Jan. 17, 2021

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

STARTUP INDIA SEED FUND
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced launching of Startup India seed fund with 1,000 crore rupees so that there is no shortage of seed money for startups.

About:

  • This was announced during the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’.

  • This will help in starting and growing new startups.

  • Fund of funds scheme is already helping startups raising equity capital. The Government will also help the startups in raising capital through guarantees.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

IRON-ORE POLICY 2021
The Ministry of Railways has approved a new iron-ore policy governing the allocation of rakes and transportation of iron-ore.

About:

  • This new policy has been named as Iron-ore Policy 2021 and shall come into effect from February 10, 2021.

  • The provisions of the new policy will be updated in the rake allotment system module by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).

  • Scrutiny of documentation by Railways has been removed.

  • Executive Director Rake Movement of Railway Board (EDRM) office, Kolkata which has been sanctioning programmes for movement of iron-ore traffic will have no regulatory role in the new policy.

  • Customers now desirous of moving their traffic under any priority will have to give (an) undertaking that they have procured, transported and utilized materials as per rules and regulations of Central and State Governments.

  • Higher priority will be given to the movement of iron-ore traffic for domestic manufacturing activity. Within the domestic movement of iron-ore traffic, priority preference will be given to steel, pig iron, sponge iron, pellet, or sinter plant owning customers having their own private sidings at both the loading as well as unloading ends.

  • The categorization of priority of movement of iron ore has now been based on the availability of railway infrastructure developed by the customer, for loading or unloading, and the nature of movement between various types of sidings with a view to maximize iron-ore movement by rail.

  • Old and new plants will be treated similarly as far as allotment and loading of rakes is concerned.

Important Info :
  • Iron ore is the second most important stream of traffic of Railways and along with steel accounts for nearly 17 per cent (53.81 million tonne of steel and 153.35 million tonne of iron ore) of total 1210 million tonne freight loading of Indian Railways in 2019-2020.
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

2020, ONE OF THE HOTTEST YEARS ON RECORD?
2020 has been recorded as one of the hottest years by various agencies.

About:

  • NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says that 2020 was the hottest year on record tying with 2016 (which held the previous record for the hottest year).

  • The US NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information has said that 2020 was the second warmest year on record since 1880, when it started maintaining records.

  • According to NOAA, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for 2020 was 0.98 degree Celsius above the average for the 20th century and just 0.02 degree Celsius less than the average temperature for 2016.

Important Info :

Reasons:

  • NASA has said that human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible for warming the Earth.
  • These activities include burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which release greenhouse gases forming an insulating blanket, which traps heat near the Earth’s surface.
  • Significantly, NASA notes that carbon dioxide levels have increased by over 50 percent since the Industrial Revolution began 250 years ago, while the level of methane has more than doubled. This has warmed the Earth by about 1 degree Celsius since this period.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

JALLIKATTU
JALLIKATTUWith Assembly polls round the corner in Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport, has caught the attention of the BJP and Congress.

About:

  • The bull-taming sport is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts — known as the Jallikattu belt.

  • Jallikattu is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.

  • A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating. It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.

  • Jallikattu is considered a traditional way for the peasant community to preserve their pure-breed native bulls. Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Barugur and Malai Maadu are among the popular native cattle breeds used for Jallikattu.

Important Info :

Legal battles

  • Jallikattu first came under legal scrutiny in 2007 when the Animal Welfare Board of India and the animal rights group PETA moved petitions in the Supreme Court against Jallikattu as well as bullock cart races.
  • In 2011, the UPA regime at the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition is prohibited. In May 2014, days before the BJP was elected to power, the Supreme Court banned the bull-taming sport, ruling on a petition that cited the 2011 notification.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, where it is pending now. The state government has legalised these events, which has been challenged in the court.
  • Like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka too passed a law to save a similar sport, called Kambala.
Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

MUKUNDPURA CM2
A new study by Geological Survey of India, Kolkata has shed light on the mineralogy of the meteorite which fell in 2017 in Mukundpura village near Jaipur.

