Jan. 20, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR)
Hundreds of thousands of deaths occur today due to previously treatable infections — such as lower respiratory and bloodstream infections — because the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.

About:

  • A comprehensive estimate of the global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), covering 204 countries and territories and published in The Lancet, has found that 1.27 million people died in 2019 as a direct result of AMR, which is now a leading cause of death worldwide, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.

  • The Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report used statistical modelling to estimate deaths linked to 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen-drug combinations.

  • Apart from 12.7 lakh deaths caused directly by AMR (these would not have occurred had the infections been drug-susceptible), another 49.5 lakh deaths were associated with AMR (a drug-resistant infection was implicated, but resistance itself may or may not have been the direct cause of death).

  • HIV/AIDS and malaria were estimated to have caused 8.6 lakh and 6.4 lakh deaths respectively in 2019.

  • Of the 23 pathogens studied, drug resistance in six (E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and P aeruginosa) led directly to 9.29 lakh deaths and was associated with 3.57 million.

  • One pathogen-drug combination – methicillin-resistant S aureus, or MRSA – directly caused more than 1 lakh deaths.

  • Resistance to two classes of antibiotics often considered the first line of defence against severe infections – fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics – accounted for more than 70% of deaths caused by AMR. 

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

HOUTHIS
Two Indians and a Pakistani were killed and six other people including two Indians were injured in an attack by suspected drones on three petroleum tankers at an oil facility in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

About:

  • The attack was claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen. Indians were not the target of the attack.

  • Yemen is located at the junction of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, its coastline commanding the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab. The country has been wracked by civil war for more than seven years now, and the Houthis control the western part of the country, including the capital Sana’a.

  • The war involves several nations directly or indirectly, and the attack in Abu Dhabi spotlights the multiple conflicts that are playing out in Yemen and the wider region as a whole.

  • The Houthis are a large clan belonging to the Zaidi Shia sect, with roots in Yemen’s northwestern Saada province. Zaidis make up around 35 per cent of Yemen’s population.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

INDIA-MAURITIUS RELATIONS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will jointly inaugurate the India-assisted Social Housing Units project in Mauritius virtually on 20 January, 2022.

About:

  • The two dignitaries will also launch the Civil Service College and 8MW Solar PV Farm projects in Mauritius that are being undertaken under India’s development support.

  • An Agreement on extending a US$ 190 mn Line of Credit (LoC) from India to Mauritius for the Metro Express Project and other infrastructure projects; and MoU on the implementation of Small Development Projects will also be exchanged.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SAFAI KARAMCHARIS (NCSK)
The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) for three years beyond 31.3.2022.

About:

  • The total implication of the extension for three years would be approximately Rs.43.68 crore.

  • Impact: The major beneficiaries would be the Safai Karamcharis and identified manual scavengers in the country since the NCSK for 3 more years beyond 31.3.2022. The number of Manual Scavengers identified under the MS Act Survey as on 31.12.2021 is 58098.

  • The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 31.3.1997.

  • Later the validity of the Act was initially extended upto 31.3.2002 and thereafter upto 29.2.2004. The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 29.2.2004. 

  • After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time through resolutions. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2022.

  • As per the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the NCSK has been assigned the work to monitor the implementation of the Act, tender advice for its effective implementation to the Centre and State Governments and enquire into complaints regarding contravention/non-implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

SCHEME FOR GRANT OF EX-GRATIA PAYMENT OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPOUND INTEREST AND SIMPLE INTEREST FOR SIX MONTHS TO BORROWERS IN SPECIFIED LOAN ACCOUNTS
The Union Cabinet has approved the payment of ex-gratia amount of Rs. 973.74 crore pertaining to remaining claims submitted by Lending Institutions (LIs) under Scheme for grant of ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest for six months to borrowers in specified loan accounts (1.3.2020 to 31.8.2020).

About:

  • By granting ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest during the six month moratorium period to distressed/vulnerable category of borrowers, irrespective of whether the borrower had availed of moratorium or not, the scheme would equitably help small borrowers bear the stress on account of the pandemic.

  • Background: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Scheme for grant of ex-gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest for six months to borrowers in specified loan accounts (1.3.2020 to 31.8.2020)” was approved by the Cabinet in October, 2020, envisaging therein an outlay of Rs. 5,500 crore.

  • Following category of borrowers were eligible for ex-gratia payment under the scheme:
    • MSME loans up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Education loans up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Housing loans up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Consumer durable loans up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Credit card dues up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Auto loans up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Personal loans to professionals up to Rs. 2 crore

    • Consumption loans up to Rs. 2 crore



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

INDIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY LIMITED (IREDA)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the equity infusion of Rs.1500 crore in Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA).

