Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. 125th birth anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

– The Minister of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel announced that the year-long celebrations to commemorate 125th birth anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will formally commence on 23rd January, 2021.

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over the inaugural event of the celebrations being held at  Kolkata, the Minister disclosed while addressing media persons in New Delhi.

– The Government has decided to celebrate  23rd January as PARAKRAM DIWAS every year and a Gazette Notification to this effect has been issued on 19 January, 2021.

– The 125th Birth Anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be celebrated in a befitting manner at national and international level.

–  He said that a High-Level Committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been constituted for deciding the programs, and to supervise and guide the commemoration throughout the year.

– The Committee will provide guidance for the commemoration activities in Delhi, Kolkata and other places associated with Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj, both in India as well as overseas.

– The inaugural function of the commemoration will be held at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata on 23rd January 2021 presided over by the Prime Minister.

–  A permanent exhibition on Netaji and a Projection Mapping Show will be inaugurated on the occasion.

– A cultural program “AmraNutonJouboneriDoot” will also be held based on the theme of Netaji.

– Shri Patel said “a commemorative coin and postage stamp will also be released on this day. An International Conference ‘Re-visiting the legacy of Netaji Subhash in the 21st century’ and an Artists’ Camp is being organized at National Library, Kolkata on the same day.”

– The Ministry of Culture will also be organising a programme at Netaji’s birthplace in Cuttack, Orissa. Another programme is also being organisedatHaripura in Gujarat which also has a symbolic association with Netaji.

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2. ‘Jal Utsav’

– Damhedi village of Anuppur District of Madhya Pradesh celebrated ‘Jal Utsav’ to welcome tap water connections in their households on 15th January, 2021.

– The village was decked up with rangolis and flower decorations & villagers were in their finest clothes & tribal accessories.

– The festivities included tribal songs, dance & music which filled the whole atmosphere with the spirit of joy. The village which mostly comprises of tribal population has suffered paucity of potable water in their area since ever.

– Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), the flagship programme of Union Government is ensuring safe drinking water to every rural household of the country.

– Jal Jeevan Mission envisages the adoption of a participatory approach for ensuring safe and sustainable rural water supply for every household.

– In this light, Madhya Pradesh Jal Nigam is implementing 58 Multi Village Schemes (MVS) in about 6,896 villages in 34 districts to ensure the availability of water for drinking and other domestic purposes throughout the year.

– To take the mission forward, Damhedi -1 Multi Village Rural Water Scheme in Pushprajgarh block became functional on 15th January, 2021. The MVS is located in Anuppur district, which consists of 74 villages.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 19 January, 2021

3. 1st National Conference of States on Logistics

– Union Minister of Railways; Commerce & Industry; Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Piyush Goyal said that National Logistics Policy, which is under consultation, along with the National Logistics Council and State Logistics Coordination Committee, will work as a template for better coordination and integrated development for logistics centre.

– Addressing the 1st National Conference of States on Logistics, he said that Logistics team in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is trying to integrate various means of transport, documentation & stakeholders through technology platforms, into a much-simplified way of working, which will enhance the Ease of Doing Business.

–  The Minister said that Logistics is all about 5R’s: Getting the Right product – In the Right condition – At the Right place – At the Right time – To the Right customer.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 18 January, 2021

4. Quantum Computing Applications Lab

– The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries.

– The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab will provide quantum computing as a service to government ministries and departments, researchers, scientists, academia, and developers, to enable advances in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and aerospace engineering.

– AWS will provide hosting with technical and programmatic support for the Lab. This MeitYinitiative will provide scientific, academic, and developer communities access to a quantum computing development environment aligned with the government’s science and technology priorities.

About Quantum computing

– Quantum computing is an emerging field that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to build powerful tools to process information.

–  It has the potential to solve computational problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers and lead to new breakthroughs that can transform chemical engineering, material science, drug discovery, financial portfolio optimization, machine learning, and much more.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 16 January, 2021

5. 6th India-Nepal Joint Commission Meet

– The 6th India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting was held recently in which Nepal raised the Kalapani boundary dispute with India.

– In several areas, both the nation discussed cooperation including power, oil and gas, water resources, capacity building and tourism among others.

– At the Joint Commission level, India distanced itself from discussing the matter as there is a dedicated Foreign Secretary-level mechanism to discuss boundary disputes.

– To fight with COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal’s requirement for vaccines was discussed as it has approved the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield vaccine.

– Both the delegations reviewed the development partnership and discussed the benefit of the Integrated Check Posts (ICP) at Birgunj and Biratnagar (Nepal).

– Third and Fourth ICP at Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa respectively to be started.

– India to build two cultural heritage projects in Nepal on the ‘Pashupatinath Riverfront Development’ and the ‘Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar’ through grant assistance.

– Nepal’s Foreign Minister also delivered a speech in the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 15 January, 2021

6. Bad Bank

– The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently agreed to look at a proposal for creating a Bad Bank.

About Bad Bank

– A bad bank conveys the impression that it will function as a bank but has bad assets to start with.

– A bad bank technically is an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) or an Asset Management Company (AMC) that takes over the bad loans of commercial banks, manages them and finally recovers the money over a period of time.

– The bad bank is not involved in lending and taking deposits, but helps commercial banks clean up their balance sheets and resolve bad loans.

– US-based Mellon Bank created the first bad bank in 1988, after which the concept has been implemented in other countries including Sweden, Finland, France and Germany.

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7. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

– Government to amend LLP Act to spur ease of business.

– Under the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Act, changes proposed are decriminalising various offences and permitting LLPs to issue non-convertible debentures.

About Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

– A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners have limited liability. It, therefore, exhibits elements of partnerships and corporations.

– In an LLP, one partner is not responsible or liable for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.

– Every LLP shall have at least two designated partners being individuals, at least one of them being resident in India and all the partners shall be the agent of the Limited Liability Partnership but not of other partners.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 January, 2021

8. Desert Knight-21

– It is a bilateral Air exercise held between the Indian Air Force and French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace).

– The latest edition will be held at Air Force Station Jodhpur.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 12 January, 2021

9. Rooftop Solar Scheme

– The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has recently released an advisory on the rooftop solar scheme.

– Its objective is to generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing the Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme (Phase II).

– The aims of Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar Scheme (Phase II) is to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar Projects by the year 2022.

– In a grid-connected rooftop or small Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) system, the DC power generated from the SPV panel is converted to AC power using the power conditioning unit and is fed to the grid.

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. Motor Bike Ambulance ‘Rakshita’

Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), Delhi based DRDO laboratory, handed over Rakshita, a bike-based casualty transport emergency vehicle to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)  \ in a ceremony held at CRPF HQ in New Delhi on 18 January 2021.

– DS & DG (LS), DRDO, Dr AK Singh handed over the model of Rakshita to DG CRPF, Dr AP Maheshwari, followed by the flagging off the contingent of 21 bikes on the occasion.

– The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency healthcare providers.

– It will provide life-saving aid for the evacuation of injured patients from low-intensity conflict areas.

– This will be handy in the congested streets and remote locations, where access through ambulance is difficult and time-consuming.

– The bike can respond to a medical emergency need of patients faster than a four-wheeler due to its functionality and integrated emergency medical support system.

– Rakshita is fitted with a customized reclining Casualty Evacuation Seat (CES), which can be fitted in and taken out as per requirement.