About:

  • The meteorite named Mukundpura CM2 was classified to be a carbonaceous chondrite. The composition of carbonaceous chondrites are also similar to the Sun.

  • This is a type of stony meteorite, considered the most primitive meteorite and a remnant of the first solid bodies to accrete in the solar system.

  • Meteorites are broadly classified into three groups – stony (silicate-rich), iron (Fe–Ni alloy), and stony-iron (mixed silicate–iron alloy). Chondrites are silicate-droplet-bearing meteorites, and this Mukundpura chondrite is the fifth carbonaceous meteorite known to fall in India.

  • the results of the Mukundpura CM2 study are relevant to the surface composition of near-Earth asteroids Ryugu and Bennu.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

DRAFT MODEL TENDER
The Finance Ministry (Expenditure Department) has drafted a model tender document for public procurement by all central government departments, in a bid to standardise the language and clauses included, and avoid contractual disputes.

About:

  • Public procurement refers to the purchase of goods and services by the public sector or the government, accounting for an average 15% of GDP globally.

  • In India, government procurement is estimated to constitute about 30% of GDP with the central government accounting for a major chunk.

  • There is no standardised nomenclature in public procurement in India and a mix of American, European and Indian nomenclature has become common. E.g. participants in the Tender are called tenderers and bidders.

  • The standard bidding document developed now, seeks to ease out this duality by mooting that
    • the ‘Tender’ should refer to the tender document and process, while the term ‘Bid’ shall refer to the bidders’ pitches;

    • ‘Bidder’ is to be used instead of ‘Tenderer’ to refer to potential suppliers and the usage ‘Bid document’ be done away with, as per the proposed model.



Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

SAKSHAM
With a view to create awareness among the consumers of fossil fuels, Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched ‘SAKSHAM’, a month long campaign, highlighting the adverse health and environmental impacts of increasing carbon footprints.

About:

  • ‘SAKSHAM’s idea is to convince consumers to switch to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioural change to use fossil fuel intelligently.

  • The campaign will also spread awareness about 7 key drivers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently mentioned, saying that collectively these would help India move towards cleaner energy.

  • The key drivers include
    • moving towards a gas-based economy,

    • cleaner use of fossil fuels,

    • greater reliance on domestic sources to drive bio-fuels,

    • achieving renewable targets with the set deadlines,

    • increased use of electric vehicles to decarbonize mobility,

    • increased use of cleaner fuels like Hydrogen, and

    • digital innovation across all energy systems.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

KALARIPAYATTU
Kalaripayattu, considered the oldest surviving martial art of the country, with a legacy of more than 3,000 years, is set to see a surge in popularity with the establishment of an academy in the Kerala capital.

About:

  • Lessons in one of the most famous combat styles in the world will now be taught at Kerala Tourism’s Vellar Crafts Village en route to Kovalam.

  • The 3,500 sq ft academy in the village is scheduled to be completed in two months.

  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan released the syllabus of the Kalaripayattu Academy on January 16 during the inauguration of the renovated Crafts Village.

Important Info :
  • Kalaripayattu also known as Kalari, is an Indian martial art and fighting style that originated in Kerala.
  • It is considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence, with its origin dating back to at least the 3rd century BC.
  • Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods. Practitioners of Kalaripayattu also possess intricate knowledge of pressure points on the human body and healing techniques that incorporate the knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga.
  • Unlike other parts of India, warriors in Kerala belonged to all castes. Women in Keralite society also underwent training in Kalaripayattu, and still do so to this day.
Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

SECTION 230 OF THE US’ COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT
Soon after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol last week, his social media accounts were suspended by Big Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook for his alleged role in inciting violence and spreading misinformation.

About:

  • The incident spurred a renewed debate about Section 230 of the US’ Communications Decency Act — the controversial piece of internet legislation that permitted these tech companies to flex their powers and ban the president in the first place.

  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996 and provides legal immunity to internet companies for content that is shared on their websites. The act was first introduced to regulate pornography online. Section 230 is an amendment to the act, which holds users responsible for their comments and posts online.

