On 5 January 2021, the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and the Union Minister of Women & Child Development and Textiles Zubin Irani jointly launched Toycathon-2021. It is aimed to conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behaviour and good value among the children. The size of the ; toy market in India is about $ one billion but unfortunately, 80% of the toys are imported.
National Metrology Conclave 2021
On 4 January 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address at the National Metrology Conclave 2021. On this eve, he dedicated the National Atomic Timescale and Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya Pranali to the Nation and laid the Foundation Stone of National Environmental Standards Laboratory through a video conference. The theme of the conclave was ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’. The conclave was organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), New Delhi, on its 75th year of inception.
India's highest Meteorological Centre
On 29 December 2020, the Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, virtually inaugurated India's highest Meteorological Centre in Leh. It will provide specialised weather forecasts for traffic movement on highways, agriculture, and defence personnel located at 3,500 metres above sea level.
Despite Covid pandemic, within nine months, the new centre is established to cater to the arid cold desert and geopolitically all-important Ladakh weather requirements.
On 29 December 2020, the Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal virtually laid the foundation stone of ‘TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad’, India’s first Testbed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial) in the premises of IIT Hyderabad. The minister clarified that TiHAN Foundation, established at IIT Hyderabad, is a multi-departmental initiative, including researchers from Electrical, Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace, Civil, Mathematics and Design at IIT Hyderabad with collaboration and support from reputed institutions and industry.
On 30 December 2020, an official statement was issued that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with the Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of 'SAHAYAK-NG' from IL 38SD aircraft (Indian Navy) off the coast of Goa. SAHAYAK-NG is India's first indigenously designed and developed airdroppable container. Two DRDO laboratories - Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, Visakhapatnam and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment, Agra - were involved in the development of the SAHAYAK-NG container.
Export of Akash
On 30 December 2020, the Government of India approved the export of indigenously-developed surface-to-air Akash missile system. Akash is a Surface to Air Missile with a range of 25 Kms. Akash is the country’s important missile with over 96 percent indigenisation.
A college student at the age of 21, Arya Rajendran became the youngest Mayor of an urban body in India. On 28 December 2020, she took oath as the Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. CPI(M) suggested her name to be the mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, who is currently state president of Balasangam, the children's wing of the Left Party.
On 22 December 2020, Hyderabad based start-up in the space sector Skyroot Aerospace, successfully testfired a solid propulsion rocket engine named ‘Kalam-5’. It is the first private firm that successfully designed, developed and tested a full solid propulsion rocket stage. The rocket stage has been built with an advanced carbon composite structure, which is five-times lighter than a steel case. This is a completely automated process and indigenous production.
Two vaccines approved
On 3 January 2021, India’s top drug regulator DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India ) approved two Covid-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield for “restricted use in an emergency situation”. Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology. It should be noted that the ICMR isolated SARS-CoV-2 and gave the strain to the Bharat Biotech for developing an "inactivated" vaccine. An inactivated vaccine means that the virus used for the vaccine has no possibility of infecting the recipient or replicating inside the body after the jab is administered. Covishield, on the other hand, is a vaccine developed by the University of
Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Its India partner is Pune-based Serum Institute, which has manufactured the AZD1222 vaccine in India under the brand name of Covishield. The vaccine was developed not from a SARS-CoV-2 strain but using another virus called adenovirus which causes common cold among chimpanzees.
Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020
On 26 December 2020, the Madhya Pradesh cabinet approved the Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020. Under the provisions of the bill, forced conversion of a woman will attract imprisonment and fine. Specific provisions are also made in the cases of religious conversion of minors, groups, or of those belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Blood relatives, including parents of victims of such religious conversion, can file complaints under the proposed Act.
On 24 December 2020, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot launched a Mobile Application “Swachhata Abhiyan”. The app was developed to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them. “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” mandates survey of insanitary latrines, their demolition and construction of sanitary latrines in their place.
On 29 December 2020, the Minister of Earth Sciences, Science & Technology, and Health & Family Welfare Dr.Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the web-based application “Digital Ocean”, the first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management. The ‘Digital Ocean’ helps to share this knowledge about the ocean with a wide range of users including research institutions, operational agencies, strategic users, the academic community, maritime industry and policymakers. It provides free access to information to the general public and the common man. The initiative will help expand ‘Blue Economy’ and promote Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Wooden Satellites by 2023
On 20 December 2020, a Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry teamed up with researchers from the Kyoto University of Japan to develop the world's first satellites made out of wood by 2023 to cut space junk. Space junk is becoming an increasing problem as more satellites are launched into the atmosphere. Wooden satellites would burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they plunge back to Earth. There are nearly 6,000 satellites circling Earth, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). About 60% of them are defunct (space junk).
Harsh Vardhan in the board of GAVI
On 29 December 2020, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has been nominated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as a member on the GAVI Board. The minister will be representing the South East Area Regional Office (SEARO)/ Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) constituency on the GAVI Board. GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance as part of its mission to save lives, reduce poverty and protect the world against the threat of epidemics, helped vaccinate more than 822 million children in the world’s poorest countries, preventing more than 14 million future deaths.
Scientific Expedition to Antarctica
On 4 January 2021, India launched the 40th Scientific Expedition to Antarctica. This Indian expedition marks four decades of country’s sci
entific endeavour to the southern white continent. The expedition journey flagged off from Goa with 43 members on board. The chartered iceclass vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin reaches Antarctica in 30 days.
India in UNSC
On 1 January 2021 India began its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the 15-nation United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-22. India will be UNSC President in August 2021 and will preside over the Council again for a month in 2022. India stresses to bring reforms in the body and demanding a permanent seat in the powerful body of the UNO and India will chair the Taliban and Libya sanctions committees and the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council during its tenure as a non-permanent member.
Centennial Observing Station Status
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Geneva awarded the ‘Centennial Observing Station Status’ to the Patna meteorological observatory in recognition to its long-term meterological observation. Established in 1867, Patna meteorological observatory is among the earliest observatories set up by the then British Corps of Engineers.
India helps Fiji
On 2 January 2021, six tons of relief material reached cyclone-affected Fiji, send by India. Fiji was hit by cyclone Yasa on 17
and 18 December 2020. This move highlighted India's commitment to providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support to friendly foreign countries as a first responder.
International Akhand Conference ‘EDUCON 2020’
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ inaugurated the two-day Virtual International Akhand Conference ‘EDUCON 2020’ through video conferencing on 7 Jan 2021. The conference helped the prospective teachers to become familiar with different technologies and their functioning to bring transformational change in the field of education. During this International Conference, scholars from
the different nations discussed the ten subthemes of the focal theme 'Envisioning Education for Transforming Youth to Realize Global Peace’.
INS Sindhuvir in Myanmar Navy
On 25 December 2020, Myanmar Navy officially inducted INS Sindhuvir
submarine handed over by India in October 2020. It was commissioned as UMS Minye Theinkhathu on the eve of 73rd anniversary of the Myanmar Navy. The kilo class submarine has a displacement of 3000 tonnes, a diving depth of 300 meters and top speed at 20 knots. During the commissioning ceremony, Indian ambassador to Myanmar Saurabh Kumar was attended.
Fatah-1 test fired
On 7 January 2021, Pakistan successfully conducted the test-flight of an indigenously developed Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering conventional warheads, with a maximum range of 140 km. Pak hopes the Fatah-1 Weapon System will give the capability of precision target engagement deep in enemy territory.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas observed on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of the Overseas Indian community in the development of India. This year, the theme of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is "Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat". Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention through virtual mode was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Renowned santoor player Satish Vyas was conferred with the prestigious Tansen Samman and Bhopalbased institution Abhinav Kala Parishad was honoured with Raja Mansingh Tomar award in the Tansen Music Festival began in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) on 26 December 2020. The festival is held every year to pay tributes to one of the greatest musicians in Indian history of classical music, Tansen. This event is the 96th edition of the Tansen music festival.
World Braille Day
Every year World Braille Day observed on 4 January which is the birth anniversary of Braille inventor, Louis Braille. On this day Louis Braille is remembered for all the contributions he made in helping
blind people to read and write. In Malawi, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has produced 4,050 braille materials on awareness and prevention of COVID-19.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize
Jairam Ramesh and Amit Ahuja were jointly awarded the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay-New India Foundation (NIF) Book Prize for 2020. Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California Amit Ahuja got the award for his book ‘Mobilizing the Marginalised: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements’, whereas Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh conferred with the prize for ‘A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon’. The 2020 winners share the prize money of Rs.15 lakhs for their respective books. The award named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay—patriot and institution-builder, who contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, the women’s movement, refugee rehabilitation and the renewal of handicrafts.
