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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS JANUARY 1 TO 11 2022

 

CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

1ST JANUARY 2022

NATIONAL


Bombay High Court to switch to hybrid mode from January 4

Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, the Bombay High Court (HC) administration on Friday decided to shift to a hybrid mode of hearing from January 4 to January 7. In the hybrid mode, hearings will take place both physically and virtually and litigants will be only allowed to enter the court premises if ordered by the court.


Centre releases grant of ₹830.85 cr to Odisha under Jal Jeevan Mission

Centre released a grant of ₹830.85 crore to Odisha under Jal Jeevan Mission. Out of 85.67 lakh rural households in the state, 35.37 lakh have tap water supply in their homes, Ministry of Jal Shakti said. There is a massive increase in budgetary allocation to ₹3,323.42 crore in 2021-22, from ₹812.15 crore in the preceding year for Odisha, it added.


Cinemas, swimming pools shut in Gurugram & 4 other Haryana districts till Jan 12

Haryana government on Saturday issued an order to close cinema halls, sports complexes, swimming pools and entertainment parks in Gurugram, Faridabad, Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat, from tomorrow till January 12, 2022. All offices are advised to function with 50% staff and malls, markets can open till 5 pm. Bars and restaurants can stay open at 50% seating capacity.


Lakhs visit 'Jaystambh' to mark anniversary of Bhima-Koregaon battle

Lakhs of people on Saturday paid tributes at the 'Jaystambh' in Pune district on the 204th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle. Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil were among the politicians to visit the monument today. Around 200 PMPML buses are plying from various areas in Pune to bring visitors to the memorial.


Received 31,000 complaints of crimes against women in 2021, over half from UP: NCW

National Commission for Women (NCW) last year said that it received nearly 31,000 complaints of crimes committed against women in 2021, the highest since 2014. Over half of the complaints were from Uttar Pradesh, it added. A maximum of 11,013 complaints were related to the right to live with dignity, followed by those related to domestic violence at 6,633.


PM Modi releases ₹20,900 crore to farmers under PM-KISAN scheme

PM Narendra Modi on Friday released ₹20,900 crore financial benefit to more than 10.09 crore farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme. PM Modi also released an equity grant of more than ₹14 crore to about 351 Farmer Producer Organizations, benefiting 1.24 lakh farmers. A total of ₹1.8 lakh crore has been provided under PM-KISAN scheme so far.

 

INTERNATIONAL


Sri Lanka's food inflation hits record high amid shortages

The food inflation rose to a record 22.1% in December in Sri Lanka amid an acute shortage of essentials, according to Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) on Saturday. The overall inflation was at a record 12.01% in December. The country's economy has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the foreign exchange reserves crisis.


UK planning cheaper, easier visas for Indians for trade deal with India: Report

The UK is planning to relax immigration rules by offering cheaper and easier visas for Indian tourists, students and professionals in an attempt to get a trade deal with India, a UK media report stated. UK's International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is expected to visit India this month, may discuss the prospect of relaxing immigration rules for Indian citizens


UK Queen announces knighthood for ex-British PM Tony Blair

UK's Queen Elizabeth II on Friday announced a knighthood for former British PM Tony Blair. She personally appointed Blair as Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior order of knighthood. "It is an immense honour...and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen," Blair said.


UK museum finds over 550 new species including 6 dinosaurs in 2021

Researchers at the London's Natural History Museum have found 552 new species of animals including six new dinosaurs in 2021. The biggest animals to be discovered were the spinosaurs discovered on the Isle of Wight. Other discoveries were the brachiopods, arachnids and an ancient herbivorous crocodile relative. They also found a mouse in Scotland from 166 million years ago.


UAE to ban unvaccinated citizens from travelling abroad from Jan 10

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will ban citizens not vaccinated against COVID-19 from travelling abroad from January 10, the state news agency reported on Saturday. However, the ban would not apply to those with medical or humanitarian exemptions. The UAE has reported more than 7.64 lakh coronavirus cases and 2,165 COVID-19 deaths, according to the state news agency.


US extends support for International Space Station till 2030: NASA

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the administration of US President Joe Biden has committed to extending the operations of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030. Nelson added that Biden administration will continue research in the orbiting laboratory with international partners including Russia through the decade. Currently, Congress has approved funding only till 2024.


Taiwan President Tsai warns China against 'military adventurism'

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned China against "military adventurism". During her New Year's speech, Tsai said that military conflict is not the answer to cross-strait disagreements. Notably, while Taiwan and China split after a civil war in 1949, the former considers itself an independent country while the latter considers it to be a part of its territory.


Kim Jong-un says North Korea will focus on food and economy in 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country's main goals for 2022 are food, economy and COVID-19 at a ruling party plenary meeting. "The main task is to guarantee the implementation of the five-year plan," state media quoted Kim. The UN in October warned of a full-blown food crisis in North Korea with the most vulnerable at risk of starvation.


Australia to rename island to honour Queen Elizabeth on platinum jubilee

Australia will rename Aspen Island as Queen Elizabeth II Island during a special event in June, PM Scott Morrison said. This will be a part of national, community events in 2022 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the accession of the Queen to the British throne, he added. Commemorative stamps and coins will be released in Queen's honour, Morrison said.

BUSINESS, BANKING AND ECONOMY
India sees record ₹8.26 lakh crore UPI transactions in December

India saw value of UPI transactions in December rise to a record high of ₹8.26 lakh crore, NPCI data showed. The month also saw the volume of transactions jump to record high at 456 crore. For the year, UPI saw 3,874 crore transactions, up 105% from 2020. The value of these transactions rose by over 130% at ₹71.46 lakh crore


China's Tencent buys small stake in UK digital bank Monzo

China's Tencent has taken up a small stake in Britain's digital bank Monzo as part of a fundraising, weeks after the bank fetched a valuation of $4.5 billion. Monzo did not disclose the details of Tencent's stake. In December 2021, Monzo received funding from investors such as Abu Dhabi Growth Fund and Coatue.

 


US asks AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G wireless over safety concerns

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA head Steve Dickson have asked AT&T and Verizon to delay the planned January-5 introduction of new 5G wireless service over aviation safety concerns. The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics. A delay of no more than two weeks has been proposed.

 

 

OBITUARY


Guinness World Record holder actress Betty White passes away days before 100th b'day

American actress and comedian Betty White, whose career spanned around 79 years, passed away days before her 100th birthday. White, who worked in shows like 'Golden Girls' and 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', had bagged the Guinness World Record for the longest TV career by an entertainer (female). She received eight Emmy Awards in various categories in her career.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

2nd JANUARY 2021

NATIONAL


No property tax on residential properties up to 500 sq ft in Mumbai: Maha CM

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has announced complete waiver of property tax on residential units of up to 500 square feet in Mumbai. "I promise Mumbaikars that we are able to take care of your health and well-being, just continue to give us your blessings," Thackeray said while announcing the decision, ahead of Mumbai municipal corporation elections due next month.

 

12 devotees killed, 15 injured in Vaishno Devi temple stampede

Twelve devotees were killed and 15 injured in an earlymorning stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra in Reasi district in Jammu on Saturday.


Hyderabad’s six-lane Shaikpet flyover inaugurated by KTR

Telangana minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday inaugurated the six-lane, 2.71 km long Shaikpet flyover in Hyderabad. The flyover connects Tolichowki to Raidurg. Shaikpet flyover has been built at a cost of ₹333 crore, Rao said. “Another milestone in our effort to ease traffic in Hyderabad through GHMC’s SRDP program,” Rao tweeted.


India reports 27,553 new COVID-19 cases, daily positivity rate rises to 2.55%

India has reported 27,553 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The country also reported 284 deaths, taking the death toll to 4,81,770. India's active caseload reached 1,22,801, while the daily positivity rate rose to 2.55%. Notably, 1,525 cases of Omicron have been reported so far in the country


Pune airport may restart international flights from Jan 7: Official

The Pune airport may restart international flights, which were not operational due to the COVID-19 outbreak, from January 7, an airport official has said. "Flight for Sharjah may take off from Pune International Airport on January 7, we are waiting for final confirmation," he added. The official further said that the airport is ready to resume international flight operations.


Revoking FCRA licence will affect humanitarian work during COVID: Oxfam India

A day after Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused to renew the registration of Oxfam India under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, the organisation said the action would "severely affect" its humanitarian work, including COVID-19 relief work, in 16 states. The licence is needed to receive funding from abroad. "We'll urge the MHA to lift the funding restrictions," Oxfam India stated.


WB schools, colleges to remain shut from tomorrow; offices to operate at 50% capacity

Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, all schools, colleges, universities and spas will be closed in West Bengal from Monday, January 3, state Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi said. Salons, beauty parlours, zoos and entertainment parks will also remain shut. “All government and private offices to operate at 50% capacity, all administrative meetings to be conducted via virtual mode,” Dwivedi added.


PM Modi lays foundation stone of UP's first sports university in Meerut

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district. The state's first sports university will be established in Sardhana at an estimated cost of about ₹700 crore. "Without 'dhyan' (focus), there can be no success...Every year, 1,000 students will graduate from this sports university," PM Modi said.


₹8 lakh income limit for EWS reservation in NEET PG admissions to remain: Govt to SC

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the NEET post-graduate admissions case on January 6, the central government has filed an affidavit stating that the ₹8 lakh annual income criterion for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation will remain. The top court had earlier put a stay on the process after a petition challenged the EWS criteria as "discriminatory".


Need to 're-focus' on efforts against Omicron cases: Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday said that learnings from India's earlier fights against COVID-19 "must be used to re-focus on efforts against the Omicron variant". Mandaviya called for stringent containment measures to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases and asserted the need to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. He also lauded the efforts of state administrations to curb COVID-19.


Rajasthan's Kota to get ₹100-crore park to help de-stress coaching students

The Rajasthan government is constructing a ₹100 crore park in Kota to keep coaching students de-stressed and to promote eco-tourism. Kota is known as a hub of coaching for medical and engineering entrance exams. While 16% of the park will have water bodies, it will also feature leisure trails, open gyms, Wi-Fi cyber zone and volcano structure among other things.

 

INTERNATIONAL


Which countries have reported over 1 crore cases since the start of COVID-19?

France has become the world's sixth country to report more than 1 crore COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, after reporting 2,19,126 new cases in the latest 24-hour period. France joined the United States, India, Brazil, Britain, and Russia in having had over 1 crore cases. India has reported over 3 crore cases since the start of COVID-19.


France takes over EU Presidency with aim for 'more sovereign Europe'

France on Friday took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with an aim to work towards a "more sovereign Europe". "Europe must rise to...major economic, educational, migration and military challenges," French President Emmanuel Macron said. Notably, this comes a few months ahead of the 2022 French presidential election that is scheduled to be held in April.


Kuwait encourages its citizens to leave UK over Omicron fears

The Kuwaiti embassy in the UK has encouraged its citizens to leave the country due to a "significant and unprecedented" increase in Omicron cases there, the state news agency reported on Sunday. The embassy also urged Kuwaiti citizens to postpone their visits to the country. The UK reported 1,37,583 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Sunday.


Suez Canal revenues rise to record $6.3 billion in 2021

Egypt's Suez Canal annual revenues reached $6.3 billion last year, the highest in the waterway's history, an official said on Sunday. This is a 12.8% increase from $5.6 billion earned in revenue in 2020, the official added. The official further said that 20,694 ships transited the canal in 2021, a 10% increase as compared to 18,830 vessels in 2020.

 

BUSINESS, BANKING AND ECONOMY


India appeals against WTO panel ruling on sugar export subsidies: Official

India has appealed against the ruling of World Trade Organisation's (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel which said that India's support measures for sugar and sugarcane are inconsistent with global trade norms, an official said. On December 14, 2021, the panel recommended India to withdraw alleged prohibited subsidies within 120 days. India stated that the findings are completely "unacceptable".


Tata Motors overtakes Hyundai as 2nd largest PV seller in Dec 2021

Tata Motors has overtaken Hyundai Motor India to become the second largest seller of passenger vehicles (PVs) in the domestic market for the first time in close to a decade in December 2021. Tata Motors registered sales of 35,299 PV units in December 2021, whereas Hyundai dispatched 32,312 units. Tata Motors said it dispatched close to 99,000 vehicles between October-December.


Future Retail misses due date for payment of ₹3,500 crore to banks

Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail, which runs the Big Bazaar chain of stores, missed the due date of December 31, 2021, to pay ₹3,494.56 crore to various consortium banks and lenders. The company said it missed the due date "due to ongoing litigation with Amazon". Future Retail would be co-operating with banks and lenders for payment in the next 30 days.


Vinod Kannan takes over as CEO of Vistara

Vistara has announced that Vinod Kannan took over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airline on Saturday. "Kannan started his stint with Vistara as the Chief Strategy Officer in June 2019 and took over as Chief Commercial Officer in January 2020," the company said. Kannan replaced Leslie Thng who was the CEO from July 2017 to December 2021.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

03 January 2022

National News
West Bengal's Belur Math closed until further orders amid COVID-19

After the West Bengal government imposed restrictions on Sunday over rising COVID-19 cases, Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, has been closed for visitors until further notification. The venue was scheduled to be closed from January 1-4 in an earlier announcement. As per reports, other temples and tourist spots can also be closed in wake of surging coronavirus cases
PM to lay foundation stone for projects worth ₹43,000cr in Punjab

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stones of various development projects worth over ₹42,750 crore in Punjab's Ferozepur on Wednesday, PMO said on Monday. This comes ahead of the state's upcoming Assembly election. The projects include the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, PGI Satellite Centre in Ferozepur and two new medical colleges in Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.

1st electric boat built for Kochi Water Metro Project

In Kerala, the first battery-powered electric boat built for the Kochi Water Metro Project was handed over to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited. The fully air-conditioned boat is among the 23 boats being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the 747-crore rupee Kochi Water Metro project.

Kochi Water Metro system will have 78 ferries, linking 38 terminals spread over 76 route kilometres. The battery-powered water metro boat can carry 100 passengers. KMRL said it was for the first time in the world a centrally controlled integrated water transport system with a large fleet is powered by the battery.

Jawaharlal Nehru Road renamed as ‘Narendra Modi Marg’

Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad, has named a new road Narendra Modi Marg. The Governor viewed the road under Kabi Lungchok from Kyongsala, 4th mile. This is an alternative to Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg.

The National Monument at National Highway 310 was built by Border Roads Organization. It will be easier for Indian tourists to reach Nathula Border. The stretch, constructed by Border Roads Organisation, has reduced the distance between Gangtok and Tsomgo lake by 15 km.

Odisha launched Digital Life Certificate system for pensioners 2022

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched an online service for the verification of identity and submission of life certificates for pensioners of the state government.

The chief minister virtually launched the new initiative while attending the orientation programme for newly recruited 153 officers of Odisha Civil Services.

Identification and life certificates can now be submitted by the pensioners using an artificial intelligence-based video-verification process.

It will be of immense help to the pensioners as they can submit their identification and life certificates digitally, without visiting any government office simply by using their mobile phones.

This facility will also be available at the ‘Mo Seva Kendras’ located across the state. Patnaik said the introduction of digital life certificates and E-dairy were part of his government’s 5T and ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiatives.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar;

Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal;

Odisha Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.

UP’s Jhansi Railway Station renamed as ‘Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station’

Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has announced that the government of UP has renamed the Jhansi Railway Station, in Jhansi, UP as “Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station” after Rani Laxmibai.

The announcement was made by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A notification to this effect has been issued by the UP government and the Railways has started preparations to implement the change.

Earlier the Mughalsarai Railway station was renamed as Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction and the Faizabad Railway station as Ayodhya Cantt.

 Vinay Kumar Tripathi named as Chairman and CEO of Railway Board

 

1983 Batch of Indian Railway Service, Vinay Kumar Tripathi has been appointed as new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Railway Board. He is presently working as General Manager, Northeastern Railway to the post of Chairman of Railway Board.

Indian Railway Board is the apex body of the Indian Railways, which reports to parliament through the Ministry of Railways. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has not only approved the appointment of Tripathi for six months from January 1 but also further granted an extension of his tenure till 31 December in 2022.

Vinay Kumar Tripathi has attended higher Management training programmes in Switzerland & USA. Tripathi had played a key role in the commissioning of state-of-art three-phase locomotives and their indigenization, which are now the workhorse of Indian Railways. Tripathi holds wide experience in railway management and administrations.

Dharmendra Pradhan launches reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’

 

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched a 100-day reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat.

The launch of the 100 Days Reading Campaign is in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which lays emphasis on the promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring the availability of age-appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal language.

Padhe Bharat campaign will focus on children studying in Balvatika to Grade 8. The reading campaign will be organized for 100 days (14 weeks) starting from January 1, 2022, to April 10, 2022.

The reading campaign aims to have the participation of all stakeholders at the national and state level including children, teachers, parents, community, educational administrators etc.

 Government approved 19th Tranche of Electoral Bonds

 

The government has approved the issuance of the 19th tranche of electoral bonds, which will be open for sale from January 1 to 10, 2022, ahead of assembly elections in five states Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa.

In the 19th tranche of sale, the State Bank of India (SBI), has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 specialised branches. There is no limit on the number of bonds an individual or company can purchase. An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days.

Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. However, Opposition parties have been raising concerns about alleged opaqueness in funding through such bonds.

International News
I'm bankrupt now: Ex-Polish Prez and Nobel laureate Lech Wałęsa

Ex-Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Wałęsa claimed that he is bankrupt after his income from speaking engagements declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm bankrupt now because I get 6,000 zlotys a month in my pension and the wife spends 7,000 (zlotys) every month," he said. Wałęsa also said that several of his work-related trips abroad were cancelled.


4000+ flights cancelled globally on Jan 2 due to Omicron, weather

Over 4,000 flights were cancelled and more than 11,000 were delayed on Sunday following disruptions in air travel due to surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and adverse weather conditions. As per tracking website FlightAware.com, 2,400 flights departing from or within the US were cancelled. FlightAware also noted that SkyWest and SouthWest airlines recorded the most number of cancellations.

 

World’s longest Metro line opened in China

 

Shanghai has opened two new metro lines, upholding its rank as the city with the largest Metro network in the world. With the new lines, the total length of Shanghai’s metro network has extended to 831 km, continuing to be the longest in the world.