  • According to the regulation, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

  • This means that online companies, including social media platforms, are not liable for the content shared on their website by its users. So if a user posts something illegal on the website, the company is protected from lawsuits.

Important Info :

Why is Section 230 widely criticised?

  • It was passed before social media existed in its present form. Political leaders and internet activists have long called for the law to be updated.
  • Republican lawmakers, including Trump, have alleged that platforms like Twitter and Facebook exhibit a clear bias against conservative voices and often abuse Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to censor right-leaning users.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2021

SWITCH UAV
The Indian Army has signed a $20-million contract with ideaForge, a player in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, to procure undisclosed quantities of a high-altitude variant of SWITCH UAV.

About:

  • SWITCH UAV is an indigenous system built to cater to the most demanding surveillance operations of the Indian forces.

  • This fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing UAV can be deployed at high altitudes and under harsh environments for day and night surveillance, ideaForge said in a statement.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Jan. 16, 2021

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

GAVI GANGADHARESHWARA TEMPLE
Clouds played spoilsport while citizens celebrated Sankranti by blocking the Sun’s rays from falling on the Shiva Linga at the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple in Gavipuram. For the first time in 50 years, sun’s rays didn’t fall on idol on Sankranti day.

About:

  • Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple is also known as Gavipuram Cave Temple.

  • It is an example of Indian rock-cut architecture. This cave temple is dedicated to Shiva and cut into a monolithic stone.

  • It is located in Bangalore, Karnataka. It was built in the 16th century by Kempe Gowda I, the founder of the city.

  • The temple is famous for its mysterious stone discs in the forecourt and the exact planning allowing the sun to shine on shrine in certain time of the year.

  • Lakhs of devotees come in mid January every year on Makar sankranti Day to this cave temple. This is a special day when the sunrays fall on the Shivalinga for one hour as it passes between the horns of the Nandi.

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

INDIA METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT (IMD)
India Meteorological Department (IMD) celebrated its 146th Foundation Day on 15th January 2021.

On the occasion Union Minister of Earth Sciences –

  • inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand and Kufri, Himachal Pradesh;

  • inaugurated Multi-Mission Meteorological Data Receiving and Processing System in IMD in collaboration with ISRO (MMDRPS) and

  • officially e-launched “Online Web Portal of IMD Journal MAUSAM” in collaboration with CSIR-NISCAIR and released a special issue of Mausam on Tropical Cyclone.

Important Info :

Doppler Weather Radars:

  • IMD is modernizing its observational network in the Central and Western Himalayas by installation of state of art Doppler Weather Radars in a phased manner, at different locations.
  • This radar will be providing severe weather information to the weather forecasters.
  • It will also provide valuable support to the disaster managers and to the pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to Kailash Manasarovar and Char Dham yatra.

Multi-Mission Meteorological Data Receiving and Processing System (MMDRPS):

  • It has been established in IMD in collaboration with ISRO.
  • Output by MMDRPS will be utilized for monitoring and forecasting of severe weather events and many sectoral applications Defence services, Disaster Management, Power Sector, Aviation, Tourism etc by generating specific satellite-based products imageries.
Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

DRIVERLESS METRO CAR
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh unveiled India’s First Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Car.

About:

  • He unveiled state-of-the-art ‘Driverless Metro Car’ for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) at a function held at BEML’s Bangalore Complex.

  • Indigenously designed & developed state-of-the-art Driverless Metro trains are being manufactured at BEML Bangaluru Complex.

  • MMRDA project has 63 per cent indigenous content which will enhance to 75 per cent in next two to three years.

  • Rajnath Singh also virtually launched the Aerospace Assembly Hangar, situated within BEML’s Bangalore Complex, and unveiled first indigenously manufactured Tatra Cabin by BEML.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

PRARAMBH
Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal inaugurated the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’.

About:

  • The two day ‘Prarambh’, Startup India International Summit began in New Delhi, with members of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries participating in the inaugural event.

  • The Summit is being organizing by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, M/o Commerce & Industry, as a follow up of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Modi at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu in August, 2018.

  • The Summit is a demonstration of neighbourhood first policy.

