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Important Current Affairs 21st January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

ILO Report 2022: Global unemployment levelprojected at 207 million

• The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released its World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2022 (WESO Trends) report. The report analyses comprehensive labour market projections for 2022 and 2023 and assesses how labour market recovery has unfolded worldwide. In the WESO 2022, ILO has downgraded its forecast for labour market recovery in 2022.

• The global unemployment level in 2022 is estimated at 207 million, compared to 186 million in 2019.

• Total working hours globally in 2022 is projected to be 2% below the pre-pandemic level, and that is equivalent to the loss of 52 million full-time jobs.

• The global labour force participation rate in 2022 is projected to remain 1.2 percentage points below that of 2019 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began.

NATIONAL

India Successfully Test-Fires New BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile Off Odisha Coast

• BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, with increased indigenous content and improved performance, was successfully test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

• The launch was conducted by Brahmos Aerospace in close coordination with Defence Research and Development Organisation. This flight test was monitored by all the sensors of the range instrumentation including telemetry, radar and electro-optical tracking systems deployed across the eastern coast and the down range ships.

• Brahmos was successfully test-fired from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on January 20, 2022.

• The flight test is a major milestone in the way forward for BrahMos programme.

• The highly maneuverable missile cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and all mission objectives were met.

Odisha teams up with WFP to improve food security, farmers' resilience

• The United Nations World Food Programme and the Odisha Government joined hands to improve the food security of small and marginal farmers in India by strengthening their resilience to climate change.

• In a participatory pilot initiative, climate advisories will be tailored to enable smallholder farmers to adapt to the impact of climate change. Smallholder farmers, who constitute 90 percent of farming communities in Odisha, will be able to select the right farming and livelihood options to improve their food security and incomes.

SPORTS

Babar Azam named captain of ICC Men's T20 Team of Year 2021

• Pakistani skipper Babar Azam has been named as the captain of the ICC Men’s T20I team of the year for 2021. The ICC Team of the Year recognises the 11 best players in men’s cricket who have impressed one and all with their performances in a calendar year, either with the bat, ball or their all-round performance. No Indian male player has found a place in the team of 11.

• However, in ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021, Smriti Mandhana is the only Indian women player named in the 11 member team. Smriti has made in the list for third time in the T20I team of the year after 2018 (opener) and 2019 (number three). England’s Nat Sciver has been made the captain of ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year for 2021.

Sania Mirza: India tennis star to retire after 2022 season

• Sania Mirza, the most successful woman in Indian tennis history, has decided that she is bidding adieu to the sports at the end of 2022.

• The 35-year-old had already bowed out of singles competitions in 2013. Sania has six Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles to her name. Her last headline-grabbing win came with Chinese partner Shuai Zhang in women’s doubles at the Ostrava Open on September 26, 2021.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Vikram Dev Dutt appointed new CMD of Air India

• Senior bureaucrat Vikram Dev Dutt has been appointed as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India Ltd. Dutt is a 1993-batch IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre. He has been appointed as the Air India chief in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry. Prior to this, he was the Principal Secretary (Tourism) in Delhi government.

• The Centre had in October last year accepted Tata Son’s bid of Rs 18,000 crore to acquire 100 per cent of the debt-laden state-run carrier. The takeover has not been completed yet. Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of the holding company of the salt-to-software conglomerate, had made the winning bid of Rs 2,700 crore cash and Rs 15,300 crore debt takeover.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

IIMK LIVE, Indian Bank ink Landmark MoU

• Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode’s (IIMK) Business incubator Laboratory for Innovation Venturing and Entrepreneurship (LIVE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Bank to financially support early-stage startups. Under the MoU, a startup funding scheme, ‘IndSpring Board’ has been launched. Under this scheme loans up to Rs, 50 Crore will be disbursed to the startups.

• The startups can use the loan amount to meet their operational expenditure and capital expenditure which includes working capital, purchase of fixed assets and other expenses.

• The loan amount disbursed to startups under the IndSpring Board scheme from IIMK LIVE and Indian Bank can be used to meet a startup operational expenditure and capital expenditure which includes working capital, purchase of fixed assets and other expenses.

• Startups selected under this scheme would have to be committed towards working on innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or present a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI: Digital payments up 39.6% in Sept 2021

• The RBI’s Digital Payment Index, which shows the deepening of payments through digital modes in India, rose by 39.64 per cent to 304.06 in September 2021 against 217.74 in the year-ago month. The RBI-DPI Index continues to demonstrate significant growth in adoption and deepening of digital payments across the country. RBI has introduced Digital Payments Index in January 2021 with March 2018 as the base year to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country. This means that the DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100.

• RBI has started publishing the Digital Payments Index (DPI) on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months. This means that the DPI will be released by RBI for March and September every year in the months of July and January respectively.

• The RBI-DPI comprises five broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country over different time periods, viz. payment enablers (with 25 per cent weight), payment infrastructure—demand-side factors (10 per cent), payment infrastructure—supply-side factors (15 per cent), payment performance (45 per cent) and consumer centricity (5 per cent). These parameters have sub-parameters which, in turn, consist of various measurable indicators.

Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone

• Microsoft Corp. is set to acquire game making company, Activision Blizzard Inc., in an all-cash transaction for $68.7 billion. ($95.00 per share). This acquisition will boost the competitiveness of Microsoft in the mobile gaming business and virtual-reality technology, across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

• Activision Blizzard is famous as the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty, Xbox, among other leading video games. Upon the completion of the deal, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. This is the biggest deal ever by Microsoft and also the largest-ever deal in the history of the gaming industry.

