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Important Current Affairs 24th August 2020

National

Nitin Gadkari launches mobile app ‘Harit Path’ to monitor plantation along national highways

• The Union Minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has launched a mobile app called ‘Harit Path’ on 21 August 2020, via video conference while chairing a meeting to review ‘New Green Highways Policy (Plantation)’ and discuss use of new technologies in road construction.

• The app ‘Harit Path’ has been developed by the National Highways authority of India (NHAI) to monitor the plantation and transplantation of trees along the highways, through geo-tagging and web-based GIS enabled monitoring tools.

Population Projects India’s Population to be More Feminine by 2036

• The National Commission on Population under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  (MoHFW) submitted the Report of the Technical group on population projections July 2020, titled “Population projections for India and States 2011- 2036”.

• The report projected that the India’s sex ratio of the total population (females per 1000 males) is expected to be more feminine in 2036 compared to the population as of 2011.

• Youth population (15-24 years) is expected to increase from 23.3 crores in 2011 to 25.2 crores in 2021 and then continue to decrease to 22.7 crores in 2036.

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Launches Online Registration and Renewal of Gold Hallmarking Centres

• Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan virtually launched an online system for registration and renewal of licence of gold assaying and hallmarking (A&H) centres. The online system can be accessed through the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) web portal – www.manakonline.in.

• The online mode of registration & renewal will help in ease of doing business for the jewellers and entrepreneurs who have established hallmarking centres or want to do so in future.

Banking and Economy

Axis Bank launches hiring initiative named ‘Gig-a-Opportunities’

• Axis Bank has launched a new initiative named ‘Gig-a-Opportunities’. The initiative aims to attract skilled talent that can work with the bank remotely, from anywhere in the country.

• This hiring model comprises two working patterns. One is the full-time permanent job and the second is based on the duration of a project and is temporary in nature.

Awards

Wing Commander Gajanand Yadava wins Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2019

• Wing Commander Gajanand Yadava has won the ‘Tenzing Norgey National Adventure Award 2019' in air adventure category. The Indian Air Force congratulated Yadava for the special award through a post on Twitter.

• Gajanand Yadava is a Parachute Jump Instructor. He is also a member of IAF's Skydiving Team `Akash Ganga`. He has undertaken more than 2900 jumps till date, stated the Indian Air Force in its post.

• The IAF also shared few glimpses of Gajanand Yadava skydiving and flying a parachute.

Anand Mahindra and Shantanu Narayen selected for 2020 Leadership Awards by USISP

• Anand Mahindra (Mahindra group Chairman) and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe Chairman and CEO) will be awarded the 2020 Leadership Awards by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

• They will be awarded during the third Annual Leadership Summit, titled ”US-India Week: Navigating New Challenges”, which will be held virtually from August 31, 2020 to September 03, 2020.

Acquisitions and Mergers

General insurance companies ICICI Lombard and Bharti AXA announces merger

• ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company and Bharti AXA General Insurance Company have announced the merger of their businesses.

•  The merger would result in an entity with a combined annual premium of Rs 16,447 crore and a market share of nearly 8.7%.

• After the merger, ICICI Lombard will become the third-largest non-life insurer in India.

Ranking

India ranked 57th in Digital Quality of Life Index 2020, Denmark tops

• India ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of Internet quality, according to a global research released by online privacy solutions provider SurfShark.

• In a global index on digital quality of life in 85 countries, India ranked 9th on the internet affordability indicator, and 15th on e-government.

• Overall, India ranked 57th on the Digital Quality of Life Index 2020.Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden topped the index, with Canada rounding up the top three.

Books and Authors

Book titled “Who painted my lust red?” authored by Sree Iyer launched

• A book titled “Who painted my lust red?” that has been authored by Sree Iyer has been launched. The book is something about when Bollywood meets Cricket meets Politicians.

• This is the second book in this series of Sree Iyer’s Money Trilogy series. The first book was “Who painted my money white?”

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Important Current Affairs 23rd August 2020

International

UAE connects first Arab nuclear plant to power grid

• The oil-rich United Arab Emirates announced that it has connected its Barakah nuclear power plant to the national grid in a first for the Arab world.

• The milestone follows the successful start-up of the plant’s first reactor at the end of last month and launches the UAE on the road to meeting 25% of its electricity needs from nuclear power.

Iran announces locally made ballistic and cruise missiles

• Iran displayed a surface-to-surface ballistic missile named martyr Qassem Soleimani, that Defence Minister Amir Hatami said had a range of 1,400 kilometres and a new cruise missile, ignoring U.S. demands that Tehran halt its missile programme.

• The missile has a range of 1,400 km and the cruise missile, called martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of over 1,000 km.

