Current Affairs 2nd January 2021

Table of Contents

1. GST Revenue collection recorded all-time high

Over 1.15 lakh cr gross GST revenue was collected in Dec 2020 which is 12% higher than the GST revenues Dec 2019. The gross GST revenue collected in December 2020 is Rs. 1,15,174 cr of which CGST is Rs. 21,365 cr, SGST is Rs. 27,804 cr, and IGST is Rs. 57,426 cr. The GST revenues during Dec’20 have been the highest since the introduction of GST and it is the first time that it has crossed Rs. 1.15 lakh cr.

2. New method of producing hydrogen peroxide

Scientists have found an efficient and inexpensive method for producing hydrogen peroxide. Researchers from Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) have shown that a chemical called Nickel cobalt phosphite (NiCo-Phi) decorated with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can facilitate ORR to produce H2O2 selectively in high yield. The research was published in the journal ChemElectroChem.

3. Zhong Shanshan: Asia’s richest person

China’s Zhong Shanshan has become Asia’s richest person, replacing India’s Mukesh Ambani and a group of Chinese tech titans including Jack Ma. Zhong’s net worth has surged $70.9 billion in 2021 to $77.8 billion, making him the 11th-richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It’s one of the fastest accumulations of wealth in history.

4. Indian Army creates a new human rights cell

The Indian Army has created a new human rights cell for greater transparency and probity in its functioning in disturbed areas like J&K and the northeast. Major General Gautam Chauhan, who was commissioned into the Gorkha Rifles, has taken charge as the first additional director general (human rights) at the Army headquarters in New Delhi. He will report directly to the Army Vice-Chief.

5. RBI introduces Digital Payments Index

The RBI has constructed a composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country. It comprises of five broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country over different time periods. It has been constructed with March 2018 as the base period, with a DPI score for of 100.

6. Delhi govt extends water bill waiver scheme

The Delhi government has extended till March 31, 2021, its scheme offering a one-time waiver of water bill arrears and late payment surcharge. Under the scheme, all categories of houses get an exemption from late fee payments, while their pending water bills are waived partly or fully depending on the housing category. The scheme was launched in August 2020.

7. Indian Army signs contract with Goa Shipyard

The Indian Army has signed a contract with Goa Shipyard Limited for 12 fast patrol boats for surveillance and patrolling of large water bodies. The boats would be used for patrols in high altitude regions. The signing of the contract comes eight months after India first detected intrusions by Chinese soldiers into Indian territory including along the banks of the Pangong Tso lake.

8. Bajaj Auto: 1st to cross m-cap of Rs. 1 lakh cr

Bajaj Auto has become the first two-wheeler company across the globe to cross a market capitalisation of 1-lakh crore (around $13.6 billion). Bajaj Auto is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the largest manufacturer of three-wheelers. The company has its manufacturing facilities at Chakan near Pune, Waluj (Aurangabad) and Pantnagar (Uttrakhand).

9. KVIC unveils e-commerce portal

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has unveiled an e-commerce portal – Over 50,000 products, ranging from apparel to home decor, will be available on its newly launched platform. The portal is the first-of-its-kind government online shopping platform to boost the rural economy and become self-sustainable.

10. Rs. 15 lakh penalty imposed on Bharti AXA

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has imposed a total penalty of Rs. 15 lakh on Bharti AXA General Insurance Company. It has been fined in two different cases for violation of various provisions concerning motor insurance. IRDAI imposed a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh on it for non-compliance with minimum obligations under regulations concerning third-party motor insurance business.

11. Singapore and Malaysia terminate a project

A multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur has been terminated. The two countries were unable to reach an agreement on the project after Malaysia sought changes because of the pandemic’s economic impact. The project would have cut travel time between the centres down to about 90 minutes versus more than four hours by car.

12. SEBI extends date for NAV

SEBI has extended the date for implementation of framework for uniformity in the applicability of net asset value (NAV) across various schemes on realisation of funds to Feb 1, 2021. The change in NAV calculation rule was supposed to be implemented from Jan 1, 2021. Currently, for investment below Rs. 2 lakh, allotment of units is based on time of receipt of application within the cut-off time.

13. Iran to enrich uranium up to 20%

Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it intends to produce uranium enriched to up to 20 percent purity, well beyond the threshold set by the 2015 Vienna accord. It will enrich uranium at a rate of up to 20 percent in its Fordow underground plant, to comply with a law recently passed by the Iranian parliament.

14. Former Home Minister Buta Singh dies

Senior Rajasthan Congress leader and former MP from Jalore, Buta Singh passed away in January 2021. A four-time MP from Jalore-Sirohi Lok Sabha constituency, Buta Singh served as the Home Minister of India in the Rajiv Gandhi government from 1986 to 1989. He also served as the National President of Scheduled Caste Commission.