– Other major features are the head immobilizer, safety harness jacket, hand and foot straps for safety, adjustable footrest, physiological parameter measuring equipment with wireless monitoring capability and auto warning system for the driver.

– The vital parameters of the patient can be monitored on the dashboard-mounted LCD. It is also equipped with air splint, medical and oxygen kit for on-spot medical care.

– This bike ambulance is useful not only for the paramilitary and military forces but has potential civil applications too.

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2. Russia Pulls Out Of Open Skies Treaty

– Russia pulled out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST) citing the earlier withdrawal of the USA from the treaty recently.

– As per Russia, provisions of the pact allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries had been seriously compromised by the withdrawal of the United States.

– This move was made when the USA pulled out of the Open Skies Treaty in November 2020, arguing that Russian violations made it untenable for the United States to remain a party.

– Reasons for USA withdrawal are Russia’s continuous non-compliance, OST misused to claim Ukrainian region, risk to critical infrastructures, etc.

– Reasons for Russia Withdrawal are USA limiting OST and no assurance from NATO members.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 18 January, 2021

3. 47th G7 Summit

– Indian Prime Minister has been invited by the United Kingdom as a guest to attend the 47th G7 summit that is scheduled to be held in June 2021.

– Apart from India, Australia and South Korea are also invited to participate in the proceedings of the summit as “guest countries”.

– The UK was the first P5 member to support a permanent UN Security Council seat for India and the first G7 member to invite India to a G7 Summit in 2005.

The proposed summit will be the first in-person G-7 summit in almost two years.

– The objective behind the summit is to unite leading democracies to help the world build back better from the coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 16 January, 2021

4. ‘Difficult four’ countries

– The difficult four countries are Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India.

– The classification has been made by Chatham House, the century-old UK-based policy institute also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

– Chatham House has published a report proposing a blueprint for Britain’s future foreign policy after Brexit. Titled “Global Britain, Global Broker”, the report sketches a bold path ahead for the UK.

– The report notes how “the overt Hindu nationalism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is weakening the rights of Muslims and other minority religious groups, leading to a chorus of concern that intolerant majoritarianism is replacing the vision of a secular, democratic India bequeathed by Nehru”.

– India is a reluctant supporter of liberal democracy. It is “ambivalent” about human rights abuses within other states, and possesses “a long and consistent record of resisting being corralled into a ‘Western camp’”.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 15 January, 2021

5. 5G and how is India prepared to adapt this technology

– The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought inputs from Telcos and other industry experts on the sale and use of radiofrequency spectrum over the next 10 years, including the 5G bands.

– 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment 4G LTE connection.

– 5G offers exponentially faster download and upload speeds.

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– 5G will deliver multi-Gbps peak rates, ultra-low latency, massive capacity, and a more uniform user experience.

– All the three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vi have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands so that they would be able to plan the rollout of their services accordingly.

– One big hurdle, however, is the lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with at least two of the three players, namely Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

– On the other hand, Reliance Jio plans to launch an indigenously built 5G network for the country as early as the second half of this year.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 January, 2021

6. K-Shaped Economic Recovery

– The latest readings of the Nomura India Normalization Index (NINI) suggested the impact of Covid-19 on Indian Economy and the K-Shaped Recovery through which the Indian Economy is recovering.

– Nomura Services India Private Limited (Nomura Holdings Inc) is a consumer services company.

– Households at the top of the pyramid are likely to have seen their incomes largely protected, and savings rates forced up during the lockdown, increasing ‘fuel in the tank’ to drive future consumption.

– Households at the bottom are likely to have witnessed permanent hits to jobs and incomes.

– A long-lasting period of ultra-accommodative monetary policy has led to a fall in real lending rates and spreads for corporates and households that should eventually come as lagged relief to the interest-sensitive sectors.

– An economic spread is a measure of a company’s ability to make money on its capital investments.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 12 January, 2021

7. Rapid Blood Test to Predict Covid-19 Disease Severity

– Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis (WUSTL) have published a paper showing that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which Covid-19 patients are at highest risk of severe complications or death.

– Blood Test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, a unique type of DNA molecule that normally resides inside the energy factories of cells.

– Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

– The test could serve as a way to predict disease severity as well as a tool to better design clinical trials, identifying patients who might, for example, benefit from specific investigational treatments.

– The test could serve as a way to monitor the effectiveness of new therapies. Presumably, effective treatments would lower mitochondrial DNA levels.

– The test also predicted outcomes as well as or better than existing markers of inflammation currently measured in Covid patients.

– Most other markers of inflammation measured in patients with Covid-19, including those still under investigation, are general markers of systemic inflammation, rather than inflammation specific to cell death.

– Inflammation is the body’s innate response to injury or infection (including trauma, surgery, burns, and cancer).

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 93, 18 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

  1. Record construction of 534 kilometres of National Highway in one week

– The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has created a record by constructing 534 km of National Highways (NHs) in the last week commencing 8 January.

– The Ministry has constructed 8,169 km of National Highways (NHs) from April 2020 to 15 January 2021 in the current financial year 2020-21, i.e. with a speed of about 28.16 km per day.

– During the same period in the last fiscal, 7,573 km roads were constructed, with a speed of 26.11 km per day.

– The Ministry is hopeful that with such pace it should be able to cross construction target of 11,000 km by 31 March.

– The Ministry also awarded NH projects of 7,597 km during this period (April 2020 to 15 January 2021). In 2019-20, projects of 3,474 km were awarded during the same period. Thus, the pace of award has also more than doubled this fiscal.

– In total, projects of 8,948 km of roads were awarded in 2019-20 while 10,237 km of roads were constructed.

– The pace of construction is expected to increase further in the remaining months of the current financial year, which are conducive for construction activities.

  1. Several projects launched in Bagalkot district of Karnataka

– he Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah launched several projects in Bagalkot district of Karnataka.

– He inaugurated the expansion project of a Sugar Mill and the 75th branch of Vijaya Bank.

–  He also laid the foundation stone of Ayurvedic Medical College and several farming projects.

– On this occasion, Amit Shah said that in 2014 and 2019, the people of Karnataka had voted strongly in favour of Modi ji and since Modi ji has become the Prime Minister, he has taken big step towards making a self-reliant India, – Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

– On the occasion, the Union Minister of Coal & Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Pralhad Joshi, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karajol, Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri Basavaraj Bommai, and other State Ministers and leaders were present.

– He said that the Modi government is committed to the development of Karnataka and today the living standard of farmers and their incomes will increase with this initiative of Nirani Group of Industries.

– He also said that the Narendra Modi government has made efforts to promote the use of ethanol and removed the central excise duty on ethanol in the year 2015.

– When the Modi government assumed office, there was 1.58 percent ethanol blending, which the Modi government has targeted to increase to 10 percent by 2022 and 20 percent by 2025.

– Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, as on 25th December, an amount of Rs 1,13,619 crore has been transferred to about 9 crore farmers directly into their bank accounts without the role of any middleman.

  1. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab.

– In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “The passing away of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab leaves our cultural world poorer. He was a doyen of music, a stalwart of creativity whose works endeared him to people across generations. I have fond memories of interacting with him. Condolences to his family and admirers.”

  1. Pension Payment Order

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the recently introduced Electronic “Pension Payment Order” (PPO) promises ease of living for senior citizens.

