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Important Current Affairs 9th August 2021

NATIONAL

Karnataka becomes first state to issue order implementing NEP-2020

• Karnataka has become the first state in the country to issue the order with regard to the implementation of National Education Policy-2020, State Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan claimed.

• The state government has issued an order on Saturday on the implementation of NEP-2020 with effect from the current academic year 2021-2022.

India-UAE Navy conducted the bilateral naval exercise ‘Zayed Talwar 2021’

• The Indian Navy and UAE Navy conducted the bilateral naval exercise ‘Zayed Talwar 2021’ on August 07, 2021, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The main objective of the ‘Zayed Talwar 2021’ naval exercise was to enhance interoperability and synergy between the two navies.

• Indian Navy participated with INS Kochi, with two integral Sea King MK 42B helicopters, deployed in the Persian Gulf. From UAE, UAES AL – Dhafra, a Baynunah class guided missile corvette and one AS – 565B Panther helicopter took part in the exercise.

SPORTS

BCCI announced cash reward for medal winners

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on August 07 announced Rs 1 crore cash reward for star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra after his historic gold medal-winning feat in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The Vice-President of BCCI Rajeev Shukla congratulated India’s ace javelin thrower and said, “It’s a great day for Indian sports as Neeraj Chopra bagged the gold for India.

• He has put in his best efforts. If you look at the facilities we haven’t got the kind of facilities which the other countries have got. Still sports persons trying their level best. BCCI on this occasion has announced Rs 1 crore for Neeraj Chopra who has brought the gold medal for India and other athletes to.”

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Neeraj Chopra won Olympic gold medal in Javelin throw

• Neeraj Chopra has won a Gold medal for India in the javelin throw event at Tokyo Olympics. With a throw of 87.03 metres in his first attempt, Neeraj killed the competition. In his second he improved it to 87.58m and that turned out to be the golden throw. Except for Viteszalav Veslay of the Czech Republic who threw 86.67m none of his rivals including world champion Johannas Vetter fell by wayside.

• This is India’s 7th medal at Tokyo 2020, the best ever medal haul for India at a single edition of the Games. Neeraj Chopra’s Gold is also India’s second-ever individual Gold medal at the Olympics, after Abhinav Bindra in Shooting.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Bajrang Punia won Olympic wrestling bronze medal in wrestling

• Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has won the Olympic wrestling bronze medal match after 8-0 win over Daulet Niyazbekov of Kazakhstan in the men’s freestyle 65kg category.

• Punia became the sixth Indian wrestler to finish on the Olympic podium after KD Jadhav, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Kumar Dahiya. This became the second instance after the 2012 London Olympics when two Indian wrestlers won medals in the same Games.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Closing Ceremony Highlights

• The Tokyo Olympics 2020 came to an end on August 08, 2021. The international multi-sport event was held from July 23 to August 08, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. This was for the fourth time that Japan hosted the Olympic Games, after previously hosting the Tokyo 1964 (Summer), Sapporo 1972 (Winter), and Nagano 1998 (Winter) games. Apart from this, Tokyo is the first Asian city to hold the Summer Games twice.

• The United States has topped the overall medal table with 113 medals, which includes 39 Gold, 41 Silver and 33 Bronze Medal.

• Indian Contingent managed to win 7 medals comprising 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze Medals. The country stood at the 48th position in the medal table out of 86 countries.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Uttarakhand Chief Minister named Vandana as brand ambassador

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has appointed Team India's hockey player Vandana Katariya as the brand ambassador of the state's Department of Women Empowerment and Child Development.

• The announcement was made at a programme organized to felicitate the recipients of the Tilu Rauteli Award and the Anganwadi Workers Award on Sunday. This programme was held at the IRDT Auditorium at Survey Chowk.

• CM Dhami further stated that the prize money for the aforementioned accolades will be doubled from Rs 31,000 to Rs 51,000 beginning next year.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021: 9 August

• United Nations observes the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 09th August every year. The day is being observed to protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population and recognize the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. The theme for 2021 is “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

• The day was recognised by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994. The date to marks the day of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations in 1982.

Nagasaki Day 2021: 9th August

• Japan commemorates the 9th of August every year as Nagasaki day. On August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. It was code-named “Fat Man” due to the design of the bomb as it had a wide, round shape. This happened 3 days after dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

• An area of about 5 square miles was completely obliterated and around 65,000 people were killed in the bombing. Nagasaki and Hiroshima continue to feel the impact of the destructive bombing even today.

Nation observes 79th anniversary of Quit India movement on 8 August 2021

• The 79th anniversary of the August Kranti Din or Quit India Movement, which is considered as one of the important milestones in the history of the freedom struggle of our country, is being observed on 8 August 2021. On 8 Aug 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call to end British rule and launched the Quit India Movement at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai.

• After the failure of Cripps Mission, Gandhiji gave the call to “Do or Die” in his Quit India speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai. The grateful country is paying homage to the freedom fighters and remembering the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs during the freedom struggle.

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Important Current Affairs 5th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to scale K2, second-highest peak in the world

•  A 19-year old Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif became the youngest person in the world to reach the summit of K2, the second-highest peak in the world. Shehroze Kashif from Lahore achieved the feat of scaling the 8,611-metre high peak with the aid of bottled oxygen. Before Kashif, Sajid Sadpara, the son of the legendary climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, was the youngest person to have climbed K2 at the age of 20.

•  Kashif also scaled the world’s 12th-highest mountain, the 8,047-meter Broad Peak, at the age of 17. In May this year, he became the youngest Pakistani to scale Mount Everest. Pakistan, Nepal, and China are home to the 14 highest peaks in the world, also known as the 8,000ers. Five 8,000-metre peaks, including K2 and Nanga Parbat, are in Pakistan.

World’s largest star sapphire cluster found in Sri Lankan

•  World’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in Ratnapura, Srilanka. The stone is pale blue in colour. It was found by labourers while digging a well in a gem trader’s home.

•  Ratnapura is known as the gem capital of the country. The sapphire cluster weighs around 510kgs or 2.5 million carats. It has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.

