General Knowledge & Current Affairs

December 2021 - 8th to 14th

1. US announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics.

  • The Biden administration has announced that US officials will not attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing after China pledged unspecified “countermeasures” against any such diplomatic boycott.
  • The US cited that “China’s human rights ATROCITIES” is the main reason for its boycott. The US has named the boycott as “Diplomatic Boycott”. It means that the US is not sending any official or diplomatic representation to participate in the Olympics.
  • However, the US is allowing American athletes to participate in the Olympics. The US is boycotting for the following human rights atrocities of China: Situations in Taiwan and Tibet, The crackdown in Hong Kong and Abuse of minority Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

2. Olaf Scholz is sworn in as new German chancellor.

  • German lawmakers officially elected Social Democrat, Olaf Scholz as the new chancellor, putting an end to 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel.
  • He will lead a government composed of his Social Democrat Party, the business-friendly Free Democrats and the Greens, a coalition of parties never tried before at the federal level in Germany.
  • The 63-year-old, Scholz previously served as vice-chancellor and finance minister during the Merkel administration, was then sworn in as Germany’s next chancellor. Olaf Scholz has achieved the necessary majority of at least 369 votes. Based on article 63, paragraph 2 of the German Constitution he is elected chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

3. Canada, Australia and UK join US boycott of Beijing Olympic.

  • Canada will join the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights concerns.
  • The announcement came after the White House, the Australian government and the UK government confirmed diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Games in February to protest Chinese human rights abuses. China has vowed to react with “firm countermeasures.”
  • The diplomatic moves by Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia do not affect their athletes’ ability to compete in the games. The 2022 Winter Olympics are an upcoming international winter multi-sport event.
  • This event is scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20, 2022 in Beijing, China. It will be the first Winter Olympics in China as well as the last of three consecutive Olympics which is to be held in East Asia, after the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

4. Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to jail.

  • Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years imprisonment after being found guilty on two charges, the first verdicts in a raft of criminal cases that the country’s military has brought against her since seizing power 10 months ago.
  • Ms Suu Kyi was convicted of charges of incitement and violating pandemic rules. The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is facing a total of 11 charges which can bring in a maximum imprisonment of 102 years.
  • Suu Kyi has been found guilty on two charges — of inciting the public against the military and breaching the Covid-19 protocols in the country.
  • The incitement charge stems from statements made on Facebook pages of Suu Kyi’s party after she was detained by the military, following a coup that prevented her from starting a second term in office.
  • 5. UNGA granted observer status to International Solar Alliance.
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has granted Observer Status to International Solar Alliance (ISA) by adopting resolution 76/123. This decision has been taken based on the UNGA’s Sixth Committee report.
  • In November 2015, ISA was jointly launched by India and France during the 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change COP-21 in Paris, France to promote solar energy among its Member Countries.
  • A total of 108 countries participated in the Assembly, including 74 Member Countries and 34 Observer and Prospective Countries, 23 Partner Organizations and 33 Special Invitee Organisations.
  • The launch of the ISA was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and former French President Francois Hollande in November 2015, at the 21st session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Paris, France.

1. Sunil Arora invited to join top international democracy body IDEA.

  • Former chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora has been invited to join the board of advisers at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, also known as International IDEA. IDEA has a 15-member board of advisers, all of whom are eminent personalities from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) was established in 1995. It is an intergovernmental organization based in Stockholm, Sweden. India is one of the founding members of the institute.
  • The key mission of International IDEA is to support sustainable democracy worldwide. It currently has 34 member countries, which include new, old, small and large democracies from all continents.

2. NITI Aayog launches ‘e-Sawaari India e-bus Coalition’.

  • The National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog launched the ‘e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition’ in partnership with Convergence Energy Service Ltd (CESL) and World Resources Institute, India (WRI India) and with the support from Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI).
  • The objective of the initiative is to share knowledge of various stakeholders – Central & State Govt. agencies, transit service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), on accelerating the process towards seamless adoption of e-bus services in India.
  • Through, e-Sawaari India Electric Bus Coalition, the central-, state-, and city-level government agencies, transit service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), financing institutions, and ancillary service providers will be able to share knowledge and their learnings on e-bus adoption in India.

