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16 December 2021



Sustainable food production should be the mantra: PM Modi to farmers

While addressing farmers at the National Conclave on Natural Farming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that organic, sustainable food production and natural farming must be the mantra of the modern Indian farmer. "The enthusiasm for ethanol production, food processing will give rise to new possibilities," PM Modi said. Agriculture minister Narendra Tomar also participated in the conclave.


7th edition of India International Science festival begins in Panaji

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the seventh edition of the India International Science Festival at Panaji, Goa.

The theme of the 4-day science festival is ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ - "Celebrating Creativity, Science, Technology and Innovation for a prosperous India".

First India International Science Festival was held in 2015 at IIT Delhi. The main aim of the Science Festival is to bring into use the innovations by the people and develop technology that is affordable to the masses.

Govt laid foundation stone for Maa Umiya Dham Development Project in Gujarat

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has laid the foundation stone of Umiya Mata Dham temple and temple premises under Maa Umiya Dham Development Project at Umiya Campus in Sola in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

They will be developed at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore on 74,000 square yards of land. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually attended and addressed the foundation stone laying of the project. He stated the Project as an example of the notion of ‘SabkaPrayas’ (Efforts of everyone).

Gujarat Capital: Gandhinagar;

Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat;

Gujarat Chief minister: Bhupendrabhai Patel.




Uttarakhand's Askot Wildlife Sanctuary declared Eco-Sensitive Zone

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), an area of 454.65 square kilometres around the boundary of Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand has been declared as the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ).

The notified area extends from 0 to 22 km around the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary. The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary was established to protect the endangered flagship species Musk Deer and its habitat. The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Musk Deer Park.

Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change: Bhupender Yadav.

 Ravinder Bhakar assumed charge of NFDC, films division and CFSI

CEO of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Ravinder Bhakar has assumed charge of National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Films Division, and Children Films Society of India (CFSI).

He is a 1999-batch officer of the Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS). He has been assigned these charges in addition to his present duties as CEO of the film certification body.

 Odisha tie-up with UNCDF to launch “Mission Shakti Living Lab”

Odisha inked an agreement with United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to launch “Mission Shakti Living Lab” for the financial empowerment of women. A Global Centre for Financial Health, to launch Mission Shakti Living Lab empowering women economically and drive gender equality.

With the use of digital technologies and e-commerce, it will increase the income and financial well-being of women, self-help groups (SHGs) and households by helping them in the factors of planning, saving, borrow or spending better. It will address the barriers related to the autonomy and financial freedom of women.

Mission Shakti was launched in 2001 to enhance the holistic development of women, there are 6.02 lakh self-help groups (SHGs) comprising 70 lakh members across rural and urban areas of Odisha under the initiative. This initiative led to an increase in the income of SHG members

UN Capital Development Fund Founded: 1966;

UN Capital Development Fund Headquarters: New York, United States;

UN Capital Development Fund Executive Secretary: Preeti Sinha.

Amid Omicron fears, Canada advises against international travel

The Canadian government on Wednesday advised its residents to avoid international travel, amid fears surrounding the global spread of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. "I say very clearly, now is not the time to travel," Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said. He added that there is clear evidence of community transmission of the new Omicron variant in the country.



Banking , Business and Economy
India could export 60 lakh tonnes of sugar despite WTO ruling: Officials

India could sell over 60 lakh tonnes of sugar worldwide this year, trade officials said. This comes after World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruled that India violated international trade rules when it offered excessive subsidies for the production and export of sugar and sugarcane. "There' impact of order...with regard to Indian sugar exports," ISMA's Director General Abinash Verma said.

Around 9% MSMEs got shut down due to COVID-19: Govt

Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Narayan Rane said an online survey conducted by National Small Industries Corporation found that about 9% MSMEs closed down due to COVID-19. As per National Crime Records Bureau, 9,052 MSME business owners committed suicide in 2019, while the number increased to 11,716 in 2020, he added. MSMEs contribute 29% to India's GDP.

Russia fines Meta ₹1.3 cr, Twitter ₹1 cr for not deleting banned content

Russia has fined Facebook-parent Meta ₹1.3 crore ($177,000) for failing to delete content the government deems illegal. Besides this, Twitter has been fined over ₹1 crore over the same question. Russia has slowed down the speed of Twitter since March as a punitive measure for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide.

Bank of England raises interest rate to 0.25% amid inflation surge

The Bank of England (BoE) became the first major bank globally to raise interest rate from 0.1% to 0.25% amid rising inflation triggered by the pandemic. BoE said inflation rate is likely to hit the 6% mark by April, which is three times its target level. "There are signs of greater persistence in domestic cost, price pressures," BoE said.

What multiple records did Pakistan break in their last T20I of 2021?

Pakistan recorded their highest successful run chase (208 runs) in T20I cricket against West Indies in the third T20I, their last T20I of 2021. With the win, Pakistan became the first country to record 20 T20I wins in a calendar year. Mohammad Rizwan became the first cricketer to score 2,000-plus runs in T20 cricket in a calendar year.



Axis Bank tied up with Swift to provide digital banking solution

Axis Bank is working with new digital services from provider Swift to provide a comprehensive digital solution to clients.

The bank is integrating with different digitization initiatives by government bodies and service providers to extend an end-to-end service to business clients.

Axis bank’s B2B (business-to-business) digitization efforts are being supported by Swift, a cooperative of global banks that acts as an intermediary between banks and sets standards.

Axis Bank Founded: 3 December 1993;

Axis Bank Headquarters: Mumbai;

Axis Bank MD & CEO: Amitabh Chaudhary;

Axis Bank Chairperson: Shri Rakesh Makhija.

ADB projected growth forecast for 2021-2022 for India at 9.7%

Asian Development Bank has trimmed its 2021 growth forecast for India to 9.7 per cent from 10 per cent but left the 2022 growth forecast unchanged at 7.5 per cent.

The inflation forecast of developing Asia was revised to 2.1 per cent for 2021 and unchanged at 7 per cent for 2022.

In its Asian Development Outlook Supplement Report of December 2021, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed the growth forecasts for developing Asia for 2021-2022 to reflect the economic impact and uncertainty caused by the new Omicron COVID -19 variant.

 Wholesale inflation surges to 14.23% in November

Producers’ inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has reached an all-time high in the current series at 14.23 per cent in November.

This is the eighth successive month of double digits WPI (mainly due to the hardening of prices of mineral oils, basic metals, crude petroleum and natural gas).

Wholesale Price-based Index (WPI) inflation base year is 2011-12. Also, the spike is highest since April 2005.

Sports News
What multiple records did Pakistan break in their last T20I of 2021?

Pakistan recorded their highest successful run chase (208 runs) in T20I cricket against West Indies in the third T20I, their last T20I of 2021. With the win, Pakistan became the first country to record 20 T20I wins in a calendar year. Mohammad Rizwan became the first cricketer to score 2,000-plus runs in T20 cricket in a calendar year.



 India inducts 148 athletes in list of TOPS athletes for 2024 Olympics

A total of 148 athletes, including 20 new inductees, in seven Olympic disciplines and six Paralympic disciplines, have been identified for support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme at a meeting of the Mission Olympic Cell of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The TOP scheme which is an attempt to provide assistance to India's top athletes. This scheme was started in 2014.

The Mission Olympic Cell approved lists in Cycling, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling as well as Para Sports (Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis). Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Equestrian, Fencing, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Rowing and Tennis will be taken up in the next meeting later this month.

Books and Authors

 A Book titled ‘Pride, Prejudice and Punditry’ by Dr Shashi Tharoor

Former union minister and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Dr. Shashi Tharoor‘s 23rd book titled ‘Pride, Prejudice and Punditry’ was launched in Hyderabad, Telangana.

There are ten sections in this book, each devoted to a particular topic such as modern Indian history, Indian Politics, etc. He has won ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ for 2019, awarded to his book – ‘An Era of Darkness.

