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Important Current Affairs 26th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Italy bans entry of travelers from India

•Italy has joined other countries by imposing restrictions on travel from India to avert the spread of a C-19 variant as the Asian nation struggles with a surge in infections.

•Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Twitter he had signed an order barring foreign travellers who have been in India in the past 14 days from entering the country.

•India, which is facing a health crisis, is battling a "double mutant" strain of C-19. On Sunday, the country posted the world's highest single-day increase in cases for a fourth day.

NATIONAL

19th India-French Naval Exercise “VARUNA” begins in the Arabian Sea

•The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ conducted in the Arabian Sea from 25 to 27 April 2021. During the three day exercise, the units of both the navies will undertake high tempo-naval operations at sea, which will include advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.

•The Indian Navy will participate with its guided-missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, guided-missile frigates INS Tarkash and INS Talwar, Fleet Support Ship INS Deepak, with Seaking 42B and Chetak integral helicopters, a Kalvari class submarine and P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

OBITUARY

Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar passed away at 62

•He was born in 1958 and enrolled as an advocate in 1980 and was the ninth seniormost judge of the Supreme Court.

•Supreme Court judge Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar died at a private hospital in Gurugram on Sunday.

•He was 62. He was admitted to the Medanta Hospital on developing a lung complication and was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit. There is no official confirmation whether Justice Shantanagoudar’s demise was related to C-19.

Hindustani classical singer Rajan Mishra passed away at 70

•Rajan Mishra, renowned classical singer and a Padma Bhusan awardee, passed away on April 25, 2021, at St. Stephen hospital in Delhi.

•He was 70 years old. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences, “His passing away is an irreparable loss to the art and music world.”

Former SSB chief Arun Chaudhary passed away at 66

•Former Sashastra Seema Bal chief Arun Chaudhary has succumbed to coronavirus on Sunday. He was 66.

•A 1977-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Bihar cadre, Chaudhary served for nearly two decades in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) where he headed the Jammu and Kashmir desk.

•In his early service days, he served in various positions in his cadre state and also had a stint with the Central Industrial Security Force, where he headed its airport security unit.

•In December 2012, he was appointed director general of the SSB and retired from service on April 30, 2014.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Intellectual Property Day: 26 April 2021

•World Intellectual Property Day is observed globally on April 26 every year. It was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the world”.

•Theme 2021: ‘Intellectual property and small businesses: Taking big ideas to market’.

•WIPO proclaimed, 26 April was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.

International Delegate’s Day: 25 April 2021

•International Delegate’s Day observed globally on 25 April every year. This day is observed to raise awareness of the role of the representatives and delegates of the Member States to the United Nations. International Delegate’s Day marks the anniversary of the first day of the San Francisco Conference which is also known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization.

•On 25 April 1945, delegates from 50 countries came together for the first time in San Francisco. The conference happened after the devastation of the second world war. The delegates aimed to set up an organization that would restore world peace and imposes rules on the post-war world order. On 2 April 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 25 April as International Delegate’s Day.

World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed globally on 25 April each year

•The World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed globally on 25 April each year to recognize the efforts of the people worldwide to control malaria. The Day was established in May 2007 at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO’s the decision-making body. The theme of World Malaria Day 2021 is ‘Reaching the zero malaria target’.

•World Malaria Day was developed from Africa Malaria Day which was first held in 2008. It is basically an occasion that had been observed since 2001 by African governments. They worked towards the progress goal which aimed toward controlling malaria and reduces its mortality in African countries.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Oscars 2021: Chloe Zhao becomes second woman to win best director for 'Nomadland'

•Chloé Zhao has made history at the Academy Awards. Zhao won the Oscar for best director for "Nomadland," becoming just the second woman and the first woman of color to win the award.

•Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win, for "The Hurt Locker," in 2009.

•This was the only year in Oscar history with two female nominees, Zhao and "Promising Young Woman" director Emerald Fennell. Only seven women have ever been nominated.

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Important Current Affairs 24th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google

•4chan founder Chris Poole no longer works at Google. Google hired Poole in 2016 to work on the company's doomed social media project, Google+.

•Poole lasted just five years at Google, which CNBC notes is usually just long enough for any employee's shares attached to hiring to vest. It sounds like Poole never found a solid landing spot at Google, as he had three different positions during his five years.

NATIONAL

PM Modi Participated in Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted by Joe Biden

•Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the “Leaders’ Summit on Climate”, hosted by the President of the U.S.A. Joe Biden. The two-day conference has been organised virtually, which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Paris Agreement on climate change for signature.

•The theme of the summit: Our Collective Sprint to 2030.

•A total of 40 national leaders have been invited by Biden to attend this two-day virtual climate summit.

•The Summit is being held in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that will take place in November 2021 in Glasglow.

Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 held

•The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 was held in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province. The theme of the conference – “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation”.

•The forum, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, has not only played a unique role in pooling consensus and putting forward valuable “Boao proposals,” but also engaged countries in addressing global issues and promoting world development and prosperity.

OBITUARY

Iconic composer duo of “Nadeem-Shravan” Fame Shravan Rathod Passed Away

•Veteran music composer Shravan Rathod of Nadeem-Shravan fame has passed away due to coronavirus complications. The iconic composer duo Nadeem-Shravan (Nadeem Saifi and Shravan Rathod), were among the most sought-after composers of the 90s.

•Together they composed some of the iconic hits for movies such as Aashiqui (1990), Saajan (1991), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Pardes (1997) and Raja Hindustani (1996), among others. The Nadeem-Shravan duo parted ways in the 2000s, however, they again reunited to compose for David Dhawan-directed Do Knot Disturb in 2009.

Gujarati and Hindi Film Actor Amit Mistry Passed Away

•Popular Gujarati and Hindi film actor Amit Mistry, who was last seen in the Amazon Prime Video series “Bandish Bandits”, has passed away. The actor was a prominent face in the Gujarati theatre circuit.

•He was also known for his memorable performances in Bollywood films like Kya Kehna, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, 99, Shor In The City, Yamla Pagla Deewana and A Gentleman as well as TV-like Tenali Rama, Ssshhh…Koi Hai, Maddam Sir and Shubh Mangal Savadhan, besides OTT shows.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Veterinary Day is observed on the Fourth Saturday of April every year

•The World Veterinary Day is observed on the Fourth Saturday of April every year. In 2021, the day falls on April 24, 2021.

•The theme of the 2021 World Veterinary Day is ‘Veterinarian response to the COVID-19 crisis.’ The day was created by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) in 2000 to celebrate the contributions of veterinarians to the health of animals and society.

National Panchayati Raj Day observed every year on 24 April

•Nation celebrates National Panchayati Raj Day on 24 April every year. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj organizes the National Panchayati Raj day or the National Local Self Government Day. India celebrates the first National Panchayati Raj Day or the National Local Government Day on April 2010.

