1. Vanita Gupta: Associate Attorney General
US President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Indian-American Vanita Gupta to be the Associate Attorney General and roped in Judge Merrick Garland for the position of the Attorney General. Gupta is currently serving as President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. If confirmed by the US Senate, she would be the highest-ranking Indian-American in the Dept of Justice.
2. Bharat Biotech enrolls 25,800 volunteers
Bharat Biotech has enrolled 25,800 volunteers for phase 3 clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. Bharat Biotech, the maker of Covaxin, is one of the two firms cleared by the government to deploy their product for mass inoculation in the country. Covaxin has completed two of the three required trial phases; the third – which tests for efficacy – began in November 2020.
3. Aditya Puri joins Strides Group as Advisor
Former HDFC Bank CEO Aditya Puri has joined global pharma company Strides Group as an Advisor. He will serve as a Director of its associate biopharmaceutical company Stelis Biopharma. Headquartered in Bengaluru, Strides Group’s global manufacturing sites are located in India, Singapore, Italy, Kenya, and the United States.
4. Centre releases Rs 6.1 crore to 14 states
The Finance Ministry has released Rs. 6,195.08 cr to 14 states as the 10th equated monthly installment of the Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant. This grant was released as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission. It was released to Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal,
5. NALCO to invest around Rs 30,000 crores
National Aluminium Company Limited, NALCO, will invest around Rs 30,000 crore by the financial year 2027-28 on the company’s expansion and diversification plans. This was announced by Union Minister for Coal & Mines Pralhad Joshi during the 41st Foundation Day of NALCO in Bhubaneswar in Odisha. NALCO, in association with the govt of Odisha, is also setting up an Aluminium Park in Angul.
6. J&K LG launches application ‘Satark Nagrik’
In Jammu and Kashmir, LG, Manoj Sinha, on 7 January 2021, launched Mobile Application “Satark Nagrik’ and Departmental Vigilance Officers Portal of J&K Anti Corruption Bureau at Civil Secretariat, Jammu. The mobile app has been developed with the purpose to facilitate the seamless flow of information about corruption and enable citizens to submit their grievances with ease and mobility.
7. Samagra Shiksha distributes 1.5 lakh soaps
In J&K, the Samagra Shiksha in partnership with Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), has distributed 1.5 lakh soaps to different schools of the UT. The soaps were distributed in 22,000 schools across J&K. Samagra Shiksha has launched a comprehensive school safety pilot program in 50 schools of districts of Kupwara, Baramulla, Jammu, and Doda under the ‘WASH in Schools’ program.
8. Pakistani Committee submits a memorandum
West Pakistan Refugees Action Committee from J&K met Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr. Jitendra Singh, in New Delhi on 7 Jan 2021. They submitted a memorandum which stated that with the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A and conversion of J&K from State to UT, all the rights have automatically been bestowed upon the helpless West Pakistani refugees.
9. LAHDC signs MoU with a Sikkim agency
In Ladakh, Executive Councillor LAHDC Kargil for Agriculture Mohammad Ali Chandan has signed an MoU for organic farming and its certification with Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency. It was signed during a meeting organized by the Mission Director, Union Territory of Ladakh for interaction, deliberation, and confirmation of the Agriculture Sector in Kargil under Organic Certification.
10. Gujarat: BJP state unit declares new team
In Gujarat, the state unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has declared a new team of office-bearers. State BJP President C.R. Patil announced his new team on 7 Jan 2021, which includes seven vice presidents, five general secretaries, eight secretaries, the state party treasurer, and joint treasurer. Gordhan Zadafia has been retained as Vice President of State BJP.
11. Joe Biden certified as the next President
The US Congress has certified Joe Biden as the next President and Kamala Harris as Vice President of the country. Of the 538 electoral college votes cast, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received 306, and Donald Trump and Mike Pence received 232. A state of emergency has been declared for 15 days in Washington DC following a riot.
12. Odisha sets up control room
Odisha has set up a state-level control room at the Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services in Cuttack for redressal of public queries on Avian influenza. Odisha happens to be one of the winter homes of lakhs of migratory birds. The state has already conducted tests on about 11000 samples of these migratory birds, with all the results testing negative.
