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Current Affairs 17 & 18 January 2021

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We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 17 & 18 January 2021, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2021 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Rajnath Singh unveils India’s 1st indigenous driverless metro car developed by BEMLRaksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh unveils India’s First Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Cari.On January 15, 2021, Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence (MoD) unveiled India’s first indigenously designed and developed ‘Driverless Metro Car’ during a function held at the BEML (previously Bharat Earth Movers Limited) manufacturing facility in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
ii.The ‘Driverless Metro Car’ are being manufactured by BEML for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) MRS1 project. The project needs 576 cars which will be supplied by January 2024.
About BEML Limited:
It is a Schedule ‘A’ Company under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Establishment– 1964
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– Deepak Kumar Hota
Headquarter– Bengaluru, Karnataka
<<Read Full News>>

India, Japan sign MoU to Boost Cooperation in the Field of Information & Communication TechnologyIndia and Japan Sign MoU to Enhance Cooperation in the Field of ICTOn January 15, 2021, India & Japan signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost cooperation in the field of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) which includes 5G technologies, Smart Cities, Telecom Security among others.
i.The Agreement was signed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications on behalf of India & Takeda Ryota, Minister for Internal Affairs, Japan on behalf of the Japanese side.
ii.Apart from Ministry-to-Ministry level cooperation, Government of India owned organizations such as C-DOT (Centre  for Development of Telematics),  ITI Ltd (Indian Telephone Industries Ltd) & Industry partners from Japan will collaborate to boost the cooperation.
iii.During the event, Ravi Shankar Prasad highlighted Japan’s contribution towards the timely execution of connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands with submarine optical fiber cable.
About Ministry of Communication:
Union Minister – Ravi Shankar Prasad
Minister of State (MoS) – Shri Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao
Headquarters – New Delhi
About Japan:
Prime Minister – Yoshihide Suga
Capital – Tokyo
Currency – Japanese Yen
<<Read Full News>>

Mahendra Nath Pandey Launches Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 3.0 – 2020-21Third phase of government’s flagship skilling scheme PMKVY 3 (1)On January 15, 2021, Union Minister for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey launched the Third Phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) 2020-21 in 717 districts, 28 States/eight UTs across India and made available around 300 Plus Skill Courses to the youth.
i.The PMKVY 3.0  has been designed based on the learnings from the previous 2 editions PMKVY 1.0 (2015-16) & PMKVY  2.0 (2016-2020).
ii.PMKVY 3.0 aims to provide training to around 8 Lakh candidates during the period of 2020-21 with an outlay of INR 948.90 Crore.

  • It will  be implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and will focus on demand-driven skill development, digital technology & Industry 4.0 skills.
  • PMKVY 3.0 is set to be trainee and learner-centric and will  address the ambitions of ‘Aatmanirbhar  Bharat’.
  • It will be demand-based & Decentralized  in its approach as District Skill Committees (DSC) will be the focal point of implementation of PMKVY 3.0.

Skill India Mission:
The Skill India Mission was launched in 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India as the Skill Capital of the World.
About Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE):
Union Minister – Mahendra Nath Pandey
Minister of State – RK Singh
<<Read Full News>>

Harsh Vardhan Inaugurated CSIR-NIScPR by Merging CSIR-NISCAIR & CSIR-NISTADS in New DelhiCommunication and Policy ResearchOn January 14, 2021, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare inaugurated a new institute of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) i.e. CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR), in New Delhi. This institute has been established by merging two prestigious institutes of CSIR viz.

  • CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR) and
  • CSIR-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (CSIR-NISTADS).

Reason behind Merging:
The reason behind the merger is strengthening the institutes, like ”One plus one equaling to ELEVEN and not two”, with a VISION to become a globally respected Think Tank as a Resource Centre for understanding Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) Policy Research and Communication.
About CSIR-NISCAIR:
It has published popular science magazines (Vigyan Pragati and Science Reporter) and Scientific Journals while managing the largest and oldest National Science Library and also distributes International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

  • It has been the custodian of the National Knowledge Resource Consortium (NKRC) which facilitates access to more than 5000 e-journals of all major publishers, patents, standards, citations, and bibliographic database.

