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Important Current Affairs 6th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Ebrahim Raisi is the new President of Iran

• Ebrahim Raisi was officially sworn in as the new president of Iran. He won the 2021 Iranian presidential election in June, with 62 per cent of the vote. The 60-year-old Raisi succeeds Hassan Rouhani to begin his four-year term. He is also been the Chief Justice of Iran since March 2019.

• Raisi’s inauguration comes at a pivotal time, with Iran currently in indirect negotiations with the United States over how to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement. Raisi will also face the task of reviving his country’s economy, which has been battered in recent years by the previous US administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions. Tensions in the region are also high following a string of maritime provocations blamed by the West on Tehran.

NATIONAL

Central Board for Indirect Taxes & Customs launched Compliance Information Portal

• The Central Board for Indirect Taxes & Customs launched the Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal at www.cip.icegate.gov.in/CIP. This portal providing free access to information on all Customs procedures and regulatory compliance for nearly 12,000 Customs Tariff Items. The portal will provide complete knowledge of all import and export related requirements for all items.

• CIP is yet another facilitation tool developed by CBIC to empower our business as well as any interested person with up-to-date information on the legal and procedural requirements of Customs and Partner Government Agencies (FSSAI, AQIS, PQIS, Drug Controller etc.) for carrying out imports and exports. The portal would provide at the click of a button complete knowledge of all import and export related requirements for all items covered under the Customs Tariff thereby improving the ease of doing cross border trade.

India nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 22,480 MW by 2031

• India’s nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 22,480 Mega Watts by 2031 from the current 6,780 MegaWatts. There are presently 22 reactors with a total capacity of 6780 MW in operation and one reactor, KAPP-3 (700 MW) has been connected to the grid on January 10, 2021.

• Ten (10) nuclear power reactors with 8000 MW capacity (including 500 MW PFBR being implemented by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited {BHAVINI}) are under construction. Additionally, the Government has accorded administrative approval and financial sanction of ten (10) indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of 700 MW each to be set up in fleet mode.

SPORTS

Tokyo Olympics 2020: R. K. Dahiya won silver medal

• Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged the silver medal after losing in the final of men’s 57kg freestyle category to Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Zavur Uguev. This is India’s fifth medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the second silver of the campaign.

• Ravi Kumar is the fifth Indian wrestler after KD Jadhav, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, and Sakshi Malik to finish on the Olympic podium.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Germany became the 5th country to sign the International Solar Alliance Framework

• Germany became the 5th country to sign the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement after amendments to it entered into force on 8th January 2021, opening its Membership to all Member States of the United Nations. Ambassador of Germany to India Walter J. Lindner deposited signed copies of the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs, the depositary of the Agreement.

• Membership to the ISA was earlier limited to 121 countries, which were partially or entirely located within the tropics. This didn’t allow major solar energy economies such as Germany to join the alliance that is being increasingly seen as a foreign policy tool. The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Hiroshima Day 2021: 6th August

• Annually 6th of August marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima during World War II. The horrific incident took place on August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb named “Little Boy”, on the town of Hiroshima in Japan. This bomb attack was done with the motive to end the Second World War in 1945. This day is remembered to promote peace and spread awareness about the danger of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

• During the 2nd World War which was active in 1939- 1945, the world’s first deployed atomic bomb with more than 9000 pounds uranium-235 was loaded and US B-29 bomber aircraft, the Enola Gay attacked the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. The explosion was so huge that it immediately killed 70,000 people wiping 90% of the city and later on around 10,000 people died due to the effect of radiation exposure.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

“Balakot Air Strike: How India Avenged Pulwama”, written by Navy veteran Manan Bhatt

• A new book titled “Balakot Air Strike: How India Avenged Pulwama”, published by Garuda Prakashan, is written by Navy veteran Manan Bhatt. According to the publisher, the book, “a racy thriller” with “adrenalin-pushing action”, would make readers’ patriotism brim over, while filling them with a sense of gratitude and pride towards the armed forces.

• The book, in its detailed account of the “two epochal events”, claims to capture everything “from moments before the ill-fated CRPF bus was hit, to the cockpits from where precision bombs were triggered and what transpired in those 12 momentous, expectation-filled days.

• On February 26, 2019, Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the Line of Control and destroyed terror launch pads in Balakot in Pakistan. The strikes were undertaken days after 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

WB received four SKOCH awards under the Ease of Doing Business initiative

• The government of West Bengal has received four SKOCH awards for its schemes under the Ease of Doing Business initiative. The State scheme ‘Silpasathi’-the online single window portal won the platinum award while the Auto-Renewal of Certificate of Enlistment through the online system for urban areas has received the gold award.

• Online issuance of trade licences in rural areas and the E-Nathikaran: the online system for registration, preparation and submission of deeds have won two silver awards. The state government will ensure that the ease of doing business in West Bengal continues to be one of the foremost in the country.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI imposed Rs 6 lakh penalty on Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Pvt Ltd

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 6 lakh on Bengaluru-based Hewlett-Packard Financial Services (India) Private Ltd. RBI said the statutory inspection of the company, concerning its financial position as of March 31, 2019, revealed, inter alia, non-compliance with the statutory directions on (i) submission of credit information to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits and (ii) submission of credit data to Credit Information Companies.

• The penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in it under the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005, taking into account the failure of the company to adhere to the aforesaid directions issued by RBI.

Reserve Bank of India announced its bi-monthly monetary policy

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced its bi-monthly monetary policy. This is the seventh time in a row that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has maintained the status quo. RBI had last revised its policy rate on May 22, 2020, in an off-policy cycle to perk up demand by cutting the interest rate to a historic low.  The meeting was held between August 4 and 6. The remaining will take place in October (6 to 8); December (6 to 8) and February (7 to 9, 2022).

• RBI keeps the GDP growth forecast for FY22 unchanged at 9.5%.

• RBI to conduct two more auctions of ₹25,000 crores each on August 12 and August 26 under the G-sec Acquisition Programme (GSAP).

• Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, in charge of Monetary Policy– Member, ex officio: Dr Michael Debabrata Patra.

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Important Current Affairs 5th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to scale K2, second-highest peak in the world

•  A 19-year old Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif became the youngest person in the world to reach the summit of K2, the second-highest peak in the world. Shehroze Kashif from Lahore achieved the feat of scaling the 8,611-metre high peak with the aid of bottled oxygen. Before Kashif, Sajid Sadpara, the son of the legendary climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, was the youngest person to have climbed K2 at the age of 20.

•  Kashif also scaled the world’s 12th-highest mountain, the 8,047-meter Broad Peak, at the age of 17. In May this year, he became the youngest Pakistani to scale Mount Everest. Pakistan, Nepal, and China are home to the 14 highest peaks in the world, also known as the 8,000ers. Five 8,000-metre peaks, including K2 and Nanga Parbat, are in Pakistan.

