Current Affairs 26th January 2021

1. 72nd Republic Day: 26 January 2021

72nd Republic Day is being celebrated on 26 January 2021. The main function was held at Rajpath in Delhi where President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute of the parade. 32 tableaux, 17 from states and UTs, 9 from various Ministries or Departments and Paramilitary Forces, and 6 from the Ministry of Defence were rolled down the Rajpath. Rafale fighter jets were also featured in the parade.

2. Government announces Padma Awards

On the eve of 72nd Republic Day, the Government announced the Padma Awards. Seven persons will get Padma Vibhushan including former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Eminent singer late SP Balasubramaniam will be awarded the 2nd highest civilian award posthumously. Ten persons will get Padma Bhushan including former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, singer KS Chithra, etc.

3. 102 persons to get Padma Shri

102 persons will be awarded the Padma Shri including Social Worker Sindutai Sapkal, British film director Peter Brook and Greek Indologist Nicholas Kazanas. Former Governor of Goa late Mridula Sinha, Spanish-Indian Jesuit priest and author late Father Vall├ęs will be given the award posthumously. Novelist Namdeo.C.Kamble will also be awarded for his contribution to the field of literature.

4. Earth losing ice faster: Study

Earth’s ice is melting faster than in the mid-1990s, as per a new study. Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion metric tons of ice has melted away from the world’s sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers since the mid-1990s. Annually, the melt rate is now about 57% faster than it was three decades ago. The study has been published in the journal The Cryosphere.

5. 5paisa launches UPI autopay facility has announced the UPI AutoPay facility on their platform for mutual fund transactions. The feature, which was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2020, will enable the processing of mutual funds and purchase of subscription products for customers of and NPCI aim to reach about 1.2 million customers on the platform.

6. Afghanistan to receive vaccines from India

Afghanistan will soon receive 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine from India. Till now, India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines made in the country, under the initiative of the Vaccine Maitri program, to neighboring countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Morocco, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

7. Dixon inks deal with Nokia

Dixon Technologies India Ltd’s subsidiary Padget Electronics has signed an agreement to manufacture Nokia smartphones at its plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The company has entered a manufacturing partnership with HMD India, which holds the rights to Nokia’s brand name in smartphones. In December 2020, Dixon had announced an agreement with Lenovo-owned Motorola to make smartphones in India.

8. Sean Desai: 1st to be named as NFL coordinator

Indian-American Sean Desai, named as the new defensive coordinator for Chicago Bears, will become the 1st South Asian descent to hold the post. The Chicago Bears is a professional American football team based in Chicago. He will replace Chuck Pagano, who has announced his retirement. The longest-tenured member of the Bear’s coaching staff, Desai was hired as a quality control coach in 2013.

9. BB-rating to Hyderabad Airport’s bond issue

S&P Global Ratings has assigned BB-rating to GMR Group-operated Hyderabad International Airport Ltd’s $300 mn proposed bond issue, with a negative outlook. GMR seeks to use the proceeds of the bond issue to fund its capital expenditure requirements over the next five years. The company will face peak CAPEX requirements of Rs1,600-1,800 cr in 2021-22, and another Rs2,000 cr in fiscal 2023.

10. Two-day mega poetry event in Jammu

The J&K Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages in collaboration with Radio Mirchi will hold a two-day mega poetry event to celebrate 72nd Republic Day in Jammu on 27-28 Jan 2021. The country’s top Hindi and Urdu poets, Bollywood lyricists, and writers will be participating in the event. The poets who will be a part of the event include Wasim Barelvi, Manzar Bhobali, Nawaz Deobandhi, among others.

11. Karnataka CM reassigned portfolios to 3 Ministers

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa has reassigned portfolios to three Ministers. This is the third reshuffle after the Cabinet expansion on the 13th of January 2021. Dr. K. Sudhakar has been reassigned to the Medical Education Department along with the Health Department. Mr. J. C. Madhuswamy has now been given Tourism, Ecology, and Environment Departments.

12. Meghalaya selected for the special award

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya was selected for a Special Award for Information Technology applications in Elections by the Election Commission of India (ECI), in the National Best Electoral Practices Awards-2020. President Ram Nath Kovind virtually conferred the award to Meghalaya CEO F.R. Kharkongor at the National Voters’ Day Award function on 25 Jan 2021.

13. Five-day training under ATMA scheme

In J&K, a group of 20 farmers hailing from different districts of the Jammu Division, was flagged off on 25 Jan 21 for 5-day training outside J&K. Organised under the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme, the tour was flagged from the Directorate of Horticulture Complex in Jammu. They will be imparted training on meadow plantation of guava, mushroom production, etc.

14. Gallantry Awards Portal launched

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched a revamped version of the Gallantry Awards Portal on 25 January 2021. This portal will serve as a one-stop virtual platform to honor the contribution of the Gallantry Awardees of India. Nationwide Quiz and ‘Selfie For Bravehearts’ Initiatives were also launched on the portal.

15. Integrated Weapon System Design Centre

M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, visited DRDO’s Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex in Hyderabad on 25 January 2021. He inaugurated the Integrated Weapon System Design Centre in the complex. The facility will enhance the capability in the design and development of command and control systems for surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems.

16. Joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX-21 conducted

A large-scale tri-service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX – 21 was conducted in the Andaman & Nicobar group of islands from 21-25 Jan 2021. The exercise involved the participation of Naval ships, amphibious troops of the Army, and different types of aircraft from the Air force. It was aimed at validating India’s capabilities to safeguard the territorial integrity of its island territories.