3. Bhasha Sangam mobile app launched with 22 languages.

  • Union Minister of State for Education, Dr Subhas Sarkar has informed that the government is all set to launch Bhasha Sangam mobile app. The mobile app is developed to give users familiarity with common expressions of daily conversation in scheduled Indian languages.
  • The app has 100+ sentences, designed on different themes that allow people to learn basic conversation in 22 Indian languages, test themselves and generate online certificates. The app aims to foster the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat by enabling people across India to learn the different languages of different states of India and come closer to their culture.

4. Ministry of Power kickstarts celebration of Energy Conservation Week.

  • Ministry of Power is celebrating the Energy Conservation Week from 8th to 14th December 2021 under “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”. Celebration by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency will include three major activities i.e.
  • National Painting Competition for school children, National Energy Conservation Awards (NECA) for Industries and establishments and National Energy Efficiency Innovation Awards (NEEIA) to recognize innovative energy efficiency technologies.

5. India assumed the chairmanship of Council of RATS SCO.

  • India assumed the Chairmanship of Council of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (RATS SCO) for 1 year from October 28, 2021.
  • The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Government of India, in association with Data Security Council of India (DSCI), as a Knowledge Partner, organized a 2-day Practical Seminar on ‘Securing Cyberspace in the Contemporary Threat Environment’ for delegates from SCO member States.
  • The seminar is the 1st event to be hosted by India during its Chairmanship of Council of RATS SCO. This Seminar addressed key areas like Policies and Strategies, Cyber Terrorism, Ransomware, and Digital Forensics amongst others. The representatives from the Executive Committee (EC) of RATS SCO and all SCO member countries attended this Seminar.

1. Kazhuveli Wetland declared as 16th Bird Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu.

  • The Kazhuveli wetland situated in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu has been declared as the 16th Bird Sanctuary by Surpiya Sahu, Environment and Forest Secretary, at the Minister of Environment Forest and Climate Change.
  • The declaration was made under subsection (1) of section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The Kazhuveli wetlands is referred to as the 2nd largest Brackish Water Lake in South India, only after Pulicat lake.

2. UP cabinet approves Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme.

  • Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved the Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme for boosting the agriculture sector. Atma Nirbhar Krishak development scheme will be implemented from the current financial year.
  • Under this scheme, 1,475 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) will be formed in the next three years in each development block.
  • The scheme will provide a long-term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for postharvest management infrastructure and community.
  • Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Self Help Groups, farmers, and joint liability groups.
  • All loans will be provided with an interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum up to a limit of Rs 2 crore. The scheme will be funded through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund(AIF).

3. Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami launched ‘Milk Price Incentive Scheme’.

  • Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami has launched the ‘Milk Price Incentive Scheme‘ in Dehradun. The scheme is aimed to provide incentives benefiting around 53,000 people of Uttarakhand.
  • The state government is targeting to spend INR 444.62 crore to open 500 milk sales centres in Uttarakhand. It is a Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) scheme, the amount under the scheme would go directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries through their linked bank accounts.
  • In the Dehradun district, milk production and consumption are completely contradictory. On one hand, the government is making many attempts to enhance milk production, all government claims of promoting products are proving to be fictitious. Despite thousands of hours of labour, milk is not produced in accordance with demand.

1. City Union Bank & NPCI launched ‘On-the-Go’ wearable keychain.

  • City Union Bank (CUB), in collaboration with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and its manufacturing partner Seshaasai, has announced the launch of RuPay On-the-Go contactless wearable keychain for its debit card customers.
  • This contactless wearable keychain will be part of their daily lifestyle and enable customers to tap and make cashless payments securely.
  • This On-the-Go solution allows the bank’s customers to carry payment cards on their keychains, making for fast and convenient payments up to ₹5,000 at all Rupay-enabled point of sale devices (PoS) without entering a PIN.
  • This would increase digital payment behavior among customers, especially the younger generation and students, by enabling faster check out and less waiting in queue with features to set the spending limit, enable/disable usage through net banking, and CUB’s All-in-One mobile app.

