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Important Current Affairs 13th January 2022

NATIONAL

Kochi to become the first city with water metro project with launch of electric boats

•  Kochi, Kerala has become India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project after the launch of its first boat in December 2021, namely ‘Muziris,’ among the 23 battery-powered electric boats being manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited. This launch is a part of the Rs 747-crore project which is operated by Kochi Water Metro Ltd (KWML). The boats will be called Water Metros.

•  With a total outlay of Rs 819 crore, the project’s major part is financed under Indo-German Financial Cooperation through a long-term loan agreement of 85 million Euros (Rs 579 crore) with the German funding agency, KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau).

9th edition of North East Festival concludes in Guwahati

•  The 9th edition of the North East Festival concluded in Guwahati, Assam. The main purpose of this festival is to promote and highlight the commercial and tourism potential of the North East region. The festival was organised in the format of a carnival with live music and dance performances, engaging the visitors throughout the day in the open area while serious discussions on business, economic, socio-political issues of the region engrossed the intellectuals in the conference halls.

•  The festival aimed at integrated marketing of the entire North-East to attract tourists and investments. The closing day was graced by Assam’s Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, who interacted with entrepreneurs participating from across the North-East region.

Odisha tops medal chart in national skill competition

•  India Skills 2021 national competition concluded with more than 200 participants who were felicitated by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. As many as 270 winners of the Competition felicitated with 61 gold, 77 silver, 53 bronze and 79 medallions of excellence. More than five hundred competitors from across the country participated in the competition to showcase their talent from 54 industrial sectors. These sectors include car paint, patisserie and confectionery, welding, additive manufacturing, cyber security, floristry, among others.

•  Odisha finished first out of 26 states and union territories of this year in the ‘IndiaSkills 2021’ contest with 51 medals. Odisha won 10 gold, 18 silver, 9 bronze, and 14 medallions.

•  With 30 medals, Maharashtra remained in second place, while Kerala took third place with 25 medals.

India’s first heli-hub to be set up in Gurugram with many aviation facilities

•  Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala announced that Gurugram will get India’s 1st heli-hub with all aviation facilities. The heli-hub will be the first of its kind in India to have all facilities at one place for helicopters. The heli-hub is proposed to be built in Gurugram & would be near the metro facility along with easy connectivity to industrial areas (Noida & Bhiwadi).

•  The Haryana government has proposed to set up the first heli-hub of the country in Gurugram designed to have many aviation facilities like heliport, hangars, repairs, and any other related services.

SPORTS

New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel wins ICC Player of the Month Award for December 2021

•  India-born New Zealand cricketer Ajaz Patel has won the ICC Player of the Month award for December following his stupendous 10-wicket haul against Virat Kohli and Co. in the second Test in Mumbai. The left-arm spinner was nominated for the award alongside India opener Mayank Agarwal and Australian pacer Mitchell Starc but beat them to it on the back of his incredibly rare feat.

•  Ajaz picked up 14 wickets in the Mumbai Test match in early December against India, including all 10 in the first innings, to become only the third player in Test history, after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble, to achieve the remarkable milestone.

Tata group to replace 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.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Alikhan Smailov named Kazakhstan's Prime Minister

•  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.

OBITURY

Revolutionary Kannada writer and activist Champa passes away at 83

•  Prominent Kannada writer Chandrashekhar Patil, popularly known as “Champa”, passed away at the age of 82. He was a Kannada language activist, a poet and a playwright and also served as President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) and Chairman of the Kannada Development Authority.

RANKING

Indian passport becomes 83rd most powerful globally in 2022, up from 90th rank

•  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.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India’s central bank is setting up a fintech department to keep up with crypto

•  Reserve Bank of India has set up a separate internal department for fintech (Financial technology). The new department has been created with effect from January 04, 2022, by subsuming the FinTech Division of Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, Central Office (DPSS, CO).

•  The department will not only promote innovation in the sector but also identify the challenges and opportunities associated with it and address them in a timely manner. Ajay Kumar Choudhary, who was recently promoted as the Executive Director of RBI was appointed as head of the department.

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Important Current Affairs 10th May 2021

NATIONAL

Yash Raj Films launched relief scheme

• Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films has announced a relief scheme under the 'Yash Chopra Saathi Initiative,' named after the founder filmmaker, to help daily wagers employed on movie sets.

• This would include ration kits to families of four and Rs. 5000 to accounts of women, and senior citizens.