  • With participation from over 25 countries and more than 200 global speakers, the Summit is the largest Startup India International Summit organized by the Government of India since the launch of the Startup India Initiative in 2016.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

KEVADIYA RAILWAY STATION
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off eight trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya on 17th January, 2021.

About:

  • These trains will facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity, located on the Narmada River in the Kevadiya, Gujarat.

  • Prime Minister will inaugurate the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge railway line, Chandod – Kevadiya new Broad Gauge railway line, newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section and the new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya.

  • Kevadiya station is India's first railway station with a Green Building Certification.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

MIL RAIL
Amresh Kumar Chaudhary has been awarded prestigious " Chief of Army Staff Commendation" for his outstanding contribution to Armed Forces during critical period of Covid19 pandemic and it’s various operations. He is currently working as Chief Controller in Mil Rail.

About:

  • Mil Rail is an extension of Traffic Directorate of Ministry of Railways, headed by Executive Director (ED) level officer with office at Army HQ.

  • Mil Rail is responsible for overall coordination, strategic planning & execution of Railway Logistics support to Defence forces during peace & emergency situations.

  • Mil Rail works in close coordination with Ministry of Defence for Railway operations pertaining to their requirements.

  • A separate control room manages all these Railway operations which is headed by a Chief Controller.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

DHARASHIV CAVES
Maharashtra CM Thackeray referred to Osmanabad as Dharashiv (named after 6th century caves) in a tweet, days after using Sambhajinagar for Aurangabad on the official CMO handle.

About:

  • Osmanabad is named after the last ruler of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, while Dharashiv is derived from the name for the sixth-century caves near the city.

  • Dharashiv caves are the nexus of 7 caves located 8 km away from Osmanabad city in Balaghat mountains in Maharashtra.

  • Dharashiv Caves have been declared as Protected area by Government of Maharashtra.

  • Dharashiv caves are believed to be built around 5th-7th century.

  • There have been debates over caves whether they are Buddhist or Jain creations. It is believed that these caves were originally Buddhist, but later some caves were converted to Jain caves.

Source : Times of India
Geography

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

DZUKOU VALLEY
The wildfire at Dzukou Valley straddling the Manipur-Nagaland border has been doused after it raged for two weeks.

About:

  • The Dzüko Valley is located at the borders of the states of Nagaland and Manipur.

  • It is situated at an altitude of 2452 m above sea level.

  • The valley is famous for its wide range of flowers in every season but the most famous one is the Dzüko Lily and it is found only in this valley.

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

PUBLICATION OF NOTICE OF MARRIAGE NOT MANDATORY
The Allahabad High Court has ruled that the provision of publication of notice of intended marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, is not mandatory.

About:

  • The court said making such publication mandatory “would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, including within its sphere the freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors, of the persons concerned”.

  • While giving notice under Section 5 of the Act, it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the marriage officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 6 and follow the procedure of objections as prescribed under the Act.

  • In case the parties do not make such a request, the officer “shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnisation of the marriage”.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 16, 2021

VED MEHTA
Celebrated Indian-American author Ved Mehta, who overcame blindness and became widely known as the 20th century writer most responsible for introducing American readers to India, died in the U.S. , with complications from Parkinson's disease.

About:

  • Ved Parkash Mehta (1934 –2021) was an Indian-born writer who lived and worked mainly in the United States.

  • He lost his eyesight at the age of three from meningitis. He did not let this challenge to stop him from showcasing his literary prowess to the world.

  • He is best known for his 12-volume memoir, which focused on the troubled modern history of India and his early struggles with blindness. His autobiography was published in instalments from 1972 to 2004.

  • Mehta brought out 24 books that included volumes of reportage on India, among them Walking the Indian Streets (1960), Portrait of India (1970) and Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles (1977), as well as explorations of philosophy, theology and linguistics.

  • He wrote for The New Yorker for many years.

Source : The Hindu
Person in News

Jan. 15, 2021

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

ASMI
India’s first indigenous 9mm Machine Pistol has been jointly developed by DRDO and Indian Army.

