Current Affairs 3rd December 2020

Table of Contents

1. Mahindra Group: Amit Sinha appointed President

Mahindra Group has announced the appointment of Amit Sinha as President, Group Strategy. He will succeed Anish Shah who was promoted as Deputy Managing Director in Aprilb2020. Sinha will oversee synergy, risk and economist functions. Prior to joining Mahindra, Sinha was a senior partner and director with Bain & Company.

2. NCLT gives nod to Reliance Infratel’s plan

National Company Law Tribunal has given its nod to Reliance Infratel’s (RITL) resolution plan, thereby paving way for Reliance Jio to pick up the tower and fibre assets of RITL. The tower unit, Reliance Infratel, will go to Jio for a total consideration of Rs 20,000-23,000 crore to be paid over a period of seven years.

3. Airtel buys 4.9% stake in Bharti Infratel

Bharti Airtel Ltd, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd, has acquired an additional stake of 133 million shares or 4.94% in tower company Bharti Infratel Ltd for ₹2,882.32 crores. Prior to the acquisition, Bharti Airtel and Nettle Infrastructure held 23.04% and 13.69%, respectively, in Bharti Infratel.

4. Japan to phase out petrol cars by mid-2030s

All new vehicles sold in Japan by the mid-2030s will be hybrid or electric as the government begins to unveil concrete steps for reaching its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Japan’s Economy Ministry is targeting “100% electrification” over approximately 15 years. This move will gradually bump gasoline-engine cars out of the new car market.

5. IIT Kanpur Researchers develop lattice unit

IIT Kanpur researchers have demonstrated how with the use of a micro-structured hour-glass shaped metastructure in the lattice unit, one can get a wider variation of propagation and stop bands. The inspiration of the lattice they developed has come from a two-headed drum called ‘Dambaru’ or ‘Damaru’ which is used in ancient Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.

6. Door to door survey in Andaman & Nicobar

The fieldwork of door to door survey to collect data of each household and commercial establishment in Andaman & Nicobar under 7th Economic Census is being carried out. According to the 2011 census, the total population is more than 3.80 lacs having 7.5 per cent of tribal population. The growth rate is 6.86 per cent. Of the total 94551 households, more than 62 per cent are in rural areas.

7. ADB, India sign 50 million loan

The Asian Development Bank and the Govt of India have signed a $50 million policy-based loan. It will help in improving financial management procedures and operational efficiencies aimed at achieving more fiscal savings, promote informed decision making, and improve service delivery in the state of West Bengal. The loan is proposed to be supplemented by a $350,000 technical assistance grant.

8. 3rd stage clinical trials of vaccine in Karnataka

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa has launched the third stage clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine named Covaxin in Bengaluru. Covaxin developed by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech limited will undergo clinical trials in Vydehi Medical Sciences and Research Institute under Atma Nirbhar Bharat yojana. Covaxin will be given to the volunteers in two doses in December 2020.

9. Foundation stone laid for a power plant

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa has laid the foundation stone for an 11.5-megawatt power plant run on municipal waste. The first of its kind power plant in the state will be capable of converting 600 tonnes of municipal waste into 11.5-megawatt energy. This power plant will add 80.59 million units of power to the existing power grid. Bengaluru generates 5000 tonnes of waste every day.

10. NABARD and SBI sign MoU

The Karnataka regional office of NABARD and State Bank of India have signed an MOU. It has been signed to extend concessional refinance facility to the beneficiaries of watershed development and tribal development projects. The MoU aims to benefit 45000 beneficiaries from 260 Farmers Producers Organisations in 28 districts.

11. Madras High Court gets 10 additional judges

The President of India has appointed 10 Additional Judges to the Madras High Court. These are Justices Govindarajulu
Chandrasekharan, A.A. Nakkiran, Veerasamy Sivagnanam, Ganesan llangovan, Ananthi Subramanian, Kannammal Shanmuga Sundaram, Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup, Murali Shankar Kuppuraju, Manjula Ramaraju Nalliah, and Thamilselvi T. Valayapalayam.

