Current Affairs 9th January 2021

Table of Contents

1. Air India women pilots create history

An all-women pilot team of Air India flew over the North Pole on the world’s longest route and the flight from San Fransico (SFO) reached Bengaluru on January 9, 2021, covering a distance of about 16,000 kilometres. This is the first time an all-women pilots team flew over the North Pole and created a history of sorts. AI Captain Zoya Agarwal commanded the flight.

2. Jumbotail raises $14.2 million

Jumbotail, an online wholesale marketplace for food and grocery products, has raised $14.2 million in its latest round of funding. This round comes in quick succession after an $11 million Series B2 round raised in October 2020, thus completing its $25 million fundraise. This round was led by VII Ventures, with participation from Nutresa, Veronorte, Jumbofund, Klinkert Investment Trust, etc.

3. NHAI seeks to raise Rs. 1 lakh crore

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to raise Rs. 1 lakh crore through monetisation of highways under the toll-operate-transfer (TOT) mode in the next five years. This was announced by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari during his address at the 25th Wharton India Economic Forum. There are also plans to start the collection of electronic tolls through GPS.

4. SEBI bans Mountain View Developers

Mountain View Developers and three other individuals have been restricted from accessing the securities market for six months by SEBI for unfair trading activities with the shares of Anukaran Commercial Enterprises Ltd. It was found that the company had not made any corporate announcement while the share price rose from Rs. 35.15 to Rs. 256.25 during January 1 to December 26, 2012.

5. EESL, NHAI sign a deal

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has signed a pact with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). It will set up solar power projects, energy-efficient LED lighting, and EV charging stations at NHAI establishments. EESL is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, PFC Limited, REC Limited, and POWERGRID Corporation of India Limited.

6. IoEs get approval to open foreign campuses

The government has issued guidelines for the Institutions of Eminence (loEs) to foray overseas through offshore centres and full-fledged campuses in a push to put India on the global education map. Each of these 20 higher education institutes has been allowed to open up to three offshore centres in the next five years.

7. Reliance sells stakes in PKTCL to India Grid

Reliance Infrastructure has completed the sale of its entire 74 per cent stake in PKTCL to India Grid Trust for Rs. 900 crores. The proceeds will be utilised for debt reduction, and the company’s dues will come down by 6 per cent to Rs. 13,100 crores from Rs. 14,000 crores. IndiGrid is India’s first power sector Infrastructure Investment Trust, owning AAA-rated power transmission assets in India.

8. Variable Rate Reverse Repo auction by RBI

RBI will conduct a Variable Rate Reverse Repo auction on 15th Jan 2021 for a notified amount of two lakh crore rupees. The decision to restore normal liquidity management operations in a phased manner has been taken after a review of the evolving liquidity and financial conditions. In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, RBI had temporarily suspended the revised liquidity management framework.

9. Khadi clothes for Grade IV employees in Assam

The Assam govt has decided to gift khadi clothes to state employees as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi. It has decided to provide khadi shirts, and shawls, and stoles made of ‘Eri’–a variety of silk produced in Assam– to grade IV employees in a phased manner starting Jan 2021. The move is part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India) campaign and to promote Assamese weavers.

10. Punjab declares whole state ‘Controlled Area’

Punjab Government has declared the whole state ‘Controlled Area’ in view of the outbreak of Avian Influenza Bird Flu affecting birds including poultry in the neighbouring states. It has imposed a complete ban on import of live birds including poultry and unprocessed poultry meat for any purpose into the state of Punjab with immediate effect till 15th January 2021.

11. New Bagasara Prant in Amreli district

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has decided to create a new Bagasara Prant in Amreli district. This will take the state’s revenue services nearer to the people and provide services faster. The newly created Bagasara Prant would come into effect on 26th January 2021 and includes Bagasara and Vadiya talukas in it.

12. Japan commits Rs. 2,113 cr support

The Govt of Japan has committed official development assistance loan of 30 billion Japanese Yen to India. It is for a programme to support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by COVID. Loan Agreement for this programme loan was signed between Dr Mohapatra and Chief Representative of JICA in New Delhi, Katsuo Matsumoto.

13. 2 Indian Americans in NSC of White House

US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed two Indian-Americans to the National Security Council of the White House. Biden has named Sumona Guha as Senior Director for South Asia and Tarun Chhabra as Senior Director for Technology and National Security. Sumona Guha is currently serving as Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group.

14. Professor Chitra Ghosh passes away

Chitra Ghosh, the niece of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, passed away in January 2021. Chitra Bose was the former head of the political science department at Lady Brabourne College in Kolkata. She dedicated her life to academics and contributed in the fields of social work and human rights, especially women empowerment.

15. NIXI offers free Domain in local languages

The National Internet Exchange of India, NIXI has announced that it will offer a free Internationalized Domain Name, IDN in any of the preferred 22 official Indian languages along with every IN domain booked by the registrant. The applicant will also get a free email in the local language. This offer is valid for new .in users who register up to 31st of January 2021.