Banking and Economy

RBI Releases NSFE 2020-25, Suggests Action Plan to Promote Financial Education

• The ‘National Strategy for Financial Education 2020-2025’ (NSFE), released by the RBI, has suggested a multi-stakeholder-led approach for creating a financially aware and empowered India.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with a ‘5-Core Actions’ approach for promoting financial education, which among other things include development of relevant content for school children and adults, community participation and collaboration among various stakeholders.

• The five Cs, outlined by the strategy paper, are: Content, Capacity, Community, Communication and Collaboration.

• Strengthening financial inclusion in the country has been one of the important developmental agendas of both the Government of India and the four financial sector regulators (RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA).

World Bank sees higher GDP fall in India than 3.2% it projected for FY21

• The World Bank said it was likely to project a steeper contraction in India’s economy than the 3.2 per cent it had forecast for the current financial year, given the rising number of C-19-19 cases and the resultant regional C-19s.

• In its report on India Development Update, 2020, the Bank also warned that credit risks play out as firms and households find it more difficult to service their interest and repayment obligations in a slowing economy.

Summits and Mou’s

Ministry of Tourism signed MoU with TAAI and FLO to promote tourism as sustainable livelihood model

• The Union Minister of State for Tourism (IC), Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was virtually signed today by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) with the Ministry of Tourism for women empowerment.

• The MoU provision will create awareness, along with state tourism departments and state tourism corporations and gives an opportunity to increase participation of women in the tourism sector.

Sports

5 Sportsperson to be awarded Khel Ratna 2020

• Five sportspersons will be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020 this year. These are:

1) Rohit Sharma– Cricketer (4th cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli to win this)

2) Vinesh Phogat– Wrestler

3) Manika Batra– Table Tennis player

4) Mariyappan Thangavelu– Para Athlete

5) Rani Rampal– Hockey Player

• They will receive the award on National Sports Day on August 29. This is for the first time that 5 players have been selected for this award.

• Apart from this 27 sportsperson have been selected for the ARJUNA AWARD 2020.

Appointments and Resignations

Ashwani Bhatia appointed MD of State Bank of India

• The government has appointed Ashwani Bhatia as the next managing director of India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India (SBI).

• Bhatia is currently serving as the managing director (MD) and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund, and had been tipped to be a front runner for his new post through the selection process.

Days

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

• International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a UNESCO designated day held every year on August 23 to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade.

• It is a day to honour  the  memory  of  the  men  and  women  who,  in  Saint-Domingue  in  1791,  revolted  and  paved  the  way  for  the  end  of  slavery  and  dehumanization.

Books and Authors

Book titled ‘India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders’, released

• The book titled “India Tomorrow: Conversations with the Next Generation of Political Leaders”, has been released recently. It is written by academicians Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah and published by Oxford University Press (OUP)

• The book, which includes interviews of politicians below 50 years likes of Rahul Gandhi, Smriti Zubin Irani, Varun Gandhi, Omar Abdullah and Akhilesh Yadav, among others.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd August 2020

National

Santosh Gangwar launches official Logo of “Labour Bureau”

• Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment, Santosh Gangwar has launched the official Logo of “Labour Bureau”.

• It displays the three goals that Labour Bureau aspires to achieve in producing quality data i.e. Accuracy, Validity and Reliability.

• It also indicates that the Labour Bureau is a data-based organization which deals in data pertaining to workers and work.

NPCI launches its subsidiary firm – NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL)

• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched its wholly-owned subsidiary firm named NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL).

• Ritesh Shukla has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NIPL.

• NIPL will venture into newer international markets and co-create payment systems with participating nations.

• The primary focus of NIPL would be the internationalization of RuPay and UPI, along with a few more offerings of NPCI.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot launches ‘Indira Rasoi Yojana’

• Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on August 20, 2020, launched the ‘Indira Rasoi Yojana’ in order to provide quality nutritious food to poor people at just Rs. 8.

• The newly launched scheme will be rolled in 213 urban local bodies of the state which will include 10 locations each in the state capital’s c greater and heritage area.

• Under Indira Rasoi Yojana, fresh and nutritious food will be provided at Rs. 8 per plate.

Awards

‘Am I?’ wins 1st prize in Online Short Film Contest of I&B Ministry & NFDC

• Short film ‘Am I?’ has won the first prize in the Online Short Film Contest that was organized by Information and Broadcasting Ministry along with NFDC - National Film Development Corporation.

• The film has been directed by Abhijit Paul.

Obituary

Former Indian cricketer Gopala swamy Kasturirangan passes away

• Former Cricketer, Administrator and Pitch Curator, Gopala swamy Iyenger Kasturirangan passed away.

• He began his career in the 1948-49 season representing Mysore in the Ranji Trophy and retired from first-class cricket after the 1962-63 season.

