GK Update 29th January 2021

1. India’s “Vaccine Maitri” Initiative begins

  • 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.
  • Sri Lanka has received 5 lakh Covid-19 vaccines from India as a part of the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.
  • Consignment of vaccines has also been sent to Bahrain. The country will receive 10,800 vaccines under the initiative.
  • India has already delivered over 5 million doses to seven countries in the neighbourhood under the initiative before Sri Lanka and Bahrain.
  • The 7 countries are- the Maldives (100,000 vaccines), Bhutan (150,000 vaccines), Nepal (1 million vaccines), Bangladesh (2 million vaccines), Myanmar (1.5 million vaccines), Mauritius (100,000 vaccines), and Seychelles (50,000 vaccines).
  • Commercial supplies of Covishield have also been sent to Morocco, Brazil, (2 million doses each), and Bangladesh (5 million doses).

2. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigns

  • Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte resigned after losing his Senate majority, plunging the country into political uncertainty just as it’s battling the pandemic and a recession.
  • He tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, the ultimate arbiter of Italian political crises, who invited him to stay on in a caretaker capacity pending discussions on what happens next.
  • Italy was the first European country to face the full force of the Covid-19 pandemic and has since suffered badly, with the economy plunged into recession and deaths still rising by around 400 a day.
  • Parts of the country remain under partial lockdown, the vaccination programme has slowed and a deadline is looming to agree on plans to spend billions of euros in European Union recovery funds.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of Italy: Sergio Mattarella.
  • Capital of Italy: Rome; Currency of Italy: Euro.

3. Bharti AXA General Insurance launches ‘Krishi Sakha’ App for farmers

  • Bharti AXA General Insurance has launched Krishi Sakha App, a one-stop-shop for Indian farmers that offers them relevant information to cater to their daily farming needs. It also provides guidance to farmers to adopt best farming practices and enhance their productivity.
  • The farmers through this app will also have access to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) portal for crop insurance-related information.
  • Bharti AXA ‘Krishi Sakha’ aims at helping Indian farmers make informed decisions through customized information related to their farming requirements.
  • It shares relevant information about the scientific way of farming, crop cultivation, sowing, or harvesting of major crops. It guides the farmers about weather forecasting, market and crop prices and government schemes related to insurance and agriculture.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Bharti AXA General Insurance Established: 2008.
  • Bharti AXA General Insurance Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Bharti AXA General Insurance MD and CEO: Sanjeev Srinivasan.
  • Bharti AXA General Insurance Tagline: Suraksha ka Naya Nazariya.

4. Swaminathan Janakiraman and Aswini Kumar Tewari appointed as MDs of SBI

  • The appointments committee (ACC) of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Swaminathan Janakiraman and Ashwini Kumar Tewari as new Managing Directors (MDs) of State Bank of India (SBI) for a period of three years.
  • Prior to this, Swaminathan Janakiraman was the deputy managing director (Finance) at SBI and Ashwini Kumar Tewari was serving as MD & CEO of SBI Card, a subsidiary of SBI.
  • SBI is headed by a Chairman and four managing directors. Dinesh Kumar Khara is the current Chairman of the bank. The other two MDs of the bank are C.S. Setty and Ashwani Bhatia. The two posts were vacant since October 2020.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • State Bank of India Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 July 1955.

5. Ram Temple tableau of Uttar Pradesh on Republic Day wins 1st prize

  • The Ram Temple tableau of Uttar Pradesh that was on display during the Republic Day 2021 has bagged the first prize among all tableaux. The theme of Uttar Pradesh’s tableau was ‘Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh’.
  • The cultural heritage of ancient holy town Ayodhya, a replica of a Ram temple, a glimpse of ‘Deepotsav’ and various stories from Ramayana epic were depicted in the tableau.
  • The Tripura tableau won the second prize for the Republic Day parade. Uttarakhand’s tableau on the theme ‘Dev Bhoomi — The Land of the Gods’ was adjudged third among the states and union territories.
  • The tableau of Central Public Works Department (CPWD), with the theme ‘Amar Jawan’, bagged a special prize for paying tribute to the fallen heroes of the armed forces.

