General Knowledge & Current Affairs

February 2022 - 8th to 14th

1. Queen Elizabeth II marks 70th anniversary of her rule.

  • The United Kingdom has marked the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s rule, the queen looked to the future of the monarchy. She surpassed Louis XIV of France as the longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign state.
  • She became the longest-lived British monarch on 21 December 2007. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to commemorate a Sapphire Jubilee.
  • Elizabeth II is the Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. On 6 February 1952, Elizabeth became queen after the death of her father King George VI.

2. Instagram encourages people to ‘Take a Break’ from social media

  • Instagram has announced the launch of ‘Take a Break’ in all countries, including India, to empower people to make informed decisions about the way they are spending their time.
  • This feature will be promoted in India through a campaign, in partnership with ‘We The Young ’, called ‘Break Zaroori Hai’. ‘Take a Break’ was first launched in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and it is now available for everyone globally.
  • Take a Break’ is a feature that will show up for people, as they have been scrolling for a certain amount of time. They will be asked to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future.
  • They will also be shown expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset. To make sure that young people are aware of this feature, they will be shown notifications suggesting they turn these reminders on.
  • The ‘Take a Break’ reminders build on Instagram’s existing time management tools including Daily Limit, which lets people know when they’ve reached the total amount of time they want to spend on Instagram each day, and offers the ability to mute notifications from Instagram.

3. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba named as interim President of Burkina Faso

  • In Burkina Faso, the military junta has appointed lieutenant colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba as the interim President of the country following the military coup. The 2022 Burkina Faso military coup took place on January 24, 2022, which was led by Damiba.
  • President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and Prime Minister Lassina Zerbo were disposed from their position and the parliament, government and constitution were declared dissolved.
  • One of the world’s poorest and most volatile countries, Burkina Faso is struggling with a jihadist campaign that has claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced around 1.5 million to flee their homes. The country has been suspended from the West African bloc ECOWAS, although it escaped sanctions following last week’s restoration of the constitution.

1. RPF launches nationwide “AAHT operation” to curb human trafficking

  • Indian Railway Protection Force has launched a nationwide operation to curb human trafficking. As part of “Operation AAHT”, special teams will be deployed on all long-distance trains/routes with a focus on rescuing victims, particularly women and children, from the clutches of traffickers.
  • The Railways, which operate about 21,000 trains across the country daily, is the most reliable mode of transportation for the traffickers who often moved their victims on long-distance trains.
  • The RPF that rescued more than 2,000 women and children between 2017-21 from the clutches of traffickers intensified the crackdown on human trafficking with the increasing number of cases. The National Crime Records Bureau registers about 2,200 cases of Human Trafficking cases on an average each year.

2. India becomes first country to administer COVID-19 DNA vaccine

  • India has become the first country in the world to administer a DNA vaccine against COVID-19. The ZyCoV-D which is the World’s first plasmid DNA vaccine has been produced by Ahmedabad-based vaccine manufacturer Zydus Cadila and it was administered for the first time in Patna.
  • It is a Painless and Needleless vaccine given at intervals of 28 days and 56 days. It is the second India-made vaccine to get emergency authorization in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
  • The Indian government approved emergency use authorization for Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine earlier this year, citing initial results from Phase III clinical trials that showed approximately 66 per cent efficacy for symptomatic cases.

3. India’s first biomass-based hydrogen plant to come up at Madhya Pradesh

  • India’s first commercial-scale biomass-based hydrogen plant will come up at the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Every day this plant will produce one tonne of hydrogen, from 30 tonnes of biomass feedstock. The plant is being put up by a joint venture of Watomo Energies Ltd and Biezel Green Energy with an investment of Rs 24 crore.
  • The company owns the technology for a ‘thermally accelerated anerobic digestion (TAD) reactor’ that can produce hydrogen, methane and biochar from biomass. Biezel Green will own 50 per cent in the yet-to-be-named joint venture; the other 50 per cent will come from interested farmers.

4. NABARD launched ‘JIVA Programme’ to promote natural farming

  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched the ‘JIVA programme’ to promote natural farming under its existing watershed and wadi programmes in 11 states. To effectively implement the principles of agroecology long-term sustainability and transform the pre-existing social and natural capital towards efficient farming.
  • JIVA is an agroecology-based programme, an amalgamation of several projects under the watershed programme of NABARD and will be implemented in 11 states covering five agroecological zones, which are in ecologically fragile and rain-fed areas.

5. India to help Sri Lanka launch its version of Aadhaar Card

  • India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’, apparently modelled on the Aadhaar card.
  • The Rajapaksa government will “prioritise” the implementation of the Framework as a national-level programme. The initiative follows bilateral talks between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2019.

6. President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates new Durbar Hall at Raj Bhavan

  • President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the Durbar Hall at Raj Bhavan, situated at Malabar Hill, Mumbai. While retaining the heritage features of the old court hall, the new hall has been given additional features such as a balcony and a sea view gallery.
  • Durbar Hall has political importance as it has been associated with oath-taking ceremonies of the Governors, chief ministers of the state.
  • Earlier, the inauguration of Durbar Hall was scheduled on December 8, 2021, but it was postponed due to the sudden demise of General Bipin Rawat, chief of defence staff in a helicopter crash.

1. Akshay Kumar named as brand ambassador of Uttarakhand

  • Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami has appointed Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections.
  • In 2017, Akshay Kumar was appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador for ‘Swachhata Abhiyan’. Akshay Kumar, is a Canadian-Indian actor, a film producer who has acted in more than 100 films. In 2021, Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant, who hails from Roorkee, Uttarakhand was appointed as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand.
  • Indian field hockey player, Vandana Katariya was appointed as the brand ambassador of the women and child development department of Uttarakhand as well as the brand ambassador of the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme for Haridwar district.

2. Kerala signed an MoU with Social Alpha to develop clean energy tech

  • Kerala Government has signed an MoU with the Social Alpha’s Energy Lab – “Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC)” to support innovative and clean energy technology programmes in Kerala.
  • The Government of Kerala signed this agreement through Kerala Development & Innovation Strategy Council (KDISC) and Energy Management Centre (EMC).
  • The EMC Kerala represents the Power Department agencies including the Kerala State Electricity Board, Electrical Inspectorate and ANERT (Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology). To establish a clean energy incubation centre to boost green energy development and energy conservation activities in Kerala.