About CSIR-NISTADS:
It has experience of Policy research in the area of History of Science, S & T and Society, and S&T and Innovation. It has created a Techno-Socio-Economic platform to enable development and application of socially acceptable, relevant, scalable and cost-competitive products.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):
Director General – Dr. Shekhar C. Mande
Headquarter– New Delhi
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Science & Technology

Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand and Kufri, Himachal PradeshHarsh-Vardhan-inaugurates-Doppler-Weather-Radars-at-Mukteshwar,-Uttarakhand-and-Kufri,-Himachal-Pradesh-(1)i.The 146th Foundation Day of India Meteorological Department (IMD) was held on January 15, 2021 in New Delhi. It was attended by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare along with other officials. Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand) and Kufri (Himachal Pradesh).Doppler Weather Radars in Uttarakhand is 1st of its kind.
Key Highlights of Occasion:
To mark this occasion, the minister inaugurated/released the following:

  • Multi-Mission Meteorological Data Receiving and Processing System in IMD in collaboration with ISRO (MMDRPS)
  • Release of Report on Cyclone disturbances during 2020;
  • Release of 32nd edition of IMD’s Hindi Patrika – ‘Mausam Manjusha’;
  • Official e-launched “Online Web Portal of IMD Journal MAUSAM” in collaboration with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR) (http://mausamjournal.imd.gov.in)
  • Released a special issue of Mausam on Tropical Cyclone.

About India Meteorological Department (IMD):
IMD’s Parent Organization is Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Director General – Mrutyunjay Mohapatra
Headquarters – New Delhi
<<Read Full News>>

Indian Army signs USD 20 Million Contract with ideaForge to Procure SWITCH UAVsIndian Army signs $20 mn contract with ideaForge to procure SWITCH dronesIndian Army has signed USD 20 Million (~ INR 140 Crores) contract with ideaForge to procure unmentioned numbers of high-altitude  variant of Indigenous SWITCH UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) over a period of 1 year.
i.SWITCH is a Fixed-Wing-Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) UAV and is capable of being deployed at high altitude and harsh environments.

  • It will serve the purpose of Surveillance, Reconnaissance missions of the Indian Army in its borders.
  • It is man-portable(capable of being carried by one individual) & has the highest time on target compared to other UAVs in its class.
  • SWITCH successfully passed all the Stringent product trials set by the Indian Army.

ii.With this deal, ideaForge is slated to become the largest manufacturer of India of drones for homeland security, defence & industrial applications.
About ideaForge:
Chief Executive Officer – Ankit Mehta
Location – Mumbai, Maharashtra
<<Read Full News>>

India Collected just 10 % of e-waste generated in 2018-19 :  CPCB reportIndia-collected-just-3%-e-waste-generated-in-2018,-10%-in-2019-(1)According to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generated 771, 215 tonnes of Electronic waste (e-waste) in 2018-19, of which only 10% were collected.

  •  In 2017-18, India generated 7, 08, 445 Tonnes of which only  3.5% was collected.
  • Further the amount of e-waste generated increased by 32% to 1, 014, 961 tonnes in 2019-20.

Collection Targets: 

Collection Target Actual Collection achieved
35, 422 Tonnes for  2017-18 25, 325 Tonnes
1, 54, 242 Tonnes for 2018-19 78, 281 Tonnes


E-Waste Management Rules, 2016:
In India, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016.

  • The rule takes into account 21 types of electrical and electronic equipment such as Discarded computer monitors, mobile phones, chargers, motherboards, headphones, television sets and other appliances.

About Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):
Chairman –  Shri Shiv Das Meena
Headquarters – New Delhi
<<Read Full News>>

NIC, CBSE & AIM, NITI Aayog released e-Book ‘CollabCAD 3D modelling 1.0 ‘, MoU inked Between NIC & CBSENIC jointly with the CBSE & Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), (1)i.On January 13, 2021, a comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D modelling 1.0 was launched by National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Ministry of Education (MoE) along with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog during a virtual event from New Delhi.
ii.The institutes also provided CollabCAD Software CBSE affiliated Schools.
iii.The event saw the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIC and CBSE for ‘CollabCAD Software Support and Training for Students and Faculty in Engineering Graphics Curriculum for Class X and XII across CBSE affiliated Schools’ for a period of 10 years.
About National Informatics Centre (NIC):
Director General– Dr. Neeta Verma
Parent Ministry– Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY)
Headquarters– New Delhi
<<Read Full News>>

GRSE signs USD 12.7 Million Contract with Guyana to Build Ocean-Going Vesselcean-going vessel (1)The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd, Kolkata has signed USD  12.7 Million Contract with the Harbour Department, Ministry of Public Works, Government of Guyana for the construction of an Ocean-going vessel.
i.The move is expected to boost the export initiatives of GRSE.

  •  The Ocean-going vessel will weigh 1, 700 Tonnes
  •   It will be used on the coastal and riverine areas of Guyana
  •   The vessel will be equipped with two Caterpillar marine Diesel engines,   they will be equipped with twin disc reduction gear boxes to achieve a speed of 15 Knots.

GRSE:
GRSE is a shipbuilding company in India which is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and was awarded the Miniratna status by Government of India in 2006.

  • It is the 1st Indian shipyard to build 100 warships.

About Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd:
Chairman & Managing Director – Vipin  Kumar Saxena
Headquarters – Kolkata, West Bengal
About Guyana:
President – Irfaan Ali
Capital – Georgetown
Currency – Guyanese Dollar
<<Read Full News>>

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

5th UNEP Adaptation Gap Report, 2020 Released: Cost of Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change Quadruple by 2050Climate change adaptation (2)i.On January 14, 2021, the 5th edition of United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report 2020 was launched during a high-level online press event. The report was produced by UNEP in collaboration with UNEP DTU Partnership (UDP) and the World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP).
ii.In accordance with the report the actions required by the Paris Agreement are lagging behind. Though nations have successes in planning and implementation, there is a huge gap faced by developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia, in financing these planning.
iii.Notably, the annual cost of adaptation to the effects of climate change for developing countries is estimated to at least quadruple by 2050.
About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
Executive Director of UNEP – Inger Andersen
Headquarters– Nairobi, Kenya
<<Read Full News>>

At 18 Million, India has the World’s Largest Transnational Community: UN DESA reportAt 18 million, India has the world's largest diaspora population_ report International Migration 2020 HighlightsAccording to the  ‘International Migration 2020-Highlights’ report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), In 2020, 18 Million persons from India were living outside of their country of birth thus making it the World’s Largest Transnational Community. India is followed by Mexico & Russia (11 Million each), China (10 Million) & the Syrian Arab Republic (8 Million).
i.The United Arab Emirates (3.5 Million), the United States of America (2.7 Million) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 Million) host the largest numbers of migrants from India.
ii.At the Global level, the number of International Migrants living outside their country of birth reached 281 Million in 2020.   International Migrants represent about 3.6% of the World’s population.
iii.The Growth of International Migration has slowed by 27% or 2 Million due to COVID-19.
iv.Europe hosted the largest number of International Migrants in 2020 :  ~ 87 Million.
Click here to read the Full report
About United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA):
Under Secretary General – Liu Zhenmin
Headquarters – New York, USA
<<Read Full News>>

