Current Affairs in English

9th Jan 2022 Current Affairs and GK Updates in English

Important Days

DPIIT and Commerce Ministry to organize Startup India Innovation Week

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has decided to organize a week-long virtual innovation celebration called ‘Startup India Innovation Week’ to showcase the spread and depth of entrepreneurship across India.

The virtual event will be organized from January 10 to January 16, 2022. The event also aims to commemorate the 75th year of India’s independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

‘Startup India Innovation Week’ will have sessions ranging from topics such as enhancing market access opportunities, discussions with industry leaders, best practices by states, capacity building of enablers, reverse pitching by incubators, technology exhibitions, corporate connect, and more.

“The program is expected to bring together top policymakers, industry, academia, investors, startups, and all ecosystem enablers from across the globe,”.

National

Election Commission hikes expenditure limit for candidates in polls

The Election Commission of India has increased the existing election expenditure limit for candidates in Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, due to the rise in inflation. The new limits will be applicable in all upcoming elections in the country.

The previous major revision in the election expenditure limit was done in 2014. It was further increased by 10% in 2020. EC had formed a Committee to study the cost factors and other related issues and make suitable recommendations.

The ceiling on parliamentary poll expenditure has been raised from 70 lakh to 95 lakh rupees in bigger states and 54 lakh to 75 lakhs in smaller states.

The bigger states include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Karnataka. The smaller states include Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and UTs. The ceiling on poll expenditure in UT of Jammu and Kashmir has been raised to 95 lakhs.

For Assembly constituencies, expenditure limits have been enhanced from 28 lakh rupees to 40 lakh rupees in bigger states and from 20 lakhs to 28 lakhs in smaller states.

Hyderabad gets India’s first Open Rock Museum

Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh has inaugurated India’s first Open Rock Museum in Hyderabad, Telangana. Museum displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India with ages ranging from 3.3 billion years to around 55 million years of the Earth’s history.

The Open Rock Museum, set up with the aim of educating and enlightening the masses about several lesser-known facts, displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India.

These rocks also represent the deepest part of the earth, up to 175 km from the surface of the earth. The rocks have been sourced from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and others.

KVIC launched India’s first “Mobile Honey Processing Van”

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena has launched the country’s first Mobile Honey Processing Van at Village Sirora in Ghaziabad. The Mobile Van has been designed in-house by KVIC at its Multi-disciplinary Training Centre, Panjokehra, at a cost of Rs 15 lakh.

This mobile honey processing unit can process up to 300 KG of honey in 8 hours. The van is also equipped with a testing laboratory, that would instantly examine the quality of honey.

The Mobile Honey Processing Van comes as a major development under KVIC’s Honey Mission which aims at training beekeepers, distributing Bee Boxes to farmers, and helping rural, educated as well as unemployed youth to earn extra income through beekeeping activities.

International

OPEC appoints Kuwait’s Haitham Al Ghais as the new secretary-general

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has appointed Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham Al Ghais as its new secretary-general, as demand for oil continues to improve amid a mild recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait’s Opec governor from 2017 to June 2021, will take the group’s reins in August, replacing Mohammad Barkindo.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • OPEC Headquarters: Vienna, Austria;
  • OPEC Founded: September 1960, Baghdad, Iraq.

Justice Ayesha Malik to be Pakistan’s first woman Supreme Court, judge

Pakistan has moved closer to appointing the first woman judge of the Supreme Court after a high-power panel approved the elevation of Lahore High Court judge Ayesha Malik to the apex court.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, approved Malik’s elevation by a majority of five votes against four.

This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik’s elevation. Justice Malik’s name first came before the JCP on September 9 last year but the panel was equally split, resulting in the rejection of her candidature.

Economy

Ind-Ra lowers India’s GDP growth forecast by 10 basis points to 9.3% in FY22

The rating agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has downgraded the GDP of India for the current fiscal FY 2021-2022. Ind-Ra expects the GDP to clock a growth rate of 9.3% y-o-y in FY22.

Earlier this estimate was 9.4%. Meanwhile, Brickworks Ratings has also revised India’s GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal (FY22) to 8.5-9%. Earlier this was estimated at 10%. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is the main driver to downgrade GDP growth projections.

Business

SBI General Insurance launched the ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ campaign

State Bank of India General Insurance Company Ltd has launched a campaign titled ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ to increase awareness around the need to buy health insurance to save tax. It will also highlight the other benefits of opting for health insurance.

The campaign aims to increase the awareness of how buying health insurance can help people save tax which is crucial and seasonal in the last quarter of the financial year for all Indians. The campaign will also underline the other benefits of opting for health insurance.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • SBI General Insurance Founded: 24 February 2009;
  • SBI General Insurance Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra;
  • SBI General Insurance MD & CEO: Prakash Chandra Kandpal;
  • SBI General Insurance Tagline: Suraksha Aur Bharosa Dono.

