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Important Current Affairs 27th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL

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

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

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

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

Indian Army launched ASIGMA messaging app

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

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

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Madhya Pradesh govt appoints new public relations chief

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

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

OBITURY

Grammy-winning musician JD Crowe dies at 84

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Epidemic Preparedness 2021: 27th December

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

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

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

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

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 26th December 2021

NATIONAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

WADA restores NDTL accreditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summits & Mou’s

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

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

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

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

GMR subsidiary awarded contract to develop Indonesia's Kualanamu Airport

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

Madan Mohan Malaviya's Birth Anniversary: 25dec 2021

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 25th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

With 33 new 'unicorns', India replaces UK to be 3rd top country hosting such enterprises

• Adding 33 “unicorns” in a single year has helped India displace the United Kingdom to be third in the list of countries that are home to such enterprises valued at over $1 billion each. The US and China, who occupy the first two ranks, are way ahead, according to the data compiled by Hurun Research Institute.

• US and China are home to 74 per cent of the unicorn universe. The US added 254 unicorns and now totals 487 companies in the coveted list, while China added 74 to take its tally to 301 start-ups having a valuation of over $1 billion. The UK added only 15 unicorns to take its total to 39, and hence got displaced by India.

NATIONAL

Niti Aayog launches vernacular innovation programme in 22 languages for entrepreneurs

• Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission has unveiled Vernacular Innovation Programme, which will enable innovators and entrepreneurs in India to have access to the innovation ecosystem in 22 scheduled languages by the Centre. This will help in overcoming the barriers of language & empower innovators.

• To get the program rolling, AIM NITI Aayog is launching a train-the-trainer program where it will collaborate with the Design Department of IIT Delhi to coach the VTF in design thinking and entrepreneurship and the adaptation of these subjects in the 22 languages and cultures. Furthermore, industry mentors have joined hands to lend design thinking expertise, and CSR sponsors have agreed to generously support the program. Upon training the task force over the period of December 2021 to April 2022, the ecosystem will be opened to vernacular innovators.

Chalo mobile app and smart card launched for convenient bus travel in Mumbai

• Maharashtra Tourism and Environment Minister, Aaditya Thackeray has launched the Chalo mobile application (app) and Chalo smart cards to facilitate digital and advance purchase of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus tickets. He also launched the NCMC compliant smart card of BEST as well as new fare schemes for the passengers, one that provided 10 trips at Rs 70 and another called ‘Flexifare’.

• Chalo mobile app will allow passengers to buy online bus tickets and have access to bus passes through an e-wallet. A contract worth Rs 85 crore has been given for the maintenance of the Chalo mobile application for six years.

SPORTS

Bangladesh beat India to retain SAFF U-19 Women’s title

• Bangladesh women team has won the SAFF U 19 Women’s Championship by defeating India in the finals. Shaheda Akter Ripa of Bangladesh scored the maximum number of goals in the tournament. She received the ‘most valuable player’ award. The 2021 SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship was the 2nd edition of the SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship.

• The tournament was organized from 11 to 22 December 2021 at BSSS Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka. Five countries have participated in the 2021 SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship. Pakistan Football Federation was suspended by FIFA in April 2021 so it didn’t participate in this competition.

Asian Champions Trophy: India beat Pakistan 4-3 in thriller to win bronze, Korea lift title

• India defeated Pakistan 4-3 to secure the bronze medal, while Korea defeated Japan 4-2 to emerge Asian Champions Trophy men’s hockey tournament held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The five-nation tournament came to an end with two matches being played on the last day of the game.

• Kanta Tanaka of Japan was declared the best player of the tournament while Suraj Karkera of India was adjudged the best goalkeeper. Jang Jonghyun of Korea was the top scorer with 10 goals in the tournament.

India's Anahat Singh wins Junior US Open Squash Meet

• Indian teenager Anahat Singh has scripted history by winning the U-15 girls category of the prestigious Junior US Open Squash tournament in Philadelphia. The 13-year-old girl from Delhi overcame powerhouse Egypt’s Jayda Marei in the final match 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 played at the Arlen Spectre Centre. More than 850 squash junior players, representing 41 countries, participated in the World’s largest junior individuals squash tournament.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Private sector IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance appointed H O Suri as new managing director

• IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance has announced the appointment of HO Suri as its new managing director and chief executive officer. He was the financial advisor, head, internal audit & legal, at the company and the new position took effect from October 1. IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company Limited is a 51:49 joint venture between IFFCO and Japan’s Tokio Marine Group. The firm offers retail products like motor, health, travel, home and personal accident insurance and corporate insurance products.

