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13 January 2022



Henley Passport Index 2022: India Ranks 83rd in Q1

India has improved its position by seven places to rank at 83rd place among 111 countries in the latest Henley Passport Index, released for Q1 of 2022. India ranked at 90th spot among 116 countries in Q4 of 2021 in October.  The Indian passport has visa-free access to 60 destinations worldwide in Q1 2022, as compared to 58 destinations in Q4 of 2021. Oman and Armenia are the latest destinations where Indian passport holders can visit without obtaining a visa.  Japan and Singapore have retained the joint top position in the Henley Global Mobility Report 2022 Q1. Their passports holders are allowed to travel visa-free to 192 countries. Afghanistan has the world’s least powerful passports, with a visa-free score of 26.


Supreme Court appoints 5-member panel headed by former judge Indu Malhotra

The Supreme Court of India has constituted a five-member committee to probe the security breach during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab. The committee will be headed by former apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra.  Other members of the panel include the Inspector General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Director-General of Police of Chandigarh, the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Additional DGP (Security) of Punjab.  To inquire who all are responsible for the security breach and to what extent the remedial measures are necessary.  Give suggestions on the security of constitutional functionaries ensuring that such incidents do not take place in future.



International News

Alikhan Smailov appointed as new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

The parliament of Kazakhstan has unanimously approved the appointment of Alikhan Smailov as the new Prime Minister of the country. His name was nominated by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on January 11, 2022.  Prior to this, the 49-year-old Smailov served as the country’s finance minister from 2018 to 2020. He became the first deputy prime minister in the Cabinet in 2019.

Protests held across Lebanon against ongoing economic turmoil

People across Lebanon held demonstrations on Thursday to protest against the ongoing economic turmoil in the country. Lebanese truck and bus drivers, among others, began blocking several highways and roads in cities including Beirut and Tripoli from 5 am. Lebanon is reeling under severe inflation due to its currency plummeting, which has lost over 90% of its value since 2019.

Pakistan planning a complete ban on cryptocurrencies: Reports

The Pakistan government and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan's central bank, are planning a complete ban on the use of all cryptocurrencies, according to reports. An SBP panel recommended that cryptocurrencies should be declared illegal and urged the Sindh High Court to impose penalties on crypto exchanges. This comes after Pakistan detected an alleged $100-million crypto scam.

Prince Andrew stripped of military titles amid sexual abuse lawsuit

Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and Royal patronages, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday, a day after a judge ruled a sexual abuse civil lawsuit against the Queen's son could proceed. "The Duke of York will continue not to undertake...public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen," the palace said in a statement.




Which are India's 6 edtech unicorns and what are their valuations?

LEAD School has become India's latest edtech unicorn after raising $100 million in its Series E round led by WestBridge Capital at a $1.1-billion valuation. BYJU'S is India's most valued edtech startup at around $21 billion, followed by Unacademy, last valued at $3.44 billion. Eruditus was last valued at $3.2 billion, upGrad at $1.2 billion and Vedantu at $1 billion.

RBI's sub-committee reviews global, domestic economic scenario

The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) met today under the chairmanship of RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das to review major global and domestic economic developments. "[FSDC] discussed the assessments of members about the scenario emerging from third wave of COVID-19 pandemic," RBI said in a statement. It also discussed use of Aadhaar based e-KYC.

Indian startups raise $42 bn in 2021, up from $11.5 bn in 2020: Report

Indian startups raised $42 billion in 2021 as compared to $11.5 billion in 2020, as per a report by Orios Venture Partners. The report stated that India saw 46 unicorns coming up in 2021 alone, more than doubling their number to 90. "These startups are...generating large-scale employment. Today, one out of 13 unicorns globally [is Indian]," the report said.


Retail inflation rises to 5.59% in December 2021

Retail inflation in December 2021 rose to a six-month high of 5.59 per cent from 4.91 per cent in November 2021, mainly due to a sharp rise in food prices as food inflation for the period under review also rose steeply to 4.05 per cent against 1.87 per cent in November 2021.  According to data released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, prices of cereals, egg, milk products and prepared meals went up during December 2021.  Apart from these items, prices of clothing and footwear, education, health as well as recreation activities and transportation too witnessed a rise in December 2021 compared to November 2021.

World Bank projects India’s GDP growth at 8.3% in FY22

The World Bank has projected the Indian economy to grow at the following rate in its ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report released on January 11, 2022.  The World Bank retained its FY22 growth forecast for India at 8.3 per cent but upgraded it to 8.7 per cent for FY23, from 7.5 per cent estimated earlier, citing improving growth prospects, especially a reviving private capex cycle.  The forecast for FY2022/23 and FY2023/24 for India has been upgraded to 8.7 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively, reflecting higher investment from the private sector and in infrastructure, and dividends from ongoing reforms.

