General Knowledge & Current Affairs

January 2022 - 8th to 14th

1. OPEC appoints Kuwait’s Haitham Al Ghais as new secretary general.

  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has appointed Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham Al Ghais as its new secretary-general, as demand for oil continues to improve amid a mild recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Al Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait’s Opec governor from 2017 to June 2021, will take the group’s reins in August, replacing Mohammad Barkindo.

2. Justice Ayesha Malik to be Pakistan’s first woman Supreme Court judge.

  • Pakistan has moved closer to appointing the first woman judge of the Supreme Court, after a high-power panel approved the elevation of Lahore High Court judge Ayesha Malik to the apex court.
  • The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, approved Malik’s elevation by a majority of five votes against four.
  • This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik’s elevation. Justice Malik’s name first came before the JCP on September 9 last year but the panel was equally split, resulting in the rejection of her candidature.

3. Australia & Japan signed defence agreement to counter China.

  • The leaders of Japan and Australia signed a “landmark” defence agreement that allows closer cooperation between their militaries and stands as a rebuke to China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in a virtual summit to sign the Reciprocal Access Agreement, the first such defence pact signed by Japan with any country other than the United States.
  • The agreement follows more than a year of talks between Japan and Australia aimed at breaking down legal barriers to allow the troops of one country to enter the other for training and other purposes.
  • Morrison called the pact a “pivotal moment for Australia and Japan and (for) the security of our two nations and our people.”

4. Alikhan Smailov appointed as new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

  • The parliament of Kazakhstan has unanimously approved the appointment of Alikhan Smailov as the new Prime Minister of the country. His name was nominated by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on January 11, 2022.
  • Prior to this, the 49-year-old Smailov served as the country’s finance minister from 2018 to 2020. He became the first deputy prime minister in the Cabinet in 2019.

5. Cyprus detects new ‘Deltacron’ Covid variant.

  • Cyprus has detected a new variant dubbed as “Deltacron”, that has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, coupled with 10 mutations from Omicron. The variant has already affected 25 people in Cyprus.
  • According to Dr Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, of the 25 samples taken in Cyprus, 11 were hospitalised due to the virus, while 14 were from the general population.
  • The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the country, according to the yet-to-be peer-reviewed study supported by the French government. Studies have shown that the co-existence of Delta and Omicron increases the chances of a new variant as a result of them trading genes.

1. Election Commission hikes expenditure limit for candidates in polls

  • The Election Commission of India has increased the existing election expenditure limit for candidates in Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, due to the rise in inflation. The new limits will be applicable in all upcoming elections in the country.
  • The previous major revision in the election expenditure limit was done in 2014. It was further increased by 10% in 2020. EC had formed a Committee to study the cost factors and other related issues, and make suitable recommendations.
  • The ceiling on parliamentary poll expenditure has been raised from 70 lakh to 95 lakh rupees in bigger states and 54 lakh to 75 lakhs in smaller states.
  • The bigger states include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.
  • The smaller states include Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and UTs.
  • The ceiling on poll expenditure in UT of Jammu and Kashmir has been raised to 95 lakhs.
  • For Assembly constituencies, expenditure limits have been enhanced from 28 lakh rupees to 40 lakh rupees in bigger states and from 20 lakhs to 28 lakhs in smaller states.

2. Rajnath Singh inaugurates Kalpana Chawla Centre For Research at Chandigarh University.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science and Technology (KCCRSST) at Chandigarh University.
  • The Union Minister also launched Chandigarh University’s Defence Scholarship Scheme, worth Rs 10 Crore, for the wards of Defence Personnel of the three services. Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.

3. PM declares December 26 to be observed as ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ annually.

  • Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has declared that starting from the year 2022, December 26 will be observed as ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ every year.
  • The day will be commemorated as a tribute to the courage of the 4 Sahibzades (the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji), who attained martyrdom in the 17th century.
  • The announcement was made by PM Modi on January 09, 2022, on the occasion of the Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, or the birth anniversary of the 10th guru of Sikhs and the founder of the Khalsa community.
  • 26 December marks the day on which Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji (younger pair of Sahibzade) attained martyrdom after being sealed alive in a wall, at the tender age of 6 and 9 years.
  • Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji (older pair of Sahibzade) attained martyrdom on December 21, 1705, fighting the enemy in battle at Chamkaur Sahib at the young age of 18 and 14 years.

4. India Skills 2021 competition concluded.

  • India Skills 2021 national competition concluded with more than 200 participants who were felicitated by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. As many as 270 winners of the Competition felicitated with 61 gold, 77 silver, 53 bronze and 79 medallions of excellence.
  • Odisha finished first out of 26 states and union territories of this year in the ‘IndiaSkills 2021’ contest with 51 medals. Odisha won 10 gold, 18 silver, 9 bronze, and 14 medallions.
  • With 30 medals, Maharashtra remained in second place, while Kerala took third place with 25 medals.
  • The winners of the India Skills 2021 competition will also have the opportunity to compete in the World Skills International Competition in Shanghai, China, in October 2022.
  • The competitions were held at multiple locations, including Pragati Maidan and offsite locations in the National Capital Region, from 7 to 9th of this month.

5. PM Modi inaugurated MSME Technology Centre.

  • On the occasion of the National Youth Day 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated an ‘MSME Technology Centre’, which will function under the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), in Puducherry.
  • The technology centre was built at a cost of Rs 122 crore with a focus on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector.
  • The centre was inaugurated during the inauguration event of the 25th National youth Festival (12th & 13th January 2022) in Puducherry. He also inaugurated the ‘Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam’, a modern auditorium with an open-air theatre in Puducherry.