About:

  • The weapon is named “Asmi” meaning “Pride”, “Self-Respect" & “Hard Work”.

  • Infantry School, Mhow and DRDO’s Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune have designed and developed this weapon.

  • The Machine Pistol fires the in-service 9mm ammunition and sports an upper receiver made from aircraft grade Aluminium and lower receiver from carbon fibre.

Important Info :

Significance:

  • The weapon has huge potential in Armed forces as personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders, tank and aircraft crews, drivers/dispatch riders, radio/radar operators, Closed Quarter Battle, counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations etc.
  • This is also likely to find huge employability with the central and state police organizations as well as VIP protection duties and Policing.
  • The Machine Pistol is likely to have production cost under rupees 50000 each and has potential for exports.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

'DIFFICULT FOUR’ COUNTRIES (FOR UK)
On January 11, Chatham House, the century-old UK-based policy institute published a report titled “Global Britain, Global Broker”, proposing a blueprint for Britain’s future foreign policy after Brexit.

About:

  • The report groups India on the other side of a “new divide in international affairs — between open societies where citizens have the capacity to fight for their rights and those where these rights are denied”.

  • Along with Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, India is classed as one of the “difficult four” countries, destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.

  • The report is “in no way a statement on behalf of the UK government.”

Important Info :

Reasons sighted:

  • Part of the justification for labelling India ‘difficult’ centres on a critique of India’s domestic political developments.
  • The report also states that India is a reluctant supporter of liberal democracy, is “ambivalent” about human rights abuses within other states, and possesses “a long and consistent record of resisting being corralled into a ‘Western camp'”.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

FOREST FIRES IN HIMACHAL PRADESH
Himachal Pradesh frequently witnesses forest fires during dry weather conditions. This month, a forest fire which started near Kullu raged for several days before being brought under control.

How fire prone are these forests?

  • Except for periods of precipitation in monsoon and winter, the forests remain vulnerable to wildfires. Forest fires are a recurrent annual phenomenon in the state, and most commonly occur in Chir Pine forests.

  • In the summer season, forest fires occur frequently in the low and middle hills of the state, where forests of Chir Pine are common.

  • During the post-monsoon season and in winters, forest fires are also reported in higher areas, including parts of Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts, where they usually occur in grasslands.

Important Info :

What causes the fire?

  • Natural causes such as lightning or rubbing of dry bamboos with each other can sometimes result in fires, but forest officials maintain that almost all forest fires can be attributed to human factors.
  • When the grass is dry, even a small spark, such as someone dropping a burning matchstick, torchwood or a bidi/cigarette, can cause a massive fire. A spark can also be produced when dry pine needles or leaves fall on an electric pole.
  • Also, when people burn their fields to clear them of stubble, dry grass or undergrowth, the fire sometimes spreads to the adjoining forest.
Source : Indian Express
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

THIRD PHASE OF PRADHAN MANTRI KAUSHAL VIKAS YOJANA (PMKVY 3.0)
The third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) will be launched on January 15 in 600 districts across all states of India. The launch will be done by the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

About:

  • Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.

  • Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of Rs. 948.90 crore.

  • The 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empanelled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 ITIs under Skill India will be rolling out PMKVY 3.0 training to build a robust pool of skilled professionals.

Important Info :
  • “Skill India Mission” launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th of July 2015 has gained tremendous momentum through launch of its flagship scheme PMKVY to unlock the vision of making India the ‘Skill Capital’ of the world.
Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

NATIONAL INNOVATION PORTAL (NIP)
The Union Minister for Science & Technology dedicated an Innovation Portal, developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India to the nation.

About:

  • The National Innovation Portal (NIP) is currently home to about 1.15 lakh innovations scouted from common people of the country, covering Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary and Human Health.

  • In terms of domain areas, presently the innovations cover Energy, mechanical, automobile, electrical, electronics, household, chemical, civil, textiles, Farm / cultivation practice, storage practice, plant variety, plant protection, poultry, livestock management, nutraceuticals etc.

  • Innovation Portal is a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat and an excellent resource for students, entrepreneurs, MSME’s, Technology Business Incubators (TBI’s) and common people engaged in a variety of occupations.

