General Knowledge & Current Affairs

August 2020 - 17th to 22nd

1. Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency

  • The establishment of “National Recruitment Agency” has received the Union Cabinet’s approval
  • The National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will result in transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs
  • NRA will comprise of representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB as well as IBPS
  • NRA is expected to be a specialist body which will offer state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment
  • A sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore has been sanctioned by the Government of India for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

2. MoTA partners MoRD to promote sustainable livelihood in Rural India

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs has signed a joint communication with Ministry of Rural Development to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities
  • Through the joint communication, both ministries will together promote sustainable livelihood opportunities among tribal women Self Help Groups (SHGs) under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
  • Ministry of Rural Development will identify and map the tribal women SHG members including their individual livelihood assets while Ministry of Tribal Affairs will offer planning support to SRLM to finalize the State Annual Action Plan and include the same in its Livelihood Annual Action Plan
  • The partnership between the two ministries will support the efforts of each other, such as the initiatives of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and objectives of DAY-NRLM deeply complement each other

3. Uttar Pradesh partners Israel to resolve Bundelkhand Water Crisis

  • Uttar Pradesh government has signed a ‘plan of cooperation’ with Israel government to resolve the water crisis in Bundelkhand region
  • The partnership between the two governments seeks to address the water crisis in drought-hit regions of Bundelkhand
  • It will support regional farmers with latest farming technologies such as drip irrigation, meant for water-deficient regions like Bundelkhand
  • The project will address the water scarcity in Bundelkhand and its adjoining regions and will become a role model for groundwater management, irrigation, and potable water management for the rest of the country
  • According to the signed ˜plan of cooperation’, both governments will cooperate in the field of water utility on the Indo-Israel Bundelkhand water project

4. UK launches £3 Million Innovation Challenge Fund in India

  • An “Innovation Challenge Fund” of £3 Million has been launched by the government of United Kingdom (UK) in India
  • The newly launched fund aims to support research and development (R&D) proposals to address the challenges posed to the economy and the environment, by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Hence, the fund will help scientists in academia and industry to address the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change

1. Luis Abinader becomes new President of Dominican Republic

  • Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona has been sworn in as the 54th President of Dominican Republic.
  • He succeeds Danilo Medina of Liberation Party
  • Abinader’s Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) won the elections with 53% vote, while Gonzalo Castillo who was the candidate of the ruling PLD got 37.7%.

2. Keith Rowley becomes PM of Trinidad and Tobago for 2nd consecutive term

  • Keith Rowley sworn in as Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for a 2nd consecutive 5-year term
  • Rowley is from the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).
  • As per the preliminary result, PNM won 22 of the 41 electoral seats, while the opposition United National Congress (UNC) led by former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar won 19 seats

3. Francisco Asue reappointed as PM of Equatorial Guinea

  • Francisco Pascual Eyegue Obama Asue was reappointed as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for 3rd consecutive term
  • On 14th August 2020, The Asue government tendered the resignation to President Teodoro Obiang, following the criticism of the president
  • A massive explosion took place in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, on August 04, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.

1. MPEDA launches Quality Control Lab in Porbandar

  • Quality Control Lab has been set up by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in Porbandar, Gujarat
  • The Quality Control Lab will offer tests for seafood processors as well as exporters to confirm product safety as per international regulatory requirements.

2. Tribal Affairs Minister launches “Trifood Project” of TRIFED

  • The tertiary processing centres of “Trifood Project” of TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been virtually launched by the Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda
  • The Trifood project has been launched in Raigad, Maharashtra and Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. This project is expected to help in encouraging the tribal entrepreneurship
  • “Trifood Project” is being implemented by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with the Ministry of Food Processing (MoFPI).
  • TRIFOOD seeks to improve the income of tribals with the help of better utilization of Minor Forest Produce (MFPs) collected by the tribal forest gatherers

1. YES Bank launches unique facility ‘Loan against Securities’

  • ˜Loan against Securities’ is a unique digital solution launched by the YES Bank under its loan in seconds platform
  • “Loan against Securities” will enable customers to avail loan facility against the securities that they hold
  • The customers are required only to pledge the securities and not selling them

  • YES Bank will open a current account in the name of the customer in order to conduct smooth transactions
  • The securities eligible under the “Loan against Securities” facility are: Shares, Equity & Debt Mutual Funds, Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP), Insurance policies issued by LIC and select Private Insurance Companies, Non-Convertible Debentures (NCD), Tax free Bonds (RBI, NABARAD, NHAI, PFC, IRFCL, HUDCO, IIFCL, NHB, REC, and IREDA).