• Kasturirangan was also the former BCCI Curator and Vice President of  Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA).

Sports

INOX Group becomes sponsor of Indian team for Tokyo Olympics

• The governing body for the Olympic Movement in India, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and INOX Group has signed a sponsorship agreement to support Team India for Tokyo Olympics, which was rescheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

• The partnership agreement will further support team India’s promotions through the Group’s entertainment company, Inox Leisure Limited.

Appointments and Resignations

Rajiv Kumar appointed as new Election Commissioner

• Former finance secretary Rajiv Kumar has been appointed new election commissioner. He will replace Ashok Lavasa, who resigned earlier this week. Mr Kumar will take charge the day Mr Lavasa leaves his office on August 31.

•  Rajiv Kumar is a 1984-batch IAS officer from Jharkhand cadre. He was designated as finance secretary in July 2019 and during his tenure he played a major role in merging 10 public sector banks into four. He has also served as establishment officer (EO) in the personnel ministry.

Equatorial Guinea Re-elects Francisco Asue as PM of the country

• Francisco Asue has been reappointed as Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea.

• This is Asue’s third consecutive term as PM. He was first appointed as PM of Equatorial Guinea in 2016.

Days

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

• The second annual International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief is being observed on 22 August 22, 2020.

• The international day aims to remember the victims and survivors of evil acts on the basis of or in the name of religion or belief.

• The day was adopted at the 73rd UN General Assembly on 28 May 2019 as proposed by Poland.

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Important Current Affairs 21st August 2020

National

Tribal Affairs Minister launches “Trifood Project” of TRIFED

• The tertiary processing centres of “Trifood Project” of TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been virtually launched by the Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda.

• The Trifood project has been launched in Raigad, Maharashtra and Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. This project is expected to help in encouraging the tribal entrepreneurship.

• Two Minor Forest Produce (MFP) processing units will be set up in order to achieve the targets of the “Trifood Project”.

First rockets produced by private sector successfully test fired

• The Indian Army successfully test-fired the first ever privately manufactured Pinaka rockets recently from the firing range in Pokharan, which achieved the desired results by accurately hitting targets.

• The rockets have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL) and are the first ammunition of its kind made by the private sector in India.

• Six Pinaka rockets were test fired as part of the final developmental trials.

• This development will enable Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to do away with its single source dependency on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for the rockets and also boost Make in India initiative.

International

Apple Becomes First U.S. Company to reach  $2 Trillion Market Cap

• Apple Inc. has become the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a market capitalization of over $2 trillion, after its share price climbed above $467.77 on 19 August 2020.

• Apple is also the world’s only second company to hit $2 trillion in market cap.Before this, Oil Major Saudi Aramco was the world’s first and only publicly listed company to reach a $2 trillion market value in December 2019.

• Apple was also the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap.

India, Japan and Australia to launch Supply Chain Resilience Initiative to counter China

• India, Australia, and Japan have started the discussions for the launch of a trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in order to reduce the dependency on China. The initiative which was first proposed by Japan might be executed.

• The officials have been working on the dates to hold the first meeting of the commerce and trade ministers of the three countries. Earlier, Japan through its Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry had approached India and had pressed on the urgency of taking the initiative forward.

• In the light of China’s aggressive moves in the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the Indian government has decided to consider the proposal quite seriously. As per the sources, Tokyo was in favour of launching SCRI by November 2020.

Banking and Economy

Google launches ‘Kormo’ app in India to help people find jobs

• Google has launched its employment application named ‘Kormo Jobs’ in India. It would help millions of Indians to get entry-level jobs. Kormo Jobs will help to provide entry-level jobs to thousands of people, to help those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and young professionals who are looking for jobs.

• Google had first launched the employment application in Bangladesh in 2018 and further expanded it to Indonesia in 2019.In 2019, Google had also tested this app in India but under the brand ‘Spot’ on Google Pay app, which saw more than 2 million verified jobs posted on the platform, including from companies like Zomato and Dunzo.

Appointments and Resignations

Luis Rodolfo Abinader sworn in as President of Dominican Republic

• Luis Rodolfo Abinader has been sworn in as 54th President of the Dominican Republic on 16 August 2020.

• The 53-year-old economist and businessman Abinader succeeds Danilo Medina, who served the country from 2012 to 2020.

Ranking

Swachh Survekshan 2020: Indore ranked 1st as cleanest city

• Indore city of Madhya Pradesh has been ranked as the cleanest city of India under the Swachh Survekshan 2020. It has won the Cleanest city tag for the fourth consecutive year.

• 2020 Swachh Survekshan is the 5th edition of the annual exercise and covered 4,242 cities.The results were announced on 20 August by the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoUHA), Hardeep Singh Puri.

