Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 January 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 03 January 2021


India becomes first country to culture U.K. variant strain

  • India becomes first country thathas successfully isolated and cultured the UK-variant of Sars-CoV-2.

Key findings: 

  • UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees.
  • Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, was being tracked through the countrywide network of ICMR-laboratories since early days of the epidemic in India. 
  • No country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK variant, according to ICMR. 
  • Vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus.
  • India has reported 29 cases of the new coronavirus variant, that is spreading rapidly around Britain and other countries, within five days of tracing its first such infection. 
  • The new United Kingdom variant genome of Sars-CoV-2 – B.1.1.7, which is much more infectious.
  • It has prompted comprehensive contact tracing for co-travellers, family members and others of those who have travelled to the UK in the last 38 days.

 Action Agenda for an AtmaNirbhar Bharat

  • Union Science and Technology Minister has released the report - Action Agenda for an AtmaNirbhar Bharat prepared by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, TIFAC in New Delhi.
  • He said the ideas contained in the report should be taken forward with the implementing agencies. 
  • He also said, the ultimate outcome of the report has to be addition to quality of life and how our efforts can contribute to Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • He said, the comprehensive report on Action Agenda for an AtmaNirbhar Bharat is a consequential follow-up of the TIFAC’s White Paper on Focused Interventions for Make in India: post COVID -19 which was released earlier in July this year. 


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India begins its two-year tenure as non-permanent member of UNSC

  • India hasbegun its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the powerful organ of the world body.
  • India will sit in the 15-nation United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2021-22 term as a non-permanent member - the eighth time that the country has had a seat on the powerful horseshoe table.
  • In 2021, India, Norway, Kenya, Ireland and Mexico join non-permanent members Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam and the five permanent members China, France, Russia, UK and the US in the Council.
  • India will be UNSC President in August 2021 and will preside over the Council again for a month in 2022.
  • The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.


Delhi-Meerut RRTS project

  • The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) has awarded a contract to a Chinese company, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company Limited, for the construction of a 5.6-kilometre underground stretch, from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad, of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project.
  • The NCRTC, which is executing the country's first Regional Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS).


  • The 82-km-long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and procurement is governed by the guidelines of the bank and the government.
  • According to the ADB's procurement guidelines, vendors from all member countries of the bank are eligible to participate in the bidding process without any discrimination.
  • The NCRTC had invited bids for the construction of the tunnel from New Ashok Nagar to Sahibabad of Delhi Ghaziabad Meerut RRTS corridor on November 9, 2019.
  • Five companies submitted technical bids and all the five bidders qualified in the technical bid evaluation.


Science and Technology

Quantum Random Number Generator

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully achieved to develop Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG).
  • The DRDO Young Scientist Laboratory for Quantum Technologies (DYSL-QT), a DRDO facility based in Mumbai, has developed a QRNG which has the ability to detect random quantum events and convert those into a stream of binary digits.
  • The facility has developed a fiber-optic branch path based QRNG.
  • Branch path-based QRNG relies on the principle that if a single photon falls on a balanced beam splitter.
  • It will take either of the beam-splitter output paths randomly. As the path chosen by the photon is random, the randomness is translated to a sequence of binary digits, also called bits.


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