2. RBI imposed restrictions on Nagar Urban Co-operative Bank.

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed several restrictions on Nagar Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, including restrictions on withdrawals up to Rs. 10,000 for customers.
  • RBI has issued the directions in the exercise of powers vested in it under subsection (1) of Section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 for six months.
  • The bank shall not, without prior approval of RBI, grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, incur any liability, disburse any payment, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of its properties or assets. The bank will continue to undertake banking business with restrictions till its financial position improves.

3. Federal Bank and Star Health Insurance tie-up for bancassurance.

  • Federal Bank has entered into a Bancassurance partnership with Star Health and Allied Insurance Co Ltd as a corporate agent to provide health insurance products for the Bank’s 8.90 million customers across India.
  • The Bank’s customers can avail benefits of Star Health’s retail products and group affinity products through the bank’s various distribution channels which help the customers to address their complete financial needs under one roof.
  • It is a partnership between a bank and an insurance company that would enable them to offer insurance products to the bank’s customers.

4. Airtel, Invest India launch ‘Startup Innovation Challenge’.

  • Bharti Airtel and Invest India, National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency jointly launched ‘Airtel India Startup Innovation Challenge’ for Startups to develop solutions in 5G, IoT.
  • Under the Startup Innovation Challenge, early-stage technology companies are being invited to demonstrate differentiated solutions in areas such as 5G, Cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital entertainment.

5. RBI enforces 20-digit LEI for cross-border deals.

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) mandatory for cross-border transactions for capital or current account transactions of Rs 50 crore and above, from October 1 next year.
  • The LEI is a 20-digit number used to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions worldwide to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data systems.
  • The identifier norm has been introduced in a phased manner for participants in the over the counter (OTC) derivative, non-derivative markets, large corporate borrowers, and large value transactions in centralised payment systems.
  • Starting October 1, 2022, banks will have to obtain the `LEI` number from the resident entities (non-individuals) undertaking any capital or current account transactions. For LEI holders, it would be mandatory to furnish the number in all transactions irrespective of the transaction size.

1. Russia defeated Croatia to win Davis Cup tennis tournament 2021.

  • The Davis Cup 2021 was won by the Russian Tennis Federation by a 2-0 lead over Croatia in the Davis Cup final in Madrid. Medvedev defeated Marin Cilic in the second singles match to give Russia an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Croatia and its first Davis Cup title since 2006.
  • Croatia also was seeking its third title after triumphs in 2005 and 2018. Andrey Rublev was named the Most Valuable Player. The Russian team is officially being called RTF (Russian Tennis Federation) in the competition amid its ongoing doping suspension in international sport.

2. Indian Shuttler PV Sindhu won Silver at BWF World Tour Finals 2021.

  • Indian Shuttler and 2-time Olympic medalist Pusarla V Sindhu, world’s number 7, won the silver at the 2021 Badminton World Federation(BWF) World Tour Finals, officially known as the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2021.
  • The reigning world champion PV Sindhu has won the BWF World Tour finals in 2018 and became the only Indian to achieve the feat.

3. Sanket Mahadev Sargar won gold in Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021.

  • Sanket Mahadev Sargar won the gold medal in Men’s 55 kg snatch category at the ongoing Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021. He created the national record by lifting 113kg in the men’s 55kg snatch category. Sargar has also qualified for the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
  • Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 is being held in Tashkent along with World Weightlifting Championships 2021 from December 7 to 17. The Indian Contingent is participating in the Weightlifting Championships as well as the Commonwealth Senior Championships.

4. Manipur wins Senior Women’s National Football Championship.

  • Manipur successfully defended their Senior Women’s National Football Championship crown after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Railways in the final at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala.
  • After a dearth of goal-scoring chances in regulation and extra time, the match went to penalties with the scores at 0-0. Manipur goalkeeper Okram Roshini Devi produced three saves to give her side their 21st title at this level.

5. India won 41 medals at Asian Youth Para Games 2021.

  • India claimed 41 medals (12 Gold, 15 Silver, 14 Bronze) at the 4th Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG), Asia’s biggest event held at Riffa city, Bahrain. The event is organized by the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Bahrain with the support of the local government.
  • Over 700 athletes from around 30 countries participated in the event from 2ndto 6th December 2021. The 5th edition of the Asian Youth Para Games 2025 will be hosted by Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • 6. Norway’s Magnus Carlsen wins FIDE World Chess Championship.
  • Reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway defended his title and won the FIDE World Championship in Dubai.
  • He beat Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, securing the one point he needed to cross the seven-point threshold to win the global tournament held at Dubai’s Expo 2020 this month in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Carlsen clinched his fifth world championship title. Carlsen wins 60% of the 2 million-euro prize offered by the championship.

