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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2021


China overtakes Germany to run world’s largest current account surplus

• China overtook Germany to become the country with the world’s largest current account surplus in the year 2020, as per a survey by the Munich-based Ifo institute. The current account surplus of China more than doubled to $310 billion in 2020, while the current account surplus of Germany shrank for the fifth year in a row in 2020 to $261 billion. The data underlines a tectonic shift in world trade triggered by the coronavirus crisis as higher demand across the globe for medical protection gear and electronic devices boosted Chinese exports.

• The United States remained the country with the world’s largest current account deficit which rose roughly by a third to $635 billion in 2020 or 3.1% of economic output. Japan ranked third with a current account surplus of $158 billion. Ifo (Information and Forschung) Institute for Economic Research is a research institution based in Munich, Germany, which analyses economic policy.


Haridwar teen Shrishti Goswami to be one-day CM of Uttarakhand

• Shristi Goswami, a nineteen-year-old Haridwar-based student, become the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand for one day on National Girl Child Day.  She is a student of BSc Agriculture, lives in Daulatpur village in Roorkee, Haridwar. The move has received the nod of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

• The one-day chief minister has administered from Gairsain, the summer capital of the state, and will review various schemes run by the state government that include Atal Ayushman Scheme, Smart City project, Homestay Scheme by the tourism department, and other development projects.

Indian Railways’ longest freight train ‘Vasuki’ sets a new record

• The South-East Central Railways (SECR) zone in Chhattisgarh breaks its own previous record by successfully operating the longest ever freight train by amalgamating five rakes of goods trains as one unit of around 3.5 km. Named as ‘Vasuki’, it covered the distance of 224 km between the railway stations of Bhilai and Korba and took about seven hours. The ‘Vasuki’, comprising of 300 wagons of long haul rake of five goods trains, ran with the help of one pilot, one assistant loco pilot and a guard.

• South East Central Railway (SECR) zone has also operated two freight trains recently. These freight trains got attention due to their length. The two freight trains were ‘Sesh Naag’ and ‘Super Anaconda’. Super Anaconda was a fully loaded three rake combined freight train. ‘Sesh Naag’ was a 2.8km long four empty BOXN rakes train combined together.

BSF launches Operation ‘Sard Hawa’ at Rajasthan border

• The Border Security Force (BSF) has launched “Operation Sard Hawa” on the western international border of Rajasthan. The Operations aims to check the instances of infiltration due to the dense fog cover in the region and increase security on the border areas in Jaisalmer.

• The week-long operation has been launched on 21 January 2021 and will continue till 27 January 2021, keeping in view Republic Day of India.

UP Government launches ‘Udyam Sarathi App’ for Youths

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath has launched the ‘Udyam Sarathi App’ on the occasion of the 71st Foundation Day of the state, on 24 January 2021. The app will enable the youths to get every information related to self-employment and the job industry, across the state.

• The Uttar Pradesh Day celebration will run from 24 January to 26 January 2021. The theme of Uttar Pradesh Day 2021 is ‘Respect for self-reliant Uttar Pradesh, women young farmers, development of all’.

• Udyam Sarathi App will comprise of a varied range of data regarding business opportunities in different departments and sectors, including the state and Central governments, and anywhere and at any time. It has been launched under the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme.


Republic Day 2021: India celebrates its 72nd Republic Day

• The nation celebrated the 72nd Republic Day with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath, Delhi. This day is celebrated by all Indians and 26th of January has been declared as a national holiday by the government of India. The Republic Day Parade ceremony will commence with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial. The National Flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute.

• The Indian Republic Day is celebrated all across India with lots of patriotism and fervour. At Rajpath, in Delhi, magnificent parades by regiments of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, police, and paramilitary forces are witnessed. India’s defensive prowess is on display too, with the latest missiles, aircraft, and weapon systems. Beautiful tableaus, representing the uniqueness of all the states of India are also showcased during the parade. The celebration usually ends with numerous air shows and flypasts by the Indian Forces.

• India became independent on 15th of august, 1947. Even after independence, the country did not have a sound constitution.

• The laws, before the enactment of the constitution, were running on the basis of Government of India Act 1935. Having realized the need for a permanent constitution and its own governing body, the government of India appointed a Drafting Committee on 28th of August 1947 to draft it and Dr, B. R. Ambedkar as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.

• After almost 3 years, the 308 members of the Assembly, after many consultations and a few modifications finally signed a constitution on 24th of January 1950, which came into effect on 26th of January 1950.

• And, that day, is being celebrated as Republic Day in India ever since then. This day defines the importance of having a proper constitution that all the citizens must abide by.

National Tourism Day of India: January 25

• The Indian government established January 25 as the National Tourism Day to raise awareness about the importance of tourism for the country’s economy. The day is observed to cultivate awareness among the global community on the importance of tourism and its social, political, financial and cultural worth.

• India offers several forms of tourism such as cultural, nature, heritage, educational, business, sports, rural, medical, cruise, and eco-tourism. The ministry of tourism is the nodal agency in India to form national policies for the promotion and development of tourism. It also coordinates with central, state agencies and the public sector.


Ministry of Home Affairs Padma Awards 2021 announced

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

• On the other hand, ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service. Among the 2021 awardees, 29 are women, one is a transgender,10 are foreigners/NRIs/OCI and 16 have passed away. There will be no recipient of the Bharat Ratna in 2021. The Padma Awards shall be formally conferred by the President in the Rashtrapati Bhawan in March or April.

Padma Vibhushan awards List

1. Shinzo Abe, Japan

2. S P Balasubramaniam (Posthumous), Tamil Nadu

3. Belle Monappa Hegde, Karnataka

4. Narinder Singh Kapany (Posthumous), USA

5. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Delhi

6. B. B. Lal, Delhi

7. Sudarshan Sahoo, Odisha

Padma Bhushan Awards List

1. Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, Kerala

2. Tarun Gogoi (Posthumous), Assam

3. Chandrashekhar Kambara, Karnataka

4. Sumitra Mahajan, Madhya Pradesh

5. Nripendra Misra, Uttar Pradesh

6. Ram Vilas Paswan (Posthumous), Bihar

7. Keshubhai Patel (Posthumous), Gujarat

8. Kalbe Sadiq (Posthumous), Uttar Pradesh

9. Rajnikant Devidas Shroff, Maharashtra

10. Tarlochan Singh, Haryana

Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2021

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

Distribution of 32 awards based on the respective categories

• Art & Culture – 7

• Innovation – 9

• Scholastic achievements – 5

• Sports – 7

• Bravery – 3

• Social Service 1

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Important Current Affairs 25th January 2021


Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa & his Government Resigns

• The Prime Minister of Mongolia, Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, has resigned along with his entire government, following protests and public outrage over the government’s handling of the C-19 pandemic. The 52-year-old served as the Prime Minister of Mongolia from 4 October 2017 to 21 January 2021.

• Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa has submitted his resignation and a proposal to dissolve his government after hundreds gathered outside the parliament building to demonstrate against the policies. Parliament, which is controlled by Khurelsukh’s Mongolian People’s Party, voted overwhelmingly to accept his resignation.

Morgan Stanley’s Gorman Tops Dimon as Best-Paid Big Bank CEO

• Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman leaped past JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon as the best-paid CEO of a major U.S. bank.

• Morgan Stanley boosted Gorman’s pay 22% to $33 million for 2020, when the Wall Street bank posted its third consecutive year of record earnings. His pay includes $1.5 million in salary and a $7.88 million bonus, the firm said Friday in a filing. The vast majority is in the form of $23.6 million in long-term awards, which pay out in shares and are partially tied to return on equity and shareholder-return targets.


