Current Affairs 14th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Bharti Axa starts #GotYouCovered campaign

Bharti AXA Life Insurance has introduced #GotYouCovered campaign. It is a special initiative to appreciate frontline healthcare workers who are striving to protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic. Bharti AXA Life Insurance has joined hands with Primero Skills & Training to support its healthcare workers by masking them against life and health risks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Hiranandani Group to invest ₹8,500 crore

Hiranandani group plans to invest ₹8,500 cr over the next 3 years to develop data centres and industrial parks across various cities. Hiranandani Group had forayed into development of data centre parks with its new business venture Yotta Infrastructure in 2019. Yotta Infrastructure will invest around ₹5,000 cr over the next 3 yrs as it aims to capture about 25% of market by end of FY 2025.

3. SBI, PNB witnessing wilful defaults Surge

Eight of India’s biggest banks have seen a significant jump in wilful defaults in the six months to September 2020, with such loans rising by over ₹37,000 crore to ₹1.5 trillion. These banks-SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank- account for 75% of all loans reported as wilful defaults as of 30 September 2020.

4. Solar module imports to face 40% customs duty

India plans to impose new tariffs on imports of solar cells and modules from 1 April 2022. The finance ministry will issue an order to impose a basic customs duty of 40% on modules and 25% on solar cells as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India strategy. The customs duty will replace a 15% safeguard duty that is being imposed on imports from China and Malaysia.

5. Big Bazaar aims to have 300 hypermarket stores

Big Bazaar, one of the leading hypermarket chain in India, is planning to open 16 new stores over the next three quarters. With this, the brand aims to touch 300 stores in the country. At present, Future Retail is operating 284 stores of Big Bazaar in over 100 cities across the country. Big Bazaar operates multiple stores in several tier-l cities including Patna, Jaipur, and Baroda.

6. Automated Banknote Processing Centre in Jaipur

The RBI has decided to set up an Automated Banknote Processing Centre (ABPC) in Jaipur for the receipt, storage and dispatch of currency notes. The functions of the ABPC will also include processing of banknotes received from currency chests and destruction of soiled banknotes in an automated manner. The volume of banknotes in circulation has increased three-fold from March 2001 to Mar 2019.

7. Hyundai to conduct 10-day service camp

Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) has announced the launch of ‘Hyundai Smart Care Clinic’ at 1288 Hyundai Service points across India. It is a 10 day Nationwide Service Camp for customers that will be held 14-23 December 2020. The camp will offer benefits such as complimentary 1 Year extended warranty for lucky 200 customers, 10% discount on mechanical parts, etc.

8. Auto-populated GSTR-3B return form enabled

Businesses will now get complete auto-populated monthly sales return form GSTR-3B. For ease of taxpayers, now the system will auto-populate GSTR-3B (monthly) on the basis of details filed in GSTR-1 and auto-drafted ITC statement GSTR-2B from November 2020 tax period onwards. Input tax credit (ITC) would be populated from system-drafted statement GSTR-2B.

9. Indian Embassy in Beijing launches cinemaSCOpe

Indian Embassy in Beijing has launched a movie series “cinemaSCOpe” exclusively for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO. More than two dozen Indian films dubbed in Russian will be screened on a monthly basis. The movie screening began with ‘Three ldiots’ on 12 Dec 2020 and will continue till India’s chairmanship of the SCO ‘Council of Heads of State’ meeting in 2023.

10. Peru suspends Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine trial

Peru has suspended trials for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine due to a “serious adverse event” that occurred with one of the volunteers for the study. The volunteer had experienced decreased strength in his legs among other symptoms. Sinopharm Group, which is conducting its trials in Peru with 12,000 volunteers, was about to complete the first stage of the trials in the next few days.