•24th April 1993 marks a defining moment in the history of decentralization of power to the grassroots, with the institutionalization of Panchayati Raj, through the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 which came into force with effect from that day. Ministry of Panchayati Raj commemorates the 24th April of every year as the National Panchayati Raj Day(NPRD), as the 73rd Constitutional Amendment came into force on this date. Rajasthan was the first state that carried the Panchayati Raj System in 1959 during the times of late Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Chithra Thomas appointed HR head at Tesla India

•Tesla has appointed its new country HR leader, Chithra Thomas. With 18 years of experience in HR backing her, Thomas has moved from Reliance Retail where she was the VP-HR, handling the HR operations for AJIO, an e-commerce initiative of Reliance Retail.

•At Reliance Retail, she led a team of 90 members and looked after total rewards, talent acquisition and designing of learning and development initiatives. She also handled the core HR operations for 25,000 employees.

•After completing an MBA in HR, Thomas started her career with HPE India and worked with them for six years.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Author Aakash Ranison launched his E-Book “Climate Change Explained – For One And All”

•The climate activist-author, Aakash Ranison has come out with a new e-book titled “Climate Change Explained – for one and all”, on the occasion of Earth Day. Through the e-book, the author explains the impact of climate change and aims to motivate readers to reduce its outcome with the help of simple sustainable solutions.

•The book is a mix of facts, data, and information about climate change, having topics like “Greenhouse effect, global warming, Carbon footprint” and their effects on earth in the near future.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI has Cancelled Licence of Sambandh Finserve

•Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a show-cause notice prior to cancelling the licence of fraud-hit Sambandh Finserve Pvt Ltd. after its networth eroded below the regulatory minimum and financial situation worsened beyond redemption over the recent months. Sambandh is registered as an NBFC-MFI.

•The Managing Director and CEO of Sambandh, Deepak Kindo, who was allegedly the main perpetrator of the fraud, has been arrested by Economic Offence Wing, Chennai. According to the RBI norms, NBFC is required to maintain minimum capital levels consisting of Tier-I and Tier-II capital, of not less than 15 per cent of their aggregate risk-weighted assets.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd April 2021

NATIONAL

Rekha Menon is the First Woman Chairperson of NASSCOM

•IT industry’s apex body Nasscom on Thursday appointed Rekha M. Menon, chairperson and senior managing director at Accenture in India, as its chairperson for 2021-2022. With this, she becomes the first woman to take on the role of chairperson for Nasscom in its 30-year history.

•Menon, earlier the vice chairperson, succeeds U.B. Pravin Rao, chief operating officer, Infosys Ltd, who served as chairman of Nasscom for 2020-2021.

Indian Navy deployed DSRV

•The Indian Navy deployed a deep submergence rescue vessel to support the Indonesian Navy's hunt for a submarine that went missing with 53 people on board.

•They said the Indian DSRV is fitted with latest technology and that it has a side scan sonar for locating the position of submarines in distress at sea.

SPORTS

Tamil Nadu’s, Arjun Kalyan became India’s 68th Chess Grandmaster

•Tamil Nadu’s, Arjun Kalyan became India’s 68th Chess Grandmaster when he crossed the 2500 ELO mark after beating Dragan Kosic in the fifth round of GM Round Robin “Rujna Zore-3” in Serbia.

•Arjun is coached by IM Saravanan and Ukrainian GM Aleksandr Goloshchapov and began playing chess at the age of nine and got his FIDE rating a year later. Viswanathan Anand became the country’s first Grandmaster, in 1988.

OBITUARY

President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, has passed away

•The President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, has passed away, following a confrontation with rebels after which he suffered wounds on the battlefield.

•He had ruled the central African nation for more than three decades and was even declared winner of the 2021 presidential election, paving the way for him to stay in power for six more years. Deby first won elections in 1996 and 2001. After this, he continued to win in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021.

Veteran actor Kishore Nandlaskar passed away

•Veteran actor Kishore Nandlaskar, who was a popular face in both Marathi and Hindi films, has passed away due to C-19 complications. The actor made his debut with Marathi film in 1982 titled ‘Navare Sagle Gadhav’ and went to act in movies like ‘Bhavishyachi Aishi Taishi: The Prediction’, ‘Gaon Thor Pudhari Chor’ and ‘Jara Japun Kara’.

•In Hindi films, Nandlaskar is known for his roles in Khakee (2004), Vaastav: The Reality (1999), Singham (2011), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain (2000), Simmba (2018) and many more. He was last seen in the Mahesh Manjrekar web series ‘1962: The War In The Hills’.

Eminent Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh passed away

•Noted Bengali poet, Shankha Ghosh has passed away following C-19 complications. He was known by his pen name Kuntak.

•He was honoured with numerous awards for his contribution to Bengali literature, some of which includes: Padma Bhushan in 2011, the Jnanpith Award in 2016, and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1977 for his book ‘Babarer Prarthana‘, as well as Saraswati Samman and Rabindra Puraskar among other awards.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Revolut names Paroma Chatterjee as India CEO

•UK-based  fintech company Revolut, which was valued at $5.5 billion last year, has named Paroma Chatterjee as its CEO in India as it eyes an expansion in the country this year.

•Chatterjee was previously Lendingkart’s Chief Business Officer. She has also held senior executive roles at Airtel Money, Flipkart and Via.com.

Puma ropes two cricketers as brand ambassadors

•Global sportswear brand Puma has signed long-term endorsement deals with cricketers Washington Sundar and Devdutt Padikkal. Puma India, which recently announced its partnership with Royal Challengers Bangalore, has been consistently investing in India’s sports ecosystem.

•The duo will be joining the company’s roster of brand ambassadors that include Indian captain Virat Kohli; wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul; women’s national cricketer, Sushma Verma and veteran cricketer Yuvraj Singh.

IMPORTANT DAYS

UN English Language Day & UN Spanish Language Day : 23 April

•The UN English Language Day and UN Spanish Language Day is observed annually on 23 April. For English, 23 April has been chosen to mark both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare. For the Spanish Language, the Day was chosen because the day is also observed as Hispanic Day in Spain, meaning the Spanish speaking world.

•They are one of the six official languages used by the United Nations throughout the Organization. These are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

•Each language has been assigned a day of celebration by the UN’s Department of Public Information in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.

World Book and Copyright Day organized on April 23

•The World Book and Copyright Day (also known as ‘International Day of the Book’ and ‘World Book Day’), is an annual event organized on April 23 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.

•April 23 is chosen because it marks the birth and death of several prominent authors. For instance, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Josep Pla died on April 23 and Manuel Mejia Vallejo and Maurice Druon were born on April 23.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Australia and India for Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

•Australia has announced a grant of Rs 81.2 million (AUD 1.4 million) under the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI). IPOI was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Modi at the East Asia Summit in November 2019 and Australia is co-leading New Delhi in the marine ecology pillar of the initiative.

•The initiative will help to support a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

•The Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Partnership forms the core of this “shared vision” of both countries.

RANKING

WEF Global Energy Transition Index 2021 released: India Ranks 87th

•India is placed at the 87th position among 115 countries in the 2021 Energy Transition Index (ETI). The report is published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), prepared in collaboration with Accenture to track nations on the current performance of their energy systems across various aspects.