Budget 2021: Finance minister launches Union Budget mobile app

• On the occasion of the Halwa Ceremony 2021, marking the final stage of Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched the 'Union Budget Mobile App' on Saturday, January 23, for quick, easy, and hassle-free access of the official Budget documents for the members of the parliaments as well as the general public. Due to the C-19 pandemic, the budget this year will be paperless for the first time ever in the history of independent India.

• As the budget papers will not be printed, the official mobile app has been launched by the Ministry of Finance for complete access to all budget documents in the upcoming Union Budget 2021-22.

Maharashtra govt to launch jail tourism at Yerwada prison on R-Day

• The Maharashtra government is starting “jail tourism” in the state, beginning with Pune’s 150-year-old Yerwada jail in the first phase, from Republic Day on January 26.

• Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said, “The famous Yerwada jail has cells where many stalwarts of the Indian freedom struggle were imprisoned. They include Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Sarojini Naidu and Motilal Nehru among others. It also has a tree below which the Poona Pact was signed by Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Similarly, this is the jail where (revolutionaries) the Chaphekar brothers were hanged to death. Also to hang here were Sukha and Jinda, killers of General VK Vaidya and (Pakistani terrorist) Ajmal Kasab. The state government has decided to start jail tourism from Yerwada jail on January 26 with the view to let people see the place.” “Maharashtra is the first state in the country to do so,” he added.


Veteran Bureaucrat, poet and Hyderabad historian Narendra Luther passes away

• Noted historian, author, poet and retired bureaucrat Narendra Luther has passed. A 1955 batch IAS officer, Luther was closely associated with the history and culture of erstwhile Hyderabad state and its rulers.

• He had served in various positions before retiring as the chief secretary of the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 1991. He has penned a number of books on the history, heritage and architecture of Hyderabad.

Legendary American talk-show host Larry King passes away

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

• King has quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians, entertainers, athletes, and everyday people for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades.


National Voters’ Day observed on 25 January

• India observes “National Voters’ Day” every year on January 25 to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process. 2021 marks the 11th National Voters’ Day (NVD).

• The theme of NVD 2021 is, ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed’. The day has been started from January 25, 2011, to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India (ECI), which was established on 25th January 1950.

International Day of Education: 24 January

• The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The first-ever International Day of Education was celebrated on 24 January 2019 as per the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 3rd 2018 to celebrate the role of education in development.

• The third International Day of Education will be marked under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the C-19 Generation’. Now is the time to power education by stepping up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery.

National Girl Child Day : January 24

• In India, the National Girl Child Day (NGCD) is observed annually on January 24. The day aims to focus on the inequalities faced by girls, to promote the education, health & nutrition of the girl child, and to spread awareness about the rights of a girl child. The day was observed for the first time in 2008 as an initiative by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Government of India.

• Spread awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by girls in the country.

• Promote awareness about the rights of a girl child.

• Increase awareness on the importance of girl education, health, and nutrition.


Tata Power Solar wins Rs 1,200 crore order to set up 320 MW project

• Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd (Tata Power Solar), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power, on Saturday announced that it has received an order worth Rs 1,200 crore from state-run power giant NTPC.

• The company has received a Letter of Award (LoA) to build 320MW of ground mounted Solar PV project for NTPC, as per an official press release.

• The order value of the project is approximately ₹1,200 crore ($162 million).

• The commercial operation date for the project is set for May 2022.

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Important Current Affairs 24th January 2021


Odisha’s famous ‘Toshali National Crafts Mela’ begins

• Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has inaugurated the annual Toshali National Crafts Mela in Bhubaneswar. The Crafts Mela was inaugurated virtually. The Toshali Crafts Mela has become one of the most popular handlooms and handicrafts fairs in Eastern India. Three artisans were also presented with the State Handicrafts Award-2019 in the event. Three winners are- Dilip Kumar Swain (palm leaf engraving), Divyajyoti Behera (stone sculpting), and Priyanka Patra (terracotta).

• A total number of 250 stalls have been set up at the Janata Maidan venue displaying the best handloom and handicrafts from across the country. Out of the total, 170 stalls represent Odisha textiles and crafts and 80 stalls are of other states.

Harsh Vardhan inaugurates 7th Edition of MASCRADE 2021

• The 7th edition of ‘MASCRADE 2021 – Movement against Smuggled & Counterfeit Trade’ was inaugurated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister of Health and Family welfare. The two-day programme was organized by FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), to combat illicit trade, especially in a post COVID era.

• The event provided a platform to deliberate and discuss actionable, innovative policy solutions that can reverse the rising incidences of counterfeit, smuggled and spurious products, causing significant damage to the economy of the nation, health and safety of people worldwide.

Arjun Munda Virtually Launches “Shramshakti” Portal

• The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda has launched a National Migration Support Portal “ShramShakti”, during a virtual programme organised at Panjim, Goa. The portal will help the government in smooth formulation of state and national level programs for migrant workers.

• Shram Shakti portal will address the data gap and empower migrant workers who generally migrate in search of employment and income generation. The government would also be able to link the migrant population with existing Welfare Scheme- under Atam Nirbhar Bharat.

• The minister also launched “ShramSaathi”, a training manual for migrant workers, to ensure that the process of livelihood migration is safe and productive. Apart from this, a dedicated Migration cell was also launched in Goa to facilitate and support migrants who come from different States to Goa. This makes Goa first destination state of India to set up a dedicated migration cell to address diverse issues of migrant workers.


ITBP wins IHAI National Ice Hockey Championship

• The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has won the Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI) 10th National Ice Hockey Championship trophy after a win over Ladakh in the finals in Gulmarg. The match was held at Gulmarg Ice Rink. Ladakh has been considered as the capital of ice hockey in India where local men and women play this game with great enthusiasm.

• The championship was held at an altitude of 8,694-feet and temperatures below freezing point. Top eight teams of ice hockey in India participated in the event. Top teams of Ice Hockey in India participated in the Championship organized from January 16 to 22, 2021.


Popular Bhajan Singer Narendra Chanchal passes away

• The iconic Indian Bhajan singer Narendra Chanchal, who specialized in religious songs and hymns, has passed away. He sang a Bollywood song Beshak Mandir Masjid for the 1973 film Bobby and won Filmfare Best Male Playback Award.

• Some of his ever-popular bhajans include Chalo Bulawa Aaya Hai, Tune Mujhe Bulaya Sherawaliye, Ambe Tu Hai Jagadambe Kali, Hanuman Chalisa, Sankat Mochan Naam Tiharo, Ram Se Bada Ram Ka Naam among others. Besides several bhajans, Chanchal had also given voice in several Hindi films as well.


Justice Geeta Mittal appointed as new Chairperson of BCCC

• Broadcasters industry body Indian Broadcasting Foundation has appointed former Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court Justice Gita Mittal as the new Chairperson of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC).

• BCCC is the independent self-regulatory body set up by IBF to examine content-related complaints relating to all non-news general entertainment channels in India.

• Mittal succeeds former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Vikramajit Sen, whose tenure as BCCC Chairperson has ended. She served as the first woman Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court and is also the first woman Chairperson of BCCC.


Nikhil Srivastava named joint winner of Michael and Sheila Held Prize

• Nikhil Srivastava, a young Indian mathematician, has been named winner of the prestigious 2021 Michael and Sheila Held Prize along with two others for solving long-standing questions on the Kadison-Singer problem and on Ramanujan graphs. Srivastava is currently Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of California.

• Srivastava from the University of California, Berkeley, Adam Marcus, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Daniel Alan Spielman from Yale University will receive the 2021 Michael and Sheila Held Prize.

• The Michael and Sheila Held Prize is presented annually and honours outstanding, innovative, creative, and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimisation, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory. The prize was established in 2017 by the bequest of Michael And Sheila Held. The prize consists of a medal and USD 100,000.

