Current Affairs 29th December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Dhoni: Spirit of Cricket Award of The Decade

MS Dhoni, former India captain, won the International Cricket Council Spirit of Cricket Award of The Decade. The wicketkeeper-batsman won the award for his decision to call back lan Bell after the former England batsman was run out in a bizarre manner during a Test match in 2011. Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan took home the T201 cricketer of the decade award.

2. Hemant Kumar Pandey gets an award

Senior scientist Hemant Kumar Pandey has been honoured with DRDO’s ‘Scientist of the Year Award for his contribution in developing several herbal medicines, including the popular drug Lukoskin meant for the treatment of leucoderma. He has been undertaking research at the DRDO lab Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research (DIBER) at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand for the past 25 years.

3. Andhra CM launches low-cost housing scheme

The Andhra Pradesh government has launched the housing-sites distribution exercise under the ‘Pedalandariki Illu’ (houses for all the poor) scheme in East Godavari district. The scheme is expected to provide low-cost housing for an estimated 30.6 lakh people in the state. The 17,000 houses being built in the first phase of construction will be self-sufficient villages.

4. New book on Gandhi to be unveiled on 1 Jan

A new book on Mahatma Gandhi is scheduled to be launched on January 1, 2021, by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. The book “Making of a Hindu Patriot: Background of Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj” is authored by J K Bajaj and M D Srinivas. It is an authentic edition of “Hind Swaraj” based on Gandhi’s handwritten manuscript of 1909 in Gujarati and his English translation of the text published in 1910.

5. SDMC opens its first ‘toy bank’ in Najafgarh

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has opened a first-of-its-kind toy bank in Najafgarh zone for children who can’t afford them. It has been opened keeping in view of Swachh Survekshan-2021 where people can donate old toys instead of throwing them away. Those children who cannot afford to buy toys can come to this place and play and even take these toys along.

6. Kohli wins ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade

India captain Virat Kohli has won the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for the ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade along with the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade. He scored 66 out of his 70 international hundreds. Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry won the ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade alongside Female ODI Cricketer of the Decade and T201 Cricketer of the Decade awards.

7. First Aboriginal player in Hall Of Fame

Johnny Mullagh has become the first indigenous player inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. He was the star player of the 1868 Aboriginal side that was the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally. Mullagh took 245 wickets at an average of 10 and scored 1,698 runs during his team’s tour of the United Kingdom, playing in 45 of the 47 matches.

8. Robotic disinfectant to fight Covid-19

A Hyderabad-based start-up called ‘H-Bots Robotics’ has introduced a robotic disinfectant named ‘ACCORD’. The company claims that this new product will help in the fight against Covid-19. ‘Accord’ will be available at a range between 2.5 lakh rupees to 7 lakh and is available in manual, semi-manual, and autonomous variant.

9. Multi-model logistics park in Silchar

A multi-model logistics park will be constructed in Silchar and the Balacherra-Harengajao section of the Silchar-Saurashtra Highway will be completed in March 2022. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari made this announcement at a public meeting at Zero Point on the East-West Corridor at Madhurmukh at Rangpur on 25 Dec 2020.

10. SEBI appoints ex-CEC as Observer

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has appointed Taruvai Subayya Krishnamurthy as the observer for e-voting of unitholders on the six wound up schemes by Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund. The e-voting is being held from December 26 to December 29, 2020. The regulator has also constituted a technical team to assist Krishnamurthy.

11. Hero Electric partners with eBikeGo

Hero Electric has announced a tie-up with an e-mobility startup called eBike GO. Under this tie-up, Hero Electric will supply over 1,000 bikes to the start-up. According to the company, eBikeGo will procure these 1000 Hero Electric bikes through the next financial year with the first batch of 120 already delivered to the startup.

12. Karnataka’s first ‘Rice ATM’ to be installed

Karnataka’s first rice dispensing machine or ‘rice ATM’ will come up in one of the slum areas in Bengaluru. The initiative is part of the Centre’s pilot project ‘Annapurti’; that is being implemented in close partnership with the UN’s World Food Programme. These machines will also be set up at five locations across five states Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

13. Karnataka govt passes anti-cow slaughter bill

Karnataka Cabinet cleared the ordinance on the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) on December 28, 2020. The bill will be now sent to the Governor for approval. The anti-cow slaughter bill was passed in the Karnataka Assembly on December 9. The bill proposes a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh for the offenders.

14. China launches RS satellite ‘Yaogan-33’

China successfully launched a new remote sensing satellite into space on December 28, 2020. The satellite, Yaogan-33, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. It was launched aboard a Long March-4C rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully. It was the 357th flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.

15. Arun Jaitley’s oft tall bronze statue unveiled

Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled a six-foot-tall bronze statue of former union minister late Arun Jaitley at Arun Jaitley Stadium, formerly known as the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, on his 68th birth anniversary on December 28, 2020. The statue was designed by the Ram Sutar Art Creations Pvt. Ltd which designed the world’s tallest statue – Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel in Gujarat.

