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People in the News 2021

Welcome to a new section which is especially created for the people in the current news. Here you'll find a list of popular personalities from all over the world. Each personality has own specialty. To view about the personalities click on the appropriate links provided.

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Current Affairs People in the News - May 2021

T. S. Tirumurti: He is an IFS officer of 1985 batch. He is currently the Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. He has recently been apponted as the next Ambassador or Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations. He succeeds Sayyad Akbaruddin following his retirement.

GoI: As part of a diplomatic reshuffle, the government also appointed the following persons as ambassadors to different countries:

1. Jaideep Mazumdar as India's ambassador to Austria. At present, Mazumdar is serving as Indian envoy to the Philippines.

2. Joint Secretary Deepak Mittal was appointed as India's Ambassador to Qatar, a country considered important in the Gulf region. He is currently serving as joint secretary in the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran (PAI) division of the ministry.

3. Senior diplomat, Piyush Srivastava, has been named India's next Ambassador to Bahrain. Currently, he is serving as Joint Secretary in the Nepal and Bhutan division of the ministry.

4. Senior diplomat Namrata S Kumar has been appointed as India's next ambassador to Slovenia.

Tarun Bajaj: He is a 1988 batch IAS officer. He was the Joint Secretary in Economic Affairs Department, looking after multilateral funding agencies division before joining Prime Minister's Office in 2015 as an Additional Secretary. He also worked as Joint Secretary and Director in Department of Financial Services.

Recently, he was appointed as the Economic Affairs Secretary. He will replace Atanu Chakraborty.

Ajay Tirkey: He is an Indian administrative Service officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre belonging to 1987 batch. He recently assumed the charge of a Secretary of Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD). He succeeds Rabindra Panwar who retired on superannuation on 30 April 2020.

Prior to assuming the charge of Secretary, Tirkey was holding the post of Special Secretary in the Ministry.  He was also the Principal Secretary to the Governor of Madhya Pradesh from 2015 to 2017. He has a vast experience in handling the portfolios of Medical Education, Labour & Employment and Rural Development in his home cadre appointments. In 2017, he worked as a Joint Secretary in the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). He has also been on deputation to the Ministry of Defence as Director and Joint Secretary from 2004 to 2009. He has not only worked as the Managing Director (MD) of State Cooperative Marketing Federation (Markfed), Madhya Pradesh but has also  served as the District Collector of  Hoshangabad, Sidhi and Raipur. He, in addition has worked in various capacities as an officer of Indian Administrative Service in Madhya Pradesh.

Manisha Singh: She is a senior Indian American Diplomat who has been nominated as to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by the US President Donald Trump. She is currently the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department. She will now be the US Representative to OECD with the rank of an Ambassador. She has also served as the acting Under Secretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs at the State Department.

OECD: It refers to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Paris, France.

Tarun Bajaj: He is a 1988-batch Haryana cadre IAS officer. He assumed charge as the Economic Affairs Secretary on 1st May. He not only has served as the Additional Secretary in Prime Minister's Office bur also worked as Joint Secretary and Director in the Department of Financial Services.

Recently, the Government of India (GoI) has nominated Secretary of Economic Affairs Department Ministry of Finance Tarun Bajaj as a director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). His nomination will become effective from 5 May 2020.

Dia Mirza: She is an Indian model, actress, producer, social worker and beauty queen who won the Miss Asia Pacific 2000 title. She is also the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) Advocate. She has made significant contributions towards World Environment Day celebrations, Circular fashions, and other UNEP campaigns. She pioneered several campaigns including Beat the Pollution Campaign.  Under Beat the Pollution Campaign India works to become completely free from single-use plastics by 2022.

 

Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) extended the term of  Dia Mirza as the Goodwill Ambassador of India till 2022. She has been UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassador since 2017.

UNEP: It is an abbreviation for United Nations Environment Programme. UNEP was founded on 5 June 1972 by a Canadian businessman and philanthropist Maurice Strong. It is responsible for coordinating the UN's environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It is the global champion for the environment with programmes focusing on sustainable development, climate, biodiversity and more. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. The current Executive Director of UNEP is Inger Andersen and the current Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP is Dechen Tsering.

V Vidyavathi: He is a 1991-batch IAS Officer from the Karnataka cadre. He has been appointed as Director General (DG) of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The other appointments by the Appointment Committee are Rajendra Kumar has been appointed as the Director General of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and Shiv Das Meena of the Tamil Nadu cadre have been appointed as the Director General of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Rajesh Goel: He has been appointed as the new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). Prior to his appointment as the DG of NAREDCO, he was serving as the chairman and managing director of Hindustan Prefab Ltd. He has an experience of 37 years in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

NAREDCO: It refers to the National Real Estate Development Council. NAREDCO was founded in 1998. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Zubair Iqbal: He is the Senior Vice-President of HDFC Bank. He has been appointed as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank. He has been appointed by Jammu and Kashmir Government for three-year tenure.

The current Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of J&K Bank R K Chibber will continue as CMD for the next 3 years. The appointments are based upon the continuous directions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to separate the positions of Chairman and Managing Director for better governance.

J&k bank: It refers to the Jammu & Kashmir Bank. J&k bank is public sector bank. It is not a regular public sector banks where the Center government is a majority stake holder but a privately owned bank where the state government hold majority stake. It is headquartered in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It was incorporated on 1st October 1938. It was the first bank in the country to emerge as a state–owned bank. It commenced its business from 4th July 1939 in Kashmir, India.

Dr Harsh Vardhan: He is the current Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India. He has been elected as Chair of the Executive Board of World Health Organization (WHO) for the year 2020-21. This took place today during the 147th session of the Executive Board. He will be taking charge of the 34-member Executive Board. He will replace Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan. He will chair the 148th session of the Executive Board in January 2011 and in May 2011 at the Meeting he will hand over the Chair to another from WHO region. However, he will continue to be a member of the Executive Board till 2023.

India had become a party to the WHO Constitution on 12 January 1948. The first session of the South East Asia Regional Committee was held on October 4-5, 1948 at the office of the Indian Minister of Health, and was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister. India was nominated to as a member of the WHO Executive Board from the Region by Member States at the 72nd Regional Committee Session of WHO South-East Asia in September 2019. India was to replace Sri Lanka whose term expired in May 2020 and also to lead 147th and 148th Sessions of the Executive Board as Chairperson.

WHO Executive Board: The WHO Executive Board is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. The members are elected for three-year terms. The World Health Assembly is the WHO’s decision-making body which consists of 194 Member States. The post for the Board's Chairman is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups namely, African Region, Region of the Americas, South-East Asia Region, Eastern Mediterranean Region, Western Pacific Region and European Region. The main tasks of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work. The Board and the Assembly create a forum for debate on health issues and for addressing concerns raised by the Member States.

Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar: He is the India's Chief Hydrographer of Indian Naval Hydrographic. He joined the Indian Navy in 1982. He leads the regional Capacity Building programmes of Indian Naval Hydrographic Office (INHO). He was honoured with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for “distinguished service of an exceptional order during peacetime” in 2019. He has also been the member of the International Hydrographic Organisations (IHO’s) Capacity Building Sub-Committee since its creation.

Recently, the National Hydrographer to the Government of India, Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar has been awarded the Alexander Dalrymple Award 2019. The award was presented to him by the UK Ministry of Defence in recognition for his outstanding contribution to Indian hydrography and across the broader Indian Ocean region. His work in the Gulf of Kutch and Khambhat and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are recognised as some of the most challenging environments in the world to perform surveys.

Alexander Dalrymple Award: The award is named after the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty, Alexander Dalrymple and was first presented in 2006. Recipients of the award are selected by the Executive Committee of the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) from all over the world for their efforts in raising the standards of hydrography, cartography, and navigation.

  IHO: It is an abbreviation for International Hydrographic Organisation. The IHO is an intergovernmental organization that works to ensure all the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters are surveyed and charted. It was established in 1921. It coordinates the activities of national hydrographic offices and promotes uniformity in nautical charts and documents. It is headquartered in Monaco. The current Director of International Hydrographic Organisations are Abri Kampfer (South Africa) & Mustafa Iptes (Turkey). 

Mr. Mukhmeet S. Bhatia:

IAS Mr. Mukhmeet S. Bhatia recently assumed the charge of Director General of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) under the Ministry of Labor and Employment , Government of India (GoI), at its headquarters in New Delhi.

Bhatia is a 1990 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre.

Prior to this he worked as Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI.

Mallika Srinivasan:

She is the Chairman and Managing Director of Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) Limited who has recently been appointed as the chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), an order issued by the personnel ministry.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Srinivasan as the chairperson of PESB for a period of three years from the date of assumption of charge, or until the attainment of the age of 65 years.

This is for the first time that a private sector specialist has been appointed as the head of the PESB, responsible for the appointment of top management posts in the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

Ministry of Personnel & Public Grievances:

  • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is a ministry of the Government of India (GoI) in personnel matters specially issues concerning recruitment, training, career development, staff welfare as well as the post-retirement dispensation.
  • The Ministry is also concerned with the process of responsive people-oriented modern administration.
  • Allocation of Business Rules defines the work allotted for the Ministry.
  • It was formed on 1 August 1970.
  • The Ministry comprises of the following three Departments.
  1. Department of Personnel and Training
  2. Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare
  3. Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances
  • Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is the current Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Deputy Minister responsible is Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

Subhash Kumar:

Subhash Kumar has recently assumed the additional charge as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on April 01, 2021.

He is serving as Director (Finance) at ONGC. Kumar succeeds incumbent CMD, Shashi Shanker, who superannuated on March 31, 2021.

ONGC:

  • ONGC refers to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited.
  • It is a state-owned enterprise of the Government of India, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It is an Indian Multinational Crude Oil and Gas Corporation. It was ranked as the largest profit making PSU in India.
  • It is ranked 7th among the Top 250 Global Energy Companies by Platts.
  • ONGC was founded on 14 August 1956 by Government of India (GoI).
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Soma Mondal:

She is the chairperson of the state-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

  • She was recently elected the new chairperson of the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE).
  • Mondal will have a two-year term starting April.
  • She took charge of SAIL on January 1, 2021.

About SCOPE:

  • SCOPE is an apex professional organization representing the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
  • It promotes excellence in organizations where public investment is involved, in order to enable them to be globally competitive.

About SAIL:

  • SAIL is an acronym for Steel Authority of India Limited.
  • It is an Indian state-owned steel making company headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It is a public sector undertaking, owned and operated by the Government of India (GoI) which was founded on 19 July 1954.
  • SAIL operates and owns 5 integrated steel plants at Bhilai, Rourkela, Durgapur, Bokaro and Burnpur(Asansol) and 3 special steel plants at Salem, Durgapur and Bhadravathi.
  • It also owns a Ferro Alloy plant at Chandrapur. It is one of India's fastest growing Public Sector Units. Besides, it has R&D centre for Iron & Steel (RDCIS), centre for Engineering in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Dr Chintan Vaishnav:

Noted socio-technologist Dr Chintan Vaishnav has recentlly been appointed as the mission director of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the government’s flagship initiative under NITI Aayog.

Highlights:

  • Vaishnav will take over from Ramanathan Ramanan later this month.
  • Ramanan has been leading AIM as its first mission director since June 2017.

About Vaishnav:

  • Vaishnav is currently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US.
  • He holds a PhD in technology, management, and policy from MIT.
  • He is an engineer trained to understand and build large-scale systems, with both human as well as technological complexities.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

  • AIM is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog.
  • AIM’s mission is to create and promote a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
  • So far, AIM has established 72, 59 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across 650 districts, providing over 3.5 million students access to emerging technologies.

Tarun Bajaj:

The Central Government has recently approved the appointment of Tarun Bajaj as the new Revenue Secretary under the Ministry of Finance.

  • Prior to this, Bajaj, a 1988 batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, was serving as the Economic Affairs Secretary since April 30, 2020.
  • The cabinet has also approved the appointment of Ajay Seth, a 1987 batch Karnataka-cadre IAS officer, as new Economic Affairs Secretary in place of Bajaj.

Kakarla Subba Rao: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu recently has expressed profound grief on the demise of renowned Radiologist, Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao.

Main Points:

Kakarla Subba Rao (1925 – 2021) was a radiologist who served as the first director of Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad.

He was a Professor of Radiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, before returning to India in 1985-86.

Dr. Rao was its first director between 1985 and 1990 and later between 1997 and 2004, before retiring.

He was the founder president of Telugu Association of North America (TANA), an umbrella organization for Telugu speaking people in the United States.

Rao was conferred Padma Shri in 2000 for his contributions to the field of medicine.

AICTE Lilavati Awards: Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' recently presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners.

Highlights:

  1. The awards were presented based on the theme “Women Empowerment”.
  2. The winners were selected by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) in six sub-themes.
  3. Six higher education institutions have been awarded the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020.
  4. The winners were chosen from a total of 456 entries who competed across 6 sub themes, that were Women’s Health, Self-Defense, Sanitation and Hygiene, Literacy, Women Entrepreneurship and Legal Awareness.

List of Winners:

SWEAT (Sona Women Entrepreneurship and Training) from Sona College of Technology, Tamil

  1. Nadu won the contest in the ' Women Entrepreneurship' sub theme.
  2. Under the 'Digital Literacy' sub theme, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth won the contest.
  3. Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development Pune won the award under the 'Literacy' sub theme.
  4. WIT Women Health Coalition from Walchand Institute of Technology, Maharashtra won the award under the 'Women's Health' sub theme.
  5. Radiant Seetha from Thiagarajar Polytechnic College won the contest in the 'Legal Awareness' sub theme.
  6. Paritrana from St. Joseph's College of Engineering, Tamil Nadu won the award for the 'Self Defense' sub theme.

About Lilavati Award-2020:

  1. The Lilavati Award-2020 is the Innovative education program by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to empower women.
  2. It was launched in 2020.
  3. The objective of the award is to create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources and rights among women.
  4. The award covers multidisciplinary areas such as women's health, self-defence, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship and legal awareness.
  5. The program seeks to ensure the participation of women and enable them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.

Why the award is named Lilavati?

  1. It has been named after the 12th-century book called “Lilavati” written by the mathematician Bhaskara II.
  2. In the book the author posed, in verse form, a series of problems in (elementary) arithmetic to Lilavati (perhaps his daughter) and followed them up with hints to solutions.

