 14 lakh hectares of land and benefit about 29 lakh farmers, mainly in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya were among those present at the project inauguration programme.

• The project has been completed at a cost of over Rs 9,800 crore, out of which more than Rs 4,600 crore was provisioned in the last four years.

• The project will cater to the problem of water shortage mainly in eastern UP/ Purvanchal with assured water for irrigation.

PM Modi inaugurated first phase of the Rs 339 crore Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the first phase of the Rs 339 crore Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project that connects the temple town’s two iconic landmarks – Kashi Vishwanath temple and Ganga ghats. Modi offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and planted a Rudraksha tree at the premises of the temple. He also offered Ganga Jal, Chandan, ashes and milk to Lord Shiva. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BJP President J P Nadda and a large number of saints from across the country attended the ceremony.

• The idea behind the project is to ensure that all heritage structures get preserved.

• A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in phase 1 of the project.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

US President elevated Indian-American political advisor Gautam Raghavan as the head of the WHOPP

• US President Joe Biden has elevated Indian-American political advisor Gautam Raghavan as the head of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO), also written as Office of Presidential Personnel, is the White House office tasked with vetting new appointees. The PPO is one of the offices most responsible for assessing candidates to work at or for the White House.

• A first-generation immigrant, Raghavan was born in India, raised in Seattle and graduated from Stanford University. He is the editor of the book ‘West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House’.

OBITUARY

American fiction writer Anne Rice passed away

• American gothic-fiction writer Anne Rice, best known for The Vampire Chronicles novel series, passed away. Anne Rice’s debut novel, published in 1976, Interview with the Vampire revolves around a vampire named Louis de Pointe du Lac, who narrates the story of his life to a reporter. Her other works: Pandora, Violin, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, The Witching Hour etc.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book “Watershed : How We Destroyed India’s Water And How We Can Save It” authored by Mriduala Ramesh

• Mriduala Ramesh, the founder of Sundaram Climate Institute, which works on water and waste solutions and the angel investor in cleantech start-ups, has authored a new book titled “Watershed: How We Destroyed India’s Water And How We Can Save It”. Mriduala Ramesh is the author of “The Climate Solution” and she writes regularly on climate issues. She is also a member of the board of trustees of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), India, and chairperson of the board of governors at the National Institute of Technology, Andhra Pradesh (AP).   

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Important Current Affairs 14th December 2021

NATIONAL

National Education Policy: NITI Aayog and Bharti Foundation announce the launch of ‘Convoke 2021-22’

• NITI Aayog in partnership with Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, launched Convoke 2021-22. Convoke is a National research Symposium that aims at addressing challenges in imparting education and strengthening its quality with a special focus on all teachers, educationists, heads of schools across India. Through Convoke they can now share their micro research papers. These research papers will be analyzed by a panel of Educationists. The shortlisted Research Papers will be presented during the ‘National Research Symposium’ scheduled in January 2022.

• School Teachers/ Heads/Principals of Government Schools and teachers from the Bharti Foundation network will be encouraged to use research-based solutions through a scientific approach, and showcase their efforts taken at the grass-roots level in improving learning outcomes.

• The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also recognises and identifies teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process. It recommends that teachers will be recognised for novel approaches to teaching that improve learning outcomes in their classrooms.

Himachal Pradesh set up General Category Commission named ‘Samanya Varg Aayog’

• Himachal Pradesh govt announced setting up a Commission for upper castes, on the lines of Madhya Pradesh. The Commission, to be named as ‘Samanya Varg Aayog’, will be formalised through a legislative enactment in three months’ time when the state assembly meets next in February-March 2021 for the budget session of the House. A Scheduled Caste Commission is already in operation in Himachal Pradesh and is chaired by former Shimla MP Virendra Kashyap.

• As per the 2011 population census, Himachal Pradesh has a population of 68.56 lakhs of which 19.29 lakh, which is 25.22 per cent, are SCs, while the other 4 lakhs are STs, which is 5.71 % and other 9.03 lakh are OBCs, which is 13.52%.

Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka leading states in EV sales: Govt

• Winter Session of the Parliament, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, informed the Rajya Sabha on the state of Electric Vehicles (EV) in India. As per the data, India has a total of 870,141 registered EVs, with Uttar Pradesh (UP) holding the top spot with 255,700 registered EVs. UP is followed by Delhi (125,347), Karnataka (72,544), Bihar (58,014) and Maharashtra (52,506) in successive positions.

• The Central Government of India has reduced the Goods & Service Tax (GST) on Electric Vehicles & related products.

