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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2022

NATIONAL

RPF has launched a nationwide “AAHT operation” to combat human trafficking

• Indian Railway Protection Force has launched a nationwide operation to curb human trafficking. As part of “Operation AAHT”, special teams will be deployed on all long-distance trains/routes with a focus on rescuing victims, particularly women and children, from the clutches of traffickers. The Railways, which operate about 21,000 trains across the country daily, is the most reliable mode of transportation for the traffickers who often moved their victims on long-distance trains.

• The RPF that rescued more than 2,000 women and children between 2017-21 from the clutches of traffickers intensified the crackdown on human trafficking with the increasing number of cases. The National Crime Records Bureau registers about 2,200 cases of Human Trafficking cases on an average each year.

Age-old Kanchoth festival celebrated in J&K's Bhaderwah

• The ancient festival of Kanchoth is annually celebrated, mainly by the Nag followers, during the Shukla Paksha of Magh month which usually falls in January or February. The festival is celebrated with religious fervour across the Chenab valley region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

• The 3-day festival is celebrated by married women who pray for the long life of their husbands. Kanchoth or Gauri Tritya is widely celebrated in hilly kishtwar, Ramban and Doda of Jammu province. The festival is celebrated across Bhaderwah (also known as mini-Kashmir), Kotli, Mathola, Ghata, Khakhal, Gupt Ganga, Chinnote, Kapra, Bhalra, Bheja, Chinchora and other regions.

PMKSY scheme extended till FY'26 with Rs 4600 crore outlay

• The ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)’ has been extended till March 2026 with an allocation of Rs 4,600 crore. The scheme is administered by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The scheme aims for the overall growth and development of the food processing sector. In May 2017, the Central Government had launched SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) with an allocation of Rs 6,000 crore. The scheme was renamed as PMKSY in August 2017.

• The scheme will boost the growth of the food processing sector but also help in providing better prices to farmers and creating huge employment opportunities. PMKSY is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the ministry like Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation /Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities and Operation Greens.

NITI Aayog, USAID to collaborate in healthcare

• Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced a new partnership under the Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare (SAMRIDH) initiative. It aims to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and rural and tribal regions.  It aims to mobilize a capital pool of $100+ million from the private sector and bilateral organizations. It leverages this fund to offer both grant and debt financing provision to support the expansion of market-based health solutions.

• AIM and SAMRIDH have announced a Call for Proposals for healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs in India. Through this initiative, they will focus on innovations across the healthcare landscape.

• This new partnership announced will enhance SAMRIDH’s efforts to reach vulnerable populations, leveraging AIM’s expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship.

• The collaboration would focus on innovations across the healthcare landscape with the common goal to mount an effective response to the ongoing third wave of C-19 and build health system preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

MediBuddy ropes in Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador

• MediBuddy, one of India’s largest digital healthcare platforms, has signed legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as the official brand ambassador. As part of the deal, Bachchan will be seen endorsing various services available on the platform, while highlighting the need to prioritise one’s health.

• With the deal in place, MediBuddy is looking at further amplifying its reach across India. Leveraging the veteran actor’s popularity, especially across tier II and tier III cities, the brand aims to position itself as a household name.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Sonata Software ties up with Microsoft in its launch

• A global IT Services, and Technology Solutions Company, Sonata Software has announced its partnership with Microsoft for its launch of ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’. The company has been a partner with Microsoft for over three decades. The ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’ collaboration is expected to further strengthen the relationship. Sonata Software delivers solutions for retailers worldwide, leveraging world-class IPs, in-house migration and modernisation tools.

• The partnership with Microsoft Cloud for Retail will further enhance our capabilities, with its emphasis on leveraging data, elevating the shopping experience, building real-time, sustainable supply chains, and empowering store associates. The Sonata Connected Retail solution is available through Microsoft AppSource. Sonata Software is a Microsoft Gold Partner and is a member of the Microsoft Inner Circle for Business Applications.

Govt signs deal to develop clean energy tech in Kerala

• Kerala Government has signed an MoU with the Social Alpha’s Energy Lab – “Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC)” to support innovative and clean energy technology programmes in Kerala. The Government of Kerala signed this agreement through Kerala Development & Innovation Strategy Council (KDISC) and Energy Management Centre (EMC).

• The EMC Kerala represents the Power Department agencies including the Kerala State Electricity Board, Electrical Inspectorate and ANERT (Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology). To establish a clean energy incubation centre to boost green energy development and energy conservation activities in Kerala.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

PM CARES Fund corpus triples to Rs 10,990.17 crore in FY 2020-21

• The total corpus under the PM CARES Funds in 2020-21 was Rs 10,990.17 crore. While Rs 3,976.17 crore was spent from the fund in 2020-21, according to the latest audited statement of PM CARES Funds. As on March 31, 2021, the Fund had an unspent balance of Rs 7,013.99 crore. The government has used a part of the money to buy medical equipment, including ventilators, to boost the battle against the C-19 and has also provided relief to migrants.

• The highest amount was spent on Procurement of 6.6 crore doses of C-19 vaccine i.e. Rs 1,392.82 crore. The Fund was established on March 27, 2020. PM CARES fund is a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the C-19 pandemic. Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund.  The fund was set up as a public charitable trust “keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the C-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected”.

RBI to observe February 14-18, 2022 as Financial Literacy week 2022

• The Reserve Bank of India will observe February 14-18, 2022 as Financial Literacy week 2022. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been conducting Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme across the country. Banks have been advised to disseminate the information and create awareness among its customers and the general public.The theme of Financial Literacy week 2022 is: “Go Digital, Go Secure”. The theme is aligned with one of the strategic objectives of the National Strategy for Financial Education: 2020-2025.

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2022

NATIONAL

India becomes first country to administer DNA-based vaccine

• India has become the first country in the world to administer a DNA vaccine against C-19. The ZyCoV-D which is the World’s first plasmid DNA vaccine has been produced by Ahmedabad-based vaccine manufacturer Zydus Cadila and it was administered for the first time in Patna. It is a Painless and Needleless vaccine given at intervals of 28 days and 56 days. It is the second India-made vaccine to get emergency authorization in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

• The Indian government approved emergency use authorisation for Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine earlier this year, citing initial results from Phase III clinical trials that showed approximately 66 per cent efficacy for symptomatic cases.

SPORTS

AFCON 2022: Senegal beat Egypt in penalty shoot-out to win maiden title

• Senegal has defeated Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations championship winning the continental championship for the first time on penalty kicks at Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Sadio Mane scored the winning spot-kick as Senegal claimed a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over seven-time winners Egypt. The final had ended 0-0 after extra time.

• Senegal had lost two finals previously, including at the last African Cup in Egypt in 2019, when Mané was left inconsolable. This time he delivered the winning moment.