Important Info :
  • National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
Source : Outlook
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

CSIR-NIScPR
The Union Minister of Science & Technology inaugurated a new institute of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) i.e. CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR), in New Delhi.

About:

  • The new institute has been established consequent to the merger of two prestigious institutes of CSIR namely, CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR) and CSIR-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (CSIR-NISTADS).

  • CSIR-NIScPR will serve the society with its core areas of science communication and policy research which has proved to be so important during the Covid19 pandemic.

  • The MISSION of the institute is to promote STI policy studies and science communication among diverse stakeholders.

Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

VETERANS DAY
Fifth Indian Armed Forces Veterans Day was celebrated as a recognition of the services rendered by the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Armed Forces, Field Marshal KM Cariappa, OBE who retired on 14 Jan 1953.

About:

  • Army commemorates Armed Forces Veterans Day on 14 January each year as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by our veterans.

  • This day also coincides with the retirement date of Field Marshal KM Cariappa, OBE, the first Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army.

  • The first Armed Forces Veterans Day was organised on 14 January 2017.

  • The aim is to strengthen the bond between the Ex-Servicemen and the serving personnel. This is also a forum to enhance the satisfaction levels pertaining to issues of pension and welfare of veterans and their Next of Kin.

Important Info :

Field Marshal Cariappa?

  • Field Marshal Cariappa had seen action in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Burma winning many laurels and accolades during his sterling career.
  • Field Marshal Cariappa was the Chief of Army Staff from 15 January 1949 to 14 January 1953.
  • For his illustrious career and contributions to the Nation, he was accorded the rank of Field Marshal in 1986.
  • Despite his advancing age, he made many visits to the front line troops to boost their morale and motivate them. He was active till his last breath on 15 May 1993, at the age of 94 years.
Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

HISAR AIRPORT
Hisar Airport was inaugurated under RCS-UDAN.

About:

  • First flight to the newly constructed Hisar airport in Haryana from Chandigarh was flagged off under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN) of the Government of India.

  • The flagging off marks the operationalization of 54th airport under the UDAN scheme. To date, 307 routes and 54 airports including 5 heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme.

  • Belonging to the Government of Haryana, Hisar airport is a public licensed airport that is suitable for 18 seat type aircraft.

Important Info :
  • The airline Aviation Connectivity & Infrastructure Developers Pvt. Ltd (Air Taxi) was awarded the Hisar – Chandigarh – Hisar route under the UDAN 4 bidding process. The airline has become the first start-up airline of the country to assist the nation with Air Taxi services.
  • The Inauguration Marks Commencement of Country’s First Air Taxi Services from Chandigarh to Hisar.
Source : LiveMint
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

PAN INDIA ROLLOUT OF COVID-19 VACCINATION DRIVE
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive on 16th January, 2021.

About:

  • This will be the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.

  • The vaccination programme will use Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which will facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine.

  • A dedicated 24x7 call centre – 1075 – has also been established for addressing the queries related to COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.

  • Adequate doses of both COVISHIELD and COVAXIN have already been delivered across the country to all States/UTs with the active support of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 15, 2021

NCAVES INDIA FORUM 2021
The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation is conducting NCAVES India Forum (in a virtual format), in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), European Union and UN Environment.

About:

  • In 2017, the European Union initiated a project, “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services” (NCAVES) in 2017 to help nations advance the knowledge on environmental-economic accounting that can help in ensuring sustainable economic growth.

  • The NCAVES Project is being implemented in five countries – India, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa - by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

  • The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation has taken up several initiatives under the NCAVES Project during the past three years.

Source : PIB
Environment

Jan. 14, 2021

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

ADULTERY
The Supreme Court admitted a petition filed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) seeking to exempt armed forces personnel from the ambit of a Constitution Bench judgment of 2018 that decriminalised adultery.

About:

  • A three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said the plea had to be considered by a Constitution Bench because the original verdict, striking down Section 497 (adultery) of the IPC, was pronounced by a five-judge Bench in September 2018.