1. RBI Monetary Policy: Repo rate unchanged for the 9th consecutive time.

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent for the ninth consecutive time while maintaining an ‘accommodative stance’ as long as necessary.
  • The central bank had last revised the policy rate on May 22, 2020, in an off-policy cycle to perk up demand by cutting the interest rate to a historic low. The meeting was held between December (6 to 8). The remaining will take place in February (7 to 9, 2022).
  • The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and bank rates remain unchanged:
  • Policy Repo Rate: 4.00%
  • Reverse Repo Rate: 3.35%
  • Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 4.25%
  • Bank Rate: 4.25%
  • CRR: 4%
  • SLR: 18.00%
  • RBI Monetary Policy Highlights & Key Decisions:
  • The projection for real GDP growth is retained at 9.5% in 2021-22, consisting of 6.6% in Q3, & 6% in Q4. Real GDP growth is projected at 17.2% for Q1 of 2022-23 and at 7.8% for Q2 of 2022-23.
  • The inflation projection was retained for FY22 at 5.3%, 5.1% for Q3, 5.7% for Q4, and 5% for Q1 FY23.

2. Fitch Ratings cuts India’s FY22 GDP Growth Forecast to 8.4%.

  • Fitch Ratings has slashed India’s economic growth forecast in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) to 8.4 per cent and raised the growth projection to 10.3 per cent for FY23, compared to October 2021 rating projections of 8.7 per cent (FY22) and 10 per cent (FY23).

3. ADB approved a USD 350 million loan to improve India’s urban services.

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a Rs 2653.05 crore (USD 350 million) policy-based loan to improve urban services in India.
  • This loan supports the policies formulated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to benefit the urban poor, economically weaker sections, and low-income groups.
  • ADB will also provide knowledge and advisory support to MoHUA in program implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

1. Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project approved by Cabinet.

  • Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers project has been approved by the Union Cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. At 2020-21 price levels, the overall cost of the Ken-Betwa link project has been estimated at Rs. 44,605 crore.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved central support for the project in the amount of Rs. 39,317 crore, which includes a grant of Rs. 36,290 crore and a loan of Rs. 3,027 crore.
  • The project will be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) known as the Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA).”
  • The project includes the construction of the Daudhan dam across river Betwa from Ken and the transfer of water through a canal connecting the two rivers, Lower Orr project, Kotha barrage- and Bina complex multipurpose project.
  • The project will irrigate 10.62 lakh hectares annually, provide drinking water to a population of 62 lakhs, and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.

2. Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project approved by Cabinet.

  • Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers project has been approved by the Union Cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. At 2020-21 price levels, the overall cost of the Ken-Betwa link project has been estimated at Rs. 44,605 crore.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved central support for the project in the amount of Rs. 39,317 crore, which includes a grant of Rs. 36,290 crore and a loan of Rs. 3,027 crore.
  • The project will be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) known as the Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA).”
  • The project includes the construction of the Daudhan dam across river Betwa from Ken and the transfer of water through a canal connecting the two rivers, Lower Orr project, Kotha barrage- and Bina complex multipurpose project.
  • The project will irrigate 10.62 lakh hectares annually, provide drinking water to a population of 62 lakhs, and generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW of solar power.

1. FICCI appoints Sanjiv Mehta as its President.

  • The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) announced that Sanjiv Mehta, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), will be appointed as its President.
  • Mehta, presently the Senior Vice President of FICCI, will be succeeding media industry veteran Uday Shankar. Mehta is also the President of Unilever South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & Nepal), and is a member of the ‘Unilever Leadership Executive’ which is Unilever’s Global Executive Board.