BANKING & FINANCE

ICICI Bank ties up with Niyo to issue prepaid cards ‘ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card’ to MSMEsICICI Bank ties up with Niyo to issue prepaid cards ‘ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card“ to MSMEsi.On January 14, 2021, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank collaborated with Niyo, a new age fintech to issue prepaid cards namely ”ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card” to the blue-collar workers of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
ii.This will enable MSMEs to upload the salaries of their workers on the card, which the workers can then utilise as per their need.
iii.The card also allows an individual to receive funds upto Rs. 1 lakh into the card account.
iv.The cardholders also get a free accidental death insurance cover.
About ICICI Bank:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline– Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka
Incorporated-1994
About Niyo:
Chief Executive Officer– Vinay Bagri
Corporate offices– Bengaluru (Karnataka), Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Delhi
<<Read Full News>>

Kotak Mahindra AMC Signed up with Climate Action 100+Kotak Mahindra AMC signs up with Climate Action 100i.Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company (KMAMC) has become a signatory to Climate Action 100+, which focuses on clean energy transition, and reduces greenhouse gas emission to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.
ii.Initiated in 2018, Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change. It will continue till 2023.
About Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Limited (KMAMC):
Group President & Managing Director (MD)– Nilesh Shah
Headquarter– Mumbai, Maharashtra
<<Read Full News>>

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS          

Sandeep Aggarwal Appointed as the New Chairman of TEPCSandeep Aggarwal appointed as new TEPC chairmanSandeep Aggarwal, the Managing Director (MD) and Promoter of Paramount Communications Limited, has been elected as the new chairman of Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council(TEPC). He will take over from Shyamal Ghosh, former Telecom Secretary.

  • Sandeep Aggarwal is also the Chief Mentor of Telecom committee of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

About TEPC:
i.TEPC was established by the Government of India to promote and develop the export of Telecom Equipment and services.
ii.The TEPC supports the complete telecom ecosystem including the telecom hardware manufacturing, telecom service provision, telecom software and consultancy.
Chairman– Sandeep Aggarwal
Headquarters- New Delhi

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS        

Singapore-based Investment Opportunities V raises Stake in PNB Housing Finance to 9.92% from 8.19%

Singapore-based Investment Opportunities V Pte Ltd raised its holdings in PNB Housing Finance to 9.92% from 8.19% during Q3FY21 (Ended December 2020). With this increase, V Pte Ltd now hold 1.67 crore equity shares in PNB Housing Finance at the end of December, against 1.38 crore shares held three months back.

  • All foreign portfolio investors taken together have 24.55% holdings in PNB at the end of December 31, up from 23.95% as of September 30, 2019
  • Punjab National Bank, the promoter, holds 32.65%. The Carlyle Group held 32.22% in PNB Housing as of September through a group company called Quality Investment Holdings.

About Punjab National Bank (PNB):
Founded– May 19, 1894
Commenced Operations– April 12, 1895
MD & CEO– CH S.S. Mallikarjuna Rao
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
Tagline– The name you can bank upon

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan Dedicated an Innovation Portal, Developed by NIF – India, to the Nation

On 15th January 2021, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare dedicated the National Innovation Portal(NIP) to the Nation at an event in New Delhi. The portal was developed by the National Innovation Foundation(NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology(DST), Government of India.
About the Portal:
i.The innovation portal can be easily accessed by the citizens to know more about the technologies which are available in the database.
ii..NIF will provide more information about the technologies which interest the people.
iii.The portal is onboarded at an appropriate time within the innovation ecosystem of India by way of coinciding with evolution of 5th National Science Technology & Innovation (STI) Policy of India.
Features:
i.Currently the portal houses around 1.15 lakh innovations scouted from common people of the nations.
ii.The innovations under the portal cover Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary and Human Health.
iii.The innovations under the portal belong to domain areas like Energy, mechanical, automobile, electrical, electronics, household, chemical, civil, textiles, Farm / cultivation practice, storage practice, plant variety, plant protection, poultry, livestock management, nutraceuticals.
Benefits:
i.The innovation portal will support the institution with the new ideas of the common people towards the solution for the local problems.
ii.The portal will create an ecosystem for the institutions to support the ideas and innovations into entrepreneurship.
NIF will ensure the original innovator to be the part of the commercial exploitation of the innovation at large scale.
iii.The portal will support to create local entrepreneurs out of the grassroot ideas and help them to market the ideas.
iv.The portal will act as a resource for students, entrepreneurs, MSME’s, Technology Business Incubators(TBI’s) and people who are engaged in different occupations.
About National Innovation Foundation(NIF):
Chairperson– Dr. P. S. Goel
Headquarters– Gujarat
Established in– March 2000