1. Sikkim celebrated Losoong (Namsoong) Festival.

  • Losoong (Namsoong) is annually celebrated across the Indian State of Sikkim on the 18th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar, which also marks the beginning of the harvest season.
  • The Namsoong festival begins on the 1st day of the new moon phase Kurneet Lovo, as per the Lepcha lunisolar Calendar known as Dungkit Karchu.
  • The losoong festival is celebrated as Sonam Losoong, by the Sikkimese Bhutia and as Namsoong by the Lepchas. The festival is also celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan.

2. Uttar Pradesh Govt Declares 4 Villages Near Nepal Border as Revenue Villages.

  • Uttar Pradesh government declared four villages located near the Nepal border in the district as revenue villages. District Magistrate of Bahraich, Dinesh Chandra Singh said the decision was taken before the announcement of the general elections to the UP Legislative Assembly.
  • These four villages are Bhavanipur, Tedhia, Dhakia and Bichhia located in Mihinpurwa tehsil of the district. All these villages are Vantangiya villages. The Vantangiya’ community comprises people brought from Myanmar during the colonial rule to plant trees. There are around 225 families in these four villages consisting of over 1,500 members.
  • A revenue village is a small administrative region with defined borders. One revenue village may contain many hamlets. A village administrative officer is the head officer of a revenue village. The people of these villages will now get the benefits of all the schemes of the government.

1. RBI increased banks’ LCR maintenance on Funds received

  • The Reserve Bank of India has increased the threshold limit for Banks to maintain the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) on deposits and other ‘extension of funds’ received from non-financial small business customers from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7.5 crore.
  • This is applicable on all Commercial Banks other than Regional Rural Banks, Local Area Banks, and Payments Banks.
  • To better align RBI’s guidelines with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) standard and enable banks to manage liquidity risk more effectively.
  • LCR promotes the short-term resilience of banks to potential liquidity disruptions by ensuring that they have sufficient high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) to survive an acute stress scenario lasting for 30 days.

2. RBI issues eligibility norms for entities harnessing credit bureau data

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued eligibility criteria for entities that harness data from credit information companies (CICs) or credit bureaus.
  • These newly-formed guidelines said that a company’s net worth must be at least Rs 2 crore and owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens to become a designated user with a credit bureau, which comes amid accusations of lending applications with Chinese ties functioning in India.

3. RBL Bank tie-up with Google to advance next-gen customer experience

  • RBL Bank and Google announced a strategic collaboration to fuel the Bank’s customer experience strategy. Through this, the bank will expand its value proposition to serve its rapidly growing customer base through the digital platform, Abacus 2.0.
  • It will enable better customer data management, and analytics, enabling effective cross-selling within the Bank’s large customer base. RBL Bank currently has over 4 million urban retail asset and liability customers.
  • This collaboration will enable better customer data management, and analytics, enabling effective cross-selling within the Bank’s large customer base and subsequently reducing the cost of customer acquisition, significantly.
  • Through Abacus 2.0, the Bank aims to provide a superior and holistic one-stop solution to its existing and new customers, to seamlessly deliver its different product offerings across channels.

4. RBI set up a separate department for “FinTech”

  • Reserve Bank of India has set up a separate internal department for fintech (Financial technology). The new department has been created with effect from January 04, 2022, by subsuming the FinTech Division of Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, Central Office (DPSS, CO).
  • The department will not only promote innovation in the sector but also identify the challenges and opportunities associated with it and address them in a timely manner. Ajay Kumar Choudhary, who was recently promoted as the Executive Director of RBI was appointed as head of the department.

1. Winter Olympics-bound Md Arif Khan included in Target Olympic Podium Scheme

  • Sports Ministry’s Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) of India has approved the inclusion of Alpine Skiing athlete Md Arif Khan in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Core group, until the Winter Olympics, scheduled this February in Beijing, China.
  • The feat earned Khan the unique distinction of becoming the first Indian to win direct quota spots in two different Winter Olympics events, besides being the first athlete from the country to seal a berth at the Winter Olympic games 2022.
  • Khan will take part in the Winter Olympics in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events. He has also been approved an amount of Rs 17.46 Lakh under TOPS towards training in Europe and procurement of equipment, ahead of the grand event in China. Khan’s current training base is in Austria, where he is accompanied by his coach and physio.

2. World Rapid Chess Championship 2021 won by Nodirbek Abdusattorov

  • Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzbekistan), won the World Rapid Chess Championship 2021 by defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) in a tiebreaker and dethroning Magnus Carlsen, the current World Number 1. 2020 FIDE Championship was won by Magnus Carlsen.
  • Nodirbek won the title along with a prize of $60,000, where he lost only one match against the Ukrainian Anton Korobov, and tied in five others. The Uzbeki Grand Master (GM), received the Mard Uglon (“Brave Son”) Presidential medal.

3. Bharath Subramaniyam named India’s 73rd chess Grandmaster

  • Tamil Nadu’s Bharath Subramaniyam became India’s 73rd chess Grandmaster. He secured the third and final Grandmaster norm at an event at Cattolica in Italy.
  • He scored 6.5 points from nine rounds along with four others and finish seventh in the event. He secured his third GM norm here as well as touched the requisite 2,500 (Elo) mark.

4. Gael Monfils wins 2022 Adelaide International 1 tennis tournament

  • French tennis player Gael Monfils beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the men’s singles event of the 2022 Adelaide International 1 to claim the 11th ATP title of his career.
  • In the women’s category, World number one Australian star Ashleigh Barty beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan to win her second Adelaide International title. 2022 Adelaide International 1 was a combined ATP Tour 250 and WTA 500 tournament.