AFC Asian Cup: China makes stunning revival to beat S. Korea, wins 9th title

• China PR (People’s Republic) defeated South Korea (Korea Republic), 3-2, to win the AFC Women`s Asian Cup India 2022 final title at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. This is the record-extending 9th AFC Women`s Asian Cup title won by China. India is hosting the 20th edition of the football AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 from January 20, 2022, to February 06, 2022. China now qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Suranga Lakmal Signs Two-Year Deal With Derbyshire After Announcing Retirement From International Cricket

• Veteran Sri Lankan fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has announced to retire from international cricket, after Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of India. The 34-year-old right-arm fast bowler and right-handed batsman aim to join the English county club Derbyshire after retirement. The Derbyshire County Cricket Club has signed up Lakmal on a two-year contract. Lakmal has represented Sri Lanka in 165 international matches across formats, in his international career spanning over 12 years.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

The International Space Station to be retired and crashed into

• According to NASA, the International Space Station will continue its operation until 2031 and then crash into an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo. It will be replaced with three free-flying space stations to continue the work after ISS’s retirement. NASA also selected Houston-based Axiom Space to provide the ISS’s first commercial module.

• For over two decades, the International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting Earth at a speed of about eight kilometres per second, while an international crew of astronauts and cosmonauts onboard conducted groundbreaking scientific investigations that have thrown open the doors for deep space exploration. But now NASA has announced that the spacecraft will cease operations in 2031, after which it will fall out of orbit and plunge into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Santishree Pandit appointed first woman VC of JNU

• The Ministry of Education (MoE) has appointed Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She is the first women Vice-Chancellor of JNU. The 59-year-old Pandit has been appointed for a period of five years. Pandit replaces M Jagadesh Kumar, who has been appointed as Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Before this appointment, Pandit was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of Savitribai Phule University in Maharashtra.

OBITURY

Former Astronomer Professor  R Rajamohan passed away

• Professor R Rajamohan, who was an astronomer at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, for decades, passed away. He is best known for his Kalki Project, which aimed to discover asteroids using the 48-cm Schmidt telescope in Kavalur VBO and discovered a new asteroid, number 4130, from India. This was the first asteroid discovered in India in 104 years.

RANKING

J&K, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura topped in attacks on journalists in 2021

• The India Press Freedom Report 2021 was recently released by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group. According to the report, 13 media houses and newspapers were targeted in the country, 108 journalists were attacked, and 6 journalists were killed. Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted in 2021.

• 24 journalists were attacked physically, obstructed, threatened, and harassed for doing their work. All these attacks were made by public officials. This includes police attacks as well. 17 of these attacks were police attacks. 44 FIRs were registered against journalists in 2021. Of this 21 were registered under Section 153 of IPC.

India leads in digital skills readiness: Salesforce Global Index

• Salesforce, a leading player in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), published the Global Digital Skills Index 2022 which highlights the growing global digital skills crisis and the need for action. India has scored 63 out of 100, leads the digital skills readiness, and has the highest readiness index among the 19 countries. The average global readiness score was 33 out of 100.

• The 2022 Global Digital Skills Index, is based on a survey on around 23000 workers across 19 countries about digital skills, including their impact on the future of work, concerns about job readiness, and the significance of continuous learning.

• Three major skills gaps were identified in the 2022 global index: The everyday skills gap, The generational skills gap, and The leadership and workforce skills gap.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Cyber Insurance to Fight Against Online Frauds: Features of ICICI Lombard Airtel Payments Bank Insurance

• ICICI Lombard General Insurance has partnered with Airtel Payments Bank to offer cyber insurance to customers of the bank. This Cyber Insurance policy provides financial protection to customers against potential financial fraud relating to banking, credit or debit card; identity theft; phishing or email spoofing etc. Airtel Payments Bank customers can purchase this cyber insurance policy within minutes using the Airtel Thanks app.

• The insurance comes with zero waiting period and allows users to make multiple claims multiple times during the policy tenure, within the limits of the insured amount opted for

• The policy will provide a 90-day discovery period followed by a seven-day reporting period.

• This means that if the insured discovers an unauthorised transaction processed from their card or account on the 90th day from the transaction date, they can still report it in the next seven days to the issuing bank or mobile wallet company.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2022

NATIONAL

C-19: Bengal starts open-air classroom 'Paray Shikshalaya'

• West Bengal government has launched an open-air classroom programme Paray Shikshalaya (Neighbourhood Schools) for primary and pre-primary students. Under the ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ project, primary and pre-primary students of government schools will be taught in open spaces. The state government will also provide mid-day meals to the students of ‘Paray Shikshalaya’. The para teachers and primary school teachers would be part of this project. They will provide elementary education to children of Class 1-5.

KVIC cancels license of oldest Khadi Institution “Khadi Emporium” Mumbai

• Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has cancelled the “Khadi Certification” of its oldest Khadi Institution named Mumbai Khadi & Village Industries Association (MKVIA). This MKVIA was running the popular “Khadi Emporium” at Metropolitan Insurance House, Mumbai since 1954. KVIC has cancelled the license of MKVIA as the latter had started selling fake Khadi products, which was against the “zero-tolerance” policy of KVIC against the sale of spurious/non-Khadi products.

• The action came after KVIC found that the said Khadi Emporium at D.N. Road was selling non-Khadi products in the guise of genuine Khadi. During a routine inspection, KVIC officials collected samples from the Emporium that were found to be non-Khadi products.

• KVIC issued a legal notice to MKVIA for flouting the norms of the “Khadi Certificate” and “Khadi Mark Certificate” issued by the Commission. With the cancellation of the registration, Khadi Emporium ceases to be a genuine Khadi Outlet and is no longer permitted to sell Khadi products from the Emporium.

• KVIC is also contemplating legal action against the MKVIA for criminal breach of trust and cheating the public at large by misusing the credibility and popularity of brand Khadi.

Narendra Modi inaugurated 50th Anniversary Celebrations of Hyderabad-based ICRISAT

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru, Hyderabad. During the occasion, PM also inaugurated two research facilities of ICRISAT, which were Climate Change Research Facility on Plant Protection and Rapid Generation Advancement Facility.

• These two facilities are dedicated to the smallholder farmers of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Prime Minister also unveiled a specially designed logo of ICRISAT and launched a commemorative stamp issued on the occasion. Its objective is to conduct agricultural research for rural development, in Asia & sub-Saharan Africa.

SPORTS

International Olympic Committee approves three urban sports for 2028 Los Angeles Olympics

• International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a proposal to include Surfing, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing for the 2028 Summer Olympics Games that will be organized in Los Angeles, United States. The 2028 Summer Olympics are officially known as the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad, or Los Angeles 2028 is a forthcoming event scheduled to take place from July 21 – August 6, 2028, in Los Angeles, California, US.

• The 2024 Summer Olympics Games will be organized in Paris, France. With this Paris becomes only the second city to host 3 Summer Olympic games. Surfing, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing had made their Olympic debut in Tokyo Olympics 2021 and will also be included in the “additional” list for Paris in 2024. Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon also have the chance to be included in upcoming Olympics games.