World Bank has lowered the Global economy growth rate as follows:

2021 – 5.5 per cent

2022 – 4.1 per cent

2023 – 3.2 per cent

Sports News

Tata group replaces Chinese mobile manufacturer Vivo as IPL title sponsor

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has informed that Tata group has replaced Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.  The multinational conglomerate will pay Rs. 300 crore per year as the title sponsor of IPL for the next two seasons. This is about 60% of what Vivo would have paid.


South Africa need 111 more runs to win Cape Town Test, India need 8 wickets

South Africa ended the third day of the Cape Town Test at 101/2 in their second innings, needing 111 more runs to win. Earlier in the day, South Africa dismissed India for 198 runs in their second innings, with Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi taking four, three and three wickets respectively. Rishabh Pant top-scored for India with 100*(139).


Books and Authors

A book on Arundhati Bhattacharya “Indomitable: A Working Woman’s Notes on Life, Work and Leadership” released

HarperCollins is set to publish “Indomitable: A Working Woman’s Notes on Life, Work and Leadership” the autobiography of Arundhati Bhattacharya, retired Indian banker and former first-ever woman Chairperson of the State Bank of India.  Indomitable features the story of Arundhati Bhattacharya’s life as a banker and the difficulties she faced in the male-dominated sector. She is the chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of salesforce India, a cloud-based Software as a service (SaaS) company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Miscellaneous News

David Bennett world first human receives a Pig Heart Transplant

A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig. David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore.  The possibility of using animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation to meet the demand has long been considered, and using pig heart valves is already common. Pigs are increasingly becoming popular candidates for organ transplantation.  This is because their organs are anatomically similar to those of humans. What’s more, porcine components are more tuned for genetic engineering.

India’s oldest sloth bear ‘Gulabo’ passes away at Van Vihar National Park

India’s oldest female sloth bear, whose name was Gulabo, has passed away at the Van Vihar National Park and Zoo, located in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Gulabo was the oldest sloth bear of the country. She died at the age of 40.  She was rescued from a street performer (Madaari) in May 2006, when she was 25 years. Gulabo was one of the star attractions in the park.  The Van Vihar National Park, located on the banks of Bhopal's Upper Lake, also runs a rescue and breeding centre for sloth bears. 





14 January 2022


National News

PM Modi inaugurated MSME Technology Centre

On the occasion of the National Youth Day 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated an ‘MSME Technology Centre’, which will function under the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), in Puducherry.  The technology centre was built at a cost of Rs 122 crore with a focus on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector.  The centre was inaugurated during the inauguration event of the 25th National youth Festival (12th & 13th January 2022) in Puducherry. He also inaugurated the ‘Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam’, a modern auditorium with an open-air theatre in Puducherry.


18th Kachai Lemon Festival begins in Manipur

The 18th edition of the two days long Kachai Lemon Festival began in Manipur at the Local Ground of Kachai Village in Ukhrul district. The Kachai Lemon Festival is organised annually to promote this unique kind of lemon fruit and to encourage lemon farmers.  This year, altogether 260 stalls are put up at the festival showcasing the rich reap of lemon this year. This year the festival is being organised under the theme 'Organic Kachai Lemon for Safe Environment and Rural Transformation'. A training program for lemon farmers will be held tomorrow as part of the festival.  Kachai Lemon of Manipur has been accorded Geographical Indication (GI) registration tag and widely grown in the Kachai Village of Ukhrul district. Unlike the other lemon varieties grown in other parts of the world, Kachai Lemon is considered to be unique as it is a rich source of ascorbic acid and famous for its juice content


International News


China's trade surplus hits a record high at $676 billion in 2021

China's trade surplus rose to $94.5 billion in December, taking the total trade surplus for 2021 to an all-time high of $676 billion. Its exports in December stood at $340.5 billion, taking the full-year total to $3.36 trillion, as per customs data. The country's total imports for 2021 were at $2.69 trillion, including $246 billion in December.


Cyprus detects new 'Deltacron' Covid variant

Cyprus has detected a new variant dubbed as "Deltacron", that has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, coupled with 10 mutations from Omicron. The variant has already affected 25 people in Cyprus.  According to Dr Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, of the 25 samples taken in Cyprus, 11 were hospitalised due to the virus, while 14 were from the general population.  The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the country, according to the yet-to-be peer-reviewed study supported by the French government. Studies have shown that the co-existence of Delta and Omicron increases the chances of a new variant as a result of them trading genes.

Appointments News

RBI approves appointment of Ittira Davis as MD & CEO of Ujjivan SFB

Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Ittira Davis as managing director & chief executive officer of (MD & CEO) of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank for one tenure. He will take charge of the extended tenure from January 14, 2022. The post had been lying vacant since three-month following the sudden exit of incumbent Nitin Chugh.  Prior to Ujjivan, Davis was the Managing Director with the Europe Arab Bank, London. He has also held leadership positions with Arab Bank plc, Bahrain and Citibank, India. He has over 40 years of work experience in India, Middle East and Europe.

