Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

06 & 07 Jan 2021 Current Affairs Headlines

National News

GoI constitutes high-level group for South Asia energy security

The Central Government has set up a high-level group to build a South Asia-focused energy security architecture.

The high-level group, named the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), will be headed by former Union Power Secretary Ram Vinay Shahi. SAGE has been set up under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-run think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

Ramesh Pokhriyal launched Toycathon-2021 to promote manufacturing of toys

The Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Union Minister WCD and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani jointly launched Toycathon-2021 and the Toycathon Portal.

Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub.

Toycathon will provide a platform to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children.

MP Govt launches “Launch Pad Scheme” to make youth self-reliant

The government of Madhya Pradesh has launched a ‘Launch Pad Scheme’ for the boys and girls coming out of child care institutions and having completed 18 years of age.

This scheme has been launched by the Women and Child Development Department of the state with the objective to provide a platform to these youth, through which they will be able to become self-reliant by continuing their education and training.

The District Administration will provide space to these youths for the opening of coffee shops, stationery, photocopying, computer typing and DTP work. All the 52 districts of the state have been divided into 5 clusters with headquarters at Indore, Sagar, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Bhopal.

An amount of Rs 6 lakh will be provided by the Women and Child Development Department for the installation of each launch pad. These launch pads will be operated through non-governmental organizations.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Governor: Anandiben Patel.

World Bank approves $105 million loan to improve Waterways in West Bengal

The World Bank has signed a $105 million project with the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal to improve the inland water transport infrastructure in Kolkata, West Bengal.

The $105 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 17 years, including a grace period of 7 years.

The West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project will improve passenger and freight movement across the Hooghly river as well as improve accessibility in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, enhance the quality of life of its residents and contribute to the growth of the state’s logistics sector.

The project will cover the five most populous districts of southern West Bengal, including its urban agglomeration — the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) where around 30 million people or one-third of West Bengal’s population live.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee; Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar.

ADB approves $100 million loan to upgrade power distribution system in Bengaluru

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a USD 100 million (around Rs 730 crore) loan to modernise and upgrade the power distribution system in Bengaluru city.

Besides the USD 100 million sovereign loans, ADB will provide a USD 90 million loan without sovereign guarantee for the project to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (BESCOM), one of the five state-owned distribution utilities in Karnataka.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Karnataka: B.S. Yediyurappa; Governor: Vajubhai Vala.
  • President of ADB: Masatsugu Asakawa; Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB Established: 9 December 1966.

Journalist Day Observed in Maharashtra on 6 January

The Journalist Day is observed by Maharashtra state government on 6th January every year in the memory of late journalist Balshastri Jambhekar.

The first newspaper in the Marathi language named ‘Darpan’, was published on January 6, 1832, the date which also marks the birth anniversary of Balshastri Jambhekar.

Balshastri Jambhekar is also known as ‘The Father of Marathi Journalism’, for his efforts in starting journalism in the Marathi language, in the form of first Marathi newspaper and first Marathi monthly.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray; Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica flagged off

The 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was flagged off on January 05, 2021, from Mormugao Port, Goa.

The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin has been chosen for the prestigious 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) mission journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days. The expedition journey has 43 members onboard.

India’s major fuel supplier, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) for the mission.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Goa Capital: Panaji.
  • Governor of Goa: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
  • Chief Minister of Goa: Pramod Sawant.

PM Modi inaugurates Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 450-km Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline built at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore via video conferencing. The event marks an important milestone towards the creation of One Nation One Gas Grid.

Natural gas pipeline network will be doubled in 5-6 years and CNG stations will be raised to 10,000 from current 1,500.

The pipeline will carry natural gas from Kochi in Kerala through Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod districts to Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.

It has been built by GAIL (India) Limited. It will carry natural gas from the LNG Regasification Terminal at Kochi. The pipeline will supply environment-friendly PNG.

The pipeline grid will help improve clean energy access as well as also aid in the development of city gas projects.


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International Headlines

U.S. Congress passes “Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

The U.S. Congress has passed the ‘Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act’ to increase the number of scholarships for Pakistani women in higher education under merit and needs-based programme.

The bill was passed by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1. The bill now heads to the White House for U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.

The bill requires the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to award at least 50% of scholarships under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme to Pakistani women, from 2020 to 2022, across a range of academic disciplines and in accordance with existing eligibility criteria.

The bill also requires USAID to consult with and leverage investments by the Pakistani private sector and Pakistani diaspora in the United States to improve and expand access to education programmes in Pakistan.


Appointments News 

Lt Gen Shantanu Dayal to take charge as Deputy Chief of Army Staff

Lt Gen Shantanu Dayal has been named the new Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS). Lt Gen Dayal is the Corps Commander of the Tejpur based 4 Corps. He will take the place of Lt Gen SS Hasabnis who superannuated on December 31 as soon as his replacement arrives.

Indian Army has undergone a major reshuffle at the top within the Army Headquarters and at the various other formations including the Corps Commanders, administrative and training institutions witnessing the change of guard.

The other significant change is in the newly-created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) with Chief of Defence Staff as its first Secretary.