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister & Industrialist Kamal Morarka Passed Away at  74Former Union minister Kamal Morarka deadOn 15th January 2021, Kamal Morarka, Former Union Minister and a renowned businessman and industrialist, passed away at the age of 74 in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was born on 18th June 1946 in Nawalgarh, Rajasthan.
About Kamal Morarka:
Political career:
i.Kamal Morarka served as the Union Minister of State in the prime minister’s office in the Chandra Shekhar government from 1990 to 1991.
ii.He has also served as a member of Rajya Sabha(1988 to 1994) from Rajasthan representing Janata Dal.
iii.He became the President of the Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) in 2012.
Highlights:
i.He has served as vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Vice President of Rajasthan Cricket Association.
ii.For more than 20 year the MR Morarka Foundation, established by Kamal Morarka in 1993 has organised the annual Shekhawati festival in Nawalgarh.

IMPORTANT DAYS

India Celebrates 73rd Army Day – 15th January 202173rd Army Day 2021i.Indian Army annually celebrates the Army Day on 15th January to honour the contribution and sacrifices of the Indian Soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty towards the nation.
ii.The 15th January 2021 marks the celebration of the 73rd Army Day by the Indian Army.
iii.On 15th January 1949, Lieutenant General KM Cariappa was appointed as the first Indian Commander in Chief of the Indian Army who took over from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India.
iv.The soldiers of the Indian Army showcased the done swarming capabilities using 75 indigenously designed and developed drones and executed an array of Artificial Intelligence(AI )enabled simulated offensive missions.
v.To commemorate the 73rd Army Day, Bharti AXA Life Insurance has launched its campaign “Weather it like Indian Army”, dedicated to the personnels of Indian Armed Forces.
<<Read Full News>>

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.no Current Affairs 17 & 18 January 2021
1 Def Minister Rajnath Singh Unveiled India’s 1st Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Car
2 India, Japan sign MoU to Boost Cooperation in the Field of Information & Communication Technology
3 Mahendra Nath Pandey Launches Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 3.0 – 2020-21
4 Harsh Vardhan Inaugurated CSIR-NIScPR by Merging CSIR-NISCAIR & CSIR-NISTADS in New Delhi
5 Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand and Kufri, Himachal Pradesh
6 Indian Army signs USD 20 Million Contract with ideaForge to Procure SWITCH UAVs
7 India Collected just 10 % of e-waste generated in 2018-19 :  CPCB report
8 NIC, CBSE & AIM, NITI Aayog released e-Book ‘CollabCAD 3D modelling 1.0 ‘, MoU inked Between NIC & CBSE
9 GRSE signs USD 12.7 Million Contract with Guyana to Build Ocean-Going Vessel
10 5th UNEP Adaptation Gap Report, 2020 Released: Cost of Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change Quadruple by 2050
11 At 18 Million, India has the World’s Largest Transnational Community: UN DESA report
12 ICICI Bank ties up with Niyo to issue prepaid cards ‘ICICI Bank Niyo Bharat Payroll Card’ to MSMEs
13 Kotak Mahindra AMC Signed up with Climate Action 100+
14 Sandeep Aggarwal Appointed as the New Chairman of TEPC
15 Singapore-based Investment Opportunities V raises Stake in PNB Housing Finance to 9.92% from 8.19%
16 Union Minister Harsh Vardhan Dedicated an Innovation Portal, Developed by NIF – India, to the Nation
17 Former Union Minister & Industrialist Kamal Morarka Passed Away at  74
18 India Celebrates 73rd Army Day – 15th January 2021