17. Foundation Day of ICMR-NCDIR

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister of Family Welfare presided over the foundation day celebrations and launch of the decadal year of ICMR-NCDIR, Bengaluru, on 25 Jan 2021. ICMR-NCDIR stands for Indian Council of Medical Research – National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research. He also released results from the largest comprehensive national survey of Non-communicable Diseases.

18. Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards 2020

The President of India has approved the conferment of the Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards – 2020 on 40 persons. The awards include Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak to 1, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak to 8, and Jeevan Raksha Padak to 31 persons. One award is posthumous. Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are given to a person for the meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person.

19. DRDO conducts launch of Akash-NG missile

DRDO conducted the successful launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha on 25 Jan 2021. Akash-NG is a new generation Surface to Air Missile meant for use by the Indian Air Force intending to intercept high manoeuvring low RCS aerial threats. The multi-function radar was also tested for its capability of integration with the system.

20. President’s Fire Service Medal for Gallantry

On the occasion of Republic Day, 2021, 73 personnel have been awarded Fire Service Medals. Out of these, President’s Fire Service Medal for Gallantry is awarded to 8 personnel and Fire Service Medal for Gallantry is awarded to 2 personnel for their respective acts of valour and gallantry. President’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service is awarded to 13 personnel.

21. Geological Survey of India starts a scheme

Geological Survey of India (GSI) has embarked upon a scheme to complete some major National level surveys by 2024. These are National Geochemical Mapping (NGCM), National Geophysical Mapping (NGPM), National Aero Geophysical Mapping Program (NAGMP). GSI is also going to adopt sophisticated deep penetration geophysical techniques such as Magneto-Telluric Surveys.

22. Green tax to be imposed on older vehicles

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has approved a proposal to levy a “Green Tax” on old vehicles that are polluting the environment. The proposal will now go to the states for consultation before it is formally notified. He also approved the policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles owned by Govt department and PSU, which are above 15 years in age.

23. Bharat Parv 2021 inaugurated

The annual event Bharat Parv will be organized on a Virtual platform from 26 to 31 Jan 2021. Themed pavilions of multiple states and UTs will showcase their tourism destinations, cuisines, handicraft, and other features. It was inaugurated by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on 26th January 2021. Ministry of Tourism organizes it every year in front of the Red Fort.

24. 17 ITBP officials get police medals

17 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel were awarded police service medals of various categories on 25 Jan 2021. Two officers have been decorated with the police medal for gallantry, three with the President’s police medal for distinguished service, and 12 with police medals for meritorious service. The recipients include Deputy Commandant Rajesh Kumar Luthra, IG Deepam Seth, etc.

25. TCS: India’s most valued firm

Tata Consultancy Services has surpassed Reliance Industries Ltd to become the country’s most valued firm by market capitalization. The market valuation of TCS was at Rs. 12,45,341.44 crore on 25 Jan 2021 while that of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was at Rs. 12,42,593.78 crore on the BSE. TCS had in March 2020 also reclaimed the status of the country’s most valued firm by market valuation.

26. Indian Oil raises Rs. 1,290 cr

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) has raised Rs. 1,290.20 crores in debt. It has issued 5.60 percent unsecured, listed, rated, taxable, redeemable, non-convertible debentures of Rs. 10 lakh each aggregating to Rs. 1,290.20 crores on a private placement basis. The funds will be utilized for, inter alia, refinancing of existing borrowing and/or funding of capital expenditure of the company.

27. Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Memorial park

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has laid the foundation stone of the Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Memorial park at Amritsar. The park will come up over an area of 4,490 square meters. To be built at a cost of Rs. 3.52 crore, the memorial will have soil brought by the kin of martyrs. The CM also announced a Jallianwala Bagh Chair at the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) and a literary festival.

28. Greece, France to sign $2.8 billion deal

Greece signed a 2.3 billion-euro deal with France on 25 Jan 21 to purchase 18 Rafale fighter jets. Florence Parly, the French Defence Minister, will sign the agreement to deliver 12 used and six new aircraft built by Dassault Aviation over two years, starting in mid-2021. Starting in May 2021, mandatory national service in the Greek Armed Forces will also be increased from nine to 12 months.

29. Iran to receive a shipment from COVAX soon

Iran will soon receive its first batch of foreign vaccines against Covid from the WHO-led Covid-19 vaccine procurement and distribution initiative, the COVAX Facility. Iran began the human trials of its first domestic coronavirus vaccine, Covo-Iran, in late December 2020. To date, Iran has confirmed over 1.3 mn Covid cases, including more than 57,000 deaths and over 1.1 mn recoveries.

30. Karnataka: 1st to vaccinate 2 lakh workers

Karnataka has become the first state in the country to vaccinate more than 2 lakh healthcare workers. As of 25 Jan 2021, 2,06,577 healthcare workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, the cumulative number of healthcare workers vaccinated against COVID-19 crossed 16 lakh in the country on 24 Jan 2021, according to the report of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

31. National Tourism Day: 25 January

National Tourism Day is celebrated on January 25 every year across the country. This day is observed by the government to encourage tourism and explain the essential role of tourism in the growth of the country. The theme of National Tourism Day 2021 is ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. From January 21 to February 22, 2021, the Ministry of Tourism is also organizing seminars pertaining to the theme.

32. International Education Day: 24 January

January 24 is marked as ‘Education Day’. globally to celebrate the role of education for peace and development. The theme for the year 2021 was ‘Recover and revitalise education for the COVID-19 generation. As per UNESCO data, around 258 million children are out of school, 617 million children and adults cannot read and do basic math.

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