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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Reliance sources world’s first ‘carbon-neutral’ oil from United States

• Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd has received the world’s first consignment of ‘carbon-neutral oil’ from Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV), a division of United State oil major Occidental. This feat will further help the oil major to accomplish its target of becoming a net zero-carbon company by 2035.

• The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Sea Pearl containing the carbon-neutral oil from Permian basin, unloaded the cargo at Jamnagar on January 28, 2021. It must be noted that Reliance operates the world’s largest single-location oil refining complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat with a capacity of 68.2 million tonnes a year.

• This transaction is the first major petroleum shipment of Reliance, for which greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the entire crude lifecycle, including oil extraction, transport, storage, shipping, refining, subsequent use, and combustion, have been offset.

Andy Jassy set to replace Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO

• Amazon.com Inc founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos has announced that he would step down as CEO of the company and become Executive Chairman in Q3 of 2021, i.e. with effect from July 01, 2021.

• Andy Jassy, who is currently serving as the chief executive of Amazon Web Services (AWS), will replace Bezos as CEO of Amazon. Bezos started the company 27 years ago, on 5 July 1994, as an internet bookseller.

NATIONAL

Ayesha Aziz becomes India’s Youngest Female Pilot at 25

• A 25-year-old Kashmiri woman, Ayesha Aziz, has become the youngest female pilot in the country. She became the youngest student pilot to get a license at the age of 15 in 2011. The 25 -year-old from Kashmir who is the youngest female pilot in the country acts is a source of inspiration and a beacon of empowerment for numerous Kashmiri women.

• In the year 2011, Aziz became the youngest student pilot to get a license at the age of 15 and underwent training to fly a MIG-29 jet at Russia’s Sokol airbase the following year. She later graduated in aviation from the Bombay Flying Club (BFC) and obtained a commercial license in 2017.

GoI launches unified web portal for monitoring progress of GOBARDHAN activities

• Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria jointly launched a unified web portal for monitoring the progress of GOBARDHAN activities across the nation.

• Gobardhan aims to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.

• It focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to useful compost, biogas and bio-CNG.

• It will also help in keeping the village clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle herders.

• It will be hugely beneficial for the country as India is home to the highest cattle population in the world (around 300 million in number) which produces around 3 million tonnes of dung.

• It will encourage farmers to consider dung and other waste not just as waste but as a source of income.

• It will provide many benefits to rural people by keeping villages clean and sanitized, improving livestock health and increasing farm yields.

Punjab CM launches ‘Har Ghar Pani, Har Ghar Safai’ mission

• Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has virtually launched the ‘Har Ghar Pani, Har Ghar Safai’ mission as part of the government’s campaign to accomplish the goal of 100 per cent potable piped water supply in all rural households. The scheme is being funded by the World Bank, Jal Jeevan Mission of GoI, NABARD, and State Budget.

• The scheme will benefit more than 1.6 lakh residents from 155 villages in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, and Gurdaspur districts by helping replace groundwater with surface water supply for drinking, besides resolving the problem of arsenic affected habitations.

• The Chief Minister also inaugurated one Mega Surface Water Supply Scheme covering 85 villages in the Moga district, 144 new water supply schemes for 172 villages, 121 Arsenic, and Iron removal plants.

Aero India 2021 Begins in Bengaluru

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

• The three-day event will focus on India’s indigenous defence sector capabilities amid buzz around Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India campaigns.

• This 13th edition will see a combination of both physical and virtual exhibition with 601 exhibitors, including 523 from India and 78 from 14 foreign countries.

• Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would exhibit its Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight.

India’s First Amputee Clinic Launched In Chandigarh

• The first of its kind ‘amputee clinic’ in India, has been launched by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), a premier medical and research institution in Chandigarh. The basic intent of this initiative is to bring an Amputee as a near-normal functional human being in society. This initiative will attempt to provide appropriate management to amputees to guide them in their path to rehabilitation in society and will support patients with counselling and medical facilities during their treatment and recovery.

• ‘PGI Amputee Clinic’ in Chandigarh has been set up with the aim of improving amputation patient care by providing a collection of services under one roof with significant coordination. The clinic will provide social, mental and physical support to its patients.

Chiefs of Air Staff (CAS) Conclave Organised at Bengaluru

• Raksha Mantri, Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the ‘Chiefs of Air Staff (CAS) Conclave’ at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The two-day conclave has been organised by Indian Air Force, from 3 to 04 February 2021, in a Hybrid Form with extensive use of digital media.

• The Chiefs of Air Staff from about 75 countries would come together on a single platform to exchange their thoughts on current issues related to aerospace power strategy and technological developments.

• The Conclave is a perfect example of India’s Defence Cooperation with other countries working as a diplomatic instrument, giving an opportunity for building bridges of friendship, mutual trust and capacities on a global basis. Promoting transparency in defence cooperation and building areas of common interests in military aviation will be focus areas of the CAS Conclave.

SPORTS

Ashok Dinda announces retirement from all forms of cricket

• Fast bowler Ashok Dinda, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. The 36-year-old right-handed pacer made his first-class debut for Bengal in 2005 and played for 15 years in Bengal cricket.

• He made his international debut in 2009, in a T20I against Sri Lanka, followed by making his ODI debut in Zimbabwe in 2010. He played 13 ODIs and 9 T20I matches for India. He played 116 first-class matches for Bengal, taking 420 wickets at a bowling average of 28.28.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Centre Appoints Praveen Sinha as interim Director of CBI

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

• Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, is currently an additional director at CBI, the premier investigating agency of India. Sinha shall look after the duties of Director CBI till the appointment of new director CBI, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

PHDCCI Report: India to emerge as second most resilient economy in 2021

• India will emerge as the second most resilient economy in 2021, as per the International Economic Resilience (IER) Rank, released by industry body, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI). The ranking has been topped by Germany, among the top-10 leading economies. South Korea is at the third position in the list.

• Apart from this, India’s real GDP growth rate is projected to be the highest in the year 2021 among the top-10 leading economies in the world, at 11.5%. It reflects India’s strong “economic resurgence” to the global economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Pete Buttigieg becomes first openly gay cabinet secretary confirmed by U.S. Senate

• Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday on an 86-13 vote to head the U.S. Transportation Department, the first openly gay U.S. Cabinet secretary confirmed by lawmakers.

• Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who challenged Joe Biden for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, will oversee aviation, highways, vehicles, pipelines and transit, as well as efforts to ensure safe transportation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He will take a key role in a White House effort to dramatically ramp up infrastructure spending.

‘Atmanirbharta’ named Oxford Hindi word of 2020

• Oxford Languages, the world’s leading dictionary publisher, has named ‘Aatmanirbharta’ as the Hindi word of the year 2020. The Oxford Hindi word of the year is a word or expression that is chosen to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.

• ‘Aatmanirbharta’ means self-reliance. The word was chosen as it “validated the day-to-day achievements of the countless Indians who dealt with and survived the perils of a pandemic”.

NATIONAL

Rajnath Singh inaugurates HAL’s second Tejas Light Combat Aircraft’s

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

• Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about Rs 48,000 crores to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets.  The Aero India, which provides a platform for aerospace companies to showcase their products and services is scheduled to be held from February 3 to 5 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. During the inaugural day, 41 aircraft including Dakota, Su-30 MKI would participate in the flight display while there would be 63 aircraft on static display.

