August 2020 - 1st to 8th
1. NASA & ULA launched Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has launched the “Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission” with United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket to the Red Planet “Mars”.
- The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission was launched from Space Launch Complex 41, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
- The Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program which is a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet
- The ULA Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage will initially place the Mars 2020 spacecraft into a parking orbit around Earth. NASA has launched the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to send back to Earth
2. UAE becomes 1st Arab Nation to open a Nuclear Power Plant
- The United Arab Emirates became the first Arab country to open a nuclear power plant, when the Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Plant in Abu Dhabi, got operational on 31 July 2020
- The plant is powered by South Korean technology and is situated in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi
- It will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity and meet up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs.
- The new plant is part of the UAE’s effort to become less reliant on oil and gas, which is the current source of the vast majority of its energy and move towards sustainable energy sources
4. National Bank of Bahrain selects Infosys Finacle to digitally transformation
- National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has selected Infosys Finacle to digitally transform its transaction banking business
- NBB will implement the Finacle Liquidity Management Platform to upgrade its existing Finacle Corporate Online Banking platform to a full-fledged Digital Engagement Suite with the latest versions of the Finacle Corporate Online and Mobile Banking solutions, along with the Finacle Digital Engagement Hub
- The fully integrated, front-to-back office global liquidity management system will enable the bank to offer a comprehensive range of services to corporate customers and help them identify, manage and optimize liquidity positions, along with enhanced agility in payments and collections
- The Finacle Digital Engagement Suite upgrade will enable NBB to manage their customer preferences and entitlements effectively across channels
- With these capabilities, the bank will be able to deliver fully contextual and tailored digital banking experiences for its diverse set of customers
- Leveraging the suite’s flexible product factories, NBB will be able to drive innovation-led growth by launching new products and services on digital channels rapidly
1. PM Modi addresses on New Education Policy 2020
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the nation on 7th August to deliver his speech on the New Education Policy 2020
- PM’s speech began with address at the conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under National Education Policy’ is being organised by the University Grants Commission and Ministry of Education
2. India’s first ‘Kisan Rail’ begin services from today
- The Indian railways begin its “Kisan Rail’ services to transport perishable goods from today
- India’s first ‘Kisan Rail’ will run between Devlali in Maharashtra’s Nashik and will reach Danapur in Bihar
- The train will cover the journey of 1,519 kilometres in over 31 hours
- The train will be flagged off via video conferencing by Union Minister of Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal
1. “Bharat Air Fibre Services” inaugurated in Maharashtra
- “Bharat Air Fibre Services” has been inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for HRD, Electronics, Communication, and IT, Govt Of India, Shri Sanjay Dhotre
- The services were inaugurated at Akola in Maharashtra. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has introduced the Bharat Air Fibre services as part of digital India initiative by the Government of India
2. ‘Thenzawl Golf Resort’ virtually inaugurated in Mizoram
- The “Thenzawl Golf Resort” Project has been virtually inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (I/C) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel
- The project has been implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
- The Thenzawl Golf Course will offer quality golfing experience and international facilities at a fair price to the Indian population
- Canada based Golf Course architectural firm, Graham Cooke and Associates has designed the Golf Course at Thenzawl, Mizoram with a total site area of 105 acres and the play area of 75 acres
1. Kotak Mahindra Bank starts ‘Kona Kona Umeed’ Campaign
- Kotak Mahindra Bank has announced the launch of a two-month-long campaign called ‘Kona Kona Umeed” with huge offers and discounts to lift up hope and optimism among its customers in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic
- The bank will provide a range of offers and deals on its products including loans, savings accounts, current accounts, corporate salary accounts as well as Kotak debit cards, credit cards and digital payments
Kotak has tied up with over 100 brands to provide exclusive deals to its customers in categories such as shopping, essentials, personal care, education, fitness, health & wellness, kids & parenting, entertainment, cyber care & security, among others
2. Axis Bank launches Automated Voice Assistant ‘AXAA’
- Private sector lender Axis Bank has launched an Automated Voice Assistant ‘AXAA’.
- The Automated Voice Assistant will function like a humanoid and has the ability to change the paradigm of customer experience from conventional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system
- ‘AXAA’, an artificial intelligence-powered conversational voice BOT can converse in English, Hindi and Hinglish
- AXAA has the capacity to address one lakh customer queries and requests per day
- The card will reward frequent railway travelers by offering them maximum savings proposition on their travel together with exclusive benefits
2. RBI’s 2nd Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2020-21 Released
- The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India met on 4th, 5th and 6th August for its second meeting of 2020-21
- During the second Monetary Policy meet, the MPC analysed the current & evolving macroeconomic and financial conditions and has decided to continue with the accommodative stance to revive growth as well as to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
- With its decisions, MPC aims to keep inflation within the target and hence to preserve financial stability
- Also, for the year 2020-21, as a whole, real GDP growth is expected to be negative
1. IIM-Kozhikode develops ‘Veli Band’ for ensuring social distancing
- The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode based incubated startup Qual5 India Pvt.Ltd has developed a wearable hand band Known as the “Veli Band”.
