Current Affairs 30th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. Mahatma Gandhi’s 73rd death anniversary

30 January 2021 marks the 73rd death anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. The day is also observed as Martyr’s Day. He was assassinated on this day in 1948 by Nathuram Godse. An inter-religious prayer is organized on the occasion at Rajghat every year where the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister lay wreaths at Bapu’s samadhi.

2. Government lists bill to ban Bitcoin in India

The Government has listed a bill providing for the banning of all private cryptocurrencies in India such as bitcoin, ether, ripple, and others. The bill also provides for the creation of a legislative framework on an official digital currency. The bill is called Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021.

3. India GDP to grow 11% in FY 2022: Survey

India’s economy is likely to rebound with 11% growth in the next financial year as it makes a ‘V-shaped’ recovery after witnessing a pandemic-led carnage. This was informed in the Pre-Budget Economic Survey. The GDP is projected to contract by a record 7.7% in the current fiscal ending March 31, 2021. India witnessed its last annual contraction of 5.2 percent in the fiscal year 1979-80.

4. Thaipusam observed on 28 January

Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by the Tamil devotees of Lord Kartikeya (Lord Murugan). It is observed on the Pournami Tithi (full moon day) in the Tamil month of Thai. It was observed on 28 Jan for 2021. It is also observed in other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc. Kavadi Attam is one of the most significant features of Thaipusam celebrations.

5. India ranks 86th in Covid response index

India has ranked 86th in a coronavirus performance index out of 98 countries. New Zealand, Vietnam, and Taiwan have been ranked at the top three spots, respectively. The index by the Australia-based Lowy Institute was published on 28 January 2021. The institute is an independent international policy think tank, located in Sydney. China was excluded from the list.

6. Shubhdarshini: Ambassador to Kazakhstan

Shubhdarshini Tripathi has been appointed as India’s next Ambassador to Kazakhstan. She is presently Deputy Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations. She is expected to take up the assignment shortly. Shubhdarshini Tripathi is a 1994 batch Indian Foreign Service officer.

7. Nandita: Member of a Technical Committee

The Supreme Court has appointed conservationist Nandita Hazarika as a member of a Technical Committee constituted by it on Oct 14, 2020. The committee had been set up to hear complaints by landowners against the action taken by the Nilgris Collector. The committee of the National Elephant 2 Action Plan also includes Justice K. Venkatraman; and Praveen Bhargava, trustee of Wildlife First.

8. Reliance Jio ranked fifth strongest brand

Reliance Jio has been ranked the fifth strongest brand globally behind Ferrari and Coca-Cola. The Brand Finance’s Global 500 ranking is topped by WeChat, according to its annual report on the most valuable and strongest global brands. Founded in 2016, Jio has quickly become the largest mobile network operator in India and the third-largest mobile network operator in the world.

9. Airtel successfully demonstrates 5G services

Bharti Airtel has become the first telecom service provider in the country to successfully “demonstrate and orchestrate” live 5G service. The demonstration took place in Hyderabad on 29 Jan 21. Airtel tested the new 5G network over its existing liberalized spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (non-standalone) network technology. Its new network is capable of delivering 10x speeds.

10. Geological evidence of Himalaya earthquake

Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) have found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It was documented by historians as the Sadiya earthquake. This finding could contribute to a seismic hazard map of the eastern Himalaya, which can facilitate construction and planning in the region.

11. Bharti AXA launches ‘Krishi Sakha’ app

Bharti AXA General Insurance has launched its new app ‘Krishi Sakha’. It will cater to the specific needs of the farmers in the country and guide them in adopting best farming practices and enhancing productivity. It shares relevant information about the scientific way of farming, crop cultivation, sowing, or harvesting of major crops.

12. IBBI organized a workshop

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India jointly with SBI and the Indian Banks’ Association organized a one-day virtual workshop on 29 Jan 2021. It was on “Committee of Creditors: An Institution of Public Trust”. This was the 5th such workshop in the series for the benefit of financial creditors who comprise the Committee of Creditors (COC) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

13. Justice Sunil Kumar Awasthi resigns

Justice Sunil Kumar Awasthi has tendered his resignation from the office of Judge, Madhya Pradesh High Court, with effect from 2 January 2021. He joined Judicial Service on October 15, 1985, as Civil Judge Class II and served in various capacities. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on October 13, 2016, and as Permanent Judge on March 17, 2018.

14. KVIC distributes charkha, looms to artisans

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) rolled out a massive employment drive in the Malda district of West Bengal on 29 Jan 2021. Aiming to create sustainable livelihood opportunities, it distributed 1155 new model charkhas, 235 readymade garment making machines, 230 modern looms, and 135 reeling basins to artisan’s families. The beneficiaries include nearly 90% of women artisans.