2. HDFC Bank launches “Shaurya KGC Card” to members of armed forces

  • HDFC Bank has launched “Shaurya KGC Card” for Indian armed forces personnel
  • The card will offer agriculture loans for military and paramilitary professionals
  • A first-of-its-kind product for over 45 lakh Indian armed forces personnel. The product will target 5 lakh military and paramilitary professionals, for catering to their family’s agricultural needs
  • This product comes with unique features and eligibility criteria specially crafted for the people who are posted far away from their homes
  • “Shaurya KGC Card” entails both short-term loans for cropping and also long-term ones for farm investments for a period of up to five years which will be reviewed at regular intervals

1. Google partners CWC for flood forecasting initiative

  • Google and Central Water Commission(CWC) of India have launched the flood forecasting initiatives across India for the past several months
  • The Central Water Commission is the first governmental partner of Google to measure water levels on an hourly basis using around 1000 stream gauges across India

2. “Pavitrapati” & “Aushada tara” launched to fight against COVID-19

  • Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, DIAT (DU) has launched two products namely “Pavitrapati” & œAushada tara to fight against COVID-19
  • “Pavitrapati” is an Ayurvedic based Biodegradable Face Mask which will act as a virus neutralizer in order to provide resistance against the bacteria/virus. These masks will be made available on online platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc
  • “Aushada tara” is an anti-microbial bodysuit which comprises of superhydrophobic, breathing, anti-microbial, comfort feeling properties. The has passed the splash resistant tests and has got the good repellent property of any fluids


3. MeitY launches “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge”

  • “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge- Innovate Solutions for #Aatmanirbhar Bharat” has been launched by the Union Minister of Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad
  • It aims to invite innovators, startups and students to use two microprocessors namely œSHAKTI (32 bit) and VEGA (64 bit) to develop various technology products
  • SHAKTI & VEGA microprocessors have been developed by IIT Madras and Center for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC) respectively
  • The Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge will provide momentum to the strong ecosystem of Start-up, innovation as well as research in India. The challenge has been made open to students at all levels and startups


1. AIFF partners SAI to launch “E-Pathshala”

  • All India Football Federation (AIFF) has launched the web platform “E-Pathshala” in partnership with the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
  • The platform is an Athlete Coaching Program in football for Grassroots and Intermediate, and has been launched to recognize the creativity and develop the interest of children in football. It has been split into three parts: My Football Culture, My Skills, and My Training
  • The “My Football culture” section comprises of five different aspects namely: My drawing, My goal, My Idol, My Creativity and My story. In this part, participants are required to upload their videos on the website in a particular section
  • The “My Skills” section is for the U-12 age-group and consists of three difficulty levels namely Golden bracket, Silver bracket, and Bronze bracket. In this, participants are required to choose a particular bracket and then upload the corresponding videos which will be evaluated by the panelists accordingly
  • The “My training section” allows the participants to upload their individual or a group video shot along with family, friends or neighbors

2. Dream 11 wins title sponsorship rights of IPL 2020

  • The title sponsorship rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been bagged by the fantasy gaming start-up “Dream 11”
  • The fantasy gaming start-up has bagged the title sponsorship rights for Rs 222 crore
  • It has bagged the rights as Expression of Interest (EOI) was invited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for IPL 2020’s title sponsorship after the Chinese mobile phone brand, Vivo, pulled out of it
  • The title rights bagged by the fantasy gaming start-up “Dream 11” are valid till December 31, 2020

3. Ronnie O’Sullivan wins World Snooker Championship 2020

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Kyren Wilson with a score of 18-8 to win the World Snooker Championship 2020. He has claimed his sixth World Championship title at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre
  • With this victory, Ronnie O’Sullivan has also become the oldest winner of World Snooker Championship since Reardon, who was 45 in 1978. He has also advanced to the second spot in the world rankings behind last year’s champion Judd Trump

1. Renowned classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passes away

  • Indian classical vocalist, Pandit Jasraj passed away. He was born in Haryana in 1930, his musical career spanned eight decades
  • He received several national and international awards in his career
  • Pandit Jasraj was a recipient of India’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri in 1975; Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 and Padma Bhushan in 1999
  • In the year 2000, the government of India conferred him with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honour in the country

2. Computer scientist Russell Kirsch passes away

  • Computer scientist Russell Kirsch who invented the “pixel” and scanned the world’s first digital photograph, passed away
  • He created a small, 2-by-2-inch black-and-white digital image of his son, which was among the first images ever scanned into a computer
  • Pixels are the digital dots that are used to display photos, video and more on phone as well as computer screens
  • Russell Kirsch also developed a technique to smooth out images with the help of pixels with variable shapes instead of the squares

1. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020

  • The National Sports Awards selection committee have recommended four sportspersons for India’s highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020
  • Indian cricketer, Rohit Sharma and wrestler Vinesh Phogat are among the four sportspersons. Apart from Rohit and Vinesh, table tennis player Manika Batra and Paralympian M Thangavelu are the other two names
  • This year’s National Sports Awards ceremony is likely to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Rohit Sharma will be the fourth cricketer after legendary Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to be conferred the award
  • The National Sports Awards include the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award and the Dhyan Chand Award, which are conferred every year by the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29