13. New National Highway projects for Maharashtra
The Centre has approved new National Highway projects worth Rs 5,801 crore rupees for Maharashtra under the Annual Plan. The project includes improving and developing 1035 km of National Highways in the State. In addition, Rs. 1,800 crore projects under the Central Road Fund scheme has also been sanctioned. This was announced by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
14. Sports Minister inaugurates residential hostel
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has inaugurated a residential hostel in the premises of the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Delhi. It will be a 162-bed air-conditioned hostel. There will also be an air-conditioned dining area and facilities for sports-specific diet and a separate recreation area for boys and girls. The facility has been created at a cost of Rs. 12.26 crore.
15. Time limit for cancellation of PRS extended
The Ministry of Railways has extended the time limit for the cancellation of counter tickets for train journeys between March 21 and July 31, 2020, from the present six months to nine months in view of the coronavirus crisis. The Ministry had earlier extended the facility from three days to six months when the coronavirus pandemic had led to the cancellation of all regular trains.
16. CBIC to introduce its flagship package
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CBIC has taken a new initiative to introduce its flagship Liberalised MSME AEO Package, In order to attract MSMEs to become Authorised Economic Operators, AEOs, and avail the various benefits, the CBIC has relaxed the compliance criteria provided the MSMEs have a valid certificate from their line-Ministry.
17. 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention
The 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention will be held on 9 Jan 2021 in a virtual format. The theme of the Convention for 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will feature a keynote address by the Chief Guest Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname.
18. India to chair 3-key subsidiary bodies of UNSC
India will be chairing three-key subsidiary bodies of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The panels are Counter-Terrorism Committee (for 2022), Taliban Sanctions Committee, and Libya Sanctions committee. This was announced by the Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations Security Council, TS Tirumurti on 8 Jan 2021.
19. IAF signs MoU with IDSR
Indian Air Force and Institute of Defence Studies and Research – IDSR, have signed an MoU. This will enable the officers of IAF to undertake doctoral research, post-graduate program, and postgraduate diploma. These courses will cover various areas of interest that include defense studies, defense management, national security, aerospace & aviation science, etc.
20. Bandhan Bank signs agreement with Indian Army
Bandhan Bank has signed an agreement with the Indian Army to provide banking services to the personnel of the force. The bank has got the mandate to maintain zero-balance salary accounts of the Army personnel. They will be offered other preferential services such as six percent interest on balance over Rs 1 lakh, unlimited free ATM transactions across ATMs, etc.
21. Elon Musk becomes the world’s richest person
Tesla Inc. and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk overtook Jeff Bezos as the world’s wealthiest person for the first time on 7 Jan 2021, based on calculations using the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Elon Musk has a net worth of $188.5 billion, $1.5 billion more than Bezos. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $187 billion. Since 2017, Jeff Bezos has been the richest man in the world.
22. Odisha government forms a panel
The govt of Odisha has constituted a high power committee to make necessary recommendations regarding reservation for students of state-run high schools in engineering and medical courses. Dr. Justice AK Mishra, a retired judge of Odisha High Court will head the committee. He has earlier been the Director of Odisha Judicial Academy, Special Judge CBI, and Registrar General Odisha High Court.
23. Karnataka CM launches Krishi Sanjeevani vans
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa launched Krishi Sanjeevani vans in Bengaluru on 7 Jan 2021. The 40 vans flagged off will reach out to the agriculture fields to test soil, water and suggest remedies for pest control to improve yield. They will take labs to the fields so that farmers get find hand support in their farming techniques.
24. Pensioners in Manipur can self-update on app
Manipur CM N Biren Singh has launched mPension Manipur App. It is an online platform where pensioners can carry out self-updation without visiting the Treasury Offices. mPension Manipur provides facilities to the pensioners to send feedback to Treasures and make queries online. The App notifies pensioners on the status of photographs submitted and the responses of their queries.