– Referring to some path-breaking reforms introduced in the Ministry of Personnel, Dr. Jitendra Singh stated that the Department of Pensions in the Ministry of Personnel was often at the receiving end of complaints from senior citizens about the original copies of their Pension Payment Order getting misplaced.

– Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thrust on digitalization, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, in the last six years there has been rapid progress in this direction and many of the Ministries and Departments in the Government of India were performing nearly 80% of their work through e-office even before the onset of COVID pandemic.

Accordingly, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare decided to integrate the electronic PPO generated through PFMS application of CGA (Controller General of Accounts) with Digi-locker.

– This enables the pensioner to obtain an instant print – out of the latest copy of his PPO from the Digi-locker account.

– A number of reforms have been introduced to bring ease of living and convenience in the lives of pensioners including Pre-retirement Workshops and Counselling Sessions as well as assistance in meaningful engagement in the post-retirement phase of life so that the energies, the expertise and the experience of senior citizens can be optimally utilised in the service of society and for the cause of nation building.

  1. Adaptation Gap Report 2020

– The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report 2020 estimated the annual cost of adaptation to the effects of climate change for developing countries to at least quadruple by 2050.

– The current cost for these countries is in the range of USD 70 billion (Rs 5.1 lakh crore) and may rise to USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050.

– Adaptation Cost includes costs of planning, preparing for, facilitating and implementing adaptation measures.

– The ever-increasing adaptation cost has also outpaced the growth in adaptation finance and that is the reason for a maintained Adaptation Finance gap.

– Adaptation Finance refers to the flow of funds to developing countries to help them tide over the damages caused by weather events from climate change.

Adaptation Finance gap is the difference between Adaptation Cost and Adaptation Finance.

– Adaptation costs, in actual terms, is higher in developed countries but the burden of adaptation is greater for developing countries in relation to their gross domestic product.

  1. India & Oman

  A meeting of the India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group (IOSCG) was held recently with the first high-level official visit from Oman to India since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic.

– India assured assistance to Oman in its requirement for Covid-19 vaccines. India had also facilitated food and medical supplies to Oman during the pandemic.

– On the operationalisation of the Air Bubble arrangement, previously both the countries have expressed satisfaction during COVID-19 pandemic.

– Air bubbles (travel corridors or travel bubbles) are systems established between two countries that perceive each other to be safe and allow carriers of both the countries to fly passengers either way without any restrictions.

– Both sides reviewed the entire spectrum of India-Oman relationship including in political, energy, trade, investment, defence, security, space, mining, Science & Technology, culture and consular fields.

Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. “Prarambh”, Startup India International Summit

– On the day 1 of “Prarambh”, Startup India International Summit on January 15, 2021, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry hosted a Roundtable meeting with Global Funds at 10 PM IST, corresponding to 8:30 AM PST, 16th January, 12.30 AM SGT 16th January, and 1:30 AM JST.

– The roundtable received the participation of around 70 Venture Capital (VC) fund investors from across the United States, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and some Global Funds domiciled in India.

– These funds have a total AUM to the north of $41 Bn in the Indian Region and Global AUM of more than $143 Bn.

– The meeting was chaired by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and attended by Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, DPIIT, Shri Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, DPIIT and major Indian regulators, policymakers, along with Global VC Funds.

– he intent of this roundtable was to listen to the concerns of Global Funds, share a progress report of the current Indian Startup-VC Ecosystem, and discuss ways ahead for Investing in India with an aim to mobilise Global Capital in Indian Innovations and promoting ease of doing business for global venture funds.

– The Roundtable discussion covered topics like the growth potential of Indian startups, opportunities in the GIFT City and broad overview of the VC-Startup ecosystem.

– The session also covered the top regulatory issues to be addressed with the Government of India.

– It was pointed out in the meeting that India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world and the ecosystem has seen a dramatic transformation over the past decade.

– There has been K-shaped recovery in the second half of 2020 – with sectors like education, healthcare, e-commerce, food delivery having been positively impacted, while sectors like travel and hospitality were severely impacted.

– It was mentioned by certain funds that India has the potential to become the most innovative nation on the planet in the next 10-15 years.

–  Some of the participants appreciated the Indian Government’s intent, speed, direction and action taken in promoting the Startup culture in the country, and providing a conducive environment.

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2. India Meteorological Department (IMD) celebrates its 146th Foundation Day

– India Meteorological Department (IMD) on 15 January, 2021 celebrated its 146th Foundation Day.

– IMD is one of the oldest, scientific service organizations in the country, in existence well before Independence.

– On the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand and Kufri, Himachal Pradesh; Multi-Mission Meteorological Data Receiving and Processing System in IMD in collaboration with ISRO (MMDRPS) and released Report on Cyclone disturbances during 2020; Hindi Patrik- ‘Mausam Manjusha’; Official e-launched “Online Web Portal of IMD Journal MAUSAM” in collaboration with CSIR-NISCAIR and released a special issue of Mausam on Tropical Cyclone.

– Dr. Harsh Vardhan said Installation of state of art Doppler Weather Radars will provide valuable support to the disaster managers and to the pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to Kailash Manasarovar and Char Dham yatra.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 15 January, 2021

3. Amresh Kumar Chaudhary has been awarded prestigious “Chief of Army Staff Commendation”

– Incumbent Chief Controller, Shri 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.

– Amresh Kumar Chaudhary is currently working as Chief Controller in Mil Rail.

– Amresh Kumar Chaudhary is a very sincere, hard-working, proactive and result-oriented official with highest degree of integrity.

About Mil Rail

– Mil Rail is an extension of Traffic Directorate of Ministry of Railways, headed by Executive Director (ED) level officer with an 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.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 January, 2021

4. CARA Celebrates its 6th Annual Day

– Ram Mohan Mishra, Secretary Ministry of Women and Child Development and Chairperson Steering Committee of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) virtually addressed the Officers and Staff of CARA on its 6th Annual Day on 15 January, 2021.

– CARA was granted the status of a Statutory body of Government of India w.e.f. January 15, 2016, vide Section 68 of the JJ Act, 2015 for facilitating adoption in the country.

– CARA celebrates its Annual Day every year on the 15th of January.  Due to the Global Pandemic COVID-19, the event was celebrated virtually.

– Amidst such challenging times CARA has surpassed the figures of Adoption in the last two quarters in comparison to the corresponding quarters of the last year.

– In the second and third quarter of 2019-20, the adoption figure was 849 and 885 respectively, while in 2020-21 it increased to 966 and 983in the second and third quarter.

– CARA has also conducted a series of virtual programmes on the diverse aspects of adoption, training more than 2500 social workers and stakeholders from all the States and UTs during the year.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 12 January, 2021

5. PMKVY 3.0

– Third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) will be launched soon. It will be launched in 600 districts across all states of India.

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

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About PMKVY 3.0

– Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021.

– 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.

– On the basis of the learning gained from PMKVY 1.0 and PMKVY 2.0, the Ministry has improved the newer version of the scheme to match the current policy doctrine and energize the skilling ecosystem affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About PMKVY

– Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), launched in 2015, is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) implemented by National Skill Development Corporation.

– The objective of this Skill Certification Scheme: is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.

– Individuals with prior learning experience or skills will also be assessed and certified under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 11 January, 2021

6. National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India

– Science & Technology minister dedicates an Innovation Portal developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India to the nation.

– Innovation Portal is developed by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

– 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, nutraceuticals etc.