AICTE:

  1. AICTE stands for All India Council for Technical Education.
  2. It is the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education, under Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  3. It was established in November 1945 as an advisory body but later on in 1987 given statutory status by an Act of Parliament.
  4. It is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education and management education system in India.
  5. The current Chairman of AICTE is Anil Sahasrabudhe.

Chandra Shekhar: He is a former Prime Minister of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently paid homage to Chandra Shekhar on his Jayanti.

About Chandra Shekhar:

  1. Chandra Shekhar Singh (1927 – 2007) was an Indian politician who served as the eighth Prime Minister of India, between 10 November 1990 and 21 June 1991.
  2. He headed a minority government of a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal with outside support from the Indian National Congress.
  3. His government was largely seen as a "puppet" and "lame duck" and the government was formed with the fewest party MPs in the Lok Sabha.
  4. Chandra Shekhar was prime minister for seven months, the second shortest period after that of Charan Singh.
  5. He also handled the portfolios of Defence and Home Affairs during this period.
  6. The Indian economic crisis, 1991, and the Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi plunged his government into crisis.

Siddharth Singh Longjam: He has recently been appointed as the new NADA DG (National Anti-Doping Agency’s Director-General).

About:

  1. IAS officer, Siddharth Singh Longjam will take over as the National Anti-Doping Agency’s Director-General.
  2. Longjam is currently serving as joint secretary in the sports ministry and is also the CEO of the currently suspended National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).
  3. He will replace Navin Agarwal who listed the creation of Athletes Biological Passport (ABP) for around 60 elite Indian sportspersons as one of the highlights of his tenure.

About NADA:

  1. The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was set up as registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 on November 24, 2005.
  2. It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  3. NADA is the national organization responsible for controlling an monitoring the use of dopes in the all sports in India.
  4. NADA deals with adoption and implementation of anti-doping rules and policies as per the rules made by the World Anti-Doping agency (WADA).
  5. NADA includes representatives and scientists from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The Primary objectives of NADA are as follows:

  1. To implement the Anti Doping rules made by the WADA and to achieve compliance by all sports organizations in the country.
  2. To promote dope free sports culture in India.
  3. To promote education, research and awareness on banned drugs in India.

Rumana Sinha Sehgal: Rumana Sinha Sehgal is a Software engineer turned entrepreneur from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

  • She has recently won the Nelson Mandela World Humanitarian Award 2021 by the Diplomatic Mission Global Peace.
  • She was virtually awarded for her contribution to the field of developing innovative and functional green products by recycling varied materials and non-biodegradable materials.

Other Awards:

  • Nationwide Award -under 50- Business Leader 2021 of Social entrepreneurship.
  • International Influencer of the year 2021’ at the Influencer Summit in January 2021.
  • ReXKarmaveer Chakra (silver) and Global Fellowship award 2019 for her work in the zone of women and child empowerment.
  • She was crowned as the ‘Mrs Universe Successful 2018’.

Roberto Benigni: Oscar-winning Italian director-actor Roberto Benigni of “Life is Beautiful” fame has been honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 78th Venice International Film Festival.

Highlights:

  • The filmmaker had starred in and directed the holocaust comedy-drama film Life Is Beautiful (1997), for which he received the Academy Awards for Best Actor (the first for a non-English speaking male performance) and Best International Feature Film.
  • The decision to honour Benigni, a two-time Oscar winner was made by the board of La Biennale di Venezia.
  • The writer-director-actor’s name was proposed by the Festival’s Director, Alberto Barbera.

Note: Venice Film Festival runs from 1 to 11 September.

  • The director is best known for his Holocaust drama Life is Beautiful. The 1997 film fetched him the best actor and best international film Oscars.
  • Benigni most recently starred in Matteo Garrone's live-action Pinocchio.
  • His other films are Night on Earth, Coffee and Cigarettes and To Rome with Love.

Bob Balaram: He is an Indian-origin engineer. He is the man behind Mars Ingenuity helicopter.

  • He has worked with Nasa for 20 years.
  • On 19 April, NASA made history by becoming the first space agency to fly an aircraft on another planet.
  • Its Ingenuity helicopter took an almost 40-second flight, rising three metres up in the air in the Jezero Crater on Mars.
  • NASA has called the event its Wright brothers moment, as the siblings flew the world's first plane in 1903.
  • Ingenuity also carried with it a postage-sized piece of fabric from their aircraft, known as the Flyer, and it was attached to a cable under the solar panel.
  • Ingenuity Mars helicopter is the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft over the surface of another planet.

About Balaram:

  • The historic achievement is not just a proud moment for Nasa but also for Indians too as the chief engineer of Ingenuity is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras) alumni.
  • As a kid growing up in southern India in the 1960s, Balaram was fascinated by rockets and cosmic beauty.
  • Bob Balram completed his mechanical engineering from 1975-1980.
  • He went on to complete his MS and PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, America's oldest technological research university.
  • Associated with NASA for 20 years, he has worked in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a chief Engineer for Mars Helicopter Scout Project.
  • He has also worked on advanced simulation techniques for planetary entry, descent, and landing.
  • The Apollo Moon landing mission had developed his interest in space and science.

Current Affairs People in the News - April 2021

Zoya Akhtar: She is an Indian film director and screenwriter. She completed her diploma in filmmaking from NYU. She has assisted directors such as Mira Nair, Tony Gerber and Dev Benegal. She turned a writer/director with her directorial debut with Luck By Chance in 2009.

Recently, Zoya Akhter was honored with IIFTC Tourism Impact Award 2020 at the 8th India International Film Tourism Conclave at a glittering award ceremony held recently in Mumbai. She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to world tourism through her cinema. The award was presented by Naheed Nenshi - Mayor of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

She has promoted tourism through her films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which was filmed in Spain, and ‘DilDhadakne Do’ which was a comedy drama shot in Turkey.

IIFTC: It refers to International Film Tourism Conclave. IIFTC is Asia’s largest film tourism event. The award was founded in 2013.  IIFTC’s single minded objective is to bring the global film locations to the Indian film industry.

CBDT: It refers to Central Board of Direct Taxes. CBDT is the apex policy-making body of the Direct Tax department. It functions under the Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance. The current Chairperson of CBDT is Pramod Chandra Mody.

Recently, the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of two Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers Satish Kumar Gupta and Krishan Mohan Prasad as members of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Board.

Satish Kumar Gupta: He is a 1984 batch IRS officer. He currently serves as the Principal Chief Commissioner (PCCIT) of I-T (Income Tax) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He has also served as Director-General of Investigation of Bhopal and Jaipur.

Krishan Mohan Prasad: He is a 1984 batch IRS officer. He currently serves as the head of Faceless e-Assessment scheme as first Principal Chief Commissioner of Income-tax, National e-assessment centre in Delhi.

The Guinness Book of World Records: It was originally known as the Guinness Book of Records since its inception in 1955 until 2000. The Guinness Book of World Records is a reference book published annually, listing world records both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world. The ultimate authority on record-breaking achievements, started out as an idea for a book of facts to solve arguments in pubs. It was a brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver. The book was co-founded by twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter in Fleet Street, London, in August 1954.

Recently, Guinness World Records confirmed 112-year-old Bob Weighton of the United Kingdom as the newest title holder. He was honored with this title on 30th March 2020, just one day after his birthday

Dilip Kumar Patel: He is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from NIT, Rourkela. He has more than three decades of experience in HR functions and has been the HR Head in various NTPC projects like NSPCL Bhilai, Sipat, and Tanda for around 12 years.

Recently, Dilip Kumar Patel was appointed as the Director Human resources by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited. He also served as the Regional Head of HR in the Eastern Region-2 before he was appointed as the Director (HR).

NTPC: It refers to the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. NTPC Ltd was founded on 7 November 1975. It is headquartered in New Delhi, India. Its current Chairman and MD is Gurdeep Singh.

NTPC Ltd. not only provides services including Electricity generation and distribution natural gas exploration, production, transportation and distribution but this Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) ventures into oil and gas exploration and coal mining activities also. IT is promoted by the Government of India (GoI).

BP Kanungo: He has been re-elected as RBI Deputy Governor for a period of 1-year with effect from 3rd April 2020. His term was to end on 2nd April 2020. He was appointed as RBI Deputy Governor in April 2017.

The following departments are under him are:-

Department of Currency Management

External Investments & Operations

Government & Bank Accounts

Department of Information Technology

Department of Payment & Settlement System, Legal, Foreign Exchange, Internal Debt.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI): RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Naveen Patnaik: Naveen Patnaik is a 73 year old Indian politician. He formed the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) in 1998 and named it after his father. His father was the former Chief Minister of Odisha and only after his demise, he got involved in active politics. He is the current and 14th Chief Minister of Odisha and he is also the longest serving Chief Minister of Odisha.

Recently, Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik has been awarded with ‘Hero to Animals Award’ by animal rights body PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) India. He was awarded for allocating funds to feed community animals in Odisha during the lockdown over the Covid-19 pandemic.

CM Naveen Patnaik approved Rs 54 lacs from a relief fund to feed animals of the community as not only the people but also the animals are affected due to coronavirus pandemic. It is the first-of-its-kind initiative undertaken to feed animals. It has been conducted in 5-municipal corporations and all 48 municipalities of Odisha state.

PETA: It is an acronym for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is an American animal rights non-profit organization. It was established on 22nd March 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. Its headquarters is in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. The current PETA President is Ingrid Newkirk.

UB Pravin Rao: UB Pravin Rao becomes the new chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), for 2020-21. He will succeed Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services. He is the Infosys' chief operating officer.

Mr Rao joined Infosys in 1986. He has held a number of senior management roles. He was also appointed as the interim CEO and Managing Director (MD) of Infosys, after the company went into a leadership crisis, following Vishal Sikka's sudden exit in 2017. He has been Nasscom's Vice Chairman till date.

Nasscom also named Rekha M Menon, Chairman of Accenture in India as its new Vice Chairman.

NASSCOM: It is an acronym for National Association of Software and Services Companies. NASSCOM was established on 1st March 1988. It is a non-profit association of IT and BPO companies in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Justice Shiva Kirti Singh: He is the incumbent Chairman of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). He has assumed the office in April 2017 and was set to retire on April 20, 2020.

Recently, The Supreme Court of India has extended the tenure of Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, as the incumbent Chairman of the TDSAT by three months. The decision was taken by the bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde along with Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Kishan Kaul. In its decision

Rifat Chadirji: He is known as the Father of modern Iraqi architecture. He studied in London. He came back to Iraq in 1950 and returned to design his magnum opus, elegant arch entitled “The Unknown Soldier” as well as the capital’s post office and other public buildings. He is credited to have designed some of Iraq’s most valuable structures and iconic “Freedom Monument” in the now protest hub of Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

Rifat Chadirji passed away due to COVID-19.

Birupaksha Mishra: He has become the new Executive Director of Union Bank of India. He was appointed as the new Executive Director after the amalgamation of Union Bank of India with Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank. Birupaksha Mishra before his appointment was the Executive Director at Corporation Bank. He started his banking career as a Probationary Officer in 1984. He has worked in various parts of the country and has handled Credit and Credit Monitoring Portfolio of the Bank and headed IT vertical of the Bank.

UBI: It refers to the Union Bank of India. UBI was established on 11 November 1919. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The current Union Bank of India MD & CEO is Rajkiran Rai G.

Viswanathan Anand: Viswanathan Anand also known as Vishy is an Indian Chess Grandmaster. He is the oldest player in modern times to become classical World Champion for the first time. He was 37 when he won in 2007. When the world championship was split, Anand played in both versions. In 2007 he was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. He is also the first recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India's highest sporting honour.

Recently, Chess Legend Viswanathan Anand was named the ambassador of World Wide Fund India. He has joined the organization for its environment education programme.

WWF India is celebrating ith 50 years of conservation in India. The environment education programme was started in 1976. The main objective of the programme is to create problem solvers, critical thinkers and environmentally conscious individuals. The programme currently reaches out to over 5,00,000 children across 2000 schools in the country.

David Li: David Li has been recently, appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Huawei Telecommunications India. He will succeed Jay Chen who has been promoted to handle Asia Pacific level business role. He was serving as CEO of Huawei Cambodia before returning to India to take on his new role. Before taking up a new role, he was serving as CEO of Huawei Cambodia. He joined Huawei in 2002 and has experience of working in the India market, including in roles like vice president sales and vice president HR during different phases of his career.

Huawei Technologies India: It is the first overseas R&D center of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. It is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. It is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The main headquarters of Huawei Telecommunications is in Shenzhen, China.

N Kamakodi: He is the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) City Union Bank Ltd. He has been associated with the City Union Bank since 2003. He was apponted as MD and CEO in 2011.

Recently, N Kamakodi has been reappointed as the MD & CEO of City Union Bank Ltd. after the approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He has been reappointment for a further period of three years. The reappointments will be effective from 1 May 2020.

City Union Bank: The City Union Bank Limited is a private Indian bank. It was founded by R. Santhanam Iyer, S. Krishna Iyer and V. Krishnaswami Iyengar. The Bank was initially called the Kumbakonam Bank Limited. It was incorporated as a limited company on 31 October 1904. It is headquartered in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. The current Chairman of City Union Bank is R. Mohan.

Kapil Dev Tripathi: He is a 1980 batch retired IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre. He is at present the chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). Mr Tripathi retired as Secretary in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Recently, Kapil Dev Tripathi was appointed as the new Secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind. He was appointed on 20 April 2020. The appointment was made by the appointments committee of the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will replace Sanjay Kothari, who was selected as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in February.

He has been appointed to the post on a contract basis, for a term co-terminus with the tenure of the President.

CVC: It refers to Central Vigilance Commissioner of India. CVC is an apex Indian governmental body which was established on 11 February 1964 to address governmental corruption. The Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC in 2003. It is an autonomous body which is free of control from any executive authority. It is charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India, advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work. It is headquartered in New Delhi. The first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India was Nittoor Srinivasa Rau.

Recently, Sanjay Kothari took oath as Central Vigilance Commissioner of India (CVC). He has been selected as the new CCVC by a high-powered committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prior to this, he served as the Secretary to the President.

Sudarsanam Babu: He is an Indian American who has 21 years of experience in advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing, physical metallurgy and computational materials modeling. Babu earned his master of technology (industrial metallurgy - welding) from IIT-Madras in 1988 and a bachelor of engineering (eetallurgy) from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore in 1986. He is currently director of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, as well as ORNL Governor's Chair of Advanced Manufacturing. 