About:

  • This equity infusion will help in employment generation of approximately 10200 jobs-year and CO2 equivalent emission reduction of approximately 7.49 Million Tonnes CO2/year.

  • Additional equity infusion of Rs.1500 crore by Government of India will enable IREDA:
    • To lend Rs.12000 crore approximately to the RE sector, thus facilitate the debt requirement of RE of additional capacity of approximately 3500-4000 MW.

    • To enhance its networth which will help it in additional RE financing, thus contributing better to the Government of India targets for RE.

    • To improve the capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR) to facilitate its lending and borrowing operations.



  • IREDA, a mini ratna (Category-1) company under the administrative control of MNRE was set up in 1987 to work as a specialised non-banking finance agency for the Renewable Energy (RE) sector.

  • IREDA with more than 34 years of techno-commercial expertise, plays a catalytic role in the RE project financing which gives confidence to the FIs/banks to lend in the sector.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

SAMARTH (SUSTAINABLE AGRARIAN MISSION ON USE OF AGRO RESIDUE IN THERMAL POWER PLANTS)
Union Power Secretary chaired the second meeting of Steering Committee for SAMARTH i.e. National Mission on Use of Biomass in coal based thermal Power Plants on 14.01.2022.

About:

  • He reviewed the status of bio-mass co-firing and progress of the actions being taken to promote the co-firing in the thermal power plants in the meeting.

  • In order to reduce stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprint of Thermal Power Plants while increasing the income of farmers, Government of India has taken various proactive step with the establishment of National Mission on Use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants.

  • The agro-residue/ biomass earlier considered as a waste product has now begun to produce zero-carbon electricity for the citizens of the country.

  • In turn farmers are getting additional income by selling the stubble/ biomass for conversion into torrefied/ non-torrefied biomass pellets.

  • For overall monitoring of the Mission and to facilitate the Mission on inter-ministerial issues/constraints, a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Power (MoP) has been constituted.

  • Ministry of Power's policy on “Biomass Utilization for Power Generation through Co-firing in Coal based Power Plants” issued in October 2021 mandates all thermal power plants in the country to use 5 to 10% biomass along with coal for power production. The policy has started showing promising results.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

INDIA-DENMARK COOPERATION ON GREEN FUELS
India & Denmark agreed to initiate joint research and development on green fuels including green hydrogen, during the Joint S&T Committee meeting on 14th January 2022.

About:

  • The Joint Committee discussed national strategic priorities and developments in Science, Technology, and Innovation of both countries with a special focus on green solutions of the future - strategy for investments in green research, technology, and innovation at the virtual meeting.

  • The committee emphasised on development of bilateral collaboration on mission-driven research, innovation, and technology development, including climate and green transition, energy, water, waste, food, and so on as agreed by the two Prime Ministers while adopting the Green Strategic Partnership – Action Plan 2020-2025.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

INDIA-ISRAEL INDUSTRIAL R&D & TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION FUND (I4F)
Experts from India and Israel deliberated on widening the scope of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) at its 8th Governing Body meeting.

About:

  • They approved 3 joint R&D projects worth 5.5 million $ and suggested measures to create a broader India-Israel collaborative ecosystem.

  • India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) fund is a cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and the Israel Innovation Authority, Government of Israel.

  • It’s objective is to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D projects between companies from India and Israel to address the challenges in the agreed ‘Focus Sectors’.

  • I4F is aimed to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D between India & Israel, which would lead to the co-development and commercialization of innovative technologies benefiting both countries.

  • Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA) is appointed to implement the I4F program in India, while Israel Innovation Authority is the implementing agency in Israel.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 20, 2022

INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF INDIA (III)
The International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA), with an objective of capacity building of professionals in the insurance sector in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs), has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Insurance Institute of India (III).

About:

  • The Insurance Institute of India (III) is the sole national apex body for insurance underwriters in India established in 1955 in Mumbai. It is under the ownership of Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

  • The Insurance Institute of India (III) is involved in devising and continuously upgrading the curriculums and imparting the training programs for the professionals in the insurance industry in India and abroad, to meet the needs of the ever-dynamic insurance sector.

  • The certification by the institute is recognized by the insurance industry, regulators, and other internationally reputed insurance education providers. The Institute is also the member of the Institute of Global Insurance Education (IGIE).

  • IFSCA’s regulatory framework for insurance requires periodic professional examinations and training. III would design and conduct such examinations and training for professional in IFSC which would aid in having skilled talent in IFSC eco-system.