- The band will help in maintaining social distancing by sending out an alarm in case of proximity with another person
- The band momentarily vibrates, sounds buzzer, and flashes LED simultaneously to notify wearers that another band is within 3 feet (1 metre), reminding them of the need to maintain social distance
- The device, to be worn on the wrist, can anonymously keep track of interactions with other devices and thus not only help in maintaining a safer workplace but also aid in tracking employee movements in real-time
2. DST selects Acculi Labs to develop “Lyfas COVID score”
- Acculi Labs, a Bangalore based startup has been selected by Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to develop œLyfas COVID score, a COVID risk assessment profile
- Lyfas, an android application captures the capillary pulse and blood volume change when individual keeps the index finger on the rear phone camera of a mobile phone for 5 minutes.
- It also derives 95 biomarkers with proprietary algorithms and signal processing techniques. It also utilizes the power of smartphone processor and smartphone sensors to record a bunch of body signals
All the above parameters have been planned to be repurposed with the “Lyfas COVID score”.
- CAWACH is supporting market-ready innovations to the control COVID-19 and helps the startup ideas to address associated challenges
1. India to host ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2021
- The International Cricket Council has confirmed that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due to Covid-19 will be held in Australia in 2022
- India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned. ICC has also decided to postpone the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand till February-March 2022 because of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on cricket globally
2. Govt of India gave nod to IPL 2020 in UAE
- The Indian Government has provisionally granted permission for the 13th edition of Indian Premier League’s (IPL’s) 2020 to be rescheduled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19 to November 10, 2020, due to COVID-19 outbreak. BCCI has also decided to host a Women’s T20 Challenge to be held from November 1 to 10 in UAE
1. Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume passes away
- The prominent Northern Ireland politician and former Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume passed away
- Hume was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, along with David Trimble, for his role in ending the conflict in Northern Ireland
- Hume was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970 and led the party from 1979 until 2001
2. Co-inventor of the computer mouse William English passes away
- The American computer engineer who co-invented the world’s first computer mouse, William Kirk English passed away.
- The original mouse, as built by Bill English in the mid-60s, was merely a pinewood block, a crude button, and a connector
- In 1964, William was the first person to co-develop the mouse along with Douglas Engelbart, at the Stanford Research Institute and “demonstrated it in 1968, in what was dubbed “the mother of all demos”.
1. Ministry of Tribal Affairs receives SKOCH Gold Award
- SKOCH Gold Award has been awarded to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) for its “Empowerment of Tribals through IT enabled Scholarship Schemes” project
- The project was launched to show Government of India’s commitment to realize the dreams of Digital India and bringing transparency as well as ease in the delivery of services
- The 66th SKOCH 2020 Competition was held with name “INDIA RESPONDS TO COVID THROUGH DIGITAL GOVERNANCE”.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) participated in the DIGITAL INDIA & E-GOVERNANCE-2020 Competition
1. SEBI to set up virtual museum of securities market
- Indian Market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is planning to set up a virtual museum of the securities market to highlight achievements and milestones in the Indian capital market
- Sebi has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) from agencies to develop the virtual museum.
- The museum is intended to be a visual online organised collection of history of evolution, achievements and milestones in the Indian securities market over the decades in terms of market infrastructure, regulation and enforcement, among others.
- The achievements will be told through photos, videos, articles, media clippings, an interactive display like quiz, paintings, drawings, diagrams, graphs, newspaper articles, transcripts of interviews and numerical databases, among others
2. Webinar series on “Hydro-Meteorological Hazards Risk Reduction”
- A webinar series on “Hydro-Meteorological Hazards Risk Reduction” has been organised by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) in collaboration with India Meteorological Department
- The webinar series comprised of 4 webinars concentrating on issues related to Thunderstorms and Lightning, Cloudburst and Floods, Cyclones and Storm Surges and Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events
3. Delhi Govt launches new “Electric Vehicle Policy”
- Delhi government has launched the “Electric Vehicle Policy” for the national capital under which will waive registration fee, road tax, and provide an incentive of up to â‚¹1.5 lakh for new cars.
- The government aims to generate employment to give a boost to Delhi’s economy and reduce pollution levels in the national capital
- There is already the Centre’s scheme on electric vehicles called ˜Fame India Phase-2′, under which the Union government also provides some incentives. Delhi government scheme will be an addition to the Centre’s scheme and people can also avail benefits under both the schemes.
1. National Handloom Day celebrated on 7th August
- Nation observes “National Handloom Day” on 7th August every year. This day is celebrated to honour the handloom weavers in the country and also highlight the handloom industry.
- The Day highlights the contribution of handloom to the socio-economic development of the country and increases the income of the weavers
2. Nation observes 78th anniversary of Quit India movement
- The 78th anniversary of the August Kranti Din or Quit India Movement, which is considered as one of the important milestones in the history of freedom struggle of our country, is being observed on 8 August 2020
- On 8 Aug 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call to end the British rule and launched the Quit India Movement at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai
- After the failure of Cripps Mission, Gandhiji gave the call to “Do or Die” in his Quit India speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai. The grateful country is paying homage to the freedom fighters and remembering the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs during the freedom struggle.