Foundation stone for World's third-largest cricket stadium laid in Jaipur

• Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly laid the foundation stone of the world’s third-largest cricket stadium in Jaipur. The International Cricket Stadium in Jaipur will be the second-largest cricket stadium in India and the third-largest in the world. The new international stadium will be built by the Rajasthan Cricket Academy (RCA) on the Jaipur-Delhi bypass, over 100 acres of land in Jaipur. The stadium will have a seating capacity of 75,000 spectators.

• Currently, Narendra Modi Stadium (former Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad is the world’s largest stadium with a capacity of 132,000 spectators.

• The second-largest stadium is Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which has a capacity of 1,00,024 spectators.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Swarajability: India's first AI-based job portal for persons with disabilities launched

• The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Hyderabad) has launched the beta version of ‘Swarajability’, a job portal powered by artificial intelligence that helps people with disabilities acquire relevant skills and find jobs. The platform will analyse the profiles of the job seekers and suggest the skills they would require to become eligible. A platform that addressed this challenge would help this vulnerable section of the population.

• The institute has developed the platform in association with Youth4Jobs, Visual Quest and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. While IIT-H offers its expertise in AI, Visual Quest India has developed the platform. Youth4Jobs provides skilling services to job seekers. The project is funded by Kotak Mahindra Bank. There are 21 million persons with disabilities in the country. About 70 per cent of them are either unemployed or underemployed.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

History Professor Dinesh Prasad Saklani is the new NCERT director

• Professor Dinesh Prasad Saklani has been appointed as the new Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). He has replaced Hrushikesh Senapaty, who finished his term a year ago. The new director has been appointed for a period of five years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or till he attains the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

• Professor Saklani has been awarded with Distinguished Academy Award by Punjab Kala and Sahitya Academy, Jalandhar for Historical writing in 2005. The new director is a member of the Academic Council of Uttarakhand Open University, Haldwani. Professor Saklani is also a life member in the Indian History Congress; Uttarakhand History and Culture Association and of Book Club IIAS Shimla.

OBITURY

Former Greek president Christos Sartzetakis dies aged 92

• Former Greek President Christos Sartzetakis has passed away at the age of 92 years due to respiratory failure in Athens, Greece. He was a Greek jurist and a judge of the Supreme Court, who resisted against the militants during the 1967-1974 Rule of the Colonels. He served as the President of Greece for a four-year term (1985 to 1990), after getting nominated by the socialist PASOK party.

Senior politician BJP’s first torchbearer in Lok Sabha, C Janga Reddy passes away

• Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Chandupatla Janga Reddy has passed away in Hyderabad following health issues. He was a native of Warangal and a former MLA in Andhra Pradesh. He is best known for his time as a Member of Parliament in the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984, which also marked the BJP’s debut in the Lok Sabha, following Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

• Reddy was one of the only two BJP MPs who got elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984 in 543 Parliament constituencies. The other was A K Patel. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in undivided Andhra Pradesh thrice.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Kotak General Insurance and CARS24 offer Motor Insurance for used cars

• Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company has signed an agreement with Cars24 Financial Services Private Limited (CARS24 Financial Services) to provide motor insurance services to used car buyers. Under the partnership, used car buyers from Cars24 will be directly provided with Kotak General Insurance’s comprehensive motor insurance plans.

• The partnership will provide a trustworthy and faster way to avail of motor insurance with a fully digital insurance process. Customers can also avail of cashless claims servicing at Kotak General Insurance’s platform of garages and enable convenient claim settlement services.

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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2022

NATIONAL

Indian diplomats to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics

• The 2022 Winter Olympics has kicked off on February 04, 2022, in Beijing, China and will continue till February 20, 2022. The Opening Ceremony was held at Beijing’s National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. However, India had announced the diplomatic level boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremony. This means that no Indian officials will attend the opening and closing ceremony. However, the country has sent one of its athletes, Arif Khan (skier), to attend the event.

• China has picked a Chinese soldier (Qi Fabao) as Olympic torchbearer, who was involved in the Galwan incident on June 15, 2020, which had resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel.

Republic Day parade: Uttar Pradesh wins best tableau award

• The tableau of Uttar Pradesh has been picked as the best tableau among the 12 States/UTs which participated in the Republic Day parade on January 26, 2022. The theme of the tableau of Uttar Pradesh was ‘One District One Product and Kashi Vishwanath Dham’. A total of 12 states and union territories had participated in the Republic Day parade on January 26. The second place went to Karnataka for its tableau based on ‘cradle of traditional handicrafts’ while the third position went to Meghalaya for its tableau based on ‘Meghalaya’s 50 years of Statehood and its tribute to women-led cooperative societies & SHGs’.

• Best marching contingent among three Services: Indian Navy

• Best marching contingent among CAPF/other auxiliary forces: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

• The tableaux of the ministry of education and the ministry of civil aviation have been declared as joint winners in the category of central ministries and departments. The theme of the tableau of the ministry of education and the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship was ‘National Education Policy. The tableau of the ministry of civil aviation was based on the theme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Sonali Singh given charge of Controller General of Accounts

• The Government of India has appointed Sonali Singh to hold the additional charge of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), under the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, with effect from February 01, 2022. She has been appointed in place of Dipak Dash, who superannuated on January 31, 2022.

• Sonali Singh is a 1987 batch officer of the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS). She is serving as the Additional Controller General of Accounts since October 2019. Prior to that, she had also served as Additional Secretary at Central Vigilance Commission.

JNU VC M Jagadesh Kumar appointed as UGC head

• The government of India has appointed JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) Vice-Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar as the new Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). He has been appointed for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is the earliest. The post of the UGC Chairman was vacant since December 07, 2021, after Prof D P Singh resigned upon attaining 65 years of age. He was appointed in 2018.

• Hailing from Mamidala village in Telangana’s Nalgonda district, 60-year-old Kumar holds a masters degree and a PhD from IIT-Madras. He also completed his post-doctoral research at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, at Ontario, Canada. He was a professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Delhi before being appointed as the JNU vice-chancellor in January 2016. He continued teaching at IIT-Delhi while serving as the JNU VC.

OBITURY

Veteran actor Ramesh Deo passes away at 93

• Prominent film personality Ramesh Deo, known for playing a diverse range of roles, in Marathi and Hindi movies, passed away due to a heart attack. During his career spanning several decades, the multi-faceted film personality has acted in over 450 Hindi and Marathi feature films, apart from working in several television shows and commercials.

• The evergreen Marathi actor is known for playing notable roles in 1956 ‘Andhala Magto Ek Dola’ and 1971 cult classic ‘Anand’, 1962 ‘Aarti’, 1974 ‘Aap Ki Kasam,’ celebrated his 93rd birthday on January 30.

• Deo, who made his acting debut in the form of a cameo in the 1951 Marathi film ‘Paatlaachi Por’ has worked in more than 200 Hindi films, 100 Marathi films and several Marathi dramas with over 200 showings in his long career.

• He also produced feature films, television serials and several ad films.In January 2013, the ‘Nivdung’ actor received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF).