3. Akshay Kumar named as brand ambassador of Uttarakhand

  • Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami has appointed Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections.
  • In 2017, Akshay Kumar was appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador for ‘Swachhata Abhiyan’. Akshay Kumar, is a Canadian-Indian actor, a film producer who has acted in more than 100 films. In 2021, Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant, who hails from Roorkee, Uttarakhand was appointed as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand.
  • Indian field hockey player, Vandana Katariya was appointed as the brand ambassador of the women and child development department of Uttarakhand as well as the brand ambassador of the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme for Haridwar district.

4. Kerala signed an MoU with Social Alpha to develop clean energy tech

  • Kerala Government has signed an MoU with the Social Alpha’s Energy Lab – “Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC)” to support innovative and clean energy technology programmes in Kerala.
  • The Government of Kerala signed this agreement through Kerala Development & Innovation Strategy Council (KDISC) and Energy Management Centre (EMC).
  • The EMC Kerala represents the Power Department agencies including the Kerala State Electricity Board, Electrical Inspectorate and ANERT (Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology). To establish a clean energy incubation centre to boost green energy development and energy conservation activities in Kerala.

5. Gujarat unveils new IT/ITeS policy to generate 1 lakh direct jobs

  • Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel has announced a new IT/ITeS policy for the next five years. This policy will provide financial incentives up to Rs 200 crore to the entities willing to incur capital expenditures.
  • It will also generate employment of about 1 lakh youths. It also seeks to increase IT-ITeS exports from the current Rs 3000 crores annually to 25,000 crores over the next five years. Its operative period will start from the day of notification to 31st March 2027.
  • The policy launched at a formal event at a club in GIFT City in Gandhinagar replaces the 2016-2021 policy that had set an ambitious target to increase exports up to USD two billion (Rs 13,000 crore), IT turnover to USD 15 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) and create 10 lakh direct jobs.
  • The policy provides support for both capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) expenditures. “This is a unique model that gives flexibility to industries to plan their expenditures and addresses the viability concerns.

6. 45th International Kolkata Book Fair to start from February 28

  • The 45th International Kolkata Book Fair will start from February 28 and will go on till March 13. The focal theme country this year is Bangladesh. Due to both Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and Bangladesh’s 50 years of Independence the theme this year is Bangladesh.
  • Bangladesh Day will be celebrated on March 3 and 4. The fair will be inaugurated on February 28 by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
  • Kolkata Book Fair had got recognition from International Publishers Association, Geneva and also that Geneva has incorporated International Kolkata Book Fair in the calendar of book fairs published by them.
  • Apart from Bangladesh, Britain, USA, Russia, Italy, Japan, Iran, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and other Latin American countries will participate in the Kolkata Book Fair.

7. NABARD launched ‘JIVA Programme’ to promote natural farming

  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched the ‘JIVA programme’ to promote natural farming under its existing watershed and wadi programmes in 11 states. To effectively implement the principles of agroecology long-term sustainability and transform the pre-existing social and natural capital towards efficient farming.
  • JIVA is an agroecology-based programme, an amalgamation of several projects under the watershed programme of NABARD and will be implemented in 11 states covering five agroecological zones, which are in ecologically fragile and rain-fed areas.

8. India to help Sri Lanka launch its version of Aadhaar Card

  • India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’, apparently modelled on the Aadhaar card.
  • The Rajapaksa government will “prioritise” the implementation of the Framework as a national-level programme. The initiative follows bilateral talks between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2019.

9. Telangana govt tie-up with British Council to expand higher education

  • The Government of Telangana and the British Council, an international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural exchange, have signed a 3-year MoU to renew the partnership in education, English and arts.
  • To facilitate research between institutions and assist to expand higher education globally, to offer global opportunities for the youth of Telangana.
  • Under the extended 3-year MoU, the British Council has also signed an agreement with the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) to work closely to engineer new partnerships between universities, research institutions and centres of excellence in the UK and in Telangana.

10. Central Jail in Madhya Pradesh gets own FM radio channel

  • In Madhya Pradesh, the Central Jail of Indore has started its own radio channel ‘Jail Vaani-FM 18.77’. Through this radio channel, the jail inmates will get to know about the happening in the world. The radio channel will also provide the jail inmates with information on health and social issues.
  • The radio station will act as a medium for prisoners to tell their own stories and also to share their experiences. The aim is to inform jail inmates about what is happening across the world. Jails with such innovative measures adopted for the reform of prisoners will certainly act as correctional institutions.

11. Nitin Gadkari inaugurates long Rail-cum-Road Bridge over River Ganga in Bihar

  • The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar jointly inaugurated the 14.5-kilometre long ‘Rail-cum-Road-Bridge’ in Bihar.
  • The much-awaited bridge is constructed over the River Ganga on NH 333B in Bihar’s Munger region. The cost of the ‘Rail-cum-Road-Bridge’ project is Rs 696 crore. The new bridge will reduce travel time, give a boost to tourism, agriculture as well as generate employment opportunities.
  • One of Bihar’s major tourist and pilgrimage sites, the city of Munger is well known for its rich ancient history, culture, education and commerce. With the construction of this Rail-cum-Road-Bridge, the distance from Munger to Khagaria will be less than 100 kilometres and also, the distance from Munger to Begusarai will be less than 20 kilometres.

12. Maharashtra’s Health Minister announces “Hope Express” to prevent cancer

  • Maharashtra’s Health Minister, Rajesh Tope has announced that “Hope Express” will be launched in the state to prevent cancer.
  • This is the first such machine in India. He was speaking at the launch of a state-of-the-art Mosaic-3D radiation machine at a private hospital in Kolhapur.
  • The State Health Minister also promised to take initiative to start Hope Express in every district of the state through district planning.
  • The State Health Minister also promised to take initiative to start Hope Express in every district of the state through district planning. He also inaugurated the Oncoprime Cancer Center online at the Hattarki Hospital in Gadhinglaj. The centre will benefit patients in rural areas.