Shyam Srinivasan is Business Standard Banker of the Year

• Shyam Srinivasan, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Federal Bank, is the Business Standard Banker of the Year for 2019-20. The award was given for his bank’s consistent healthy performance at a time when most of its peers witnessed large stress on asset quality, registered losses, or even invited regulatory actions.

• The unanimous decision was taken by a high-profile jury of five, chaired by former RBI deputy governor S S Mundra. He was chosen for his bank’s consistent healthy performance at a time when most of its peers witnessed losses or other issues.


WIPRO group knowledge partner of MP

• In Madhya Pradesh, WIPRO group is all set to act as knowledge partner of the State Government. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, while holding a discussion with Mr Azim Premji of WIPRO through video conference today, informed that the company has taken initiative for establishment of a university in the State. For this purpose, the State Government will extend all possible support to the Foundation.

• The Wipro Group will also set up a Software Development Centre in Bhopal. The Chief Minister said, such centres will go a long way in providing more opportunities to the youth in the Information Technology sector.

• Azim Premji Foundation has been allotted 50 acres of land for the proposed university in Bhopal. Its First Phase will start soon. The goal is to start the university in the next 18 months. The Chief Minister said, this university will emerge as an important institution in the field of higher education in the State.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2021


India’s longest Road Arch Bridge inaugurated in Meghalaya

• Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma has inaugurated India’s longest road arch bridge “Wahrew Bridge” at Sohbar in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya on 22 January 2021. The project was sanctioned in 2013 and, the work started in 2014. The construction of the bridge was completed in December 2018.

• The arch bridge has been constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 49.395 crore under the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) of the Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER). The iconic structure is expected to boost the tourism sector in the State.

Amit Shah inaugurates new 4-lane Thaltej-Shilaj-Rancharda railway overbridge

• Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah has inaugurated the new 4-lane Thaltej-Shilaj-Rancharda railway overbridge in Ahmedabad city of Gujarat through video conferencing. The new overbridge has been built at a cost of Rs 55 crore.

• There was a big problem of traffic on more than one lakh railway crossings in the country. Railway gates would open and close more than 100 times a day, due to which the costly fuel and precious time was wasted. In view of this, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi decided and under the leadership of Railway Minister Shri Piyush Goyal, a huge campaign was started in which the work of constructing overbridges or underbridges at these one lakh railway crossings was started. Today, this overbridge has been inaugurated under the same scheme.

Karnataka CM Yediyurappa launches Avalokana software

• The Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa recently launched Avalokana software. The software will enable the state government to access data on expenditures and sanctions incurred on 1,800 programmes. The software provides a focused eye view on Sustainable Development goals, Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan, Tribal Sub-plan and Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

• It is a transparent e-governance tool that will provide Assembly constituency-wise release of government grants and allocations to different government programmes.

• This will help the government to decide on releasing funds based on the expenditure incurred by the department.

• It will eventually increase the government hold over resources. The software provides a focused view on scheduled caste sub-plan, sustainable development goals and tribal sub-plan and centrally sponsored scheme.

MeITY and AWS announced Quantum Computing Applications Lab in India

• The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced the establishment of a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The move will give select researchers, scientists access to Amazon’s Bracket cloud-based quantum computing service.

• It is to be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology operating under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

• The mission focuses on fundamental science, technology development and addresses the issues concerning the national priorities.

• It will prepare next-generation skilled manpower and encourages entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem development.

• The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to spend Rs 8,000 crores on the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.

• Quantum Technology is based on principles of quantum physics. That is, it is based on quantum theory. In simple words, it is the behaviour of energy and material in atomic and subatomic levels. It will help achieve information processing that will go beyond the limits of the classical world. A conventional computer will process in bits. On the other hand, a quantum computer will process in quantum bits.

Andaman and Nicobar Command to conduct joint military exercise ‘Kavach’

• The Indian Army is to conduct a large scale joint military exercise Kavach in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. The exercise is to be held under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command. The Joint Military Exercise Kavach will involve Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.

• During the exercise, the joint forces will execute high-density offensive and defence measures in the Andaman sea and Bay of Bengal. Also, they will carry out amphibious landing operations, helicopter-borne insertion of special forces from sea culminating in tactical follow-on operations on land.

• The exercise is to fine-tune the joint war capabilities of all the three forces of India.

• Kavach Exercise will also involve coordinated air and maritime strikes, synergized application of maritime surveillance assets, air defence and landing operations.

• Along with Kavach Exercise, the Joint Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) Exercise will also be held. The ISR will validate the capabilities of intelligence gathering. Also, it will validate the capabilities of information sharing from space, land, air and sea.

CM to inaugurate first child-friendly police station of U’khand

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat will inaugurate the first child-friendly police station of Uttarakhand, which is meant to provide a friendly environment to children associated with crimes. The child-friendly police unit has been set up in the Dalanwala police station with a budget of about Rs 5 lakhs on the recommendation of the Child Protection Committee of Uttarakhand.

• According to the chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) Usha Negi, the children who are either victims or need proper counselling or visit police station due to other reasons should be provided with a comfortable and unintimidating environment rather than keeping them in a dull and scary atmosphere. To keep children at ease, the walls are painted in bright colours and cartoons and the police personnel will also be dressed in casual clothes rather than their uniforms.


DRDO Successfully Test Flights indigenously developed “SAAW”

• The DRDO successfully conducted captive and release trial of indigenously developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Hawk-I aircraft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) off the Odisha coast. This was the 9th successful mission of SAAW conducted by DRDO till now and the first test conducted from the Hawk-i aircraft.

• The 125 Kg class smart weapon SAAW was successfully test-fired from Indian Hawk-Mk132 of HAL.

• SAAW is indigenously designed and developed by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) Hyderabad.

• It is capable of engaging ground enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks, and runways among others, up to a range of 100 km.


Parakram diwas is celebrated on 23 January

• Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s, 125th birth anniversary on 23 January 2021 is observed as Parakram Diwas. The day is celebrated to honour and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation.

• Netaji’ was born on January 23, 1897, in Cuttack in Odisha. He graduated from Kolkata and proved his mettle by becoming an Indian Civil Services (ICS) officer. But he left the comfort and amenities that came with his job and decided to be part of the freedom struggle.

• With the slogan “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”, he awakened the country towards fighting against the British.

• Netaji built a force known as the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) giving the slogan of “Dilli Chalo”. Thousands of soldiers of his 60,000-strong army sacrificed their lives for the country.

• At the time of India’s Independence, Clement Attlee the British Prime Minister said that the loyalty of the Indian army and navy to the British state was declining due to the increasing military activities of Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj and this was one of the major reasons that nudged Britishers into leaving India.


The Global Risks Report 2021 released

• The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the Global Risks Report 2021, 16th Edition. The findings of the report are based on the Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) undertaken by over 650 members of WEF’s diverse leadership communities. The Report is prepared with Strategic Partners, Marsh McLennan in Partnership with SK Group and Zurich Insurance Group.

• The report is being released before WEF’s upcoming virtual Davos Agenda scheduled to be held between January 25-29, 2021. The main objective behind the publishing of the report is to enable better preparation by Government & other International Communities during the times of crisis.

• The Top 3 Risks by Likelihood (Very Likely to happen in the next 10 years) are Extreme Weather, Climate Action Failure & Human Environmental Damage.

• The Top 3 Risks by Impact (amount of impact they are expected to create) are Infectious diseases, Climate Action Failure & Weapons of mass destruction.


RBI slaps penalty of Rs 2 crore on Standard Chartered Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 2 crore on Standard Chartered Bank–India for delays in reporting of frauds.  The penalty has been imposed on the bank for non-compliance with certain directions issued by it contained in the ‘Reserve Bank of India (Frauds – Classification and Reporting by commercial banks and select FIs) Directions 2016’.

