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Important Current Affairs 26th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Infosys becomes fourth Indian firm to touch $100 billion market cap

• The shares of Information Technology major, Infosys hit a record high during intraday trading, which helped the company cross $100 billion in market capitalisation. Infosys is the fourth Indian company to achieve this milestone. Reliance Industries (m-cap of $140 billion), Tata Consultancy Services (m-cap $115 billion) and HDFC Bank (m-cap $100.1 billion) are the other Indian firms in the club with Infosys.

• Infosys has been one of the fastest-growing companies in India, providing business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services. In the quarter ending June 2021, Infosys reported a net consolidated profit of ₹5,195 crores, showing a growth of 2.3 per cent.

NATIONAL

Anurag Thakur to start off 'Iconic Week' as part of Azadi Ka Amrit

• Union minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur has kicked off a series of activities to celebrate the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ starting August 23. The series of events will go on till August 29. The activities organised by the ministry will aim to ‘showcase the convergence of the values and glories of the freedom struggle of the past with the aspirations and dreams of a young, new and iconic India’.

• Thakur kicks off the ‘Iconic Week’ which attract participation from across the country under the overall spirit of ‘Jan Bhagidari and Jan Andolan’. During the Iconic Week, the ministry showcases the journey of new India and celebrate the contribution of freedom fighters, including the ‘Unsung Heroes of the freedom struggle, through massive outreach activities.

Ministry of Jal Shakti launched 100 days 'SUJALAM' Campaign

• Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a ‘100 days campaign’ named SUJALAM to create more and more Open Defecation Free (ODF) Plus villages by undertaking wastewater management at the village level.

• The Campaign would help in the management of the wastewater and in turn, would help to revive the water bodies through the creation of 1 million Soak-pits and also other Greywater management activities. The campaign started on August 25, 2021, is part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.

BRICS NSA meeting: Ajit Doval raises cross-border terrorism issue

• The 11th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives Responsible for National Security was held, via video conferencing. The National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval hosted the meeting since India is the chair for the 2021 BRICS summit. The 15th BRICS Summit is scheduled to be held in September 2021. The BRICS meeting of the NSA provided a platform for the five countries to strengthen political-security cooperation.

• Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Gen Patrushev, Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jeichi, South African Deputy Minister of State Security Ncediso Goodenough Kodwa and Gen Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, Minister of State and Head of the Institutional Security Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil attended the high-level meeting.

India-Kazakhstan joint training exercise 'KAZIND-21' to commence on August 30

• The 5th edition of Indo- Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise, “KAZIND-21” will be held from August 30 to September 11, 2021, at Training Node, Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan. The joint training exercise will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan Armies. The Exercise is also a platform for the Armed Forces of India & Kazakhstan to train for Counter Insurgency/ Counter-Terrorism operations in the mountainous, rural scenarios under UN mandate.

• The Indian Army contingent represented by a battalion of the Bihar Regiment consists of a total of 90 personnel led by a Contingent Commander. The Kazakhstan Army will be represented by a company group. The scope of Joint Exercise includes professional exchange, planning & execution of the operation in counterterrorism environment at sub-unit level and sharing expertise on skills at arms, combat shooting and experiences in Counter Insurgency/ Counter-Terrorism operations.

SPORTS

Tokyo Paralympics: Javelin thrower Tek Chand lead India's charge during Opening Ceremony

• Mariyappan Thangavelu, 2016 Rio Paralympic Games gold medalist will be replaced by Asian Games gold medalist Tekchand as the new flag-bearer of India at the opening ceremony. The Paralympic Committee of India reported, “On his flight to Tokyo, Mariyappan came in close contact with a Covid positive foreign passenger.

• Though on reaching the village he has been tested for 6 days and all his reports are negative, but the Organizing Committee has advised not to make Mariyaapan participate in the Opening Ceremony. India will be represented by 54 para-athletes.

OBITUARY

British comedian Sean Lock passed away at 58

• British comedian Sean Lock has passed away. He was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy.

• In the year 2000, Sean Lock had won the gong at the British Comedy Awards for the best live stand-up performance.

Olympian and former national football coach SS Hakim passed away at 82

• Syed Shahid Hakim, former India footballer and member of the last national team that played in the 1960 Rome Olympics, passed away. Hakim ‘saab’, as he was popularly known, was 82 years old. In his more than five-decade association with Indian football, Hakim, a Dronacharya Awardee, has also been an assistant coach to late PK Banerjee during the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.

• Hakim has been a FIFA badge holder international referee having officiated in Asian Club Cup games and was also conferred with the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award. A former Squadron Leader of the Indian Air Force, Hakim was also a Regional Director of Sports Authority of India and his last assignment was as Project Director in charge of scouting before the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Sri Basava International Award for seer of Bhalki Hiremath

• Karnataka government has selected Sri Basavalinga Pattaddevaru, senior seer of Bhalki Hiremath, for the prestigious Sri Basava International Award. Minister for Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar will present the award at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bengaluru. The septuagenarian seer has spent over five decades in the Lingayat religious institution in the Bidar district.

• The centre was set up in 2003 when an abandoned baby from Ujani village near Aurad in Bidar district was adopted. The seer moved the court to adopt the child. The Central and State governments later recognised the centre as an authorised Central adoption resource agency.

RANKING

India emerges as second most attractive manufacturing hub globally

• India has emerged as a global manufacturing hub and effectively surpassed the United States to become the world’s second most desired manufacturing destination. This indicates the growing interest in India by manufacturers as a preferred manufacturing hub over other countries including the United States and the manufacturing giant nation, China. India’s ranking was reflected in Cushman & Wakefield’s 2021 Global Manufacturing Risk Index. The index ranks 47 countries across Europe, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific.

• Based on the most favourable locations for international manufacturing, Cushman & Wakefield’s Manufacturing Risk Index report ranks countries based on a range of factors including:

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Important Current Affairs 25th August 2021

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NATIONAL

NITI Aayog and World Resources Institute India Jointly Launch ‘Forum for Decarbonizing Transport’ in India

• NITI Aayog and World Resources Institute (WRI), India, jointly launched the ‘Forum for Decarbonizing Transport’ in India. NITI Aayog is the implementing partner for India. The aim of the project is to bring down the peak level of GHG emissions (transport sector) in Asia (in line with a well below 2-degree pathway), resulting in problems like congestion and air pollution.

• The Forum has been launched under the NDC-Transport Initiative for Asia (NDC-TIA) project. The NDC Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA 2020-2023) is a joint programme of seven organizations that will engage China, India, and Vietnam in promoting a comprehensive approach to decarbonizing transport in their respective countries.