Important Days

 International Tea Day: 15 December


International Tea Day is observed every year on December 15 in countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India, and Tanzania. It is the second most used drink in the world after water. For some people, tea is an integral part of life which adds rhythm.

China is currently the largest exporter of tea. According to a study conducted by the Tea Board of India in 2007, around 80 per cent of the total tea produced in India is consumed by the domestic population.

The first ITD was held in New Delhi in India in 2005. However, in 2015, the Indian government proposed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to expand International Tea Day across the world. The reason for the UN celebrating May 21 as International Tea Day is that the season of tea production begins in May in most of the tea-producing countries.. Nation Observes 50th

Vijay Diwas on 16 December 2021

In India, Vijay Diwas (also called Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16. The country is celebrating the 50th Vijay Diwas in 2021.

Vijay Diwas is observed to commemorate the service, valour, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces’ victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

On this day, we pay homage to all the soldiers who had defended the nation in the war. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.

It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini. The end of the war also resulted in the subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.


Konika Layak, shooter commits suicide

In an unfortunate turn of events, National-level shooter, Konika Layak was found dead inside her hostel room at Bally in Bengal’s Howrah district on Wednesday morning. 28-year-old Konika represented her state Jharkhand, and came in the limelight when actor Sonu Sood, moved by her struggles, gifted her a rifle in March. She was the 10-metre air-rifle state champion of Jharkhand. 



17 December 2021


Sameer Wankhede's stint as NCB Zonal Director to end on Dec 31

The NCB informed on Friday that its Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Dnyandev Wankhede's tenure will end on December 31 and he won't seek an extension. "He arrested 96 people and registered 28 cases between August-December 2020. In 2021, he arrested 234 people, registered 117 cases and seized over 1,791 kg drugs worth approximately ₹1,000 crore," NCB said.


Bhutan confers PM Modi with its highest civilian award

Bhutan has honoured PM Modi with its highest civilian award, Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering has announced PM Modi’s name for Bhutan’s highest honour.

The honour comes as an appreciation for India’s friendly approach to Bhutan under PM Modi’s governance. During the pandemic, India had extended support to the neighbouring country in the form of vaccines, medicines and other emergency services.

List of International Awards received by Narendra Modi:

1. Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)

2. State Order of Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan (Afghanistan)

3. Grand Collar of the State of Palestine Award (Palestine)

4. Order of Zayed Award (United Arab Emirates)

5. Order of St. Andrew award (Russia)

6. Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin (Maldives)

7. Champions of the Earth Award (United Nations Environment Programme)

8. Global Goalkeeper award (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

Bhutan Capital: Thimphu;

Bhutan Prime minister: Lotay Tshering;

Bhutan Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum.

 India to raise legal marriage age for women

The proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 was cleared by the Union Cabinet. Presently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 but for women, it is 18.

The government will now look to introduce amendments to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act to bring the plan into action. This will give a chance to the girls to study more. They will be able to enjoy their independence. They will also get better employment opportunities."

ADB approves $112 million loan to establish Assam Skill University

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $112 million loan to strengthen skills education and training through the establishment of the Assam Skill University (ASU).

The Loan will create a path for skill development to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Assam’s economy and industries.

An additional $1 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will support the introduction of technologies for smart campus management, integrated teaching, learning, and career development management.

Assam Governor: Jagdish Mukhi;

Assam Chief Minister: Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Arvind Kumar joins Software Technology Parks of India as DG

Arvind Kumar has joined as Director General of Software Technology Parks of India. Software Technology Parks of India is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology Government of India.

STPI is fuelling the culture of tech entrepreneurship and innovation in the country by launching 25 + Centres of Entrepreneurship in emerging technology domains.

Currently, STPI-registered units have reached IT/ITeS/ESDM exports of over Rs. 5 lakh crores. STPI is one of the largest tech incubators in India with an area of approx.13 lakh square feet spread across various Tier 1/2/3 cities.

Software Technology Parks of India Founded: 1991;

Parent organisation Software Technology Parks of India: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

 Andhra Pradesh tie-up with UN-FAO & ICAR for sustainable agriculture


The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh Government to train the farmers in good farm management practices and sustainable agricultural methods. The FAO apart, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is collaborating on the project.

FAO will provide training to farmers, Rythu Bharosa Kendram (RBK) staff, officials, and scientists on new technologies in agricultural allied sectors and training to farmers on best cultivation management practices.

In 2020, Rythu Bharosa Kendram (RBK) or farmer support centres were set up in AP as part of an effort to weed away fake seeds, pesticides and fertilisers from the markets.

Food and Agriculture Organisation Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

Food and Agriculture Organisation Head: Qu Dongyu.

Food and Agriculture Organisation Founded: 16 October 1945.


 TVS Motor and BMW Motorrad tie-up to make electric vehicles

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.

TVS Motor Company CEO: K. N. Radhakrishnan;

TVS Motor Company Headquarters: Chennai;

TVS Motor Company Founder: T. V. Sundram Iyengar;

TVS Motor Company Founded: 1978.

 Adani tie-up agreement with SECI for green power

Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) has signed a purchase agreement with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to supply 4,667 MW of green power. It is the world’s largest-ever green power purchase agreement (PPA).

The agreement is part of a manufacturing-linked solar tender of 8,000 MW awarded to AGEL by SECI in June 2020. So far, AGEL has signed PPAs with SECI for a total generation capacity of close to 6,000 MW of the 8,000 MW awarded in 2020. The company expected to complete the balance of 2000 MW in the coming 2 to 3 months.

Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Established: 2011;

Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi;

Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Chairman: Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi;

Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Managing Director:  Suman Sharma.

 SEBI form ‘ALERTs' committee for early detection of market anomalies

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up an Advisory Committee for Leveraging Regulatory and Technology Solutions (ALeRTS) to enhance technological capabilities and explore suitable technology solutions for the early detection of market anomalies.

ALeRTS is a 7-member committee headed by Madhabi Puri Buch, a former whole-time member of SEBI and has experts from various technology domains as members.

ALeRTS will recommend future roadmaps and improvements in the various ongoing technology projects. It will also guide SEBI in designing and framing requirements for the different in-house systems

In addition, the committee has also been constituted "to guide SEBI from a domain perspective, in ascertaining the adequacy of SupTech / RegTech tools envisaged/proposed to be used in-house for improving its capabilities,”.

Securities and Exchange Board of India Founded: 12 April 1992.

Securities and Exchange Board of India Headquarters: Mumbai.

Securities and Exchange Board of India Agency executive: Ajay Tyagi.

Adda247 buys ed-tech platform StudyIQ Education for Rs 150 crore


Edtech platform firm Adda247 has acquired UPSC-focused ed-tech platform StudyIQ Education for $20 million (150 crores) in a cash and stock deal.

Speaking on the acquisition, Adda247 founder and CEO Anil Nagar said it’s a strategic acquisition for Adda247.

StudyIQ Education has over 11 million subscribers on Youtube and the platform receives close to 100 million views a month, the company claims. The current acquisition will give Adda247 an edge in the UPSC segment.

By acquiring it, Adda247's will be able to strengthen its position in the UPSC segment, which has one of the highest ARPUs (average revenue per user) in the test preparation segment.

WhatsApp announces Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India

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.

WhatsApp Founded: 2009;

WhatsApp CEO: Will Cathcart;

WhatsApp Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, United States;

WhatsApp Acquisition date: 19 February 2014;

WhatsApp Founders: Jan Koum, Brian Acton;

WhatsApp Parent organization: Facebook.
Airtel prepays ₹15,519 cr in liability for spectrum acquired in 2014

Bharti Airtel has paid ₹15,519 crore to the Department of Telecom towards prepayment of the entire deferred liabilities pertaining to spectrum acquired in 2014 auction. Airtel said it had acquired 128.4 MHz spectrum (including Telenor spectrum) for ₹19,051 crore in the auction. The company expects an interest cost savings of ₹3,400 crore over the residual life for fully substituted capital.