NATIONAL

Indian Air Force inducted second squadron of Rafale aircraft

•  The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the second squadron of Rafale jets at West Bengal’s Hasimara airbase in Eastern Air Command (EAC). The event included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale to Hasimara, followed by a traditional water cannon salute. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron, which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, Bhadauria urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform.

•  Hasimara is the second IAF base to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at Ambala Air Force station. India has so far received 26 Rafale aircraft out of the 36 it has ordered from Dassault Aviation. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of ₹59,000 crores. The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The Rafale jet is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister launched India’s first earthquake mobile app

•  Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami has launched the first-of-its-kind earthquake early warning mobile application, named ‘Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert’. The app has been developed by IIT Roorkee, in association with Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA). Initially, this app was launched as a pilot project only by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, for the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, the project proposal was further extended by the Uttarakhand Government.

•  The Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert is India’s first earthquake early warning’ app for notifying people about earthquake alerts. Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) mobile app can detect the onset of the earthquake and issue warnings regarding an earthquake occurrence in the neighbourhood and the expected time of arrival and intensity at the location to prevent any loss of life.

SPORTS

Lovlina Borgohain Claims Bronze Medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020

•  Indian Boxer, Lovlina Borgohain has failed to reach the gold medal final match. She settles for a bronze medal. This is India’s third medal of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. She lost to Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey by unanimous decision in the women’s welterweight (69 kg) semifinal at Tokyo 2020.

•  Lovlina had already assured India of their first boxing medal at the ongoing Olympic Games when she upstaged former world champion, Nien-Chin Chen of Taiwan, to enter the semis.

Indian men’s hockey team, win bronze in Tokyo Olympics 2020

•  Indian men’s hockey team defeated Germany to win their first-ever Olympic medal in 41 years. India wins the bronze medal in men’s hockey after beating Germany 5-4 at Tokyo Olympics. Before this podium finish for bronze, India last climbed up the Olympic podium in 1980, when it won its 8th gold at the Games.

•  Simranjeet Singh scored two goals for India at the Oi Hockey Stadium, along with Hardik Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh also adding their names on the scoresheet.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

V M Kanade appointed as the new Lokayukta in Mumbai

•  Maharashtra Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari has approved the appointment of retired Bombay high court judge Justice V M Kanade as the new Lokayukta of Maharashtra, on the advice of the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Maharashtra was without a full-time Lokayukta for almost a year. The previous Lokayukta, (retd) Justice M L Tahaliyani had completed his tenure in August 2020.

•  The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman. Citizens can make complaints of corruption against any government official or elected representative directly to the Lokayukta, who is tasked with speedy redressal.

K. M. Birla stepped down as Non-Executive Chairman of Vodafone Idea or VI

•  Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has stepped down as the Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Vodafone Idea (now Vi) Board. The Vi Board of Directors have unanimously elected Himanshu Kapania, currently a Non-Executive Director, as the Non-Executive Chairman with effect.

•  Kapania, a nominee of the Aditya Birla Group, is a telecom industry veteran with 25 years of experience. He has also served on the Global GSMA Board for two years and was also the Chairman of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for two years. He is presently the Chairman of the FICCI Council on Telecom, Electronics and Digital Economy.

Mini Ipe appointed as the Managing Director of LIC 

•  Mini Ipe took charge as managing director of Life Insurance Corporation of India. Ipe is a post-graduate in commerce and joined LIC in 1986 as a direct recruit officer. She has a diverse experience in LIC having worked in various capacities. LIC is India’s 2nd-largest financial services institution with a Rs 31 lakh crore balance sheet, next to the country’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), with assets of Rs 39.51 lakh crore.

•  Before taking charge as managing director, she was executive director, legal department, LIC of India. Mini Ipe was the first woman zonal manager (in-charge) of LIC and headed SCZO, Hyderabad. She has also worked as executive director (international operations), director and CEO of LICHFL Financial Services Ltd. She has also worked as regional manager (P&IR) and regional manager (estate) of the western zone. Ipe joins the team of other MDs at LIC, including Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Raj Kumar and Siddhartha Mohanty.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

India & World Bank sign $250 million project to safe dams and resilient across various states of India

•  The World Bank has approved a USD 250 million projects in India for a long-term dam safety program and improving the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India. The Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2) agreement was inked on between the World Bank, the Government of India, the Central Water Commission, and government representatives from 10 participating states. The project will be implemented at the national level through the Central Water Commission (CWC).

•  At the state level, approximately 120 dams will be undertaken across the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. Other states or agencies may be added to the project during project implementation.

OBITUARY

Padma Shri awardee, author Padma Sachdev passed away

•  Padma Shri awardee and noted author Padma Sachdev, the first modern woman poet of Dogri language, passed away. She received the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2001 and was awarded the Kabir Samman for poetry for 2007-08 by the Madhya Pradesh government.

•  She authored many books in Dogri and Hindi, and her poetry collections, including ‘Meri Kavita Mere Geet’, won her the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971.

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Important Current Affairs 4th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

IMF approved $650 bln allocation of SDR

• The Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have approved a record general allocation of $650 billion in IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDR), to help boost global liquidity. The $650 billion SDR allocation aims to support member countries, especially emerging and developing nations, battling the C-19 pandemic and the economic downturn it has caused.

• This allocation is the largest-ever distribution in the IMF’s 77-year history, in terms of monetary reserves assets. The allocation will become effective from August 23, 2021. The newly created SDRs will be credited to member countries in proportion to their existing quotas shareholding in the Fund.

NATIONAL

Ordnance Factory launched new sound weapon ‘TriCa’

• The Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT) in Tamil Nadu launched a new high-tech and low sound weapon called TriCa (Trichy Carbine), a mini version of the Trichy Assault Rifle (TAR). It was unveiled by General Manager of OFT Sanjay Dwivedi, IOFS (Indian Ordnance Factories Service) during a function.

• The lighter and compact weapon, carbine TriCa is designed for the infantry combat vehicle, helicopter crew and security personnel for operations that call for a compact and relatively powerful individual automatic weapon. The weapon is also for paratroopers, police and security personnel guarding highly secure facilities such as airports, and for use by the Special Operation Forces.

European Space Agency launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’

• European Space Agency (ESA) launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’, the world’s 1st commercial reprogrammable satellite into space aboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It is a fully flexible software-defined satellite. The satellite has been developed under a European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat, Airbus & Surrey Satellite Technology.