China’s Shanghai opened two new metro lines – Line 14 and Phase One of Line 18. The opening of the two new lines will bring the total number of fully automatic metro lines in Shanghai to five, with an operating length of 167 km, ranking first in the world for the first time. The city will now enjoy 20 metro lines with 508 stations, 83 of which are transfer ones.

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


Who is Ashok Elluswamy, first hire for Tesla Autopilot after Musk's tweet?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently revealed that Indian-origin techie Ashok Elluswamy was the first person recruited from Musk's tweet about Tesla building its Autopilot team. Elluswamy, the head of Tesla's Autopilot engineering, earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree from Chennai and Master of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University, US. He's been working with Tesla for more than seven years.
RBL Bank sees over 11% drop in retail, small business deposits in Oct-Dec

RBL Bank witnessed a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) drop of 11.3% in retail and small business deposits in the October-December quarter. Retail and small business deposits fell to ₹27,871 crore over the quarter. Total deposits in the quarter also fell 2.58% QoQ to ₹73,637 crore. This comes after the bank's MD and CEO Vishwavir Ahuja exited abruptly, reportedly making depositors nervous.


India on track to achieve export target of $400 billion: Piyush Goyal

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal announced on Monday that India has achieved the highest ever monthly exports of $37 billion in December 2021, a 37% year-on-year increase. He added that it is clear that India is well on its way to achieving an export target of $400 billion. "It is a time for Indians to feel proud," Goyal said.


Alka Mittal becomes first woman to head ONGC as its Chairman and MD

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Monday announced that its Director (Human Resources) Dr Alka Mittal has been entrusted with additional charge of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). She has become the first woman to head the energy major, it added. The state-run company had been functioning without a CMD since the retirement of its former chief Subhash Kumar.

 

 RBI extended deadline for Periodic KYC Update till March 31, 2022

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that it has extended the deadline for periodic KYC updates by 3 months till March 31, 2022. Extension in view of prevalent uncertainty due to a new variant of COVID-19 – Omicron. Earlier the deadline for periodic KYC updates was December 31.

Meanwhile, the government has also extended the deadline for businesses to file GST annual returns for the 2020-21 fiscal ended March 2021 by two months till February 28.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Reserve Bank of India Founded: April 1, 1935;

Reserve Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;

Reserve Bank of India Governor: Shaktikanta Das.

 GST Collection Stood At Rs 1.29 Lakh Crore in December 2021

 

GST revenue collected in December 2021 was over Rs 1.29 lakh crore, 13 per cent higher than the same month in 2020.

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2021 is ₹ 1,29,780 crore, of which CGST is ₹ 22,578 crore, SGST is ₹ 28,658 crore, IGST is Rs 69,155 crore (including Rs 37,527 crores collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 9,389 crore.

Tech Mahindra to acquire 100 percent stake in Allyis India, Green Investments

 

Tech Mahindra has approved a proposal for the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in Allyis India and Green Investments, for a total consideration of up to USD 125 million.

The acquisition will bolster Tech Mahindra’s capabilities in Digital Experience Solutions, Learning & Development, Marketing, Instructional Design; Engineering: Cloud & Automation, BI & Analytics, Technical support services.

Tech Mahindra will pay total consideration of up to $125 million, including employment-related and performance-related earnouts, as per a regulatory update filed with the exchanges.

Allyis India Pvt Ltd and Green Investments LLC offer technology consulting and managed services for organisations to help reduce costs, improve performance, and meet their objectives. Allyis India Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2018 whole Green Investments LLC was incorporated in 2013.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Tech Mahindra CEO: C. P. Gurnani;

Tech Mahindra Headquarters: Pune;

Tech Mahindra Founder: Anand Mahindra;

Tech Mahindra Founded: 1986.

 IRDAI: LIC, GIC Re and New India systemically important insurers

 

Insurance regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has stated that LIC, GIC Re and New India continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) for 2021-22.

D-SIIs refer to insurers of such size, market importance and domestic and global interconnectedness, whose distress or failure would cause significant dislocation in the domestic financial system.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

IRDAI Founded: 1999;

IRDAI Headquarters: Hyderabad;

IRDAI Chairperson: Subhash Chandra Khuntia.
Visa, Mastercard will be biggest business losers of 2022: Billionaire Chamath

Sri Lankan-born Canadian venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya in a podcast said, "My biggest business losers for 2022 are Visa and Mastercard and traditional payment rails and the entire ecosystem around it." The billionaire said these payments systems are a "completely contrived duopoly that doesn't need to exist". He added that these companies will lose out to Web3-based payment projects.

 

LIC inaugurates Digi Zone to sell policies online

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has inaugurated “Digi Zone”, at Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, as part of its effort to enhance its digital footprint.

LIC’s Digi Zone can be used by the customers to purchase policies online, pay the premium and avail of other services. As a part of its efforts to become a tech-driven life insurer, LIC will offer information related to its products and services through kiosks installed on the Digi Zone premises.

Customers can use LIC’s Digi Zone to buy policies online, pay the premium and avail of other services. LIC plans to undertake the next wave of digital transformation to unlock several benefits of accelerating growth, driving customer satisfaction and improving intermediary productivity and loyalty.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

LIC Chairperson: M R Kumar;

LIC Headquarters: Mumbai;

LIC Founded: 1 September 1956.
RBI releases framework for small value digital payments without internet

The RBI released a framework for small value offline digital payments that don't require internet or telecom connectivity. Such payments can be carried out face-to-face using instruments like cards, wallets or mobile devices. Transactions are subject to a limit of ₹200 per transaction and an overall limit of ₹2,000 for all transactions until the balance in the account is replenished.

 Nirmala Sitharaman chairs 46th GST council meet in Delhi

 

The GST Council’s 46th meeting was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

The GST Council has recommended deferring the decision to change the rates in textiles recommended in the 45th GST Council meeting. Consequently, the existing GST rates of 5 % instead of 12% in textile sector would continue.

This convention attains special significance as it comes days ahead of Sitharaman presenting the much-anticipated Union Budget 2022-23 on February 1, for which she has been holding a series of pre-budget consultations with stakeholders.

Sports News


Ranji Trophy to proceed as planned: Ganguly amid rising COVID-19 cases

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed on Monday that the upcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy will "proceed as planned" amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country. It's scheduled to be played from January 13 to March 20. Kolkata will be hosting neutral group stage matches as well as knockouts. Earlier in the day, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) announced suspension of local tournaments.


Pak's Hafeez retires from international cricket aged 41 after debuting 18 years ago

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has retired from international cricket aged 41, ending a career that spanned over 18 years. Hafeez scored 12,780 runs and took 253 wickets in 392 international matches. Hafeez said, "I've earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I'm thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and Pakistan Cricket Board."

 

 India defeat Sri Lanka in U-19 Asia Cup 2021 finals

India has lifted the under-19 Asia cricket Cup by defeating Sri Lanka by nine wickets in a rain-interrupted One-Day International final in Dubai through the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

In the match, Sri Lanka opted to bat first and scored 106 for nine in the stipulated 38 overs. India, who have won a record seven Asia Cup titles, looked a far superior team.

Important Days

DRDO Celebrates 64th Foundation Day on 1st January 2022

 

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has observed the 64th Foundation Day of its establishment on January 01, 2022. DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in the Defence sector.

At that time, it was tasked with designing and developing cutting edge defence technologies for the Indian Armed Forces.

As of now, DRDO is working in multiple cutting edge military technology areas, which include aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics, instrumentation, engineering systems, missiles, materials, naval systems, advanced computing, simulation, cyber, life sciences and other technologies for defence.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.

DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.

DRDO Established: 1958.

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

04 January 2022

 

National News
India is in the 3rd wave of coronavirus: COVID-19 task force chief

In an interview, NK Arora, the chairman of the COVID-19 working group of the NTAGI, has said, "We are in the third wave (of COVID-19). There's no doubt about it." He added that there's no need to panic because the government was already prepared in terms of vaccination. He stated that it seems like Omicron variant will overtake other variants.

 

Sushmita Dev in 31-member Panel to examine bill on raising legal age of marriage

 

The parliamentary standing committee constituted to examine “The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021” comprise of a total of 31 members, including only one women representative.

Out of the total 31 members, TMC MP Sushmita Dev is the sole woman representative in the committee. The Bill seeks to raise the legal age of marriage for women in India from 18 to 21 to bring it at par with men.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to amend the “Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006” and seven personal laws, which are: Indian Christian Marriage Act; the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act; the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act; the Special Marriage Act; the Hindu Marriage Act; and the Foreign Marriage Act.

Telangana tops in highest number of ODF villages

 

Telangana stood first in the country in the list of the highest number of open defecation free (ODF Plus) villages under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II programme till December 31, 2021.

As many as 13,737 out of 14,200 villages in the State are on the ODF Plus list, which is 96.74%. This was followed by Tamil Nadu with 4,432 villages (35.39%) and Karnataka with 1,511 villages (5.59%). Gujarat took the 17th position with only 83 villages (0.45%).

 

 Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched “India Semiconductor Mission”

 

Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has launched the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) to attract large investments for setting up semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities in India.

The companies that are interested are invited by the Centre for the development of the semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem in India. ISM is a specialised and independent business division within the Digital India Corporation.

The financial support of up to 50 per cent of the project cost (ceiling of Rs 12,000 crore per fab) will be provided for the scheme for setting up display fabs.

Fiscal support will be provided on ‘pari-passu’ basis for a period of six years from the date of approval both for semiconductor fabs and display fabs.

International News

Ex-UK PM Tony Blair joins top royal order

 

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Baroness Amos are to be appointed as members of the Order of the Garter, England's oldest and most senior order of chivalry.

The former prime minister now will be known as 'Sir Tony'. The appointments are the personal choice of the Queen, who has up to 24 "knight and lady companions". The ceremonial order, founded in 1348, is a recognition of significant public service and made without prime ministerial advice.

Under Sir Tony's leadership, the UK joined the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan - an official inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war was strongly critical of his government and UK military chiefs. He famously referred to Diana, Princess of Wales, as the "people's princess" after her death.

German President Steinmeier set for 2nd term as Greens endorse him

Frank-Walter Steinmeier is all set to become the German President for a second term after the environmentalists, Greens came out to endorse him. This comes after the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats had backed Steinmeier. The President will be elected on February 13 by a special assembly made up of lower house MPs and representatives of 16 German states.


China's 'artificial sun' sets new record, runs at 70 million Celsius for 1,056 secs

China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), dubbed the 'artificial sun', set a new world record by running at a plasma temperature of 70 million Celsius for 1,056 seconds. EAST aims to create nuclear fusion like the Sun using deuterium from the sea to provide clean energy. Scientists say raw materials required for the 'artificial sun' are almost unlimited on earth.

 

 

Russia's test-fires new hypersonic Tsirkon missiles 2022

 

Russia successfully test-fired around 10 new Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missiles from a frigate and other two missiles from a submarine.

The Zircon missile would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

The Tsirkon Cruise Missile will join Avangard glide vehicles and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s hypersonic arsenal.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia. The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service next year.

Russia Capital: Moscow;

Russia Currency: Rouble;

Russia President: Vladimir Putin.

 

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


State Bank of India invests $20 million in Pine Labs

Merchant commerce platform Pine Labs on Tuesday announced that the State Bank of India (SBI) has invested $20 million in the startup. Pine Labs had raised $700 million in funding across two rounds last year. "We are thrilled to have the largest bank of India, the State Bank of India, place their trust in us," its CEO Amrish Rau said.


Future Group's pleas to end arbitration with Amazon dismissed by HC

Delhi High Court has dismissed petitions filed by Future Group companies seeking to quash the arbitration proceedings initiated by Amazon in Singapore. Future Group had asked the court to end proceedings citing a CCI order passed in December, suspending a 2019 deal between Amazon and Future Coupons. Justice Amit Bansal said the filings were dismissed, without giving any further details.


SBI, HDFC Bank in RBI's 2021 list of 'Domestic Systemically Important Banks'

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said that SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank continue to be identified as 'Domestic Systemically Important Banks' (D-SIBs). According to the RBI, SIBs are banks that are 'too big to fail' and are, therefore, subjected to additional policy measures to deal with the systemic risks and moral hazard issues posed by them.

 

 NTPC plans to buy 5% equity in Power Exchange of India Ltd

 

State-owned power generation company NTPC Ltd. is set to acquire a 5 per cent equity stake in Power Exchange of India Ltd (PXIL).

It must be noted that the government is planning to expand the share of the spot power market in the total electricity supply in India to 25 per cent by 2023-24. At present, the size of short-term power trading is about 5 per cent.

About Power Exchange of India Ltd:

 

It was incorporated on February 20, 2008, as India’s first institutionally promoted power exchange.

PXIL provides various electricity trading solutions and helps in connecting buyers with sellers.

The authorised share capital of the PXIL is Rs 120 crore and the paid-up capital is Rs 58.47 crore.

 GoI keeps interest rates on Small Savings Schemes unchanged

 

The interest rates on the small savings schemes will remain the same for the fourth quarter of 2021-2022 (January – February – March 2022) as they were in the third quarter of 2021-22 (October-December 2021).

It must be noted that West Bengal is the highest contributor to the small saving schemes while Uttar Pradesh is the second top contributor. Also remember, the government notifies the Interest rates for small savings schemes on a quarterly basis.

Various Interest Rates for Quarter-4 (Jan-March) of 2021-22:

 

S.No Small Savings Scheme Interest Rate

1 Post Office Savings Account 4%

2 5-Year Post Office Recurring Deposit (RD) Account 5.8%

3 Post Office Time Deposit (TD) Account – One Year 5.5%

4 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Two Years 5.5%

5 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Three Years 5.5%

6 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Five Years 6.7%

7 Post Office Monthly Income Scheme Account (MIS) 6.6%

8 Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) 7.4%

9 15-Year Public Provident Fund Account (PPF) 7.1%

10 National Savings Certificates (NSC) 6.8%

11 Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) 6.9%

12 Sukanya Samriddhi Account 7.6%

SEBI reconstitutes its primary market advisory committee

Capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India has restructured its primary market advisory committee on data. The committee aims to measure pertaining to areas such as securities market data access and privacy.

Sebi has appointed Professor at National Law University, Delhi and former chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India S Sahoo as Panel Head. Earlier this panel was headed by Madhabi Puri Buch, an ex-whole time member of Sebi.

The scope of the work of the committee includes identifying segment-wise data perimeters, data needs and gaps, recommending data privacy and data access regulations applicable to market data. It is responsible for recommending appropriate policy for access to securities market data.

In addition, the committee recommends standardization of data definitions; data identification logic ( usage of uniform codes for identifying and storing data - raw data and derived data) and data validation techniques (single source of truth, validation).

BMW India sells 8,876 cars in 2021, sales surge by 34%

BMW India reported a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 34% with a dispatch of 8,876 units in 2021, recording the highest growth in a decade in India. The automaker dispatched 8,236 BMW and 640 Mini units last year compared to 6,604 units across BMW and Mini brands in 2020. The company generated over 40% sales from its locally assembled SAV range.

Science and Technology News

 Covid-19 new variant 'IHU' discovered in France

 

Scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of COVID-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron.

The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron.

Nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles and has been linked to the African country Cameroon.

But, the Omicron strain is still dominating in most parts of the world.

This new variant can be a major threat, however, the cases have not been reported so far in countries other than France and is not labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sports News

Nick Kyrgios withdraws from Melbourne Summer Set due to asthma

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the Melbourne Summer Set event due to asthma. "I have been feeling run down and unwell for four days. I have had several COVID tests over the last few days which all came back negative," he stated. Kyrgios was set to face Alex Molcan in the first round of the event.

 

Important Days

 World Braille Day Observed on 04 January 2022

World Braille Day is observed globally on 4th January since 2019. The day aims to recognize the right of access to braille by blind people and raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.

The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.

Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.

Obituaries News

 Bollywood film producer Vijay Galani passes away

 

Bollywood film producer Vijay Galani has passed away. He was suffering from blood cancer and was in London for seeking treatment.

He is known for producing films like Salman Khan’s Suryavanshi (1992), Govinda and Manisha Koirala’s Achanak (1998), Akshay Kumar’s Ajnabee (2001), Paresh Rawal and Mallika Sherawat’s Bachke Rehna Re Baba (2005), Salman Khan’s Veer (2010). His last production venture was Vidyut Jammwal and Shruti Haasan’s The Power (2021).

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

05 January 2022

National News
COVID-19 R-value has risen to 2.69, higher than peak of 2nd wave: Govt

During the Health Ministry briefing amid rising COVID-19 cases, NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul stated that COVID-19 R-value has risen to 2.69, which is higher than the peak of the second wave (1.69). The R-value is a way of rating disease's ability to spread. R-value of 2.69 means every 100 infected people can spread the infection to 269 people.


Absconding ex-TN minister arrested in job-related cheating cases

Ex-Tamil Nadu minister and AIADMK leader Rajenthra Bhalaji, who was absconding in two job-related cheating cases, was arrested on Wednesday. As per reports, Bhalaji collected around ₹3 crore from people by promising them jobs in the state-run dairy corporation Aavin. He has been absconding since Madras High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail petitions in both the cases on December 17.


Leaves of all Delhi govt staff cancelled to handle COVID-19 surge

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has cancelled leaves of all Delhi government officers and staff to ensure adequate manpower to handle rising COVID-19 cases. It also asked them to not leave the station. Delhi reported 10,665 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours, while the positivity rate rose to 11.88%.

 

Odisha's Ganjam district is now child marriage free

Odisha’s Ganjam has declared itself a child marriage free district, the first in the State. The district administration has been able to stop as many as 450 child marriages and video-record 48,383 marriages in two years — 2020 and 2021.

After verification, the Ganjam administration declared it a child marriage free district. Sarpanchs and  task force committee members had sent recommendations that no child marriage had taken place in their respective areas.

Ganjam had started a programme Nirbhaya Kadhi (Fearless bud). All heads of educational institutes were directed to inform the administration if any girl aged between 12 and 18 remained absent from school for five days.