SEBI Launched Saa₹Thi Mobile App for Investor Education

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has launched Saa₹thi, a mobile app on investor education.

• The new app aims to empower investors with accurate knowledge about the securities market. The app will cater largely to individual investors, who have recently entered the markets and carry out trading via their mobile phones. The app will be helpful in easily accessing all the relevant information like the basic concepts of Securities Market, KYC Process, trading and settlement, mutual funds, recent market developments, investor grievances redressal mechanism, etc.It is currently available in Hindi and English.

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Important Current Affairs 20th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Shaped Like An Infinity Symbol, Dubai Opens Incredible ‘Infinity Bridge’ To Traffic For The First Time

• Iconic ‘Infinity Bridge’ in Dubai, United Arab Emirates has been formally opened to traffic for the first time on 16th January 2022. Its design resembles a mathematical sign for infinity (∞). It represents the limitless, infinite goals of Dubai. It consists of six lanes in each direction and a combined 3-metre track for pedestrians and cyclists. It is 300 meters long and 22 meters wide.

• The bridge consists of six lanes and improves the link between Deira and Bur Dubai. It features a combined 3-metre track for pedestrians and cyclists. First announced in 2018, the Infinity Bridge is part of an Al Shindagha Corridor Project. Consisting of six lanes in each direction, the bridge has an arch-shaped like the infinity symbol – which symbolises Dubai’s unlimited ambitions.

Malta’s MEP Roberta Metsola takes over EU parliament presidency

• Roberta Metsola, a Christian Democrat from Malta, was elected president of the European Union’s parliament. Her election comes a week after the shock death of outgoing parliament president David Sassoli, who was due to step down as part of a power-sharing pact. She is only the third woman elected to the post. she is the European Parliament’s youngest president. Metsola was the candidate of the parliament’s biggest group, and she received 458 of the 616 votes cast.

NATIONAL

India-Japan maritime exercise in Bay of Bengal

• A Maritime Partnership Exercise was held between the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) in the Bay of Bengal in a non-contact mode amid C-19. The Indian side was represented by Indian Naval Ships (INS) Shivalik and INS Kadmatt while JMSDF Ships Uraga and Hirado participated from the Japanese side. Strengthening bilateral relations, promoting defence cooperation, enhancing mutual understanding and interoperability, and sharing best practices between IN and JMSDF.

SPORTS

AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 will be host by India

• India is all set to host AFC Women’s football Asian Cup India 2022 from 20th January 2022 in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune. The tournament will witness 12 teams competing for the trophy. AFC Women’s Asian Cup India will also be the final stage of Asian qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Five teams will qualify for the main event directly while two of them will progress to the inter-confederation play-offs.

• Japan are the defending champions of the Women’s Asian Cup, having won it in 2018. Hosts India has been placed in Group A alongside China, Chinese Taipei, and Iran. Meanwhile, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia have been placed in Group B. Defending champions Japan find themselves in Group C along with South Korea, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

OBITURY

Legendary cartoonist and illustrator Narayan Debnath passes away

• Legendary Bengali comics artist, writer and illustrator, Narayan Debnath, has passed away after a prolonged illness. He was 97. The celebrated cartoonist was the creator of popular Bengali comic strips like Handa Bhonda (1962), Bantul the Great (1965) and Nonte Phonte (1969). He holds the record of longest-running comics by an individual artiste for the Handa Bhonda comics series which completed its continuous 60 years of running. In 2021, Debnath was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.

M.K. Prasad, noted ecologist and ‘Save Silent Valley’ campaigner, passes away

• Noted environmentalist & ‘Save Silent Valley’ campaigner Prof M K Prasad passed away recently. He was a prominent figure in the historic grassroots level movement to save the evergreen tropical rain forests in Kerala’s Silent Valley from destruction. He had also led the popular science movement, ‘Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath’. Prof. Prasad, who had served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Calicut University, was in the forefront of environment protection activities in the State.

Shaoli Mitra, eminent theatre personality, actress dies at 73

• Renowned Bengali theatre personality Saoli Mitra has passed away. She had acted in Ritwik Ghatak’s avant garde film Jukti Takko aar Gappo in 1974. She also wrote, directed and acted in the hugely popular Katha Amritsamman (Words that are like Nectar) another adaptation of the Mahabharata.

• Mitra, who was the recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2003, Padma Shri in 2009, and Banga Bibhusan in 2012 would be remembered by her fans and critics alike for her solo performance as Draupadi in Naathvati Anaathbat (Five husbands, yet an orphan), which she also wrote and directed, and as Sita on Sitakatha.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book “Bose: The Untold Story of An Inconvenient Nationalist” by Chandrachur Ghose

• A new biography titled “Bose: The Untold Story of An Inconvenient Nationalist” authored by Chandrachur Ghose will be released in February 2022. The book contains the thoughts and opinions of Subhas Chandra Bose about the development of independent India, communalism, geopolitics and political ideology. It also marked the untold and unknown stories of Netaji (Subhas Chandra Bose).

• The biography attempts to bring new perspectives on Netaji’s thoughts on independent India’s development, the problem of communalism, geopolitics, his political ideology, and how he negotiated with the political parties, revolutionary societies, and the government.

