Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

13th & 14th Jan 2021 Current Affairs Headlines

Important Days

National Youth Day: 12 January

National Youth Day is celebrated in India every year on 12 January to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

The day was declared by the Government of India in 1984 while the event was first celebrated in 1985. 

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 2021, we are observing 158th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand (12 January 1863). The theme for National Youth Day 2021 is ‘Channelizing Youth Power for Nation Building‘.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and Mission on 1 May 1897.
  • In 1898, he established Belur Math.

National Headlines

 First time in history, Union Budget 2021 to be paperless

Union Budget 2021, slated to be presented on February 1, is going to be completely paperless in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This will be the first time since independence that the budget papers will not be printed. The Centre has received permission for the same from both houses of parliament.

The decision has been taken as several people (approximately 100) would be required to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight amid the COVID-19 fear.

The budget papers are usually printed at the ministry’s in-house printing press in the North Block.

This year’s budget may reportedly witness several conventions being broken as the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony, which is a given every year is also not likely to take place, or a low-key function may be held with limited gathering in attendance.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

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

Manipur: CM Biren Singh virtually inaugurated Cherry Blossom Festival

The 4th edition of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Mao in Manipur was virtually inaugurated by Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

However this year, the authority decided to scale down the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Festival featured the picturesque landscape of Mao adorned with beautiful cherry trees laden with blooming flowers which have traditionally attracted visitors from across the world. Manipur has been celebrating the festival every year since 2017.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Manipur: N. Biren Singh; Governor: Najma Heptulla.

Nitin Gadkari to launch “Khadi Prakritik Paint” developed by KVIC

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will be launching an innovative new paint developed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

The eco-friendly, non-toxic paint, called “Khadi Prakritik Paint” is a first-of-its-kind product, with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties.

Based on cow dung as its main ingredient, the paint is cost-effective and odourless and has been certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

Khadi Prakritik Paint is available in two forms – distemper paint and plastic emulsion paint.

Production of Khadi Prakritik Paint is aligned with Prime Minister’s vision of increasing farmers’ income.

First-ever Ice climbing festival celebrated in Nubra valley

In Leh, the first-ever Ice climbing festival was celebrated in Nubra valley. The Seven Day event was organized by Nubra Adventure Club.

Ice climbing is a popular winter sport abroad. To promote winter tourism in Nubra valley, Nubra Adventure Club, with the help of Social activist Dr Nordan Otzer, has organized the Seven Day Ice Climbing Festival.

Trainer Rigzin Tsewang said that Nubra has the potential to be the ice climbing capital in the Himalayas.

Suriname’s Indian-origin President to be Republic Day chief guest

President of the Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26.

India had initially invited Boris Johnson to be the chief guest but the British PM had to cancel his visit in view of the grim coronavirus situation back home.

Earlier this week, Santokhi was the chief guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, held by the Ministry of External Affairs and he delivered the keynote address.

He was sworn in as the president of Suriname in July 2020, when his party, the Progressive Reform Party, won 20 of the 51 seats in the elections.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Suriname Capital: Paramaribo.
  • Suriname Currency: Suriname Dollar.
  • Suriname Continent: South America.

Banking & Economy

ICRA Projects India’s real GDP to expand by 10.1% in FY22

Domestic rating agency ICRA Ratings expects the real gross domestic product (GDP) of India to grow by 10.1% in the financial year 2021-22 (FY2022).

The rating agency ICRA had earlier projected a contraction of 7.8% for the ongoing fiscal 2020-21.

The seemingly-sharp expansion will be led by the continued normalisation in economic activities as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines gathers traction and the low base.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ICRA Headquarters: Gurgaon, Haryana.
  • ICRA Non-Executive Chairman and Director: Arun Duggal.

RBI imposed Rs 2 crore fine on Deutsche Bank for non-compliance

The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Deutsche Bank AG for non-compliance with certain provisions of directions concerning interest rate on deposits.

The central bank said the statutory inspection of Deutsche Bank’s financial position as on March 31, 2019, and the Risk Assessment Report revealed non-compliance with the ‘Reserve Bank of India (Interest Rate on Deposits) Directions, 2016’.

The action was based on the deficiencies in regulatory compliance and was not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Deutsche Bank CEO: Christian Sewing.
  • Deutsche Bank Headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Deutsche Bank Founded: 10 March 1870.

India’s retail inflation drops to 4.59 % in December

India’s retail inflation fell sharply to 4.59 per cent in December, mainly due to declining food prices, government data showed.

Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.93 per cent in November.

Food inflation declined to 3.41 per cent in December in 2020, compared to 9.5 per cent in the previous month, according to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) factors in retail inflation while arriving at its monetary policy.


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Appointments

RS Sharma to head empowered panel for Covid-19 vaccine

The Union government has appointed RS Sharma, former Trai chief, as the chairperson of an empowered committee for the administration of Covid-19 vaccine. A ten-member team has been constituted to be headed by Sharma.

This has come days ahead of the mega vaccination drive is to start in India. He has also been included as a member of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 that was formed in August 2020.