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Novel ‘Atharva’: The Origin’ authored by Ramesh Thamilmani

• Virzu Studios in association with MIDAS Deals Pvt Ltd has released the motion poster of its upcoming graphic novel, Atharva – The Origin. Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been portrayed as the superhero Atharva in this graphic novel. The motion poster features a rugged looking Dhoni, giving fans a glimpse into the world of Atharva and also a sneak peek into the first look of him as a superhero.

• The graphic novel authored by Ramesh Thamilmani features over 150 lifelike illustrations which present the gripping, racy narrative. It is produced by Vincent Adaikalaraj and Ashok Manor. Reportedly, the makers are also planning to make a web-series based on the novel.

Book ‘Golden Boy Neeraj Chopra’ authored by Navdeep Singh Gill

• A short biography of Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra has titled ‘Golden Boy Neeraj Chopra’ authored by sports author Navdeep Singh Gill has been released. Neeraj Chopra won a Gold medal in Javelin Throw at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The biography on Tokyo Olympics-2021 gold medalist Neeraj Chopra was released by the chairperson of Punjab Kala Parishad Surjit Patar and president of Punjabi Sahit Akademi Lakhwinder Singh Johal, amid the presence of the author and his family members.

• The book has 72 pages and covers the life history and achievements of Neeraj Chopra right from his childhood to the Tokyo Olympics. The book very aptly covers his sporting techniques, numerous awards and contemporaries in different chapters with coloured photos in each chapter.

RANKING

India's unemployment rate drops to 6.57% in Jan, lowest since March 2021: CMIE

• The unemployment rate in India in January 2022 fell sharply to 6.57%, according to the data from the economic think-tank, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). This is the lowest rate witnessed since March 2021. In December 2021, the unemployment rate rose to a four-month high of 7.91%, compared to 6.97% in November. CMIE is a Mumbai-based independent non-government entity that serves both as an economic think-tank as well as a business information company.

• Telangana recorded the lowest unemployment rate in January at 0.7%.

• This was followed by Gujarat at 1.2%, Meghalaya at 1.5%, Odisha at 1.8% and Karnataka at 2.9%.

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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to lead Norway central bank

• The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief, Jens Stoltenberg will take over as Norway’s central bank Governor at the end of the year. The appointment comes amid escalating tensions between the West and Russia. Western nations fear Moscow has plans to invade Ukraine, which aspires to join the NATO alliance.

• But Mr Stoltenberg, a 62-year-old trained economist, insisted that he would stay on as NATO Secretary-General until the end of his term in October. Norway’s central bank determines monetary policy but also manages the country’s enormous sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world.

NATIONAL

PM Modi unveils 216-feet tall 'Statue of Equality' in Hyderabad commemorating Sri Ramanujacharya

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated to the nation 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality in Hyderabad to commemorate the 11th-century Bhakti saint Ramanujacharya. The statue has been conceptualised by Chinna Jeeyar Swami of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram. The inauguration of the statue is a part of the 12-day Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi Samaroham, the ongoing 1000th birth anniversary celebrations of the Bhakti saint. A 3D presentation on the life and teachings of the saint will also be showcased during the event.

• The statue is made of ‘panchaloha’, a combination of five metals- gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc. It is among one of the tallest metallic statues in sitting positions in the world.

• The 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality statue is mounted on a 54-feet high base building, called ‘Bhadra Vedi’.

• The floors of the building are dedicated to a Vedic digital library and research centre, ancient Indian texts, a theatre, an educational gallery detailing works of Sri Ramanujacharya.

5th Scorpene submarine, 'Vagir', begins maiden sea trials

• The Indian Navy‘s brand-new submarine, the fifth of the six French-designed Scorpene-class submarines named “Vagir”, sailed out on its first sea sortie and will now undergo rigorous trials before it is delivered to the Navy later this year. The submarine-designated “Yard 11879” during its construction by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in collaboration with the Naval Group of France will be named “Vagir” after it is commissioned into service.

SPORTS

U19 World Cup 2022 Final: India Beat England In Final To Win 5th Title

• India defeated England by four wickets to clinch a record-extending fifth title at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. India added the fifth title to their collection, having previously won the trophy in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2018. Yash Dhull becomes the fifth Indian captain to win the title after Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw. Earlier, England opted to bat after winning the toss but they were shot out by India for 189 in 44.5 overs. India chases down the target of 190 with 2.2 overs to spare.

• India’s Raj Angad Bawa was announced Player of the Match of the ICC Under19 World Cup 2022 Final between India and England. The Indian all-rounder picked 5/31, the best bowling figures for any final in the history of the championship and also scored crucial 35 runs with the bat to help his team in its 4 wicket win.

• South Africa’s Dewald Brevis who broke all records to score 506 runs in only six innings, the most for any batter in any Under19 World Cup ever, was named Player of the Series for his record-breaking showing.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

IndiGo Appoints Co-founder Rahul Bhatia As Managing Director

• The low-cost Indian airline, IndiGo has appointed its co-founder and promoter Rahul Bhatia as the Managing Director (MD) of the company with immediate effect. He is the first-ever MD of Indigo, because before this the company never had a managing director. Ronojoy Dutta is the CEO of the Indigo.

• The board of directors, during its meeting, unanimously approved the appointment of Bhatia as the managing director with immediate effect, subject to the approval of the shareholders. IndiGo is back in the black with a net profit for the December quarter at Rs 130 crore. The profit comes after the airline posted a loss for a series of straight quarters.

G A Srinivasa Murthy appointed director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory

• Senior scientist GA Srinivasa Murthy has been appointed director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Hyderabad. He joined DRDL in the year 1987 and made significant contributions in the area of structural dynamics, ground resonance testing, electrical integration and checkout for various projects of the missile complex.

• G A Srinivasa Murthy completed his BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Andhra University in 1986 and pursued his ME in Digital Systems from Osmania University in Hyderabad.

OBITURY

‘Nightingale’ Lata Mangeshkar passes away at 92

• Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar has passed away at the age of 92 after suffering a multi-organ failure. The Bharat Ratna awardee was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus disease in January. She is survived by her 3 sisters – Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Meena Khadikar and brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

• She began her career as a singer back in 1942 and never looked back. She recorded innumerable songs in over 36 Indian and foreign languages.

• She gave us musical gems such as Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo, Lag Jaa Gale, Yeh Kahan Aage Hain Hum and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, among others.

• Having led an eventful and rich life of several milestones, Lata Mangeshkar was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1990. For her contribution to Indian music, she also was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 1969 and Bharat Ratna in 2001.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation 6 February 2022

• International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female is observed on 6th February globally. This day is sponsored by the United Nations for their efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003. This year theme of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female: Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation.

• Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women. Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Asian Development Bank lends record USD 4.6 bn loans to India in 2021

• As per the data official released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it provided a record USD 4.6 billion in sovereign lending to India in 2021. This included USD 1.8 billion towards coronavirus disease (C-19) pandemic response. The ADB’s regular funding programme to India is made to support transport, urban development, finance, agriculture, and skills building. The ADB’s project portfolio in 2021 reflected the Indian government’s focus on transforming cities into economically vibrant and sustainable communities.