India's Afghanistan evacuation mission termed 'Operation Devi Shakti'

• The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has given a name to India’s complex mission of evacuating its citizens from war-torn Afghanistan, as ‘Operation Devi Shakti’. The name of the operation was known when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar mentioned it in a tweet on August 24 while referring to the arrival of a fresh batch of 78 evacuees in Delhi.

• India began the complex evacuation mission by airlifting 40 Indians from Kabul to Delhi on August 16, a day after the Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital city. So far, India has evacuated over 800 people amid a deteriorating security situation in Kabul and scramble by various nations to rescue their citizens.

Festival Wanchuwa celebrated in Assam 2021

• Tiwa tribesmen perform their traditional dnac eas they take part in Wanchuwa Festival in Assam. This festival is celebrated by Tiwa tribesmen to mark their good harvest. It comes with songs, dances, a bunch of rituals and people clad in their native attires.

• Tiwa is also known as Lalung is an indigenous community inhabiting the states of Assam and Meghalaya and are also found in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. They are recognized as a Scheduled tribe within the state of Assam. They practice Jhum or shifting cultivation.

SPORTS

Shaili Singh bags Long Jump silver in WAU20 Championships

• Shaili Singh claimed the women’s Long Jump silver medal in the World Athletics U20 Championships. Her slight wind-aided effort of 6.59m was only 1cm short of the gold medal jump by Sweden’s Maja Askag but her silver medal ensured that Indian athletics continues to showcase the progress it has been making.

• Shaili Singh’s was India’s third medal in the World Athletics U20 Championships, coming after the bronze won by the Mixed Team in the 4x400m Relay and the silver by Amit Khatri in the men’s 10,000m Race Walk. India finished 21st on the medal table, aware that a gold would have lifted it to the top 15.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

A K Singh appointed as the joint secretary in Ministry of Cooperation

• Abhay Kumar Singh has been appointed as joint secretary in the Ministry of Cooperation. This ministry was recently formed with an aim to strengthen the cooperative movement in the country. The appointment of Abhay Kumar Singh has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by PM Modi.

• Singh, a 2004-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Bihar cadre, has been appointed as joint secretary in the ministry for a combined tenure of seven years against the newly created post.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2021

• The World Economic Forum’s annual Sustainable Development Impact Summit will take place on September 20-23, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s event will focus strongly on inclusively revitalizing economies. The United Nations General Assembly, the summit convenes under the theme “Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery”. It will welcome almost all leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

• The meeting will examine four interdependent areas and bring together communities of purpose to advance ongoing project work.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” authored by Boria Majumdar & Kushan Sarkar

• A new book titled “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” authored by Boria Majumdar & Kushan Sarkar. The Book Published by Simon & Schuster Publisher India Private Limited.

• The Book talks about the short story of several Indian cricketers life events such as Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, R. Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara.

Book titled ‘Battlefield’ authored by Vishram Bedekar

• A book titled ‘Battlefield’ has been authored by Vishram Bedekar, translated from the Marathi original Ranaangan by Jerry Pinto.

• The book is the story of a shipboard romance between an Indian man and a German-Jewish woman, both fleeing Europe before the Second World War.

Book ‘Address Book: A Publishing Memoir in the time of COVID’ by Ritu Menon

• A book titled has ‘Address Book: A Publishing Memoir in the time of COVID’ by Ritu Menon. Menon, who co-founded Kali for Women, India’s first feminist press in 1983, is founder-director of Women Unlimited, an associate of KfW.

• Weeks after the March 2020 lockdown began, Menon started to write a diary.

RANKING

Safe Cities Index 2021

• Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, has been named as the world’s safest city from among 60 global cities, in Safe Cities Index 2021, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Copenhagen scored 82.4 points out of 100, to top the fourth edition of the EIU’s biennial index, which measures the level of urban safety. Yangon is at the bottom of the index, as least safe city, with a score of 39.5.

• New Delhi and Mumbai have found a place in the index. New Delhi is placed at 48th position with a score of 56.1, while Mumbai is at 50th place with a score of 54.4.

World’s top 5 Safest cities

• Copenhagen

• Toronto

• Singapore

• Sydney

• Tokyo

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Important Current Affairs 24th August 2021

NATIONAL

Haryana’s Hisar Airport renamed as Maharaja Agrasen International Airport

• Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has announced to rename the Hisar Airport as Maharaja Agrasen International Airport.

• The Hisar Airport is a domestic airport and the first DGCA licensed Public Aerodrome of the State. This airport is presently under up-gradation to be transformed as an international airport by 30 March 2024.

India’s largest Floating Solar in Andhra Pradesh

• NTPC has commissioned the largest floating solar PV project in India of 25MW power on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. This is also the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilisation Scheme. This scheme was notified by the Government of India in 2018. NTPC is also planning to set up a hydrogen-based micro-grid system on a pilot basis at Simhadri.

• NTPC’s floating solar installation covers 75 acres of the Simhadri reservoir’s surface. It will produce power from more than a lakh of solar PV modules for lighting 7,000 households. The project will annually save 46,000 tonnes of CO2 emission and 1,364 million litres of water, which is adequate to meet the requirement of 6,700 households in a year.

Highest herbal park of India inaugurated in Uttarakhand

• India’s highest altitude herbal park has been inaugurated at Mana village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The herbal park is situated at a height of 11,000 feet was and is close to the Indo-China border. Mana is the last Indian village in Chamoli bordering China and is adjacent to Badrinath temple. The herbal park has around 40 species found in high altitude alpine areas in the Himalayan region.

• The main aim of this high altitude herbal park is to conserve various medicinally and culturally important alpine species and to do research on their propagation and habitat ecology.

• The park has been developed on an area of three acres given by Mana Van Panchayat by the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department.

Finance Minister N. Sitharaman launched ‘Ubharte Sitaare Fund’

• Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched an ambitious ‘Ubharte Sitaare Fund’ -USF for export-oriented firms and startups in a program at Lucknow. The Fund aims at arranging funds for the promotion of micro, small and medium companies. The fund has been set up by Exim Bank and SIDBI. This scheme will be successful in Uttar Pradesh as the state has the highest number of MSMEs.

• India Exim Bank’s Ubharte Sitaare Programme (USP) identifies Indian companies that have the potential to be future champions in the domestic arena while catering to global demands.