SPORTS

Norway's Magnus Carlsen takes home fifth World Chess Championship title

• Reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway defended his title and won the FIDE World Championship in Dubai. He beat Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, securing the one point he needed to cross the seven-point threshold to win the global tournament held at Dubai’s Expo 2020 this month in the United Arab Emirates. Carlsen clinched his fifth world championship title. Carlsen wins 60% of the 2 million-euro prize offered by the championship.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

ISRO signs MoU with OPPO to strengthen R&D of NavIC messaging services

• The Indian Space Research Organisation has signed an agreement with Chinese smart devices maker Oppo’s Indian arm to strengthen the research and development of the NavIC messaging service. The messaging service is mainly used for broadcasting safety-of-life alerts in areas with poor or no communication, particularly in the oceans. Oppo India has its manufacturing unit in Noida and an R&D centre in Hyderabad.

• Both ISRO and Oppo India will exchange technical information of NavIC messaging services to build rapid, ready-to-use, end-to-end application-specific solutions. This will enable integrating NavIC messaging service with the mobile handset platform keeping in mind the need of Indian users.

Karnataka govt signs LoU with UNDP to improve employment opportunities for youth

• Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports, Government of Karnataka has signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a part of the State-level initiative ‘Code-Unnati’ to improve the access to entrepreneurship and employment opportunities among the youths, including women. The initiative involves United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and is supported by SAP India Lab’s CSR Strategies will be implemented in 4 districts of Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagara, Dakshina Kannada and Raichuru.

• Fifty colleges, including government pre-university, ITIs, polytechnics and Arts & Science colleges, have already been identified to work with the faculty members and student communities in areas of Training and Capacity Building, Training in the 21st Century & Digital Skills, Entrepreneurship Development, Innovation Challenges, Boot Camps, Corporate Volunteering and Industry Connect.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Energy Conservation Day 2021: 14th December

• Every year on the 14th of December, National Energy Conservation day is celebrated in India. This occasion has been celebrated since 1991 when is led by the Ministry of power. This day is celebrated to raise awareness regarding the conservation of energy as it is the best way to have a greener and brighter future.

• Energy conservation is a big necessity that is required of our future well-being. It is a practice that everyone should indulge in to make the future of our earth even better. The agenda of celebrating national energy conservation Day is to raise awareness regarding the importance of energy and resources conservation. Conserving energy means wisely using energy rather than indiscriminately misusing it.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Azim Premji got Dr. Ida S. Scudder Oration award

• Azim Premji, founder chairman of Wipro Limited and founder of Azim Premji Foundation is this year’s recipient of the 10th annual Dr Ida S. Scudder Humanitarian Oration, jointly established by Christian Medical College Vellore (CMC) and the U.S.-based Vellore CMC Foundation. The award is presented to Mr Premji in recognition of his contributions to society.

• Established in 2001, the Foundation has contributed immensely towards education, runs Azim Premji University in Bengaluru and also supports several not-for-profit organisations with financial grants. The Foundation also funded organisations in the field of healthcare.

RANKING

India Ranked 66th at the Global Health Security Index 2021

• As per the Global Health Security (GHS) Index 2021, the world’s average overall GHS Index score was reduced to 38.9 (out of 100) in 2021, from a score of 40.2 in the GHS Index, 2019. GHS Index is developed in partnership with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

• India ranked 66 out of 195 countries with an overall Index score of 42.8 and along with a change of -0.8 from 2019. The United States of America (USA) ranked 1st on the index with a score of 75.9 followed by Australia and Finland.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI enforces 20-digit LEI for cross-border deals above Rs 50 crore

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) mandatory for cross-border transactions for capital or current account transactions of Rs 50 crore and above, from October 1 next year. The LEI is a 20-digit number used to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions worldwide to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data systems.

• The identifier norm has been introduced in a phased manner for participants in the over the counter (OTC) derivative, non-derivative markets, large corporate borrowers, and large value transactions in centralised payment systems. Starting October 1, 2022, banks will have to obtain the `LEI` number from the resident entities (non-individuals) undertaking any capital or current account transactions. For LEI holders, it would be mandatory to furnish the number in all transactions irrespective of the transaction size. 

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Important Current Affairs 13th December 2021

NATIONAL

3rd edition of manohar parrikar vigyan mahotsav being held from 13 December

• The third edition of the Manohar Parrikar Vigyan Mahostav will be held on Monday at eight venues in Goa, organising committee chairperson Jose Manuel Noronha said.