1. RBI to observe Financial Literacy week 2022: February 14-18

  • The Reserve Bank of India will observe February 14-18, 2022 as Financial Literacy week 2022. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been conducting Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme across the country. Banks have been advised to disseminate the information and create awareness among its customers and the general public.
  • The theme of Financial Literacy week 2022 is: “Go Digital, Go Secure”. The theme is aligned with one of the strategic objectives of the National Strategy for Financial Education: 2020-2025.
  • The focus of Financial Literacy Week this year will be on the following three topics with a view to ensure safe and secure Digital Transactions: The convenience of digital transactions, Security / feel secure and no fear for digital transactions, Protection to customers

2. RBI reopens Voluntary Retention Route with investment limit of Rs 2,50,000 cr

  • The Reserve Bank of India had introduced the Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) for investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in debts in 2019 with an investment limit of Rs 1,50,000 crore.
  • Out of this, around Rs, 1,49,995 crore have been availed so far in three tranches. Now RBI has increased this investment limit in VRR from Rs. 1,50,000 crore to Rs. 2,50,000 crore.
  • The increased investment limits shall be open for allotment from April 01, 2022 as per the following details:
  • The investment limit under VRR has been increased to Rs 2,50,000 crore.
  • The investment limit available for fresh allotment shall accordingly be Rs 1,04,800 crore (net of extant allotments and adjustments); and shall be allotted under the VRR–Combined category.
  • The minimum retention period shall be three years.
  • Investment limits shall be available ‘on tap’ and allotted on a ‘first-come, first-served basis.
  • The ‘tap’ shall be kept open till the limit is fully allotted.
  • FPIs may apply for investment limits online to Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIL) through their respective custodians.
  • CCIL will separately notify the operational details of the application process and allotment.

3. SBI tie-up with NSE Academy to launch five online courses

  • The State Bank of India (SBI) has announced a partnership with NSE Academy to launch five online courses that promote financial literacy as a necessary life skill.
  • The courses curated by SBI are a good blend of theory and operational aspects which will enable learners to have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of banking, compliance, lending norms and a host of other topics.
  • These courses have been designed and developed by practising bankers possessing rich experience and excellent academic credentials. The courses are suitably enriched with real-life case studies and scenarios, thus offering experiential learning for working professionals and learners.
  • The following five courses will be offered with an aim to provide an understanding of different aspects of banking-to-banking professionals, students and other learners.

4. RBL Bank tie-up with Creditas Solutions for ‘Neo Collections’ platform

  • RBL Bank has partnered with Creditas Solutions for its ‘Neo Collections’ platform. The bank will utilise the SaaS-based platform to accelerate efficiency in collections across the loan cycle. The platform is built to automate strategies for reaching out to customers individually in an empathetic manner and motivate them to repay loans.
  • The platform can also determine the best course of action for every customer by offering customised payment plans to service debt, schedule an EMI plan or opt for payment resolution options. The Neo Collections Platform, a Do It Yourself (DIY) debt management platform, will help our customers seamlessly monitor, manage and pay their dues.

1. Africa Cup Of Nations: Senegal Beat Egypt

  • Senegal has defeated Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations championship winning the continental championship for the first time on penalty kicks at Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
  • Sadio Mane scored the winning spot-kick as Senegal claimed a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over seven-time winners Egypt. The final had ended 0-0 after extra time.
  • Senegal had lost two finals previously, including at the last African Cup in Egypt in 2019, when Mané was left inconsolable. This time he delivered the winning moment.

2. Sri Lankan fast bowler Suranga Lakmal announces retirement

  • Veteran Sri Lankan fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has announced to retire from international cricket, after Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of India.
  • The 34-year-old right-arm fast bowler and right-handed batsman aim to join the English county club Derbyshire after retirement.
  • The Derbyshire County Cricket Club has signed up Lakmal on a two-year contract. Lakmal has represented Sri Lanka in 165 international matches across formats, in his international career spanning over 12 years.

3. China wins AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 Football Tournament

  • China PR (People’s Republic) defeated South Korea (Korea Republic), 3-2, to win the AFC Women`s Asian Cup India 2022 final title at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
  • This is the record-extending 9th AFC Women`s Asian Cup title won by China. India is hosting the 20th edition of the football AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 from January 20, 2022, to February 06, 2022. China now qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

4. Gujarat Titans unveiled as name for new Ahmedabad IPL franchise

  • Gujarat Titans is the official name of the new Ahmedabad franchise owned by CVC Capital as Hardik Pandya is all set to lead the franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.
  • The naming of the Ahmedabad franchise comes days after Lucknow, owned by RPSG Group, announced its official name as Lucknow Super Giants. The Lucknow team will be led by KL Rahul.
  • Debuting in the 15th season of the IPL, the Gujarat Titans will pay tribute to the state’s rich cricketing legacy, which has seen it produce countless Indian international cricket legends over the years.
  • The franchise is inspired by the opportunity to represent and build on this deep cricketing heritage, as well as build on its future success on the pitch.
  • Gujarat Titans drafted in Hardik Pandya as their captain for Rs 15 crore and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan for Rs 15 crore. They also got young India opener, Shubman Gill, for Rs 8 crore.
  • The Titans will head into the mega auction with a budget of Rs 52 crore. The Gujarat Titans brought on board former England cricketer Vikram Solanki as the Director of Cricket.
  • Ashish Nehra will be the head coach of the franchise while former World Cup-winning coach and South Africa opener Gary Kirsten will be the Head of Cricket Operations and the batting coach for IPL 2022.

5. Rishabh Pant won ESPNcricinfo ‘Test Batting Award’ 2021

  • In the 15th Edition of ESPNcricinfo Awards, India’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant wins the ‘Test Batting’ award by scoring 89 not out, helped India to win the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2021 by (2-1) and shattered Australia’s unbeaten record at Gabba after 32 years. Rishabh Pant was the top scorer of the series for the Indian team, scoring (274 runs).

Other awardee’s:

  • New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was adjudged ‘Captain of the Year’.
  • The Test bowling award went to Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand) for his 5 wickets leaving just 31 runs, which helped New Zealand in becoming the first World Test champions (2019-2021).
  • England fast bowler Ollie Robinson was named Debutant of the Year.
  • Saqib Mahmood’s 4 for 42 in a nine-wicket win over Pakistan got him the top ODI bowling prize.
  • Jos Buttler won the T20I batting award.
  • The ODI batting and T20I bowling awards went to Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman won the top batting prize. Shaheen Afridi won the T20I bowling award for his annihilation of India in the 10-wicket win for Pakistan at the T20 World Cup.