RBI comes up with PCA framework for large NBFCs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced a prompt corrective action (PCA) framework for large non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) with effect from October 2022, putting restrictions on para-banks whenever vital financial metrics dip below the prescribed threshold.

This brings them almost on a par with banks in terms of supervision and regulatory reach. The PCA framework for NBFCs comes into effect on October 1 next year on the basis of their financial position on or after March 31.

RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikanta Das; Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.


Google trends: See what was trending in 2021

Google has published its annual overview of key search trends, which provides a somewhat dizzying reminder of all the things that have happened in 2021 - which really feels like it’s only lasted for a few months.

Google’s 2021 Search Trends mini-site includes data on all the key topics of interest, including overall searches and news events. Google's long-time tradition of releasing "Year in Search" annually has become a norm for those who are curious over the most searched topics on the platform.
US Senate confirms Nicholas Burns as next China ambassador

The US Senate on Thursday backed President Biden’s nomination of Nicholas Burns as the ambassador to China, after voting 75-18 in favour of confirming the nominee. Burns served as under secretary of state between 2005 and 2008, and as a former US ambassador to NATO. It is unclear when Burns will head to China, amid tensions between both countries.


 Army Chief Naravane takes charge as Chairman 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.

Simone Biles named Time Magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year

Simone Biles was named Time magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year. The world’s most decorated gymnast, a four-time Olympic medalist, was hailed for putting her mental health first when she withdrew from four event finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Despite the setback, the 24-year-old managed to earn a team all-around silver and a bronze in balance beam at the Tokyo Games. Biles along with hundreds of athletes accused the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for failing to stop the abuse.

A month after the Tokyo Olympics, Biles gave an emotional testimony at a US senate hearing into former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.


 Sports Minister Anurag Thakur inaugurates 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.
India's Hansini beats Tokyo Olympics' youngest athlete to win ITTF title

India's Hansini Mathan Rajan defeated Syria's Hend Zaza, youngest athlete of this year's Tokyo Olympics, to win U-12 girls' singles event at ITTF World Hopes Challenge 2021 table tennis tournament in Amman, Jordan. The reigning cadet national champion beat Zaza 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 in final on December 14. In September, 12-year-old Hansini won her maiden World Youth Series title.





18 December 2021

PM Modi lays foundation stone of Uttar Pradesh's longest expressway

PM Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur. The 594 kilometre-long six-lane expressway will be built at a cost of over ₹36,200 crore and it will become the longest expressway of UP upon completion. Ganga Expressway will start near Bijauli village in Meerut and extend till Judapur Dandu village in Prayagraj.


YouGov: PM Modi world's 8th most admired man in 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.
Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani names 5 best books of 2021

Asia's richest man and Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani has named five best books of 2021 according to him. The books include 'Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World', 'Principles for Dealing With the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail' and '2030: How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything' among others.

Jharkhand CM 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.

Chief Minister of Jharkhand: Hemant Soren; Governor: Ramesh Bais.


Nepal imposes 2-week quarantine for travellers from 67 nations

Nepal has imposed a two-week mandatory quarantine for travellers arriving from 67 nations, predominantly from Asia and Europe amid the Omicron variant surge. The passengers from these countries will quarantine themselves in a hotel for seven days, said a statement. The statement added that these passengers will then undergo home quarantine for another seven days even after testing negative.
Death toll from Typhoon Rai rises to at least 33 in Philippines

The death toll from Typhoon Rai that hit the Philippines this week rose to at least 33, official tallies showed on Saturday. Rai was the 15th and among the deadliest of the tropical storms to strike the Philippine archipelago this year, according to Reuters. Some 3,09,000 people remain in evacuation centres, data from the disaster management agency showed.



RBI imposes penalty on PNB and ICICI Bank

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.

Union cabinet approves Rs 76,000 crore push for semiconductor manufacturing

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.
Indian-origin Anand Eswaran named Veeam Software's new CEO

Switzerland-headquartered data protection and backup software maker Veeam Software has named Indian-origin Anand Eswaran as its new CEO. Prior to joining Veeam, Eswaran was RingCentral's Chief Operating Officer and President. He holds a master's degree in computer science and engineering from University of Missouri, Columbia and a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from Mumbai University.


ISRO signed six agreements with four countries for launching foreign satellites

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.

ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan;

ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka;

ISRO established: 15 August 1969.
ArcelorMittal Nippon to invest ₹1.02 lakh cr to build steel plant in Odisha

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India has received approval from the Odisha government to set up a 24 million tonnes-a-year steel plant in the Kendrapara district. The facility will produce steel using the latest green steel-making technology and will also produce 18.75 million tonnes of cement annually. The company will invest ₹1.02 lakh crore which will create direct employment for 16,000 people.


 Kumar Mangalam Birla receives Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award

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.

Inter Milan terminate Eriksen's contract over cardiac device implant

Inter Milan on Friday said they terminated Christian Eriksen's contract after he was suspended from playing in Italy due to his cardiac device implant. Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's game with Finland at the European Championship in June. The Italian medical authority suspended Eriksen due to a rule prohibiting the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device.
Federer wins ATP Fans' Favourite Award for 19th year in a row

Ex-world number one Roger Federer won the 'Fans' Favourite Award' in singles for 19th consecutive year at ATP Awards 2021. The 20-time Grand Slam champion played 13 matches this year, winning nine of them. Overall, it's the Swiss' 40th ATP award. In doubles, French duo of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the 'Fans' Favourite Award' for the first time.


Important Days

 International Migrants Day 2021: 18th December

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.

International Organization for Migration Headquarters: Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland;

International Organization for Migration Founded: 6 December 1951;

International Organization for Migration Director General: António Vitorino.

 National Minorities Rights Day 2021

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.

World Arabic Language Day: 18 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.

Ex-SC judge GT Nanavati who probed Gujarat riots passes away at 86

Justice Girish Thakorlal Nanavati, an ex-Supreme Court judge who headed commissions probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots, passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday. He died of a cardiac failure, family members said. In 2014, Justices Nanavati and Akshay Mehta had submitted their final report on 2002 riots to then Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel.




DECEMBER 19 2021



PM Modi arrives in Goa for Liberation Day Celebrations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived in Goa to participate in Goa's Liberation Day Celebrations. As per the PMO, PM Modi will felicitate freedom fighters and veterans of 'Operation Vijay', an Indian Armed Forces mission that liberated Goa from Portuguese rule in 1961. Liberation Day is celebrated on December 19 every year to mark the success of Operation Vijay.



Islamic countries to set up fund to aid Afghanistan amid crisis

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) agreed to set up a Humanitarian Trust Fund to "serve as a vehicle to channel humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan" amid a severe crisis in the country. The fund will be set up under the aegis of Islamic Development Bank. The OIC called on its member states and donors to announce pledges to the fund.

International banks in UAE to switch to Mon-Fri work week from Jan

Several international banks operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to adopt a Monday-Friday work week from January 2022. Wall Street-based JPMorgan Chase & Co and France's Societe Generale said they will implement a Saturday-Sunday weekend from January. UAE recently announced that it will adopt a four-and-a-half day working week with a Saturday-Sunday weekend from January 1, 2022.

Russia can't dictate NATO on regional security, says German minister

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Sunday said NATO will discuss Russia's security proposals but the latter cannot "dictate" NATO on regional security. "We need to solve...tensions on...diplomatic level but [also put] up a credible deterrence," she said. Her remarks come amid Russia's demand for withdrawal of NATO troops from former Soviet Union states.





