Current Affairs
Select Date
Tags:
Hindi

Important Current Affairs 4th January 2021

NATIONAL

India becomes co-chair of Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP)

• India has been chosen as the co-chair of the IUCN-supported Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) for a period of three years till November 2023. India will replace South Korea, which held the post for 3 years until November 2020.  As a co-chair, India would be responsible to assist other Asian countries in managing their protected areas. The APAP is chaired by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Asia and co-chaired by an APAP nation member on a rotational basis.

• The APAP was formally launched in 2014, at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Australia.

• It is a regional platform to assist governments and different stakeholders to collaborate for more practical administration of protected areas (PA) within the area.

• Currently, there are 21 members from 17 international locations.

DCGI gives final approval for Covid-19 vaccines of SII, Bharat Biotech

• The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has formally announced the final approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca “Covishield” and Bharat Biotech “Covaxin” vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for emergency use. CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) accepts the subject expert committee reform rations on Serum and Bharat Biotech Covid vaccines.

• The subject expert committee (SEC) under CDSCO had recommended Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as Covishield, for emergency use and Covaxin for restricted use.

• Covaxin is the indigenous vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

SPORTS

Leon Mendonca becomes India’s 67th Grandmaster

• Goa’s 14-year-old Leon Mendonca has become India’s 67th chess Grandmaster by winning the third and final norm at a tournament in Italy. Mendonca, who achieved the feat at 14 years, 9 months and 17 days, is the second GM from the coastal State. Chennai player G. Akash, had in July, become the country’s 66th Grandmaster. He became the 29th Youngest GM in the world. The 1st GM from Goa is Ivana Maria Furtado, she achieved it in 2011.

• The player achieved his first GM norm at the Rigo Chess GM Round Robin, while the second came at the event in Budapest in November and the final one at the Vergani Cup in Italy.

• Sergey Karjakin of Russia holds the record for the World’s Youngest ever GM having qualified for the title at the age of 12 years and 7 months (achieved the title in 2003).

• GM is a title awarded by FIDE (International Chess Federation). It is the highest title a chess player can obtain apart from World Champion.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

BEL and Indian Navy inks pact for initial supply of Laser Dazzlers

• The Indian Navy has signed a contract with the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), to procure Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Dazzlers (Laser Dazzlers). Initially, agreement has been signed for 20 Laser Dazlers. The Laser dazzler technology has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and would be manufactured by BEL, Pune plant. It is the first time that this unique product is indigenously designed and developed for the Armed Forces.

• They are used as a non-lethal method for warning and stopping suspicious vehicles/boats/aircraft/UAVs/pirates etc. from approaching secured areas during both day and night.

• It is capable of dazzle and thereby suppress the person’s/optical sensor’s action with disability glare in case of non-compliance to orders.

• While this technology can disorient/ confuse/blind a person temporarily, it can also dazzle and distract aircraft/UAVs.

OBITUARY

Hollywood director Joan Micklin Silver dies at 85

• Joan Micklin Silver, who forged a path for female directors and independent filmmakers with movies including Hester Street and Crossing Delancey, has died. She was 85.

• Silver died from vascular dementia Thursday at her home in New York,. She used a combination of talent, fortitude and luck to create 1975’s Hester Street, her first feature, released when she was 40 years old.

Uliyin Osai director Ilavenil passes away in Chennai

• Tamil director and writer Ilavenil passed away yesterday in Chennai. He was in his 70s. He suffered a heart attack.

• The director is known for his film Uliyin Osai, which was written by Karunanidhi, and produced by S. P. Murugesan. The film released on 4th July, 2008 and it featured Vineeth and Keerthi Chawla in the lead roles.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Braille Day: 4 January

• World Braille Day is observed globally on 4th January since 2019. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people. The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.

• Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.

• Braille is essential in the context of education, freedom of expression and opinion, as well as social inclusion, as reflected in article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

RANKING

Mukesh Ambani ranked 12th in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2021

• India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) dropped down to 12th spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2021 (as on 2nd January 2021). The net worth of Ambani dropped from 90 billion USD (around Rs. 6.62 lakh crore) (in early 2020) to 76.7 billion USD (around Rs. 5.6 lakh crore). The drop in the net worth of Mukesh Ambani was due to the correction in the shares of RIL which has fallen to Rs.1995.50 on 30th December 2020, which is 16% from its all-time high of Rs 2369.35.

Top 3 in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index:

Rank

Personality

Net worth

1

Jeff Bezos

190 Billion USD

2

Elon R Musk

170 Billion USD

3

Bill Gates

132 Billion USD

Asia’s Richest person:

• Zhong Shanshan, referred to as “Lone Wolf”, has replaced Ambani as Asia’s richest person, he is one of the fastest in the history to achieve the feat.

• Zhong Shanshan is Chinese billionaire whose net worth is 78.2 billion USD, which is attributed to the listing of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprises Co and Nongu Spring Co, a bottled water firm.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Amit Shah releases ‘National Police K-9 Journal’

• Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday released the inaugural issue of “National Police K-9 Journal.”

• The publication of the Police K9 Journal is another step in creating an ecosystem in the country to train and learn on augmenting this vital resource. The journal comprises different sections in Hindi and English, the Home Ministry said in a release.

• “This is a unique initiative which will further enrich the subjects related to Police Service Canine (K-9) (PSK) teams in the country,” Amit Shah said while inaugurating the book.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI introduces the RBI-Digital Payments Index

• Reserve Bank of India has launched a Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitization of digital/electronic payments across the country. This RBI-Digital Payments Index (DPI) has 5 broad parameters that will be used for the measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments.

These parameters and their weightage are as under:

1. Payment Enablers (weight 25%),

2. Payment Infrastructure – Demand-side factors (10%),

3. Payment Infrastructure – Supply-side factors (15%),

4. Payment Performance (45%) and

5. Consumer Centricity (5%).

• The base period for RBI-DPI is March 2018. This means that the DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100. RBI has calculated the DPI for March 2019 and March 2020 at 153.47 and 207.84 respectively, indicating appreciable growth. RBI-DPI shall be published on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 1st January 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Amazon acquires podcast network Wondery

• Amazon recently announced that it’s acquiring Wondery, one of the last major independent podcast networks that having podcasts including “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” “Business Wars,” and “The Shrink Next Door.”

• The acquisition is a neat one because it sets Amazon up to better compete against Spotify, making a series of acquisitions, including podcast network Gimlet. With this acquisition, Wondery will become part of Amazon Music, which launched podcast support in September this year. “Amazon Music launched podcasts in September 2020, and together with Wondery, we hope to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe, just as we do with music.

NATIONAL

Cabinet nod to transport hub at Greater Noida

• The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the construction of a multi-modal logistics and transport hub in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida at an estimated cost of Rs3,883.80 crore.

• “The multi-modal logistics hub project will be developed as a world-class facility that will provide efficient storage/transitioning of goods to/from the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) and offer a one-stop destination to freight companies and customers,” an official statement said. It will provide standard container handling activities and value-added services to reduce logistics costs with improved efficiency of operations, the statement added.