• HO Suri began his professional journey in 1982 with Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO). A chartered accountant by profession, he is one of the founder-members of IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company in 2000.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Merry Christmas Day 2021: 25th Dec

• This annual Christmas is celebrated by Christians across the globe, as on this day, Jesus Christ was born in a city called Bethlehem. Christmas is the biggest and most auspicious festival in the Christian faith. Christians across the world visit their nearest Church to prayer which they call The Mass. They ring the bells and light candles as a ritual of worship. Families come together to celebrate this day in remembrance of the people and the love that touched their lives.

• Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary character originating in Eastern Christian culture who is said to bring children gifts on Christmas Eve of toys and candy or coal or nothing, depending on whether they are “naughty or nice”.  He resides in the North Pole with his wife, Mrs Claus.

Good Governance Day 2021: 25th December

• In India, Good Governance Day (Sushasan Divas) is observed annually on 25th December. On this day nation celebrates the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna and former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In keeping with this principle, Good Governance Day has been declared to be a working day for the government.

• The aim to observe this day is to let the students and citizens of the country know about the duties and responsibilities of the government they need to fulfil. Good governance day acts as a reminder to the government about their responsibilities, and the government should be unbiased, transparent, and development-oriented.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Environmentalist Anil Prakash Joshi won Mother Teresa Memorial Award for 2021

• Environmentalist Dr Anil Prakash Joshi, who was conferred upon the Padma Bhushan this year, has been awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice 2021. Vidyut Mohan, the winner of the Earth shot Prize, and Ridhima Pandey, a young environmental activist from Uttarakhand, were also the recipients of the award.

• The Harmony Foundation identifies a theme each year for the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards and felicitates individuals and organisations who work in the realm of augmenting environmental sustainability. The awardees were felicitated by Dr Abraham Mathai, the founder chairman of the foundation.

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Important Current Affairs 24th December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

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

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

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

NATIONAL

Maiden test of Pralay surface-to-surface missile successful

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

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

Jharkhand passes Bill to prevent mob violence, lynching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

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

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

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

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Consumer Rights Day 2021: 24th December

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

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

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

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

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

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

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘Bachelor Dad’ authored by Tusshar Kapoor

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

NPCI partners with Udemy Business to upskill employees

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

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

Wipro to acquire cybersecurity provider Edgile for $230 million

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 23rd December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Reliance- Most Visible Corporate In Media Says Wizikey Report

• Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest corporate by revenues, profits and market value, topped the 2021 Wizikey News Score ranking as India’s most-visible corporate in the media. State Bank of India is a close second on the ranking, followed by Bharti Airtel, Infosys and Tata Motors.  Others on the India list include HDFC at the sixth spot, followed by HDFC Bank, TCS, Maruti Suzuki India, Vodafone Idea and ICICI Bank.

• The highest-ranked state-owned firm is National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), at rank 13.

• On the global rankings chart for top Multinational Corporations(MNC), Facebook tops the index, followed by Google’s Alphabet Inc.

NATIONAL

UP to launch ‘Free Smartphone Yojna’ on Dec 25, to dole out 1 lakh smartphones

• The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is set to launch the ambitious ‘Free Smartphone Yojana on December 25, which is the birth anniversary of senior BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Under the scheme, the state government will distribute smartphones and tablets to final year students of graduation and above.

• On December 25, the chief minister will distribute 60,000 smartphones and 40,000 tablets to the youths. More than 38 lakh youths have registered themselves on the Digi Shakti Portal. Further registration is going on.

Landmark achievement:Jan Dhan accounts surpass the 44-cr mark

• The total number of beneficiaries under the Centre’s financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), has crossed the 44 crore mark. The total number of accounts opened under PMJDY stood at 44.05 crores, with a total balance of ₹1,47,812 crore as on December 8. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with the highest number of accounts followed by Bihar. Since its launch in 2014, the scheme has been steadily expanding its base.

