Current Affair 21st January 2021

Table of Contents

1. D Tripathi invited to watch R Day Parade

Gorakhpur’s CBSE Topper – Diyangi Tripathi has been invited to watch the Republic Day Parade 2021 from PM’s box. Divyangi, who topped the district in Class 12 in 2020 by scoring 99.6% is among the other meritorious students who have been invited to view the parade alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this Republic Day.

2. Statehood Day of three states: 21 January

Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura observe their Statehood Day on 21 Jan. Under North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, Tripura, Manipur, and Meghalaya attained statehood on January 21, 1972. The princely states of Tripura and Manipur were merged with India in October 1949. The capitals of the states of Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura are Shillong, Imphal, and Agartala, respectively.

3. Mata Prasad passes away

Former Arunachal Pradesh Governor Mata Prasad passed away in January 2021. Mata Prasad served as a Minister in the Congress government in Uttar Pradesh in 1988-89 and was appointed as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh in 1993. He belonged to Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh. He authored many books including a book on Arunachal Pradesh titled ‘ManoramBhoomi-Arunachal’.

4. HP’s first online youth radio station launched

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur launched the states first online youth radio station Radio Hills-Youngistan Ka Dil on 20 Jan 2021. The online radio station would help in promoting culture and traditions of the state besides providing an opportunity to the youth to exhibit their talents. The platform would also be available on Apple i-phones, besides Android.

5. Rajiv Lochan: New MD of Sundaram Finance

Sundaram Finance has announced that Rajiv Lochan, Director of Strategy, will assume the role of its MD with effect from April 1, 2021. TT Srinivasaraghavan, the current MD, will complete his term on March 31, 2021, and will retire from service after 38 years with the company, the last 18 years being the MD. Harsha Viji, Deputy MD, will assume the office of Executive Vice Chairman.

6. Zerodha launches Step-up SIP option

Zerodha, the countrys biggest stockbroker and a direct mutual fund platform has introduced a plan called Step-up SIPs on @CoinByZerodha to fight the dilemma of under-investment. Coin is the name of the direct mutual fund platform by Zerodha. A person can set how much his SIP value should go up by every year, through this plan.

7. Antler to deploy $100 mn in Indian startups

Global early-stage venture capital (VC) fund Antler plans to invest more than $100 million across 150 Indian technology startups in the next four years. The fund has appointed investor Nitin Sharma as partner and co-lead for its India operations. Sharma will co-lead the India efforts with Rajiv Srivatsa, who is the co-founder of Urban Ladder and was appointed to the fund in 2020.

8. Flipkart-ABFRL deal gets CCI approval

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the Rs. 1,500-crore Flipkart-Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) deal. It will help Flipkart consolidate its position in the apparel business. CCI has approved the acquisition of a 7.8% minority stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd by Flipkart Investments Private Ltd. The deal was announced in October 2020.

9. SBI MF launches a fund with term insurance

SBI Mutual Fund has launched its flagship retirement benefit fund. It is aimed at long-term investing and offers four different investment plans with different asset allocation strategy in each plan. The scheme comes with a SIP Insure feature, where monthly SIP with tenure of three years and above will be covered under a term insurance plan by SBI Life Insurance.

10. Malinga to retire from franchise cricket

Lasith Malinga will retire from franchise cricket. He had informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier in January 2021. Mumbai Indians has released seven players including Malinga, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and James Pattinson for the 2021 edition of the IPL. The retained players include Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet, etc.

11. Government to get Rs. 1,544 crore from IRFC IPO

The government will get Rs. 1,544 crores from the initial public offering (IPO) of the Indian Railway Finance Corporation. The Rs. 4,633 crores IPO of Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) was subscribed 3.49 times on the final day of bidding on 20 Jan 2021. So far in the current fiscal, the government has mopped up Rs. 15,220 crore from disinvestment and share buyback.

12. SEBI grants approval to RIL-Future Group deal

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has granted approval to the Future Group and Reliance Retail deal. In August 2020, Future Group had entered into a Rs. 24,713 crore agreement with Reliance Retail. As part of the deal, Future Group was to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehouse businesses to Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL).

13. Delhi govt grants Rs. 10,000 to wage labourers

The Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board have granted COVID-19 relief disbursement of Rs. 10,000 each to 407 construction workers. The workers had registered under the board till September 30, 2018. Over 2,000 construction workers who had registered with the Board in March 2020 will also receive a relief amount in the coming weeks.

14. NDRF celebrated its 16th Foundation Day

National Disaster Response Force, NDRF celebrated its 16th Foundation Day on 20 Jan 2021. A special program was organized on this occasion in New Delhi with the Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai as the Chief Guest. NDRF was constituted for the purpose of a special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

15. MP purchases 37.26 lakh metric tonnes of paddy

In Madhya Pradesh, there has been a record purchase of 37.26 lakh metric tonnes of paddy on MSP for the year 2020. It recorded excess paddy purchases in all the districts of the state on support price except Vidisha compared to 2019. Districts with maximum procurement include Hoshangabad, Raisen, and Sehore. Payment of Rs 5000 crore has also been disbursed to the farmers.