11. 81st Nupi Lan Day: 12 December

In Manipur, 81st Nupi Lan Day 2020 was observed at the Nupi Lan Memorial Complex, Imphal on 12 Dec 2020. Manipuri women waged two historic wars in 1904 and 1939 known as Nupi Lal against the British. Hundreds of women on this day came out on the streets of Imphal demanding a ban on rice exports and also for the closure of rice mills.

12. J&K achieves Neonatal Mortality Rate

J&K has shown a record improvement in the last 3 years in key Maternal and Child health indicators as per the latest report of the National Family Health Survey. It was conducted by lnternational institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai. J&K has recorded 22 points decrease in Neonatal Mortality Rate from 23.1 to 9.8, 16 points and a decrease in Infant Mortality Rate from 32.4 to 16.3.

13. Pramod Boro declared to be new BTC Chief

The United People’s Party Liberal, UPPL President Pramod Boro will be the new Chief Executive Member of the Bodoland Territorial Council, BTC. BJP along with Gana Suraksha Parishad will support the UPPL in the formation of the next council. Since the formation of BTC in 2003, it has been governed by the Bodoland People’s Front.

14. 1st service of Pawan Hans MI 17 helicopter

In Kargil, the first service of Pawan Hans MI 17 helicopter between Kargil to Srinagar started on 13 December 2020. It lifted 13 passengers from Kargil to Srinagar and 14 from Srinagar to Kargil. The service will ease the issue of transportation during the winter season. The fare of this helicopter service is Rs 9,000 per passenger.

15. ‘Swadhinata Sarak’ to be opened in March 2021

The ‘Swadhinata Sarak’ between Bangladesh and India will be opened on 26 March 2021. The road is functional on the Indian side and it wil be connected through Mujibnagar, Meherpur district in Bangladesh. The Chilahati-Haldirbari rail link which was active till 1965 will also be inaugurated during the summit meeting between the two Prime Ministers on December 17, 2020.

16. Prize in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib

The UNESCO has decided to launch an international prize in the field of ‘creative economy’ in the name of Bangabarndhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Starting November 2021, the $50,000 award will be given away once in two years for global economic initiatives of the youth. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first President of Bangladesh and later served as the PM from 1971-1975.

17. Bannanje Govindacharya passes away

Renowned Sanskrit scholar Vidyavachaspati Bannanje Govindacharya passed away in Dec 2020. Conferred with the Padma Shri in 2009, he was widely known for his translation of complete texts of Sri Madhvacharya, a philosopher and theologian of the 13th century. Among his noted translations are Kalidasa’s Shakuntala, Shudraka’s Mrichakatika, and Bana Bhatta’s ‘Bana Bhattana Kadambari!’

18. PM to lay foundation stones of some projects

PM Modi will undertake a visit to Dhordo in Kutch, Gujarat on 15 Dec 2020 and lay the foundation stone of several development projects in the State. These projects include a desalination plant, a hybrid renewable energy park, and a fully automated milk processing and packing plant. This desalination plant, with 10 crore litre per day capacity will strengthen water security in the state.

19. Foundation stone for NAEC Pvt Ltd laid

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for Nagpur Auto & Engineering Cluster Pvt Ltd in Nagpur on 13 Dec 2020. The cluster approved under Cluster Development Plan of MSME comprises Micro Small Enterprises in Auto & Engineering Sector. Under this cluster development programme, a special purpose vehicle of 25 companies has been formed in Nagpur Auto & Engineering Cluster.

20. South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk passes away

Renowned South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk died in December 2020. The director who debuted with Crocodile in 1996, gained international fame with the 2001 film The Isle. It was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and has won awards at Berlin International Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Cannes Film Festival. His last flm was 2019’s Dissolve.

21. Indian Railways launches trial project of HMIS

Indian Railways launched a trial project of the hospital management information system on December 11, 2020. The HMIS in Railways has been developed by IR in coordination with RailTel Corporation Limited. The objective of the HMIS is to provide a single-window of clearance of hospital administration activity such as clinical, diagnostics, pharmacy, examinations, industrial health etc.