As many as one lakh teenagers have undergone counselling in the past two years. The administration also made the production of Aadhaar cards mandatory for any marriages to take place.

Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar;

Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal;

Odisha Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
Stop all political rallies: Rajasthan CM urges Election Commission

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to stop all political rallies in poll-bound states in view of rising COVID-19 cases. He said that due to constitutional provisions, elections cannot be postponed but rallies can be stopped. He added that in the era of information technology, political parties must adopt modern methods of publicity.

 

Ladakh celebrated traditional new year ‘Losar Festival’

The Losar Festival in Ladakh is celebrated at the onset of the New Year in the traditional schedule of Tibetan Buddhism. It is celebrated by the Buddhist Community in the Ladakh region.

The Losar is a 15 days festival, from the start of the Tibetan Lunar calendar, marking the 1st day of the 11 months in the Tibetan Calendar. Losar is a Tibetan word that means ‘New Year’.

The festivities began with the celebration of Birth and Nirvana Anniversary Je Tsongkhapa with illuminations of religious places like Monasteries,  Stupas, residential and other places. The eve of the Losar festival is also celebrated with memorial food offerings for the departed loved ones.

Other popular festivals of Ladakh:

Phyang Tsedup Festival

Dosmoche Festival

Hemis Festival

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launches NEAT 3.0

Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan has launched National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT 3.0), and regional language textbooks prescribed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

NEAT 3.0 aims to provide the best-developed ed-tech solutions and courses to students on a single platform. It will be beneficial especially among the economically disadvantaged students. It is a Public-Private Partnership model between the Government (through its implementing agency AICTE) and the Education Technology companies.

58 global and Indian ed-tech startup companies have come together for this solution and are offering 100 courses and e-resources to enhance learning outcomes, developing employable skills as well as overcome learning loss.

The collaboration of global ed-tech companies and Indian start-ups by way of NEAT will help to build on the digital education bedrock of India.

International News


China opens its longest underwater highway tunnel fitted with LED lights

China has opened its longest underwater highway tunnel to vehicle traffic after nearly four years of construction. The 10.79-km-long 'Taihu' tunnel has been built under Lake Taihu in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, about 50 kilometers east of Shanghai. The ceiling of the underwater tunnel has been fitted with LED lights to prevent driver fatigue.

 

 Apple becomes world’s first company to hit $3 trillion M-Cap

The stock market value of Apple Inc. hit $3 trillion and became the world’s first company to do so. The market cap of Apple hit $182.86 per share, which made it the world’s first company to touch the $3 trillion mark.

However shortly after hitting the mark, the share value dipped below it and did not rise again until the market closed. The iPhone maker passed $2 trillion in 2020 and over $1 trillion in 2018.

The world's most valuable company reached the milestone as investors bet that consumers will continue to shell out top dollar for iPhones, MacBooks and services such as Apple TV and Apple Music.

In China, the world's largest smartphone market, Apple continued to lead for the second straight month, beating rivals such as Vivo and Xiaomi, recent data from CounterPoint Research showed.

Apple Inc. CEO: Tim Cook;

Apple Inc. Founded: 1 April 1976, California, United States;

Apple Inc. Headquarters: Cupertino, California, United States;

Apple Inc. Founders: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne.

 Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announces resignation

 

Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok has announced his resignation on January 02, 2022. The decision follows a military coup that caused political deadlock and widespread pro-democracy protests in the country.

The 66-year-old Hamdok served as the 15th Prime Minister of Sudan from 2019 to 2022.

Mr Hamdok called for a dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and to “draw a roadmap” to complete the transition. The October coup had upended Sudan's plans to move to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Sudan Capital: Khartoum; Currency: Sudanese pound.

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Jet Airways' CEO Sudhir Gaur steps down ahead of relaunch

Jet Airways' CEO Sudhir Gaur stepped down from his position today ahead of the airline's relaunch. He will be replaced by former JetLite Senior VP (Operations) PP Singh. Jet Airways' owner, the Jalan Kalrock Consortium, had said in September that it will restart operations with a New Delhi to Mumbai flight and shift the airline's headquarters from Mumbai to Delhi-NCR.


NCLAT sets Twin Star's plan for Videocon aside, allows fresh bidding

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday set aside Twin Star Technologies' plan to buy Videocon Industries for ₹2,962 crore and allowed a fresh round of bidding for the company. While setting aside the plan, NCLAT said the plan had certain defects. Twin Star's plan to buy Videocon had earlier been approved by the National Company Law Tribunal.

 

 RBI named Ajay Kumar Choudhary and Deepak Kumar as new Executive Directors

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed Deepak Kumar and Ajay Kumar Choudhary as new executive directors (ED) with effect from 03 January.

Prior to being promoted as ED, Deepak Kumar was heading the department of information technology of RBI, while Ajay Choudhary was Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Supervision.

Kumar has over a span of three decades working in RBI’s central office departments covering policy making and project management functions in the areas of information technology, cyber security, payment systems, currency management, human resource management, banking supervision, foreign exchange management.

Meanwhile, Choudhary has, over a span of three decades, served in supervision, regulation, currency management, payments and settlements, and other areas in the Reserve Bank, in its Central Office as well as Regional Offices. He will look after the fintech department, risk monitoring department and inspection department.

 

 

 

RBI approved Fino Payments Bank for international remittance business

 

Reserve Bank of India has approved Fino Payments Bank for commencing international (Cross Border) remittance business under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS). The approval will enable the customers of Fino Payments Bank to receive money sent from foreign countries.

The Bank plans to implement the service in its mobile applications as well and it also plans to partner with more leading money transfer operators (MTOs) to improve its cross-border remittance.

Chairman of Fino Payments Bank: Prof Mahendra Kumar Chouhan.

Fino Payments Bank established: 13 July 2006.

MD & CEO of Fino Payments Bank: Rishi Gupta.

Headquarters of Fino Payments Bank: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

 RBI Retains SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank as D-SIBs 2022

 

Reserve Bank of India has retained State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). These three banks have continued to be on the D-SIBs list published by RBI, since Sep 04, 2017.

Domestic Systemically Important Banks are those banks which if fail would have a significant impact on the economy. The D-SIBs banks are classified into 5 buckets. Bucket 1, Bucket 2, Bucket 3, Bucket 4 and Bucket 5.

With Bucket 5 being the most important followed by rest in decreasing order. State Bank of India is in Bucket 3, while ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are in Bucket 1. The updated list is based on the data collected from banks as of March 31, 2021.

 RBI: Airtel Payments Bank gets scheduled bank status

Airtel Payments Bank has been categorised as a scheduled bank by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the second schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. With this, Airtel Payments Bank can now pitch for the government.

Airtel Payments Bank is among the fastest-growing digital banks in the country, with a base of 115 million users. It offers a suite of digital solutions through the Airtel Thanks app and a retail network of over 500,000 neighbourhood banking points. The bank turned profitable in the quarter ended September 2021.

Airtel Payments Bank’s MD and CEO: Nubrata Biswas.

Airtel Payments Bank Headquarters: New Delhi.

Airtel Payments Bank Founded: January 2017.

Nippon India MF launches India’s first Auto ETF

Nippon Life India Asset Management Limited, asset manager of Nippon India Mutual Fund (NIMF), has announced the launch of India’s First Auto sector ETF - Nippon India Nifty Auto ETF.

Nippon India Nifty Auto ETF will predominantly invest in stocks comprising of the Nifty Auto Index in the same proportion as the Index. It will provide exposure to Top 15 (as per Nifty Auto Index methodology) companies representing auto-related sectors like Automobiles 4 wheelers, Automobiles 2 & 3 wheelers, Auto Ancillaries, and Tyres.

The Nippon Auto ETF will start operation from January 5, 2022 to January 14, 2022. The minimum investment amount required is Rs 1,000 and in multiples of Rs 1 aftermath.

The investment objective of the scheme is “to provide investment returns closely corresponding to the total returns of the securities as represented by the Nifty Auto Index before expenses, subject to tracking error. However, there can be no assurance or guarantee that the investment objective of the Scheme will be achieved.

Obituaries News

 Legendary Kenyan Conservationist and Fossil-hunter Richard Leaky passes away

World-renowned Kenyan politician, conservationist and fossil hunter Richard Leakey has passed away. The legendary paleoanthropologist is credited for the discovery of ‘Turkana Boy’ in 1984 which led to groundbreaking discoveries proving that humankind evolved in Africa.

Turkana boy is the most complete fossil Skelton of a human ancestor ever found. Paleoanthropology is the study of human evolution through fossil and archaeological records. Leakey is also known to spearhead campaigns against the ivory trade to save the population of African elephants.

 Indian Navy's 1971 war veteran Vice Admiral S H Sarma passes away

 

The Indian Navy's 1971 Indo-Pak war veteran Vice Admiral S.H. Sarma has passed away, at the age of 100. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet during the 1971 war. India had defeated Pakistan in the 1971 war leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Vice Admiral Sarma had celebrated his 100th birthday on December 1 last year. He also took part in the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebration in Delhi recently. Sarma was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet during the 1971 war. India had defeated Pakistan in the 1971 war leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Social worker Sindhutai Sapkal passes away Known as ‘orphan children’s mother’, she died of heart attack at a private hospital 

Renowned social worker Sindhutai Sapkal, fondly known as ‘orphan children’s mother’, died following a heart attack at a private hospital here, doctors said. Sapkal, who had received the Padma Shri last year, had completed 74 years in November. Sapkal, who grew up in extreme poverty, went on to set up institutes for orphan children. Born on November 14, 1948, in Wardha district of Maharashtra, Sapkal was forced to drop out of school after she had passed Class IV. At the tender age of 12, she was married to a 32­year­old man. After she gave birth to three children, her husband abandoned her even when she was pregnant.  Her mother and the village where she had grown up refused to help, forcing her to beg to raise her daughters at one point. She overcame these circumstances with sheer willpower and started working for orphans. Having raised over 1,050 orphan children, she could boast of having 207 sons­in­law and 36 daughters­in­law

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

1ST JANUARY 2022

NATIONAL


Bombay High Court to switch to hybrid mode from January 4

Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, the Bombay High Court (HC) administration on Friday decided to shift to a hybrid mode of hearing from January 4 to January 7. In the hybrid mode, hearings will take place both physically and virtually and litigants will be only allowed to enter the court premises if ordered by the court.


Centre releases grant of ₹830.85 cr to Odisha under Jal Jeevan Mission

Centre released a grant of ₹830.85 crore to Odisha under Jal Jeevan Mission. Out of 85.67 lakh rural households in the state, 35.37 lakh have tap water supply in their homes, Ministry of Jal Shakti said. There is a massive increase in budgetary allocation to ₹3,323.42 crore in 2021-22, from ₹812.15 crore in the preceding year for Odisha, it added.


Cinemas, swimming pools shut in Gurugram & 4 other Haryana districts till Jan 12

Haryana government on Saturday issued an order to close cinema halls, sports complexes, swimming pools and entertainment parks in Gurugram, Faridabad, Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat, from tomorrow till January 12, 2022. All offices are advised to function with 50% staff and malls, markets can open till 5 pm. Bars and restaurants can stay open at 50% seating capacity.


Lakhs visit 'Jaystambh' to mark anniversary of Bhima-Koregaon battle

Lakhs of people on Saturday paid tributes at the 'Jaystambh' in Pune district on the 204th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle. Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil were among the politicians to visit the monument today. Around 200 PMPML buses are plying from various areas in Pune to bring visitors to the memorial.


Received 31,000 complaints of crimes against women in 2021, over half from UP: NCW

National Commission for Women (NCW) last year said that it received nearly 31,000 complaints of crimes committed against women in 2021, the highest since 2014. Over half of the complaints were from Uttar Pradesh, it added. A maximum of 11,013 complaints were related to the right to live with dignity, followed by those related to domestic violence at 6,633.


PM Modi releases ₹20,900 crore to farmers under PM-KISAN scheme

PM Narendra Modi on Friday released ₹20,900 crore financial benefit to more than 10.09 crore farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme. PM Modi also released an equity grant of more than ₹14 crore to about 351 Farmer Producer Organizations, benefiting 1.24 lakh farmers. A total of ₹1.8 lakh crore has been provided under PM-KISAN scheme so far.

 

INTERNATIONAL


Sri Lanka's food inflation hits record high amid shortages

The food inflation rose to a record 22.1% in December in Sri Lanka amid an acute shortage of essentials, according to Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) on Saturday. The overall inflation was at a record 12.01% in December. The country's economy has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the foreign exchange reserves crisis.


UK planning cheaper, easier visas for Indians for trade deal with India: Report

The UK is planning to relax immigration rules by offering cheaper and easier visas for Indian tourists, students and professionals in an attempt to get a trade deal with India, a UK media report stated. UK's International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is expected to visit India this month, may discuss the prospect of relaxing immigration rules for Indian citizens


UK Queen announces knighthood for ex-British PM Tony Blair

UK's Queen Elizabeth II on Friday announced a knighthood for former British PM Tony Blair. She personally appointed Blair as Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior order of knighthood. "It is an immense honour...and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen," Blair said.


UK museum finds over 550 new species including 6 dinosaurs in 2021

Researchers at the London's Natural History Museum have found 552 new species of animals including six new dinosaurs in 2021. The biggest animals to be discovered were the spinosaurs discovered on the Isle of Wight. Other discoveries were the brachiopods, arachnids and an ancient herbivorous crocodile relative. They also found a mouse in Scotland from 166 million years ago.


UAE to ban unvaccinated citizens from travelling abroad from Jan 10

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will ban citizens not vaccinated against COVID-19 from travelling abroad from January 10, the state news agency reported on Saturday. However, the ban would not apply to those with medical or humanitarian exemptions. The UAE has reported more than 7.64 lakh coronavirus cases and 2,165 COVID-19 deaths, according to the state news agency.


US extends support for International Space Station till 2030: NASA

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the administration of US President Joe Biden has committed to extending the operations of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030. Nelson added that Biden administration will continue research in the orbiting laboratory with international partners including Russia through the decade. Currently, Congress has approved funding only till 2024.


Taiwan President Tsai warns China against 'military adventurism'

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned China against "military adventurism". During her New Year's speech, Tsai said that military conflict is not the answer to cross-strait disagreements. Notably, while Taiwan and China split after a civil war in 1949, the former considers itself an independent country while the latter considers it to be a part of its territory.


Kim Jong-un says North Korea will focus on food and economy in 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country's main goals for 2022 are food, economy and COVID-19 at a ruling party plenary meeting. "The main task is to guarantee the implementation of the five-year plan," state media quoted Kim. The UN in October warned of a full-blown food crisis in North Korea with the most vulnerable at risk of starvation.


Australia to rename island to honour Queen Elizabeth on platinum jubilee

Australia will rename Aspen Island as Queen Elizabeth II Island during a special event in June, PM Scott Morrison said. This will be a part of national, community events in 2022 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the accession of the Queen to the British throne, he added. Commemorative stamps and coins will be released in Queen's honour, Morrison said.

BUSINESS, BANKING AND ECONOMY
India sees record ₹8.26 lakh crore UPI transactions in December

India saw value of UPI transactions in December rise to a record high of ₹8.26 lakh crore, NPCI data showed. The month also saw the volume of transactions jump to record high at 456 crore. For the year, UPI saw 3,874 crore transactions, up 105% from 2020. The value of these transactions rose by over 130% at ₹71.46 lakh crore


China's Tencent buys small stake in UK digital bank Monzo

China's Tencent has taken up a small stake in Britain's digital bank Monzo as part of a fundraising, weeks after the bank fetched a valuation of $4.5 billion. Monzo did not disclose the details of Tencent's stake. In December 2021, Monzo received funding from investors such as Abu Dhabi Growth Fund and Coatue.

 


US asks AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G wireless over safety concerns

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA head Steve Dickson have asked AT&T and Verizon to delay the planned January-5 introduction of new 5G wireless service over aviation safety concerns. The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics. A delay of no more than two weeks has been proposed.

 

 

OBITUARY


Guinness World Record holder actress Betty White passes away days before 100th b'day

American actress and comedian Betty White, whose career spanned around 79 years, passed away days before her 100th birthday. White, who worked in shows like 'Golden Girls' and 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', had bagged the Guinness World Record for the longest TV career by an entertainer (female). She received eight Emmy Awards in various categories in her career.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

2nd JANUARY 2021

NATIONAL


No property tax on residential properties up to 500 sq ft in Mumbai: Maha CM

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has announced complete waiver of property tax on residential units of up to 500 square feet in Mumbai. "I promise Mumbaikars that we are able to take care of your health and well-being, just continue to give us your blessings," Thackeray said while announcing the decision, ahead of Mumbai municipal corporation elections due next month.

 

12 devotees killed, 15 injured in Vaishno Devi temple stampede

Twelve devotees were killed and 15 injured in an earlymorning stampede at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra in Reasi district in Jammu on Saturday.


Hyderabad’s six-lane Shaikpet flyover inaugurated by KTR

Telangana minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday inaugurated the six-lane, 2.71 km long Shaikpet flyover in Hyderabad. The flyover connects Tolichowki to Raidurg. Shaikpet flyover has been built at a cost of ₹333 crore, Rao said. “Another milestone in our effort to ease traffic in Hyderabad through GHMC’s SRDP program,” Rao tweeted.


India reports 27,553 new COVID-19 cases, daily positivity rate rises to 2.55%

India has reported 27,553 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The country also reported 284 deaths, taking the death toll to 4,81,770. India's active caseload reached 1,22,801, while the daily positivity rate rose to 2.55%. Notably, 1,525 cases of Omicron have been reported so far in the country


Pune airport may restart international flights from Jan 7: Official

The Pune airport may restart international flights, which were not operational due to the COVID-19 outbreak, from January 7, an airport official has said. "Flight for Sharjah may take off from Pune International Airport on January 7, we are waiting for final confirmation," he added. The official further said that the airport is ready to resume international flight operations.


Revoking FCRA licence will affect humanitarian work during COVID: Oxfam India

A day after Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refused to renew the registration of Oxfam India under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, the organisation said the action would "severely affect" its humanitarian work, including COVID-19 relief work, in 16 states. The licence is needed to receive funding from abroad. "We'll urge the MHA to lift the funding restrictions," Oxfam India stated.