• The fund is a mix of structured support, both financial and advisory services through investments in equity or equity-like instruments, debt (funded and non-funded) and technical assistance (advisory services, grants and soft loans) to the Indian companies.

Onam, Harvest Festival celebrated in Kerala

• Onam is the most revered and celebrated festival of Kerala, is celebrated every year by the Malayali community across the world. The 10-day long festival marks the beginning of harvest season as well as the appearance of the Vaman avatar of Lord Vishnu along with the homecoming of King Mahabali.

• The festival begins from Atham (Hasta) nakshatram, and ends on Thiruvonam (Shravana) nakshatram. This year, the harvest festival began on August 12 and will conclude on August 23. The 10 days of the festival are named on the names of astrological stars as per the Malayalam calendar.

• The celebration of Onam begins with Atham. People in Kerala decorates their home with yellow flowers known as Pokkalam.

Finance and Corporate minister N. Sitharaman launched the National Monetisation Pipeline

• Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman has launched the asset monetisation pipeline of Central ministries and public sector entities: ‘National Monetisation Pipeline’.  Asset Monetisation, means a limited period license/ lease of an asset, owned by the government or public authority, to a private sector entity for upfront or periodic consideration.

• The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) lists out assets and asset classes, under various infrastructure ministries, which will be monetised over a period of time. Which means assets will be monetised.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Nakul Chopra appointed as the CEO of BARC India

• Television monitoring agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) has announced the appointment of Nakul Chopra as its chief executive officer (CEO) effective 25 August 2021. Former CEO Sunil Lulla has resigned to pursue his ambition as an entrepreneur. This announcement comes as Sunil Lulla has decided to resign from the position of CEO to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions.

• Chopra had joined the BARC India Board in 2016 and had been elected as the Chairman during 2018-19. In January 2020, he was appointed as a member of BARC’s Oversight Committee. The media and advertising industry veteran had earlier served as the CEO, India and South Asia of Publicis Worldwide for over a decade.

OBITUARY

PT Usha's coach OM Nambiar passes away at 89

• O.M. Nambiar, the man who transformed a village girl P.T. Usha into Asia’s Golden Girl, passed away. One of India’s most famous coaches, Nambiar spotted Usha at a very young age in 1976 and soon began coaching her at the Kannur Sports Division.

• Under his guidance, Usha began winning medals at the Asian level but his best move was making the sprinter switch to the 400m hurdles before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Water Week 2021: 23-27 August

• The World Water Week is an annual event organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) since 1991 to address the global water issues and related concerns of international development.

• The World Water Week 2021 has been organised from 23-27 August, in entirely digital format. The theme for World Water Week 2021 is ‘Building Resilience Faster’.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Paytm & HDFC Bank in payment tie up

• HDFC Bank and Paytm have partnered to build comprehensive solutions across payment gateway, point of sale machines and credit products. This includes Paytm Postpaid which is a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution, Eazy EMI and Flexi Pay. The partnership will also deliver enhanced SmartHub solutions to the market. HDFC Bank SmartHub solutions is an integrated platform offering merchants a one-stop solution shop for all their business needs payments.

• First: HDFC Bank will drive merchant partnerships across India, to whom Paytm will offer its existing range of Android POS devices. Here, HDFC Bank will be the payment partner, while Paytm will be the distribution and software partner.

Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund - World Bank Group

• The World Bank has launched a new ‘Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund’, to better roll out cybersecurity development agenda in a systematic manner. The new fund has been developed as an associated trust fund under the broader Digital Development Partnership (DDP) umbrella program.

• World Bank has partnered with four countries, namely Estonia, Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands, to launch the fund. The main aim of this new fund is to enhance cyber and digital security capability and capacity in World Bank member countries, with the development of global knowledge, country assessments, technical assistance, capacity building and training, along with necessary investments in infrastructure and technology.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd August 2021

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INTERNATIONAL

Ismail Sabri Yaakob is the new Prime Minister of Malaysia

• Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia. Before this, he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

• He will succeed Muhyiddin Yassin as the PM, who resigned from the post after losing majority support in the lower house of parliament. The appointment of Yaakob was done by Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

 NATIONAL

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd launched AI-enabled chatbot ‘URJA’

• Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) launched (after pilot test) an AI-enabled chatbot, named Urja to provide its customers with a platform for seamless self-service experience and faster resolution of queries/issues. URJA is the first such chatbot in the oil and gas industry in India. URJA has been launched under the Project Anubhav of BPCL and it currently supports 13 languages.

• With the objective of making BPCL’s customer interface comprehensive and integrated digitally, Urja, the chatbot is now available on the company website for any queries for both B2B & B2C. Under Project Anubhav, Urja represents an integrated communication platform that connects all BPCL communication to any channel, unifying all customer touchpoints with a single and cohesive voice.

SPORTS

India's ace long jumper Shaili Singh won silver medal

• India's ace long jumper Shaili Singh clinched a silver medal in the women's long jump event at the ongoing World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi on August 22.

• Shaili jumped 6.59m in the third attempt registering her best show in the event to bag the silver while Sweden's Maja Askag won gold with a jump of 6.60m.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

La Ganesan appointed as the new Governor of Manipur

• Senior BJP leader from Tamil Nadu La. Ganesan was on Sunday appointed as the new governor of Manipur.

• Ganesan became the 17th Governor of the state as he replaced the incumbent Governor Najma Heptulla.

• A communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said Ganesan will be the new “Governor of Manipur with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office”.

• Heptulla had demitted office on August 10 and on the same day the charge was given to Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad.

Central Vigilance Commission re-appointed T M Bhasin as Chairman of Advisory Board

• The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has announced the re-appointment of T M Bhasin as chairman of the Advisory Board for Banking and Financial Frauds (ABBFF).

• The panel was constituted to examine bank frauds of over Rs 50 crore and recommend action. The former vigilance commissioner, CVC, Mr Bhasin will now continue to head the board for a further period of two years, with effect from August 21, 2021.

OBITUARY

Former CM of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh passed away

• Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh passed away. He had served as the CM of Uttar Pradesh twice — June 1991 to December 1992 and September 1997 to November 1999 and was the CM of UP during the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He’s a two-time Member of Parliament and a former governor of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 2021 :23rd August

• United Nations observes 23 August every year as “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition”. The Day is observed to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples. 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.

• The day was designated by UNESCO 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.

• It was on the night of 22 and 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

World Sanskrit Day 2021: 22nd August

• World Sanskrit Day, (also known as Sanskrit Diwas), is celebrated every year on Shraavanapoornima, which is the Poornima day of the Shraavana month in the Hindu calendar, which is also marked as Raksha Bandhan. In 2021, this day is being observed on August 22, 2021.

