Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

17th and 18th Dec 2021 Current Affairs in English

Important Days

International Tea Day: 15 December

International Tea Day is observed every year on December 15 in countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India, and Tanzania. It is the second most used drink in the world after water. For some people, tea is an integral part of life which adds rhythm.

China is currently the largest exporter of tea. According to a study conducted by the Tea Board of India in 2007, around 80 percent of the total tea produced in India is consumed by the domestic population.

The first ITD was held in New Delhi in India in 2005. However, in 2015, the Indian government proposed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to expand International Tea Day across the world. The reason for the UN celebrating May 21 as International Tea Day is that the season of tea production begins in May in most of the tea-producing countries.

Nation Observes 50th Vijay Diwas on 16 December 2021

In India, Vijay Diwas (also called Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16. The country is celebrating the 50th Vijay Diwas in 2021.

Vijay Diwas is observed to commemorate the service, valor, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces’ victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

On this day, we pay homage to all the soldiers who had defended the nation in the war. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.

It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini. The end of the war also resulted in the subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.


7th edition of India International Science Festival begins in Panaji

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated the seventh edition of the India International Science Festival at Panaji, Goa.

The theme of the 4-day science festival is ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ – “Celebrating Creativity, Science, Technology, and Innovation for a prosperous India”.

First India International Science Festival was held in 2015 at IIT Delhi. The main aim of the Science Festival is to bring into use the innovations by the people and develop technology that is affordable to the masses.

Govt laid the foundation stone for Maa Umiya Dham Development Project in Gujarat

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has laid the foundation stone of Umiya Mata Dham temple and temple premises under Maa Umiya Dham Development Project at Umiya Campus in Sola in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

They will be developed at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore on 74,000 square yards of land. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually attended and addressed the foundation stone laying of the project. He stated the Project as an example of the notion of ‘SabkaPrayas’ (Efforts of everyone).

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Gujarat Capital: Gandhinagar;
  • Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat;
  • Gujarat Chief minister: Bhupendrabhai Patel.

Uttarakhand’s Askot Wildlife Sanctuary declared Eco-Sensitive Zone

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), an area of 454.65 square kilometres around the boundary of Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand has been declared as the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ).

The notified area extends from 0 to 22 km around the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary. The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary was established to protect the endangered flagship species Musk Deer and its habitat. The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Musk Deer Park.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change: Bhupender Yadav.

India to raise legal marriage age for women

The proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 was cleared by the Union Cabinet. Presently, the minimum age of marriage for men is 21 but for women, it is 18.

The government will now look to introduce amendments to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act, and the Hindu Marriage Act to bring the plan into action. This will give a chance to the girls to study more. They will be able to enjoy their independence. They will also get better employment opportunities.”

ADB approves $112 million loans to establish Assam Skill University

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $112 million loan to strengthen skills education and training through the establishment of the Assam Skill University (ASU).

The Loan will create a path for skill development to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Assam’s economy and industries.

An additional $1 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will support the introduction of technologies for smart campus management, integrated teaching, learning, and career development management.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Assam Governor: Jagdish Mukhi;
  • Assam Chief Minister: Himanta Biswa Sarma.

UNESCO recognizes Kolkata’s Durga Puja as Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO has added Durga Puja in Kolkata to its 2021 list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, giving international recognition to the biggest religious festival of the 331-year-old city and the state of West Bengal.

The UNESCO’s announcement was welcomed by Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) as chief minister Mamata Banerjee is widely recognized as the biggest patron of the festival.


Arvind Kumar joins Software Technology Parks of India as DG

Arvind Kumar has joined as Director General of Software Technology Parks of India. Software Technology Parks of India is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology Government of India.

STPI is fuelling the culture of tech entrepreneurship and innovation in the country by launching 25 + Centres of Entrepreneurship in emerging technology domains.

Currently, STPI-registered units have reached IT/ITeS/ESDM exports of over Rs. 5 lakh crores. STPI is one of the largest tech incubators in India with an area of approx.13 lakh square feet spread across various Tier 1/2/3 cities.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Software Technology Parks of India Founded: 1991;
  • Parent organisation Software Technology Parks of India: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

British-Indian Leena Nair is the new global CEO of Chanel

French fashion house Chanel named Leena Nair, an executive from Unilever, as its new global CEO. Nair’s career at Unilever spanned 30 years, most recently as the chief of human resources and a member of the executive committee.