• The notice was issued to the bank advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for such non-compliance with the directions. After considering the bank’s reply to the notice and oral submissions made in the personal hearing, the RBI concluded that the charge of non-compliance with the aforesaid RBI directions was substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty.

SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank remain as (D-SIBs)

• The RBI state-owned SBI, along with private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank continue to be Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) or institutions which are ‘too big to fail’. SBI, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs), under the same bucketing structure as in the 2018 list of D-SIBs.

• SIBs are subjected to higher levels of supervision so as to prevent disruption in financial services in the event of any failure.

• The Reserve Bank had issued the framework for dealing with D-SIBs in July 2014.

• The D-SIB framework requires the central to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs starting from 2015 and place these lenders in appropriate buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs).

• SIBs are seen as ‘too big to fail (TBTF)’, creating the expectation of government support for them in times of financial distress. These banks also enjoy certain advantages in funding markets.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd January 2021


Indo-French Exercise Desert Knight-21 begins

• Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force are conducting a bilateral Air exercise, Ex Desert Knight-21 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The exercise marks an important milestone in the series of engagements between the two Air forces. It is unique as it includes fielding of Rafale aircraft by both sides and is indicative of the growing interaction between the two premiers Air Forces.

• The French side will participate with Rafale, Airbus A-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport, A-400M Tactical Transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel. The Indian Air Force aircraft participating in the exercise will include Rafale, Mirage 2000, Sukhoi-30 MKI among other aircraft.


Cabinet approves Rs 5,282-cr investment for 850 MW Ratle project on Chenab river

• The Union Cabinet has approved 850 megawatts (MW) Ratle hydropower project worth an Rs. 5281.94 crore on Chenab river in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. The project is being implemented under the Centre’s plan to expedite strategically important hydropower projects in the union territory post its reorganization.

• The project will be developed by a new joint venture company between state-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd and Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd (JKSPDC), where NHPC will have a 51% stake in the JV firm, while the balance will be held by JKSPDC.

CM Thakur launches HP’s first online youth radio station

• Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has launched Himachal Pradesh’s first online youth radio station ”Radio Hills-Youngistan Ka Dil”. The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of young entrepreneurs. The developer of the online radio Karan, and Radio Jockeys Palak, Rahul and Nidhi were also present on the occasion.

• The online radio would go a long way in promoting the culture and traditions of the state, besides providing an opportunity to the youth to exhibit their talents. The founders of the online radio, Deepika and Saurabh.

Gujarat to Rename Dragon Fruit as ‘Kamalam’

• The Gujarat state government has renamed dragon fruit as ‘Kamalam’. The move has kept the internet in splits and many criticized it using the hashtag #SanskariFruitSabzi. As per Gujarat Chief Minister, the dragon fruit has been renamed Kamalam because of the shape of the fruit.

• The state government has applied for the patent of the fruit named Kamalam. This was announced at the launch of the Chief Minister Horticulture Development Mission. The Horticulture Development Mission is a scheme to promote horticulture in the unproductive regions of the state as well.

Howrah-Kalka Mail Renamed as “Netaji Express”

• One of the oldest trains of Indian Railways, the Howrah-Kalka Mail has been renamed as the ‘Netaji Express’. Indian Railways have renamed the train just a few days before the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on January 23.

• Howrah-Kalka Mail was started in the 19th Century as one of the early commercial passenger train services in India.

• The Kalka mail has always been popular for connecting Howrah with Kalka and has enjoyed steady patronage.

• It is believed that Netaji took this train from Bihar’s Gomoh after escaping from his house in Kolkata in the year 1941.


Malayalam actor Unnikrishnan Namboothiri passes away

• Veteran Malayalam actor, Unnikrishnan Namboothiri has passed away while contracting COVID-19. He made his acting debut in 1996 with Desadanam. However, he became a household name among the Malayalam film audience for his performance as a witty grandfather in Kalyanaraman (2002).

• Unnikrishnan is well known for movies like Kaikudunna Nilavu (1998), Kaliyattam (1997), Pammal K Sambandam (2002), Sadanandante Samayam (2003), Madhuranombarakattu (2000), Rappakal (2005), and Pokkiri Raja (2010).

Former Arunachal Governor Mata Prasad passes away

• Former Arunachal Governor Mata Prasad has passed away at the age of 95.

• He served as minister in the Congress government in Uttar Pradesh in 1988- 89 and appointed as Governor of Arunachal Pradesh in 1993.


ACC appoints Sanjeev Kumar as new CMD of TCIL

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Sanjeev Kumar as the new Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL). According to an order from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Kumar has been appointed to the post for a period of five years from the date of assumption of the charge of the post, or till the age of superannuation, or until further orders, whichever is earlier. He is currently serving as Director (Technical) in Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

• Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is a Miniratna PSU under the administrative control of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications. TCIL, a premier telecommunication consultancy and engineering company is making available its vast and varied telecom expertise to friendly developing countries.

Govt appoints Siddhartha Mohanty as managing director of LIC

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has appointed Siddhartha Mohanty as the managing director of India’s largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) from February 1 onwards. He is currently CEO of LIC Housing Finance Limited. He will serve as the MD of LIC till his superannuation on June 30, 2023. He will be replacing TC Suseel Kumar, who is set to retire on January 31, 2021.

• LIC has four MDs and one chairman. Currently, MR Kumar is serving as the chairman of the corporation and TC Suseel Kumar, Vipin Anand, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, and Raj Kumar are serving as the MDs of LIC.

JSW Sports signs cricketer Rishabh Pant to manage commercial interests

• Rishabh Pant was signed by JSW Sports, the sports arm of JSW Group. The multi-year association between the two parties will see JSW Sports manage all commercial interests and marketing rights of the 23-year-old cricketer, who most recently played a starring role in India’s magnificent Test series win in Australia. As part of the association, JSW Sports will manage the athlete’s image positioning and all his commercial engagements, including brand endorsements and appearances, social media monetisation, and business deals.

• Ever since its inception in 2012, JSW Sports has worked towards maximising India’s sporting potential by working with promising Indian talents across Olympic sports, football, and kabaddi; including Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik and wrestling star Bajrang Punia.

Sundaram Finance names Rajiv Lochan as MD

• The board of Sundaram Finance has named Rajiv Lochan (director Strategy) as managing director with effect from April 1. Sundaram Finance Ltd has made top-level changes as the current managing director T.T. Srinivasaraghavan will be retiring on March 31, 2020.

• While the current deputy managing director Harsha Viji will assume the office of executive vice-chairman, and take responsibility for the overall strategy and direction of Sundaram Finance Ltd., and other group companies in financial services.


Axis Bank launches Aura Credit Card with health, wellness benefits

• Axis Bank has unveiled a credit ‘AURA’ exclusively loaded with several health and wellness benefits for its users at an affordable price. Axis Bank has partnered with Poshvine to offer benefits and specialists such as Decathlon, Practo, Fitternity, IndushealthPlus, 1MG etc., to offer a complete and unique health & wellness solution to the cardholders.

• Cardholders will get a discount on annual medical checkup through IndushealthPlus.

• It offers up to 4 free online video consultations for a month, with round the clock access to doctors on all 21 specialities. This is offered by Procto.

• It also offers 4 free online interactive fitness sessions for a month by Fitternity.

• Through this card, the users can have access to 16 recorded training sessions for one month and can choose from a wide range of sessions such as yoga and cross-functional training programs, etc.

Airtel Payments Bank launches ‘Airtel Safe Pay’

• To protect Airtel customers from the growing incidents of online payment frauds, Airtel Payments Bank has launched ‘Airtel Safe Pay’, a safe way to pay digitally. With ‘Airtel Safe Pay’, Airtel customers making UPI or net banking-based payments through Airtel Payments Bank, no longer have to worry about money flowing out of their accounts without their explicit consent.