• The day commemorates the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and aims to promote its revival and maintenance. The Government of India decided to celebrate World Sanskrit Day in 1969, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan that falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana.

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief 2021 : 22nd August

• The International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief is observed on August 22 every year since 2019. The 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. It spreads awareness that international communities must work together to achieve justice for the survivors of past abuses by holding perpetrators accountable and demonstrating to governments that action must be taken to ‘never again’ tolerate genocide or other atrocities.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd August 2021

NATIONAL

Indian PM Narendra Modi inaugurated multiple projects in Gujarat

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple projects in Somnath, Gujarat on August 20, 2021, via video conferencing. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism Shripad Naik were also present at the event through video conferencing.

• Somnath Promenade: This project is developed under PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) Scheme, at a cost of over Rs. 47 crore.

• Somnath Exhibition Centre: This centre has been developed on the premises of ‘Tourist Facilitation Centre’. It displays the exhibits from dismantled parts of the old Somnath temple and its sculptures having Nagar style temple architecture of old Somnath.

Facebook India launched “Small Business Loans Initiative” in India with the platform Indifi

• Facebook India has launched the “Small Business Loans Initiative” in India in partnership with the online lending platform Indifi. India is the first country where Facebook is rolling out this programme. The objective of this initiative is to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) that advertise on Facebook to get quick access to credit/loans through independent lending partners. This will make business loans more easily accessible to small businesses, and reduce the credit gap within India’s MSME sector. It is open to businesses registered across 200 towns and cities of India.

• Indifi is the first lending partner that Facebook has tied up with and the programme is built with the potential to bring more partners on board.

• Through Facebook’s partnership with Indifi, small businesses that advertise with Facebook can get loans at a predefined interest rate of 17-20 per cent per annum.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Senior Citizen Day 2021: 21 August

• World Senior Citizen Day is observed globally on August 21 every year. The 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 day was officially founded by the former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan in 1988 to dedicate a day to older adults and their issues.

India Celebrates Sanskrit Week 2021: August 19 To 25

• In 2021, India is observing the Sanskrit Week from August 19 to August 25, 2021, to promote, popularise and cherish the importance of ancient language. In 2021, Sanskrit Day will be celebrated on August 22, 2021.

• The day is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan, which also marks the occasion of Raksha Bandhan each year. World Sanskrit Day was first declared in 1969, by the Indian Government on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards 2021

• The Family Man 2 actors Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni were among the winners of the latest edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards. The IFFM 2021 were held virtually on Friday with several stars from various film industries in attendance. Eminent Indian artists like Shoojit Sircar, Anurag Kashyap, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Sriram Raghavan were amongst the presenters, along with Richa Chadha, Guneet Monga, Onir and others as jury members.

List of winners of the IFFM 2021:

• Best Feature Film: Soorarai Pottru

• Best Performance Male (Feature): Suriya Sivakumar (Soorarai Pottru)

• Best Performance Female (Feature): Vidya Balan (Sherni) & Honourable mention to Nimisha Sajayan (The Great Indian Kitchen)

• Best Director: Anurag Basu (Ludo) & Honorary Mention Prithvi Konanur (Pinki Elli?)

• Best Series: Mirzapur Season 2

• Best Actress in a Series: Samantha Akkineni (The Family Man 2)

• Best Actor in a Series: Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man 2)

• Equality in Cinema (Short Film): Sheer Qorma

• Equality in Cinema Award (Feature Film): The Great Indian Kitchen

• Best Indie Film: Fire in the Mountains

• Diversity in Cinema Award: Pankaj Tripathi

• Disruptor Award: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

• Best Documentary Film: Shut Up Sona

RANKING

Apple, the world’s most valuable company: Hurun Global 500 Most Valuable Companies list 2021

• Apple is the world’s most valuable company (USD 2,443 billion) according to the Hurun Global 500 Most Valuable Companies list 2021. The world’s top six valuable companies remained unchanged as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Tencent.

• Globally, the US-led with 243 companies, up by one; followed by China 47, down by four, Japan was third with 30 and the UK was fourth with 24. While India is ranked 9th with 12 companies.

• Reliance Industries (USD 188 billion) ranked at 57 is the top Indian company in the list. As many as 12 Indian companies found a place among the Hurun Global 500 for 2021 as Wipro Ltd, Asian Paints Ltd and HCL Technologies Ltd made it to the list of 500 most valuable firms in the world, while ITC Ltd dropped out.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Kotak Mahindra Bank launched ‘Neo Collections’ Digital Repayment platform for missed loan repayments

• Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched a platform named ‘Neo Collections’, which is a Do It Yourself Digital Repayment Platform for missed loan repayments. Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched the Neo Collections platform in tie-up with Creditas Solutions. The main objective of this DIY digital repayment platform is to make repayments for outstanding loans more convenient for customers.

• Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, the ‘Neo Collections’ platform delivers a personalised and non-intrusive experience thereby enabling customers to manage their dues seamlessly on their own through an intuitive repayment platform.

NPCI partnered with Mashreq Bank to launch UPI in the UAE

• NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) has partnered with Mashreq Bank to launch the payment system facility of Unified Payments Interface (UPI), in the UAE. Mashreq Bank is the oldest privately owned bank in the United Arab Emirates. This step will benefit the Indian tourists and who travel to UAE for business or leisure purposes to pay for their purchases using UPI-based mobile applications across shops and merchant stores in the UAE.

• This partnership will enable over two million Indians who travel to UAE for business or leisure purposes every year to pay for their purchases seamlessly using UPI-based mobile applications across shops and merchant stores in the UAE.

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Important Current Affairs 21st August 2021

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NATIONAL

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched Defence India Startup Challenge- DISC 5.0

• Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh launched Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 5.0 under Innovations for Defence Excellence – Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO) initiative, on August 19, 2021, in New Delhi. The Ministry of Defence has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for domestic procurement through the iDEX initiative for the financial year 2021-2022. The Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence has approved budgetary support of Rs. 498.80 crore for iDEX for the next 5 years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

• DISC is a platform wherein the Government, Services, think tanks, industry, startups and innovators can work together to help the defence & aerospace sectors reach full potential by creating a strong, modern & well-equipped military and equally capable & self-reliant defence industry.