•The index benchmarks 115 countries on the current performance of their energy systems across three dimensions — economic development and growth, environmental sustainability, and energy security and access indicators — and their readiness to transition to secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy systems.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India elected to three bodies of U.N. Economic and Social Council

•India has been elected by acclamation, to three bodies of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022.

1.Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)

2.Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

3.Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP)  

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Important Current Affairs 22nd April 2021

NATIONAL

CAG GC Murmu has been chosen as an external auditor by OPCW

•Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, GC Murmu has been chosen as the external auditor by a prestigious intergovernmental organisation working for the elimination of chemical weapons.

•According to the External Affairs Ministry, the Hague-based Conference of State Parties of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) selected the CAG as its external auditor for a three-year term starting 2021.

•The appointment was made through an election process at the OPCW conference yesterday where India received overwhelming support ahead of others.

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh launched Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme

•The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Yeduguri Sandinti Jagan Mohan Reddy released the first tranche of Rs 672 crores under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for the year 2021-22. This reimbursed the fees for 10.88 lakh students. So far, a total of Rs 4, 879 crores have been disbursed under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme.

•The main objective of the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme is to provide scholarships to all the students who are not able to pay their fees because of their financial burden.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is the first party to declare name of electoral bonds donor

•The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is the first party that has declared the name of the entity which made donations to it through electoral bonds. A declaration of a ₹1 crore donation was made in the party’s 2019-2020 contribution report. According to the contribution report of the ruling party in Jharkhand, the donation was made by aluminium and copper manufacturing company Hindalco.

•The association said the most common and popular source of income for national and regional political parties in 2019-20 were donations through electoral bonds. This raises the question as to whether political parties are aware of the identity of the donors who have contributions through electoral bonds, as can be seen in this case.

(WSAI) has been established by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Tehri Dam

•Water Sports and Adventure Institute (WSAI) has been established by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand. The institute was inaugurated on by Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. ITBP’s Mountaineering and Skiing Institute at Auli will independently run this institution, which will impart training in aero, water and land-related sports and adventure activities.

•Training in kayaking, rowing, canoeing, water skiing, para-gliding, para-sailing, speed boating, kite surfing, jet skiing, etc, will also be provided at this institute. Apart from this, water rescue and life-saving courses will be conducted here. It has been targeted to train at least 200 youth in water sports at this institution every year.

Priyanka Mohite : first Indian woman to scale Mount Annapurna

•Priyanka Mohite from Satara in western Maharashtra has scaled Mount Annapurna, the tenth highest mountain peak in the world, became the first Indian woman climber to achieve the feat.

•Mount Annapurna is a massif in the Himalayas located in Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres and is considered to be one of the toughest mountains to climb.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars

•NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars, the first powered flight on another planet and a feat a top engineer called “our Wright brothers’ moment.” Data and images from the autonomous flight were transmitted (278 million kilometres) back to Earth where they were received by NASA’s array of ground antennas and processed more than three hours later. Ingenuity was on autopilot for its entire flight, out of sight, direct control, or contact with the men and women on Earth who had ordered it aloft—because radio signals take too long to travel between the planets for any human operator to intervene.

OBITUARY

Qawwali singer Farid Sabri passed away on 58.

•Qawwali singer Farid Sabri of the renowned musical duo 'Sabri Brothers' from Rajasthan passed away on Wednesday morning at a hospital in Jaipur.

•He was reportedly admitted to the facility on Tuesday night due to sudden deterioration in his condition, as the singer was allegedly suffering from pneumonia for the past few days. Sabri was 58.

•His brother, singer Amin Sabri confirmed that Farid had not tested positive, but was suffering from lung infection and kidney ailments, besides being diabetic. Doctors have confirmed the same.

•The singer was cremated at the Miskin Shah Cemetery, after his body was taken to the Sabris' ancestral place of Mathura Walon ki Haveli in Jaipur.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Mother Earth Day observed globally on 22 April

•Earth Day (International Mother Earth Day) is observed globally on 22 April every year. The Day will be celebrated all over the world to spread awareness for Earth’s wellbeing and to encourage people to support environmental protection. World Earth Day 2021 will mark the 51st Anniversary of the day since it started being observed in 1970. Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day.

•The theme of 2021 International Mother Earth Day is Restore Our Earth.

International Girls in ICT Day is observed on 22nd April 2021

•International Girls in ICT Day marked annually on the fourth Thursday of April. This year International Girls in ICT Day is observed on 22nd April 2021. International Girls in ICT Day aims to inspire a global movement to increase the representation of girls and women in technology. Today, let’s recommit to the goal of equal access for young women and girls to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

•The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in the world’s fastest-growing sector.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

GOI-Germany enter into an agreement to prevent plastic waste entering oceans

•The Government of India and Germany Government have signed an agreement for Technical Cooperation in enhancing practices to prevent plastic from entering the marine environment at a virtual ceremony in New Delhi India. The project titled ‘Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment’ will be implemented for a period of 42 months.

•The outcome of the project is completely in line with the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban focusing on sustainable solid waste management and Prime Minister Modi’s vision to phase out single-use plastic by 2022.

•The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH India on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

RANKING

World Press Freedom Index 2021, released: India at 142nd 

•India has been placed at 142nd position among 180 countries in the latest World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)2021, released on April 20, 2021. India was at 142nd position in 2020 as well. Norway has retained its top spot for the fifth year running, followed by Finland and Denmark at second and third place respectively. Eritrea is at the bottom of the index at 180th place.

•The index is published every year by the international journalism not-for-profit body, “Reporters without Borders (RSF)”, to evaluate the press freedom situation in 180 countries and territories.

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Important Current Affairs 21st April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel has been officially sworn in as the ‘First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’

•Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel has been sworn as the ‘First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’, following the resignation of Raul Castro. The Secretary of the Communist Party is the most powerful position in one party ruling Cuba. Díaz-Canel now holds Cuba’s two most important positions, head of the party and president of the state.

•Raúl Castro announced that he would step down from the key position of the party and hand over the leadership to a younger generation. Díaz-Canel is almost thirty years younger than his predecessor and will now hold Cuba’s two most important positions, head of the party and president of the state. Castro had been in the post since 2011 when he took over from his older brother, Fidel Castro.

NATIONAL

Punjab Planned to ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State by 2022

•Punjab State reiterated the commitment of the State to achieve the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ target by 2022 as planned. Punjab has 34.73 lakh rural household, out of which 25.88 lakh (74.5%) have tap water supply. In 2021-22, the State plans to provide 8.87 lakh tap connections, thereby providing tap connection to every rural household. So far, 4-districts, 29 blocks, 5,715 panchayats and 6,003 villages in Punjab have been declared ‘Har Ghar Jal’, which means every rural household has access to water through the tap.

•To ensure transparency and accountability, Punjab has set up a well-equipped digital 24×7 call centre with Interactive Voice Responsive System. This analog grievance redressal system was upgraded in December 2020. Last year, the redressal rate was 97.76%. The pending complaints daily monitoring is done by sending reminders to the Executive Engineer via SMS, What’s App messages, e-mail and over the phone.

OBITUARY

American politician Walter Mondale Passed Away

•Former American politician, diplomat, and lawyer Walter Mondale, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States, has passed away recently.