Railways launch upgraded IRCTC website

• Union railways minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday launched the revamped version of the e-ticketing website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

• The new website claims to have complete user personalization linked to the user login, such as the booking of meals, retiring rooms and hotels too have been integrated and can be directly booked along with the tickets.

Government Extends Deadline For FASTag Till February 15, 2021

• The Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MoRTH) has extended the deadline for the collection of toll charges on the National Highways using FASTag. The deadline was originally until January 1, 2021 which has now been extended to February 15, 2021.

• Under the original deadline, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was slated to completely switch over to FASTag payment at toll plazas from January 1 onwards, which meant FASTags needed to be retrofitted on all four-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

India’s 1st Testbed TiHAN launched at IIT Hyderabad

• Union Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has virtually laid the foundation stone of “TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad”, India’s first Testbed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial) at IIT Hyderabad. The Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Systems (TiHAN) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles at IIT Hyderabad.

• The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has sanctioned Rs. 135 crores to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems.

• Two acres of land has already been allocated in the IIT Hyderabad campus and the facilities are planned in phases.

• All Smart poles are enabled with communication providing technology with some Poles designed with sprinklers to simulate rain scenarios. The developed testbed will be available for use by all the industries, R&D labs, academia conducting research and development in the broad areas of autonomous navigation.

India’s first pollinator park opens in Uttarakhand

• The country’s first pollinator park with over 40 species of butterflies, honeybees, birds and insects has been developed over four acres at Haldwani, Uttarakhand. The objective behind developing the park is to conserve various pollinator species, create awareness among people in general about the importance of conservation of these species and to promote further research on various aspects of pollination, including a threat to habitat and impact of pollution on pollinators.

• There are at present 40 species of pollinators at the park, including common jezebel, common emigrant, red pierrot, common sailor, plain tiger, the common leopard, the common moron, common grass yellow, common blue bottle, common four-ring, peacock pansy, the painted lady, pioneer white, yellow-orange tip and lime butterfly.

• Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species. Without them, existing populations of plants would decline, even if soil, air, nutrients, and other life-sustaining elements were available.

• The importance of pollinators was recognised long back in the west and to conserve pollinators, parks, gardens, strips and pathways were created on a large scale in countries like the USA.

SPORTS

Lewis Hamilton knighted in UK honours list

• Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in Britain's traditional New Year Honours list after equalling Michael Schumacher's record of seven Formula One world titles.

• The list recognises outstanding achievements in various fields including showbusiness, sport and politics, as well as the contributions of a larger number of everyday citizens.

• There are many awards this year for those seeking solutions to the problems posed by coronavirus as the pandemic drags on.

• Hamilton, 35, surpassed Schumacher's record number of career race wins during a stellar season in 2020 that was shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Navy, DRDO conduct maiden trial of air dropped container ‘SAHAYAK-NG’

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with the Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of ‘SAHAYAK-NG’ India’s first indigenously designed and developed Air Dropped Container from IL 38SD aircraft (Indian Navy) off the coast of Goa. The trial was conducted by the Indian Navy to enhance its operational logistics capabilities and provide critical engineering stores to ships that are deployed more than 2000 kilometres from the coast.

• SAHAYAK-NG is an advanced version of SAHAYAK Mk I.

• The newly developed GPS aided air dropped container is having the capability to carry a payload that weighs up to 50 kilograms and can be dropped from heavy aircraft.

• Two DRDO laboratories, Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, Visakhapatnam and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment, Agra were involved in the development of the SAHAYAK-NG container along with the industry partner M/s Avantel for GPS integration.

OBITUARY

Veteran broadcaster Indira Joseph Venniyoor passes away

• Veteran broadcaster, Indira Joseph Venniyoor passed away. She was a renowned broadcaster, All India Radio veteran & first English news announcer of Travancore Radio when its English service began in 1949.

• She was the wife of well-known literary scholar & art critic the late E.M.J. Venniyoor.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Indian Army Chief MM Naravane receives Guard of Honour at ROK Army Headquarters

• Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane has received a Guard of Honour at Republic of Korea Army Headquarters at Gyeryong.

• He called on General Nam Yeong shin, Chief of Staff of Korean Army and discussed issues of bilateral defence cooperation. The Army chief visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near the border with North Korea. General Naravane visited the 30th Armoured Brigade and DMZ. During his three day visit, he met senior military and civilian leadership of the Republic of Korea and discussed avenues for enhancing defence relations between the two countries.

Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice 2020

• Harmony Foundation hosted the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice. The Awards in its 16th year is the only award endorsed by Sister Prema, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, the organization started by Mother Teresa. The theme for this year’s awards was, ‘Celebrating Compassion In Times Of C-19 ‘.

• Dr Anthony Fauci (USA) is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA. He and his task force were among the first ones to realize the seriousness of this pandemic.

• Father Fabio Stevenazzi (Milan, Italy), decided to return to medical practice in order to help those infected with C-19 has thrust him to be the modern-day example of St Charles Borromeo who in 1576 during the Great Plague that hit the city of Milan and cut the population by half, stayed behind to nurse the sick and renovate hospitals.

• Dr Pradeep Kumar (Chennai) took it upon himself to give a befitting burial to his colleague with the help of two ward boys, at a cemetery in the city in the middle of the night.

• IPS Sanjay Pandey (DG Home Guards, Maharashtra) went beyond the call of duty as a police officer to open the first relief camp in the Mumbai city suburbs for migrant workers whose livelihood were disrupted by the lockdown to contain the pandemic.

• Vikas Khanna (Manhattan, USA) heart still moves to serve the lonely and underprivileged here in India.

• KK Shailaja (Minister of Health, Kerala), her extraordinary efforts and pro-activeness in dealing with the pandemic by following experts and scientific advice helped countless Keralites survive the terrors of this pandemic, serving as an example for governments of other states countries to follow.

Pt Satish Vyas conferred Tansen Samman at the World Music Festival

• In Madhya Pradesh, 96th Tansen Music Festival began in Gwalior with strict C-19 guidelines in place. In the inaugural ceremony renowned santoor player, Pandit Satish Vyas was conferred upon the prestigious Tansen Samman.

• Bhopal-based institution Abhinav Kala Parishad was honoured with Raja Mansingh Tomar award. The festival pays tribute to Tansen, one of 9 gems in Akbar’s court.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 30th December 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Mumbai airport introduces express C-19 testing facility, gives results in 13 minutes

• The city's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) on Tuesday said it has introduced a new 24X7 C-19 testing facility, which gives test results in flat 13 minutes at a cost of ₹ 4,500.

• Since its launch on December 15, CSMIA has witnessed an average of 30-35 such tests per day, CSMIA said in a release.

• A total of 400 express tests have been carried out at the airport till December 28, which include passengers who had connecting flights to destinations outside Maharashtra.