• Surat (Gujarat) and Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra) are the second and third most cleanest city, respectively in the ranking.

India ranked 1st in number of organic farmers, Sikkim 1st state to be fully organic

• India has been ranked first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming.

• Sikkim has become the first state in the world to become fully organic. Other states including Uttarakhand and Tripura have also set similar sustainability targets.

• North-east India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country. The tribal and island territories are also being encouraged to take forward their organic methods.

Days

World Senior Citizen Day

• The World Senior Citizen Day is observed globally on 21st August every year. This day is celebrated to raise awareness about issues affecting older people, such as deterioration with age and the abuse of the elderly and support, honour and show appreciation to seniors and to recognize their achievements.

• The Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1990.

• The World Senior Citizen’s Day also recognises and acknowledges the contributions of older people to society.

International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

• The International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism is a UN recognised day observed on August 21 to pay tribute to the individuals across the globe who have been attacked, injured, traumatized or lost their lives because of terrorist attacks.

• The day was designated by United Nations General Assembly in 2017 and first time the day was observed in 2018.

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Important Current Affairs 20th August 2020

National

Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal to set up a National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

• NRA will be the nodal agency to conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for jobs in the government and state-owned banks. NRA will comprise of representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB as well as IBPS.

•  NRA is expected to be a specialist body which will offer the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment. A sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore has been sanctioned by the Government of India for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

• The NRA will hold online exams every year for non-gazetted government posts and each district will have at least one exam centre. The score in these exams would be valid for three years and the candidate would have the option of taking the exam again to improve the score. The best of the three scores would be used during the selection process.

Banking and Economy

Fino Payments Bank launches Jan BachatKhata

• Fino Payments Bank has launched Jan BachatKhata (JBK), which is an Aadhaar Authentication based digital savings account that brings neo-banking experience to consumers.

• Under the JBK, customers can transact at a Fino branch or merchant point with fingerprint and OTP combination, while at non-Fino points they need Aadhaar authentication.

• Earlier, Fino Payments Bank had introduced Shubh and Bhavishya, subscription-based savings accounts targeted at specific customer segments.

• Neo bank means– A bank without any branches. A bank that is entirely online rather than being physical. Neo banking provides complete digital banking experience through mobile applications.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Reliance Retail acquires majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds for Rs 620 crore

• Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), the subsidiary company of Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has acquired a majority equity stake in online pharmacy Vitalic Health Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries (commonly known as Netmeds) for a cash consideration of around Rs 620 crore ($83.08 million).

• The announcement regarding this was made by the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Reliance Retail Director Isha Ambani stated that the deal is in line with the commitment to provide digital access to all in the country.

• Chennai-based Netmeds is a licensed e-pharma portal, incorporated in 2015, that offers authenticated prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicine along with other health products in India.

Obituary

Computer Scientist Russell A. Kirsch, who Invented Pixel, passes away

• Computer scientist Russell A. Kirsch, the inventor of the pixel, and developer of the first digital photograph. has passed away. He was 91 years old.

• His pioneering contributions to computer science made digital imaging possible.

• He created a small, 2-by-2-inch black-and-white digital image of his son, which was among the first images ever scanned into a computer. Pixels are the digital dots that are used to display photos, video and more on phone as well as computer screens.

Sports

England World Cup winner Laura Marsh retires

• England World Cup winner all-rounder, Laura Marsh has announced her retirement from all forms of cricket. She was a key member of the England Women’s team that won the 2017 World Cup.

• Marsh had played in 103 one-day internationals, 67 T20 and 9 Test matches during her career.

Appointments and Resignations

Rohit Sharma appointed Oakley’s brand ambassador in India

• Sports eyewear brand “Oakley” has appointed Indian cricketer, Rohit Sharma as its brand ambassador for a period of two years in India.

• With this appointment, Sharma joins the likes of athletes such as Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Milind Soman who have endorsed the brand before.

Days

Indian Akshay Urja Day 2020

• Indian Akshay Urja Day or Renewable Energy Day is observed on 20th August every year. Indian Akshay Urja is observed to mark the importance of renewable energy resources in India.

• This day marks the birthday anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India.

World Mosquito Day

• World Mosquito Day is observed on 20 August annually to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented.

• The day also commemorates the discovery made by British doctor Sir Ronald Ross in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans.

Sadbhavana Diwas

• Every year on 20th August, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi is celebrated as Sadbhavana Diwas or Harmony Day. This year on 20th August 2020, we are going to celebrate the 76th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

•  The Indian National Congress instituted Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award in 1992, a year after his death.

World Photography Day

• The World Photography Day is celebrated on 19 August every year to promote photography as a hobby and also inspire photographers around the globe to share a single photo with the rest of the world.

• The first official World Photo Day was observed on August 19, 2010.