5. Rafael Nadal wins 2022 Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament

  • World number six Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles tennis title at 2022 Melbourne Summer Set 1. Nadal beat American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6(6), 6-3 to earn his 89th career ATP title.
  • In the women’s singles, Simona Halep beat Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6–2, 6–3 to win her 23rd career WTA title.
  • Meanwhile in the Melbourne Summer Set 2 tennis tournament, American player Amanda Anisimova won the women’s singles tennis title, to earn her second career WTA title. American duo Bernarda Pera and Kateřina Siniaková won the women’s doubles tennis title.

6. New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel wins ICC Player of the Month Award

  • India-born New Zealand cricketer Ajaz Patel has won the ICC Player of the Month award for December following his stupendous 10-wicket haul against Virat Kohli and Co. in the second Test in Mumbai.
  • The left-arm spinner was nominated for the award alongside India opener Mayank Agarwal and Australian pacer Mitchell Starc but beat them to it on the back of his incredibly rare feat.
  • Ajaz picked up 14 wickets in the Mumbai Test match in early December against India, including all 10 in the first innings, to become only the third player in Test history, after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble, to achieve the remarkable milestone.

7. Mission Olympic Cell adds 10 athletes to the TOPS list

  • Mission Olympic Cell under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has added ten athletes to the list of athletes who would be provided support under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
  • Total 10 new entrants, five athletes have been included in the Core group while five have been added to the Development group. Now, the total number of athletes under TOPS has increased to 301, which includes 107 in the Core group while 294 in the Development group.
  • Athletes added to the Core group includes:
  • Aditi Ashok (Golf)
  • Fouaad Mirza (Horse Rider/ Equestrian)
  • Anirban Lahiri (Golf)
  • Diksha Dagar (Golf)
  • Mohammed Arif Khan (Alpine Skiier )
  • Athletes added to the Development group includes:
  • Shubhankar Sharma (Golf)
  • Tvesa Malik (Golf)
  • Yash Ghangas (Judo)
  • Unnati Sharma (Judo)
  • Linthoi Chanambam (Judo)

8. Tata group replaces Chinese mobile manufacturer Vivo as IPL title sponsor

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has informed that Tata group has replaced Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
  • The multinational conglomerate will pay Rs. 300 crore per year as the title sponsor of IPL for the next two seasons. This is about 60% of what Vivo would have paid.

9. AISCD gets approval to hold first World Deaf T20 Cricket championship 2023

  • The All India Sports Council of the Deaf has got approval from the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to host the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in Kerala from January 10-20, 2023.
  • This championship was planned to be conducted in 2020-21 but due to the sudden outbreak of coronavirus, it was postponed first to 2022 & now fixed for 2023.
  • A minimum of eight countries are expected to take part in the championship and this kind of international event is being held in India with the approval of the ICSD for the first time.”

1. Ind-Ra lowers India’s GDP growth forecast by 10 basis points to 9.3% in FY22

  • The rating agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has downgraded the GDP of India for the current fiscal FY 2021-2022. Ind-Ra expects the GDP to clock a growth rate of 9.3% y-o-y in FY22.
  • Earlier this estimate was 9.4%. Meanwhile, Brickworks Ratings has also revised India’s GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal (FY22) to 8.5-9%. Earlier this was estimated at 10%. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is the main driver to downgrade GDP growth projections.

2. SBI Ecowrap: India’s Real GDP projected to grow at around 9.5% in FY22

  • The economic research team of the State Bank of India (SBI) released its Ecowrap report. In the report, SBI researchers have revised upwards the real GDP of India to around 9.5 per cent in 2021-22 (FY22) on a year-on-year (YoY).
  • The report believes that though rising Covid infections could impact mobility, yet economic activity is not expected to get much affected.

3. RBI data: Forex reserves decline by USD 1.466 bn to USD 633.614 bn

  • As per the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, the foreign currency reserves of India declined by $1.466 billion to $633.614 billion, in the last week of 2021, which ended December 31, 2021.
  • Gold reserves rose by USD 14 million to USD 39.405 billion. India’s forex touched a lifetime high of USD 642.453 billion in the week ended September 03, 2021. Forex reserves include foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, SDRs and the country’s reserve position with the IMF.

4. NSO projects Indian economy to grow 9.2% in FY22

  • National Statistical Office (NSO) has estimated India’s GDP to grow at 9.2 per cent in the current fiscal, 2021-22.
  • NSO released its first advance estimates of economic output on January 07, 2022. The GDP estimate for the 2020-21 fiscal was projected at a contraction of 7.3 per cent by NSO.
  • In terms of figures, real GDP in 2021-22 is estimated at Rs. 147.54 lakh crore against the provisional estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 at Rs 135.13 lakh crore.
  • Nominal GDP for 2021-22 is estimated at Rs. 232.15 lakh crore, as against the Provisional
  • Estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 at Rs 197.46 lakh crore.
  • The fiscal deficit target likely to be achieved is 6.8%.

5. Finance Ministry: Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts cross Rs 1.5 lakh crore

  • According to the finance ministry, the deposits in bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme have crossed Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark. The total balance in accounts under the Jan Dhan scheme was recorded at Rs 1,50,939.36 crore as of December-end 2021.
  • The data revealed that over 44.23 crore accounts have been opened under the scheme. Of this, 34.9 crore accounts were opened with the public sector banks, 8.05 crore with regional rural banks, and the remaining 1.28 crore with private sector banks. RuPay Debit Cards were issued to 31.28 crores PMJDY beneficiaries under this scheme.