• The science festival, named after the late BJP leader and former chief minister, will have former ISRO chairperson Professor K Kasturirangan delivering a lecture on 'Space- A Promising Endeavour' at the National Institute of Oceanography in Dona Paula.

• “This talk will be followed by a virtual lecture on 'Next Generation Antibiotics' by Prof Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize winner for chemistry in 2009. Then Prof Ashutosh Sharma, former secretary of the government of India's Department of Science and Technology, will speak on science and innovation in the new millennium.

DRDO successfully tests Extended Range Pinaka at Pokhran Range

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired Pinaka Extended Range (Pinaka-ER), Area Denial Munitions (ADM), and indigenously developed fuzes. The test was conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the Odisha coast. A total of 25 enhanced Pinaka rockets were reportedly fired from multi-barrel rocket launchers (MRLs) at several ranges during the test.

• The range version can destroy the target of up to 45 km. At the same time, the flight path of these missiles was tracked by range instruments including telemetry, radar, and electro-optical tracking system deployed by ITR and Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE).

India re-elected to international Maritime Organisation council

• India has been re-elected to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council after elections were held at its Assembly in London for the 2022-23 biennium.

• India’s election falls under the Category of 10 states with “the largest interest in international seaborne trade”, alongside Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

• The newly elected council will meet formally at the conclusion of the 32nd Assembly for the IMO’s 126th session on Wednesday, when it will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium

IIT Guwahati established advanced facilities at nanotechnology centre

• The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati has established advanced microelectronics and nano-energy facilities at its Centre for Nanotechnology which is the first-of-its-kind in the Northeast, according to officials. The centre, aimed at meeting future challenges and augmenting academic partnerships with industry in nanotechnology, will carry out multidisciplinary translational research in the fields of health care, nano biomaterials, micro and nanoelectronics, nano-energy devices and sensors.

• The institute has been working in the field of nanotechnology since early 2000 and has a proven record in multiple areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the new building last month, the construction of which was funded by the income generated by the existing work on nanotechnology at the institute.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Unicef Day 2021: 11th December

• Every year, UNICEF Day is observed on December 11 to raise awareness about saving children’s lives by defending and helping them to fulfil their wishes. The day provides assistance for the health, nutrition, education, and welfare of children during World War II. UNICEF’s name was subsequently changed from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to United Nations Children’s Fund though, it continued to be known by the popular acronym based on the previous title.

• The theme for this year is to help children recover from interruptions and learning losses experienced through pandemics in the last two years.

International Day of Neutrality 2021: 12th December

• International Day of Neutrality is a United Nations recognized day held on December 12 each year to raise public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations. It was officially declared by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in February 2017 and first observed on December 12, 2017.

• Neutrality defined as the legal status arising from the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents, and the recognition by the belligerents of this abstention and impartiality is critically important for the United Nations to gain and maintain the confidence and cooperation of all in order to operate independently and effectively, especially in situations that are politically charged.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

India's Harnaaz Sandhu becomes Miss Universe 2021

• Actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu made history as she was crowned Miss Universe 2021 beating contestants from 80 countries, 21 years after India last brought home the title. While Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira, 22, finished second, South Africa’s Lalela Mswane, 24, came third.

• Only two Indians before Ms Sandhu have won the title of Miss Universe— actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000. The 70th edition of the event was held in Eilat, Israel, where the 21-year-old bagged the coveted pageant.

Mathematician Neena Gupta wins 2021 Ramanujan Prize

• Indian Mathematician Neena Gupta has received the 2021 DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata. She is the third woman to receive Ramanujan Prize, which was first awarded in 2005 and is administered by Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics jointly with Dept Science and Technology and International Mathematical Union.

• After graduating with mathematics honours from Bethune College, Kolkata, in 2006, Neena Gupta went on to complete her post-graduation from the Indian Statistical Institute.

• Following her post-graduation, Professor Gupta pursued her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in algebraic geometry and in the year 2014 went on to publish her first research paper on Zariski’s ‘cancellation problem’. Her paper received an award and was widely recognised by other mathematicians.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Karnataka Bank bags two DigiDhan Awards from MeitY

• Karnataka Bank has been conferred with two DigiDhan awards instituted by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The awards were given during Digital payment Utsav in New Delhi. The award recognized banks for achieving the target with the highest percentage in BHIM-UPI transactions under the private sector bank category consecutively for two years 2019-20 and 2020-21. Karnataka Bank has always stood ahead of the time in adopting the latest digital technology to its products in order to provide best in class service to our customers.