Centre Released nearly Rs. 9000 cr to Panchayats

• The Department of Expenditure has released an amount of ₹8,923.8 crore in advance to 25 states for providing grants to the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry of finance said on Sunday.

• "The amount released on Saturday is the first instalment of the ‘Untied Grants’ for the year 2021-22. It may be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it will augment resources to the three tiers of Panchayats for fighting the contagion.

ESIC installed oxygen generation plant

• The Employees State Insurance Corporation, under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, has installed oxygen generation plants at its two hospitals in Delhi NCR area. These include a 440 litres per minute (LPM) capacity plant at the ESIC Hospital and Medical College in Faridabad and another plant of 220 LPM capacity at ESIC Hospital in Jhilmil, New Delhi yesterday.

• Labour Ministry said this will enable these hospitals to augment the availability of ICU and Ventilator beds. The Corporation is actively helping fight the battle against Covid-19 by quickly converting its 30 hospitals all over the country into Covid dedicated facilities. These hospitals have around 4200 beds, including 300 ICU beds and 250 ventilator beds.

IIT Madras develops blockchain-based system

• Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, have come up with an innovative way to digitise healthcare information systems using blockchain-based technology.

• The blockchain-based medical data and information exchange system for a mobile phone application called ‘BlockTrack’ is claimed to be a first-of-its-kind innovation in the country. It’s being field-tested currently at the IIT’s hospital.

• According to a press release from IIT-M, BlockTrack aims to securely digitise healthcare information systems while ensuring the protection of sensitive personal information and medical records by decentralising the control and ownership of patient data, through a blockchain-based innovation.

SPORTS

Aryna Sabalenka wins her Maiden Madrid Open Women’s singles title

• In tennis, the world number seven, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia to win the 2021 Madrid Open women’s singles title. This Sabalenka’s 10th career WTA singles title, second WTA title of the season and first on clay court. Madrid Open is a professional WTA tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts. Sabalenka beat Australian player Barty with 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.

• In the women’s doubles final, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, from the Czech Republic, defeated Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Demi Schuurs of France 6-4, 6-3.

OBITUARY

Olympic gold Medalist MK Kaushik dies

• Former India hockey player and coach MK Kaushik died of Covid-19 in New Delhi on Saturday. He was 66. Kaushik passed away hours after his former India teammate Ravinder Pal Singh died of Covid-19 in Lucknow on Saturday.

• MK Kaushik, a gold-medal winning member of the Indian hockey team from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, was battling severe lung issues and he was put on ventilator support at a hospital in the capital city.

IMPORTANT DAYS

BRO celebrates 61st raising day on 7th May

• The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was formed on 7 May 1960, with the primary goal of securing India’s borders and developing infrastructure in remote areas of India’s north and northeastern states. On 7 May 2021 BRO celebrated its 61st Raising Day (foundation day).

• It is a leading road construction agency under the Ministry of Defence.

• Its primary role is to provide road connectivity in India’s border areas. It also creates upgrades and maintains infrastructure along borders to meet India’s overall tactical and strategic goals.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

PM Modi Participates in Virtual India-EU Leaders’ Meeting

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting, held in a hybrid format. The India-European Union Leaders’ Meeting is hosted by Portugal. Portugal currently holds the chair of the grouping. PM Modi attended the event at the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr Charles Michel.

• The leaders of all the 27 EU Member States, as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission, participated in the meeting. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ADB to end coal, gas financing

• The Asian Development Bank will no longer finance coal mining or oil and natural gas production and exploration, it announced in a draft policy statement on Friday, a move welcomed by environmental groups.

• The multilateral development bank, which focuses on eradicating poverty in Asia, provided no timeline for its commitment. It also laid out conditions under which fossil fuel projects would continue to receive funding, such as where no other cost-effective technology was available.

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2021

NATIONAL

India pledges $150,000 for UN Peacebuilding Fund for 2021

• India has announced a pledge of USD 150,000 to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for the year 2021 to support the activities and programs this year. The Peacebuilding Fund has put forth its five-year strategy, which requires 1.5 billion dollars for 2020-2024. This was announced by TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations on January 25, 2021.

• UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that he was grateful to the countries that committed to providing over $439 million in support of the UN’s work toward peacebuilding & conflict prevention through the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

TCS ranks third most valued IT services brand globally

• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked third most-valued IT services brand globally, after Accenture and IBM, according to a report by Brand Finance. Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to USD 15 billion.  Accenture retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with record brand value of USD 26 billion, while IBM continued at the second place with a brand value of USD 16.1 billion.