25. CMS Info Systems to set up 3,000 ATMs for SBI
CMS Info Systems will set up 3,000 ATMs by Mar 2021 for SBI as the bank looks to expand the outsourced model. The outsourced model or Brown Level ATM (BLA) is managed by the service provider on behalf of the bank. Most of these ATMs are offsite ATMs. As a part of the term sheet, CMS will select the site, deploy ATMs, provide cash management services, regular maintenance, and upkeep of ATMS
26. India sets up a high-level group
The govt has set up a high-level group headed by former Union Power Secretary Ram Vinay Shahi. It would help in building a South Asia-focused energy security architecture. The high-level group is named the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE). It has been set up under the Ministry of External Affairs-run think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
27. Abhishek Yadav: AIFF Deputy General Secretary
Former India striker Abhishek Yadav has been appointed as the 1st Deputy General Secretary of All India Football Federation. It is one of the rare instances when a former Indian team player has been appointed to a high-ranking position in the sport’s national federation. He has been serving as national team’s director since January 2018.
28. Industrial development scheme announced in J&K
The Union government has announced an industrial development scheme for Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme is worth Rs. 28,400 crores. The scheme will facilitate new investments, substantial expansion and also nurture existing industries in the newly-carved union territory. The scheme will come into force from the day of notification until 2037.
29. Indian-American becomes U.S. Army’s first CIO
Indian-American Dr Raj lyer has taken over as the first Chief Information Officer of the US Army, after the Pentagon created the position in July 2020. One of the highest-ranking Indian-American civilians in the US Department of Defense, Mr lyer, serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Army and directs representation of the secretary in matters relating to IT.
30. BISs celebrated its 74th foundation day
The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Railways Piyush Goyal attended the 74th foundation day celebration of Bureau of Indian Standards on 6 Jan 21. He inaugurated the Toy Testing facilities, which BIS has created across three of its laboratories. He also announced the launch of certificate courses on Assaying & Hallmarking as well as Quality Control.
31. Fashion designer Satya Paul dies
Fashion designer Satya Paul passed away in January 2021. Paul started his journey in the field of retail in the late 60s and expanded to exports of Indian handloom products to high-end retail stores in Europe and America.
• In 1980, he launched the first ‘saree boutique’ in India, L’Affaire, and founded the eponymous fashion clothing brand with his son in 1986.
32. India grants NRs 44.13 million to Nepal
India has given a grant of NRs 44.13 million to Nepal for the construction of lab and library building for Shree Mahadev Higher Secondary School project in Humla District. It will be constructed under Nepal-Bharat Maitri Development Partnership as part of India’s High Impact Community Development Project scheme programme. An MoU has been signed between both the nations in this regard.
33. Virander Kumar Paul: Ambassador to Somalia
Virander Kumar Paul has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Somalia. Paul, an IFS 1991 batch officer, is currently the High Commissioner of India to Kenya. Somalia, a country located in the Horn of Africa, has been engulfed in violence since the eruption of a civil war between clan-based armed groups in the early 1990s.
34. 9,000 families in slums receive ‘Plus Codes’
9,000 families living in slums across Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Kolhapur now have an independent digital address. The address is based on their latitude and longitude and displayed as numbers and letters. NGO Shelter Associates has partnered with Google and UNICEF to bring a unique solution Plus Codes. Plus Codes are like street addresses for people or places that don’t have one.
35. Oldest cricketer Alan Burgess passes away
The world’s oldest living first-class cricketer Alan Burgess passed away at the age 100 in January 2021. A right-hand batsman and slow left-arm bowler, Alan appeared in 11 first-class matches for Canterbury from 1940/41 to 1951/52 and also for New Zealand Services in England in 1945. After the demise of Alan, Raghunath Chandorkar has become the world’s oldest surviving cricketer.
36. Sudan signs deal ‘Abraham Accords’ with US
Sudan signed the “Abraham Accords” with the United States on January 6, 2021, paving the way for the African country to normalize ties with Israel. This move will also enable Sudan to regain access to over $1 billion in annual financing from the World Bank for the first time in 27 years. The deals were named the “Abraham Accords” after the biblical patriarch revered by Muslims and Jews.
37. South Africa to buy 15 lakh vaccines from SII
The South African government has signed up a deal with Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply 1.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa. In the first tranche of the order, Serum will supply one million doses in January and reminder doses in February 2021. SII is expected to supply 300 million doses to the Indian government by July 2021.