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Daily Current Affairs - 01 Jan 2021 : GKToday Updates

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Daily Current Affairs – 02 Jan 2021 : GKToday Updates


1. WHO clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use

  • The World Health Organization has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use which means poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America.
  • Every country that has a drug regulatory body will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.
  • The UN health agency said its review found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has already received clearance in the United States, Britain, the European Union and a dozen other countries, met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO.

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The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland


2. India begins its two-year tenure as Non-Permanent Member of UNSC

  • India began its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from January 1st, 2021. This is the eight-time that India will have a seat in the powerful organ of the United Nations.
  • Four other nations – Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway have also begun their 2-year terms at the UNSC, joining other non-permanent members Niger, Estonia, Vietnam, Tunisia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the five permanent members Russia, France, China and the US and UK.
  • India will be the UNSC President in August 2021 and again for a month in 2022. The presidency of the council is rotated among each of the members for one month according to alphabetical order.
  • India has been at the forefront of calls to initiate reforms in the UN Security Council to further expand to make it more representative of the world’s interests.

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The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.

Headquarters: New York, United States


3. PM Modi laid foundation stone of Light House Projects in six states

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House Projects (LHPs) in six cities across six states in the country on Jan 1, 2021 through video conferencing.
  • The Light House Projects will be undertaken at Rajkot in Gujarat, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Agartala in Tripura.
  • The project will comprise around 1000 houses at each location along with allied infrastructure facilities. It will mainly aim to deliver ready to live houses at a fastened pace within twelve months.


4. Nationwide dry run for Covid-19 vaccination to be conducted today

  • A nationwide dry run for Covid-19 vaccination will be conducted today.
  • Dry run is essentially a practice session where a sample number of beneficiaries will go through a mock immunisation process. The exercise is aimed at testing the preparedness for the vaccine rollout.
  • Each State and Union Territory has been asked to conduct the dry run at minimum three session sites. Apart from the staff of the designated vaccination centres, the dry run will see the participation of a select group of health care workers as test vaccine beneficiaries.
  • Each centre will identify 25 test beneficiaries for the dry run. The mock drill will ensure that phase 1 of Covid-19 vaccination goes without any glitch. The dry run will also test Co-WIN application, developed specifically for Covid-19 vaccination drive, in a field environment.

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A two-day trial run was earlier conducted on Dec 28 and 29 in four states – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat.


5. ISRO Chairman K Sivan gets one year extension till January 2022

  • The Central Government has approved the extension of the term of ISRO Chairman K Sivan, for a period of one year. He was due to retire on January 14, 2021.
  • Sivan will now continue as ISRO chairman and Secretary, Department of Space up to January 14, 2022. He has been serving the post since January 14 2018, replacing AK Kiran Kumar.
  • Under his chairmanship, the space agency launched various important projects, including Chandrayaan 2, the second mission to the moon and currently working on the human spaceflight mission.

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The Indian Space Research Organisation is the national space agency headquartered in Bengaluru. It operates under Department of Space which is directly overseen by the Prime Minister of India.

Founder: Vikram Sarabhai


6. GST collections touch all time high of over Rs 1 lakh crore in December

  • GST Revenue collection for last month has been recorded at an all time high since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in the country.
  • The gross GST revenue collected in the month of December 2020 is 1 lakh 15 thousand 174 crore rupees. The revenue collected is 12 percent higher than the GST revenues in the corresponding period lasting last financial year.
  • The Finance Ministry has informed that this is the highest growth in monthly revenues since the last 21 months and has been due to the combined effect of the rapid economic recovery post pandemic and the nation-wide drive against GST evaders and fake bills along with many systemic changes introduced recently.


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