Current Affairs in English

13th Jan 2022 and 14th Jan 2022 Current Affairs in English

National

India Skills 2021 competition concluded

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.

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.

The winners of the India Skills 2021 competition will also have the opportunity to compete in the World Skills International Competition in Shanghai, China, in October 2022.

The competitions were held at multiple locations, including Pragati Maidan and offsite locations in the National Capital Region, from 7 to 9th of this month.

India’s first heli-hub to be set up in Gurugram

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 in 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.

9th edition of North East Festival concludes

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 organized 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.

Indian Railways launches Mission Amanat to help passengers track their lost belongings

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Western Railways zone of Indian Railways has launched a new initiative called “Mission Amanat” to make it easier for railway passengers to get back their lost luggage.

Under Mission Amanat, the details of lost luggage and belongings along with photos will be uploaded on the official website of the zonal railway, https://wr.indianrailways.gov.in/. This will help the passengers in tracking and getting back their lost belongings as well as ensure the safety and security of passengers and their luggage and belongings.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Railway Board: Vinay Kumar Tripathi.

Kochi became India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project

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).

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Kerala Capital: Thiruvananthapuram;
  • Kerala Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan;
  • Kerala Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan.

International

Alikhan Smailov appointed as new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

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.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Kazakhstan Capital: Nur-Sultan;
  • Kazakhstan Currency: Kazakhstani tenge.

Appointments

Rocket scientist S Somanath appointed as new 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 specialized 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.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka;
  • ISRO established: 15 August 1969.

Rajkumar Rao named as the brand ambassador of RenewBuy

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 conceptualized 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.

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas appointed as next IMF’s Chief Economist

French-born economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas has been named as the next chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He will succeed Gita Gopinath, the first woman to serve as the Fund’s chief economist.

He will take over as first deputy managing director of IMF from January 21, 2022. Initially, Gourinchas will join the IMF on a part-time basis from January 24, 2022. He will take upon a role on a full-time basis from April 1, 2022.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • International Monetary Fund Formed: 27 December 1945;
  • International Monetary Fund Headquarters: Washington D.C., USA;
  • International Monetary Fund Member countries: 190;
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director: Kristalina Georgieva.

Banking

RBI set up a separate department for “FinTech”

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.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Reserve Bank of India Founded: April 1, 1935;
  • Reserve Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor: Shaktikanta Das.

Business

Centre will hold 35.8% stakes of Vodafone Idea in the form of equity

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.

Economy

Retail inflation rises to 5.59% in December 2021

Retail inflation in December 2021 rose to a six-month high of 5.59 percent from 4.91 percent 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 percent against 1.87 percent in November 2021.

According to data released by the ministry of statistics and program implementation, prices of cereals, eggs, 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.

UBS Projects India’s GDP forecast at 9.1% in FY22

Swiss brokerage UBS Securities has lowered the growth forecast of the Indian economy for the current financial year (FY22) to 9.1 percent due to a massive surge in Omicron infections. Earlier this was estimated at 9.5 percent.

However, UBS Securities has revised upwards the real GDP forecast of India in FY23 to 8.2 percent. This was projected at 7.7 percent earlier.

World Bank projects India’s GDP growth at 8.3% in FY22

The World Bank has projected the Indian economy to grow at the following rate in its ‘Global Economic Prospects report released on January 11, 2022.

The World Bank retained its FY22 growth forecast for India at 8.3 percent but upgraded it to 8.7 percent for FY23, from 7.5 percent estimated earlier, citing improving growth prospects, especially a reviving private CAPEX cycle.

The forecast for FY2022/23 and FY2023/24 for India has been upgraded to 8.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, reflecting higher investment from the private sector and in infrastructure, and dividends from ongoing reforms.

World Bank has lowered the Global economy growth rate as follows:

  • 2021 – 5.5 per cent
  • 2022 – 4.1 per cent
  • 2023 – 3.2 per cent

Defence

DRDO successfully test-fires the final deliverable configuration of MPATGM

Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), in its final “deliverable configuration”.

MPATGM will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited at its facility in Bhanoor, Telangana. The purpose of testing the missile was to check its consistent performance at a minimum range, which is 200-300 meters.

MPATGM has already completed a similar successful test for a maximum range of 4,000 meters. With this successful test of the MPATGM, the system is now ready for production in large numbers in India.

India successfully test-fires naval variant BrahMos cruise missile

Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired an extended range sea-to-sea variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Navy.

This advanced sea to sea variant of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile was launched from INS Visakhapatnam, a stealth guided-missile destroyer of the Indian Navy.

BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, produces supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.

The missile can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms. BrahMos missile flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.

Awards

Actress Harshaali Malhotra awarded 12th Bharat Ratna Dr. Ambedkar Award 2022

The 2015 film Bajrangi Bhaijaan fame actress, Harshaali Malhotra has been awarded the 12th Bharat Ratna Dr. Ambedkar Award 2022. She received the award from Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor of Maharashtra, for her commendable performance in the movie and contribution in the field of Indian Cinema.

The Government of Maharashtra organized the Bharat Ranta Dr. Ambedkar national Awards 2022 ceremony in the memory of Dr. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar as a part of the upcoming 73rd Republic Day.

Sports

New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel wins ICC Player of the Month Award

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.

Mission Olympic Cell adds 10 athletes to the TOPS list

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.

Athletes added to the Core group includes:

  • Aditi Ashok (Golf)
  • Fouaad Mirza (Horse Rider/ Equestrian)
  • Anirban Lahiri (Golf)
  • Diksha Dagar (Golf)
  • Mohammed Arif Khan (Alpine Skiier )

Athletes added to the Development group includes:

  • Shubhankar Sharma (Golf)
  • Tvesa Malik (Golf)
  • Yash Ghangas (Judo)
  • Unnati Sharma (Judo)
  • Linthoi Chanambam (Judo)

Tata group replaces Chinese mobile manufacturer 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.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Tata group Founder: Jamsetji Tata;
  • Tata group Founded: 1868, Mumbai;
  • Tata group Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • Chairman of the Board at Tata Sons: Natarajan Chandrasekaran.

South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris retires from cricket

South African all-rounder Chris Morris has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Morris has played in four Tests, 42 ODIs, and 23 T20Is for South Africa. Morris made his Test debut as late as 2016 and featured in only four games in the traditional format, making 173 runs and taking 12 wickets.

With the bat in hand, Morris scored 467 runs in ODIs and 133 in T20s respectively. In February 2021, Rajasthan Royals doled out a record INR 16.25 crores to avail of his services. Morris has also played for Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Chennai Super Kings franchises in the IPL.

Ranks and Reports

Henley Passport Index 2022: India Ranks 83rd in Q1

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.

Important Days

National Youth Day2022: Nation observes National Youth Day on January 12

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 the 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.”

The decision to celebrate Vivekananda’s birthday as National Youth Day was taken in 1984, and it was first marked on January 12, 1985.

Obituary

European Parliament President David Sassoli passes away

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 in Strasbourg, France.

Kannada writer ‘Champa’ passes away

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.

Miscellaneous

David Bennett world-first human receives a Pig Heart Transplant

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.

India’s oldest sloth bear ‘Gulabo’ passes away at 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 in 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 center for sloth bears.


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