• The book throws light on Bose’s intense political activities around the revolutionary groups in Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, and the United Provinces; his efforts to bridge the increasing communal divide and his influence among the splintered political landscape; his outlook on and relations with women; his plunge into the depths of spirituality; his penchant for covert operations; and his efforts to engineer a rebellion among the Indian armed forces.

Awards & Recognition

Axis Bank and CRMNEXT win IBSi's Innovation Awards 2021 for the Best CRM System Implementation

• Axis Bank & CRMNEXT Solution won the IBS Intelligence (IBSi) Global FinTech Innovation Awards 2021 for the “Best CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System Implementation”. It is one of the most prominent awards for global bankers and IT (Information Technology) consultants across the world.

• The Axis Bank implemented CRMNEXT for sales and service modernisation and it also enables smarter lead processing, automated routing, complete tracking, and visibility. It identified and honoured technology players and banks for their excellence in banking technology implementations and innovations using emerging technologies.

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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Maya Angelou Is the First Black Woman to Appear on the U.S. Quarter

• The US Treasury has minted coins featuring poet Maya Angelou – the first black woman ever featured on the US 25-cent coin known as a quarter. Angelou, a poet and activist, was the first black woman to write and perform a poem at a presidential inauguration. In 2010, she was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian award by President Barack Obama.

• The new coin still features George Washington’s visage on the “heads” side, while the “tails” side honours Angelou by evoking one of her most famous works, the autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

South Africa Launches Satellites to Monitor Shipping off its Coastline

• South Africa has launched its first satellite constellation developed entirely in the continent of Africa. Three locally produced nanosatellites, which made up the country’s first Maritime Domain Awareness Satellite (MDASat) constellation, were launched from Cape Canaveral in the United States, as part of American aerospace company SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission.

• Transporter-3, SpaceX’s third dedicated rideshare mission, carried a total of 105 spacecraft for various organisations and governments, including CubeSats, microsats, PocketQubes and orbital transfer vehicles.

NATIONAL

MoS for education Subhas Sarkar launches Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2021-22

• Minister of State for Education, Subhas Sarkar has launched the Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar (SVP) 2021 – 2022 virtually. The Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar recognises, inspires and awards schools that have undertaken exemplary work in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene while also providing a benchmark and a roadmap for schools to make further improvements in future. The Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar was first distributed by the Department of School Education and Literacy, in 2016-17 to create self-motivation and awareness about sanitation.

• All categories of schools, that is, government, government-aided and private schools in both rural and urban areas can participate in the Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2021-22.

UPI AUTOPAY has introduced for the telecom industry with JIO

• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Reliance Jio have announced that UPI AUTOPAY has now been introduced for the telecom industry with Jio. Jio’s integration with UPI AUTOPAY has made it the first player in the telecom industry to go live with the unique e-mandate feature that was launched by NPCI.

• Using the UPI AutoPay launched by NPCI, customers can now enable recurring e-mandate using any UPI application for recurring payments such as mobile bills, electricity bills, EMI payments, entertainment/OTT subscriptions, insurance, mutual funds among others.

Centre launches stamp to mark 1 year of Covid vaccination

• The government of India has released a commemorative postal stamp on the Covid-19 vaccination on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the country’s national immunization programme against the virus. The commemorative stamp design features a healthcare worker inoculating a senior citizen with COVID-19 vaccine, along with an image of ‘COVAXIN’ vial. This stamp signifies the remarkable work done by our frontline healthcare workers and scientific community across the country in protecting the people against the COVID pandemic.

SPORTS

Himachal Pradesh: Women’s ninth ice hockey nationals start at Kaza rink

• In Himachal Pradesh, the 9th women National Ice Hockey Championship-2022 was inaugurated at Ice Skating Rink, Kaza in Lahaul Spiti district. For the first time in the state, Ice Hockey competition & development camp is being organized at the national level. Teams from Himachal Pradesh, Telengana, Ladakh, ITBP Ladakh, Chandigarh & Delhi are participating in this mega event.

• The state Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur inaugurated the Championship. This is the first time that National Level Ice Hockey Competition and Development Camp was being held in the State. In 2019, the first Basic Ice Hockey ten days Coaching Camp was organized at Kaza by State Youth Services and Sports Department, in collaboration with the Ladakh Women Ice Hockey Foundation. The State Government has already announced the High-Altitude Sports Center at Kaza with an estimated cost of Rs. 16 crore.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

AEPC’s new Chairman Narendra Goenka takes over

• Narendra Kumar Goenka has been appointed as the new chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council, AEPC. Former chairman Padma Dr A Sakthivel handed over the charge to him. Mr. Goenka has been associated with the Council for more than two decades. He was the Vice Chairman of the apex body of Indian apparel exporters before taking charge as Chairman of AEPC.

• AEPC is the official body of apparel exporters in India, under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, that provides invaluable assistance to Indian exporters as well as importers/international buyers.

OBITURY

Former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu dies at 91

• The former Prime Minister of Japan, Toshiki Kaifu has passed away at the age of 91 years in Japan. He served as the PM from 1989 to 1991. He is known for sending the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Persian Gulf in 1991. After the Gulf War, the Japanese Self-Defense Force were deployed to the Gulf region to conduct minesweeping operations during Kaifu’s term of office.