WB schools, colleges to remain shut from tomorrow; offices to operate at 50% capacity

Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, all schools, colleges, universities and spas will be closed in West Bengal from Monday, January 3, state Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi said. Salons, beauty parlours, zoos and entertainment parks will also remain shut. “All government and private offices to operate at 50% capacity, all administrative meetings to be conducted via virtual mode,” Dwivedi added.


PM Modi lays foundation stone of UP's first sports university in Meerut

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district. The state's first sports university will be established in Sardhana at an estimated cost of about ₹700 crore. "Without 'dhyan' (focus), there can be no success...Every year, 1,000 students will graduate from this sports university," PM Modi said.


₹8 lakh income limit for EWS reservation in NEET PG admissions to remain: Govt to SC

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the NEET post-graduate admissions case on January 6, the central government has filed an affidavit stating that the ₹8 lakh annual income criterion for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation will remain. The top court had earlier put a stay on the process after a petition challenged the EWS criteria as "discriminatory".


Need to 're-focus' on efforts against Omicron cases: Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday said that learnings from India's earlier fights against COVID-19 "must be used to re-focus on efforts against the Omicron variant". Mandaviya called for stringent containment measures to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases and asserted the need to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. He also lauded the efforts of state administrations to curb COVID-19.


Rajasthan's Kota to get ₹100-crore park to help de-stress coaching students

The Rajasthan government is constructing a ₹100 crore park in Kota to keep coaching students de-stressed and to promote eco-tourism. Kota is known as a hub of coaching for medical and engineering entrance exams. While 16% of the park will have water bodies, it will also feature leisure trails, open gyms, Wi-Fi cyber zone and volcano structure among other things.

 

INTERNATIONAL


Which countries have reported over 1 crore cases since the start of COVID-19?

France has become the world's sixth country to report more than 1 crore COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, after reporting 2,19,126 new cases in the latest 24-hour period. France joined the United States, India, Brazil, Britain, and Russia in having had over 1 crore cases. India has reported over 3 crore cases since the start of COVID-19.


France takes over EU Presidency with aim for 'more sovereign Europe'

France on Friday took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with an aim to work towards a "more sovereign Europe". "Europe must rise to...major economic, educational, migration and military challenges," French President Emmanuel Macron said. Notably, this comes a few months ahead of the 2022 French presidential election that is scheduled to be held in April.


Kuwait encourages its citizens to leave UK over Omicron fears

The Kuwaiti embassy in the UK has encouraged its citizens to leave the country due to a "significant and unprecedented" increase in Omicron cases there, the state news agency reported on Sunday. The embassy also urged Kuwaiti citizens to postpone their visits to the country. The UK reported 1,37,583 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Sunday.


Suez Canal revenues rise to record $6.3 billion in 2021

Egypt's Suez Canal annual revenues reached $6.3 billion last year, the highest in the waterway's history, an official said on Sunday. This is a 12.8% increase from $5.6 billion earned in revenue in 2020, the official added. The official further said that 20,694 ships transited the canal in 2021, a 10% increase as compared to 18,830 vessels in 2020.

 

BUSINESS, BANKING AND ECONOMY


India appeals against WTO panel ruling on sugar export subsidies: Official

India has appealed against the ruling of World Trade Organisation's (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel which said that India's support measures for sugar and sugarcane are inconsistent with global trade norms, an official said. On December 14, 2021, the panel recommended India to withdraw alleged prohibited subsidies within 120 days. India stated that the findings are completely "unacceptable".


Tata Motors overtakes Hyundai as 2nd largest PV seller in Dec 2021

Tata Motors has overtaken Hyundai Motor India to become the second largest seller of passenger vehicles (PVs) in the domestic market for the first time in close to a decade in December 2021. Tata Motors registered sales of 35,299 PV units in December 2021, whereas Hyundai dispatched 32,312 units. Tata Motors said it dispatched close to 99,000 vehicles between October-December.


Future Retail misses due date for payment of ₹3,500 crore to banks

Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail, which runs the Big Bazaar chain of stores, missed the due date of December 31, 2021, to pay ₹3,494.56 crore to various consortium banks and lenders. The company said it missed the due date "due to ongoing litigation with Amazon". Future Retail would be co-operating with banks and lenders for payment in the next 30 days.


Vinod Kannan takes over as CEO of Vistara

Vistara has announced that Vinod Kannan took over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airline on Saturday. "Kannan started his stint with Vistara as the Chief Strategy Officer in June 2019 and took over as Chief Commercial Officer in January 2020," the company said. Kannan replaced Leslie Thng who was the CEO from July 2017 to December 2021.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

03 January 2022

National News
West Bengal's Belur Math closed until further orders amid COVID-19

After the West Bengal government imposed restrictions on Sunday over rising COVID-19 cases, Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, has been closed for visitors until further notification. The venue was scheduled to be closed from January 1-4 in an earlier announcement. As per reports, other temples and tourist spots can also be closed in wake of surging coronavirus cases
PM to lay foundation stone for projects worth ₹43,000cr in Punjab

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stones of various development projects worth over ₹42,750 crore in Punjab's Ferozepur on Wednesday, PMO said on Monday. This comes ahead of the state's upcoming Assembly election. The projects include the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, PGI Satellite Centre in Ferozepur and two new medical colleges in Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.

1st electric boat built for Kochi Water Metro Project

In Kerala, the first battery-powered electric boat built for the Kochi Water Metro Project was handed over to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited. The fully air-conditioned boat is among the 23 boats being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the 747-crore rupee Kochi Water Metro project.

Kochi Water Metro system will have 78 ferries, linking 38 terminals spread over 76 route kilometres. The battery-powered water metro boat can carry 100 passengers. KMRL said it was for the first time in the world a centrally controlled integrated water transport system with a large fleet is powered by the battery.

Jawaharlal Nehru Road renamed as ‘Narendra Modi Marg’

Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad, has named a new road Narendra Modi Marg. The Governor viewed the road under Kabi Lungchok from Kyongsala, 4th mile. This is an alternative to Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg.

The National Monument at National Highway 310 was built by Border Roads Organization. It will be easier for Indian tourists to reach Nathula Border. The stretch, constructed by Border Roads Organisation, has reduced the distance between Gangtok and Tsomgo lake by 15 km.

Odisha launched Digital Life Certificate system for pensioners 2022

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched an online service for the verification of identity and submission of life certificates for pensioners of the state government.

The chief minister virtually launched the new initiative while attending the orientation programme for newly recruited 153 officers of Odisha Civil Services.

Identification and life certificates can now be submitted by the pensioners using an artificial intelligence-based video-verification process.

It will be of immense help to the pensioners as they can submit their identification and life certificates digitally, without visiting any government office simply by using their mobile phones.

This facility will also be available at the ‘Mo Seva Kendras’ located across the state. Patnaik said the introduction of digital life certificates and E-dairy were part of his government’s 5T and ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiatives.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar;

Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal;

Odisha Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.

UP’s Jhansi Railway Station renamed as ‘Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station’

Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has announced that the government of UP has renamed the Jhansi Railway Station, in Jhansi, UP as “Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station” after Rani Laxmibai.

The announcement was made by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A notification to this effect has been issued by the UP government and the Railways has started preparations to implement the change.

Earlier the Mughalsarai Railway station was renamed as Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction and the Faizabad Railway station as Ayodhya Cantt.

 Vinay Kumar Tripathi named as Chairman and CEO of Railway Board

 

1983 Batch of Indian Railway Service, Vinay Kumar Tripathi has been appointed as new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Railway Board. He is presently working as General Manager, Northeastern Railway to the post of Chairman of Railway Board.

Indian Railway Board is the apex body of the Indian Railways, which reports to parliament through the Ministry of Railways. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has not only approved the appointment of Tripathi for six months from January 1 but also further granted an extension of his tenure till 31 December in 2022.

Vinay Kumar Tripathi has attended higher Management training programmes in Switzerland & USA. Tripathi had played a key role in the commissioning of state-of-art three-phase locomotives and their indigenization, which are now the workhorse of Indian Railways. Tripathi holds wide experience in railway management and administrations.

Dharmendra Pradhan launches reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat’

 

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched a 100-day reading campaign ‘Padhe Bharat.

The launch of the 100 Days Reading Campaign is in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which lays emphasis on the promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring the availability of age-appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal language.

Padhe Bharat campaign will focus on children studying in Balvatika to Grade 8. The reading campaign will be organized for 100 days (14 weeks) starting from January 1, 2022, to April 10, 2022.

The reading campaign aims to have the participation of all stakeholders at the national and state level including children, teachers, parents, community, educational administrators etc.

 Government approved 19th Tranche of Electoral Bonds

 

The government has approved the issuance of the 19th tranche of electoral bonds, which will be open for sale from January 1 to 10, 2022, ahead of assembly elections in five states Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Goa.

In the 19th tranche of sale, the State Bank of India (SBI), has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 specialised branches. There is no limit on the number of bonds an individual or company can purchase. An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days.

Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding. However, Opposition parties have been raising concerns about alleged opaqueness in funding through such bonds.

International News
I'm bankrupt now: Ex-Polish Prez and Nobel laureate Lech Wałęsa

Ex-Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Wałęsa claimed that he is bankrupt after his income from speaking engagements declined amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm bankrupt now because I get 6,000 zlotys a month in my pension and the wife spends 7,000 (zlotys) every month," he said. Wałęsa also said that several of his work-related trips abroad were cancelled.


4000+ flights cancelled globally on Jan 2 due to Omicron, weather

Over 4,000 flights were cancelled and more than 11,000 were delayed on Sunday following disruptions in air travel due to surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and adverse weather conditions. As per tracking website FlightAware.com, 2,400 flights departing from or within the US were cancelled. FlightAware also noted that SkyWest and SouthWest airlines recorded the most number of cancellations.

 

World’s longest Metro line opened in China

 

Shanghai has opened two new metro lines, upholding its rank as the city with the largest Metro network in the world. With the new lines, the total length of Shanghai’s metro network has extended to 831 km, continuing to be the longest in the world.

China’s Shanghai opened two new metro lines – Line 14 and Phase One of Line 18. The opening of the two new lines will bring the total number of fully automatic metro lines in Shanghai to five, with an operating length of 167 km, ranking first in the world for the first time. The city will now enjoy 20 metro lines with 508 stations, 83 of which are transfer ones.

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


Who is Ashok Elluswamy, first hire for Tesla Autopilot after Musk's tweet?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently revealed that Indian-origin techie Ashok Elluswamy was the first person recruited from Musk's tweet about Tesla building its Autopilot team. Elluswamy, the head of Tesla's Autopilot engineering, earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree from Chennai and Master of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University, US. He's been working with Tesla for more than seven years.
RBL Bank sees over 11% drop in retail, small business deposits in Oct-Dec

RBL Bank witnessed a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) drop of 11.3% in retail and small business deposits in the October-December quarter. Retail and small business deposits fell to ₹27,871 crore over the quarter. Total deposits in the quarter also fell 2.58% QoQ to ₹73,637 crore. This comes after the bank's MD and CEO Vishwavir Ahuja exited abruptly, reportedly making depositors nervous.


India on track to achieve export target of $400 billion: Piyush Goyal

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal announced on Monday that India has achieved the highest ever monthly exports of $37 billion in December 2021, a 37% year-on-year increase. He added that it is clear that India is well on its way to achieving an export target of $400 billion. "It is a time for Indians to feel proud," Goyal said.


Alka Mittal becomes first woman to head ONGC as its Chairman and MD

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Monday announced that its Director (Human Resources) Dr Alka Mittal has been entrusted with additional charge of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). She has become the first woman to head the energy major, it added. The state-run company had been functioning without a CMD since the retirement of its former chief Subhash Kumar.

 

 RBI extended deadline for Periodic KYC Update till March 31, 2022

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that it has extended the deadline for periodic KYC updates by 3 months till March 31, 2022. Extension in view of prevalent uncertainty due to a new variant of COVID-19 – Omicron. Earlier the deadline for periodic KYC updates was December 31.

Meanwhile, the government has also extended the deadline for businesses to file GST annual returns for the 2020-21 fiscal ended March 2021 by two months till February 28.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Reserve Bank of India Founded: April 1, 1935;

Reserve Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;

Reserve Bank of India Governor: Shaktikanta Das.

 GST Collection Stood At Rs 1.29 Lakh Crore in December 2021

 

GST revenue collected in December 2021 was over Rs 1.29 lakh crore, 13 per cent higher than the same month in 2020.

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2021 is ₹ 1,29,780 crore, of which CGST is ₹ 22,578 crore, SGST is ₹ 28,658 crore, IGST is Rs 69,155 crore (including Rs 37,527 crores collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 9,389 crore.

Tech Mahindra to acquire 100 percent stake in Allyis India, Green Investments

 

Tech Mahindra has approved a proposal for the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in Allyis India and Green Investments, for a total consideration of up to USD 125 million.

The acquisition will bolster Tech Mahindra’s capabilities in Digital Experience Solutions, Learning & Development, Marketing, Instructional Design; Engineering: Cloud & Automation, BI & Analytics, Technical support services.

Tech Mahindra will pay total consideration of up to $125 million, including employment-related and performance-related earnouts, as per a regulatory update filed with the exchanges.

Allyis India Pvt Ltd and Green Investments LLC offer technology consulting and managed services for organisations to help reduce costs, improve performance, and meet their objectives. Allyis India Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2018 whole Green Investments LLC was incorporated in 2013.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Tech Mahindra CEO: C. P. Gurnani;

Tech Mahindra Headquarters: Pune;

Tech Mahindra Founder: Anand Mahindra;

Tech Mahindra Founded: 1986.

 IRDAI: LIC, GIC Re and New India systemically important insurers

 

Insurance regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has stated that LIC, GIC Re and New India continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) for 2021-22.

D-SIIs refer to insurers of such size, market importance and domestic and global interconnectedness, whose distress or failure would cause significant dislocation in the domestic financial system.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

IRDAI Founded: 1999;

IRDAI Headquarters: Hyderabad;

IRDAI Chairperson: Subhash Chandra Khuntia.
Visa, Mastercard will be biggest business losers of 2022: Billionaire Chamath

Sri Lankan-born Canadian venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya in a podcast said, "My biggest business losers for 2022 are Visa and Mastercard and traditional payment rails and the entire ecosystem around it." The billionaire said these payments systems are a "completely contrived duopoly that doesn't need to exist". He added that these companies will lose out to Web3-based payment projects.

 

LIC inaugurates Digi Zone to sell policies online

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has inaugurated “Digi Zone”, at Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, as part of its effort to enhance its digital footprint.

LIC’s Digi Zone can be used by the customers to purchase policies online, pay the premium and avail of other services. As a part of its efforts to become a tech-driven life insurer, LIC will offer information related to its products and services through kiosks installed on the Digi Zone premises.

Customers can use LIC’s Digi Zone to buy policies online, pay the premium and avail of other services. LIC plans to undertake the next wave of digital transformation to unlock several benefits of accelerating growth, driving customer satisfaction and improving intermediary productivity and loyalty.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

LIC Chairperson: M R Kumar;

LIC Headquarters: Mumbai;

LIC Founded: 1 September 1956.
RBI releases framework for small value digital payments without internet

The RBI released a framework for small value offline digital payments that don't require internet or telecom connectivity. Such payments can be carried out face-to-face using instruments like cards, wallets or mobile devices. Transactions are subject to a limit of ₹200 per transaction and an overall limit of ₹2,000 for all transactions until the balance in the account is replenished.

 Nirmala Sitharaman chairs 46th GST council meet in Delhi

 

The GST Council’s 46th meeting was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

The GST Council has recommended deferring the decision to change the rates in textiles recommended in the 45th GST Council meeting. Consequently, the existing GST rates of 5 % instead of 12% in textile sector would continue.

This convention attains special significance as it comes days ahead of Sitharaman presenting the much-anticipated Union Budget 2022-23 on February 1, for which she has been holding a series of pre-budget consultations with stakeholders.

Sports News


Ranji Trophy to proceed as planned: Ganguly amid rising COVID-19 cases

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed on Monday that the upcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy will "proceed as planned" amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country. It's scheduled to be played from January 13 to March 20. Kolkata will be hosting neutral group stage matches as well as knockouts. Earlier in the day, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) announced suspension of local tournaments.


Pak's Hafeez retires from international cricket aged 41 after debuting 18 years ago

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has retired from international cricket aged 41, ending a career that spanned over 18 years. Hafeez scored 12,780 runs and took 253 wickets in 392 international matches. Hafeez said, "I've earned and accomplished more than I had initially envisaged and for that, I'm thankful to all my fellow cricketers, captains, support staff and Pakistan Cricket Board."

 

 India defeat Sri Lanka in U-19 Asia Cup 2021 finals

India has lifted the under-19 Asia cricket Cup by defeating Sri Lanka by nine wickets in a rain-interrupted One-Day International final in Dubai through the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

In the match, Sri Lanka opted to bat first and scored 106 for nine in the stipulated 38 overs. India, who have won a record seven Asia Cup titles, looked a far superior team.

Important Days

DRDO Celebrates 64th Foundation Day on 1st January 2022

 

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has observed the 64th Foundation Day of its establishment on January 01, 2022. DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in the Defence sector.

At that time, it was tasked with designing and developing cutting edge defence technologies for the Indian Armed Forces.

As of now, DRDO is working in multiple cutting edge military technology areas, which include aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics, instrumentation, engineering systems, missiles, materials, naval systems, advanced computing, simulation, cyber, life sciences and other technologies for defence.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.

DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.

DRDO Established: 1958.

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

04 January 2022

 

National News
India is in the 3rd wave of coronavirus: COVID-19 task force chief

In an interview, NK Arora, the chairman of the COVID-19 working group of the NTAGI, has said, "We are in the third wave (of COVID-19). There's no doubt about it." He added that there's no need to panic because the government was already prepared in terms of vaccination. He stated that it seems like Omicron variant will overtake other variants.

 

Sushmita Dev in 31-member Panel to examine bill on raising legal age of marriage

 

The parliamentary standing committee constituted to examine “The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021” comprise of a total of 31 members, including only one women representative.