6. Retail inflation rises to 5.59% in December 2021

  • Retail inflation in December 2021 rose to a six-month high of 5.59 per cent from 4.91 per cent in November 2021, mainly due to a sharp rise in food prices as food inflation for the period under review also rose steeply to 4.05 per cent against 1.87 per cent in November 2021.
  • According to data released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, prices of cereals, egg, milk products and prepared meals went up during December 2021.
  • Apart from these items, prices of clothing and footwear, education, health as well as recreation activities and transportation too witnessed a rise in December 2021 compared to November 2021.

7. UBS Projects India’s GDP forecast at 9.1% in FY22

  • Swiss brokerage UBS Securities has lowered the growth forecast of the Indian economy for the current financial year (FY22) to 9.1 per cent due to a massive surge in Omicron infections. Earlier this was estimated at 9.5 per cent.
  • However, UBS Securities has revised upwards the real GDP forecast of India in FY23 to 8.2 per cent. This was projected at 7.7 per cent earlier.

8. World Bank projects India’s GDP growth at 8.3% in FY22

  • The World Bank has projected the Indian economy to grow at the following rate in its ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report released on January 11, 2022.
  • The World Bank retained its FY22 growth forecast for India at 8.3 per cent but upgraded it to 8.7 per cent for FY23, from 7.5 per cent estimated earlier, citing improving growth prospects, especially a reviving private capex cycle.
  • The forecast for FY2022/23 and FY2023/24 for India has been upgraded to 8.7 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively, reflecting higher investment from the private sector and in infrastructure, and dividends from ongoing reforms.

9. UN projects India GDP at 6.5% in FY22

  • The GDP growth forecast of India in fiscal 2022 is estimated to grow at 6.5 per cent as per the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2022 report. Earlier this was estimated at 8.4%.
  • The WESP is a flagship report produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA). UN has projected the growth rate for fiscal 2023 (FY 2022-2023) at 5.9 per cent.
  • On a calendar year basis UN has projected India’s GDP as follows:
  • 2021 – 9 per cent
  • 2022 – 6.7 per cent
  • 2023 – 6.1 per cent
  • Globally:
  • 2021 – 5.5 per cent
  • 2022 – 4.0 per cent
  • 2023 – 3.5 per cent

1. Hyderabad gets India’s first Open Rock Museum

  • Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated India’s first Open Rock Museum in Hyderabad, Telangana. Museum displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India with ages ranging from 3.3 billion years to around 55 million years of the Earth’s history.
  • The Open Rock Museum, set up with the aim of educating and enlightening the masses about several lesser-known facts, displays around 35 different types of rocks from different parts of India.
  • These rocks also represent the deepest part of the earth, up to 175 km from the surface of the earth. The rocks have been sourced from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and others.

2. Sudhir Kumar Saxena committee constituted to enquire security lapses during PM Punjab visit

  • Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a committee to enquire into the serious lapses in the security arrangements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab. It is a three-member committee and will be headed by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat. It also comprises Balbir Singh, Joint Director, IB and Suresh, IG, SPG.
  • The committee has been asked to inquire about the alleged lapses in the security arrangements of PM Modi “which led to the exposure of the VVIP to grave risk” and submit the report at the earliest.
  • The move comes just ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the PM’s security breach. It was the government’s own former ASG, Maninder Singh, who moved SC seeking an independent probe into the PM’s security breach. The court is slated to hear the matter on January 7.

3. Kevadia railway station renamed as Ekta Nagar railway station

  • The Ministry of Railways has approved the renaming of the Kevadiya railway station in the Narmada district of Gujarat, as Ekta Nagar railway station. The Statue of Unity’s Kevadiya railway station falls under the Vadodara division. The station code of Ekta Nagar railway station will be EKNR.
  • The numerical code of the station will be 08224620. Last year, the Ministry of Railways had said tourists visiting the world’s tallest statue in Gujarat “Statue of Unity” will be able to experience the rich cultural history of the state at the Kevadiya railway station itself.
  • Under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, the Vadodara Division of Western Railways had awarded first of its kind contract in the Indian Railways network for the development of an Art Gallery with a Souvenir shop at Gujarat’s Kevadiya Railway station.

4. India’s first heli-hub to be set up in Gurugram

  • Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala announced that Gurugram will get India’s 1st heli-hub with all aviation facilities. The heli-hub will be the first of its kind in India to have all facilities at one place for helicopters.
  • The heli-hub is proposed to be built in Gurugram & would be near the metro facility along with easy connectivity to industrial areas (Noida & Bhiwadi).
  • The Haryana government has proposed to set up the first heli-hub of the country in Gurugram designed to have many aviation facilities like heliport, hangars, repairs, and any other related services.

5. 9th edition of North East Festival concludes

  • The 9th edition of the North East Festival concluded in Guwahati, Assam. The main purpose of this festival is to promote and highlight the commercial and tourism potential of the North East region.
  • The festival was organised in the format of a carnival with live music and dance performances, engaging the visitors throughout the day in the open area while serious discussions on business, economic, socio-political issues of the region engrossed the intellectuals in the conference halls.
  • The festival aimed at integrated marketing of the entire North-East to attract tourists and investments. The closing day was graced by Assam’s Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, who interacted with entrepreneurs participating from across the North-East region.

6. Indian Railways launches Mission Amanat to help passengers track their lost belongings

  • The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Western Railways zone of Indian Railways has launched a new initiative called “Mission Amanat” to make it easier for railway passengers to get back their lost luggage.
  • Under Mission Amanat, the details of lost luggage and belongings along with photos will be uploaded on the official website of the zonal railway, https://wr.indianrailways.gov.in/. This will help the passengers in tracking and getting back their lost belongings as well as ensure the safety and security of passengers and their luggage and belongings.