World’s largest star sapphire cluster found in Sri Lankan

•  World’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in Ratnapura, Srilanka. The stone is pale blue in colour. It was found by labourers while digging a well in a gem trader’s home.

•  Ratnapura is known as the gem capital of the country. The sapphire cluster weighs around 510kgs or 2.5 million carats. It has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.

NATIONAL

Indian Air Force inducted second squadron of Rafale aircraft

•  The Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the second squadron of Rafale jets at West Bengal’s Hasimara airbase in Eastern Air Command (EAC). The event included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale to Hasimara, followed by a traditional water cannon salute. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron, which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, Bhadauria urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform.

•  Hasimara is the second IAF base to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed at Ambala Air Force station. India has so far received 26 Rafale aircraft out of the 36 it has ordered from Dassault Aviation. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on 29 July 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of ₹59,000 crores. The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The Rafale jet is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister launched India’s first earthquake mobile app

•  Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami has launched the first-of-its-kind earthquake early warning mobile application, named ‘Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert’. The app has been developed by IIT Roorkee, in association with Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA). Initially, this app was launched as a pilot project only by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, for the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, the project proposal was further extended by the Uttarakhand Government.

•  The Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert is India’s first earthquake early warning’ app for notifying people about earthquake alerts. Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) mobile app can detect the onset of the earthquake and issue warnings regarding an earthquake occurrence in the neighbourhood and the expected time of arrival and intensity at the location to prevent any loss of life.

SPORTS

Lovlina Borgohain Claims Bronze Medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020

•  Indian Boxer, Lovlina Borgohain has failed to reach the gold medal final match. She settles for a bronze medal. This is India’s third medal of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. She lost to Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey by unanimous decision in the women’s welterweight (69 kg) semifinal at Tokyo 2020.

•  Lovlina had already assured India of their first boxing medal at the ongoing Olympic Games when she upstaged former world champion, Nien-Chin Chen of Taiwan, to enter the semis.

Indian men’s hockey team, win bronze in Tokyo Olympics 2020

•  Indian men’s hockey team defeated Germany to win their first-ever Olympic medal in 41 years. India wins the bronze medal in men’s hockey after beating Germany 5-4 at Tokyo Olympics. Before this podium finish for bronze, India last climbed up the Olympic podium in 1980, when it won its 8th gold at the Games.

•  Simranjeet Singh scored two goals for India at the Oi Hockey Stadium, along with Hardik Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh also adding their names on the scoresheet.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

V M Kanade appointed as the new Lokayukta in Mumbai

•  Maharashtra Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari has approved the appointment of retired Bombay high court judge Justice V M Kanade as the new Lokayukta of Maharashtra, on the advice of the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Maharashtra was without a full-time Lokayukta for almost a year. The previous Lokayukta, (retd) Justice M L Tahaliyani had completed his tenure in August 2020.

•  The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption ombudsman. Citizens can make complaints of corruption against any government official or elected representative directly to the Lokayukta, who is tasked with speedy redressal.

K. M. Birla stepped down as Non-Executive Chairman of Vodafone Idea or VI

•  Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has stepped down as the Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Vodafone Idea (now Vi) Board. The Vi Board of Directors have unanimously elected Himanshu Kapania, currently a Non-Executive Director, as the Non-Executive Chairman with effect.

•  Kapania, a nominee of the Aditya Birla Group, is a telecom industry veteran with 25 years of experience. He has also served on the Global GSMA Board for two years and was also the Chairman of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) for two years. He is presently the Chairman of the FICCI Council on Telecom, Electronics and Digital Economy.

Mini Ipe appointed as the Managing Director of LIC 

•  Mini Ipe took charge as managing director of Life Insurance Corporation of India. Ipe is a post-graduate in commerce and joined LIC in 1986 as a direct recruit officer. She has a diverse experience in LIC having worked in various capacities. LIC is India’s 2nd-largest financial services institution with a Rs 31 lakh crore balance sheet, next to the country’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), with assets of Rs 39.51 lakh crore.

•  Before taking charge as managing director, she was executive director, legal department, LIC of India. Mini Ipe was the first woman zonal manager (in-charge) of LIC and headed SCZO, Hyderabad. She has also worked as executive director (international operations), director and CEO of LICHFL Financial Services Ltd. She has also worked as regional manager (P&IR) and regional manager (estate) of the western zone. Ipe joins the team of other MDs at LIC, including Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Raj Kumar and Siddhartha Mohanty.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

India & World Bank sign $250 million project to safe dams and resilient across various states of India

•  The World Bank has approved a USD 250 million projects in India for a long-term dam safety program and improving the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India. The Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2) agreement was inked on between the World Bank, the Government of India, the Central Water Commission, and government representatives from 10 participating states. The project will be implemented at the national level through the Central Water Commission (CWC).

•  At the state level, approximately 120 dams will be undertaken across the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. Other states or agencies may be added to the project during project implementation.

OBITUARY

Padma Shri awardee, author Padma Sachdev passed away

•  Padma Shri awardee and noted author Padma Sachdev, the first modern woman poet of Dogri language, passed away. She received the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2001 and was awarded the Kabir Samman for poetry for 2007-08 by the Madhya Pradesh government.

•  She authored many books in Dogri and Hindi, and her poetry collections, including ‘Meri Kavita Mere Geet’, won her the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1971.

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Important Current Affairs 4th August 2021

INTERNATIONAL

IMF approved $650 bln allocation of SDR

• The Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have approved a record general allocation of $650 billion in IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDR), to help boost global liquidity. The $650 billion SDR allocation aims to support member countries, especially emerging and developing nations, battling the C-19 pandemic and the economic downturn it has caused.

• This allocation is the largest-ever distribution in the IMF’s 77-year history, in terms of monetary reserves assets. The allocation will become effective from August 23, 2021. The newly created SDRs will be credited to member countries in proportion to their existing quotas shareholding in the Fund.

NATIONAL

Ordnance Factory launched new sound weapon ‘TriCa’

• The Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT) in Tamil Nadu launched a new high-tech and low sound weapon called TriCa (Trichy Carbine), a mini version of the Trichy Assault Rifle (TAR). It was unveiled by General Manager of OFT Sanjay Dwivedi, IOFS (Indian Ordnance Factories Service) during a function.

• The lighter and compact weapon, carbine TriCa is designed for the infantry combat vehicle, helicopter crew and security personnel for operations that call for a compact and relatively powerful individual automatic weapon. The weapon is also for paratroopers, police and security personnel guarding highly secure facilities such as airports, and for use by the Special Operation Forces.

European Space Agency launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’

• European Space Agency (ESA) launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’, the world’s 1st commercial reprogrammable satellite into space aboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It is a fully flexible software-defined satellite. The satellite has been developed under a European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat, Airbus & Surrey Satellite Technology.

