Current Affairs 29th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. Beating Retreat held at Vijay Chowk on 29 Jan

The Beating Retreat ceremony which marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations was held at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on 29 Jan 2021. The entry band was Massed Band with a Swarnim Vijay theme. Beating Retreat is a centuries-old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset.

2. Oscar-winning actress Cloris Leachman dies

Oscar-winning American actress Cloris Leachman passed away in January 2021. She won eight Emmys for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and other television programs as well as an Academy Award for The Last Picture Show. She was nominated 12 other times for Emmy and also won a Daytime Emmy in 1972.

3. Kaja Kallas becomes Estonia’s first female PM

Kaja Kallas of the Reform party (Renew Europe) became Estonia’s 1st female Prime Minister on 25 Jan 2021. She has become PM after parliament approved her nomination following predecessor Jüri Ratas’ resignation over an inquiry into property expansion. Kallas, a former member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 18, is representing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

4. Republic Day 2021 awards- I

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju gave away awards and prizes to participants of the Republic Day Parade 2021 in New Delhi on January 28, 2021. UP was adjudged the best tableau among the 32 tableaux. Among the 9 tableaux from various Ministries/ Depts and Paramilitary Forces and 6 from the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Biotechnology tableau won the top honor.

5. Republic Day 2021 awards-ll

The tableau of Tripura which showcased eco-friendly traditions for achieving self-reliance in socio-economic parameters watch adjudged second place. The tableau of Uttarakhand was named third among the states and UTs. The tableau of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), with the theme ‘Amar Jawan, bagged the special prize for paying tribute to the fallen heroes of the Armed Forces. Kiren Rijiju gave the award of best cultural performance to the children of Mount Abu Public School and Vidya Bharti School Rohini, Delhi.

6. Dhanlaxmi Bank appoints Shivan as MD and CEO

The Board of Directors of Dhanlaxmi Bank has approved to appoint J K Shivan as MD and CEO of the Bank. The bank is currently managed by a committee of directors and RBI had given it four months to appoint a new head. The bank was also under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of the RBI for some time. Shivan has over 37 years of experience in the State Bank of India (SBI).

7. HSBC inaugurates international banking unit

HSBC has inaugurated its International Banking Unit (IBU) branch at GIFT City near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat. HSBC is one of the earliest global financial institutions setting up a branch at India’s GIFT City. It was the first bank to get a license from the newly set up International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).

8. U. P. Singh: Secretary in Textiles Ministry

U. P. Singh, a 1985 batch IAS Officer of Odisha Cadre has taken over as Secretary, Ministry of Textiles. Before this, he held the post of Secretary in the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti. Before joining the Ministry of Water Resources, he worked as an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

9. Qutub Minar to be lit up on Jan 30

The Qutub Minar will be lit up on 30 January 2021 to mark the second World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day as India joins other countries to combat such diseases. On World NTD Day, more than 50 landmarks representing 25 nations will be lit up to celebrate how far the world has come together in defeating NTDs

10. India: Fastest to reach 1 million vaccination

India has become the fastest country to reach one million vaccinations in the first six days. The United States achieved this feat in 10 days, Spain in 12 days, Israel in 14 days, the UK in 18 days, Italy in 19 days,, and Germany in 20 days. A total of over 25 lakh seven thousand people have been administered COVID-19 vaccines in the country so far.

11. Bharat Biotech signs pact with GSK

Bharat Biotech International has signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc and non-profit global health organization PATH. It has signed the agreement to obtain technology from GSK to produce the world’s first vaccine against malaria caused by plasmodium falciparum parasite. The vaccine is currently being administered in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

12. SBI appoints S Janakiraman, A.K Tewari as MDs

The government has appointed Swaminathan Janakiraman and Ashwini Kumar Tewari as Managing Directors of the State Bank of India (SBI) for 3 years. Both of them are currently working with SBI, while Janakiraman is working as the Deputy Managing Director (Finance), Tewari is serving as SBI Card MD and CEO. Tewari replaced Hardayal Prasad as the MD and CEO from August 1, 2020.

13. Reliance signs $15 mn deal with Israeli firm

Reliance Group has signed a USD 15 million deal with Israeli company Breath of Health (BOH) to distribute the company’s swift COVID-19 breath testing system throughout India. According to the agreement, Reliance will purchase hundreds of systems from the company and will use them to conduct millions of tests a month at a cost of USD 10 million per month.