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Important Current Affairs 11th December 2021

National

Cabinet approves Ken-Betwa river linking project at cost of Rs 44,605 cr

• Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers project has been approved by the Union Cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. At 2020-21 price levels, the overall cost of the Ken-Betwa link project has been estimated at Rs. 44,605 crore. The Union Cabinet has approved central support for the project in the amount of Rs. 39,317 crore, which includes a grant of Rs. 36,290 crore and a loan of Rs. 3,027 crore.

• The project will be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) known as the Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA).”

• The project includes the construction of the Daudhan dam across river Betwa from Ken and the transfer of water through a canal connecting the two rivers, Lower Orr project, Kotha barrage- and Bina complex multipurpose project.

• The project will irrigate 10.62 lakh hectares annually, provide drinking water to a population of 62 lakhs, and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.

Uttarakhand CM launched the ‘Milk Price Incentive Scheme‘ in Dehradun

• Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami has launched the ‘Milk Price Incentive Scheme‘ in Dehradun. The scheme is aimed to provide incentives benefiting around 53,000 people of Uttarakhand. The state government is targeting to spend INR 444.62 crore to open 500 milk sales centres in Uttarakhand. It is a Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) scheme, the amount under the scheme would go directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries through their linked bank accounts.

• In the Dehradun district, milk production and consumption are completely contradictory. On one hand, the government is making many attempts to enhance milk production, all government claims of promoting products are proving to be fictitious. Despite thousands of hours of labour, milk is not produced in accordance with demand.

Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme Approved in UP

• Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved the Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme for boosting the agriculture sector. Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme will be implemented from the current financial year. Under this scheme, 1,475 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) will be formed in the next three years in each development block.

• The scheme will provide a long-term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for postharvest management infrastructure and community.

• Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Self Help Groups, farmers, and joint liability groups.

• All loans will be provided with an interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum up to a limit of Rs 2 crore. The scheme will be funded through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF).

SPORTS

Manipur survive penalty shootout to win 21st Senior Women's NFC title

• Manipur successfully defended their Senior Women’s National Football Championship crown after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Railways in the final at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala. After a dearth of goal-scoring chances in regulation and extra time, the match went to penalties with the scores at 0-0. Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini Devi produced three saves to give her side their 21st title at this level.

Sanket Mahadev Sargar won the gold medal in the Men's 55kg snatch category

• Sanket Mahadev Sargar won the gold medal in Men’s 55 kg snatch category at the ongoing Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021. He created the national record by lifting 113kg in the men’s 55kg snatch category. Sargar has also qualified for the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

• Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 is being held in Tashkent along with World Weightlifting Championships 2021 from December 7 to 17. The Indian Contingent is participating in the Weightlifting Championships as well as the Commonwealth Senior Championships.

OBITUARY

Serum Institute of India ED Suresh Jadhav passes away at 72

• Serum Institute of India’s Executive Director Dr Suresh Jadhav has passed away. He played an important role in the development of the Covishield vaccine. He was part of several national and international bodies and organisations. Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker. It is the second company to apply for the approval of a vaccine candidate from the Drugs Controller General of India.

• He started his career with a research fellowship of CSIR. He was President of Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) from 2004 to 2008.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Mountain Day 2021:11th December

• International Mountain Day is observed globally on December 11 every year. The day is celebrated to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.

• The theme of this year’s International Mountain Day (IMD) on 11 December will be sustainable mountain tourism. Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation. It is a way to preserve the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage, to promote local crafts and high-value products, and celebrate many traditional practices such as local festivals.

Ministry of Power kickstarts celebration of Energy Conservation Week: 8th to 14th December 2021

• Ministry of Power is celebrating the Energy Conservation Week from 8th to 14th December 2021 under “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”. Celebration by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency will include three major activities i.e. National Painting Competition for school children, National Energy Conservation Awards (NECA) for Industries and establishments and National Energy Efficiency Innovation Awards (NEEIA) to recognize innovative energy efficiency technologies.

• The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has been organising National Level Painting Competitions on Energy Conservation for school children studying in 4th to 10th standard. This year, the themes for the competition are “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: Energy Efficient India” and “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: Cleaner Planet”.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Paytm Payments Bank gets RBI nod for scheduled bank status

• Paytm Payments Bank has been given the scheduled bank status by the Reserve Bank of India. The bank has been included in the Second Schedule t o the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and the approval will help it to bring more financial services and products. The bank supports 33.3 crore Paytm Wallets and enables consumers to make payments at over 87,000 online merchants and 2.11 crore in-store merchants.