• The origin of World Photo Day comes from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Frenchmen Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1837.

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Important Current Affairs 19th August 2020

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to contract 16.5 per cent in April-June quarter

• State Bank of India’s research report Ecowrap expects the country’s GDP to contract by 16.5 per cent during the first quarter of the current fiscal.

• Earlier in May, Ecowrap had estimated Q1 FY21 GDP contraction at over 20 per cent and now pegs it at much lower contraction of 16.5 per cent for the quarter.

RBI releases framework for authorisation of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments

• Reserve Bank of India has released the ‘framework for authorization of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments’ in India.

• This means that RBI has allowed companies/entities to apply to RBI to set-up pan-India umbrella entity/entities focussing on retail payment systems in India. After receiving approval from RBI, the entity may start functioning as an Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments in India just like NPCI.

• Presently NPCI is the only Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments in India.

Awards

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020

• The National Sports Awards Committee recommended cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis champion Manika Batra and Paralympian Mariappan Thangavelu for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020.

Sports

Kevin de Bruyne named Premier League Player of the Season 2019-20

• In Football, the Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been named as the Premier League Player of the Season 2019-20.

• He is the only third Belgian footballer to win the award for the league’s top performer, after Eden Hazard (2014-15) and Vincent Kompany (2011-12).The 29-year-old scored 20 goals in the 2019-20 season.

• Other awards includes:

 Young Player of the Season – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

 Manager of the Season – Juergen Klopp (Liverpool)

 Goal of the Season – Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

 Premier League 2 (PL2) Player of the Season – Curtis Jones (Liverpool)

Dream 11 wins title sponsorship rights of IPL 2020

• The title sponsorship rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been bagged by the fantasy gaming start-up “Dream 11“. The fantasy gaming start-up has bagged the title sponsorship rights for Rs 222 crore.

• This comes after the previous sponsor, Vivo backed out of IPL 2020.The IPL will be held from September 19 to November 10, 2020.

Appointments and Resignations

Ashok Lavasa resigns as Election Commissioner of India, appointed as ADB Vice President

• Ashok Lavasa resigns as Election Commissioner of India to join the Phillippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) as its Vice- President in September 2020.

• Earlier on 15th July 2020, Lavasa was appointed as the Vice President of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Satya Pal Malik appointed as Governor of Meghalaya

• Satya Pal Malik, Governor of Goa, has been appointed as the Meghalaya Governor, succeeding Tathagata Roy. Roy completed his 5-year tenure by serving as Tripura Governor for 3 years and the Governor of Meghalaya for the remaining two years.

• Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has been asked to perform duties of Goa Governor for the time being.

SEBI appoints G P Garg as Executive Director

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said it has appointed G P Garg as executive director (ED).

• Prior to his promotion as ED, Garg was Chief General Manager in Sebi and has handled several assignments since joining in January 1994.

Ranking

IIT Madras Tops Atal Rankings (ARIIA) 2020

• The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has retained the top position in the ‘Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements,’ (ARIIA) 2020 for being the best centrally funded institution in India.

• The premier institute has topped in the list of top centrally funded innovative educational institutes in India for the second consecutive year.IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc Bengaluru and IIT Kharagpur are the among the top five centrally funded institutions in the list respectively.

• The ARIIA ranking was launched in 2019 by the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Education. The objective of ARIIA is to rank higher education institutions and universities in India as per Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Startup, and Development amongst faculty and students.

Days

World Humanitarian Day

• The World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is observed every year on 19 August to pay tribute to humanitarian personnel and those workers who lost or risked their lives while doing humanitarian service. In 2020 we are celebrating the 11th WHD.

• The theme for 2020 WHD is #RealLifeHeroes. The theme is a tribute and a heartfelt thanks to all aid and health workers who have committed their lives to helping others, during this difficult time of pandemic.

 Books and Authors

Former Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam pens book titled “Full Spectrum: India”s Wars, 1972-2020″

• Retired Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam has written a book which throws light on comprehensive account of war and conflict in contemporary India over the past five decades next month.

• The book titled “Full Spectrum: India”s Wars, 1972-2020″ is a sequel to his previous book “India”s Wars: A Military History, 1947-1971″. It has been published by HarperCollins India and will be released in September 2020.

• The new book covers every major operation that the armed forces have participated in since 1972, including the Kargil conflict of 1999

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Important Current Affairs 18th August 2020

National

Ministry of Tribal Affairs launches Tribal Health & Nutrition Portal – ‘Swasthya’

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched the e-portal on tribal health and nutrition named ‘Swasthya’. It is a first of its kind e-portal, providing all health and nutrition-related information of the tribal population of India in a single platform.
  • Apart from this, an e-newsletter on health and nutrition ALEKH was also announced. It is a quarterly newsletter.
  • Opening of National Overseas Portal and National Tribal Fellowship Portal (for inviting online applications for the academic year 2020-21) was another important announcement that was made.