Harsh Vardhan launches India’s 1st indigenous pneumonia vaccine ‘Pneumosil’

• The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched India’s first indigenously developed vaccine against pneumonia. The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) named ‘Pneumosil’ has been developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH, an international, nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle.

• The vaccine will provide protection against 10 variants of pneumococcus bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis, ear, and blood infections in children. Pneumococcal disease is the largest contributor to under-five mortality rate worldwide.

INCOIS launches “Digital Ocean” app for information sharing

• The Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan virtually inaugurated the web-based application “Digital Ocean”. It has been developed by Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) an autonomous organization under M/o Earth sciences. Digital Ocean is a first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management.

• Digital Ocean is a step towards Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India, to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

• Digital Ocean will serve as a one-stop-solution for all the data related to the ocean.

• It will help to share this knowledge about the ocean with a wide range of users including research institutions, operational agencies, strategic users, the academic community, maritime industry and policymakers, as well as general public and the common man that too free of cost.

PM Modi flagged off India’s first driverless train on Delhi Metro

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the country’s first-ever fully-automated driverless train service on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. Apart from this, PM also launched fully operational National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) on the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, to connect DMRC with the NCMC service.

• NCMC, also known as ‘One Nation One Card’, is an inter-operable transport card that allows the holders all in one service to pay for their travel, toll taxes, parking charges, retail shopping and even withdraw money.

SPORTS

BWF bans Russian badminton player Nikita Khakimov for 5 years

• The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has imposed a 5-year ban on Russian shuttler Nikita Khakimov for charges of “betting, wagering and irregular match results. Khakimov was part of the Russian men’s team that won the bronze medal at the 2020 European Team Championships.

• The 32-year-old Khakimov was found to breach BWF’s integrity regulations, including approaching a player and offering money to manipulate a match, betting on badminton games and deliberately destroying evidence of a corruption offence to conceal from the BWF.

Anshu Malik wins silver at Individual Wrestling World Cup in Serbia

• Indian wrestler, Anshu Malik has become the first wrestler of the country to finish on the podium position at the Individual Wrestling World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

• The 19-year-old won a silver medal in the women’s 57kg category to claim first international medal of the tournament for the country. She lost to Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita 5-1 in the final.

OBITUARY

French fashion designer Pierre Cardin passes away

• French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, hailed for his visionary creations but also for bringing stylish clothes to the masses, died Tuesday aged 98.

• Cardin, who was born to a low-income family in northern Italy but became a France-based fashion superstar, died in a hospital in Neuilly in the west of Paris.

• Born into poverty in 1922 near Venice in northern Italy, his family emigrated to France when he was a small child.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Kerala’s Arya Rajendran becomes India’s youngest mayor from Thiruvananthapuram

• The 21-year-old college student, Arya Rajendran has been elected the new mayor of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, of Kerala. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, Arya is the youngest person in India to occupy the post of mayor anywhere in the country.

• Arya won 54 votes out of 99 votes cast in the civic body polls in Kerala. She is also the state president of Balasangam, the children’s wing of the CPI(M). Arya is a second-year student of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Mathematics at the All Saints College.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Tata Sons to buy 32.67% stake in AirAsia India for $37.66 million

• In a move that is being pegged as the first step in consolidation of Tata Group’s aviation portfolio, Tata Sons will purchase 32.67 per cent stake in AirAsia India from Malaysian AirAsia Group Bhd, taking its holding in the joint-venture airline up to 83.67 per cent. In a filing to the Malaysian stock exchanges, the AirAsia Group said that the deal, which is worth $37.66 million, will see its share in the Indian budget airline go down to 16.33 per cent.

• As of date, AirAsia held a 49 per cent stake in AirAsia India, while Tata Sons held 51 per cent. In addition to this, Tata Sons also owns 51 per cent stake in full-service airline Vistara, the rest of which it is owned by Singapore Airlines.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

AU Small Finance, ICICI Pru Life tie up to offer life insurance solutions

• AU Small Finance Bank has announced a strategic partnership with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to offer life insurance solutions. The tie-up aims to deliver “paperless, secure, and hassle-free life insurance”.

• Through the corporate agency arrangement, over 18 lakh customers of AU Bank across over 700 banking touchpoints in 13 states and 2 Union territories, will have easy access to the entire suite of customer-centric protection and long-term savings products of ICICI Prudential Life. AU Bank even claimed that these products will enable customers to provide financial security to themselves and their families and help them achieve their financial goals.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 28th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Myanmar commissions submarine gifted by India

• Myanmar on Saturday inducted into its navy a submarine it received from India, which of late stepped up its maritime security cooperation with its neighbours as well as other nations in the Indo-Pacific region amid growing belligerence of China.

• The INS Sindhuvir, a Kilo-class submarine of the Indian Navy, has been renamed as the UMS Minye Theinkhathu. It was commissioned by the Myanmar Navy on the occasion of its 73rd anniversary. It is the first submarine to be acquired by the Myanmar Navy.

• India handed over the INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar three years after China provided two submarines to Bangladesh in 2017.

• The INS Sindhuvir was in service of the Indian Navy since 1988. It was refitted by Hindustan Shipyard before being handed over to the Myanmar Navy earlier this year. The Indian Navy also made arrangements for the personnel of the Myanmar Navy to operate the submarine.

NATIONAL

PM Narendra Modi to flag off 100th Kisan Rail via video conference

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the 100th "Kisan Rail" from Maharashtra's Sangola to Shalimar in West Bengal via video conferencing on Monday.

• "Kisan Rail has been a game changer in ensuring fast transportation of agriculture produce across the nation. It provides a seamless supply chain of perishable produce," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

• The multi-commodity train service will carry vegetables such as cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, drumstick, chilli and onion as well as fruits like grape, orange, pomegranate, banana and custard apple, it said.

• There will be no bar on the size of consignment and Loading and unloading of perishable commodities will be permitted at all stoppages en route, the PMO said.

Jammu gets its first woman bus driver

• Pooja Devi of Kathua district has become the first woman passenger bus driver in Jammu and Kashmir. Mother of three children, Pooja Devi ferried passengers on Jammu-Kathua route for the first time on Thursday.

History of Sikh Gurus to be included in school syllabus: Yogi Adityanath

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, at a Kirtan held in his residence on Sunday, announced that the history of Sikh gurus will now be included in the school curriculum in the state to educate students about the origins of the religion.

• CM Yogi made this announcement at a Gurbani Kirtan held at his residence on the occasion of 'Sahibzada Diwas', which marks the martyrdom of four 'sahibzada' (sons) of 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and his mother Mata Gujri.

PM Modi launched Ayushman Bharat scheme for Jammu & Kashmir

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) SEHAT scheme for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, via video conferencing. Talking about the Jammu and Kashmir Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT scheme, PM Modi said that getting free treatment up to 5 lakh rupees under this scheme would improve the ease of living. About 6 lakh families of the state are getting the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Scheme. All 21 lakh families will now get the same benefits after the SEHAT scheme, PM Modi said.