16. India’s first indigenous pneumonia vaccine

Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister, has launched Pneumosil, India’s first Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), developed by Serum Institute of India in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Pneumosil was found to be safe and effective in preventing Pneumonia disease during the clinical trials. The vaccine has been licensed by the Drugs Controller General in July 2020.

17. TN CM inaugurates Mayiladuthurai district

Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami has inaugurated the newly-formed Mayiladuthurai district through video conferencing on December 28, 2020, The 38th district in the state has been carved out of Nagapattinam district. The new district comprises four taluks Mayiladuthurai, Sirkazhi, Tarangambadi, and Kuthalam. It has a total population of 9.01 lakh.

18. Tesla to start operation in India in 2021

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has confirmed that American electric vehicle company Tesla will begin its operations in India in 2021. Tesla will initially begin with sales and perhaps venture towards assembly, sales, and manufacturing. Tesla will launch Model 3 in India in June 2021 and the bookings for the same will begin from January 2021.

19. Cinematographer Ishwar Bidri passes away

Mumbai Veteran cinematographer Ishwar Bidri, best known for his work in popular 1990s films like “Andaz Apna Apna” and “Border”, passed away in December 2020. Born in Karnataka’s Banhatti town, Ishwar Bidri is best known for his longstanding collaboration with filmmaker JP Dutta for whom he shot action dramas like “Yateem”, “Hathyar”, “Batwara” in the late 1980s and the 1998 war epic “Border”

20. Dance historian Sunil Kothari passes away

Padma Shri dance historian and critic Sunil Kothari passed away in December 2020. He authored more than 20 books on the subject of Indian dance forms including “Sattriya Dances of Assam” “New Directions in Indian Dance”. Kothari received numerous titles and awards for his contribution to Indian dance forms including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1995).

21. Dixon to make smartphones for Motorola

Padget Electronics has signed an agreement with Lenovo-owned Motorola to manufacture smartphones for the company in India. Padget Electronics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dixon Technologies, and is among five domestic manufacturers who have been approved to receive benefits of the government’s new production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones.

22. ICF develops new high-speed Vistadome coaches

Indian Railways’ Integral Coach Factory, the coach manufacturing unit located in Chennai, has successfully completed the speed trials of the new design Vistadome tourist coaches. Vistadome tourist coach has successfully completed 180kmph oscillation trial. The Vistadome coach has large glass windows, glass roof, observation lounge and rotatable seats.

23. TCS crosses Rs11 trillion in market capitalization

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd’s market capitalisation surged past 11 trillion on December 28, making it the second Indian firm after Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to achieve this milestone. Shares of TCS jumped nearly 1.2% intraday to hit an all-time high of 32942 a piece on the BSE with an mcap of 11.03 trillion. RIL remains India’s most valued company with an mcap of 12.75 trillion.

24. 4-year ban on boxer Nishu for doping

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). has imposed a four-year ban on boxer Nishu for doping. The player tested positive for prohibited substance Mentandienone (Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid) and the Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) has imposed four years of ineligibility on Nishu. Earlier, a two-year ban on basketball player Satnam Singh Bhamara for doping was also imposed.

25. Skyroot Aerospace test-fires SPRE Kalam-5

Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad based start-up in the space sector, has successfully test-fired a solid propulsion rocket engine named Kalam-5 on December 22, 2020, in Nagpur. This is Skyroot’s first of five Kalam series of solid rocket motors. The remaining four motors are in various stages of manufacturing and are expected to be tested in 2021.

26. Giant Rock Bee Honey in Tribes India

More than 35 new, attractive, immunity-boosting tribal products have found a place in Tribes India outlets and website in the 8th edition of the “From Our Home to your Home” campaign. The products include the natural, fresh, organic produce from the Malayali tribes of Tamil Nadu, such as Giant Rock Bee Honey, honey, variants of millet rice, tamarind, and black pepper.

27. Government proposes mandatory airbag

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed mandatory implementation of airbags for the co-driver, or front passenger, on all cars in addition to steering-mounted driver airbags. For existing models, the front passenger airbag will be mandatory from 1 April 2021. For new models, it will be mandatory from 1 June 2021, according to a notification dated 28 December 2020.

28. Ahluwalia Contracts bags construction orders

Ahluwalia Contracts has bagged new construction orders worth around Rs 310 crore. It will construct a high-rise multi-storied residential complex in Bhubaneshwar in Odisha. Total order inflow during the current fiscal stands at Rs 2,086.44 crore.

29. Covid-19 variant from S. Africa found in Japan

Japan has detected a coronavirus variant found in South Africa, the first such discovery in a nation that has already identified more than a dozen cases of another variant that is spreading rapidly in Britain. A woman who arrived in Japan on Dec 19, 2020, was found to be infected with the new virus variant. Japan is facing a third wave of coronavirus infections.

30. IRDAI proposes a travel insurance policy

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has proposed a standard travel insurance policy with common coverage and policy wordings across the industry. The move is aimed at increasing the penetration of the product. It shall have the basic mandatory covers as specified in draft guidelines which shall be uniform across the market.

31. SBI mega property e-auction to begin on 30 Dec

State Bank of India (SBI) will be doing an e-auction of properties from 30 December 2020. The e-auction will include both residential and commercial properties. During the mega e-auction, individuals will have the opportunity to bid for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The bidding price will be lower than the actual market value.