Ministry of Education launched ASEAN India Hackathon 2021

• The Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has addressed the inaugural ceremony of the ASEAN India Hackathon 2021 on February 1. The Ministry of Education has launched the ASEAN India Hackathon 2021.

• The ASEAN India Hackathon 2021 is being conducted virtually from February 1 to 3, 2021. The 10 ASEAN countries are- Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

• The ASEAN-INDIA Hackathon is an initiative by PM Modi and is launched by the Ministry of Education.

• This unique hackathon presents opportunities for India and all the 10 ASEAN countries to improve and strengthen their economic and cultural ties through cooperation in science and technology and education.

SPORTS

Former pacer Merv Hughes inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

• Former right-arm fast bowler Merv Hughes has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. The 59-year-old played 53 Tests and 33 ODIs for Australia in a career spanning from 1985 to 1994, during which he captured 212 Test wickets and 38 ODI wickets.

• His career-best figures of 8-87 against the West Indies at the WACA in 1988 included the final wicket of a hat-trick spread across three separate overs, two innings and two different days. In 2005, Hughes became a selector for the Australian cricket team, a role he would hold through until 2010.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Ajay Singh re-elected Boxing Federation of India President

• Ajay Singh Says focus will be on training of Tokyo Olympics-bound boxers, grassroot development and women's boxing.

• Spicejet chairman Ajay Singh defeated Ashish Shelar in a high-profile contest to get re-elected as president of Boxing Federation India for a second term at the general elections held in Gurugram on Wednesday.

• Singh defeated Shelar, former Maharashtra Cricket Association president, 37-27. Hemanta Kumar Kalita was elected secretary general and Digvijay Singh treasurer. The elections were held in the presence of AIBA observer Yury Zaystsev and IOA observer Rakesh Gupta.

Praveen Sinha named acting CBI chief after Shukla’s ‘quiet’ tenure

• The decision was taken as the high powered panel comprising the PM, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have not been able to meet to choose the agency’s next chief.

• The Centre on Wednesday appointed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s deputy chief, 1988 batch Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer Praveen Sinha, as the acting director of the federal agency with “immediate effect”, according to an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Human Fraternity: 4 February

• International Day of Human Fraternity is observed on 4th February globally. International Day of Human Fraternity aims to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance. It also aims to educate people that tolerance,  pluralistic tradition,  mutual respect, and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity.

• This year International Day of Human Fraternity 2021 theme: A Pathway to the Future.

World Cancer Day: February 4

• World Cancer Day is observed every year on 4 February by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The day is celebrated to raise awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

•  World Cancer Day 2019-21 theme: ‘I Am And I Will’. Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

50th Kerala State Film Awards conferred

• Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has presented the 50th Kerala State Film Awards 2019 and the J C Daniel Award at a function here.  Pinarayi Vijayan released the stamp published in connection with the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).

• Veteran filmmaker Hariharan, who was conferred with the J C Daniel Award, is an artist who had travelled with cinema for about half a century and made films which went on to become milestones in the annals of Malayalam tinsel town. The film awards were also distributed. Culture Minister A K Balan presided.

A.R. Rahman presented 'Alert Being Icon Award'

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

• The Alert Being Icon Award for an organisation was presented to the Biocon Foundation founded by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

• Thirty COVID-19 warriors were honoured with Alert Being Covid Frontline Warrior for their contribution during the pandemic. Alert Being Awards 2020 received 156 nominations from 15 States and 35 districts across India.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Dalai Lama pens new book ‘The Little Book of Encouragement’

• Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has come out with his new book titled ‘The Little Book of Encouragement’, in which he has shared quotes and words of wisdom to promote human happiness. The book has been edited by Renuka Singh and published by Penguin Random House.

• The Little Book of Encouragement contains 130 quotes related to how to deal with the new realities of the panic-stricken world, combat rising extremism, polarity and climate change besides Dalai Lama’s views on Tibet.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Aung San Suu Kyi detained as army grabs power in Myanmar

• In Myanmar, a military coup was put in place on 1st February 2021, after the country’s military detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi along with President Win Myint and other members of the ruling party. Myanmar military (also known as the Tatmadaw), took this step because they declared the November 2020 Myanmar general election results fraudulent, in which Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory in Parliamentary election 2020 to form next Government.

• The military has handed over the power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and declared a state of emergency for one year. Apart from this, former general Myint Swe would be acting president for the next year. The 2021 coup d’état is the third in Myanmar’s political history. The first two was held in 1962 and 1990.

• A coup (coup d’état) is the removal of an existing government from power, usually through violent means.

UN World Tourism Organization confirms 2020 as ‘worst year on record’

• In accordance with the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO) “World Tourism Barometer”, the year 2020 was the “worst year on record” as global tourism suffered adversely due to international travel bans implemented to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. International arrivals dropped by 74% & worldwide destinations welcomed 1 billion fewer international arrivals than in 2019.

• This collapse in travel represents an estimated loss of $1.3 trillion in export revenues, more than 11 times less during the 2009 crisis. On the regional front, Asia and the Pacific aced sharpest year-on-year contraction of 84% (-84%). It was followed by the Middle East (-75%) and Europe (-70%).

NATIONAL

Smriti Irani inaugurates 8th India International Silk Fair

• The Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the 8th India International Silk Fair on Virtual Portal on 31st January 2021. The five days event is being held on the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council’s virtual platform due to COVID-19 pandemic. The fair is considered to be India’s biggest silk fair.

• More than 200 overseas buyers and an equal number of their representatives in India are participating to interact with more than 100 renowned and big Indian companies manufacturing and trading silk and silk blended products.

• India is the only country in the world which produces all the four major varieties of silk, which are Mulberry, Eri, Tassar, and Muga.

Uttarakhand sets up Botanical Garden to conserve species of Shivalik range

• In Nainital district of Uttarakhand, a first of its kind botanical garden named ‘Shivalik Arboretum’ has been inaugurated, for conserving over 210 species of trees found in the Shivalik range of Himalayas. Shivalik Arboretum aims to spread nature education among people so that they are able to feel an emotional connect with the trees, and make them more active towards conservation.

• The facility will showcase information like scientific information about particular species, cultural significance, medicinal use, country of origin, type of habitat in which it is found and all possible uses including as timber, dyes or any other peculiar use.

• Some of the trees preserved include Kafal (Myrica esculenta), Buransh, (Rhododendron arboretum), Tejpat (Cinnamomum Tamala) and Sanjeevani (Sellaginella bryopteris).

Venkaiah Naidu Inaugurates National Tribal Festival “Aadi Mahotsav”

• The Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the National Tribal Festival “Aadi Mahotsav” at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi. The Aadi Mahotsav 2021 is being organized from February 1-15, 2021. The festival aims to familiarise the people with the rich and diverse craft, the culture of the tribal communities across the country, in one place.

• The Aadi Mahotsav – A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Culture, Crafts, Cuisine and Commerce – is an annual initiative being organized by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs since 2017.