Ministry of AYUSH launches campaign “Ayush for Immunity”

  • The Ministry of AYUSH launched a campaign on “Ayush for Immunity”. It is a three-month campaign and aims to promote Ayush solutions in the entire world for a healthier and happier life.
  • The theme of the event is: accessible and affordable health for all, through Ayush solutions
  • The campaign was rolled out during a webinar that featured the participation of More than 50 thousand people. The webinar was streamed by the Ministry of AYUSH on its new digital communication platform Ayush Virtual Convention Centre (AVCC).

Banking and Economy

MCX to launch India’s first bullion index named “Bulldex”

  • Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), India’s largest commodity derivatives exchange, will launch India’s first bullion index named “Bulldex”, on August 24, 2020. Bullions, viz. gold and silver are already being traded as individual commodities on the country’s premier commodity exchange. 
  • With gold and silver as underlying, Bulldex will have a market lot size of 50 and be a cash-settled futures contract. MCX had tested bullion index futures trade in mock trading exercises in July.

HDFC Bank launches Shaurya KGC Card

  • The largest private sector bank in the country, HDFC Bank, launched ‘Shaurya KGC (Kisan Gold Credit) Card, a loan product for the armed forces.
  • This is the first-of-its-kind scheme meant for the army personnel in the country and is based on the Kisan Credit Card guidelines of the government. This credit card comes with a life cover of Rs 10 lakhs.

Obituary

Renowned classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passes away

  • Indian classical vocalist, Pandit Jasraj passed away. He was born in Haryana in 1930, his musical career spanned eight decades. His performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have become albums and film soundtracks.
  •  Jasraj has taught music in India, Canada, and the US. Pandit Jasraj was an Indian classical vocalist, belonging to the Mewati Gharana. His musical career spanned for more than eight decades. Many of his performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have now become albums and film soundtracks.
  •  Pandit Jasraj was a recipient of India’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri in 1975; Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 and Padma Bhushan in 1999. In the year 2000, the government of India conferred him with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honor in the country. 
  • In 2019, the International Astronomical Union had named a minor planet after Pandit Jasraj. The minor planet is located between Mars and Jupiter.

Filmmaker Nishikant Kamat passes away

  • Director-actor Nishikant Kamat passed away. He made his directorial debut in 2005 with Marathi movie Dombivali Fast, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi. 
  • Nishikant had directed some popular Bollywood movies like Force, Drishyam, and Madaari. He made his silver screen debut in 2004 with the Hindi movie Hava Aney Dey. In 2008, Kamat helmed his first Bollywood film Mumbai Meri Jaan. 
  • As an actor, he was known for his performances in Daddy, Rocky Handsome, Julie 2, and Bhavesh Joshi.

Appointments and Resignations

Rakesh Asthana becomes new DG of BSF

  • The government of India has appointed Rakesh Asthana as the new director-general of the Border Security Force (BSF). Currently, DG Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) chief S S Deswal was holding the additional charge of BSF since March this year.
  • Asthana is currently heading the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) with an additional charge of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

The central bank of India appoints Ashwini Kumar Shukla as Chief Risk Officer

  • The central bank of India has appointed Mr. Ashwini Kumar Shukla as Chief Risk Officer.
  • As part of the reform agenda announced by the Ministry of Finance last year in August 2019, the Central bank of India is the first one to appoint a CRO from the market.
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Important Current Affairs 17th August 2020

National

PM Modi Announces One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative

  • PM Modi in his speech of Independence Day 2020, announced the “One Sun, One World, One Grid” (OSOWOG) plan. Under this, there will be a trans-national electricity grid, for supplying solar power across the globe.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced this idea of OSOWOG in 2018 during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • As per the draft plan prepared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the OSOWOG will connect 140 countries through a common grid that will be used to transfer solar power.

International

European Union’s 1-Million-Euro ‘Nirmanshree’ Project To Skill Women In Housing Sector

  • European Union has launched project ’Nirman shree’ for enhancing the women skill towards housing construction sector. This is the first-of-its-kind sustainable housing on a large scale in India with 1-million-euro.The project will be implemented in Beed and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra and the Dhenkanal and Jajpur districts of Odisha.
  • A non-profit organisation, Habitat for Humanity India has also join hands with EU for funding this project.
  • The total cost of the project is EUR 9,49,694 (INR 7,40,85,628 or US$1,075,307).90 percent of fund provides by EU and remaining 10 percent will be issued by Habitat for Humanity India.
  • 3,000 women will be trained for technical and entrepreneurial skills in housing sector which focus on area such as masonry, plumbing and electrical fitting, among others.

