Current Affairs 14th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. Indian Armed Forces Veterans Day: 14 January

Indian Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed on 14 January every year. This day is celebrated to honor the services rendered by veterans of the Army. The year 2021 is being commemorated as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ to recognize and commemorate the sacrifices and selfless services rendered by gallant veterans in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

2. Proposal for mineral reforms approved

The Cabinet has approved a proposal for mega mineral reforms. The move will boost mineral production in the country and bring more mineral blocks into the auction. These reforms will be implemented through an amendment to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 for which a bill will be placed in Parliament in the upcoming session.

3. Sebi proposes to separate KYC process

SEBI has proposed that KYC and account opening process should be separated in order to standardise the process and avoid duplication. It has been suggested that KYC should be done through stock exchanges, depositories and KYC Registration Agencies (KRAs). At present, the KYC of clients in the securities market is conducted by registered intermediaries like stock brokers.

4. Infosys to acquire assets of Carter Digital

Infosys will purchase assets and onboard employees of Carter Digital, an Australian experience design agency. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. As part of Infosys global design and experience offering, Carter Digital will be rebranded as WONGDOODY and join its network of studios.

5. Apple announces education funding

Apple has announced the latest phase of its $100 million initiative to tackle systemic racism and promote racial equality. It is launching a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),in Detroit. It will support coding and tech education for minority students and venture capital funding for black and brown entrepreneurs.

6. Yes Bank launches wellness themed credit card

Yes Bank has announced its partnership with Aditya Birla Wellness Private Limited to launch the YES BANK Wellness’ and ‘YES BANK Wellness Plus Credit Cards’. These are aimed at the holistic health, self-care and wellness of consumers. Consumers can also enjoy the complimentary health benefits by simply registering on the Aditya Birla Multiply App.

7. Voot bags streaming rights for Poker League

Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd-owned over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform Voot has bagged streaming rights for Poker Sports League (PSL). The league will hold its third season online as the pandemic has disrupted the physical tournament. Instead of the 5-day on-ground event, the virtual league will have 8 teams battling it out over two months with 2-3 matches per week, starting 16 Jan 021.

8. Bengaluru: World’s fastest-growing tech hub

Bengaluru has emerged as the worlds fastest-growing mature tech ecosystem since 2016. It is followed by the European cities of London, Munich, Berlin and Paris. Dealroom. co data analyzed by London Partners, the Mayor of Londons international trade and investment agency, reveals that investment in Bengaluru grew 5.4 times from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $7.2 billion in 2020.

9. ICICI Bank ties up with Niyo

ICICI Bank has tied up with Niyo to issue prepaid cards to workers of Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). MSMES will now be able to get ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card powered by Visa. The card allows an individual to receive funds up to Rs. 1 lakh into the card account. It offers convenience and safety of digital banking to the blue-collar workforce.

10. 51st IFFl to pay tribute to Satyajit Ray

The 51st International Film Festival of India will pay tribute to the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray.As part of this tribute, IFFI will showcase some of his classic films like Pather Panchali, Charulata, Ghare Baire, Shatranj Ke Khilari, and Sonar Kella. IFFI is being held in Goa from 16th to 24th January 2021.

11. Infosys reports 16.8% rise in net profit

Infosys has reported a 16.8 percent, year-on-year, rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 5,215 crore, for the third quarter of this fiscal. Gross revenue for the quarter rose 12.3 percent, year-on-year, to Rs 25,927 crore. Wipro has also reported 20.8 percent, year-on-year, growth in its consolidated net profit at Rs 2,967 crore for the third quarter of this fiscal.

12. Statue of Unity to be linked by Railway

In Gujarat, the world’s tallest statue – the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel at Kevadiya will be linked by Railway to boost domestic tourism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kevadiya Railway Station through virtual mode on 24 Jan 2021. A MEMU- Mainline Electric Multiple Unit the train will also run to link Kevadia with Pratapnagar Station of Vadodara.

13. Parshuram Kund pilgrimage begins in Arunachal

In Arunachal Pradesh, the Parshuram Kund pilgrimage in Lohit District, held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti every year, started on 12 Jan 2021. Parshuram Kund, nestled in the lower reaches of Lohit River is of great significance for the Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, Sage Parshuram after beheading his mother washed away all his sins in the Brahma Kund.

14. India and Turkmenistan held consultations

The 4th round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Turkmenistan was held through virtual mode on 13 Jan 2021. The Indian side was led by Vikas Swarup, Secretary (West), and the Turkmen side was led by Vepa Hajiyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the UN and multilateral arena.

15. 1st US President to be impeached twice

Donald Trump has become the first US President to be impeached twice. The House of Representatives voted on 13 Jan 2021 to charge him with inciting mob attack on US Congress. Trump was impeached by 232 – 197 vote by the US House on a single charge of incitement of insurrection that left five dead and the Capitol ransacked.

16. Cabinet approves MoU between India, UAE

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the MoU between India and UAE. The MoU is on scientific and technical cooperation between the National Centre of Meteorology of the United Arab Emirates and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India. Sharing the real-time seismic data and cooperation in early warnings of sand and dust storms are the key elements of the MoU.

