IASPOINT Daily UPSC Prelims Current Affairs – January 9, 2021 [Lexicon]

IASPOINT Daily Current Affairs Lexicon is suitable for UPSC Prelims Examinations. Here are the important terms in news for January 9, 2021.

Ken Betwa river interlinking project

The Ken-Betwa river interlinking project is at the final stage of agreement between the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Negotiations regarding this project have been underway between the two states for 15 years now. This project is said to benefit the dry Bundelkhand area in the two states and will provide drinking water to as many as 62 lakh people. It is the first among the 31 river interlinking projects in the country to reach the advanced level of planning.

UP’s Excise Policy 2021-22

The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved the Excise Policy 2021-22, which is expected to boost revenue by Rs.6,000 crore during the fiscal. It was approved hours after few individuals either died or were hospitalised after consuming spurious liquor in Bulandshahr district in UP. The policy permits renewal of country liquor, foreign liquor, beer, bhang retail shops and model shops for 2021-22. It also exempts excise duty on wine manufactured using locally produced fruits.

‘Know Your Constitution’ campaign

The Government of India will conduct a campaign called ‘Know Your Constitution’ in schools, colleges and university across the country. It was announced by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla during an event organised by Uttarakhand Panchayati Raj Department on the subject ‘Panchayati Raj System – Empowering Decentralised Democracy. The framework for this campaign has been created. Apart from focusing on fundamental rights provided by the Constitution, it will also explain the significance of the fundamental duties.

Institutions of Eminence scheme

The Ministry of Education launched the Institutions of Eminence Scheme on 2018, under which 20 institutions (10 private and 10 public) were selected to enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy. Those institutions with IoE tags will be allowed to start a maximum of three off-campus centres in five years, but not more than one in an academic year. For this, they would require approval from three central ministries – education, home and external affairs.

UK’s ‘Act like you’ve got it’ drive

The United Kingdom government initiated the “Act like you’ve got it” campaign using television, radio and newspaper ads as well as social media platforms amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. This comes as the new highly transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 has increased the number of cases within the country. This is putting a toll on the hospitals, especially in London, where the cases have exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people.

TraceTogether contact-tracing program

Singapore government designed TraceTogether contact-tracing program to help trace and curtail the spread of the coronavirus. It is currently being used by 78% of the city-state’s population. The data obtained is allowed to be used in criminal investigations. The government recently announced that an urgent law will be formalised to limit the TraceTogether data usage to only probe seven categories of crimes, which include murder, terrorism, kidnapping and serious sexual offences.

Agnes Keleti

Agnes Keleti, the oldest living Olympic champion, had turned 100. This Hungarian gymnast is a Holocaust survivor and the winner of 10 Olympic medals in gymnastics (including 5 golds). Keleti was born in 1921. The new book “The Queen of Gymnastics, 100 years of Agnes Keleti” was published to mark the centenary birthday. She faced various hurdles during her career, like the two subsequent cancellation of Olympics in 1940 and 1944 and being forced out of her gymnastics team in 1941 because of her Jewish ancestry.

Karnataka State Policy and Planning Commission

Karnataka State Policy and Planning Commission or KSPPC is the new name of the Karnataka’s planning board. Karnataka state government recently decided to revamp its planning board on the lines of (National Institution for Transforming India) NITI Aayog, Central government’s policy think tank. This overhaul will help in the state government’s efforts to improve its performance in vital social and economic parameters as well as in achieving the 17 sustainable development goals by 2030 deadline.

Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise

On January 8, the Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise became the 18th member of the United States’ intelligence apparatus. The intelligence community previously saw the last addition of new organisation when the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is a part of the Department of Justice, joined in 2006. The new addition would support the intelligence community and will focus on providing technical intelligence to defend space systems from anti-satellite weapons.

Telangana’s sheep distribution scheme

Telangana sheep distribution scheme was launched to support the state’s traditional shepherd community (Kurna and Yadavas) and to strengthen the rural economy. All individuals from shepherd community above the age of 18 will be eligible for this scheme. Under this scheme, the beneficiaries will be given a unit of animals comprising 20 sheep and a ram. Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao directed the immediate resumption of the first phase, which was paused mid-way because of the pandemic. The second phase will commence from FY2021-22.

Sunflower COH3

Sunflower COH3 is the hybrid variety of sunflower developed by scientists in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Released in 2019, this variety can be grown in rainfed areas and is moderately disease resistant. It also has 42 per cent oil content and can provide a yield of 716 kg per hectare. This can help reduce sunflower oil imports from Ukraine, Russia and Argentina.


BBV154 is Bharat Biotech’s new intranasal vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. It was developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. It is simple to administer and has no needle-associated risks. The first phase of the intranasal vaccine will be conducted in February-March of this year. This announcement came following the approval of Drug Controller General for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

Shivalik Elephant Reserve

Shivalik Elephant Reserve was notified in 2002 under Project Elephant, which was launched by the Central government in 1992. It is Uttarakhand’s only elephant reserve. On November 2020, Uttarakhand’s wildlife board decided to denotify the reserve in order to pave way for the development work in an area spanning over 4,500 sq km, including expansion of Deharun’s Jolly Grant Airport. Uttarakhand High Court has recently put a stay on the denotification of this reserve.

Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Husbandry Practices and Procedures)

The Central government notified the draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Husbandry Practices and Procedures) to mandate anaesthetics usage before castration. This is to do away with the old and painful practices like hot branding with radio frequency identification, breeding hornless cattle. It seeks to promote behavioural principles of animal handling. The rules also require carrying out euthanasia under the supervision of a registered veterinary practitioner.

Industrial Disputes (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020

The Industrial Disputes (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020 received the presidential assent on January 1, 2021. The Gujarat Assembly passed the Bill to make it easier for the industrial units to layoff or retrench workforce. This is to promote ease of doing business within the state. It removes the requirement under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 that mandates establishments with 100 or more workers to seek prior permission from the state governments before effecting layoffs.