Facebook pays 17 million rubles to Russia over content violation

Facebook has paid 17 million rubles (₹1.7 crore) to Russia in fines owed for not deleting content termed as "illegal" by the government, news agency Interfax reported on Sunday. Facebook and Google face another court case next week for suspected repeated violations of Russian legislation on content. If guilty, they could be fined a percent of their revenue.

Plan on course for LIC IPO in last quarter of this fiscal: DIPAM Secy

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey has refuted reports stating that the Life Insurance Corporation's (LIC) initial public offering (IPO) is unlikely to take place in the current financial year ending March 2022. "It is reiterated that plan is on course for the IPO in the last quarter of this fiscal," Pandey said


Srikanth becomes first Indian man in history to win silver at badminton World C'ships

Former world number one Kidambi Srikanth has become the first Indian man to win silver medal at the badminton World Championships. The 28-year-old lost to Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 15-21, 20-22 in the men's singles final at Huelva, Spain. Overall, it is India's fourth silver medal in the history of badminton World Championships.

Indian men's hockey team defeat Japan 6-0, reach Asian Champions Trophy semi-finals

Indian men's hockey team defeated Japan 6-0 to reach the Asian Champions Trophy semi-finals. Harmanpreet Singh converted two penalty corners for India, while the other four goals were scored by Dilpreet Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Sumit and Shamsher Singh. India finished the league stage of the tournament on top with 10 points. India will face Japan in the semi-finals.


Pune's Vaishali restaurant owner Jagannath B Shetty dies aged 89

Jagannath B Shetty, the owner of Pune's famous Vaishali, Roopali and Amrapali restaurants, died due to age-related illness at the age of 89 on Sunday. "We have lost a doyen of our hospitality industry. Jagannath Shetty had changed the way people perceived restaurants and the hospitality business," the President of the Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association said.





DECEMBER 20, 2021

Lok Sabha passes Bill to link voter ID, Aadhaar card amid protest by Opposition

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to link electoral rolls with the Aadhaar ecosystem to weed out duplication, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday amid protests by Opposition. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "Aadhaar is only meant to be a proof of residence, it's not a proof of citizenship. You're potentially giving the vote to non-citizens."

6 additional Assembly seats proposed for Jammu, 1 for Kashmir by delimitation panel

The Delimitation Commission has proposed to increase the number of Assembly seats in Jammu by six and add one Assembly seat in Kashmir Valley, taking the total number of seats there to 43 and 47, respectively. Nine seats have been proposed for STs and seven for SCs in J&K. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is expected to continue to have 24 seats.

PM interacts with CEOs of top companies ahead of Budget

PM Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with the CEOs of companies from various sectors of industry. "We discussed various aspects relating to the economy. The CEOs shared insightful suggestions for the upcoming Budget," PM said. Just like India aspires for a podium finish at Olympics, it wants to see its industries among world's top five in every sector, he added.



Kim Jong-un attends father's memorial as N Korea bans laughing for 11 days

Pictures have surfaced showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending the memorial service to mark the 10th anniversary of his father Kim Jong-il's death. As part of the national memorial, North Koreans are banned from showing any sign of happiness for 11 days, including a ban on laughing. On the exact death anniversary, North Koreans were banned from grocery shopping.

World Economic Forum's Davos Summit postponed due to Omicron

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has deferred its annual summit, which is usually held in Switzerland's Davos, until mid-2022, Sky News reported on Monday citing communication from organisers. The Davos Summit was planned to be held in January 2022 but has been postponed amid rising Omicron cases globally. The annual summit is a gathering of global business and political leaders.


Malta becomes first European nation to approve 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.

what is Cannabis?

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.

Malta Capital: Valletta;

Malta Currency: Euro.
Dubai airport fully operational for 1st time since March 2020

Dubai International Airport is fully operational for the first time since its closure due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. The airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2020, about 25.9 million travellers used the airport, a 70% drop from more than 86 million people who used it in 2019, according to AFP.


SEBI bans futures trading in 7 agricultural commodities for one year

Markets regulator SEBI on Monday barred futures trading in five more commodities - paddy (non-basmati), wheat, soybean and its derivatives, crude palm oil and moong - for one year. The derivative contracts in chana, and mustard seeds and its derivatives, had already been suspended. This comes amid the retail inflation surging to a three-month-high of 4.91% in November 2021.

Sensex crashes over 1,000 points to end at 55,822 amid Omicron worries

The benchmark indices ended lower for the second consecutive session on Monday on rising concern over the Omicron variant. At close, the Sensex was down 1,189.73 points or 2.09% at 55,822.01, and the Nifty was down 371 points or 2.18%, at 16,614.20. BPCL, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, IndusInd Bank and SBI were among the top Nifty losers.

ATL completes one of India's largest intra-state transmission lines in UP

Adani Transmission Limited (ATL), a part of the Adani Group, has completed construction of one of India's largest intra-state transmission lines of 897 circuit kilometres in Uttar Pradesh. The line has been built on a Build, Own, Operate, Maintain (BOOM) basis. "Completion of this project even during the pandemic is a significant achievement," said Anil Sardana, CEO and MD, ATL.

Oracle to buy Cerner for $28 billion in its biggest acquisition ever

Oracle on Monday announced that it will buy electronic medical records company Cerner in an all-cash deal for approximately $28.3 billion, marking the enterprise software maker's biggest acquisition ever. Cerner shareholders will receive $95 per share, representing a premium of 5.8% to the company's closing price on Friday. The deal is expected to close in 2022, the company said.

Vedanta acquires Nicomet, becomes India's sole nickel producer

Vedanta Resources on Monday said it acquired leading nickel and cobalt producer Nicomet and became India's only nickel producer. A company statement said that the acquisition is a significant step in making India self-reliant in key minerals. Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said, "India currently imports 100% of its nickel requirement. Our focus will be to boost India's domestic production."

₹13,109 cr recovered from assets sale of Nirav Modi, Mallya, Choksi: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a total of ₹13,109.17 crore has been recovered from assets sale of defaulters Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi, as of July. She said ₹792 crore was also realised from sale of assets belonging to Mallya and others. PSBs recovered ₹5.49 lakh crore through resolution of bad loans in last seven years, she added.

ixigo gets SEBI's approval for ₹1,600-crore IPO

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the ₹1,600-crore initial public offering (IPO) of Le Travenues Technology, which operates travel platform ixigo. The offer comprises a fresh issue of shares worth ₹750 crore and an offer-for-sale of ₹850 crore. As part of OFS, ixigo Co-founders Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar will divest stakes worth ₹50 crore each.


RBI allowed SFBs as Agency Bank to conduct Govt Business

Reserve Bank of India, in consultation with the Department of Financial Services, the Ministry of Finance, has decided to make the Scheduled payments banks and scheduled small finance banks (SFBs) eligible to conduct Government agency business. In May this year, RBI has revised the existing guidelines on ‘Appointment of Scheduled Private Sector Banks as Agency Banks of RBI’ for authorising Scheduled Private Sector Banks as agency banks of RBI for conducting govt business (Central and/or State).

Thus, any payment bank or small finance bank which intends to undertake govt agency business could be appointed as an agent of RBI only upon execution of an agreement with RBI and also in compliance with the regulatory framework prescribed for those banks.

Reserve Bank of India Founded: April 1, 1935;

Reserve Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;

Reserve Bank of India Governor: Shaktikanta Das.

Mohit Jain Elected As New President Of Indian Newspaper Society

Mohit Jain of The Economic Times has been elected President of The Indian Newspaper Society for the year 2021-22. He succeeds L. Adimoolam of Health & The Antiseptic. The 82nd Annual General Meeting of the Indian Newspaper Society – an apex body of Publishers of Newspapers, Magazines & Periodicals in the country, was held through Video Conference.

While K. Raja Prasad Reddy (Sakshi) was elected the deputy president, Rakesh Sharma (Aaj Samaj) was the vice-president and Tanmay Maheshwari (Amar Ujala) was elected the honorary treasurer of the Society for 2021-22.