12. Odisha approves an emergency helpline number

Odisha Govt has approved the unified emergency helpline number 112 to provide all forms of police assistance to people in distress. The consolidated helpline number would enable police to rush services to people in an efficient manner. The helpline number 112 subsumes the earlier segregated helpline numbers like 100, 101, 108 and other for emergency services like police, fire and ambulance.

13. Option-1 to meet GST shortfall: Chhattisgarh

Govt of Chhattisgarh has chosen Option-1 to meet the revenue shortfall arising out of GST implementation. The number of states which have favoured Option-1 has gone up to 27. Under the terms of Option-1, the states are entitled to get unconditional permission to borrow the final instalment of O.50 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) out of
the 2 per cent additional borrowings.

14. 7th India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting

The 7th India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting was held virtually on 2 Dec 2020. The JCM was co-chaired by Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of Suriname, Albert R. Ramdin. The Ministers agreed to add new momentum to the bilateral relations in the fields of business and investment.

15. Health Ministry issues SOP

Health Ministry has issued Standard Operating Procedures on Preventive Measures in Markets to contain the spread of COVID-19. Market places in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up. Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home.

16. Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry appointed as DGBR

Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry assumed the charge as 27th Director General Border Roads (DGBR) on 1 December 2020. He was holding the appointment of ADG LW&E in QMG’s Branch at Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army) before this. He was also nominated as Exercise Director of EX FORCE 18, a multinational exercise involving 18 countries on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA), in 2016.

17. Education Minister sets up a task force

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has set up a task force for preparing a roadmap on imparting technical education in Mother Tongue. The task force set up under the chairmanship of Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education will take into consideration the suggestions made by various stakeholders and will submit a report in a month.

18. 133rd birth anniversary Dr Rajendra Prasad

The 133rd birth anniversary of first President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad is being observed on 3 Dec 2020. He served as the President from 1950-1962. Dr Rajendra Prasad became an active part of India’s freedom struggle and participated in grass root level movements such as non-cooperation movement. After independence, Prasad was elected as President of the Constituent Assembly of India.

19. Maharashtra govt. to rename residential colonies

Maharashtra cabinet has cleared a proposal to rename all residerntial colonies having caste-based names. The decision to rename these localities was taken to maintain social harmony and national unity. Caste-based names such as Mahar-wada, Bouddh-wada, Mang-wada, Dhor-vasti, Brahman-wada, Mali-galli are commonplace but they are unbecoming in a progressive state like Maharashtra.

20. MDH owner Mahashay Dharampal Gulati dies

Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, the owner of the iconic spice brand MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti), passed away in December 2020. Dharampal Gulati of MDH, fondly called ‘Dadaji’ and ‘Mahashayji’, was born in 1923 in Sialkot, Pakistan. Dharampal Gulati joined his father’s spice business in Sialkot. He moved to India after partition and opened a shop in Delhi’s Karol Bagh.

21. OnePlus, American Express join hands

OnePlus has inked a long-term strategic partnership with American Express, to offer a range of benefits for buyers in India. The new partnership would provide “always-on”, exciting cashback offers for customers. Ten per cent cashback is provided for product categories listed on for customers who purchase a product with a minimum listed price of Rs 40,000.

22. TMKOC tops Most searched Movies & TV Shows

Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah claimed the top spot on Yahoo’s annual list of the most searched films and TV shows of the year. Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah beat out the likes of Bigg Boss and Mirzapur. The list, unveiled in December 2020, also includes mythological epics Mahabharat at the number two spot, and Ramayan at the number four spot.

23. Hyderabad to get a vulture rescue centre

The Environment and Forest Ministry has decided to set up four vulture rescue centres alongside the existing vulture conservation breeding centres. These would be established near VCBCs of the city, Pinjore in Haryana, Hyderabad in Telangana, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Rani in Assam. The population of three resident species of vultures fell by more than 90% during the mid-90s.

24. 31st Konark Dance Festival begins

The 31st Konark Festival being organised by Odisha Tourism began on 2 Dec 2020. The event showcased the best of India’s traditional and classical dance forms, besides offering interesting insights into the rich cultural heritage of the country. Leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of almost all classical dance forms of India will take part in the five-day classical dance carnival.