• A reprogrammable satellite allows the user to repurpose it even after being launched into orbit. It can be reprogrammed in real-time to suit the changing purposes of the user. The Quantum satellite is capable of responding to changing demands for data transmission and secure communication during its lifespan of 15 years and will cover the areas from West Africa to Asia. The satellite will remain in geostationary orbit for its 15-year lifespan, after which it will be safely placed in a graveyard orbit away from Earth to avoid becoming a risk to other satellites.

Fortune Global 500 list 2021 : 7 Indian Companies Featured is the list

• Seven Indian companies have found a place in 2021 Fortune’s Global 500 list. The Fortune Global 500 is an annual ranking of the top 500 enterprises globally, as measured by business revenues. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd is the highest-ranked Indian company on the list in terms of revenue, with revenues of nearly $63 billion. It is placed at 155th spot globally.

• Globally, Walmart has topped the list in terms of revenue for the eighth consecutive year and the 16th time since 1995. China has dominated this years list for the highest number of companies featuring in the list at 143, including those from Taiwan. This is followed by the U.S. with 122, and Japan with a total of 53, respectively.

Operation Blue Freedom

• The government of India has accorded sanctions to Team CLAW to lead a team of people with disabilities to scale Siachen Glacier. It will be a new world record for the largest team of people with disabilities. This expedition is being undertaken as part of ‘Operation Blue Freedom’. It aims to shatter the common perception of pity, charity, and inability associated with people with disabilities and recreate it to one of dignity, freedom, and ability.

• Operation Blue Freedom was launched in 2019 by CLAW Global, a team of former Special Forces Operatives of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The Operation is a social impact venture aimed at rehabilitating people with disabilities through adaptive adventure sports. Moreover, their focus is also to ‘design and implement sustainable large-scale employment solutions’ for people with disabilities, especially in the ‘Environment conservation and Sustainability’ space.

Government of India cuts Mudra loans target to Rs 3 trillion in Financial Year 2022

• The government has set the loans disbursement target under the PM Mudra Yojana (PMMY) at Rs 3 trillion for 2021-22 (FY22). This target is lower than the previous year. For FY21, the target was set at Rs 3.21 trillion. Experts attribute the lower target to increased allocation under the credit guarantee scheme for small businesses.

• Under PMMY, credit up to Rs 10 lakh is provided by banks and non-banking financial companies for entrepreneurial activities to small business units, including for new enterprises in sectors such as manufacturing, trading, services and activities allied to agriculture. The central government allocates annual targets for sanctioning of loans under the scheme. In FY22, loans worth Rs 3,804 crore have been sanctioned by 13 public sector banks (PSBs) as of June 25.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘Leopard Diaries – the Rosette in India’ by Wildlife Biologist Sanjay Gubbi

• Wildlife Biologist, Sanjay Gubbi authored a book about Leopard titled ‘Leopard Diaries – the Rosette in India’, in which he says about the food habits, ecological context, and conservation of Leopard along with the suggestions to overcome leopard–human conflict. The book also details Sanjay Gubbi’s practical engagement as a conflict manager, adviser to the State government, and leopard PR (Public Relations) person. The book was published by Westland.

• Leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the cat family, Felidae. As per the government’s report, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of leopards, about 26 per cent of the total number estimated in the country.

Book “My Own Mazagon” authored by Captain Ramesh Babu

• A new book titled “My Own Mazagon” has authored by Captain Ramesh Babu. The book published by Indus Source Books features the history and story of Mazagon, the island which was merged into a single entity as Bombay. The Book will be jointly released by Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad, (Retd.), CMD Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.

• The Book rediscovers the forgotten history of Mazagon and resurrects the identity of Maza Gaon, or ‘My own Village’. Captain Ramesh Babu retired from Mumbai after serving the Indian Navy at Mazagon Dock. Other books authored by Capt. Babu: “After You Sir: A Collection of School Stories” and “Calicut Heritage Trails”.

RANKING

QS Best Student Cities Ranking : Mumbai, Bengaluru lose top-100 spots

• Mumbai and Bengaluru are out of the global top-100 list and are currently ranking at 106 and 110, respectively in the latest edition of the QS Best Student Cities Ranking. While Mumbai lost 29 places, Bengaluru fell by 21 places in the ninth edition of the rankings brought out by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

• Globally, the results, which enable students to compare 115 premier educational destinations, see London retain its status as the world’s best student city for the third consecutive edition. It is followed by Munich, which rises from 4th to 2nd. Seoul, which jumps from 10th to joint-3rd, shares the bronze-medal position with Olympic hosts Tokyo.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Reserve Bank of India Authorises IndusInd Bank to act as an ‘Agency Bank’

• The IndusInd Bank has been empanelled by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act as an ‘Agency Bank’. As an Agency Bank, IndusInd becomes eligible to carry out transactions related to all kinds of government-led businesses. This decision is based on the RBI guideline that authorises scheduled private sector banks as agency banks of the regulator for the conduct of government business.

• IndusInd Bank now joins few other private banks of the country listed as Agency Bank of RBI, to carry out general banking business on behalf of the central and state government, apart from offering its customers the convenience of undertaking routine financial transactions through its banking platform.

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Important Current Affairs 10th May 2021

NATIONAL

Yash Raj Films launched relief scheme

• Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films has announced a relief scheme under the 'Yash Chopra Saathi Initiative,' named after the founder filmmaker, to help daily wagers employed on movie sets.

• This would include ration kits to families of four and Rs. 5000 to accounts of women, and senior citizens.

Centre Released nearly Rs. 9000 cr to Panchayats

• The Department of Expenditure has released an amount of ₹8,923.8 crore in advance to 25 states for providing grants to the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry of finance said on Sunday.

• "The amount released on Saturday is the first instalment of the ‘Untied Grants’ for the year 2021-22. It may be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it will augment resources to the three tiers of Panchayats for fighting the contagion.

ESIC installed oxygen generation plant

• The Employees State Insurance Corporation, under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, has installed oxygen generation plants at its two hospitals in Delhi NCR area. These include a 440 litres per minute (LPM) capacity plant at the ESIC Hospital and Medical College in Faridabad and another plant of 220 LPM capacity at ESIC Hospital in Jhilmil, New Delhi yesterday.