•He served as Vice President from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996 under Bill Clinton.

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Maidavolu Narasimham passed away

•The former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Maidavolu Narasimham, has passed away recently. He was famously known as the “Father of Indian Banking Reforms”.

•He was the 13th Governor of RBI and served from May 2, 1977, to November 30, 1977.  He was known for being the chair of two high-powered committees on banking and financial sector reforms.

Senior BJP leader Bachi Singh Rawat Passed Away

•The senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Bachi Singh Rawat has passed away. He was a four-time MP from the Almora-Pithoragarh constituency in Uttarakhand.

•He had served as the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed globally on: 21 April

•World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed on 21 April every year. This day is celebrated to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation in problem-solving with respect to advancing the United Nations sustainable development goals, also known as the “global goals”.

•The main objective of the day is to encourage people to use new ideas, make new decisions, and do creative thinking. Creativity is what makes the world go ‘round.

National Civil Services Day is celebrated on April 21 every year:

•In India, ‘Civil Services Day is celebrated on April 21 every year. It is a day to appreciate the tremendous work done by officers engaged in public administration, in various departments of the central and state governments.

•The Government of India chose April 21 as the National Civil Service Day as on this day the country’s first home minister, Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel addressed the newly appointed Administrative Services Officers in 1947. The historic occasion took place at the Metcalf House in Delhi. In his address, he called Civil Servants, the ‘Steel Frame of India’.

SPORTS

Stefanos Tsitsipas has won his first ATP Masters 1000 series

•Stefanos Tsitsipas has won his first ATP Masters 1000 series after a flawless performance against Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo. The Greek star had lost his previous two finals at this level, with Rafael Nadal denying him in Toronto and Novak Djokovic beating him in Madrid.

•Rublev beat 11-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal in the quarter-finals. Rublev knocked out Roberto Bautista Agut, Rafael Nadal and Dan Evans en route to the final but could not find a way past Tsitsipas.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

The new Book of JK Rowling “The Christmas Pig” released in October

•JK Rowling has a new book coming this autumn, a festive children’s story with all new characters. The story is about a boy named Jack and his toy Dur Pig, who goes missing on Christmas Eve.

•The book is set to be released worldwide on October 12. “The Christmas Pig” is Rowling’s first children’s novel since Harry Potter.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

LIC has appointed homegrown payments player Paytm to facilitate its digital payments

•State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has appointed homegrown payments player Paytm to facilitate its digital payments. Following a tie-up with another payment gateway earlier, the country’s largest life insurer has sought a new deal as the majority of its payments have moved to digital modes.

•LIC has witnessed an upsurge in e-payments following the C-19 pandemic. The PSU insurer collects premiums worth Rs 60,000 crore via digital mode, which doesn’t comprise payments made through banks.

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Important Current Affairs 8th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Jeff Bezos tops Forbes’ Annual Billionaire list fourth year in a row

•The Amazon.com Inc founder, Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes’ annual world’s billionaires list for the fourth consecutive year. India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani ranked at 10th position with a total net worth of USD 84.5 billion.

•The 35th edition Forbes World’s Billionaires list was released on April 06, 2021, comprising a record-breaking 2,755 billionaires. The list is prepared based on the wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5, 2021.

Carl Bildt appointed WHO special envoy for ACT-Accelerator

•Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), appointed Carl Bildt as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). Bildt succeeds Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Andrew Witty in the special envoy role. He will help lead the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator in his new role, mobilising support and resources so it can deliver against its strategy for 2021.

•The ACT-Accelerator is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, treatments and vaccines, according to the WHO website.

•It brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations.

•These include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO and the World Bank.

NATIONAL

India completes arch of world’s highest railway bridge in J&K

•The construction of the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge that soars 359 metres above the bed of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir was completed. The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge aims to boost connectivity to the Kashmir Valley and it is being constructed at a cost of ₹ 1,486 crores as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.

The iconic Chenab Bridge:-

•The construction of the Chenab bridge was declared as a national project in 2002.

•Indian Railways is constructing the iconic Arch Bridge on River Chenab as a part of the USBRL project to connect the Kashmir valley to the rest of the nation.

•This bridge is 1315m long.

•This is the highest Railway Bridge in the world being 359m above the river bed level.

•It will be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris (France).

•The overall weight of Arch is 10,619 MT.

•The most sophisticated ‘Tekla’ software used for structural detailing.

•Structural steel was suitable for -10°C to 40°C temperature.

•Bridge designed to bear earthquake forces of highest intensity zone-V in India.

•Bridge designed to withstand high wind speed up to 266 Km/Hour.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships

•The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships against missile attack. The development of Advanced Chaff Technology by the DRDO lab is another step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.

•Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology used worldwide to protect naval ships from enemy’s radar and Radio Frequency (RF) missile seekers. The importance of this development lies in the fact that a very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as a decoy to deflect the enemy’s missiles for the safety of the ships.

OBITUARY

Gita Press president Radheshyam Khemka passes away

•The president of Gita Press, Radheshyam Khemka, passed away. He is credited for taking the Sanatan literature to the masses. Khemka for 38 years was the editor of the prominent 'Kalyan' magazine printed at the press.

•He last edited the magazine's April 2021 issue. Gita Press is the world's largest publisher of Hindu religious texts.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Justice N V Ramana to assume charge as next CJI

•The senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana has been appointed as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI).

•Justice Ramana would succeed incumbent CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde to take over as the 48th CJI. He would assume charge of the office from April 24, 2021, till August 26, 2022.

Cabinet Appoints Tarun Bajaj as new Revenue Secretary

•The Central Government has approved the appointment of Tarun Bajaj as the new Revenue Secretary under the Ministry of Finance.

•Prior to this, Bajaj, a 1988 batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, was serving as the Economic Affairs Secretary since April 30, 2020. The cabinet has also approved the appointment of Ajay Seth, a 1987 batch Karnataka-cadre IAS officer, as new Economic Affairs Secretary in place of Bajaj.

Chintan Vaishnav appointed as Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission

•Noted socio-technologist, Dr Chintan Vaishnav has been appointed the mission director of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the government’s flagship initiative under NITI Aayog. Vaishnav will take over from Ramanathan Ramanan later this month. Ramanan has been leading AIM as its first mission director since June 2017. Vaishnav is currently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US. He holds a PhD in technology, management, and policy from MIT.

•AIM’s mission is to create and promote a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. Over the past four years, since its inception, AIM’s various initiatives have achieved notable successes. So far, AIM has established 72,59 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across 650 districts, providing over 3.5 million students access to emerging technologies.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI to release Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) annually

•The Reserve Bank of India has announced that it will periodically publish a “Financial Inclusion Index” (FI Index) annually in July for the financial year ending previous March. The FI Index would be based on multiple parameters and shall reflect the broadening and deepening of financial inclusion in the country, a statement on regulatory and developmental policies of RBI.

•Financial Inclusion has been a thrust area for the government, the Reserve Bank and other regulators, with significant progress made over the years. To measure the extent of financial inclusion in the country, the Reserve Bank proposes to construct and publish a Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index) based on multiple parameters.