• An India-First innovation, ‘Airtel Safe Pay’ leverages Airtel’s ‘telco exclusive’ strength of network intelligence to provide an additional layer of payment validation, compared to the industry norm of two-factor authentication.

• This offers the highest level of protection from potential frauds such as phishing, stolen credentials or passwords, and even phone cloning that catches customers unaware.

• Using ‘Airtel Safe Pay’, Airtel Payments Bank customers can make secure digital payments across millions of merchants, online retailers and utilities, and even send money.

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Important Current Affairs 21st January 2021


Infosys receives Google Cloud Partner Status

• Infosys has recently announced that it has been accredited with the Google Cloud Partner Specialization in the data and analytics space. Infosys is among the top global system integrators which have been accredited with this specialization.

• Infosys has received this recognition as the company has successfully demonstrating end-to-end capabilities on Google Cloud including warehousing on the cloud and data ingestion.

• Infosys has showcased robust methodology, strong industry expertise, technical proficiency, success in specialized data and analytics solutions, and service areas.

• These data and analytics offerings are a part of Infosys Cobalt.

• Along with AI capabilities, these data and analytics offerings help in optimizing costs paving the way for AI and cloud-native digital transformation for enterprises, migrating workloads to Google Cloud, and modernize data landscapes.

• Infosys Cobalt is a set of services, platforms, and solutions for enterprises for enhancing and accelerating their cloud journey. The Infosys Cobalt provides more than 200 industry cloud solution blueprints and 14,000 cloud assets.

Joe Biden takes oath as 46th US President

• Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. He swore the oath of office moments after Kamala Harris, who became America’s first woman vice president, turning the page on Donald Trump’s tumultuous four years.  At 78, Biden is the oldest president in US history and only the second Roman Catholic president.

• Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama and first ran for president in 1987, plans to kick off his tenure with a flurry of 17 orders. Biden will immediately rejoin the Paris climate accord and stop the US exit from the World Health Organization and set new paths on immigration, the environment, Covid-19 and the economy.

• Biden, who is the oldest president in American history, took the oath by placing his left hand on his 127-year-old family Bible, which was held by his wife, Jill Biden. He used the same Bible during his swearing-in as vice president and seven times as senator from Delaware.

• Lady Gaga, in a poofy dress that was Valentine red, sang the national anthem and Tom Hanks prepared for a televised evening appearance with the new president.

• Jennifer Lopez sang a pop rendition of “This Land is Your Land,” often considered the unofficial US national anthem, ending it by exclaiming the words of the pledge of allegiance — a nation that promises “liberty and justice for all” in Spanish.

Netherlands PM Mark Rutte and his entire cabinet quits

• The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet has resigned recently over the childcare subsidies scandal, in which thousands of families were wrongly accused of child welfare fraud. However, the Rutte government will stay on in a caretaker role until parliamentary elections in March 2021.

• The resignation brings to an end a decade in office for Rutte, although his party is expected to win the election, putting him first in line to begin talks to form the next government. If he succeeds in forming a new coalition, Rutte would most likely again become prime minister.


15th India Digital Summit 2021 begins

• The India Digital Summit, the flagship event of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is one of the biggest conferences for the digital industry. Honourable Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is the chief guest, will deliver the inaugural address at the Summit.

• The summit, in its 15th year, will bring thought leadership on various digital initiatives that will cover Policies, Business, Investment, Advertising, Digital Commerce, Start-ups Ecosystem, Emerging Tech, and other Digital Trends.

• The theme for this year’s summit, which is being held virtually is ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Start of New Decade’ in line with the government’s ‘Make for the World’ Initiatives.

• The staggering increase in the total number of internet users in rural India recently presents us with the unique opportunity to establish India as a global powerhouse of Digital Growth.

Bhawana Kanth to become 1st woman fighter pilot at R-Day parade

• Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will become the 1st woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. She will be a part of the Indian Air Force’s tableau in the 2021 Republic Day Parade that will showcase mock-ups of the light combat helicopter, light combat aircraft, and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane.

• At present, Bhawana is posted in Rajasthan and flies the MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.

• Bhawana is also one of the first women fighter pilots to be inducted into the Indian Air Force in the year 2016.

• She was inducted into IAF in 2016 along with Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi.

• Since then 10 women have been commissioned as fighter pilots in IAF.

• Induction of Bhawana and other two women fighters was an experimental scheme of induction of women in IAF’s combat stream introduced in the year 2015.

NITI Aayog Releases India Innovation Index 2.0

• NITI Aayog released the second edition of the India Innovation Index on 20 January 2021, along with the Institute for Competitiveness. India Innovation Index 2.0 or 2nd edition has released by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar. The index demonstrates the government’s continued commitment towards transforming the country into an innovation-driven economy. The report examines the innovation capabilities and performance of the states and union territories.

The innovation index ranking is based on five enabler parameters:

• Human Capital

• Investment

• Knowledge Workers

• ‘Business Environment

• ‘Safety and Legal Environment

Two performance parameters:

• Knowledge Output

• Knowledge Diffusion

• In the India Innovation Index-2020, the States and Union Territories have been divided into the 17 Major States, 9 City-States and Union Territories, and 10 North-East and Hill States.

In the 2020 ranking:

• Karnataka retained its first position in the Major States category. Maharashtra moved one position higher and stood at 2nd spot while Tamil Nadu slid to 3rd position.

• In the North East and Hill States category, Himachal Pradesh stands at first position followed by Uttarakhand and Manipur.

• Delhi stands at the first position while Chandigarh retained its second spot in the Union Territories and small States category.

Kiren Rijiju gets additional charge of Ayush Ministry

• Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs, Kiren Rijiju has been given the additional charge of the Ayush Ministry. He will hold the fort till Shripad Yesso Naik recovers from an accident. The President has directed that this arrangement may continue till Shri Shripad Yesso Naik resumes his work related to Ministry of AYUSH.”

• The President, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed that during the hospitalisation and treatment of Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH); and Minister of State in Ministry of Defence, following a road accident, his portfolio related to Ministry of AYUSH, be temporarily assigned to Shri Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Independent Charge) in addition to his existing portfolios.

Maharashtra renames Gorewada international zoo after Bal Thackeray

• The Maharashtra government has renamed Gorewada International Zoo in Nagpur as ‘Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park. The zoological park will come up on nearly 2,000 hectares forest land.

• Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate the Indian safari at the zoo on January 26. Three special 40-seat capacity vehicles and an online ticket booking facility will be made available to the people as soon after the Indian safari is inaugurated.


India, Singapore sign pact on submarine rescue support

• The 5th edition of the Defence Ministers’ Dialogue (DMD) between India and Singapore was successfully held on 20 January 2021 through a video conference, in an effort to deepen military cooperation.

• During the meeting, the ‘Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation’ was signed between the two Navies. The agreement was signed between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen.


Goa CM releases book 'Manohar Parrikar - Off the Record'

• Goa Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant has released a book ‘Manohar Parrikar- Off the Record’ at a function organized at Institute Menezes Braganza hall in the city. The book has been written by senior journalist Waman Subha Prabhu.

• The book ‘Manohar Parrikar- Off the Record’ is a collection of memories of Mr Prabhu who happened to be with late Parrikar during the journey of his life. In the book, the author has endeavoured to narrate the multi-faceted personality of late Manohar Parrikar. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, while speaking, said Late Manohar Parrikar was a great visionary who had dreamt to serve Goa.


ICICI Bank launches ‘InstaFX’ mobile app

• ICICI Bank has launched a new mobile application ‘InstaFX’ for authorised money changers to help customers of any bank get ‘ICICI Bank Forex Prepaid Card’ swiftly. ICICI is the bank is the first in the country to offer such facility to money changers. A money changer is a person or organization whose business is the exchange of coins or currency of one country, for that of another.