25. 9th International Sand Art Festival

The ninth edition of the International Sand Art Festival kicked-off at the Chandrabhaga Beach of Konark in Odisha’s Puri district on 2 Dec 2020. Around 70 artists from across the country will take part in the festival. Last few years saw participation from Russia, USA, Singapore & Italy. World-renowned artist, Sudarsan Pattnaik has been appointed as the Chief Curator of the festival.

26. Rs 200-crore LMC bonds listed on BSE

In a first for Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow Municipal Corporation bonds worth Rs 200 cr were listed on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai on 2 Dec 2020. The Lucknow Municipal Corporation has become the first civic body in north India to issue bonds, even as the process of issuing municipal bonds by civic bodies started in the country in 1997.

27. Country’s first 100 Octane petrol

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has launched India’s first 100 Octane petrol. XP100 premium petrol will initially be available at select outlet of lOC in 10 cities — Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Agra, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. The fuel is manufactured at IOC’s Mathura refinery in UP and supplied at select petrol pumps. Octane ratings are measures of fuel stability.

28. UK: 1st to approve Pfizer vaccine

Britain became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioN Tech COVID-19 vaccine for use. It will be rolled out from early December 2020. The British regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) declared that the vaccine offers protection of up to 95 per cent and is safe to be used for immunisation against COVID-19.

29. Policybazaar launches insurance vertical

To help people deal with job or income losses, Policybazaar has launched a new vertical, where visitors can buy income loss insurance products. Through this, users can learn more about the product offered by some of India’s leading insurers SBI General, Aditya Birla Insurance, etc. With this, it aims to provide income replacement benefits policies to customers for a defined time period.

30. China buys Indian rice for first time

China has started importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies and an offer from India of sharply discounted prices. India is the world’s biggest exporter of rice and China is the biggest importer. Beijing imports around 4 million tonnes of rice annually but has avoided purchases from India, citing quality issues.

31. Paytm patners with Suryoday Small Fin Bank

Paytm has announced its partnership with Suryoday Small Finance Bank to empower MSMEs with instant digital loans. Paytm, through this partnership, is aiming at disbursing loans to over 1 lakh small businesses in the next 12 months to 18 months. This is the first lending partnership for Paytm with a small finance bank to help merchants get loans seamlessly.

32. Infosys partners with Rolls-Royce

Infosys Ltd has entered into a partnership with Rolls-Royce, an aerospace and defence technology company. Under this, Rolls-Royce will transition a significant part of its engineering centre capabilities for civil aerospace in Bengaluru to
Infosys. Infosys will provide a full range of high-end engineering and R&D services integrated with advanced digital service to Rolls-Royce.

33. Amazon, Blackberry join hands

Amazon Web Services and BlackBerry have announced a multi-year, global agreement to develop and market BlackBerry’s Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform, IVY. BlackBerry IVY is a scalable, cloud-connected software platform. It will allow automakers to provide a consistent and secure way to read vehicle sensor data, normalize it, and create actionable insights from that data.

34. Varsha Joshi: Interim Chairperson of NDDB

Dilip Rath, the Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has failed to receive an extension from the Union government. Until a full-time Chairman is appointed, the government has asked Varsha Joshi, who is Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, to take charge as the Chairman of NDDB.

35. Suryadhar lake dedicated to people

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat has inaugurated the Suryadhar lake at Doiwala. It will address the drinking water and irrigational needs of nearly 20 villages around it and is also set to become a major tourist and water sports destination in coming times. The lake will recharge the water resources in the area and help build a healthy eco-system.

36. Govt forms panel to implement Paris Agreement

India has set up an apex committee, comprising members from its 13 key Ministries, to coordinate actions for achieving its goals under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement will officially come into force from January 1, 2021. The apex body will also function as a national authority to regulate carbon markets in India under the Paris Agreement in the post-2020 period.

37. International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed every year on 3 December. The annual observance of day was proclaimed in 1992 by UN General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of
persons with disabilities. The theme for the year 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”

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