RBI Monetary Policy: Policy Rate unchanged

•The six-member monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided to keep key lending rates unchanged for the fifth consecutive time, in its April 2021 policy review meeting held between April 5 to 7, 2021. The Reserve Bank of India is likely to keep policy rates unchanged amid the uncertainty created by a fresh surge in coronavirus infections.

Major Decisions of Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

• Policy Repo Rate: 4.00%

• Reverse Repo Rate: 3.35%

• Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 4.25%

• Bank Rate: 4.25%

• CRR: 3%

• SLR: 18.00%

RBI Monetary Policy Key Decisions:

• The Consumer Price Index of 2022 is predicted to be at 5.1%.

• RBI has also kept the accommodative monetary stance unchanged.

• Meanwhile, the GDP growth of India is projected at 10.5% in the financial year 2021-22.

• RBI is to buy Rs 1 lakh crores of G-Sec under the G-Sec Acquisition Programme.

• The Apex Bank has increased the centre’s Ways and Means Advances by 46%. The current limit is Rs 32,225 crores. It has now been increased to Rs 47,010 crores.

• Maximum End of Pay balance for payment banks has been doubled to Rs 2 lakhs.

• Additional liquidity facility of Rs 50,000 crores announced for NABARD, SIDBI and NHB in 2021-22.

IMF revises GDP growth forecast of India to 12.5% for FY22

•International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its growth forecast for the Indian economy by 100 basis points to 12.5 per cent for the fiscal year 2021-22. GDP growth for FY23 is pegged at 6.9 per cent.

•The revised forecast was published in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. India is the only country among major world economies that is projected to grow at a double-digit rate during FY22.

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Important Current Affairs 7th April 2021

NATIONAL

TRIFED launches “Sankalp se Siddhi”- Village and Digital Connect Drive

•Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED) has launched Sankalp Se Siddhi - Village & Digital Connect Drive. It is a 100-day drive which was started on the 1st of April. The drive entails 150 teams visiting 10 villages each of which 10 in each region from TRIFED & State Implementation Agencies, visiting 10 villages each.

•The main aim of this drive is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras. Ministry of Tribal Affairs in a statement said that 100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in the next 100 days.

•They will also identify tribal artisans and other groups and empanel them as suppliers so that they can have access to larger markets through the Tribes India network - both physical outlets and TribesIndia.com.

•It is expected that Sankalp Se Siddhi will aid in effecting a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country.

SPORTS

Hurkacz beats Sinner to win Miami Open

•Hubert Hurkacz of Poland won the biggest title of his career by beating 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the Miami Open final.

•Hurkacz became his country's first Masters 1000 champion. The world number 37 is the lowest-ranked player to win a Masters event since Tomas Berdych in Paris in 2005.

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister and Gujarat MLA Digvijaysinh Zala passes away

•Former Union Environment Minister and an MLA from Wankaner in Gujarat, Digvijaysinh Zala has passed away.

•The veteran Congress leader became the first Environment Minister of India under the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1982 to 1984.

Malayalam screenwriter P. Balachandran passes away

•Malayalam screenwriter, filmmaker, dramatist and actor, P. Balachandran has passed away. He is best known for the play Paavam Usman for which he won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and Kerala Professional Nataka Award in the year 1989.

•Balachandran has scripted many films including Ulladakkam (1991), Pavithram (1994), Agnidevan (1995), Punaradhivasam (2000), and Kammatti Paadam (2016). His directorial debut is Ivan Megharoopan (2012). He has also acted in a few films, the most notable being Trivandrum Lodge (2012).

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Shabir Khandwawala appointed new BCCI ACU chief

•Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala, who has served as the Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) before, is the new BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief.

•The 70-year-old, a 1973 batch IPS officer, takes over from Ajit Singh whose tenure ended on March 31. After retiring as Gujarat DGP in late 2010, Khandwawala worked with the Essar Group as an advisor and was also part of the central government's Lokpal Search Committee.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide

•International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda observed globally on 7 April every year. The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was announced by the United General Assembly in 2003. On April 7th, the date where the genocide against members of the Tutsi began. For approximately 100 days, over 800,000 Tutsi were assassinated.

•UNESCO aims to educate the world population regarding genocides and the consequences of the crime. UNESCO is committed to promoting education about genocides as a means to sensitize learners for the causes, dynamics and consequences of such crimes and to strengthen their resilience against all forms of discrimination.

World Health Day observed globally on 7 April

•The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated on 7 April every year. On April 7th every year, governmental as well as non-governmental health organizations organize events that focus on promoting healthier habits of living. From exciting activities to pledges and support plans, these events aim to create awareness about what can increase the life expectancy of people around the world.

•The Theme of World Health Day 2021: “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone”.

•In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace: 6 April

•The United Nations celebrates the 6th of April every year as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. Sports also presents a natural partnership for the United Nations (UN) system.

•Sport can help promote fairness, team building, equality, inclusion and perseverance. Sport and physical activity can also help us get through times of crisis, like COVID-19, by reducing anxieties and improving physical and mental health. The professional sport also provides employment and income to many people around the world and an integral sector to the economic success of many communities and regions.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Suman Chakraborty to get 30th GD Birla Award for Scientific Research

•Professor Suman Chakraborty has been selected for the 30th GD Birla Award for Scientific Research for his outstanding contribution to engineering science and its applications in developing technologies for affordable healthcare. He is a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur’s department of mechanical engineering.

•He is credited with establishing the first microfluidics laboratory in the framework of an academic institution in India to facilitate the study of how tiny volumes of fluids flow through small channels. Apart from being a reputable academic, Chakraborty has invented technologies that have not only been patented but also licensed to industrial houses for commercialisation.

Alfred Aho Wins the 2020 ACM Turing Award

•Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Alfred V. Aho has won the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award, known informally as the "Nobel Prize of computing." Aho shares the award with his long-time collaborator Jeffrey David Ullman.

•Aho and Ullman began working together at Bell Labs in 1967 and their early efforts included developing efficient algorithms for analyzing and translating programming languages. Even when Ullman began a career in academia in 1969 while Aho remained at Bell Labs, they continued their collaboration for several decades and shaped the foundations of programming language theory and implementation, as well as algorithm design and analysis.

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Important Current Affairs 6th April 2021

NATIONAL

Dr. Harsh Vardhan approves National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021

•Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has approved National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021. The policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases, with an increased focus on indigenous research & local production of medicines. The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres.

•A provision for financial support up to Rs.20 lakh under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi is proposed for treatment of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment (diseases listed under Group 1 in the policy). Benefits to be extended to about 40% of the population eligible under PM Jan Arogya Yojana.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurates Tulip Festival

•In the Kashmir Valley, Tulip Festival in Srinagar was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. Over 15 lakh flowers of more than 64 varieties are in full bloom on the foothills of the Zabarwan Mountains. The five-day-long Tulip Festival in Asia's largest tulip garden at the foothills of Zabarwan hills on the banks of world-famous Dal Lake in Srinagar.