• The USD 4.6 billion was committed by ADB for 17 loans. The USD 1.8 billion C-19-related assistance included USD 1.5 billion for vaccine procurement and USD 300 million to strengthen primary health care in urban areas and the country’s future pandemic preparedness.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Winter Olympics host China welcomes Year of Tiger with quiet celebrations amid COVID-19 outbreaks

• China is celebrating the Spring Festival, it’s the most important annual festival as it entered the Lunar new “Year of the Tiger”. Last year was celebrated as the Lunar Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, the Year of the Ox has ended and the Year of the Tiger has begun from February 1, 2022, and will end on January 21, 2023.

• In Chinese culture, the tiger symbolizes bravery, vigor and strength and it is believed that it can lift people from adversity and usher in final auspiciousness and peace. Each year is named after one of 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac in a repeating cycle. This year, Spring Festival celebrations coincide with the Beijing Winter Olympics.

NATIONAL

US regains top spot as India’s trade partner in 2021

• The United States was India’s top trading partner in the calendar year 2021 with a trade of $112.3 billion. The US is followed by China on second. The value of trade between India and China was $110.4 billion. In 2020, China was India’s top trading partner and the US was in the second rank. In 2019 USA was India’s top trading partner and China was on second.

Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram declared as India’s first OECM site

• The Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram, Haryana, has been declared as India’s first “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECM) site. This was informed by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change on the occasion of World Wetlands Day. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) gives OECM tag to those areas that are not protected but support rich biodiversity. The tag designates the area as a biodiversity hotspot on the international map.

• OECM is a status for a place that has achieved effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside protected areas like forests. The park, which once was an abandoned mining pit, was transformed into a lush green forest patch in 10 years. Now, it has about 400 native species of plants.

SPORTS

New Zealand’s All rounder cricketer Daryl Mitchell named the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2021

• New Zealand cricketer, Daryl Mitchell has been named the winner of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Spirit of Cricket Award 2021. This award is given to him for his gesture of refusing to take a single in the high-pressure 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Semi-Finals against England as he felt he had “obstructed” the way of bowler Adil Rashid at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. He has become the 4th New Zealand player to win the award after Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

• The ICC Spirit of Cricket Award is annually awarded by the ICC to recognise the player most notable for “upholding the ‘Spirit of the Game’”.

Neeraj Chopra nominated for Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award 2022

• Tokyo Olympics gold medallist, Neeraj Chopra has been nominated for the prestigious 2022 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. The other 5 nominees are Daniil Medvedev (Australian Open runner-up), Emma Raducanu (British tennis star), Pedri (Barcelona and Spain footballer), Yulimar Rojas (Venezuelan athlete) and Ariarne Titmus (Australian swimmer). The winners will be revealed in April following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 71 sporting greats.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India's most powerful supercomputer Param Pravega launched - Indian Institute of Science

• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, has installed and commissioned Param Pravega, one of the most powerful supercomputers in India. It is also the largest supercomputer in an Indian academic institution. Param Pravega has a total supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops (1 petaflop equals a quadrillion or 1015 operations per second).

• The supercomputer has been designed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). It has been developed under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and implemented by C-DAC and IISc.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

SBI-NCF-IGNCA sign MoU for Development of Atmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design at Red Fort, Delhi

• The State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Culture Fund (NCF) of the Ministry of Culture, for Development of Atmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design (ABCD) at L1 Barrack, Red Fort, in Delhi. The main objective of Project ABCD is to highlight, promote and celebrate the products that have the Geographical Indication sign to give a boost to Economic Value Addition to GI products from India.

• The ABCD project will be implemented by IGNCA, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture through the ministry’s NCF fund. SBI will sponsor the project under CSR with a contribution of Rs. 10 crores for the implementation of the ABCD Project.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution' authored by J Sai Deepak

• A Trilogy book series titled, ‘India, That is Bharat: Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution’ is authored by J Sai Deepak and published by Bloomsbury India. The 1st part was released on 15th August 2021, is set to launch the 2nd part in June 2022. Whereas, the 3rd and last parts will be released in June 2023.

• It is the first part of a comprehensive trilogy, which examines the impact of European ‘colonial consciousness’ (or ‘coloniality’), on Bharat (India). It highlights how colonialism changes the socio-religious culture, history, education, language and racial patterns in India.

• India, That Is Bharat, the first book of a comprehensive trilogy, explores the influence of European ‘colonial consciousness’ (or ‘coloniality’), in particular its religious and racial roots, on Bharat as the successor state to the Indic civilisation and the origins of the Indian Constitution.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Export Import Bank of India, Sri Lanka sign $500-million loan agreement

• Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on behalf of the government of India, extended a line of credit of $500 million to the government of the socialist republic of Sri Lanka for financing the purchase of petroleum products. The fund will be used by the Island nation for the purchase of petroleum products. With the signing of this new LOC agreement, the total LOC extended by Exim Bank to Sri Lanka till date has reached 10, taking the total value of LOCs extended to USD 2.18 billion.

• With the signing of this LoC agreement, Exim Bank has now in place 276 lines of credit, covering 61 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), with credit commitments of around $27.84 billion, available for financing exports from India. Besides promoting India’s exports, Exim Bank’s LoCs enable the demonstration of Indian expertise and project execution capabilities in emerging markets.

RBI cancels licence of Nashik-based Independence Co-operative Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the license of Independence Co-operative Bank Ltd., Nashik, Maharashtra w.e.f February 03, 2022. The major reason for the cancellation of the license by RBI is that bank does not have adequate capital and earning prospects. This means that it does not comply with the provisions of Section 11(1) and Section 22 (3) (d) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

• The bank has stopped operation from the close of business on February 3, putting depositors of the bank in trouble. They would however receive up to Rs five lakh from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), after the bank’s liquidation.

• RBI has told the Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies in Maharashtra to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator. As per the data submitted by the bank, more than 99 per cent of the depositors are entitled to receive the full amount of their deposits from DICGC.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2022

NATIONAL

Andhra Pradesh Social activists builds Gandhi Mandiram and Smruthi Vanam at Srikakulam

• In Andhra Pradesh, a few social activists have built a temple for Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi Mandiram) and Smrithi Vanam (memorial park) for our great freedom fighters’ at the Municipal Park in Srikakulam.

• The statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Mandiram along with the statues at Smrithi Vanam were unveiled on the eve of Gandhiji’s death anniversary, on January 30, 2022 as a tribute to the Father of Nation and freedom fighters.

• The new initiative will inculcate patriotism among the youths by remembering the sacrifices of freedom fighters.

• The Gandhi temple has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh with the help of donors

India’s first geopark to be set up in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh

• India’s first geological park is being set up at Lamheta village of Jabalpur district in Madhya Pradesh.

• The approval to set up the geopark has been granted by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

• The estimated cost of setting up the project is Rs 35 crore.

Spituk Gustor Festival observed in Ladakh

• The annual Spituk Gustor Festival was observed in Ladakh on January 30 and 31, 2022, to celebrate the culture and traditional heritage of the Union Territory.

• The term Gustor literally means ‘Sacrifice’ in the Tibetan language.

• The two-day festival is celebrated by various monasteries of the UT such as Thiksey, Spituk, Korzok and Karsha.

• The Spituk Gustor festival is marked by different kinds of rituals, ceremonies, music & Cham Dance.

• Cham Dance is a colourful mask dance performed by the monks of the Spituk monastery, located in Leh district, in their best robes depicting different deities.

APPOINTMENT

Lt Gen GAV Reddy Succeeds Lt Gen KJS Dhillon As head of Defence Intelligence Agency

• Lieutenant General GAV Reddy has been appointed as the Director-General of the Defence Intelligence Agency. He will replace Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon.

• The post of the director general is held on a rotation basis between the three Armed services- the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force

• The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is an intelligence agency responsible for providing and coordinating defence and military intelligence to the Indian Armed Forces. It was formed in 2002.

BANKING & ECONOMY

CRISIL projects India’s GDP growth for FY22 at 9.2% and for FY23 at 7.8%

• Rating Agency CRISIL has made the following projections for the GDP growth rate of India:

• For 2021-22 (FY22) = 9.2%

• For 2022-23 (FY23)= 7.8%

LIC ranked 10th most valued insurance brand globally: Brand Finance

• As per a brand valuation report released by Brand Finance, Life Insurance Corporation has been ranked at 10th in the list of insurance brands globally. Ping An Insurance of China is at the top.

• LIC is the only Indian insurance company in the top 10 list. LIC has a valuation of USD 8.656 billion (around Rs 64,722 crore).

• As per Brand Finance, the market value of LIC will become Rs 43.40 lakh crore (USD 59.21 billion) by 2022, and Rs 58.9-lakh crore (USD 78.63 billion) by 2027.

• It must be noted that LIC was ranked as 206th most valuable brand in 2021 by Brand Finance.

Patanjali and PNB launches co-branded contactless credit cards in partnership with RuPay

• Patanjali Ayurved Ltd and Punjab National Bank (PNB) have launched a co-branded contactless credit card in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

• The cards will be offered on the RuPay Platform of NPCI.

• The co-branded Rupay contactless credit cards are available in two variants which includes PNB RuPay Platinum and PNB RuPay Select.

SCHEMES

Government approves continuation of Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations with an outlay of Rs. 1575 crore

• Central Government has approved the continuation of Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs) for XV Finance Commission Cycle (2021-22 to 2025-26). The outlay of this scheme for the next five years will be Rs. 1575 crore.

• This scheme is managed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and it is the main source of funding for the preparation of national teams for all major national and international competitions including the Olympic Games.

DAYS

World Interfaith Harmony Week: February 01-07

• The World Interfaith Harmony Week is observed annually during the first week of February, which means from February 01 to 07.

• The observation aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

• World Interfaith Harmony Week was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2010.

• It was proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the United Nations in 2010.

• Theme in 2022 is Faith and spiritual leadership to combat stigma and conflict during pandemic recovery.

OBITUARY

Additional Solicitor General Rupinder Singh Suri passes away

• Senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rupinder Singh Suri has passed away.

• Mr Suri was appointed as the ASG in on 30 January 2020 for a period till 29 June 2023.

• Suri was designated as a senior advocate in 2009.

• He had also served as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Australia to rename islands to Honor Queen Elizabeth on platinum jubilee

• Australia will rename Aspen Island in Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin as part of June 2022 national and community events to celebrate 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the British throne, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday.

• "Seventy years of service is a truly immense achievement, and we are proud to join with other Commonwealth nations to celebrate this milestone... Aspen Island in Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin, the home of the National Carillon, will be renamed Queen Elizabeth II.

• According to Morrison, celebrations will include opening of new Queen Elizabeth Water Gardens, the lighting of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacon in Canberra, the release of commemorative stamps and coins, as well as illuminating monuments all around Australia.

Chinese Ministry Launches Five-Year Plan to Become Global Robotics Hub

• China has announced a five-year roadmap to achieve its goal of becoming a global robotics innovation hub by the year 2025. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology revealed operating income from the country’s robotics industry is expected to grow by around 20% per year between 2021 and 2025. From 2016 to 2020, the sector expanded at an average growth rate of 15%. Last year, operating income surpassed 100 billion yuan ($15.69 billion) for the first time.

• To achieve its goal by 2025 of becoming a worldwide robotics innovation centre, China has proposed a strategy concentrating on improvements to essential components such as servo motors and control panels. As per the 2021 World Robot Report, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan were the top three most automated countries in Asia-Pacific.

NATIONAL

Centre approves 9544 Cr grant to Jharkhand under Jal Jeevan Mission

• 315 water supply schemes of Rs. 9,544 Crore approved under Jal Jeevan Mission for Jharkhand. These schemes will providetap water supply to about 8 lakh rural households in 4,424 villages of the State.

• On 15th August 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, only 3.45 lakh (5.83%) rural homes in Jharkhand had tap water supply. In 28 months, despite C-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, the State has provided tap water connection to 6.73 lakh (11.38%) households. As on date, out of 59.23 lakh rural household in the State, 10.18 lakh (17.20%) are getting tap water supply in their homes.

UP's Jhansi Railway Station Gets A New Name, Called Veerangana Laxmibai Station

• Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has announced that the government of UP has renamed the Jhansi Railway Station, in Jhansi, UP as “Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station” after Rani Laxmibai. The announcement was made by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A notification to this effect has been issued by the UP government and the Railways has started preparations to implement the change. Earlier the Mughalsarai Railway station was renamed as Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction and the Faizabad Railway station as Ayodhya Cantt.

Sikkim Governor renamed Jawaharlal Nehru Road as ‘Narendra Modi Marg’

• 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.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

VK tripathi appointed as chairman and CEO of Railway board

• The Indian Railways has appointed VK Tripathi as chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Railway Board. He is currently working as the general manager of North-Eastern Railway, Gorakhpur.

• Tripathi’s appointment has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) and he is currently General Manager, North-Eastern Railway. He will replace Suneet Sharma, a 1982 batch IRSME officer.

• A career railway officer, Tripathi did his B.Tech (Electrical Engineering) from Roorkee and joined the railways through the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) batch of 1983.

• His first posting was as an assistant electrical engineer for the Northern Railway.

Asheesh Pandey joins Bank of Maharashtra as executive director

• Shri Asheesh Pandey joined as Executive Director, Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) today on 31st December, 2021. Prior to joining BoM, Shri Asheesh Pandey was Chief General Manager & Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Union Bank of India (UBI). Shri Asheesh Pandey has a progressive professional career spanning more than 24 years and over these years have handled a diversified portfolio ranging from Credit, Credit Monitoring, Treasury & Merchant Banking, Foreign Transactions & Joint Ventures, Marketing & Customer Relationships and Banking Operations.

• Shri Asheesh Pandey is a Mechanical Engineer (Hons) with Post Graduation in Management (Hons) with specialisation in Finance & Marketing.