About National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India

– It is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

– Set up in February 2000 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat to provide institutional support for scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up the grassroots innovations across the country.

– It is India’s national initiative to strengthen grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.

– Its mission is to help India become a creative and knowledge-based society by expanding policy and institutional space for grassroots technological innovators.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

7. India’s first indigenously Developed 9mm Machine Pistol

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

– 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.

– 3D Printing process has been used in designing and prototyping of various parts including trigger components made by metal 3D printing.

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

– The weapon has huge potential in Armed forces as a personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders and counter-terrorism operations etc.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 91, 15 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. 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 at 10:30 AM via video conferencing.

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

– A total of 3006 session sites across all States and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on an inaugural day.

– This vaccination programme is based on the principles of priority groups to be vaccinated and Health Care workers, both in government and private sectors including ICDS workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase.

– 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.

– This digital platform will assist programme managers across all levels while conducting vaccination sessions.

– A dedicated 24×7 call centre – 1075 –  has also been established for addressing the queries related to COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.

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2. Phase-2 of Bengaluru Metro Inaugurated

– Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri D V Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Shri B. S. Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka inaugurated the 6-km long Southern Extension line under Phase-2 of Namma Metro from Yelachenahalli to Silk Institute Metro stations by flagging off the train on 14 January, 2021.

– The inauguration of the Metro extension line and the FOBs today is a step towards the goals of Bengaluru Mission 2022 to enable faster commute and smart mobility options in the city.

– The Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase-2 covers a route length of 74 km with 62 stations and consists of extensions to both Purple and Green lines of Phase-1 in all the four directions totalling 34 km and two new lines viz. Gotigere-Nagawara for a route length of 21 km & R V Road- Bommasandra for a route length of 19 km.

– The extension has 5 new stations beyond Yelachenahalli Metro Station on the current operational line namely; Konanakunte Cross, Doddakallasandra, Vajarahalli, Thalaghattapura and Silk Institute.

– The extension is 6 km long elevated metro at the southern end of the currently operational 24.2 km long green (north-south) line. With this extension, the N-S corridor will become 30.2 km long.

– The Elevated portion comprises of 213 spans. The work involves 1032 piles, 223 Piers and 1998 segments for superstructure and 665 no’s of girders in stations.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 January, 2021

3. Innovation Portal

– The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan dedicated an Innovation Portal to the nation, in New Delhi on 14 January, 2021.

– It is developed by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

About National Innovation Portal (NIP)

– 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.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 12 January, 2021

4. CollabCAD Software

– National Informatics Centre (NIC), MeitY and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Ministry of Education along with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, provided the CollabCAD Software and released a comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D modelling.

– NIC and CBSE also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for ‘CollabCAD Software Support and Training for Students and Faculty in Engineering Graphics Curriculum for Class X and XII across CBSE affiliated Schools’ for a period of 10 years.

About CollabCAD

– It is the first indigenous tool created by NIC in partnership with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

– It is a collaborative network-enabled and desktop software system, providing a total engineering solution from 2D drafting & detailing to 3D product design for students and faculty of Engineering Graphics Curriculum.

– This software is an innovative way for students to learn 3D Model designing and this knowledge will give them a competitive edge in their higher education.

– The comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D modelling 1.0 is ready for public release through the CollabCAD portal for registered users and will guide CAD students, beginners, and professionals in understanding and using CollabCAD Software.

– It is designed and authored by the CollabCAD Group of NIC, New Delhi.

– This initiative aims 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 would also enable students to collaborate over designs across the network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualization.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 11 January, 2021

5. NCAVES India Forum 2021

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, in particular ecosystem 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.

– NCAVES India Forum (in a virtual format) is conducted in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), European Union and UN Environment.

– Three live sessions of NCAVES India Forum 2021 are scheduled to be held on January 14, 21 and 28, 2021.

– The first session of the event was dedicated to the discussions on the efforts made by India and the international agencies in the domain of natural capital accounting and valuation of the ecosystem services. The session witnessed remarkable participation from all over the globe.

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6. CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR)

– Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates the new entity CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR) with a new Vision.

– The new Institute has been established after the merger of two prestigious institutes of CSIR namely, CSIR-NISCAIRand CSIR-NISTADS working at the interface of S&T, Society; and Science Communication and Policy Research.

– Merger will combine the strength of two institutes in a synergistic way with a VISION to become a globally respected Think Tank and Resource Centre for understanding Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) Policy Research and Communicationaccording to the Dr Harsh Vardhan.

– The merger of the two institutes is similar to one plus one equaling to ELEVEN and not two as per Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG CSIR and Secretary DSIR.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

7. Thiruvalluvar Day

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi has bowed to the venerable Thiruvalluvar on Thiruvalluvar Day (15 January, 2021).

– In a tweet, the Prime Minister said “I bow to the venerable Thiruvalluvar on Thiruvalluvar Day. His thoughts and works reflect the immense knowledge as well as the wisdom he was blessed with. People across generations have been positively impacted by his ideals. I urge more youngsters across India to read the Kural.”

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 90, 14 January

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. 51st International Film Festival of India

The 51st Edition of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest festival, The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which is to be held in Goa from 16th January to 24th January 2021, has announced a line-up of programmes that will be showcased on the OTT platform during the festival.

– Taking into account the ongoing Pandemic, International Film Festival of India is holding its first-ever ‘hybrid’ Film festival. This year IFFI will organize a few of its events on the OTT platform for its audience.

– The Country in Focus for the 51st IFFI is Bangladesh.

– The Country in Focus is a special segment that recognizes the cinematic excellence and contributions of the country. This section at the 51st IFFI will showcase four films namely,

  1. Jibondhuli by TanvirMokammel
  2. Meghmallar by Zahidur Rahim Anjan
  3. Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossain
  4. Sincerely Yours, Dhaka

About IFFI:

– The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), founded in 1952, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.

– Held annually, currently, in the state of Goa, the festival aims at providing a common platform for the cinemas of the world to project the excellence of the film art; contributing to the understanding and appreciation of film cultures of different nations in the context of their social and cultural ethos, and promoting friendship and cooperation among people of the world.

– The festival is conducted jointly by the Directorate of Film Festivals (under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and the state Government of Goa.

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2. COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The Centre has been proactively carrying activities towards preparing for the nationwide roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in close collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders.

– The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) today held a VC with administrators from States and UTs on the CoWIN software which forms the backbone of the last-mile vaccine administration.

– The meeting was chaired by Shri Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19 and member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19.

– The meeting was attended by the State Principal Secretaries, NHM Mission Directors, and State Immunisation officers and senior officers of the Health Ministry.

– During the meeting the feedback of the States/UTs on the Co-WIN software and its operational use, emanating from the dry runs, was discussed in detail.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

3. MoRTH notifies rules for facilitating the renewal of an International driving licence while travelling abroad

– The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued a  notification on 7th Jan 2021  to facilitate the issuance of International Driving Permit (IDP) for Indian citizens whose IDP has expired while they are abroad.

– There was no mechanism for its renewal while citizens were abroad and their IDP had expired.

– Now, with this amendment, it is proposed that Indian citizens can apply for renewal through the Indian Embassies / Missions abroad, from where these applications would move to the VAHAN portal in India, to be considered by the respective RTOs. IDP would be couriered to the citizen at his/her address abroad by the respective RTOs.