15. J&K UT Administration signs MoU with NAFED

The J&K administration signed a historic MoU with National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) on 1 Jan 2021. NAFED will cover 5500 hectares at a cost of Rs 1700 cr in the next 5 years with a major focus on apple, walnut, cherry, pear and other significant horticulture produce. It will also set up 20 farmer-producer organizations, one in each district.

16. India and ADB sign USD 231 million loan

India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a USD 231 million loan. It will augment electricity generation capacity in Assam through the construction of a 120 MegaWatts hydroelectric power plant that will enhance the availability of electricity for households. This is the third tranche loan for the ongoing Assam Power Sector Investment Programme approved by the ADB Board in July 2014.

17. India and ADB sign USD 10 million PRF

India and the Asian Development Bank have signed a $10 mn project readiness financing (PRF). It will help finance piloting activities and design and capacity building for an ensuing project that aims to expand horticulture production and farm household income in Himachal Pradesh. It will support the development of subtropical horticulture, including cultivation of fruits and vegetables.

18. 1088 people traced under operation ‘Muskan’

As many as 1088 people have been traced in Ahmednagar district by the police in Dec 2020 under the operation ‘Muskan’ to trace missing children. Out of 200 cases of child abduction, 77 children have been traced. The local administration, under the Union Home Ministry’s initiative Operation Muskan for rescuing and rehabilitating missing children, had launched the drive on Dec 1, 2020.

19. Australia changes a word in national anthem

Australia has changed one word in its national anthem to reflect “the spirit of unity” and the country’s indigenous population. The second line of the anthem, Advance Australia Fair, has been changed from ‘For we are young and free’ to ‘For we are one and free!. The change is in effect from 1 January 2021.

20. India begins its two-year tenure at UNSC

India began its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on 1 Jan 2021. India will sit in the 15-nation United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2021-22 term as a non-permanent member -the eighth time that the country has had a seat in UNSC. India will be UNSC President in August 2021 and will preside over the Council again for a month in 2022.

21. India-Pak exchange lists of civilian prisoners

India and Pakistan exchanged, through diplomatic channels, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody on 1 Jan 2021. This is in keeping with the provisions of the 2008 Agreement under which such lists are exchanged every year on 1st of January and 1st July. India handed over lists of 263 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 77 fishermen in India’s custody to Pakistan.

22. NYSE to delist 3 Chinese companies

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will delist 3 Chinese companies to comply with a US executive order that imposed restrictions on companies that were identified as affiliated with the Chinese military. The process to delist 3 companies – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong have started. These are involved in civilian and military production with money from US investors.

23. 14 cr cylinders provided to PMUY beneficiaries

More than 14 crores free of cost cylinders have been provided to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries during Covid-19. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package free of cost LPG cylinders were provided to the beneficiaries for up to three free LPG refills till 31st December 2020. The scheme aims at providing clean-cooking fuel to poor households.

24. Centre extends disability compensation

Centre has decided to extend disability compensation to all serving employees if they get disabled in the line of duty while performing their service and are retained in service in spite of such disablement. Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh announced this on 1 Jan 2021. It will provide relief to young Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel.

25. WiFi facility introduced in AC tram coaches

West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) introduced WiFi facility in AC tram coaches in Kolkata on 1 January 2021 to make them attractive for the youth. The free WiFi service will be extended to all tram cars within January, depending on demand. Noticing that the ridership of young people has been decreasing in tram cars, the WBTC decided to introduce this facility.

26. Jharkhand to construct 1,008 houses

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has announced under the Centre’s Light House Projects they will be constructing 1,008 houses for the poor and middle-class population in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House Projects (LHPs) under Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC)-India at six sites across six States on Jan 1, 2021.

27. PMO gets centennial observing station status

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Geneva has awarded the status of ‘centennial observing station’ to the Patna Meteorological Observatory (PMO). The recognition has come as a result of extensive consultation and close collaboration between WMO climate, network and instrument experts representing WMO technical commissions, the Global Climate Observing System.

28. DDA launches housing scheme for sale of flats

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) launched a housing scheme on 2 January 2021. This Scheme is for the sale of over 1,300 flats mostly in the High-Income Group (HIG) and Middle-Income Group (MIG) categories. The scheme will be launched online through newly developed AWAAS software of DDA and applications will remain active until February 16, 2021.

29. India, Pakistan exchange list of Nuclear sets

Pakistan and India conducted the annual practice of exchanging the list of their nuclear installations on 1 January 2021 under a bilateral arrangement. It was made in accordance with Article-1 of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on December 31, 1988.