The recruitment of Nair, who rose through the ranks of Unilever having started out as a trainee on the factory floor, comes as the fashion industry is under pressure to show a more inclusive approach.

Ravinder Bhakar assumed charge of NFDC, films division and CFSI

CEO of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Ravinder Bhakar has assumed charge of National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Films Division, and Children Films Society of India (CFSI).

He is a 1999-batch officer of the Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS). He has been assigned these charges in addition to his present duties as CEO of the film certification body.


Andhra Pradesh tie-up with UN-FAO & ICAR for sustainable agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh Government to train the farmers in good farm management practices and sustainable agricultural methods. The FAO apart, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is collaborating on the project.

FAO will provide training to farmers, Rythu Bharosa Kendram (RBK) staff, officials, and scientists on new technologies in agricultural allied sectors and training to farmers on best cultivation management practices.

In 2020, Rythu Bharosa Kendram (RBK) or farmer support centers were set up in AP as part of an effort to weed away fake seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers from the markets.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Food and Agriculture Organisation Headquarters: Rome, Italy.
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation Head: Qu Dongyu.
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation Founded: 16 October 1945.

TVS Motor and BMW Motorrad tie-up to make electric vehicles

India’s TVS Motor Company will develop electric vehicles (EV) with BMW’s motorcycle brand in India, joining a host of Indian automakers that have sought to expand their clean mobility offering.

The tie-up comes at a time when new-age start-ups like Ola Electric & Ather are ramping up investment in electric scooters.

Under the extended scope of the partnership, the companies plan to come up with an electric vehicle platform in addition to the existing internal combustion platform for both global and domestic markets. The first product under the enhanced co-operation, an electric model suited for the urban ecosystem, is expected to make its debut in the next 24 months.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • TVS Motor Company CEO: K. N. Radhakrishnan;
  • TVS Motor Company Headquarters: Chennai;
  • TVS Motor Company Founder: T. V. Sundram Iyengar;
  • TVS Motor Company Founded: 1978.

Adani tie-up agreement with SECI for green power

Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) has signed a purchase agreement with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to supply 4,667 MW of green power. It is the world’s largest-ever green power purchase agreement (PPA).

The agreement is part of a manufacturing-linked solar tender of 8,000 MW awarded to AGEL by SECI in June 2020. So far, AGEL has signed PPAs with SECI for a total generation capacity of close to 6,000 MW of the 8,000 MW awarded in 2020. The company expected to complete the balance of 2000 MW in the coming 2 to 3 months.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Established: 2011;
  • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi;
  • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Chairman: Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi;
  • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited Managing Director:  Suman Sharma.

IIT-Delhi tie-up with IAF to improve indigenization efforts

IIT-Delhi signed an MoU with Indian Air Force (IAF) to support requirements towards indigenous solutions in various weapon systems.

Under the MoU, The IAF has identified key focus areas involving the development of technology and finding indigenous solutions towards the sustenance of various weapon systems.

The partnership between IIT Delhi and IAF will also boost the efforts of Base Repair Depots (BRDs) of Maintenance Command IAF.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Air Force Establishment: 8 October 1932;
  • Indian Air Force Headquarters: New Delhi, Delhi;
  • Indian Air Force Chief of the Air Staff: Vivek Ram Chaudhari;
  • Indian Air Force Motto: Touch the Sky with Glory.

Odisha tie-up with UNCDF to launch “Mission Shakti Living Lab”

Odisha inked an agreement with United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to launch “Mission Shakti Living Lab” for the financial empowerment of women. A Global Centre for Financial Health, to launch Mission Shakti Living Lab empowering women economically and drive gender equality.

The use of digital technologies and e-commerce will increase the income and financial well-being of women, self-help groups (SHGs), and households by helping them in the factors of planning, saving, borrow or spending better. It will address the barriers related to the autonomy and financial freedom of women.

