Current Affairs 20th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. JSW Sports signs up Rishabh Pant

JSW Sports, the sports arm of the JSW Group conglomerate, has announced the addition of Rishabh Pant to its growing talent management roster. The multi-year association between them will see JSW Sports manage all commercial interests and marketing rights of the cricketer. It will manage the athlete’s image positioning and all his commercial engagements including brand endorsements.

2. Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th US President

US President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th President and 49th Vice-President of the United States on 20 Jan 2021. Ms. Harris created history as America’s first woman, first Black, and first-person with south Asian roots to take the office of the Vice President. He is the oldest person ever to be sworn in as the President.

3. PhonePe surpasses Google Pay

PhonePe emerged as the top unified payments interface (UPI) application in December 2020 with 902.03 million transactions accounting for Rs. 1.82 trillion. It surpassed Google Pay, according to the latest data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Google Pay, on the other hand, saw an 11% fall in transaction volume in December, against November 2020.

4. Azim Premji chosen for PCB awards

The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore. Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty has been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’ 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’.

5. Historian Narendra Luther passes away

Poet, historian, creator and retired bureaucrat Narendra Luther passed away in January 2021. Born in Hoshiarpur in Punjab in 1932, he started his stint in Indian administrative service in Kurnool in 1956 and was posted to Hyderabad in 1959. He wrote the monogram on Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah and different books on poetry, Deccan rocks, Secunderabad Cantonment, etc.

6. Dr V Shanta passes away

Well-known oncologist and Chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute Dr V Shanta passed away in January 2021. A leading figure of cancer care in the country, she helped build the Adyar Cancer Institute along with her mentor Dr Krishnamoorthy. Dr Shanta was the recipient of Padma Shri in 1986, Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Padma Vibhushan in 2016.

7. Russia leaves the Open Skies Treaty

Russia is leaving the Open Skies Treaty (OST). It is an accord between over 30 countries that allows participants to fly unarmed reconnaissance flights over any part of their fellow member states. In November 2020, the United States left the OST first after accusing Russia of violating the pact. Under the treaty, a member state can spy on any part of the host nation, with its consent.

8. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal honoured

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ was honoured by the Hindi Writers Guild, Canada for his literary work, on 16 January 2021. Nishank was conferred with the “Sahitya Gaurav Samman” in the presence of the Governor of Uttarakhand through a virtual programme. He has served people as an MLA, an MP, a Chief Minister and is now a Union minister.

9. Nepali climbers successfully climb K2

A team of climbers from Nepal have become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world’s second tallest peak. Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summited in the winter. The group included Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, among others.

10. Amazon launches startup accelerator programme

Amazon India has launched Amazon Global Selling Propel (AGSP). It is an accelerator programme which will help early-stage consumer products startups go global. For the programme, Amazon has partnered with the Indian government’s Startup India initiative, which will engage with emerging brands and provide resources for their growth.

11. Noida Police ties up with Microsoft

The Gautam Buddh Nagar Police, Noida and Microsoft have entered into an agreement to boost policing in Noida. Police Commissioner Alok Singh signed the memorandum of understanding with representatives of Microsoft India. As per the agreement, Microsoft will assist the police in improving the overall system and also set up a ‘center of excellence’ to boost digital policing in the district.

12. Hero Motors acquires stake in Hewland

Hero Motors Company (HMC) has acquired a strategic stake in the UK’s transmission design technology leader Hewland Engineering Ltd. The acquisition will enable Hero Motors to create a competitive single source entity to design and manufacture high-quality transmission products, particularly in the emerging EV segment, across North America, Europe and India.

13. PM releases financial assistance under PMAY-G

PM Modi released financial assistance of around 2,691 crore rupees to over 6 lakh beneficiaries in UP under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), on 20 Jan 2021. The assistance included the release of the first installment to 5.30 lakh beneficiaries and the second installment to 80 thousand beneficiaries who have already availed of the first installment of assistance under PMAY-G.