• The festival will comprise of display and sale of tribal art and craft, medicine & healers, cuisine and folk performances, in which around 1000 tribal artisans, artists and chefs from more than 20 States of the country shall participate and provide a glimpse of their rich traditional culture.

India gets its first Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management

• A dedicated Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM) has been established at the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management(NCSCM), Chennai, an institution under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. This was announced by Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo on the occasion of the World Wetland Day on 2nd February 2021.

• The dedicated CWCM Centre would address specific research needs and knowledge gaps, give a fillip to capacity development and cutting-edge research on wetlands of India, as well as aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands.

OBITUARY

Pioneering US actress Cicely Tyson passes away

• Pioneering US actress Cicely Tyson has passed away. Cicely Tyson, the pioneering Black actor who gained an Oscar nomination for her role as the sharecropper’s wife in ‘Sounder’ & won a Tony Award in 2013 at age 88.

• She touched TV viewers’ hearts in ” The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” & won 2 Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Anish Shah appoint as new chairman of Mahindra Finance

• Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services has announced the appointment of Anish Shah as the chairman of the board, effective April 2, 2021. Shah is already a director of the company.

• He is the deputy managing director and group CFO of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Shah takes over from Dhananjay Mungale. Mungale shall continue to be an Independent Director on the Board of MMFSL.

Nguyen Phu Trong re-elected as Chief of Vietnam for 3rd term

• The ruling Community Party of Vietnam has re-elected its 76-year-old General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong for a third five-year term. He is serving the post since 2011. Trong was granted an exemption to contest in the election, though he was above the age limit of 65. The General Secretary is the highest office within the Communist Party of Vietnam. Trong also holds the position of the President of Vietnam since 2018.

• Vietnam has a communist government, which means that the country does not have a single strongman at the apex. There are four main leaders that collectively run the show which includes: The Communist Party general secretary, the prime minister, the president and the chair of the National Assembly.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Ford joins hand with Google to offer cloud-based data services

• Ford Motor Co has joined hands with Alphabet Inc’s Google to cooperate in software, artificial intelligence and cloud computing, to develop new consumer services and modernize internal operations. The automaker will deploy Google artificial intelligence technology to improve the efficiency of vehicle development, supply chain and manufacturing operations.

• The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has entered into a six-year partnership with the tech giant, under which it will incorporate the Android operating system of the Google into its Ford and Lincoln vehicles starting in 2023. The customers of Ford will get built-in Google apps, including its map and voice technology.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2021

NATIONAL

Lucknow metro becomes first to sanitise coaches using UV rays

• Lucknow Metro has become the 1st metro in the country to use ultraviolet rays to sanitise train coaches. For this, the LMRC has procured UV sanitization apparatus from M/s FB TECH, an Indian firm in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) has taken inspiration from the New York Metro’s experiment to sanitise trains with UV lamp rays.

• The apparatus, which was certified by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in October 2020, sanitizes the entire coach in just seven minutes.  However, in order to keep the train bacteria-free, the LMRC is sanitising each coach for 15 minutes.

• This is the same apparatus which was also used by the medical industry to sanitise cinema halls and medical equipment at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

• This apparatus is operated through a remote and has a switch on/off button.

• The radiation starts after a minute of pressing the on button. In addition, the initiative is economically cheaper than sanitization through manual mode.

Maharashtra tops justice delivery in India Justice Report 2020

• The second edition of the India Justice Report, India’s only ranking of states on delivery of Justice to people, announced. Maharashtra once again at the top of the 18 Large and Mid-sized states (with a population of over one crore each) in the 2nd Edition of the India Justice Report, an initiative of Tata Trusts, followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, and Kerala.

• Through a rigorous 14-month quantitative research, the India Justice Report 2020 once again tracks the progress states have made incapacitating their justice delivery structures to effectively deliver services to all. It takes account of latest statistics and situations as they existed prior to March 2020. It brings together otherwise siloed statistics from authoritative government sources, on the four pillars of Justice delivery–Police, Judiciary, Prisons and Legal Aid.

Sports Minister Rijiju launches anti-doping reference material

• Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Kiren Rijiju has launched a breakthrough Reference Material for use in chemical testing in the field of anti-doping. A reference material jointly synthesised by the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Guwahati.

• The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NDTL and NIPER Guwahati was signed in August 2020 which proposes to synthesize 20 rarely available Reference Materials (RMs) during a period of 3 years.

• This Reference Material (RM), has been identified by NDTL as one of the rarely available RMs globally and would be used to strengthen anti-doping measures in all World Anti Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratories.

SPORTS

Tamil Nadu Beat Baroda to claim Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy

• Tamil Nadu beat Baroda in the final to win the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy 2020-21. The tournament was the twelfth edition of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and was played at Sardar Patel Stadium (Motera Stadium), Ahmedabad. The Player of the match title was won by Manimaran Siddharth (Tamil Nadu) who picked 4 wickets, conceding 20 runs. They needed 121 runs to win, which they achieved in 18 overs with 7 wickets.

• Tamil Nadu team was lead by Dinesh Karthik (captain). This is the second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) title for Tamil Nadu and their first title in 13 years. The team claimed their first SMAT title in 2006-07, that too under Karthik’s captaincy.

India top medals tally at first Asian Online Shooting Championship

• The Indian shooting contingent has topped the medals tally in the first-ever Asian Online Shooting Championship, organised by Kuwait Shooting Federation. The 24-member Indian shooting contingent won total 11 medals, which included four gold medals, two silver and five bronze medals. 274 shooters from 22 Asian countries took part in the competition.

List of Indian Medalist:

Gold

• Saurabh Chaudhary – men’s 10m air pistol

• Divyansh Singh Panwar- men’s 10m air rifle

• Kynan Chenai – men’s trap

• Rajeshwari Kumari – women’s trap

Silver

• Arjun Babuta – men’s 10m air rifle

• Shreyasi Singh – women’s trap

Bronze

• Manu Bhaker – women’s 10m air pistol

• Sarabjot Singh – men’s 10m air pistol

• Deepak Kumar – men’s 10m air rifle

• Prithviraj Tondaiman – men’s trap

• Manish Keer – women’s trap

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

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

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

• Bhavya Lal led the analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Space Council, as well as federal space-oriented organisations, including NASA, the Department of Defence, and the intelligence community.

• Lal is an active member of the space technology and policy community, having chaired, co-chaired, or served on five high-impact National Academy of Science committees.

• She served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing and was an External Council member of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program and the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.

SBI Card appoints Rama Mohan Rao Amara as MD & CEO

• SBI Cards and Payment Services Ltd (SBI Card) has appointed Rama Mohan Rao Amara as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for a period of two years. Rao is a veteran banker, with a successful career spanning over 29 years at SBI, the credit card company. Prior to taking charge at SBI Card, he was the Chief General Manager, SBI Bhopal Circle.

• Earlier this week, Ashwini Kumar Tewari had resigned from the post of MD and CEO of SBI Card owing to his appointment as the Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI).

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Wetlands Day: 02 February

• The World Wetlands Day is observed every year on February 2 globally. The day aims to raise awareness about the crucial role played by wetlands for people and our planet. The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2021 is ‘Wetlands and Water’. 2021 marks 50 years of the Convention on Wetlands.