• The ‘InstaFX’ app will enable the authorised money changers, who are partners of the Bank, to complete the KYC verification and validation of customers digitally and on a real-time basis.

• The ‘ICICI Bank Forex Prepaid Card’ gets activated swiftly within a few hours, as against the industry practice of up to two-days, thus it will significantly improve customer convenience, even if they are not customers of ICICI bank.

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Important Current Affairs 20th January 2021


Yoweri Museveni wins sixth term as Uganda’s President

• Uganda’s incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has been declared as the winner of the country’s presidential election for 2021. Museveni secured 58.64 per cent of the total votes cast, to win the sixth term as the President.

• The 76-year-old leader is serving as the President of the Republic of Uganda since 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents.


Noida Police ties up with Microsoft for tech support

• Police Commissioner Alok Singh signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with representatives of Microsoft India, hoping to bring in simplicity and skills in policing.

• The Gautam Buddh Nagar police and tech giant Microsoft on Monday entered into an agreement to boost policing in this western Uttar Pradesh district, according to an official statement.

PM Modi appointed chairman of Somnath Temple Trust

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi was appointed the new chairman of the trust which manages the world-famous Somnath Temple at Prabhas Patan town in Gujarat's Gir-Somnath district, becoming the second PM to hold the post. After former PM Morarji Desai, Narendra Modi is the second Prime Minister who has been appointed the chairman of the temple trust. As per trust records, PM Modi has become the eighth chairman of the trust. As per the records, Desai had served as the chairman between 1967 and 1995.

• The post of the Somnath Trust's chairman fell vacant after the death of the incumbent, former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, in October last year. Patel had served as the chairman for 16 years (2004-2020). Other trustees include BJP leader LK Advani, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Gujarat-based scholar JD Parmar and businessman Harshvardhan Neotia.

DRDO hands over Motor Bike Ambulance Rakshita to CRPF

• Defence Research and Development Organisation has handed over Motor Bike Ambulance Rakshita to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency health care providers. The bike ambulances will provide life-saving aid for the evacuation of injured patients from low-intensity conflict areas.

• Rakshita is fitted with a customized reclining Casualty Evacuation Seat (CES), which can be fitted in and taken out as per requirement.

• Other major features are the head immobilizer, safety harness jacket, hand and foot straps for safety, adjustable footrest, physiological parameter measuring equipment with wireless monitoring capability and auto warning system for the driver.

• The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency health care providers. The bike ambulances will provide life-saving aid for the evacuation of injured patients from low-intensity conflict areas.


Carolina Marin wins Yonex Thailand Open badminton tournament 2021

• Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin bolstered her chances of defending her title in Tokyo later this year after claiming the Thailand Open in Bangkok over top seed Tai Tzu-Ying. The Yonex Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament was held from 12 January 2021 to 17 January 2021. It was the first badminton tournament of 2021 by Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Winners of Singles Title:

• Men’s Category: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) defeated Angus Long (Hong Kong) to clinch the Men’s Singles Title.

• Women’s Category: Carolina Marin (Spain) defeated Tai Tzu-Ying (Taiwan) to bag the Women’s Singles Title.

Winners of Doubles Title:

• In the Men’s Doubles, Taiwan’s Lee Yang & Wang Chi-Lin beat Malaysia’s Goh V Shem & Tan Wee Kiong to bag the Doubles Title.

• In the Women’s Doubles, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii & Apriyani Rahayu defeated Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul & Rawinda Prajongjai to clinch the Doubles Title.

Winners of Mixed Doubles:

• Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai defeated Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan & Melati Daeva Oktavianti to clinch the mixed doubles title.


Dr V Shanta, renowned Indian oncologist, passes away

• Dr V Shanta, renowned Indian oncologist and doyen of cancer care, has passed away at the age of 93. Dr V Shanta was also the chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute.

• Dr V Shanta was known for her work on cancer care and for building the Cancer Institute with her mentor. The institute is known for providing state-of-the-art health care to all patients, irrespective of their economic condition.

Hyderabad’s best-known historian Narendra Luther, passes away at 88

• Hyderabad’s most respected historian Narendra Luther passed away on Tuesday at a private hospital in Hyderabad at the age of 88. Also a bureaucrat, poet and an authority on all things Hyderabadi.

• An IAS officer in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, he moved to Hyderabad in 1959 and developed deep roots with the city. He penned 13 books about Hyderabad’s history and had an undying love for the city’s rockscape.

Former Union Minister and Industrialist Kamal Morarka passes away

• Former Union minister and noted industrialist Kamal Morarka has passed away. He served as the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar from 1990 to 1991.

• The 74-year-old leader, a businessman who was also a former BCCI vice president. He was incumbent president of Samajwadi Janata Party (Chandra Shekhar). He was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1988.


Vishwavir Ahuja re-appointed as RBL Bank chief

• The board of directors of RBL Bank has approved the re-appointment of Vishwavir Ahuja as the Managing Director and CEO of the bank for three years. The re-appointment is with effect from June 30, 2021, to June 29, 2024, and the same is being recommended to the Reserve Bank of India and shall be subject to their approval, the bank said in a regulatory filing. He has been MD & CEO of RBL Bank since June 30, 2010.

• Prior to joining RBL Bank, he was the MD & CEO of Bank of America, India, from 2001 to 2009. As per the regulatory filing, under Ahuja’s leadership, the deposits of the bank have grown almost 40 times, while advances have grown more than 45 times since 2011.


Nihal wins Gazprom Brilliancy Prize

• Nihal Sarin became the winner of the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize, a special trophy awarded to the best game from the FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Championship (December, 20) by the General Partner of the competition.

• His victory against Francesco Sonis received 5 votes out of 9.

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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2021


India and Japan inks MoC to promote movement of skilled workers

• India and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) a Basic Framework for Partnership for Proper Operation of the System Pertaining to Specified Skilled Worker (SSW), to promote the movement of skilled workers from India to Japan. The MoC was signed between Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Ambassador of Japan to India Suzuki Satoshi.

• The MoC covers 14 categories of specified skills. The skilled workers from India who meet these skills requirement and Japanese language tests would be eligible for employment in Japan on a contractual basis.

• These workers would be granted the status of Specified Skilled Worker by Japan.

• The 14 specified industry fields include nursing care, building cleaning, material processing, industrial machinery manufacturing, electric and electronic information, construction, shipbuilding and ship-related industry, automobile maintenance, aviation, lodging, agriculture, fisheries, food and beverages manufacturing and food services industry.


Harsh Vardhan chairs 148th session of WHO Executive Board

• Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally chaired the 148th session of WHO Executive Board, through Video Conference. The 148th session of the Executive Board has been organised from 18-26 January 2021.

• The meeting provides a platform to bring together all member states to set the directions and agenda and continue striving for the objective of Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Also, the WHO has declared the Year 2021 as the Year of Global Solidarity and Survival.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates National Road Safety Month 2021

• The first-ever National Road Safety Month was inaugurated by Union Minister for Defence Shri Rajnath Singh and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & MSME Nitin Gadkari. It is the inaugural edition of the National Road Safety Month and is being held in place of National Road Safety Week, which was being observed since the past few years. The objective of the month-long programme is to build awareness about road safety and reduce road accidents in India. It will be held till 17 February 2021.

• During this period, nation-wide activities would be conducted throughout the country in association with State Govt./Union Territory administrations, NHAI, NHIDCL, OEMs and NGOs.

• The centre is also taking several measures to reduce road accidents by Restructuring and Strengthening 4E’s of Road safety, which are: Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency care Services.

PM Modi launches Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund’

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund’ on 16 January 2021, while addressing the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’ 2021. This initiative will help in setting up new startups and promote their growth.

• The Startup India Seed Fund would support startups in need of initial capital to start and grow their business and help budding entrepreneurs pursue innovative ideas.