2. National Sports Awards 2020 announced

  • National Sports Awards are conferred every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports
  • The Government of India has announced the list of winners of the National Sports Awards 2020, as per the recommendation of the Selection Committee headed by Justice (Retd.) Mukundakam Sharma (former Judge of Supreme Court of India).
  • Honourable President of India will confer the awards to the awardees at a specially organized function through virtual mode from Rashtrapati Bhawan on 29th August, 2020

1. Gwalior-Chambal e-way to be named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee

  • On the 2nd death anniversary of the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that the Gwalior-Chambal Expressway will be named Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Chambal Progressway
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first BJP member to become the Prime Minister of India
  • He served as the prime minister in 1996, from 1998 to 1999 and a term of five years from 1999 to 2004
  • Under his leadership, the 1998 nuclear tests were conducted in Pokhran, Rajasthan. In honour of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 25th December is celebrated as Good Governance Day

2. Delhi Police signs MoU with All India Institute of Ayurveda

  • Delhi Police has signed an Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), an autonomous Institute under Ministry of AYUSH
  • The MoU will offer Ayurveda Preventive and Promotive health services in the residential colonies of Delhi Police through a mobile unit named ˜Dhanwantari Rath’ and Police Wellness Centres
  • These sources would be catered by AIIA, supported by the Ministry of AYUSH. “Dhanwantari Rath” is a mobile unit of Ayurveda health care services which comprises a team of Doctors who would be visiting Delhi Police colonies on regular intervals
  • Police wellness centres and Dhanwantari Rath would be outreach OPD services of AIIA. These services seeks to aid the Families of Delhi Police with the help of Ayurveda Preventive health care services

3. India Post issued stamps on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

  • India Post has released a set of five commemorative postage stamps and a miniature sheet on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India on 15th August 2020 on the occasion of 74th Independence Day. This is the third part of the series
  • The stamps depict following five cultural sites of India
    • The Historic City of Ahmedabad
    • Churches and Convents of Goa
    • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
    • Khajuraho Group of Monuments
    • Qutub Minar

4. Santosh Gangwar launches official Logo of “Labour Bureau”

  • Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment, Santosh Gangwar has launched the official Logo of “Labour Bureau”.
  • It displays the three goals that the Labour Bureau aspires to achieve in producing quality data i.e. Accuracy, Validity and Reliability
  • It also indicates that the Labour Bureau is a data-based organization which deals in data pertaining to workers and work
  • The logo of Labour Bureau also comprises of “Blue wheel”, a cogwheel that represents work. The blue colour indicates that the Labour Bureau deals with the blue-collar workers
  • It also includes a “tricolored graph” that matches the colors of the National flag. It also has “wheat ears” which indicates the fruit of rural agricultural labour

1. World Humanitarian Day: 19 August

  • World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is observed globally on 19th August every year
  • This day is celebrated to pay tribute to humanitarian personnel and those workers who lost or risked their lives while doing humanitarian service
  • World Humanitarian Day (WHD) 2020 is the 11th edition of World Humanitarian Day
  • This year World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months
  • Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic

2. World Senior Citizen Day: 21 August

  • The World Senior Citizen Day is observed globally on 21st August every year 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 World Senior Citizen’s Day also recognises and acknowledges the contributions of older people to society
  • The Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1990

1. Kaushik Khona becomes new CEO of GoAir

  • Kaushik Khona has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of GoAir Airline. He will replace Vinay Dube
  • GoAir is an Indian low-cost airline based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by the Indian business conglomerate Wadia Group. Khona brings with himself more than 32 years of corporate experience and all at the CXO level
  • He was with the Wadia Group for almost 4 years from 2008 to 2011. He was the CEO of GoAir for two years, from April 2009
  • Khona was also Vice President, corporate finance and strategist for the Wadia Group. Before joining GoAir for his latest assignment, he worked as a partner to MTalati & Talati LLP, a leading the consulting, business reengineering and finance consulting practise at the firm

2. GP Garg becomes SEBI’s new executive director

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has appointed GP Garg as executive director (ED).
  • Prior to this, he was Chief General Manager in Sebi and has handled several assignments since joining in January 1994
  • He has been closely associated with Sebi’s initiatives on financial literacy and investor education in the country.