• The day is celebrated to mark the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997.

• Wetlands are a habitat for a dense variety of plant and animal species and also rich with the biodiversity which is declining according to the researcher's estimates. These are the land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either perennially or seasonally.

• Coastal wetlands: mangroves, estuaries, saltwater marshes, lagoons etc.

• Inland wetlands: marshes, fens, lakes, swamps, rivers, floodplains and ponds.

• Human-made wetlands: Fish ponds, saltpans, and rice paddies.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

PNB Restricts Withdraw of Money from non-EMV ATMs

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided to restrict its customers from withdrawing money from non-EMV automated teller machines (ATMs) with effect from 01 February 2021, in an attempt to check frauds, related to money transactions. This restriction will apply to both, financial and non-financial transactions. To overcome this, PNB will introduce OTP based systems for withdrawing cash.

• Non-EMV ATMs are those which reads data through magnetic strips and do not hold the ATM card during the transaction.

Other major decision

• PNB has also decided to replace the old IFSC and MICR codes. This means that the old codes will not work after March 31, 2021.

• Customers will have to get a new code from the bank

• This decision has been taken due to merger of Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India on 1st April 2020.

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

• Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting the Union Budget 2021 for the 3rd time in a row. The Union Budget is the yearly financial report estimating the income and expenditure presented to outline future policies to be adopted by the government for sustainable growth and development. The Economic Survey 2020-21 was released on 29th January 2021 by the Chief Economic Advisor of India, Krishnamurthy Subramanian. According to the survey, India’s economy could contract 7.7 per cent in the financial year that ends on March 31.

• Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her Budget speech at 12.50 pm. In February 2020, FM Nirmala Sitharaman spoke for a record 162 minutes — two hours and 42 minutes — in Lok Sabha. FM Sitharaman only had two pages of her Budget speech unread, when she appeared uneasy and her Budget speech was cut short.

The key highlights from the Union Budget 2021-22:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RBI cancels licence of Kolhapur-based Shivam Sahakari Bank

• According to RBI, the licence of Maharashtra-based Shivam Sahakari Bank has been cancelled as it does not have adequate capital and earning prospects.  The Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Maharashtra has also been requested to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank. With the cancellation of licence the process of paying the depositors as per the DICGC Act, 1961 will be set in motion.

• As per the data submitted by the Kolhapur-based bank, more than 99 per cent of the depositors are fully insured by Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC). The bank with its present financial position would be unable to pay its present depositors in full.

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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2021

National

Smriti Irani inaugurates 8th India International Silk Fair

• Textiles Minister Smriti Irani today inaugurated the 8th India International Silk Fair on Virtual Portal. The fair is considered to be India’s biggest silk fair, being held under one roof on Indian Silk Export Promotion Council’s virtual platform. The five days event is being held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic.

•  Speaking on the occasion, Mrs Irani said that more than 200 overseas buyers have already registered and equal number of their representatives in India will be interacting with more than 100 renowned and big Indian companies manufacturing and trading silk and silk blended products. She called upon the exhibitors and overseas buyers to take part in this initiative to celebrate the beauty and vibrancy of Indian silk.

•  India has  long history of silk production and is the 2nd largest producer of Silk. India is the only country in the world which produces all the four major varieties of silk - Mulberry, Eri, Tassar, and Muga.

India’s First ‘Gender Park’ in Kerala’s Kozhikode

• The Kerala government is all set to launch Rs 300 crore three-tower ‘Gender Park’ in Kozhikode. The park will become functional on the occasion of the second edition of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE-II). The park will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, in between February 11-13 that will also mark the inauguration of the second edition of ICGE-II.

• The gender park was established with the aim of creating relevant interventions so as to address a range of gender-based issues. It includes both off-campus and on-campus activities and other projects that work to empower the individuals and communities.

• The gender park was established by the government of Kerala in 2013. It is an initiative that works towards gender equality and empowerment in Kerala. The headquartered for the initiative is in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.

• However, the main campus is at Silver Hills, Kozhikode. The campus has an area of 24-acre. The park has been set with its main focus on gender justice.

• The platform will provide an environment for policy analysis, research, capacity development, advocacy, economic and social initiative. The park will be operational under the Department of Social Justice. This space is first of its kind across the world.

Sports

BCCI cancels Ranji Trophy 2020-21 for first time

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided not to conduct the Ranji Trophy in 2020-21. This will be the first time in 87 years since its inception in 1934-35, that India’s premier first-class cricket national championship will not be held in 2020-21 domestic season.

• Instead on Ranji Trophy, BCCI has decided to conduct the Vijay Hazare Trophy 50-over tournament and Senior Women’s One Day tournament after the completion of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament.

Appointment & Resignation

Facebook appoints henry moniz as its first cco

• Henry Moniz, who has been the chief compliance officer and chief audit executive at media company ViacomCBS Inc., will join Facebook on Feb. 8 to lead the company's global compliance team, according to Facebook. He will be the first person to hold the compliance chief title at Facebook.

R S Sharma appointed as new CEO of Ayushman Bharat Scheme

• The National Health Authority (NHA) has appointed RS Sharma as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of country’s flagship public health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, also called Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. He would replace Indu Bhushan, who is serving as the Chief Executive of the Ayushman scheme since its inception in 2018.

• RS Sharma, a former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), who would take charge of the NHA from February 1.

• Ayushman Bharat, a flagship scheme of Government of India, was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This initiative has been designed to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its underlining commitment, which is to “leave no one behind.”

• Ayushman Bharat is an attempt to move from sectoral and segmented approach of health service delivery to a comprehensive need-based health care service. This scheme aims to undertake path-breaking interventions to holistically address the healthcare system (covering prevention, promotion and ambulatory care) at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. Ayushman Bharat adopts a continuum of care approach.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah takes over as President of ACC

• Jay Shah, the incumbent Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been appointed as the new President of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). He is the youngest person ever to be appointed to the office. He replaces Nazmul Hussain, Chief of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) who was the previous chief of the ACC.

• The ACC is Asia’s regional administrative body and it currently consists of 24 member associations. ACC is responsible for organizing the Asia Cup tournaments. The 2020 edition of the Asia Cup was postponed to June this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan was to originally host the tournament but the tournament is now expected to be held in either Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.

Obituary

Nobel Prize Winner Paul Crutzen passes away

• The Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul J. Crutzen, has passed away. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, jointly with Mario J. Molina and F.

• Sherwood Rowland, for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone. He was known for his work on the ozone layer and climate change and for popularizing the term ‘Anthropocene’ to describe a proposed new era when human actions have a drastic effect on the Earth.

Important Days

Indian Coast Guard to celebrate 45th Raising Day

• The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will celebrate its 45th Raising Day today, February 1.

• According to an official release by the Ministry of Defence, the ICG has played a significant role in securing the Indian Coasts and enforcing regulations within the maritime zones of India.

• The ICG seized contraband worth Rs 1,500 crore and ten illegal foreign fishing boats with 80 miscreants in the Indian exclusive economic zone in 2020.

• A country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is an area extending from the coastline to 200 nautical miles in the sea, wherein it has exclusive rights to fish, drill and also conduct other economic activities.