• A reprogrammable satellite allows the user to repurpose it even after being launched into orbit. It can be reprogrammed in real-time to suit the changing purposes of the user. The Quantum satellite is capable of responding to changing demands for data transmission and secure communication during its lifespan of 15 years and will cover the areas from West Africa to Asia. The satellite will remain in geostationary orbit for its 15-year lifespan, after which it will be safely placed in a graveyard orbit away from Earth to avoid becoming a risk to other satellites.

Fortune Global 500 list 2021 : 7 Indian Companies Featured is the list

• Seven Indian companies have found a place in 2021 Fortune’s Global 500 list. The Fortune Global 500 is an annual ranking of the top 500 enterprises globally, as measured by business revenues. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd is the highest-ranked Indian company on the list in terms of revenue, with revenues of nearly $63 billion. It is placed at 155th spot globally.

• Globally, Walmart has topped the list in terms of revenue for the eighth consecutive year and the 16th time since 1995. China has dominated this years list for the highest number of companies featuring in the list at 143, including those from Taiwan. This is followed by the U.S. with 122, and Japan with a total of 53, respectively.

Operation Blue Freedom

• The government of India has accorded sanctions to Team CLAW to lead a team of people with disabilities to scale Siachen Glacier. It will be a new world record for the largest team of people with disabilities. This expedition is being undertaken as part of ‘Operation Blue Freedom’. It aims to shatter the common perception of pity, charity, and inability associated with people with disabilities and recreate it to one of dignity, freedom, and ability.

• Operation Blue Freedom was launched in 2019 by CLAW Global, a team of former Special Forces Operatives of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The Operation is a social impact venture aimed at rehabilitating people with disabilities through adaptive adventure sports. Moreover, their focus is also to ‘design and implement sustainable large-scale employment solutions’ for people with disabilities, especially in the ‘Environment conservation and Sustainability’ space.

Government of India cuts Mudra loans target to Rs 3 trillion in Financial Year 2022

• The government has set the loans disbursement target under the PM Mudra Yojana (PMMY) at Rs 3 trillion for 2021-22 (FY22). This target is lower than the previous year. For FY21, the target was set at Rs 3.21 trillion. Experts attribute the lower target to increased allocation under the credit guarantee scheme for small businesses.

• Under PMMY, credit up to Rs 10 lakh is provided by banks and non-banking financial companies for entrepreneurial activities to small business units, including for new enterprises in sectors such as manufacturing, trading, services and activities allied to agriculture. The central government allocates annual targets for sanctioning of loans under the scheme. In FY22, loans worth Rs 3,804 crore have been sanctioned by 13 public sector banks (PSBs) as of June 25.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘Leopard Diaries – the Rosette in India’ by Wildlife Biologist Sanjay Gubbi

• Wildlife Biologist, Sanjay Gubbi authored a book about Leopard titled ‘Leopard Diaries – the Rosette in India’, in which he says about the food habits, ecological context, and conservation of Leopard along with the suggestions to overcome leopard–human conflict. The book also details Sanjay Gubbi’s practical engagement as a conflict manager, adviser to the State government, and leopard PR (Public Relations) person. The book was published by Westland.

• Leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the cat family, Felidae. As per the government’s report, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of leopards, about 26 per cent of the total number estimated in the country.

Book “My Own Mazagon” authored by Captain Ramesh Babu

• A new book titled “My Own Mazagon” has authored by Captain Ramesh Babu. The book published by Indus Source Books features the history and story of Mazagon, the island which was merged into a single entity as Bombay. The Book will be jointly released by Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad, (Retd.), CMD Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.

• The Book rediscovers the forgotten history of Mazagon and resurrects the identity of Maza Gaon, or ‘My own Village’. Captain Ramesh Babu retired from Mumbai after serving the Indian Navy at Mazagon Dock. Other books authored by Capt. Babu: “After You Sir: A Collection of School Stories” and “Calicut Heritage Trails”.

RANKING

QS Best Student Cities Ranking : Mumbai, Bengaluru lose top-100 spots

• Mumbai and Bengaluru are out of the global top-100 list and are currently ranking at 106 and 110, respectively in the latest edition of the QS Best Student Cities Ranking. While Mumbai lost 29 places, Bengaluru fell by 21 places in the ninth edition of the rankings brought out by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

• Globally, the results, which enable students to compare 115 premier educational destinations, see London retain its status as the world’s best student city for the third consecutive edition. It is followed by Munich, which rises from 4th to 2nd. Seoul, which jumps from 10th to joint-3rd, shares the bronze-medal position with Olympic hosts Tokyo.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Reserve Bank of India Authorises IndusInd Bank to act as an ‘Agency Bank’

• The IndusInd Bank has been empanelled by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act as an ‘Agency Bank’. As an Agency Bank, IndusInd becomes eligible to carry out transactions related to all kinds of government-led businesses. This decision is based on the RBI guideline that authorises scheduled private sector banks as agency banks of the regulator for the conduct of government business.

• IndusInd Bank now joins few other private banks of the country listed as Agency Bank of RBI, to carry out general banking business on behalf of the central and state government, apart from offering its customers the convenience of undertaking routine financial transactions through its banking platform.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd August 2021

International

Nikol Pashinyan Re-appointed as Prime Minister of Armenia

•Nikol Pashinyan has been re-appointed as the prime minister of Armenia by President Armen Sarkissian on August 02, 2021.

•Pashinyan, the leader of the Civil Contract Party, won the majority of seats in parliamentary elections in June 2021. The 46-year-old Pashinyan was first appointed as the prime minister in 2018. 

Min Aung Hlaing is appointed as interim Prime Minister of  Myanmar

•The Chief of the Myanmar military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has taken over as the interim prime minister of the country. He is also the Chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC) which has been performing the duties of the government in Myanmar, after the February 01, 2021 coup, which overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party.

•This SAC has been reformed as the caretaker government of Myanmar in order to perform the country’s duties fast, easily and effectively. Min Aung Hlaing is also been the commander-in-chief of Defence Services of Myanmar since March 2011. Hlaing has pledged to hold elections by 2023.

National

C-19 Vaccination: Bhubaneswar becomes first Indian city to vaccinate 100%

•Bhubaneswar has become the first Indian city to achieve 100 per cent C-19 vaccination. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) had launched a massive vaccination drive against C-19. This milestone is credited to the BMC running 55 centres at all times for vaccines.

•BMC has a record of around nine lakh people who are above 18 years of age in the city. Which includes around 31 thousand healthcare workers, 33 thousand front-line workers. 5 lakh 17 thousand people are in the age group of 18 to 44 years. Three lakh twenty-five thousand people are above 45 years of age.