22. Akshay: The new face of Dabur Chyawanprash

Dabur India has announced Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as the new face of its flagship health supplements brand Dabur Chyawanprash. A new campaign featuring Kumar has bee designed asking the nation to come together and pledge to build inner strength and fighting spirit in these uncertain times.

23. 14 December: National Energy Conservation Day

Energy Conservation Day is observed every year on December 14. The day focuses on making people aware of global warming and climate change and promotes efforts towards saving energy resources. In India, the Energy Conservation Act was implemented by the Energy Efficiency Bureau (BEE) in 2001. Energy Efficiency Bureau (BEE) is a constitutional body which works under the Government of India.

24. 14 December: World Monkey Day

Every year World Mon key Day is celebrated on December 14. World Monkey Day was created by contemporary artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin in the year 2000 when the two were students at Michigan State Univ. The day is important for not only animal enthusiasts and environmentalists but also school goers and other common folks, who are eager to learn more about the various primate species.

25. Country music legend Charley Pride passes away

US Country music legend Charley Pride died in December 2020. Born on March 18, 1934, in Sledge, Mississippi, the singer was a sharecropper’s son who rose to become country music’s first black superstar. His baritone voice was featured on more than 50 Top 10 country hits and he was the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

26. The Himalayan Serow spotted in Spiti Valley

The Himalayan Serow, a subspecies of the mainland serow that was presumed extinct, was sighted and photographed in the cold deserts of the Spiti valley for the first time. It has also been listed as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation for Nature. Hunting of the Himalayan Serow is prohibited as it is included under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

27. Israel and Bhutan establish diplomatic ties

Israel established diplomatic relations with the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The deal with Bhutan comes days after Morocco agreed to normalise relations with Israel, the fourth Arab state to do so since August 2020. Key areas of cooperation between the two countries would include economic, technological and agricultural development.

28. AstraZeneca agrees to buy Alexion for $39 B

Britain’s AstraZeneca has agreed to buy U.S. drugmaker Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion in its largest-ever deal. Alexion’s best-selling drug is Soliris, used against a range of rare immune-disorders including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. AstraZeneca hopes that an improved version of Soliris called Ultomiris has even larger market potential.

29. Exim Bank extends $448-mn line of credit

Export-Import Bank of India has extended a USD 448-million line of credit for various infrastructure projects in Uzbekistan. The LOC has been extended on behalf of the Indian government. The LOC of USD 448 million to Uzbekistan has been extended for financing various projects in the roads and transport, water and technology and communication sectors in Uzbekistan.

30. Twitter acquires screen-sharing app Squad

Twitter has acquired the social media app Squad that lets people hang out with friends via video chat and screen-sharing. Alongside live video conversations, Squad specialised in allowing its users to share their screens via its mobile or desktop apps. Squad’s co-founder and CEO Esther Crawford will join Twitter to lead a “product in the conversation space”.

31. 2021 European Karate Championships

Croatia will host the 2021 European Karate Championships after the withdrawal of Sweden, the European Karate Federation has confirmed. The Istrian town of Poreč will host the event from May 19 23, 2021. The 2021 European Karate Championships will also act as part of the qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics.

32. NPP’s Nana Akufo Addo Wins Re-election

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has been re-elected after contesting in a tightly contested election in December 2020. He has defeated long time opponent John Mahama. His New Patriotic Party (NPP) secured 6,730,413 or 51.6 per cent vote. Republic of Ghana, located in the western part of Africa, has held regular elections since it turned into a democracy 30 years ago.

33. Coronavirus seroprevalence study in Gujarat

In Gujarat, the Coronavirus seroprevalence study conducted by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation revealed that antibodies developed in women are marginally higher than men. A seroprevalence study conducted in October 2020 found only 54.5 per cent of the 1708 persons infected and recovered from the viral infection had antibodies by the end of 12th week.

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