Science and Technology

Chandrayaan-2 captures crater on Moon, ISRO names it after Vikram Sarabhai

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday announced that Chandryaan-2 has captured images of the Moon, and named one of the craters after Vikram Sarabhai. Sarabhai is the father of the Indian space programme.
  • Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said that it is a fitting tribute to his legacy, who completed his birth centenary year on August 12. Singh also lauded the the achievements of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which has put India in a leading position for space research.
  • The Sarabhai Crater is around 250 to 300 kilometres east of the crater where the Apollo 17 and Luna 21 Missions had landed.

ISRO and IISc Researchers develops sustainable process for making ‘Space Bricks’ on Moon

  • Team of researchers of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru, Karnataka and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures named “Space Bricks” on the surface of the moon. The process uses the lunar soil, bacteria and guar beans to make the space brick.
  • The process uses the Urea – sourced from human urine and lunar soil as the raw materials for the construction on the lunar surface which reduces the overall expenditure.

Obituary

Former Indian cricketer and Uttar Pradesh Minister Chetan Chauhan

  • Former Indian cricketer and Uttar Pradesh minister ChetanChauhan has passed away due to multiple organ failure. He was 73.
  • Chauhan played 40 Tests matches for India, during his 12-year-long cricket career, scoring 2084 runs with 16 half-centuries and two wickets.
  • He was Minister for youth and sports in the state of Uttar Pradesh Cabinet in 2018 and has also served as Minister of Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, PRD and Civil Security in the UP Cabinet.

Sports

Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2020

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix 2020 held on August 16, 2020. This was his 4th win of the season and the 88th win of his career.
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) came second followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) at third.

Appointments and Resignations

Kaushik Khona appointed as CEO of GoAir

  • Kaushik Khona has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of GoAir. He will replace Vinay Dube.
  • GoAir is an Indian low-cost airline based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by the Indian business conglomerate Wadia Group.
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Important Current Affairs 16th August 2020

National 

GoI launches National Digital Health Mission

  • While addressing the nation on 15 August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of a new campaign called National Digital Health Mission, under which all Indians will be given health IDs.
  • This Health ID will work as each Indian’s health account. Every test, disease and diagnosis, medicines prescribed by doctors and medical reports along with medicines will be stored in every citizen’s health ID.
  • The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), has been launched under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
  • It is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country.

All villages to be connected with optical fibre in next 1,000 days: PM Modi

  • PM Modi in his speech of Independence Day 2020, made the announcement that the project to connect all the villages of India with optical fibre network will be completed in the next 1,000 days.
  • Under this project, more than six lakh villages will be connected with optical fibre network in the coming 1,000 days in India.
  • Apart from this, a high-speed internet connectivity via submarine optical fibre cable will be extended to Lakshadweep in the next 1,000 days to provide high-speed internet services in the region.

NITI Aayog’s AIM, NASSCOM launch Artificial Intelligence Step-up modules for school students

  • On August 14, 2020 National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)’s Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) in collaboration with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has launched Artificial Intelligence(AI) based Step-up module for school students.
  • The module was launched in a virtual platform attended by CEO NITI Aayog Mr Amitabh Kant, Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission Mr R Ramanan and NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh.

Banking and Economy

Punjab National Bank launches campaign named ‘DIGITAL APNAYEN’

  • Punjab National Bank has launched a campaign named ‘DIGITAL APNAYEN’ to encourage customers to use digital banking channels. The campaign launched by the bank’s Managing Director S S. Mallikarjuna Rao on the occasion of Independence Day is till March 31, 2021. 
  • PNB encourage customers to use digital channels and participate in the noble cause of donating to the PM CARES Fund for C-19.

Barclays Slashes India’s GDP growth to -6% in FY21

  • Barclays has predicted India’s GDP to contract by 6% in 2020-21 (FY21). Earlier it had estimated a contraction of 3.2%.
  • The reason for this downward revision of GDP is India’s rising C-19 infection curve.
  • For FY22, Barclays has predicted India’s GDP at 7% as compared to 7.4% earlier.

LIC starts ‘Special Revival Campaign’ to revive lapsed policies

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has announced a special scheme to revive lapsed policies named ‘Special Revival Campaign’.
  • Those policies that have lapsed during the premium- paying term and not completed policy term as on the date of revival, are eligible to be revived during the campaign.
  • The campaign is launched to benefit those policyholders who were not able to pay the premium due to unavoidable circumstances and their policy lapsed.
  • The policies of specific eligible plans can be revived within five years from the date of the first unpaid premium subject to certain terms and conditions.