Science & Technology

ISRO-NASA joint mission NISAR Satellite will be launched in 2023

•The ISRO-NASA joint mission NISER (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, aimed at making global measurement of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging, is proposed to be launched in early 2023. It is a dual-band (L-band and S-band) radar imaging mission with the capability of full polarimetric and interferometric modes of operation to observe minor changes in land, vegetation and cryosphere.

•NASA is developing L-band SAR and associated systems while ISRO is developing S-band SAR, spacecraft bus, the launch vehicle and associated launch services. The major scientific objectives of the mission are to improve understanding of the impact of climate change on Earth’s changing ecosystems, land and coastal processes, land deformations and cryosphere. NISER is one of the crucial collaborations of the ISRO and NASA. India and the U.S. had agreed upon this mission during then-President Barack Obama’s visit to India in 2015.

Books & Author

Kunal Basu’s ‘In An Ideal World’ will be released in 2022

•Renowned novelist Kunal Basu’s new work of fiction, In An Ideal World, will be released next year, Penguin Random House India (PRHI) announced. The book, scheduled to be released under the publishing house’s ‘Viking’ imprint, is touted to be a “powerful, gritty and fast-paced literary novel” exploring a variety of themes relevant to the current times — college, politics, family, crime investigation and fanaticism.

•According to the publishers, the story of his upcoming book revolves around the disappearance of a member of the Liberal Party of a college in Manhar. The prime suspect of this abduction is the leader of the Nationalist group of the same college.

Banking & Economy

HDFC Bank launched ‘Dukandar Overdraft Scheme’

•HDFC Bank announced the launch of an overdraft facility for small retailers in partnership with CSC SPV. Known as ‘Dukandar Overdraft Scheme’. The scheme by HDFC Bank is aimed at helping shopkeepers and merchants ease their cash crunch. According to the bank, retailers operating for a minimum of three years are eligible for the scheme by providing six months bank statement from any bank.

•HDFC Bank will approve an overdraft limit from a minimum of Rs 50,000 to a maximum of Rs 10 lakhs based on the statements. Importantly, HDFC Bank won’t seek collateral security, business financials, and income tax returns from retailers who apply for the scheme.

State  Bank of India launched ‘SIM Binding’ feature for YONO and YONO Lite apps

•India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a new and enhanced security feature for its YONO and YONO Lite apps, called ‘SIM Binding’, to protect customers from various digital frauds. Under the new SIM Binding feature, the YONO and YONO Lite apps will work only on those devices which have SIM of mobile numbers registered with the Bank. The main aim of the new version of the platform is to provide enhanced security to customers and help them with a convenient and safe online banking experience.

•SBI customers will have to update their mobile app, to get access to the new version of YONO and YONO Lite with enhanced security features.

LIC Cards Services Limited (LIC-CSL) has partnered with IDBI Bank

•LIC Cards Services Limited (LIC-CSL) has partnered with IDBI Bank to launch ‘Lumine’ Platinum Credit Card and ‘Eclat’ Select Credit Card on the RuPay platform. The cards will initially be available to LIC policyholders, agents, as well as employees of the corporation and its subsidiaries. The cards will offer a wide range of benefits to users.

•Lumine and Eclat cardholders will have a credit limit that suits their lifestyles. The cardholders will earn 3 ‘delight’ points on every spend of Rs 100 via the Lumine card and 4 points on the Eclat card.

•The cards also offer a special benefits of 2x reward points while paying the renewal insurance premiums of LIC. The cards also have a ‘Welcome Aboard’ offer for initial customers.

PM Modi will launch e-RUPI digital payment solution by video conferencing

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch e-RUPI, an e-voucher-based digital payment solution, via video conferencing. The e-RUPI initiative will be one of the programmes launched over the years to limit touchpoints between the government and the beneficiary and “ensure that the benefits reach its intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner”.

•e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payments. It acts as an e-voucher based on a QR code or SMS string, which is delivered to the mobile phones of the beneficiaries.

•e-RUPI connects the sponsors of the services with the beneficiaries and service providers in a digital manner without any physical interface. It also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd August 2021

NATIONAL

Haryana govt lowers power tariff by 37 paise per unit for consumers

•Haryana government has announced reduction in power tariff by 37 paise per unit for consumers in the state. The announcement in this effect was made by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar yesterday. With this, electricity consumers will get relief of about 100 crore rupees per month.

•An official spokesman said that the power distribution companies have achieved a substantial reduction in the average power purchase cost of about 46 paise per unit during 2020-21 over the previous year due to better planning and scheduling. This has also been reflected in FSA (fuel surcharge adjustment) calculations done by the state power regulator. Hence to pass this benefit in reduction of cost to the consumers particularly during the Covid time, the state government has decided to waive the 37 paise FSA being charged from the consumers henceforth.

Uttarakhand inaugurates North India’s first Orchid Conservation center

•North India’s first orchid conservation center was inaugurated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, in a milestone step towards the conservation of Orchids, an exquisite, yet threatened plant species, on 30th July (Friday).

•Orchids are a flowering plant species, found in abundance in tropical regions, all over the world.

•Its traces can be found in the Himalayan foothills, in the Indian state of Uttrakhand, and in parts of the northeast.

•The resplendent Orchid flower derives its name from the Greek word (orchis) because of the characteristic features of the root tubers found in some species of the genus Orchis.

Defence Expo to be held in Gandhinagar in March

•Gujarat will host its first Defence Expo, the flagship event of the Ministry of Defence for the domestic and global industry interested in the Indian arms market. The event will be held in Gandhinagar next March, with the theme of ‘India as a defence manufacturing hub’.

•Past editions of the show have been held at New Delhi, Goa, Chennai and Lucknow. The decision to choose Gujarat was taken after interacting with all interested states that gave presentations to the defence ministry. Goa and Telangana had also been shortlisted for the show that brings thousands of representatives from global arms companies, Indian private sector players and officials from the armed forces.

SPORTS

Sri Lanka's cricketer Isuru Udana announces retirement

•Sri Lanka fast bowler Isuru Udana has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday.

•Udana, who played 21 ODIs and 35 T20Is for Sri Lanka in his 12-year international career, in an official statement said that the time has come for him to make way for next generation of players.

•‘’It is with immense pride and passion, and unfathomable commitment that I have represented and served my country.

Vandana becomes first Indian woman to score Olympic hat-trick in hockey

•Vandana scored in the first, second and fourth quarters of India's last match in Pool A of the Tokyo Olympics to etch her names on the history books and become the first Indian woman to score an Olympic hat-trick.

•Vandana Katariya became the first Indian woman hockey player to score an Olympic hat-trick as India beat South Africa by 4-3 at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive. Vandana scored in the first, second and fourth quarters of India's last match in Pool A of the Tokyo Olympics to etch her names in the history books.