16. 24th Hunar Haat in Lucknow from 22 January

Ministry of Minority Affairs will organize the 24th Hunar Haat at Avadh Shilpgram, Lucknow, UP from 22 January to 4 February 2021. The theme would be Vocal for Local. Artisans and craftsmen from 31 States and Union Territories of the country will participate in the Hunar Haat. Renowned artists of the country will perform cultural events on the theme of Atma Nirbhar Bharat every day at Hunar Haat.

17. Premier League being held in J&K

In J&K, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha declared open Premier League on 20 Jan 2021. It is an ambitious sporting event for the youth that will enhance the quality of competition and performance of the players. Jammu & Kashmir is the first to organize 1250 matches across all the districts in four different disciplines, such as Football, Hockey, Volleyball, and Kabaddi.

18. India, EU held 1st maritime security dialogue

India and the European Union held their 1st maritime security dialogue in a virtual format on 20 Jan 21. The consultations involved exchanges on developments in the maritime security environment, regional cooperation activities, etc. The EU-India Maritime Dialogue was chaired by Director Joanneke Balfoort in the EU External Action Service and Joint Secretary Sandeep Arya on the Indian side.

19. MoU approved between India, Uzbekistan

The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between India and Uzbekistan for cooperation in solar energy. The main area of work is to identify research between the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI), Uzbekistan in mutually identified areas including solar photovoltaic and storage technologies.

20. Bilateral meeting held with Singapore

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh co-chaired the 5th India-Singapore Defence Ministers Dialogue along with Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Republic of Singapore on 20 January 2021. The Ministers witnessed the signing of the Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation signed between the Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy.

21. ‘Chintan Baithak’ being held at Gujarat

A three-day Ports Review Meeting named ‘Chintan Baithak’ is being held at Gujarat from 21st to 23rd Jan 2021. It is being chaired by the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya. The Chintan Baithak will include sessions on exploring new vistas of urban transportation, effective implementation of SAROD-Ports, and issues related to international arbitrations,

22. COVID-19 vaccines reach Bhutan and Maldives

India has started the supply of COVID vaccines to its neighbouring and key partner countries. India dispatched the COVID vaccines to Bhutan and Maldives under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, on 20 Jan 2021. Bhutan has been gifted 1,50,000 doses of Covishield vaccines developed by Serum Institute of India (SII). Maldives has also been gifted 1 lakh doses of SIl developed Covishield.

23. 18th Convocation of Tezpur University

PM Narendra Modi will address the 18th Convocation of Tezpur University, Assam, on 22 Jan 2021. The event will witness the conferring of degrees and diplomas upon 1,218 students who passed out in 2020. 48 toppers of various undergraduate and postgraduate programs will be awarded gold medals. Only the Ph.D. scholars and gold medalists will receive their degrees and medals in person.

24. Cabinet approves investment for a project

The Cabinet has given its approval for the investment of over 5200 crore rupees for 850 MW Ratle Hydro Electric (HE) Project. It is located on river Chenab, in Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir. This will be a new Joint Venture Company (JVC) of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd (JKSPDC).

25. SpaceX delivers 60 more Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched its seventeenth batch of Starlink satellites during its first mission of 2021 on 20 Jan 2021. It used Falcon 9 rocket that was flying for the eighth time, and that landed again, recording a record for its reusability program. It aims to provide global broadband coverage from up to 42,000 satellites and has delivered over 1,000 satellites.

26. Malayalam actor Unnikrishnan Namboothiri dies

Veteran Malayalam actor Unnikrishnan Namboothiri passed away in January 2021. He made his acting debut with Desadanam 1996. He had also played a pivotal role in Kamal Haasan’s hit comedy-drama, Pammal K Sambandam (2002).

27. Apple’s latest patent for FacelD

Apple has received a new patent related to Face ID, which is a biometric user authentication system. The patent details next-generation face recognition technology that uses a face heat mapping. The company’s patent filing also includes details of the new technology, describing “occlusion” of the user in images during the facial recognition process.

28. South Korea’s Naver acquires Wattpad

Story-telling platform Wattpad has been acquired by South Korean’s Naver in a $600 million cash-and-stock deal. The acquisition will combine Wattpad and Webtoon into a platform with a joint global monthly audience of 160 million users. Naver’s Webtoon is a digital comics platform. Wattpad will remain headquartered in Toronto under the leadership of co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen.

29. Delhi airport installs sensors at Terminal 3

513 overhead sensors have been installed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Terminal 3. These generate a density map that alerts ground staff immediately when flyers breach social distancing norms. The sensor system sends alerts to a team of over 200 marshals and ground staff that helps them to precisely identify the area where social distancing rules are being flouted.

30. EV battery that can fully charge in 5 minutes

An Electric-Vehicle battery that can be charged in five minutes has been produced for the first time in a factory in China. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China. The company has produced 1000 sample batteries compliant with li-ion battery certifications. Standard batteries take about eight hours to fully charge.