• Labour Ministry said this will enable these hospitals to augment the availability of ICU and Ventilator beds. The Corporation is actively helping fight the battle against Covid-19 by quickly converting its 30 hospitals all over the country into Covid dedicated facilities. These hospitals have around 4200 beds, including 300 ICU beds and 250 ventilator beds.

IIT Madras develops blockchain-based system

• Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, have come up with an innovative way to digitise healthcare information systems using blockchain-based technology.

• The blockchain-based medical data and information exchange system for a mobile phone application called ‘BlockTrack’ is claimed to be a first-of-its-kind innovation in the country. It’s being field-tested currently at the IIT’s hospital.

• According to a press release from IIT-M, BlockTrack aims to securely digitise healthcare information systems while ensuring the protection of sensitive personal information and medical records by decentralising the control and ownership of patient data, through a blockchain-based innovation.

SPORTS

Aryna Sabalenka wins her Maiden Madrid Open Women’s singles title

• In tennis, the world number seven, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia to win the 2021 Madrid Open women’s singles title. This Sabalenka’s 10th career WTA singles title, second WTA title of the season and first on clay court. Madrid Open is a professional WTA tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts. Sabalenka beat Australian player Barty with 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.

• In the women’s doubles final, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, from the Czech Republic, defeated Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Demi Schuurs of France 6-4, 6-3.

OBITUARY

Olympic gold Medalist MK Kaushik dies

• Former India hockey player and coach MK Kaushik died of Covid-19 in New Delhi on Saturday. He was 66. Kaushik passed away hours after his former India teammate Ravinder Pal Singh died of Covid-19 in Lucknow on Saturday.

• MK Kaushik, a gold-medal winning member of the Indian hockey team from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, was battling severe lung issues and he was put on ventilator support at a hospital in the capital city.

IMPORTANT DAYS

BRO celebrates 61st raising day on 7th May

• The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was formed on 7 May 1960, with the primary goal of securing India’s borders and developing infrastructure in remote areas of India’s north and northeastern states. On 7 May 2021 BRO celebrated its 61st Raising Day (foundation day).

• It is a leading road construction agency under the Ministry of Defence.

• Its primary role is to provide road connectivity in India’s border areas. It also creates upgrades and maintains infrastructure along borders to meet India’s overall tactical and strategic goals.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

PM Modi Participates in Virtual India-EU Leaders’ Meeting

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting, held in a hybrid format. The India-European Union Leaders’ Meeting is hosted by Portugal. Portugal currently holds the chair of the grouping. PM Modi attended the event at the invitation of the President of the European Council Mr Charles Michel.

• The leaders of all the 27 EU Member States, as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission, participated in the meeting. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ADB to end coal, gas financing

• The Asian Development Bank will no longer finance coal mining or oil and natural gas production and exploration, it announced in a draft policy statement on Friday, a move welcomed by environmental groups.

• The multilateral development bank, which focuses on eradicating poverty in Asia, provided no timeline for its commitment. It also laid out conditions under which fossil fuel projects would continue to receive funding, such as where no other cost-effective technology was available.

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2021

NATIONAL

India pledges $150,000 for UN Peacebuilding Fund for 2021

• India has announced a pledge of USD 150,000 to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for the year 2021 to support the activities and programs this year. The Peacebuilding Fund has put forth its five-year strategy, which requires 1.5 billion dollars for 2020-2024. This was announced by TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations on January 25, 2021.

• UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed that he was grateful to the countries that committed to providing over $439 million in support of the UN’s work toward peacebuilding & conflict prevention through the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

TCS ranks third most valued IT services brand globally

• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked third most-valued IT services brand globally, after Accenture and IBM, according to a report by Brand Finance. Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to USD 15 billion.  Accenture retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with record brand value of USD 26 billion, while IBM continued at the second place with a brand value of USD 16.1 billion.

• Four Indian IT services companies have secured spots in the top-10 globally, namely, TCS (3), Infosys (4), HCL (7) and Wipro (9). Accenture has retained the title of world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand with a brand value of $26 billion.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan launches ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ for Girl Child

• In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a new scheme ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ on 24 January, to mark the occasion of National Girl Child Day. The scheme has been launched under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme for the empowerment and growth of the girl child. The CM also announced scholarships worth Rs 6.47 crore for 26,099 girls under Ladli Laxmi Yojana.

• ‘PANKH Abhiyan’ is a year-long programme. The letter in the PANKH scheme stands for:

‘P’ – protection

‘A’ – awareness of their rights

‘N’ – nutrition

‘K’ – knowledge

‘H’ – health.

UP becomes first Indian State to have 2 Expressway airstrips

• In Uttar Pradesh, a new 3,300-metre-long airstrip has been constructed near Kurebhar on Purvanchal Expressway. With this new airstrip, Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in India having two airstrips on expressways. Uttar Pradesh also has an airstrip on Lucknow-Agra Expressway. Airstrips on expressways are designed to facilitate emergency landing and take-off of fighter planes.

• Earlier, the Indian Air Force had examined Yamuna Expressway and Agra Expressway. Aircraft like Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Sukhoi 30 and Super Hercules had already landed on Lucknow-Agra Expressway.

• Uttar Pradesh government is trying to connect the entire northern part of the country with expressways.

• The Hindon and Agra airbases of the Indian Air Force will be able to use the runway of all three expressways if needed.

• Also, these airstrips of Uttar Pradesh can serve the Air Force to respond against China and Pakistan in case of any war.

DRDO successfully conducts maiden test launch of Akash-NG Missile

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful maiden launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha. Akash-NG is a new generation Surface-to-Air Missile for use by Indian Air Force (IAF) with an aim of intercepting high manoeuvring aerial threats. The launch met all the test objectives by performing high maneuvers during the trajectory.

• The performance of the Command and Control system, onboard avionics and aerodynamic configuration of the missile was successfully validated during the trial. The Multi Function Radar was tested for its capability of integration with the system. The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems with canisterized launcher and much smaller ground system footprint.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

• International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) is observed on 27 January every year since 2006 to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. A genocide occurred during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by its collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, between 1941 and 1945.