•The Tulip Garden was opened for tourists and the general public on the 25th of March.

•Last year the Tulip Festival could not be held because of the unprecedented situation of COVID-19.

•However, this time, the Tulip Festival is being organized on a large scale to attract more and more tourists.

•The Tulip Festival, to be held from 3rd to 7th of April, will showcase Kashmiri folk music apart from a painting competition.

Rajasthan becomes the 1st state to provide free health insurance to all

•Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country where the state government is providing free health insurance facility to all the citizens of the state. This plan was announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the state budget of 2021-22.  The State began the registration for its cashless ‘mediclaim’ scheme Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme.

•Each family will get annual health insurance up to 5 lakhs.

•Registrations have started for the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme from 1 April, while the scheme will start benefiting the residents after its implementation on May 1.

•In this health insurance cover, 1576 packages and procedures for the treatment of various diseases have been included.

•The cost of treatment related to OPD, examination, medicines and related package of 15 days after discharge will also be included in the free treatment before the patient is admitted to the hospital.

India's biggest floating solar power plant to be set up in Telangana

•The biggest floating solar power plant in India is to be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana. It is expected to be opened in May 2021. The cost of the project has been estimated as Rs 423 crores. The power plant will have 4.5 lakh photovoltaic panels.

•The solar power plant is being set up at the Ramagundam Thermal Power Plant reservoir.

•The solar power plant is to be set up in 450 acres of the reservoir.

•The project is commissioned by NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation).

•NTPC aims to reduce its carbon footprints and increase its green energy production to 30% of its capacity through this solar power plant.

•The capacity of the solar power plant is 100 MW.

OBITUARY

Veteran film and TV actress Shashikala passes away

•Veteran film and TV actress Shashikala Om Prakash Saigal passed away. She was more popularly known by her first name, Shashikala has famously appeared as various supporting characters in over 100 films.

•Shashikala was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government for her unparalleled contribution to the world of cinema and arts in 2007. She was also conferred with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the V. Shantaram Awards in 2009. Apart from this, Shashikala bagged two Filmfare awards for her work in Aarti and Gumrah.

Samajwadi Party founder member Bhagwati Singh passes away

•Founder member of the Samajwadi Party and former UP minister Bhagwati Singh passed away. He was 89-year-old.

•The last rites of Singh will not be done as he had pledged to donate his body to the King George Medical University.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Digit Insurance roped Virat Kohli as brand ambassador

•Digit Insurance has roped in cricketer Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador. Kohli has also invested in Digit Insurance in the past. Digit Insurance, a general insurance company that became the first unicorn of 2021 with a valuation of $1.9B.

•With this association, the company aims to carry the message of ‘making insurance simple’ through the cricketer. Digit was able to get the Indian Men’s Cricket Team Captain to invest in the company before he planned to become the face for the brand.

RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo retires

•BP Kanungo has stepped down from the post of the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India after his term ended on 2 April, cutting short all expectations of an extension of his tenure.

•He was appointed deputy governor in 2017 for three years. His term was extended by one more year in 2020. The other deputy governors of the RBI are Rajeshwar Rao, M.K. Jain and Michael Patra.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled ‘Manohar Parrikar: Brilliant Mind, Simple Life’ by Nitin Gokhale

•A new book titled ‘Manohar Parrikar: Brilliant Mind, Simple Life’ authored by Nitin Gokhale was released. The book is published by Bloomsbury. It is an attempt to capture Parrikar’s persona — the man, the politician and the patriot. Gokhale is a renowned author, media trainer and founder of a specialised defence related website BharatShakti.in. and StratNewsGlobal.com.

•Through this book, the author presents the journey of the contribution of Parrikar to nation-building and his service to the Goan society, from being an IIT student to a social worker and to India’s defence minister. The book is a tribute to Parrikar, India’s former defence minister and four-time chief minister of Goa, the first IIT-ian to become a chief minister.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

World Bank, AIIB approve loan for USD 300 million projects to Punjab

•The World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have approved the loan for USD 300 million (about Rs 2,190 crore) canal-based drinking water projects in Punjab. The project is aimed at ensuring quality drinking water and minimise water losses for Amritsar and Ludhiana. The entire project will be co-financed by IBRD (World Bank) – USD 105 million, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – USD 105 million and the Punjab government – USD 90 million.

•The Infrastructure has been designed to meet the water demand for 30 years. It would benefit the residents of Amritsar with an estimated population of 14.51 lakh for 2025 and 22.11 lakh for 2055.

•At present, the Canal Based Water Supply Project for Amritsar has been awarded to M/s Larsen & Toubro Limited at a contract amount of Rs.784.33 Crore.

•The total estimated Design-Build Cost of the Ludhiana Project is Rs.1093.92 Crore and the period for completion of the same is 36 months.

•The estimated Operation & Maintenance cost is Rs.270.73 Crore for 10 years. The total amount for the project comes out to Rs.1364.65 Crore.

World Bank approves USD 32 million project to Mizoram

•The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a USD 32 million projects to improve management capacity and quality of health services in Mizoram. The project titled “Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project” will strengthen the governance and the management structure of the Mizoram Health department and its subsidiaries. This project will support the state government's efforts to deliver quality healthcare for the poor and vulnerable and those located in remote areas.

•The key focus will be to strengthen the effectiveness of the state health insurance programme, build synergies with the Government of India's Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY), and thereby reduce financial barriers in accessing hospital services, prevent catastrophic out of pocket expenditure for health by poor families and expand coverage.

•The Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project will benefit the people across the state. It will also benefit healthcare personnel by strengthening their planning and management capabilities along with building their clinical skills and competencies.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Indian Army to participate in Military Exercise SHANTIR OGROSHENA 2021

•A multinational Military Exercise named ‘SHANTIR OGROSHENA’ 2021 (Front Runner of the Peace) is scheduled to be held in Bangladesh from April 04 to 12, 2021. The theme of the exercise is “Robust Peace Keeping Operations”. The exercise is being held to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh ‘Father of the Nation’ Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation of the country.

•The Indian Army is also participating in this multinational exercise, along with a contingent of the Royal Bhutan Army, Sri Lankan Army and Bangladesh Army.

•The Indian contingent will comprise 30 personnel including Officers, JCOs and Jawans of a Battalion from The DOGRA Regiment.

•USA, UK, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore will also attend the exercise as Military observers.

NATIONAL

GoI declares 14th April, birthday of Dr B R Ambedkar as public holiday

•The central government has declared April 14, Dr BR Ambedkar's birthday a public holiday. Dr B R Ambedkar was the sculptor of the Indian Constitution and the country already celebrates his birthday as Ambedkar Jayanti every year. The government has announced that from this year 14th April will be declared as a public holiday.  It will be Ambedkar’s 130th birth anniversary on April 14, 2021.

•Babasaheb Ambedkar's original name is Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.

•His father Ramji Sakpal was a Subedar in the army and his mother Bhimbai Kapal was a housewife.

•The family settled in Mumbai in 1897 and Babasaheb enrolled at Elphinstone High School. After matriculation, he took admission to Elphinstone College in 1907.