17. NIC and CBSE jointly launched CollabCAD

National Informatics Centre and Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE jointly launched CollabCAD Software on 14 Jan 2021. This initiative aims to provide a great platform for students to create and modify 3D digital designs with a free flow of creativity and imagination. NIC, CBSE, and Atal Innovation Mission will also jointly release a comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D modeling.

18. 3rd phase of PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The 3rd Phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana will be launched on 15 Jan 2021 in 600 districts across the country. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills. The scheme envisages the training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of 948.90 crore rupees.

19. Padma Shri awardee D Prakash Rao passes away

Cuttack-based tea seller and Padma Shri awardee D Prakash Rao passed away in January 2021. Rao was known for his contribution towards imparting education to slum and orphan children in Cuttack. He founded a school named ‘Asha Ashvaasan’ and spent 50 per cent of his income to educate the children at his school. He was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2019.

20. Biden picks Kurt Campbell to head Asia Policy

United States President-elect Joe Biden has picked veteran diplomat Kurt Campbell to lead his Asia Policy. Campbell currently heads the Asia Group consultancy and is a co-founder of the Center for New American Security think-tank. He was the architect of the trilateral dialogue with India and Japan during the Obama Administration.

21. Intel CEO B Swan to be replaced by P Gelsinger

Intel CEO Bob Swan will step down from his position on 15 February 2021. Intel has announced that its board of directors has appointed Pat Gelsinger as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Currently, Gelsinger is the CEO of software firm VMware but spent 30 years at Intel and also served as Chief Operating Officer of EMC’s Information Infrastructure Products division.

22. Kerala becomes 8th state to complete EDB

Kerala has become the 8th state in the country to implement “Ease of Doing Business” reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. The state has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs. 2,373 cr through Open Market Borrowings. The ease of doing business is an important indicator of the investment-friendly business climate in the country.

23. IRFC IPO to raise Rs. 4,600 cr

IRFC will be the first IPO by a railway non-banking financial company. The initial public offering (IPO) of Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) worth about Rs. 4,600 cr will hit the market on 18 Jan 2021. In Jan 2020, IRFC had filed draft papers for its IPO. IRFC, set up in 1986, is a dedicated funding arm of the Indian Railways for mobilising funds from home as well as abroad markets.

24. Indian Army officer develops ‘microcopter’

An Indian Army officer has indigenously developed a ‘microcopter’ which can be used by the Army to carry out surveillance inside a building or room in which terrorists are hiding. The microcopter has been developed by Lieutenant Colonel GYK Reddy. The trials of the microcomputer have been successfully carried out by a Para Special Forces battalion in Jammu and Kashmir.

25. India clears Tejas jet deal worth Rs 48,000 cr

India has approved a deal worth Rs 48,000 cr to procure 83 indigenously-developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas for the Indian Air Force. The decision to procure the fleet was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by PM Narendra Modi. About 500 Indian companies including MSMEs in the design and manufacturing sectors will be working with HAL in this procurement.

26. Byju’s to acquire Aakash Educational Services

Byju’s has secured a deal for acquiring Blackstone backed Aakash Educational Services Ltd for $1 billion. This deal will be one of the largest edtech acquisitions in the world. Aakash Institutes with more than 200 physical centres across the country tutors students to gain entry into India’s elite engineering and medical schools. In August 2020, Byju’s acquired WhiteHat jr.

27. Agnikul builds 3D printed rocket engine

Chennai-based space tech startup Agnikul Cosmos has developed a single piece, fully 3D printed rocket engine called Agnilet, which can be directly used in a rocket. The engine will be used in the second stage of Agnikul’s launch vehicle Agnibaan. Launched in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM, Agnikul Cosmos is involved in building India’s private small satellite launch vehicle.

28. Daily Telegraph owner Sir David Barclay dies

Sir David Barclay, the co-owner of the Daily Telegraph newspaper, passed away in January 2021. Sir David, together with his twin brother Sir Frederick, built up a business empire spanning hotels, retail and media. They acquired the Telegraph Group in 2004 for £665m from Conrad Black’s Hollinger group. They also bought The Scotsman in 1995 and Sunday Business in 1997

29. KTR launches free drinking water scheme

Telangana Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao launched a scheme on 12 Jan 2021 to supply free drinking water up to 20,000 litres in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits. The scheme would benefit over nine lakh families, with no bills to be issued in slums.The financial burden of Rs 500 crore arising due to the scheme will be borne by the State government.

30. Indian startups set up ADIF

Indian startups have come together and created a new body called Atmanirbhar Digital India Foundation (ADIF) to protect the freedom of choice in the internet ecosystem. The foundation will interact with the government and regulators on policy issues to ensure the creation of a sustainable digital economy in the country. Ajay Data, MD of Data Group, is the Secretary-General of ADIF.