1. RBI 2nd largest buyer of gold in 2021

  • The largest buyer, the Central Bank of Thailand, bought 90 metric tonnes of gold while RBI bought 77.5 metric tonnes taking its total gold reserve to 754.1 tonnes at the end of December 2021.
  • When it comes to gold buying, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) emerged as the second-largest buyer of yellow metal among the world’s Central Banks in 2021. As per Goldhub, India’s official gold reserves is the ninth-largest in the world. Goldhub is the official website of the World Gold Council that maintains all the data regarding precious metals.
  • At the end of December 2021, RBI gold reserves stood at 754.1 tonnes, which amounts to 6.22 per cent of India’s forex reserves. As per RBI data, India’s total reserves at the end of December 31, 2021, stood at $633.61 billion, including gold reserves worth $39.405 billion.

2. RBI Monetary Policy: RBI keeps Repo Rate unchanged at 4.0 per cent

  • 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 10th consecutive time while maintaining an ‘accommodative stance’ as long as necessary.
  • The reverse repo rate will continue to be 3.35 per cent. Reserve Bank of India conducted the 6th and the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for 2021-22 between February 8-10, 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 MPC decided to continue with the accommodative stance.
  • RBI has projected the real GDP growth for 2022-23 at 7.8 per cent.
  • For the current fiscal year, RBI projected real GDP growth of 9.2 per cent and expects that it will take the economy above the pre-pandemic level.
  • For the current fiscal year, RBI retained its retail inflation projection at 5.3 per cent.
  • MPC has been given the mandate to maintain annual inflation at 4 per cent until March 31, 2026, with an upper tolerance of 6 per cent and lower tolerance of 2 per cent.

1. Kanchoth festival celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir

  • The ancient festival of Kanchoth is annually celebrated, mainly by the Nag followers, during the Shukla Paksha of Magh month which usually falls in January or February. The festival is celebrated with religious fervour across the Chenab valley region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
  • The 3-day festival is celebrated by married women who pray for the long life of their husbands. Kanchoth or Gauri Tritya is widely celebrated in hilly kishtwar, Ramban and Doda of Jammu province.
  • The festival is celebrated across Bhaderwah (also known as mini-Kashmir), Kotli, Mathola, Ghata, Khakhal, Gupt Ganga, Chinnote, Kapra, Bhalra, Bheja, Chinchora and other regions.

2. World Book of Records: Atal Tunnel recognized as ‘Longest Highway Tunnel

  • Atal Tunnel has been officially certified as ‘World’s Longest Highway Tunnel above 10,000 Feet’ by the World Book of Records. Atal tunnel is a Highway tunnel built under Rohtang Pass in eastern Pir Panjal Himalayan range on Leh-Manali Highway.
  • It is the longest highway single-tube tunnel above 10,000 feet in the world with a length of about 9.02 km. World Book of Records, UK is an organization that catalogues, verifies extraordinary records with authentic certification around the globe.

3. J&K became first Union Territory to be integrated with NSWS

  • Jammu & Kashmir has become the first Union Territory to integrate with the National Single Window System (NSWS) which marks a major leap in Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in the UT.
  • Lieutenant Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha launched the J&K Single Window Clearance System integrated with NSWS. NSWS is linked with the India Industrial Land Bank (IILB) which hosts 45 industrial parks of J&K that will help Investors to discover available land parcels in J&K.

4. Surat to get India’s 1st bullet train station by Dec 2024

  • The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will be India’s first bullet train route. While Surat city will get India’s first bullet train station. National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) will be constructing this project that is scheduled to be completed by December 2024.
  • The cost of the project is estimated to be more than Rs 1 lakh crore of which Rs 88,000 crores will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Of the 508.17-kilometre Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, 155.76 km is in Maharashtra, 384.04 km in Gujarat and 4.3 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

5. J&K governor launched QR code-based mechanism for certification

  • Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha has launched a QR code-based mechanism for certification and labelling of handmade carpets of the union territory.
  • With the QR-based application, which is the first of its kind in the country, customers can check and verify the authenticity and other requisite details of carpets produced in Jammu and Kashmir, read an official statement from the administration.
  • Manoj Sinha also felicitated UT’s awardees of Handicrafts & Handloom. J&K Handicrafts are repositories of India’s creative traditions that are serving as a cultural expression.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government has introduced Export Incentive Scheme. Under this scheme, the incentive of 10 per cent of the total volume of GI certified Handicrafts and Handloom products exported to any country, with a maximum reimbursement of up to Rs 5 crores, shall be provided to eligible exporters registered with the Department of Handicrafts and Handloom.

6. 17th edition of Mumbai International Film Festival to be held form May

  • The 17th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation films (MIFF-2022) is scheduled to take place from 29 May to 4 June, 2022 at the Films Division complex, Mumbai.
  • Those films which were completed between September 1, 2019, and December 31, 2021, are eligible. The best documentary of the festival will receive a Golden Conch and 10 lakh in a cash award.
  • As India is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the current edition has instituted a special award for the best short film on the theme India@75.
  • The programme is organized by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since 1990, with support from the Government of Maharashtra, and focuses on documentary, short fiction and animation films. It is the oldest and largest festival for non-feature films in South Asia.

1. S R Narasimhan takes additional charge as CMD POSOCO

  • S. R. Narasimhan, Director (System Operation) has assumed the additional charge of the post of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO) w.e.f. 1st February 2022 at New Delhi.
  • He has a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance. He has over three decades’ experience in Power System Operation spread across CEA, POWERGRID and POSOCO after an initial stint with BHEL.
  • SR Narasimhan has contributed to several Expert Committees at the Government and regulatory levels in different areas ranging from system operation, grid integration of Renewable Energy (RE) resources and optimization to institution building.

2. Dr Unnikrishnan Nair named as New Director of VSSC

  • Scientist and launch vehicle specialist, Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair took charge as the director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). VSSC is a key space research center of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) and specializes in rocket and space vehicles for satellite programs.
  • Nair, who started his career in VSSC Trivandrum in 1985, has made significant contributions in launch vehicle mechanisms, acoustic protection systems and payload fairing areas during his tenure.
  • Nair has BTech in Mechanical Engineering from Kerala University, ME in Aerospace engineering from IISc, Bengaluru and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from IIT(M), Chennai. In January 2019, Nair took over as the first director of Human Space Flight Centre, Bengaluru, which is spearheading the Gaganyaan Programme. He will continue to hold this position along with his new role at the VSSC.

3. Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit named as first woman Vice-Chancellor of JNU

  • The Ministry of Education (MoE) has appointed Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She is the first women Vice-Chancellor of JNU.
  • The 59-year-old Pandit has been appointed for a period of five years. Pandit replaces M Jagadesh Kumar, who has been appointed as Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Before this appointment, Pandit was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of Savitribai Phule University in Maharashtra.

3. Ex-consultant to World Bank Pradip Shah named as Pfizer India chairman

  • Pfizer India has appointed Pradip Shah as the chairman of its board following the resignation of RA Shah. He is the ex-managing director and a founding member of Crisil. Prior to founding Crisil, he assisted in founding HDFC in 1977.
  • He has also served as a consultant to USAID, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Pradip is a director on the board of several reputed companies. He is also a member of various prestigious committees/commissions.
  • He is presently the Chairman of Indasia Fund Advisors. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and is also a chartered accountant and a cost accountant.

4. Amitabh Bachchan named as brand ambassador of MediBuddy

  • MediBuddy, one of India’s largest digital healthcare platforms, has signed legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as the official brand ambassador. As part of the deal, Bachchan will be seen endorsing various services available on the platform, while highlighting the need to prioritise one’s health.
  • With the deal in place, MediBuddy is looking at further amplifying its reach across India. Leveraging the veteran actor’s popularity, especially across tier II and tier III cities, the brand aims to position itself as a household name.

5. Senior bureaucrat S. Kishore appointed as new SSC Chairman

  • Senior bureaucrat S. Kishore has been appointed as Chairman, Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
  • According to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kishore to the post in the rank and pay of Secretary to Government of India by temporarily upgrading the post and keeping the Recruitment Rules of the post in abeyance.
  • Presently, he is serving as Special Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

6. Sanjay Malhotra named DFS Secretary in Finance Ministry

  • Sanjay Malhotra has been named as Secretary in the Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance. He is a 1990 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre. Before this, Sanjay Malhotra was Chairman and Managing Director of REC Ltd. He has succeeded Debashish Panda, who completed his term as DFS Secretary on January 31, 2022.
  • Malhotra has an exhaustive power sector experience. The reforms-based result-linked power distribution sector scheme to be applicable till 2025-26 aims to reduce India’s AT&C loss to 12-15% and gradually narrow the deficit between the cost of electricity and the price at which it is supplied to ‘zero’ by 2024-25.

7. Munishwar Nath Bhandari new Chief Justice of Madras High Court

  • According to the Law Ministry, Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari has been appointed Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. Justice Bhandari had taken over as the Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court after the transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court in November last year.
  • The Law Ministry also notified the appointment of a total of 13 advocates and three judicial officers as judges of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.
  • While three advocates each were appointed to the Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, seven advocates were elevated to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Three judicial officers were appointed as judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

8. N Chandrasekaran reappointed as Chairman of Tata Sons

  • The board of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd has approved the re-appointment of N Chandrasekaran as the Executive Chairman of the company for the second five years term.
  • Chandrasekaran’s current tenure as the chairman was to expire at the end of February 2022. He joined the board of Tata Sons in 2016 and took over the role as Chairman in 2017.
  • Chandrasekaran’s tenure in the last five years saw several mergers and acquisitions by the group in the steel, aviation and digital sectors and a complete exit from the cellular telephony industry.
  • One of the first tasks of Chandra, as he is popularly known, was to get rid of Tata Teleservices which lost around Rs 60,000 crore in paying back bank loans apart from paying the AGR dues till date. Tatas sold the mobile phone business to Bharti Airtel while retaining debt and other liabilities of the company.

9. Krishi Network app named Pankaj Tripathi as its brand ambassador

  • Cultino Agrotech Pvt Ltd, which runs agritech app Krishi Network has roped in film actor Pankaj Tripathi as a brand ambassador, with a view to reaching out to farmers to its app. Tripathi’s background as a farmer resonates with the platform’s aim to aid farmers to grow their profits by offering them solutions to critical decisions.
  • The app is currently available in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, and English, and is planned to be launched in other languages soon. The startup plans to use the fresh funds to boost their artificial intelligence-based technology platform across India.
  • Founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Ashish Mishra and Siddhant Bhomia, Krishi Network leverages the growing rural internet penetration to create a platform that eases information accessibility for farmers and enables them to generate higher profits from their land.

10. Chairman of Supreme Court panel on Char Dham project Ravi Chopra resigns

  • Veteran environmentalist Ravi Chopra has resigned as chairman of the Supreme Court’s High Powered Committee (HPC) on the Char Dham project. His belief that the HPC could protect this fragile (Himalayan) ecology has been shattered.
  • The Supreme Court on December 14 allowed double-lane widening of roads for the project in view of “security concerns.”
  • In his resignation letter to the secretary-general of the Supreme Court on January 27, Chopra referred to the apex court’s December 2021 order that accepted the wider road configuration to meet defence needs, instead of what the HPC had recommended and the SC accepted in its earlier order in September 2020.

11. Debashis Mitra takes over as President of ICAI

  • Debashis Mitra has been elected as the President of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for the year 2022-23. Mitra, who is serving his third term in ICAI Council, has been in the accounting profession for more than 34 years.
  • Apart from being a Chartered Accountant, he is also a Cost Accountant and a Company Secretary. He holds a master’s degree in commerce and is also a law graduate as well as a qualified Information Systems Auditor.
  • Aniket Sunil Talati has been elected as Vice President of the institute, which has more than 3.40 lakh members and over 7 lakh students.

1. Sonata Software tie-up with Microsoft for its launch of ‘Microsoft Cloud’

  • A global IT Services, and Technology Solutions Company, Sonata Software has announced its partnership with Microsoft for its launch of ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’. The company has been a partner with Microsoft for over three decades.
  • The ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’ collaboration is expected to further strengthen the relationship. Sonata Software delivers solutions for retailers worldwide, leveraging world-class IPs, in-house migration and modernisation tools.
  • The partnership with Microsoft Cloud for Retail will further enhance our capabilities, with its emphasis on leveraging data, elevating the shopping experience, building real-time, sustainable supply chains, and empowering store associates.
  • The Sonata Connected Retail solution is available through Microsoft AppSource. Sonata Software is a Microsoft Gold Partner and is a member of the Microsoft Inner Circle for Business Applications.