3. Rajiv Kumar appointed as new Election Commissioner

  • The Government of India has appointed Rajiv Kumar as the new Election Commissioner of India.
  • Rajiv Kumar will be appointed as the election commissioner œwith effect from the date he assumes the office. He will succeed Ashok Lavasa who has submitted his resignation to the Indian President
  • Rajiv Kumar is a 1984-batch IAS officer from Jharkhand cadre. He was designated as finance secretary in July 2019 and during his tenure he played a major role in merging 10 public sector banks into four. He has also served as establishment officer (EO) in the personnel ministry

1. A book titled “Full Spectrum: India’s Wars, 1972-2020 by Arjun Subramaniam

  • Retired Air Vice Marshal, Arjun Subramaniam has authored a new book titled, “Full Spectrum: India’s Wars, 1972-2020”.
  • It is the sequel to his 1st book, ‘India’s Wars: A Military History, 1947-1971’
  • The book portrays the comprehensive account of war and conflict in contemporary India over the past five decades next month. It will be published by HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt. Ltd
  • The book includes all major operation that the armed forces have participated in, including the Kargil conflict of 1999, insurgencies in the Northeast, terrorism and proxy wars in Jammu and Kashmir, separatist violence in Punjab, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) intervention in Sri Lanka, and the continued stress along the Line of Control( LoC)and the Line of Actual Control(LAC).

1. Flipkart establishes academic collaboration with IIT Patna

  • A Memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by India’s homegrown e-commerce player “Flipkart” with Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Patna
  • The MoU will encourage industry-focused applied research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML). This is Flipkart’s effort towards strengthening its academic collaboration which it has been promoting for the past 5 years now
  • The partnership is expected to bring real-world industry exposure to students and scholars of IIT Patna. It will also offer opportunities to the faculty members to work closely with Flipkart on various research projects
  • IIT Patna will also conduct a number of programs like joint research activities, writing research papers, organizing seminars, internship/mentorship opportunities, etc

2. Atal Innovation Mission signs SoI with Business Sweden

    • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and Business Sweden on behalf of India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre has signed a virtual Statement of Intent (SoI) to expand the culture of innovation in the country
    • The partnership aims to encourage the disruptive potential of Indian entrepreneurs, and to give impetus to the vibrant start-up ecosystem across the country
    • Through this partnership, various initiatives of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) like Atal Community Innovation Centers (ACIC), Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL), Atal New India Challenge (ANIC), Atal Incubation Centre (AIC), and Atal Research & Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE), will receive support with the help of programs, awareness campaigns, various activities and events which will improve the overall innovation grid of both the countries
    • India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre is an association between AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur and Business Sweden. It seeks to create an ecosystem of open innovation in both the countries

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

  • Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) will launch India’s first bullion index named “Bulldex”, on August 24, 2020
  • Bullions, viz. gold and silver are already being traded as individual commodities on the country’s premier commodity exchange
  • With gold and silver as underlying, Bulldex will have a market lot size of 50 and be cash-settled futures contract
  • MCX had tested bullion index futures trade in mock trading exercises in July
  • Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd is an independent commodity exchange based in India.  It was established in 2003 and is based in Mumbai. It is India’s largest commodity derivatives exchange

2. RRVL acquires the majority equity stake in Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd

    • Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited has acquired a majority equity stake in Chennai-based Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. as well as in its subsidiaries. Total transaction cost approximately Rs 620 crores
    • Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. is engaged in the business of pharma distribution, sales, and business support services, while its subsidiary runs an online pharmacy platform “Netmeds” which connects customers to pharmacists and offers doorstep delivery of medicines, nutritional health as well as wellness products
    • The investment made by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited represents 60% holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic Health while 100% direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries namely Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited, and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt Limited. The investment will improve RRVL’s ability to provide affordable health care products and services

3. CCI approves proposed acquisition of C&S Electric by Siemens

  • The proposed acquisition of C&S Electric Limited by Siemens Limited has received the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
  • The proposed combination envisions acquisition of 100% of the share capital of C&S Electric Limited (C&S) by Siemens Limited (Siemens India).
  • Siemens India supplies smart mobility solutions for rail as well as road transport, including infrastructure solutions for Smart Cities
  • It focuses on the areas of power generation and distribution along with intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems
  • While, C&S Electric Limited is engaged in the manufacturing of a range of electrical switchgear, power protection and electrical distribution products
  • It is also indulged in electrical contracting business which performs turn key solutions for industrial and commercial electrification, substations and power plants

1. Indian Coast Guard launches Interceptor Boat ‘ICGS C-454’

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has launched an Interceptor Boat ˜ICGS C-454′ in Surat, Gujarat. The Interceptor Boat ‘ICGS C-454’ has been built by Larsen and Toubro and it has a maximum speed of 45 nautical miles or 83 kilometers per hour
  • The newly launched Interceptor Boat ˜ICGS C-454′ is a 27-meter-long boat with an average draft of 1.4 meters and empowered with excellent seakeeping, maneuverability and endurance range of 500 nautical miles
  • It is estimated that contracts worth almost Rs 4 Lakh crore will be placed upon the domestic industry within the next six to seven years
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