– This notification also removes the conditions of a Medical Certificate and a valid visa at the time of making the request for the IDP in India.

– The idea is that a  citizen who has a valid driving licence should not have a requirement for another medical certificate.

– Further, there are countries where the Visa is issued on arrival or Visa is issued at the last moment: in such cases,  VISA is not available when applying for the IDP in India before travel. Hence,   IDP application can be made without VISA now.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

4. India-Mongolia Relations

– Recently, India and Mongolia have reviewed bilateral cooperation in hydrocarbons and steel sectors.

– India reiterated its commitment to timely completion of the Mongol Refinery Project, the country’s 1st oil refinery.

– The greenfield Mongol Refinery Project is being built under a Line of Credit from the Government of India. It is expected to cut some of Mongolia’s fuel import dependence.

– The Project came in the backdrop of Mongolia, which has large uranium deposits signing an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation with India in 2009 and China unfolding its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

– India is opposed to the BRI, which seeks to invest about USD 8 trillion in infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa, as it says the initiative lures countries into debt traps and does not respect sovereignty or address environmental concerns.

– India welcomed the keenness of Mongolian companies in supplying coking coal to the Indian steel industry. According to a recent report, India will overtake China as the largest importer of coking coal by 2025.

– India expressed its willingness to further share its expertise in the oil and gas sector including capacity building in accordance with the developmental priorities of Mongolia.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

5. Bird Flu in the several States of India

New Bird flu (avian influenza) cases have been confirmed in Gujarat recently, in addition to Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana where the disease has already been confirmed.

– Several states, which have been reporting deaths of birds, including crows and migratory species, are scrambling to have samples tested for the virus.

– Bird flu or avian influenza is the name used to describe a viral infection that is reported mostly in birds, but has the potential to affect humans and other animals.

– More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans namely H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly.

– Outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America and parts of Europe. The virus was first reported in geese in China in 1996.

– Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread into domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

– The H5N1 virus can jump species and infect humans from the infected bird.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

6. NCAVES India Forum 2021

– 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).

– India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico.

About the NCAVES Project

– The Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project seeks to advance the theory and practice of environmental and ecosystem accounting in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

– The project has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

– It aims to assist the five participating partner countries, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting.

– The project will have a duration until the end of 2021.

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7. Demand For Autonomy in Assam

There has been a demand for implementation of Article 244A for the creation of an autonomous state within Assam.

– The appeal to the Centre has been for the creation of an autonomous State for the Karbi Anglong region. This has been a demand since 1986.

– The districts are currently governed by two autonomous councils Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hills.

  1. China holds third South Asia multilateral meet

– China has held its third multilateral dialogue with countries from South Asia to take forward closer cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

– It also strives to coordinate their economic agendas, reflecting a new approach in Beijing’s outreach to the region.

– The third dialogue, held virtually on January 6, brought together every country in the region barring India, Bhutan and the Maldives. It was aimed at “anti-epidemic cooperation and poverty reduction cooperation”.

About South Asia multilateral meet

– All three dialogues have been attended by Pakistan and Nepal, which are emerging as two lynchpins in China’s regional strategy.

– The 1stt such meeting was convened by China in July, and was attended by Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.

– The 2nd meet was held in November by a five-member grouping attended by China, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

– The 3rd and recent January 6 meeting was attended by all five countries that have taken part in these dialogues namely Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 87, 9 January

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To clear the UPSC CSE 2021 exam, aspirants must be very strong in their fundamentals along with the current affairs. Adda247 has taken an important step to help all CSE aspirants by providing them daily quizzes on App. Now aspirants will get free quizzes to practice along with analysis of The Hindu, PIB, etc.

1. What is the theme of 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021?
(a) Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat
(b) Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India
(c) Redefined Engagement With Indian Diaspora
(d) Apna Bharat Apna Gaurav

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2. Consider the following statements regarding the New Industrial Development Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir.
1. It is a Central Sector Scheme and is the first time in any Industrial Incentive Scheme of the Government of India..
2. The main purpose of the scheme is to generate employment which directly leads to the socio-economic development of the region.
Which of the following statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 86, 8 January
3. Consider the following statements regarding the Bengal revolutionary organisations in the 1920s.
1. That time the most active and famous revolutionary organisation was the Chittagong Revolt group under Surya Sen.
2. Anushilan group joined the forces with Subhash Chandra Bose.
Which of the following statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 85, 7 January
4. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about Basavanna?
1. Basavanna was a 13th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka.
2. Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
3. He introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”)
Choose the correct Answer
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3
5. Consider the following statements regarding types of Immunity.
1. Innate Immunity is a non-specific type of defense that is present at the time of birth.
2. Acquired Immunity is pathogen-specific and is characterized by memory.
Which of the following statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 84, 5 January
6. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the World Food Price Index 2020?
1. It was introduced in 1996 as a public good to help in monitoring developments in the global agricultural commodity markets.
2. It measures changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.
3. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index averaged 107.5 points in December 2020.
Choose the correct answer
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3

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7. Which of the following statement(s) is/are true about the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution?
1. The Twenty-fifth Amendment is known as an amendment (1967) to the Constitution of the United States.
2. It set forth succession rules relating to vacancies and disabilities of the office of the president and of the vice president.
3. It was proposed by the U.S. Congress on July 6, 1965, and it was ratified on Feb. 10, 1967.
Choose the correct answer
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 83, 4 January
8. What does the Portuguese brought to India?
1. First printing press
2. Tobacco and Red chillies
Choose the correct answer
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 82, 29 December
9. Which of the following is/are the publications of RBI?
1. Consumer Confidence Survey (CCS – Quarterly)
2. Financial Stability Report (Half-Yearly)
3. Inflation Expectations Survey of Households (IESH – Quarterly)
Choose the correct answer
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3
10. Consider the following statements regarding the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
1. It was founded in 1985 and its headquarter is in Madrid Spain.
2. IOSCO Asia Pacific Hub is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
3. It works closely with the G20 (Group of Twenty) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in setting up the standards for strengthening the securities markets.
Which of the following statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Ans: 1(a), 2(c), 3(a), 4(b), 5(c), 6(d), 7(d), 8(c), 9(d), 10(b)

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 9 January, 2021

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

  1. NCC cadets to participate in Republic Day Parade

– Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich, Director General, National Cadet Corps has said that the NCC is committed to grooming the youth as responsible citizens, who would contribute immensely in nation-building.

– While speaking to the media in New Delhi on 08 January 2021, the Director-General said 2 contingents of NCC cadets, one each of boys and girls, will participate in the Republic Day Parade on 26 January.

– These cadets will be selected from amongst those who are participating in the Republic Day Camp, RDC-2021, which commenced at the Cariappa Parade Ground, Delhi Cantt on 04 Jan 2021.

– A total of 1000 Cadets, including 380 girl cadets, drawn from all 28 States and 09 Union Territories of the country, are participating in this one month long Camp.

– He said the aim of the Republic Day Camp, is to provide the participating cadets, exposure to the rich culture and traditions of our nation through a number of cultural events, that take place in the run-up to the Republic Day and the Prime Minister’s visit to NCC Camp for PM’s Rally on 28 Jan 2021.

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2. Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited

– The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves acquisition of 100% shareholding of the Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited by Manipal Health Enterprises Private Limited.

