Current Affairs 25th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary on December 25 is observed as Good Governance Day. The year 2020 marks his 96th birth anniversary. He was a poet and a compassionate leader. He served three terms as the PM of India – first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999 and after that a full term from 1999 to 2004.

2. Madan Mohan Malviya’s birth anniversary

25 December marks the birth anniversary of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya on his birth anniversary. He was an educationist and the founder of Banaras Hindu University. The year 2020 marks his 159th birth anniversary. Born in 1861, Malaviya was a former president of the Congress who later founded the Hindu Mahasabha.

3. BCCI appoints Chetan Sharma as chief selector

The BCCI named Chetan Sharma as the chairman of the selection committee, while Abey Kuruvilla and Debasish Mohanty were the other members in the panel. The other two members of the selection panel are former India cricketers Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh. Earlier, Joshi was the chief selector of the national men’s team.

4. 10 teams to feature in IPL from 2022 edition

The BCCI general body approved a 10-team IPL from the 2022 edition at its Annual General Meeting in Ahmedabad on December 24, 2020. In another major development, the Board, in principle, decided to back the ICC’s bid for the inclusion of cricket, in the T20 format, in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics “after getting some clarifications from the International Olympic Committee”

5. FASTag to be mandatory for all vehicles

Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that FASTag is being made mandatory for all vehicles in the country from 2021. It is useful for the commuters as they will not need to stop at toll plazas for cash payments. Four banks together issued nearly a lakh FASTags, launched in 2016. Over 34 lakh FASTags were issued in 2018.

6. Jan Arogya Yojana completes 1.5 cr treatments

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has completed 1.5 crore treatments across the country on 24 Dec 2020, The government is going to strengthen the scheme further. The government is also going to rationalize the health packages in the upcoming Health Benefits Package 3.0. The scheme aims to help economically vulnerable Indians who are in need of healthcare facilities.

7. FIFA postpones Under-17 World Cup till 2023

FIFA has cancelled Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups that were scheduled to be played in 2021, due to a coronavirus pandemic. These World Cups will now be played in 2023, with Indonesia still hosting the Under-20s and Peru the Under-17s. FIFA has decided to expand the teams participating slot for the Women’s World Cup to 32 teams.

8. New world-class hockey stadium in Rourkela

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has announced the construction of a new world-class hockey stadium in Rourkela. The stadium, being built as the largest one in the country, will host the Men’s World Cup Hockey World Cup in 2023. The district of Sundargarh of which the city of Rourkela is a part is a powerhouse of hockey talent that includes national team captains like Dilip Tirkey and Sunita Lakra.

9. Vineet Agarwal: New President of Assocham

MD of Transport Corporation of India Limited Vineet Agarwal has taken over as the new President of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham). He replaces Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder, and Managing Director, Hiranandani Group of Companies. Sumant Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director of ReNew Power, is the new Senior Vice-President of Assocham.

10. Justice Rajindar Sachar’s autobiography

Late Justice Rajindar Sachar’s autobiography “In Pursuit of Justice: An Autobiography” was launched posthumously on 22 December 2020. It was launched by The Indian Society of International Law and The Indian Law Institute in a virtual event. He is most remembered for the Sachar Committee report of 2006 which documented the social and economic condition of Muslims in India.

11. All industries in Delhi to switch over to PNG

The Commission for Air Quality Management for the National Capital Region has directed all industries in the region to completely switch to Piped Natural Gas. The industrial sector is one of the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas. About 1,644 industrial units spread across 50 industrial areas were identified to switch over to PNG.

12. UP Govt to appoint special officers

Uttar Pradesh government will appoint special officers in various states for the security and welfare of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh. Initially, these officers will be appointed in Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata. Uttar Pradesh will be the first state in the country to appoint such officers dedicated to the welfare of migrant workers.

13. Tso Kar wetland complex added to Ramsar Site

India has added the Tso Kar wetland complex to the Ramsar Site. Tso Kar, the 42nd wetland of international importance, is at more than 4,500 metres above sea level in the Changthang region of Ladakh. The complex includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar. The name Tso Kar refers to the white salt efflorescence on the margins of the lake.