IMPORTANT DAYS

19 January 2022: NDRF’s17th Raising Day

• National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrates its Raising Day every year on January 19, since it came into existence on January 19, 2006. In 2022, the NDRF is observing its 17th Raising Day. There are 12 NDRF battalions located in different parts of the country and comprises as many as 13,000 NDRF personnel who work to build a safer country.

• The NDRF has earned a good name and fame nationally and internationally with its selfless service and unmatched professionalism in disaster management. NDRF has saved more than One lakh lives in its 3100 operations and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters. NDRF is an Indian specialized force under the National Disaster Management Authority, constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to carry out the special responses in situations of threatening disaster.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

MobiKwik launches ‘ClickPay’ for faster bill payments in collaboration with Bharat BillPay

• MobiKwik, one of India’s largest mobile wallets and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Fintech companies launched ‘ClickPay’ for its customers, in collaboration with NPCI Bharat BillPay Ltd. (NBBL). This feature enables MobiKwik customers to pay recurring online bills (such as mobile, gas, water, electricity, DTH, insurance, and loan EMIs) with ease by eliminating the need to remember individual bill details and due dates.

• ClickPay is a two-step payment feature wherein the billers generate a unique payment link within the bill-pay message, allowing customers to make payments directly on the payment page. MobiKwik is focused on providing the Indian middle-class population a simple and secure payment platform to make daily life payments.

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Important Current Affairs 18th January 2022

NATIONAL

Kerala’s Kumbalangi to Become India’s First Sanitary Napkin-free Village

• Kerala’s Kumbalanghi is set to become the country’s first sanitary napkin-free panchayat. This move is a part of the ‘Avalkayi’ initiative, which is being implemented in the Ernakulam parliamentary constituency, in association with the “Thingal Scheme” of HLL Management Academy’s and Indian Oil Corporation. Under this initiative, menstrual cups will be distributed to women aged 18 and above in Kumbalangi village. 5000 menstrual cups will be distributed under it.

• In the same event, Governor will also declare Kumbalangi village as a model village. The model village project is implemented as a part of ‘Pradhan Mantri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (PM-SAGY)’. A new tourist information centre will also be set up in the village.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh launches AI driven start-up by IIT alumni for water purification

• Union Minister of State (I/C) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Start-Up by Indian Institute Technology (IIT) alumni for water purification through innovative technology with financial support from Technology Development Board (TDB).  The facility aims to provide clean drinking water at a price much lesser than the market price.

• A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between TDB, a statutory body of the Department of S&T and Swajal Water Private Limited. The Gurugram based company’s patented system, ‘Clairvoyant’ uses artificial intelligence to optimise purification systems and predict future breakdowns. The company is focused on innovative technologies to make reliable clean drinking water accessible to communities at affordable price, for their project on IoT enabled point of use Solar Water Purification Unit for slums, villages and High Utility Areas.

Defence Ministry sets up online portal to resolve pension-related grievances: Rajnath Singh

• The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh has set up an online Raksha Pension Shikayat Nivaran Portal to resolve pension-related grievances of ex-servicemen (ESM) and their dependents. The portal will allow them to lodge grievances directly with the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW), he stated on the occasion of Armed Forces Veterans Day.

• The minister also announced that the DESW has allotted Rs 320 crore to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) to clear all backlog of pending applications for welfare schemes, especially education and marriage grants for widows or dependent children of ESM. The Minister also stated that the Directorate General of Resettlement has issued 22,278 job letters—including 7,898 job letters to freshly retired/first-time entrants—to civil life ESMs in the government sector/PSUs/banks and private sector during the year April 2021-December 2021.

SPORTS

Savita Punia named captain of Indian women hockey team for Asia Cup in Muscat

• Goalkeeper Savita Punia will lead India at the upcoming women’s Asia Cup in Muscat as Hockey India named a strong 18-member squad for the event, including 16 players that featured at the Tokyo Olympics. Since regular skipper Rani Rampal is recovering from an injury in Bengaluru, Savita will lead the side in the tournament, which is scheduled to be held between January 21-28.

• Indian women are the defending champions. Seven other teams competing at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022 are China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Russian Aslan Karatsev won third ATP Title in Sydney Tennis Classic

• In tennis, Aslan Karatsev defeated Andy Murray by 6-3, 6-3, to win men’s single title at the Sydney Tennis Classic final, to claim his third ATP Tour title. The women’s single title was claimed by Spanish world number nine Paula Badosa, who defeated Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 4-6 7-6(4), to capture her third career title.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Adani Power appoints Shersingh Khyalia as CEO with immediate effect

• The Board of Directors of Adani Power Limited (APL), a subsidiary of Adani Group, approved the appointment of Shersingh B Khyalia as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Adani Powers with effect from 11th January 2022. He is a Chartered Accountant, who has served as the Managing Director in Gujarat Power Corporation. Earlier, Khyalia has worked as Managing Director in Gujarat Power Corporation, where he got experience of the Renewable Power Sector especially the development of Ultra Mega Renewable Parks.

OBITURY

Former Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita dies aged 76

• The former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was ousted in a military coup, has passed away. Mr Keita had ruled Mali for seven years, since September 2013, till he was overthrown in a military coup in August 2020. He had also served as prime minister of the country from 1994 to 2000. He had promised to restore Mali’s honour as a model for democracy in West Africa as he campaigned as a unifying figure in his fractured country, pledging “zero tolerance” for corruption.

