Current Affairs 13th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. Japan’s passport most powerful in 2021

Japan has topped the list of being the most powerful passport in the world for the year 2021, according to the latest report by the Henley Passport Index. India ranks 85th in the most powerful passport report with a visa-free score of 58. Pakistan (rank 107) and Nepal (rank 104) continue to be in the ‘worst passports to hold’ category.

2. Varanasi to export fabric to MNCs

Varanasi, the city famous for its silk sarees, is now going to export quality fabric to multinational companies. The Japanese lifestyle retailer, UNIQLO is planning to bulk purchase the raw material for its clothing from Kashi. UNIQLO will process the materials in a factory in Gujarat. The deal will help the weaving industry of Varanasi.

3. Airtel receives approvals for investments

Bharti Airtel has informed that pursuant to the FDI approval in January 2020 granted to it, the company has received necessary approvals for its relevant downstream investments. It is initiating the process to revise its foreign investment limit, as notified to its depositories, to 100% with immediate effect.

4. Paytm now offers Futures & Options trading

Paytm has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Paytm Money now provides Future Options trading (FO) on its platform, along with its other offerings – Stocks, Direct Mutual Funds, ETF, IPO, NPS, and Digital Gold. The platform has launched this service with the most competitive brokerage at Rs. 10 for all FO trades and the low pricing is without any commitments or packages or contracts.

5. Amazon India launches ‘Amazon Academy’

Amazon India has announced the launch of Amazon Academy to help students preparing for the JEE for entrance to engineering colleges. The beta version of Amazon Academy will be available free of cost on the web and the Google Play store. Amazon Academy will offer students a range of JEE preparatory resources, including specially crafted mock tests by industry experts.

6. Online short film competition on MyGoV

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with the National Film Development Corporation, NFDC is organizing and hosting an online short film competition on MyGOV open forum. The theme for the entries will be Emergence of a New India with a can do, will do attitude. The selected top entries will be awarded cash prizes. The first prize is Rs 1 lakh, 2nd is Rs 50,000 and 3rd is Rs 25,000.

7. Manipur: 4th to undertake ULB reforms

Manipur has become the 4th state in India to successfully undertake Urban Local Bodies, ULB reforms stipulated by the Dept of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. The state has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of 75 crore rupees through open market borrowings. Manipur has now joined the 3 other states Andhra Pradesh, MP, and Telangana, who have completed this reform.

8. Capacity building programme in Jammu district

In Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor to Lt. Governor Farooq Khan inaugurated a capacity building program for children of Jammu district on child rights, child protection, and Juvenile Justice Act. The program was organized by the National Development Foundation in collaboration with the District Child Protection Office at The Institution of Engineers, Channi, Jammu.

9. First-ever Ice climbing festival celebrated

In Leh, the first-ever ice climbing festival which was celebrated in Nubra valley concluded on 11 Jan 2021. The 7-day event was organized by Nubra Adventure Club with the help of Social activist Dr. Nordan Otzer. 18 participants across Nubra valley including 4 women, took part in ice climbing. Three trainers Rigzin Tsewang, Tsewang Namgyal, and Kran Kowshik imparted training to participants.

10. Gujarat CM announces new tourism policy

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani has announced the new Tourism Policy with a view to develop and augment tourism in a sustainable manner. The New Tourism Policy 2021-25 will remain effective from 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2025. The focus of the new policy will be on Vocal for Local’ to boost employment at the local level.

11. Cabinet expansion of Karnataka

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is expanding his cabinet and the oath-taking ceremony was held on 13 Jan 2021. Seven to eight legislators were sworn in by the Governor. This is the third expansion since Yediyurappa took over as CM in July 2019. In August 2019, 17 ministers were inducted, while in February 2020, ten newcomers to the BJP were inducted into the Cabinet.

12. Odisha govt waives examination fees

The Government of Odisha has waived the examination fees for matriculation students of the ongoing academic session. More than six lakh students will benefit from this decision. The decision to exempt the students from paying their exam fees entails about 27 crore rupees as a cost to the government. 420 rupees was the exam fees per head that have been waived off now.