Recently, Sudarsanam Babu has been appointed by US President Donald Trump to National Science Board in the United States. His appointment was announced by the White House on April 20, 2020. He has been appointed as a member of the National Science Board for a six-year term.

 He would be the third Indian American in this prestigious board. The other two being Sethuraman Panchanathan from the Arizona State University and Suresh V Garimella from University of Vermont.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has been appointed as the Chairman of the international body Stop TB Partnership Board.

Highlights:

The appointment of Dr Harsh Vardhan as the Chair of this prestigious global body is a proud recognition of India’s political commitment to the eradication of TB.

He was appointed in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the movement to eradicate Tuberculosis from India by 2025.

Dr Harsh Vardhan will serve a three-year term, commencing from July this year.

About Stop TB Partnership:

  • Established in the year 2000, the ‘Stop TB Partnership’ is mandated to eliminate Tuberculosis as a public health problem.

  • It is a unique international body with the power to align actors all over the world in the fight against TB.

  • The participation of a wide range of constituencies gives this global body the credibility and the broad range of medical, social and financial expertise needed to defeat TB.

  • The Partnership’s vision is a TB-free world.

Social housing architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, founders of French studio Lacaton & Vassal, have recently been named the 2021 winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

French architects Lacaton and Vassal were named the winners of the award for their body of work that "reflects architecture's democratic spirit" and their "commitment to a restorative architecture".

Their recognition marks the first time a French female architect has won the prize, with Lacaton becoming the sixth woman to receive the award since it was established in 1979.

Pritzker Architecture Prize:

  • The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect.

  • Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.

  • It is considered to be one of the world's premier architecture prizes, and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

The US Senate on March 17, 2021 unanimously approved the nomination of Katherine Tai as President Joe Biden’s chief trade negotiator.

Senators voted 98-0 to confirm Tai as the next US Trade Representative, making her the first woman of colour and the first Asian American to serve as the nation’s top ambassador on trade policy.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has appointed veteran French diplomat Jean Arnault as his personal envoy on Afghanistan and regional issues, authorizing him to liaise with regional countries on his behalf to support negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban and implement any agreements reached between them.

The appointment of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General on Afghanistan and Regional Issues reflects the continued commitment by the United Nations to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Maharashtra Bhushan Award: Legendary singer Asha Bhosle will be presented the Maharashtra Bhushan award for the year 2020, the State government’s highest honour.

  • A committee headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting earlier today in this regard.

About the Award:

  • The award was instituted in 1996.

  • The award was instituted by the State government to recognise distinguished work and achievements of eminent persons from the State, representing different walks of life.

  • The award carries a cash prize of ₹10 lakh and a citation.

About Asha Bhosle:

  • Ms. Bhosle was born on September 8, 1933, in Maharashtra’s Sangli district.

  • She was initiated into music by her father, the renowned Marathi stage actor-singer Dinanath Mangeshkar.

  • She received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2000.

Note: The first Maharashtra Bhushan awardee was Marathi writer P.L. Deshpande and the last winner of this award was historian Babasaheb Purandare who got it for the year 2015.

Asha Bhosle's sister the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar won the award for 1997.

Gandhi Peace Prize: According to the Ministry of the culture, government of India (GoI), the Gandhi Peace Prize for the Year 2019 and 2020 were recently conferred.

  • The peace prize for the year 2019 was conferred on the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman.

  • The Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020 was conferred to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Dhaka on March 26, 2021. He will be attending the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the independence and birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

About Gandhi Peace Prize:

  • This is an International Gandhi Peace Prize which has been named after Mahatma Gandhi.

  • The award is presented by the Government of India.

  • The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.

  • This award was launched in the year 1995 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi.

  • This annual award is given to the individuals and institutions for their contributions in the political, social and economic transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian ideals.

  • The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation, a plaque and an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.

About Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:

  • Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first President and also became Prime Minister of Bangladesh, later.

  • He is called as “Father of the Nation” or “Mujib”.

  • He was assassinated on August 15, 1975.

About Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said:

  • Winner of the Gandhi Peace Prize 2019, Sultan Qaboos, was the longest-reigning leader of the modern Arab world.

  • He died in the month of January 2020.

  • The peace prize was given this year for the last two years that is 2019 and 2020.

  • In the year 2018, it was announced for the last four years.

Saurabh Garg: Senior bureaucrat Saurabh Garg has recently been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Garg is currently serving in his cadre state Odisha.

IAS officer Sanjeev Kumar has been appointed as the Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI).

IAS officer Atish Chandra has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India.

About UIDAI:

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority established under the provisions of Aadhaar act 2016 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) on 12 July 2016.

  • UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as "Aadhaar", to all residents of India.

  • The UID had to be

(a) Robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities

(b) Verifiable and authenticable in an easy, cost-effective way.

  • The Aadhaar Act 2016 has been amended by the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Act, 2019 (14 of 2019) w.e.f. 25.07.2019.

Harsh Mariwala: Marico Industries’ Founder-Chairman Harsh Mariwala was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 and will represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in June.

Prathap Chandra Reddy, founder and executive chairman of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. was given the lifetime achievement award.

Winners of the EY Entrepreneur awards were selected by a nine-member independent jury led by Uday Kotak, managing director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Current Affairs People in the News - March 2021

Vijay Advani: He has been appointed as the new Chairman of its Global Board of Directors by the US-India Business Council (USIBC). Vijay Adani before his appointed served as the Executive Chairman of the Board in January 2020. The council also announced two new members of the Global Board of Directors Lockheed Martin International Senior Vice President Tim Cahill and GE South Asia President & CEO Mahesh Palashikar.

USIBC: It stands for US-India Business Council. USIBC represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and Indo-Pacific. US India Business Council (USIBC) represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and Indo-Pacific. It was founded in 1975. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.

Dr. Niti Kumar: She is a senior scientist from Division of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow. She has won the SERB Women Excellence Award 2020. The award will be conferred by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind during National Science Day Celebrations on 28 February 2020 in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The award is presented to women scientists below 40 years of age who have received recognition from national academies.The women researchers will be supported by research grant of Rs 5 lakh per annum for 3 years by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.

 Dr Kumar’s research group is trying to understand the protein quality control machinery in human malaria parasite for exploration of alternative drug targets for malaria intervention.

Dr. Niti Kumar has received several awards and honors like Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (DBT-IYBA 2015), EMBO Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2010-2012), INSA Medal for Young Scientist (2010) by Indian National Academy of Sciences, Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship by European Union under 6th Framework Programme (2005-2006) and Max Planck Post-doctoral fellowship at Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (2009).

Sreekar Prasad: He is a veteran video editor who holds eight National Awards including a Special Jury Award. His recent Bollywood projects includes ‘Super 30 and ‘Saaho’.

Recently, he entered the Limca Book of Records for 'films edited in the most number of languages'. He received a certification from the Limca Records for editing films in 17 languages that are Hindi, English, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Punjabi, Pangchenpa, Karbi, Mishing, Bodo, and Marathi, Odia, Sinhalese, Bengali, Assamese and Nepali.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey: He is a 1984 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer belonging to the Maharashtra cadre. He was the current Revenue Secretary. He was former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). UIDAI is  the nodal agency of Government of India responsible for implementing Aadhaar. He also served as the Chairman of the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN).

He has been appointed as the new Finance Secretary by GoI. His new appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

The senior-most bureaucrat among all secretaries in the Finance Ministry is designated as the finance secretary.

Sanjay Kumar Panda: He is a 1991 Indian Foreign Service officer. He is presently Consul General, Consulate General of India, San Francisco.

Senior diplomat Sanjay Kumar Panda has been appointed as India's Ambassador to Turkey. He will succeed Sanjay Bhattacharya. The announcement was made by the Ministry of External Affairs. He has been appointed to the post when India- Turkey relations are under strain.

Jadav Payeng: He is an Asamese environmental activist. He is popularly called the ‘Forest Man of India’. Padma Shri Jadav Payeng is an environmental activist and forest worker from Jorhat. In the past several years, he has planted and tended trees on a sandbar of the river Brahmaputra turning it into a forest reserve. The forest is called ‘Molai’ forest after him. It is located near Kokilamukh in Jorhat

He was recently named as the 128th Commonwealth Points of Light Award winner. Queen Elizabeth II has honoured Payeng for his exceptional voluntary service to environmental conservation. He will be fecilitated by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata Nick on March 11. The Points of Light Award recognises people across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.

He was also awarded the 6th Karmayogi Award for 2020 at New Delhi. The award is composed of a trophy, a recitation and a reward of Rs 1 lakh. 

Swami Vivekananda Smriti Karmayogi Award is organized by My Home India in New Delhi. The award was conferred for the first time in 2013. This Award is presented to great personalities from North-Eastern India who dedicates their lives to Nation and promotes Nationalism through art & culture, sports, education, etc. for their contribution to respective fields.

My Home India is an NGO which aims at bringing emotional integration between people from different parts of India.

Dr. V Praveen Rao: He is the Vice-Chancellor of Telangana State Agricultural University. He has handled thirteen research and six consultancy projects on micro-irrigation in India, South Africa and Israel.

He has been awarded the 7th M. S. Swaminathan Award for the 2017-19 year. He received the prestigious Award for his contributions in the fields of Agricultural Research, Teaching, Extension, and Administration. The award will be conferred on him in June 2020.

MS Swaminathan award: It is a national award. It was constituted by Retired ICAR Employees Association (RICAREA) and Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL). The award carries a prize of Rs 2, 00,000 and a citation.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh: He was the leader of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent for nearly 40 years (1801-1839). He was born on the 13th of November 1780, in Gujranwala, Pakistan. He lost sight in his left eye due to smallpox in his infancy. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. He is known as the ‘Lion of Punjab’ and is counted among the greatest Sikh leaders. Ranjit Singh not only kept Punjab united but also did not allow the British to capture his empire. He is credited for establishing a modern empire when the region was torn with wars between afghan tribes due to the decline of the Mughal Empire. He prohibited Jiziya from the Hindus and Sikhs and never forced Sikhism on anyone. He was known as a secular leader in world history. He died on 27 June 1839 in Lahore, Pakistan. He is also known for restoring Sikh gurudwaras, including Golden Temple in Amritsar, as well as creating an atmosphere of religious tolerance for all communities.

Recently, in a poll conducted by BBC World Histories magazine, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was voted the greatest leader in world history by 38% of the more than 5,000 readers of the magazine. He has been nominated by historian Matthew Lockwood who is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama for establishing "modern empire of toleration". Maharaja Ranjit Singh was described as a modernizing and uniting force, whose reign "marked a golden age for Punjab and northwest India".

The second place went to African independence fighter Amílcar Cabral who is credited with uniting over a million Guineans to free themselves from Portuguese occupation. He is also credited for inspiring many other colonized African countries to rise and fight for independence. The third place went to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his contributions to Britain during world war while the American president Abraham Lincoln was voted fourth.

Bill Gates: He is an American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of Microsoft. He made the company one of the world's most valuable technology firms.  He along with his wife Melinda run one of the world's largest charities, the Gates Foundation, which has billions in assets and funds global health programmes to combat disease and poverty.

Recently, Bill Gates stepped down from the board on Friday to focus on philanthropic works related to global health, education and climate change. He quit his full-time executive role at Microsoft in 2008. He remained as chairman of the board till 2014 and since then he has been a board member.

Chameli Devi Jain Award: It is an Indian journalistic award named after Chameli Devi Jain who was a legendary freedom fighter and a community reformer. She went to prison during India’s freedom struggle. The award was instituted by the Media Foundation in 1980. It is awarded annually to women in the field of journalism who recognizes social concern, dedication, courage and compassion all over India from the print, broadcast and online media category. The Chairperson of Media Foundation is Harish Khare.

Recently, the Chameli Devi Jain Award was jointly awarded to Arfa Khanum Sherwani of “The Wire” and Bengaluru-based freelancer and Rohini Mohan for outstanding woman journalist. Arfa Khanum Sherwani was awarded for her reporting from conflict situations in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh while Rohini Mohan was awarded for her reportage on the NRC exercise in Assam which set a new benchmark for investigative journalism.

Hirdesh Kumar: Hirdesh Kumar (47) from Uttar Pradesh is an IAS officer of 1999 batch, who is presently serving as Commissioner Secretary in the School Education Department of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, he was the District Magistrate in the districts such as Chitrakoot, Ghazipur and Ghaziabad.

He has been appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory by the ECI (Election Commission of India). He was appointed on the 16th of March 2020. He will replace Shailendra Kumar with effect from the date he assumes charge.

ECI: It refers to Election Commission of India. The ECI is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. It was formed on 25 January 1950. Its headquartered in New Delhi.It functions under the jurisdiction of Government of India. 

Debasish Panda: He is a Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi. He has been nominated as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by the Central Government. His nomination is effective from March 11, 2020, and until further orders. There are two governments nominated Directors on the board of RBI. The other director of RBI is Atanu Chakraborty.

RBI: It refers to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India's central bank, which controls the issue and supply of the Indian rupee. It carries out India's monetary policy and exercises supervision and control over banks and non-banking finance companies in India. RBI was set up in 1935 under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It is headquartered in Mumbai. RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. The current Governor of RBI is Shaktikanta Das.

Yes Bank: Yes Bank Limited is an Indian public bank headquartered in Mumbai, India. It was founded by Rana Kapoor and Ashok Kapur in 2004. It offers wide range of banking and financial products for corporate and retail customers through retail banking and asset management services.

Recently, the central government has appointed former SBI banker Prashant Kumar as Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Yes Bank. He was earlier appointed as the YES Bank administrator. 

Apart from Kumar, Sunil Mehta who is a former Non-Executive Chairman of Punjab National Bank has been appointed as the Non-Executive Chairman of Yes Bank. Other Board members include Atul Bheda and Mahesh Krishnamurthy, both as Non-Executive Directors.

Ravinder Singh Dhillon: He is currently serving as a Director (Projects, Public Grievance) in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) Limited. He received his graduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi and an undergraduate degree from Thapar University. He is also on the board of Power Equity Capital Advisors Pvt Ltd. and Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corp. Ltd.

Recently, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of Ravinder Singh Dhillon as the Chairman-cum- Managing Director (MD) of Power Finance Corporation (PFC). He will be serving in this post till his superannuation on May 31, 2023.