The Indian Newspaper Society Founded: 27 February 1939;

The Indian Newspaper Society Headquarters location: New Delhi.

Wipro to acquire US-based cybersecurity firm Edgile for $230 million

Wipro on Monday announced it has signed an agreement to acquire US-headquartered Edgile for $230 million (approximately ₹1,744 crore). Founded in 2001, Edgile is a privately held company and has an on-site workforce of 182 employees. Wipro expects the transaction will be completed before March 31, 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Axis Bank may be highest bidder for Citi's India retail business: Reports

Axis Bank may be the highest bidder for Citibank's India retail business, CNBC TV 18 reported on Monday citing sources. Axis Bank is also reportedly likely to strike an all-cash deal with Citibank, which could be worth $1.5 billion, the news channel said. Reportedly, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Induslnd Bank are also in the race to buy Citibank's assets.


How does the latest World Test Championship points table read?

After Australia's second victory in as many matches, Sri Lanka and Australia have 100% of points won on the World Test Championship points table. England are seventh on the points table with 8.33% of points won. England have also lost 10 points for maintaining slow over-rate. India are fourth with 58.33% of points won.

Sindhu re-elected as BWF Athletes' Commission member

Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu was re-elected as the member of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Athletes' Commission on Monday. The-26-year-old was named alongside five others who will serve as members till 2025. It is Sindhu's second term as she was first elected in 2017. Notably, the 2019 world champion was the only member who stood for re-election.






20th December




What steps has govt asked states and UTs to take against Omicron?

The Centre has written to states suggesting several steps to deal with the Omicron COVID-19 variant, including imposition of curbs for districts with over 10% positivity rate. The Centre has stressed on containment, test, track, surveillance, clinical management, vaccination, community engagement and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. It also suggested constant review of district-level COVID-19 data.



Truecaller: 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 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.



Truecaller Established: 1 July 2009;

Truecaller Chairmen: Bing Gordon;

Truecaller Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden.


Haryana launched ‘Khel Nursery scheme 2022-23’ to promote sports


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.


Haryana Capital: Chandigarh;

Haryana Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya;

Haryana Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.


 Tamil Nadu announced ‘Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu’ 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.


Tamil Nadu Capital: Chennai;

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister: MK Stalin;

Tamil Nadu Governor: R.N.Ravi;

Tamil Nadu State Dance: Bharathanatyam.


PM Modi lays foundation stone of Ganga Expressway in Uttar Pradesh


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.



US registers lowest population growth rate at 0.1% amid pandemic

US' population grew by 0.1% for the period between July 2020 to July 2021, the lowest growth rate since the nation's founding. The US added 3,92,665 people to its population during that period. "The slow rate of growth can be attributed to decreased net international migration, decreased fertility, and increased mortality due in part to the...pandemic," US Census Bureau said.


Malta becomes first European nation to approve 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.


Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

Malta Capital: Valletta;

Malta Currency: Euro.



Banking, Business and Economy

YES Bank's board approves plan to raise up to ₹10,000 crore

YES Bank has received its board's approval to raise up to ₹10,000 crore, the private lender informed the exchanges in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. The board has approved raising of funds by issue of equity shares, depository receipts, convertible bonds, debentures, warrants, or any other equity-linked securities. The bank said it will now seek approval from its shareholders.

IOCL acquires 4.93% equity stake in Indian Gas Exchange

The Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) said on Tuesday that it has acquired a 4.93% stake in Indian Gas Exchange Limited, India's first automated national level gas exchange. "The Board...accorded approval for acquisition of 36,93,750 shares with face value of ₹10 each," IOCL said in a statement. Indian Gas Exchange Limited is regulated by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board.



 ICICI Pru Life Insurance became first insurer to sign UNPRI on ESG issues


ICICI Prudential Life Insurance became the first Indian insurance company to sign United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), to demonstrate commitment towards the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.  In order to promote sustainability, IPRULIFE is integrating ESG factors into its investment management framework. The UNPRI is an investor initiative in partnership with the two bodies of the United Nations – the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact.  Climate change is impacting lives and livelihoods around us and as one of the largest domestic financial institutions in the country, it is incumbent on us to act proactively and responsibly on ESG factors to save the planet.”


ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Established: 2000;

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance CEO & MD: Narayanan Srinivasa Kannan.

World's first SMS sells for €107,000 as an NFT at an auction

The world's first SMS that reads "Merry Christmas" was sold for €107,000 (over ₹91 lakh) as a non-fungible token (NFT) at an auction in Paris on Tuesday. Vodafone engineer Neil Papworth sent the SMS from his computer to a manager in the United Kingdom on December 3, 1992. The SMS was put up for auction by British telecommunications company Vodafone.




 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.







Late Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi's longtime assistant passes away

K Shanmuganathan, the personal assistant of the late DMK patriarch and former Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi, passed away on Tuesday due to age-related ailments. The 80-year-old initially worked with the police department and started working with Karunanidhi in 1969, after the politician spotted his stenography skills. Karunanidhi's son and current Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin condoled his demise.


 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.



21st December




Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone's '83' declared tax free in Delhi

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone-starrer '83' has been declared tax-free in Delhi. The film, which is based on the Kapil Dev-led Indian cricket team's 1983 World Cup victory, is set to release in theatres on December 24. Ranveer will be portraying Kapil Dev and Deepika will play his wife Romi. The film also stars Pankaj Tripathi and Tahir Raj Bhasin.



 Haryana launches new Integrated Command and Control Center in Karnal


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.


Haryana Capital: Chandigarh;

Haryana Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya;

Haryana Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.


Nagaland creates 3 new districts Niuland, Tseminyu, Chumukedima


Nagaland government has announced the creation of three new districts, namely Tseminyu, Niuland and Chumoukedima. This comes less than a year after the 12th district of the state—Noklak—was inaugurated.  With the addition of the three new districts, Nagaland will now have 15 districts. While the Tseminyu sub-division in Kohima district has been upgraded to a district, Niuland and Chumukedima have been carved out of Dimapur district.  Though there were demands from at least 11 tribes for the creation of new districts, the Cabinet could consider only three of them as some districts are inhabited by only one tribe and those cannot be divided.


Chief Minister of Nagaland: Neiphiu Rio; Governor of Nagaland: Jagdish Mukhi.


 Rishabh Pant named as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.  The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.  Rishabh Rajendra Pant is an Indian cricketer who plays as a middle-order wicket-keeper batsman for India, Delhi, and the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League. In December 2015, he was named in India’s squad for the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.


Uttarakhand Capitals: Dehradun (Winter), Gairsain (Summer);

Uttarakhand Governor:  Lt Gen Gurmit Singh;

Uttarakhand Chief minister: Pushkar Singh Dhami.



Karl Nehammer sworn in as Chancellor of Austria


Karl Nehammer was sworn in as new Austria’s chancellor by Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria in a ceremony in Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria. He is succeeding the career diplomat Alexander Schallenberg who took charge as chancellor in October 2021.  He is the 3rd person to hold the role of Austria’s Chancellor in the last two months. Nehammer, from the ruling conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), was formerly the country’s interior minister.  The Vienna-born Nehammer worked in the army for several years. He then started working as a communications adviser before becoming a politician in 2017. He was made interior minister in January 2020. While he was in office, Austria experienced its first Islamist terrorist attack, in which four people were killed last November.


Austria Capital: Vienna;

Austria Currency: Euro;

Austria President: Alexander Van der Bellen.






GACL, GAIL team up to establish bioethanol plant in Gujarat


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.


GAIL (India) Limited Founded: August 1984;

GAIL (India) Limited Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi;

GAIL (India) Limited CMD: Manoj Jain.



 India registers highest-ever annual FDI inflow of 81.97 bn dollars in 2020-21


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.



SAIL honoured 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.


