Current Affairs 17th & 18th January 2021| Current Affairs News

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CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL NEWS

PM Modi rolls out world’s largest vaccination drive for COVID-19

  • India launched the much awaited, world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme through video conferencing.
  • A total of 3006 session sites across all states and union territories will be virtually connected during the launch.
  • In the first phase government and private sector health care workers, including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine.
  • The drive aims to first inoculate millions of its healthcare and frontline workers and reach an estimated 3 crore people by the end of its first phase.

NIC and CBSE to jointly launch CollabCAD Software

  • National Informatics Centre and Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE will jointly launch CollabCAD Software to provide a total engineering solution for students and Faculty of Engineering Graphics Curriculum.
  • Aim : To provide a great platform to students across the country to create and modify 3D digital designs with a free flow of creativity and imagination.
  • This software will also enable students to collaborate over designs across the network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualization.
  • National Informatics Centre, NIC, CBSE, and Atal Innovation Mission will also jointly release a comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D modeling.
About National Informatics Centre :
  • Comes Under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  • Founded : 1976
  • Director General : Neeta Verma
  • Headquarters : New Delhi
About CBSE :
  • Founded : 1962
  • Headquarters : New Delhi

Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicates an Innovation Portal developed By NIF

  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan dedicated an Innovation Portal, developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF)  India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, to the nation, in New Delhi.
  • The National Innovation Portal(NIP)  is currently home to about 15 lakh innovations scouted from common people of the country, covering Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary and Human Health.
  • 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.
  • This Innovation Portal will help institutionalise new ideas by common people towards finding solutions to local problems.
About National Innovation Foundation :
  • Founded : March 2000
  • Comes Under Department of Science and Technology
  • Established : 2000

Country celebrates Harvest festivals

  • On Jan 14, 2021, Harvest Festival Makar Sankranti is being celebrated.
  • The festival is seen as a celebration of the end of the winter solstice month and also marks the end of the winter harvest.
  • The harvest festival is referred to by different names in different parts of the country such as
  1. Pongal in Tamil Nadu,
  2. Makara Sankranti in Gujarat, West Bengal, and Karnataka
  3. Bihu in Assam,
  4. Paush Parbon in Bengal
  5. Lohri in Punjab and Jammu
  6. Saen-Kraat in Kashmir
  7. Sukaraat in MP
  8. Khichdi Parw in Bihar, Jharkhand, UP

Union Minister Piyush Goyal inaugurates the Prarambh Startup India International Summit

  • 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.
  • It was inaugurated by the union minister for railways, consumer affairs, commerce and industry Piyush Goyal
About the Summit :
  • The Summit is being organized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, M/o Commerce & Industry, as a follow up of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu in August, 2018.
  • The ‘Prarambh’ Summit will provide a platform to the startups and young minds from around the world to come together and collaborate to work collectively to come with new ideas, innovation and invention.
  • The focus of the Summit will be on enhancing multilateral cooperation and engagement with countries from around the globe to collectively develop and strengthen the startup ecosystems.
  • The Summit marks the fifth anniversary of the Startup India initiative, launched by the Prime Minister on 16 January, 2016.

Due to Covid-19 situation, no foreign leader as chief guest on Republic Day

  • The ministry of external affairs confirmed that there will be no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for the Republic Day event on January 26.
  • This will be the first time in over five decades that the Republic Day celebrations would not have a foreign dignitary as the chief guest.
  • Earlier, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson had accepted India’s invitation to attend the Republic Day event as the chief guest. However, the Britain PM cancelled his visit after the spread of the new contagious mutant strain of the novel coronavirus in his country.
  • Following Johnson’s decision to call off his visit, reports had started doing rounds that said that Indian-origin President of Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, would be invited as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade this year.

PM announces Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund’

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund‘ to support startups and help budding entrepreneurs pursue innovative ideas.
  • Modi stated in 2014 there were only four startups in the unicorn club, but today there are more than 30.
  • This initiative will help in building up new startups and promote their growth.
  • The action plan of this initiative is focussing on three areas:
  1. Simplification and Handholding.
  2. Funding Support and Incentives.
  3. Industry-Academia Partnership and Incubation.