7. Kochi became India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project

  • Kochi, Kerala has become India’s first city to have a Water Metro Project after the launch of its first boat in December 2021, namely ‘Muziris,’ among the 23 battery-powered electric boats being manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited.
  • This launch is a part of the Rs 747-crore project which is operated by Kochi Water Metro Ltd (KWML). The boats will be called Water Metros.
  • With a total outlay of Rs 819 crore, the project’s major part is financed under Indo-German Financial Cooperation through a long-term loan agreement of 85 million Euros (Rs 579 crore) with the German funding agency, KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau).

8. David Bennett world first human receives a Pig Heart Transplant

  • A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig. David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore.
  • The possibility of using animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation to meet the demand has long been considered, and using pig heart valves is already common. Pigs are increasingly becoming popular candidates for organ transplantation.
  • This is because their organs are anatomically similar to those of humans. What’s more, porcine components are more tuned for genetic engineering.

1. GoI extends Navrang Saini’s term as interim chief of IBBI

  • The Government of India has extended the tenure of Navrang Saini as interim Chairperson of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) for three more months till March 05, 2022.
  • Mr. Saini, who is a Whole Time Member of IBBI, was assigned additional charge of Chairperson in addition to his existing duties in October 2021 for three months till January 13, 2022.
  • The post of full-time Chairperson has been lying vacant after M.S. Sahoo retired upon completing a five-year tenure on September 30, 2021.

2. Former RBI Governor Urjit Patel Appointed as Vice President of AIIB

  • Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Urjit Patel has been appointed as Vice President of the multilateral funding institution Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for a period of three years.
  • He will be one of the five Vice Presidents of the AIIB. He is expected to take charge from February 2022.
  • He will succeed outgoing Vice President D J Pandian, who is in charge of sovereign and non-sovereign lending of the AIIB in South Asia, the Pacific Islands and South-East Asia.

3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas appointed as next IMF’s Chief Economist

  • French-born economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas has been named as the next chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He will succeed Gita Gopinath, the first woman to serve as the Fund’s chief economist.
  • He will take over as first deputy managing director of IMF from January 21 2022. Initially, Gourinchas will join the IMF on a part-time basis from January 24, 2022. He will take upon a role on a full-time basis from April 1, 2022.

4. Rocket scientist S Somanath appointed as new ISRO chief

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the appointment of the eminent rocket scientist Dr S Somanath as its new chairman and Space Secretary. He will succeed Kailasavadivoo Sivan who completes his extended tenure.
  • The post of the ISRO chairman, the Space Secretary and the Space Commission chief is usually held by one person only. Mr Somanath is an expert in a host of disciplines including launch vehicle design and has specialised in launch vehicle systems engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, integration designs and procedures, mechanism design, and pyrotechnics.
  • He is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. He was a team leader for the Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during the early phases of his career.

5. RBI approves appointment of Ittira Davis as MD & CEO of Ujjivan SFB

  • Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Ittira Davis as managing director & chief executive officer of (MD & CEO) of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank for one tenure. He will take charge of the extended tenure from January 14, 2022. The post had been lying vacant since three-month following the sudden exit of incumbent Nitin Chugh.
  • Prior to Ujjivan, Davis was the Managing Director with the Europe Arab Bank, London. He has also held leadership positions with Arab Bank plc, Bahrain and Citibank, India. He has over 40 years of work experience in India, Middle East and Europe.

6. Raghuvendra Tanwar appointed chairman of ICHR

  • Professor emeritus, Kurukshetra University, Raghuvendra Tanwar has been appointed as chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
  • Tanwar appointment is for a period of three years from the day he assumes the office of the Chairman of the Council or until further order. Tanwar, who joined Kurukshetra University as a lecturer in August 1977, has an outstanding academic record, with two gold medals in MA History.
  • The primary aim and objective of the Indian Council of Historical Research is to promote and give directions to historical research and to encourage and foster objective and scientific writing of history. Enhancing the academic standard of the output of ICHR activities has been the foremost objective in it’s agenda.

1. Airtel Payments Bank tie-up with Park+ to offer FASTag-based Parking Solutions

  • Airtel Payments Bank and Park+ have collaborated to offer FASTag-based smart parking solutions to marquee commercial and residential properties across India.
  • This partnership will utilize the reach of Airtel Payments Bank to digitize the parking ecosystem using FASTag associated with the vehicle. Park+ is backed by Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners and is engaged in automating parking spaces through FASTag.
  • The collaboration aims to leverage the deep distribution reach and digital payments stack of Airtel Payments Bank to digitize the parking ecosystem using FASTag associated with the vehicle.
  • Park+ will offer its entire suite of FASTag services including issuance, acquiring, recharge, and technology support to Airtel Payments Bank. Park+ access control systems are installed at over 1500 societies, over 30 malls, and over 150 corporate parks across the country.

1. India successfully test-fires naval variant BrahMos cruise missile

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired an extended range sea-to-sea variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Navy.
  • This advanced sea to sea variant of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile was launched from INS Visakhapatnam, a stealth guided-missile destroyer of the Indian Navy.
  • BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, produces supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.
  • The missile can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.
  • BrahMos missile flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.

2. DRDO successfully test-fires final deliverable configuration of MPATGM

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), in its final “deliverable configuration”.
  • MPATGM will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited at its facility in Bhanoor, Telangana.
  • The purpose of testing the missile was to check its consistent performance at a minimum range, which is 200-300 metres.
  • MPATGM has already completed a similar successful test for a maximum range of 4,000 metres.
  • With this successful test of the MPATGM, the system is now ready for production in large numbers in India.

1. Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Nongkynrih passes away

  • Founder of Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) and renowned Indian concert pianist Neil Nongkynrih passed away.
  • In 2010, SCC performed for former US President Barack Obama & Michelle Obama during their visit to India.
  • SCC’s version of ‘Vande Maataram’ was played during the live telecast program Indian space rocket Chandrayaan – 2’s landing on the moon. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Shri – India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

2. First black man to win Best Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier passes away

  • Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, has died at the age of 94. In 1963, Poitier had made a film in Arizona, Lilies of the Field. The performance led to a huge milestone making him the first black winner of a lead-acting Oscar.
  • He was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama for his work. Sidney Poitier started his career as an actor in theatre in the 1940s before his breakthrough film role in the 1950 release No Way Out. Over a five-decade career in films, he worked both as an actor and director. His last appearance on screen was in the 1997 film Jackal.

3. European Parliament President David Sassoli passes away

  • European Parliament President, David Sassoli has passed away due to health issues. He had served as the President of the European Parliament from July 2019 until his death in January 2022. He was first elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009.
  • Later in July 2014, Sassoli was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament. In the 2019 European Parliament election in Italy, he was elected as new president with 128,533 votes. European Parliament is one of the seven branches of the EU. Its headquarter is at Strasbourg, France.

4. Kannada writer ‘Champa’ passes away

  • Prominent Kannada writer Chandrashekhar Patil, popularly known as “Champa”, passed away at the age of 82.
  • He was a Kannada language activist, a poet and a playwright and also served as President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) and Chairman of the Kannada Development Authority.

5. Olympic medal-winning Athlete Deon Lendore passes away

  • Olympic athlete Deon Lendore, who participated in the 400 meters race at the 2020 Olympics, passed away at the age of 29 years due to a fatal car accident in Texas, United States (US). He was born on 28 October 1992 in Trinidad and Tobago (the Caribbean Islands, South America), was an expert of 400 meters championships.
  • He participated in the London Olympics in 2012 and won a Bronze medal in 4×400 meter relay. He also participated in the Tokyo Olympic 2021 and in 2016 Rio Olympics.

1. DPIIT and Commerce Ministry to organize Startup India Innovation Week

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry have decided to organize a week-long virtual innovation celebration called ‘Startup India Innovation Week’ to showcase the spread and depth of entrepreneurship across India.
  • The virtual event will be organized from January 10 to January 16, 2022. The event also aims to commemorate the 75th year of India’s independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
  • ‘Startup India Innovation Week’ will have sessions ranging from topics such as enhancing market access opportunities, discussions with industry leaders, best practices by states, capacity building of enablers, reverse pitching by incubators, technology exhibitions, corporate connect and more.
  • “The programme is expected to bring together top policymakers, industry, academia, investors, startups, and all ecosystem enablers from across the globe,”.

2. Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2022: 09th January

  • The Non-Resident Indian Day or also known as the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is celebrated every year on 9th January every year.
  • The aim of the event is to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government of India and reconnect them with their roots.
  • On the occasion of 2022 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD), Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will speak at a virtual youth PBD conference on the “role of Indian diaspora” in innovation and new technology.
  • On 9 January 1915, Mahatma Gandhi came to India from South Africa and became the greatest Pravasi who led India’s Freedom Struggle and made India free from British or colonial rule. As a Non-Resident Indian or Pravasi, he is presented as a symbol of a change and development that could bring into India.

3. World Hindi Day: 10 January

  • World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10 since 2006 to promote the language at the global stage. The day marks the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference which was inaugurated on January 10, 1975, by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
  • However, the celebration of first World Hindi Day was commenced on 10 January 2006 by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The first World Hindi Day conference was organised on January 10, 1975, in Nagpur, a city in the state of Maharashtra.
  • The grand event registered the participation of 122 representatives from 30 countries. The day is observed in India from the year 2003. The Ministry of External Affairs began the tradition of celebrating World Hindi Day in other nations in 2006 with an aim to promote this language across the world.

4. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2022: 11th January

  • This year National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed on January 11, 2022, which is on Tuesday. The day aims at raising awareness of the plight of human trafficking victims, and promoting and protecting their rights.
  • Though the entire month of January has already been recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, this day is specifically dedicated to awareness and prevention of illegal practice.
  • In 2007, the United States Senate ratified the resolution establishing January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. In 2010, President Obama dedicated the entire month of January to awareness and prevention of human trafficking. Today, there are over 50 established organizations that globally combat this illegal practice, and more awareness has been raised than ever before.

5. National Youth Day2022: Nation observes National Youth Day on January 12

  • In India, the National Youth Day is celebrated on 12 January annually to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
  • The main aim behind this is to make sure that the students across the country can be encouraged to learn about the life, the ideas and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and apply them in their lives.
  • In 2022, we are observing the 159th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand (12 January 1863). The theme for National Youth Day 2022 is The Theme of 2022 is “It’s all in the mind.”
  • The decision to celebrate Vivekananda’s birthday as National Youth Day was taken in 1984, and it was first marked on January 12, 1985.

6. Armed Forces Veterans Day: 14 January 2022

  • In India, the Armed Forces Veterans Day is observed each year on 14 January since 2017. The day aims to acknowledge and honour the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our veterans in the service of the nation.
  • 2022 marks the 6th Armed Forces Veterans Day.
  • It is observed as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces who retired on 14 January 1953.