Mission Shakti was launched in 2001 to enhance the holistic development of women, there are 6.02 lakh self-help groups (SHGs) comprising 70 lakh members across rural and urban areas of Odisha under the initiative. This initiative led to an increase in the income of SHG members from Rs 3,000 to 15,000 per month in Odisha.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • UN Capital Development Fund Founded: 1966;
  • UN Capital Development Fund Headquarters: New York, United States;
  • UN Capital Development Fund Executive Secretary: Preeti Sinha.


Axis Bank tied up with Swift to provide a digital banking solution

Axis Bank is working with new digital services from provider Swift to provide a comprehensive digital solution to clients.

The bank is integrating with different digitization initiatives by government bodies and service providers to extend an end-to-end service to business clients.

Axis bank’s B2B (business-to-business) digitization efforts are being supported by Swift, a cooperative of global banks that acts as an intermediary between banks and sets standards.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Axis Bank Founded: 3 December 1993;
  • Axis Bank Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • Axis Bank MD & CEO: Amitabh Chaudhary;
  • Axis Bank Chairperson: Shri Rakesh Makhija.


ADB projected growth forecast for 2021-2022 for India at 9.7%

Asian Development Bank has trimmed its 2021 growth forecast for India to 9.7 percent from 10 percent but left the 2022 growth forecast unchanged at 7.5 percent.

The inflation forecast of developing Asia was revised to 2.1 percent for 2021 and unchanged at 7 percent for 2022.

In its Asian Development Outlook Supplement Report of December 2021, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed the growth forecasts for developing Asia for 2021-2022 to reflect the economic impact and uncertainty caused by the new Omicron COVID -19 variant.

Wholesale inflation surges to 14.23% in November

Producers’ inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has reached an all-time high in the current series at 14.23 percent in November.

This is the eighth successive month of double digits WPI (mainly due to the hardening of prices of mineral oils, basic metals, crude petroleum, and natural gas).

Wholesale Price-based Index (WPI) inflation base year is 2011-12. Also, the spike is highest since April 2005.


WhatsApp announces Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India

WhatsApp has announced the Digital Payments Utsav for 500 villages in India. WhatsApp’s Digital Payments Utsav is a pilot program that promotes digital payments to empower individuals and businesses and is meant as a project to further the cause of financial inclusion. The aim is to empower villagers with access to digital payments via the ‘payments on WhatsApp’.

WhatsApp announced the Digital Payments Utsav – a pilot program that is going to adopt 500 villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra in an effort to “accelerate financial inclusion”.

Digital Payments Utsav took off on October 15 this year in the Kyathanahalli village in the Mandya district of Karnataka.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • WhatsApp Founded: 2009;
  • WhatsApp CEO: Will Cathcart;
  • WhatsApp Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, United States;
  • WhatsApp Acquisition date: 19 February 2014;
  • WhatsApp Founders: Jan Koum, Brian Acton;
  • WhatsApp Parent organization: Facebook.

Paytm launches EdTech Platform “Paytm Wealth Academy”

Paytm, which got listed in bourses last month, has announced the launch of Paytm Wealth Academy, a tech-powered educational platform. The launch of the wealth academy is initially on the Paytm Money app, the wealth management app owned by Paytm’s wholly-owned subsidiary Paytm Money. Paytm Wealth Academy will initially be available to select users, followed by a complete rollout.

The Paytm Wealth Academy will allow users to learn trading and financial concepts at their own pace at their level of comfort. The platform offers a wide catalog of courses and webinars along with personalized recommendations for users, curated to complement their existing knowledge.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Paytm Founded: August 2010;
  • Paytm Headquarters: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India;
  • Paytm CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma.


India inducts 148 athletes into the list of TOPS athletes for the 2024 Olympics

A total of 148 athletes, including 20 new inductees, in seven Olympic disciplines and six Paralympic disciplines, have been identified for support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme at a meeting of the Mission Olympic Cell of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The TOP scheme is an attempt to provide assistance to India’s top athletes. This scheme was started in 2014.

The Mission Olympic Cell approved lists in Cycling, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling as well as Para Sports (Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis). Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Equestrian, Fencing, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Rowing, and Tennis will be taken up in the next meeting later this month.

Science and Technology

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe enters the Sun’s upper atmosphere

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has entered the Sun’s upper atmosphere for, first time in history. In 2018, launched the Parker Solar Probe aims to unravel the mysteries of the Sun by traveling closer to it.