16. IREDA signs MoU with NHPC

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited, IREDA has signed an MoU with NHPC Limited. Under the MOU, IREDA will undertake Techno-Financial due diligence of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and conservation projects for NHPC. IREDA will assist NHPC in developing an action plan to create and acquire Renewable Energy projects for the next five years.

17. Phase-9 of Vande Bharat Mission

The Phase-9 of Vande Bharat Mission has been made operational from 1st Jan 2021 and 1,495 international flights have been scheduled which will be operated from 24 countries. It will facilitate the return of 2.8 lakh people. The world’s largest repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission has brought back more than 44.7 lakh people since May 2020.

18. Israel appoints Honorary Consul in India

As part of efforts to increase its presence and collaborations in India’s North-East, Israel has appointed an Honorary Consul in the region who will be based in Assam. The Embassy of Israel in India has appointed Joyshree Das Verma as honorary consul in the region with jurisdiction over the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim.

19. Former Gujarat CM Madhavsinh Solanki dies

Senior Congress leader Madhavsinh Solanki, who served as former Chief Minister of Gujarat and External Affairs Minister from June 1991 to March 1992, passed away in January 2021. Solanki was a two-term MP of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. He had been the longest-serving chief minister of the state before Narendra Modi became the CM.

20. RBI officer pens novel ‘Right Under our Nose’

A general manager at RBI, R Giridharan has written his debut book “Right Under our Nose”. The book was published by Rupa Publications. He set the story in Nagpur as he wanted to write about a Tier-2 Indian city.

21. PNB joins hands with IIT Kanpur

Punjab National Bank has announced an alliance with IIT Kanpur and the Foundation for Innovation & Research in Science & Technology for establishing an innovation centre at the institute’s campus. PNB and IIT Kanpur will set up a ‘Fintech Innovation Centre’ as a vehicle to research and develop technological solutions to address challenges and explore opportunities in the BFSI space.

22. Delhi government’s 9-point action plan

The Delhi government has prepared a 9-point action plan to prevent frothing in the Yamuna river due to the discharge of untreated sewage in the river. The plan, approved by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, lays down targets to be achieved by various agencies, including the Delhi Jal Board, DDA and Municipal Corporations, to prevent the discharge of untreated wastewater in the river.

23. MH govt gives nod to 64th Maharashtra Kesari

Maharashtra State Wrestling Association has got the permission to conduct the 64th edition of Maharashtra Kesari from Maharashtra government. The popular event that takes place during Nov-Dec was postponed because of the pandemic restrictions. It is expected to happen in the last week of Feb or March 2021. The 63rd edition of Maharashtra Kesari was hosted at in Balewadi in January 2020.

24. Telangana govt school kids make organic chalks

Two students from a government school in Hyderabad’s Adilabad have come up with an innovative organic replacement for gypsum chalks. P Harshit Verma and K Rudra, students of the Telangana State Model School in Bangari Guda, made this organic substance. Natural ingredients such as rice flour, natural clay, and essential oils are used to make these chalks.

25. Digital Calendar & Diary of Govt of India

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar has launched the Digital Calendar and Diary of Government of India. In a ceremony held at National Media Center on January 8, 2021, Shri Javadekar unveiled the Android and iOS mobile applications of the calendar and diary. This app is free and will be available in 11 languages from 15th January 2021.

26. IIT-K team makes 5G network system

Researchers at IIT-Kharagpur have developed drones with 5G infrastructure built-in, to help as airborne mobile telecommunication towers. The system involves an android-based application fitted to a fleet of drones that can create emergency communication networks from closest available mobile towers. It can set up emergency communication networks in disaster regions.

27. Air India introduces UV robots

The Air India Express has become the first airline in India to use robotic technology to clean and disinfect the interiors of aircrafts using an ultraviolet Robotic device. It has been tested and approved by NABL laboratory for its efficiency to disinfect the surfaces from germs, bacteria and viruses. It was launched in India in collaboration with ground handling agency AISATS.

28. Delhi cabinet approves Konkani academy

Delhi Cabinet has approved the setting up of a Konkani academy in the national capital in order to promote the language in the city. Konkani is an Indo-Aryan language that is spoken by the Konkani people living primarily in the country’s western coastal region. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages mentioned in the Constitution’s 8th Schedule and is the official language of Goa.

29. Epic Games acquires US-based RAD Game Tools

Fortnite-maker Epic Games has acquired US-based RAD Game Tools. Under the terms of the acquisition, RAD will continue supporting its current partners in games, film, and television production. RAD also makes Oodle, a data compression utility that’s used to make games’ files smaller, for faster loading times and lower bandwidth costs.

30. Centre merges J&K cadre officers with AGMUT

In Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has merged J&K cadre for IAS, IPS and IFS officers with that of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT), also called the Union Territory cadre, through an ordinance. The move will allow officers posted in these states and UTs to work in J&K and vice versa. The President has promulgated an ordinance to amend J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019.