Petroleum & Natural Gas Ministry launches SAKSHAM campaign to spread awareness about green energy

  • The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry launched a month-long mass awareness campaign ‘SAKSHAM’ to spread awareness about green and clean energy.
  • The Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Chairman, PCRA Shri TarunKapoor launched the campaign.
  • The campaign through various pan-India activities such as cyclothon, farmer workshops, seminars, painting competition, CNG vehicle driving contest, etc will spread awareness among masses about the advantages of using clean fuels.
  • The campaign will also spread awareness about 7 key drivers mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to help India move towards cleaner energy. These are:
  1. moving towards a gas-based economy,
  2. cleaner use of fossil fuels,
  3. greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuels,
  4. achieving renewable targets with the set deadlines,
  5. increased use of electric vehicles to decarbonize mobility,
  6. increased use of cleaner fuels like Hydrogen, and
  7. digital innovation across all energy systems.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between PCRA and EESL for promotion of Energy Efficient PNG Stove on the occasion.

CURRENT AFFAIRS : INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Donald Trump becomes first US President to be impeached twice

  • Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice.
  • The House of Representatives voted to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.
  • He was impeached by historic 232-197 vote, making Trump the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, a little more than a year since his first. It was supported by all Democrats and 10 Republicans, including Liz Cheney, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House.

CURRENT AFFAIRS : STATE NEWS

Cherry Blossom Mao Festival held in Manipur

  • In Manipur, the Cherry Blossom Mao Festival was held at Senapati district marking the beginning of pink season in the district.
  • Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh graced the function virtually due to the pandemic.
  • The Manipur government started organizing the festival every year from 2017
  • The virtual festival featured the picturesque landscape of Mao adorned with beautiful cherry trees, which are laden with pink flowers which have traditionally attracted visitors from across the world.
  • The virtual Cherry Blossom Festival at Mao, Manipur was jointly organised by the Department of Tourism and Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), Shillong in association with the Organising Committee Flower Festival, Mao.

CURRENT AFFAIRS : SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO develops India’s first indigenous 9mm machine pistol ASMI

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed the country’s first indigenous machine pistol ASMI.
  • The pistol which is developed by DRDO along with the help of Indian Army is set to replace the 9mm pistols in the defence forces. It was displayed at an event of the Indian Army.
  • DRDO’s Pune-based facility Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and the Infantry School designed and developed this weapon utilising their respective areas of expertise in a record time of four months.
About Asmi Machine Pistol :
  • The Asmi machine pistol fires the in-service 9 mm ammunition and has an upper receiver made from aircraft-grade aluminum and lower receiver from carbon fibre.
  • The 3D printing technology has been used in designing and prototyping of various parts, including trigger components which have been made by metal 3D printing.
  • The weapon has huge potential in armed forces as a personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders, tank and aircraft crews, drivers and dispatch riders, radio or radar operators, for closed quarter battles, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations etc.
  • This is also likely to find huge employability with the central and state police organisations, as well as VIP protection duties and policing.
  • The Machine Pistol is likely to have production cost under Rs 50,000 each and has potential for exports.
  • The weapon is aptly named Asmi, which means pride, self respect and also hard work
About DRDO :
  • Headquarters : New Delhi
  • Established : 1958
  • Chairman :G Satheesh Reddy

CURRENT AFFAIRS : BANKING & FINANCE 

IRDAI sets up committee to Examine health insurance products

  • Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set-up a committee to study health insurance products with the help of scientists and doctors in the panel.
  • The expert committee will be headed by IRDAI Chairperson, Subhash Chandra Khuntia and will have a Member (Non-Life) as the vice-chairperson. The committee, which has a term of one year.

Member of the committee include:

  • Dr Nachiket Mor, PhD, Visiting Scientist, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health
  • Dr A.K. Chand, Professor and Neurosurgeon, Bangalore
  • Dr B.K. Mohanti, Former Professor and Oncologist, AIIMS
  • Dr K. Hari Prasad, Anaesthetist, Hyderabad
About IRDAI :
  • Founded : 1999
  • Headquarters : Hyderabad, Telangana
  • The committee will also examine the health insurance product structure in terms of policy conditions to protect the interest of the policyholders and develop strategy on treatment protocol or rate structure toward improving affordability of health insurance.