•He graduated from Bombay University in 1912 with a degree in Economics and Political Science. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a renowned social reformer and a Dalit icon, he spoke unequivocally against the inequality, injustice, and discrimination faced by the members of the Dalit community.

•Babasaheb Ambedkar died on December 6 in 1956. In 1990, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

Maharashtra: Amboli named as biodiversity heritage site

•The Maharashtra government has declared an area at Amboli in Western ghats in Sindhudurg district, where a rare freshwater fish species was discovered, as a biodiversity heritage site. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray”s son Tejas Thackeray, who is a wildlife researcher, and his team had discovered the new freshwater fish species – Schistura Hiranyakeshi” near Amboli in Sawantwadi tehsil of Sindhudurg district. The State government issued a notification declaring the area at Amboli as a biodiversity heritage site. Schistura is a small and colourful fish that lives in water and streams in an abundance of oxygen.

•Earlier, the State government had declared the Glory of Allapalli in Gadchiroli district, Landor Khori Park in Jalgaon, Ganesh Khind in Pune, myristica swamp vegetation in Sindhudurg district as biodiversity heritage sites. The discoveries of the freshwater fish species were published in the International Journal of Ichthyology in the October 2020 edition by Tejas Thackeray and co-authors.

Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam in Uttar Pradesh lists itself at BSE

•Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam listed itself at BSE and successfully raised Rs. 150 Crores by issuing Municipal Bond on Private Placement Basis using BSE BOND. This is the first-ever green bond issuance by any Municipal Corporation in the country. The money will be used for the construction of a tertiary sewage treatment plant at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad. The money will be used to fund the project partly which is worth Rs 240 crore. This treatment plant will enable the sewage water to be used for industries after treatment.

•Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam is the second Municipal Corporation to raise funds in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, Lucknow Municipal Corporation had listed itself at BSE.

4th batch of three Rafale fighter jets land in India

•The fourth batch of three Rafale fighter jets landed in India after flying non-stop from Istres Air Base France, in a further boost to the strike capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Rafale fighter jets were provided mid-air refuelling by air force tankers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

•The three Rafale fighter aircraft which took off from France for India were scheduled to land at the Jamnagar airbase. The planes equipped with the Hammer missiles have enhanced their capability to carry out air-to-ground strikes like the one in Balakot.

Centre withdraws order cutting interest rates on small savings schemes

•The government has withdrawn its order slashing interest rates on small savings schemes, including National Savings Certificates (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF), for the first quarter of 2021-22. Earlier on March 31, 2021, the Finance Ministry had announced a sharp cut in interest rates for small savings schemes by 50-110 basis points. Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis.

•However, the orders issued were withdrawn by the government on April 01, 2021. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter that the government has maintained the rates on such schemes that are effective from April 1 and remain in effect till June 30, 2021.

RANKING

India ranks 140th in WEF’s gender gap index 2021

•India has slipped 28 places to rank 140 among 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, by World Economic Forum. In 2020, India ranked 112th among 153 countries. Iceland has topped the index as the most gender-equal country in the world for the 12th time. Afghanistan is the worst-performing country in the report.

South Asia:

•India emerged as the third-worst performing country in South Asia.

•Bangladesh is the best performer in South Asia.

•Among India’s neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.

•In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.

Global Gender Gap Report

•The Global Gender Gap Report 2021 is the 15th edition of the annual publication by WEF.

•The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 to compare countries’ gender gaps across four dimensions: economic opportunities, education, health and political leadership.

Top 10 gender-equal country

1.Iceland

2.Finland

3.Norway

4.New Zealand

5.Rwanda

6.Sweden

7.Namibia

8.Lithuania

9.Ireland

10.Switzerland

BANKING AND ECONOMY

GST revenue collection in March 2021

•India’s economic recovery is gathering steam. The GST collections for the month of March have topped Rs 1.23 lakh crore, setting a new record since the implementation of Goods and Services Tax in July 2017. The gross GST revenue collected in the month of March 2021 rose to a record of Rs. 1,23,902 crore of which CGST is Rs. 22,973 crore, SGST is Rs. 29,329 crore, IGST is Rs. 62,842 crore and Cess is Rs. 8,757 crore.

GST Collection previous months

• February 2021: Rs. 1,13,143 crore

• January 2021: Rs. 1,19,847 crore

• December 2020: Rs. 1,15,174 crore

• November 2020: Rs. 1.04 lakh crore

• October 2020: Rs. 1,05,155 crore

Facebook and Google to build new cables under the sea called ‘Echo’ and ‘Bifrost’

•Facebook and Google are planning to build new subsea cables from the US to Singapore and Indonesia. Facebook has partnered with leading regional and global partners to build two new subsea cables Echo and Bifrost that will provide vital new connections between the Asia-Pacific region and North America. While Google is only investing in Echo. These cables will increase overall transpacific capacity by 70 per cent.

•These projects are still subject to regulatory approvals, when completed, these cables are expected to deliver much-needed Internet capacity, redundancy, and reliability. The announcements come at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the need for reliable Internet access.

UNESCAP: India’s Economic Growth Of 7% in 2021-22

•The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) said in the latest update that, India’s is estimated to record economic growth of 7% in 2021-22, over a contraction of 7.7% witnessed in the previous fiscal on account of the pandemic’s impact on normal business activity.

•It also noted that maintaining low borrowing costs while keeping non-performing loans in check would be a challenge.

Paytm Money opens new R&D centre in Pune

•Online investment platform Paytm Money has set up a new R&D facility in Pune, Maharashtra, which will drive product innovation, especially in the area of equity, mutual funds, and digital gold. The company added that it plans to hire over 250 engineers and data scientists to build new wealth products and services.

•Paytm Money aims to achieve over 10 million users and 75 million yearly transactions in FY21, with the majority of users coming from small cities and towns.

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Important Current Affairs 1st April 2021

NATIONAL

Govt further extends Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme to June 30, 2021

•The Central Government has extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS 3.0) by another three months till June 30, 2021, or till such time that an amount of Rs. 3 lakh crore is sanctioned under the Scheme. Additionally, the government has also introduced certain modifications in the ECLGS scheme to further contribute towards economic revival.

Modified rules:

•The limit of credit has been enhanced to 40 per cent of outstanding loans as of February 29, 2020. This limit was 20 per cent earlier.

•The scheme would now also cover borrowers with total credit outstanding up to Rs 500 crore, with overdues for 60 days or less on February 29 2020, as compared to 30 days overdue earlier.

•The tenor of loans granted under ECLGS 3.0 is 6 years with a moratorium period of 2 years on repayment of principal. In ECLGS 2.0, the tenor was five years with a 12-month moratorium.

•Further, the scheme has also introduced providing an incentive to MLIs (member lending institutions) to enable the availability of additional funding facility to the eligible beneficiaries.

•The ECLGS was announced as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package of Central Government to provide fully guaranteed and collateral-free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, individual loans for business purposes and MUDRA borrowers.