• The bank can explore new business opportunities, including participation in government and other large corporations issued requests for proposals, primary auctions, fixed-rate and variable rate repos, and reverse repos.

• Besides, it can participate in Marginal Standing Facility and will be eligible to partner in government-run financial inclusion schemes.

• The inclusion of Paytm Payments Bank in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, will help us innovate further and bring more financial services and products to the underserved and unserved population in India.

Microsoft launches cybersecurity skilling programme in India; aims to train over 1 lakh people by 2022

• Microsoft has launched a cybersecurity skilling program with the goal of training over 1 lakh learners by 2022 to address the skills gap and prepare India’s workforce for a career in cybersecurity. The program is meant to give students hands-on experience with security, compliance, and identity fundamentals.

• Courses will be conducted by Microsoft in collaboration with its strategic partners Cloud that, Koenig, RPS, and Synergetics Learning.

• This tie-up is part of Microsoft’s global skilling program, which aims to help 25 million individuals learn new digital skills throughout the world.

• In India, almost 3 million individuals have been trained through this project.

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Important Current Affairs 10th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Germany's Olaf Scholz takes over from Merkel as chancellor

• German lawmakers officially elected Social Democrat, Olaf Scholz as the new chancellor, putting an end to 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel. He will lead a government composed of his Social Democrat Party, the business-friendly Free Democrats and the Greens, a coalition of parties never tried before at the federal level in Germany.

• The 63-year-old, Scholz previously served as vice-chancellor and finance minister during the Merkel administration, was then sworn in as Germany’s next chancellor. Olaf Scholz has achieved the necessary majority of at least 369 votes. Based on article 63, paragraph 2 of the German Constitution he is elected chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

World Inequality Report 2022 has been released

• France-based World Inequality Lab published its report titled “World Inequality Report 2022”. This report was authored by Lucas Chancel, who is the co-director of World Inequality Lab. It was coordinated by famed French economist Thomas Piketty. In 2021 the top 10 percent and top 1 percent of the Indian population hold 57 percent and 22 percent of total national income respectively, whereas the share of the bottom 50 percent has gone down to 13 percent.

• The report notes that the top 1 % of India’s population owns more than one-fifth of the total national income in 2021.

• The bottom half of the population earns just 13.1 per cent.

• It highlights that economic reforms and liberalization that India has adopted, have mostly benefited the top 1 per cent.

NATIONAL

NITI Aayog launches the 'e-Sawaari India E- Bus Coalition' in partnership with CESL & WRI India

• The National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog launched the ‘e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition’ in partnership with Convergence Energy Service Ltd (CESL) and World Resources Institute, India (WRI India) and with the support from Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI). The objective of the initiative is to share knowledge of various stakeholders – Central & State Govt. agencies, transit service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), on accelerating the process towards seamless adoption of e-bus services in India.

• Through, e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition, the central-, state-, and city-level government agencies, transit service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), financing institutions, and ancillary service providers will be able to share knowledge and their learnings on e-bus adoption in India.

SPORTS

Canada, U.K. and Australia join U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

• Canada will join the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns. The announcement came after the White House, the Australian government and the UK government confirmed diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Games in February to protest Chinese human rights abuses. China has vowed to react with “firm countermeasures.” The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia do not affect their athletes’ ability to compete in the games.

• Australia took this decision amid a disagreement with China over several issues, ranging from Australia’s foreign interference laws to a move to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India successfully test-fires air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

• India successfully test-fired the air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the integrated test range of Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha. The air version of the missile was test-fired from supersonic fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 MK-I. BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO (India) and NPO Mashinostroyeniya (Russia) for the development, production, and marketing of the supersonic cruise missile which has been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces. The missile derives its name from the rivers of Brahmaputra in India and Moskva in Russia.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

SBI to sign MoU with Kendriya Sainik Board to support the education

• State Bank of India (SBI) will sign an MoU with Kendriya Sainik Board to support and educate the children of war veterans, ex-servicemen, and war widows. India’s largest bank said it will provide a grant of ₹ 1,000 per month to 8,333 war veterans’. The bank has contributed ₹ 10 crores to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated on December 7. According to the statement, the bank has contributed ₹10 crores to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated on December 7.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Human Rights Day 2021: 10th December

• Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December annually across the world. This Day came into existence on December 10, 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations. This day is observed every year across the world, as it empowers us all. The day also acknowledges the advocates and defenders of human rights around the world.