2. NITI Aayog and USAID annouces tie-up under SAMRIDH initiative

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced a new partnership under the Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare (SAMRIDH) initiative.
  • It aims to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and rural and tribal regions.
  • It aims to mobilize a capital pool of $100+ million from the private sector and bilateral organizations. It leverages this fund to offer both grant and debt financing provision to support the expansion of market-based health solutions.

3. Amazon India signed MoU with Karnataka to turn rural women into entrepreneurs

  • Amazon India signed an MoU with Karnataka State Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (KSRLPS) to support the growth of women entrepreneurs.
  • Amazon India will launch ‘Sanjeevini-KSRLPS’ in its platform and extend benefits of the ‘Saheli’ Programme to train and empower thousands of rural women entrepreneurs and also provide online access to a wider market for their products.
  • The Saheli Programme offers training and skill development workshops to help women entrepreneurs. Through this, Amazon and the government bodies will come together to assist and empower lakhs of women entrepreneurs associated with them from the four states to register their business with Amazon India and access a wider market base.

4. UNEP tie-up with Maharashtra to support ‘Majhi Vasundhara’ campaign

  • The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed an MoU with the Maharashtra government to support its ‘Majhi Vasundhara’ campaign. It is an initiative towards sustainable use of energy and environmental development.
  • The literal meaning of ‘Majhi Vasundhara’ is ‘My Earth’. It is an initiative of the Environment and Climate Change Department, Government of Maharashtra.
  • Majhi Vasundhara’ is an initiative of the Government of Maharashtra’s Environment and Climate Change Department to empower citizens with knowledge on the impacts of climate change and environmental issues and to encourage them to make a conscious effort towards improvement of the environment.
  • To empower citizens with knowledge on the impacts of climate change and environmental issues and to encourage them to make a conscious effort towards the improvement of the environment.

1. India’s Goa Shipyard Ltd delivered the 5th vessel ICGS ‘Saksham’

  • India’s Goa Shipyard Ltd delivered the 5th and final vessel of the 5 Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vehicle (CGOPV) Project ahead of contractual schedule. The vessel was named ICGS ‘Saksham’.
  • The point to be underlined- all 5 vessels have been delivered before time to the Indian Coast Guard. The contract for 5 CGOPVs was signed by GSL with the Ministry of Defence on 26 August 2016.
  • All the five CGOPVs will be the most advanced patrol vessels in service with the coast guard. Also, the 2,400 tonnes vessels are fitted with additional features including quick response boats for rescue and anti-piracy and gunnery simulators.
  • The hull is designed to provide fuel efficiency, crew comfort and enhanced sea keeping qualities. With computerised control systems, they are the most advanced patrol vessels in service with the Coast Guard. It has an indigenous content of about 70% and weighs around 2400 tonnes.

2. Singapore Air Show 2022: IAF to display Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas

  • The 44-member contingents of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has reached the Changi International Airport in Singapore on February 12, 2022, to participate in the ‘Singapore Air Show-2022’, which is scheduled to be held from February 15 to 18, 2022.
  • Singapore Air Show is a biennial event that provides a platform for the Global Aviation Industry to showcase its products.
  • The IAF will showcase its indigenous Tejas MK-I ac during the event. It will also interact with counterparts from RSAF (Royal Singapore Air Force) & other participating contingents.
  • The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will display low-level aerobatics to showcase its superior handling characteristics and manoeuvrability.

3. GoI approves continuation of Modernization of State Police Forces Scheme

  • The Government has approved the continuation of the Scheme of Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF Scheme) for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. Total Central financial outlay for five years is Rs. 26,275 crores. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since 1969-70.
  • The objective of the scheme is to gradually reduce the dependence of the State Governments on the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces to control internal security and law and order situations by equipping the State Police Forces adequately and strengthening their training infrastructure.

4. Indian army conducted Hackathon named “Sainya Ranakshetram”

  • Indian army has conducted a first-of-its-kind Hackathon named “Sainya Ranakshetram”. The hackathon was conducted in the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), Mhow under the overall guidance of the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC), one of the seven commands of the Indian Army.
  • The event was conducted from 01 October 2021 to 31 December 2021 under the name of “Sainya Ranakshetram”, in collaboration with the Rashtriya Raksha University.
  • The virtual event witnessed the participation of over 15,000 participants and comprised a number of challenges based on Secure Coding, Software Defined Radio exploitation and Cyber Offensive skills. Further, the main highlights of the event included participants competing with each other in cyberspace against simulated threats.

1. R Rajamohan, who led the 1st Asteroid Discoveries In Independent India, passes away

  • Professor R Rajamohan, who was an astronomer at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, for decades, passed away.
  • He is best known for his Kalki Project, which aimed to discover asteroids using the 48-cm Schmidt telescope in Kavalur VBO and discovered a new asteroid, number 4130, from India. This was the first asteroid discovered in India in 104 years.

2. ‘Kabir of Karnataka’ Ibrahim Sutar passes away

  • Padma Shri awardee and social worker, Ibrahim Sutar has passed away in Karnataka following a cardiac arrest. Fondly referred to as the “Kabir of Kannada”, Sutar was known for his work towards spreading social and communal harmony.
  • Ibrahim is popular among the public, especially in north Karnataka, for his spiritual discourses. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2018.

3. ‘Mahabharat’s Bheem’ actor Praveen Kumar Sobti passes away

  • Actor-athlete Praveen Kumar Sobti, best known for playing Bheem in the TV series “Mahabharat” and for winning an Asian Games gold medal, passed away.
  • He represented the country across various athletic events in hammer and discus throw and even won four medals at the Asian Games, including two gold medals in 1966 and 1970.
  • Praveen Kumar Sobti also won a silver medal in Hammer Throw during the 1966 Commonwealth Games. The athlete gained further popularity after he began his acting career and was featured as Bheem in BR Chopra’s classic “Mahabharat” in 1988.

4. Nobel-Winning Co-Discoverer of H.I.V Luc Montagnier passes away

  • Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who shared a Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering the virus that causes AIDS, passed away. He was 89. The discovery of H.I.V. began in Paris on Jan. 3, 1983.
  • That was the day that Dr. Montagnier (pronounced mon-tan-YAY), who directed the Viral Oncology Unit at the Pasteur Institute, received a piece of the lymph node that had been removed from a 33-year-old man with AIDS.