• The theme of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 is “Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India Inks Strategic Partnership Agreement with IEA

• India has inked a strategic partnership agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s premier energy monitor, on 27 January 2021. The objective of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability as well as strengthen mutual trust and cooperation between IEA members and the Government of India.

• The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Power Secretary Sanjiv Nandan Sahai and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. This deal will help India to gain full membership of IEA.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Rajendra Kumar Bhandari wins Subhash Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021

• The Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2021 has 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.

• The Government of India 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.

51st International Film Festival of India Concludes

• The 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held from 16 January to 24 January 2021 at Shyamaprasad Stadium near Panaji in Goa. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was held in hybrid mode, there was the physical and virtual screening of 50 films out of 224 films across various categories. Bangladesh was a country of focus at the festival. Four films of Bangladesh was included in ‘country of focus’ section.

• Golden Peacock Award for Best Film: Into the Darkness

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Male): Tzu-Chuan Liu, The Silent Forest

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Actor (Female):  Zofia Stafiej, I Never Cry

• Silver Peacock Award for Best Director: Chen-Nien Ko, The Silent Forest

• Best Debut Director Award: Cássio Pereira dos Santos, Valentina

• Special Mention Award: Kripal Kalita, Bridge

• Special Jury Award: Kamin Kalev, February

• ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Award: Ameen Nayfeh’s 200 Meters

• Indian Personality of the Year Award: Biswajit Chatterjee

• Lifetime Achievement: Vittorio Storaro (Italian cinematographer).

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HSBC inaugurates international banking unit in Gujarat

• Global financial services major HSBC has inaugurated it’s International Banking Unit (IBU) branch at GIFT City near Gandhinagar city in Gujarat. HSBC is one of the earliest global financial institutions setting up a branch at India’s GIFT City and was the first bank to get a licence from the newly set up International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). HSBC’s IBU branch at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) will be operational for customer transactions with effect from January 27.

• HSBC has been present in the country for more than 160 years and its fourth branch globally was opened in India. HSBC operates in all of the leading international financial service hubs in the world and looks forward to the development of GIFT City as a globally competitive international financial centre.

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Important Current Affairs 12th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris jointly named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ 2020

• US President-elect, Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have been jointly named Time magazine’s 2020 “Person of the Year”. The TIME magazine releases the annual list since 1927, to recognise a person or organisation who affected the news or impacted the country and world the most, for better or worse, during the calendar year.

• Apart from this, Time magazine has named the Korean pop group BTS as its Entertainer of the Year, and basketball star LeBron James as Athlete of the Year.  Zoom founder Eric Yuan was aptly named Businessperson Of The Year, as the video communications company has come to define the way millions have connected with each other during the pandemic.

Sonu Sood tops 50 Asian Celebrities in The World list 2020

• Indian actor, Sonu Sood has topped the first-of-its-kind ’50 Asian Celebrities In The World’ 2020 list, published by UK based Eastern Eye newspaper. The 47-year-old talented Bollywood star has been honoured for his inspiring philanthropic work throughout the C-19, especially helping migrant workers reach their hometowns. Sonu Sood beat global stars, including from Hollywood, the music industry, television, literature and social media, to be named the number one Asian celebrity on the planet for 2020.

• Canadian YouTuber, social media star, comedian and TV personality Lilly Singh came in second for her “pathbreaking journey, remarkable output and entertaining audiences most when they needed it”.

• Indian singer Armaan Malik came in fifth for his immense musical output that included barrier-breaking English language songs. Sixth-placed Priyanka Chopra Jonas remains the most famous Indian star in the world, while the rest of the top 10 includes pan-Indian star Prabhas (7).

• The top 50 list is based on those who did good work, made a positive impact, broke boundaries, shattered glass ceilings, gave hope, did philanthropic deeds or were just inspiring in their own unique way.

NATIONAL

BSNL launches World’s 1st Satellite-based Narrowband-IoT Network

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has partnered with Skylotech India (Skylo), a global machine connectivity solutions company, to launch satellite-based narrow band-Internet of things (NB-IoT). This initiative is the world’s first satellite-based NB-IoT network.

• The new indigenous IoT solution has been developed by Skylo and will connect with BSNLs satellite- ground infrastructure to provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas. To begin with, the solution will be extended to fishermen, farmers, construction, mining and logistics enterprises. The solution is in line with BSNL’s vision to leverage technology to provide affordable and innovative telecom services and products across India’s core sectors.

Union Cabinet approves historic PM-WANI Scheme

• The Union Cabinet has approved a scheme called the Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Initiative (PM-WANI), to improve wireless connectivity and pave the way for free wireless internet in public spaces across the country. The scheme will allow anyone, from an individual in a residential area to a Kirana shop owner to a tea shop vendor, to set up public Wi-Fi hotspot and deliver wifi services. It aims to promote the growth of public wi-fi networks in the country.

• Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers. (tea shop, or Kirana shop, individual or any organisation.)

• Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will look after functions relating to Authorization and Accounting of PDOs.

• App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.

• Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Koilwar bridge in Bihar

• The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated the 1.5 km long Koilwar bridge over Sone river in Bihar through Video Conferencing. This newly inaugurated bridge is a part of the six-lane bridge being made in place of the existing two-lane bridge, for both rail and road traffic, which is 138 years old.

• The total cost of setting up this three-lane bridge is estimated at Rs 266 crore. The bridge is a major road for transport between Bihar and UP. Once this six-lane bridge is fully operational, the traffic on NH-922 and NH-30 will ease substantially.

National Centre for Divyang Empowerment inaugurated in Telangana

• The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy has inaugurated the National Centre for Divyang Empowerment (NCDE) at the CRPF Group Centre in Hakimpet near Hyderabad, Telangana.

• The NCDE is first of its kind establishment to re-skill and rehabilitates the Divyang Warriors of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) who suffered life-threatening injuries in the line of duty.

• Several market-driven expertise like computer skills and various sports skills will be imparted on the Divyang Warriors to empower them and enable them to serve the force and the country.

