Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

02nd & 3rd Jan 2021 Current Affairs Headlines

Important Days

DRDO Celebrates 63rd Foundation Day on 1st January 2021

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) observed the 63rd Foundation Day of its establishment on January 01, 2021.

DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in the Defence sector. At that time, it was tasked with designing and developing cutting edge defence technologies for Indian Armed Forces.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Secretary Department of Defence Research and Development  & Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
  • DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • DRDO Established: 1958.

National Headlines

PM Modi lays foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) at six sites across six States through video conference on 1st January 2021.

The LHPs will be implemented at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

The project is being constructed under the Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC)-India. It has been conceptualised by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Under the programme, over 1,000 houses would be built in each of the six cities in 12 months along with allied infrastructure facilities.

GoI extends Deadline to file Income Tax Returns to January 10, 2021

The Central government has further extended the deadline to file an income tax return (ITR) for FY 2019-20 by 10 days, up to January 10, 2021. Earlier this deadline was December 31, 2020.

This extension of the deadline is for those individuals whose accounts are not required to be audited and who usually file their income tax return using ITR-1 or ITR-4 forms, as applicable. This is the third extension of the deadline to file a tax return.

The first extension was given from the normal deadline of July 31 to November 30, 2020, and then to December 31, 2020.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs: Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs: Anurag Singh Thakur.

ADB to provide $231 mn loan to enhance power generation capacity in Assam

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $231 million loan with the Government of India to augment electricity generation capacity in the state of Assam.

This is the third tranche loan for the ‘Assam Power Sector Investment Programme’ that was approved by the ADB Board in July 2014.

Under the project, 120 megawatts (MW) hydroelectric power plant would be constructed. The programme focuses on enhancing the capacity and efficiency of the energy generation and distribution systems in Assam to improve the availability of electricity service to end-users.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Assam: Sarbananda Sonowal; Governor: Prof. Jagdish Mukhi.

ADB and India sign $10 million loan to support horticulture in HP

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $10 million project readiness financing (PRF).

This agreement aims to help finance piloting activities, and design and capacity building for an ensuing project that aims to expand horticulture production and farm household income in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh.

The PRF project will support advance actions to achieve a high level of project readiness through detailed design activities, capacity building of state-level agencies, and creating an enabling environment for subtropical horticulture development in the state.

The PRF project aims to ensure implementation readiness with prior testing of new production technologies and marketing systems so that the ensuing project is cost-effective and gets completed in a timely manner to enhance farm profitability.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of HP: Jairam Thakur; Governor of HP: Bandaru Dattatraya.

Appointments News

Umesh Sinha named deputy election commissioner

Umesh Sinha has been named as the deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India.

Sinha, a 1986-batch IAS officer (retired) is at present serving as secretary-general in the commission.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet cleared the extension in the term of reemployment of Sinha as deputy election commissioner on contract basis for a period of six months beyond December 31, 2020.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Election Commissioner of India: Sunil Arora.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Formed: 25 January 1950.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Headquarters: New Delhi.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan gets one year extension up to 2022

The Central Government has approved the extension of the term of ISRO Chairman K Sivan, for a period of one year. He was due to retire on January 14, 2021.

Sivan will now continue as ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space up to January 14, 2022. He joined ISRO in 1982, has been the chairman of the space agency since January 2018.

ISRO chief has imminent knowledge in Aerospace engineering, Space Transportation Systems Engineering, Launch vehicles, mission simulation software design and many other operations related to Space programs.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • ISRO established: 15 August 1969.

Soma Mondal takes charge as new SAIL Chairman

Soma Mondal has taken over as the new Chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) with effect from January 01, 2021.

She is the first-ever women-head of the body. She replaces Anil Kumar Chaudhary, who superannuated on 31 December 2020. She joined SAIL in 2017 as the director (commercial).

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • SAIL Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • SAIL founded: 19 January 1954.

Suneet Sharma takes over as new Chairman & CEO of Railway Board

The appointments committee of the Cabinet has approved Suneet Sharma appointment as Chairman & CEO of Railway Board, Ministry of Railways and ex-officio Principal Secretary to Government of India.

He took over in his new role with effect from January 01, 2021. The extended one-year tenure of Sharma’s predecessor, Vinod Kumar Yadav, who also became the restructured Board’s first CEO, ended on December 31, 2020.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Railway Board Founded: March 1905.
  • Headquarters of Railway Board: New Delhi.

Agreements News 

UNDP and PCMC join hands for ‘first social impact bond’

Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Pune has recently signed an MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to co-create India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB).

This is the first time that a government body will act as the ‘outcome funder’ in a bond, whereas traditionally most government-funded public projects require large and early investments by the government with a substantial gestation period of outcomes and involve various kinds of risks.

A Social Impact Bond also called pay-for-success bond or pay-for-success financing or simply social bond is basically a contract with public sector authority, where it pays for better social outcomes.

This bond is a form of outcome-based contracting and aims at improving social outcomes for a specific group of citizens.

The PCMC administration will bear the costs of a public welfare project associated with the bond if the pre-defined project targets are fulfilled.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • UNDP Headquarters: New York, New York, United States.
  • UNDP Head: Achim Steiner.
  • UNDP Founded: 22 November 1965.

Obituary

Legendary Music Director Shantanu Mohapatra passes away

Legendary Odia musician, Shantanu Mohapatra passed away. He was the first Odia music composer to work with legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey and Md Rafi and also the first to work in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese and Telugu film industries.

Mohapatra has composed music for hundreds of Odia film songs and Jatra (opera) shows in a career that spanned over three decades.

Mohapatra, who retired as the Director of Odisha Mining Corporation, received several awards including the Odisha Film Critic Award for his contribution to Odia music.


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