Lt Gen Taranjit Singh, the first Army officer to join as the Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) under the Ministry of Defence.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief of the Army Staff: General Manoj Mukund Naravane

 Pankaj Mithal sworn in as CJ of J&K, Ladakh Court

Justice Pankaj Mithal has been appointed as the new Chief Justice (CJ) of the Common High Court for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh in Jammu on January 04, 2021.

Chief justice Mithal has been appointed in view of the retirement of chief justice Gita Mittal recently. Chief Justice Mithal was administered the oath of office by Lieutenant Governor of J&k, Manoj Sinha.

GJC elects Ashish Pethe as New Chairman

The All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), the national apex body of the gems and jewellery industry, has announced the appointment of Ashish Pethe as chairman and Saiyam Mehra as vice chairman for a period of two years.

Pethe has been closely associated with GJC and was the Zonal Chairman West, which he will continue even after this new position.

The entire e-Voting election process was conducted by an authorised independent person (Chief Election Authority), and the voting platform was created by a digital agency, both appointed by GJC.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council HQ: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council Founded: 2005.

Sanjay Kapoor elected All India Chess Federation president

Sanjay Kapoor was elected president of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) while Bharat Singh Chauhan retained the secretary’s post.

Kapoor, representing Uttar Pradesh Chess Association, defeated incumbent PR Venketrama Raja in a close contest.

Kapoor received 33 votes as against 31 of Raja. Chauhan beat Ravindra Dongre 35-29. Apart from the president, secretary and treasurer, six vice-presidents and six joint secretaries were also elected.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • All India Chess Federation Headquarters:  Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; Chennai.
  • All India Chess Federation Founded: 1951.

Banking News

IDBI Bank launches video KYC facility for opening savings bank accounts

IDBI Bank announced the launch of video KYC account opening (VAO) facility for savings bank accounts. Through the facility, a customer can open a savings account with the lender from the convenience of his/her home or office as there are no physical forms to be filled or visits to be made to the branch.

Video KYC is a quick and easy way to open a savings account from the comforts of your home. It ensures that the online journey for opening savings account remains safe, simple, and fast eliminating the need to visit the branch for KYC.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • IDBI Bank CEO: Rakesh Sharma.
  • IDBI Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Business News 

Bajaj Auto becomes world’s most valuable two-wheeler company

Indian multinational two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturing company, Bajaj Auto has become the most valuable two-wheeler company in the world, after it crossed a market capitalization of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore, on January 01, 2021.

Bajaj’s share price on NSE closed at Rs. 3,479 per share on the first day of 2021, leading to a market capitalization of more than Rs 1,00,670.76 crore.

Thus, Bajaj Auto is not only the most valued company in the two-wheeler segment but also the first-ever two-wheeler company in the world to have reached this market cap milestone.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Headquarter of Bajaj Auto: Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Managing Director of Bajaj Auto: Rajiv Bajaj.

Agreements News

Indian Army inks pact with Goa Shipyard to get 12 fast patrol boats

  • Indian Army has inked a contract with Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) to procure 12 Fast Patrol Boats for surveillance and patrolling of large water bodies, including those in high altitude areas like Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh.
  • Pangong Tso’s 134-km length is divided into eight ‘fingers’, military parlance for mountain spurs jutting into the water body that is contested by both sides. The lake is frozen with the onset of winters, and the Army plans to deploy around two dozen such boats by next summer.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief of Army Staff: General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

Tata Power partners with SIDBI to offer easy & affordable financing scheme for MSME

Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, announced its partnership with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) to offer easy and affordable financing scheme for MSME customers in the rooftop solar segment.

This scheme will empower MSMEs to adopt sustainable energy for their businesses and promote greener.

Easy and affordable financing has been one of the barriers for penetration of Solar in the MSME sector in the country.

In order to address this challenge, Tata Power and SIDBI have joined hands to design a unique Solar financing solution for the MSME customers helping them switch to rooftop solar without any collateral at an interest rate less than 10%.

This will also be complemented with a quick sanction and disbursement process (within 7 days with disbursement in 4 days).

This financing scheme is exclusively for MSME customers of Tata Power for both off-grid and on-grid connections.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) set up on 2nd April 1990.
  • SIDBI Headquarters: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
  • SIDBI Chairman & MD: Devendra Kumar Singh.
  • Tata Power CEO: Praveer Sinha.
  • Tata Power Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Science and Technology

Japan to launch the first wood-based satellite by 2023

Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry company and Kyoto University aims to launch the world’s first wood-based space satellite by 2023 to combat the problem of space junk.

Currently, the initiative is in the nascent stage as several wooden materials are being tested by the research team to find a suitable one for space missions. It is also reported that the team is also working towards developing wooden materials extremely resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA) statistical model, there are more than 130 million pieces of anthropogenic space debris—waste residue due to human activities—smaller than a millimetre around our planet. The debris can travel at a speed of more than 22,300 mph and can impact other satellites.


Obituaries News

World Cup winning hockey player Michael Kindo passes away

Olympic bronze and World Cup-winning hockey player Michael Kindo passed away. He played 3 Men’s Hockey World Cup in 1971,1973 & 1975 where India bagged bronze, silver & gold medals.

He also represented in 1972 Olympic Games where India secured a bronze medal. Kindo received the Arjuna Award in 1972.


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