• The prime minister further said that another benefit of this scheme would be that treatment is not limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only. Rather, treatment can be availed from thousands of hospitals empanelled under this scheme in the country.

Kovind Inaugurates, Lays Foundation Stone Of Developmental Projects In Diu

• Daman and Diu/Dadra and Nagar Haveli, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated and laid foundation stones for several projects on Saturday, according to the President's Secretariat.

• These included the inauguration of -- first academic session of IIIT Vadodara-International Campus Diu; and Kamleshwar School, Ghoghla; laying of the foundation stone for -- the construction of a school at Saudwadi; improvement of 1.3 kilometers heritage walk-way on Diu City Wall; conservation and facade restoration of heritage precincts (Zampa and market precinct); up-gradation of fruits and vegetable market at Fort Road; and development of integrated municipal solid waste management system for entire urban and rural areas of Diu.

SPORTS

International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Test, ODI and T20I teams of the decade

• The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Test, ODI and T20I teams of the decade on Sunday and cricket fans in India were thrilled. Legendary MS Dhoni, who retired on August 15, has been named as the captain of ODI and T20I teams. whereas Virat Kohli has been declared the captain of the Test team which includes the likes of former stalwart skippers Kumar Sangakkara and Alastair Cook.

• For India, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been named in the Test XI of the decade, men's ODI team of the decade included Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli apart from the side's captain Dhoni. Men's T20I team of the decade has four Indians - Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Jasprit Bumrah.

• However, on the flip side no cricketer from Pakistan got a place in any of the XI's. There were representations from Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in at least one of the three teams.

OBITUARY

Former WWE Wrestler Luke Harper Passes Away

• Professional Wrestler Jon Huber, popularly known as Luke Harper in the WWE, and Brodie Lee in the AEW has died aged 41 of non-C-19 related lung issue, an AEW official statement on social media said on Sunday.

• The professional wrestler from Rochester, New York started his career back in 2003, made his name in the independent wrestling scene, wrestling for promotions like Dragon Gate and Combat Zone Wrestling. In 2012 he won his first WWE contract, where he made a big splash in NXT and then in the WWE main roster as Luke Harper part of the ultra-popular Wyatt Family.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 26th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

DFC to invest USD 54 million in India to support critical infrastructure projects

• The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced to invest $54 million in India to support the development of critical infrastructure projects in the country in the wake of the C-19 pandemic. The DFC will invest this $54 million in equity for the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in India.

• NIIF will use this capital to support economic growth and address critical development challenges in the country. This financing is part of NIIF’s final round of fund-raising for the fund.

• DFC is the development finance institution of the United States federal government, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries.

NATIONAL

Niti Aayog launches Cloud Storage Service ‘DigiBoxx’

• NITI Aayog has launched indigenously developed India’s first Digital Asset Management and Storage platform, called ‘DigiBoxx’. The initiative will give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, as India now has its own cloud storage platform.

• This cloud storage and file sharing service will be available for desktop, iOS, and Android users, including both regular users as well as businesses. Digiboxx offers free 20GB cloud storage space, and 100GB space per month at just Rs 30.

SPORTS

India’s largest hockey stadium to be set up in Odisha

• Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has announced that India’s biggest hockey stadium is being set up in Rourkela city of Odisha. The stadium will be constructed in the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus, Rourkela.

• It will have a sitting capacity of 20,000 people, spread over 15 acres of land.

• The stadium will be developed as a benchmark for other hockey stadiums around the world.

• It must be noted that Odisha will be hosting FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup for a second consecutive time, in 2034, at two venues, Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Good Governance Day: 25 December

• In India, Good Governance Day (Sushasan Divas) is observed annually on 25th December. In this day nation celebrates the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna and former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honour Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in government. In keeping with this principle, the Good Governance Day has been declared to be a working day for the government.

• Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India for three times. His first term was for only 13 days in 1996. He served his second term for a period of thirteen months from March 1998 to April 1999 and then a full term from 1999 to 2004. His first entry into parliament was in 1962 through the Rajya Sabha. He was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times. In 2015, Mr Vajpayee was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI cancels the Licence of the Subhadra Local Area Bank, Maharashtra

• The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the banking licence issued to Subhadra Local Area Bank Ltd., Kolhapur, Maharashtra to carry on banking business in India. The Reserve Bank cancelled the licence of the Subhadra Local Area Bank Ltd as it had breached the minimum net worth requirement for two quarters in the financial year 2019-20.

• The affairs of the Subhadra Local Area Bank Ltd. were conducted in a manner detrimental to the interests of its present and future depositors. After this, there are only two Local Area Banks operational in India, i,e.– Coastal Local Area Bank Ltd and Krishna Bhima Samruddhi LAB Ltd.

HDFC Bank ranks top among 100 BFSI Firms in India

• HDFC Bank is the top-ranked company among the 100 Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) companies in the country, as per the BFSI Movers and Shakers 2020 report by Wizikey. HDFC Bank has topped because of its customer service, monetary management, and innovative offerings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

• ICICI Bank and State Bank of India (SBI) are ranked second and third, respectively. Other top 10 banks in 2020 Wizikey’s BFSI Movers and Shakers report are Yes Bank, PNB, HSBC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bank of Baroda, Deutsche Bank, and IDBI.

• Wallet and UPI segment: Google Pay.

• Neo Banks segment: YONO.

• Payments bank category: Airtel Payments Bank.

Ind-Ra revises India’s GDP contraction to 7.8% for FY21

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised India’s GDP estimate for the current financial year 2020-21 (FY21) to -7.8 per cent from -11.8 per cent estimated earlier.

• This lower contraction rate is mainly due to the easing of C-19 curbs and better-than-expected recovery in the second quarter. Ind-Ra has also estimated the GDP to grow by 9.6% in 2021-22 (FY22).

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 25th December 2020

NATIONAL

Karnataka unveils “FRUITS” portal for farmers

• Karnataka government has unveiled the Farmer Registration and Unified beneficiary Information System (FRUITS), an e-governance portal, to create a repository of farmland information and farm loan details on a single platform. All farmers will be registered and given an identification number on the portal.

• The FRUITS Portal is integrated into the BHOOMI Package of the Karnataka State for fetching and validating the land details. One other important facility of this Portal is online creation of charge by which visit of farmers to Sub-Registrar Office is avoided.

Canara Bank has agreed to run FRUITS on a pilot basis.

• Canara Bank observed that Karnataka State Government has always been in the forefront of technology initiatives to improve the ease of Banking as can be seen from the various initiatives like BHOOMI Package, Debt Waiver Portal and currently, the FRUITS Portal.

• Using this number, banks and other lending institutions can access the land details of farmers as well as details of their existing borrowings and take a quick decision on lending.

Cabinet approves 100% FDI in DTH services

• The Union Cabinet approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services, allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as increasing the licence period to 20 years. Due to our I&B guidelines, this field was not getting the benefit of 100 per cent FDI. After changing the guidelines, the guidelines will have the same guidelines as the Commerce Ministry and will come under 100 per cent FDI.

• Under the revised guidelines the licenses will be issued for a period of 20 years, compared to 10 years at the moment, and will be renewed for a 10-year period. The license fee has been revised from 10 per cent of gross revenue (GR) to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), which will be calculated by deduction of GST from GR.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Cabinet approves the merger of four Govt film media units

• The Cabinet approved the merger of four government-run film and media units — the Films Division, the Directorate of Film Festivals, the National Film Archives of India and the autonomous body Children’s Film Society, with the National Film Development Corporation.

• The merger of Film Media Units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities and resources and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit. This will lead to a reduction in duplication of activities and direct savings to the exchequer.

• The Films Division, which was established in 1948 and is the oldest of the four units, was created primarily to produce documentaries and news magazines as publicity for government programmes and to keep a cinematic record of Indian history.

• The National Film Archives of India was established in 1964 with the primary objective of acquiring and preserving Indian cinematic heritage.

• The Directorate of Film Festivals was set up in 1973 to promote Indian films and cultural exchange.

• The Children’s Film Society, which was founded in 1955 with the specific objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

NTPC wins the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020

• Country’s largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has been conferred “Excellence” in the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020 in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Domain. NTPC has been honoured in the Corporate Excellence Category, Commendation for Significant Achievement.

• This is the highest award conferred by CII-ITC in CSR domain. NTPC is the only PSU to receive the award in the Corporate Excellence category. NTPC wins the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards in Corporate Excellence category second time in a row i.e. in the year 2019 and 2020.

Srinagar’s Amar Singh College recognised with UNESCO Award

• Srinagar based Amar Singh College has been recognized with the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The restoration of the Amar Singh College brought back one of the most prominent institutional buildings in Kashmir to its former glory.

• The college building is 80 years old and INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) chapter in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had carried out the conservation work at the Amar Singh College.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay-NIF book prize announced

• The winners of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation Book Prize 2020 for the best non-fiction book on contemporary/ modern India were announced. The Prize was given jointly to Amit Ahuja for his Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) and to former Union minister Jairam Ramesh for his A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon (Penguin Random House), a biography of politician and diplomat VK Krishna Menon.

• The award carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh, that will be shared by the two authors.

VP Venkaiah Naidu virtually released the book ‘Oh Mizoram’

• VP Venkaiah Naidu virtually released the book ‘Oh Mizoram’, written by Governor of Mizoram, Shri P S Sreedharan Pillai. Pillai is a lawyer, an orator, a prolific writer, a philanthropist, and a thinker.

• He has written 125 books in Malayalam & English. Oh, Mizoram is his first poetry collection in English.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

PayU ties up with Google Pay to introduce tokenised payments

• PayU with Google Pay has introduced tokenised payments flow for Indian merchants. With the digital token linked to the phone and card information tokenised, Google Pay users can make repeat payments seamlessly and securely. Through the option of one-click payment, one doesn’t need to re-enter the payment data, as the OTP is read automatically and the payment is processed instantaneously.

• Tokenised payments offer a highly convenient, safe, and friction-free payment experience, and we are excited to partner with Google Pay to make this available for our merchants. It will help them build lasting trust and loyalty with customers, reduce risks of cart abandonment and payment failures, and scale up their businesses.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 22nd December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

20th IORA Council of Ministers Meeting Held in UAE

• The 20th edition of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting via video conferencing under the Chairmanship of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The theme of the meeting was “Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean”. The Indian delegation was led by V. Muraleedharan, MoS, Ministry of External Affairs. Sri Lanka has assumed the charge of Vice-Chair of IORA for the period 2021-23.

• The COM-20 was inaugurated by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE.

• The UAE assumed the position of the IORA Chair in November 2019 during the 19th COM, for the period 2019-2021.

• All 22 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners participated in the virtual meeting to discuss ways in coordinating efforts to achieve IORA’s vision for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indian Ocean region as outlined in the Jakarta Concord and IORA Action Plan.

• During the 2020 COM, France was inducted as the 23rd member state of IORA.

Singapore’s 'Hawker' Culture gets UNESCO recognition

• The Hawker Culture of street food in Singapore has been inducted by UNESCO in its prestigious ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. The Hawker Culture is a popular Singaporean style of street dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban environment.

• Hawker centres are naturally-ventilated premises with stalls selling food from various cultures like Chinese, Malay, Indian, among others. The Hawkers of Singapore are known to master a variety of cuisines which they serve at the ‘community dining rooms’ where people from across all walks of life gather and share their unique experiences.

NATIONAL

Rajnath Singh inaugurates advanced “HWT” test facility in Hyderabad

• Union Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the advanced Hypersonic Wind Tunnel (HWT) test facility of the DRDO in Hyderabad, Telangana. The state-of-the-art HWT Test facility has made India as the only third country in the world, after the US and Russia, to have such a huge facility in size and capability.

• The indigenously developed HWT Test facility is a pressure vacuum-driven enclosed free jet facility having a nozzle exit diameter of 1 metre. This will simulate Mach No 5 to 12 (Mach represents the multiplication factor to the speed of sound)”.

• The facility has the capability to simulate hypersonic flow over a wide spectrum and will play a major role in the realization of highly complex futuristic aerospace and defence systems.

Rajnath Singh hands over high-tech systems to chiefs of 3 armed forces

• The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh recently handed over three indigenously developed high technology systems to chiefs of the three armed forces: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. The three systems namely, Border Surveillance System (BOSS), Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System (IMSAS) and ASTRA Mk-I Missile, have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

1. Border Surveillance System (BOSS)

• BOSS is an all-weather electronic surveillance system. It was handed over to Army Chief General M M Naravane.

• BOSS has already been deployed in Ladakh against the Chinese troops for day and night surveillance.

• It has been designed and developed by Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun and is being produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Machlipatnam.

• The system facilitates monitoring and surveillance by automatically detecting the intrusions in harsh high-altitude sub-zero temperature areas with remote operation capability.

2. Indian maritime situational awareness system (IMSAS)

• It was handed to Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.

• The IMSAS is a state-of-the-art high-performance intelligent software system that provides Global Maritime Situational Picture, Marine planning tools and Analytical capabilities to Indian Navy.

• The product is jointly conceptualised and developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), Bengaluru and Indian Navy, while it is being produced by BEL, Bengaluru.

3. Astra Mk-1 missile system

• It was handed over to Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria.

• This missile is the first indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) missile that can be launched from Sukhoi-30, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Mig-29 and Mig-29K.

• ASTRA weapon system has been developed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and production by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) Hyderabad.

S. Jaishankar addresses 5th Annual Global Technology Summit

• The 5th edition of the annual Global Technology Summit (GTS) was organised virtually by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India in collaboration with Carnegie India (CI). GTS is one of the four flagship annual conferences organised by MEA. The other three conferences are the Raisina Dialogue, the Geo-economic dialogue, and the Indian Ocean Conference.