13. Bangladesh contingent to take part in R-Day

A 122 member strong Bangladesh armed forces contingent has departed for India to take part in the Republic Day parade on 26 Jan 2021. This is only the third time in India’s history that any foreign military contingent has been invited to participate in the National Parade at Rajpath in Delhi. It is especially significant as the year 2021 marks 50 years of the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

14. 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue

Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar co-chaired the 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue along with his Vietnamese co-chair Sr Lt Gen Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defence Minister of Vietnam, on 12 Jan 21. Both exchanged views on the plan of action that has emanated from the recently concluded virtual summit. They reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives.

15. Kayakalp awards to public health facilities

Public and private health facilities were felicitated on 12 Jan 2021 with the Kayakalp award for high standards of sanitation and hygiene. The government had launched a national Initiative Kayakalp on 15th May 2015 to ensure hygiene, sanitation, and cleanliness in public health facilities in India. The scheme has now spread to 26,172 public health facilities.

16. NECBDC sign MoU with J&K govt

The Ministry of DoNER, through North East Cane Bamboo Development Council (NECBDC), has signed an MoU with J&K Government for Bamboo Entrepreneurship and Bamboo Infrastructure Development. The signing of the MoU will give impetus to bamboo production, it’s processing and associated business, and to develop the bamboo industry into a strong industry of J&K.

17. New Foreign Trade Policy in effect from 1 Apr

The meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was held on 12 Jan 21 on the subject New Foreign Trade Policy 2021-26. It was informed that the new Foreign Trade Policy-FTP will come into effect from 1st April 2021 for a period of 5 yrs. It was also informed that the District Export Hubs Initiative will form an important component of the FTP.

18. PM Fasal Bima Yojana completes 5 years

The Central Government’s flagship crop insurance scheme – the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has successfully completed 5 years of its operation. The scheme was launched on 13th January 2016. The scheme extends coverage for the entire cropping cycle from pre-sowing to post-harvest including coverage for losses arising out of prevented sowing and mid-season adversities.

19. Army to induct women as pilots in aviation

The Army has decided to induct women as pilots in its aviation wing and the first batch is to be admitted for training in July 2021. As of now, women are allowed in air traffic control and ground duties in the Army aviation wing. In 2018, flying officer Avani Chaturvedi of the Indian Air Force scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.

20. 12 foreign films to be screened in IFFI 2021

The 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has announced the slate of 12 foreign films that will be screened under the Kaleidoscope section of the upcoming movie gala. Every year, the Kaleidoscope section showcases handpicked films, representing the best of the world cinema. A total of 224 films will be screened under different sections at the 51st edition of IFFI.

21. AIM launches new edition of ATL handbook

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog launched its new edition of the Atal Tinkering Lab, ATL handbook on 12 Jan 2021. The handbook named ‘The Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook 2.0’ outlines practical guidance on structural, selection, establishment, and celebration aspects of the AIM’s flagship ATL programme. NITI Aayog has established over 7000 ATLS across the country.

22. Container ro-ro ferry conducts trial run

A trial run of the proposed container roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferry service in the Willingdon Island-Bolghatty Island corridor of Kochi was held on 11 Jan 2021. The trial run was held using one of the two brand new ro-ro vessels. It took about 30 minutes to cover the distance, as compared to over one-and-a-half hours that lorries would take if they took the road route.

23. Govt. plans to make free power to the farm sector

The Andhra Pradesh government is initiating measures to make the nine-hour supply of power to the farm sector free of cost a permanent scheme. The State has embarked on the installation of a 10,000 MW solar power plant for the supply of free power to the farm sector for the next 30 years. The government is spending Rs. 8353.58 cr. on implementation of the free power scheme.