2. Catherine Russell appointed as the new head of UNICEF.

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Catherine Russell as the head of UN children’s agency UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children’s Fund.
  • Catherine Russell is an assistant to US President Joe Biden. She also heads the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Russell will succeed Henrietta Fore, who resigned in July 2021 because of a family health issue.
  • UNICEF is governed by a 36-member executive board. The board establishes policies, oversees administrative & financial plans and approves programs. Board comprises of government representatives, who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. They are elected for three-year terms.

 

 

1. SBI signed MoU with Kendriya Sainik Board.

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has signed an MoU with Kendriya Sainik Board to support and educate the children of war veterans, ex-servicemen, and war widows. India’s largest bank said it will provide a grant of ₹ 1,000 per month to 8,333 war veterans’.
  • The bank has contributed ₹ 10 crores to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated on December 7.
  • According to the statement, the bank has contributed ₹10 crores to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. The Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated on December 7.

1. Pune to host joint military exercise PANEX-21 with BIMSTEC countries.

  • PANEX-21 is a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise. It is to be held for the BIMSTEC countries. The exercise is to be held among the BIMSTEC countries: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
  • The main aim of the exercise is to build regional cooperation in responding to natural disasters. It is to be conducted in Pune from December 20 to December 22.
  • The participants of the exercise will be divided into eight syndicates. One syndicate from the participating countries and two from India.
  • It will analyse the capabilities of member states in responding to the natural disasters. The countries will share their best practices.
  • The exercise will review the procedures of preparedness and response. It will then recommend the evolution of organised structure.
  • During the exercise, the countries will discuss military–to–military cooperation protocol.

2. India-Maldives joint military Exercise EKUVERIN in Maldives.

  • The 11th edition of Exercise EKUVERIN-21 between India and Maldives, held at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives. Ekuverin means “Friends” in the Dhivehi language. It is an Indo – Aryan language. It is spoken in India, Lakshadweep and Maldives.
  • The exercise enhances synergy and inter-operability between the Armed Forces of both nations in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land and at sea, conducting Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency Operations and sharing best military practices and experiences.
  • The exercise helps the militaries to understand each other’s drills and procedures. It helps to overcome language barriers. It aids in weapon familiarization which is essential in war or humanitarian aid such as disaster – relief. It is also essential in disaster relief operations.

3. Ram Nath Kovind Presented ‘President’s Standard’ to Indian Navy Squadron.

  • President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has presented the ‘President’s Standard’ to the 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron of the Indian Navy, which is also known as the Killer Squadron at the ceremonial parade held at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • To mark this occasion, the postal department has released a special day cover and a commemorative stamp. The year 2021 also marks the 50 years of inception of the Missile Vessel Squadron, also known as Killers.
  • President’s Standard is the highest honour bestowed by the President, the Supreme Commander, to a Military unit in recognition of the Service rendered to the nation. President’s Standard is the equivalent to that of President’s colours, but this is awarded to relatively smaller military formations or units.

4. DRDO test-fired air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

  • India successfully test-fired the air version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the integrated test range of Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha. The air version of the missile was test-fired from supersonic fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 MK-I.
  • BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO (India) and NPO Mashinostroyeniya (Russia) for the development, production, and marketing of the supersonic cruise missile which has been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces. The missile derives its name from the rivers of Brahmaputra in India and Moskva in Russia.

5. DRDO successfully tests Pinaka Extended Range 2021.

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired Pinaka Extended Range (Pinaka-ER), Area Denial Munitions (ADM), and indigenously developed fuzes.
  • The test was conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the Odisha coast. A total of 25 enhanced Pinaka rockets were reportedly fired from multi-barrel rocket launchers (MRLs) at several ranges during the test.
  • The range version can destroy the target of up to 45 km. At the same time, the flight path of these missiles was tracked by range instruments including telemetry, radar, and electro-optical tracking system deployed by ITR and Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE).

1. World’s Oldest Test Cricketer, Eileen Ash passes away.

  • World’s oldest Test Cricketer, former English legend, Eileen Ash passed away at the age of 110.
  • The right-arm seamer made her debut to the national side in 1937 against Australia and in a career spanning till 1949, she took 10 wickets in the seven matches she played.
  • Her career was interrupted by the Second World War – she was seconded to MI6, the UK’s intelligence service – and retired from the sport in 1949.
  • Eileen Ash was given the honour of ringing the bell at Lord’s in the Finals of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup where the host, England have crowned the champions after beating India in a thrilling Finals.