Online travel company EaseMyTrip has appointed actors Vijay Raaz and Varun Sharma as its brand ambassadors

• Bollywood actors Vijay Raaz & Varun Sharma have been named as brand ambassadors for EaseMyTrip.com (Easy Trip Planners Ltd), an online travel company based in India. EaseMyTrip founded by Nishant Pitti and Rikant Pitti in 2008 was started as the Business-to-Business (B2B) portal and entered into the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment in 2011.

• Raaz and Sharma will be coming together as a duo for the first time for any brand campaign. The actors with their mass appeal and strong connection with the audience will complement the brand’s image. The company added that the actors are admired by fans for their genuine and down-to-earth personalities and their ability to make their acts memorable. They are also known for their impeccable comic timing and both actors have created a niche in the market.

IMPORTANT DAYS

DRDO celebrates its 64th foundation day on 1st January 2022

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is celebrating its 64th foundation day today. It was on this day in 1958 when DRDO was formed to make India strong and self-reliant in terms of science and technology and especially in military technologies.

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today wished to all Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO scientists and personnel on their 64th Raising Day. In a tweet, Mr Singh said, they are working tirelessly towards strengthening India’s defence capabilities and making the country self-reliant in defence sector. He hoped that the DRDO scientists and personnel will keep serving the nation with the same zeal.

• In the span of 63 years the organization has transformed the landscape of defence research and development in the country. Talking exclusively to All India Radio, the Chairman of DRDO Dr G. Satheesh Reddy said that the last year was the year of major breakthroughs and accomplishments even under the difficult situation posed due to C-19.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Indonesia has announced that its new capital will be called Nusantara

• Indonesia will move its capital to mineral-rich East Kalimantan, an Indonesian province on the island of Borneo. The name of the new capital will be Nusantara, which means “archipelago” in Javanese. It will be based in the regions of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara. The new project is likely to cost around 466 trillion rupiah ($32 billion).

• The heavily populated city of Jakarta is home to 10 million people (30 million if you include the greater metropolitan area) and has been facing the growing issue with the overuse of groundwater by home drilling due to large-scale city developments. The problem is worsened when combined with rising sea levels. This shift of development is set to slow down the rate at which Jakarta sinks into the Java Sea.

NATIONAL

PM Modi to unveil 216-foot 'Statue of Equality' in Hyderabad on February 5

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a 216-foot statue of Ramanujacharya in a sitting position in Hyderabad on February 5, 2022, to celebrate the 1,000th birth anniversary of the saint. Ramanujacharya was an 11th-century saint and a revolutionary social reformer. The statue will be called as the ‘Statue of Equality’. It is located in a 45-acre complex at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad in Telangana.

• The project is built at a cost of Rs. 1,000-crore, which was funded entirely by donations from devotees globally.

• President Ram Nath Kovind will unveil the inner chamber of the statue of Ramanujacharya on February 13, 2022.

PM’s address at the launch of ‘Azadi Ke Amrit Mahotsav se Swarnim Bharat Ke Ore’ programme

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated ‘Azadi Ke Amrit Mahotsav se Swarnim Bharat Ki Ore’ programme via video conferencing. The national-level program includes seven yearlong initiatives dedicated to the celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by the Brahma Kumaris. More than 30 campaigns and over 15000 programs and events will be conducted under these initiatives by the Brahma Kumaris. Brahma Kumaris is organising the event on the occasion of the 53rd Ascension Anniversary of Pitashree Prajapita Brahma, Founding Father of Brahma Kumaris.

Jammu and Kashmir has declared Jerri settlement in Reasi district as the first 'milk village

• In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the administration has declared Jerri settlement in Reasi district as the first ‘Milk Village’ of the Union Territory and sanctioned 57 more dairy farms under the Integrated Dairy Development Scheme (IDDS) for the hamlet. The village, which houses 73 individual dairy units with 370 cows, will give the local farmers financial security.

• After being declared as ‘Milk Village’, a total of 57 units have been sanctioned under the IDDS for the village. Under the IDDS, dairy units of five animals are provided with a 50 per cent subsidy. The scheme also has a provision for milking machine, bulk milk cooling unit at 50 per cent subsidy (maximum Rs 5 lakh), paneer making machine, khoya making, Dahi making, cream separator, ice cream making machine, butter and ghee making machine (max subsidy Rs 3. 5 lakh), milk van (maximum subsidy Rs 2 lakh), milk ATM subsidy of Rs 5 lakh.

Amar Jawan Jyoti merged with Eternal Flame at National War Memorial in New Delhi

• The government of India has merged the flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti at Delhi’s India Gate with the flame at the adjoining National War Memorial on January 21, 2022, ahead of Republic Day. The ceremony was led by the Integrated Defence Staff chief, Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna.

• The decision to merge the two flames was taken keeping in mind that flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti payed homage to the martyrs of 1971 but none of their names are present there, while names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial. So housing the flame at the same place along with the names will serve as a true tribute to martyrs. This will also do away with upkeeping two flames for the same purpose. This means that after 50 years of continuous lightning, the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti will no longer be present there.

MISCELLANEOUS

New Species of Rainfrog Discovered in Panama Named After Greta Thunberg

• A new species of rainfrog, discovered in the Panama jungle, has been named after Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The species has been named as Pristimantis gretathunbergae, or popularly known as the Greta Thunberg Rainfrog. The frog was originally discovered in 2012 and was thought to be part of the already categorised Pristimantis family. However, recent DNA analysis confirmed that the frog is a new species, according to the scientific journal Zookeys.

• The new specimen of the tropical amphibian was discovered by an international team of biologists led by doctors Abel Batista, from Panama, and Konrad Mebert (Switzerland) in Cerro Chucantí, a private reserve located in the province of Darién. It was named after Greta Thunberg when conservation nonprofit The Rainforest Trust held an auction that allowed the winner to name new species. The frog was discovered at a reserve established by the conservation organization AdoptaBosque with support from Rainforest Trust.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Tripura State People's Liberation Council celebrated 44th Kokborok Day

• Kokborok Day, also known as the Tripuri Language Day is annually celebrated across the Indian State of Tripura on 19th January with an aim to develop the Kokborok Language. The day commemorates the initial recognition of Kokborok as the official language in 1979. 19th January 2022 marks the observance of the 44th Kokborok Day. The Kokborok language, the official language of Tripura, is also known as Tripuri or Tiprakok. In 1979, Kokborok, along with Bengali and English, was declared an official language of the state of Tripura, India by the state government.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Sushmita Sen wins International Association of Working Women Award for Aarya 2

• Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen has been conferred with the International Association of Working Women Award at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF) 2021. The former Miss Universe has been felicitated for outstanding performance by a female actor in a TV series for her show ‘Aarya 2’.