31. Bengaluru to be charged 2% ‘road transport cess’

Residents of Bengaluru have to shell out extra money as the city’s civic body will start charging property owners a 2% ‘road transport cess’ on their estate tax. It will be implemented in the coming financial year starting from April 2021. An amount of Rs 150 crore is expected to be collected through this. This money will be used to improve cycle tracks and pedestrian ways.

32. Uttarakhand SDRF launches COVID awareness campaign

Uttarakhand State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) launched a COVID-19 awareness campaign in Haridwar in the area where the Kumbh Mela will be held from 14 Jan 2021. Eight teams of the SDRF are deployed in “Kumbh kshetra” to carry out the awareness campaign. To speed up the process, National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, and disaster management groups are also aiding to a campaign.

33. NSG commandos, CRPF tableau a part of R-Day

A contingent of the National Security Guard’s (NSG) Black Cat commandos and a tableau of the country’s largest paramilitary force CRPF will be part of the forthcoming Republic Day parade on 26 Jan 2021. Marching and band contingents of the Delhi Police, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the famed camel-mounted band of the Border Security Force will also be part of the annual parade on R-Day.

34. Venkatramu: MD, CEO of Post Payments Bank

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)has announced that J Venkatramu has taken charge as its Managing Director and CEO. His appointment is effective from October 29, 2020. Venkatramu has over two decades of experience across various domains in the banking sector. Prior to joining IPPB, he was the Chief Digital Officer at Equitas Small Finance Bank.

35. Biocon Biologics gets Rs. 555 crore capital

Abu Dhabi-based ADQ will invest Rs. 555 crore for 1.8 per cent minority stake in Biocon Biologics, valuing it at a post-money valuation of 417 billion dollars (about Rs. 30,482 crore). Post the completion of the transaction, Biocon Ltd will hold 89.89 per cent stake in Biocon Biologics on a fully diluted basis.

36. Andhra P. signs MoU with Cambridge University

The Urban Development Department of Andhra Pradesh has signed an MoU with the University of Cambridge. After this, the University of Cambridge will provide training to teachers and students under the Municipal Department, in order to improve English language proficiency. The MoU was signed by Vijay Kumar, Commissioner of Municipal Administration on behalf of the state government.

37. Karnataka’s bird fest to continue

Karnataka’s annual bird watching fest, which began on 5 Jan 2021, in Mysuru, continued on schedule, irrespective of the emergence of bird flu. The annual birdwatching festival, popularly known as Hakki Habba, kicked off at the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve in Chamarajnagar near Mysuru. The three-day festival was started in 2015 by the Karnataka Forest Department.

38. E-Daakhil portal launched in Ludhiana

Punjab Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has launched the e-Daakhil portal. The e-Daakhil portal would help consumers safeguard their rights. It will provide an effective mechanism to protect them from exploitation at the hands of traders and will facilitate them in approaching consumer courts with ease.

39. Punjab CM launches slew of welfare schemes

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh has launched several schemes, including free sanitary pads for high school and college girl students. He kickstarted the process of owning a home for slum dwellers and rolled out a Rs 75.64 Crore Smart Metering project. Youth and the girl child will be the beneficiaries of the two other schemes.

40. Army, LAHDC Kargil sign MoU

An MoU was signed between the LAHDC Kargil and the Army to evacuate the Kargil Lower Plateau. As per the MoU, substitute land shall be provided to the Army near Maratha Unit Kurbathang and Mulbekh area. The MoU also outlines that the Army shall complete the process of evacuation within 6 months time.

41. Sudhanshu Dhulia: CJ of Gauhati High Court

The Central govt has cleared the appointment of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia as the next Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. Chief Justice Dhulia takes over from Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar Singh. Justice Dhulia was serving as a judge of the Uttarakhand High Court when he was recommended to be appointed the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.

42. Flipkart partners with LSC

Flipkart has signed an MoU with the Logistics Skill Sector Council (LSC), an organisation set up by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. As part of the MoU, Flipkart launched a Centre of Excellence (COE) to build a skilled and trained workforce for the fast-growing e-commerce industry. Flipkart’s CoE will be open to aspirants who want to work in the logistics industry.

43. Govt clears 8 hydropower projects in Ladakh

The govt has cleared 8 hydropower projects of 144 MW on the Indus River and its tributaries in Ladakh, the highest so far. At present, there are several small projects, with a collective capacity of 113 MW on Indus in Ladakh, and the new projects will have much more capacity than those constructed so far. These projects will come up in Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh.

44. First woman to officiate in a men’s Test

Australia’s Claire Polosak became the first woman to officiate at a men’s Test match on 7 Jan 2021 when she walked out on the ground as the fourth umpire during the encounter between India and Australia in Sydney. She was also the first woman umpire to stand in an Australian men’s domestic fixture after officiating a one-day match between New South Wales and a Cricket Australia XI in 2017.

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