Current Affairs 18th January 2021

1. Alteria Capital invests Rs. 90 cr in BharatPe

Alteria Capital has invested close to Rs. 90 crores in payments and alternative lending platform BharatPe, as part of a Rs. 250-cr fund-raising round. BharatPe will use the funds to introduce new credit products to merchants and tap more distributors and wholesalers in the retail chain. It will soon launch its wholesaler financing product ‘BharatPe DtoR’ which stands for distributor to retailer.

2. KVIC to sign two MoUs on 19 Jan

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs will sign two MoUs on 19 Jan 2021. While one MoU is regarding the purchase of Khadi fabric for tribal students, the other MoU is on partnering of Tribal Affairs Ministry with KVIC as an implementing agency for Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP). They aim at creating local employment

3. UAE, Bahrain major strategic partners of US

The United States has designated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Bahrain as its ‘major strategic partners! The announcement was made by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Both countries have participated in numerous United States-led coalitions over the past 30 years.

4. ‘One School One IAS’ scheme launched

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has launched Vedhik Erudite Foundation’s ambitious scheme ‘One School One IAS!. It will provide free coaching for civil services and other competitive examinations to 10,000 meritorious but financially weak students across the State. Malayalam film actor Manju Warrier has made the first sponsorship declaration by adopting 10 girl students across Kerala.

5. Satabdi Roy named West Bengal state unit VP

TMC MP Satabdi Roy has been appointed Vice-President of the West Bengal unit of the ruling Trinamool Congress. She is the third consecutive term Lok Sabha member from Birbhum. She had won the Birbhum seat from Communist Party of India CPI(M) heavyweight Ram Chandra Dome in 2009 on debut and managed to win it by an overwhelming margin in 2019.

6. Nazara Tech: 1st gaming firm to file IPO

Nazara Technologies has become the first Indian gaming technology company to seek a market debut. It filed initial public offering documents with the market regulators on 15 Jan 2021. Founded by gamer Nitish Mittersain in 2000, Nazara is one of the largest interactive gaming and sports media companies in India. It is known for its games at World Cricket Championship

7. Coinbase, MEVP invest in startup Rain

Rain Financial Inc., which operates a crypto-asset platform used mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, raised $6 million, securing backing from Coinbase Inc., the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. The Series A funding round was led by venture-capital firm Middle East Venture Partners. Other investors include Vision Ventures, Abdul Latif Jameel Fintech Ventures, etc.

8. JNPT plans to attract Rs. 4,000 cr investment

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) plans to attract Rs. 4,000 cr investments from public and private players for its special economic zone (SEZ). JNPT, in Navi Mumbai, is India’s number one container port handling more than half of the container cargo across all major ports in India. JNPT SEZ is an initiative under ‘Sagarmala’ national flagship policy of the Ministry of Shipping.

9. Lebanon signs deal with Pfizer

Lebanon has finalized a deal with Pfizer for 2.1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine. The doses are to arrive in Lebanon starting early February 2021. Another 2 million doses are being negotiated in coordination with Lebanon’s private sector. Lebanon is a country of more than 6 million, including at least 1 million refugees.

10. Srinagar’s first-ever snowshoe run organised

A new snowshoe run and interaction programme was held in Srinagar for the first time, in January 2021. The programme was held during the heavy snowfall season in the state. It was organized by the Snowshoe Federation of India to boost winter sports in the Kashmir region. The event was organized in under 19 categories and open categories.

11. Brazil approves use of AstraZeneca, Sinovac

Brazil has granted approval for the emergency use of AstraZeneca Plc and Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccines against Covid-19. Monica Calazans, a 54-year-old Black nurse, has become the first Brazilian to get a shot against Covid-19. Brazil is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, ranking third globally in cases and second only to the US in the number of deaths.

12. Designation of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba maintained

The US has reviewed and maintained the terrorist designations of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), along with ISIL Sinai Peninsula (ISIL-SP) and several other organisations. It has amended the terrorist designations of LJ and ISIL Sinai Peninsula (ISIL-SP) to include additional aliases. LeT was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US in December 2001.

13. Piramal Capital to take over DHFL

Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) has approved the resolution bid submitted by Piramal Capital and Housing Finance Limited. The decision was taken at the 18th committee of creditors (COC) meeting held on January 15, 2021. DHFL had total assets amounting to Rs 79,800 crore as of March 2020, as per its annual report.