14. Rijiju gets additional charge of AYUSH Mstry

The Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Kiren Rijiju, has been temporarily assigned the charge of the Ministry of AYUSH. The move was necessitated as Shripad Yesso Naik, the Minister of AYUSH is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Goa after he met with an accident. His portfolio related to the Ministry of AYUSH is temporarily assigned to Kiren Rijiju in addition to his existing portfolios.

15. Amit Shah to chair 69th Plenary Session of NEC

Home Minister Amit Shah will chair the 69th Plenary Session of North Eastern Council, NEC in Shillong, Meghalaya on 23-24 Jan 21. During the 2-day session, there will be presentations from the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, DoNER, NEC, state govt and selected Central Ministries. These will be on various developmental initiatives and future plans for the North East Region.

16. LNG truck-loading unit inaugurated in Gujarat

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the LNG truck-loading unit of Shell India at Hazira, Gujarat, on 19 January 2021. The unit will boost the availability of natural gas in off-grid areas where there are no gas pipelines. It will also promote the use of LNG in long-haul trucking

17. EAM held discussions with African nations

External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar hosted a discussion with High Commissioners and Ambassadors of Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana, Burundi, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, on 19 Jan 2021. The conversation covered COVID recovery, vaccines, air travel and digital experiences. The Minister also spoke about India’s current priorities and challenges.

18. Inter Country Transport Vehicles Rules 2021

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified Inter-Country Transport Vehicles Rules, 2021. These would facilitate and regulate the movement of passenger and goods vehicles between India and neighboring countries. The State Transport Authority has been given the power to grant the Inter-Country Transport Permit, valid for the period of 1 yr, after thoroughly examining the application

19. J&K’s Gucchi Mushroom achieves Gl tag

The Jammu and Kashmir govt has recently got the GI tag for Gucchi mushroom. The Gucchi mushrooms are highly expensive and are full of health benefits. They are locally called ‘Thuntoo’ and 500 gm of the mushrooms cost Rs. 18,000. The Gl tag application for Gucchi mushroom was filed at the Geographical Indication Registry. Recently, GI Tag was also provided to Saffron of Jammu and Kashmir.

20. Nihal Sarin wins Gazprom Brilliancy Prize

Indian chess prodigy Nihal Sarin has won the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize. The award is given to the best game from the FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Championship played during December. Sarin had beaten Francesco Sonis 1.5-0.5 in the Open Under-18 section on the way to winning the gold medal at the event. Rakshitta Ravi and D Gukesh had also won gold medals in their respective categories.

21. India to gift COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh

India will be sharing the COVID-19 vaccine with its neighboring countries. India will provide 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as a gift to Bangladesh. This will be in addition to 30 million doses of the vaccine for which a tripartite agreement has been done between Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Serum Institute of India, and the government of Bangladesh.

22. Bhawana Kanth to take part in R-Day parade

Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will become the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. Kanth will be a part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) tableau that will showcase mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane. She is currently posted at a Rajasthan airbase and commissioned on a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.

23. 354th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti was celebrated on January 20, 2021. It marks the 354th birth anniversary of the tenth guru of Sikhism – Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh became the guru of the Sikh faith at only nine years of age after the death of his father, Guru Teg Bahadur. The day, which is also known as Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh Parkash Utsav.

24. ‘Horticulture Development Mission’ announced

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani has announced the ‘Horticulture Development Mission’ (Bagayat Vikas Mission). The aim of this mission is to double the income of farmers involved in medicinal and horticulture farming. Under this mission, the wasteland of the government will be given on 30-year lease for farming horticulture and medicinal crops.

25. Financial aid to surrendered militants: Assam

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal distributed financial aid to surrendered members of militant organization National Democratic Front of Bodoland, NDFB in Guwahati, on 19 Jan 2021. Out of 1615 members of all 4 NDFB surrendered factions, 1,279 were provided Rs 4 lakh of fixed-term deposit certificates each. The rest of them will also be provided the same after completion of the necessary processes.

