National Current Affairs
· ‘New Bhaupur- New Khurja section’ of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) will be inaugurated by the PM Narendra Modi on 29th December, 2020 at 11 AM through video conferencing. During the event, Prime Minister will also inaugurate EDFC’s Operation Control Centre (OCC) at Prayagraj.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the country’s first-ever fully-automated driverless train service on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. Apart from this, PM also launched fully operational National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) on the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, to connect DMRC with the NCMC service.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the 100th ‘Kisan Rail’ on 28th December 2020. The 100th run of the Kisan Rail was flagged off from Sangola in Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal virtually. Kisan Rail is a mobile cold storage to move perishable things like fruits, vegetables, milk, fish, etc., with complete security.
· The Central government has further extended the deadline to file an income tax return (ITR) for FY 2019-20 by 10 days, up to January 10, 2021. Earlier this deadline was December 31, 2020.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) at six sites across six States through video conference on 1st January 2021. The LHPs will be implemented at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
· India has been chosen as the co-chair of the IUCN-supported Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) for a period of three years till November 2023. India will replace South Korea, which held the post for 3 years until November 2020.
· The Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Union Minister WCD and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani jointly launched Toycathon-2021 and the Toycathon Portal. Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub. Toycathon will provide a platform to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children.
· The Central Government has set up a high-level group to build a South Asia-focused energy security architecture. The high-level group, named the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), will be headed by former Union Power Secretary Ram Vinay Shahi. SAGE has been set up under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-run think tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the 306-km New Rewari-New Madar section of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) to the nation. Through video-conferencing, Modi also flagged off the world’s first double-stack long-haul 1.5-km-long container train hauled by electric traction from New Ateli-New Kishangarh.
· The Government of Japan has committed Official Development Assistance loan of 30 billion Japanese Yen which is approximately Rs 2113 crore rupees for a programme loan to support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will be launching an innovative new paint developed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The eco-friendly, non-toxic paint, called “Khadi Prakritik Paint” is a first-of-its-kind product, with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties.
· According to External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, due to the global COVID-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign Head of State or Head of Government as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day event. President Ramnath Kovind will take the salute at the parade this time. This will be the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
· The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has launched a month-long mass awareness campaign titled ‘SAKSHAM’ to spread awareness about green and clean energy. The campaign has been organised by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), to motivate consumers to switch to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioural change to use fossil fuel intelligently. SAKSHAM stands for Sanrakshan Kshamata Mahotsav.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off eight trains connecting the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya, Gujarat with different regions of the country through video conferencing. PM Modi informed that it was the first time in history that so many trains from different locations were flagged off for a common destination.
· Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Rs 1,000-crore ‘Startup India Seed Fund’ on 16 January 2021, while addressing the ‘Prarambh: Startup India International Summit’ 2021. This initiative will help in setting up new startups and promote their growth.
· The first-ever National Road Safety Month was inaugurated by Union Minister for Defence Shri Rajnath Singh and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & MSME Nitin Gadkari on 18 January 2021. It will be held till 17 February 2021.
· The Union Cabinet has approved 850 megawatts (MW) Ratle hydropower project worth an Rs. 5281.94 crore on Chenab river in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. The project will be developed by a new joint venture company between state-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd and Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd (JKSPDC), where NHPC will have a 51% stake in the JV firm, while the balance will be held by JKSPDC.
· India has announced a pledge of USD 150,000 to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for the year 2021 to support the activities and programs this year. The Peacebuilding Fund has put forth its five-year strategy, which requires 1.5 billion dollars for 2020-2024. This was announced by TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations on January 25, 2021.
· Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has virtually inaugurated the Chennai Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This will be the second NCLAT Bench in the country, after the Principal Bench in New Delhi.
· Vaccine Maitri Initiative is an initiative launched by India to gift COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries. Recently, Sri Lanka and Bahrain have received the COVID-19 vaccines from India under the initiative. The Vaccine Maitri initiative was launched by India on January 20 to gift COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries.
· The Central Government has approved the Rs 945-crore ‘Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme’ (SISFS), which aims to provide financial assistance to start-ups for the product trials, market-entry, proof of concept, prototype development and commercialization.