Source : PIB
Economy

Jan. 19, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

SUSTAINING FOOD PRODUCTION UNDER ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS
Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh addressed the India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress” through virtual mode.

About:

  • The Workshop is being organized jointly by National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, an institute under Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and University of Birmingham, UK and supported by Newton Bhabha Fund and British Council.

  • Dwelling on the issue of Sustainable Food Production, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the South Asian region is facing the shrinking arable land, besides the problem of global climate change that needs to be addressed.

  • Quoting World Bank data, the Minister pointed out that the Arable land in South Asia was reported at 43.18 % in 2018 which has been stagnant since the early 1970s and recently declining.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

NUSANTARA
Indonesia’s parliament passed a law approving the relocation of its capital from slowly sinking Jakarta to a site 2,000 kilometres away on the jungle-clad Borneo island that will be named “Nusantara”.

About:

  • The House of Representatives vote provides the legal framework for the move, which was first tipped by President Joko Widodo in April 2019, citing rising sea levels and severe congestion on densely populated Java island.

  • Home to more than 30 million people in its greater metro area, Jakarta has long been plagued by serious infrastructure problems and flooding exacerbated by climate change.

  • The new capital will cover about 56,180 hectares in East Kalimantan province on the Indonesian part of Borneo. 

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

MARITAL RAPE
At a consultation organised by the National Commission for Women on amendments to criminal law, there was unanimity among speakers that marital rape should be criminalised.

About:

  • After the discussions, The NCW will send the recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is looking at a review of the criminal laws, including the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

  • The meeting comes at a time the Delhi High Court is hearing multiple petitions on making marital rape an offence and the Centre has sought more time to present its stand.

  • The petitions have sought striking down the exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which says forcible sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being 18 years, is not rape.

  • The meeting also discussed the interpretation of consent. There should be a broader understanding of when consent stands vitiated. 

Important Info :

Other issues

  • On the issue of age of marriage being raised for women to 21 years to make it equal to that of men, most speakers agreed that 18 years should be the age of marriage for both men and women.
  • The meeting also discussed the need for gender-neutral anti-rape laws which the civil society has demanded to recognise same-sex assaults among gay, lesbian and bisexual people as well as sexual crimes against transgender persons.
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

NORTH EAST CANE AND BAMBOO DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (NECBDC)
NECBDC sponsored a training programme on “Bamboo Shoot Processing and Preservation” which was conducted by the NECBDC empanelled cluster M/s Delicacies food processing Center, Meghalaya the same venue from 13th to 17th, December 2021.

About:

  • North East Cane and Bamboo Development Council (NECBDC) is under the Ministry of DoNER, Govt. of India.

  • Formerly known as Cane and Bamboo Development Council (CBDC), NECBDC was incorporated with the objective of organizing the hitherto untapped bamboo sector of NE India.

  • It is located in Byrnihat, Assam.

Important Info :

Bamboo shoots?

  • Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species including Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis. They are used as vegetables in numerous Asian dishes and broths.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

STREETS FOR PEOPLE CHALLENGE; NURTURING NEIGHBOURHOODS CHALLENGE
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) organised an online event wherein it announced eleven winning cities for the Streets for People Challenge, and ten winning cities for the pilot stage of the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge.

About:

  • These cities will now enter the scale up stage of the challenge wherein the projects undertaken in the pilot stage will now be scaled up in a sustainable manner.

  • At the event, the Ministry also launched Season-2 of India Cycles4Change and Streets for People Challenges and a book titled ‘Nurturing Neighburhoods Challenge: Stories from the Field”.

  • Since 2020, the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) has been anchoring inter-city challenges to make public spaces more people-friendly. This is in line with the 2006 National Urban Transport Policy, which called for a paradigm shift from car-centric roads to people-centric streets.

  • Over the past 18 months, these challenges vis. Cycles4Change and Streets for People, have transformed into a nationwide movement beyond the 100 Smart Cities.

  • Under the ‘Streets for people Challenge’, 38 cites piloted re-imaginations of an important street each by prioritizing them for pedestrians.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

NATIONAL CENTRE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE (NCGG)
In order to promote inclusive good governance, strengthening of local institutions and effective implementation of government programmes, the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Government of India and National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRD & PR), Hyderabad signed MoU on 17th January 2022.

About:

  • The main purpose of having this agreement is to focus on different collaborative activities by drawing upon the strengths of these two national institutions for bringing better good governance mechanisms into practice across all programmes and schemes.

  • The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) is an autonomous institute under the aegis of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India. Its head office is at New Delhi and branch office at Mussoorie.

  • The National Centre for Good Governance traces its origin to the National Institute of Administrative Research (NIAR). NIAR was set up in 1995 by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) the Government of India's apex training Institute for higher civil services.

  • NIAR was subsequently rechistened with an expanded mandate, as National Centre for Good Governance, which was inaugurated on February 24th, 2014. 

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

INTERNATIONAL ROAMING
As part of the policy reforms initiated in telecom sector, the Department of Telecom (DOT) has issued the “Revised terms & conditions for issue/renewal of NOC for sale/rent of International Roaming SIM Cards/ Global Calling Cards of Foreign Operators in India”.

About:

  • The revised terms & conditions strengthens the mechanism to protect the interests of the Indian public visiting abroad and also streamlines the procedures in line with the other licenses/registrations.

  • The revised policy mandates the NOC holders to make provision for providing information regarding customer care service, contact details, escalation matrix, itemised bills, information related to tariff plans, services offered, etc.

  • Provision has also been made to strengthen Billing and consumer grievance redressal mechanism to facilitate time bound resolution of grievance by the NOC holders with provision for Appellate Authority in DOT.

  • Further, the revised policy also streamlines the application process/ other procedures for the NOC holders in line with the other licenses/ registrations etc. in the DOT and to facilitate the resolution/ management of the issues of the NOCs holders.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

NARAYAN DEBNATH
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the demise of noted cartoonist Shri Narayan Debnath Ji.

About:

  • Narayan Debnath (25 November 1925 – 18 January 2022) was an Indian comics artist, writer and illustrator.

  • He was the creator of the popular Bengali comic strips of Handa Bhonda (1962), Bantul the Great (1965) and Nonte Phonte (1969).

  • His other creations like Rabi Chobi was published to celebrate the birth centenary of Rabindranath Tagore in the May 1961 issue of the weekly magazine called Anandamela.

  • He holds the record of longest running comics by an individual artiste for Handa Bhonda comics series which completed its continuous 53 years of running.

  • Debnath was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in the year 2021.

Source : PIB
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

ALIMETERS
The chief executives of major US passenger and cargo airlines have warned of a “catastrophic” aviation crisis this week as AT&T and Verizon deploy new 5G services.

About:

  • They said the new C band 5G service set to begin could render a significant number of aircraft unusable, causing chaos for US flights and potentially stranding tens of thousands of Americans overseas.

  • The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that the new 5G technology could interfere with instruments such as altimeters, which measure how far above the ground an airplane is travelling.

Important Info :

Altimeters?

  • Altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range and the concern is that the auctioned frequencies sit too close to this range.
  • In addition to altitude, altimeter readouts are also used to facilitate automated landings and to help detect dangerous currents called wind shear.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 19, 2022

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
Microsoft Corp announced on January 18 that it would buy Activision Blizzard, the maker of superhit video games Call of Duty and Candy Crush, for $68.7 billion in cash.

About:

  • This is the largest deal in the sector, and makes Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming console, the third-largest gaming company by revenue after Tencent and Sony, the company said.

  • The acquisition underlines the importance Microsoft attaches to video games in the coming digital world dominated by virtual and augmented reality.

  • The deal is expected to boost Microsoft against Facebook, the biggest player in the metaverse. By adding Activision, Microsoft is betting that people would want to play major games on not just phones, consoles, or computers, but also in VR.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Jan. 18, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

VIRAT, DARMI AND HEENA
Virat, Darmi and Heena were awarded the Chief of the Army Staff Commendation on the eve of Army Day on January 15 for their exemplary service.

About:

  • Virat is a horse with the President’s Bodyguard (PBG), while Darmi and Heena are Army dogs.

  • Virat, a Hanoverian breed, was issued to the PBG on September 12, 2000. He performed his duties as the Commandant’s charger for over a decade and awed spectators, including foreign dignitaries, with his trademark poise and confidence, an official said.

  • The Army has eight different trades of dogs: tracker, guard, mine detection, explosive detection, infantry patrol, avalanche rescue operations, search and rescue, assault and narcotic detection.

  • Darmi was pressed into service for a search and rescue operation at a post on the Siachen Glacier on April 25 last year.

  • Heena, a Labrador retriever, is a tracker aged five years and is highly loyal, even-tempered, intelligent, obedient and exceptionally reliable.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

REPUBLIC DAY TABLEAUX
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that she was “profoundly shocked” as West Bengal’s tableau for the Republic Day parade “was rejected without assigning any reasons or justifications.”

About:

  • She mentioned in her letter that the tableau was set to commemorate the contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA on his 125th birth anniversary year.

  • According to sources there will be 21 tableaux in the parade, with 12 from states and Union Territories and nine departments under the Central Government or independent institutions have made the cut.

  • West Bengal is not the only state whose tableau has been rejected, Kerala’s proposed tableau featuring Sree Narayan Guru is not among the selected ones.

  • Officials of the Defence Ministry, which is responsible for the parade and is the coordinating body for the tableaux, say that the selection is done by an expert committee, and asserted that there is no political involvement in it.

Important Info :

When does the process to decide the tableaux start and who can participate?

  • Around September every year the Defence Ministry, which is responsible for the Republic Day parade and the celebrations, invites all the states, the Union Territories, Central Government departments, and a few constitutional authorities to participate in the parade through tableaux.
  • The proposals had to be submitted by September 27, and the shortlisting of the proposals began in the second week of October.
  • The participants have to showcase elements relevant to their state/ UT/ department, within the overarching theme. The theme given to participants this year was around 75 years of India’s Independence.
  • The participants have to showcase elements relevant to their state/ UT/ department, within the overarching theme. The theme given to participants this year was around 75 years of India’s Independence.
  • The Defence Ministry constitutes an expert committee of distinguished persons from fields like art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc, who help in shortlisting the tableaux from the proposals.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

GREAT RESIGNATION
In 2020, resignation rates across the US plummeted due to the fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

About:

  • However, one year later, as the workforce experienced a collective burnout, individuals left their jobs at unprecedented rates, leading some to describe the phenomenon as the Great Resignation.

  • In November 2021, 4.5 million workers left their jobs according to the US Labor Department. This matched record numbers observed in September and accounted for 3 per cent of the workforce quitting their jobs each month.

  • Estimates indicate that in total, 75.5 million people in America resigned in 2021.

  • Low-wage workers were more likely to resign than their higher-paid counterparts with the sectors most affected including hospitality, healthcare and social assistance, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

  • The Great Resignation has largely been fuelled by burnout, but other factors also include the shift to working from home and the desire to move into a more stable profession.

  • In light of these resignations, the labour market has incentivised companies to offer better benefits and higher salaries.

Important Info :

Indian scenario

  • In India, the situation is not as dire but still cause for concern. Following the Great Resignation, the IT and technology sector is hiring at unprecedented rates with the top five IT companies hiring around 1.7 lakh people in 2021.
  • Not only are people in the workforce changing jobs, but according to a September 2021 survey by Amazon India, nearly 51 per cent of job seekers are looking for opportunities in industries where they have little to no experience.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

SHANTI DEVI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of social worker and Padma Shri awardee Shanti Devi, who passed away at her residence in Gunupur, in Rayagada district of Odisha. She was 88.

About:

  • Shanti Devi, also known as Lugdi Devi, received the prestigious Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9, 2021.

  • She had an immense contribution towards restoring peace in Maoist-affected areas of the state. She was also spearheading the voluntary organisation Seva Samaj.

  • At the age of 17, she got married to Ratan Das, a Gandhian, and shifted to Koraput.

  • She started her social work by founding an ashram at Gobarapalli in Rayagada district and worked for the development and education of tribal girls.

  • Later, she shifted to Gunupur and founded Seva Samaj ashram in 1964 to provide education to tribal girls.

Source : Times of India
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

CENTRE FOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT, REHABILITATION & EMPOWERMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (CRC), KOZHIKODE
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (DEPwD) is going to launch its first bi-monthly E-Newsletter during the inauguration of main building of Composite Regional Centre for Skill Development, Rehabilitation & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (CRC), Kozhikode on 18th January, 2022.

About:

  • The function is being organized at CRC Campus at Chevayur, Kozhikode, Kerala.

  • CRC in Kozhikode was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India under the administrative control of National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai (an autonomous Institute under the administrative control of DEPwD) as its outreach/ extension centre.

  • At present, the services of the Centre are being operated from rented building with a total area of 5000 sq ft of space with 12 rooms available for services.

  • Government of Kerala has allotted 3 acres of land at Chevayur, Kozhike in 2013 for establishment of CRC. This newly constructed building of CRC Kozhikode is a 48,000 sq. ft. structure, built at a cost of around 20 crores.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

RAVIDASSIAS
The postponement of the Assembly elections in Punjab to February 20 underlines the importance of the Ravidassia community in the state.

About:

  • Several political parties had urged the Election Commission for a postponement as the earlier date of February 14 would have clashed with Guru Ravidas Jayanti, an annual occasion during which Ravidassias travel to Varanasi in large numbers.

  • Many of them take a special train organised by the Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar, the largest dera of the Ravidassias.

Who are the Ravidassias?

  • The Ravidassias are a Dalit community of whom the bulk — nearly 12 lakh — live in the Doaba region.

  • The Dera Sachkhand Ballan, their largest dera with 20 lakh followers worldwide, was founded in the early 20th century by Baba Sant Pipal Das.

  • Once closely connected with Sikhism, the dera severed these decades-old ties in 2010, and announced they would follow the Ravidassia religion.

  • The dera made the announcement on Guru Ravidas Jayanti in Varanasi.

  • Guru Ravidas was a mystic poet saint of the Bhakti Movement from the 15th and 16th centuries, and founded the Ravidassia religion.

  • From 2010, the Dera Sachkhand Ballan started replacing the Guru Granth Sahib with its own Granth, Amritbani, carrying 200 hymns of Guru Ravidas, in Ravidassia temples and gurdwaras.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the passing away of legendary Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj.

About:

  • Pandit Birju Maharaj (1937 – 2022), better known simply as Birju Maharaj, was an Indian dancer, composer, singer and exponent of the Lucknow "Kalka-Bindadin" Gharana of Kathak dance in India.

  • He was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which includes his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj.

  • He also practised Hindustani classical music and was a vocalist.

  • After working along with his uncle, Shambhu Maharaj at Bhartiya Kala Kendra, later the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, he remained head of the latter, for several years, till his retirement in 1998 when he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi.

Important Info :

Awards and honours

  • 1964 - Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • 1986 - Padma Vibhushan
  • 1986 - Nritya Choodamani Award by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
  • 1987 - Kalidas Samman
  • 2002 - Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

NEW REHABILITATION & RESETTLEMENT POLICY
Union Minister of Coal Pralhad Joshi said that NLC India Ltd, a Navratna public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Coal has been playing a pivotal role in ensuring India’s energy security during the last six decades of performance.

About:

  • The Minister was virtually launching the new rehabilitation & resettlement (R& R) policy applicable to land owners of NLCIL mines area.

  • Lauding the efforts of NLCIL and Tamil Nadu Government in framing a very flexible rehabilitation policy with multiple options available to the affected people, Minister Shri Joshi ensured that compensation to the affected villagers will be based on fair and transparent process.

  • The new policy has provisions for enhanced amenities to project effected families. NLCL has signed an MOU with Tamil Nadu government to impart skill development to the youth under Skill India Mission.

Important Info :
  • NLCIL commenced its operations in Tamil Nadu way back in 1956 in lignite mining and lignite based power generation.
  • Over a period of more than six decades, the company has diversified into coal based Power Generation, Renewable Power Primarily Solar and Coal Mining.
  • In this process, the Company has made PAN India presence with 50.60 MTPA mining and 6,061 MW power generating capacity.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

OPEN DATA WEEK
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the initiation of the Open Data Week to encourage adoption of open data and promote innovation across India’s urban ecosystem.

About:

  • Leading up to the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav - Smart Cities: Smart Urbanization’ conference scheduled to be held in Surat, during February 2022, the Open Data Week is part of a series of pre-event initiatives being undertaken by MoHUA to promote awareness and use of open data.

  • It will be conducted during the third week of January, i.e., from 17th January 2022 to 21st January 2022.

  • The Event will see participation from all 100 Smart Cities that will be publishing high quality datasets and data blogs on the Smart Cities Open Data Portal.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 18, 2022

STATE OF THE WORLD’ SPECIAL ADDRESS
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered ‘State of the World’ special address at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda.

About:

  • The Prime Minister said that today, India is providing record number of software engineers. More than 50 lakh software developers are working in India.

  • As compared to mere 100 start-ups in 2014, India has more than 60 thousand start-ups today. Out of which 80 are unicorns and more than 40 unicorns emerged in 2021 itself.

  • He also talked about the India’s huge, safe and successful digital payments platform and informed that in the last month itself more than 4.4 billion transections took place through Unified Payments Interface.

  • India has deregulated areas like Drones, Space, Geo-spatial mapping and has brought reforms in the outdated telecom regulation related with the IT and BPO sectors.

Important Info :

The Davos Agenda 2022

  • The Davos Agenda virtual event offers the first global platform of 2022 for world leaders to come together to share their visions for the year ahead.
  • The week long virtual event, taking place on the World Economic Forum website and social media channels 17-21 January 2022, will feature heads of state and government, CEOs and other leaders.
Source : PIB
Economy

Jan. 17, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

DESIGN LINKED INCENTIVE (DLI) SCHEME FOR DOMESTIC SEMICONDUCTOR CHIP DESIGN
With an overall vision to create a vibrant ecosystem for Semiconductor Chip Design in the country, the Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) is seeking applications from 100 domestic companies, start-ups and MSMEs under its Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme.

About:

  • The DLI Scheme was announced by Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) as a part of ₹76,000 crore ($10 billion) package that the government announced in December 2021.

  • Under it, financial incentives and design infrastructure support will be extended to domestic companies, startups and MSMEs across various stages of development and deployment of semiconductor design for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems & IP Cores and semiconductor linked design for over a period of 5 years.

  • The scheme aims to nurture at least 20 domestic companies involved in semiconductor design and facilitating them to achieve turnover of more than ₹1500 Crore in the next 5 years.

  • C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), a scientific society operating under MeitY, will serve as the nodal agency for implementation of the DLI scheme.

  • The scheme has three components –
    • Chip Design infrastructure support,

    • Product Design Linked Incentive and

    • Deployment Linked Incentive.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

TRP
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked the Broadcast Audience Research Council to resume the release of television rating point, also known as target rating points, data.

About:

  • It had been suspended in late 2020 after the police unearthed a ratings scandal, acting on a complaint made by the BARC.

  • To begin with, BARC has been asked to release data of the last three months in a monthly format for a “fair and equitable representation of true trends.”

  • Meanwhile, the I&B Ministry constituted a committee under the Prasar Bharati Corporation CEO, Shashi Shekhar Vempati, to review the existing guidelines for TV ratings and come out with recommendations.

Why were the ratings suspended?

  • Acting on a complaint by the BARC, the viewership measurement body for television, and one of its contractors, Hansa Services Pvt Ltd., the Mumbai police on October 8, 2020, said it had busted a TRP racket run by three news channels who were manipulating viewership ratings by bribing panel homes where measurement meters had been placed.

  • It is not the first time it has been reported that ratings are being rigged. In 2002-2003, former director general of Doordarshan S.Y. Quraishi wondered how the national broadcaster with a news share of 92% did not figure at the top of the TRP list brought out by the Television Audience Measurement (TAM).

  • Eventually, TAM bowed out and BARC was founded in 2010 by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), and the Indian Society of Advertisers —representative of the media industry with all its stakeholders.

Source : The Hindu
Media

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

WTO VERDICT ON SUGAR
India filed an appeal with the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) disputing a verdict by the WTO’s dispute settlement panel last month on sugar subsidies.

About:

  • The WTO’s dispute settlement panel had ruled that India, by subsidising sugar producers, was breaking rules framed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which govern international trade.

  • In 2019, Australia, Brazil, and Guatemala complained against India at the WTO arguing that subsidies offered by the Indian government to sugar producers were against the rules governing international trade.

  • They argued that these subsidies, which include both domestic subsidies as well as export subsidies, exceed the limits imposed by WTO trade rules.

  • According to WTO rules, subsidies cannot exceed 10% of the total value of sugar production. These countries believe that subsidies offered by India have led to increased production of sugar and caused the price of sugar to drop significantly in the global market.

  • After two years, the WTO ruled in December that India’s sugar policy was favouring domestic producers through subsidies to the detriment of foreign producers.

  • The panel recommended that India withdraws its alleged prohibited subsidies under the Production Assistance, the Buffer Stock, and the Marketing and Transportation Schemes within 120 days from the adoption of this report.

  • India has stated that the WTO’s dispute panel ruling has made certain “erroneous” findings about domestic schemes to support sugarcane producers and exports and the findings of the panel are completely “unacceptable” to it.

  • India is the second-largest sugar producer in the world after Brazil and it is estimated that more than 5 crore people depend on the cultivation of sugarcane alone for their livelihood.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

CHINA-IRAN AGREEMENT
China would begin implementing a strategic agreement with Iran, strengthening economic and political cooperation between the two countries as Beijing blasted Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

About:

  • China and Iran signed the agreement last year after years of talks, with the wide-ranging partnership set to span areas including energy, security, infrastructure and communications.

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced the start of the partnership’s implementation at a meeting in east China’s Wuxi.

  • Few details of the secretive deal have been published, but the New York Times reported in 2020 that it would secure a regular supply of oil for China.

  • China is Iran’s leading trade partner and was one of the biggest buyers of the country’s oil before then-U.S. president Donald Trump reimposed sweeping unilateral sanctions in 2018.

  • China has officially stopped importing oil from Iran, but analysts say Iranian crude is continuing to enter the country disguised as imports from other countries.

  • Beijing has long sought to boost ties with Tehran, with Chinese president Xi Jinping describing Iran as “China’s major partner in the Middle East” on a rare visit to the country in 2016.

Important Info :

Vienna talks

  • Wang and Mr. Amir-Abdollahian’s meeting comes as talks continue in Vienna over a potential deal to halt Tehran’s development of nuclear weapons.
  • A 2015 deal — agreed by Iran, the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
  • But the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018, reimposing biting sanctions and prompting Tehran to begin rolling back on its commitments.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

BrahMos
In the first export order for the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system, the Philippines has approved a $374.96 mn contract for the purchase of shore-based anti-ship variant of the missile from India, while discussions are ongoing with a few other Southeast Asian counties.

About:

  • Secretary of National Defence of Philippines Delfin Lorenzana has signed the ‘Notice of award’ for the purchase, the contract for which is expected to be signed very soon.

  • Negotiated with the Government of India, it includes the delivery of three batteries, training for operators and maintainers as well as the necessary Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package.

  • Conceptualised as early as 2017, the Office of the President approved its inclusion in the Horizon 2 Priority Projects in 2020.

  • The coastal defence regiment of the Philippine Marines will be the primary employer of this modern strategic defence capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

  • There is interest for acquiring BrahMos missiles from several countries and negotiations are in advanced stages with Indonesia and Thailand. Discussions with Indonesia are in a fairly advanced stage.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

KOHIMA WAR CEMETERY
Nagaland’s capital Kohima is home to a unique cemetery that also has a tennis court.

About:

  • The United Kingdom-based Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has listed five sites with unusual features.

  • The Kohima War Cemetery is one of 23,000 World War graves across the continents maintained by the CWGC.

  • Designer Colin St. Clair Oakes incorporated the tennis court into the design of the cemetery.

Source : The Hindu
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

‘DESH KE MENTOR’ PROGRAMME
A controversy recently broke out after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) recommended that the Delhi government suspend its flagship ‘Desh ke Mentor’ programme till “the time when all the loopholes pertaining to the safety of the children are overhauled”.

About:

  • The programme was launched in October 2021 and is aimed at connecting students in classes IX to XII with voluntary mentors.

  • People between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up to be mentors through an app created by a team at the Delhi Technological University and will be connected with students based on mutual interests.

  • The mentorship entails regular phone calls for a minimum of two months, which can optionally be carried on for another four months.

  • The idea is for the young mentors to guide students through higher education and career options, preparation for higher education entrance exams, and dealing with the pressure of it all.

Source : Indian Express
Education

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

DOUBLE ENGINE GOVERNMENT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeated the need for a ‘double engine government’ for better development of the states during his election campaigns in Tripura, Assam, West Bengal and most recently in Uttar Pradesh and Goa, where elections are scheduled during February-March 2022.

About:

  • The BJP has frequently used the phrase ‘double engine government’ during campaigns for various state Assembly elections.

  • The party first used the expression during the 2014 Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections, which took place after six months of the Lok Sabha elections: BJP leaders appealed to voters to choose the same party (BJP or NDA) in these states as the one ruling at the Centre for better development of their states.

  • The same appeal was echoed in subsequent Assembly elections.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

AROMA MISSION
While observing the first National Start-up Day, Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said that “Purple Revolution” is Jammu & Kashmir’s contribution to "Start-ups India", an initiative that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016.

About:

  • The Aroma Mission launched by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology through the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), has led to the well-known “Purple Revolution” in India.

  • The CSIR had, to begin with introduced high-value essential oil bearing lavender crop through its Jammu based laboratory, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM) for cultivation in districts Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and later also in the other districts including Ramban, Pulwama, etc.

  • In addition to IIIM, CSIR-IHBT, CSIR-CIMAP, CSIR-NBRI and CSIR-NEIST are also now participating in the Aroma Mission.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 17, 2022

THIRUVALLUVAR DAY
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to the Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar on Thiruvalluvar Day (15 January).

About:

  • Thiruvalluvar is regarded as a cultural icon. His most popular work is a collection of couplets on politics, ethics, economy, and love, called "Thirukkuaaa".

  • To honour his contribution, Thiruvalluvar Day is observed either on January 15 or 16 as a part of the Pongal celebrations.

  • While a lot is not known about the life of Thiruvalluvar, it is believed that he used to live in the town of Mylapore, which in today's time is a neighbourhood in Chennai.

Culture
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