CURRENT AFFAIRS : APPOINTMENTS

Intel appoints Pat Gelsinger as new CEO

  • Intel announced that its board of directors has appointed 40-year technology industry leader Pat Gelsinger as its new chief executive officer, effective February 15, 2021.
  • He will succeed Bob Swan.
About Pat Gelsinger :
  • Gelsinger is a highly respected CEO and industry veteran with more than four decades of technology and leadership experience, including 30 years at Intel where he began his career.
  • Gelsinger served as the CEO of VMware since 2012, where he significantly transformed the company into a recognized global leader in cloud infrastructure, enterprise mobility and cyber security, almost tripling the company’s annual revenues.
  • Prior to joining VMware, Gelsinger was president and chief operating officer of EMC Information Infrastructure Products at EMC, overseeing engineering and operations for information storage, data computing, backup and recovery, RSA security and enterprise solutions.
  • He was the architect of the original 80486 processor, led 14 different microprocessor programs and played key roles in the Core and Xeon families.

YES BANK partners with Aditya Birla Wellness to launch wellness themed credit card

  • YES Bank in collaboration with Aditya Birla Wellness Private Limited has launched ‘YES BANK Wellness’ and ‘YES BANK Wellness Plus’ credit cards with the aim of holistic health, self-care and wellness growth of the consumers.
  • Cardholders will be able to enjoy the complimentary health benefits by simply registering on the Aditya Birla Multiply App.
  • The app will allow consumers to avail complimentary benefits such as annual health check-up, round the clock doctor or counsellor helpline, in-studio or home-based workout sessions, personalized diet plans, among others.
  • This credit card comes with a first year membership fee of Rs 1,999 plus taxes and renewal fee of Rs 1,999 and taxes.
About YES Bank :
  • CEO : Prashant Kumar
  • Founder : Rana Kapoor
  • Founded : 2004
  • Headquarters : Mumbai

CURRENT AFFAIRS : AGREEMENTS

FSS and India Post Payments Bank AePS Partnership Advances Financial Inclusion in India

  • FSS (Financial Software and Systems), a leading global payment processor and provider of integrated payment products, announced partnering with India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to promote financial inclusion among underserved and unbanked segments.
  • As part of the collaboration, IPPB will use FSS’ Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) to deliver interoperable and affordable doorstep banking services to customers across India.
  • This strategic partnership offers significant opportunities to bring millions of unbanked customers into the financial mainstream.
  • IPPB has been set up with the vision to build the most accessible, affordable, and trusted bank for the common man in India to deliver banking at the customer’s doorstep.

Flipkart, Niti Aayog collaborate to enhance Women Entrepreneurship Platform

  • Walmart-owned Flipkart has partnered with Niti Aayog to launch the revamped Women Entrepreneurship Platform.
  • The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) is a first of its kind, unified access portal which brings together women from different parts of India to realize their entrepreneurial aspirations.
  • The idea of the platform was first mooted by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog who announced the setting-up of a Women Entrepreneurship Platform in NITI Aayog at the conclusion of the 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad in 2017, with an overarching theme of ‘Women first, prosperity for all’.
About WEP :
  • The revamped version shall also include an additional feature to offer mentorship to the women mentees with specific knowledge concerning a problem area through a dedicated online mechanism facilitated under FICCI-FLO’s Empowering the Greater 50% mission.
  • ‘Community’ on the WEP platform aims to connect knowledge-seeking women entrepreneurs who have questions or seek clarifications on multiple aspects of setting up new businesses (like registering businesses, GST, funding, effects of the pandemic, etc.), or progressing already established businesses; to knowledge providing women entrepreneurs who have experience in setting up businesses and hence can contribute by solving queries.
About NITI Aayog :
  • Formed : 1 January, 2015
  • Headquarters : New Delhi
  • Chairperson : Narendra Modi
  • CEO : Amitabh Kant
About Flipkart :
  • CEO : Kalyan Krishnamurthy
  • Headquarters : Bangalore, Karnataka