1. Manoj Sinha appointed as new LG of Jammu and Kashmir
- President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed former Union minister Manoj Sinha as the next Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He will replace Girish Chandra Murmu who resigned.
- Murmu’s resignation has been accepted by the President. Sinha has represented the parliamentary constituency of Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh thrice in the Lok Sabha. Sinha has also served as junior railways minister
2. G.C. Murmu becomes new Comptroller and Auditor General of India
- Former Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu has been appointed as the new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. He is the 14th CAG of India
- He will assume office on 8 August 2020. He will replace Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, as the CAG
3. Hardayal Prasad becomes the new MD & CEO of PNB Housing Finance
- PNB Housing Finance has announced the appointment of the former SBI Card head, Hardayal Prasad as its new managing director and chief executive officer
- Prasad will take over from, Neeraj Vyas the current interim managing director and chief executive officer of the company, will step down from the position on August 10
1. Russia chaired 6th BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting
- The 6th BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting was held under the presidency of Russia.
- The Environment Ministers of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa participated in the meeting held via the video conference
- India will host the next meeting in 2021
- Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar represented India in the BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meet
- During the meet, the minister highlighted the efforts made by India in controlling Air pollution such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which was launched in 2019
2. CII organised “Easing Doing Business For Atmanirbhar Bharat” Conference
- Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal has inaugurated the National Digital Conference on “Easing Doing Business for Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
- This conference is organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with the Department for Promotion of Investment and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to improve the business environment of India
1. A book titled ‘RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations’ authored by Yatish Yadav
- The book, titled “RAW: A History of India”s Covert Operations” has authored by investigative journalist and author Yatish Yadav
- A new book gives a peep into the heroic covert operations carried by India’s external spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and thereby narrates a gripping account of what actually happens behind the grey walls of the secret society.
2. A book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ authored by Neena Rai
- The book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ has been authored by Neena Rai
- The book offers “authentic information” about the city, which will not only help understand the life and times of ancient Hindus but also the revered figures of Rama and Sita
- The book is publishing by house Bloomsbury
1. RPower & JERA inks loan agreement for Bangladesh’s power plant
- Reliance Power and Japanese energy major JERA have signed an agreement with a group of banks for their new gas-fired thermal power generation project in Bangladesh
- The signed agreement will provide full finance of about $642 million (approx Rs 4,798 crore) for a new 745 MW natural gas combined-cycle power project in Meghnaghat in Bangladesh. This is one of the largest funding tie-ups for a project in Bangladesh’s power sector.
- With this agreement, Reliance Power and JERA will focus on full-scale construction and aims to work steadily towards achieving commercial operation in 2022
- The electricity generated from the 745 MW natural gas combined-cycle power project will be sold under a long-term power purchase agreement with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).
2. MoD signs MoU with IIT Kanpur & Department of ARPG
- The Department of Defence (DoD) Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK).
- The MoU will support the MoD in identifying the cause and nature of grievances and to introduce systemic changes and policy interventions wherever required
- According to the tripartite MoU, IIT Kanpur will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques to successfully conduct exploratory and predictive examination of the Public Grievances received on Centralized Public Grievances Redress & Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) related to the MoD
- To enhance the analysis performed by IIT Kanpur, the DARPG will offer the data dump on the Public Grievances related to the Ministry of Defence
3. Airtel Payments Bank, Bharti AXA partner to offer ‘shop insurance’ for retailers
- Airtel Payments Bank has partnered with Bharti AXA General Insurance to offer œSmart Plan Shop Package Policy for the financial protection of the bank’s retailers and merchants
- The policy will provide financial protection in case of damage to assets inside the shop due to fire and allied perils and burglary, among others, as covered in the product.
1. Bharti AXA General Insurance starts ‘Bohot Zaroori Hai’ campaign
- Bharti AXA General Insurance has launched a crop insurance campaign titled “Bohot Zaroori Hai’ for farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka to encourage them about their yield protection and financial security
- It includes Ahmednagar, Nashik, Chandrapur, Solapur, Jalgaon and Satara in Maharashtra and Dharwad, Mysuru and Kodagu in Karnataka
2. MobiKwik launches personal UPI payment link mpay.me
- Digital wallet company, MobiKwik has launched “mpay.me” UPI link service that allows users to send and receive money from any UPI payment app
- This single link created using mpay.me can be shared anywhere to send and receive money and will work seamlessly on mobile as well as desktop
1. India to participate in Kavkaz 2020 exercise in Russia
- India will take part in the multilateral military “Russian Kavkaz 2020” strategic command-post exercise to be held in Astrakhan, Russia
- The Indian contingent includes 150 Army personnel and a smaller number of personnel from the Navy and Air Force
- The invitation for participation to Kavkaz 2020, also referred to as Caucasus-2020, has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO