First time in history, Union Budget 2021 to be paperless

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1. First time in history, Union Budget 2021 to be paperless

  • Union Budget 2021, slated to be presented on February 1, is going to be completely paperless in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • This will be the first time since independence that the budget papers will not be printed. The Centre has received permission for the same from both houses of parliament.
  • The decision has been taken as several people (approximately 100) would be required to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight amid the COVID-19 fear.
  • The budget papers are usually printed at the ministry’s in-house printing press in the North Block.
  • This year’s budget may reportedly witness several conventions being broken as the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony, which is a given every year is also not likely to take place, or a low-key function may be held with limited gathering in attendance.
  1. Manipur: CM Biren Singh virtually inaugurated Cherry Blossom Festival
  • The 4th edition of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Mao in Manipur was virtually inaugurated by Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
  • However this year, the authority decided to scale down the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Festival featured the picturesque landscape of Mao adorned with beautiful cherry trees laden with blooming flowers which have traditionally attracted visitors from across the world.
  • Manipur has been celebrating the festival every year since 2017.
  • The festival which featured the picturesque landscape of Mao town adorned with beautiful Cherry Blossom flowers was streamed live from 2 pm on various social media platforms.
  • The Mao area of Senapati district in Manipur is known for Cherry Blossom, a plant which is popularly known as Sakura in Japan.
  1. RBI cancels the licence of Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the licence of Maharashtra-based Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank, with immediate effect.
  • Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd will now not be allowed to conduct the business of ‘banking’, including acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits, with effect from the close of business on January 11, 2021.
  • RBI has requested the Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS), Maharashtra to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank.
  • The Bank has failed to comply with the requirements of Section 11(1) read with Section 56 of BR Act and thus would be unable to pay its present depositors in full in its current financial position.
  • With the cancellation of licence and commencement of liquidation proceedings, the process of paying the depositors of Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank Ltd., Osmanabad, Maharashtra as per the DICGC Act, 1961 will be set in motion.
  • Every depositor is entitled to repayment of his/her deposits up to Rs 5,00,000 from the DICGC. More than 99% of the depositors of the bank will get full repayment of their deposits from DICGC.
  1. India’s retail inflation drops to 4.59 % in December
  • India’s retail inflation fell sharply to 4.59 per cent in December, mainly due to declining food prices, government data showed.
  • Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.93 per cent in November.
  • Food inflation declined to 3.41 per cent in December in 2020, compared to 9.5 per cent in the previous month, according to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) factors in retail inflation while arriving at its monetary policy.
  1. Dr Ajay Kumar co-chairs 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue
  • The 13th India-Vietnam Defence Security Dialogue was held in a virtual format. The virtual event was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar along with Vietnamese Sr Lt Gen Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defence Minister, Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  • Defence Secretary and the Deputy Defence Minister expressed satisfaction at the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries in spite of the limitations imposed by COVID 19.
  • Both countries exchanged views on the plan of action from the recently concluded Virtual Summit between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc in December 2020.
  • Both the sides reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further elevate engagements between the Armed Forces under the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Both sides agreed that in the recent past our respective countries have made notable strides in Defence Industry and Technology cooperation and look forward to even greater cooperation in this field.
  1. Bharat Biotech inks pact with Precisa Med to supply Covaxin to Brazil
  • Bharat Biotech has announced that it has signed an agreement with Precisa Medicamentos for the supply of its indigenously manufactured Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ to Brazil.
  • The supplies of Covaxin will be prioritized for the public market, through direct procurement by Brazil government.
  • A team from Precisa Medicamentos had visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Genome Valley near here last week to discuss export of COVAXIN, India’s first indigenous vaccine for Covid-19.
  1. India Ranks 85 in Henley Passport Index 2021
  • The Henley Passport Index 2021 has been released by Henley & Partners, based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • As per the latest report, India has been ranked 85th among 110 countries, in the Henley Passport Index for 2021, with a visa-free score of 58.
  • The index presents the original ranking of the world’s most powerful passports, according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
  • Japan has once again topped the list of being the most powerful passport in the world, for the third consecutive year. Japanese citizens can travel to as many as 191 countries visa-free. Singapore is in second place (190) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (189). Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are the countries with the worst passport, with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.
  1. France hosts 4th One Planet Summit
  • The Government of France organised the fourth ‘One Planet Summit’, through videoconferencing, which aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity.
  • The Summit was organised in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank.
  • The theme of the Summit was “Let’s act together for nature!”.
  • It was inaugurated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, and President of the World Bank Group David Malpass.
  • Manipur Guv released book “Making of a General A Himalayan Echo”
  • Manipur Governor, Dr Najma Heptulla has virtually released a book titled “Making of a General-A Himalayan Echo” authored by (Retd) Lt General Konsam Himalaya Singh at Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan, Imphal.
  • The book elegantly summons the essence and imperatives of superior command of one of the most formidable forces in the world.
  • The book is the memoir of Lt Gen (Dr) Konsam Himalay Singh who has traced his journey from a small village in Manipur to becoming the first person from North East India to hold the rank of a Three-Star General of the Indian Army. The book has also highlighted about Manipur, the “Land of Emeralds”.
  1. Manipur Guv released book “Making of a General A Himalayan Echo”
  • Manipur Governor, Dr Najma Heptulla has virtually released a book titled “Making of a General-A Himalayan Echo” authored by (Retd) Lt General Konsam Himalaya Singh at Durbar Hall, Raj Bhavan, Imphal.
  • The book elegantly summons the essence and imperatives of superior command of one of the most formidable forces in the world.
  • The book is the memoir of Lt Gen (Dr) Konsam Himalay Singh who has traced his journey from a small village in Manipur to becoming the first person from North East India to hold the rank of a Three-Star General of the Indian Army. The book has also highlighted about Manipur, the “Land of Emeralds”.
  1. A book titled “The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India” by Ex-CEC
  • Former chief election commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi has come out with his book titled “The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India”.
  • The book will hit the stands on February 15, 2021. It has been published by HarperCollins India.
  • The book evaluates India’s demographics from a religious perspective and seeks to demolish two basic myths that ‘Islam is against family planning’ and ”Muslim rate of growth” is linked to capture political power.
  • The book is a detailed analysis of the ‘Muslim rate of growth’ in the light of population data and national and international reports.
  • The book examines the crucial and urgent question of the politicisation of demography in India.