Raghuvendra Tanwar appointed chairman of ICHR

Professor emeritus, Kurukshetra University, Raghuvendra Tanwar has been appointed as chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).  Tanwar appointment is for a period of three years from the day he assumes the office of the Chairman of the Council or until further order. Tanwar, who joined Kurukshetra University as a lecturer in August 1977, has an outstanding academic record, with two gold medals in MA History.  The primary aim and objective of the Indian Council of Historical Research is to promote and give directions to historical research and to encourage and foster objective and scientific writing of history. Enhancing the academic standard of the output of ICHR activities has been the foremost objective in it’s agenda.



Union Budget 2022-23 to be presented on February 1

The government will present the Union Budget for 2022-23 on February 1. The first part of the Parliament's budget session will begin on January 31 and conclude on February 11. The first day of the session will see the government presenting the Economic Survey. The second part of the session will begin from March 14 and conclude on April 8.


Adani Group sign agreement with South Korea’s POSCO to develop steel mill

Adani Group and South Korea’s largest steelmaker POSCO have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore business opportunities in India. This includes the establishment of a green, environment-friendly integrated steel mill at Mundra, Gujarat. The estimated investment of the project is up to $5 billion (approx. Rs 37,000 crore).  The non-binding MoU also intends to collaborate at the group business level in various other sectors such as renewable energy, hydrogen, and logistics in response to carbon reduction requirements.

LazyPay tie-up with SBM Bank India to Launch LazyCard

LazyPay, a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution by PayU Finance, announced its partnership with SBM Bank India to launch LazyCard, a prepaid payment instrument backed by a credit line that works on the Visa payment network.  To empower financially underserved Indians with easy access to credit as their card has limited credit options. LazyCard reaches over 62 million pre-approved users of LazyPay, with a credit limit of up to 5 lakhs.  Consumers could avail the Lazycard at zero joining fees and zero annual fees along with multiple transactional benefits and rewards.

Axis Bank tie-up with MinkasuPay for biometric-based banking payments

Axis Bank has tied up with MinkasuPay to offer a biometric authentication solution for net banking payments in merchant apps using Fingerprint or Face ID, without the need for usernames, passwords, and One-Time Passwords (OTPs). This Solution will reduce the time of payment from 50-60 seconds to just 2-3 seconds and also increase the transaction success rate.  MinkasuPay’s biometric authentication solution, which is a 2-Factor-Authentication (FA) solution (mandated by the Reserve Bank of India), will help in increasing quick and secure digital transactions through device binding and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Global Private Banking Awards 2021: HDFC Bank named as Best Private Bank in India

HDFC Bank was named as the ‘Best Private Bank’ in India at the ‘Global Private Banking Awards 2021’ which was organised by Professional Wealth Management (PWM) in a virtual ceremony.  PWM is a wealth management Magazine, published by the Financial Times Group. The award was given for contributing to accelerate key trends, including digitalisation, communication and investment in environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.


UN projects India GDP at 6.5% in FY22

The GDP growth forecast of India in fiscal 2022 is estimated to grow at 6.5 per cent as per the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2022 report. Earlier this was estimated at 8.4%.  The WESP is a flagship report produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA). UN has projected the growth rate for fiscal 2023 (FY 2022-2023) at 5.9 per cent.

On a calendar year basis UN has projected India’s GDP as follows:

2021 – 9 per cent

2022 – 6.7 per cent

2023 – 6.1 per cent


2021 – 5.5 per cent

2022 – 4.0 per cent

2023 – 3.5 per cent

Sports News


India fail to secure their maiden Test series win on South African soil, lose 1-2

South Africa defeated India in the third Test in Cape Town by 7 wickets to clinch the series 2-1. With this, India failed to secure their maiden Test series victory on South African soil. South Africa have hosted India for eight Test series so far, out of which the home side has won seven times, while one ended in draw.



AISCD gets approval to hold first World Deaf T20 Cricket championship 2023

The All India Sports Council of the Deaf has got approval from the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to host the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in Kerala from January 10-20, 2023.  This championship was planned to be conducted in 2020-21 but due to the sudden outbreak of coronavirus, it was postponed first to 2022 & now fixed for 2023.  A minimum of eight countries are expected to take part in the championship and this kind of international event is being held in India with the approval of the ICSD for the first time.”

Important Days

Armed Forces Veterans Day: 14 January 2022

In India, the Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed each year on 14 January since 2017. The day aims to acknowledge and honour the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our veterans in the service of the nation.  2022 marks the 6th Armed Forces Veterans Day.  It is observed as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces who retired on 14 January 1953.

Obituaries News

Olympic medal-winning Athlete Deon Lendore passes away

Olympic athlete Deon Lendore, who participated in the 400 meters race at the 2020 Olympics, passed away at the age of 29 years due to a fatal car accident in Texas, United States (US). He was born on 28 October 1992 in Trinidad and Tobago (the Caribbean Islands, South America), was an expert of 400 meters championships.  He participated in the London Olympics in 2012 and won a Bronze medal in 4×400 meter relay. He also participated in the Tokyo Olympic 2021 and in 2016 Rio Olympics. 



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