Out of the total 31 members, TMC MP Sushmita Dev is the sole woman representative in the committee. The Bill seeks to raise the legal age of marriage for women in India from 18 to 21 to bring it at par with men.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to amend the “Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006” and seven personal laws, which are: Indian Christian Marriage Act; the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act; the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act; the Special Marriage Act; the Hindu Marriage Act; and the Foreign Marriage Act.

Telangana tops in highest number of ODF villages

 

Telangana stood first in the country in the list of the highest number of open defecation free (ODF Plus) villages under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II programme till December 31, 2021.

As many as 13,737 out of 14,200 villages in the State are on the ODF Plus list, which is 96.74%. This was followed by Tamil Nadu with 4,432 villages (35.39%) and Karnataka with 1,511 villages (5.59%). Gujarat took the 17th position with only 83 villages (0.45%).

 

 Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched “India Semiconductor Mission”

 

Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has launched the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) to attract large investments for setting up semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities in India.

The companies that are interested are invited by the Centre for the development of the semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem in India. ISM is a specialised and independent business division within the Digital India Corporation.

The financial support of up to 50 per cent of the project cost (ceiling of Rs 12,000 crore per fab) will be provided for the scheme for setting up display fabs.

Fiscal support will be provided on ‘pari-passu’ basis for a period of six years from the date of approval both for semiconductor fabs and display fabs.

International News

Ex-UK PM Tony Blair joins top royal order

 

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Baroness Amos are to be appointed as members of the Order of the Garter, England's oldest and most senior order of chivalry.

The former prime minister now will be known as 'Sir Tony'. The appointments are the personal choice of the Queen, who has up to 24 "knight and lady companions". The ceremonial order, founded in 1348, is a recognition of significant public service and made without prime ministerial advice.

Under Sir Tony's leadership, the UK joined the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan - an official inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war was strongly critical of his government and UK military chiefs. He famously referred to Diana, Princess of Wales, as the "people's princess" after her death.

German President Steinmeier set for 2nd term as Greens endorse him

Frank-Walter Steinmeier is all set to become the German President for a second term after the environmentalists, Greens came out to endorse him. This comes after the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats had backed Steinmeier. The President will be elected on February 13 by a special assembly made up of lower house MPs and representatives of 16 German states.


China's 'artificial sun' sets new record, runs at 70 million Celsius for 1,056 secs

China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), dubbed the 'artificial sun', set a new world record by running at a plasma temperature of 70 million Celsius for 1,056 seconds. EAST aims to create nuclear fusion like the Sun using deuterium from the sea to provide clean energy. Scientists say raw materials required for the 'artificial sun' are almost unlimited on earth.

 

 

Russia's test-fires new hypersonic Tsirkon missiles 2022

 

Russia successfully test-fired around 10 new Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missiles from a frigate and other two missiles from a submarine.

The Zircon missile would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

The Tsirkon Cruise Missile will join Avangard glide vehicles and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s hypersonic arsenal.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia. The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service next year.

Russia Capital: Moscow;

Russia Currency: Rouble;

Russia President: Vladimir Putin.

 

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


State Bank of India invests $20 million in Pine Labs

Merchant commerce platform Pine Labs on Tuesday announced that the State Bank of India (SBI) has invested $20 million in the startup. Pine Labs had raised $700 million in funding across two rounds last year. "We are thrilled to have the largest bank of India, the State Bank of India, place their trust in us," its CEO Amrish Rau said.


Future Group's pleas to end arbitration with Amazon dismissed by HC

Delhi High Court has dismissed petitions filed by Future Group companies seeking to quash the arbitration proceedings initiated by Amazon in Singapore. Future Group had asked the court to end proceedings citing a CCI order passed in December, suspending a 2019 deal between Amazon and Future Coupons. Justice Amit Bansal said the filings were dismissed, without giving any further details.


SBI, HDFC Bank in RBI's 2021 list of 'Domestic Systemically Important Banks'

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said that SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank continue to be identified as 'Domestic Systemically Important Banks' (D-SIBs). According to the RBI, SIBs are banks that are 'too big to fail' and are, therefore, subjected to additional policy measures to deal with the systemic risks and moral hazard issues posed by them.

 

 NTPC plans to buy 5% equity in Power Exchange of India Ltd

 

State-owned power generation company NTPC Ltd. is set to acquire a 5 per cent equity stake in Power Exchange of India Ltd (PXIL).

It must be noted that the government is planning to expand the share of the spot power market in the total electricity supply in India to 25 per cent by 2023-24. At present, the size of short-term power trading is about 5 per cent.

About Power Exchange of India Ltd:

 

It was incorporated on February 20, 2008, as India’s first institutionally promoted power exchange.

PXIL provides various electricity trading solutions and helps in connecting buyers with sellers.

The authorised share capital of the PXIL is Rs 120 crore and the paid-up capital is Rs 58.47 crore.

 GoI keeps interest rates on Small Savings Schemes unchanged

 

The interest rates on the small savings schemes will remain the same for the fourth quarter of 2021-2022 (January – February – March 2022) as they were in the third quarter of 2021-22 (October-December 2021).

It must be noted that West Bengal is the highest contributor to the small saving schemes while Uttar Pradesh is the second top contributor. Also remember, the government notifies the Interest rates for small savings schemes on a quarterly basis.

Various Interest Rates for Quarter-4 (Jan-March) of 2021-22:

 

S.No Small Savings Scheme Interest Rate

1 Post Office Savings Account 4%

2 5-Year Post Office Recurring Deposit (RD) Account 5.8%

3 Post Office Time Deposit (TD) Account – One Year 5.5%

4 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Two Years 5.5%

5 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Three Years 5.5%

6 Post Office Time Deposit Account (TD) – Five Years 6.7%

7 Post Office Monthly Income Scheme Account (MIS) 6.6%

8 Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) 7.4%

9 15-Year Public Provident Fund Account (PPF) 7.1%

10 National Savings Certificates (NSC) 6.8%

11 Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) 6.9%

12 Sukanya Samriddhi Account 7.6%

SEBI reconstitutes its primary market advisory committee

Capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India has restructured its primary market advisory committee on data. The committee aims to measure pertaining to areas such as securities market data access and privacy.

Sebi has appointed Professor at National Law University, Delhi and former chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India S Sahoo as Panel Head. Earlier this panel was headed by Madhabi Puri Buch, an ex-whole time member of Sebi.

The scope of the work of the committee includes identifying segment-wise data perimeters, data needs and gaps, recommending data privacy and data access regulations applicable to market data. It is responsible for recommending appropriate policy for access to securities market data.

In addition, the committee recommends standardization of data definitions; data identification logic ( usage of uniform codes for identifying and storing data - raw data and derived data) and data validation techniques (single source of truth, validation).

BMW India sells 8,876 cars in 2021, sales surge by 34%

BMW India reported a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 34% with a dispatch of 8,876 units in 2021, recording the highest growth in a decade in India. The automaker dispatched 8,236 BMW and 640 Mini units last year compared to 6,604 units across BMW and Mini brands in 2020. The company generated over 40% sales from its locally assembled SAV range.

Science and Technology News

 Covid-19 new variant 'IHU' discovered in France

 

Scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of COVID-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron.

The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron.

Nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles and has been linked to the African country Cameroon.

But, the Omicron strain is still dominating in most parts of the world.

This new variant can be a major threat, however, the cases have not been reported so far in countries other than France and is not labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sports News

Nick Kyrgios withdraws from Melbourne Summer Set due to asthma

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the Melbourne Summer Set event due to asthma. "I have been feeling run down and unwell for four days. I have had several COVID tests over the last few days which all came back negative," he stated. Kyrgios was set to face Alex Molcan in the first round of the event.

 

Important Days

 World Braille Day Observed on 04 January 2022

World Braille Day is observed globally on 4th January since 2019. The day aims to recognize the right of access to braille by blind people and raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.

The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.

Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.

Obituaries News

 Bollywood film producer Vijay Galani passes away

 

Bollywood film producer Vijay Galani has passed away. He was suffering from blood cancer and was in London for seeking treatment.

He is known for producing films like Salman Khan’s Suryavanshi (1992), Govinda and Manisha Koirala’s Achanak (1998), Akshay Kumar’s Ajnabee (2001), Paresh Rawal and Mallika Sherawat’s Bachke Rehna Re Baba (2005), Salman Khan’s Veer (2010). His last production venture was Vidyut Jammwal and Shruti Haasan’s The Power (2021).

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

05 January 2022

National News
COVID-19 R-value has risen to 2.69, higher than peak of 2nd wave: Govt

During the Health Ministry briefing amid rising COVID-19 cases, NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul stated that COVID-19 R-value has risen to 2.69, which is higher than the peak of the second wave (1.69). The R-value is a way of rating disease's ability to spread. R-value of 2.69 means every 100 infected people can spread the infection to 269 people.


Absconding ex-TN minister arrested in job-related cheating cases

Ex-Tamil Nadu minister and AIADMK leader Rajenthra Bhalaji, who was absconding in two job-related cheating cases, was arrested on Wednesday. As per reports, Bhalaji collected around ₹3 crore from people by promising them jobs in the state-run dairy corporation Aavin. He has been absconding since Madras High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail petitions in both the cases on December 17.


Leaves of all Delhi govt staff cancelled to handle COVID-19 surge

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has cancelled leaves of all Delhi government officers and staff to ensure adequate manpower to handle rising COVID-19 cases. It also asked them to not leave the station. Delhi reported 10,665 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours, while the positivity rate rose to 11.88%.

 

Odisha's Ganjam district is now child marriage free

Odisha’s Ganjam has declared itself a child marriage free district, the first in the State. The district administration has been able to stop as many as 450 child marriages and video-record 48,383 marriages in two years — 2020 and 2021.

After verification, the Ganjam administration declared it a child marriage free district. Sarpanchs and  task force committee members had sent recommendations that no child marriage had taken place in their respective areas.

Ganjam had started a programme Nirbhaya Kadhi (Fearless bud). All heads of educational institutes were directed to inform the administration if any girl aged between 12 and 18 remained absent from school for five days.

As many as one lakh teenagers have undergone counselling in the past two years. The administration also made the production of Aadhaar cards mandatory for any marriages to take place.

Odisha Capital: Bhubaneswar;

Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal;

Odisha Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
Stop all political rallies: Rajasthan CM urges Election Commission

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to stop all political rallies in poll-bound states in view of rising COVID-19 cases. He said that due to constitutional provisions, elections cannot be postponed but rallies can be stopped. He added that in the era of information technology, political parties must adopt modern methods of publicity.

 

Ladakh celebrated traditional new year ‘Losar Festival’

The Losar Festival in Ladakh is celebrated at the onset of the New Year in the traditional schedule of Tibetan Buddhism. It is celebrated by the Buddhist Community in the Ladakh region.

The Losar is a 15 days festival, from the start of the Tibetan Lunar calendar, marking the 1st day of the 11 months in the Tibetan Calendar. Losar is a Tibetan word that means ‘New Year’.

The festivities began with the celebration of Birth and Nirvana Anniversary Je Tsongkhapa with illuminations of religious places like Monasteries,  Stupas, residential and other places. The eve of the Losar festival is also celebrated with memorial food offerings for the departed loved ones.

Other popular festivals of Ladakh:

Phyang Tsedup Festival

Dosmoche Festival

Hemis Festival

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launches NEAT 3.0

Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan has launched National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT 3.0), and regional language textbooks prescribed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

NEAT 3.0 aims to provide the best-developed ed-tech solutions and courses to students on a single platform. It will be beneficial especially among the economically disadvantaged students. It is a Public-Private Partnership model between the Government (through its implementing agency AICTE) and the Education Technology companies.

58 global and Indian ed-tech startup companies have come together for this solution and are offering 100 courses and e-resources to enhance learning outcomes, developing employable skills as well as overcome learning loss.

The collaboration of global ed-tech companies and Indian start-ups by way of NEAT will help to build on the digital education bedrock of India.

International News


China opens its longest underwater highway tunnel fitted with LED lights

China has opened its longest underwater highway tunnel to vehicle traffic after nearly four years of construction. The 10.79-km-long 'Taihu' tunnel has been built under Lake Taihu in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, about 50 kilometers east of Shanghai. The ceiling of the underwater tunnel has been fitted with LED lights to prevent driver fatigue.

 

 Apple becomes world’s first company to hit $3 trillion M-Cap

The stock market value of Apple Inc. hit $3 trillion and became the world’s first company to do so. The market cap of Apple hit $182.86 per share, which made it the world’s first company to touch the $3 trillion mark.

However shortly after hitting the mark, the share value dipped below it and did not rise again until the market closed. The iPhone maker passed $2 trillion in 2020 and over $1 trillion in 2018.

The world's most valuable company reached the milestone as investors bet that consumers will continue to shell out top dollar for iPhones, MacBooks and services such as Apple TV and Apple Music.

In China, the world's largest smartphone market, Apple continued to lead for the second straight month, beating rivals such as Vivo and Xiaomi, recent data from CounterPoint Research showed.

Apple Inc. CEO: Tim Cook;

Apple Inc. Founded: 1 April 1976, California, United States;

Apple Inc. Headquarters: Cupertino, California, United States;

Apple Inc. Founders: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne.

 Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announces resignation

 

Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok has announced his resignation on January 02, 2022. The decision follows a military coup that caused political deadlock and widespread pro-democracy protests in the country.

The 66-year-old Hamdok served as the 15th Prime Minister of Sudan from 2019 to 2022.

Mr Hamdok called for a dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and to “draw a roadmap” to complete the transition. The October coup had upended Sudan's plans to move to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Sudan Capital: Khartoum; Currency: Sudanese pound.

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Jet Airways' CEO Sudhir Gaur steps down ahead of relaunch

Jet Airways' CEO Sudhir Gaur stepped down from his position today ahead of the airline's relaunch. He will be replaced by former JetLite Senior VP (Operations) PP Singh. Jet Airways' owner, the Jalan Kalrock Consortium, had said in September that it will restart operations with a New Delhi to Mumbai flight and shift the airline's headquarters from Mumbai to Delhi-NCR.


NCLAT sets Twin Star's plan for Videocon aside, allows fresh bidding

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday set aside Twin Star Technologies' plan to buy Videocon Industries for ₹2,962 crore and allowed a fresh round of bidding for the company. While setting aside the plan, NCLAT said the plan had certain defects. Twin Star's plan to buy Videocon had earlier been approved by the National Company Law Tribunal.

 

 RBI named Ajay Kumar Choudhary and Deepak Kumar as new Executive Directors

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed Deepak Kumar and Ajay Kumar Choudhary as new executive directors (ED) with effect from 03 January.

Prior to being promoted as ED, Deepak Kumar was heading the department of information technology of RBI, while Ajay Choudhary was Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Supervision.

Kumar has over a span of three decades working in RBI’s central office departments covering policy making and project management functions in the areas of information technology, cyber security, payment systems, currency management, human resource management, banking supervision, foreign exchange management.

Meanwhile, Choudhary has, over a span of three decades, served in supervision, regulation, currency management, payments and settlements, and other areas in the Reserve Bank, in its Central Office as well as Regional Offices. He will look after the fintech department, risk monitoring department and inspection department.

 

 

 

RBI approved Fino Payments Bank for international remittance business

 

Reserve Bank of India has approved Fino Payments Bank for commencing international (Cross Border) remittance business under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS). The approval will enable the customers of Fino Payments Bank to receive money sent from foreign countries.

The Bank plans to implement the service in its mobile applications as well and it also plans to partner with more leading money transfer operators (MTOs) to improve its cross-border remittance.

Chairman of Fino Payments Bank: Prof Mahendra Kumar Chouhan.

Fino Payments Bank established: 13 July 2006.

MD & CEO of Fino Payments Bank: Rishi Gupta.

Headquarters of Fino Payments Bank: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

 RBI Retains SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank as D-SIBs 2022

 

Reserve Bank of India has retained State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). These three banks have continued to be on the D-SIBs list published by RBI, since Sep 04, 2017.

Domestic Systemically Important Banks are those banks which if fail would have a significant impact on the economy. The D-SIBs banks are classified into 5 buckets. Bucket 1, Bucket 2, Bucket 3, Bucket 4 and Bucket 5.

With Bucket 5 being the most important followed by rest in decreasing order. State Bank of India is in Bucket 3, while ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are in Bucket 1. The updated list is based on the data collected from banks as of March 31, 2021.

 RBI: Airtel Payments Bank gets scheduled bank status

Airtel Payments Bank has been categorised as a scheduled bank by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the second schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. With this, Airtel Payments Bank can now pitch for the government.

Airtel Payments Bank is among the fastest-growing digital banks in the country, with a base of 115 million users. It offers a suite of digital solutions through the Airtel Thanks app and a retail network of over 500,000 neighbourhood banking points. The bank turned profitable in the quarter ended September 2021.

Airtel Payments Bank’s MD and CEO: Nubrata Biswas.

Airtel Payments Bank Headquarters: New Delhi.

Airtel Payments Bank Founded: January 2017.

Nippon India MF launches India’s first Auto ETF

Nippon Life India Asset Management Limited, asset manager of Nippon India Mutual Fund (NIMF), has announced the launch of India’s First Auto sector ETF - Nippon India Nifty Auto ETF.

Nippon India Nifty Auto ETF will predominantly invest in stocks comprising of the Nifty Auto Index in the same proportion as the Index. It will provide exposure to Top 15 (as per Nifty Auto Index methodology) companies representing auto-related sectors like Automobiles 4 wheelers, Automobiles 2 & 3 wheelers, Auto Ancillaries, and Tyres.

The Nippon Auto ETF will start operation from January 5, 2022 to January 14, 2022. The minimum investment amount required is Rs 1,000 and in multiples of Rs 1 aftermath.

The investment objective of the scheme is “to provide investment returns closely corresponding to the total returns of the securities as represented by the Nifty Auto Index before expenses, subject to tracking error. However, there can be no assurance or guarantee that the investment objective of the Scheme will be achieved.

Obituaries News

 Legendary Kenyan Conservationist and Fossil-hunter Richard Leaky passes away

World-renowned Kenyan politician, conservationist and fossil hunter Richard Leakey has passed away. The legendary paleoanthropologist is credited for the discovery of ‘Turkana Boy’ in 1984 which led to groundbreaking discoveries proving that humankind evolved in Africa.