• The theme of the 2020 GTS was “The Geopolitics of Technology”. The speakers from included the External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar, and Dr K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

"Varasat" campaign launched in Uttar Pradesh

• The Uttar Pradesh government has launched a special campaign ‘Varasat’ (natural succession) to curb property & land-related disputes in rural areas. This is a first of its kind campaign in the state which aims to put an end the land-related issues in the rural areas and eradicate the exploitation of the villagers over succession rights by land mafias, who generally target disputed properties. The two-month-long special drive will continue till 15th February 2020.

• Under the arrangements, the villagers will get both online and offline facilities for registering their ‘Varasat’.

• For the people who have landed in the village but they are living at some other place, a special counter will be opened at the Tehsil-level where they can apply for the same.

India’s 1st CoE for Skill Development in Power Sector inaugurated in Gurugram

• The Minister of State for Skill Development, Raj Kumar Singh has inaugurated the first Centre of Excellence (CoE) for ‘skill development in the power sector’ in Gurugram. The CoE has been established in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurugram, Haryana.

• This new centre has been set up by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education and Youth, Government of France and Schneider Electric.

• It has high-end modern labs designed keeping in mind the future technology, which will further strengthen India and France’s relationship in the energy sector.

• The centre will design and deliver Training for Trainers, Instructors, Training of Assessors and other high-end programmes in the power and solar sector.

SPORTS

Sports Ministry permits 4 indigenous sports in Khelo India Youth Games 2021

• The Sports Ministry has approved the inclusion of four indigenous Games to be a part of Khelo India Youth Games 2021, which is scheduled to be held in Haryana.

• The four new games are, Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba. The four selected games represent different parts of the country and will get national recognition with the help of the Khelo India Youth Games 2021.

Indian Boxers bag 3 Gold at Cologne Boxing World Cup

• Indian boxers have bagged 9 medals including three gold, two silver and four bronze at the Cologne Boxing World Cup 2020, held in Cologne, Germany. India finished 2nd in the overall Medals List, Germany topped the list with 16 medals. The Cologne Boxing World 2020 was hosted by the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC).

• Gold: The three gold medals for India were bagged by Amit Panghal (52kg), Manisha Moun (57kg) and Simranjit Kaur (60kg) in their respective categories.

• Silver: Silver medals were claimed by Sakshi Choudhary (57kg) and Satish Kumar (91kg).

• Bronze: Sonia Lather (57kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) Gaurav Solanki (57kg) and Mohamed Hussamudin (57kg) claimed the bronze medal in their respective categories.

OBITUARY

Senior-most Congress veteran Motilal Vora passes away

• Veteran Congress leader, Motilal Vora has passed away following post-C-19 complications. He was born at Jodhpur in Rajasthan and began his career as a journalist. The late Congress leader served as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh twice, once from 1985 to 1988 and then again in 1989 for 11 months.

• He also held the office of Governor of Uttar Pradesh between 1993 and 1996. He had served as a Rajya Sabha member four times and as a Lok Sabha member once from Chhattisgarh.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Mathematics Day observed on 22 December

• India observes the National Mathematics Day every year on 22 December since 2012. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. This year nation celebrates his 133rd birth anniversary of Ramanujan.

• Ramanujan had a wealth of ideas that have transformed and reshaped 20th-century mathematics. These ideas continue to shape mathematics of the 21st century. The main objective behind the celebration of National Mathematics Day is to make people aware of the development of mathematics and its importance in the growth of humanity.

• The day was announced on 26 February 2012 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 Dec 1887- 26 Apr 1920). 2012 was also observed as National Mathematics Year.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 15th December 2020

NATIONAL

9th Sustainable Mountain Development Summit held in Dehradun

• The 9th edition of Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) held in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The four-day-long summit was organised by Indian Mountain Initiative (IMI) and hosted by Sustainable Development Forum Uttaranchal (SDFU), Dehradun.

• The theme for 2020 SMDS was ‘Emerging Pathways for Building a Resilient Post COVID-19 Mountain Economy, Adaptation, Innovation and Acceleration’.

• The Summit deliberated on issues such as migration, water security, climate resilience and innovative solutions for the farm sector, and disaster risk reduction in the Indian Himalayas.

• The focus of the summit was on building pathways toward a resilient and sustainable mountain economy in the context of a post-C-19 scenario and Climate Change.

Ola to set up world’s largest scooter factory in Tamil Nadu

• The SoftBank-backed mobility platform, Ola has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government, to set up its first factory in the state, at an investment of Rs 2,400 crore. Upon completion, the Ola factory in Tamil Nadu will be the largest scooter manufacturing facility in the world. Initially, the factory will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 2 million units.

• The factory is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of an AtmaNirbhar Bharat and will make India a manufacturing hub for two-wheeled electric vehicles. The new factory will also reduce the dependence of India on import of electric vehicles, boost local manufacturing, create jobs and also improve the technical expertise in the country.

SPORTS

Odisha to host 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup

• The International Hockey Federation (FIH) had announced that the 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup will be hosted in Odisha, for a second consecutive time. The tournament will be held at two venues, Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 was also hosted by Odisha.

• The 2023 tournament will be 15th edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup. It will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and at the Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium in Rourkela. FIH Hockey World Cup is held after every four years.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ISRO to launch communication satellite CMS-01

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch a communication satellite CMS-01, formerly named GSAT-12R, on December 17, using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket’s XL variant numbered as PSLV-C50. The CMS-01 will be a replacement for GSAT-12 that weighed 1,410 kg and was launched on July 11, 2011, with a mission life of eight years.

• CMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum, which will include the Indian mainland, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. The 42nd communication satellite of India, it will have a mission life of seven years.

• The 44-metre-high four staged/engine PSLV-C50 is the 22nd flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with six strap-on motors hugging the first stage).

• The PSLV in the normal configuration is a four-stage/engine expendable rocket powered by solid and liquid fuels alternatively with six booster motors strapped on to the first stage to give higher thrust during the initial flight moments.

• The Indian space agency has PSLV variants with two and four strap-on motors, larger PSLV-XL and the Core Alone variant without any strap-on motors. The choice of the rocket to be used for a mission depends on the weight of the satellite and the orbit where the satellite has to be orbited.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India and Austria inks MoU on Technology Cooperation

• The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of the Republic of Austria on Technology Cooperation in the Road Infrastructure Sector. The MoU will further strengthen ties, promote long-standing bilateral relations and enhance trade and regional integration between the two countries.

• The MoU aims to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of road transportation, road/highways infrastructure development, management and administration, road safety and intelligent transport systems between both countries.

• The Indo-Austria bilateral cooperation in the road transport sector would be beneficial both from the perspective of enhanced road safety as well as attractive financing possibilities for the sector, thus fostering and intensifying the already good relations between the two countries, through this MoU in the transport sector.

India and Uzbekistan inks 9 Agreements to strengthen strategic partnership

• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev co-chaired the virtual Summit held between the two countries, to strengthen strategic partnership among them. The Government of India also approved a US $448 million Line of Credit for four developmental projects in Uzbekistan in the fields of road construction, sewerage treatment and information technology.