• The Aarya 2 series is created by Ram Madhvani and had released on December 10, 2021, on Disney+Hotstar. The DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF) 2021 is organised virtually from January 16 to January 30, to showcase the best in alternative cinema from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Sri Lanka.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘The Legend of Birsa Munda’ authored by Tuhin A Sinha & Ankita Verma

• Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has released a book titled ‘The Legend of Birsa Munda’, authored by Tuhin A Sinha and co-authored by Ankita Verma. The Book is the story of a lesser-known tribal hero, Birsa Munda, who courageously fought against the oppressive British Raj for the rights of his tribal community.

• According to the authors, “The book based on true events is a tribute to Birsa Munda who in a very short life mobilized the tribal community, rebelled against forced conversions, envisioned a fair and just society and died fighting for it. The Legend of Birsa Munda is the story of a subaltern tribal hero whose contribution to India’s struggle for independence must never be forgotten.”

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

FDI flows to India slip 26% in 2021: UN report

• Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to India fell by 26 per cent in 2021, compared to 2020, as per the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Investment Trends Monitor published. In 2020, FDI to India was recorded at USD 64 billion. This was 27 per cent more compared to USD 51 billion in FDI in 2019.

• UNCTAD said that low FDI in India was mainly because large cross-border mergers & acquisitions (M&A) deals recorded in 2020 were not repeated. The global FDI flows increased by 77 per cent to an estimated USD 1.65 trillion in 2021, from USD 929 billion in 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

'Anxiety' is Oxford University Press' Children's Word of the Year 2021

• The Oxford University Press (OUP) has picked up ‘Anxiety’ as the Children’s Word of the Year 2021, based on their recent research.

• The Oxford University Press (OUP) has picked up ‘Anxiety’ as the Children’s Word of the Year 2021, based on their recent research. Apart from “anxiety” (21%), “Challenging” (19%), “isolate” (14%), “Wellbeing” (13%) and “resilience” (12%) were the children’s top five words. In 2020, Coronavirus was the Children’s Word of the Year by OUP.

• Over 8,000 children from across 85 schools in the UK, spanning Year 3 to Year 9, were surveyed and asked to choose the top words they would use when talking about health and wellbeing. The research highlights the widespread impact lockdown and school closures had on children, with almost a quarter of all surveyed choosing anxiety (21 per cent) as their number one word, closely followed by challenging (19 per cent) and isolate (14 per cent). However, wellbeing (13 per cent) and resilience (12 per cent) closely followed as their top words, signalling children’s positive attitude in the face of recent challenges.

First BRICS Sherpas meeting of 2022 held under Chinese chairship

• The first BRICS Sherpas meeting of 2022 was held virtually on January 18-19 2022, with the members thanking India for its BRICS chairship in 2021.

• The first BRICS Sherpas meeting of 2022 was held virtually on January 18-19 2022, with the members thanking India for its BRICS chairship in 2021. China has taken on the rotating chairmanship of BRICS in 2022. BRICS is a grouping of five major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

• Meanwhile, Sanjay Bhattacharyya India’s BRICS Sherpa said that Last year we saw a significant achievement that our foreign ministers brought about in terms of the document on the strengthening and reform of the multilateral systems. These issues of global governance, particularly the UN systems and other institutions, are extremely important. And I’m happy that we shall continue to attach high importance to its continued relevance.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Jahnavi Dangeti:‘India’s First’ who completed the prestigious NASA programme

• Jahnavi Dangeti, a young girl from Andhra Pradesh, has just completed NASA’s International Air and Space Program (iasp nasa) at the Kennedy Space Centre in Alabama, US, making her the first Indian to accomplish this feat. She is part of a carefully shortlisted group of 20 students from around the world. She has been a campus ambassador for numerous organisations, including Star (Space Technology and Aeronautical Rocketry), an Indian private aerospace company. She is a member of the International Organization of Aspiring Astronauts (IOAA). She participated in many events and workshops of Nasa, Isro and other space agencies.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Internet Panel On Languages Ropes In Vijay Shekhar Sharma As Ambassador

• Vijay Shekhar Sharma named as ambassador of Internet panel on languages UASG Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has been roped in as the Ambassador of Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), a community-based team of industry leaders supported by global internet body ICANN. UASG works on developing and recommending standards for languages script that are not currently used to access the internet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) aims to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. Its headquarter is based at California, United States.

Dileep Sanghani elected as IFFCO Chairman

• The board of directors of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) has unanimously elected Dileep Sanghani as the 17th Chairman of the Cooperative.

• The board of directors of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) has unanimously elected Dileep Sanghani as the 17th Chairman of the Cooperative. He succeeds Balvinder Singh Nakai, who passed away earlier on October 11, 2021. Prior to this, Sanghani was serving as vice-chairman of IFFCO since 2019.

• Sanghani is a senior co-operator from Gujarat and the chairman of the Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd. (GUJCOMASOL), a position he has held since 2017. He held various portfolios in the Gujarat government, including agriculture, cooperation, animal husbandry, fisheries, cow-breeding, prison, excise, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs.

Chanchal Kumar appointed as MD of  NHIDCL

• Chanchal Kumar has been appointed as the Managing Director, National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH). He is appointed in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary. He is a 1992 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, presently Principal Secretary of Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also approved the extension in the central deputation tenure of Ashutosh Jindal, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat for 1 year beyond 16th February 2022 to 16th February 2023.

OBITURY

World's oldest man dies at 112 in spain

• Guinness World Records holder for the oldest person living (male), Saturnino de la Fuente García (Spain) has passed away at the age of 112 years and 341 days.

• Guinness World Records holder for the oldest person living (male), Saturnino de la Fuente García (Spain) has passed away at the age of 112 years and 341 days. Saturnino claimed the record as the oldest person living (male) in September 2021 when he was exactly 112 years and 211 days. He was born on February 11, 1909, in the Puente Castro neighbourhood of León in Spain.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Pfizer chief Albert Bourla wins $1 million Genesis Prize for development of COVID-19 vaccine

• The global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Albert Bourla, has been awarded with the prestigious Genesis Prize 2022.

• The global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Albert Bourla, has been awarded with the prestigious Genesis Prize 2022 on January 19, 2022. He has been awarded for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine). The award comes with a cash prize of $1 million.

• The annual prize is awarded to Jewish people who have achieved significant professional success, in recognition of their accomplishments, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and/or to the State of Israel. It is widely referred to as the “Jewish Nobel Prize”.

  BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India Ratings projects economy to grow at 7.6% in FY23

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of the Indian economy to grow at 7.6 per cent year-on-year in 2022-23 (FY23).

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of the Indian economy to grow at 7.6 per cent year-on-year in 2022-23 (FY23). Ind-Ra is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fitch Group. The economic recovery was encouraging, he said, and restrictions put in place by many states to contain the current wave of Covid-19 were not as severe as the second wave. Nonetheless, there are risks to the ongoing recovery, the rating agency warned.

• It pointed to the latest FY22 GDP advance estimates, which show that private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) — the largest component of GDP (58.6 per cent) from the demand side and a proxy for consumption demand — is projected to grow only 6.9 per cent YoY in the current year, despite a low base and sales data of many consumer durables showing robust growth.

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