Turkana boy is the most complete fossil Skelton of a human ancestor ever found. Paleoanthropology is the study of human evolution through fossil and archaeological records. Leakey is also known to spearhead campaigns against the ivory trade to save the population of African elephants.

 Indian Navy's 1971 war veteran Vice Admiral S H Sarma passes away

 

The Indian Navy's 1971 Indo-Pak war veteran Vice Admiral S.H. Sarma has passed away, at the age of 100. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet during the 1971 war. India had defeated Pakistan in the 1971 war leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Vice Admiral Sarma had celebrated his 100th birthday on December 1 last year. He also took part in the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebration in Delhi recently. Sarma was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet during the 1971 war. India had defeated Pakistan in the 1971 war leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Social worker Sindhutai Sapkal passes away Known as ‘orphan children’s mother’, she died of heart attack at a private hospital 

Renowned social worker Sindhutai Sapkal, fondly known as ‘orphan children’s mother’, died following a heart attack at a private hospital here, doctors said. Sapkal, who had received the Padma Shri last year, had completed 74 years in November. Sapkal, who grew up in extreme poverty, went on to set up institutes for orphan children. Born on November 14, 1948, in Wardha district of Maharashtra, Sapkal was forced to drop out of school after she had passed Class IV. At the tender age of 12, she was married to a 32­year­old man. After she gave birth to three children, her husband abandoned her even when she was pregnant.  Her mother and the village where she had grown up refused to help, forcing her to beg to raise her daughters at one point. She overcame these circumstances with sheer willpower and started working for orphans. Having raised over 1,050 orphan children, she could boast of having 207 sons­in­law and 36 daughters­in­law

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

07 January 2022

National News

 


Govt selects TCS to drive next phase of Passport Seva Programme

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Friday said it has been selected by the government for the second phase of the Passport Seva Programme. ''Our partnership with MEA over the last decade has become a benchmark in a public-private partnership for citizen services. We are pleased to be selected for the next phase of the Passport Seva Programme,'' said the company.


PM opens 2nd campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday virtually inaugurated the second campus of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) in Kolkata, in the presence of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. "This institute will augment healthcare capacities in eastern India and in the Northeast," the PM had earlier said. The new campus has been built at a cost of over ₹530 crore.


All international travellers to undergo 7-day home quarantine on arrival: Govt

The government on Friday said that all international arrivals in India will have to undergo 7-day mandatory home quarantine and also undertake RT-PCR COVID-19 test on the eighth day of arrival in India. After this, they'll upload the RT-PCR test on the Air Suvidha portal and if negative, will self-monitor their health for the next seven days, the government said.


Delhi reports 17,335 new COVID-19 cases & 9 deaths; positivity rate at 17.7%

Delhi on Friday reported 17,335 fresh cases as compared to 15,097 COVID-19 cases recorded on Thursday. The positivity rate jumped to 17.73% as compared to Thursday's 15.34%, while nine related deaths were recorded in Delhi on Friday. The active COVID-19 cases in Delhi have climbed to 39,873.

 


Bulli Bai app 'creator' posed as a journalist during S**** Deals row: Police

BTech student Neeraj Bishnoi, accused of being the “main conspirator” of the Bulli Bai app was active during the S**** Deals controversy, as per the police. The police said that Bishnoi used a fake Twitter profile of a girl and tried to communicate as a news reporter. He also came in contact with other reporters to plant misinformation, police added.

 

BTech student Neeraj Bishnoi, the "main conspirator and creator" of Bulli Bai app, showed no remorse for his actions during police interrogation, as per reports. Instead, he claimed to have done what he thought was "right", the reports added. Bishnoi was arrested by Delhi Police from Assam's Jorhat on Thursday.

 


Sonu Sood quits as Punjab state icon, says 'decision mutually taken by EC & me'

Actor Sonu Sood on Friday took to Twitter to announce that he has voluntarily stepped down as Punjab state icon in view of his sister contesting Punjab Assembly elections. "Like all good things, this journey has come to an end too...This decision was mutually taken by me and Election Commission," said Sood. His sister Malvika Sachar is contesting from Moga.

 

 

GoI flagship UJALA scheme completed 7 years


The flagship UJALA programme of the Ministry of Power has successfully completed seven years of distributing and selling LED lights on January 05, 2022. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme was launched by Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on January 05, 2015.  UJALA initiative is the world’s largest zero-subsidy domestic lighting programme with more than 36.78 crore LEDs distributed across the country.  As on 5th January 2022, 47,778 million (48 billion) kilowatt-hour (kWh) per annum energy has been saved. The demand of 9,565 Megawatt (MW) has been avoided, along with 386 crore tonnes of reduction in CO2 emissions.



 

Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel launched Student Start-ups and Innovation Policy 2.0


Gujarat Chief Minister, Bhupendra Patel has been launched "Student Start-ups and Innovation Policy 2.0 (SSIP-2.0)" for the next five years. The policy contains provisions for the establishment of active innovation and incubation centres in all universities in the state.  The policy aims to cover 50 lakh students across 1,000 higher education institutes and 10,000 schools of innovation and entrepreneurship. The policy also aims to give assistance to 10,000 proof of concepts and prototypes developed by the students and to 1,000 proof of concepts developed by school children.

 


Gujarat Capital: Gandhinagar;

Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat;

Gujarat Chief minister: Bhupendrabhai Patel.

 


Shafali Verma appointed as Brand Endorser of Bank of Baroda


State-owned Bank of Baroda has signed cricketer Shafali Verma as its brand endorser.
The Bank continuously supports the youth of the country through its various banking and non-banking initiatives and this announcement reflects the bank's ethos of adding value to its customer experience by choosing youth-icons like Shafali to inspire them."  In 2019, at the age of 15, Shafali became the youngest cricketer to play in a Women’s Twenty20 International match for India. Previously in 2021, Shafali Verma became the 1st Women Cricketer to Hit 3 Sixes in Test Match.


 Govt re-appoints Vijay Paul Sharma as CACP Chairman


The Centre has re-appointed Vijay Paul Sharma as the chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) after he relinquished the post in May last year following completion of the five-year tenure.  The role of the CACP chairman will be crucial in the proposed committee on the minimum support price (MSP) and other reforms. Sharma, a professor at the Centre for Management in Agriculture at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was appointed CACP Chairman for the first time in June 2016.  The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, established in 1965, is an apex advisory body under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It’s an expert body that recommends the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) by taking into consideration various factors.

 

 


TS Tirumurti assumes Chair of UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee


India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti has been appointed as the Chair of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee for 2022. India has assumed the chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (UNSC-CTC) for one year, beginning from January 01, 2022.  Being the Chair of Counter-Terrorism Committee 2022, India will work to further enhance the role of the Counter-Terrorism Committee in strengthening the multilateral response to counter-terrorism, and ensure that global response to the threat of terrorism remains unambiguous, undivided and effective. India is currently a non-permanent member of the 15-nation UNSC. Its two-year term will end on December 31, 2022.


International News


Justice Ayesha Malik to be Pakistan's 1st female Supreme Court judge

Justice Ayesha Malik, 55, has been appointed as the first woman judge of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, nearly 75 years after the country’s independence. The nine-member body that confirmed her appointment voted five votes against four. Notably, Justice Malik's elevation was discussed last year as well but the panel was equally split, resulting in the rejection of her candidature.


Biden administration's top official on environmental justice resigns

Senior Director for Environmental Justice at the US Council on Environmental Quality, Cecilia Martinez, has announced to step down. Martinez said that she needed time to rest and spend time with her family. This comes after Martinez played an instrumental role over the last year in helping disadvantaged communities as an integral part of President Joe Biden's environmental policies.

 

 

Chinese diplomat Zhang Ming takes charge of Secretary-General of SCO

 

China's senior diplomat Zhang Ming has taken charge as the new Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in which India is a member. He has taken charge from Vladimir Norov, former Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan for a three-year term. He was until recently China's ambassador to the European Union.  The SCO comprises eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It also comprises four countries with “observer” status and six more as “dialogue partners”.


Antigua and Barbuda joined ISA as the 102nd member


The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as the 102nd member by signing the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement, the India-led global green energy initiative.  The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne signed the framework agreement in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Dr K. J. Srinivasa to catalyze global energy transition through a solar-led approach.  ISA was jointly launched by India and France in 2015 during the 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change COP-21 in Paris, France to promote solar energy.



Antigua and Barbuda Capital: Saint John’s;

Antigua and Barbuda Currency: East Caribbean Dollar;

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister: Gaston Browne.





Citigroup to fire unvaccinated US employees by month end: Report

Citigroup on Friday told its staff in the US that it would terminate the employees who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of January 14, enforcing a policy that was announced last year, according to reports. Their last day of employment will reportedly come at the month end. The company reportedly allowed the employees to apply for religious or medical exemptions.

 

Agreements News


WFP & The Akshaya Patra Foundation partnered to enhance PM POSHAN Scheme


United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) in India, has partnered with The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF), a not-for-profit organization, to enhance the effectiveness of the Pradhan Mantri – Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) scheme (earlier known as National Programme for Mid-Day Meal in Schools).  The partnership aims to enhance food safety and hygiene projects, capacity building of cooks-cum-helpers and nutritional quality of school meals.  Under this collaboration, WFP and TAPF will share knowledge through workshops and policy and strategy dialogues with the government to enhance the quality of the school meal programme.
Since its inception in 1961, school meals have been part of WFP’s mission. WFP has six decades of experience supporting school feeding and working with more than 100 countries to set up sustainable national school feeding programmes.

 


World Food Programme Founded: 1961;

World Food Programme Headquarters: Rome, Italy;

World Food Programme Executive Director: David Beasley.





 Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail invests $200 mn in Dunzo to acquire 25.8% stake


Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail has invested $200 million or around Rs 1,488 crore in Bengaluru-based quick commerce player Dunzo for a 25.8 per cent stake on a fully diluted basis. The move will help Reliance get a foothold in the country’s growing quick delivery market.  Dunzo raised a total of $240 million in this latest round led by the Reliance Industries Ltd arm. The other existing investors were Lightbox, Ligthrock, 3L Capital and Alteria Capital, who participated in the round.  The funding will be used to strengthen Dunzo’s vision to excel in the quick commerce business, enabling instant delivery of essentials from a network of micro warehouses while also expanding its B2B business vertical to enable logistics for local merchants in Indian cities.

 


Dunzo Founder(s): Kabeer Biswas, Ankur Agarwal, Dalvir Suri, Mukund Jha;

Dunzo Founded: July 2014;

Dunzo Headquarters location: Bengaluru.


BUSINESS, BANKING AND ECONOMY


 RBI cancelled authorisation certificates of Muthoot Vehicle Finance, Eko India


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of two Payment System Operators (PSOs): Muthoot Vehicle and Asset Finance Limited and Eko India Financial Services Private Limited, citing non-compliance with regulatory requirements under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.  Both Muthoot Vehicle and Asset Finance Limited and Eko India Financial Services Private Limited had the certificate of authorisation issued by the RBI for issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments.  The RBI further mentioned in its press release that the COA cancellation came into force on December 31, 2021. But RBI clarified in its notice that the customers or merchants who have a valid claim on these companies as PSOs can approach them for settlement of their claims within three years from the date of cancellation.

 


TCS board to consider share buyback proposal on January 12

The board of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will consider a share buyback proposal on January 12, the company said in an exchange filing. The company's previous buyback offer worth about ₹16,000 crore had opened on December 18, 2020 and closed on January 1, 2021. TCS is due to report its earnings for the third quarter ended December on January 12.


India’s GDP estimated to rise 9.2% in FY 2021-22 compared to 7.3% contraction in 2020-21

In the first advance estimates released by the National Statistical Office, the growth in real GDP during 2021-22 is estimated at 9.2% as compared to the contraction of 7.3% in 2020-21. "Real GDP...in the year 2021-22 is estimated at ₹147.54 lakh crore, as against the Provisional Estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 of ₹135.13 lakh crore," NSO state

 

 


Awards News


 Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism awards announced


The Indian Express Group has announced the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards (RNG Awards) for journalists across the country, for their work done in 2019.  RNG awards are one the most prestigious awards in India in the field of journalism, held annually since 2006. The photo stories of our winners appeared in our print and digital editions between December 24, 2021, and January 4, 2022. 


 South Indian Bank won UiPath Automation Excellence awards 2021


South Indian Bank (SIB) won the UiPath Automation Excellence Awards 2021 for Best Automation under ‘Crisis for Business Continuity’.  The 2021 edition of the award recognises the contribution of the individuals and organizations across India and South Asia (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal) for bringing change through transformative automation projects.


Other Awards:

Category

Individual/Organisation

Best Cognitive Automation

EY Global Delivery Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers

Best First Time Automation

Teejay and Shapoorji Pallonji and Co.

Best Automation Center of Excellence

Reckitt and JSW Global Business Solutions

Best Citizen Developer Program

Firstsource Solutions and HP Inc

Special UiPath Recognition

JSW Steel Limited and Omega Healthcare


JC Chaudhry gets first ever Guinness World Record in Numerology


India’s one of the top numerologists, JC Chaudhry has achieved the first-ever Guinness World Record in Numerology and the first world record of 2022 by educating about ancient science to around 6000 participants, enthusiasts of numerology joined from the United States, the United Kingdom, Middle East, and India. The Guinness World Record London office has opened a new category, “Numerology” for this achievement. The initiative was organised by CNPL (Chaudhry Nummero Pvt Ltd) and the Indian Institute of Numerology to create awareness regarding numerology, which is prevalent across ancient cultures like Greece, Egypt, China, Chaldea and India.




Books and Authors News


A new book titled “Mamata: Beyond 2021” authored by Jayanta Ghosal


HarperCollins Publishers India is set to publish a new book titled “Mamata: Beyond 2021”, authored by political journalist Jayanta Ghosal and translated by Arunava Sinha.  The announcement about the release of the book was made on 5th January 2022, the birthday of Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister (CM) of West Bengal and the leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party.  The book explores and examines why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the 2021 West Bengal Election. 

 

OBITUARY


Veteran adman Gerson Da Cunha passes away at the age of 92

Veteran adman-actor Gerson Da Cunha has passed away in Mumbai at the age of 92. Da Cunha worked in the advertisement industry for 25 years. He later worked with UNICEF and received the medal of 'Order of Rio Branco' from the Brazilian government for his work in Brazil. He acted in films like 'Asoka', 'Water', 'Electric Moon' and 'Cotton Mary'.

 


Sidney Poitier, 1st Black person to win a Best Actor Oscar, passes away aged 94

Sidney Poitier, the first Black winner of Best Actor Oscar for 'Lilies of the Field', died aged 94, an official from the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday. "We've lost an icon, a hero, a fighter, a national treasure," said Bahamas PM Chester Cooper. Poitier's other films include 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' and 'To Sir, With Love'.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

 

08 January 2022

 

National News

 


Maharashtra imposes 11 pm-5 am night curfew under fresh curbs from Monday

Maharashtra government on Saturday imposed additional curbs amid COVID-19 surge with effect from Monday (January 10), including a night curfew (barring essential services) between 11 pm and 5 am. Schools and colleges will remain closed till February 15. Restaurants and cinemas can operate at 50% capacity but will be closed from 10 pm-8 am. Maharashtra recorded 41,434 new COVID-19 cases.


COVID-19 3rd wave in India will peak between Feb 1 & 15: IIT Madras analysis

As per an IIT Madras analysis, the third COVID-19 wave in India will peak between February 1 and February 15, PTI reported. The R-naught value of COVID-19 (which indicates rate of virus spread) in India was recorded at 4 between January 1 and January 6, it said. The value was close to 2.9 nationally in the last week of 2021.


Suburban train services in Chennai region only for fully vaccinated

The Southern Railway on Saturday said that only fully vaccinated passengers will be allowed to travel on its suburban services in Chennai region, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu. Passengers will be required to show their vaccination certificate at the ticket counters, it added. The restriction will be in place from January 10 to January 31.

 

 

Union Minister Jitendra Singh inaugurates 24th Conference on e-Governance 2020-21


Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated the 24th National Conference on e-Governance in Hyderabad, Telangana. The theme of the two-day Conference is ‘India’s Techade: Digital Governance in a Post Pandemic World’.  The conference has been organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the State Government of Telangana.  The conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-governance initiatives across the country, providing opportunities for civil servants and industry captains to showcase their successful interventions in e-governance in improving end to end service delivery.
Delegates from 28 states and 9 Union Territories along with academia, research institutions, IT industry would be participating in the conference through virtual mode.

 

 

Hyderabad gets India's first Open Rock Museum


Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated India’s first Open Rock Museum in Hyderabad, Telangana. Museum displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India with ages ranging from 3.3 billion years to around 55 million years of the Earth’s history.  The Open Rock Museum, set up with the aim of educating and enlightening the masses about several lesser-known facts, displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India.  These rocks also represent the deepest part of the earth, up to 175 km from the surface of the earth. The rocks have been sourced from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and others.


 KVIC launched India's first “Mobile Honey Processing Van”


Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena has launched the country’s first Mobile Honey Processing Van at Village Sirora in Ghaziabad. The Mobile Van has been designed in-house by KVIC at its Multi-disciplinary Training Centre, Panjokehra, at a cost of Rs 15 lakh.  This mobile honey processing unit can process up to 300 KG of honey in 8 hours. The van is also equipped with a testing laboratory, that would instantly examine the quality of honey.  The Mobile Honey Processing Van comes as a major development under KVIC’s Honey Mission which aims at training beekeepers, distributing Bee Boxes to farmers and helping rural, educated as well as unemployed youth to earn extra

 


Election Commission hikes expenditure limit for candidates in polls


The Election Commission of India has increased the existing election expenditure limit for candidates in Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, due to the rise in inflation. The new limits will be applicable in all upcoming elections in the country.  The previous major revision in the election expenditure limit was done in 2014. It was further increased by 10% in 2020. EC had formed a Committee to study the cost factors and other related issues, and make suitable recommendations.  The ceiling on parliamentary poll expenditure has been raised from 70 lakh to 95 lakh rupees in bigger states and 54 lakh to 75 lakhs in smaller states.  The bigger states include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.  The smaller states include Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and UTs.  The ceiling on poll expenditure in UT of Jammu and Kashmir has been raised to 95 lakhs.  For Assembly constituencies, expenditure limits have been enhanced from 28 lakh rupees to 40 lakh rupees in bigger states and from 20 lakhs to 28 lakhs in smaller states.