  • The court referred the case to the Chief Justice to pass appropriate orders to form a five-judge Bench to clarify the impact of the 2018 judgment on the armed forces.

Important Info :

Reason given by the government for seeking exemption:

  • There will always be a concern in the minds of the Army personnel who are operating far away from their families under challenging conditions about the family indulging in untoward activity.
  • Personnel of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were a “distinct class”. They were governed by special legislation, the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act. Adultery amounted to an unbecoming conduct and a violation of discipline under the three Acts.
  • The three laws were protected by Article 33 of the Constitution, which allowed the government to modify the fundamental rights of the armed forces personnel.
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

RBI WORKING GROUP ON DIGITAL LENDING
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a working group on digital lending — including online platforms and mobile apps — to study all aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector as well as by unregulated players.

About:

  • The working group consists of both internal and external members and is chaired by Jayant Kumar Dash, Executive Director, RBI

  • The working group will
    • evaluate digital lending activities and assess the penetration and standards of outsourced digital lending activities in RBI regulated entities;

    • identify the risks posed by unregulated digital lending to financial stability, regulated entities and consumers; and

    • suggest regulatory changes to promote orderly growth of digital lending.



  • It will also recommend measures for expansion of specific regulatory or statutory perimeter and suggest the role of various regulatory and government agencies. It will also recommend a robust fair practices code for digital lending players.

  • The group will submit its report within three months.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

LCA TEJAS
The Union Cabinet has approved procurement of 73 LCA Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircrafts and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircrafts at the cost of Rs. 45,696 Crore along with Design and Development of Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs.1,202 Crore.

About:

  • Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern 4+ generation fighter aircraft.

  • This aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force, IAF.

  • It is the first “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)” category procurement of combat aircrafts with an indigenous content of 50% which will progressively reach 60% by the end of the programme.

  • The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable them handle servicing at their base depot so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems and would lead to increased availability of aircraft.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

MAKAR SANKRANTI
The Vice President of India greeted fellow citizens on the eve of the festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Bhogali Bihu, Uttarayan and Paush Parbon. These festivals are celebrated in diverse yet similar ways, across India.

About:

  • Makar Sankranti is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya (sun).

  • Date of observance: Makar Sankranti is observed according to solar cycles. It is held normally on the 14th of January, or a day before or after. In certain regions celebrations can go on for even four days and vary a lot in the rituals.

  • Significance: It marks the –
    • first day of sun's transit into the Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.

    • end the inauspicious phase of the preceding month that is called Paush.

    • beginning of the end of chilling winter.

    • occasion to celebrate the hard work of millions of our farmers and people across the country (it is celebrated as a harvest Festival)



Important Info :

Names:  

  • It goes by its standard all-India name, ‘Makar Sankranti’ in Odisha, Maharashtra-Goa, Andhra-Telengana, Kerala and most of the north India.
  • It is also called as –
    • Paush Parbon in Bengal,
    • Pongal in Tamil Nadu,
    • Uttarayan in Gujarat,
    • Bhogali Bihu in Assam,
    • Lohri in Punjab and Jammu,
    • Maghi in Haryana and Himachal.
    • Makar Sankramana in Karnataka,
    • Saen-kraat in Kashmir.
    • Sukaraat in Madhya Pradesh,
    • Khichdi Parwa in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

MEALWORMS
Mealworms may soon find their way into Europe’s pasta bowls and dinner dishes, after becoming the first insect approved in the region as a human food.

About:

  • Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle. Despite their name, mealworms are beetle larvae rather than worms.

  • Like all holometabolic insects, they go through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

  • Larvae typically measure about 2.5 cm or more, whereas adults are generally between 1.25 and 1.8 cm in length.

Important Info :

Recent Decision:

  • The decision by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) paves the way for the yellow grubs to be used whole and dried in curries and other recipes and as a flour to make biscuits, pasta and bread.
  • Rich in protein, fat and fibre, they are likely to be the first of many insects to feature on European’s plates in the coming years.
Source : Indian Express
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

MUTUAL FUNDS (MF) RISK-O-METER
Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI’s) decision on the “risk-o-meter”, which it announced on October 5, 2020, came into effect on January 1.