2. Serum Institute of India ED Suresh Jadhav passes away.

  • Serum Institute of India’s Executive Director Dr Suresh Jadhav has passed away. He played an important role in the development of the Covishield vaccine. He was part of several national and international bodies and organisations.
  • Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker. It is the second company to apply for the approval of a vaccine candidate from the Drugs Controller General of India.

1. International Anti-Corruption Day: 09 December.

  • International Anti-Corruption Day is observed annually on 9 December to raise public awareness for anti-corruption. The day is observed since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003.
  • The 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone – including States, Government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public and youth – in tackling corruption.
  • The theme of International Anti-Corruption Day 2021: “Your right, your role: say no to corruption”.

2. Remember the Victims Prevent Genocide: 9 December.

  • The International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime is observed annually on December 9.
  • The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the Genocide Convention and its role in combating and preventing the crime of genocide, as defined in the Convention, and to commemorate and honour its victims.
  • 9 December 2021 marks the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, as well as the 73rd anniversary of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”), the first human rights treaty adopted by the General Assembly.

3. SAARC Charter Day 2021: 8th December.

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter Day is observed annually on 8th December to commemorate the adoption of the SAARC Charter. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the regional group.
  • The charter was signed by the Leaders of SAARC Countries Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

4. Human Rights Day: 10 December 2021.

  • Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December annually across the world. This Day came into existence on December 10, 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.
  • This day is observed every year across the world, as it empowers us all. The day also acknowledges the advocates and defenders of human rights around the world.
  • The theme for Human Rights Day 2021 is “EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.” This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

5. International Mountain Day observed on 11 December.

  • International Mountain Day is observed globally on December 11 every year. The day is celebrated to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.
  • The theme of this year’s International Mountain Day (IMD) on 11 December will be sustainable mountain tourism. Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation.
  • The day was established by the UN General Assembly in 2003 to encourage the sustainable development of mountains. United Nations had declared 2002 as the UN International Year of Mountains.

6. Unicef Day 2021: History, significance, theme.

  • Every year, UNICEF Day is observed on December 11 to raise awareness about saving children’s lives by defending and helping them to fulfil their wishes. The day provides assistance for the health, nutrition, education, and welfare of children during World War II.
  • UNICEF’s name was subsequently changed from United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to United Nations Children’s Fund though, it continued to be known by the popular acronym based on the previous title.
  • The theme for this year is to help children recover from interruptions and learning losses experienced through pandemics in the last two years.

7. International Universal Health Coverage Day :12 December.

  • International Universal Health Coverage Day is a United Nations’ recognized international day celebrated every year on December 12. International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.
  • Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.
  • This year theme of International Universal Health Coverage Day is “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in health systems for all.”

8. International Day of Neutrality: 12 December 2021.

  • International Day of Neutrality is a United Nations recognized day held on December 12 each year to raise public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations. It was officially declared by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in February 2017 and first observed on December 12, 2017.
  • On 2 February 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted without a vote resolution 71/275 — introduced by Turkmenistan, recognized by the UN as a permanently neutral state since 12 December 1995, which noted the link between the preservation of peace and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and declared 12 December as the International Day of Neutrality.

1. Bala Krishna Madhur’s autobiography titled ‘At Home In The Universe’ released.

  • An autobiography titled ‘At Home In The Universe’ by Bala Krishna Madhur was released by R.C. Sinha, IAS (Rtd), advisor to the Ministry of Road Development in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The book is the autobiography of B K Madhur, a former Chief Executive Officer at DHFL Property Services Ltd, and one of the key personalities in establishing Dewan Housing.
  • The book offers an inside view into the policy environment in the 1980s and 1990s in the Housing Finance Sector. The book consists of early life hardships, experiences and life lessons of the author.

1. Nilmani Phookan Jr and Damodar Mauzo receive Jnanpith Award.

  • Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr won the 56th Jnanpith Award and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo won the 57th Jnanpith Award. The country’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith is bestowed on writers for “their outstanding contribution to literature”.
  • Jnanpith Award is a literary award presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith organization to Indian writers every year. This was instituted in 1961 and is given only to Indian writers who write in Indian languages and English.