26. 1st consignment of green peas left to Sharjah

The 1st consignment of green peas and white brinjals of Varanasi was shipped from Varanasi to Sharjah on 19 Jan 21. The consignment is the first one to be transported from Lal Bahadur Shastri International airport of Varanasi to Sharjah directly. Earlier the consignments from Varanasi were sent to the ports of Gujarat and Mumbai and then they were shipped to other countries.

27. J&K SDD signs MoU with IIT Jammu

In J&K, Dept of Skill Development has inked an MoU with IIT Jammu to enhance the skill and employment of students and staff with exposure to the latest technologies. The purpose of this is to revamp and. rejuvenation of the polytechnic and ITI sector in collaboration with IIT Jammu to eradicate unemployment. It will replace vocational training courses with new area-specific training skills,

28. Madhya Pradesh takes lead in reforms

Madhya Pradesh has taken the lead in undertaking power sector reforms stipulated by the Dept of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance. It has successfully implemented one out of the three stipulated reforms in the power sector. Successful implementation of the reform has made it eligible to mobilize additional financial resources equivalent to 0.15% of its Gross State Domestic Product.

29. Aero India show from 3rd February 2021

The Air Force Station in Bengaluru will organize Aero India show from 3-5 February 2021. The 13th Edition of the show has been reduced to three days due to the pandemic. It will hold the world’s first hybrid aerospace and defense exhibition, where exhibitors will participate both physically and also in virtual mode. The focus will be on Atma Nirbhar in the Defence sector for 2021.

30. Agriculture value chain development project

A total of 11,584 individuals have registered for the Maharashtra govt’s agriculture value chain development project. The project also called as Honorable Balasaheb Thackeray Agri-Business and Rural Transformation Project will be implemented in 7 years in all districts of the state. Its objective is to provide a value chain to help farmers to enter into national and international markets.

31. Larsen & Toubro CFO Ashok Kumar resigns

Larsen & Toubro Infotech’s CFO Ashok Kumar Sonthalia has resigned from the company. Larsen & Toubro Infotech has reported a 37.85 percent jump in net profit to Rs 519.3 crore for the December quarter. It had posted a 12 percent increase in revenue to Rs 3,152.8 crore for the December quarter, as against Rs 2,811 crore in 2019.

32. Government to sell the stake in TCL

The government will sell the residual 26.12% stake in Tata Communications Ltd (TCL) to exit the erstwhile Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. It will garner around Rs. 8000 crore as part of its disinvestment receipts in the current financial year ending 31 March 2021. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved selling up to 16% stake through offer for sale and remaining to the Tatas

33. ICICI Bank launches ‘InstaFX’ mobile app

ICICI Bank will launch a new mobile application ‘InstaFX’. The app enables the authorized money changers, who are partners of the Bank, to complete the KYC verification and validation of customers digitally and on a real-time basis. ICICI Bank is the first bank in the country to offer such a facility to money changers.

34. Gujarat govt to rename dragon fruit as Kamalam

The Gujarat government has decided to rename dragon fruit as ‘Kamalam’. The state government has applied for a patent to change the nomenclature of dragon fruit, which is largely grown in Kutch, Navsari and different parts of Saurashtra. It looks like lotus, hence the name ‘Kamalam’. The fruit is known for its nutritional value and also helps in increasing the hemoglobin.

35. Adani commissions solar power plant at Kutchh

Adani Solar Energy Kutchh One Limited has commissioned a 150 Megawatt solar power project, three months prior to the scheduled date, in Kutch, Gujarat. Adani Solar Energy Kutchh One is a subsidiary of Adani Green Energy Limited. This plant has a Power Purchase Agreement with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited at Rs. 2.67/ kWh for a period of 25 years.

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