World Leprosy Day 2021: 31 January

• World Leprosy Day is observed around the world on the last Sunday of January every year. This year World Leprosy Day held on 31 January. The day is celebrated to raise global awareness of this deadly ancient disease and call attention to the fact that it can be prevented, treated and cured.

• This year theme of World Leprosy Day 2021 is “Beat Leprosy, End Stigma and advocate for Mental Wellbeing ”.

• The day was initiated in 1954 by French philanthropist and writer, Raoul Follereau, as a tribute to the life of the Mahatma Gandhi who had compassion for people afflicted with leprosy.

Ranking

India ranks 10th in ‘Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index’

• India ranked 10th out of 11 Asia Pacific countries in a newly-launched health index to measure the progress towards personalised healthcare. Singapore(1st), Taiwan (2nd), Japan (3rd) and Australia (4th) also performed well in overall readiness. These include Policy Context, Health Information, Personalised Technologies and Health Services.

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report ”Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index” measures the readiness of 11 health systems across the region–Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand–in adopting personalised healthcare, enabling the right care to be tailored to the right person at the right time.

• The ‘Personalised Health Index’ measures performance against 27 different indicators of personalised health across four categories called ”Vital Signs”.

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2021

National

Microsoft launches its new Taj Mahal inspired Engineering Hub

• Tech major Microsoft has launched its new India Development Center (IDC) facility in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The new centre will serve as a leading hub for driving advanced engineering and innovation. The centre will build on Microsoft’s commitment to tap India’s world-class engineering talent and create solutions for a global impact.

• IDC NCR is the third development centre of Microsoft in India after Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The IDC NCR workspace architecture is inspired by the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.

• The IDC NCR facility will collaborate with Microsoft teams globally to build products and services for driving digital innovation. The centre will provide opportunities for engineering talent in the areas of Business & Productivity tools, AI, Cloud & Enterprise, Core Services, and the new Gaming division.

• The IDC NCR workspace architecture is inspired by the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. The structure is a unique amalgamation of the latest Microsoft technologies and locally sourced materials.

• The intricate artwork by local artisans and graphics inspired by India’s rich cultural heritage elevate the aesthetics of the office. Its stunning marble inlays, vaulted doorways, arches, and marble domes created by stonemasons and carpenters, are a tribute to the country’s historical and rich craftsmanship.

Environment Minister releases National Marine Turtle Action Plan

• National Marine Turtle Action Plan has been recently released by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in New Delhi. The Ministry also released the ‘Marine Mega Fauna Stranding Guidelines’ along with the Marine Turtle Action Plan.

• National Marine Turtle Action Plan and Marine Mega Fauna Stranding Guidelines have been released acknowledging the need for a conservation paradigm for marine turtles and marine megafauna.

• At the launch, the minister called for conserving both floral and faunal diversity including marine biodiversity.

• Both these documents include the ways and measures to promote inter-sectoral action for conservation.

• The documents also provide guidance for enhanced coordination amongst the government, all relevant stakeholders, and civil society on the response to cases of entanglement, stranding, injury, or mortality of marine mammals. All of them should also have better coordination to chalk out plans for the conservation of marine turtles.

Prakash Javadekar launches 2021 as Indo-French Year of the Environment

• The Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has launched the Indo-French Year of the Environment, along with Barbara Pompili, the French Minister for Ecological Transition in New Delhi. The basic objective of this partnership is to strengthen Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development, increase the effectiveness of actions in favour of global environment protection and give them greater visibility.

• This collaboration and the Indo-French Environment year will be held under the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in association with the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs along with the support of the Embassy of France in Delhi and its partners from the French side.

• The Indo-French Year of the Environment is the Indo-French partnership on Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and other allied areas to be undertaken throughout 2021.

• The Indo-French Year of the Environment will be implemented over the period 2021-2022.

Science & Technology

ISRO to launch city college’s academic satellite

• ISRO chairman K Sivan is likely to inaugurate the ‘SriShakthiSat’ ground station at Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Coimbatore. The station will help monitor the satellite developed by the institute, which is set to be launched by the ISRO. A satellite communication lab was established in the college in 2010.

• The satellite can detect fire and leaks on underground pipelines and collect info on bank thefts. ISRO is expected to launch this satellite, along with two other satellites built by JPR Institute, Chennai & GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Maharashtra.

Obituary

Oscar winning-actor Cloris Leachman passes away

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

• Leachman’s character Phyllis in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which she claimed was close to her own persona, brought the actress two Emmys as a featured actress in a series during the mid-’70s and made Leachman a household name. Leachman also won a supporting actress Oscar for a far different character, an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show.

Malayalam singer Somadas passes away

• Popular Malayalam singer Somadas Chathannoor died of a cardiac arrest on Sunday. The 42-year-old singer, a native of Chathannur of Kollam passed away at 3am on Sunday. He was receiving treatment at Government Medical College Hospital Kollam following complications arising out of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Although he had recovered and tested negative for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 had caused an infection to his kidneys.

Appointment & Resignation

Senior IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan is new Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary

• Senior IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan was named as the next chief secretary by the Tamil Nadu government on Sunday.

• He will be replacing K Shanmugam who will be retiring from the post but will continue as an advisor to the government for a year. Last week, the Union government had approved the repatriation of the IAS officer to his parent cadre on the state government's request.

Banking & Ecconomics

Airtel announces 5G ready network in Hyderabad

• Bharti Airtel took an edge by becoming the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G services successfully. Bharti Airtel announced that it orchestrated live fifth-generation (5G) service over a commercial network in Hyderabad.

• Bharti Airtel explained that it used state of the art dynamic spectrum sharing so as to operate both 4G and 5G networks in the same spectrum block.

• One of India’s major telecom companies managed to do this atop the existing spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the Non-Stand Alone (NSA) network technology.

• Airtel claimed that it took only a few seconds to download a full-length film during its demonstration of the 5G network.

• The company said that the 5G network could deliver ten times the speed and latency attained previously with 100 times the concurrency when compared to the technology in use.

• The government is conducting the auction of 2,251 MHz of spectrum through the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) at a reserve price of Rs 3.92 trillion from March 1, 2021.

• The government has not included the spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 MHz bands recommended for 5G by the telecom operators.

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigns

• Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte resigned after losing his Senate majority, plunging the country into political uncertainty just as it’s battling the pandemic and a recession. He tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, the ultimate arbiter of Italian political crises, who invited him to stay on in a caretaker capacity pending discussions on what happens next.

• Italy was the first European country to face the full force of the Covid-19 pandemic and has since suffered badly, with the economy plunged into recession and deaths still rising by around 400 a day. Parts of the country remain under partial lockdown, the vaccination programme has slowed and a deadline is looming to agree on plans to spend billions of euros in European Union recovery funds.

NATIONAL

Centre Approves ‘Startup India Seed Fund Scheme’

• The Central Government has approved the Rs 945-crore ‘Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme’ (SISFS), which aims to provide financial assistance to start-ups for the product trials, market-entry, proof of concept, prototype development and commercialization.

• The Rs 945 crore Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) will become operational from April 1 of this year till 2025 and this will be disbursed through selected incubators across India, according to a gazette notification by the government. The scheme will be implemented by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIIT). The funds under the scheme will be disbursed through the selected incubators across the country. The startup will receive seed support only once.