30. GHMC to add 650 more garbage collecting autos

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has announced to add about 650 more garbage collecting autos. Under the Swachh Hyderabad initiative, they are currently about 2,500 autos that collect garbage door – to – door in the early hours of the day on alternative days. In Swachh Survekshan 2020, GHMC was awarded the No 1 rank in the ‘Best Mega City in Citizen Feedback’ category.

31. App for virtual tour of Jaya He GVK New Museum

The Mumbai airport authorities have launched an app to offer a guided virtual tour of its Jaya He GVK Museum with over 5,000 pieces of artwork and artifacts. The app, Jaya He Museum, is available on all play stores. Passengers using the airport’s Terminal 2 can also access a web version of the tour by scanning a QR code.

32. Sumo wrestler Dzhambulat Khatokhov passes away

Russian sumo wrestler Dzhambulat Khatokhov, who entered the Guinness World Records as the world’s heaviest child in 2003 passed away in December 2020. As a two-year-old, Khatokhov weighed about 34 kilogrammes and weighed in at around 180 kilogrammes when he was 13. Wrestling is popular in Russia’s North Caucasus area, including in the regions of Kabardino-Balkaria, Chechnya and Dagestan.

33. Soma Mondal becomes SAIL’s first woman head

Soma Mondal has taken over as first-ever woman head of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). Before taking over as Chairperson of steel CPSU on Jan 1, 2021, she was the company’s Director (Commercial). She succeeds Anil Kumar Chaudhary, who superannuated on 31 December 2020. Before joining SAIL as a Director, she was the Director (Commercial) at NALCO.

34. Adobe shuts down Flash Player

Adobe’s Flash Player has been officially discontinued on December 31, 2020. The plugin was first released in 1996. Adobe has been planning for the end, announcing in 2017 that it would phase out Flash by the end of 2020. Zynga has announced that the end of Flash would also mean the end of FarmVille, since the game relies on the Flash plugin.

35. Dr Raghu Ram honoured with “OBE-Officer”

Dr. Raghu Ram Pillarisetti, Director, KIMS-USHALAKSHMI Centre for Breast Disease, has found a place in the Queen Elizabeth Il’s 2021 New Year’s honours list. He was honoured with ‘OBE-Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire!’. OBE is the second-highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award. He is also a recipient of Padma Shri award and Dr BC Roy National award.

36. SEBI fines Reliance Industries

SEBI fined Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani a total of Rs. 40 cr on Jan 1 for alleged manipulation in the trading of Reliance Petroleum Ltd’s securities. Fines of Rs. 25 cr and Rs. 15 cr have been imposed on RIL and Mr Ambani, respectively. Two other entities, Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd and Mumbai SEZ Ltd, have been fined 320 cr and 310 cr, respectively.

37. Canara Bank raises Rs. 1,635 crores

Canara Bank has raised Rs 1,635 crores through the issuance of additional tier-l bonds. This will help it increase its capital adequacy ratio. As of September-end 2020, the bank’s capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) stood at 12.77%. In the 2nd quarter ended Sept’20, it reported a 28% dip in profit after tax at Rs. 444 cr compared to Rs 616 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.

38. Delhi’s air quality in Dec best in 4 years

Pollution levels in Delhi in December 2020 were the lowest in the last four years, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The average air quality index (AQI) for December 2020 stood at 308. It was 337 in 2019, 360 in 2018 and 316 in 2017, the CPCB data showed. It recorded four “severe” air quality days in Dec’20 as compared to eight each in 2019 and 2018 and one in 2017

39. GoAir announces expansion of services to UAE

GoAir has announced the expansion of its services to the UAE with the launch of new flights to Sharjah from Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi and Kannur. These flights started from 1 January 2021. Currently, flights to the UAE are operated under an Air Bubble Agreement since international commercial flights to and from India remain suspended from March 23, 2020, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

40. Jubilant to buy stake in Barbeque Nation

Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd will invest 92 crores to buy a 10.76% stake in Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd (BNHL), which runs the popular Barbeque Nation (BBQ) chain of restaurants. The company will acquire 36,50,794 fully paid-up equity shares of the face value of 5 each aggregating to 10.76% stake in BNHL. The all-cash deal is expected to conclude by 25 January 2021.

41. Praj Industries bags Rs. 226.90 crore order

Praj Industries has bagged a Rs. 226.90 crore order from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL). It is for the execution of zero liquid discharge system – water treatment package and waste water treatment package of Acrylic/Oxo-Alcohol Project at IOCL Dumad, Gujarat. Praj Industries Limited is a process and project engineering company, headquartered Pune.

42. Missed call facility for LPG consumers

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan has launched the missed call facility for LPG consumers in Bhubaneswar. Indian Oil LPG customers can now give a missed call to 8454955555 for refill booking and for a new connection for Bhubaneswar city. He also rolled out the 2nd phase of the world-class octane 100 premium grade petrol, under the brand XP 100.

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