Rajasthan Royals owners acquire Barbados franchise

•The owners of Rajasthan Royals have acquired a majority stake in CPL team Barbados Tridents, becoming the third IPL franchise to be associated with the Caribbean league after Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings.

•Royals Sports Group (EM Sporting Holdings Ltd), the owners of the Rajasthan Royals, made the announcement on Friday.

•The two-time CPL champions will be rebranded as the Barbados Royals.

•Royals Sports Group Chairperson, and the Lead Owner of Rajasthan Royals, Manoj Badale, said: “We are delighted to have signed this deal with Manish Patel, to acquire a majority stake in the Barbados CPL franchise.”

OBITUARY

Centenarian sprinter Man Kaur dies of heart attack

•Centenarian sprinter Man Kaur has died of a heart attack, her son Gurdev Singh said on Saturday.

•Man was 105 and is survived by two sons and a daughter.

•Born on March 1, 1916, Kaur was known as the "Miracle Mom from Chandigarh".

•She shot to fame after winning the 100 metre sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland in 2017.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Muslim Women Rights Day 2021:

•Muslim Women Rights Day is observed on August 1. It was on this very day in 2019, the passage of the triple talaq bill in Parliament.This year marks the second anniversary of that historical bill which is officially known as the Muslim Women Act (Protection of Rights on Marriage) passed in the Rajya Sabha.

•The law made the ‘triple talaq’ a criminal offence. It was seen as a crucial step as it ensured Muslim women protection against gender inequality, and empowerment by lawfully bidding adieu to the practice of instantaneous ‘talaq’. Hence the day is aptly held as Muslim Women Rights Day. The law is meant to promote women’s self-reliance, self-respect, and boost self-esteem as it strengthens the fundamental and democratic rights of Muslim women.

World Breastfeeding Week 2021: 01 – 07 August

•The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is marked every year in the first week of August, between 1 to 7 August, to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and infants. The theme of the World Breastfeeding Week 2021 is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”. The annual week is organized by WABA, WHO and UNICEF since 1991.

•Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Cyrus Poonawalla wins Lokmanya Tilak National Award

•Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of the Pune-based vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII), has been selected for the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak National Award for 2021. He has been named for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, by manufacturing the Covishield vaccine. He will receive the award on August 13. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs one lakh and a memento.

•The Lokmanya Tilak national award is given annually since 1983 on August 1, the death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, by the Lokmanya Tilak Trust. However this year the date has been changed due to the coronavirus situation.

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Important Current Affairs 1st August 2021

NATIONAL

Rajasthan Government launched ‘Mission Niryatak Bano’ campaign to promote aspiring exporters in the state

•The Rajasthan government’s industries department and the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) have launched the ‘Mission Niryatak Bano’ campaign to promote aspiring exporters in the state. The campaign is aimed at registering and handholding the local traders willing to expand their business to foreign countries, in six steps. This shall cover assistance from training, securing necessary documentation, registration in Rajasthan Export Promotion Council and even support in exports and trade operations.

•The state government in consideration of the challenges of small businesses had waived off the need for several state-level clearances for the initial three years of upcoming businesses. The exporter assistance campaign shall be another step in helping the local business develop understanding towards the procedures and increase their business.

SPORTS

Rs 1756 cr allocatedunder Khelo India Programme

•The Union Government said, it is promoting sports in 13 states which includes Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern states.

•Replying to supplementaries in the Lok Sabha, Youth Affairs and Sports minister Anurag Thakur said under the Khelo India programme, 1,756 crore rupees has been allocated and 272 sports infrastructure projects are in the pipeline. Across the country, 360 Khelo India Centres have been developed and 24 Centres of Excellence have been identified.

•The Minister informed the house, Sports Ministry accepts the proposal for hosting international sports tournaments and events. Mr Thakur said, this time India’s contingent to Tokyo Olympics is largest ever squad in the history.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Noopur Chaturvedi is the new CEO of Bharat BillPay

•Bharat Bill Payment System has appointed former PayU and Airtel Payments Bank executive Noopur Chaturvedi as its new chief executive officer. Chaturvedi, prior to this appointment, was the country head for small and medium businesses at PayU. In a career spanning nearly two decades, she has worked with Airtel Payments Bank, Samsung, ING Vysya Bank and Citibank in various senior roles.

•Bharat BillPay is an interoperable and integrated bill payment system for online as well as agent-based settlement of recurring bills. On April 1 this year, NPCI transferred all its BBPS mandates to a newly set up subsidiary called the NPCI Bharat BillPay Limited (NBBL), effectively hiving off its automated billing business. Founded in 2013.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle will get prestigious Maharashtra Bhushan award 2021

•The Maharashtra Bhushan Selection Committee chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has unanimously selected legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle for the prestigious award. Asha Bhosle is best known for her playback singing in Hindi cinema, although she has a wider repertoire. Bhosle’s career started in 1943 and has spanned over seven decades. She has done playback singing for over a thousand movies.

•Asha Bhosle was officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. The Government of India honoured her with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Bhosle is the sister of playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and belongs to the prominent Mangeshkar family.

Graphic artist Anand Radhakrishnan won the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award

•Graphic artist Anand Radhakrishnan has won the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, considered the Oscars equivalent of the comics world. The Eisner Awards are given out annually and the award won by Radhakrishnan “Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)” recognises the creator of a graphic novel’s art and images.

•Radhakrishnan shares the award with UK-based colourist John Pearson. They won for their work on UK-based author Ram V’s 145-page graphic novel Blue In Green, published in October 2020 by Image Comics.

•The Eisner Awards were founded in 1988 by American comics editor Dave Olbrich, in response to the discontinuation of the popular Kirby Awards for comics in 1987. The Eisners are named in honour of the pioneering writer and artist Will Eisner. The awards are announced each year at the San Diego Comic-Con.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India’s three biggest private lenders, HDFC Bank, ICICI and Axis pick up stake in blockchain start-up

•Three of India’s biggest private lenders – ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have taken stakes in the blockchain financial technology firm IBBIC Pvt Ltd. HDFC Bank and Axis Bank invested Rs.5 lakh each for the shares. ICICI Bank also said it has subscribed to 49,000 fully paid-up equity shares of face value Rs.10 each of IBBIC constituting 5.44 per cent of the issued and paid-up share capital. It paid Rs.4.9 lakh for the shares.

•IBBIC was incorporated on May 25 this year as a financial technology company with the objective of providing a platform for exploring, building, and implementing distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions for the Indian financial services sector. About 15 banks have come together to set up IBBIC, with an aim to expand the use of blockchain applications in financial sector transactions.

Prime Minister of India launched Academic Bank of Credit and Artificial Intelligence programme

•Prime Minister Modi has launched multiple educational initiatives including the Academic Bank of Credit that will provide multiple entries and exit options for students in Higher education. Academic Bank of Credit is envisaged as a digital bank that holds the credit earned by a student in any course.