Faridabad Smart City Limited turns to comic heroes Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu for help

• Faridabad Smart City Limited has roped in an unlikely collaborator to help promote its initiatives on social media – comic hero Chacha Chaudhary. The social media campaign’s objective will be to promote the steps taken by the agency. The initiative will involve excerpts of Talking Comics. Each social media post will depict Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu, his loyal sidekick, guiding and teaching people on effectively using the infrastructure put in place.

• The objective of the social media campaign would be to promote the steps the agency had taken, including the installation of CCTVs for surveillance, traffic rules, road safety, and waste management.

• The Centre has selected 100 cities to be developed as smart cities with each city getting Rs 100 crore per year on an average over a five-year period to complete the developments. Faridabad was selected to be part of the Smart City Mission in May 2016. Faridabad Smart City Limited was “incorporated” as a special purpose vehicle that September.

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Centre for Research & Innovation in AI set up at IIT- Hyderabad

• Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has virtually inaugurated the Centre for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence set up at the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H). He also inaugurated the first Academic Building of the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgical Engineering, High-Performance Computing Centre and High-Resolution Electron Microscopy Facility.

• The Centre for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency-JICA is the best example of international cooperation. The University has an agreement with Honeywell Technology Solutions for setting up the lab.

Delhi-Chandigarh Highway has become the first EV-friendly highway in India

• With a network of solar-based electric vehicle charging stations, the Delhi-Chandigarh Highway has become the country’s first EV-friendly highway in the country. The network of stations was set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) under the FAME-1 (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles) scheme of the Ministry of Heavy Industries. Union Minister of Heavy Industries (MHI) Mahendra Nath Pandey remotely inaugurated the state-of-the-art charging station at Karna Lake Resort.

• The EV charging station at Karna resort is strategically located at the midpoint of the Delhi-Chandigarh highway. It is equipped to cater to all types of e-cars currently in the country.

CM Arvind Kejriwal will inaugurated country’s first smog tower on 23rd August 2021

• Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will inaugurate the country’s first smog tower on August 23, 2021, at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place. The smog tower will clean 1,000 cubic metres of air every second and reduce PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels in Delhi.

• The smog tower will work with full force after the monsoon season. The scientists of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee will accordingly assess the performance of the tower and present a monthly report.

Amazon Alexa launched the voice of the 78-year-old Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan

• Amazon has launched the voice of the 78-year-old Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as a part of its efforts to amuse existing users and attract new consumers to use its voice assistant over Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. With the new launch, the US tech giant has also brought its celebrity voice feature to India. The feature initially arrived in the US with the voice of American actor and producer Samuel L. Jackson in 2019.

• Amazon has made Amitabh Bachchan’s voice available on Alexa at an introductory price of Rs. 149 (MRP Rs. 299) for one year. Once the payment is confirmed, you will be able to start interacting with the actor’s voice. Amazon worked on enabling Bachchan’s voice on Alexa for the last few months. The experience is aimed to please his fans and attract new users to the voice assistant.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO developed advanced chaff technology to protect IAF jets from enemy radar threats

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have jointly developed an advanced chaff technology to safeguard fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from enemy radar threats. Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur, and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune, have developed the chaff cartridge meeting qualitative requirements of IAF. The Indian Air Force has started the process of induction of this technology after the completion of successful user trials.

• Chaff is primarily an electronic counter-measure technology used by militaries worldwide to protect high-value targets such as fighter jets or naval ships from radars and radio frequency (RF) guiding mechanisms of the enemy missiles. The chaff deployed in the air reflects as multiple targets for the missile guidance systems, thus misleading the enemy radars or deflecting adversary missiles. Chaff is a critical defence technology used to protect fighter aircraft from hostile radar threats.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

ISRO: BRICS signed deal on cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing

• Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) signed an agreement for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The pact inked on August 17 enables building a virtual constellation of specified remote sensing satellites of BRICS space agencies and their respective ground stations will receive the data.

• This will contribute in strengthening multilateral cooperation among BRICS space agencies in meeting the challenges faced by mankind, such as global climate change, major disasters and environmental protection. The agreement was signed under India’s BRICS Chairship.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book “OPERATION KHUKRI” authored Major General Rajpal Punia & Ms Damini Punia

• CDS General Bipin Rawat was presented a book “OPERATION KHUKRI” by authors Major General Rajpal Punia & Ms Damini Punia. The book highlights the Indian Army’s successful rescue mission in Sierra Leone as part of the United Nations. The year was 2000, Sierra Leone, in West Africa, had been ravaged by years of civil strife. With the intervention of the United Nations, two companies of the Indian Army were deployed in Kailahun as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

• Operation Khukri was one of the Indian Army’s most successful international missions, and this book is a first-hand account by Major Rajpal Punia, who, after three months of impasse and failed diplomacy, orchestrated the operation, surviving the ambush of the RUF in prolonged jungle warfare twice, and returning with all 233 soldiers standing tall.

RANKING

Crypto Adoption Worldwide: India ranked second in terms of crypto adoption

• India has ranked second in terms of crypto adoption worldwide behind Vietnam, but ahead of countries such as the US, UK, and China, according to the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index by blockchain data platform Chainalysis. This comes even as worldwide crypto adoption grew by 880% between June 2020 and July 2021, according to the report.

• A report by US-based research platform Finder released this month corroborated that the top five countries in terms of crypto adoption were all from Asia.

• The company surveyed 47,000 users worldwide and 30% of those surveyed in India said they owned cryptocurrencies.

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Important Current Affairs 20th August 2021

NATIONAL

Odisha: India’s first state to Provide Smart Health Cards

• Odisha is all set to launch India’s first ‘Smart Health Cards scheme’ covering its 3.5 crore people of 96 lakh families under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. The information for the same was provided by Odisha Chief Minister (CM) Naveen Patnaik while addressing the 75th Independence Day celebrations in Bhubaneswar. The objective behind Smart Health Cards is to provide hassle-free quality treatment at the best available health care facilities. These cards will work like debit cards for a certain amount.

• Through this scheme, Central Government health benefits can also be accessed.

• The beneficiaries of National and State Food Security Schemes, Annapurna and Antyodaya schemes will get this card and henceforth each family can avail treatment cost up to Rs 5 lakh per annum.

India launched “UNITE Aware” Platform in collaboration with UN

• India has launched a tech platform named “UNITE Aware”, in collaboration with the UN, for improving the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers. The platform was launched in the presence of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the UN headquarters. The launch of the UNITE AWARE platform came as India assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council for the month of August.