• The incubator should be operational for at least two years on the date of application to the scheme.

• The incubator must have facilities to seat at least 25 individuals. The incubator must have at least five startups undergoing incubation physically on the date of application.

• The incubator must have a full-time Chief Executive Officer, experienced in business development and entrepreneurship.

5th Joint Meeting of the India-Japan Act East Forum

• The 5th joint meeting of the India-Japan Act East Forum (AEF) was held in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and Suzuki Satoshi, Ambassador of Japan to India.

• During the 5th meeting, the AEF reviewed the progress of ongoing projects in the North Eastern Region of India in various areas including connectivity, hydropower, sustainable development, harnessing of water resources, and skill development. They also exchanged views on cooperation in new areas such as healthcare, agro-industries and SMEs, bamboo value chain development, smart city, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

• The AEF was established in 2017 to provide a platform for India-Japan collaboration in the North Eastern Region under India’s “Act East Policy” and Japan’s vision for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

Economic Survey 2021: Key highlights of Economic Survey

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

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

The theme of Economic Survey, 2020-21:

• #SavingLives&Livelihoods

•#VshapedRecovery

India’s “Vaccine Maitri” Initiative begins

• Vaccine Maitri Initiative is an initiative launched by India to gift COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries. Recently, Sri Lanka and Bahrain have received the COVID-19 vaccines from India under the initiative. The Vaccine Maitri initiative was launched by India on January 20 to gift COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries.

• Sri Lanka has received 5 lakh Covid-19 vaccines from India as a part of the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.

• Consignment of vaccines has also been sent to Bahrain. The country will receive 10,800 vaccines under the initiative.

• India has already delivered over 5 million doses to seven countries in the neighbourhood under the initiative before Sri Lanka and Bahrain.

• The 7 countries are- the Maldives (100,000 vaccines), Bhutan (150,000 vaccines), Nepal (1 million vaccines), Bangladesh (2 million vaccines), Myanmar (1.5 million vaccines), Mauritius (100,000 vaccines), and Seychelles (50,000 vaccines).

• Commercial supplies of Covishield have also been sent to Morocco, Brazil, (2 million doses each), and Bangladesh (5 million doses).

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Swaminathan Janakiraman and Aswini Kumar Tewari appointed as MDs of SBI

• The appointments committee (ACC) of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Swaminathan Janakiraman and Ashwini Kumar Tewari as new Managing Directors (MDs) of State Bank of India (SBI) for a period of three years. Prior to this, Swaminathan Janakiraman was the deputy managing director (Finance) at SBI and Ashwini Kumar Tewari was serving as MD & CEO of SBI Card, a subsidiary of SBI.

• SBI is headed by a Chairman and four managing directors. Dinesh Kumar Khara is the current Chairman of the bank. The other two MDs of the bank are C.S. Setty and Ashwani Bhatia. The two posts were vacant since October 2020.

Lt Gen Chandi Prasad Mohanty appointed as new Army Vice-Chief

• Lieutenant General Chandi Prasad Mohanty has been appointed as the new Vice-chief of Army staff. He would assume the office on February 1, 2021, from Lt General SK Saini, who is superannuating on 31 January 2021. Lt General CP Mohanty is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun, and National Defence Academy. He is a June 1982 batch Infantry Officer from the Rajput Regiment.

• Vice-Chief of Army Staff is the deputy head and the second-highest-ranking officer of the Indian Army. The position is held by the senior officer in the rank of Lt-General, of the Commander in Chief grade.

IMPORTANT DAYS

73rd Martyrs’ Day observed on 30 January

• Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas is observed every year on January 30 in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated at Gandhi Smriti in the Birla House by Nathuram Godse in 1948. The day is observed to remember the sacrifices made by freedom fighters in the struggle for India’s independence and to pay our respects to them.

• Notably, Martyrs’ Day is also observed in India on March 23 to pay respect to Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar, who was hanged death on this day in 1931.

RANKING

Reliance Jio ranked 5th strongest brand globally

• Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s four-year-old telecom venture Reliance Jio has been ranked the fifth strongest brand globally behind the likes of Ferrari and Coca-Cola. As per the ranking, Reliance Jio has emerged as the 5th strongest brand in the world. Reliance Jio has made its entry to the world’s strongest brands. Reliance has been ranked as the 5th strongest brand in the world. It has a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.7 out of 100.

• The Brand Finance’s Global 500 ranking of the strongest brands globally, which determined the relative strength of brands, is topped by WeChat, according to its annual report on most valuable and strongest global brands.

• As per the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking, Apple has been named as the most valuable brand in the world.

• The brand value of the company is US$263.4 billion. Amazon is the second most valuable brand followed by Google.

• TATA has retained its spot as the most valuable brand of India. It has been placed at the 77th position globally and has a brand value of US$21.3 billion.

• WeChat is the strongest brand in the world with a BSI score of 95.4. WeChat has surpassed Ferrari to rank as the strongest brand.

• Ferrari is the 2nd strongest brand in the world.

• Russian bank Sber and Coca-Cola are the 3rd and 4th strongest brands respectively.

India Ranks 86 among 98 Countries in Lowy Institute’s Covid-19 Response Index

• India has been ranked at 86th position among 98 countries in the new Coronavirus Performance Index released by Australia-based Lowy Institute. Countries were ranked based on the publicly available and comparable data on Covid-19 response. The Lowy Institute is an independent international policy think tank, located in Sydney.

• New Zealand, Vietnam and Taiwan are the top three countries respectively in the index. Brazil was ranked at the bottom of the list for worst handling of the pandemic than any other country. China was excluded from the list due to lack of publicly available data.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Bharti AXA General Insurance launches ‘Krishi Sakha’ App for farmers

• Bharti AXA General Insurance has launched Krishi Sakha App, a one-stop-shop for Indian farmers that offers them relevant information to cater to their daily farming needs. It also provides guidance to farmers to adopt best farming practices and enhance their productivity. The farmers through this app will also have access to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal for crop insurance-related information.

• Bharti AXA ‘Krishi Sakha’ aims at helping Indian farmers make informed decisions through customized information related to their farming requirements.

• It shares relevant information about the scientific way of farming, crop cultivation, sowing, or harvesting of major crops. It guides the farmers about weather forecasting, market and crop prices and government schemes related to insurance and agriculture.

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Important Current Affairs 29th January 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Kaja Kallas to become Estonia’s first female prime minister

• Kaja Kallas, the leader of the Reform Party will become Estonia’s first female prime minister. The Reform Party, led by Kallas, won the 2019 parliamentary election in Estonia with 34 MPs in the country’s 101-seat parliament, Riigikogu.

• Estonia would thus currently become the only country in the world where both the president Kersti Kaljulaid and the prime minister are women.

NATIONAL

PM Modi Chairs 35th PRAGATI Meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the 35th PRAGATI meeting to review multiple projects, grievances and programmes. In the meeting, ten agenda items were taken for review worth Rs. 54,675 crore, related to 15 states. These included nine projects and one programme. Prime Minister also reviewed the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana.

• PRAGATI stands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.