Science and Technology

ICMR approves India-made first kit ‘OmiSure’ to detect Omicron

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a testing kit for detecting the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The covid kit developed by Tata is called ‘OmiSure’ and will be an enhancement for the detection of the Omicron variant. The kit is manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics.

The tests have been performed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Responsibility for batch-to-batch consistency lies with the manufacturer. The Tata Medical and Diagnostics has developed a kit ‘OmiSure’ that can detect the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV2 in nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal specimens during the RT-PCR tests.

The test kit is compatible with all standard Real-Time PCR Machines. The test run time of this kit is 85 minutes. The result turnaround time, including sample collection and RNA extraction, is 130 minutes.

Awards

3rd National Water Awards for 2020 announced

Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has declared the winners of the third National Water Awards for the year 2020. Uttar Pradesh has been adjudged as the Best State in water conservation efforts in the National Water Awards 2020. It is followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu respectively.

The award comes with a citation, trophy, and cash prize. Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh received the best district award in the northern zone followed by Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar in Punjab.

3rd National Water Awards 2020 list is given below:

CategoryWinners
“Best State”Uttar Pradesh
“Best District” – North ZoneMuzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh
“Best District”– South ZoneThiruvanathapuram, Kerala
“Best District”– East ZoneEast Champaran, Bihar and Godda, Jharkhand
“Best District”– West ZoneIndore, Madhya Pradesh
“Best District”– North-East ZoneGoalpara, Assam
“Best Village Panchayat”– North ZoneDhaspad, Almora, Uttarakhand
“Best Village Panchayat”– South ZoneYelerampura Panchayat, Tumakuru District, Karnataka
“Best Village Panchayat”– East ZoneTelari Panchayat, Gaya District, Bihar
“Best Village Panchayat”– West ZoneTakhatgadh, Sabarkantha, Gujarat
“Best Village Panchayat”– North-East ZoneSialsir, Sirchip, Mizoram
“Best Urban Local Body”Vapi Urban Local Body, Gujarat
“Best Media (Print & Electronic)”Mission Paani (Network 18)
“Best School”Govt. Girls Hr. Secondary School, Kaveripattinam, Tamil Nadu
“Best Industry”Welspun India Textile Ltd., Gujarat
“Best Water User Association”Panchgachiya MDTW WUA, Hooghly, West Beng
“Best Industry for CSR activities”ITC Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal

Summits and Conferences

Union Minister Jitendra Singh inaugurates 24th Conference on e-Governance 2020-21

Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh has inaugurated the 24th National Conference on e-Governance in Hyderabad, Telangana. The theme of the two-day Conference is ‘India’s Techade: Digital Governance in a Post Pandemic World’.

The conference has been organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the State Government of Telangana.

The conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-governance initiatives across the country, providing opportunities for civil servants and industry captains to showcase their successful interventions in e-governance in improving end-to-end service delivery.

Delegates from 28 states and 9 Union Territories along with academia, research institutions, IT industry would be participating in the conference through virtual mode.

Sports

Winter Olympics-bound Md Arif Khan included in Target Olympic Podium Scheme

Sports Ministry’s Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) of India has approved the inclusion of Alpine Skiing athlete Md Arif Khan in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Core group, until the Winter Olympics, scheduled this February in Beijing, China.

The feat earned Khan the unique distinction of becoming the first Indian to win direct quota spots in two different Winter Olympics events, besides being the first athlete from the country to seal a berth at the Winter Olympic games 2022.

Khan will take part in the Winter Olympics in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events. He has also been approved an amount of Rs 17.46 Lakh under TOPS towards training in Europe and procurement of equipment, ahead of the grand event in China. Khan’s current training base is in Austria, where he is accompanied by his coach and physio.

Books and Authors

A new book titled “Gandhi’s Assassin: The Making of Nathuram Godse and His Idea of India” by Dhirendra Jha

Dhirendra K. Jha, a Delhi-based journalist, has authored a new book titled “Gandhi’s Assassin: The Making of Nathuram Godse and His Idea of India”.

The book explores Godse’s relationship with the organizations that influenced his view and gave him a sense of purpose and draws out the gradual hardening of Godse’s resolve that led to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

Obituary

Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Nongkynrih passes away

Founder of Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) and renowned Indian concert pianist Neil Nongkynrih passed away.

In 2010, SCC performed for former US President Barack Obama & Michelle Obama during their visit to India.

SCC’s version of ‘Vande Mataram was played during the live telecast program Indian space rocket Chandrayaan – 2’s landing on the moon. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Shri – India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.

First black man to win Best Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier passes away

Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, has died at the age of 94. In 1963, Poitier had made a film in Arizona, Lilies of the Field. The performance led to a huge milestone making him the first black winner of a lead-acting Oscar.

He was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama for his work. Sidney Poitier started his career as an actor in theatre in the 1940s before his breakthrough film role in the 1950 release No Way Out. Over a five-decade career in films, he worked both as an actor and director. His last appearance on screen was in the 1997 film Jackal.

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