Current Affairs

6 January, 2021


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Interest Rates for Small Savings Schemes for 4th Quarter of 2020-21 Remains Unchanged

The finance ministry notified that the interest rates on small savings schemes including Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Savings Certificate (NSC) for 4th quarter of 2020-21 ( January 1 to March 31, 2021) will remain unchanged from those notified for the third quarter (October 1-December 31, 2020). The interest rates are as follows: Annual Interest Rate- PPF(7.1%), NSC( 6.8 %), Kisan Vikas Patra-KVP(6.9 %); Interest rate for the five-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme(paid quarterly)- 7.4%; Interest rate on savings deposits- 4% per annum; Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, the girl child savings scheme- 7.6 %; Interest Rate of Term deposits of 1-5 years(paid quarterly)- 5.5-6.7 %; Interest rate on five-year recurring deposit- 5.8%. The Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified by the Finance Ministry on a quarterly basis.

Indigenously Designed ballastless tracks to be used for High-Speed RRTS trains

i.The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) will use indigenously designed ballastless tracks for the country’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS).
ii.As RRTS technology supports high-speed trains therefore these tracks will be suitable for high-speed trains running up to 180 kmph and require low maintenance.
iii.Track slabs will first be used on the 17-km-long Sahibabad-Duhai priority section of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor. The section will be operational by 2023, while the entire 82-km-long corridor will be completed by 2025.
iv.Tracks will be manufactured indigenously in a unit, currently being constructed in Meerut.
About National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC):
Chairman– Durga Shanker Mishra
Headquarter– New Delhi

PM Narendra Modi Virtually Inaugurated National Metrology Conclave 2021

i.Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the National Metrology Conclave 2021 on the theme ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’and also delivered the inaugural address.
ii.The Conclave was organized by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL).
iii.Notably, Jan 4, 2021 was the 75th inception year of CSIR-NPL.
iv.PM Modi dedicated ‘Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya’ and ‘National Atomic Timescale’ to the nation and also laid the foundation stone of the ‘National Environmental Standards Laboratory.
v.Dr. Harsh Vardhan released a Book titled “Metrology for Inclusive Growth of India”, edited by Dr. D.K. Aswaland contributed by CSIR-NPL’s Scientists.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL)
Director– Dr. Dinesh K. Aswal
Headquarter– New Delhi

India launches 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica from Mormugao Port, Goa

India flagged off the 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (40-ISEA) from the Mormugao Port, Goa. The Expedition will have 43 members and the chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will take the team to Antarctica. On return, the vessel will bring back the members of the 39th Expedition. The Ministry of Earth Science launched the expedition.
i.National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is the implementation agency of the Indian Antarctic Programme. They are responsible for carrying out expedition programs to Antarctica.
ii.Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes & Marine Gas Oil (MGO) for the 40th ISEA mission.
iii.The Team is being led by 3 Polar Veterans Dr. Yogesh Ray from National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research; Mr. Atul Suresh Kulkarni from Indian Institute of Geomagnetism; & Ravindra Santosh More from India Meteorological Department.
iv.The 40-ISEA will provide to under progress scientific projects on Climate Change, Geology, Ocean Observations, electric & magnetic flux measurements, environmental monitoring, resupplying of food, fuel, provisions & spare.
Two Special Covers & Cancellation:
On the occasion of 40th ISEA, Dr. N. Vinod Kumar, Postmaster General, Goa released 2 special Covers – 1 to commemorate 40th ISEA & 2nd one to commemorate the four decades of India’s Antarctica programme.
About National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR):
Director – M. Ravichandran
Headquarters – Vasco-da-Gama, Goa
About Ministry of Earth Sciences:
Union Minister – Harsh Vardhan
Headquarters – New Delhi


India’s Dr. Raghu Ram Pillarisetti in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2021 New Year’s Honours list

India’s Dr. Raghu Ram Pillarisetti( 54 years old), Director and Consultant Breast Surgeon, KIMS-USHALAKSHMI Centre for Breast Diseases has been honoured with ‘OBE-Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2021 New year’s Honours list. This second highest ranking Order of the British Empire award (excluding a knighthood/damehood) conferred to him in recognition of his outstanding services to Breast Cancer care and Surgical Education in India and to UK/India relations. He is one of the youngest Surgeons of Indian origin in over 100 years to be honoured by the Queen with an OBE. He is also the Founder/CEO of Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation. He is also a recipient of Padma Shri award and Dr BC Roy National award. The award was instituted in 1917 by King George

General MM Naravane Visits Republic of Korea for 3 days; Received Guard of Honour at Gyeryong, South Koreai.Genera

l.Manoj Mukund(MM) Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff(COAS) of Indian army undertook a 3 day visit to South Korea(officially, Republic of Korea-ROK) from December 28 to 30, 2020.
ii.He received a Guard of Honour at Republic of Korea Army(ROKA) Headquarters at Gyeryong, South Korea.
iii.It is the first-ever visit of an Indian Army COASto the ROK.
Aim of the Visit-To strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries.
About Indian Army:
Chief of the Army Staff(COAS)– General MM Naravane
Vice Chief of the Army Staff(VCOAS)– Lt Gen SK Saini
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
About Republic of Korea Army(ROKA):
Chief of Staff– General Nam Yeong shin
Headquarters– Gyeryong, South Korea

Bajaj Allianz General Partners with J&K government for PMJAY SEHAT

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance in association with Jammu & Kashmir Government launches health insurance coverage under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) Social, Endeavour for Health, and Telemedicine(SEHAT).
i.This extended scheme was launched by Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi.
through video conferencing on December 26, 2020.
ii.The scheme will provide universal health insurance cover to all the citizens of J&K, thus ensuring financial security during any medical emergency.
iii.This is the first time in India that any scheme is implemented to such huge masses.
iv.The scheme will operate on insurance mode in convergence with PM-JAY.


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Ramesh Pokhriyal lays Foundation stone of ‘TiHAN Foundation’ – India’s 1st Testing Platform for Autonomous Navigation Systems

Union Minister for Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ virtually laid the Foundation stone for ‘TiHAN Foundation’ – Technology Innovation Hubat the IIT Hyderabad (IITH). It will be India’s 1st Testing hub for Autonomous Navigation & Data Acquisition Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial).
i.Department of Science & Technology, Government of India sanctioned INR 135 Crore to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to establish ‘TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad’.
ii.An area of 2 acres of land has been allocated in IIT Hyderabad campus for the setting up of a hub.
iii.‘TiHAN Foundation’ was incorporated as a Section-8 company by the institute in June 2020.
TiHAN hub will replicate real-life scenarios for the testing of autonomous & Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), before they are used in the real world.
About IIT Hyderabad:
Director – B S Murty

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