15. PFC organized a technical workshop on Kanthasth

Power Finance Corporation organized a technical workshop on Kanthasth (Translation software based on memory) and Hindi e-tools at Urjanidhi, headquarters of PFC, on 28 Jan 2021. The workshop was organized in association with the Dept of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs. Around 50 personnel from various departments of the Government of India benefitted from the technical workshop.

16. CSIR launches a new campaign

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched a new campaign of highlighting 80 success stories from the organization. It is set to turn 80 years old in 2022. This campaign was launched recently as CSIR’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) completed two decades of safeguarding India’s traditional knowledge.

17. Ministry of Tourism dedicates 3 pavilions

Ministry of Tourism has dedicated 3 virtual pavilions, Dekho Apna Desh, Statue of Unity, and Incredible India in Bharat Parv 2021. The Bharat Parv is being organized on a virtual platform from 26-31 Jan 2021. The Statue of Unity pavilion provides detailed information about the destination. Incredible India Pavilion comprises information on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

18. Eight core industries’ output contracts 1.3%

The output of eight core infrastructure sectors contracted for the third month in a row by 1.3% in December 2020. The output of crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizer, steel, and cement declined by 3.6%, 7.2%, 2.8%, 2.9%, 2.7%, and 9.7%, respectively. The eight core industries constitute 40.27% of the Index of Industrial Production.

19. 1st country in EU to approve Chinese vaccine

Hungary became the first European Union country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine from China. The country would buy Sinopharm vaccines to speed up inoculations. Hungary is also the only EU country to have approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. It will also receive Moderna vaccines on 31 Jan 2021 and a new tranche of Pfizer shots soon.

20. Serum Institute seeks approval for trials

The Serum Institute of India (SII), has sought the Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) permission to conduct a small domestic trial of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine was found to be 89.3% effective in a UK trial. In Sept 2020 Novavax had announced its deal with the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing firm SIl in order to produce 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines.

21. OPTCL and IIT Bhubaneswar sign MoU

Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited has signed an MoU with IIT Bhubaneswar for the establishment of OPTCL Chair in the premier engineering institute. It will act as an extended arm of the R&D wing for the Odisha power sector. The core objectives of establishing the Chair Position of OPTCL in IIT Bhubaneswar are knowledge sharing, skill enhancement, and research and development.

22. CSIR and Ladakh sign agreement

An agreement has been signed between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and UT of Ladakh. It will promote knowledge partnership between Ladakh and CSIR ensuring development in the areas of bio-resource utilization, the introduction of cash crops in the region, and exploration of natural resources. The focus will be given to geophysical mapping, eco-friendly leather processing, etc.

23. India, Bangladesh to hold talks in March

India and Bangladesh will hold the next Home Secretary Level talks, Commerce Secretary Level talks, and the Secretary Level Meeting of Joint Rivers Commission in March 2021. It will be held before the Summit between PM Narendra Modi and PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. The decision was taken during the Foreign Office Consultation between the 2 countries which took place in Delhi on 29 January 21.

24. PM Modi to address at ‘Prabuddha Bharata’

PM Narendra Modi will address the 125th-anniversary celebrations of ‘Prabuddha Bharata’ on 31 Jan 2021. The event is being organized by Advaita Ashrama situated at Mayavati Ashram in Uttarakhand. Prabuddha Bharata, a monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order was started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. Its publication was started in Chennai, formerly known as Madras.

25. Release of Rs 1,751 cr approved for 5 states

The High-Level Committee under the chairmanship of Home Minister Amit Shah has approved additional central assistance of over Rs 1,751 crore under the National Disaster Response Fund, NDRF to five states. The states are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. They were affected by floods, landslides during South-West Monsoon-2020, and hailstorms during Rabi 2019-20.

26. WHO team begins COVID-19 investigation work

A World Health Organization (WHO) team of 13 scientists began its investigation work into the origins of the COVID-19 on 9 Jan 2021. As part of its field visits, the team first went to the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, one of the first hospitals that had treated patients in the early days of the outbreak.

27. India, World Bank sign 500 million dollar

The Govt of India and the World Bank have signed a $500-mn Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Programme (STARS) to improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states. These include Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan. Some 250 million students in 1.5 mn schools will benefit from the programme.