• Four Indian IT services companies have secured spots in the top-10 globally, namely, TCS (3), Infosys (4), HCL (7) and Wipro (9). Accenture has retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with a brand value of $26 billion.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan launches ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ for Girl Child

• In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a new scheme ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ on 24 January, to mark the occasion of National Girl Child Day. The scheme has been launched under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme for the empowerment and growth of the girl child. The CM also announced scholarships worth Rs 6.47 crore for 26,099 girls under Ladli Laxmi Yojana.

• ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ is a year-long programme. The letter in the PANKH scheme stands for:

‘P’ – protection

‘A’ – awareness of their rights

‘N’ – nutrition

‘K’ – knowledge

‘H’ – health.

UP becomes first Indian State to have 2 Expressway airstrips

• In Uttar Pradesh, a new 3,300-metre-long airstrip has been constructed near Kurebhar on Purvanchal Expressway. With this new airstrip, Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in India having two airstrips on expressways. Uttar Pradesh also has an airstrip on Lucknow-Agra Expressway. Airstrips on expressways are designed to facilitate emergency landing and take-off of fighter planes.

• Earlier, the Indian Air Force had examined Yamuna Expressway and Agra Expressway. Aircraft like Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 and Super Hercules had already landed on Lucknow-Agra Expressway.

• Uttar Pradesh government is trying to connect the entire northern part of the country with expressways.

• The Hindon and Agra airbases of the Indian Air Force will be able to use the runway of all three expressways if needed.

• Also, these airstrips of Uttar Pradesh can serve the Air Force to respond against China and Pakistan in case of any war.

DRDO successfully conducts maiden test launch of Akash-NG Missile

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful maiden launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha. Akash-NG is a new generation Surface-to-Air Missile for use by Indian Air Force (IAF) with an aim of intercepting high manoeuvring aerial threats. The launch met all the test objectives by performing high maneuvers during the trajectory.

• The performance of the Command and Control system, onboard avionics and aerodynamic configuration of the missile was successfully validated during the trial. The Multi Function Radar was tested for its capability of integration with the system. The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems with canisterized launcher and much smaller ground system footprint.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

• International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) is observed on 27 January every year since 2006 to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. A genocide occurred during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by its collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, between 1941 and 1945.

• The theme of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 is “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India Inks Strategic Partnership Agreement with IEA

• India has inked a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s premier energy monitor, on 27 January 2021. The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability as well as strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between IEA members and the Government of India.

• The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. This deal will help India to gain full membership of IEA.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Rajendra Kumar Bhandari wins Subhash Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021

• The Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021 has been conferred upon Dr Rajendra Kumar Bhandari in the Individual category and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) in Institutional category. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh and a certificate for an institution and Rs 5 lakh and a certificate in case of an individual.

• The Government of India announces the award every year on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to recognise and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management.

51st International Film Festival of India Concludes

• The 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held from 16 January to 24 January 2021 at Shyamaprasad Stadium near Panaji in Goa. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was held in hybrid mode, there was the physical and virtual screening of 50 films out of 224 films across various categories. Bangladesh was a country of focus at the festival. Four films of Bangladesh was included in ‘country of focus’ section.

• Golden Peacock Award for Best Film: Into the Darkness

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Male): Tzu-Chuan Liu, The Silent Forest

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Female):  Zofia Stafiej, I Never Cry

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Director: Chen-Nien Ko, The Silent Forest

• Best Debut Director Award: Cássio Pereira dos Santos, Valentina

• Special Mention Award: Kripal Kalita, Bridge

• Special Jury Award: Kamin Kalev, February

• ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Award: Ameen Nayfeh’s 200 Meters

• Indian Personality of the Year Award: Biswajit Chatterjee

• Lifetime Achievement: Vittorio Storaro (Italian cinematographer).

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HSBC inaugurates international banking unit in Gujarat

• Global financial services major HSBC has inaugurated it’s International Banking Unit (IBU) branch at GIFT City near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat. HSBC is one of the earliest global financial institutions setting up a branch at India’s GIFT City and was the first bank to get a licence from the newly set up International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). HSBC’s IBU branch at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) will be operational for customer transactions with effect from January 27.

• HSBC has been present in the country for more than 160 years and its fourth branch globally was opened in India. HSBC operates in all of the leading international financial service hubs in the world and looks forward to the development of GIFT City as a globally competitive international financial centre.

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