GK Update 6th January 2021

1. GoI constitutes high-level group for South Asia energy security

  • 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).
  • To achieve a balanced and optimal development of energy infrastructure through mutual understanding and cooperation, by promoting, initiating and facilitating effective policy dialogue and capacity building on a bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis for energy and related issues, among South Asian countries.

2. Ramesh Pokhriyal launched Toycathon-2021 to promote manufacturing of toys

  • 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.

3. MP Govt launches ‘Launch Pad Scheme’ to make youth self-reliant

  • The government of Madhya Pradesh has launched a ‘Launch Pad Scheme’ for the boys and girls coming out of child care institutions and having completed 18 years of age.
  • This scheme has been launched by the Women and Child Development Department of the state with the objective to provide a platform to these youth, through which they will be able to become self-reliant by continuing their education and training.
  • The District Administration will provide space to these youths for the opening of coffee shops, stationery, photocopying, computer typing and DTP work.
  • All the 52 districts of the state have been divided into 5 clusters with headquarters at Indore, Sagar, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Bhopal.
  • An amount of Rs 6 lakh will be provided by the Women and Child Development Department for the installation of each launch pad.
  • These launch pads will be operated through non-governmental organizations.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Governor: Anandiben Patel.

4. World Bank approves $105 million loan to improve Waterways in West Bengal

  • The World Bank has signed a $105 million project with the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal to improve the inland water transport infrastructure in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The $105 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 17 years, including a grace period of 7 years.
  • The West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project will improve passenger and freight movement across the Hooghly river as well as improve accessibility in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, enhance the quality of life of its residents and contribute to the growth of the state’s logistics sector.
  • The project will cover the five most populous districts of southern West Bengal, including its urban agglomeration — the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) where around 30 million people or one-third of West Bengal’s population live.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee; Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar.

5. Journalist Day Observed in Maharashtra on 6 January

  • The Journalist Day is observed by Maharashtra state government on 6th January every year in the memory of late journalist Balshastri Jambhekar.
  • The first newspaper in the Marathi language named ‘Darpan’, was published on January 6, 1832, the date which also marks the birth anniversary of Balshastri Jambhekar.
  • Balshastri Jambhekar is also known as ‘The Father of Marathi Journalism’, for his efforts in starting journalism in the Marathi language, in the form of first Marathi newspaper and first Marathi monthly.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

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

6. Lt Gen Shantanu Dayal to take charge as Deputy Chief of Army Staff

  • Lt Gen Shantanu Dayal has been named the new Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS). Lt Gen Dayal is the Corps Commander of the Tejpur based 4 Corps. He will take the place of Lt Gen SS Hasabnis who superannuated on December 31 as soon as his replacement arrives.
  • Indian Army has undergone a major reshuffle at the top within the Army Headquarters and at the various other formations including the Corps Commanders, administrative and training institutions witnessing the change of guard.
  • The other significant change is in the newly-created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) with Chief of Defence Staff as its first Secretary.
  • Lt Gen Taranjit Singh, the first Army officer to join as the Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) under the Ministry of Defence.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief of the Army Staff: General Manoj Mukund Naravane

7. Tata Power partners with SIDBI to offer easy & affordable financing scheme for MSME

  • Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power company, announced its partnership with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) to offer easy and affordable financing scheme for MSME customers in the rooftop solar segment.
  • This scheme will empower MSMEs to adopt sustainable energy for their businesses and promote greener.
  • Easy and affordable financing has been one of the barriers for penetration of Solar in the MSME sector in the country.
  • In order to address this challenge, Tata Power and SIDBI have joined hands to design a unique Solar financing solution for the MSME customers helping them switch to rooftop solar without any collateral at an interest rate less than 10%.
  • This will also be complemented with a quick sanction and disbursement process (within 7 days with disbursement in 4 days).
  • This financing scheme is exclusively for MSME customers of Tata Power for both off-grid and on-grid connections.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) set up on 2nd April 1990.
  • SIDBI Headquarters: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
  • SIDBI Chairman & MD: Devendra Kumar Singh.
  • Tata Power CEO: Praveer Sinha.
  • Tata Power Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

8. Japan to launch the first wood-based satellite by 2023

  • Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry company and Kyoto University aims to launch the world’s first wood-based space satellite by 2023 to combat the problem of space junk.
  • Currently, the initiative is in the nascent stage as several wooden materials are being tested by the research team to find a suitable one for space missions. It is also reported that the team is also working towards developing wooden materials extremely resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.
  • According to the European Space Agency (ESA) statistical model, there are more than 130 million pieces of anthropogenic space debris—waste residue due to human activities—smaller than a millimetre around our planet. The debris can travel at a speed of more than 22,300 mph and can impact other satellites.

9. World Cup winning hockey player Michael Kindo passes away

  • Olympic bronze and World Cup-winning hockey player Michael Kindo passed away. He played 3 Men’s Hockey World Cup in 1971,1973 & 1975 where India bagged bronze, silver & gold medals.
  • He also represented in 1972 Olympic Games where India secured a bronze medal. Kindo received the Arjuna Award in 1972.

10. 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica flagged off

  • The 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was flagged off on January 05, 2021, from Mormugao Port, Goa.
  • The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin has been chosen for the prestigious 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) mission journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days.
  • The expedition journey has 43 members onboard.
  • India’s major fuel supplier, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) for the mission.
  • Apart from its scientific mission, this expedition shall carry out the humanitarian responsibility of bringing back the 48-strong winter crew from their 15-month tenure, and resupply the bases with food, fuel, provisions and spares for operations and maintenance of life support systems.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Goa Capital: Panaji.
  • Governor of Goa: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
  • Chief Minister of Goa: Pramod Sawant.

11. FSSAI’s new policy limits trans fats to 2% in all oils & fats by Jan 2022

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5% through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.
  • It was in 2011 that India first passed a regulation that set a TFA limit of 10% in oils and fats, which was further reduced to 5% in 2015.
  • The country’s food regulatory body notified the amendment on December 29, more than a year after it issued a draft on the subject for consultation with stakeholders.
  • The revised regulation applies to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings, and other mediums of cooking such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • FSSAI Chairperson: Rita Teaotia.
  • FSSAI Chief Executive Officer: Arun Singhal.
  • FSSAI Founded: August 2011.
  • FSSAI Headquarters: New Delhi.

12. PM Modi inaugurates Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 450-km Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline built at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore via video conferencing. The event marks an important milestone towards the creation of One Nation One Gas Grid.
  • Natural gas pipeline network will be doubled in 5-6 years and CNG stations will be raised to 10,000 from current 1,500.
  • The pipeline will carry natural gas from Kochi in Kerala through Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod districts to Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka.
  • It has been built by GAIL (India) Limited. It will carry natural gas from the LNG Regasification Terminal at Kochi. The pipeline will supply environment-friendly PNG.
  • The pipeline grid will help improve clean energy access as well as also aid in the development of city gas projects.

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