 Daily CA on Jan 14th-16th    

  • Indian Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed each year on 14 January since 2017.This day is celebrated on 14th of January every year to honour services rendered by veterans of the Army. 
  • Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year to honor the soldiers of the country, who have set the greatest example of selfless service and brotherhood and more than anything the love for the country.
  • Elon Musk-owned electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla has registered a fully-owned subsidiary in Bengaluru,Karnataka.
  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched an air taxi service between Chandigarh and Hisar from the Chandigarh International Airport under the UDAN scheme of the central government.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled the country’s first indigenously designed and developed Driverless Metro Car at the BEML manufacturing facility in Bengaluru.
  • The 19th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) will be inaugurated on 16th January. The film festival this year is dedicated to the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the ‘Fire Park’, a first of its kind initiative in the country, to bring awareness on fire safety measures.
  • The Union Minister of Science &Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan inaugurated a new institute of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR), in New Delhi.
  • An ICT Grand Challenge for development of a ‘smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ is underway.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has set up a working group to study digital lending activities of the regulated and unregulated players.
  • The Fitch Ratings expect gross domestic product (GDP) of India to contract by 9.4 percent in FY21 (April 2020 to March 2021).
  • Government has approved procurement of 83 Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, Tejas worth about 48 thousand crore rupees from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for Indian Air Force.
  • Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum 2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) virtually over three separate days, on 14, 21, and 28 January 2021.
  • Nationalist politician Sadyr Japarov won a landslide victory in Kyrgyzstan’s snap presidential election, which was triggered by the collapse of the previous government.
  • India and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), including 5G standardisation.
  • The Indian Army has signed an approximately $20 million contract for undisclosed quantities of a high-altitude variant of ideaForge’s SWITCH UAV which will be delivered over a period of 1 year.
  • The Third Phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched in 600 districts across the country.This phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.
  • Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla virtually released Lt Gen Singh’s book Making of a General-A Himalayan Echo (Konark Publishers) at Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan, Imphal
  • In Leh, the primary ever Ice climbing festival was celebrated in Nubra valley.The Seven Day occasion was organized by Nubra Adventure Club.
  • Social activist and Padma Shri D Prakash Rao passed away while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. He was 63.

Daily CA on Jan 17 & 18 :

  • India launched the much awaited, world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme.Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme through video conferencing.
  • National Informatics Centre and Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE will jointly launch CollabCAD Software to provide a total engineering solution for students and Faculty of Engineering Graphics Curriculum.
  • The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan dedicated an Innovation Portal, developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF)  India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, to the nation, in New Delhi.
  • On Jan 14, 2021, Harvest Festival Makar Sankranti is being celebrated.The festival is seen as a celebration of the end of the winter solstice month and also marks the end of the winter harvest
  • 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 ministry of external affairs confirmed that there will be no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for the Republic Day event on January 26.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund‘ to support startups and help budding entrepreneurs pursue innovative ideas.
  • The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry launched a month-long mass awareness campaign ‘SAKSHAM’ to spread awareness about green and clean energy.
  • Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice.The House of Representatives voted to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.
  • In Manipur, the Cherry Blossom Mao Festival was held at Senapati district marking the beginning of pink season in the district.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed the country’s first indigenous machine pistol ASMI.
  • Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set-up a committee to study health insurance products with the help of scientists and doctors in the panel.
  • Intel announced that its board of directors has appointed 40-year technology industry leader Pat Gelsinger as its new chief executive officer, effective February 15, 2021.
  • YES Bank in collaboration with Aditya Birla Wellness Private Limited has launched ‘YES BANK Wellness’ and ‘YES BANK Wellness Plus’ credit cards with the aim of holistic health, self-care and wellness growth of the consumers.
  • FSS (Financial Software and Systems), a leading global payment processor and provider of integrated payment products, announced partnering with India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to promote financial inclusion among underserved and unbanked segments.
  • Walmart-owned Flipkart has partnered with Niti Aayog to launch the revamped Women Entrepreneurship Platform.

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