Padma Shri awardee, eminent social activist Shanti Devi dies in Odisha

• Odisha’s social worker and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi, who was remembered as the voice of the poor, has passed away. She was 88. She was also called Lugdi Devi. She was known for her dedication towards the underprivileged community and restoring peace in the Maoist-affected areas in Odisha. She has received the prestigious Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9, 2021.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Mrs World 2022: Mrs America Shaylyn Ford Takes The Crown; UAE & Jordan Runner Ups

• 37 Years old Shaylyn Ford was crowned as the winner of Mrs World 2022. She was crowned by the outgoing queen Kate Schneider from Ireland. Mrs Jordan Jaclyn Stapp & Mrs UAE Debanjali Kamstra were the runner up. Shaylyn Ford represented America in the pageant and battled out 57 other contestants from across the globe to claim the title. This is the 8th time an American representative won the title of Mrs. World.

• Shaylyn Ford hails from Granville, Ohio, USA. She won the annual Mrs American pageant on November 19, 2021. She is a professional makeup artist, who has worked in every setting, from movie sets to make-a-wish projects. She has been married to her pastor husband for the past seven years and has three children. She also serves as a charitable director and does a lot of volunteer work to bring services to special needs families.

India's Navdeep Kaur wins Best National Costume award for her Kundalini Chakra dress at Mrs World 2022

• India’s Navdeep Kaur has won the award for the Best National Costume at the prestigious Mrs World 2022 pageant in Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the winner of Mrs India World 2021, was representing the country at Mrs World 2022. Navdeep hails from a small town near Odisha’s Steel City, Rourkela.

• The “avant garde” outfit was inspired by Kundalini Chakra, which “symbolises the movement of energy in chakras of the body from the base to the spine up through the crown”. Cobra embellishments on the shoulder were added to represent the “mystical serpent native to India”, while the golden colour was chosen as it represents novelty, power and glory.

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Important Current Affairs 17th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Indian, Russian Navies carry out joint exercise in Arabian Sea

• Indian Navy and Russian Navy undertook PASSEX exercises at the port of Cochin, in the Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy’s indigenously designed and built guided-missile destroyer, INS Kochi, took part in the exercise. Russian Federation Navy was represented by RFS Admiral Tributs.

• Two other Russian naval ships Russian Naval Missile Cruiser Varyag, and Russian Tanker Boris Butoma were also accompanied. The exercise showcased cohesiveness and interoperability between the two navies and included tactical manoeuvres, cross-deck helicopter operations and seamanship activities.

NATIONAL

World's Largest Khadi National Flag To Be Displayed At 1971 War Site

• The world’s largest national flag, made of Khadi fabric was put to display to celebrate the “Army Day” on January 15, 2022. It was displayed at Longewala, along the India – Pakistan Border in Jaisalmer. Longewala was the centre stage of the historic battle of 1971 between India and Pakistan. It will be the fifth public display of the Khadi flag. 70 khadi artisans prepared this flag in 49 days. Its making has created about 3500 man-hours of additional work for Khadi artisans and allied workers.

• The Monumental National Flag is 225 feet long and 150 feet wide. It is approximately 1400 kgs in weight.

• 4500 meters of hand-woven, hand-spun, Khadi cotton bunting has been used to make the flag. It covers an area of 33, 750 square feet.The Ashok Chakra in the flag has a diameter of 30 feet.

January 16 to be celebrated as National Startup Day: PM Modi

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared to mark 16th  January as ‘National Start-up Day’. The announcement was made by PM Modi on January 15, 2022, via video conferencing during a week-long event “Celebrating Innovation Ecosystem” as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The Prime Minister interacted with more than 150 startups across different sectors, during the event.

• The startups, categorised under six groups, gave presentations to the Prime Minister on six themes — ‘growing from roots, ‘nudging the DNA’, ‘from local to global, ‘technology of future’, ‘building champions in manufacturing’ and ‘sustainable development.

• The Prime Minister was of the view Indian startups can easily make it to the global stage and reach other countries and told the young entrepreneurs: “Don’t just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra — let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India”.

SPORTS

Tasnim Mir becomes first Indian to claim world no. 1 status in u-19 girls singles

• Tasnim Mir became the first Indian to grab World no 1 in Under-19 (U-19) Girls Singles category with 10,810 points in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) Junior rankings. She is followed by Mariia Golubeva from Russia and Lucia Rodriguez from Spain. In 2021, she won 3 Junior International Tournaments held in Bulgaria, France and Belgium, which helped her climb up for No.1 position. The World No.1 position in Boy’s Singles is shared by Lakshya Sen, Siril Verma and Aditya Joshi.

Former West Indies Cricket Captain Clive Lloyd Receives Knighthood

• Former West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd received Knighthood from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle, for his services towards the game of cricket. On the same day, England’s world cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan was awarded with CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Prince William for his services towards the game of cricket. The CBE is the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award, followed by OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and then MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

• A knighthood is a title that is given to a man by a British king or queen for his achievements or his service to his country. A man who has been given a knighthood can put ‘Sir’ in front of his name instead of ‘ Mr’.

India Open: Lakshya Sen stuns world champion Loh Kean Yew to win maiden Super 500 title

• Indian badminton player Lakshya Sen has defeated World Champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, in the men’s singles final of India Open 2022 to secure his maiden Super 500 title. The 20-year-old Sen gained victory over Yew in straight games 24-22, 21-17. The 2022 India Open (badminton), officially Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022, was held at the K. D. Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi, India, from 11 to 16 January 2022.