14. ICICI launches Business Cycle Fund

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has launched a new fund offer of ICICI Prudential Business Cycle Fund. It is an open-ended equity scheme that aims to provide long term wealth creation by investing in equity and equity-related securities. The scheme will follow a top-down approach for investing and will invest across market capitalization.

15. eSewa Kendra at Tripura High Court

Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde inaugurated the eSewa Kendra in the Tripura High Court on 23 Dec 2020. The eSewa Kendra would help people get more access to the courts and legal proceedings. The e-Services in Tripura have been facilitated under the e-Courts project with a view to bringing transparency in legal proceedings, and ease of access to information related to cases.

16. Flap-like diverters installed

The Wildlife Conservation Society- India is installing 1,848 bird diverters on high-tension wires along a 6.5km stretch in Pokhran, Rajasthan. This is being done to protect the critically endangered Great Indian bustard from colliding with live wires. “FireFly” bird diverters are being installed as part of a pilot project over a selected stretch opposite the Pokhran Field Firing Range.

17. Flipkart reshuffles board ahead of IPO

Flipkart has rejigged its board with the addition of Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and HDFC Vice-Chairman and CEO Keki Mistry, among others. Apart from Krishnamurthy, Mistry, two new directors from Walmart – Suresh Kumar and Leigh Hopkins – will join the board. Kumar is Walmart’s global CTO as well as CDO, while Hopkins is the EVP of Strategy and Development for Walmart International.

18. PM Modi to flag off first driverless train

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to flag off the country’s first-ever fully-automated driverless train service which will be on the Magenta Line of Delhi Metro on December 28. The 37-km Magenta Line connects Janakpuri West and Botanical Garden metro stations. He will also be launching the fully operational National Common Mobility Card for travel on the 23-km Airport Express Line.

19. 16th India-EU summit proposed for May 2021

The 16th India-EU leaders’ summit has been proposed to be held in Portugal in May 2021. During the summit, a key focus will be on the India-EU free trade agreement which both sides are keen on. The 15th India-EU summit took place virtually amidst the Covid pandemic in July 2020.

20. Firstsource Solutions acquires Patient Matters

Firstsource Solutions has acquired PatientMatters, a US-based healthcare revenue cycle management solutions provider, for USD 13 million. Founded in 2012, PatientMatters is headquartered at Orlando, US and serves a diverse customer base across 24 states of the US. “Patient Matters” consolidated revenue was USD 17.7 million in 2019 and is estimated to be USD 171 million.

21. India delivers 15 tonnes of aid to Vietnam

Indian Navy Ship Kiltan reached NhaRong Port, Ho Chi Minh City under Mission Sagar-III with 15 tonnes of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief stores for flood-affected people of Central Vietnam. On departure from Ho Chi Minh City, the ship will undertake a Passage Exercise with the Vietnam People’s Navy in the South China Sea from 26 to 27 December.

22. Defence Secretary launches DGNCC Digital Forum

Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar launched the DGNCC Digital Forum on 24 Dec 2020 in Delhi. This forum will help NCC cadets to share their experiences, opinions and suggestions on NCC training, social service and community development and sports and adventure activities and host of other issues related to national security, national integration and nation-building.

23. Mobile app “Swachhata Abhiyan” launched

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot launched a mobile app “Swachhata Abhiyan” on 24 Dec 2020. It has been developed to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual so that they can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them.

24. Free shooting of films at ASI sites

Union Ministry of Culture has allowed free shooting in ASI monuments, except iconic sites including world heritage sites, till 15th August 2021. This is a part of the celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of independence. People or agencies will be exempt from paying fees for shooting photographs or videos at the monuments maintained by the ASI.

25. 9th round of Senior Commander Meeting

India and China have agreed to hold the 9th round of Senior Commander meeting for the early and complete disengagement of troops along the LAC. The meeting will be held in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols between the two countries. A meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination, on India-China border affairs, took place on 18 Dec 2020.