PFC Ltd: It refers to the Power Finance Corporation Ltd.  of India. It is an Indian financial institution that was formed in July 1986. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It is India's largest NBFC and Infrastructure Finance Company. It is the financial backbone of Indian Power Sector. PFC has conferred the title of a “Navratna CPSE” in June 2007

A. Ajay Kumar: He is a 2001 batch IFS officer. He is at present posted as the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. He has recently been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Uganda. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.

Uganda: Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. This East African country is widely known for its agricultural products such as cotton, tobacco, and tea. The landlocked nation encompasses several spectacular mountains, lakes, as well as savannas. However, it is among the poorest countries on the African continent with One-third of the population here lives below the international poverty line. Its Capital is Kampala. The currency used here is Ugandan shilling. The President of Uganda is Yoweri Museveni. 

Marc Llistosella: He has recently been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Tata Motors.

He will be taking over from the current incumbent Guenter Butschek, who has preferred to relocate to Germany, his native place.

Llistosella was most recently the president and CEO of Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and head of Daimler Trucks in Asia.

He was earlier the MD and CEO of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt Ltd.

Dr Ajay Mathur:  The International Solar Alliance (ISA) recently announced Dr. Ajay Mathur as its new Director General (DG) following his election at the first special assembly of ISA members.

Dr. Mathur replaces Mr. Upendra Tripathy, who has served as Director General since the ISA was founded in 2015.

ISA accelerate the demand for and use of safe, sustainable, and affordable solar energy for all. It aims to mobilize over $1 trillion USD of investment into solar projects by 2030 through focused advocacy, policy and regulatory support, capacity building, and by overcoming perceived investment barriers.

ISA: It is an abbreviation for International Solar Alliance.

  • The ISA is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • The alliance was founded on 30 November 2015 climate change conference in Paris.
  • It is the first treaty-based international government organization which is headquartered in Gurugram, India.
  • It is the nodal agency to implement the global electricity grid plan of India called “One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)”.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: She is the first female and first African  who has recently been chosen as the head the World Trade Organization (WTO).

WTO has handed her the task of restoring trust in a rules-based global trading system.

Highlights:

The WTO’s 164 members unanimously selected the 66-year old Nigerian economist to serve a four-year term as director general.

The appointment came after United State's new President Joe Biden endorsed her candidacy, which had been blocked by former President Donald Trump.

About: Okonjo-Iweala, formerly Nigeria’s finance minister, had a 25-year career at the World Bank (WB), where she rose to the number-two position of managing director. She holds both US and Nigerian citizenship.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

  1. The World Trade Organization is an international body that deals with the rules of trade between nations.
  2. It was established on 1st January 1995 in accordance with the Marrakesh Agreement.
  3. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO has over 160 members representing 98% of world trade.

Marrakesh Agreement:

  1. The Marrakesh Agreement was signed after the Marrakesh Declaration in April 1994. The agreement was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco.
  2. The agreement was signed by 123 nations in April 1994.
  3. The Marrakesh Agreement had replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). 
  4. The agreement is supplemented by agreements on issues like sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights etc.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy: He is the Chief Minister (CM) of Andhra Pradesh (AP). He has recently been conferred with the SKOCH Chief Minister of the Year Award.

SKOCH Group Chairman Sameer Kochhar called on the CM Reddy at his camp office at Tadepalli on Tuesday and presented the award to him.

He has been selected for the SKOCH Chief Minister of the Year Award based on a year-long study of results of projects being implemented by governments in various States of the country.

Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh is situated in the south-eastern part of India. It came into existence in its present form in 1956 as a result of the demand of the Andhras for a separate state. Its Capitals are Visakhapatnam (executive capital), Kurnool (judicial capital, Amaravati (legislative capital.) The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Andra Pradesh is Biswabhusan Harichandan and Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy respectively.

Ajai Malhotra: He has recently become the first Indian to be elected as Chairperson of the Advistory Committee of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

Malhotra has also served as the Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation till his retirement in 2013. After retirement, he served from 2015 to 2019 as Independent Director of India’s public sector Oil and Gas Company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), as also of ONGC Videsh (2017–2019).

He has been on the Indian team negotiating issues such as biological diversity, climate change, desertification, education, energy, forestry, health, human rights, human settlements, intellectual property, international law, labour, ozone depletion, sustainable development and trade.

About Human Rights Council:

  1. HRC is the Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system. It is located at the UN Office at Geneva. It was founded on 15 March 2006 by the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251.
  2. Its main task is to investigate allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states. It also addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of expression, women's rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.

Sahitya Akademi Fellowship: Professor Velcheru Narayana Rao who is a distinguished scholar, writer, translator and critic, has been elected honorary fellow of Sahitya Akademi.

The general council of Sahitya Akademi, in its ninety second meeting, under the chairmanship of Dr Chandrasekhar Kambar, took the decision.

His election was made based on his contribution to the Telugu literature.

His publications include Girls for Sale: Kanyashulkam and A play from Colonial India.

About the Award:

  1. The Sahitya Akademi Fellowship is a literary honour in India bestowed by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.
  2. It is conferred annually on writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the 24 major Indian languages, i.e., English, Rajasthani, and the 22 listed languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution recognised by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
  3. It is the highest honour conferred by the Akademi on a living writer, the number of fellows at no time exceeding 21.
  4. Established on 12 March 1954, the award comprises a plaque and a cash prize of ₹ 1,00,000.
  5. The plaque awarded by the Sahitya Akademi was designed by the Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray.
  6. During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the plaque was substituted with national savings bonds.
  7. Elected from among writers thought by the Akademi to be of acknowledged merit, the fellows are sometimes described as the "immortals of Indian literature."
  8. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first writer elected to the Fellowship; Mulk Raj Anand was the first Indian English writer to be inducted in 1989.

About Sahitya Akademi:

  1. The Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation. It was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  2. Sahitya Akademi gives some other awards like: Bhasha Samman Puraskar, Prize for Translation and Bal Sahitya Puraskar.
  3. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

UN Goodwill Ambassador: Recently, Natalia Vodianova who is a Russian supermodel and philanthropist became a United Nations (UN) goodwill ambassador, to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and tackle stigmas surrounding their bodies.

She will be a campaigner for the UN Population Fund, which now calls itself the UN”s sexual and reproductive health agency, known as UNFPA.

About UNFPA:

  1. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide.
  1. UNFPA promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. There are close links between sustainable development, reproductive health and gender equality.
  2. It was founded in 1969.
  3. It is headquartered in New York, New York, United States.
  4. The current head of UNFPA is Natalia Kanem.

Vijay Sampla: Former Union Minister Vijay Sampla has recently assumed the charge of Chairman National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).

About :

  • He has been the State President of BJP from Punjab and the Union Minister of State.
  • From 2009-12, he served as the Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Board, Punjab.
  • His name was also recommended for the Rashtrapati Award.
  • He won the General Elections of 2014 from ‘Hoshiarpur’ Constituency of Lok Sabha.
  • He has been the former Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment from 2014 to 2019.
  • He has been actively involved in the welfare and upliftment of deprived classes of society.

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC):

  • NCSC is an Indian constitutional body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It works for the socio-economic development of the scheduled castes and to prevent atrocities against them.
  • It was founded on 19 February 2004.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Pramod Chandra Mody: The tenure of Pramod Chandra Mody as Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman has been extended for a further period of three months with effect from March 1, 2021, to May 31, 2021.

Mody is a 1982-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, was appointed as the CBDT chief in February 2019.

CBDT: It is an acronym of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

  • CBDT is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. The officials of the Board in their ex-officio capacity also function as a Division of the Ministry dealing with matters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes.

  • It functions as a division of the Ministry of Finance under the Department of Revenue.

  • Its functions include formulation of policies, dealing with natters relating to levy and collection of direct taxes, and supervision of the functioning of the entire Income Tax Department.

CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently bestowed the CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates Week (CERAWeek) 2021 via video conferencing.

  • CERAWeek 2021 is being convened virtually from 1st March to 5th March, 2021.

  • PM Modi dedicated the award to the ‘people of our great motherland’ and said Indians are leaders when it comes to caring for the Environment.

  • While delivering a keynote address at the virtually held award ceremony, PM Modi discussed ways to fight climate change.

  • PM Modi also talked about father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi calling him the ‘greatest environment champions’ India has ever had.

About CERAWeek

  • CERAWeek was founded in 1983 by Dr. Daniel Yergin.

  • It has been organized in Houston, United States (US) in the month of March every year since 1983 and is considered the world’s premier annual energy platform.

About the Award

  • CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award was instituted in 2016.

  • The award recognizes the commitment of leadership on the future of global energy & environment and for offering solutions and policies for energy access, affordability & environmental stewardship.

Ligia Noronha: She is a leading Indian economist who has recently been appointed as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

  • Prior to joining the UNEP, Noronha worked at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi as Executive Director (Research Coordination) and as Director of the Division on Resources, Regulation and Global Security.

UNEP: It is an abbreviation for United Nations Environment Programme. UNEP was founded on 5 June 1972 by a Canadian businessman and philanthropist Maurice Strong.

  • It is responsible for coordinating the UN's environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.

  • It is the global champion for the environment with programmes focusing on sustainable development, climate, biodiversity and more.

  • It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • The current Executive Director of UNEP is Inger Andersen and the current Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP is Dechen Tsering.

Jaideep Bhatnagar: He is a 1986-batch Indian Information Service (IIS) officer who has recently taken over as Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

He will take over from Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, who superannuated on February 28, 2021.

Prior to his current charge as head of the organisation, Bhatnagar has worked in PIB for six years in different capacities.

He is the former head of the News Services Division of All India Radio. He earlier served in Doordarshan News as head of the Commercial, Sales and Marketing Division.

He has also served as Prasar Bharati Special Correspondent West Asia covering 20 countries and later went on to head the News Services Division of AIR.

PIB: The Press Information Bureau, commonly abbreviated as PIB, is a nodal agency of the Government of India under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The head of PIB is also the Official Spokesperson of the Government of India (GoI) and holds the rank of Principal Director General (Secretary equivalent).

PIB was established in June 1919.

It has its Headquarters in New Delhi.

MT Swarna Krishna:

Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways recently flagged off the first “All Women Officers’ Sailing” on MT Swarna Krishna from Jawaharlal Nehru Port virtually.

The all women crew of onboard Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) vessel created history as this is the first time in the world maritime history that a ship is being sailed by all women officers.

The crew was flagged off as a part of SCI's ongoing Diamond Jubilee celebrations and also to commemorate International Women's Day on 8 March.

About:

  • MT SWARNA KRISHNA is a Oil Products Tanker that was built in 2010 and is being operated by Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).

  • It’s carrying capacity is 73655 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 8.5 meters.

  • Her length overall (LOA) is 228.02 meters and her width is 32.24 meters.

G R Chintala:

He is the chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) who recently assumed assumed charge as the chairman of APRACA (Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association).

He has taken over from DPK Gunasekera, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Ceylon.

About the APRACA:

  • The Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) is an association of institutions involved in agricultural, rural and microfinance policy and development, representing 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • It was established in 1977,.

About NABARD:

  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development finance institution under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

  • NABARD was established on the recommendations of B.Sivaramman Committee (by Act 61, 1981 of Parliament) on 12 July 1982 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.

  • It is India's specialized bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in India.

  • It was founded on 12 July 1982 and is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Amitabh Bachchan:

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 2021 FIAF Award by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).

The 78-year-old veteran actor will be the first Indian cinema personality to be bestowed with the FIAF Award for his dedication and contribution to the preservation of the world’s film heritage.

The award will be presented to him on March 19, 2021, during a virtual event, by Hollywood filmmakers and previous recipients of the FIAF Award, Martin Scorcese and Christopher Nolan.

He was nominated for the award by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation which is a not-for-profit organization founded by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur a filmmaker & archivist. This foundation is dedicated to preserve, restore, document, exhibit and study the film heritage of India.

About FIAF:

  • FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives) is a worldwide organisation of film archives and museums from across the world.

  • FIAF was founded on 17 June 1938.

  • FIAF is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

  • The FIAF Award celebrates a personality whose experience in the field of cinema underlines the objectives and goals of the Federation.

  • FIAF is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its annual Award in 2021

Udupi Ramachandra Rao:

Google recently celebrated the 89th birthday of renowned Indian professor and scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao who is also remembered as "India's Satellite Man, on 10th March 2021 through its “Google Doodle”

About Udupi Ramachandra Rao:

  • Udupi Ramachandra Rao (1932 – 2017) was an Indian space scientist and chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

  • Rao is remembered as the “India’s Satellite Man”.

  • He supervised the 1975 launch of India's first satellite --"Aryabhata"-one of over 20 satellites he developed that transformed much of rural India by advancing communication and meteorological services.

  • He developed rocket technology such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has launched over 250 satellites.

  • He was also the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru and chancellor of the Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram.

Awards:

  • Professor Rao was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1976, and Padma Vibhushan in 2017.

  • He was inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington in 2013. With this he became the first Indian to be inducted.

  • He was also to be inducted in International Astronautics Federation (IAF) in 2016.

  • He became the first Indian again to achieve this honour.

Dr. GP Samanta:

He has recently been appointed as new Chief Statistician of India (CSI)by the Central government for a period of two years.

He is India’s fourth CSI.

He replaces Kshatrapati Shivaji who was holding an additional charge of the post since September 2020.

Dr Samanta was currently serving as an adviser in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Department Of Statistics and Information Management.

He will also serve as the Secretary of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

The RBI had felicitated Samanta with the prestigious Prof. P. C. Mahalanobis award in August 2010.

Mahamadou Issoufou:

The incumbent President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou has recently won the “2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership”, the world’s largest leadership prize, worth $5 million.

The 69-year-old Issoufou is the sixth winner of the Ibrahim Prize since it was introduced in 2006, by Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim’s foundation to promote good governance in the world’s poorest continent.

Issoufou is stepping down as president of Niger in April 2021, after serving two terms in office.

He first took office in 2011 and was then re-elected in 2016.

About Niger:

  • Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa.

  • It got its name after the Niger River.

  • The country has some of the world's largest uranium deposits.

  • The capital of Niger is Niamey.

  • The currency used here is West African CFA franc.

  • The current President of Niger is Mahamadou Issoufou.

Current Affairs People in the News - Feburary 2021

Sunil Mehta: Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has appointed Sunil Mehta as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Sunil Mehta is the former Managing Director and CEO of Punjab National Bank. He will replace VG Kannan, who resigned from office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.

The term of the CEO of IBA is for 3 years. At present, the managing committee of IBA has SBI chief Rajnish Kumar as Chairman for the year 2019-20 along with 3 deputy chairmen and honorary secretary.