• The PMJDY was launched on August 28, 2014, with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to the people in the country. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, savings and current accounts will be classified as dormant if there are no transactions in the account for two years. The average balance in Jan Dhan accounts hovers at about ₹2,700 across banks.

Odisha CM inaugurates State’s longest bridge ‘T-Setu’ over Mahanadi

• Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik has inaugurated the state’s longest bridge, ‘T-Setu’, built over the Mahanadi River in Cuttack District, Odisha. The bridge in the shape of the English alphabet ‘T’ was constructed at a cost of Rs 111 crore. The 4-km-long bridge connecting Gopinathpur in Badamba, Baideswar in Banki to Singhanath Pitha in Cuttack, will cut the distance between Badamba and Banki Baideshwar by almost 45 km.

• Chief Minister had laid the foundation stone T-setu on February 28, 2014. But, due to some technical issues, construction work was delayed and started in 2018. The bridge will facilitate communication for some five-lakh people from nearby localities. It will also improve agriculture, business and tourism activities in the area. It will benefit devotees, who are visiting Baba Singhanath’s Bali Makar Jatra in Badamba block.

SPORTS

Beijing Winter Olympics: Harjinder Singh announced India's Chef de Mission

• The Indian Olympic Association of India (IOA) has appointed the Ice Hockey Association of India’s general secretary, Harjinder Singh, as the Chef de Mission of the country’s contingent for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Singh was the Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games too, which was held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018.

• Harjinder Singh is the general secretary of the Ice Hockey Association and has also led the Indian contingent at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where India had two representatives – cross-country skier Jagdish Singh, and six-time Olympian luger Shiva Keshavan.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Pradeep Kumar Rawat to be India's new envoy to China

• Senior Indian diplomat Pradeep Kumar Rawat, who is well-versed in negotiating with Chinese diplomats, has been appointed as India’s next Ambassador to China. Rawat’s appointment comes amid the lingering border stand-off in eastern Ladakh. Rawat is currently the country’s envoy to the Netherlands.

• An Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1990 batch, Rawat is currently the country’s envoy to the Netherlands. He was joint secretary (East Asia) in the MEA when the Doklam border stand-off took place in 2017. He was involved in the negotiations during the early days before he moved to Indonesia as ambassador.

• Rawat served as India’s envoy to Indonesia and Timor-Leste from September 2017 to December 2020. He had earlier served in Hong Kong and Beijing and speaks fluent Mandarin.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Indian National Farmer’s Day 2021: 23rd December

• Kisan Diwas or National Farmers’ Day is celebrated across the nation on December 23 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the fifth Prime Minister of India, Chaudhary Charan Singh. He brought farmer-friendly policies and worked towards the welfare of the farmers. He was the fifth Prime Minister of India and served the country as Prime Minister from 28 July 1979 to 14 January 1980.

• In 2001, the government of India declared December 23, the day Chaudhary Charan Singh was born, to be celebrated as National Farmers’ Day and for all the right reasons. Chaudhary Charan Singh breathed his last on January 14, 1980.

• A memorial dedicated to him was built at Raj Ghat and is called ‘Kisan Ghat.’ He played an important role in raising issues of the small and marginal farmers.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

IIT-Roorkee Bags First Position In "Most Innovative Institutions" Category By CII

• IIT Roorkee has been selected by the prestigious Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the Industrial Innovation Awards. IIT Roorkee bagged the first position under the Most Innovative Research Institutions category this year. Last year, IIT Roorkee was adjudged as ‘The Most Innovative Institute of the Year’ for its innovation quotient.

• Visco-elastic Energy Dissipating Link Elements for Earthquake resistant housing construction by Prof. Pankaj Agarwal, Dr Amit Goyal, Dr Nidhin and Mr Naveen, all from the Department of Earthquake Engineering.

• Nitrogen-Doped Reduced Graphene Oxide (N-rGO) for High-Performance Supercapacitor from Prof. Anil Kumar and Dr Sahil Thareja from the Department of Chemistry.