International News


OPEC appoints Kuwait’s Haitham Al Ghais as new secretary general


Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has appointed Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham Al Ghais as its new secretary-general, as demand for oil continues to improve amid a mild recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.  Al Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait’s Opec governor from 2017 to June 2021, will take the group’s reins in August, replacing Mohammad Barkindo.

 

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

 


CSB Bank's MD & CEO Rajendran to retire early on health grounds

CSB Bank on Saturday said C VR Rajendran will step down from his role of Managing Director (MD) and CEO on March 31, 2022, after over five years. He has decided to take an early retirement to take care of his health under the advice of his physicians, the bank said. Rajendran's term was scheduled to end in December 2022.



 Ind-Ra lowers India’s GDP growth forecast by 10 basis points to 9.3% in FY22


The rating agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has downgraded the GDP of India for the current fiscal FY 2021-2022. Ind-Ra expects the GDP to clock a growth rate of 9.3% y-o-y in FY22.  Earlier this estimate was 9.4%. Meanwhile, Brickworks Ratings has also revised India’s GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal (FY22) to 8.5-9%. Earlier this was estimated at 10%. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is the main driver to downgrade GDP growth projections.



SBI General Insurance launched ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ campaign


State Bank of India General Insurance Company Ltd has launched a campaign titled ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ to increase awareness around the need to buy health insurance to save tax. It will also highlight the other benefits of opting for health insurance.  The campaign aims to increase the awareness of how buying health insurance can help people save tax which is crucial and seasonal in the last quarter of the financial year for all Indians. The campaign will also underline the other benefits of opting for health insurance.




Awards News


3rd National Water Awards for 2020 announced


Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has declared the winners of the third National Water Awards for the year 2020. Uttar Pradesh has been adjudged as the Best State in water conservation efforts in the National Water Awards 2020. It is followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu respectively.  The award comes with a citation, trophy and cash prize. Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh received the best district award in the northern zone followed by Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar in Punjab.


3rd National Water Awards 2020 list is given below:

Category

                                  Winners

“Best state”

Uttar Pradesh

“Best District” – North Zone

Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh

“Best District”– South Zone

Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala

“Best District”– East Zone

“East Champaran, Bihar and Godda, Jharkhand

“Best District”– West Zone

“Indore, Madhya Pradesh

“Best District”– North-East Zone

“Goalpara, Assam

“Best Village Panchayat”– North Zone

Dhaspad, Almora, Uttarakhand

“Best Village Panchayat”– South Zone

Yelerampura Panchayat, Tumakuru District, Karnataka

“Best Village Panchayat”– East Zone

Telari Panchayat, Gaya District, Bihar

“Best Village Panchayat”– West Zone

Takhatgadh, Sabarkantha, Gujarat

“Best Village Panchayat”– North-East Zone

Sialsir, Sirchip, Mizoram

“Best Urban Local Body”

Vapi Urban Local Body, Gujarat

“Best Media (Print & Electronic)”

Mission Paani (Network 18)

“Best School”

Govt. Girls Hr. Secondary School, Kaveripattinam, Tamil Nadu

“Best Industry”

Welspun India Textile Ltd., Gujarat

“Best Water User Association”

Panchgachiya MDTW WUA, Hooghly, West Beng

“Best Industry for CSR activities”

ITC Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal


Summits and Conferences News


Union Minister Jitendra Singh inaugurates 24th Conference on e-Governance 2020-21


Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated the 24th National Conference on e-Governance in Hyderabad, Telangana. The theme of the two-day Conference is ‘India’s Techade: Digital Governance in a Post Pandemic World’.  The conference has been organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the State Government of Telangana.  The conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-governance initiatives across the country, providing opportunities for civil servants and industry captains to showcase their successful interventions in e-governance in improving end to end service delivery.
Delegates from 28 states and 9 Union Territories along with academia, research institutions, IT industry would be participating in the conference through virtual mode.


Sports News

 Winter Olympics-bound Md Arif Khan included in Target Olympic Podium Scheme


Sports Ministry’s Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) of India has approved the inclusion of Alpine Skiing athlete Md Arif Khan in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Core group, until the Winter Olympics, scheduled this February in Beijing, China.  The feat earned Khan the unique distinction of becoming the first Indian to win direct quota spots in two different Winter Olympics events, besides being the first athlete from the country to seal a berth at the Winter Olympic games 2022.  Khan will take part in the Winter Olympics in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events. He has also been approved an amount of Rs 17.46 Lakh under TOPS towards training in Europe and procurement of equipment, ahead of the grand event in China. Khan’s current training base is in Austria, where he is accompanied by his coach and physio.

 

Obituaries News


 Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Nongkynrih passes away


Founder of Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) and renowned Indian concert pianist Neil Nongkynrih passed away.  In 2010, SCC performed for former US President Barack Obama & Michelle Obama during their visit to India.  SCC’s version of ‘Vande Maataram’ was played during the live telecast program Indian space rocket Chandrayaan – 2’s landing on the moon. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Shri - India's fourth-highest civilian honour.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

09-01-2022

NATIONAL


Ladakh suspends winter tourism activities amid COVID-19 case rise

The Ladakh administration has suspended winter tourism activities, including the Chadar trek and the snow leopard sighting expedition, till further orders amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. The Chadar trek is a winter trail in Leh's Zanskar area. The Leh District Magistrate warned of punitive action if the directions are violated.


Leakage reported in Palghar dam, (Maharashtra) NDRF team prepared to evacuate 5 villages

A leakage was reported in Palghar's Mahim Kelva Dam, which has a capacity of 260 crore litres, following which around 1,200 litres per minute is being discharged downstream. An NDRF team has been deployed to evacuate residents of five villages, if need arises. "We'll cover the breach with around 300-400 dumpers full of sand," Palghar irrigation department's deputy engineer said.


Made-in-India aircraft carrier Vikrant sets sail for 3rd sea trials

India's first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant set sail for its third set of sea trials ahead of its scheduled induction into the Indian Navy, officials said. Vikrant underwent sea trials in August and October-November last year to test the carrier's different capabilities. Vikrant has been built at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited.


Ex-IAS officer to pen Tata's biography, publishing deal reportedly sealed for ₹2 crore

Retired IAS officer Thomas Mathew will pen the authorised biography of Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata. HarperCollins won the publishing rights for the book - 'Ratan N. Tata: The Authorized Biography' - in a reported ₹2 crore deal. "Mathew's comprehensive account of Tata's life includes unknown details and fascinating stories from his formative years," HarperCollins India said.


Who is Fatima Sheikh, the late Indian educator honoured by Google Doodle?

Google Doodle on Sunday remembered late Indian educator and feminist icon Fatima Sheikh on her 191st birth anniversary. Born in 1831 in Pune, Sheikh is considered to be India's first Muslim woman teacher. Sheikh, alongside fellow pioneers and social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, one of the first schools for girls in the country.

 

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2022 : 09th January

The Non-Resident Indian Day or also known as the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is celebrated every year on 9th January every year. The aim of the event is to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government of India and reconnect them with their roots. On the occasion of 2022 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD), Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will speak at a virtual youth PBD conference on the “role of Indian diaspora” in innovation and new technology.

History and Significance:

On 9 January 1915, Mahatma Gandhi came to India from South Africa and became the greatest Pravasi who led India’s Freedom Struggle and made India free from British or colonial rule. As a Non-Resident Indian or Pravasi, he is presented as a symbol of a change and development that could bring into India.

According to the Indian Government, NRIs have global exposure in terms of business and development strategies around the world. If some opportunity is provided to them, they will contribute to the developmental process by infusing their ideas and experiences on their motherland i.e. India.

Some Key Facts of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas:

Its objective is to provide an open platform for NRIs to express their feelings, outlooks and perceptions about India.

To create a network of NRIs in all the countries of the world and connect the younger generation with immigrants.

On this day, the government puts a focus on reconnecting overseas Indians with their roots so that they can contribute significantly to the development of the country.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is held in New Delhi.

Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is organised outside India.

2015 marked 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi.

At the convention of PBD, awards are given to the deserving ones.

PBD’s main aim is to connect the Indian Diaspora.

Union Minister of External Affairs: Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

INTERNATIONAL


Chinese Foreign Minister visits Sri Lanka amid surging debt crisis

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Sri Lanka on Sunday to discuss Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amid foreign currency and debt crisis in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's foreign reserves are down to around $1.6 billion. Sri Lanka also owes China around $3.38 billion for several projects, including a seaport at Hambantota, that has failed to generate revenue.


UK Queen's Windsor Castle to be no-fly zone amid safety concerns

Amid concerns over safety of UK's Queen Elizabeth II, her official residence, Windsor Castle, is set to become a no-fly zone. From January 27 onwards, aircrafts and drones will be prohibited from flying over castle at an altitude of 2,500ft. The decision was taken after a crossbow-wielding man broke into Windsor Castle on December 25 and threatened to kill Queen.


164 people killed following anti-government protests in Kazakhstan

At least 164 people have been killed in Kazakhstan following anti-government protests, country's health ministry said on Sunday. Most of the fatalities (103) were reported in Almaty, where demonstrators seized government buildings and set some of them ablaze, according to the ministry. Protests were triggered after the government lifted subsidies on LPG, which drove up fuel prices significantly.


Thousands protest in Czech Republic against vaccine mandate

Thousands of people protested in Czech Republic's capital Prague on Sunday against compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for certain groups and professions. Notably, the protest comes after similar but smaller demonstrations in several cities across the country on Saturday. The previous Czech government had issued the vaccination mandate that is due to take effect in March.


Pakistan's FIA sends notice to Binance in alleged $100 million scam

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has issued a notice to one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges Binance in connection with an alleged scam worth $100 million. The FIA said many citizens reached out in December alleging several apps had stopped working and defrauded them of billions of rupees. "We are working with FIA to resolve these issues," Binance said.

 

 

 

 

 

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
ICAI asks CBDT to waive penalty on late filing of tax audit reports

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has requested the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to waive penalty on late filing of tax audit reports and other reports or certificates for AY 2021-22 till March 31, 2022. The ICAI cited the surge in COVID-19 cases and consistent technical glitches in new I-T portal as reasons for seeking waiver.
No breach or violation by us: Kotak Group on BharatPe MD's legal notice

The Kotak Group confirmed receiving a legal notice from BharatPe's MD Ashneer Grover and his wife on October 30, 2021. "We would like to confirm that there is no breach or violation by the Kotak Group in any manner whatsoever," Kotak's statement read. Grover has accused the bank of failing to secure financing and allocation of shares in Nykaa's IPO.
S**** Deals app creator sent to police custody for 4 days: Police

The alleged creator of S**** Deals app Aumkareshwar Thakur has been sent to police custody for four days, ANI reported quoting Delhi Police. Thakur, said to be the mastermind in the case, was arrested from Indore by Delhi Police's IFSO Special Cell unit. The 25-year-old completed his undergraduate studies in computer application and runs an IT software company.
RBI sets up internal fintech department to drive innovation: Reports

The Reserve Bank of India has set up an internal financial technology department to drive innovation in the sector, ET Now reported. The department was set up "with a view to give further focus to...innovation in fintech sector in keeping pace with the dynamically changing landscape", an internal RBI circular dated January 4 reportedly stated.

SPORTS
England badminton team pulls out of India Open after 2 COVID +ve cases

England badminton contingent withdrew from the 2022 India Open after two members in the team tested positive for COVID-19. England's men's doubles player Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson had tested positive for the virus. Taking to Twitter, the Badminton Association of India wrote, "All players who were tested at the hotel this morning as per protocol have come negative."
Unseeded Bopanna-Ramkumar beat top seeds to win Adelaide International 1

Unseeded Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan, who teamed up for the first time on ATP Tour, won the Adelaide International 1 doubles title on Sunday. They beat top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 7-6(8-6), 6-1 in final. It was Bopanna's 20th ATP doubles title and first for Ramkumar, who was playing in his second ATP final.

 

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

10th January 2022

National News


PM to inaugurate 11 new medical colleges in Tamil Nadu on Jan 12

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating 11 new government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu on January 12 via video conferencing, the Prime Minister's Office said on Monday. A new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil will also be inaugurated along with the medical colleges.    The colleges are being established at an estimated cost of about ₹4,000 crore.

 

Sikkim celebrated Losoong (Namsoong) Festival


Losoong (Namsoong) is annually celebrated across the Indian State of Sikkim on the 18th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar, which also marks the beginning of the harvest season.
The Namsoong festival begins on the 1st day of the new moon phase Kurneet Lovo, as per the Lepcha lunisolar Calendar known as Dungkit Karchu.  The losoong festival is celebrated as Sonam Losoong, by the Sikkimese Bhutia and as Namsoong by the Lepchas. The festival is also celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan.


Rely on genuine info only: Govt official to Omicron patients

Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said that the government stresses home isolation to deal with Omicron and that patients should rely only on authentic sources of information. "We should become more responsible collectively," Agarwal said while addressing a virtual meeting today. He also emphasised on COVID-19 vaccination and called it the most important tool.


Tamil Nadu extends COVID curbs till Jan 31, complete lockdown on Jan 16

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday extended the existing COVID-19 restrictions till January 31 and ordered a complete lockdown on January 16 (Sunday) amid rising cases. To avoid crowding, people will not be allowed in places of worship between January 14 and 18. Special inter-district buses for the Pongal festival will run at 75% capacity.

 

 

Sudhir Kumar Saxena committee constituted to enquire security lapses during PM Punjab visit


Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a committee to enquire into the serious lapses in the security arrangements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab. It is a three-member committee and will be headed by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat. It also comprises Balbir Singh, Joint Director, IB and Suresh, IG, SPG.  The committee has been asked to inquire about the alleged lapses in the security arrangements of PM Modi “which led to the exposure of the VVIP to grave risk” and submit the report at the earliest.  The move comes just ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the PM’s security breach. It was the government’s own former ASG, Maninder Singh, who moved SC seeking an independent probe into the PM’s security breach. The court is slated to hear the matter on January 7.

 

 


Rajnath Singh inaugurates Kalpana Chawla Centre For Research at Chandigarh University


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science and Technology (KCCRSST) at Chandigarh University.  The Union Minister also launched Chandigarh University's Defence Scholarship Scheme, worth Rs 10 Crore, for the wards of Defence Personnel of the three services. Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.


PM declares December 26 to be observed as ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ annually


Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has declared that starting from the year 2022, December 26 will be observed as ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ every year.  The day will be commemorated as a tribute to the courage of the 4 Sahibzades (the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji), who attained martyrdom in the 17th century.  The announcement was made by PM Modi on January 09, 2022, on the occasion of the Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, or the birth anniversary of the 10th guru of Sikhs and the founder of the Khalsa community.  26 December marks the day on which Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji (younger pair of Sahibzade) attained martyrdom after being sealed alive in a wall, at the tender age of 6 and 9 years.  Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji (older pair of Sahibzade) attained martyrdom on December 21, 1705, fighting the enemy in battle at Chamkaur Sahib at the young age of 18 and 14 years.


International News

 


Emerging economies should prepare for economic turbulence: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that emerging economies should prepare for potential bouts of economic turbulence as US Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates and economic growth slows due to the Omicron variant. The variant has led to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases globally since last month. The IMF will release updated economic forecasts on January 25.


US incited Lithuania to undermine one-China principle: China

China on Monday accused the US of inciting Lithuania to undermine the "one-China principle". This comes amid tensions between China and Lithuania after the Taiwanese government was allowed to open a trade office under the name Taiwan in the European country. Lithuanian officials have said that China has blocked imports from Lithuania since the Taiwanese office was allowed to open.


Festivities planned to mark UK Queen's 70 years of rule this year

A military parade, neighbourhood parties and a pudding competition are among the programmes planned to commemorate UK Queen Elizabeth II's 70 years of rule this year, Buckingham Palace has said. The Queen's 'Platinum Jubilee' celebrations will be held from June 2 to June 5. Queen Elizabeth II will become the first British monarch to reign over seven decades.

 


Australia & Japan signed defence agreement to counter China


The leaders of Japan and Australia signed a “landmark” defence agreement that allows closer cooperation between their militaries and stands as a rebuke to China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in a virtual summit to sign the Reciprocal Access Agreement, the first such defence pact signed by Japan with any country other than the United States.  The agreement follows more than a year of talks between Japan and Australia aimed at breaking down legal barriers to allow the troops of one country to enter the other for training and other purposes.  Morrison called the pact a “pivotal moment for Australia and Japan and (for) the security of our two nations and our people.”


60,000 employees fired by Chinese edtech firm after crackdown on tutoring firms

China's edtech major New Oriental Education & Technology Group's Founder Yu Minhong revealed that the company fired 60,000 employees and saw its revenue fall 80% in 2021. He cited factors like China's crackdown on the after-school education sector, the COVID-19 pandemic and China's international relations for the move. "Much of our business remains in a state of uncertainty," he said.


Appointments News


GoI extends Navrang Saini’s term as interim chief of IBBI


The Government of India has extended the tenure of Navrang Saini as interim Chairperson of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) for three more months till March 05, 2022.
Mr. Saini, who is a Whole Time Member of IBBI, was assigned additional charge of Chairperson in addition to his existing duties in October 2021 for three months till January 13, 2022.
The post of full-time Chairperson has been lying vacant after M.S. Sahoo retired upon completing a five-year tenure on September 30, 2021.

 

Agreements News


Airtel Payments Bank tie-up with Park+ to offer FASTag-based Parking Solutions


Airtel Payments Bank and Park+ have collaborated to offer FASTag-based smart parking solutions to marquee commercial and residential properties across India.  This partnership will utilize the reach of Airtel Payments Bank to digitize the parking ecosystem using FASTag associated with the vehicle. Park+ is backed by Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners and is engaged in automating parking spaces through FASTag.  The collaboration aims to leverage the deep distribution reach and digital payments stack of Airtel Payments Bank to digitize the parking ecosystem using FASTag associated with the vehicle.  Park+ will offer its entire suite of FASTag services including issuance, acquiring, recharge, and technology support to Airtel Payments Bank. Park+ access control systems are installed at over 1500 societies, over 30 malls, and over 150 corporate parks across the country.