IBA: It refers to Indian Banks’ Association. It was formed on 26 September 1946. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is an association for the management of the banks and financial institutions of the country. It currently represents around 200 banking and financial institutions operating in India.

Gita Sabharwal: She is an Indian who received her B.A. in Sociology and her M.A. in Psychology from Delhi University. She received her M.A. in Development Management from the University of Wales, UK. She holds 25 years of experience in peacebuilding, development, governance and social policy across five Asian countries including the Maldives. Earlier she served the UN in Sri Lanka as the Peacebuilding and Development Adviser for nearly seven years. She has also served as the Social Development Adviser for UK’s Department for International Development in India and Vietnam. Sabharwal has developed and managed programmes across sectors ranging from poverty reduction, social protection, civil society, decentralization, gender equality and public enterprise reform.

Recently, the United Nations has appointed India's Gita Sabharwal as the Resident Coordinator in Thailand, which is the highest-ranking representative of the UN development system at the country level.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu: He is a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer. He is currently posted as High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka. He has previously served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of India in Washington DC from 2013 to 2017.

Recently, senior diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been appointed as India's Ambassador to the US, replacing Harsh Vardhan Shringla. He will take charge as the new Indian Ambassador to the United States. Shringla has been named as India's next foreign secretary.

Dr. N Kumar: He is an inspiring teacher and a mentor of Research. He is from Kadukkarai village located in the Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. He began his career in 1979 as an Assistant Professor in Horticulture at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. He has written 8 Text Books, Research papers internationally acclaimed-52 and 1

Sunil Mehta: Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has appointed Sunil Mehta as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Sunil Mehta is the former Managing Director and CEO of Punjab National Bank. He will replace VG Kannan, who resigned from office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.

The term of the CEO of IBA is for 3 years. At present, the managing committee of IBA has SBI chief Rajnish Kumar as Chairman for the year 2019-20 along with 3 deputy chairmen and honorary secretary.

IBA: It refers to Indian Banks’ Association. It was formed on 26 September 1946. It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is an association for the management of the banks and financial institutions of the country. It currently represents around 200 banking and financial institutions operating in India.

Gita Sabharwal: She is an Indian who received her B.A. in Sociology and her M.A. in Psychology from Delhi University. She received her M.A. in Development Management from the University of Wales, UK. She holds 25 years of experience in peacebuilding, development, governance and social policy across five Asian countries including the Maldives. Earlier she served the UN in Sri Lanka as the Peacebuilding and Development Adviser for nearly seven years. She has also served as the Social Development Adviser for UK’s Department for International Development in India and Vietnam. Sabharwal has developed and managed programmes across sectors ranging from poverty reduction, social protection, civil society, decentralization, gender equality and public enterprise reform.

Recently, the United Nations has appointed India's Gita Sabharwal as the Resident Coordinator in Thailand, which is the highest-ranking representative of the UN development system at the country level.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu: He is a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer. He is currently posted as High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka. He has previously served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of India in Washington DC from 2013 to 2017.

Recently, senior diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been appointed as India's Ambassador to the US, replacing Harsh Vardhan Shringla. He will take charge as the new Indian Ambassador to the United States. Shringla has been named as India's next foreign secretary.

Dr. N Kumar: He is an inspiring teacher and a mentor of Research. He is from Kadukkarai village located in the Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. He began his career in 1979 as an Assistant Professor in Horticulture at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. He has written 8 Text Books, Research papers internationally acclaimed-52 and 14 chapters in edited books.

Recently, Dr N Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, has been conferred ‘Harit Ratna Award 2019’ by the All India Agricultural Students Association. The award was conferred at the 5th National Youth Convention at Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya in Raipur. He was awarded for the dissemination of Rs 30-crore entrepreneurship project in agri-business and also for motivating students towards the agriculture sector in Tamil Nadu.

4 chapters in edited books.

Recently, Dr N Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, has been conferred ‘Harit Ratna Award 2019’ by the All India Agricultural Students Association. The award was conferred at the 5th National Youth Convention at Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya in Raipur. He was awarded for the dissemination of Rs 30-crore entrepreneurship project in agri-business and also for motivating students towards the agriculture sector in Tamil Nadu.

Shaktikanta Das: Shaktikanta Das (born 26 February 1957) is an Indian retired 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre. He is currently serving as the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He was earlier a member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and India's Sherpa to the G20.

Recently, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has been named the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020’ for the Asia-Pacific region. He was chosen by financial intelligence magazine The Banker. He won the accolade for bringing in measures to tighten the rules around NBFCs. According to The Banker, the award is presented to the bankers who have “best managed to stimulate growth and stabilize their economy.

M Ajit Kumar: He is a 1984 batch IRS officer hailing from Kozhikode. He was earlier a Member (Administration and Vigilance) in CBIC. He has worked in many capacities in the department including Directorate of Vigilance in New Delhi, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in Mumbai, Principal Chief Commissioner of GST Zone for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs zones in Chennai. He is also a recipient of the World Customs Organization certificate of merit for the year 2019.

Recently, he was appointed as Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) by the Government of India. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment. The new Chairman’s immediate responsibilities will include accelerating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues and to deal with the changes introduced in customs duties in the Union Budget for 2020.

CBIT: It refers to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. It was founded in 1 January 1964. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Pramod Agrawal: He is a 1991 batch IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer. He served as the principal secretary for urban development and housing department in Madhya Pradesh (MP), Bhopal.

Recently, He assumed charge as the new chairman and managing director of Coal India Ltd. He succeeded Anil Kumar Jha who retired on 31st January 2020.

Gopal Baglay: He has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. He will be replacing Taranjit Sandhu, who has currently been appointed as Indian Ambassador to U.S. At present, Gopal Baglay is serving as Joint Secretary at the Prime Minister of India’s (PMO) Office.

Atul Kumar Gupta: He is commerce and a law graduate who has served the chartered accountancy profession for about two decades. He was the Vice President of Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) for the term 2019-20.

Atul Kumar Gupta has been elected as the new President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) for the year 2020-21. Nihar Niranjan Jambusaria has been elected as the Vice President of the ICAI for 2020-21. They both were elected at a meeting of the central council in New Delhi.

Sushma Swaraj: She was an Indian politician and a Supreme Court lawyer. A senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), she served as the Minister of External Affairs of India in the first Narendra Modi government (2014–2019). She was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi. She was elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of Indian state of Haryana. She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi for a short duration in 1998. She was called India's "best-loved politician" by the US daily Wall Street Journal. She passed away on August 6, 2019 due to cardiac arrest at the age of 67 years. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilan award, posthumously in the field of public affairs in 2020.

Recently, the Central government renamed Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi as Sushma Swaraj Bhawan and Foreign Service Institute to Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service to honour of the legacy and decades of public service of the former External Affairs Minister. It was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the eve of the birth anniversary of Mrs Swaraj.

Gita Sen: She is the Director of the Ramalingaswami Centre on Equity and Social Determinants of Health at the Public Health Foundation of India. She is India’s pioneering feminist scholar and an activist and has combined her 35 years of academic career with policy advocacy and activism, helping to shape the global paradigm shift on population and development.

She has won the prestigious Dan David Prize 2020 in present category. She was conferred with the prestigious award for her hard work in the fields of women’s rights, reproductive and sexual health and poverty eradication. Gita Sen shares her prize with women’s health rights advocate Debora Diniz of Brazil

Dan David Prize: The award is given by Dan David Foundation which is headquartered at Tel Aviv University, Israel. It is awarded annually in 3 categories which is past, present and future category.

This award carries prize of US$ 1 million. The award recognizes individuals or organizations, for their outstanding contributions in the fields of science, technology, culture or social welfare, for expanding the knowledge of the past, enrich society in the present, and promise to improve the future of our world.

BioAsia 2020: BioAsia is an annual biotech and life sciences forum of the Telangana state government, which is scheduled to be held from February 17 to 19, 2020 at Hyderabad.

Recently, American immunologist and oncologist Dr. Carl H June and Novartis CEO Dr. Vasant Narsimhan have been announced as the winners of Genome Valley Excellence Award by BioAsia 2020. They will be presented this award for their contributions to life sciences at a function organized by the Telangana government annual global biotechnology & life sciences forum.

Dr. Narasimhan has been selected for his new vision in the pharmaceutical business in digital technology and healthcare. He also worked in the development of 20 novel medicines, including advanced cells, gene therapy as well as vaccines and also worked on the public health issues particularly in developing countries.

Dr. Carl H June will be awarded for his work in immunotherapy, research in development of CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor- T cells) for treatment of cancer & commercialization of world’s first FDA (Food and Drug Administration, United States)- approved gene therapy.

Genome Valley Excellence Award: The award was instituted in 2004 to recognize and honour eminent individuals & organizations for their exceptional contribution to the life science research & public health. The Government of Telangana presents this special award to eminent leaders every year after a careful examination and technical consideration by the reputed jury committee appointed by it.

Rishi Sunak: He is an Indian-origin British politician. He is the son-in-law of the Indian-origin politician and Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy. In 2015, Rishi Sunak was elected to represent Richmond in Yorkshire, the constituency previously held by William Hague, a former party leader.

Recently, he has been appointed as United Kingdom’s new finance minister. He has been appointed as the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Boris Johnson’s cabinet. He will be replacing Sajid Javid.

Sanjay Kothari: He is a 1978-batch IAS officer from Haryana. He who had retired in 2016 was picked by the President and appointed as his secretary. He will now remain as his secretary till the completion of Kovind's tenure on July 25, 2022. He was selected as the new Central Vigilance Commissioner by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bimal Julka: Bimal Julka is a retired Indian Administrative Service officer who is currently serving as an Information Commissioner. He is also the former Information and Broadcasting Secretary. The committee has also chosen him as the new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) in the Central Information Commission while Suresh Patel has been appointed as the Vigilance Commissioner and Anita Pandove as Information Commissioner.

Central Vigilance Commission: Central Vigilance Commission is an apex Indian governmental body. It was created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. It is headquartered in New Delhi. In 2003, the Parliament enacted a law conferring statutory status on the CVC. Its objectives is to address governmental corruption. It also advise various authorities in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work. Nittoor Srinivasa Rau, was selected as the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of India.

Central Information Commission: It was established on 12 October 2005. It was constituted under the Right to Information Act. It has jurisdiction over all central public authorities

Sreeramakrishnan: He is an Indian politician. He is the current Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly. He was elected on 3 June 2016. He has been a member of Kerala Legislative Assembly, representing the Ponnani constituency since June 2011. He was born on 14 November 1967 in Perinthalmanna, Kerala.

Recently, Shri P. Ramakrishnan was conferred the Ideal Legislative Assembly Speaker/Ideal Legislative Council Chairman Award. It was conferred to him by the Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu at the 10th edition of Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad in New Delhi on 20 February 2020.

Advisors to PM Narendra Modi: Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjeet Sinha has been appointed as Advisors to PM Narendra Modi. They both are retired IAS Officers. Their appointment in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the rank and scale of Secretary was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Their appointments were made on a contractual basis initially for a period of two years, or until further orders. General terms and conditions that are applicable in the case of re-employed officers of Secretary-level in the government are applicable to them.

Bhaskar Khulbe: He is an Indian Administrative Service officer from the 1983 batch. He was from West Bengal cadre. He has served in the Prime Minister's Officer.

Amarjeet Sinha: He is an Indian Administrative Service officer from the 1983 batch. He was from the Bihar cadre. He retired as the Rural Development Secretary in 2019.

Padma Awards 2021: This year, On the evening of 72nd Republic Day, the President approved conferment of 119 Padma Awards from diverse field including 1 duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one). This year the President of India has approved conferment of 119 Padma Awards. In the list, there are 7 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri Awards. Women awardees counts at 29. It also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners or NRI or PIO or OCI,16 Posthumous awardees and 1 transgender awardee.

  • Padma Vibhushan (7)
  • Shinzo Abe (Japan) - Public Affairs
  • Belle Monappa Hegde - Medicine
  • Narinder Singh Kapany (Posthumous) - Science and Engineering
  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan - Others: Spiritualism
  • B. Lal - Others: Archaeology
  • S P Balasubramaniam (Posthumous) - Art
  • Sudarshan Sahoo – Art

Padma Bhushan (10)

  • Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra - Art
  • Tarun Gogoi (Posthumous) - Public Affairs
  • Chandrashekhar Kambara - Literature and Education
  • Sumitra Mahajan - Public Affairs
  • Nripendra Misra - Civil Service
  • Ram Vilas Paswan (Posthumous) - Public Affairs
  • Keshubhai Patel (Posthumous) - Public Affairs
  • Kalbe Sadiq (Posthumous) - Others: Spiritualism
  • Rajnikant Devidas Shroff - Trade and Industry
  • Tarlochan Singh - Public Affairs

Padma Shree was awarded to 102 Awardees.

About Padma Awards: Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian Awards of the country conferred in three categories, namely –

  1. Padma Vibhushan: For Exceptional and distinguished service.
  2. Padma Bhushan: For Distinguished service of high order.
  3. Padma Shri: For distinguished service in any field.

Padma Vibhushan: It is the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India. The award was instituted on January 2, 1954. This award is given for the “exceptional and distinguished service”. It does not differentiate between race, occupation, position, or sex. The award is given for the exceptional and distinguished service.

Satyendra Nath Bose, Zakir Hussain, Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, Nand Lal Bose were among the first recipient of the award in 1954.

Padma Bhushan: It is the third-highest civilian award in India. The award is preceded by the Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan while followed by the Padma Shri. The award was Instituted on January 2, 1954.

Padma Shri: It is the fourth-highest civilian award of India after Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India every year on the occasion of republic day since 1954.

These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions at Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is given in various disciplines and fields of activities including the art, public affairs, social work, Trade and industry, science and engineering, medicine, literature, education, sports and civil service.

All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards. However, Government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these Awards.

The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.

The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made. All nominations received for Padma Awards are placed before the Padma Awards Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the PM and the President for approval.

The awardees are then presented a certificate and a medallion. The recipients are also given a small replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc., if the awardees so desire.

The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.

The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) should not be more than 120.

The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.

A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only after a gap of five years. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.

Nandita Hazarika: She is a conservationist who has recently been appointed by the Supreme Court of India as Member of a Technical Committee constituted by it on October 14 last year to hear complaints by land owners against the action taken by the Nilgris Collector, which included “arbitrary variance in acreage of the elephant corridor.”