5. Former Chairman of Bajaj Auto Rahul Bajaj passes away

  • Noted industrialist and former chairman of Bajaj Auto, Rahul Bajaj, has passed away, due to pneumonia and a heart problem. He was awarded the third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2001.
  • He was the chairman emeritus of the Indian conglomerate Bajaj Group, the parent company of Bajaj Auto. He stepped down as the non-executive chairman of Bajaj Auto in April 2021 and transferred the responsibility to Niraj Bajaj.

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. A book titled “Atal Bihari Vajpayee” authored by Sagarika Ghose

  • A book titled “Atal Bihari Vajpayee” authored by Sagarika Ghose has been launched. It is a biography of the former Prime Minister of India. Sagarika Ghose is a jounalist. She has also authored a book titled “Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister”.
  • Sagarika took the author three years to complete the biography. “The research was daunting,” says Sagarika, who had to go through all the Parliament speeches from the 1950s to the 90s, Parliament records, Vajpayee’s speeches, his written work, the pronouncements made by his Government, minutes of party meetings, proceedings of annual conferences, party periodicals, the large number of bills he moved in Parliament…the list is exhaustive.

2. A new book titled “India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons” authored by Rajiv Bhatia

  • Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, a Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme at Gateway House, has authored a new book (his 3rd book) titled “India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons” which explores the emergence and assertion of Africa as a significant actor and stakeholder in global affairs and the transformation of the relationship between India and Africa.
  • The book also provides a detailed exploration of India–the Africa partnership in all its critical dimensions. The book describes the historical backdrop and shared colonial past to focus on and contextualise the evolution of the India – Africa engagement.

1. Nitin Gadkari received 18th Late Madhavrao Limaye Award

  • Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari will be facilitated for the first time with the 18th late Madhavrao Limaye award in the category of Karyakram Khaasdar (Efficient Member of Parliament) for the year 2020-21.
  • This award will be facilitated by Nashik Public Library, Sarvajanik Vachanalay. Earlier, the award was given to Karyaksham Aamdaar, an efficient Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Maharashtra.
  • The Sarvajanik Vachanalay annually selects one of the members of Vidhan Parishad (Lok Sabha), Vidhan Sabha (Rajya Sabha) for the Efficient MLA or Member of Parliament (MP) Award. The award has been instituted in the memory of Limaye by his daughter Dr. Shobha Nerlikar. The award consists of Rs 50,000 in cash and a memento.

1. J&K topped in India Press Freedom Report 2021

  • The India Press Freedom Report 2021 was recently released by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group. According to the report, 13 media houses and newspapers were targeted in the country, 108 journalists were attacked, and 6 journalists were killed.
  • Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted in 2021.
  • 24 journalists were attacked physically, obstructed, threatened, and harassed for doing their work. All these attacks were made by public officials.
  • This includes police attacks as well. 17 of these attacks were police attacks. 44 FIRs were registered against journalists in 2021. Of this 21 were registered under Section 153 of IPC.
  • The highest number of journalists or media organisations targeted was in J&K (25), followed by Uttar Pradesh (23), Madhya Pradesh (16), Tripura (15), Delhi (8), Bihar (6), Assam (5), Haryana and Maharashtra (4 each), Goa and Manipur (3 each), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (2 each), and Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala (1 each),” the report stated.

2. Salesforce Global Index: India leads in digital skills readiness

  • Salesforce, a leading player in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), published the Global Digital Skills Index 2022 which highlights the growing global digital skills crisis and the need for action.
  • India has scored 63 out of 100, leads the digital skills readiness, and has the highest readiness index among the 19 countries. The average global readiness score was 33 out of 100.
  • The 2022 Global Digital Skills Index, is based on a survey on around 23000 workers across 19 countries about digital skills, including their impact on the future of work, concerns about job readiness, and the significance of continuous learning.
  • Three major skills gaps were identified in the 2022 global index: The everyday skills gap, The generational skills gap, and The leadership and workforce skills gap.

3. Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Gautam Adani overtook Mukesh Ambani

  • In accordance with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Gautam Adani net worth reached $88.5 billion overtaking Mukesh Ambani’s $87.9 billion becoming Asia’s richest person as on 8th February 2022.
  • With a nearly $12 billion jump in his personal wealth, he has become the 10th richest person in the world.
  • Globally Elon Musk was named as the world’s richest person with a total net worth of $235 Billion. He was followed by Jeff Bezos with a total net worth of $183 Billion & Bernard Arnault with a total net worth of $168 Billion.

4. TomTom Traffic Index Ranking 2021: Mumbai 5th most-congested city in the world

  • As per the TomTom Traffic Index Ranking 2021, Mumbai has been ranked at 5th, Bengaluru at 10th in terms of the most congested cities in the world in 2021. Delhi and Pune ranked 11th and 21st among 404 cities across 58 countries, according to TomTom Traffic Index’s global top 25 lists.
  • Istanbul, Turkey has been declared as the most congested city in the world as per the ranking. while Moscow came in second. The ranking covers 404 cities across 58 countries. The report said India’s congestion level in 2021 was 23% lower than pre-Covid times, with a decrease of 31% specifically during peak hours. In 2020, the traffic congestion in three Indian metros- Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi – made it to the top 10 list.

5. India ranked 46th in EIU’s Democracy Index

  • India has ranked 46th position in the 2021 Democracy Index’s global ranking, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. With the highest score of 9.75, Norway topped the Democracy Index 2021 by Economist Intelligence.
  • The list was published on February 10, 2022. India scored 6.91 to rank 46th on the list. Our neighbour Pakistan has been placed further below in the hybrid regime with a rank of 104.

Top 10 countries in the list:

  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Iceland
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Taiwan
  • Australia
  • Switzerland

6. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021/2022 report: India ranked 4th

  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 report, unveiled at the Dubai Expo, India is among the top five easiest places to start a new business.
  • The survey of Indian respondents, who answered questions on their entrepreneurial activity, attitudes to enterprise and view of their local entrepreneurial ecosystem, found that 82% think it is easy to start a business, placing India fourth globally. It was topped by Saudi Arabia and followed by Netherlands & Sweden.
  • India has topped amongst low-income economies (according to GDP per capita) on different Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions such as Entrepreneurial Finance, Ease of Access to Finance, Government Policy: Support and Relevance; and Government Support: Taxes and Bureaucracy; while Government Entrepreneurial Programmes was ranked second highest.

1. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw kicks Off NITI Aayog’s Fintech Open Summit

  • NITI Aayog, in collaboration with PhonePe, AWS and EY, has organized a three-week-long virtual summit, ‘Fintech Open’, from 7–28 February. The summit was inaugurated by Union Minister for Railways, Communications, and Electronics and IT, Ashwini Vaishnaw in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar.
  • A first-of-its-kind initiative, Fintech Open will bring together regulators, fintech professionals and enthusiasts, industry leaders, the start-up community, and developers to collaborate, exchange ideas and innovate.
  • An open platform is created using public investment, wherein numerous private entrepreneurs, start-ups and developers can join to create new solutions. For example, today, 270 banks are connected with the UPI and many entrepreneurs and start-ups have provided solutions that have helped increase the country’s fintech adoption rate—which is the highest globally at 87%.

2. Power Minister R K Singh launched Powerthon-2022

  • Union Minister of Power, R K Singh has launched Powerthon-2022, a hackathon competition to find technology-driven solutions to solve the complex problems in power distribution and to ensure quality and reliable power supply.
  • The competition will bring together qualified mentors with TSPs, innovators, and other participants to create teams for efficient electricity networks. He also encouraged technologists to come forward not only with solutions to existing problems but also with other problem statements and ideas for reliable power supply.
  • Technology Solution Providers (TSPs), start-ups, educational institutions, research institutes, equipment manufacturers, state power utilities and other state and central power sector entities, shall be briefed on the current challenges/ problem statements faced across the power distribution sector and invited to showcase their technology-driven solutions to solve the complex problems.

3. Reimagining Museums Global Summit 2022: Culture Ministry to organise

  • The Union Ministry of Culture will organize a first-of-its-kind Global Summit on ‘Reimagining Museums in India’ on February 15-16, 2022. The summit will be inaugurated by Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy.
  • The Global Summit is being organised in partnership with Bloomberg. It will be held online for two days and is open for public participation. The summit will see participation from 25 museologists and museum professionals who will speak on reimagined priorities and practices for Museums.
  • The virtual summit will be conducted with four broad themes: Architecture and Functional Needs, Management, Collections Curation & Conservation practices) and Education and Audience Engagement.
  • The Reimagining Museums Global Summit 2022 will focus on best practices and strategies to develop India’s museums. It will be organised as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, a flagship program to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

4. Government continued RYSK Scheme for another 5 years

  • The Central Government of India has decided to continue the scheme of “Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram (RYSK)” for another 5 years from 2021 -22 to 2025-26 with an outlay of Rs. 2,710.65 crore.
  • To develop the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and to engage them in nation-building activities. Beneficiaries of this scheme are the youth in the age group of 15 to 29 years (according to the definition of ‘youth’ in the National Youth Policy, 2014).

5. PM Narendra Modi address high-level segment of One Ocean Summit

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the high-level segment of the One Ocean Summit.
  • The high-level segment of the summit will also be addressed by several other heads of states and governments including Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and Canada.
  • The One Ocean summit is organised by France from 9-11 February in Brest in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank.
  • The objective of the summit is to mobilise the international community to take tangible action towards preserving and supporting healthy and sustainable ocean ecosystems.

1. NASA will retire International Space Station in 2031

  • According to NASA, the International Space Station will continue its operation until 2031 and then crash into an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo. It will be replaced with three free-flying space stations to continue the work after ISS’s retirement.
  • NASA also selected Houston-based Axiom Space to provide the ISS’s first commercial module. For over two decades, the International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting Earth at a speed of about eight kilometres per second, while an international crew of astronauts and cosmonauts onboard conducted groundbreaking scientific investigations that have thrown open the doors for deep space exploration.
  • But now NASA has announced that the spacecraft will cease operations in 2031, after which it will fall out of orbit and plunge into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.

2. ISRO decommissioned INSAT-4B through 11 Re-orbiting manoeuvres

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decommissioned the INSAT-4B, an Indian communications satellite that forms part of the Indian National Satellite System.
  • The INSAT-4B underwent Post Mission Disposal (PMD) at the end of its service, followed by decommissioning on January 24.
  • INSAT-4B is the 21st Indian Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite to undergo post-mission disposal, the required propellant for such re-orbiting was included in the initial fuel budget as a part of standard practice followed in ISRO’s GEO mission planning.
  • The development is in compliance with the UN and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) recommended space debris mitigation guidelines. The IADC guidelines provide guidance for limiting the generation of orbital debris both during and after space operations.
  • The guidelines also define accepted disposal orbits and other conditions, such as the timeline for abandoning commonly used orbits and controlling the risk to people and property on the Earth.

1. Kotak General Ins. partners CARS24 to offer Motor Insurance for used cars

  • ICICI Lombard General Insurance has partnered with Airtel Payments Bank to offer cyber insurance to customers of the bank.
  • This Cyber Insurance policy provides financial protection to customers against potential financial fraud relating to banking, credit or debit card; identity theft; phishing or email spoofing etc. Airtel Payments Bank customers can purchase this cyber insurance policy within minutes using the Airtel Thanks app.
  • The insurance comes with zero waiting period and allows users to make multiple claims multiple times during the policy tenure, within the limits of the insured amount opted for
  • The policy will provide a 90-day discovery period followed by a seven-day reporting period.
  • This means that if the insured discovers an unauthorized transaction processed from their card or account on the 90th day from the transaction date, they can still report it in the next seven days to the issuing bank or mobile wallet company.

2. Razorpay buys majority stake in Malaysian startup “Curlec”

  • Razorpay has expanded into South-East Asia with the acquisition of a majority stake in a Malaysian fintech firm Curlec, valuing the company between $19-20 million. Razorpay expects to complete the full acquisition in the next one-and-a-half years.
  • The Kuala Lumpur-based, Curlec builds solutions for recurring payments for businesses. This marks Razorpay’s fourth acquisition overall and its first in the international markets.
  • This acquisition will allow us to quickly ramp up and start scaling in Southeast Asia as a market. Curlec has been powering recurring payments for multiple companies in the Malaysian market. With them as part of this team, we will have a local team that understands the nuances of the market in Malaysia and Southeast Asia at large.
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