14. School of Public Health launched in Rajasthan

A new School of Public Health (SPH) has been launched in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It has been named after Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) chairperson S.D. Gupta. It will provide technical support to health systems and render help to the state government. The major thrust areas would be digital health technology and evaluation of surveillance mechanisms.

15. Ramboll appoints Vidya Basarkod as Director

Ramboll has announced the appointment of Vidya Basarkod as its new Country Director for India. She joined Ramboll in 2016 to drive the Engineering Centre established in 2014 which acts as the powerhouse of engineering excellence for Ramboll’s global businesses. Ramboll provides solutions for structural engineering, buildings, transport, telecom, energy, and oil and gas services.

16. India at 86th in Corruption Perception Index

India’s rank has slipped 6 places to 86th among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2020. Its score was 40. The Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index was released on 28 Jan 2021. New Zealand and Denmark were ranked first with scores of 88. Somalia and South Sudan were ranked lowest at 179th position with scores of 12.

17. HDFC Life launches term insurance policy

HDFC Life Insurance has launched a term insurance policy Click 2 Protect Life. The non-linked, non-participating, individual term policy will cater to the changing needs in the different life stages of an individual. The policy has three options, which are the Life & Critical Illness Auto-balance, life protect option, and income plus option.

18. L&T builds LC-Max reactors for Visakh Refinery

Larsen & Toubro flagged off 3 LC-Max reactors weighing 2,313 tonnes each, to Hindustan Petroleum Co Ltd’s (HPCL) Visakh Refinery, on 28 Jan 21. The reactors will enable India’s first Residue Upgradation Facility (RUF) by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation’s Visakh Refinery to convert the heaviest oils to high-quality BS-VI diesel. It will also increase feedstock and improve product flexibility.

19. India to supply 10 million vaccine doses to Africa

India will supply 10 million doses of covid vaccines to Africa and another one million shots to the United Nations for its health workers under a global health partnership arrangement known as GAVI. It will also send some more consignments as gifts to Oman, Caribbean states, and Nicaragua,, and Pacific Island states.

20. Sundaram acquires Principal Asset Management

Sundaram Asset Management Company (AMC) has announced the acquisition of Principal Asset Management for Rs. 338.53 crores. Principal AMC is the Indian business of Principal Financial Group. Principal AMC has assets under management (AUM) of 37,447 crores compared to assets of around 340,000 crores with Sundaram AMC.

21. Kalpana Sampat: MD of Pramerica Life Insurance

The Board of Directors of Pramerica Life Insurance Ltd (PLIL) has appointed Kalpana Sampat as the new MD and CEO of the company. In Aug 2018, Kalpana Sampat was appointed as its Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Before joining PLI, Kalpana was the CEO of Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd. She also had a long stint with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.

22. Marico targets Rs. 100 cr revenue

Marico Ltd aims to fetch a revenue of Rs. 100 cr from its Saffola brand of packaged honey by 2021. On December 20, a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report said several Indian honey brands such as Dabur, Patanjali, and Emami’s Zandu were adulterated with sugar syrup according to the globally accepted nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) test. Saffola was one of the brands that cleared the test.

23. ASCI to launch a consumer initiative

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) will launch an integrated consumer connect initiative to raise awareness about misleading advertisements. It is titled ‘Chup mat baitho’ (don’t sit quietly). The campaign is inspired by ASCI’s Trust in Advertising Report 2020 findings which said only 10% of consumers who come across misleading advertisements report them.

24. L&T bags up to Rs. 2,500-cr contract

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has bagged Rs. 2,500-crore contract for a high-speed rail corridor project for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. The order is to procure, fabricate, assemble, paint and transport 28 bridges. The project was secured through a consortium of L&T and IHI Infrastructure Systems (IIS) of Japan. These bridges will be built over railway lines, rivers, highways, roads,, and other structures.

25. COVID-19 vaccination Center at ASCOMS, Jammu

In J&K, COVID-19 Vaccination Center has been inaugurated at Acharya Shri Chander College of Medical Sciences & Hospital (ASCOMS), Jammu. Currently, 162 sites for vaccination are operational in the Union Territory and more than 15,000 health workers have already been vaccinated. 18 more vaccination sites have been started in Jammu from 28 January 2021.

26. Paddy procurement deadline extended in Bihar

In Bihar, the last date for procurement of paddy has been extended from January 31 to February 21, 2021. The state government has set a target to buy 45 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from farmers. To date, 21 lakh metric tonnes of paddy has been procured. 3137 crore rupees have been paid to farmers for procurement of paddy.