About: On October 14, the top court upheld the Tamil Nadu government’s authority to notify an ‘elephant corridor’ and protect the migratory path of the animals through the Nilgiri biosphere reserve, the largest protected forest area in India, spanning across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

The corridor is situated in the ecologically fragile Sigur plateau.

Sigur Plateau: It is a plateau in the north and east of Nilgiri District in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. It connects the Western and the Eastern Ghats and sustains elephant populations and their genetic diversity. It has the Nilgiri Hills on its southwestern side and the Moyar River Valley on its north-eastern side. The elephants cross the plateau in search of food and water.

Manjamma Jogathi: She is a transgender who has been included in the list of Padma awards recipients this year. She is from Karnataka who has over the past many decades practised and single-handedly popularised rural folk arts. The Padma Shri came to Manjamma Jogathi after decades of social and financial struggle.

Overcoming personal odds, Manjavva Jogati held aloft the cause of these art forms, especially the Jogati Nritya and Janapada songs, practiced in rural Karnataka, Maharashtra, and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Now in her early 60s, Manjamma Jogati, originally named Manjunath Shetty by her parents. She began to identify as a woman in her teens. Her family from Ballari district then disowned her by making her part of a transgender community in rural Deccan that reveres the fiery Goddess Renuka Yellamma. Members of this community are considered married to the goddess. The community's lifestyle and the plight of its members were highlighted in the national award-winning 2009 Marathi movie Jogwa.

Subhash Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar: The Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021 has recently been conferred upon Dr Rajendra Kumar Bhandari in the Individual category and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) in Institutional category.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh and a certificate for an institution and Rs 5 lakh and a certificate in case of an individual.

About: The Government of India (GoI) announces the award every year on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to recognise and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management.

R. S. Sharma: R. S. Sharma has recently been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CRO) of the Ayushman Bharat scheme or the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana which is an insurance scheme by the National Health Authority’s (NHA). He will replace Indu Bhushan. He will be assuming the office as CEO, NHA from February 1, 2021.

RS Sharma has worked as the Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). He is also the head of the Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat the Covid-19 and the Covid-19 vaccine delivery technology platform—Co-WIN. He also works as a member of the National Expert Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration.

Ami Bera: He is the US veteran Indian-American Congressman who has been re-elected as chairman of the House Foreign Subcommittee on Asia, Pacific, Central Asia and Non-proliferation.

Bera is the longest-serving Indian American currently in Congress.

R Pappammal: She is a 105 year old organic farmer from Coimbatore who has been conferred the Padma awards. She is possibly the oldest living recipients from the list is 105-year-old who has been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri.

Pappammal is from a family of agriculturists. She owns a 2.5-acre farm in her village. She used to grow lentils such as horse gram and green gram but now she mostly grows bananas. Over the years, she has worked closely with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. She would travel alone to their many farmers’ meets and implement all that she learned. She also had a stint as a councillor of the Thekkampatti panchayat in 1959. She also attends several village functions where they seek her blessings.

Eleven other people from various fields in Tamil Nadu have been conferred the Padma awards. The folowing are the highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan awardees:

  • Late playback singer SP Balasubramanyam,
  • Subbu Arumugam (Art)
  • P Anitha (Sports)
  • KC Sivasankar (posthumously; Arts)
  • P Subramanian (posthumously; Trade & Industry)
  • Dr Thiruvenkadam Veeraraghavan (posthumously; Medicine)
  • K Kesavasamy (Arts)
  • Solomon Pappaiah (Literature)
  • Bombay Jayashri Ramnath (Art)
  • KC Sivasankar (posthumous; Art)
  • Marachi Subburaman (social work)
  • Sridhar Vembu (Trade and Industry)

AR Rahman: Oscar Award-winning music director was recently presented the fourth edition of the Alert Being Awards 2020 by the NGO for his Good Samaritan work. AR Rahman was presented the ‘Alert Being ICON Award’ as an individual

Along with him, social activist from Saidapet Hari Krishnan were among the 14 people who were presented the award.

The Alert Being Icon Award for an organization was presented to the Biocon Foundation founded by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

Thirty COVID-19 warriors were honoured with Alert Being Covid Frontline Warrior for their contribution during the pandemic.

AR Rahman: Allahrakha Rahmanthe known professionally as A. R. Rahman is an Indian composer, musician, singer, and music producer who works predominantly in Tamil and Hindi films. His original name was A.S. Dileep Kumar. He was the son of a Tamil film composer.  In 2010, the Indian government awarded him the Padma Bhushan, the nation's third-highest civilian award. Among Rahman's awards are 6 National Film Awards, 2 Academy Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, 15 Filmfare Awards and17 Filmfare Awards South.

Dalai Lama: He is a Tibetan spiritual leader who recently launched his new book “The Little Book of Encouragement”.  The book has been edited by Renuka Singh and published by Penguin Random House.

The Little Book of Encouragement comprises of 130 quotes related to - how to deal with the new realities of the panic-stricken world, combat rising extremism, polarity and climate change besides Dalai Lama’s views on Tibet.

About Dalai Lama: His spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso was born in Lhamo Dhondup on 6 July 1935. He is the current 14th Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet. The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor tulkus who are considered a living Bodhisattva, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara.

Dalai Lama title has been given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama escaped to India, where he currently lives in exile while remaining the most important spiritual leader of Tibet. The Dalai Lama advocates for the welfare of Tibetans while continuing to call for the Middle Way Approach to negotiations with China for the autonomy of Tibet and the protection of Tibetan culture, including for the religious rights of Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1989, and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006. Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the "Children of Mahatma Gandhi" and Gandhi's spiritual heir to nonviolence.

S.N. Subrahmanyan: The Ministry of Labor and Employment has recently appointed Shri S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO and Managing Director, L&T Ltd, as Chairman of the National Safety Council for a period of three years.

The NSC will assist DGFASLI in re-writing the regulations governing OSH in the country which have not been updated for over 50 years. The NSC will also be involved in framing the scheme for third party audit and certification under the OSH Code.

The NSC is already working on establishments’ safety rating based on their OSH readiness and performance, which can be extended through the country and linked to the inspection system.

About National Safety Council: The NSC was established by The Ministry of Labour of the Government of India (GoI) in 1966. It is a non-profit tripartite body registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 and the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950. It was to initiate, develop and maintain voluntary campaigns on Safety, Health and the Environment at the national level. It is headquartered in Navi Mumbai.

 Its activities include organizing and carrying out specialized training programs and courses, conferences, seminars and workshops; conducting consultancy studies, such as safety audits, safety levels, hazard evaluation and risk assessments; designing and developing HSE promotional materials and publications; promote Organizations to celebrate and observe various campagins, such as National Safety Day and Week, Fire Service Week, World Environment Day and Road Safety Week.

 Its Board of Governors consists of members from the government, employers’ organizations and trade union organizations. The chairperson of the NSC is appointed by the government and is usually a prominent industrialist.

Praveen Sinha: Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer has recently been appointed as as the interim director of the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), with immediate effect on 3rd February 2021.

He was chosen by The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He has been appointed by The Department of Personnel and Training, run by Personnel Ministry, in place of the incumbent chief Rishi Kumar Shukla, whose tenure came to an end on 3rd February 2021.

He is currently an additional director at Central Bureau of Investigation, the premier investigating agency of India. He shall look after the duties of Director Central Bureau of Investigation till the appointment of new director Central Bureau of Investigation, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Bikram Singh Bedi: Bikram Singh Bedi has recently been appointed as the new Managing Director for its India Business by Google Cloud.

He will succeed Karan Bajwa, who has been elevated as Vice president for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region cloud operations at Google Cloud.

Bedi is a senior leader with more than 26 years of leadership experience.

At Google, Bikram Bedi will be responsible for leading Google Cloud’s sales and operations teams in this dynamic market.

Google Cloud: Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It was founded on 4 September 1998. It is headquartered in California, United States. The current CEO of Google is Sundar Pichai.

Ghulam Nabi Azad: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad recently retired from Rajya Sabha. He was bid an emotional farewell by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Azad was a Congress' Rajya Sabha MP from Jammu and Kashmir. He retired from the Upper House on February 15 after serving as the leader of the opposition for over six years since June 8, 2014.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge will replace Ghulam Nabi Azad as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu accorded his approval to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's request for appointing Kharge in place of Azad.

"The Chairman, Rajya Sabha, has accorded recognition to Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Indian National Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha, as the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha w.e.f February 16, 2021, in terms of Section 2 of the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 and rules made thereunder," a Parliament bulletin said.

Robert Irwin: He is an Australian wildlife photographer who has achieved the 1st prize in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award Contest.

His image ‘bushfire’, which highlights the devastating Australian Bushfire in 2020 was selected from a shortlist of 25 finalists and it got 55,486 votes to win the title.

He captured this image with the help of a drone, near the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the largest wildlife photography competition in the world. It is organized by the Natural History Museum.

About: Robert Irwin is a 17-year-old Australian who is a children’s television personality and wildlife photographer and at present, he is hosting Robert’s Real Life Adventures program.

Current Affairs People in the News - January 2021

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: He is an Indian diplomat and the current Indian Ambassador to the United States. He previously served as the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Thailand.

He has been chosen as the next Foreign Secretary. He will take charge after Vijay Keshav Gokhale's two-year term ends next month. The appointment has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the order by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Monisha Ghosh: She is an Indian-American who has been appointed as the first woman Chief Technology Officer at the US government’s powerful Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She will advise Indian-American Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai and the agency on technology and engineering issues. She will also  work closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology. Dr Ghosh will take charge on January 13. She replaces Dr Eric Burger.

FCC: It refers to Federal Communications Commission. It was established on 19 June 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It’s headquartered in Washington, USA. It is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

R. Nagaswamy: He is renowned Indian historian, archaeologist and epigraphist. He served as the founder-director of Tamilnadu Archaeology Department. In 2018 he was awarded India's third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan.

He was honored at the Silver Jubilee International Conference of Art held in Dhaka by Bangladesh Culture Minister K.M. Khalid. He was honored for the contribution of Nagaswamy to art, archaeology, history, and culture. The Silver Jubilee volume of the Journal of Bengal Art was dedicated to him. The art carries articles by international scholars.

Sangita Reddy: She is the Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Group. She has been appointed as the President of FICCI for 2019-20. She succeeds Sandip Somany, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, HSIL.

Uday Shanker: He is the President of The Walt Disney Company APAC & Chairman of Star & Disney India. He has been elevated as Senior Vice President of FICCI.

Sanjiv Mehta: He is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). He was appointed as the Vice President of FICCI.

FICCI: It is the abbreviation for Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry. It was established in 1927. It's headquarters in in New Delhi.

Major Anup Mishra: He is Major from the Indian Army. He has developed a bulletproof jacket named ‘Sarvatra,’ which can stop bullets being shot by a sniper rifle. The jacket developed at the College of Military Engineering, Pune. He decided to develop a bulletproof jacket the day he was hit by a stray bullet on his coat during an operation when he was deployment in Jammu and Kashmir. With this technology, India has becomes the only third country in the world to have capacity to build this kind of bullet-proof jacket. Currently he is posted as the instructor at College of Military engineering, Pune, Maharashtra.

Major Anoop Mishra was honored with the prestigious Army Design Bureau (ADB) Excellence Award for developing bulletproof jacket 'Sarvatra' by the 27th Chief of Indian Army General Bipin Rawat.

ADB: It refers to the Army Design Bureau. The ADB was set up to work together with industry and academia and develop indigenous solutions for the Indian Army.

Savitribai Phule: She was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, Writer, Author, Activist and poet from Maharashtra. Her full name was Savitribai Jyotirao Phule. She was born on 3rd January 1831. She is regarded as the first female teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women's rights in India. She tirelessly worked and dedicated her life to abolishing gender and caste-based discrimination. She established the first Indian girls' school in Pune at Bhide wada in 1848. She even set up “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha” that works to prevent female infanticides, killing of pregnant rape victims and widows. Satyashodhak Samaj that supported inter-caste marriages was also founded by her and her husband. She published Kavya Phule in 1854 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1892, and also a poem entitled "Go, Get Education" in which she encouraged those who are oppressed to free themselves by obtaining an education. She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism. A memorial was created for her in 1983 by Pune City Corporation and the University of Pune was named a Savitribai Phule Pune University in 2015 in her honor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid his tributes to Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary, saying she dedicated her life to social unity, education and women empowerment.

Piyuus Jaiswal: He is a social worker and is associated with various Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He has been working on women empowerment and new talent for the last four years. He has provided a platform to many Women and new talent who have proved their talent in their respective fields and created a name for themselves. Recently he organized the Indian Achiever's Award ceremony in Surat which was graced by will known celebrities from the field of fashion and films .

Piyuus Jaiswal was awarded the Global Bihar Excellence Award 2019. This award was presented by Rajya Sabha MP and Padma Shri Awardee Dr CP Thakur and Bihar Women Commission president Dilmani Devi in Patna to promote women empowerment. He was conferred the award in recognition of his contribution towards social welfare, women empowerment and introducing new talent in the field of arts and culture. He was also awarded the humanitarian award with the Global Peace Excellence Humanitarian Award 2019 on the occasion of International Human Day and Page 3 Award.

H K Joshi: Her full name is Harjeet Kaur Joshi. She has been appointed as the Chairperson & Managing Director (CMD) by the Shipping Corporation of India. She will also hold the additional charge of the post of Director (Finance) of the company for a period of 3 months with effect from 19 December 2019. Prior to this, she was General Manager (F&A) in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Mumbai in the Offshore Engineering Services wherein large mega offshore construction projects are handled.

SCI: It refers to the Shipping Corporation of India. It is a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise. Its headquarters is in Mumbai.

Malavath Poorna: She is an 18 year old is an Indian mountaineer from telangana. She was born into a poor tribal family from Pakala village of Nizamabad district. She joined Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society for her education. She was trained at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate course at the Minnesota State University as a fellow of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Programme, US.

She has become the first and youngest tribal woman in the world to set foot on the six tallest mountain peaks across six continents. At the age of 13 years she became the world’s youngest girl who scaled Mt. Everest. She has so far scaled Mt. Everest (Asia, 2014), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa, 2016), Mt. Elbrus (Europe, 2017), Mt. Aconcagua (South America, 2019), Mt. Cartsnez (Oceania region, 2019) and Mt. Vinson Massif (Antarctica, 2019). She is now gearing up to scale Mt. Denali (North America’s highest mountain peak).She accomplished Mt. Vinson mission with the help of the Telangana government, Transcend Adventures and crowd-funding.