After three years of launching, Parker has finally arrived in the solar atmosphere. Parker Solar Probe has flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere for the first time in history – the corona. The probe sampled particles and magnetic fields there.

The new milestone marks one major step for Parker Solar Probe and one giant leap for solar science. Just as landing on the Moon allowed scientists to understand how it was formed, touching the very stuff the Sun is made of will help scientists uncover critical information about our closest star and its influence on the solar system.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • NASA administrator: Bill Nelson;
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States;
  • NASA Founded: 1 October 1958.


Army Chief Naravane takes charge as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee

Army Chief General M.M. Naravane has assumed the charge as the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee that comprises the three service chiefs.

The post fell vacant following the death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in the Indian Air Force helicopter crash on December 8.

General Naravane has been given the charge, as he is the senior-most among the three service chiefs. IAF Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar had taken over their respective positions on September 30 and November 30.

Before the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff, the senior-most among the three service chiefs used to be the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.


7-time champion Lewis Hamilton receives knighthood at Windsor Castle

Lewis Hamilton has picked up a new title only days after losing one on the track. The seven-time Formula One champion received a knighthood at Windsor Castle, London. Hamilton gets the honorary title of “Sir” after being knighted by the Prince of Wales for services to motorsports.

Three other F1 drivers have been knighted: Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, and Jackie Stewart. Hamilton is the first to be awarded while still competing in the sport.

Bhutan confers PM Modi with its highest civilian award

Bhutan has honored PM Modi with its highest civilian award, Ngadag Pel gi Khorlo. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering has announced PM Modi’s name for Bhutan’s highest honor.

The honor comes as an appreciation for India’s friendly approach to Bhutan under PM Modi’s governance. During the pandemic, India had extended support to the neighboring country in the form of vaccines, medicines, and other emergency services.

List of International Awards received by Narendra Modi:

1. Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
2. State Order of Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan (Afghanistan)
3. Grand Collar of the State of Palestine Award (Palestine)
4. Order of Zayed Award (United Arab Emirates)
5. Order of St. Andrew award (Russia)
6. Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin (Maldives)
7. Champions of the Earth Award (United Nations Environment Programme)
8. Global Goalkeeper award (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Bhutan Capital: Thimphu;
  • Bhutan Prime minister: Lotay Tshering;
  • Bhutan Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum.

Sunil Gavaskar honored with SJFI Medal 2021

The Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) has decided to honor former Indian Cricketer and cricket commentator Sunil Manohar Gavaskar with its prestigious ‘SJFI Medal 2021’ at SJFI Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Guwahati, Assam.

SJFI Medal is the highest honor of SJFI. SJFI was founded on 27th February 1976 at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal.

Other SJFI Awards:

SJFI Sportsman of the year 2021Neeraj Chopra (Javelin)
SJFI Sportswoman of the year 2021Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting)
SJFI Team of the Year 2021Indian Men’s Hockey team
SJFI Parathletes of the year 2021(Men)Pramod Bhagat (Badminton) and Sumit Antil (Javelin)
SJFI Parathletes of the year 2021(Women)Avani Lekhara (rifle shooter)
SJFI Special Recognition AwardOlympic Gold Quest (OGQ)

Simone Biles named Time Magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year

Simone Biles was named Time magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year. The world’s most decorated gymnast, a four-time Olympic medalist, was hailed for putting her mental health first when she withdrew from four event finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Despite the setback, the 24-year-old managed to earn a team all-around silver and a bronze in balance beam at the Tokyo Games. Biles along with hundreds of athletes accused the FBI, USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee of failing to stop the abuse.

A month after the Tokyo Olympics, Biles gave an emotional testimony at a US senate hearing into former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse scandal.

Books and Authors

A Book titled ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Punditry’ by Dr. Shashi Tharoor

Former union minister and Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Dr. Shashi Tharoor‘s 23rd book titled ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Punditry’ was launched in Hyderabad, Telangana.

There are ten sections in this book, each devoted to a particular topic such as modern Indian history, Indian Politics, etc. He has won ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ for 2019, awarded his book – ‘An Era of Darkness.

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