– Manipal Health Enterprises Private Limited (Acquirer/MHEPL) is a part of Manipal Educational and Medical Group, operating a network of hospitals, providing multi-speciality care.

– Its focus is to develop an affordable, high quality healthcare framework through its multi-speciality and tertiary care delivery spectrum and further extend it to homecare. MHEPL is not engaged in any business activity outside India, except in Malaysia.

– Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Limited (Target/CAHPL) is a private healthcare company providing high quality, affordable, accessible health care and began its operations in India in 2005.

– AHPL operates a chain of eleven multi-speciality hospitals and one teleradiology business.

– CAHPL is not engaged in any business activities outside India. However, it is a part of International Columbia US LLC, an international healthcare group, which operates a chain of modern hospitals across India, China and Africa.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 8 January, 2021

3. Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021

– NCAVES India Forum 2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

– NCAVES Project, funded by EU, has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

–  India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico.

–  In India, the NCAVES project is being implemented by the MoSPI in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).

– MoSPI has coordinated with all the stakeholders through a consultative process by setting in place a mechanism for linking the diverse stakeholders concerned – namely producers and the policymakers using the environmental accounts.

– The participation in the project has helped MOSPI commence the compilation of the Environment Accounts as per the UN-SEEA framework and release environmental accounts in its publication “EnviStats India” on an annual basis since 2018.

– Several of these accounts are closely related to the social and economic attributes, making them a useful tool for the Policy.

– Another feather to the cap under the NCAVES project is the development of the India-EVL Tool which is essentially a look-up tool giving a snapshot of the values of various ecosystem services in the different states of the country, based on about 80 studies conducted across the country.

– An additional benefit of this tool is that it provides a critical view of the literature that is available and the applicability of estimates spatially across India according to bio-geographical areas.

– A web portal www.ncavesindiaforum.in has been designed for the purpose of registration, participation and to function as a repository for the environment-related information.

– On the first day of the event, the Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation and Ministry of Planning, Rao Inderjit Singh will highlight the various government initiatives taken up for improving the environment data ecosystem.

– In addition, the first day will witness the participation of Ambassador of the EU Delegation to India and representatives from various national and international organisations, including Director, UNSD, Director UNEP, Director, UNESCAP, Director World Bank and Chairperson, UN Committee of Experts on Environment Economic Accounting.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

4. Dharmendra Pradhan interacts with Ministers of Mongolia

– Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan, through video conference interacted with H.E Mr. L. Oyun-Erdene, MP, Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary of Mongolia and Co-Chair of the India-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation and H.E Mr G.Yondon, Minister of Mines and Heavy Industry.

– Bilateral cooperation in hydrocarbons and steel sectors were comprehensively reviewed in the meetings.

– Shri Pradhan conveyed deep appreciation to H.E Oyun-Erdene and H.E Yondon for their support in facilitating approvals for expeditious implementation of the greenfield Mongol Refinery Project, built under a Line of Credit from Government of India, and also for their commitment in setting up a pipeline to transport crude to the refinery being built in Sainshand.

– He also sought their cooperation in completing this pipeline well before the commissioning of the Refinery project.

– Shri Pradhan also welcomed the keenness of Mongolian companies in supplying coking coal to the Indian steel industry and agreed to advance cooperation for mutual benefit. “We look forward to substantial partnerships with Mongolian companies in the areas of minerals, coal and steel”, he added.

– The Minister, on behalf of Government of India, reiterated India’s commitment to timely completion of the Mongol Refinery Project, the country’s 1st oil refinery.

– He expressed willingness to further share India’s expertise in the oil and gas sector including capacity building in accordance with the developmental priorities of Mongolia.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

5. Seventh Trade Policy Review of India at the WTO

– The second and final session of India’s seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) concluded on 8th January 2021, at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

– The TPR is an important mechanism under the WTO’s monitoring function in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined by the WTO with an aim to contribute towards improved adherence to WTO rules while providing constructive feedback to the Member under review.

– India’s official delegation for the TPR was headed by the Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan. In his closing statement to the WTO Membership, the Commerce Secretary effectively responded to the issues raised by the Members during the First Session of India’s TPR held on 6th January 2021, while appreciating the importance placed by the WTO Members on India’s role and contribution to world trade, as well as to the multilateral trading system.

– This can be gauged by more than 1050 questions asked during this exercise as well as 53 interventions made by the Member countries in the TPR meetings.

– The Commerce Secretary highlighted that reform is a continuous and ongoing process, and the Government of India is deeply committed to pursuing this path to make India an attractive trade and investment partner for the world.

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6. Digital Calendar and Diary of Government of India

– Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on 8 January, 2021 launched the Digital Calendar and Diary of Government of India.

– In a ceremony held at National Media Center, Shri Javadekar, with the click of a button unveiled the Android and iOS mobile applications of the calendar and diary.

– The Minister expressed happiness that the Government calendar that has adorned the walls in the past will now adorn mobile phones. Highlighting the features of the app Javadekar said “the app was free and will be available in 11 languages from 15th January, 2021.

– The app will do away with the need for a new calendar every year”. He further added “each month will carry a theme and an accompanying message and will feature one famous Indian personality. The app will also inform people about the timeline of the launch of various government programmes so far”.

– Speaking on the diary feature of the app the Minister said: “because of the diary feature the calendar is more advanced, more feature-laden and easier compared to other digital calendar apps”.

– The Digital Calendar of Government of India is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of “Digital India” and can be accessed at the click of a button on any smartphone.

– The App is available for download on both Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.

– The app has been designed and developed by Bureau of Outreach and Communication, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with National Informatics Centre (NIC).

– The application is currently available in Hindi and English language and will be soon made available in 11 other Indian regional languages.

– While the earlier physical version of Government of India Calendar had a reach up to the Panchayat level in the country, the digital avatar of the calendar in form of this app will be available to anyone across the world.

The Government of India Calendar application contains the following features:

– Latest information on various schemes, events and publications of Government of India

– Official holidays and various important dates.

– Inspirational and motivational messages from great personalities of our nation.

– Provision for taking notes digitally which will be stored with cutting edge security and privacy measures

– Provision for scheduling of meetings and setting reminders for important tasks and events.

– Accessibility features for visually impaired Divyangjans in coming days fulfilling the goal of Prime Minister’s “Accessible India”/”Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan”.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

1. NCLT approves NHPC’s Resolution Plan for Jalpower Corporation Limited

– National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Hyderabad bench approved NHPC’s Resolution Plan for taking over Jalpower Corporation Limited (JPCL) as going concerned vide its order dated 24.12.2020 and uploaded the same on its website on 07.01.2021.

– JPCL was executing 120 MW Rangit Stage-IV Hydroelectric Project in Sikkim. The Company is currently undergoing Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (“CIRP”) which was initiated on April 09, 2019 vide order of Hon’ble NCLT.

– NHPC Ltd., a PSU under Ministry of Power, had submitted its Resolution Plan and was declared the successful resolution applicant by Committee of Creditors (CoC) on 24.01.2020. CoC approved Resolution Plan was filed by Resolution Professional with Hon’ble NCLT Hyderabad Bench on 28.01.2020.

– NHPCwill make an upfront payment of Rs. 165 Crore and the cost of the project is considered as Rs.943.20 Crore.

– Jalpower Corporation Limited is the second company after LancoTeesta Hydro Power Ltd (LTHPL) to be acquired through the NCLT process by NHPC.