28. HAL to perform ‘Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight’

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has announced that its indigenous aircraft will perform the ‘Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight’ at the 13th edition of Aero India 2021. HAL will showcase its prowess in defense and aerospace at the world’s 1st hybrid exhibition through a static and dynamic display of its helicopters & trainers and fighter jets.

29. India’s 1st centralized AC railway terminal

The Sir M Visvesvaraya Railway Terminal at Baiyappanahalli in Bengaluru is all set to become the country’s first largest air-conditioned rail concourse, which will give passengers an airport kind of experience. The terminal will have seven platforms, apart from eight stabling lines and three pit lines. The terminal is expected to be ready by February end of 2021.

30. SDMC opens ‘garbage cafes’

Intensifying the unique initiative ‘Plastic Lao Khana Khao’, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has opened 23 more garbage cafes. Anybody depositing one kg of plastic wastes with the ‘garbage cafes,’ would get a coupon for a free breakfast, lunch, or dinner at SDMC partner restaurants. In 2019, India’s first ‘garbage cafe’ was opened in Ambikapur district of Chhattisgarh.

31. Telangana: Inauguration of 2BHK Dignity Houses

Telangana ministers inaugurated the 264 two-bedroom ‘Dignity Houses’ in Hyderabad’s Gandhinagar and Sri Ram Nagar localities on Jan 29, 2021. Out of the total houses, 200 houses located in Gandhinagar were built with Rs 15.50 crore and Sairam Nagar with Rs 4.96 crore. Each unit measures 560 sqft and the construction cost per house is Rs 7.75 lakh, the dwellings are equipped with basic amenities.

32. Heritage tours of BMC headquarters

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has inaugurated heritage tours of Mumbai’s iconic BMC headquarters. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), in collaboration with BMC, will begin the heritage tours from 30 Jan 2021. The MTDC will be responsible for booking the tours. The MTDC has appointed local tourism agency Khaki Tours to curate heritage tours of the BMC building.

33. Veteran actor Arvind Joshi passes away

Veteran Gujarati theatre personality Arvind Joshi passed away in January 2021. He was a prominent face of Gujarati theatre, also featured in Gujarati films such as Gher Gher Matina Chula and Garvo Garasiyo. Apart from Gujarati theatre and cinema, Arvind Joshi also featured in Hindi films such as Love Marriage, Naam, and Sholay.

34. Maharashtra extends lockdown till Feb 28

The Maharashtra government has extended the lockdown across the state till 28 Feb 2021. Maharashtra CM announced the local trains in Mumbai will be opened for all from Feb 1, 2021, with proper care to avoid crowding. Women have already been allowed access to the local train services since Oct 2020. After Kerala, Maharashtra accounts for the 2nd highest number of active cases in the country.

35. Biden appoints 2 Indian Americans women

The Biden administration has appointed 2 Indian-American experts Sohini Chatterjee and Aditi Gorur to key diplomatic positions at the US Mission to the United Nations. Sohini Chatterjee will serve as a Senior Policy Advisor to the US Ambassador to the UN. While Aditi Gorur has been appointed as a Policy Advisor at the mission.

36. Brazil surpasses 9 mn confirmed COVID-19 cases

Brazil has become the third country after the US and India to record over 90 lakh COVID-19 cases. It has also become second in terms of the deceased people following the United States. The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Brazil has increased by 61,811 on 28 Jan 2021 and reached 9,058,687.

37. Mission Bhagiratha: Telangana’s drinking water

Telangana government has launched its own packaged drinking water under the brand name of ‘Mission Bhagiratha’. It has now been made compulsory in all government meetings. Bottles used in the Mission Bhagiratha brand are reusable instead of PET bottles. Mission Bhagiratha, a flagship programme of the Telangana government, is aimed at providing safe drinking water to every household.

38. Maharashtra: Best state in justice delivery

The justice delivery system is best in Maharashtra and worst in Uttar Pradesh, according to a report released by Tata Trusts on January 28, 2021. The second edition of the India Justice Report (IJR) also found that women comprised only 29% of judges in India. Telangana has the highest share of women judges at 46.2%, while Jharkhand has the lowest at 12.1% in subordinate courts.

39. Indo-French Year of the Environment

Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar and Ms. Barbara Pompili, the French Minister for Ecological Transition launched the Indo-French Year of the Environment in New Delhi on 28 Jan 2021. Its basic objective is to strengthen Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development and increase the effectiveness of actions in favor of global environment protection.

40. Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupts

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano on Java island erupted on 27 Jan 2021. The 2,963 meter (9,721 feet) high Merapi is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and is already on the country’s second-highest alert level. Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country. Merapi had violently erupted in 2010, killing more than 350 people.

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