14. Total to acquire stake in Adani Green Energy

France-based Total will acquire 20% minority interest in Adani Group’s Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL). In 2018, Total and Adani embarked on the energy partnership with investment by Total in Adani Gas Ltd’s city gas distribution business, associated LNG terminal business, and gas marketing business. Total acquired a 37.4% stake in Adani Gas Ltd and a 50% stake in the Dhamra LNG project.

15. Caplin Steriles partners with JAMP Pharma

Caplin Steriles signs agreement with JAMP Pharma Group for six injectable products in Canada. Some of these products have already been filed by Caplin Steriles in the USA. Caplin Steriles Ltd is a niche sterile product manufacturing company that is approved by US FDA and EU-GMP. The company currently holds 11 FDA approvals.

16. PM to hand over land patta on 23 January

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hand over land patta to indigenous landless people on 23 Jan 2021 at an event in Sivsagar, Assam. The Assam government will give land pattas to 1 lakh 3 thousand people. It has already provided land pattas to over 1 lakh people recently and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took the decision to provide land pattas to another over 1 lakh people in Jan 2021.

17. Sporting facilities to be named after athletes

Sports Ministry will name all upcoming and upgraded sporting facilities of the Sports Authority of India, after renowned athletes, who have contributed to sports in India. In the first leg, the newly built wrestling hall and the learners swimming pool in the National Centre of Excellence, NCOE in Lucknow, and the 100-bedded hostel in NCOE Bhopal will be named after local star sportspersons.

18. Railway Ministry rolls out new iron ore policy

Ministry of Railways has rolled out a new iron ore policy governing the allocation of rakes and transportation of iron ore. The policy aims to attune it to the present-day needs of customers and to meet the complete requirement of transportation of iron ore customers. The new policy has been named Iron-ore Policy 2021 and will come into effect from 10th February 2021.

19. SAKSHAM campaign launched

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry launched a month-long mass awareness campaign ‘SAKSHAM’ on 16 January 2021. The pan-India campaign will focus on the adoption of cleaner fuels. The campaign will spread awareness about moving towards a gas-based economy, cleaner use of fossil fuels, greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuels, and increased use of electric vehicles.

20. Foundation laid for 97th battalion of RAF

Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone for the 97th battalion of Rapid Action Force in Bullapur near Bhadravathi in Shimoga district of Karnataka on 16 Jan 2021. To be built on 50 acres of land, the campus will have a training center, administrative block, stadium, and a Kendriya Vidyalaya. He also informed that the central govt has allocated 800 crore rupees for police reforms.

21. PM announces Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

PM Narendra Modi has announced the launch of the Rs 1,000-crore Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. It will provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market-entry, and commercialization. He announced this while addressing the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit, which also marked the fifth anniversary of Startup India.

22. Puducherry BJP MLA KG Shankar dies

Puducherry Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and treasurer K G Shankar passed away in Jan 2021. Shankar had been a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party since 1984 and served as State Treasurer for the fourth consecutive term. He also served as the organizer of the State Dept of Industry and Commerce. He also operated a fluoride chemical factory in the Pondicherry Mettupalayam area.

23. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away

Legendary Indian classical musician and Padma Vibhushan awardee Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passed away in January 2021. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, followed by Padma Bhusan in 2006 and Padma Vibhushan in 2018. In 2003 he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists.

24. Foundation laid for Ahmedabad Metro Rail

PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Surat Metro Rail Project through video conferencing on 18 Jan 2021. The projects will provide an environment friendly ‘Mass Rapid Transit System’ to these cities. Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-Il is 28.25 kilometers long with two corridors. The estimated cost of it is 5384 crore rupees.

25. National Road Safety Month inaugurated

National Road Safety Month was inaugurated on 18 Jan’21 to disseminate awareness regarding road safety and reduce road accidents in India. It was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. Activities planned during the month include the launch of a film on road safety, flagging off of a National Championship Safe Speed Challenge, etc.

26. India spends Rs. 550 cr on a railway project

The Indian govt has spent nearly Rs. 550 cr to extend 17 km of the 68.72 km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project to improve rail connectivity between India and Nepal. The section of the railway project that runs from Madhubani district’s Jaynagar (Bihar) to Kurtha in Nepal will be extended up to Bijalpura, which is further 17 km from Kurtha. The project will be ready by March 2021.

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