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2. Sports Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurates 162-bed hostel at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range

– Union Sports Minister of State Shri Kiren Rijiju inaugurated a residential hostel in the premises of the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range. It will be a 162 bedded air-conditioned hostel with attached washroom facility.

– There will also be an air-conditioned dining area and facilities for sports-specific diet and a separate recreation area for boys and girls. The facility has been created at a cost of Rs. 12.26 crores.

– Kiren Rijiju said, “Our athletes represent the country at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, they must have a standard of living where basic facilities are provided.”

– The Sports Minister also announced that all hostels must be of at least 3-star standard in terms of food, hospitality and cleanliness with the facility management being done by an expert agency.

– He added that going forward there should be a separate girls hostel and separate boys hostel. “Shooting being a priority sport, we have to take all the necessary steps for the shooters.”

– With the creation of this hostel facility, it will be a major boost for the Indian shooters training at the facility who have previously been staying at accommodation outside the shooting range.

– The hostel will enable the shooters to now only take a short walk down to their respective rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges.

– Moreover with the creation of this facility, it will not only benefit the core group of senior shooters but also the shooters who are part of the TOPS Development group and the Khelo India scheme and NCOE shooters.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 7 January, 2021

3. Eligibility criteria of 75 % in Class 12th relaxed for IIT admissions this year

– Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced that eligibility criteria of scoring a minimum 75% in Class 12th have been relaxed for taking admission in IITs this year.

–  He further informed that JEE (Advanced) – 2021 will be held as a computer-based test on 3rd July 2021. This year JEE (Advanced) will be conducted by IIT Kharagpur.

4. Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia appointed as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court

– The President of India, in the exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, appointed Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court, as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.

– Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia,was enrolled as an Advocate on July 07, 1986 and practiced in the Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Courts in Civil, Constitutional, Service, and Labour matters and has specialized in Service and Constitutional matters.

– He was appointed as Permanent Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court on November l , 2008.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

5. PM to Inaugurate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021

– Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is the flagship event of the Ministry of External Affairs and provides an important platform to engage and connect with the overseas Indians.

– In view of the sentiments of our vibrant diaspora community, the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention, is being organized on 9th January 2021, despite the ongoing Covid pandemic.

– The Convention will be held in a virtual format, as were the PBD Conferences held recently in the run-up to the Convention. The theme of 16th PBD Convention 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

– PBD Convention will have three segments. The PBD Convention will be inaugurated by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and will feature a keynote address by the Chief Guest, H.E. Mr. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Hon’ble President of the Republic of Suriname.

– The winners of the online Bharat ko Janiye Quiz for the youth will also be announced.

– The Inaugural session will be followed by the two Plenary sessions.

– The first Plenary on Role of Diaspora in Aatmanirbhar Bharat, will feature addresses by External Affairs Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister.

– The second Plenary on Facing Post Covid Challenges – Scenario in Health, Economy, Social and International Relations, will be addressed by Minister of Health and Minister of State for External Affairs. Both Plenaries will feature panel discussions inviting eminent diaspora experts.

– The finale would be the Valedictory Session where the Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji will deliver his Valedictory address to mark the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

– The names of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees for 2020-21 will also be announced. Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are conferred to select Indian diaspora members to recognize their achievements and honour their contributions to various fields, both in India and abroad.

– The Youth PBD will also be celebrated virtually on the theme “Bringing together Young Achievers from India and Indian Diaspora” on 8 January 2021, and will be anchored by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

– The Special Guest for the event is H.E. Ms. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for Community& Voluntary Sector of New Zealand.

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6. Helping Hand to Sri Lanka

– An India-funded free ambulance service is playing a vital role in Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 response.

– India provided a grant of 7.56 million USD for the Suwa Seriya [vehicle or journey for good health] service which was launched in 2016, on a pilot basis. Later, this was extended throughout the country with additional grants from India.

– India also helped with Capacity Building: Training and refresher programmes for Sri Lankan emergency medical technicians which further generated employment for the local population.

– It is India’s second-largest grant project to Sri Lanka after the housing project of more than 60,000 houses, with a nearly 400 million USD grant.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

7. Air Pollution and Pregnancy Losses: Lancet Report

– According to a recent study poor air quality is associated with a considerable proportion of pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

– It is the first study to estimate the effect of air pollution on pregnancy loss across the region.

– They created a model to examine how exposure to PM 2.5 increased women’s risk of pregnancy loss, calculating risk for each 10 µg/m³ increased in PM 2.5 after adjusting for maternal age, temperature and humidity, seasonal variation, and long-term trends in pregnancy loss.

– Each increase in 10 µg/m³ was estimated to increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by 3%.

– The increase in risk was greater for mothers from rural areas or those who became pregnant at an older age, compared to younger mothers from urban areas.

– Of the pregnancy loss cases, 77% were from India, 12% from Pakistan, and 11% from Bangladesh.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

8. Longitudinal Ageing Study of India

– Recently, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has released the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1 Report on the virtual platform.

– LASI is a full-scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India. It was commissioned in 2016.

– It is India’s first and the world’s largest-ever survey that provides a longitudinal database for designing policies and programmes for the older population in the broad domains of social, health, and economic well-being.

– The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, through International Institute for Population Sciences, (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, USA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing.

– The first national wave of the LASI (Wave 1) covered a baseline sample of 72,250 individuals aged 45 and above and their spouses, including elderly persons aged 60 and above and oldest-old persons aged 75 and above from all States and Union Territories (UTs) of India (excluding Sikkim).

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

Findings are:

In the 2011 census, the 60+ population accounted for 8.6% of India’s population, accounting for 103 million elderly people.

Growing at around 3% annually, the number of elderly people will rise to 319 million in 2050.

75% of elderly people suffer from one or the other chronic disease. 40% of the elderly people have one or the other disability and 20% have issues related to mental health.

The self-reported prevalence of diagnosed cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is 28% among older adults aged 45 and above.

The prevalence of multi-morbidity conditions among the elderly age 60 and above is much higher in the states/UTs of Kerala (52%), Chandigarh (41%), Lakshadweep (40%), Goa (39%) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (38%). The prevalence of single morbidity and multi-morbidity conditions increases with age.

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Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.

 1. Seventh Trade Policy Review of India at the WTO begins

– India’s seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) began on Wednesday, 6th January 2021, at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

– The TPR is an important mechanism under the WTO’s monitoring function and involves a comprehensive peer-review of the Member’s national trade policies. India’s last TPR took place in 2015.

– India’s official delegation for the TPR is headed by the Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan.

–  In his opening statement to the WTO Membership on the occasion, Commerce Secretary emphasized that this TPR is taking place at a time when the world is witnessing unprecedented health and economic crisis.

– He highlighted the far-reaching efforts made by India to effectively address the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat initiative.

India has advocated a short-term package of effective measures at the WTO that includes

– A temporary waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to increase manufacturing capacity and ensure timely and affordable availability of new diagnostics,

– Therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19;

– A permanent solution for Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes to address food security concern; and a multilateral initiative that provides for easier access to medical services under mode-4 to facilitate easier cross-border movement of health care professionals.

– A comprehensive report issued by the WTO Secretariat on the occasion, chronicling all major trade and economic initiatives that India took over the last five years, acknowledged India’s strong economic growth at 7.4% during the period under review and made a positive note of India’s reform efforts during this period.