Banking , Business and Economy


Bitcoin falls below $40,000 for the first time in over five months

World's largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin's price fell below $40,000 for the first time in over five months on Monday. Bitcoin fell more than 5% to as low as $39,558, marking the largest decline for the cryptocurrency for a start of the year since at least 2012. Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, also fell as much as 7.2% to $2,926 on Monday.

 


RBI increased banks’ LCR maintenance on Funds received


The Reserve Bank of India has increased the threshold limit for Banks to maintain the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) on deposits and other ‘extension of funds’ received from non-financial small business customers from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7.5 crore.  This is applicable on all Commercial Banks other than Regional Rural Banks, Local Area Banks, and Payments Banks.
To better align RBI’s guidelines with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) standard and enable banks to manage liquidity risk more effectively.  LCR promotes the short-term resilience of banks to potential liquidity disruptions by ensuring that they have sufficient high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) to survive an acute stress scenario lasting for 30 days.


RBI issues eligibility norms for entities harnessing credit bureau data


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued eligibility criteria for entities that harness data from credit information companies (CICs) or credit bureaus.  These newly-formed guidelines said that a company's net worth must be at least Rs 2 crore and owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens to become a designated user with a credit bureau, which comes amid accusations of lending applications with Chinese ties functioning in India.




SBI Ecowrap: India’s Real GDP projected to grow at around 9.5% in FY22


The economic research team of the State Bank of India (SBI) released its Ecowrap report. In the report, SBI researchers have revised upwards the real GDP of India to around 9.5 per cent in 2021-22 (FY22) on a year-on-year (YoY).  The report believes that though rising Covid infections could impact mobility, yet economic activity is not expected to get much affected.


RBI data: Forex reserves decline by USD 1.466 bn to USD 633.614 bn

As per the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the foreign currency reserves of India declined by $1.466 billion to $633.614 billion, in the last week of 2021, which ended December 31, 2021.  Gold reserves rose by USD 14 million to USD 39.405 billion. India’s forex touched a lifetime high of USD 642.453 billion in the week ended September 03, 2021. Forex reserves include foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, SDRs and the country’s reserve position with the IMF.


NSO projects Indian economy to grow 9.2% in FY22


National Statistical Office (NSO) has estimated India’s GDP to grow at 9.2 per cent in the current fiscal, 2021-22.  NSO released its first advance estimates of economic output on January 07, 2022. The GDP estimate for the 2020-21 fiscal was projected at a contraction of 7.3 per cent by NSO.  In terms of figures, real GDP in 2021-22 is estimated at Rs. 147.54 lakh crore against the provisional estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 at Rs 135.13 lakh crore.  Nominal GDP for 2021-22 is estimated at Rs. 232.15 lakh crore, as against the Provisional.  Estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 at Rs 197.46 lakh crore.  The fiscal deficit target likely to be achieved is 6.8%.

 


Reliance acquires controlling stake of 73.37% in New York’s Mandarin Oriental hotel


Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announced the acquisition of a controlling stake of 73.37% in Mandarin Oriental New York, a premium luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan.  RIL through its wholly-owned arm Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited has acquired the entire share capital of Cayman Islands-based Columbus Centre Corporation (Cayman), for an equity value of approximately $98.15 million (Rs 735 crore).  Cayman is the parent company of Mandarin Oriental hotel. It had indirect ownership of a 73.37 per cent stake in the hotel. Reliance will also take over the hotel’s debt in excess of $115 million to take the entire deal value to around $270. The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of March 2022.

 


Awards News


Harshaali Malhotra receives Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Award

Harshaali Malhotra, who played 'Munni' in Salman Khan-starrer 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', received Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Award for her "contribution in the field of Indian Cinema". Taking to Instagram, Harshaali posted a photo of her with the award. "This award is dedicated to Salman Khan, ('Bajrangi Bhaijaan''s director) Kabir Khan, Mukesh Chhabra for believing in me," she captioned her post.


O Yeong-su becomes 1st Korean actor to win Golden Globe Award

O Yeong-su became the first Korean actor to win the Golden Globe Award for the Best Supporting Actor in a TV series. The 77-year-old won the award for his Netflix series 'Squid Game'. His co-star, Lee Jung-jae congratulated Yeong-su for the award and said, "Mr Illam (Yeong-su's character), congratulations. Every scene with my teacher was an honour.

 


Satish Adiga gets ICMR national award “Dr Subhas Mukherjee Award”


A professor in the clinical embryology department at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), under Manipal Academy of Higher education (MAHE), Dr Satish Adiga has been selected by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its national award.  He will receive Dr Subhas Mukherjee Award from ICMR in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the field of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). He has contributed significantly to both clinical IVF and fertility research.



Sports News


SAI to shut centres across country amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Monday said it has decided to close its 67 training centres across the country due to rising COVID-19 cases. "The decision also comes in the wake of directives issued by various states to suspend sporting activities for the safety of athletes," it added. India has reported 1,79,723 cases in the last 24 hours.

 


World Rapid Chess Championship 2021 won by Nodirbek Abdusattorov


Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan), won the World Rapid Chess Championship 2021 by defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) in a tiebreaker and dethroning Magnus Carlsen, the current World Number 1. 2020 FIDE Championship was won by Magnus Carlsen.  Nodirbek won the title along with a prize of $60,000, where he lost only one match against the Ukrainian Anton Korobov, and tied in five others. The Uzbeki Grand Master (GM), received the Mard Uglon (“Brave Son”) Presidential medal.


LLC named Jhulan Goswami as Ambassador of All Women Match Official Team


Legends League Cricket (LLC) has appointed Jhulan Goswami as an ambassador to its All Women Match Official Team to promote Women’s Empowerment initiatives of the LLC and to increase participation of women in cricket.  The LLC set up an All Women Match Official Team for the League. This is the first of its all-women official teams that would officiate an entire men’s league. Legends League Cricket (LLC) is the professional cricket league for retired cricketers.
The inaugural session of LLC will be organized from January 20 2022 at Oman Cricket Stadium in Muscat, Oman. Legends League Cricket (LLC) 2022 teams: Indian Maharaja, Aisan Lions, World Giants.


Important Days



World Hindi Day: 10 January


World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10 since 2006 to promote the language at the global stage. The day marks the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference which was inaugurated on January 10, 1975, by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.  However, the celebration of first World Hindi Day was commenced on 10 January 2006 by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The first World Hindi Day conference was organised on January 10, 1975, in Nagpur, a city in the state of Maharashtra.  The grand event registered the participation of 122 representatives from 30 countries. The day is observed in India from the year 2003. The Ministry of External Affairs began the tradition of celebrating World Hindi Day in other nations in 2006 with an aim to promote this language across the world. 

 

OBITUARY


Kannada writer Chandrashekar Patil passes away aged 83 in Bengaluru

Kannada writer and activist Chandrashekar Patil passed away at the age of 83 due to age-related ailments at a Bengaluru hospital late Sunday night. Patil had opposed the Karnataka government's move to introduce English as a medium of instruction in government schools. Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai and other leaders condoled his death.

 

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CURRENT AFFAIRS SNIPPETS

 

11 January 2022

 

NATIONAL News


India successfully tests advanced version of BrahMos missile

India successfully test-fired an advanced sea-to-sea variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from INS Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, the Defence Research and Development Organisation said. "The missile hit the designated target ship precisely," it added. In reaction, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the successful launch reconfirmed the robustness of the Indian Navy's "mission readiness

 

 


Uttar Pradesh Govt Declares 4 Villages Near Nepal Border as Revenue Villages


Uttar Pradesh government declared four villages located near the Nepal border in the district as revenue villages. District Magistrate of Bahraich, Dinesh Chandra Singh said the decision was taken before the announcement of the general elections to the UP Legislative Assembly.  These four villages are Bhavanipur, Tedhia, Dhakia and Bichhia located in Mihinpurwa tehsil of the district. All these villages are Vantangiya villages. The Vantangiya' community comprises people brought from Myanmar during the colonial rule to plant trees. There are around 225 families in these four villages consisting of over 1,500 members.  A revenue village is a small administrative region with defined borders. One revenue village may contain many hamlets. A village administrative officer is the head officer of a revenue village. The people of these villages will now get the benefits of all the schemes of the government.

 

Bhupender Yadav chaired 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority


The 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was held under the chairmanship of the union minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav.  Currently, there are 51 Tiger Reserves in India and more than 35 rivers originate from those areas which are crucial for water security.  The environment minister launched an action plan for the reintroduction, protection and conservation of 7 major big cats in India including the cheetah, which has become extinct in independent India.  Under the action plan, 50 of these big cats will be introduced in the next 5 years in various parks.  He announced that 14 Tiger reserves across India have received accreditation of the global Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS). He underlined the need to meetings of NTCA in the first week of April, August & December every year.

 

Kevadia railway station renamed as Ekta Nagar railway station


The Ministry of Railways has approved the renaming of the Kevadiya railway station in the Narmada district of Gujarat, as Ekta Nagar railway station. The Statue of Unity’s Kevadiya railway station falls under the Vadodara division. The station code of Ekta Nagar railway station will be EKNR.  The numerical code of the station will be 08224620. Last year, the Ministry of Railways had said tourists visiting the world’s tallest statue in Gujarat “Statue of Unity” will be able to experience the rich cultural history of the state at the Kevadiya railway station itself.  Under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, the Vadodara Division of Western Railways had awarded first of its kind contract in the Indian Railways network for the development of an Art Gallery with a Souvenir shop at Gujarat’s Kevadiya Railway station.

 

INTERNATIONAL

 


India, Republic of Korea aim to achieve $50 bn trade target before 2030

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal today met with Republic of Korea's Trade Minister Yeo Han-Koo and decided to actively pursue their aim of achieving bilateral trade worth $50 billion by 2030. The two ministers held wide ranging discussions on bilateral trade and investment related aspects. They also agreed to step up negotiations on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).


Alikhan Smailov named Kazakhstan's new PM after violent protests

Alikhan Smailov was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan on Tuesday in a move by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev after last week's violent protests in the country. Smailov had served as First Deputy Prime Minister in the previous Cabinet which Tokayev dismissed amid the protests. Security forces have detained nearly 10,000 people over the unrest.

 


NASA names Katherine Calvin as new Chief Scientist, Climate Advisor

NASA named Katherine Calvin as its new Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor on Monday. Calvin will serve as principal advisor to the space agency's leadership on science programs, strategic planning and policy. She will succeed Jim Green who retired as the Chief Scientist after 40 years of service. "I'm excited to be a part of the team," said Calvin.

 

 

Appointments News


Former RBI Governor Urjit Patel Appointed as Vice President of AIIB


Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Urjit Patel has been appointed as Vice President of the multilateral funding institution Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for a period of three years.  He will be one of the five Vice Presidents of the AIIB. He is expected to take charge from February 2022.  He will succeed outgoing Vice President D J Pandian, who is in charge of sovereign and non-sovereign lending of the AIIB in South Asia, the Pacific Islands and South-East Asia.

 

 

BANKING, BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


RBL Bank tie-up with Google to advance next-gen customer experience


RBL Bank and Google announced a strategic collaboration to fuel the Bank’s customer experience strategy. Through this, the bank will expand its value proposition to serve its rapidly growing customer base through the digital platform, Abacus 2.0.  It will enable better customer data management, and analytics, enabling effective cross-selling within the Bank’s large customer base. RBL Bank currently has over 4 million urban retail asset and liability customers.  This collaboration will enable better customer data management, and analytics, enabling effective cross-selling within the Bank’s large customer base and subsequently reducing the cost of customer acquisition, significantly.  Through Abacus 2.0, the Bank aims to provide a superior and holistic one-stop solution to its existing and new customers, to seamlessly deliver its different product offerings across channels.


Finance Ministry: Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts cross Rs 1.5 lakh crore

 

According to the finance ministry, the deposits in bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme have crossed Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark. The total balance in accounts under the Jan Dhan scheme was recorded at Rs 1,50,939.36 crore as of December-end 2021. The data revealed that over 44.23 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme. Of this, 34.9 crore accounts were opened with the public sector banks, 8.05 crore with regional rural banks, and the remaining 1.28 crore with private sector banks. RuPay Debit Cards were issued to 31.28 crores PMJDY beneficiaries under this scheme.



Awards News

Golden Globe Awards 2022 announced


The Golden Globe Awards 2022 ceremony was held to recognise excellence in film, both American and international, and American television.  This was the 79th edition of the annual event, which honoured the best in American television, as well as film in 2021 as chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Two of the films namely The Power of the Dog and the West Side Story, won the most number of awards with 3 each.

List of winners in the Motion Picture category:

Category

Winners

Best Film (Drama)

The Power of the Dog

Best Film (Musical or Comedy)

West Side Story

Best Actor (Drama)

Will Smith for King Richard as Richard Williams

Best Actress (Drama)

Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos as Lucille Ball

Best Actor (Musical or Comedy)

Andrew Garfield for tick, tick… BOOM! as Jonathan Larson

Best Actress (Musical or Comedy)

Rachel Zegler for West Side Story as María Vasquez

Best Supporting Actor

Kodi Smit-McPhee for The Power of the Dog as Peter Gordon

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose for West Side Story as Anita

Best Director

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Best Screenplay

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Best Original Score

Hans Zimmer for Dune

Best Original Song

“No Time to Die” (Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell) – No Time to Die

Best Animated Feature

Encanto

Best Non-English Film

Drive My Car (Japan)



 

Ranks and Reports News


Chennai International Airport ranks 8th in Global List for 'On-Time Performance'


The Chennai International Airport is one of the top 10 large international airports in the world that ensures 'on-time' departures.  In a review conducted by Cirium, an organisation that specialises in offering aviation data to travel, finance, aerospace, and aviation industries, the airport has been ranked 8th for 'on-time performance' for the year 2021.  According to the latest traffic figures of Chennai Airport, it has done recovery of 80 % in domestic traffic. It is the sixth busiest airport in India. Besides that, Chennai airport is the only Indian airport to figure in the top 10 positions of the list.  The first three positions have been bagged by United State's Miami Airport, Fukuoka Airport, and Haneda Airport in Japan.


Sports News


Bharath Subramaniyam named India’s 73rd chess Grandmaster


Tamil Nadu’s Bharath Subramaniyam became India’s 73rd chess Grandmaster. He secured the third and final Grandmaster norm at an event at Cattolica in Italy.  He scored 6.5 points from nine rounds along with four others and finish seventh in the event. He secured his third GM norm here as well as touched the requisite 2,500 (Elo) mark.

 

Recent Indian Chess Grandmasters:


70th: Raja Rithvik (Telangana)

71st: Sankalp Gupta (Maharashtra)

72nd: Mitrabha Guha (West Bengal)


Gael Monfils wins 2022 Adelaide International 1 tennis tournament


French tennis player Gael Monfils beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the men’s singles event of the 2022 Adelaide International 1 to claim the 11th ATP title of his career.  In the women’s category, World number one Australian star Ashleigh Barty beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan to win her second Adelaide International title. 2022 Adelaide International 1 was a combined ATP Tour 250 and WTA 500 tournament.


List of winners


Men’s single: Gaël Monfils (France)

Women’s single: Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

Men’s doubles: Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan (India)

Women’s double: Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders (Australia)


Rafael Nadal wins 2022 Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament


World number six Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles tennis title at 2022 Melbourne Summer Set 1. Nadal beat American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6(6), 6-3 to earn his 89th career ATP title.  In the women’s singles, Simona Halep beat Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6–2, 6–3 to win her 23rd career WTA title.  Meanwhile in the Melbourne Summer Set 2 tennis tournament, American player Amanda Anisimova won the women’s singles tennis title, to earn her second career WTA title. American duo Bernarda Pera and Kateřina Siniaková won the women’s doubles tennis title.

 

Books and Authors News


Ratan Tata's biography ‘Ratan N. Tata: The Authorized Biography’ to be out in Nov 2022


Tata Sons emeritus Chairman, veteran industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata’s authorized biography titled ‘Ratan N. Tata: The Authorized Biography’ is set to hit the stands in November 2022.  The biography is penned by a former senior bureaucrat and retired IAS officer Dr Thomas Matthew. It will be published by HarperCollins. The book chronicles around the 84-year-old Ratan Tata’s childhood, college years, and early influences, among other things.


Important Days


National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2022: 11th January


This year National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed on January 11, 2022, which is on Tuesday. The day aims at raising awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promoting and protecting their rights.  Though the entire month of January has already been recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, this day is specifically dedicated to awareness and prevention of illegal practice.  In 2007, the United States Senate ratified the resolution establishing January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. In 2010, President Obama dedicated the entire month of January to awareness and prevention of human trafficking. Today, there are over 50 established organizations that globally combat this illegal practice, and more awareness has been raised than ever before.


Obituaries News


Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist Marilyn Bergman passes away


Marilyn Bergman, the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy-winning American lyricist and songwriter has passed away. Bergman collaborated with her husband, Alan Bergman for song-writing.  The renowned music-writing duo wrote the music and lyrics for numerous celebrated television shows, films, and stage musicals. The pair were nominated for Oscars 16 times and won three times.

 


Louis Simpson, who helped Warren Buffett pick stocks, dies at 85

Louis Simpson, who helped pick stocks for Berkshire Hathaway's billionaire Chairman Warren Buffett, has died at the age of 85. Simpson died in Chicago on January 8 following a prolonged illness, according to the Northwestern University in Illinois. He managed the investment portfolio of insurance giant GEICO, which was fully acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1996, between 1979 and 2010.


Veteran Odia actor Mihir Das passes away aged 63

Veteran Odia actor Mihir Das passed away at the age of 63 on Tuesday. As per reports, he was admitted to a private hospital in Cuttack last month after suffering a heart attack and was put on ventilator support. The actor had won the State Best Actor Award for 'Laxmi Pratima' in 1998 and 'Pheria Mo Suna Bhauni' in 2005.

 

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