GK Update 28th January 2021

1. India pledges $150,000 for UN Peacebuilding Fund for 2021

  • 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.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that he was grateful to the countries that committed to providing over $439 million in support of the UN’s work toward peacebuilding & conflict prevention through the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
  • UN Peacekeeping aims to mainly help countries navigate through the difficult path from conflict to peace. The UN peacekeeping has unique strengths including legitimacy, burden sharing and an ability to deploy troops and police from around the world and integrate them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council and General Assembly.

2. Kaja Kallas to become Estonia’s first female prime minister

  • Kaja Kallas, the leader of the Reform Party will become Estonia’s first female prime minister.
  • The Reform Party, led by Kallas, won the 2019 parliamentary election in Estonia with 34 MPs in the country’s 101-seat parliament, Riigikogu.
  • Estonia would thus currently become the only country in the world where both the president Kersti Kaljulaid and the prime minister are women.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Estonia Capital: Tallinn.
  • Estonia Currency: Euro.

3. Maharashtra launches ‘jail tourism’ initiative from Pune’s Yerawada jail

  • The Prison Department of Maharashtra has launched its jail tourism initiative starting with more than 150-year-old Yerawada Central Prison in Pune.
  • The initiative was launched in a move to help students learn about historical experiences.
  • Yerawada jail is 150 years old where several freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak were imprisoned, Pune-pact was signed within the premises etc.
  • The visitors will also get to see the faasi yard, the area where the death sentence is executed.
  • This is the place where Chapekar brothers were executed in 1899 for the assassination of British Plague Commissioner of Pune WC Rand.
  • The last execution that the faasi yard witnessed was in November 2012 of Ajmal Kasab, a convict of 26/11 attacks, who was buried inside the prison premises.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray; Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

4. HSBC inaugurates international banking unit in Gujarat

  • Global financial services major HSBC has inaugurated it’s International Banking Unit (IBU) branch at GIFT City near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat.
  • HSBC is one of the earliest global financial institutions setting up a branch at India’s GIFT City and was the first bank to get a licence from the newly set up International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
  • HSBC’s IBU branch at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) will be operational for customer transactions with effect from January 27.
  • HSBC has been present in the country for more than 160 years and its fourth branch globally was opened in India. HSBC operates in all of the leading international financial service hubs in the world and looks forward to the development of GIFT City as a globally competitive international financial centre.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • HSBC Bank India CEO: Surendra Rosha.
  • HSBC Bank India HQ: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

5. Dhanlaxmi Bank Board approves appointment of J K Shivan as MD and CEO

  • Board of Directors of Kerala-based Dhanlaxmi Bank have given the approval to appoint J K Shivan as managing director and CEO of the Bank. It may be recalled that the shareholders of the Kerala-based had voted against MD & CEO Sunil Gurbaxani On September 30, 2020. Then, in December that year, the lender appointed Shivan as the new MD & CEO.
  • However, the banking regulator, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had asked the Dhanlaxmi Bank Board to get shareholders’ approval before appointing J K Shivan as the next chief of the bank.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Dhanlaxmi Bank Headquarters: Thrissur, Kerala.
  • Dhanlaxmi Bank Founded: 1927.

6. India Inks Strategic Partnership Agreement with IEA

  • India has inked a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s premier energy monitor, on 27 January 2021.
  • The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability as well as strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between IEA members and the Government of India.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. This deal will help India to gain full membership of IEA.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • International Energy Agency headquarters: Paris, France.
  • International Energy Agency Member Countries: 30.
  • International Energy Agency Establishment: November 1974.

7. TCS ranks third most valued IT services brand globally

  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked third most-valued IT services brand globally, after Accenture and IBM, according to a report by Brand Finance. Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to USD 15 billion. 
  • Accenture retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with record brand value of USD 26 billion, while IBM continued at the second place with a brand value of USD 16.1 billion.
  • Four Indian IT services companies have secured spots in the top-10 globally, namely, TCS (3), Infosys (4), HCL (7) and Wipro (9). Accenture has retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with a brand value of $26 billion. 

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Tata Consultancy Services CEO: Rajesh Gopinathan.
  • Tata Consultancy Services Founded: 1 April 1968.
  • Tata Consultancy Services Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

8. Meghalaya wins National Award for Best Electoral Practices 2020

  • The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya was selected for a Special Award for Information Technology applications in Elections by the Election Commission of India (ECI), in the National Best Electoral Practices Awards-2020.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind virtually conferred the award to Meghalaya CEO F.R. Kharkongor at the National Voters’ Day Award function held in New Delhi.
  • The award recognises the sustained and consistent IT application efforts in electoral activities being made by the Office of the CEO in the entire Enrolment to Elections (E2E) process and for leveraging technology for the benefit of all categories of voters, both general and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
  • The ECI has consistently been championing the use of technology covering the non-election period, such as voter portal, voter helpline app, SMS, 1950 helpline, political party registration and online tracking.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Meghalaya Capital: Shillong.
  • Meghalaya Governor: Satya Pal Malik.
  • Meghalaya Chief minister: Conrad Sangma.

9. Former India and Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Prasanta Dora passes away

  • Former Indian National Football team goalkeeper, Prasanta Dora has passed away. He was represented Tollygunge Agragami, Calcutta Port Trust, Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in domestic football.
  • He has also adjudged the Best Goalkeeper when Bengal lifted back-to-back Santosh Trophy titles in 1997-98 and 99. At the national level, Dora made five appearances in competitions such as SAFF Cup and SAF Games.

10. Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opens NCLAT Chennai Bench

  • 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.
  • The NCLAT has jurisdiction over matters under the Companies Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the Competition Commission of India.
  • Fresh appeals against the orders of the Benches of the tribunal having jurisdiction in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry will have to be filed before the Chennai Bench.
  • Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, acting Chairperson, NCLAT; Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; and Justice Venugopal M, judicial member, and Balvinder Singh, technical member of the NCLAT Chennai Bench, were present.

11. Election Commission rolls out digital voter ID cards “e-EPIC”

  • The Election Commission has rolled out the electronic version of the voters’ photo identity card e-EPIC, which can be stored on mobile phones and downloaded on personal computers.
  • The physical card takes time to print and reach the voter, and the idea is to provide faster delivery and easy accessibility to the document.
  • The e-EPIC is a secure portable document format (PDF) version of the EPIC which can be downloaded on mobile or in a self-printable form on the computer.
  • The voter can store the card on his/her mobile, upload it as a PDF on Digi locker or print it & self-laminate.
  • The e-elector photo identity card is a non-editable digital version of the elector photo identity card and can be saved in facilities such as digital locker as well as can be printed in the PDF format.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Election Commissioner of India: Sunil Arora.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Formed: 25 January 1950.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Headquarters: New Delhi.

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