SAIL Founded: 19 January 1954;

SAIL Headquarters: New Delhi;

SAIL CEO: Soma Mondal.



Awards News


Emma Raducanu wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021


Tennis star Emma Raducanu is the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year for 2021. She beat Tom Daley(diver) and Adam Peaty (swimmer) into second and third place, while England’s men’s footballers were named team of the year and Gareth Southgate the coach, as a triumphant period for British sport across the board was commemorated at a ceremony in Salford. Tom Daley won gold for the first time at his fourth Olympics in Tokyo.


Other award winners at Sports Personality 2021:



Helen Rollason Award

 Jen Beattie

Coach of the Year

Gareth Southgate

Team of the Year

England men’s football team

World Sport Star

Rachael Blackmore

Lifetime Achievement

Simone Biles

Unsung Hero

Sam Barlow

Young Sports Personality of the Year

Sky Brown



Sports News


 India won 16 medals in Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship 2021


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.


India’s Medal Winners:

Gold medal

Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg) (Men)

Achinta Sheuli (73kg) (Men)

Ajay Singh (81kg) (Men)

Purnima Pandey (+87kg) (Women)


Silver medal

Guru Raja (61kg) (Men)

Lovepreet Singh (109kg) (Men)

Jhili Dalabehera (49kg) (Women)

S Bindyarani Devi (55kg) (Women)

Hazarika Popy (59kg) (Women)

Harjinder Kaur (71kg) (Women)

Punam Yadav (76kg) (Women)


Bronze medal

Vikas Thakur (96kg) (Men)

Gurdeep Singh (+109kg) (Men)

Lalchhanhimi (71kg) (Women)

R Arockiya Alish (76kg) (Women)

Anuradha Pavunraj (87kg) (Women)


BWF World badminton championship : K Srikanth won 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.


Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Badminton World Federation Founded: 5 July 1934;

Badminton World Federation Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;

Badminton World Federation President: Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen.


David Lloyd retires from Sky Sports commentary role after 22 years

David Lloyd, the ex-England batter and coach, has retired from Sky Sports commentary role after a 22-year stint. "It's been an immense privilege to try and bring the sport I love into people's homes," he stated. "It has been a great pleasure to work alongside Ian Bishop, Ravi Shastri, Shane Warne, Shaun Pollock and Ian Smith...among many others," he added.


Sports Ministry released ₹6,801.30 crore in last 5 years: Anurag Thakur

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said his Ministry has released a sum of ₹6,801.30 crore under various sports development schemes in the last five years. He added that funds are allocated scheme-wise, not State/UT-wise and ₹7,072.28 crore was allocated to the Ministry. Anurag took over from Kiren Rijiju as Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports earlier this year.




Books and Authors

A book titled “India’s Ancient Legacy of Wellness” by Dr Rekha Chaudhari


A book titled “India’s Ancient Legacy of Wellness” authored by Dr Rekha Chaudhari was launched in the presence of the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari. It was launched on the occasion of the World Digital Day (WDD) celebration.  The book highlights how important it is for human beings to be close to nature which helps to revive and recharge to do productive work.


Important Days


 Good Governance Week 2021: 20-25 December


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.


Obituaries News


Former SC Judge Justice GT Nanavati Who Headed ‘2002 Godhra Riots’ passes 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.


 Former Union Minister R L Jalappa passes away


A veteran leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the former Union Minister of Textiles, RL Jalappa has passed away. RL Jalappa was founder and Chairman of Devaraj Urs Medical College in Kolar and RL Jalappa Institute of Technology, Doddaballapur.  In 1979 he quit Congress to form the Karnataka Kranti Ranga with former Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs and he again joined congress in 1998.


Miscellaneous News


 International Arbitration and Mediation Centre inaugurated in Telangana


Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice NV Ramana, and Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao has inaugurated India’s First International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (IAMC) at Phoenix VK Tower at Nanakramguda, Hyderabad, Telangana.  Those who empanel the centre include internationally acclaimed arbitrators and mediators from countries such as Singapore and the UK. IAMC has been established to quickly resolve the issues that arise due to the Lack of sufficient judges. IAMC will settle commercial disputes and it will also look into the disputes of ordinary people.


Telangana Capital: Hyderabad;

Telangana Governor: Tamilisai Soundararajan;

Telangana Chief minister: K. Chandrashekar Rao.






22nd December 2021

National News



Which major Bills have been passed by the Parliament in winter session?

With winter session of the Parliament coming to an end, the Houses passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill and the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill in this session. The other major Bills passed by Parliament in this session include Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020, Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

No salary without COVID-19 vaccine certificate: Punjab to govt employees

Punjab government has notified the government employees that their salaries won't be processed if they don't upload their COVID-19 vaccine certificates on Punjab government's iHRMS website. One can be fully vaccinated or have taken a single dose, but it is mandatory for all the employees to upload the certificates. This comes amid rising concerns over Omicron variant of coronavirus.


Punjab CM gave tag of ‘state festival’ to Jagannath Rath Yatra


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.


Punjab Capital: Chandigarh;

Punjab Chief minister: Charanjit Singh Channi;

Punjab Governor: Banwarilal Purohit.

 UP govt to launch ‘Free Smartphone Yojna’ on Dec 25


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.


Uttar Pradesh Capital: Lucknow;

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath;

Uttar Pradesh Governor: Anandiben Patel.


India added 1.3 GW of rooftop solar installations from Jan-Sept: Report

According to the Mercom India Rooftop Solar Market Report Q3 2021, India added 1.3 gigawatt (GW) of rooftop solar installations (RSI) between January and September 2021. This marks a 202% year-on-year (YoY) increase. Additionally, between July and September, India added 448 megawatt of RSI, a 189% YoY increase. "Market [is]...showing signs of recovery," said Raj Prabhu, CEO, Mercom Capital Group.



PM Narendra Modi launched 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.  The New South Goa District Hospital, built at a cost of around Rs 220 crore.  The Aviation Skill Development Centre at the upcoming Mopa Airport, built at a cost of around Rs 8.5 crore.  A gas-insulated substation at Davorlim-Navelim, Margao, was constructed at a cost of around Rs 16 crores.


Goa Capital: Panaji;

Goa CM: Pramod Sawant;

Goa Governor: S. Sreedharan Pillai.


International News


Gabriel Boric elected as youngest-ever President-elect of Chile


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.


Chile Capital: Santiago;

Chile Currency: Peso.


Canada must temporarily ban foreigners from buying homes: Minister

Canada must temporarily ban foreigners from purchasing homes, the housing minister said. He said that homes must not be treated as passive foreign investment and also backed density measures, like those in New Zealand, that seek to maximise number of homes that can be built on the same land. Canada is grappling with a national housing affordability crisis.





Appointments News

 Pradeep Kumar Rawat appointed as 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.

 Harjinder Singh named India’s Chef de Mission for Beijing Olympics


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.


Atul Dinkar Rane appointed as BrahMos Aerospace CEO & MD


Atul Dinkar Rane has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the BrahMos Aerospace Limited that manufactures the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.  His pioneering contributions and techno-managerial leadership has been transformative for the successful development and induction of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile into Armed Forces.  Rane is renowned for his decades of sustained R&D contributions in the indigenous design and development of mission-critical Onboard Computers (OBC), hardware in loop simulation studies, systems analysis, development of mission software and avionics technologies for defence applications.


BrahMos Aerospace Limited Founder: A. Sivathanu Pillai;

BrahMos Aerospace Limited Founded: 12 February 1998;

BrahMos Aerospace Limited Headquarters: New Delhi.



CIA seeks GST exemption, fresh NPA norms for MSMEs in Budget 2022

short by Ashley Paul / 06:13 pm on 22 Dec 2021,Wednesday

The Consortium of Indian Associations (CIA) has sought in Budget 2022 that MSMEs with a turnover of up to ₹5 crore be exempted from GST for 12 months. CIA also recommended that non-performing assets (NPAs) be considered for MSMEs 120 days after missing an EMI and that raw material ration-cum-fair price shops be established to tackle inflating raw material costs.