31. Indian Railways renames Howrah-Kalka Mail as Netaji Express

Indian Railways has renamed Howrah-Kalka Mail as ‘Netaji Express’ ahead of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations. Started in the 19th Century as one of the early commercial passenger train services in India, the Kalka mail connects Howrah with Kalka. It is said that Bose took this train from Gomoh in Bihar after he escaped from his house in Kolkata in 1941.

32. Govt nominates 28 non-official members on NSAC

A National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) has been formed which includes Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran, among others, who have been nominated as non-official members. The 28-member council will suggest measures to foster a culture of innovation amongst citizens and students in particular. The term of the non-official members of the startup advisory council shall be for a period of 2 years.

33. TN CM to unveil memorial for Jayalalithaa

The grand memorial built for former Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa will be unveiled on 27 Jan 2021 by the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Spread over 50,000 sq feet, the structure is built at a cost of Rs 79.75 crore alongside the Marina Beach in Chennai. Edappadi laid the foundation of the giant structure in 2018.

34. SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank remain SIBs: RBI

The RBI has informed that SBI, along with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank continues to be Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) or institutions that are ‘too big to fail’. SIBs are subjected to higher levels of supervision so as to prevent disruption in financial services in the event of any failure. The Reserve Bank had issued the framework for dealing with D-SIBs in July 2014.

35. Nagpur’s Gorewada Zoo renamed

The Maharashtra government has renamed Nagpur’s Gorewada International Zoo as Balasaheb Thackeray Zoological Park. The zoological park, spread over 1,900 hectares, will be inaugurated on January 26, 2020, by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The park will offer different kinds of safaris and will have a rescue center. It will also offer opportunities for research for wildlife researchers.

36. MORTH and DRDO to collaborate

Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have signed an MoU. They will strengthen collaboration in the field of technical exchange and co-operation on sustainable geo-hazard management. MORTH and DRDO will co-operate in the areas of mutual benefit including, conceptual planning of integrated avalanche/landslide protection schemes.

37. Flipkart gets BCMS certification

Flipkart has got a business continuity management system (BCMS) certification after having met requirements set by the British Standard Institute (BSI). BSI is an accredited business standards company. As part of this exercise, 26 sites including Flipkart’s Corporate Office in Bengaluru and 25 other warehouses across the country received the ISO 22301:2012 certification in the first attempt.

38. Airtel Payments Banks launches ‘safe pay

Airtel Payments Bank has launched a mode of safe digital transactions to protect customers from online frauds. Airtel Safe Pay is will prevent online frauds when customers transact through UPI or net-banking using the Airtel Payments Bank. The new payment gateway, which is free of cost, will offer protection against phishing, stolen credentials or passwords, and phone cloning.

39. Odisha govt reduces tuition fee in schools

Odisha government has announced the reduction of tuition fees in all aided and unaided private schools for the 2020-2021 academic session in wake of the prevailing pandemic situation. The reduction will be made in seven different slabs. While there will be no waiver for schools charging Rs. 6,000 per annum, those charging between Rs. 6,001 to Rs. 12,001 will reduce the tuition fee by 7.5 per cent.

40. Cruise, GM partner with Microsoft

Cruise and General Motors have entered a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. Microsoft is joining GM, Honda and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 bn in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation to $30 bn. GM will work with Microsoft as its preferred public cloud provider.

41. Avalokana software launched

Karnataka CM B. S. Yediyurappa launched Avolokana software on 20 Jan 2021. It will enable the government to access data on sanctions and expenditures incurred by 39 departments on 1,800 programmes implemented by them. It is a transparent e-governance tool that will provide Assembly constituency-wise release of Government grants and allocations under different development programmes.

42. BSE signs MoU with Maharashtra govt

BSE has joined hands with the Maharashtra government to create awareness about the benefits of listing among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the state. BSE has signed an MoU with the government of Maharashtra in this regard. It will provide training and capacity-building support to District Industries Centre officials, as part of the pact.

43. Strawberry Festival inaugurated in Jhansi

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on January 17, 2021, inaugurated the Strawberry Festival of Jhansi. During the festival, workshops will also be organized to encourage the farmers to opt for strawberries. A work plan has also been made to encourage strawberry farming in Jhansi. The festival will continue till 16th February 2021.

44. India Innovation Index-2020 released

NITI Aayog released the second edition of the India Innovation Index-2020 on 20 Jan 2021. Karnataka retained its first position in the Major States category. Maharashtra moved one position higher and stood at 2nd spot while Tamil Nadu slid to 3rd position. In the North East and Hill States category, Himachal Pradesh stands at first position followed by Uttarakhand and Manipur.

45. Tripura celebrates 43rd Kokborok Day

People of Tripura celebrated the “43rd Kokborok Day” by organizing a colourful procession at Agartala in Tripura, on 19 Jan 2021. Kokborok, the native language of Tripura, is formed by two words ‘Kok’ which means language and ‘borok’ means people and is one of the branches of Tibeto-Burman languages. It is spoken by various Tripura tribes, such as Tripuri, Jamatia, Noatia, Kalai, Riang, etc.

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