• India has contributed USD 1.64 million for UNITE Aware. UNITE Aware platform will provide terrain-related information to the United Nations military personnel (Blue Helmets) in the line of duty. India has developed the technology platform in partnership with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support.

All-women team of three armed forces summits Mount Manirang in Himachal Pradesh

• An ‘All Women Tri-Services Mountaineering Team’ successfully scaled Mt Manirang (21,625 ft) in Himachal Pradesh on August 15, 2021, and unfurled the national flag as a part of commemorative activities for ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’, to celebrate the 75 years of Independence.

• The 15-member expedition team was flagged off on August 01, 2021, from Air Force Station, New Delhi, by the Indian Air Force. The team was led by Wing Commander Bhavana Mehra of the Indian Air Force.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Olympian PR Sreejesh is the become the brand ambassador of Kerala adventure tourism

• Olympian Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (PR Sreejesh), goalkeeper and former captain of the Indian National Hockey team is set to be named as the brand ambassador of adventure tourism in Kerala.

• Sreejesh was a part of the Indian Hockey team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. PR Sreejesh hails from Ernakulam, Kerala.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Mosquito Day 2021 : 20th  August

• World Mosquito Day is observed on 20 August annually to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented. This day is observed to highlight the efforts of healthcare officials, NGOs, and others in fighting diseases caused by malaria. On World Mosquito Day every year, awareness is created around diseases caused by mosquitoes.

• This year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the theme of World Mosquito Day 2021 is “Reaching the zero-malaria target”.

• There are several different mosquitoes that act as vectors for different diseases. Aedes mosquitoes cause chikungunya, dengue fever, lymphatic filariasis, rift valley fever, yellow fever, and zika. Anopheles cause malaria, lymphatic filariasis (in Africa).

Sadbhavana Diwas 2021: 20th August

• Every year India observes Sadbhavana Diwas on August 20 to commemorate the birth anniversary of late erstwhile Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. This year on 20th August 2021, we are going to celebrate the 77th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Indian National Congress instituted Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award in 1992, a year after his death.

• Every year this day is celebrated in the memory of the late Rajiv Gandhi who was the youngest Prime Minister of India at the age of 40 years. In lieu of paying tribute to his vision for India, on this occasion contributions to society betterments are made.

• Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister at an age of 40 years after the assassination of his mother Indra Gandhi and served from 1984-89.

Akshay Urja Diwas 2021: 20th August

• Akshay Urja Diwas (Renewable Energy Day) is observed every year on 20 August to raise awareness about the developments and adoption of renewable energy in India. The Akshay Urja Day was initiated by the Indian Ministry for New & Renewable Energy Sources in 2004. Energy such as Biogas, Solar Energy, Wind energy, hydroelectrical power is a few examples of Akshay Urja. The main motive of Akshya urja Diwas is to make people aware that they have to think about renewable energy (Akshya Urja) apart from traditional energy.

• Indian Akshay Urja Day was established in 2004 to support renewable energy development programs and promote its use instead of traditional sources of energy. The very first event relating to Akshay Urja Diwas was organized in New Delhi. In 2004, Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh has released a commemorative stamp, and 12,000 schoolchildren formed a human chain to promote renewable energy. The 20th of August wasn’t chosen at random to be the date of the observance. This day marks the birthday anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Reserve Bank of India is putting in place a Platform for Regulated Entities for (PRISM)

• The Reserve Bank of India is putting in place a Platform for Regulated Entities for Integrated Supervision and Monitoring (PRISM), a web-based end-to-end workflow automation system, to strengthen compliance by supervised entities (SEs). This is aimed at helping supervised entities to strengthen their internal defences and resilience and bringing focus on root cause analysis (RCA).

• PRISM will have various functionalities (inspection; compliance; incident functionality for cybersecurity; complaints; and returns functionalities), with built-in remediation workflows, time tracking, notifications and alerts, management information system (MIS) reports and dashboards.

Reserve Bank of India to introduce ‘Regulatory GAAR’ for round tripping

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come up with a draft rule with modifications in the existing regulation related to foreign investment to discourage round-tripping. The central bank is looking to tweak the existing regulations and has come up with draft rules around round-tripping. Some of the largest Indian companies, startups and multinationals with an India presence have put their outbound investment, fundraising and restructuring plans on hold as the RBI looks to introduce fresh regulations around “round-tripping.”

• According to the draft rule, any investment made outside India is an entity, in turn, invests in India will be treated as round-tripping if the purpose is to escape tax. This is as the same definition and rationale used by the tax department under General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) which companies have been complaining is quite broad in its scope.

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Important Current Affairs 19th August 2021

NATIONAL

Odisha government will sponsor Indian Hockey teams for 10 more years

• The Odisha government will sponsor the Indian Hockey teams for 10 more years after the current sponsorship ends in 2023, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced. The state government started sponsoring the national hockey teams in 2018. The teams have scripted history with their brilliant performance at the Tokyo Olympics,” the chief minister said, handing over a cash award of Rs 10 lakh to each player.

• However, the exact amount of sponsorship deals are yet to be revealed. In 2018, Odisha had signed a Rs 100 crore deal with Hockey India for sponsoring the men’s and women’s teams for 5 years after Sahara India withdrew after getting entangled in legal issues.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army organised a 400 Km “JAZBAA-E- TIRANGA”

• In Jammu and Kashmir, the Army organised a 400 Km “JAZBAA-E- TIRANGA” Relay Marathon. The event was flagged off by Major General Rajeev Puri, General Officer Commanding, Ace of Spades Division, who led the relay, closely followed by other military personnel.

• More than 300 troops took part, carrying the Indian Tricolour all along the Line of Control (LoC). The run inculcated the spirit of brotherhood, as each soldier carried the symbolic National Flag of comradeship across the Area of Responsibility (AOR), handing it over to other units which stand shoulder to shoulder in war.

Uttar Pradesh government will set up ATS training centre

• The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up a training centre for Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) commandos in Saharanpur’s Deoband. According to sources, the government has already allotted over 2,000 square meters of land for establishing the ATS training centre in Deoband.

• Deoband is on the Uttaranchal and Haryana border and it is an important place to help us increase our depth, presence and operation efficiency in western parts of the state.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Priyanka Chopra named chairperson of MAMI film festival

• Actor-producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas was announced as the chairperson of Jio MAMI Film Festival, almost four months after Deepika Padukone stepped down from the position. The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) unveiled its plans for the coming year, edition and the change in leadership.