1. Umesh Sinha was appointed as…
1) Deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India
2) Attorney General of India
3) India's permanent representative to UNO
4) Governor of Uttar Pradesh
5) Chairman, National Commission for SC
2. Union Government decided to form a committee to protect language, culture & land of Ladakh under the chairmanship of………..
1) G Kishan Reddy 2) M.S. Ananth 3) Justice Madan B Lokur 4) Rajesh Pant 5) Sanyukta Samaddar
3. Who became the first female match official in a men's Test match when she took up the fourth umpire's role in the third Test match between India and Australia recently?
1) Shivani Mishra 2) Lauren Agenbag 3) Claire Polosak 4) Jacqueline Williams 5) GS Lakshmi
4. Where the Pong Dam sanctuary located, which was seen in the news recently?
1) Kerala 2) Rajasthan 3) Himachal Pradesh 4) Haryana 5) Gujarat
5. First ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness observed on…
1) 27 December 2) 25 December 3) 31 December 4) 4 January 5) 9 January
6. The book ‘Covid-19: Sabhyata ka Sankat aur Samadhan’ (Covid-19: Crisis of Civilisation and Solutions) authored by……….
1) Bijal Vachharajani 2) Randeep Guleria 3) Chandrakanta Lahariya 4) Gagandeep Kang 5) Kailash Satyarthi
7. India's first hot air balloon wildlife safari in a tiger reserve was launched in famous Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve located in the state of………
1) Karnataka 2) Haryana 3) Odisha 4) Madhya Pradesh 5) Kerala
8. Who was conferred with DRDO's 'Scientist of the Year Award' for his contribution in developing several herbal medicines, including the popular drug Lukoskin meant for treatment of leukoderma?
1) Lt Col Bharat Pannu 2) Dr Satish Mishra 3) Hemant Kumar Pandey 4) Saurabh Lodha 5) Sakya Singha Sen
9. BCCI appointed whom as the chairman of the National selection committee?
1) Sunil Joshi 2) Chetan Sharma 3) Sunil Gavaskar 4) M S Dhoni 5) Kapil Dev
10. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is going to launch Amazonia-1, which was developed in …………
1) USA 2) UK 3) Japan 4) Israel 5) Brazil
11. Who became India's 67th chess Grandmaster by winning the third and final norm at a tournament in Italy recently?
1) R. Praggnanandhaa 2) M S Thejkumar 3) Leon Mendonca 4) V. Vishnu Prasanna 5) S.L.Narayanaan
12. Which Nation’s parliament passed the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act which will expand the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women to receive higher education under merit and needs-based programme?
1) Iran 2) Sweden 3) USA 4) Norway 5) China
13. India and which Nation’s Navy concluded the two-day naval passage exercise PASSEX on 27 December 2020, in the South China Sea as part of efforts to boost maritime cooperation?
1) Oman 2) Singapore 3) Japan 4) Vietnam 5) Malaysia
14. Second edition of International Conference on Gender Equality 2021 to be hosted by……..
1) Mumbai 2) Pune 3) Varanasi 4) Kozhikode 5) Hyderabad
15. Who was named as the captain of ICC's ODI and T20 International teams of the decade?
1) Virat Kohli 2) Rohit Sharma 3) Mahendra Singh Dhoni 4) AB de Villiers 5) David Warner
16. Which state announced to set up India’s biggest hockey stadium to host men’s World Hockey Cup event in 2023?
1) Andhra Pradesh 2) Kerala 3) Odisha 4) Gujarat 5) West Bengal
17. India’s first pollinator park with over 40 species of butterflies, honeybees, birds and insects has been developed in Haldwani in Nainital in the state of……….
1) Kerala 2) Maharashtra 3) Nagaland 4) Uttarakhand 5) Manipur
18. Modibo Keita died recently. He was the ex-prime minister of..
1) Central African Republic 2) Oman 3) Mali 4) Zambia 5) Ethiopia
19. Subodh Kumar Jaiswal became new director-General of……….
1) BSF 2) CRPF 3) Assam Rifles 4) CISF 5) DRDO
20. World Day of War Orphans observed on……………
1) 1 Jan 2) 4 Jan 3) 6 Jan 4) 12 Jan 5) 31 Dec
Key: 1-1; 2-1; 3-3; 4-3; 5-1; 6-5; 7-4; 8-3; 9-2; 10-5; 11-3; 12-3; 13-4, 14-4; 15-3; 16-3; 17-4; 18-3; 19-4; 20-3.