RNP Singh: He is a former officer of the Intelligence Bureau, Government of India. He has also earned the coveted Presidents Police Medal, Indian Police Medal, the Sukriti and Kautilya awards for his distinguished services. A book titled Politics of Opportunism written by him was released by Swaminathan Gurumurthy who is a Noted Economist and Political Analyst at a function in New Delhi. The book throws light on the subject related to rise of regional parties and Centre-States relation.

Gen Bipin Rawat: General Bipin Rawat, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC was born 16 March 1958. He is a four star general and the current Chief of Defense Staff of India. He was from a Gorkha regiment was an alumnus of the St. Edward School, Shimla, the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla, and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been named as India's first Chief of Defense Staff. He was named the Chief of Defense Staff just a day before he was to retire from service after completing a full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff.

CDS: It refers to Chief of Defense Staff. CDS will be a 4-star General, the principal military advisor to the defense minister, and will head the new Department of Military Affairs. The Chief of Defense Staff will ensure the unity in training, logistics and procurement of the three services. The CDS is the head of the Army, Navy and Air Force and is be a four-star military officer. The CDS is in a position to advise on the matters related to all the three segments of the military. The post of CDS was created due the recommendations made after the Kargil war.

The Defense Ministry had also amended the army, air force and navy rules by bringing in a new clause that allows the CDS to serve upto a maximum age of 65 years. The CDS will administer all tri-services organizations, but their command will be with the Chief of the service which has a predominant role in their functioning.

Manilal Doctor: His real name was Manilal Maganlal Shaw. His surname, Doctor, was derived from his father's profession. He was a British Indian barrister and politician, who travelled to numerous countries of the British Empire, including Fiji, Mauritius and Aden, providing legal assistance to the local ethnic Indian population. He was born on 28 July 1881 in Vadodara, Gujarat. He founded an organization named Indian Imperial Association.

He graduated with LLB in 1903 and MA in 1904 from Bombay University. He then went to London as a student of Bar-at-Law in 1905 where he became an active member of the Home Rule Society and made regular contributions to the 'Indian Sociologist'. At the India House he came into contact with other Indian freedom fighters. In 1906, Manilal met M.K. Gandhi, who had become aware of the plight of the Indians in Mauritius. Gandhi was troubled by both the treatment of the Indian laborers and their lack of organization in demanding their rights as citizens of the British Empire. In response to his visit, he sent Manilal Doctor to Mauritius to assist the laborers in improving their social and political situation.

Mauritius: Manilal arrived in Mauritius on 11 October 1907 and began work as a barrister. He organised the Indian community in the Mauritius which consisted of indentured and non-indentured workers. He founded Hindustani newspaper there and also helped establish the Arya Samaj in Mauritius. 11 October is celebrated as Manilal Day in Mauritius.

Fiji: Manilal arrived in Suva, FIJI on 27 August 1912. He emerged as the leader of the Indian community in Fiji. The Indian Settler’ newspaper was setup by him. He also helped set up the Indian Imperial Association.

Recently, January 8 was observed as the death anniversary of Manilal Doctor who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and is also known for his efforts towards helping abolish the indentured labour system.

Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar: He is the former Director-General (DG) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 1983 batch IPS officer Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar belongs to Uttar Pradesh cadre. He will lead the three lakh-strong CRPF at a time when the force has suffered reverses in the theatre of Naxal violence and is dealing with mounting protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

He has been appointed as the third Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The other two Advisors are KK Sharma and Farooq Khan who were appointed on 14 November 2019. The current Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is Girish Chandra Murmu.

Samiya Naseem: She is a 37 year old of Indian Origin. She was born in US while her father Khalid Naseem was born and brought up in Gorakhpur’s Gita Press area. She is an arts graduate from Simmons College, Washington and In 2004 she got a degree of Juries doctor from George Washington University of Law School. She studied International Human Rights Law and Refugee Law in Oxford. She is a member of New York State Bar.

She has recently been appointed as the judge of Chicago by the US Attorney General William Barr. She will soon take the charge. She practiced law in Chicago before becoming a Judge. She had taken oath of office at the law department of Chicago on Dec 20, 2019.

Jasbinder Bilan: She is a school teacher who writes in her spare time. She was born in a stable in the foothills of the Himalayas. She shared an incredible bond with her grandmother which was an inspiration for the book Asha & the Spirit Bird. In 2017, she entered her manuscript for The Times Children’s Fiction Competition for unpublished writers. She was selected for a publishing deal and the novel came out in February 2019.

Recently, the India-born author Jasbinder Bilan bagged a coveted Costa children’s book award for her debut novel 'Asha and the Spirit Bird'. The story set in the Himalayan territory of her Indian roots and inspired by the special childhood bond with her grandmother. Her book was shortlisted from 144 entries alongside ‘Crossfire’ by Malorie Blackman,’In the shadow of Heroes’ by Nicholas Bowling and ‘Furious Thing’ by Jenny Downham. Bilan will receive 5,000 pounds for the award, 

Sucheta Satish: She is a 13 year old girl of an Indian origin and currently based in Dubai. She can sing in 120 languages and is known as Dubai Indian High School's nightingale.

She has won the 100 Global Child Prodigy Award in Delhi. She was awarded for singing in most languages during one concert and the longest live singing concert by a child. The award ceremony was held in Ashok Hotel, Delhi.

Global Child Prodigy Award: Global Child Prodigy Award is a platform to showcase the talent of children in music, art, dancing, writing, acting, modeling, science, sports etc. The award is supported by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Oscar Award-winning music producer AR Rahman among others.

Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu National Award: The National Award for Excellence was instituted by the Muppavarapu Foundation, while the one for Social Service was launched by the Swarna Bharat Trust, in Hyderabad. The award carried a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and citation.

The first recipients of Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu National Award for Excellence and Muppavarapu National Award for Social Service were awarded to Famous Agricultural Scientist Prof. M S Swaminathan and Dr. Gutta Muniratnam respectively.

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan was awarded for his significant contributions in the field of agriculture. Dr. G Muniratnam was awarded for his extraordinary contribution to improving the quality of people's lives through social service.

Prof M S Swaminathan: He is an Indian geneticist and administrator. M. S. Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu on 7 August 1925. He is known for his role in India's Green Revolution, a program under which high-yield varieties of wheat and rice were planted. He has been called the "Father of Green Revolution in India" for his role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. He also founded the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. From 1972 to 1979 he was director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture from 1979 to 1980. He served as Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (1982–88) and became president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1988. He was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Prestigious awards like Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan are among the other awards that he has been conferred with.

On January 14, 2020, eminent Agricultural Scientist Dr M S Swaminathan was presented the ‘MuppavarapuVenkaiah Naidu National Award for Excellence’ for his distinguished contribution to the field of agriculture. The prestigious award instituted by the Muppavarapu Foundation was presented to him by the Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu presented him the award during the Pongal Celebrations held at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. The Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs and a citation.

The National Award for Excellence was instituted by the Muppavarapu Foundation. The award for Social Service was launched by the Swarna Bharat Trust, in Hyderabad.

Ishwar Sharma: He is a 10 year old British Indian boy. He is originally from Mysore. He has the skill to chant up to 50 shlokas from the Vedas and ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and practices yoga. He has participated in over 100 yoga events across the UK and worldwide.
The British Indian yoga boy Ishwar Sharma won the ‘Global Child Prodigy Award’. He was chosen from the UK for the awards which honor child prodigies from across 45 countries and 30 different categories such as palaeontology, biking, choreography, fitness and martial arts etc.

Harish Salve: Harish Salve is an Indian senior advocate who practices at the Supreme Court of India. He was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court in 1992 and he also served as the Solicitor General of India from 1 November 1999 to 3 November 2002. He did his LLB from Nagpur University and began his legal career in 1980 with JB Dadachandji & Co. He has represented India in several important matters in India as well as abroad. He fought the case of kulbhushan jadhav at International Court of Justice (ICJ). He even played a key role in the Hyderabad Nizam funds case, in which India had won decades-old legal dispute with Pakistan at the UK Court over £35m-worth funds belonging to the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad.

Noted Senior Indian Advocate Harish Salve has been appointed as Queen's Counsel (QC) for the courts of England and Wales, 'Bar and Bench'. His appointment was announced when the UK’s Ministry of Justice released the new list of silk appointments on January 13, 2020. Salve and other appointees will be formally appointed as QC on March 16, where the Lord Chancellor will preside over the appointment ceremony at Westminster Hall.

The title of Queen's Counsel (QC) is awarded to those who have demonstrated particular skill and expertise in the conduct of advocacy.

Kaifi Azmi: Kaifi Azmi originally named Athar Hussein Rizvi. He was an Indian Urdu poet born on January 14, 1919, in Mizwan village of Azamgarh. He was fond of writing poems since childhood. He started taking part in poetry reciting events during his teenage. He is remembered as the one who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures. He grew up to be inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India freedom movement of 1942 and later left for Mumbai to write for an Urdu newspaper. His first collection of poems 'Jhankar' was published in 1943. He was a member of the Progressive Writers' Association who used to write to bring socio-economic reforms. Kaifi Azmi's legendary works such as Pakeezah's Chalte Chalte, Koi Yeh Kaise Bataye from Arth and Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil have gone down as notable contributions in Urdu and Hindi language.

On 14 January 2020, Google honored India’s famous poet, lyricist, and activist Kaifi Azmi by preparing a special doodle on his 101st birth anniversary. Kaifi Azmi has won numerous awards for his work, including the prestigious Padma Shri Award for Literature and Education and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, one of India's highest literary honors and 3 Filmfare Awards. He is the father of Bollywood's famous actress Shabana Azmi.

Arjun Munda: He is the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs. He is also a three-time Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Arjun Munda has been elected as President of the suspended Archery Association of India (AAI). The elections to elect the governing committee of the Archery Association of India were held as per the order of the Delhi High Court. He, with the support of former AAI president Vijay Kumar Malhotra defeated Assam Archery Association president and retired IAS officer BVP Rao by a margin of 34-18.

Pramod Chandurkar of Maharashtra defeated the Mahasim of Chandigarh for the post of Secretary and Former Haryana Minister Captain Abhimanyu defeated GA Ibopishak of Manipur for the post of Senior Vice-President.

AAI: It refers to Archery Association of India. It is the national governing body of archery in India. AAI came into existence on 8 August 1973 after archery was reintroduced to the Olympic Games in 1972. It is responsible to organize, promote and control the sport of archery in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Nripendra Misra: He is a 1967-batch retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. He worked in several top positions including as the chairperson of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), secretary, Telecom and secretary, Fertilizers. He was also the former principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

Government of India (GoI) has appointed Nripendra Misra as the chairperson of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML). According to a government order, the Executive Council of the NMML has been reconstituted and it will now be chaired by Mr Misra. Dr A Surya Prakash, chairperson of the Prasar Bharati board, will be the council’s vice-chairperson.

NMML: It refers to the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library. It was established in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Priya Prakash: She is the founder and CEO of HealthSetGo, a healthcare organisation that supports the UN goals and is dedicated to improving the health and lives of children. Priya works to end childhood obesity in schools. She won the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award for 2019. She was conferred the award for her outstanding school health program that provides healthcare support to children. The Award was given by Cisco Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Fran Katsoudas at Royal Albert Hall, London.

Global Citizen Prize: Global Citizen Price is an award given to world leaders, artists, business leaders and youth activists.

The prestigious award honours an individual aged 18 – 30 who is bringing about a positive change in the world by solving some of its biggest global challenges. The award includes a US $250,000 prize. The cash prize aims to further promote the mission of the organization to accelerate global problem-solving.

HealthSetGo is a healthcare organisation that supports the UN’s (United Nation) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to improve the health & lives of children. Just in a span of 4 years HealthSetGo has become India’s largest healthcare organisation for schools.

Srinivasa Ramanujan: Srinivasa Ramanujan FRS born Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar who lived during the British Rule in India was an Indian mathematician whose contributions to the theory of numbers include pioneering discoveries of the properties of the partition function. He had a wealth of ideas that have transformed and reshaped 20th-century mathematics and these ideas still continue to shape mathematics of the 21st century.

Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems then considered unsolvable. Ramanujan initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation.

He was born on 22 December 1887 and he died on 26th April 1920 at an early age of 32. India celebrates National Mathematics Day every year on 22nd every year to commemorate his birth anniversary.

The day is observed as National Mathematics Day every year since 2012. This year nation celebrated his 133rd birth anniversary of Ramanujan.

History of National Mathematics Day: The day was announced on 26 February 2012 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 Dec 1887- 26 Apr 1920). 2012 was also observed as National Mathematics Year.

Narendra Modi: Narendra Damodardas Modi ( born 17 September 1950) is the 14th and current Prime Minister of India since 2014. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi.

Recently, US President Donald Trump recently conferred America’s highest military decoration, ‘The Legion of Merit’, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The prestigious Legion of Merit was given to PM Modi for his leadership in elevating strategic partnership of the two countries.

The award was accepted by India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu on behalf of the prime minister from the US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien at the White House on 21 December 2020.

Trump had earlier awarded the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait on September 18. Before that, the medal was last awarded in 1991.

Legion of Merit: The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander is a military award of the United States. It is a domed five-pointed American white star plaque of heraldic form and is bordered in purplish-red enamel, with 13 white stars on a blue field emerging from a circle of clouds. Backing the star is a laurel wreath with pierced, crossed arrows pointing outward between each arm of the star and the wreath. The reverse is engraved with the words “United States of America.” It is the seventh in the order of precedence of all the United States military awards.

It is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements, loyalty. The medal is rarely awarded and can only be conferred by the US President. It is usually given to heads of state or heads of government.

It is one of the two United States military decorations that is issued as a neck let. The other is Medal of Honour.

Note: The other Indian winners of Legion of Merit are:

General Satyawant Mallana Srinagesh of Indian Army was awarded with the Legion of Merit in 1955.

The Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa was awarded with the Legion of Merit in 1950.

Kodandera Madappa Cariappa: He was the first Indian Commander in Chief of the Indian Army. He is the one of the only two Indian Army officers to hold the Five-star rank of field marshal. The other is Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

Army Day, in India is celebrated on 15 January in recognition of Field Marshal Cariappa’s taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army.