• Of the total 9 projects, 3 projects were from the Ministry of Railways, 3 from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and 1 project each from Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Power Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs.

• The States are Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Jharkhand, Bihar, Telangana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.

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

• The Ram Temple tableau of Uttar Pradesh that was on display during the Republic Day 2021 has bagged the first prize among all tableaux. The theme of Uttar Pradesh’s tableau was ‘Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh’. The cultural heritage of ancient holy town Ayodhya, a replica of a Ram temple, a glimpse of ‘Deepotsav’ and various stories from Ramayana epic were depicted in the tableau.

• The Tripura tableau won the second prize for the Republic Day parade. Uttarakhand’s tableau on the theme ‘Dev Bhoomi — The Land of the Gods’ was adjudged third among the states and union territories. The tableau of Central Public Works Department (CPWD), with the theme ‘Amar Jawan’, bagged a special prize for paying tribute to the fallen heroes of the armed forces.

Election Commission rolls out digital voter ID cards “e-EPIC”

• The Election Commission has rolled out the electronic version of the voters’ photo identity card e-EPIC, which can be stored on mobile phones and downloaded on personal computers. The physical card takes time to print and reach the voter, and the idea is to provide faster delivery and easy accessibility to the document.

• The e-EPIC is a secure portable document format (PDF) version of the EPIC which can be downloaded on mobile or in a self-printable form on the computer.

• The voter can store the card on his/her mobile, upload it as a PDF on Digi locker or print it & self-laminate.

• The e-elector photo identity card is a non-editable digital version of the elector photo identity card and can be saved in facilities such as digital locker as well as can be printed in the PDF format.

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opens NCLAT Chennai Bench

• Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has virtually inaugurated the Chennai Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This will be the second NCLAT Bench in the country, after the Principal Bench in New Delhi.

• The NCLAT has jurisdiction over matters under the Companies Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the Competition Commission of India.

• Fresh appeals against the orders of the Benches of the tribunal having jurisdiction in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry will have to be filed before the Chennai Bench.

• Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, acting Chairperson, NCLAT; Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; and Justice Venugopal M, judicial member, and Balvinder Singh, technical member of the NCLAT Chennai Bench, were present.

OBITUARY

Former India and Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Prasanta Dora passes away

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

• He has also adjudged the Best Goalkeeper when Bengal lifted back-to-back Santosh Trophy titles in 1997-98 and 99. At the national level, Dora made five appearances in competitions such as SAFF Cup and SAF Games.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Meghalaya wins National Award for Best Electoral Practices 2020

• The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya was selected for a Special Award for Information Technology applications in Elections by the Election Commission of India (ECI), in the National Best Electoral Practices Awards-2020. President Ram Nath Kovind virtually conferred the award to Meghalaya CEO F.R. Kharkongor at the National Voters’ Day Award function held in New Delhi.

• The award recognises the sustained and consistent IT application efforts in electoral activities being made by the Office of the CEO in the entire Enrolment to Elections (E2E) process and for leveraging technology for the benefit of all categories of voters, both general and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

• The ECI has consistently been championing the use of technology covering the non-election period, such as voter portal, voter helpline app, SMS, 1950 helpline, political party registration and online tracking.

RANKING

India Secures 86th Rank in Corruption Perception Index 2020

• India has been ranked 86th among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020, released by Transparency International. This year, India’s rank has slipped six places compared to 2019, when it was ranked at 80th spot. The CPI score for India in 2020 is 40. India is sharing its position jointly with Burkina Faso, Morocco, East Timor, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey.

Top Country:

• New Zealand and Denmark have jointly secured the first position with scores of 88.

Lowest Country:

• Somalia and South Sudan rank lowest at 179th position with scores of 12.

• The CPI index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. The index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Dhanlaxmi Bank Board approves appointment of J K Shivan as MD and CEO

• Board of Directors of Kerala-based Dhanlaxmi Bank have given the approval to appoint J K Shivan as managing director and CEO of the Bank. It may be recalled that the shareholders of the Kerala-based had voted against MD & CEO Sunil Gurbaxani On September 30, 2020. Then, in December that year, the lender appointed Shivan as the new MD & CEO.

• However, the banking regulator, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had asked the Dhanlaxmi Bank Board to get shareholders’ approval before appointing J K Shivan as the next chief of the bank.

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2021

NATIONAL

India pledges $150,000 for UN Peacebuilding Fund for 2021

• India has announced a pledge of USD 150,000 to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for the year 2021 to support the activities and programs this year. The Peacebuilding Fund has put forth its five-year strategy, which requires 1.5 billion dollars for 2020-2024. This was announced by TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations on January 25, 2021.

• UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that he was grateful to the countries that committed to providing over $439 million in support of the UN’s work toward peacebuilding & conflict prevention through the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

TCS ranks third most valued IT services brand globally

• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked third most-valued IT services brand globally, after Accenture and IBM, according to a report by Brand Finance. Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to USD 15 billion.  Accenture retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with record brand value of USD 26 billion, while IBM continued at the second place with a brand value of USD 16.1 billion.

• Four Indian IT services companies have secured spots in the top-10 globally, namely, TCS (3), Infosys (4), HCL (7) and Wipro (9). Accenture has retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with a brand value of $26 billion.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan launches ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ for Girl Child

• In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a new scheme ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ on 24 January, to mark the occasion of National Girl Child Day. The scheme has been launched under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme for the empowerment and growth of the girl child. The CM also announced scholarships worth Rs 6.47 crore for 26,099 girls under Ladli Laxmi Yojana.

• ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ is a year-long programme. The letter in the PANKH scheme stands for:

‘P’ – protection

‘A’ – awareness of their rights

‘N’ – nutrition

‘K’ – knowledge

‘H’ – health.

UP becomes first Indian State to have 2 Expressway airstrips

• In Uttar Pradesh, a new 3,300-metre-long airstrip has been constructed near Kurebhar on Purvanchal Expressway. With this new airstrip, Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in India having two airstrips on expressways. Uttar Pradesh also has an airstrip on Lucknow-Agra Expressway. Airstrips on expressways are designed to facilitate emergency landing and take-off of fighter planes.

• Earlier, the Indian Air Force had examined Yamuna Expressway and Agra Expressway. Aircraft like Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 and Super Hercules had already landed on Lucknow-Agra Expressway.

• Uttar Pradesh government is trying to connect the entire northern part of the country with expressways.

• The Hindon and Agra airbases of the Indian Air Force will be able to use the runway of all three expressways if needed.

• Also, these airstrips of Uttar Pradesh can serve the Air Force to respond against China and Pakistan in case of any war.

DRDO successfully conducts maiden test launch of Akash-NG Missile

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful maiden launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha. Akash-NG is a new generation Surface-to-Air Missile for use by Indian Air Force (IAF) with an aim of intercepting high manoeuvring aerial threats. The launch met all the test objectives by performing high maneuvers during the trajectory.

• The performance of the Command and Control system, onboard avionics and aerodynamic configuration of the missile was successfully validated during the trial. The Multi Function Radar was tested for its capability of integration with the system. The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems with canisterized launcher and much smaller ground system footprint.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

• International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) is observed on 27 January every year since 2006 to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. A genocide occurred during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by its collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, between 1941 and 1945.