16th 'India Digital Summit' organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)

• Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal virtually addressed the 16th India Digital Summit, 2022. The two-day virtual event was organised on January 11 and 12, 2022 by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The theme of the summit was “Supercharging Startups”.

• India Digital Summit is the oldest event of the digital industry in India. During the event, the Minister unveiled ‘LEAP’ as the way forward to further strengthen our Startups ecosystem. LEAP stands for “Leverage, Encourage, Access & Promote”.

OBITURY

Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj passes away at 83

• Legendary Kathak dancer, Pandit Birju Maharaj has passed away at the age of 83. A recipient of the country’s second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan, he was fondly called Pandit-ji or Maharaj-ji by his disciples and legions of followers and was one of India’s best-known artistes.

• Birju Maharaj was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which includes his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj. Birju Maharaj was also a singer par excellence, having command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazal.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI releases Annual Report of Ombudsman Schemes, 2020-21

• Reserve Bank of India has released the Annual Report of the Ombudsman Schemes for 2020-21, which has been prepared for the 9-month period (July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) in alignment with the change in the Financial Year of RBI from ‘July – June’ to ‘April – March’ with effect from July 1, 2020. The Annual Report covers the activities under the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006 (BOS), the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018 (OSNBFC) and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019 (OSDT).

• The volume of complaints received under all the 3 Ombudsman Schemes increased by 22.27 percent on an annualized basis and stood at 3,03,107.

• The complaints received at BOS from July 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, stood at 2,73,204

• The complaints received at OSNBFCs stood at 26,957 during July 1, 2020-March 31, 2021

• The number of complaints received at the OSDT rose to 2,946 during July 1, 2020-March 31, 2021.

Yes Mutual Fund rechristened as White Oak Capital Mutual Fund

• The name of YES Asset Management has been rechristened as WhiteOak Capital Asset Management and therefore the name of YES Mutual Fund has been changed to WhiteOak Capital Mutual Fund. The change in the names are effective from January 12, 2022. White Oak got the license to run a mutual fund. White Oak Capital group provides investment management and advisory services for equity assets of over Rs 42,000 crore.

• In November 2021, White Oak Capital Group, through its subsidiary, GPL Finance and Investments, acquired the mutual fund business, Yes Asset Management, of Yes Bank. The White Oak Capital group provides investment management and advisory services for Indian equity investors.

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Important Current Affairs 16th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Philippines confirms move to acquire BrahMos cruise missiles in $375 mn deal

• Philippines has become the first foreign country to place an order for the purchase of the BrahMos Shore-Based cruise Missile System for its navy. This agreement will give a big boost to India’s defence manufacturing system. The estimated deal cost is worth $374,9 million. The BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd will supply the missile, under the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project, for Philippine Navy.

Nicaragua's Ortega sworn in for fourth term as U.S., EU impose sanctions

• Nicaraguan President José Daniel Ortega Saavedra, leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), was sworn in for a new presidential term. This marks his 5th term and 4th consecutive term as the President of Nicaragua. He will remain in the office until January 2027. He received the presidential sash from Gustavo Porras, head of the National Assembly. Ortega’s first stint in power ended in 1990 and upon returning as president in 2007, he quickly set about gaining control of key state institutions.

NATIONAL

India grants financial assistance of over USD 900 million to Sri Lanka to overcome forex crisis

• India has announced financial assistance of USD 900 million loans to Sri Lanka to help the island nation in building up its depleted foreign reserves and for food imports. It must be noted that Sri Lanka is currently facing a shortage of almost all essential commodities due to a shortage of dollars to pay for the imports. India is extending its support through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay met Cabraal and expressed India’s strong support to Sri Lanka in the wake of RBI extending over USD 900 million facilities.

• These comprise deferment of Asian Clearing Union settlement of over USD 509 million and currency swap of USD 400 million. Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a shortage of almost all essentials due to a shortage of dollars to pay for the imports. Additionally, power cuts are imposed at peak hours as the state power entity is unable to obtain fuel to run turbines. The state fuel entity has stopped oil supplies as the electricity board has large unpaid bills. The only refinery was shut as it was unable to pay dollars for crude imports.

Meenakashi Lekhi launches 'North East on Wheels Expedition’ to promote Culture of Northeastern States

• Minister of State for Culture, Meenakashi Lekhi has launched the ‘North East on Wheels Expedition’ in New Delhi to promote the Culture of Northeastern States. The Bike Expedition is scheduled between 8th to 16th April this year to mark the celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

• 75 Bikers participating in this expedition will be selected from all over the country and will cover about 9000 km in the North East Region in 6 groups. The expedition will also promote the Dekho Apna Desh initiative of the Ministry of Tourism. The Riders will also carry the message of the importance of Road Safety.

20th Dhaka International Film Festival Inaugurated 

• The 20th Dhaka International Film Festival begins at Dhaka, Bangladesh. The festival will showcase 225 films from 70 countries under 10 categories will be screened across various venues in Dhaka between 15-23 January. The film festival is being organized in a hybrid mode with many films being streamed online during the festival. The DIFF will also organise the 8th edition of the ‘Women in Cinema’ international conference, as well as the 4th edition of the ‘West meets East’ screenplay lab during the festival.

• The Indian entries to the 20th DIFF include films like Koozhangal directed by P S Vinothraj, Avijatrik directed by Subhrajit Mitra, Mayar Jonjal directed by Indranil Roychowdhury, and Aandaal directed by Shareef Easa among the 35 entries.