• The government has been implementing the Fund of Fund Scheme to help startups raise equity capital. Going forward, the government will also help startups in raising debt capital.

India’s first COVID-19 Vaccine recipient is Manish Kumar

• Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker in Delhi, became the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in India after PM Modi flagged off the nationwide vaccination drive on 16 January 2021. Manish Kumar was given the injection at AIIMS in Delhi while Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was also present.

• PM Modi launched the nationwide vaccine drive via videoconferencing and congratulated the people of India on getting two Made in India vaccines. India’s vaccination programme is based on a very important principle that those who are in need of the vaccine will get vaccinated first. Our doctors, nurses, medical & paramedical staff, sanitation workers in hospitals – be it private or hospital are entitled to get vaccinated. This will be done on priority.


Khelo India Zanskar Winter Sport & Youth festival 2021 begins

• In Ladakh, the inaugural edition of the Khelo India Zanskar Winter Sport & Youth Festival 2021 kicked off on 18th January 2021. The 13- Day Zanskar Winter Sports Festival aims to open a new arena in Ladakh for adventure and Nature loving tourists and a boost for local Youth to hone up their skills in winter sports to represent India.

• A series of snow-based activities will be held for the next 13 days to promote tourism and economic activities in the Snowbound, picturesque Zanskar.


Legendary classical musician Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away

• Legendary Indian classical musician and Padma Vibhushan awardee Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passed away. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhusan in 2006, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2018.

• In 2003, he was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, which is the highest recognition given to practising Indian artists by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.


GoI decides to celebrate January 23 as Parakram Diwas

• The birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, on January 23, as ‘Parakram Diwas’ every year, the Ministry of Culture announced. The day is celebrated to honour and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Culture held a high-level committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a befitting manner.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit West Bengal on January 23 to attend Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary celebrations at the Victorial Memorial in Kolkata. The PM is also likely to visit National Library located in Belvedere Estate, Alipore.

NDRF Celebrates its 16th Raising Day

• The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 16th Raising Day on 18th January. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), a specialized multi-skilled, humanitarian force of the country, came into existence on January 19th, 2006 has been playing a vital role in Disaster Management and Community awareness for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the country.

• The NDRF has earned good name and fame nationally and internationally with its selfless service and unmatched professionalism in disaster management. NDRF has saved more than One lakh lives in its 3100 operations and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters.


Ramchandra Guha’s latest book ‘The Commonwealth of Cricket’

•  Ramchandra Guha’s latest book ‘The Commonwealth of Cricket’ would be launching virtually in the Tata Literature Live (The Mumbai Lit fest) this month. His latest book juxtaposes his life with his abiding love for the game & this conversation could not come at a better time with India and Australia in the midst of an enthralling test series.

•  In his upcoming book, ‘The commonwealth of cricket: The most subtle and sophisticated game known to mankind’, Guha has penned down his personal account of being intimately involved with the game starting from the time he was a child growing up in Dehradun to his days in college, from his encounters with the best Indian and foreign cricket players to becoming part of the BCCI.

•  As he traces his multifaceted encounters with the game through anecdotes, memoirs and evocative portraits of cricketing legends, he charts the extraordinary social and historical changes that cricket underwent in India and the world.

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Important Current Affairs 18th January 2021


Pakistan approves emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca C-19 vaccine

• Pakistan has approved the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca C-19 vaccine and the government hopes to make the drug available by the first quarter of the year, as the country's coronavirus tally surged to 519,291.

• Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Health Dr Faisal Sultan confirmed on Saturday that the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) has granted approval for emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine across the country.

US designates UAE, Bahrain as ‘Major Strategic Partners’

• The United States has recently designated the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the “major strategic partners” of the country. This has been announced before the formal transition of the president’s office from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. This announcement of “major strategic partners” was done by Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary.

• Designation as strategic partners will strengthen the existing partnership between the United States, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

• Both the countries have been designated for their commitment to countering violent extremism across the region, exceptional security partnership, and exemplified by their hosting thousands of United States airmen, soldiers, marines, and sailors.

• Also, both the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have been a part of various United States-led coalitions in the last 30 years. It also represents the commitment to the security and economic cooperation of the countries.

• The designation also reflects their determination, extraordinary courage, and leadership in entering into the Abraham Accords.

• The Jebel Ali port of UAE is the busiest port of call for US warships outside of the U.S. Kingdom of Bahrain also hosts around 5,000 American troops and is home to the 5th Fleet of the U.S. Navy.


Kerala Governor launches 'One School One IAS' scheme

• Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has inaugurated the ‘OneSchool One IAS’ scheme which has been rolled out under the Vedhik Erudite Foundations Scholarship Programme. According to a notification released an institution considered by top academics and retired IAS and IPS officers in the state is conducting the programme which seeks to refute the general notion that the civil service is for the elite class only.

• The programme will be providing free training to the students who are economically backward but are academically brilliant aspirants of civil service and other competitive exams.

• The scheme is supported by sponsors, which expects an enrollment of 10,000 boys and girls across the state.

• The beneficiaries of the programme will be selected by a panel which will be headed by the heads of the respective educational institutions.

NASA targets final test of ‘world’s most powerful rocket’

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to carry out the eighth and final test in its “Green Run” test series. This eighth stage termed “hot fire,” will bring to an end a series of tests which, NASA says, will gradually bring together the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) to life for the very first time. The core stage of the SLS will form the backbone of what NASA says will be the “most powerful rocket in the world” and will power its next-generation human Moon Missions.

• The stage will then be assembled with the other parts of the rocket and NASA’s Orion spacecraft for Artemis I, which will be the first integrated flight of Orion-SLS and the first under the Artemis programme, under which NASA will take the first woman and the next man to Moon, by 2024.

• The 212-foot-tall SLS core stage includes the liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank can hold 733,000 gallons of propellant to power the RS-25 engines.

• It is the rocket that NASA projects will be carrying a new generation of astronauts to the moon and handle missions beyond the scope of existing commercial crew vehicles.

• This rocket is a little shorter than the Saturn V rockets but is more powerful.

• This new rocket will be producing 15% greater thrust during liftoff in comparison to Saturn V. When the engines are fired up, 1.6 million pounds of thrust will be generated.

• When the 4 RS-25 engines at the bottom of the SLS be ignited, the period of testing for the rocket will close.

• This core includes oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks, 4 engines and computers, and avionics of the rocket.

• All these will be turned on as 2.6 million litres of supercooled propellant will be loaded into the rocket and ignited. However, the rocket will remain fixed at the Stennis Space Center of NASA.

PM Modi flags off 8 trains connecting Statue of Unity

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off eight trains connecting the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya, Gujarat with different regions of the country through video conferencing. PM Modi informed that it was the first time in history that so many trains from different locations were flagged off for a common destination.

The eight trains flagged off will connect Kevadiya with

• Varanasi,

• Dadar,

• Ahmedabad,

• Hazrat

• Nizamuddin,

• Rewa,

• Chennai, and

• Pratapnagar.

• PM also inaugurated other railway projects in Kevadiya, including Dabhoi-Chandid gauge converted broad gauge rail line, Chandod-Kevadiya new broad gauge rail line, Pratapnagar-Kevadiya newly electrified section, and new station buildings of Dabhoi Junction, Chandod and Kevadiya.

Petroleum Ministry launches ‘SAKSHAM’ campaign

• The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched a month-long mass awareness campaign titled ‘SAKSHAM’ to spread awareness about green and clean energy. The campaign has been organised by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), to motivate consumers to switch to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioural change to use fossil fuel intelligently. The campaign will spread awareness about seven key drivers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently mentioned.

• SAKSHAM stands for Sanrakshan Kshamata Mahotsav.