1. A new book titled “Gandhi’s Assassin: The Making of Nathuram Godse and His Idea of India” by Dhirendra Jha

  • Dhirendra K. Jha, a Delhi-based journalist, has authored a new book titled “Gandhi’s Assassin: The Making of Nathuram Godse and His Idea of India”.
  • The book explores Godse’s relationship with the organizations that influenced his view and gave him a sense of purpose and draws out the gradual hardening of Godse’s resolve that led to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

2. Ratan Tata’s biography ‘Ratan N. Tata: The Authorized Biography’ to be out in Nov 2022

  • Tata Sons emeritus Chairman, veteran industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata’s authorized biography titled ‘Ratan N. Tata: The Authorized Biography’ is set to hit the stands in November 2022.
  • The biography is penned by a former senior bureaucrat and retired IAS officer Dr Thomas Matthew. It will be published by HarperCollins. The book chronicles around the 84-year-old Ratan Tata’s childhood, college years, and early influences, among other things.

3. A book on Arundhati Bhattacharya “Indomitable: A Working Woman’s Notes on Life, Work and Leadership” released

  • HarperCollins is set to publish “Indomitable: A Working Woman’s Notes on Life, Work and Leadership” the autobiography of Arundhati Bhattacharya, retired Indian banker and former first-ever woman Chairperson of the State Bank of India.
  • Indomitable features the story of Arundhati Bhattacharya’s life as a banker and the difficulties she faced in the male-dominated sector. She is the chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of salesforce India, a cloud-based Software as a service (SaaS) company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States of America.

1. 3rd National Water Awards for 2020 announced

  • Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has declared the winners of the third National Water Awards for the year 2020. Uttar Pradesh has been adjudged as the Best State in water conservation efforts in the National Water Awards 2020. It is followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu respectively.
  • The award comes with a citation, trophy and cash prize. Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh received the best district award in the northern zone followed by Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar in Punjab.

2. Satish Adiga gets ICMR national award “Dr Subhas Mukherjee Award”

  • A professor in the clinical embryology department at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), under Manipal Academy of Higher education (MAHE), Dr Satish Adiga has been selected by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its national award.
  • He will receive Dr Subhas Mukherjee Award from ICMR in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the field of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). He has contributed significantly to both clinical IVF and fertility research.

3. Forensic Science Laboratory won SKOCH award for combating crime against children

  • The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) won SKOCH Award in the Silver category for its work towards combating Crime and Violence against Children. The award was given out at the 78 SKOCH Summit.
  • The “State of Governance” was the theme of the summit. Deepa Verma, the Director of the Rohini-based lab, has accepted the award on behalf of the lab.
  • FSL is a scientific department and a participant in the criminal justice system whose mission is to investigate incidents of crime and violence against children who have suffered physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm.

4. ‘Kerala Arts and Crafts Village Organization’ won ‘International Craft Award 2021

  • Kerala Arts and Crafts Village Organization (KACV) from Kovalam, Kerala was awarded the ‘International Craft Award for 2021’ for the best craft village in the world by the World Crafts Council International.
  • It is the only award India received in the non-individual category. The KACV was established by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (UL CCS) for the State Tourism Department of Kerala. In 2021, the Village of the Year award was won by ‘Kraf Komuniti Ku’ in Malaysia.

5. Golden Globe Awards 2022 announced

  • The Golden Globe Awards 2022 ceremony was held to recognise excellence in film, both American and international, and American television.
  • This was the 79th edition of the annual event, which honoured the best in American television, as well as film in 2021 as chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Two of the films namely The Power of the Dog and the West Side Story, won the most number of awards with 3 each.

6. Actress Harshaali Malhotra awarded 12th Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Award 2022

  • The 2015 film Bajrangi Bhaijaan fame actress, Harshaali Malhotra has been awarded the 12th Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Award 2022. She received the award from Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor of Maharashtra, for her commendable performance in the movie and contribution in the field of Indian Cinema.
  • The Government of Maharashtra organised the Bharat Ranta Dr Ambedkar national Awards 2022 ceremony in the memory of Dr Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar as a part of the upcoming 73rd Republic Day.

7. Global Private Banking Awards 2021: HDFC Bank named as Best Private Bank in India

  • HDFC Bank was named as the ‘Best Private Bank’ in India at the ‘Global Private Banking Awards 2021’ which was organised by Professional Wealth Management (PWM) in a virtual ceremony.
  • PWM is a wealth management Magazine, published by the Financial Times Group. The award was given for contributing to accelerate key trends, including digitalisation, communication and investment in environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.

1. Chennai International Airport ranks 8th in Global List for ‘On-Time Performance’

  • The Chennai International Airport is one of the top 10 large international airports in the world that ensures ‘on-time’ departures.
  • In a review conducted by Cirium, an organisation that specialises in offering aviation data to travel, finance, aerospace, and aviation industries, the airport has been ranked 8th for ‘on-time performance’ for the year 2021.
  • According to the latest traffic figures of Chennai Airport, it has done recovery of 80 % in domestic traffic. It is the sixth busiest airport in India. Besides that, Chennai airport is the only Indian airport to figure in the top 10 positions of the list.
  • The first three positions have been bagged by United State’s Miami Airport, Fukuoka Airport, and Haneda Airport in Japan.

2. Henley Passport Index 2022: India Ranks 83rd in Q1

  • India has improved its position by seven places to rank at 83rd place among 111 countries in the latest Henley Passport Index, released for Q1 of 2022. India ranked at 90th spot among 116 countries in Q4 of 2021 in October.
  • The Indian passport has visa-free access to 60 destinations worldwide in Q1 2022, as compared to 58 destinations in Q4 of 2021. Oman and Armenia are the latest destinations where Indian passport holders can visit without obtaining a visa.
  • Japan and Singapore have retained the joint top position in the Henley Global Mobility Report 2022 Q1. Their passports holders are allowed to travel visa-free to 192 countries. Afghanistan has the world’s least powerful passports, with a visa-free score of 26.