GoI & German Bank signed Euro 442.26 mn loan for Surat Metro Rail Project


Government of India and the Germany Development Bank- KfW (Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau) signed a 26 million euros loan for a 40.35 km Surat Metro Rail project in Gujarat. The total cost of the project is Euro 1.50 billion, out of which KfW is financing Euro 442.26 million.  The project is co-financed by French Development Agency, AFD (Agence Française de Développemet) with Euro 250 million. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and the Surat Metro Rail Project in January this year. The project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and long delays on major travel corridors in Surat city and urban areas.


CCI approves acquisition of shareholding in Air India by Tata Sons


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.  Tata Sons’ subsidiary Talace emerged as the highest bidder for AIR India, under the divestment process. Talace had quoted an enterprise value of Rs 18,000 crore for 100 per cent equity shareholding of the Centre. Out of 18000 crores, Telace will retain Rs 15300 crore while the rest will be paid to the Central government as a cash component.


Microsoft's $19.7 bn Nuance purchase gets EU antitrust approval

The European Union's competition regulator has given clearance to Microsoft's $19.7 billion purchase of transcription tech firm Nuance, which was announced earlier this year. The EU concluded there are no competition concerns for the region if the acquisition goes ahead and cleared it without conditions. The deal is Microsoft's second biggest after its $26.2 billion LinkedIn purchase in 2016.


 Equitas Small Finance Bank became Partner of Maharashtra state govt


Equitas Small Finance Bank has empanelled as the banking partner of the state government of Maharashtra with an aim to offer its services to employees of the State Government. The Bandhan Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, and the South Indian Bank have been assigned the role of distributing salaries and allowances to the government employees.  This partnership will enable the ESFBL to distribute salaries and allowances to the existing employees apart from making provision of pension to pensioners. The state government has authorised the Equitas SFB to open salary and pension accounts for the existing and retired employees across 58 branches of the bank across the state.


Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd Founded: 2016;

Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu;

Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd MD & CEO: Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan;

Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd Tagline: It’s Fun Banking.



PM Jan Dhan Yojna 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.


Ranks and reports News


 Wizikey Report: Reliance is India’s most-visible corporate in media


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.  Amazon is ranked third, followed by Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics, Netflix and Microsoft.  Notably, Reliance is ranked eighth on global rankings for top MNCs.  Tesla is ranked 12 on the list with a news score of 82.3, while TATA Motors makes it to rank 18 with a news score of 80.26.




India defeat Pakistan 4-3 to win bronze at men's Asian Champions Trophy hockey

India defeated Pakistan 4-3 in the third place playoff in the 2021 men's Asian Champions Trophy hockey in Bangladesh to bag a bronze medal. It was India's second victory against Pakistan in as many matches in the tournament. Notably, India and Pakistan were joint-winners of the previous edition of the men's Asian Champions Trophy which took place in 2018.


Awards News


 IIT Roorkee bags first position among most innovative institutions 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.


The following parameters define the innovation ecosystem:

Institutional strategies and research depth.

Innovation portfolios (sponsored research, IPR generation, translational research).

Initiatives by the institution to promote and champion innovation.

Innovation Impact (industry-academia partnership, international collaboration, technology transfer, societal impact, etc.)


 PV Sindhu among 6 appointed members of BWF Athletes Commission till 2025


Former world champion PV Sindhu has been appointed as a member of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Athletes’ Commission, along with five other people. The Chair and Deputy Chair will be decided among the six members.  The Chair of the BWF Athletes’ Commission, following a vetting process as required for all Council members, will become a member of the Council until the next elections in 2025.  Iris Wang (USA), Robin Tabeling (NED), Greysia Polii (INA), Kim Soyeong (KOR), Pusarla V Sindhu (IND) and Zheng Si Wei (CHN) are the ones appointed as members of the BWF Athletes’ Commission.


Important Days



National Mathematics Day: 22 December 2021


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.


Here is some information about Ramanujan’s life:


Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on December 22, 1887 at Erode, Tamil Nadu in a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family.  Ramanujan studied at the Government College in Kumbakonam in 1903. In college, he failed exams due to his negligence for non-mathematical subjects.  In 1912, Ramanujan started working as a clerk in the Madras Port Trust.  Ramanujan joined Trinity College a few months before World War I began. In 1916, he received a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. He was elected to the London Mathematical Society in 1917.  Ramanujan returned to India in 1919. A year later, he breathed his last at the age of 32.  The 2015 movie ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity was released based on Srinivasa Ramanujan’s biography.



Kerala MLA and state Congress chief PT Thomas passes away at 70

Congress MLA and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president PT Thomas passed away at the age of 70 at Christian Medical College in Vellore on Wednesday morning. Thomas had been indisposed for the last few weeks. Thomas was made the working president of the party in the recent reconstitution of the state unit of Congress.





23rd December 2021




 Jharkhand Assembly 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.


  • Chief Minister of Jharkhand: Hemant Soren; Governor: Ramesh Bais.


Odisha CM inaugurated Odisha’s longest bridge ‘T-Setu’ in Cuttack

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.


  • Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar;
  • Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal;
  • Odisha Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.


NPCI partners with Udemy Business to encourage skill 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.


  • National Payments Corporation of India Founded: 2008;
  • National Payments Corporation of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;
  • National Payments Corporation of India MD & CEO: Dilip Asbe.


NITI Aayog tie-up with UN WFP to diversify food basket


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.

  • NITI Aayog Formed: 1 January 2015;
  • NITI Aayog Headquarters: New Delhi;
  • NITI Aayog Chairperson: Narendra Modi;
  • NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson: Rajiv Kumar;
  • NITI Aayog CEO: Amitabh Kant;
  • United Nations World Food Programme Founded: 1961;
  • United Nations World Food Programme Headquarters: Rome, Italy;
  • United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director: David Beasley.


Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim appointed Kolkata Mayor

West Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim has been appointed as the new Mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). At a meeting of newly-elected TMC councillors, it was decided that Atin Ghosh will be the Deputy Mayor and South Kolkata MP Mala Roy was appointed the next Chairperson of the civic body. TMC has won 134 of the 144 wards.




Belgium to close all existing nuclear power plants by 2025: Report

Belgium's government on Thursday reportedly said it would shut all of the country's nuclear power plants by 2025. Indicating that two plants could remain open if needed, Belgium PM Alexander De Croo said, "It would not be smart not to have a safety net." "We say goodbye to...old nuclear reactors and look to nuclear energy of the future," Croo added.

Canada expands aid to people, businesses affected by Omicron surge

Canada is set to temporarily expand financial assistance to individuals and businesses affected by the spread of the Omicron variant, PM Justin Trudeau said. Eligibility for programmes such as Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, among others will be expanded in view of tightening curbs amid rising COVID-19 cases. Canada has reported over 2,360 confirmed Omicron cases.




IPO-bound Snapdeal appoints Himanshu Chakrawarti as President

IPO-bound e-commerce platform Snapdeal has appointed Himanshu Chakrawarti as its President. Prior to joining Snapdeal, he was the CEO of Unlimited Fashion, Arvind Lifestyle Brands' value fashion retail chain. He has also been the CEO of HiCare Services, which was backed by the leading PE fund, True North. Snapdeal filed its draft papers for an IPO on Tuesday.


Which are India's 5 most valuable state-controlled companies of 2021 as per Hurun?

According to 2021 Burgundy Private Hurun India 500 list, State Bank of India with a value of ₹4.65 lakh crore is India's most valuable state-controlled company of 2021. This is followed by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (₹1.92 lakh crore), NTPC (₹1.32 lakh crore), Power Grid Corporation of India (₹1.29 lakh crore) and Indian Oil Corporation (₹1.23 lakh crore).



