Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 January 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 13 January 2021


North East Venture Fund

  • The North East Venture Fund (NEVF)is the first and the only dedicated Venture Fund for the North Eastern Region.


  • It was introduced by the NDA government.
  • It is gaining popularity among Start-Ups and young entrepreneurs. 
  • The Venture Fund Scheme launched by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
  • It aims to promote growth of business ventures and skill development in the region.
  • The main focus of the fund is for mostly the enterprises involved in Food Processing, Healthcare, Tourism, segregation of services, IT, etc.
  • The investment size with the Venture Fund Scheme ranges between Rs.25 lakhs and Rs. 10 crores with a long-term horizon of five to ten years.

NHAI begins planning for Bharatmala Phase-II

  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has identified roads with a cumulative length of 5,000 kilometres tobe built under the Bharatmala Phase-II project.
  • Bharatmala Pariyojana under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways aims to construct around 65,000 km ofnational highways in the country.
  • First phase of Bharatmala approved in 2017 included construction of 24,800 km of national highways, inaddition to ongoing 10,000 km of roads under National Highways Development Programme.
  • The project will improve connectivity particularly on economic corridors, border areas and far-flung areas.


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India’s ‘Institutions of Eminence’ can set up campuses in foreign countries

  • Indian universities and colleges with the Institutions of Eminence (IOEs) tag, will now be able to set up campuses in foreign countries with the University Grants Commission (UGC) issuing fresh guidelines on the same.
  • The Education Ministry had launched the IoE scheme in 2018 as per which 20 institutions were to be selected -- 10 public and 10 private ones -- that would enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.
  • The new guidelines have been issued in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) as per which foreign universities will be allowed to set up campuses in India and top Indian institutes in foreign countries.
  • According to the norms, IoEs shall be permitted to start a maximum of three off-campus centres in five years, but not more than one in an academic year.
  • They will, however, require approval from as many as three ministries -- education, home and external affairs -- before they can venture out.
  • The IoEs shall be permitted to start an off-campus centre in an interim campus, subject to the condition that the permanent campus shall be ready “within a reasonable time period not exceeding five years”.

As Polar Vortex Stirs, Deep Freeze Threatens U.S. and Europe

  • According to several western weather forecasts, Canada, Eurasia much of Western Europe and the US, spine chilling cold winter with heavy snow along the US East Coast will ensue.
  • The meteorologists have predicted that the polar vortex, which is splitting into two and swirling southward, will send the US and European countries into a chilling deep freeze. 
  • A notorious swirl of ultracold winds around a low-pressure area due to the major stratospheric temperature spike expected to sweep across these countries causing an extreme dip in temperatures. 


  • A polar vortex is a low-pressure area- a wide expanse ofswirling cold air -that is parked in polar regions.
  • The term “vortex” refers to the counter-clockwise flow ofair that helps keep the colder air near the Poles.


RBI Financial Stability Report

  • Reserve Bank of India releases Financial Stability Report (FSR).
  • According to the report, Banks’ gross non-performing assets may rise to 13.5% by September 2021, from 7.5% in September 2020 under the baseline scenario.
  • The report said, If the macroeconomic environment worsens into a severe stress scenario, the GNPA ratio may escalate to 14.8%.
  • The stress tests indicate that the GNPA ratio of all scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) may increase from 7.5% in September 2020 to 13.5% by September 2021 under the baseline scenario.
  • Among the bank groups, public sector banks’ (PSBs) GNPA ratio of 9.7% in September 2020 may rise to 16.2% by September 2021 under the baseline scenario, it noted.
  • The gross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio of private sector banks (PVBs) and foreign banks (FBs) may increase from 4.6% and 2.5% to 7.9% and 5.4%, respectively, over the same period.
  • In the severe stress scenario, the GNPA ratios of PSBs, PVBs and FBs may rise to 17.6%, 8.8% and 6.5%, respectively, by September 2021.
  • These GNPA projections are indicative of the possible economic impairment latent in banks’ portfolios, with implications for capital planning.

Science and Technology


  • Apple, Amazon and Google have suspended the social network called Parler.
  • Thatbecause, the platform has not taken enough measures to make sure that content inciting violence remains in check.

What is Parler?

  • It is a social media platform that is considered to be an alternative to Twitter and is popular with conservatives. 
  • The platform describes itself as being the world’s “premier free speech platform”. “Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being “deplatformed” for your views,” the website of the platform says.


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