Sports

MS Dhoni retires from international cricket

  • Former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni announcement his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020. The 39-year-old World Cup-winning captain made the announcement through his social media account.
  • Dhoni shared this information on Instagram on August 15, 2020 as- “Thanks. Thanks for ur love and support throughout. from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired”
  • Dhoni is the only Captain to win all three major International Cricket Council (ICC) trophies — the World Cup, the World Twenty20 and the Champions Trophy.
  • Since he has announced retirement from International cricket, he will continue to play for Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • Dhoni has been the recipient of many awards including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi KhelRatna award in 2007 and the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has emerged as one of India's most successful cricket captains.

Suresh Raina retires from International Cricket

  • Suresh Raina, a renowned Indian Cricket player has announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020. 
  • His announcement came right after MS Dhoni's announcement of retirement from international cricket. Suresh Raina informed about his decision through his Instagram account, which shocked millions of his fans all around the country. 
  • He also especially acknowledged playing with MS Dhoni and mentioned that with pride he has decided to join in the journey of retirement with the former captain of the Indian Cricket team.
  • Suresh Raina became the first batsman in the world and the first Indian to hit the T20I century. He is also the only Indian to score centuries in both T20I and ODI World Cup.
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Important Current Affairs 15th August 2020

National

India celebrates its 74th Independence Day

• One of the largest democracies in the world, India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on 15th of August, 2020. This day is celebrated to pay tribute and to remember the sacrifice and struggle of our brave heroes in the fight for freedom.

• The main function was held at the Red Fort of the national capital where Prime Minister hoisted the National Flag.Various cultural programs involving schools and organisations are held in Delhi. But this year due to the C-19 the celebrations will be different.All states and government offices have been ordered to webcast their events.

'Air India One' to be handed over to India soon

• A joint team of senior officials of Air India, security officers, and senior government officials has left for the United States to accept the delivery of the Special Extra Section Flight (SESF) or VVIP aircraft Air India One.

• One out of the total two Boeing-777 ER aircraft is ready for delivery in August to India. The Air India One has been specially designed for the Prime Minister, President and Vice President of India.

• Air India One is equipped with an advance and secure communication system which allows availing audio and video communication function at mid-air without hacked or taped. Air India will receive the aircraft and later hand it over to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Sports Ministry organises Fit India Freedom Run during 15 August to 2 October

• Union Sports Ministry will be organising the ‘Fit India Freedom Run’ from 15th August to 2nd October 2020. The largest country-wide run was launched by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

•  In order to ensure social distancing amid the C-19 situation, people have been advised to run at their own pace anytime and anywhere.

AIM & NIITI Ayog with Dell Technologies launched Student Entrepreneurship 2.0 Programme

• Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, in collaboration with Dell Technologies has launched Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0 (SEP 2.0) for young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs).The programme was launched following the success of SEP 1.0.

• SEP 2.0 will allow student innovators to work closely with Dell volunteers. The students will receive mentor support, end-user feedback, prototyping and testing support, intellectual property registration and patenting of ideas, processes, and products, manufacturing support, and the launch support of the product in the market.

• The main objective of the programme aims to create over a million neoteric innovators and potential job creators of the country.

Banking and Economy

RBI approves Rs 57,128 crore as surplus to the Central Government for 2019-20

• The Reserve Bank of India has approved Rs 57,128 crore as surplus to the Central Government for the accounting year 2019-20.

• The decision was taken at the 584th meeting of the Central Board of RBI under the chairmanship of Shri Shakti kanta Das, Governor RBI.RBI has decided to maintain the Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.5%.

Awards

ACJ Journalism Awards 2019 announced

• Journalists Nitin Sethi and Shiv Sahay Singh were declared winners of the Asian College of Journalism’s (ACJ) Award 2019 for Investigative Journalism and the K. P. Narayana Kumar Memorial Award for Social Impact Journalism, respectively.

•  The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony by Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organisation(WHO), at the inauguration of the Class of 2021.

• ACJ with the support of the Media Development Foundation has instituted two awards to recognise and encourage the best works of investigative journalism and journalism for social impact produced for an Indian audience.

Science and Technology

India’s first upper-stage rocket engine test-fired by Skyroot Aerospace

• Aerospace startup venture Skyroot Aerospace has successfully test-fired an upper-stage rocket engine, thus becoming the first private company in India to demonstrate the capability to build a homegrown rocket engine.

• The engine is 3-D printed and named as Raman, after the Nobel Laureate CV Raman.

• It has fewer moving parts and weighs less than half of conventional rocket engines with similar capacity.

Appointments and Resignations

Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi assumes charge as DGNO

• Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, AVSM, NM has become the Director General Naval Operations (DGNO). He is a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare and was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 01st July 1985.

• The alumnus of National Defence Academy Khadakwasla, has served on frontline warships of the Navy as Signal Communication Officer and Electronic Warfare Officer.

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