3. ISFR Report: India’s forest & tree cover rose by 2,261 sq km in last 2 years

  • Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav has launched the 17th edition of the biennial ‘India State of Forest Report (ISFR)’ 2021. ISFR is released by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), every two years since 1987 to assess the country’s forest resources.
  • India’s forest and tree cover rose by 2,261 square kilometres in ISFR 2021 as compared to the assessment of 2019. This includes an increase of 1,540 square kilometres in forest cover and a 721 sq km increase in tree cover.

1. Union Minister Jitendra Singh inaugurates 24th Conference on e-Governance 2020-21

  • Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh has inaugurated the 24th National Conference on e-Governance in Hyderabad, Telangana. The theme of the two-day Conference is ‘India’s Techade: Digital Governance in a Post Pandemic World’.
  • The conference has been organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), in association with the State Government of Telangana.
  • The conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-governance initiatives across the country, providing opportunities for civil servants and industry captains to showcase their successful interventions in e-governance in improving end to end service delivery.
  • Delegates from 28 states and 9 Union Territories along with academia, research institutions, IT industry would be participating in the conference through virtual mode.

2. Bhupender Yadav chaired 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • The 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was held under the chairmanship of the union minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav.
  • Currently, there are 51 Tiger Reserves in India and more than 35 rivers originate from those areas which are crucial for water security.
  • The environment minister launched an action plan for the reintroduction, protection and conservation of 7 major big cats in India including the cheetah, which has become extinct in independent India.
  • Under the action plan, 50 of these big cats will be introduced in the next 5 years in various parks.
  • He announced that 14 Tiger reserves across India have received accreditation of the global Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS). He underlined the need to meetings of NTCA in the first week of April, August & December every year.

1. SBI General Insurance launched ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ campaign

  • State Bank of India General Insurance Company Ltd has launched a campaign titled ‘#BahaneChhodoTaxBachao’ to increase awareness around the need to buy health insurance to save tax. It will also highlight the other benefits of opting for health insurance.
  • The campaign aims to increase the awareness of how buying health insurance can help people save tax which is crucial and seasonal in the last quarter of the financial year for all Indians. The campaign will also underline the other benefits of opting for health insurance.

2. Reliance acquires controlling stake of 73.37% in New York’s Mandarin Oriental hotel

  • Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has announced the acquisition of a controlling stake of 73.37% in Mandarin Oriental New York, a premium luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan.
  • RIL through its wholly-owned arm Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited has acquired the entire share capital of Cayman Islands-based Columbus Centre Corporation (Cayman), for an equity value of approximately $98.15 million (Rs 735 crore).
  • Cayman is the parent company of Mandarin Oriental hotel. It had indirect ownership of a 73.37 per cent stake in the hotel. Reliance will also take over the hotel’s debt in excess of $115 million to take the entire deal value to around $270. The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of March 2022.

3. TCS bags phase 2 of Centre’s passport plan

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has signed an agreement with Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) for the second phase of the Passport Seva Programme (PSP-V2.0).
  • TCS will be the service provider for the Passport Seva Project, which it has been for over 10 years. The PSP-V2.O envisages rolling out chip-enabled e-passports, increasing data security and ensuring the next level of customer experience with the use of biometrics, artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and auto-response.
  • In the next phase of the programme, TCS will refresh existing facilities and systems, and develop new solutions to enable the issuance of e-passports using technologies such as biometrics, artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics, chatbots, auto-response, natural language processing, and the cloud.

4. Centre will hold 35.8% stakes of Vodafone Idea in the form of equity

  • The Central Government of India is set to become the largest shareholder in Vodafone Idea. The company’s board approved the conversion of Rs 16,000 crores in interest into equity.
  • India’s third-largest network Vi or Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) has approved the interest on the spectrum and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues into government equity.
  • VIL accepted a four-year moratorium as well as accepted the equity conversion, which means the Indian government will own almost 35.8% of VIL’s stake followed by Vodafone Group which owns 28.5% and 17.8% by Aditya Birla Group.

1. ICMR approves India-made first kit ‘OmiSure’ to detect Omicron

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a testing kit for detecting the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
  • The covid kit developed by Tata is called ‘OmiSure’ and will be an enhancement for the detection of the Omicron variant. The kit is manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics.
  • The tests have been performed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Responsibility for batch-to-batch consistency lies with the manufacturer. The Tata Medical and Diagnostics has developed a kit ‘OmiSure’ that can detect the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV2 in nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal specimens during the RT-PCR tests.
  • The test kit is compatible with all standard Real-Time PCR Machines. The test run time of this kit is 85 minutes. The result turnaround time, including sample collection and RNA extraction, is 130 minutes.

2. ISRO successfully tests Cryogenic Engine for Gaganyaan Rocket

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the qualification test of Cryogenic Engine for Gaganyaan programme for a duration of 720 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.
  • According to the space agency, the performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test.
  • This successful long-duration test is a major milestone for the Human Space Programme – Gaganyaan. It ensures the reliability and robustness of the cryogenic engine for induction into the human-rated launch vehicle for Gaganyaan.
  • Further, this engine will undergo four more tests for a cumulative duration of 1810 seconds. Subsequently, one more engine will undergo two short-duration tests & one long-duration test to complete the cryogenic engine qualification for Gaganyaan Programme.
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