• All possible assistance and cooperation will be extended for the welfare of the Divyang Warriors.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Romanian PM Ludovic Orban resigns

• The Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban has stepped down from his post after his ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) lost in 2020 parliamentary election. Following this, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis appointed the Minister of National Defense, Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca as the interim prime minister of the country.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Universal Health Coverage Day: 12 December

• International Universal Health Coverage Day is a United Nations’ recognized international day celebrated every year on December 12. The Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners.

• This year theme of International Universal Health Coverage Day is ‘Health For All: PROTECT EVERYONE’. The theme reflects that to end this crisis (C-19) and build a safer and healthier future, we must invest in health systems that protect us all—now.

• On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development. On 12 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).

International Day of Neutrality: 12 December

• International Day of Neutrality is a United Nations recognized day held on December 12 each year to raise public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations. It was officially declared by a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in February 2017 and first observed on December 12, 2017.

• Neutrality is defined as the legal status arising from the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents, and the recognition by the belligerents of this abstention and impartiality — is critically important for the United Nations to gain and maintain the confidence and cooperation of all in order to operate independently and effectively, especially in situations that are politically charged.

• On 2 February 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted without a vote resolution 71/275 — introduced by Turkmenistan, recognized by the UN as a permanently neutral state since 12 December 1995 — which noted the link between the preservation of peace and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and declared 12 December as the International Day of Neutrality.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Bajrang Punia, Elavenil Valarivan bag Sportsperson of the Year awards

• Indian athletes, Bajrang Punia (Freestyle-Wrestling) and Elavenil Valarivan (Shooting), bagged the top honours at the virtually held FICCI India Sports Awards 2020 on the back of the 10th Global Sports Summit. The two athletes, who have had an impressive 2019-20 season, won the Sportsperson of the Year awards in their respective categories.

Award

Personality

Sportsperson of the Year (Female)

Elavenil Valarivan

Sportsperson of the Year (Male)

Bajrang Punia

Best State Promoting Sports Award

Madhya Pradesh

Best Company Promoting Sports (Private Sector)

Anil Kumble

• The sports awards are an attempt by industry body, Federation of Indian Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of sportspersons and various stakeholders who deliver excellent results throughout the year.

Carolina Araujo awarded 2020 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians

• The year 2020 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians was awarded to Dr Carolina Araujo, Mathematician from the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her work area focuses on birational geometry, which aims to classify and describe the structure of algebraic varieties.

• The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country funded by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics), and the International Mathematical Union (IMU) was given for her outstanding work in algebraic geometry.

• Dr. Araujo, who is Vice President of the Committee for Women in Mathematics at the International Mathematical Union, is the first non-Indian women mathematician to receive this prize and will be a role model for all women around the world.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ADB launches $9 bn “APVAX” for Developing Countries

• The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched an initiative called, the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), for its developing member countries. The bank has allocated USD 9 billion for APVAX.

• APVAX will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery.

• Through APVAX, the ADB will offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members, who need financing to procure vaccines as well as offer appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably and efficiently manage and deliver the C-19 vaccine.

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Important Current Affairs 24th September 2020

National 

Government implements O-SMART Scheme
• The Ministry of Earth Sciences has implemented the Ocean Services, Modelling, Applications, Resources, and Technology(O-SMART) Scheme. 
• The scheme covers 16 sub-projects related to the Ocean development activities including resources, services, technology, observations, and sciences. The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre is also working under the O-SMART Scheme.
• The Scheme generates and regularly update information on Marine Living Resources and their relationship with the physical in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Government to set up Neutrino Observatory in the country
• The central government is planning to set up a Neutrino Observatory in the country. This was informed by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh on September 21, 2020 in a written reply in the lower house of the Parliament, Lok Sabha.
• The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover that will study the neutrinos produced in the atmosphere of the Earth.

Railway plans to complete 100 % electrification of its broad gauge routes by 2023
• The Indian Railways have set the target to achieve 100 percent electrification of its broad gauge routes by 2023.
• This information was stated by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on 23 September 2020.

Banking and Economy

Sebi constitutes technical group on social stock exchange
• Sebi set up a technical group on social stock exchange to develop a framework for onboarding non-profit organisations and for-profit enterprises as well as prescribe disclosure requirements on financials and governance.
• The regulator has constituted the technical group under the chairmanship of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, former chairman of Nabard.
• Other members of the group include Ingrid Srinath, founder-director, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University; Pushpa Aman Singh CEO of Guidestar; and Santhosh Jayaram, Partner and Head- Sustainability and CSR Advisory at KPMG.

HDFC Life enters into partnership with YES Bank to sell insurance policies
• HDFC Life said it has entered into a partnership with YES Bank to sell policies to the bank’s customers.
• This CA arrangement will enable customers of YES Bank to avail HDFC Life’s wide range of life insurance products, which include solutions for protection, savings and investment, retirement and critical illness.

UNCTAD sees India growth moderating at -5.9% in 2020
• United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has predicted that the GDP of India will contract by 5.9% in the year 2020.
• For the year 2021, UNCTAD projects the Indian economy to grow by 3.9%.The projection was made in its Trade and Development Report 2020.

Acquisitions and Mergers

KKR to invest in Reliance Retail for 1.28% stake
• Global investment firm KKR is going to invest in the Reliance Retail ventures Limited (RRVL). With investment of Rs 5,550 crore, KKR will be acquiring 1.28% equity stake in the RRVL on a fully diluted basis.
•  This is the second such investment deal with Reliance Retail in past one month after American private firm Silver Lake invested Rs 7,500 cr into the company for a 1.75% Stake.
• This is also KKR’s second investment in a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, as earlier this year, the firm had invested Rs 11,367 crore in Jio Platforms for a 2.32 percent stake.

Science and Technology

DRDO successfully test fires high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT)- ABHYAS
• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested an indigenously-developed unmanned aerial vehicle, Abhyas, that can be used as target for evaluation of various missile systems.
• Two Abhyas vehicles, developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), were flight tested from a test range off Odisha coast.
• The High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) was launched using twin underslung booster.

Sports

Former cricketer Ash Barty wins Golf Club Championship
• Ashleigh Barty, who is the top-ranked WTA player in the world, and a former professional cricket player, has now added another feat in her sporting list by winning golf club championship.
• The 24-year-old, world number one Australian, has won the Brookwater Golf Club women’s championship.
• Ash Barty had withdrawn from participating in US Open and French Open due to C-19 pandemic.