•Academic Bank of Credit is a major instrument for facilitating multidisciplinary and holistic education and multiple entry and exit in higher education. Academic Bank of Credit and the Artificial Intelligence programme to make the youth future-oriented and open the way for an AI-driven economy.

Central government’s fiscal deficit touches 18.2% of annual target at the end of June

•The central government’s fiscal deficit stood at Rs 2.74 lakh crore or 18.2 per cent of the full year’s Budget estimate at the end of June, according to data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA). The fiscal deficit at the end of June 2020 was 83.2 per cent of the Budget Estimates (BE) of 2020-21.

•The fiscal deficit or the gap between expenditure and revenue for 2020-21 was 9.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), better than 9.5 per cent projected in the revised estimates in the Budget in February.

•As per CGA data, the government received Rs 5.47 lakh crore (27.7 per cent of corresponding BE 2021-22 of total receipts) up to June 2021. The amount comprises Rs 4.12 lakh crore of tax revenues, Rs 1.27 lakh crore of non-tax revenues and Rs 7,402 crore of non-debt capital receipts. The receipts were 6.8 per cent of BE at the end of June 2020. Out of the total revenue expenditure, Rs 1.84 lakh crore was for interest payments and about Rs 1 lakh crore was on account of major subsidies.

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Important Current Affairs 31st July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Maldives’ Abdulla Shahid won the Presidency of the 76th UNGA, Maldives will hold the office of President at the UNGA

•FM of Maldives Abdulla Shahid won the Presidency of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This is for the first time in the history of the United Nations (UN), Maldives will hold the office of President at the UNGA. Abdulla Shahid’s victory at the UNGA Presidential election is a “proud accomplishment” and “a step forward in elevating the country’s stature on the global stage”.

•Maldives’ decision to join the UN in 1965, immediately after its independence, sparked a debate on how a “microstate”, could possibly contribute to the organisation. Over the years, Maldives has cleared all the doubts by raising its voice on issues of concern and playing a prominent role in the UN as well as in the other multilateral organisations including the Commonwealth.

NATIONAL

36th edition of CORPAT between India and Indonesia is being held on 30 and 31 July 2021

•The 36th edition of CORPAT between India and Indonesia is being held on 30 and 31 July 2021, in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Saryu, an indigenously built Offshore Patrol Vessel and Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Bung Tomo is undertaking coordinated patrol (CORPAT).

•Besides this, Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both nations are also participating. The exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. India and Indonesia have been conducting the Coordinated Patrols along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) since 2002 twice a year.

•The basic aim of CORPAT is to keep the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade and conduct of legitimate maritime activities. CORPATs help build understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitate the institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy.

14 Tiger Reserves of India get (CA|TS) Recognition on the occasion of International Tiger Day

•From India, 14 tiger reserves have received the accreditation of the Global Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS), on the occasion of International Tiger Day on July 29, 2021.

•The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) recognized the ‘BaghRakshaks’ for their efforts in protecting Tigers and forests. The NTCA’s quarterly newsletter STRIPES was also released during the event.

Intel launched ‘AI For All’ initiative in collaboration with Central Board of Secondary Education

•Intel in collaboration with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Ministry of Education, announced the launch of the AI For All initiative with the purpose of creating a basic understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) for everyone in India.

•Based on Intel’s AI For Citizens program, AI For All is a 4-hour, self-paced learning program that demystifies AI in an inclusive manner. It is as applicable to a student, a stay at home parent as it is to a professional in any field or even a senior citizen. The program aims to introduce AI to 1 million citizens in its first year. Partnerships and Initiatives at Intel.

SPORTS

Vantika Agarwal Won the national women online chess title with the score of 9.5 points

•Vantika Agarwal has won the National Women Online Chess title. She scored 9.5 points from 11 rounds. Arpita Mukherjee of West Bengal took the second spot and Tamil Nadu’s Sreeja Seshadri secured the third spot in the competition.

•In the absence of over-the-board events due to the ongoing pandemic, the All India Chess Federation has decided to consider the performance of this online event for the selection of players for the Asian individual championship and other events.

OBITUARY

Former England Cricketer Mike Hendrick passed away

•Former England and Derbyshire bowler, Mike Hendrick has passed away. He played a major role in two of England’s Ashes-series victories and took 87 wickets in 30 Tests for his country between 1974 and 1981.

•Hendrick, who took 770 wickets in 267 first-class matches and 35 wickets in 22 ODIs, was also the first professional coach of Ireland.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Ranger Day 2021: 31st July

•World Ranger Day is observed every year on 31 July to commemorate the Rangers killed or injured while on duty and to celebrate the work that Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage. World Ranger Day offers a chance to support their vital work, which ranges from environmental campaigning to education. The day is also an opportunity to pay tribute to rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

•A Ranger is a person tasked with preserving and protecting parklands and natural protected areas. A Ranger typically refers to a forest ranger or a park ranger. It was on this day in 1992 that International Ranger Federation (IRF) was founded. World Ranger Day was created by the International Ranger Federation and was first held in 2007.

International Day of Friendship 2021: 30th July

•International Day of Friendship is observed globally on 30th July. This day is celebrated to mark the importance of friends and friendship in life. The day also advocates the role that friendship plays in promoting peace in several cultures across the world.

•In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Friendship Day with an aim to forge a strong bond of friendship of people of various countries irrespective of race, colour, gender, religion, etc. The International Day of Friendship is an initiative that follows on the proposal made by UNESCO defining the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems. It was then adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI cancelled licence of Madgaum Urban Co-operative Bank limited Margao

•The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the licence of Madgaum Urban Co-operative Bank Limited, Margao, Goa, as the bank with its current financial position would be unable to pay its present depositors in full. According to the RBI, as per the data submitted by the bank, about 99 per cent of the depositors will receive full amounts of their deposits from the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC). The bank ceases to carry on banking business with effect from the close of business on July 29, 2021.

•The Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Goa, has also been requested to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for the bank. On liquidation, every depositor would be entitled to receive deposit insurance claim amount of his/her deposits up to a monetary ceiling of Rs. five lakh from the DICGC subject to the provisions of the DICGC Act, 1961. With the cancellation of licence and commencement of liquidation proceedings, the process of paying the depositors of the bank as per the DICGC Act, 1961 will be set in motion.

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Important Current Affairs 30th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Vaidehi Dongre crowned Miss India USA 2021

•Vaidehi Dongre, a 25-year-old girl from Michigan, has been crowned Miss India USA 2021 at the beauty pageant. Arshi Lalani from Georgia was declared the first runner up and North Carolina’s Mira Kasari was declared the second runner up. Dongre, who has majored in international studies, won the ‘Miss Talented’ title in the pageant for giving a flawless performance of Indian classical dance from Kathak.