• Priyanka was unanimously nominated by MAMI’s Board of Trustees which comprises Nita M Ambani (Co-Chairperson), Anupama Chopra (Festival Director), Ajay Bijli, Anand G. Mahindra, Farhan Akhtar, Isha Ambani, Kabir Khan, Kaustubh Dhavse, Kiran Rao, Rana Daggubati, Riteish Deshmukh, Rohan Sippy, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vishal Bhardwaj and Zoya Akhtar.

Mirabai Chanu appointed as the brand ambassador of Amway India

• Direct selling FMCG firm Amway India has announced that it has appointed Olympian Saikhom Mirabai Chanu as the brand ambassador for Amway and its Nutrilite range of products. Chanu will spearhead the company’s campaigns focused on product ranges such as Nutrilite Daily, Omega and All Plant Protein among others.

• Chanu, a weightlifter, won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the women’s 49kg category.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Piyush Goyal chaired the fifth meeting of BRICS Industry Ministers

• Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has chaired the fifth meeting of BRICS Industry Ministers and called for expanding the horizon of the New Development Bank (NDB). India holds the Chairship of BRICS for 2021. This year, India chose the theme of ‘Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’ for its chairship.

• The BRICS ministers called for the need to adopt emerging new technologies, recognising it as an important tool for modernisation and transformation of industry, and promotion of economic growth.

OBITUARY

Tamil actor & popular TV host Anandha Kannan passed away

• Tamil star and popular TV host Anandha Kannan passed away. He started his career with Vasantham TV in Singapore before moving to Chennai where he worked with Sun Music as a video jockey.

• He made a guest appearance in Venkat Prabhu’s Saroja (2008). Anandha Kannan later did a full-fledged role in the science fiction Tamil film Adisaya Ulagam (2012).

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Photography Day 2021: 19th August

• 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. It was on August 19, 1939 that the French government purchased the patent of Daguerreotype process and announced the invention as a gift “free to the world”.

World Humanitarian Day 2021: 19th August

• 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 2021 we are celebrating the 12th WHD.

• The theme for 2021 WHD is #TheHumanRace: a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most.

• 19 August marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. World Humanitarian Day was commemorated for the first time on 19 August 2009, after it was formally recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

SBI Life Insurance launched new-age term insurance policy “SBI Life eShield Next”

• SBI Life Insurance announced the launch of a unique new age protection solution called ‘SBI Life eShield Next’, which ‘levels up’ the protection coverage as the insured achieves life’s major milestones. This means that the policy is neither linked to the stock market nor shares any profit or dividends with the policyholders.

• It is an individual, non-linked, non-participating, life insurance pure risk premium product and works by ‘levelling up’ the required insurance protection, through an increase in sum assured linked to the significant ‘level-up milestones in one’s life, like getting married, becoming a parent or buying a new house.

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Important Current Affairs 18th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Zambia Presidential Election : Hakainde Hichilema won

• In Zambia, opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, of the United Party for National Development, has won the 2021 general Presidential election of the country.

• The 59-year-old Hichilema won with a landslide victory, winning 59.38% of the total vote. He will replace incumbent President Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front. Last year, Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper miner, produced a record output of the metal.

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet resigns due to losing a confidence vote in parliament

• The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet resigned after losing a confidence vote in parliament. The 74-year-old Muhyiddin came to power in March 2020. He will however stay on as a caretaker prime minister until a successor is named.

• The resignations plunged Malaysia even deeper into political turmoil while it contends with one of the world’s worst surges of the virus. The nation of about 32 million people has averaged more than 20,000 cases per day in the last 14 days, and just 33 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. The total death toll from the pandemic in the country is at least 12,510.

NATIONAL

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu Kashmir, Manoj Sinha launched PROOF App

• In Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has unveiled a mobile application named PROOF, to bring more transparency and accountability in the governance system. PROOF stands for ‘Photographic Record of On-site Facility’. The main objective of this app is to monitor the work progress of all the projects allocated to different departments of the UT and ensure timely completion of these projects.

• The app will give a complete pictorial view of the work along with its geographical coordinates i.e. latitude and longitude and user comments on work progress

INS Tabar arrived at Portsmouth in England, Participates in Exercise Konkan 2021

• The Indian Naval Ship Tabar arrived at Portsmouth in England, to undertake the annual bilateral drill ‘Exercise Konkan 2021’ between the Indian Navy and Britain’s Royal Navy.

• The bilateral naval exercise Konkan is being held every year since 2004, to enhance the interoperability, synergy and cooperation between both navies. HMS Westminster of the Royal Navy took part from Britain’s side.

SPORTS

Renowned footwall player Lionel Messi signs for Paris St Germain after leaving Barcelona

• Lionel Messi joined star-packed Paris St Germain after leaving Barcelona, the club where he had begun, after 21 years. Messi, a six-time winner of the Ballon d’Or for Europe’s best soccer player, signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year. Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, commonly referred to as Paris Saint-Germain or PSG.

• Messi leaves Barcelona with 672 goals in 778 appearances, a record tally for one club. His trophy haul includes four Champions Leagues and 10 La Liga titles.

Raunak Sadhwani won the Spilimbergo Open Chess Tournament 2021

• A 15-year-old young Indian Grandmaster Raunak Sadhwani has won the 19th Spilimbergo Open chess tournament in Italy. The fourth-seeded Sadhwani, who hails from Nagpur, remained undefeated in the tournament, with seven points from nine rounds, in which claimed five wins and four draws.

• In the ninth and final round, Sadhwani and Italian GM Pier Luigi Basso finished level on seven points, but the Indian was declared the winner on the basis of a better tie-break score.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Hockey star Vandana Katariya become ambassador

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has announced that Indian women’s hockey team player Vandana Katariya will be the brand ambassador of the state’s Department of Women Empowerment and Child Development. The announcement came at a program organized to felicitate the recipients of awardees of the Tilu Rauteli Award and the Anganwadi Workers Award.

• Earlier, Dhami had announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh to Indian women’s hockey team player Vandana Katariya for her brilliant performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

OBITUARY

Creator of the Maki Kaji, Sudoku puzzle passed away

• Maki Kaji, the creator of puzzle Sudoku passed away at the age of 69 years due to bile duct cancer. He was known as the father of Sodoku and was from Japan. He was the president of Nikoli Co., Ltd., a Japanese puzzle manufacturer.