31. Tech Mahindra to acquire PTSL

Tech Mahindra has announced that it will acquire Payments Technology Services Ltd (PTSL) for USD 9 million. The acquisition will give Tech Mahindra access to IPs and licenses for two products – Open Payment Framework and Multi-Bank System. Established in March 2007 in Hong Kong, PTSL is a payments solutions provider with a focus on Banking and Financial Services.

32. Morgan Stanley appoints S Shah as country head

Morgan Stanley has named Sanjay Shah as the new head of its business in India. Sanjay, who joined Morgan Stanley in 1996, was named co-head of India equities in 2006 and co-country head in 2013. Morgan Stanley has also named Samarth Jagnani as head of India, global capital markets while Kamal Yadav and Sachin Wagle will take over as co-head of India investment banking.

33. Archer teams up with Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler has announced a partnership with air mobility company Archer to help lower costs and accelerate the launch of an electric “flying car” more formally known as a vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) aircraft. The deal will give Archer access to Fiat Chrysler’s low-cost supply chain, advanced composite material capabilities, engineering, and design experience.

34. 22nd issue of Financial Stability Report

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on January 11, 2021, released the 22nd issue of the Financial Stability Report (FSR). The capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) improved to 15.8 percent in September 2020 from 14.7 percent in March 2020. Their gross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio declined to 7.5 percent from 8.4 percent.

35. FSS and India Post Payments Bank join hands

FSS (Financial Software and Systems) has partnered with India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to promote financial inclusion among underserved and unbanked segments. FSS is a leading payment processor and provider of integrated payment products IPPB will use FSS’ Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) to deliver interoperable and affordable doorstep banking services to customers across India.

36. MoU signed between POI FEB and CSIR-NIO/NGRI

V.I. Il’Ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute (POI), Russia, along with CSIR- National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Goa & CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI), Hyderabad have signed an MoU. It has been signed in the field of marine sciences and technology. The POI is the largest research institution in the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences.

37. Grand Finale of Red Ribbon Quiz

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) inaugurated the first ‘Grand Finale of the Red Ribbon Quiz Competition’ on 12 Jan 2021. It is being organized by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the MoHFW. NACO has also established 12,500 Red Ribbon Clubs (RRCs) to reach out to the college-going youth.

38. DRDO develops pistol ASMI

Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed the country’s first indigenous machine pistol ASMI. The pistol is set to replace the 9mm pistols in the defence forces. The machine pistol can fire at a range of 100 metres and is in the class of the Uzi series guns of Israel. The prototype has fired over 300 rounds in the last four months of its development.

39. Estonia’s Prime Minister resigns

Estonia’s Prime Minister, Juri Ratas, resigned on 13 Jan 2021 after his ruling Center Party came under investigation as part of a corruption probe. President Kersti Kaljulaid now has 14 days to name a new Prime Minister who would then have to be approved by Parliament. Among other suspects in the corruption investigation is Kersti Kracht, an adviser to Finance Minister Martin Helme,

40. Bharat Biotech signs agreement with Precisa

Bharat Biotech has signed an agreement with Precisa Medicamentos for the supply of COVAXIN in Brazil. COVAXIN has generated excellent safety data with robust immune responses to multiple viral proteins that persist. Phase 3 human clinical trials of COVAXIN began mid-November 2020 and are currently ongoing in about 26,000 volunteers across India.

41. Digital Evolution Scorecard 2020

India was ranked 4th among “Break Out Economies” in the third edition of the Digital Evolution Scorecard developed by Tufts University’s Fletcher School in partnership with Mastercard. China ranked first while Azerbaijan ranked second. “Break Out Economies” are those that are digitalising very quickly and yet have a lot of room to grow before matching those in the developed economies.

42. Manish Chauhan: New Ambassador to Portugal

The Indian government has appointed a new Ambassador, Manish Chauhan, to Portugal. A 1994 batch IFS (Indian Foreign Service), Manish Chauhan is at present Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, working with UNES (United Nations Economic & Social) Division under MEA. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.

43. Odisha to develop Chandrabhaga beach

Odisha government has decided to develop the Chandrabhaga and Talsari beach with world-class amenities to attract more domestic and foreign tourists. The Puri beach in the state has recently got the ‘Blue Flag’ certification. The beaches will include facilities like water-sports, cycle track, pavement, wooden track by the beach, space for children’s activity centre etc.

44. KVG Bank inks pact with fintech platform

Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) has signed an MoU with ‘Jai Kisan’, a rural-focused fintech platform of Greenizon Agritech Consultancy Pvt Ltd. It will expand access to financial services to individuals and businesses in Karnataka, including farmer and non-farmer entrepreneurs. Jai Kisan would procure a diverse range of clients for KVGB and enable end-to-end operations.

45. Larsen & Toubro bags orders up to Rs 2,500 cr

Larsen & Toubro (L & T) has won orders for construction of metallurgical plants besides power transmission and distribution projects in the range of Rs 1,000 crore to 2,500 crores. The company has also bagged the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contracts to construct a 500-kilovolt transmission line in Malaysia.

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