RS Sharma was the first person to officially initiate a discussion on vaccination delivery in the government in the summer of 2020 when Covid-19 cases peaked.


Defence

Dr Ajay Kumar co-chairs 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue

The 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue was held in a virtual format. The virtual event was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar along with Vietnamese Sr Lt Gen Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defence Minister, Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Defence Secretary and the Deputy Defence Minister expressed satisfaction at the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries in spite of the limitations imposed by COVID 19.

Both countries exchanged views on the plan of action from the recently concluded Virtual Summit between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc in December 2020.

Both the sides reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further elevate engagements between the Armed Forces under the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Both sides agreed that in the recent past our respective countries have made notable strides in Defence Industry and Technology cooperation and look forward to even greater cooperation in this field.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Vietnam Capital: Hanoi.
  • Vietnam Currency: Vietnamese dong.
  • Vietnam Prime Minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Coastal defence exercise “Sea Vigil 21” kicks off

A major exercise to test military readiness at sea along the coastline of the country starts. This is the second edition of the biennial pan-India coastal defence exercise “Sea Vigil-21” will be conducted on January 12 and 13.

The two-day exercise involving all stakeholders, states and Central government agencies will set the tempo of operations, including “transition from peace to conflict”. 

The exercise, inaugural edition of which was conducted in January 2019, will be undertaken along the entire 7,516-km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India.

It will involve all 13 coastal states and Union Territories along with other maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

Exercise ‘Sea Vigil-21’ is expected to provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and thus will help in further strengthening maritime and national security. The exercise is being coordinated by the Indian Navy.

The entire coastal security set up was re-organised after the 26/11 terror attack at Mumbai which was launched using the sea route.

Assets of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Customs and other maritime agencies will participate in the exercise.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Karambir Singh.
  • Indian Navy Founded: 26 January 1950.

Agreements

Bharat Biotech inks pact with Precisa Med to supply Covaxin to Brazil

Bharat Biotech has announced that it has signed an agreement with Precisa Medicamentos for the supply of its indigenously manufactured Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ to Brazil.

The supplies of Covaxin will be prioritized for the public market, through direct procurement by Brazil government.

A team from Precisa Medicamentos had visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Genome Valley near here last week to discuss export of COVAXIN, India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Bharat Biotech Founded: 1996.
  • Bharat Biotech Headquarters location: Hyderabad.
  • Bharat Biotech Executive director: Dr V Krishna Mohan.

Ranks and Reports

India Ranks 85 in Henley Passport Index 2021

The Henley Passport Index 2021 has been released by Henley & Partners, based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

As per the latest report, India has been ranked 85th among 110 countries, in the Henley Passport Index for 2021, with a visa-free score of 58.

The index presents the original ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Japan has once again topped the list of being the most powerful passport in the world, for the third consecutive year. Japanese citizens can travel to as many as 191 countries visa-free. Singapore is in second place (190) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (189). Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are the countries with the worst passport, with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • International Air Transport Association Headquarters: Montreal, Canada.
  • International Air Transport Association Founded: 19 April 1945.
  • International Air Transport Association Leader: William M. Walsh.
  • Henley & Partners Headquarters location: London, United Kingdom.
  • Henley & Partners Founded: 1997.
  • Henley & Partners Chairman: Christian Kalin.
  • Henley & Partners CEO: Juerg Steffen.

Sports News

Dhaka Marathon 2021: Jigmet Dolma from Ladakh wins 4th position

Jigmet Dolma from India secured the fourth position in the Dhaka Marathon 2021. Jigmet Dolma is an SPO of Ladakh police. In the marathon, Hicham Lakohi of Morocco came first in the elite competition of the marathon in men’s category while Angela Jim Asunde from Kenya won the women’s category in the same event.

In the full marathon, among the SAARC and local runners, Bahadur Singh of India became the champion in the men’s category and Pushpa Bhandari of Nepal became the champion in the women’s category.

The marathon was organized to commemorate the return of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Pakistan jail to Bangladesh in 1972.

Jay Shah named BCCI’s Official Representative on ICC Board

Jay Shah has been named as the official representative of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meetings.

Shah is the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

He will replace BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who was currently representing India at the ICC Board, but he suffered a heart condition recently and had to be admitted to hospital where he underwent primary angioplasty.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • President of BCCI: Sourav Ganguly.
  • Headquarters of BCCI: Mumbai, Maharashtra; Founded: December 1928.

Obituary

Padma Shri Awardee Telugu Journalist Turlapati Kutumba Rao passes away

Veteran journalist and orator (public speaker) Sri Turlapati Kutumba Rao has passed away. He is known for his service to journalism in the Telugu language.

He has written over 4000 biographies and delivered over 16000 public speeches which have been recorded by the Telugu Book of Records as a world record.

Rao has received a number of honour for his field of work, including the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri, in 2002, making him the first journalist from the state of Andhra Pradesh to receive the award.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author & journalist Neil Sheehan passes away

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author & journalist Neil Sheehan passed away. He covered the Vietnam War for United Press International and the Times from 1962 to 1966.
  • He won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1989 for “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.”

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