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Important Current Affairs 24th September 2020

National 

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

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

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

Banking and Economy

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

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

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

Acquisitions and Mergers

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

Science and Technology

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

Sports

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

Appointments and Resignations

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

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

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

Books and Authors

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