26. India, Croatia held virtual interaction

India and Croatia have reiterated their commitment to an open, free and stable Indo-Pacific region. A virtual interaction was held between Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and Croatian State Secretary for Political Affairs Frano Matusic on 24 Dec 2020. The two countries also discussed the need for developing a multi-layered digital partnership.

27. India, Gabon held virtual interaction

India and Gabon discussed and reviewed bilateral ties including the COVID pandemic and possibilities of cooperation in the post-COVID scenario during a virtual interaction on 24 Dec’20. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and Foreign Minister of Gabon Pacome Moubelet Boubeya took part in it. Gabon has a huge amount of natural resources, particularly, manganese and timber.

28. European Union and Britain reach an agreement

European Union and the United Kingdom have struck a post-Brexit trade deal, after months of negotiations over future business rules. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that they have completed the biggest deal yet worth 668 billion pounds a year. It will protect jobs across this country and enable UK goods to be sold without tariffs, without quotas in the EU market.

29. China tightens scrutiny of foreign investments

China has published new rules for reviewing foreign investment on national security grounds. The review system was announced by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). The new regime (a set of 23 rules) covers foreign investment in military sectors and the acquisition by foreign entities of controlling stakes in sectors such as energy.

30. Latin American nations begin mass vaccinations

Three Latin American countries launched mass immunization programs on 24 Dec 2020. Frontline medical staff in Mexico and Chile were among the first to receive their COVID vaccines while Costa Rica began its own immunization program. In Chile, 46-year-old nursing assistant Zulema Riquelme was the first person to receive the jab in the presence of President Sebastian Pinera,

31. India Ratings revises FY21 GDP contraction

India Ratings on 24 Dec 2020, projected 7.8% contraction for the economy for 2020-21 as compared to 11.8% degrowth estimated earlier. It now expects Q3 to see contraction at 0.8% and Q4 to print in 0.3% growth. Accordingly, it expects 7.8% contraction in 2020-21 as against (-)11.8% earlier, and GDP to grow by 9.6% in 2021-22.

32. Bangladesh, India to ink rice deal in 3 years

Bangladesh is finalizing a purchase of 150,000 tonnes of rice from the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. This would be the first such bilateral deal in three years after floods in Bangladesh sent local prices to a record high. India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, is offering a steep discount to supplies to cut its surplus after a bumper harvest.

33. Vedanta buys 4.98% stake in Indian unit

Vedanta Resources Ltd, the promoter entity of Vedanta Ltd, has bought 185 million shares or a 4.98% stake in the company for 32,959 crores from the company’s institutional shareholders. This purchase will take the shareholding of Vedanta Resources to 55.1%. As on 30 September 2020, promoters held 50.13% in the company.

34. Chandrayaan-2 mission’s initial data released

ISRO has released the first set of data from the country’s second mission to the Moon, the Chandrayaan-2, for the general public. Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July 22, 2019, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The Orbiter which was injected into a lunar orbit on September 2, 2019, carries eight experiments to address many open questions on lunar science.

35. Reliance Industries to acquire stake in IMG-R

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 50% shares held by IMG Singapore Pte. Ltd in IMG-Reliance Ltd, for a cash consideration not exceeding 52.08 crores. IMG Singapore Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMG, holds 50% of the share capital of IMG-R. Post completion of the acquisition, IMG-R will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL.

36. Punjab to conduct dry run of vaccination drive

To ensure a smooth roll-out of the vaccination process, the central government has selected Punjab to conduct a dry run on December 28 and December 29, 2020. The drive will be tested at five sites each in Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar districts. It is aimed at testing the laid out mechanisms for Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in the health system.

37. Prime Focus promoter to acquire 33% stake

The promoter group of Prime Focus Ltd has entered into an agreement with Credit Suisse to acquire a 33.12% stake in the company at a price of Rs 44.15 per share aggregating to Rs463 crore. This transaction will in turn trigger an open offer by the promoters to acquire another 26% stake in the company from public shareholders at the same price of Rs 44.15 apiece.

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