• The Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) is organised by the Rainbow film Society established in 1977. The DIFF was started in 1992. The festival will have ten sections including the Asian Competition Section, Retrospective, Tribute, Bangladesh panorama, Wide Angle, Cinema of the World, Children’s Film, Spiritual film, Women Filmmakers section and short and independent films.

SPORTS

Virat Kohli quits as India’s Test captaincy after seven years

• Virat Kohli has stepped down as the Test captain of the Indian national cricket team after seven years. He first led the national side in Test cricket in 2014 against Australia. He guided the team to an unprecedented back-to-back Test series wins Down Under. Kohli also thanked former head coach Ravi Shastri and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his statement.

• In 2021, India also finished as the runners-up in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship. Kohli had recently stepped down as India’s T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain ahead of the South Africa tour. India also became a top-ranked Test side in the world.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Indifi, GPay join hands to offer instant digital credit to SMEs

• Small businesses-focused online lending platform Indifi Technologies has collaborated with Google Pay to provide instant loans to eligible medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) merchants through the Google Pay platform. The borrowing process is entirely digital and eligible merchants on the Google Pay for the Business app can click on loan offerings from Indifi and submit an application online. The loans will be in the range of Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 lakh.

• With a 35 per cent share of monthly UPI volumes, Google Pay has been growing its financial services play over the past year like other payments leaders in India. It already provides loans and short-term credit to individuals and small merchants in tie-ups with IIFL Loans, CASHe, and ZestMoney, among others.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Paytm Payments Bank leads UPI beneficiary chart: SBI biggest remitter in December

• Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) became the largest and fastest-growing UPI beneficiary bank in India. It becomes the first beneficiary bank in the country to achieve the landmark of over 926 million UPI transactions in a single month. Beneficiary banks are the banks of the account holder who is receiving money. Paytm Payments Bank has also gained rapid traction as a remitter bank for UPI payments.

• While State Bank of India (SBI) topped the chart of being the biggest remitter in December 2021, according to data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). State Bank of India followed PPBL as the second-largest beneficiary with 664.89 million transactions.

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Important Current Affairs 15th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Cyprus Finds C-19 Infections That Combine Delta and Omicron

•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.

NATIONAL

India’s Forest, Tree Cover Rose By 2,261 Sq Km In Last 2 Years: Environment Minister Releases Report

•Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav has launched the 17th edition of the biennial ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR)’ 2021. ISFR is released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), every two years since 1987 to assess the country’s forest resources. India’s forest and tree cover rose by 2,261 square kilometres in ISFR 2021 as compared to the assessment of 2019. This includes an increase of 1,540 square kilometres in forest cover and a 721 sq km increase in tree cover.

•The forest and tree cover in India is now 8,09,537 sq km. Total forest cover is 7,13,789 sq km, (21.71 per cent of the geographical area) and tree cover is 95,748 sq km (2.91 per cent of the geographical area).

•The total forest and tree cover in the country is now spread across 80.9 million hectares or 24.62% of the geographical area of the country.

•The top five states in terms of increase in forest cover are Andhra Pradesh (647 sq km), Telangana (632 sq km), Odisha (537 sq km), Karnataka (155 sq km) and Jharkhand (110 sq km).

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.

SPORTS

AISCD will host the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in Kerala from January 10 to 20, 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.”

•AISCD is the only Centre-recognised national sports federation for the deaf, while the ICSD is the only international federation recognized as governing body of the deaf sports movement and Deaflympics sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Isro successfully conducts cryo engine test for Gaganyaan rocket

•Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the qualification test of Cryogenic Engine for Gaganyaan programme for a duration of 720 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. According to the space agency, the performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test.

•This successful long-duration test is a major milestone for the Human Space Programme – Gaganyaan. It ensures the reliability and robustness of the cryogenic engine for induction into the human-rated launch vehicle for Gaganyaan. Further, this engine will undergo four more tests for a cumulative duration of 1810 seconds. Subsequently, one more engine will undergo two short-duration tests & one long-duration test to complete the cryogenic engine qualification for Gaganyaan Programme.

APPOINTMEN & RESIGNATION

Kurukshetra University's Prof Emeritus Tanwar Made ICHR Chairman

•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.

OBITURY

29-year-old Olympic & World Medallist Deon Lendore Passes Away In Car Crash In Texas

•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.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Indian Army Day 2022 : 15th January

•The Army Day in India is celebrated on 15 January every year, to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens. This year marks the 74th Indian Army Day. The day is marked to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) KM Carriappa took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence.

•The Indian Army is one of the most powerful militaries of the world, competing with superpowers like the US, Russia and China. The motto of the Indian Army is ‘service before self’ and its mission is to ensure national security and national unity, defend the nation from external aggression and internal threats, and maintain peace and security within its borders. Salute to the brave soldiers, who risk and sacrifice their lives to protect us. Even the Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965 had given the slogan like “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Forex reserves down by USD 878 mn to USD 632.736 bn

•As per the weekly Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the foreign exchange reserves of India declined by $878 million to USD 632.736 billion in the week ended January 7, 2022. In the previous week ended December 31, India’s reserves dropped by $1.466 billion to $633.614 billion. The decline was mainly due to a fall in gold reserves and foreign currency assets (FCA). In the reporting week, FCAs decreased by $497 million to $569.392 billion.