27. UP govt to set up India’s first leather park

Uttar Pradesh government will establish the first leather park of the country in the Kanpur district. The project will be established in 268 area of land in Ramaipur village of Kanpur district and is expected to attract an investment of more than Rs 5850 crores. It will also have an effluent treatment plant of 20 million liters per day capacity so that it does not pollute the Ganga river.

28. India, Japan held fifth joint meeting

India and Japan held the fifth joint meeting of the India-Japan Act East Forum in New Delhi on 28 Jan 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Ambassador of Japan to India Suzuki Satoshi. The Forum reviewed the progress of ongoing projects in the North Eastern Region of India in various areas including connectivity, hydropower, skill development, etc.

29. Ami Bera re-named as Chair of a Subcommittee

In the US, veteran Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera has been re-elected as chairman of the House Foreign Subcommittee on Asia, Pacific, Central Asia, and Non-proliferation. Bera is the longest-serving Indian American currently in Congress. Bera also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea and previously chaired the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

30. 23rd meeting of Group of Ministers

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan chaired the 23rd meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers on COVID-19 on 28 Jan 2021. He informed that 146 districts have no new cases since the last 7 days, 18 districts since the last 14 days, 6 districts since 21 days, and 21 districts since the last 28 days. 165 cases of UK Variant have been reported so far.

31. India, Bangladesh held a consultation

India and Bangladesh held the next round of Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi on 29 Jan 2021. ,Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla led the Indian side and the Bangladesh side was led by Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh. They reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including cooperation in the wake of Covid-19, border management, etc.

32. IIT Kanpur selects 20 students from J&K

20 students including 8 girls of J&K have started their online internship program at IIT Kanpur. The internship started from Jan 27 will continue to March 29, 2021. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has signed MoU with IITs for providing internship opportunities to students from J&K in institutes to provide an exposure to the academic culture at higher learning institutes.

33. Puducherry government launches helpline number

The Department of Fisheries and Fishermen Welfare in Puducherry has launched a helpline to help fishermen contact the department to find solutions to their grievances. Fishermen could contact the helpline number (0413-2227289) to know details of various schemes available to them, incentives, and financial succour and welfare schemes.

34. Rajasthan: 5th to complete ULB reforms

Rajasthan has become the 5th state to successfully undertake Urban Local Bodies (ULB) reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. It has thus become eligible for additional reform linked to borrowing. Accordingly, the state has been granted permission by the Department to mobilize additional financial resources of Rs. 2,731crore through Open Market Borrowings.

35. BITS Pilani to invest Rs. 1,500 cr for B-School

BITS Pilani will set up a dedicated business school in Mumbai at an investment of Rs. 1,500 cr. BITS School of Management (BITSOM) will come up at Kalyan in Mumbai metropolitan region. It will be a zero-carbon footprint campus spread over 60-acre land with stellar faculty from the top business schools globally, including Wharton, University of Texas Austin, and Singapore Management University.

36. Toyota beats Volkswagen to become world’s no.1

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp overtook Germany’s Volkswagen in vehicle sales 2020, regaining pole position as the world’s top-selling automaker for the first time in five years. Toyota group-wide global sales fell 11.3% to 9.528 million vehicles in 2020. That compared with a 15.2 percent drop at Volkswagen to 9.305 million vehicles.

37. PMC to set up a veterinary hospital

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will set up its own veterinary hospital, primarily to check the stray dog menace in the city by increasing sterilization procedures. The new veterinary facility would have a capacity of operating on as many as 200 dogs at a time. The hospital will be constructed on the premises of Naidu Sewage Treatment Plant on Raja Bahadur Mill road of the city.

38. Cannes Film Festival 2021 postponed

Cannes Film Festival 2021 has been postponed from May to July 2021. Initially scheduled from May 11 to 22, 2021, the festival will therefore now take place from July 6 to 17, 2021. 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic and replaced by a low-key event in October, showcasing short films but without the A-list movie stars, directors and producers.

39. National Marine Turtle Action Plan launched

The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) released ‘Marine Mega Fauna Stranding Guidelines’ and ‘National Marine Turtle Action Plan’ in New Delhi on 28 Jan 2021. The documents contain ways and means to not only promote inter-sectoral action for conservation but also guide improved coordination amongst the government, civil society, etc.

40. 4th Future Investment Initiative Forum

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare addressed the 4th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Forum, on 27 Jan 2021. The forum was hosted in Riyadh. Its purpose was to find solutions on how business and government can expand access to healthcare, train healthcare workers, remove regulatory barriers and encourage investment in advanced health technologies.

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