Ratan Tata: He is an Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and a former chairman of Tata Sons. He was also chairman of Tata Group, from 1990 to 2012, and again, as interim chairman, from October 2016 through February 2017, and continues to head its charitable trusts. Born on 28 December 1937 in Surat he is the recipient of two of the highest civilian awards of India, the Padma Vibhushan (2008) and Padma Bhushan (2000). He is well known for his business ethics and philanthropy.

Recently, the ‘ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020’ which was organized was organised from 15 to 19 December 2020 was addressed by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi via video conferencing. The theme of the programme was ‘India’s resilience: Atmanirbhar roadmap towards $5 trillion economies.’

As a part of the celebration PM Modi presented the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ to Shri Ratan Tata, on behalf of the TATA Group, for his distinguished contributions to the country. (the full form of ASSCHAM is Associated Chambers of Commerce of India).

In the last 100 years, ASSOCHAM and the entire Tata group has worked very hard to strengthen India’s economy and help the common Indian.

 Note: Mr. Tata will also be honored with the ‘Global Visionary of Sustainable Business and Peace’ award by the Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce on December 21. He will receive the award during the launch of the Federation of Indo-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s international chapter in Dubai, for promoting innovation that supports sustainability and peace in the region, including with the Palestinians.

Vineet Agarwal: He is the Managing Director of logistics major Transport Corporation of India Limited. He has recently taken over as the new President of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham). He will be replacing Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder and MD, Hiranandani Group of Companies.

Sumant Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director of ReNew Power, is the new Senior Vice-President of Assocham.

Assocham: It refers to the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India. ASSOCHAM is a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group headquartered in New Delhi, India. The organization was founded in 1920. It represents the interests of trade and commerce in India, and acts as an interface between issues and initiatives.

MTMA for Social Justice 2020: The 16th MTMA (Mother Teresa Memorial Awards) for Social Justice recently held by Mumbai based Harmony Foundation was awarded. The awards were presented to honour the acts of compassion of the unsung heroes for their contribution in the time of global pandemic.

The theme for this year’s awards was, ‘Celebrating Compassion In Times Of Covid ‘.

The awardees for 2020 included:

  1. Father Fabio Stevenazzi (Milan, Italy) who decided to return to medical practice in order to help those infected with COVID 19. Thi has made him to be the modern-day example of St Charles Borromeo who in 1576 during the Great Plague that hit the city of Milan and cut the population by half, stayed behind to nurse the sick and renovate hospitals.
  2. Dr Anthony Fauci (USA) who is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA. He and his task force were among the first ones to realize the seriousness of this pandemic.
  3. Vikas Khanna (Manhattan, USA) for serving the lonely and underprivileged here in India. He created the FeedIndia Initiative to provide food for more than million people in 135 cities of India.
  4. Dr Pradeep Kumar (Chennai). He took it upon himself to give a befitting burial to his colleague with the help of two ward boys, at a cemetery in the city in the middle of the night.
  5. IPS Sanjay Pandey (DG Home Guards, Maharashtra). He went beyond the call of duty as a police officer to open the first relief camp in the Mumbai city suburbs for migrant workers whose livelihood were disrupted by the lockdown to contain the pandemic.
  6. KK Shailaja (Minister of Health, Kerala) for her extraordinary efforts and pro-activeness in dealing with the pandemic by following experts and scientific advice helped countless Keralites survive the terrors of this pandemic, serving as an example for governments of other states countries to follow.

The Awards is in its 16th year. It is the only award endorsed by Sister Prema, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, the organization started by Mother Teresa.

Harmony Foundation: It is an international NGO that works in the realm of Social Justice. It was founded in October of 2005, with its raison d’etre, being the establishment, and strengthening, of social cohesion among various communities, and to work towards the benefit of all, without discriminating against any religion, creed, sex, or their origins. Instituted in 2005, these Awards, celebrate and commemorate the memory and legacy of Mother Teresa, canonized a Saint by Pope Francis in the Vatican.

V.K. Yadav: He is the chairman & CEO of Railway Board. He has recently been conferred with the prestigious “Eminent Engineer Award for the Year 2020’. He was given this  award by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for his outstanding contribution towards modernization and reforms over Indian Railways.

Every year, on the 15th of September, IRT, Delhi Local Network celebrates Engineers’ Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya.

On this occasion, besides technical activities, the Institution also presents the Eminent Engineer’s Award to distinguished Engineering personalities for their outstanding services in the field of Engineering and technology.

IET: It is the abbreviation for the Institution of Engineering and Technology. IET is a multidisciplinary professional engineering institution formally known as The Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), established in 1871. It is registered as a Charity in England and Wales and Scotland. It is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 168,000 members in 150 countries. The Institution is celebrating glorious 150 years of existence. IET Delhi Local Network is one of nine such networks in South Asia, which constitutes the Indian arm of the IET.

Hemant Kumar Pandey: He is a senior scientist who has recently been honoured with DRDO’s” Scientist of the Year Award” for his contribution in developing several herbal medicines, including the popular drug Lukoskin meant for the treatment of leucoderma.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had facilitated him at an event with the prestigious award that comprises a certificate and cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.

Pandey has developed 6 herbal drugs so far, Lukoskin used for treating leucoderma or Vitiligo, a condition in which white patches get developed on the skin, has been most widely appreciated and found huge acceptance in the market.

About: He is a recipient of several prestigious awards for his contribution in the field of herbal medicine. He has been undertaking research at the Defence Research and Development Organisation”s (DRDO) lab Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research (DIBER) at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand for the past 25 years. Apart from Lukoskin, he has developed drugs for the treatment of eczema and toothache as well as an anti-radiation cream, most of which are already being sold in the market following the transfer of technology (ToT).

US President-elect Joe Biden: US President-elect Joe Biden recently appointed two Indian-Americans to the National Security Council of the White House.

He named Indian-American Sumona Guha as senior director for South Asia and Tarun Chhabra as senior director for Technology and National Security.

Sumona Guha: She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. She is currently serving as senior vice president at Albright Stonebridge Group. She was co-chair of the South Asia foreign policy working group during the Biden-Harris campaign. During the Obama-Biden administration, she was special advisor for national security affairs to the then Vice President Biden.

Tarun Chhabra: He is an alumnus of Stanford University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. He is a senior fellow at the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. He had also served on the National Security Council staff as director for Strategic Planning and director for Human Rights and National Security Issues during the Obama-Biden Administration.

Zoya Aggarwal: She is the captain of the all-women flight crew who created a historic moment for aviation and historic moment for India.

The first non-stop flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru  landed at Kempegowda International airport in Bengaluru at 3.07 am on 11th January 2021. The inaugural flight AI176 flew over the North Pole and covering a distance of about 16,000 kilometers which was the longest aerial distance between San Francisco and Bengaluru. 

The flight operated by an all-women cockpit crew of Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagari Thanmai, Captain Akansha Sonaware and Captain Shivani Manhas flew the longest commercial flight in the world..

Joyshree Das Verma: She has recently been appointed by the Embassy of Israel in India as Honorary Consul in the North East with jurisdiction over the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim.

She will be based in Assam. The appointment was announced by Ambassador of Israel in India Ron Malka.

Malala Yousafzai: She is a Pakistani activist for female education. Malala is also the Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate and she fought against the Taliban for women education. The Taliban had banned girls from attending schools. She was shot by Pakistani Taliban Gunman on October by 2012, in retaliation for her activism. She was hit in the head with bullet and remind unconscious. She was later transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Recently, The US (United States) Congress passed the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act for Pakistani Women. The bill was passed by the United States Senate by a voice vote on January 1. The bill now heads to the White House for US President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Highlights of Act:

  • The Act requires the US Agency for International Development to award at least 50% of scholarship under a Pakistan-based higher education scholarship programme to Pakistani women between 2020 and 2022, across a range of academic disciplines and in accordance with existing eligibility criteria.
  • The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act makes it mandatory for the USAID to brief the US Congress about the number of scholarships provided under the programme. This includes percentage of recipients who are involuntarily pushed out of the programme for their failure to meet programme requirements as well.
  • It also requires the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) to consult with and leverage investments by Pakistani private sector in the United States of America.

This is being done to improve and expand access to education programs in entire Pakistan.

Since 2010, the USAID has awarded more than 6,000 scholarships for young women to receive higher education in Pakistan.

Note: On October 10, 2014, Malala shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi for her "struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".

Turlapaty Kutumba Rao: He is a renowned journalist and Padma Shri awardee who passed away on 11 January 2021 in Vijayawada.

Born in 1933, Turlapaty Kutumba Rao entered journalism at the age of 14 and went on to become an expert in politics, history and governance. He was an Indian journalist and orator known for his service to journalism in Telugu language.

He is reported to have written over 4000 biographies and delivered over 16000 public speeches which has been recorded by the Telugu Book of Records as a world record.

He was a secretary to T. Prakasham, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and was known to have mooted the idea of demarcating states on the basis of language in 1947, when India became independent. He was also a chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Grandhayala Parishad, a policy making body of the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

He was a recipient of the title of Guardian of Telugu from C. Rajagopalachari, then Governor of Andhra Pradesh. He was honored in 2002, with the Padma Shri making him the first journalist from the state of Andhra Pradesh to receive the award. He was also a nominee for Padma Bhushan for the year 2014.

RS Sharma: He is a former Trai chief who has been appointed as the chairperson of an empowered committee for the administration of Covid-19 vaccine.

A ten-member team has been constituted to be headed by Sharma. This has come days ahead of the mega vaccination drive is to start in India.

He has also been included as a member of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 that was formed in August 2020.

Dushyant Dave: He is the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president. He recently resigned from his post with immediate effect. His resignation was confirmed by the acting SCBA Secretary Rohit Panday.

SCBA: It refers to the Supreme Court Bar Association. SCBA is an Indian bar association, comprising the practicing lawyers of the Supreme Court of India.

Raj Iyer:   He is an Indian-American who has taken over as the first Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the U.S. Army after the Pentagon created the position in July 2020. The position of CIO is equivalent to a three-star General.

Dr. Iyer holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He is one of the highest ranking Indian-American civilians in the U.S. Department of Defense who has been serving as the Principal Adviser to the Secretary of the Army and directs representation of the Secretary in matters relating to information management/ information technology (IT).

He will be supervising an annual budget of $16 billion for the U.S. Army’s IT operations. Over 15,000 civilians and military personnel posted across 100 countries work under him.

Dr. V Shanta: She is the world renowned oncologist who passed away on 19th January 2021 due to brief illness in Chennai.

She was an Indian oncologist and the chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai. She was best known for her efforts towards making quality and affordable cancer treatment accessible to all patients in her country. She was also instrumental in opting for international joint ventures to improve the quality of affordable treatment for patients.

She was associated with Adyar Cancer Institute since 1955, and held several positions, including that of the director of the institute between 1980 and 1997.

She served as a member of several national and international committees on health and medicine, including the World Health Organization's Advisory Committee on Health.

Dr. Shanta's contribution to the field of oncology, had earned her the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2005. She was a recipient of the Padma Shri Award in 1986, Padma Bhushan, in 2006 and Padma Vibhushan in 2016.

Note: Noble laureate Sir. C.V. Raman, was her uncle, He was instrumental in giving her a vision to achieve in the field of science. Though women had not ventured into the medical field those years,  Dr. Shanta had dedicated her life for serving and achieving in the field of medicine. She was an icon of simplicity and braveness in the field of Cancer research and treatment.

Guru Gobind Singh: Guru Gobind Singh, born Gobind Rai, was the last of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was a great warrior, poet, philosopher and spiritual leader. He was born on 22 December 1666 in Patna. He was nine years old when his father Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. His four sons died during his lifetime – two in battle, two executed by the Mughal army.

He established the Khalsa (Pure) in 1699. The Khalsa was a warrior community. A male Khalsa is titled as “Singh” and a female as “Kaur”. The Khalsa warriors are duty bound to protect the people from persecution.

He started the five ‘K’ tradition for the Khalsa which were as follows

  1. Kesh-Uncut hair
  2. Kanga-wooden comb
  3. Kara-Iron or steel bracelet
  4. Kacchera-short breeches
  5. Kirpan-Dagger

These 5 Ks are the five articles of faith that a Khalsa should always adorn.

He also laid down several other rules for the Khalsa such as abstaining from halal meat, alcohol and tobacco products.

He is credited with the Dasam Granth whose hymns are a sacred part of Sikh prayers and Khalsa rituals. He is also credited as the one who finalized and enshrined the Guru Granth Sahib as Sikhism's primary scripture and eternal Guru. The literary contributions of Guru Gobind Singh are Benti Chaupai, Jaap Sahib, Amrit Savaiye.

Recently, Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti also known as  Prakash Purab was celebrated by the nation on 20 January 2021 with great fervour and enthusiasm. This day holds special significance for the Sikhs and is considered one of their most auspicious festivals.

His birthday is celebrated according to the Nanakshshahi calendar. This year, Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti fell on 20 January.

The Nanakshahi Calendar is a solar calendar used by the Sikhs. It is based on Barah Maha. The Barah Maha was composed by Sikh Gurus. It is a poem that translates the twelve months in a year.

The calendar is named after the founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak. The first year of Nanakshi calendar starts in 1469. It is the year of the birth of Guru Nanak.

Magh Mela held in Punjab is celebrated according to Nanakshahi calendar.

Sanjeev Kumar: He has been appointed as Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Telecommunications Consultants India Limited. His appointment was recently approved by The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

He is currently serving as Director (Technical) in Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

TCIL: Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is a Miniratna PSU under the administrative control of the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Ministry of Communications, Government of India (GoI). TCIL was founded in 1978. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

This government of India owned engineering and consultancy company  is making available its vast and varied telecom expertise to friendly developing countries.

Biswajit Chatterjee: He is a veteran actor, director and singer has been conferred the 'Indian Personality of the Year’ award at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, while inaugurating the 51st IFFI announced him as the recipient of the award. He said that Chatterjee will be given the honour during the National Film Award, to be held in March this year.

The 84-year-old actor is known for featuring in films like “Bees Saal Baad”, “Night In London” and “April Fool”. He started his career in the late 1950s and went on to work in films like “Biwi Aur Makan”, “Sagaai”, “Kohra” among others.

In 1975, he directed and produced “Kahte Hain Mujhko Raja”, featuring himself along with Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Rekha.

Some of Chatterjee’s Bengali films include Chowringhee (1968), Srimaan Prithviraj (1973), Jai Baba Taraknath (1977) and Amar Geeti (1983).

The award aims to celebrate film personalities for their exemplary contribution to cinema.