• India and Uzbekistan signed nine Agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in various areas including in the field of:

1. Solar Energy

2. Digital Technologies

3. High Impact Community Development Projects

4. Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation

5. Defence and Security

6. Civil Nuclear Energy

7. Connectivity

8. Culture, Education and People-to-People Contacts

9. Terrorism

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

UNESCO launches Bangabandhu award on creative economy

• UNESCO has launched an international award named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman following Bangladesh’s proposal. The UN agency’s executive board unanimously adopted the proposal on UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the “Creative Economy” in its 210th session. This is the first time a UN agency launched an award named after Bangabandhu.

• The award will create the opportunity to spread Bangabandhu’s ideals across the world and inspire the global cultural activists to contribute to the field of the creative economy.

• It will also play a “special” role in branding and image-building of Bangladesh.

• The award will be given every two years with $50,000 prize money – three times in six years. The renewal of the award will be discussed later.

• The first UNESCO-Bangabandhu award is set to be given in the 41st session of the UNESCO’s general conference in November 2021. Bangladesh proposed the award in August 2019.

• The UNESCO launches awards in recognition of the contribution of leaders in several fields, such as education, culture, science and technology, with the financial help of the member states.  It had launched 22 awards named after noted individuals or organisations.

Ashraf Patel wins Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award – India 2020

• Ashraf Patel, the founder member and Board member of Pravah and ComMutiny – The Youth Collective (CYC) has been declared as the winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award – India 2020. The award was presented by the Union Minister of Women & Child Development & Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani.

• The SEOY award “recognizes entrepreneurs who implement innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions to solve India’s social problems. It is the 11th edition of the annual award, instituted by the Schwab Foundation and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation in 2010.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

CRISIL slows contraction rate for India at -7.7% in FY21

• Rating agency CRISIL has lowered the contraction rate of India’s GDP and now expects the growth rate of the Indian economy to contract 7.7% in the ongoing fiscal 2020-21, compared to the 9% forecast in September 2020, due to “faster-than-expected” recovery in the second quarter. For the fiscal 2021-22 (FY22), CRISIL expects the growth to bounce back to 10%.

RBI to set up Automated Banknote Processing Centre in Jaipur

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up an Automated Banknote Processing Centre (ABPC) in Jaipur for the receipt, storage and dispatch of currency notes. The functions of the ABPC will also include processing of banknotes received from currency chests (CCs) and bank branches and destruction of soiled banknotes in an automated manner. The volume of banknotes in circulation has increased three-fold from March 2001 to March 2019 and is expected to rise further in the years to come.

• RBI is the sole issuer of banknotes of the country and responsible for the management of currency and all its aspects.

• RBI is supplied with banknotes from four printing presses and coins from four mints.

• The new banknotes and coins are received at 19 issue offices of the bank located across the country from where these are further distributed to about 3,300 CCs operated by scheduled banks under an agency agreement with the RBI.

• The CCs act as storehouses and the currency stored there is distributed to various bank branches/ATM network for distribution to the public.

• The unfit notes withdrawn from circulation are verified through a Currency Verification and Processing System (CVPS) and destroyed by shredding.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 8th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon

• China has become the second country in the world to unfurl its national flag on the moon surface. Earlier this feat was achieved only by the USA when it planted its flag on the Moon during the Apollo mission in 1969. China achieved the historic feat when ‘Chang’e 5‘ probe of China, which was launched to collect soil and rock samples of the lunar surface, took off from the moon to return to earth after planting the national flag on 3rd December 2020.

• If the return journey concludes successfully, China becomes the only third country globally to have samples from the moon. Till date, this record is maintained only by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

SPORTS

Sergio Perez wins Sakhir Grand Prix 2020

• Sergio Perez (Mexico-Racing Point-BWT Mercedes), won the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. Esteban Ocon (Renault-France) secured the second position, followed by and Lance Stroll (Racing Point-BWT Mercedes-Canada) at third place.

• The race was the maiden edition of the Sakhir Grand Prix and sixteenth race of the 2020 Formula One World Championship. This is the first Formula One win for Perez. He is also the first Mexican Formula One driver to win a race since Pedro Rodríguez won the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix.

Sri Lanka to host Asia Cup in 2021

• Sri Lanka will host the Asia Cup in June 2021 while Pakistan has earned the rights to host the tournament in 2022. As per the original schedule, the tournament was supposed to be hosted by Pakistan in 2020, however, it got postponed due to the C-19 pandemic.

• Now the event has been moved forward to June 2021, with Sri Lanka Cricket taking the hosting rights from PCB. As compensation, PCB has got the hosting rights for the 2022 edition.

Jehan Daruvala becomes first Indian to win F2 race

• Jehan Daruvala created history, as he became the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Bahrain. This was the final race of the F2 season. The Formula 2 Championship is a second-tier single-seater racing championship.

• The 22-year-old Jehan Daruvala is currently a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and competes for Carlin Motorsport. His Japanese teammate, Yuki Tsunoda came second while Britain’s Daniel Ticktum was in a third spot. Racing legend Michael Schumacher’s son Mick Schumacher was crowned as the overall F2 champion of the season.

OBITUARY

Father of Fibre Optics Narinder Singh Kapany passes away

• Narinder Singh Kapany, also known as the father of fibre optics, passed away. The India-born American physicist was named as one of the seven “Unsung Heroes” by Fortune in their ‘Businessmen of the Century’ issue of November 1999.

• Kapany was the first to transmit images through fibre optics back in 1954 and laid the foundation for high-speed internet technology. He not only founded fibre optics but also used his own invention for the business. He founded the Optics Technology Incorporation and Kaptron Incorporation in 1960 and 1973 respectively. He studied at Agra University and then moved to Imperial College in London. He received his PhD from the University of London in 1955.

• He received ‘The Excellence 2000 Award’ from the USA Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 1998, a fellow of numerous scientific societies including the British Royal Academy of Engineering, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla named as 1 of 6 “Asians Of The Year”

• Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has been named among six “The Straits Times Asians of the Year” for 2020, by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times, for their work in fighting the C-19 pandemic.

• SII has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop C-19 vaccine, ‘C-19 shield’, and is conducting trials in India.

The other five Asians of the Year includes:

• Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen

• China’s Major-General Chen Wei,

• Japan’s Dr Ryuichi Morishita

• Singapore’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong

• South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin

• The Straits Times has collectively referred these 6 winners as “the virus busters”, because they are heroes of a kind, having devoted themselves to the pressing cause of resolving the C-19 pandemic, each in their own capacity.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ICICI Bank Launches iMobile Pay to offer Payments

• The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a new version of its mobile payment app called iMobile Pay, to offer payment and banking services to customers of any bank. The latest version of the app is interoperable and will now allow payments and other banking services to even those customers who do not hold an ICICI Bank account.

• Using the app, the customers of other banks can link their bank account, generate a UPI ID and start paying, shopping, transfer funds to any bank account or to any other payment apps or digital wallets; or bill payments and online recharges, among others.