• Kaji established Japan’s first puzzle magazine, Puzzle Tsushin Nikoli, with pals in 1980. His most legendary creation, Sudoku, followed in 1983.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Puducherry celebrated: De Jure Transfer day

• Puducherry on 16th August celebrated its De Jure Transfer day. Speaker of the Puducherry Assembly, R. Selvam, paid floral tributes at the memorial in Kizhur, a remote hamlet in Puducherry, where the transfer of power took place on the same day in 1962. De Jure Transfer Day is the day it really got independence. The then Pondicherry was under French control well after 1947.

• The treaty of cession signed between the French and Indian governments was ratified by the French Parliament only on August 16, 1962. So on that day the “De-Jure”(The Legal Merger of the UT with the Indian Union) was effected. 178 representatives participated in the referendum in which 170 voted in favour of a merger with India and 8 against it.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Reserve Bank of India launched the Financial Inclusion Index

• The Reserve Bank of India has introduced the Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index), which is a measure of the extent of financial inclusion in India. FI-Index incorporates the inclusion details of banking, investments, insurance, postal and pension sector in India. This was among the announcements made in the first bimonthly monetary policy in April this year.

• The value of FI-Index will range between 0 to 100. Where 0 denotes complete financial exclusion while 100 denotes full financial inclusion.

• Parameters of FI-Index: The FI-Index comprises of three parameters, namely- Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%) with each of these consisting of various dimensions, which are computed based on a number of indicators. In total there are 97 indicators.

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Important Current Affairs 17th August 2021

NATIONAL

75th Independence Day: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar flagged off ‘Operation Blue Freedom’

• The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Virendra Kumar has flagged off a pioneering world record expedition named ‘Operation Blue Freedom’ from Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi on the occasion of 75th Independence Day. The Operation Blue Freedom expedition comprise of a team of people with disabilities from across the country to reach Siachen Glacier, to create a new World Record, for the largest team of people with disabilities reaching the world’s highest battlefield.

• The team of people with disabilities were trained by ‘Team CLAW’, a team of Armed Forces veterans. The expedition was undertaken till Kumar Post (Siachen Glacier). The event was organised by Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, a premier autonomous research body mandated to research and provide policy feed to empower marginalised communities and to bring in Socio Economic transformation in the society.

Prime Minister of India set target to become ‘energy independent’ by 2047

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the target of becoming an ‘energy independent country by the year 2047, the year when India will celebrate the 100th year of Independence. For this, PM has announced a ‘Mission Circular Economy’ that will replace petroleum with other forms of energy to make India achieve self-reliance in energy production by 2047.

• Mission Circular Economy would include a mix of electric mobility, gas-based economy, doping ethanol in petrol and making the country a hub for hydrogen production.

• Modi government has decided to set up the National Hydrogen Mission to make India a new global hub and the exporter of green hydrogen.

75th Independence Day: Government announced ‘Prime Minister Gatishakti Scheme’

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a Rs 100 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti scheme while addressing the nation on the 75th Independence Day from Red Fort. The Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti scheme aims to adopt a holistic and integrated approach in infrastructure growth and create employment opportunities for the youth of the country. The government will soon announce the Master Plan for the scheme, to help boost the productivity of industries, and boost the economic growth of the country, besides creating job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of youths.

• Gati Shakti will be a national infrastructure master plan for our country that will lay the foundation of holistic infrastructure and will lead to an integrated and holistic pathway to our economy.

• The PM Gati Shakti scheme is aimed at breaking the silos between road, rail, air and waterways to reduce travel time, improving industrial productivity, making manufacturing globally competitive, facilitating future economic zones and creating employment.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel announced 4 new districts & 18 new tehsils in the state

• Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has announced the creation of four new districts and 18 new tehsils in the state. The four new districts are: Mohla Manpur, Sarangarh-Bilaigarh, Shakti, Manendragarh. With the creation of four new districts, the total number of administrative districts in the state have reached 32.

• Apart from this, a garden will be developed exclusively for women in every district headquarter and the municipal corporation of the state, which will be known as the “Minimata Udyan”. The park has been named after ‘Minimata’, the first woman MP from Chhattisgarh elected in 1952, who devoted her life toward the empowerment of women and the betterment of society.

75th Independence Day: 75 new “Vande Bharat” trains will connect all parts of India

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the occasion of 75th Independence Day and announced that 75 ‘Vande Bharat’ trains would connect different parts of the country in 75 weeks of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The 75 Vande Bharat trains will connect every corner of the country, in 75 weeks of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, which is being celebrated from March 12, 2021, upto August 15, 2023.

• Presently two Vande Bharat Express trains are operating in the country by the Indian Railways. The first Vande Bharat Express operates between Varanasi and New Delhi and the other Vande Bharat Express operates between Katra and New Delhi.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Adi Godrej to step down from Godrej India board, will be replaced by Nadir Godrej

• Adi Godrej will step down as the chairman of Godrej Industries on October 01, 2021. He will be replaced by Nadir Godrej, his younger brother.

• Godrej Industries (GIL) is the holding company of the Godrej group. Presently Nadir Godrej is the Managing Director of Godrej Industries. However, Adi Godrej will continue to serve as the Chairman of Godrej Group.

OBITUARY

Former international defender Chinmoy Chatterjee passed away

• Eminent India-international footballer Chinmoy Chatterjee, who played for the three Maidan heavyweights in his prime in the 1970-80s, has passed away. He was a member of the Indian team at the 1978 Bangkok Asian Games where they finished fourth in the quarterfinal league.

• Chatterjee played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting, during his domestic career. He also represented Bengal in the Santosh Trophy four times, and became champions in three of them.

West Germany forward Legend Gerd Müller passed away

• Former West Germany forward and the Bayern Munich football legend, Gerd Muller has passed away. At the international level, he represented West Germany, scoring 68 goals in 62 appearances, and at the club level, he played for Bayern Munich, with which he scored a record 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games.

• He was nicknamed “Bomber der Nation” (“the nation’s Bomber”) or simply “Der Bomber”, for his scoring prowess.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

HCL Foundation launched ‘My e-Haat’ portal to empower artisans

• HCL Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of HCL Technologies has launched an online portal, ‘My e-Haat’, to empower artisans and strengthen the value chain of the handicraft sector in the country. The platform will enable artisans and primary producers to conduct their business, by listing and showcasing their products directly to customers, thereby minimising the informal intermediaries and the long supply chains. Currently, more than 30 partners from eight states with over 600 products are listed on the portal.

• The My E-Haat initiative will be a one-of-a-kind model (A2C) where artisans will directly connect with the customer for years to come. This portal would help in bringing the talent of skilled craftsmen from across the country to the world. It will also increase their recognition, appreciation and remuneration.

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