Education Minister inaugurates ‘Anandam: The Center for Happiness’ at IIM Jammu

•Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal has inaugurated “Anandam: The Center for Happiness” at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Jammu virtually. The centre will help people overcome mental stress and help spread positivity and it will encourage and propagate holistic development for all the stakeholders at IIM Jammu. Lieutenant Governor, Jammu, and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha; Founder, Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar virtually graced the occasion.

•The purpose of establishing ‘Anandam’ at IIM Jammu is to bring holistic well-being. Regular physical exercises at the Center will contribute to the wellness at the physical level for both the students and the faculty. Under the concept of ‘Anandam: The Center for Happiness’ will be divided into five broad categories, namely, Counselling, Holistic wellness, Elective courses on Happiness Development, Research and Leadership & Faculty Development.

OBITUARY

Beloved children’s author of US, Beverly Cleary passes away

•Beloved children’s author of US, Beverly Cleary passed away. She was named a Living Legend in 2000 by the Library of Congress. In 2003, she was chosen as one of the winners of the National Medal of Arts.

•The author whose memories of her Oregon childhood were shared with millions through the likes of Ramona and Beezus Quimby and Henry Huggins.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Utkal Divas or Odisha Day is celebrated on 1 April

•Utkal Divas or Utakala Dibasha is celebrated on April 1 every year to remember the formation of the Odisha state after a struggle to be recognised as an independent state. Under British rule, Odisha was part of the Bengal presidency, which consisted of the present-day Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The state was originally called Orissa but the Lok Sabha passed the Orissa Bill, and Constitution Bill (113rd amendment), in March 2011 to rename it Odisha.

•The region became part of Kalinga after it was conquered by Magadha King Ashoka in 261 BC to expand his Mauryan rule. After Mauryan rule, King Kharavela’s rule began in Odisha. Kharavela managed to avenge the Mauryan invasion by defeating Magadh. Historians credit Kharavela for laying the foundation for Odisha’s fame as a land of art, architecture and sculpture. He also managed to establish a powerful political state.

•Gajapati Mukunda Deva was the last Hindu king of Odisha. He was defeated by the Mughals in 1576. A few hundred years later, the British took over and divided the state into different parts. The northern and western districts of the state became part of what was then called the Bengal presidency.

•The new province of Odisha was formed after people’s continued struggle, which finally paid off on April 1, 1936. Sir John Hubbak was the first governor of the state. Notable leaders from that movement are Utkala Gouraba, Madhusudan Das, Utkala Mani, Gopabandhu Das, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Pandita Nilakantha Das, and many others.

International Transgender Day of Visibility: 31st March

•International Transgender Day of Visibility observed globally on 31st March every year. The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

•The day was founded by US-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009. As a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centred day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance which mourned the murders of transgender people but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community. The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on March 31, 2009. It has since been spearheaded by the U.S.-based youth advocacy organization Trans Student Educational Resources.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr Sharankumar Limbale to receive Saraswati Samman 2020

•Noted Marathi writer Dr Sharankumar Limbale will receive Saraswati Samman, 2020 for his book Sanatan. The award carries fifteen lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque. Saraswati Samman, instituted by KK Birla Foundation in 1991, is recognised as the most prestigious and highest literary award in the country.

•Dr Limbale’s Sanatan has been published in 2018. Sanatan is an important social and historical document of the Dalit struggle. Speaking first to All India Radio, Dr Limbale was overjoyed with emotion as he started his career with the public broadcaster.

Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’ wins book critics award for fiction

•Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, an imagined take on the death of Shakespeare’s son from the bubonic plague, has won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction. Hamnet, an unfortunately well-timed story for the current pandemic, explores the impact of the boy’s illness and death on his family. He was Shakespeare’s only son, and scholars have long speculated about his influence — if any — on “Hamlet,” which Shakespeare worked on in the years following Hamnet’s death.

•Tom Zoellner’s Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire won for nonfiction, and Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World was the winner in biography. The autobiography award went to Cathy Park Hong for Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled “Names of the Women” by Jeet Thayil

•A book titled “Names of the Women” authored by Jeet Thayil. The book talks about the women whose roles were suppressed, reduced, or erased in the Gospels.

•Jeet Thayil is a renowned author, best known for his book ‘Narcopolis’ which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His most recent book ‘Low’ was released in 2020.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Govt pegs market borrowing at Rs 7.24 lakh crore in 1st half of FY22

•The government has decided to borrow Rs 7.24 lakh crore in the first half of 2021-22 fiscal (FY22) to meet resources to revive the economy hit by coronavirus pandemic. This borrowing is 60.06 per cent of the estimated gross issuances for fiscal 2021-22.

•According to Budget 2021-22, the estimated gross borrowing is pegged at Rs 12.05 lakh crore in the financial year beginning April 01, 2021. The government raises money from the market to fund its fiscal deficit through dated securities and treasury bills.

RBI extends deadline for processing auto-debit payments by 6 months

•The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the timeline for processing recurring online transactions by 6 months to September 30, 2021. Earlier in December 2020, RBI had directed all banks including RRBs, NBFCs, and payment gateways that the processing of recurring transactions (domestic or cross-border) using cards or Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) or Unified Payments Interface (UPI) would not be continued beyond March 31, 2021, if they do not comply with Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA).

•This means that with effect from April 30, 2021, there were supposed to be no automatic recurring payment for various services, including recharge and utility bill, under arrangements/practices not compliant with AFA. However, banks and payment gateways had sought additional time to comply with the RBI directive on automatic recurring payment. Taking it into consideration, RBI decided to further extend the timeline.

Government announces Rs 14,500 crore capital infusion in 4 PSBs

•The Central Government has announced to infuse Rs 14,500 crore in four state-owned lenders namely Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of India and UCO Bank in 2020-21, by issuing non-interest bearing bonds to these banks. This infusion will complete the government’s total capital infusion of Rs 20,000 crore in public sector banks for the current financial year 2020-21. Earlier in December 2020, it infused Rs 5,500 crore in Punjab and Sind Bank.

•The Recapitalisation bonds will be issued with six different maturities, and the special securities would be “at par” for the amount as per the application made by the eligible banks. Banks require capital to meet the mandatory reserve requirements laid out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), make provisions for bad loans and kick-start the lending cycle when demand revives in the economy.

Union Bank of India launched “UNI – CARBON CARD”

•Union Bank of India has launched “UNI – CARBON CARD”, an HPCL co-branded credit card on the Rupay platform of NPCI. It is a unique card designed with association with one of the largest Public Sector Bank, Union Bank of India and HPCL, a leader in the fuel retail and Rupay – India’s largest card payment network. It will create an opportunity to create value for the customers.

Benefit:

•The Bank is having a total network of 9590+ branches and 13280+ ATMs across India, this co-branded credit card is a Bank’s maiden joint venture.

•While using this card at HPCL retail outlets, the cardholder gets Cashback/Rewards in addition to the waiver of fuel surcharge provided by the Bank.

•Cardholders will be able to enjoy many freebies and offer brought out by NPCI such as Entertainment, Lifestyle, Travel, Shopping, Food delivery, etc.,

•The card is offered to salaried and others. The card limit offered is 20% of gross annual income with a minimum of Rs 50,000/- with no upper limit.

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