• It also offers instant banking services such as savings account, investments, loans, credit cards, gift cards, and travel cards, among others.

Kotak AMC launches REIT Funds of Funds scheme

• Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company (Kotak Mutual Fund), has launched Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds, India’s first diversified REIT Mutual Fund. REIT stands for Real Estate Investment Trust.

• Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds is an open-ended mutual fund scheme that will invest in units of SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund.

• This mutual fund scheme will have a diversified investment portfolio comprising of listed REITs which will invest in real estate projects like residential, office, data centres, warehousing, retail and hospitality.

• The Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds will invest in units of Japan-based SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund.

• The SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund is one of the largest Asia Pacific (Ex Japan) REIT funds investing in listed REITs in the Asia Pacific region.

• It is managed by Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company, which has a significant portfolio of listed Real Estate Investment Trusts in Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

PNB launches loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a tech-based loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’, to speed up and maintain accuracy in online loan processing and sanctioning of credit proposals. It is envisaged to be implemented in a phased manner for all kinds of loans. Under the Mudra scheme, the processing and sanction of credit proposals up to Rs 10 lakh including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSME) loans (fresh, renewal, enhancement and review) will be done by LenS.

• To standardise the system, process and assess formats for credit processing

• To auto-generate the loan documents for each type of credit facilities

• To reduce delay, cost and human errors involved in manual processing, digital record maintenance, security & data privacy.

• Ready to use monitoring and MIS reports for better tracking and transparency.

ADB approves $190 million loan to upgrade power distribution in Bengaluru

• The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $190 million (approx Rs 1,400 crore) to modernize and upgrade the power distribution system in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The financial-assistance by ADB will be used for the Bengaluru Smart Energy Efficient Power Distribution Project.

• The $190 million loan includes a $100 million sovereign loan and a $90 million non-sovereign guarantee loan to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM). BESCOM is one of five state-owned distribution utilities and the largest in Karnataka. This combination of sovereign and non-sovereign loans is being deployed by ADB in India on a pilot basis for the first time.

RTGS system to be available on 24×7 basis from December 14

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will be made available round the clock on all days of the year with effect from 00:30 hours on December 14, 2020. Presently RTGS system is available for customers between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

• RTGS shall continue to be governed by the RTGS System Regulations, 2013. RTGS shall be available for customer and inter-bank transactions round the clock, except for the interval between ‘end-of-day’ and ‘start-of-day’ processes, whose timings would be duly broadcasted through the RTGS system. Intra-Day Liquidity (IDL) facility shall be made available to facilitate smooth operations.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 25th November 2020

                                                                                                         National

43 mobile apps banned by Indian Government for users

• The Union Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has banned 43 more mobile apps for the users. The Ministry issued an order on November 24, 2020, blocking access to 43 apps under section 69A of Information Technology Act.

• Earlier in September 2020, the Government had banned 118 mobile apps and banned 59 apps in June 2020.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launches International version of UMANG to mark 3 years of App

• On November 23, 2020, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Communications and Law & Justice launched the international version of the UMANG app, to mark the occasion of 3 years of UMANG and also celebrate over 2000 services milestone.

• The international app has been launched for select countries that include USA, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

• The UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) was launched on 23 November 2017 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi.

First cow hospital of Northeast inaugurated in Assam’s Dibrugarh

• A cow shelter in Assam’s Dibrugarh inaugurated Northeast’s first-ever cow hospital, on the occasion of Gopashtami.

• The hospital, Surbhi Aarogyashala, is set up by Shree Gopal Gaushala at a cost of Rs 17 lakh.

• There are 368 cows in the shelter.The hospital will provide services in 30 km radius.

                                                                                         Banking and Economy

RBI imposes six-month ban on Manta Urban Cooperative Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has banned the Manta Urban Cooperative Bank in Jalna district of Maharashtra for six months for payment of money and loan transactions.

• The central bank has given some instructions to this bank, which will be effective for six months since the bank closed on 17 November 2020.

                                                                                          Summits and Mou’s

SBI Signs Pact With Luxembourg Stock Exchange

• State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSe).

• The MoU will help SBI and LuxSE set up a long-term cooperation mechanism, and promote ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) and green finance.

• Through this MoU, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange would work towards creating a sustainable environment for issuers, asset managers, and investors in terms of ESG focused funds and bonds.

                                                                                                          Awards

Delhi Crime bags Best Drama Series at the International Emmy Awards

• The Netflix show, Delhi Crime has won the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards 2020. Delhi Crime is the first web-series from India to win an International Emmy Award.

• The show is written and directed by Richie Mehta and features actress Shefali Shah as the main character.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve gets global award ‘TX2’ for doubling tiger population

• The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), situated in the Pilibhit district and Shahjahanpur District of Uttar Pradesh has won the first-ever international award, TX2, along with the state Forest department, for doubling the number of tigers.

• *TX2 stands for ‘Tigers times two’, signalling the goal to double wild tigers.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan Conferred with Doctor of Science honorary doctorate by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala

• The Visvesvaraya Technological University, of the Government of Karnataka, has conferred the Doctor of Science honorary doctorate upon ISRO Chairman K Sivan.

• The doctorate was presented to the ISRO Chief by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on 21 November 2020.

                                                                                 Science and Technology

India test-fires land-attack version of BrahMos missile

• India successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory at 10 am on November 24, 2020.

• The supersonic cruise missile successfully hit its target, which was on another island. The test-firing was conducted by the Indian Army.

• The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the world's fastest operational system in its class and recently DRDO has extended the range of the missile system from the existing 298 km to around 450 km.

                                                                                                    Obituary

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel passes away

• Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Ahmed Patel passed away. He was Lok Sabha MP for three terms from 1977 to 1989 and Rajya Sabha MP since 1993 representing Gujarat.

•  He also served as the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was one of the party’s top negotiators during the UPA regime.

Veteran TV actor Ashiesh Roy passes away

• Television actor Ashiesh Roy has passed away, suffering from kidney ailment during the C-19. He was 55.

• Some of his famous television shows includes Movers & Shakers, Yes Boss, Remix, Baa Bahoo Aur Baby, Chaldi Da Naam Gaddi, Burey Bhi Hum Bhale Bhi Hum, Sasural Simar Ka, Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi, Mere Angne Mein, Aarambh.

                                                                                                         Sports

Virat Kohli, R Ashwin nominated for ICC Player of the Decade Award

• India skipper Virat Kohli and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have been nominated for the ICC Player of the Decade Award.

• Other cricketers nominated for the award include England’s Joe Root, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Australia’s Steve Smith, South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.

• For the ODI Player of the Decade award, India’s MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga & Kumar Sangakkara, Australia’s Mitchell Starc and South Africa’s AB de Villiers have been nominated.

                                                                                                           Days

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

• The United Nations designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is celebrated worldwide on November 25.

• Purpose: to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to various forms of violence and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

• 2020 Theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.

Read More
Read Less