– The Report noted that strong economic growth led to an improvement in socio-economic indicators, such as per-capita income and life expectancy in India.

– The Secretariat report also commended India for liberalizing its FDI policy, ratifying the Trade Facilitation Agreement and implementing several trade-facilitation measures during the period under review.

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2. Avian Influenza

– In view of the outbreaks of Avian Influenza in migratory birds, wild and domestic crow and poultry in certain States of the country, a control room has been set up in room no 190 A, KrishiBhawan (Tel no. 011-23382354) in Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, New Delhi.

– It is done to strategies coordinate and facilitates State Government with regard to outbreak management, disease control and containment as envisaged in the Action Plan on Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza, 2015.

– Avian Influenza (AI) viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.

– Infection in humans is not yet reported in India though the disease is zoonotic.

– There is no direct evidence that AI viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products. Implementing management practices that incorporate biosecurity principles, personal hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection protocols, as well as cooking and processing standards, are effective means of controlling the spread of the AI viruses.

– In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months i.e. from September – October to February – March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out.

– Avian Influenza spread in villages of Thalavady South, Thakazhi, Pallipad, Karuvattaindistrict of Alappuzha and village of Neendoor in the district of Kottayam, Kerala.

– As per the report received, a total of 5 RRTs have been deployed in above-said 4 epicentres of the district of Alappuzha and 8 RRTs at epicentre Neendoorin district of Kottayam for culling.

– A total of 17326 birds (9066 in Pallipad, 8260 in Karuvatta) have been culled and a total of 1570 kg feed have been destroyed in epicentres of the district of Alappuzha.

–  At epicenter in the district of Kottayam 4229 birds have been culled and a total of 8 kg feed and 42 eggs have been destroyed on 6.01.2021

– Further, some samples of crow from Kale Hanumanji Forest Nakka, Jaipur, Rajasthan found positive for H5N8 Avian influenza virus.

– Unusual moralities have been found in 7111 domestic birds in Haryana, 150 wild birds in Madhya Pradesh, 10 crows in Gujarat, 336 migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 5 January, 2021

3. Ministry of Power notifies Norms and Standards for the trading of E-certificate under PAT Cycle II

– The Ministry of Power, Government of India, in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified the price of per metric tonne of oil equivalent as INR 18402 only for the year 2018-19, vide G.S.R 779 (E) dated 14th December 2020.

– For the succeeding target years, the price shall be such amount as may be specified by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette. Such price will come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

About BEE

– BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. It assists in developing policies and strategies on energy conservation and efficiency with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.

– BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies of the states, and other related organization to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 4 January, 2021

4. India-Germany Leaders’ Video-Teleconference

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video-teleconference with his German counterpart, Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on 6 January, 2021.

– The Prime Minister appreciated the long-standing role of Chancellor Merkel in providing stable and strong leadership at the European and global stage and thanked her for guiding the growth of the India-Germany Strategic Partnership.

– The two leaders discussed key issues of mutual importance including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral ties, regional and global issues, particularly India-EU relations.

– The Prime Minister briefed Chancellor Merkel on the developments in India with regard to vaccine development and assured Chancellor Merkel of India’s commitment to deploy its capacities for the benefit of the world.

– The Prime Minister welcomed Germany’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and expressed his desire to further strengthen cooperation with Germany under the platform of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

– Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of setting up of bilateral relations between India and Germany and 20th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership, the two leaders agreed to hold the sixth Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC) at an early date in 2021 and to set an ambitious agenda for the same.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 29 December, 2020

5. Government approves advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict across the country

The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife(SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held on 05th January has approved the advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict(HWC) in the country.

– The advisory makes important prescriptions for the States/ Union Territories for dealing with Human-Wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

– The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

– Utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC and augmenting fodder and water sources within the forest areas are some key steps envisaged to reduce HWC. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.

– The advisory also envisages prescribing inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll-free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis, Identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal etc.

– Some of the other important approvals took place during the meeting are the inclusion of Caracal, a medium-size wild cat found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, into the list of critically endangered species for taking up conservation efforts with financial support under Centrally sponsored Scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat.

– Now, there are 22 wildlife species under-recovery programme for critically endangered species.

– The Standing Committee also recommended the construction of a causeway across Jampannavagu to Muthapur of Govindaraopet and between Jampannavagu to Motlagudem in Mulugu District of Telangana with certain mitigation measures.

– It also recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of South Western Railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

– The other decisions taken at the meeting are the construction of a bridge and canal with an aim to augment the water supply and irrigation facilities in villages Madharwa, Thakurapur, Jamdhara and Sugaon in Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh under the National SaryuNaharPariyojna with certain mitigation measures and the construction of Integrated Bus Terminus cum Commercial complex in Vashi, Navi Mumbai in Thane district with certain mitigation measures.

– The redeveloped facility will pave way for 17 bus bays and approximately 3,300 bus trips shall be operational, which will greatly benefit in the transportation of people in and around Mumbai.

About The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)

– It is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).

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6. 5th National STI Policy

– Draft 5th National STI Policy guided by self-reliance vision to position India among top 3 scientific superpowers.

– Proposals in draft STIP will help create an end to end science, technology and innovation ecosystem according to the Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

– The new policy, STIP, will revolve around the core principles of being decentralized, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive as per Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head STIP Secretariat and Adviser DST.

– The aim of draft STIP will be to create an end to end science, technology and innovation ecosystem, which is inclusive and brings equal benefits to all stakeholders in the process.

– The 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy finalized and available for public consultation is guided by the broad vision of achieving technological self-reliance and positioning India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come, to attract, nurture, strengthen and retain critical human capital through ‘people-centric’ science technology and Innovation Ecosystem.

– The policy drafted through a4 track process of consultation aims to bring about profound changes through short, medium, and long-term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes translational as well as foundational research and innovation among both individuals and organizations in alignment with global standards.

– The objective of the draft policy is to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse the socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.

– It also aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 26 December, 2020

7. Solidarity and Stability Deal

– Recently, Gulf states signed a ‘solidarity and stability’ deal at the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia.

– Members of the GCC signed a deal in Al­Ula, Saudi Arabia to remove all the sanctions over Qatar and re-open their land, sea and air borders to Qatar.

– Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE are the members of GCC.

– To unite efforts to promote the Gulf region and to confront challenges that surround them, especially the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its plans for sabotage and destruction.

– In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed a naval, air and land blockade on the country.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 25 December, 2020

8. Yakshagana

– Recently a Yakshagana artiste died while performing on stage.

– Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form of Karnataka.

– It is a temple art form that depicts mythological stories and Puranas.

– It is performed with massive headgears, elaborate facial make-up and vibrant costumes and ornaments.

– Usually recited in Kannada, it is also performed in Malayalam as well as Tulu (the dialect of south Karnataka).

– It is performed with percussion instruments like chenda, maddalam, jagatta or chengila (cymbals) and chakratala or elathalam (small cymbals).

– The most popular episodes are from the Mahabharata i.e. Draupadi swayamvar, Subhadra vivah, etc. and from Ramayana i.e. Rajyabhishek, Lav-Kush yuddh, etc.

9. Toycathon 2021

– Recently, the government has launched a virtual toy hackathon ‘Toycathon 2021’.

– The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and All India Council for Technical Education.

– The aim is to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children.

– And to promote India as a global toy manufacturing hub (Atmanirbhar Abhiyan).

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