• The pan-India campaign would include various activities such as cyclotron, farmer workshops, seminars, painting competition, CNG vehicle driving contest, etc to spread awareness among masses about the advantages of using clean fuels.

• They include moving towards a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuels and increased use of electric vehicles.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw selected as one of USIBC vice-chair

• The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has selected three top corporate leaders as the Vice-Chairs of 2021 Global Board of Directors of USIBC with immediate effect. The three new appointees will now work with USIBC President Nisha Biswal and the Council’s policy directors, for strengthening US-India commercial relationship for the future.

The three newly appointed VCs are

• Biocon Executive Chairperson: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

• Amway CEO: Milind Pant.

• Vice-chair at Nasdaq: Edward Knight.

• USIBC has strengthened its leadership team as it plans to work with the new Joe Biden-led US administration. The Council advocates for strengthening US-India commercial relationship for the future. The vice-chairs will work to amplify the voice of the industry on international trade and investment issues and emphasise the key role that businesses can play in strengthening democratic institutions and combatting the global pandemic.

UN Rights Body elects Fiji in First Ever Presidential Vote

• The UN Human Rights Council elected Fiji’s ambassador as its 2021 president in an unprecedented secret ballot after a diplomatic stand-off blocked the usual consensus decision. Fiji’s ambassador in Geneva, Nazhat Shameem Khan, who served as the council’s vice president in 2020 and is considered a rights champion, won with 29 out of 47 votes.

• She ran against two other candidates from the UN’s Asia-Pacific regional group of countries: Bahrain’s ambassador Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri and his counterpart from Uzbekistan, Ulugbek Lapasov, who received 14 and four votes respectively.

• The president mainly oversees council meetings but is also in charge of appointing the independent experts who investigate countries’ alleged rights abuses and can determine how hard to crack down on cases of state intimidation against those who cooperate with the body.


ADB, EIB join hands to protect oceans, support blue economy

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) has formed a new clean and sustainable ocean partnership to support initiatives in Asia and the Pacific to help meet the SDGs and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

• The partnership will strengthen the capacity of ADB and EIB to support high-impact projects.

• Both institutions will finance activities aimed at promoting cleaner oceans through the reduction of land-based plastics and other pollutants discharged into the ocean, as well as projects to improve the sustainability of socioeconomic activities that take place in oceans or use ocean-based resources.

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Important Current Affairs 17th January 2021


Kite festival Shakrain celebrated in Dhaka

• On this occasion, people engaged in kite flying and fireworks among many other recent additions like ‘DJ Party’ to celebrate this occasion. The kite flying competition is followed by winter cake festival -- pithapuli in which rice cake pudding is eaten by people.

• This is a centuries-old tradition in several parts of Bangladesh celebrated on the last day of the Bengali month of Paush. People in the old Dhaka city of Shakhari Bazar, Laxmibazar, Bangshal and Sutrapur among others celebrated this festival with great joy.

• The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) organised the festival for the first time this year with the slogan ‘Let’s Fly a kite, Cherish Tradition’. The festival was held in all the 75 wards of DSCC with the Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh inaugurating the festival by flying the kite in the city.

Indian-American Garima Verma named digital director in Office of the First Lady

• Incoming First Lady, Jill Biden has named Indian-American Garima Verma as her digital director and Michael LaRosa press secretary, the Biden transition team has announced.  She served as audience development and content strategist on the Biden-Harris campaign. Before joining the campaign, Verma was a volunteer with the content team, designing graphics for distribution to Biden-Harris volunteers across the country.

• Verma, who was born in India, grew up in Ohio and the Central Valley of California. She previously worked in the entertainment space, marketing films at Paramount Pictures and television shows at The Walt Disney Company’s ABC Network, and media agency Horizon Media. Verma has also served as an independent consultant in marketing, design and digital for a number of small business and non-profit clients.


TEPC appoints Sandeep Aggarwal as new Chairman

• The Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) has appointed Sandeep Aggarwal as the new Chairman. Aggarwal, the Managing Director and Promoter of Delhi-based Paramount Communications, will take over from Shyamal Ghosh, ex-Telecom Secretary.

• TEPC is an independent body set up by the government to promote and develop the export of telecom equipment and services.

Indian-American Vidur Sharma Appointed As Covid Testing Adviser By Biden

• Joe Biden has named Indian-American health policy expert Vidur Sharma as testing advisor in his C-19 Response Team, as the US President-elect laid out his ambitious goal to intensify vaccinations across the country to tackle the spread of the deadly pandemic.

• The announcement of Sharma's appointment as Policy Advisor for Testing was made by Biden on Friday along with additional members of the White House C-19 Response Team.

• During the Obama administration, Sharma served as a health policy advisor on the Domestic Policy Council.


IFFI: Biswajit Chatterjee awarded ‘Indian Personality of the Year’

• Inaugurating the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Saturday, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, announced a new ‘Indian Personality of the Year’ award, which he announced was being conferred upon veteran actor, director and singer Biswajit Chatterjee.

• During his address, Javadekar also made a strong pitch for the film industry as well as other private companies to start participating in the annual festival from its next edition.

Shri Amresh Kumar Chaudhary has been awarded prestigious "Chief of Army Staff Commendation"

• Incumbent Chief Controller, Shri Amresh Kumar Chaudhary has been awarded prestigious " Chief of Army Staff Commendation" for his outstanding contribution to Armed Forces during critical period of Covid19 pandemic and it’s various operations.

• Shri Amresh Kumar Chaudhary is currently working as Chief Controller in Mil Rail.

• Shri Amresh Kumar Chaudhary is a very sincere, hard-working, proactive and result-oriented official with highest degree of integrity.


ICICI Bank ties up with fintech Niyo to issue prepaid cards to MSMEs

• ICICI Bank, a leading Indian private sector bank, and Niyo, a new age fintech company announced a tie-up to issue prepaid cards to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) workers. MSMEs will now be able to get ‘ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card’ powered by Visa, for their blue-collar workers.

• With this, MSMEs can upload the salaries of their workers on the card, which the workers can then utilise as per their need seamlessly.

• These workers are mostly under-banked and are deprived of banking facilities.

• The ‘ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card’ allows an individual to receive funds up to Rs 1 lakh into the card account. It offers convenience and safety of digital banking to the blue-collar workforce while providing a state-of-the-art salary disbursement solution to the employers.

• Any MSME can tie-up with Niyo to avail of the prepaid card. After the tie-up, cards are issued to the workers at their workplace itself while their KYC verification is done simultaneously using a biometric device.

• Once activated, workers can use the card to withdraw funds at ATMs, make online transactions on e-commerce portals and make payment by swiping the card at Point of Sale (PoS) machines.

YES Bank launches wellness themed credit card

• Yes Bank has announced its partnership with Aditya Birla Wellness Private Limited to launch the ‘YES BANK Wellness’ and ‘YES BANK Wellness Plus’ Credit Cards – aimed at the holistic health, self-care and wellness of consumers. This is an innovative step to encourage and promote self-care, mental and physical well-being.

• Consumers can now enjoy the bouquet of complementary health benefits by simply registering on the Aditya Birla Multiply App.

• Benefits include reward points, diet plans, consultations etc

• The mobile app allows consumers to avail complimentary benefits such as annual health check-up, round the clock doctor or counsellor helpline, in-studio or home-based workout sessions, personalized diet plans, among others, right at their fingertips.

GM to invest C$1 billion in Canada plant to manufacture electric vans

• General Motors Co and labor union Unifor said on Friday they have reached a tentative deal for the automaker to invest nearly C$1 billion ($785.42 million) in its CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, to manufacture commercial electric vans.

• Under the tentative deal, which is yet to be ratified by the union workers, GM has agreed to begin large-scale commercial production of EV600, an electric van, at its CAMI plant, Unifor said in a statement.

• The Detroit automaker said in a separate statement that work would begin immediately at the plant.

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