Appointments and Resignations

RBI appoints AK Das as the new administrator of PMC Bank
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed AK Das (ex-general manager at Union Bank of India), as the new administrator of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank.
• He has replaced JB Bhoria who has stepped down from his role as the administrator of the bank due to health reasons.
• In September 2019, the RBI had superseded the board of PMC bank due to fraud and financial irregularities in the PMC bank.

Bah Ndaw named Mali’s interim president
• Former Mali defense minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw has been named the president of the country’s new transition government, while the leader of the junta that seized power last month. 
• Colonel Assimi Goita, was appointed vice president of the country.
• He will be in power for 18 months before holding elections and returning Mali to civilian rule.

Simanchala Dash appointed as advisor to IMF Executive Director
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the proposal to appoint Simanchala Dash as an advisor to Executive Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Romila Thapar
• A new book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Historian Romila Thapar will be jointly published by Penguin Random House India and Seagull Books. 
• The book is a historical essay that explores dissent, including its articulation and public response to its forms, with a focus on the recent protest in India against the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.

 

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Important Current Affairs 5th September 2020

National

India to host Quad meet and 2+2 dialogue

• India will soon be hosting the Quad meet involving Australia, Japan and the United States and the 2+2 dialogue with the United States. The details are being worked out for the same. 

• The information regarding the diplomatic engagements was shared by the Ministry of External Affairs at the regular weekly briefing on September 3, 2020.

• The Quad or quadrilateral security dialogue is a grouping of four democracies - India, Australia, Japan and the United States. Two of the quad countries- Australia and Japan have assured huge investments in India's infrastructure technology and supply chain.

India’s First Regional Voters’ Awareness Centre to Come Up in Jaipur

• Election Commission of India (ECI) will set up the country’s first regional voters’ awareness centre in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

• It will cater to four states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

• The centre will carry out various awareness activities under the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme. Sunil Arora is the present Chief Election Commissioner.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel virtually attends 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meet

• The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Russian Federation. India was represented by Union Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in the 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meet.

• The participants of the meeting deliberated on the impact of the epidemiological situation on the cultural sphere in the BRICS countries. It also reviewed the possible implementation of joint cultural online-projects within BRICS.

• The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting featured the participation of delegates from Culture Ministries of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of South Africa.

Banking and Economy

RBI releases revised Priority Sector Lending Guidelines

• The Priority Sector Lending (PSL) Guidelines have been reviewed by the Reserve Bank of India. The review was executed to align the PSL Guidelines with evolving national priorities.

• In the revised PSL Guidelines, the Reserve Bank of India has included some fresh categories eligible for finance under priority sector. These include loans to farmers for installation of solar power plants; loans for establishment of Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) plants; and bank finance to start-ups of up to Rs 50 crore.

• The new guidelines will make better credit penetration into credit deficient areas and increase the lending to small as well as marginal farmers and weaker sections. It will also enhance credit to renewable energy, and health infrastructure.

Summits and Mou’s

SIDBI, Maharashtra Govt ink pact to develop MSME ecosystem

• Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maharashtra Government to develop the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) ecosystem in the state.

• Under the agreement, a Project Management Unit (PMU) will be deployed by SIDBI with the Government of Maharashtra.

• The role of the PMU will be to design schemes/programmes in the areas of equity support, interest subvention, resolution of stressed MSMEs, supporting MSME entrepreneurs and facilitate other need-based intervention based on evaluation of the existing status of MSMEs.

Andhra Pradesh signs MoU with CSIR for a bulk drug pharma park in the state

• The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (APIIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) to establish a bulk drug park in the state.

• CSIR-IICT is the knowledge partner and will offer needed technical backing to make the proposal which will be submitted by the Andhra Pradesh government to the Department of Pharmaceuticals to seek financial assistance from the Centre.

Science and Technology

IIT Delhi incubated startup launches ‘‘Chakr DeCoV’’ to decontaminate N95 masks

• In our series on Atmanirbhar Bharat, IIT Delhi incubated startup Chakr Innovation has launched ‘Chakr DeCoV’ to decontaminate N95 masks.

• Designed in the shape of a cabinet, Chakr DeCoV is built with an innovative decontamination mechanism, which utilises the high penetrability of Ozone gas for cleaning the pores of the N95 mask, ensuring complete decontamination of its intricate layers.

Sports

India’s P Iniyan wins World Open Online Chess Tournament

• Indian Grandmaster P Iniyan has won the prestigious 48th Annual World Open online chess tournament.

• He scored 7.5 points out of a possible 9 with six victories and three draws to finish on top.

• A total number of 120 players from 16 countries participated in the event which included more than 30 Grandmasters.

Ranking

Oxford University tops THE World University Rankings 2021; IISc top Indian

• Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2021 has been released and under the overall category, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, has topped the list. It has retained the top spot for the fifth consecutive year.

• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, is the top-ranked University from India and is ranked in the 301-350 band. A total of 63 universities from India qualified for the ranking.

• Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar and IIT Indore are the next best-ranked University/college from India.

India ranked 3rd in largest solar market in 2019: Mercom global listing; Top- China

• India has been ranked third in terms of the largest solar market in 2019 as per Mercer Global listing for 2019. India had 9% of the world’s installed capacity.

• China has topped the ranking with 30 Gw (26% of world capacity). The US is on the second rank.

• Adani Green Energy has emerged as the top Solar Developer in 2019 with 12.3 Gw capacity.

Days

Teachers Day 2020

• In India, Teachers Day is celebrated on 5 September every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan - First Vice President of India and the Second President of India and an educationist at heart.

• Globally, Teachers Day is celebrated on 5th October. Teachers Day is important for the students as it gives them a chance to understand the efforts put in by their teachers to ensure that they get a proper education.

International Day of Charity

• International Day of Charity is celebrated on 5 September every year to commemorate the death anniversary of Mother Teresa and to make people understand about the importance of charity.

• The International Day of Charity officially was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012. Also, this day was created by the Hungarian Civil society initiative in 2011 with the support of the Hungarian parliament and Government.

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Important Current Affairs 31st August 2020

National

NITI Aayog Launches Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) India Component

• NITI Aayog virtually launched the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) on 27 August 2020.