• Novel hybrid adsorbent for simultaneous removal of arsenic and fluoride from contaminated water by Prof. Prasenjit Mondal, Dr Vineet, Rahul, Hemant, Dr Lokendra and Shubhi, all from the Department of Chemical Engineering.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

IOCL acquires 4.93 per cent equity stake in Indian Gas Exchange

• Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has announced that it has acquired a 4.93 per cent equity share in Indian Gas Exchange Limited – the country’s first automated national level gas exchange. The Board of Indian Oil at its meeting held on 20 December 2021 has accorded approval for the acquisition of 36,93,750 equity shares of the face value of Rs. 10/- each equivalent to 4.93 per cent of the share capital in Indian Gas Exchange Limited (IGX).

• The acquisition of an equity stake in IGX is a strategic opportunity for the country’s top oil refiner to become part of India’s natural gas market. IGX is a subsidiary of the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). Indian Gas Exchange is the country’s first automated national level gas exchange, that ensures transparent price discovery in natural gas and facilitates the growth of natural gas in India’s energy basket.

CCI approves Tata Group's acquisition of Air India

• The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of a shareholding in Air India by Talace Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons. The regulator also approved stake acquisition by Talace in Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services along with the acquisition of shares in Air India. Currently, Air India is wholly owned by the government.

• Air India SATS Airport Services is engaged in providing ground handling services at airports in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram. It also provides cargo handling services at Bengaluru airport.

• Air India, along with AIXL, is primarily engaged in the business of providing domestic scheduled air passenger transport service, air cargo transport services and international scheduled air passenger transport service.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Leftist Gabriel Boric to become Chile's youngest ever president

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

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

NATIONAL

Punjab : Channi gives Jagannath Rath Yatra ‘state festival’

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

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

PM Modi inaugurated multiple development projects in Goa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OBITUARY

Former SC Judge Justice GT Nanavati passed away

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Mathematics Day 2021: 22nd December 

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

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

Good Governance Week: 20-25 December 2021

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India registers highest-ever annual FDI inflow of 81.97 billion

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

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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Malta becomes first EU country to legalise cannabis for personal use

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

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

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

NATIONAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haryana government Introduced ‘Khel Nursery scheme 2022-23’ 

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

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

SPORTS

Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021: India wins 16 medals 

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Hyundai appoints Unsoo Kim as new MD

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

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

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

SAIL receives prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2021

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

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

RANKING

India fourth most affected country by spam calls in 2021

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 20th December 2021

 

NATIONAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS

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

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

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO conducts demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System

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

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

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

SpaceX launches 52 Starlink satellites from California base

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

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

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Uttarakhand government appoints Rishabh pant as state brand ambassador

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

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

Mohit jain elected new president of Indian Newspaper Society

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

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

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

HAL signed contract with BEL for 83 LCA Tejas Mk1A fighters

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Human Solidarity Day : 20 December

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

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

BOOKS & AUTHOR

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 19th December 2021

NATIONAL

Hemant Soren launched SAHAY scheme for maoist-hit areas

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

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

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

Goa’s Liberation Day 2021: 19th December

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

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

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

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

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

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

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

BOOKS & AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI imposes penalty on ICICI Bank and PNB for rule violations

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 18th December 2021

NATIONAL

World’s Most Admired Men 2021:

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ranked 8th on the list of the world’s top 20 most admired men, in a survey carried out by data analytics company YouGov. PM Modi is ahead of Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Virat Kohli. The list has been compiled taking feedback from 42,000 people in 38 countries.

• Apart from PM Modi, the other Indian men who, according to the survey, were the most admired in 2021 include Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Virat Kohli. The list also includes the most admired Indian women of 2021 has Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sudha Murty.

SPORTS

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur formally inaugurated Khelo India Women’s Hockey League

• Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur formally inaugurated the first-ever national-level Khelo India Women’s Hockey League at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi. The winner of the Khelo India Women’s Hockey League will get a cash prize of 30 lakhs. In the first phase, total 14 teams will participate in the league and 42 matches will be played from 15 December to 21 December.

• The second and third phases will be organized in early next year. The Sports Authority of India and Hockey India are jointly organizing the first-ever national-level Khelo India league. This is the first big event that will be organized at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium after 2015.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA's Parker Solar Probe enters the Sun's atmosphere for the first time

• NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has entered the Sun’s upper atmosphere for, first time in history. In 2018, launched the Parker Solar Probe aims to unravel the mysteries of the Sun by travelling closer to it. After three years of launching, Parker has finally arrived in the solar atmosphere. Parker Solar Probe has flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere for the first time in history – the corona. The probe sampled particles and magnetic fields there.