• The theme for Human Rights Day 2021 is “EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.” This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

SAARC Charter Day observed  on 8th December 2021

• The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter Day is observed annually on 8th December to commemorate the adoption of the SAARC Charter. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the regional group. The charter was signed by the Leaders of SAARC Countries Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

• On 8 December 1985, the SAARC Charter was adopted, in Dhaka, during the first summit of the group. The Charter was signed by the leaders of eight South Asian nations- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

• As mentioned in its charter, the prime focus of SAARC is to work collectively to promote the welfare of people in the region and to improve their standard of living through social progress and economic development.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

IIT-Kanpur Scientist Bags "Young Geospatial Scientist" Award for Developing Indian Geoid Model

• Ropesh Goyal from IIT-Kanpur won the ‘Young Geospatial Scientist’ award in recognition of his unique contribution to developing the Indian Geoid Model and computation software. Member of Space Commission, Government of India, and former ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar presented the award to Goyal during the inaugural event of the DigiSmart India 2021 conference hosted by the Geospatial World.

• The ‘Young Geospatial Scientist’ award and a gold medal have been presented every year since 2011 to promising scientists below 35 years of age in memory of Rachapudi Kamakshi, a strategic analyst with a strong inclination towards geography and geospatial studies. The Rachapudi Kamakshi Memorial Trust is an organisation founded to help and encourage students and young and talented individuals with great ideas and research work in the field of geospatial sciences.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Autobiography titled 'At Home In The Universe' by Bala Krishna Madhur released by R.C. Sinha

• An autobiography titled ‘At Home In The Universe’ by Bala Krishna Madhur was released by R.C. Sinha, IAS (Rtd), advisor to the Ministry of Road Development in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The book is the autobiography of B K Madhur, a former Chief Executive Officer at DHFL Property Services Ltd, and one of the key personalities in establishing Dewan Housing. The book offers an inside view into the policy environment in the 1980s and 1990s in the Housing Finance Sector. The book consists of early life hardships, experiences and life lessons of the author.

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Important Current Affairs 9th December 2021

NATIONAL

PM Modi and Russian Prez Vladmir Putin hold 21st India-Russia Annual Summit in New Delhi

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit to discuss the entire gamut of relations, including regional and global issues. During his visit, India and Russia signed 28 agreements. The leaders discussed on International North-South Transport Corridor and also about the Chennai – Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor (which is under the proposal).

• The visit of the Russian President is a reflection of the country’s commitment to its ties with India. This is in need of the moment. Because the ties between India and Russia were buffeted by New Delhi’s ties with the US. Also, Russia was getting closer with China on the back of US sanctions, CAATSA and its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

 

Pune to host joint military exercise with BIMSTEC countries

• PANEX-21 is a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise. It is to be held for the BIMSTEC countries. The exercise is to be held among the BIMSTEC countries: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. The main aim of the exercise is to build regional cooperation in responding to natural disasters. It is to be conducted in Pune from December 20 to December 22.

• The participants of the exercise will be divided into eight syndicates. One syndicate from the participating countries and two from India.

• It will analyse the capabilities of member states in responding to the natural disasters. The countries will share their best practices.

 

NCW launches 'She is a Changemaker' to improve leadership skills of women

• National Commission for Women (NCW) has launched a pan-India capacity building programme, ‘She is a Changemaker’ for women representatives at all levels, gram panchayats to parliament members and political workers including office bearers of National/State political parties. The programme was launched by Ms Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women. To improve leadership skills of grassroots women political leaders.

• The official launch of training programmes under the ‘She is a Changemaker’ series was held in collaboration with Rhambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, Thane, Maharashtra. The three-day capacity building programme for ‘Women in Municipal Corporation’ will be organised from 7thto 9th December. The capacity building programme will be undertaken in association with region-wise training institutes with an objective to undertake capacity building of women political leaders and improve their decision making and communication skills including, oration, writing, etc.

 

Former CEC Sunil Arora invited to join top international democracy body IDEA

• Former chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora has been invited to join the board of advisers at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, also known as International IDEA. IDEA has a 15-member board of advisers, all of whom are eminent personalities from a wide variety of backgrounds.

• The election commission of India official statement that Sunil Arora has rich leadership experience, knowledge and skills to contribute significantly to the working of the International Institute. Sunil Arora had served as the 23rd Chief Election Commissioner of India from December 2018 to April 2021. It was under his tenure that the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections were conducted.