• The NDC–TIA is a joint programme supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China.

Piyush Goyal Attends 8th East Asia Summit (Economic Ministers’ Meeting)

• 8th East Asia Summit Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) was held virtually which was attended by Economic Ministers from the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States.

• The Meeting was chaired by Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam. From Indian side it was attended by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry.

• During the meet discussions were held to accelerate economic growth, maintain supply chains and market stability, and strengthen the economic resilience of the EAS region post C-19.

CISF launches Pension Corner mobile app

• The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has introduced the Pension Corner mobile app. the Pension Corner app will help to fulfil the needs of all its retired personnel.

• The app has been made as part of an e-office initiative and has been introduced in the wake of the C-19 disease.

Banking and Economy

Reliance Retail to acquire Future Group's retail, wholesale businesses for Rs 24,713 crore

• Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) announced on August 29, 200 that it is acquiring the retail, wholesale business, logistics and warehouse business of Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore.

• The announcement has come amid ongoing concerns on a slump sale basis for lumpsum aggregate consideration. Reliance Retail will be buying the businesses from the Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore, subject to adjustments as set out in the composite scheme of arrangement.

• The acquisition is a part of Future Group's decision of merging certain companies and carrying on the businesses into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL). Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited.

•  Under the new acquisition agreement, Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited will be taking over the retail and wholesale undertaking of Future Group.

Obituary

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman passes away at 43

• American actor Chadwick Boseman, who became a global icon for his role as Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has passed away after battling cancer since past four years from 2016.He was 43.

• Chadwick made his Marvel superhero debut as T’Challa/Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, after which he became a household name.

• He made his big-screen debut in 2008 in the biopic The Express: The Ernie Davis Story where he played Floyd Little.

‘Scooby Doo’ Co-Creator Joe Ruby Passes Away at 87

• Joe Ruby, the co-creator of the cartoon series Scooby-Doo, has passed away due to natural cause. He was 87.

• Ruby, an American animator, television editor, writer, and producer, created the much-loved characters of beloved kids show Scooby-Doo, along with his creative partner Ken Spears.

• Together, the pair started their own production company Hanna-Barbera Productions and created other memorable cartoons as well.

Sports

India’s first: Joint champions in chess Olympiad

• India and Russia have been jointly annouced the winner of first-ever FIDE Online Chess Olympiad 2020. This was the first time FIDE was holding the Olympiad in an online format.

• India were initially declared to have lost the final round against Russia. Two Indian players (Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh) were declared to have lost on time in the final round after an apparent loss of internet connection for them.

• After this, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich had made a decision to give gold medals of to both teams.

Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Belgian Grand Prix 2020

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix 2020 held on August 30, 2020. This was his 5th win of the season.

• Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) came second followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) at third place.

Appointments and Resignations

Banks Board Bureau recommends Dinesh Kumar Khara as next SBI chairman

• The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) recommended SBI’s senior-most managing director Dinesh Kumar Khara as the next chairman of the country’s largest lender.

• Khara will replace SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar, whose three-year term comes to an end on October 7.

Ranking

Amul (16th) becomes first Indian dairy company to be in Rabobank’s Global Top 20 list; Top- Nestle

• Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has been ranked 16th in the Rabobank’s Global Top 20 Dairy Companies list. Amul has achieved an annual turnover of $5.5 billion.

• Switzerland’s Nestle topped the list with a turnover of US $22.1 billion. Amul is the first Indian company to enter the top 20 ranking of Rabobank’s Global Top 20 Dairy Companies list.

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Important Current Affairs 25th July 2020

National

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launches ‘RestartIndia’ advisory platform for MSME sector

• The Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), Shri Nitin Gadkari launched a mentoring platform ‘www.restartindia.in’, on 23 July 2020, with the main objective to help the sector in restarting businesses across the country.

• This website has been developed jointly by Muthoot Fincorp and INKtalks as an open platform for advisory support, and is in sync with Atmanirbhar project.

• The objective of Restart India is to raise the self-confidence primarily of small businesses by creating an environment for the re-establishment and progress of their businesses.

Largest Solar Power Plant of Indian Navy Commissioned

• Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command commissioned a 3 MW Solar Power Plant at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala on July 22, 2020 through virtual conferencing.

• The solar plant is Indian Navy’s largest plant and has an estimated life of 25 years. Its launch is in line with the centre’s initiative of ‘National Solar Mission’ to achieve 100GW of solar power by 2022.

• All components of the plant were indigenously sourced including 9180 highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels employing the latest technology.

Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) Gujarat attains its first criticality

• The Unit 3 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat achieved its ‘first criticality’ at 9.36 am on 22 July 2020.

• KAPP-3 is India’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) as well as biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

• A nuclear reactor attains criticality when every nuclear fission event releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of reactions or a self-sustaining chain reaction.

International

India-UK affirm shared commitment towards Free Trade Agreement

• India and the United Kingdom affirmed their shared commitment towards a Free Trade Agreement during the 14th Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting on July 24, 2020.

• The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.

• The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri and UK’s Minister of State for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena had also attended the meeting.

Sports

IPL 2020 Schedule announced: IPL to begin from September 19 & finals on November 8

• The schedule of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been announced by IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel on July 24, 2020. As per the schedule, IPL will begin from September 19, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The IPL finals will be held on 8th November 2020.

• The final details of the tournament will be finalised by IPL Governing Council next week.

Appointments and Resignations

Sahil Seth appointed as honorary adviser for BRICS CCI

• Sahil Seth has been appointed as an honorary adviser to the steering committee for the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) young leaders.

• He has been appointed for the period 2020-2023. Seth is presently serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Customs.

Tata AIA Life Ltd appoints Naveen Tahilyani as its MD & CEO

• Naveen Tahilyani has been appointed by Tata AIA Life Limited as its Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

• He will take over from the current CEO Rishi Srivastava, who has been appointed as chief executive officer, group agency distribution, AIA Group, Hong Kong.

Partha Pratim Sengupta becomes new MD & CEO of IOB

• Government of India has appointed Partha Pratim Sengupta as the new Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

• He will replace Karnam Sekar, who retired from the post of the MD and CEO at IOB on June 30, 2020.

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