24. CBDT launches e-portal for filing complaints

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has launched an e-portal for filing complaints about tax evasion, ‘benami’ assets, and undisclosed assets overseas. People can now submit a tax-evasion appeal through under the head “file complaint of tax evasion/ undisclosed foreign asset/’benami’ property”. The Department will allot a unique number to each complaint.

25. 11 Indian companies in Hurun’s top 500 list

11 private Indian firms have made it to the list of 500 most valuable companies across the world, and the country is ranked 10th on the Hurun Global 500 report. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads among the local enterprises and is ranked 54th globally, as per the list. The list of 500 is led by consumer technology major Apple with a valuation of $2.1 trillion.

26. Tesla officially enters in Indian market

Tesla will be starting a research and development centre in Bengaluru. It has registered with the Registrar of Companies on 8 January 2021. Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited has incorporated itself in Bengaluru, with its main office on Lavelle road. Vaibhav Taneja, Venkatrangam Sreeram and David Jon Feinstein are listed as Directors of the incorporated entity.

27. L&T Infotech, IBM to set up innovation centre

Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI) and IBM have joined hands to establish an innovation centre in Bengaluru in 2021. The centre will offer a comprehensive suite of IBM’s cloud, automation, integration, data and artificial intelligence solutions to foster innovation. IBM will provide training to LTI employees to facilitate co-creation workshops and solution development for their clients.

28. upGrad appoints Zubin Gandevia as APAC CEO

upGrad has announced its entry into the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and appointed ex-Disney head Zubin Gandevia as CEO for the forthcoming unit. Gandevia served as the President for APAC and Middle East at Fox Networks Group Asia for seven years and also as COO for 7 years. Gandevia joined Fox from Star TV Network, where he created and scaled the National Geographic Channel.

29. MassMutual to set up Global Capability Center

US-based MassMutual announced the opening of a Global Capability Center(GCC) in Hyderabad on 11 Jan 2021. It has hired more than 300 persons and already leased a 1.5 lakh sqft office space in Hyderabad. It has an investment plan of over Rs 1,000 crores for the GCC. MassMutual is a 170-year old top Fortune 500 organization and a world leader in the insurance and the finance industry.

30. F1 postpones Australia, China Grands Prix

Formula One has confirmed a revised calendar for the start of the 2021 season after the postponement of the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix. Australia was due to open the season in Melbourne on 21 March while China on 11 April 2021. F1’s plan is to hold 23 races this year and Bahrain will now host the first on 28 March 2021.

31. Elon Musk donates $5 million to Khan Academy

Elon Musk has donated $5 million to the American non-profit educational organisation Khan Academy through his Musk Foundation aiming to boost online education. Elon Musk, along with his brother Kimbal, founded the private charitable foundation in 2002. Khan Academy, which was founded in 2008, focuses on creating a set of online tools that help educate students, by creating video lessons.

32. Telangana helpline to ban synthetic ‘manjha’

Telangana Forest Department has decided to strictly implement a ban on nylon/ artificial thread and glass-coated ‘manjha’ for kite-flying. The board has set up 24×7 helpline to report violations of the ban. In 2017, the National Green Tribunal imposed a total ban on ‘manjha’ which is made of nylon and any artificial material and/or is coated with artificial material and is non biodegradable.

33. Walmart to create fintech startup with RC

U.S. retail chain Walmart Inc has entered a strategic tie-up with investment firm Ribbit Capital (RC) to create a new fintech startup. The startup will be majority owned by Walmart. Ribbit Capital’s current investment portfolio includes mobile investment platform Robinhood and consumer technology platform Credit Karma,

34. RBI cancels licence of Vasantdada Bank

The RBI has canceled the license of Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd., Osmanabad, Maharashtra to carry on banking business, with effect from the close of business on 11 Jan 21. More than 99% of the depositors of the bank will get full repayment of their deposits. The RBI had also canceled the licenses of Mapusa Bank, CKP Cooperative bank, and the Karad Janata Sahakari Bank Ltd in 2020.