32. Lava Mobiles to launch ‘Made in India’ phones

Lava International Limited., an Indian smartphone firm, will launch new smartphones on 7 January 2021. The upcoming smartphones have been made locally. Lava will launch as many as four new Made in India smartphones. The devices will be priced between Rs. 5,000 and 20,000. It has already listed the Lava Beu smartphone, designed with women buyers in mind, on its website.

33. SBI to implement new cheque payment system

State Bank of India will roll out the Positive Pay system for cheques. Under the new rule, re-confirmation of key details may be needed for payments beyond Rs. 50,000. This new cheque payment rule will come into effect from 1 January 2021. It will ensure added security where the cheque issuer now needs to provide details such as account number, cheque number, and cheque amount.

34. Centre lifts ban on export of onions

The Centre has lifted the ban on the export of all varieties of onions with effect from January 1, 2021. Anticipating a supply crunch, the government had halted the trade exercise earlier in September 2020 due to a spurt in prices. The government had last banned onion exports on September 29, 2019, after a bad crop crimped output. The government had lifted the ban on March 15, 2020.

35. 3rd batch of Sarpanchs leaves for training

In J&K, Secretary of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Sheetal Nanda, on 28 Dec’20, flagged off the third batch of Sarpanchs from Panchayat Bhawan in Jammu on a five-day training-cum-exposure visit to Uttarakhand. The purpose of the visit is to expose the participants to the best practices, to interact with the leaders, and learn about the implementation of flagship schemes in Uttarakhand.

36. ‘Raag-Bhopali’ being organized in MP

The MP govt introduced a campaign regarding promotion of “Ek Zila- Ek Shilp”, on 28 Dec 2020. The first of such kind of exhibition called Raag-Bhopali is being organized to promote Zari-Zardozi crafts of Bhopal. The exhibition is being organised till 30 December 2020 in Gauhar Mahal, Bhopal. It will help in reviving the fading art of Zari-Zardozi.

37. Five sportspersons get aid for Tokyo Olympics

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray distributed financial aid of 50 lakh rupees to sportspersons from the state to help them prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, on 28 Dec 2020. Renowned shooters Rahi Sarnobat and Tejaswini Sawant were among the five sportspersons from Maharashtra who were given the aid. It was as part of the state’s Mission Olympics Scheme to prepare for the mega event.

38. 28 MLAs administered oath

28 MLAS elected in the recent by-polls in Madhya Pradesh were administered the oath as members of the Assembly on 28 Dec 2020 by protem speaker Rameshwar Sharma. The ruling BJP had won 19 out of the 28 seats in the by-polls held on November 2020 taking its strength in the 230- member House to 126.  The tally of the Congress, which won nine of the 28 by-polls seats, is 96 in the house.

39. UT Ladakh get its own Meteorological Centre

Union Territory Ladakh is to get its own Meteorological Centre(MC). The new MC, to be established in Leh, would provide weather forecasts, issue warnings in case of adverse events, and perform all mandatory meteorological operations. The Leh-MC was virtually inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Earth Sciences (MoES) on December 29, 2020.

40. SL Dharme Gowda passes away

Karnataka Legislative Council Deputy Chairman SL Dharme Gowda was found dead on a railway track near Kadur in Chikkamagalur district on 29 Dec 2020. He was a JD(S) legislator and in 2018 he was elected as Deputy Chairman in the upper House. His father SR Lakshmaiah was a three-time MLA from the Birur assembly constituency.

41. South Africa registers more than 1 mn cases

South Africa has become the first country on the continent to register more than one million Covid-19 cases. It comes just days after authorities confirmed that a new, faster-spreading, coronavirus variant had been detected. A new coronavirus variant – known as 501V2 – is believed to be driving the surge in infections.

42. India unfurls Blue Flags on its beaches

India unfurled the 8 Blue Flags on its beaches on 28 Dec 2020. India, which has become the first country in the world to receive the Blue Flag Certification for 8 beaches in a single attempt, hosted the Blue flags in all its beaches. Blue Flag certification is a globally recognized eco-label accorded by Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark based on 33 stringent criteria.

43. Prahlad Singh Patel takes a review meeting

Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel took a review meeting of the Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan project in New Delhi on 28 Dec 2020. The project is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India. Under the project, 27 MoUs have been awarded to 12 Monument Mitras for 25 sites.

44. MHA extends guidelines for COVID surveillance

The Central government has extended the existing Covid-19 guidelines till 31 January 2021. In the extended guidelines, the containment zones will continue to be demarcated carefully. The government is also focussing on beginning the massive Covid-19 vaccination drive in early 2021. In relation to that, a two-day dry run to check the preparedness has already begun.

45. Indian naval ship conducts “passage exercise”

An Indian Navy warship undertook a “passage exercise” (PASSEX) with the Vietnamese Navy in the South China Sea as part of efforts to boost maritime cooperation between the two countries. Indian naval ship INS Kiltan participated in the exercise on December 26 & 27, 2020. The Indian Navy participated in 13 bilateral and multilateral exercises in 2020.

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