 

OBITUARY

CDS Gen Bipin Rawat passes away in a helicopter crash

• Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has passed away in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. He was among the 14 people who were on board, including his wife and staff members. Thirteen people have succumbed to the crash, including CDS Rawat, Madhulika Rawat and 11 others. An IAF Mi 17 V5 helicopter with a crew of 4 members carrying the CDS and 9 other passengers met with a tragic accident. Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan was the pilot of the Mi-17V5.

• General Rawat completed his education at St Edward School, Shimla and is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was also awarded the Sword of Honour.

• Academically inclined, he has written numerous articles on national security and leadership, which have been published in various journals.

 

World’s Oldest Test Cricketer, Eileen Ash passes away at 110

• World’s oldest Test Cricketer, former English legend, Eileen Ash passed away at the age of 110. The right-arm seamer made her debut to the national side in 1937 against Australia and in a career spanning till 1949, she took 10 wickets in the seven matches she played. Her career was interrupted by the Second World War – she was seconded to MI6, the UK’s intelligence service – and retired from the sport in 1949.

• Eileen Ash was given the honour of ringing the bell at Lord’s in the Finals of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup where the host, England have crowned the champions after beating India in a thrilling Finals.

 

IMPORTANT DAYS

Remember the Victims Prevent Genocide 2021: 9th December

• The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime is observed annually on December 9. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the Genocide Convention and its role in combating and preventing the crime of genocide, as defined in the Convention, and to commemorate and honour its victims.

• 9 December 2021 marks the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, as well as the 73rd anniversary of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”), the first human rights treaty adopted by the General Assembly. The Convention signifies the international community’s commitment to “never again” and provides the first international legal definition of “genocide,” widely adopted at national and international levels. It also establishes a duty for State Parties to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.

 

International Anti-Corruption Day 2021: 09th December

• International Anti-Corruption Day is observed annually on 9 December to raise public awareness for anti-corruption. The day is observed since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003. The 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone – including States, Government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public and youth – in tackling corruption. The theme of International Anti-Corruption Day 2021: “Your right, your role: say no to corruption”.

• On 31 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4). The Assembly also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

 

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Nilmani Phookan Jr & Damodar Mauzo wins Jnanpith Award for years 2020,2021

• Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr won the 56th Jnanpith Award and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo won the 57th Jnanpith Award. The country’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith is bestowed on writers for “their outstanding contribution to literature”. Jnanpith Award is a literary award presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith organization to Indian writers every year. This was instituted in 1961 and is given only to Indian writers who write in Indian languages and English.

• Phookan is a Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awardee. Based out of Guwahati, he is a poet of renown and has written Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Gulapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita. Phookan was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990 and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2002. Phookan is the third Assamese writer to have received the Jnanpith. The previous awardees were Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya in 1979 and Mamoni Raisom Goswami in 2000.

 

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

City Union Bank-NPCI launch 'RuPay On-the-Go' contactless wearable solution

• City Union Bank (CUB), in collaboration with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and its manufacturing partner Seshaasai, has announced the launch of RuPay On-the-Go contactless wearable keychain for its debit card customers. This contactless wearable keychain will be part of their daily lifestyle and enable customers to tap and make cashless payments securely.

• This On-the-Go solution allows the bank’s customers to carry payment cards on their keychains, making for fast and convenient payments up to ₹5,000 at all Rupay-enabled point of sale devices (PoS) without entering a PIN.

• This would increase digital payment behaviour among customers, especially the younger generation and students, by enabling faster check out and less waiting in queue with features to set the spending limit, enable/disable usage through net banking, and CUB’s All-in-One mobile app.

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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2021

NATIONAL

EAM S Jaishankar addressed 5th Indian Ocean Conference

• Union Minister of External Affairs (EAM) Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has visited Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference on December 4-5, 2021. The theme of the conference was ‘Indian Ocean: Ecology, Economy, Epidemic’. The Conference is chaired by Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Vice Chairs are S.Jaishankar, Vivian Balakrishnan, Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi.

• The conference is being organised by India Foundation in collaboration with the RSIS Singapore, Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), Sri Lanka, and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), UAE.

GRSE launches first of four Indian Navy Survey Vessels

• Indian shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) has achieved a new milestone with the launch of the first large survey vessel for the Indian Navy. Called Sandhayak, the vessel is the first in the series of four ships being built under the Survey Vessel Large (SVL) project. It has been built at GRSE.