6. Lt Gen Chandi Prasad Mohanty appointed as new Army Vice-Chief

  • Lieutenant General Chandi Prasad Mohanty has been appointed as the new Vice-chief of Army staff. He would assume the office on February 1, 2021, from Lt General SK Saini, who is superannuating on 31 January 2021.
  • Lt General CP Mohanty is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun, and National Defence Academy. He is a June 1982 batch Infantry Officer from the Rajput Regiment.
  • Vice-Chief of Army Staff is the deputy head and the second-highest-ranking officer of the Indian Army. The position is held by the senior officer in the rank of Lt-General, of the Commander in Chief grade.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • 28th Chief of Army Staff: General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
  • The motto of Indian Army: “Service Before Self”.
  • Headquarters of Indian Army: New Delhi.

7. India Ranks 86 among 98 Countries in Lowy Institute’s Covid-19 Response Index

  • India has been ranked at 86th position among 98 countries in the new Coronavirus Performance Index released by Australia-based Lowy Institute.
  • Countries were ranked based on the publicly available and comparable data on Covid-19 response. The Lowy Institute is an independent international policy think tank, located in Sydney.
  • New Zealand, Vietnam and Taiwan are the top three countries respectively in the index. Brazil was ranked at the bottom of the list for worst handling of the pandemic than any other country. China was excluded from the list due to lack of publicly available data.

8. India Secures 86th Rank in Corruption Perception Index 2020

  • India has been ranked 86th among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020, released by Transparency International. This year, India’s rank has slipped six places compared to 2019, when it was ranked at 80th spot. The CPI score for India in 2020 is 40. India is sharing its position jointly with Burkina Faso, Morocco, East Timor, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey.
  • New Zealand and Denmark have jointly secured the first position with scores of 88.
  • Somalia and South Sudan rank lowest at 179th position with scores of 12.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Transparency International Headquarters location: Berlin, Germany.
  • Transparency International Chairperson: Delia Ferreira Rubio.
  • Transparency International Founded: 4 May 1993.

9. Reliance Jio ranked 5th strongest brand globally

  • Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s four-year-old telecom venture Reliance Jio has been ranked the fifth strongest brand globally behind the likes of Ferrari and Coca-Cola. As per the ranking, Reliance Jio has emerged as the 5th strongest brand in the world.
  • Reliance Jio has made its entry to the world’s strongest brands. Reliance has been ranked as the 5th strongest brand in the world. It has a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.7 out of 100.
  • The Brand Finance’s Global 500 ranking of the strongest brands globally, which determined the relative strength of brands, is topped by WeChat, according to its annual report on most valuable and strongest global brands.

10. PM Modi Chairs 35th PRAGATI Meet

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the 35th PRAGATI meeting to review multiple projects, grievances and programmes. In the meeting, ten agenda items were taken for review worth Rs. 54,675 crore, related to 15 states.
  • These included nine projects and one programme. Prime Minister also reviewed the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana.
  • PRAGATI stands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
  • Of the total 9 projects, 3 projects were from the Ministry of Railways, 3 from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and 1 project each from Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Power Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The States are Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Jharkhand, Bihar, Telangana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.

Economy News11. Economic Survey 2021: Key highlights of Economic Survey

  • Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has presented Economic Survey 2020-21 in the Parliament on 29 January 2021. The major focus of this year’s economic survey is the losses and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The survey will provide an assessment of how the Indian economy has been impacted by the deadly COVID-19 virus and how it is improving. It will also project India’s gross domestic product growth for 2021-22.
  • The Economic Survey document is prepared by the Economics Division of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the guidance of the Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian. The Economic Survey 2020-21 will be followed by the Union Budget 2020-21 which will be tabled on February 1.

The theme of Economic Survey, 2020-21:

  • #SavingLives&Livelihoods
  • #VshapedRecovery

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