2. IIT-Kanpur Scientist Ropesh Goyal bags “Young Geospatial Scientist” Award.

  • Ropesh Goyal from IIT-Kanpur won the ‘Young Geospatial Scientist’ award in recognition of his unique contribution to developing the Indian Geoid Model and computation software.
  • Member of Space Commission, Government of India, and former ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar presented the award to Goyal during the inaugural event of the DigiSmart India 2021 conference hosted by the Geospatial World.
  • The ‘Young Geospatial Scientist’ award and a gold medal have been presented every year since 2011 to promising scientists below 35 years of age in memory of Rachapudi Kamakshi, a strategic analyst with a strong inclination towards geography and geospatial studies.

3. Balkrishna Doshi Awarded 2022 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.

  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi will be the recipient of the 2022 Royal Gold Medal.
  • The distinction, approved by Her Majesty The Queen and awarded each year since 1848, is given to architects or practices in recognition of a lifetime’s work and the impact on the evolution of the field and the built environment.

4. Karnataka Bank won 2 DigiDhan Awards by MeitY.

  • Karnataka Bank has been conferred with two DigiDhan awards instituted by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The awards were given during Digital payment Utsav in New Delhi.
  • The award recognized banks for achieving the target with the highest percentage in BHIM-UPI transactions under the private sector bank category consecutively for two years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
  • Karnataka Bank has always stood ahead of the time in adopting the latest digital technology to its products in order to provide best in class service to our customers.

5. Indian Mathematician Neena Gupta receives Ramanujan Prize 2021.

  • Indian Mathematician Neena Gupta has received the 2021 DST-ICTP-IMU Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
  • Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata. She is the third woman to receive Ramanujan Prize, which was first awarded in 2005 and is administered by Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics jointly with Dept Science and Technology and International Mathematical Union.
  • The prize, named after Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, was first awarded in 2005 and is administered by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) jointly with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

6. India’s Harnaaz Sandhu crowned 70th Miss Universe 2021.

  • Actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu made history as she was crowned Miss Universe 2021 beating contestants from 80 countries, 21 years after India last brought home the title.
  • While Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira, 22, finished second, South Africa’s Lalela Mswane, 24, came third. Only two Indians before Ms Sandhu have won the title of Miss Universe— actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
  • The 70th edition of the event was held in Eilat, Israel, where the 21-year-old bagged the coveted pageant.
  • The ceremony was hosted by Steve Harvey and saw performances from American singer JoJo. The selection committee included actor and Miss Universe India 2015 Urvashi Rautela, Adamari López, Adriana Lima, Cheslie Kryst, Iris Mittenaere, Lori Harvey, Marian Rivera and Rena Sofer.

1. Asia Power Index 2021: India Ranked as 4th.

  • According to Lowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021, India has ranked 4th most powerful country in the Asia-Pacific region for comprehensive power out of 26 countries, with an overall score of 37.7 out of 100.
  • India’s overall score declined by 2 points compared to 2020. India again falls short of the major power threshold in 2021. India is one of 18 countries in Asia to trend downward in its overall score in 2021.
  • The top 10 countries for overall power in the Asia-Pacific region are the United States, China, Japan, India, Russian, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

2. World Inequality Report 2022 announced.

  • France-based World Inequality Lab published its report titled “World Inequality Report 2022”. This report was authored by Lucas Chancel, who is the co-director of World Inequality Lab. It was coordinated by famed French economist Thomas Piketty.
  • In 2021 the top 10 per cent and top 1 per cent of the Indian population holds 57 per cent and 22 per cent of total national income respectively, whereas the share of the bottom 50 per cent has gone down to 13 per cent.
  • The report notes that the top 1 % of India’s population owns more than one-fifth of the total national income in 2021.
  • The bottom half of the population earns just 13.1 per cent.
  • It highlights that economic reforms and liberalization that India has adopted, have mostly benefited the top 1 per cent.

3. India Skills Report 2022: Maharashtra Retains Top Position.

  • The 9th edition of India Skills Report (ISR) 2022, released by Wheebox, Maharashtra has retained the top position in the list of states with the highest poll of employable talent followed by Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
  • The theme of ISR 2022 – ‘Rebuilding and Reengineering the Future of Work’. India Skills Report is a full-fledged report about the future of work, education, and skilling to match the talent demand and supply in a growing India.
  • Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are the 3 states that have a higher job demand.
  • Pune is the city with the most highly employable resources with 78% of the test takers scoring above 60 per cent.