35. SpiceJet inks MoU with Brussels Airport

SpiceJet has signed an agreement with Belgium’s Brussels Airport for providing seamless transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. As a part of the MoU, Brussels Airport would provide assistance to SpiceJet with regards to slots, networking contracts etc. for speedy delivery of vaccines. As part of this association, Brussels Airport will be SpiceJet’s first flight point for Europe,

36. NSIC, Airtel team up

Bharti Airtel and National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) have teamed up to drive the digital transformation of MSMEs in India. Airtel will make it easier for millions of small and medium businesses to get access to Airtel’s connectivity, conferencing, cloud, security, and go-to-market solutions. Airtel already serves over one million medium and small businesses across India.

37. Pipli to be developed as a tourist hub

The Haryana government has decided to develop Pipli in Kurukshetra as a world-class tourist hub. The tourist hub which will be developed on Saraswati Setu in Pipli would attract tourists from within the country and abroad and also place Haryana on the international tourist map. Apart from boating, the hub would also offer a wide range of facilities like restaurants, parks, museums etc.

38. Cherry Blossom Festival in Senapati

Manipur CM N Biren Singh inaugurated the ‘Virtual Cherry Blossom Festival’ at Mao in Senapati district of the state on 9 Jan 2021. The cherry blossom, also known as Prunus cerasoides also covers the whole of east and west Khasi hills. These vibrant flowers grow in the wild but can be spotted across the state during October and November in Meghalaya.

39. Odisha CM announces Rs 92.37 cr assistance

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has announced financial assistance of Rs 92.37 crore for the welfare of kendu leaf pluckers and other workers associated with it. Of the total amount, Rs 59.78 crore will be disbursed as a bonus. He also announced that the ex gratia in case of the death or permanent disability of a kendu leaf worker would be increased to Rs 2 Lakh from Rs 1 Lakh.

40. Indian Railways bags 13 honours

Indian Railways has bagged 13 honours at the National Energy Conservation Awards 2020. Western Railway has been awarded the 1st prize, Eastern Railway has been awarded the 2nd prize, North Eastern Railway and South Central Railway has been awarded Certificate of Merit in the transport category. In Building Category, Divisional Railway Manager’s office at Bhavnagar has won the first prize.

41. Sanitary pad vending machines for schools

To promote menstrual hygiene, the Punjab Government will provide sanitary pad vending machines for girls in schools. The Punjab School Education Department has released a grant of Rs. 8.6 crore for 2521 high and senior secondary government schools across the state after the approval of the Education Minister Vijay Indira Singla. Under this scheme, each school would get a grant of Rs.32,000.

42. Vanadium found in Arunachal Pradesh

Geologists have found promising concentrations of vanadium in the palaeo-proterozoic carbonaceous phyllite rocks in the Depo and Tamang areas of Arunachal Pradesh’s Papum Pare district. Geologists discovered two bands of about 7-metre thick carbonaceous phyllite for a length of more than 6 km in the Depo area. Vanadium is a high-value metal used in strengthening steel and titanium.

43. India discovers its first lithium reserves

India has discovered its first lithium reserves in the igneous rocks located in the Marlagalla-Allapatna region of Karnataka’s Mandya district. The discovery is very small in size though in the present and stands at only 1,600 tonnes of lithium. The discovery was made in the preliminary survey of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD).

44. Unichem Labs gets USFDA nod

Drug firm Unichem Laboratories has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)to market its generic Celecoxib capsules. These are used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and acute pain. It has received abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) approval for its Celecoxib capsules in the strengths of 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 400 mg.

45. IIM Indore signs three-year MoU

IIM Indore will decorate Ayodhya beginning with the upcoming Makar Sankranti. IIM Indore has signed a three-year MoU with Ayodhya Municipal Corporation for this purpose. The cleanliness model of Indore will also be mainly adopted in the development plan of Ayodhya. As is the practice in Indore, waste will be segregated as wet and dry separately in Ayodhya as well.

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