•Gold reserves declined by $360 million to $39.044 billion. The special drawing rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $16 million to $19.098 billion. India’s reserve position with the IMF dipped by $5 million to $5.202 billion.

HDFC Bank adjudged 'Best Private Bank in India' at the Global Private Banking Awards 2021

•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.

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Important Current Affairs 14th January 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Man in the US receives a genetically-modified pig heart in the world's first transplant of its kind

• 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.

NATIONAL

India's oldest sloth bear Gulabo dies at Bhopal's 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.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

RBI approves one-year term for Ittira Davis as 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.

RenewBuy ropes in Rajkummar Rao as its brand ambassador

• RenewBuy, an online insurance platform, has appointed Rajkummar Rao as the brand ambassador for its 1st 360-degree consumer advertising campaign that highlights consumers’ insurance needs. The campaign was designed and conceptualised by Havas Worldwide India. “Smart Tech, Right Advice” is the theme of the campaign. This program aims to increase the spread of insurance policies digitally for consumers from any part of the country.

Eminent rocket scientist S Somanath appointed ISRO chief

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the appointment of the eminent rocket scientist Dr S Somanath as its new chairman and Space Secretary. He will succeed Kailasavadivoo Sivan who completes his extended tenure. The post of the ISRO chairman, the Space Secretary and the Space Commission chief is usually held by one person only.

• Mr Somanath is an expert in a host of disciplines including launch vehicle design and has specialised in launch vehicle systems engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, integration designs and procedures, mechanism design, and pyrotechnics. He is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. He was a team leader for the Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during the early phases of his career.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Armed Forces Veterans Day 2022: 14 th January 

• 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.

• Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed to reiterate the resolve of services for the well being of veterans and assure them that their valuable suggestions are always welcome. Last year, Admiral Karambir Singh released the ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ song dedicated to our brave and courageous soldiers of the 1971 war. At various events, stalls are set up at the venue for the benefit of ex-servicemen, which includes health and medical check-up camp, job placement and resettlement stall. In addition, there are informative lectures on pensions and welfare-related subjects. Various government departments commemorate the day in their own unique way.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Autobiography of Arundhati Bhattacharya 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.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Centre to become Vodafone Idea’s major shareholder with 35.8% stake

• The Central Government of India is set to become the largest shareholder in Vodafone Idea. The company’s board approved the conversion of Rs 16,000 crores in interest into equity. India’s third-largest network Vi or Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) has approved the interest on the spectrum and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues into government equity.

• VIL accepted a four-year moratorium as well as accepted the equity conversion, which means the Indian government will own almost 35.8% of VIL’s stake followed by Vodafone Group which owns 28.5% and 17.8% by Aditya Birla Group.

UN forecasts India's GDP to grow 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.

India retail inflation rises to 5.59% in December, hits 5-month high

• 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.

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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 12th January 2022

NATIONAL

Kevadia railway station in Gujarat 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.

Jan Dhan Accounts Deposits Cross ₹ 1.5 lakh Crore By December 2021

• 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.

Chennai International Airport ranks 8th in the World for ‘On-Time Performance’ for the year 2021

• 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

14-yr-old Bharath Subramaniyam becomes 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.

• Fellow Indian player M R Lalith Babu became the winner in the tournament, with seven points. He won the title on the basis of a better tie-break score as he tied with three others including Anton Korobov from Ukraine. In order to become a GM, a player has to secure three GM norms as well as cross the live rating of 2,500 Elo points.

Five golfers including Aditi Ashok among 10 more athletes added to TOPS

• Mission Olympic Cell under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has added ten athletes to the list of athletes who would be provided support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). Total 10 new entrants, five athletes have been included in the Core group while five have been added to the Development group. Now, the total number of athletes under TOPS has increased to 301, which includes 107 in the Core group while 294 in the Development group.

• TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) is a flagship program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which was launched in September 2014 and revamped in April 2018.

• The scheme aims to provide all requisite support and assistance to probable athletes identified for the Olympic Games/Paralympic Games and other major international tournaments so that they can win medals.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority held

• 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.

OBITURY

David Sassoli European Parliament President, dies aged 65

• European Parliament President, David Sassoli has passed away due to health issues. He had served as the President of the European Parliament from July 2019 until his death in January 2022. He was first elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009.

• Later in July 2014, Sassoli was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament. In the 2019 European Parliament election in Italy, he was elected as new president with 128,533 votes. European Parliament is one of the seven branches of the EU. Its headquarter is at Strasbourg, France.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Youth Day 2022: 12th January

• In India, the National Youth Day is celebrated on 12 January annually to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The main aim behind this is to make sure that the students across the country can be encouraged to learn about the life, the ideas and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and apply them in their lives.

• In 2022, we are observing the 159th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand (12 January 1863). The theme for National Youth Day 2022 is The Theme of 2022 is “It’s all in the mind.”

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Kerala Arts & Crafts Village wins international award

• Kerala Arts and Crafts Village Organization (KACV) from Kovalam, Kerala was awarded the ‘International Craft Award for 2021’ for the best craft village in the world by the World Crafts Council International. It is the only award India received in the non-individual category. The KACV was established by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (UL CCS) for the State Tourism Department of Kerala. In 2021, the Village of the Year award was won by ‘Kraf Komuniti Ku’ in Malaysia.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBL Bank collaborates with Google to enhance 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.

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