1. PM Modi holds India-Russia Summit 2021.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit to discuss the entire gamut of relations, including regional and global issues. During his visit, India and Russia signed 28 agreements.
  • The leaders discussed on International North-South Transport Corridor and also about the Chennai – Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor (which is under the proposal).
  • The countries agreed to extend the military-technical cooperation by another ten years. Currently, the indigenous production under this cooperation includes T – 90 tanks, MiG 29K aircraft, Su – 30 MKI, upgrade of MiG and supply of Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher Smerch.
  • Both India and Russia are currently developing fifth-generation Fighter Aircraft and Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.

2. Union Minister S Jaishankar addressed 5th Indian Ocean Conference.

  • Union Minister of External Affairs (EAM) Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has visited Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference on December 4-5, 2021.
  • The theme of the conference was ‘Indian Ocean: Ecology, Economy, Epidemic’.
  • The Conference is chaired by Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Vice Chairs are S.Jaishankar, Vivian Balakrishnan, Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi.
  • The conference is being organised by India Foundation in collaboration with the RSIS Singapore, Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), Sri Lanka, and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), UAE.

3. PM Modi participates in ‘Summit For Democracy’.

  • US President Joe Biden is hosting the first of two Summits for Democracy, which takes place virtually between December 9–10.
  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addressed the summit saying that ‘democratic spirit’ and ‘pluralistic ethos’ are ingrained in Indians. A total of 100 nations participated in this ‘Summit for Democracy’.
  • Even Ukraine and Taiwan were invited to the summit but Russia and China were not. Both these countries released a joint statement in which they said that the US is displaying a “Cold-War mentality” that will “stoke up ideological confrontation and a rift in the world”.

1. Indian origin Anil Menon is SpaceX’s first flight surgeon.

  • Nasa-turned-SpaceX flight surgeon, Anil Menon is among the 10 latest trainee astronauts who will join the 2021 class of the American space agency as it plans for the first human missions to the moon in more than 50 years.
  • He is born to Indian and Ukrainian parents and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Menon is a lieutenant colonel in the US air force.
  • He was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon, helping to launch the company’s first humans to space during NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission and building a medical organization to support the human system during future missions.

2. Microsoft launched cybersecurity skills training programme in India.

  • Microsoft has launched a cybersecurity skilling program with the goal of training over 1 lakh learners by 2022 to address the skills gap and prepare India’s workforce for a career in cybersecurity. The program is meant to give students hands-on experience with security, compliance, and identity fundamentals.
  • Courses will be conducted by Microsoft in collaboration with its strategic partners Cloud that, Koenig, RPS, and Synergetics Learning.
  • This tie-up is part of Microsoft’s global skilling program, which aims to help 25 million individuals learn new digital skills throughout the world.
  • In India, almost 3 million individuals have been trained through this project.

3. ISRO, Oppo collaborate to strengthen R&D of NavIC messaging service.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization has signed an agreement with Chinese smart devices maker Oppo’s Indian arm to strengthen the research and development of the NavIC messaging service.
  • The messaging service is mainly used for broadcasting safety-of-life alerts in areas with poor or no communication, particularly in the oceans. Oppo India has its manufacturing unit in Noida and an R&D centre in Hyderabad.
  • Both ISRO and Oppo India will exchange technical information of NavIC messaging services to build rapid, ready-to-use, end-to-end application-specific solutions. This will enable integrating NavIC messaging service with the mobile handset platform keeping in mind the need of Indian users.

1. Shivalik SFB with indiagold launches loan against digital gold.

Shivalik Small Finance Bank (SSFB) signed a partnership agreement with fintech firm, Indiagold to launch India’s first Loan against Digital Gold.

This agreement will enable customers to use their digital gold balance to avail of instant and digital loans up to Rs. 60,000 and also seamlessly access gold loans starting at a monthly interest of just 1%.

To provide access to secure and affordable credit to the customers looking for quick liquidity against their gold assets.

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