•Former Miss World Diana Hayden was the chief guest and chief judge for the pageant. There were 61 contestants from 30 states participating in three different pageants – Miss India USA, Mrs India USA and Miss Teen India USA. The winners of all three categories get complimentary tickets to travel to Mumbai, India to take part in worldwide pageants.

NATIONAL

Indian chillies, Bhoot Jolokia from Nagaland exported to London

•A consignment of ‘Raja Mircha’, also referred to as King Chilli or Bhoot Jolokia, from Nagaland, has been exported to London for the first time.

•Naga king chilli is constantly on the top five in the list of the world’s hottest chillies based on the Scoville Heat Units. It got a GI tag in 2008. It was declared the hottest chilli pepper in the world by Guinness World Records in 2007.

Kerala police launched ‘Pink Protection’ project

•The Kerala Police launched a new initiative called the Pink Protection project for the protection of women in public, private and digital spaces. The Pink Protection project aims to prevent dowry-related issues, cyber-bullying & humiliation in public places. It has 10 components, one of which is activating the existing Pink Police Patrol system, named Pink Janamaithri Beat.

•They will collect information from panchayat members, neighbours and other locals and hand it over to the Station House Officers for further action.

•The Pink Beat system, in which specially trained women police officers have been deployed, will be present at Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses and in front of schools, colleges and other public places including bus stops.

•Pink control rooms have been set up in all 14 districts to coordinate the activities.

Test Kit “COVIHOME” developed by IIT Hyderabad

•India’s first Rapid electronic C-19 RNA Test kit that allows self-testing at home called ‘COVIHOME’ has been developed by a research group at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. The kit has been validated by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and can be used to check for C-19 trace at the comfort of home.

•This test kit can produce results within 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

•The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has the potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision.

Government announced 27% reservation for OBCs

•The centre has announced 27% reservation for OBCs and a 10% quota for students from the economically weaker sections (EWS) for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses under the All-India Quota (AIQ) scheme. Under the AIQ scheme, 15% of seats at the UG level and 50% seats at the PG level are kept domicile free in government medical and dental colleges against which students from other states to are offered admission while the rest of the seats are kept only for students from within the state.

•This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country. A statement by the government said that the decision would benefit nearly 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 OBC students in PG while it will also impact around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1000 EWS students in PG medicine.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Colliers appointed Ramesh Nair as New CEO for India

•Property consultant Colliers has appointed Ramesh Nair as the chief executive officer (CEO) for India and managing director, market development, for Asia. Nair’s experience and leadership skills will be particularly relevant to its clients in the region and around the world as they seek opportunities in the post-C-19 economy.

•Nair joined Colliers from JLL India, where he held the position of CEO & country head, leading over 12,000 people. Based in Mumbai, Ramesh will partner with Sankey Prasad, chairman & managing director of Colliers in India, to lead the business.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2021: 30th  July

•United Nations observes 30 July every year as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. In 2013, the General Assembly designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.

•The 2021 theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is Victims’ Voices Lead the Way. This year’s theme puts victims of human trafficking at the centre of the campaign and will highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

BIAL signs a deal with IBM for ‘Airport in a Box’

•Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), has signed a ten-year partnership with the company IBM to set up the ‘Airport in a Box’ platform. The partnership is designed to help Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) improve its productivity, automate its information technology services, increase operational flexibility to handle future growth in passenger traffic and reduce costs.

•The airport operator chose IBM Global Business Services, IBM hybrid cloud capabilities and Kyndryl, the new, independent company that will be created following the separation of IBM’s Managed Infrastructure Services business, to design and implement a next-generation architecture with a dynamic delivery model. The new platform will enable it to improve employee productivity, upgrade utilisation of IT assets, reduce costs through streamlined inventory control and improve incident management.

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Important Current Affairs 29th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil’s site received UNESCO World Heritage status

•The Sitio Burle Marx site, a landscape garden in Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro has been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. The garden features more than 3,500 species of plants native to Rio and is considered a laboratory for botanical and landscape experimentation.

•The site has been named after Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape architect whose designs of parks and gardens made him world-famous. The Sitio Burle Marx site was his home until 1985.

NATIONAL

Government will set up center for animation, visual effects, gaming

•The Union Government has decided to set up a National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics for creating a world-class talent pool in India to cater to the Indian as well as a global industry. It will be set up in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said this in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

•In order to support skilled manpower in the animation and VFX sector, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and Film and Television Institute of India run courses on Animation and VFX. The Minister also informed that India has also audio-visual co-production treaties with 15 countries.

Madhya Pradesh government made ‘Devaranya’ scheme

•In order to promote AYUSH in Madhya Pradesh and to link it with employment, the government has made the ‘Devaranya’ scheme. The scheme has been made to provide employment to the people living in the tribal areas of the state. A complete value chain for the production of AYUSH medicines will be developed in the state through Devarnya Yojana. Self-help groups will also play an important role in this work.

•In this, Agriculture Producer Organization, AYUSH Department, Forest Department, Rural Development Department, Horticulture Department, Tourism Department, Agriculture Department, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Department, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion Department and Tribal Affairs Department will work together in mission mode. For this, medicinal plants should be cultivated in the beautiful plains of the villages.  AYUSH and tourism will be brought together.

Puri becomes India’s first city to provide quality drinking tap water on 24 hour basis

•Puri has become the first city in India where people can avail high-quality drinking water directly from the tap on a 24-hour basis. It has enabled the people of Puri to collect quality drinking water directly from the tap. Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.

•The project would benefit 2.5 lakh citizens of Puri and 2 crore tourists who visit the tourist place every year. They need not have to move around with water bottles. Puri would no more be burdened with 400 metric tonnes of plastic waste. Water fountains have been developed at 400 locations in Puri.

Indore selected for International Clean Air Catalyst Programme

•The Indore city of Madhya Pradesh, or the cleanest city of India, has become the only city from the country to be selected for International Clean Air Catalyst Programme. The project will be operated for a period of five years to purify the air in the city with the cooperation of Indore Municipal Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board. Under the project, USAID and partners will work with local communities to better understand local pollution sources and identify, test, accelerate, and scale solutions for cleaner, healthier air.

•Clean Air Catalyst is a new flagship programme launched by The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a global consortium of organisations, led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to combat air pollution in low and middle-income countries by accelerating clean air solutions.

SPORTS

Momiji Nishiya youngest gold medal winners in Olympic

•Japan’s Momiji Nishiya became one of the youngest individual Olympic champions in history when she won the inaugural women’s skateboarding gold at the age of 13 years and 330 days. Rayssa Leal (13 years and 203 days) of Brazil won silver and Funa Nakayama (16 years) of Japan clinched the bronze.