• Indian State Defence Minister Ajay Bhatt, who was present at the launch ceremony, said that the ship’s launch is a new milestone for the country’s vision of ‘New India’ by 2030. In October 2018, the Indian Ministry of Defence and GRSE signed the contract to build the four survey ships. Featuring over 80% indigenous content by cost, the ships are fully designed by GRSE and are being built using ‘Integrated Construction’ concepts.

Indian Army contingent departs for Maldives for joint military exercise

• The 11th edition of Exercise EKUVERIN-21 between India and Maldives, held at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives. Ekuverin means “Friends” in the Dhivehi language. It is an Indo – Aryan language. It is spoken in India, Lakshadweep and Maldives. The exercise enhances synergy and inter-operability between the Armed Forces of both nations in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land and at sea, conducting Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency Operations and sharing best military practices and experiences.

• Besides rigorous training, the joint military exercise will also include cultural and sports activities to enhance defence cooperation and bilateral relations. The exercise will go a long way in strengthening India’s relations with the Maldives amidst emerging security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region. The Exercise is being conducted between India and Maldives since 2008. In 2019, the exercise was held in Pune, Maharashtra and in 2018, it was held in the Maldives.

SPORTS

Lewis Hamilton wins inaugural edition of Saudi Arabian GP

• Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (Britain) won the inaugural edition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (GP), by surpassing Max Verstappen (Netherlands) in the event held at the 30-kilometre (18.6-mile) coastal resort area in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Reema Juffali, has been appointed as an ambassador for the first edition of the Saudi Grand Prix, under the Formula 1 (F1) World Championship.

• Reema Juffali is the 1st Female F1 driver of Saudi Arabia. She is a 29-year-old driver, who has competed in the British Formula 3 championship 2021. She is the first racer to take a lap on the street circuit in Jeddah and also participate in the Williams team car display, dating back to 1979 that is sponsored by Saudi Airlines.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Paytm partners with AWS to offer its startup toolkit to Indian entrepreneurs

• Paytm, a leading digital ecosystem for consumers and merchants has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer Paytm Startup Toolkit with exclusive payment services to early-stage Indian startups. Paytm will help entrepreneurs to grow businesses with payment, distribution, and growth solutions who are operating in India in the AWS Activate.

• The Paytm Startup Toolkit is a single-stop platform that offers solutions in the domain of payments, payouts, banking and distribution with services including Paytm Payment Gateway, which helps businesses accept digital payments on their website, app; Paytm Payouts, which helps companies streamline their payments to employees, vendors, distributors and channel partners; and Paytm Payments Bank including nodal banking, which provides truly digital banking.

OBITUARY

Sarada Menon, India’s first woman psychiatrist, dies at 98 in Chennai

• Padma Bhushan Dr Mamballaikalathil Sarada Menon, India’s 1st woman Psychiatrist and the longest-serving head of the Institute of Mental Health has passed away. She was born in a Malayali family in Mangaluru, Karnataka. She was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1992 for social works.

• Dr M Sarada Menon started her career as a Psychiatrist in the Institute of Mental Health (then known as Government Mental Hospital) in Kilpauk, Chennai in 1959.

• She became the 1st woman Superintendent of the Institute of Mental Health in 1961.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘The Midway Battle: Modi’s Roller-coaster Second Term’ authored by Gautam Chintamani

• Vice President (VP) M. Venkaiah Naidu launched a book titled ‘The Midway Battle: Modi’s Roller-coaster Second Term’ authored by Gautam Chintamani and published by Bloomsbury India at Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas, New Delhi. The book mentioned the political scenario of India. It marks the second tenure of the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Midway Battle shed light on the various legislations like the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, triple talaq, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act as well as farming laws.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI Monetary Policy: Repo rate unchanged at 4% for the 9th consecutive time

• The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent for the ninth consecutive time while maintaining an ‘accommodative stance’ as long as necessary. The reverse repo rate will continue to be 3.35 per cent. The central bank had last revised the policy rate on May 22, 2020, in an off-policy cycle to perk up demand by cutting the interest rate to a historic low.  The meeting was held between December (6 to 8). The remaining will take place in February (7 to 9, 2022).

PNB launches android app for differently-abled employees

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) launched the PNB Pride-CRMD module tool, an android-based application for differently-abled employees to monitor and effectively follow up with the special mention account (SMA) borrowers. The Pride-CRMD module has built-in TalkBack software that allows the visually impaired to access the system freely and to interact with customers by tapping on their phones.

• Punjab National Bank emphasized the abilities of differently-abled staff members and the utilization of their skills in the conceptualization of PNB warriors and implementation of PNB Pride.

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