 IOCL acquired 4.93% 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.


·        Indian Oil Corporation Limited Chairperson: Shrikant Madhav Vaidya;

·        Indian Oil Corporation Limited Headquarters: New Delhi;

·        Indian Oil Corporation Limited Founded: 30 June 1959.


 Mastercard and Google Pay tie-up for tokenisation for card-based payments


Mastercard and Google announced a tokenization method that enables Google Pay users to safely transact using their Mastercard credit cards and debit cards.  With this collaboration, Google Pay Android users can scan and pay across all Bharat QR-enabled merchants, tap-and-pay, and make in-app transactions through their Mastercard debit and credit card.  For a convenient registration, users will have to do a one-time setup by entering their card details and their OTP to add their card on the Google Pay app.  Mastercard said this initiative is an extension of Mastercard’s long-standing collaboration with Google and will go a long way towards enabling India’s digital economy.


  • Mastercard Founded: 16 December 1966;
  • Mastercard Headquarters: New York, United States;
  • Mastercard CEO: Michael Miebach;
  • Mastercard Executive Chairman: Ajay Banga.


 Wipro to acquire Edgile in USD 230-million deal


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.


  • Chairman of Wipro Limited: Rishad Premji.
  • Wipro Headquarters: Bengaluru;
  • Wipro MD and CEO: Thierry Delaporte.



State Bank of India acquired minority stake in JSW Cement for INR 100 crore


State Bank of India(SBI) acquired a minority stake (less than 50 per cent) in JSW Cement Limited for an investment of INR 100 crore through Compulsory Convertible Preference Shares (CCPS).  The SBI is working as a strategic investor at JSW Cement and has invested in the company through CCPS. The conversion of such CCPS into common equity of the company will be linked to the JSW Cement’s business performance and valuation at the time of the proposed initial public offering.  The SBI transaction with JSW Cement comes close on the heels of the Rs 1,500 crore investments made by two global private equity investors, Apollo Global Management Inc. (through its investment entity in Singapore) and Synergy Metals Investments Holding Ltd earlier this year.


  • SBI Founded: 1 July 1955;
  • SBI Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • SBI Chairman: Dinesh Kumar Khara.

 Bank of Baroda grabbed top spot in Digital Payments


Bank of Baroda has announced it has won the #1 position in overall digital transactions amongst large banks for FY20-21. The bank showed the exceptional growth of digital payment transactions achievement and was felicitated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India at the Digital Payments Utsav.  To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Independence of India, MeitY is celebrating “Digital Payments Utsav”. As a part of the celebration, the Bank of Baroda has been conferred with 5 DigiDhan awards for FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 in various categories. BoB has been conferred with five DigiDhan awards for FY 2019-20 & 2020-21 in various categories.

  • Bank of Baroda Founded: 20 July 1908;
  • Bank of Baroda Headquarters: Vadodara, Gujarat;
  • Bank of Baroda Managing Director & CEO: Sanjiv Chadha;
  • Bank of Baroda Tagline: India’s International Bank;
  • Bank of Baroda Amalgamated Banks: Dena Bank & Vijaya Bank in 2019.


₹1 crore fine each imposed by RBI on One Mobikwik Systems, Spice Money

RBI has imposed monetary penalty on two payment system operators, One Mobikwik Systems Private Limited and Spice Money Limited, for violation of norms. They've been fined ₹1 crore each. "These actions are based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and are not intended to pronounce upon...validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the entities with...customers," said RBI.

Deadline for tokenisation of credit, debit cards extended to June 30, 2022

RBI on Thursday extended deadline for card tokenisation to June 30, 2022. "In addition to tokenisation, industry stakeholders may devise alternate mechanisms to handle...recurring e-mandates and EMI option, or post-transaction activity that currently involves/requires storage of CoF data by entities other than card issuers and card networks," said RBI. The earlier deadline was December 31, 2021.

No confidence in govt's understanding of crypto: Former Finance Secretary

Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said that he has no confidence in the government's ability of understanding complexities of cryptocurrency. He said this after the government failed to table the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill in the Parliament. "I am not surprised to clarity over what is the Bill," Garg told IANS.


Advance tax collection rises 54% to Rs 4.60 lakh crore


According to the finance ministry, advance tax collection increased by 53.50 per cent to Rs 4.60 lakh crore so far this fiscal year, indicating a recovery in the economy.  Direct tax collections for 2021-22, as of December 16, show that net collections are at Rs 9.45 lakh crore compared to Rs 5.88 lakh crore over the year-ago period, representing an increase of 60.8 per cent.  The cumulative advance tax collections for the primary, second and third quarter of 2021-22 stand at Rs 4,59,917.1 crore as on December 16, 2021, towards advance tax collections of Rs 2,99,620.5 crore for the corresponding interval of 2020-21, displaying a development of about 53.5 per cent.


Awards News


Divya Hegde won UN Women’s Award for Leadership Commitment 2021


Divya Hegde, an Indian Climate Action Entrepreneur from Udupi, Karnataka, has won UN Women’s Award for Leadership Commitment at the 2021 Regional Asia-Pacific Women’s Empowerment Principles Awards Ceremony.  She has been recognized for her sustained efforts in advancing gender equality through climate action efforts with her organization, Baeru Environmental Services.


Other Winners:

  • Youth Leadership: Pallavi Sherring
  • Gender-inclusive Workplace: Natwaste Group
  • Gender-Responsive Marketplace: Dharma Life
  • Community Engagement & Partnerships: The Very Group
  • Transparency & Reporting: Biocon Ltd India
  • SME Champions: Namita Vikas

Sports News


 BWF World Championships 2021: Loh Kean Yew won Men’s singles


The 2021 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World championship (officially known as the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021), an annual tournament was held between 12th December 2021 and 19th December 2021 in Huelva, Spain.  Loh Kean Yew of Singapore won the Men’s Singles title and Akane Yamaguchi of Japan won the Women’s Singles title of BWF World Championship 2021.


Winners of BWF World Championship 2021:




Men’s Singles

Loh Kean Yew (Singapore)

Srikanth Kidambi (India)

Women’s Singles

Akane Yamaguchi (Japan)

Tai – Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)

Men’s Doubles

Takuro Hoki & Yugo Kobayashi (Japan)

He Jiting & Tan Qiang (China)

Women’s Doubles

Chen Qingchen & Jia Yifan (China)

Lee So-hee & Shin Seung-Chan (South Korea)

Mixed Doubles

Dechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand)

Yuta Watanabe & Arisa Higashino (Japan)




USA record their first T20I win against a Test-playing nation, defeat Ireland in Florida

Monank Patel-led USA defeated Ireland by 26 runs in first T20I of the three-match series in Florida. It's USA's first-ever victory in international cricket against a Test-playing nation. USA put up a total of 188/6 and restricted Ireland to 162/6. USA's Gajanand Singh was named Player of the Match for scoring 65(42), including three fours and five sixes.





Books and Authors


Tusshar Kapoor released his debut book ‘Bachelor Dad’


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.


Important Days


 Indian National Farmer’s Day : 23 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.



USA record their first T20I win against a Test-playing nation, defeat Ireland in Florida

Monank Patel-led USA defeated Ireland by 26 runs in first T20I of the three-match series in Florida. It's USA's first-ever victory in international cricket against a Test-playing nation. USA put up a total of 188/6 and restricted Ireland to 162/6. USA's Gajanand Singh was named Player of the Match for scoring 65(42), including three fours and five sixes.



Brazilian Olympic diver Ian Matos passes away at 32 due to lung infection

Brazilian Olympic diver Ian Matos died aged 32 following illness after suffering from a lung infection. He was admitted to a hospital for around two months. Matos had competed in the men’s synchronised three-metre springboard at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and won three bronze medals at the 2010 South American Games. Matos had come out as gay in 2014.





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