•The youngest gold medalist was Team USA’s Marjorie Gestring at the 1936 games in Berlin. Gestring, only 13 years and 268 days old at the time, won gold in the women’s diving competition.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

(BSF)’s (DG) Rakesh Asthana appointed as Delhi Police Commissioner

•Border Security Force (BSF) Director General (DG), Rakesh Asthana has been appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner, with immediate effect. His appointment comes just three days before his superannuation on July 31, 2021. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has extended Asthana’s service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation or until further order, whichever is earlier.

•Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, had earlier served as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was the Narcotics Control Bureau chief when actor Rhea Chakraborty was arrested in a drugs case in Mumbai. During his stint in the CBI in 2018,  Ashtana was engaged in an unsavoury spat with the then CBI Director Alok Verma. Both the officers were removed from the central probe agency and Asthana was subsequently cleared of the charges.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Tiger Day 2021: 29th  July

•Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day is observed on 29th July every year to raise awareness about the declining population of wild cats and making efforts to conserve them. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. This year marks the 11th International Tiger Day.

•The theme/Slogan for the 2021 International Tiger Day celebration is “Their Survival is in our hands”.

•The Global Tiger Day came into being during the signing of the Saint Petersburg declaration by 13 tiger range countries in 2010 in Russia. The governments of these tiger range countries had resolved to encourage the conservation, protecting natural habitats and double the number of tigers by 2022. Poaching and the illegal trade of tiger body parts like bone, the skin has posed the biggest threat to wild tigers. The demand for tiger body parts has increased the poaching and trafficking of wild cats.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Reserve Bank of India is working plans digital currency pilots soon

•The Reserve Bank of India is currently working on a phased implementation strategy for its own digital currency, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and will launch it in the wholesale and retail segments soon. India is already a leader in digital payments, but cash remains dominant for small-value transactions. RBI is currently examining the scope of CBDCs, the underlying technology, the validation mechanism, distribution architecture and degree of anonymity etc.

•The primary idea for the RBI is to protect consumers from the appalling level of volatility seen in some or many of the virtual currencies that have no sovereign backing. Though the phased rollout of digital currency augurs well for India, it will come with its own challenges.

•Digital currencies are gaining more and more traction by the day, and there are countries that have launched or are going to be launching digital currencies, including Ecuador, Tunisia, Senegal, Sweden, Estonia, China, Russia, Japan, Venezuela, and Israel.

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Important Current Affairs 28th July 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Uzbekistan Will be host the ‘Central-South Asia conference 2021

•Uzbekistan has hosted a high-level International Conference titled “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” at Tashkent. The conference was an initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was attended by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Ministers from Central Asian, West Asian and South Asian countries, including Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar. Delegates from over 40 countries and about 30 international organizations, and heads of think tanks participated in the conference.

•Ashraf Ghani underlined the historical proximity of two regions and the importance of strengthening it on the basis of mutual trust and interests.

•President Mirziyoyev said the world has entered an era of global geopolitical transformations and that the ‘revival of mutual ties between Central and South Asia, where about two billion people live today, is becoming an ever more demanding and objective process’.

NATIONAL

Chief minister of Assam H.B. Sarma lays the foundation stone of bamboo industrial park

•The chief minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma has laid the foundation stone of a bamboo industrial park at Manderdisa Village, Dima Hasao. The project will be implemented with Rs 50 crore from the DoNER ministry. The project, once completed, would usher in a new era in the economy of the region and create vast employment opportunities for the local youth.

•Bamboo produced in Dima Hasao were earlier mostly exported to paper mills, however, with the completion of the park new avenues would open to use bamboo for the production of tiles, incense stick, ceiling etc., which would bring more economic benefit to the people.

Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme

•Union Home Minister, Amit Shah along with chief minister Conrad K. Sangma inaugurated the much-awaited Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme at Sohra in East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya. The Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme was conceptualised by the Meghalaya government and an amount of Rs. 24.08 cr was sanctioned by the DoNER ministry in 2019 under North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS). He also planted tree saplings in Sohra as part of the Sohra Afforestation Project of the Assam Rifles.

•This is a first of its kind initiative of the Government of Meghalaya to bring together the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence officials, and village communities for a novel and humanitarian purpose in the field of Natural Resource Management in a very important and ecologically fragile landscape.

Indian Naval Ship Talwar participated in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021

•Indian Naval Ship Talwar is participating in Exercise Cutlass Express 2021, being conducted from 26 July 2021 to 06 August 2021 along the East Coast of Africa. The exercise is an annual maritime exercise conducted to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

•The exercise focuses on East Africa’s coastal regions and is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security and increase interoperability between the regional navies.

•As part of the exercise, the Indian Navy, together with other partners, shall undertake the training of contingents from various participating countries in various fields across the spectrum of maritime security operations.

Dholavira inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

•A Harappan-era metropolis, Dholavira in Gujarat has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Now Gujarat has three world heritage sites, Champaner near Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan and the historic city of Ahmedabad. Dholavira is now the 40th treasure in India to be given.

•The ongoing 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has already given India a new world heritage site in the form of the Rudreswara/ Ramappa Temple in Telangana, which dates back to the 13th century. This session of the World Heritage Committee is being chaired from Fuzhou in China.

SPORTS

Japan’s Yuto Horigome has won the first-ever skateboarding

•Japan’s Yuto Horigome has won the first-ever skateboarding competition at the Olympic Games, taking gold in men’s street event at the Ariake Urban Sport in Tokyo. Yuto overcame a shaky start to pocket the gold with 37.18 points. Kelvin Hoefler of Brazil won silver in the men’s street skating competition, while Jagger Eaton of the United States clinched the bronze.

•Skateboarding’s inclusion into the Olympics marks a turning point for the sport, which has its roots in youth street culture and has influenced everything from art to fashion.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Basavaraj Bommai will be the new Chief Minister of Karnataka

•The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) legislature party has unanimously elected Lingayat MLA Basavaraj S Bommai as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. The 61-year-old will succeed BS Yediyurappa, who resigned on July 26, 2021.

•He will be sworn in as the 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka on July 28, 2021. Prior to this, Basavaraj Bommai was the Home Minister in the BSY government. He is a two-time MLC and three-time MLA from Shiggaon in the Haveri district.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Nature Conservation Day 2021: 28th  July

•World Nature Conservation Day is observed on 28th July every year. The main objective of celebrating this day is to raise awareness about protecting nature and adopting best practices for conserving our natural resources.

•The Earth is supplied a limited amount of properties that we all rely upon each day like water, air, soil and trees.

World Hepatitis Day celebrated 2021: 28th  July

•World Health Organization is observed on 28th July every year as “World Hepatitis Day”. This day is celebrated to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer. This year theme of World Hepatitis Day 2021 is ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’.

•The date of 28 July was chosen because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus. There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of death, with 1.3 million lives lost each year.

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