About:

  • In its circular issued on October 5, the regulator made it mandatory for mutual fund houses to characterise the risk level of their schemes on a six-stage scale from “Low” to “Very High”.

  • All mutual funds shall, beginning January 1, assign a risk level to their schemes at the time of launch, based on the scheme’s characteristics.

  • The risk-o-meter must be evaluated on a monthly basis.

  • Fund houses are required to disclose the risk-o-meter risk level along with the portfolio disclosure for all their schemes on their own websites as well as the website of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) within 10 days of the close of each month.

  • Any change in the risk-o-meter reading with regard to a scheme shall be communicated to the unit-holders of that scheme.

  • The move will help investors to make a more informed investment decision.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

ICT GRAND CHALLENGE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF ‘SMART WATER SUPPLY MEASUREMENT AND MONITORING SYSTEM’
National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology launched an ICT Grand Challenge, for development of a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ on 15th September, 2020.

About:

  • Jal Jeevan Mission would be the user agency of the Grand Challenge and C-DAC, Bangalore is the implementing agency, providing technical support for the challenge.

  • Total 218 applications were received, from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc.

  • Results of ICT Grand Challenge were announced on 20th November 2020, based on the recommendations of the jury.

  • 10 applicants have been selected for ideation to prototype stage and each are being supported with Rs. 7.50 Lakhs.

  • Currenty the prototypes are being developed which are going to be evaluated during the last week of January, 2021 by the jury. A water test bed is set up in C-DAC Bangalore Electronics City Campus for these evaluations.

Important Info :
  • Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government which aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024.
  • Announced by Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019, the Mission so far has provided 3.13 crore household tap connections in rural areas.
Source : DD News
Water

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

CollabCAD
National Informatics Centre (NIC), MeitY along with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Ministry of Education is jointly launching CollabCAD Software.

About:

  • CBSE under the leadership of Chairman, Shri Manoj Ahuja, IAS will introduce CollabCAD Software for Engineering Graphics (Subject Code 046) at the Senior School Level for Class XI and XII.

  • CollabCAD software will be used for Practical assignments as part of the subject curriculum for making different types of 3D designs and 2D Drawings.

  • Students from around 140 plus schools across the country and the schools in the Middle East (affiliated with CBSE, New Delhi) will have access to this software which can be used for practical projects and understanding concepts of Engineering Graphics.

Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

MILLETS
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in association with Andhra Pradesh Drought Mitigation Project (APDMP), an externally aided project funded by IFAD, organized a Virtual Buyer Seller Meet with Millet Exporters.

About:

  • Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals, and includes Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Ragi, Small Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Barnyard Millet, Kodo Millet and other millets.

  • Millets are the cereal crops generally small-seeded and known for high nutritive value.

  • Considering the potential of increasing exports of Millets and Millet products and the focus given by Government for development of Millet sector of Nurti Cereals, APEDA is closely interacting with Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) and other stakeholders.

Important Info :

Indian Institute of Millets Research (ICAR-IIMR)?

  • It is an agricultural research institute engaged in basic and strategic research on sorghum and other millets. It is located at Rajendranagar (Hyderabad, Telangana).
  • IIMR operates under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  • It was founded in 1958 under the Project on Intensified Research on Cotton, Oilseeds and Millets (PIRCOM).
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 14, 2021

INDIA – UAE MOU FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION
The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) India.

The MoU provides for:

  • Exchange of experience/visits in term of scientists, research scholars and specialists, etc. for the purpose of research, training, consultation, focused on climatic information services, satellite data utilization for now casting and tropical cyclones forecasting.

  • Cooperation to support the Tsunami Early Warning Centre (TEWC) in the form of forecast modelling software, specifically designed to support the Tsunami forecasting operations.

  • Cooperate at the field of Seismology which includes the study of Seismic activities having the potential to generate Tsunami waves in Arabian Sea and Oman Sea.

  • Cooperation in Early warnings of Sand and Dust storms through the exchange of knowledge.

Source : Hindustan Times
International
Load More...