• The new milestone marks one major step for Parker Solar Probe and one giant leap for solar science. Just as landing on the Moon allowed scientists to understand how it was formed, touching the very stuff the Sun is made of will help scientists uncover critical information about our closest star and its influence on the solar system.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Army chief MM Naravane takes charge as chairperson of Chiefs of Staff Committee

• Army Chief General M.M. Naravane has assumed the charge as the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee that comprises the three service chiefs. The post fell vacant following the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in the Indian Air Force helicopter crash on December 8. General Naravane has been given the charge, as he is the senior-most among the three service chiefs.

• IAF Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar had taken over their respective positions on September 30 and November 30. Before the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff, the senior-most among the three service chiefs used to be the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

TVS Motor and BMW Motorrad tie up For Electric Vehicles Production

• India’s TVS Motor Company will develop electric vehicles (EV) with BMW’s motorcycle brand in India, joining a host of Indian automakers that have sought to expand their clean mobility offering. The tie-up comes at a time when new-age start-ups like Ola Electric & Ather are ramping up investment in electric scooters.

• Under the extended scope of the partnership, the companies plan to come up with an electric vehicle platform in addition to the existing internal combustion platform for both global and domestic markets. The first product under the enhanced co-operation, an electric model suited for the urban ecosystem, is expected to make its debut in the next 24 months.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Arabic Language Day 2021: 18th December

• World Arabic Language Day is observed globally on 18th December every year. The Arabic language is one of the pillars of the cultural diversity of mankind. It is one of the most widely used languages in the world, spoken daily by more than 400 million people. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the history, culture and development of the language by preparing a program of special activities and events.

• The theme of this year’s World Arabic Language Day is “The Arabic Language and Civilizational Communication”, and it is considered as a call to reaffirm the important role that the Arabic language plays in building bridges of connection between people on the rise of culture, science, literature and many other fields.

National Minorities Rights Day 2021: 18th December

• Every year, December 18 is observed as the Minorities Rights Day to uphold the right to freedom and equal opportunities for the ethnic minorities in India and create awareness about the respect and dignity of the minorities. India has faced many obstacles since the British Rule regarding basic human rights. However, these rights were safeguarded after the independence and people must be made aware of it. Thus we celebrate Minorities Rights Day on 18th December every year.

• The Minority Rights Day 2021 aims to uplift all the minority sections of society and back them to voice their opinion. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, all the sessions, seminars, and debates are likely to take place digitally.

International Migrants Day 18th December 2021

• The International Migrants Day is observed globally on 18 December every year. The day is marked by the United Nations, through the UN-related agency International Organization for Migration (IOM). The day is observed to highlight the contributions made by the  272 million migrants, which includes more than 41 million people who are internally displaced persons, and the challenges they face.

• The theme of International Migrants Day 2021 is Harnessing the potential of human mobility.

• On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly acquired a resolution on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries promotes respect for their basic human rights. The day was firstly observed in 1990.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton received his knighthood from Prince Charles at Windsor Castle

• Lewis Hamilton has picked up a new title only days after losing one on the track. The seven-time Formula One champion received a knighthood at Windsor Castle, London. Hamilton gets the honorary title of “Sir” after being knighted by the Prince of Wales for services to motorsports. Three other F1 drivers have been knighted: Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart. Hamilton is the first to be awarded while still competing in the sport.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

WhatsApp adopts 500 villages in India to promote digital payments

• WhatsApp has announced the Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India. WhatsApp’s Digital Payments Utsav is a pilot program that promotes digital payments to empower individuals and businesses and is meant as a project to further the cause of financial inclusion. The aim is to empower villagers with access to digital payments via the ‘payments on WhatsApp’.

• WhatsApp announced the Digital Payments Utsav – a pilot program that is going to adopt 500 villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra in an effort to “accelerate financial inclusion”.

• Digital Payments Utsav took off on October 15 this year in the Kyathanahalli village in the Mandya district of Karnataka.

• Here on-ground facilitators helped familiarise villagers with various aspects of digital payments including how to sign up for UPI, set up a UPI account, and also told them about the best practices to be safe while using digital payments online.

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