• The theme of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 is “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India Inks Strategic Partnership Agreement with IEA

• India has inked a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s premier energy monitor, on 27 January 2021. The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability as well as strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between IEA members and the Government of India.

• The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. This deal will help India to gain full membership of IEA.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Rajendra Kumar Bhandari wins Subhash Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021

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

• The Government of India announces the award every year on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to recognise and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management.

51st International Film Festival of India Concludes

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

• Golden Peacock Award for Best Film: Into the Darkness

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

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

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

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

• Special Mention Award: Kripal Kalita, Bridge

• Special Jury Award: Kamin Kalev, February

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

• Indian Personality of the Year Award: Biswajit Chatterjee

• Lifetime Achievement: Vittorio Storaro (Italian cinematographer).

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HSBC inaugurates international banking unit in Gujarat

• Global financial services major HSBC has inaugurated it’s International Banking Unit (IBU) branch at GIFT City near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat. HSBC is one of the earliest global financial institutions setting up a branch at India’s GIFT City and was the first bank to get a licence from the newly set up International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). HSBC’s IBU branch at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) will be operational for customer transactions with effect from January 27.

• HSBC has been present in the country for more than 160 years and its fourth branch globally was opened in India. HSBC operates in all of the leading international financial service hubs in the world and looks forward to the development of GIFT City as a globally competitive international financial centre.

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Important Current Affairs 27th January 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa wins second term

• The incumbent President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has won a second five-year term after winning the 2021 Portuguese presidential election with a landslide victory.

• The 72-year-old former leader of the Social Democratic Party won 61 per cent of the total votes. He is serving as the President of the country since 9 March 2016 and would start his second term on March 9, 2021.

China surpasses United States as largest recipient of FDI

• China was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020, according to a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). China overtook the United States to gain the top position in 2020. The country attracted $163 billion inflows in 2020, compared to $134 billion attracted by the United States.

• However, in 2019, the United States had received $251 billion in inflows and China received $140 billion. Overall, the global FDI had fallen by 42% in 2020, attracting an inflow of an estimated $859 billion, compared to $1.5 trillion in 2019.

NATIONAL

Annual 'Adivasi Mela' Commences In Bhubaneswar

• The 15-day annual tribal fair or 'Adivasi Mela' commnced on Tuesday at Bhubaneswar's Adivasi Exhibition Ground. The fair will remain open for the public from 11 am to 7 pm every day till February 9.

• The organiser of the tribal fair, Guha Punam Tapas Kumar, informed that the fair has been conducted annually since 1951 and is the oldest fair in the country.

• "The Adivasi Mela exhibits lifestyle, artifacts, handlooms and handicrafts of the tribal of the Odisha under one roof,".

• "Odisha plays an important role in the development of the scheduled tribes,".

Akshay launches mobile action game FAU-G

• On the 72nd Republic Day, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar took to social media to announce the launch of mobile action game Fearless and United Guards (FAU-G). Akshay took to Twitter and wrote, “Face the enemy. Fight for your country. Protect Our Flag. India’s most anticipated action game, Fearless and United Guards: FAU-G takes you to the frontlines and beyond! Start your mission today.”

• The Sooryavanshi actor shared a trailer of the game along with the announcement. The first episode of the game will be based on the Galwan Valley in Ladakh. Further episodes will be set amid Indian battle backdrops.

Pune schools start unique ‘web radio’ to be launched on Republic Day

• Stating that teaching life skills to students, inspiring them to think out of the box was as important as academics, MES (Maharashtra Education Society) Sou Vimlabai Garware School and Vidnyan Bharati have joined hands to launch 'MES Subodhwani', a web radio, which will be broadcast thrice a week.

• To mark Republic Day celebrations this year, one of the oldest educational institutions in the city has launched a unique initiative, a web radio, that will telecast programmes to help students think beyond classroom learning.

Indian Navy conducts exercise AMPHEX – 21 with Army and Air Force

• A large-scale tri-service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX – 21 was held in Andaman & Nicobar group of islands. The exercise involved the participation of troops of Army, Navy as well as the Indian Air Force. The exercise was aimed at validating India’s capabilities to safeguard the territorial integrity of its island territories. The joint force executed multi-domain, high-intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.

• The exercise involved multi-faceted maritime operations by synergised employment of amphibious assault ships, surveillance platforms, execution of maritime airstrikes and complex manoeuvres at sea.

• Airborne insertion of Marine Commandos of Navy and Special Forces of the Army, naval gunfire support, the amphibious landing of forces and follow-on operations also formed part of the exercise.

• The exercise AMPHEX – 21 was aimed at validating India’s capabilities to safeguard the territorial integrity of its island territories, enhance operational synergy and joint warfighting capabilities amongst the three Services. The exercise KAVACH for the defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands was also a part of AMPHEX – 21.

OBITUARY

Carlos Holmes Trujillo: Colombian defence minister dies with Covid-19

• A long-serving politician, Mr Trujillo was a key figure in Colombia's struggle to combat organised crime.

• He was part of the reform of Colombia's constitution in 1991 which was a condition of a peace deal with prominent guerrilla group M-19.

• A former mayor of the city of Cali, he held a range of government positions including interior minister, foreign minister and education minister.

• As defence minister, he coordinated military and police operations against drug trafficking, illegal armed groups and illicit mining.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Customs Day: 26 January

• The International Customs Day (ICD) is observed on 26 January every year. The day is celebrated to recognise the role of customs officials and agencies and focus on the working conditions and challenges that customs officers face in their jobs. This year International Customs Day theme: “Customs bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience”.

• The day was instituted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to commemorate the day in 1953 when the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was held in Brussels, Belgium. In 1994 the CCC was renamed World Customs Organization (WCO).

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Group Captain Kesavan Harisankar awarded Vishisht Seva Medal

• Group Captain Kesavan Nair Harisankar of Southern Air Command has been awarded with the prestigious Presidential award Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) on the occasion of Republic Day.

• The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, in the coming days, will confer the VSM on Group Captain Harisankar at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

• The honour is conferred in recognition of distinguished service of high order and lifetime achievements in service to the nation and is a prestigious peacetime military award in the country.

• Group Captain Harisankar is functioning as Command Engineering Officer and presently posted at Southern Air Command since July 2020.

RANKING

India Ranks 7th in Global Climate Risk Index 2021 of Germanwatch

• India has been placed among the top 10 most affected countries by climate change, in the Global Climate Risk Index 2021 published by the Bonn-based environmental think tank Germanwatch. India ranked as the seventh worst-hit country in terms of climate change in 2019.

• The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 is the 16th edition of the annual report and has taken into account the data available for 2019 and from 2000 to 2019. The index analyses and ranks to what extent countries and regions have been affected by impacts of climate-related extreme weather events (storms, floods, heatwaves etc.)

• Top 3 countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Bahamas were the top three most affected countries in 2019 respectively.

• Top 3 Countries most affected in the past 20 years: Between 2000-2019, Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti were the countries most affected by the impacts of such weather events.

• The Global Climate Risk Index indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events, which countries should understand as warnings in order to be prepared for more frequent and/or more severe events in the future.

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