General Knowledge & Current Affairs

August 2020 - 9th to 16th

1. Submarine Cable connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar Islands launched

  • The submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland has been launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi
  • The 2300 kms long submarine cable will boost the endless opportunities in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands by providing better internet & mobile connectivity
  • The submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) will enable the Andaman & Nicobar Islands to reap all the benefits of Digital India with the help of cheaper & better connectivity
  • The launch of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland is also expected to play an instrumental role under India’s new trade strategy for Indo-Pacific region

2. PM to launch platform for “Transparent Taxation-Honoring the Honest”

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will roll out the platform for “Transparent Taxation Honoring the Honest”.
  • The new platform will carry forward the journey of direct tax reforms and will also reward the honest taxpayers
  • Several major tax reforms in direct taxes have been carried out by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). These reforms includes reduction in the Corporate Tax rates from 30% to 22%, abolition of Dividend distribution Tax as well as reduction in the rates for new manufacturing units to 15%.
  • The reforms also includes Direct Tax “Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020” under which declarations for settling disputes are being filed currently, and introducing more transparency in official communications via the newly launched Document Identification Number (DIN).

3. Reliance Foundation launches “W-GDP Women Connect Challenge”

  • Reliance Foundation has launched the “W-GDP Women Connect Challenge” across India in association with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP).
  • The “W-GDP Women Connect Challenge has been launched to bridge the gender divide as well as the digital divide in India
  • The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative was established by the White House in February 2019
  • This is the first whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment by reaching about 50 million women in the developing world by 2025
  • The initiative focuses on three pillars namely: women prospering in the workforce, women succeeding as entrepreneurs, and women enabled in the economy

4. PM Modi announces “One Sun, One World, One Grid” initiative

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the “One Sun, One World, One Grid” (OSOWOG) plan
  • Under this, there will be a trans-national electricity grid, for supplying solar power across the globe
  • As per the draft plan prepared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the OSOWOG will connect 140 countries through a common grid that will be used to transfer solar power
  • “The vision behind the OSOWOG mantra is “the Sun never sets” and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time

1. Mauritius declares a “state of environmental emergency”

  • A “state of environmental emergency” has been declared by the island nation of Mauritius
  • The environmental emergency has been declared as a Japanese bulk carrier “MV Wakashio” ran aground on a reef in Mauritius and began leaking oil into the ocean
  • The ship stranded two weeks ago is leaking tons of fuel into the surrounding waters
  • According to the environmentalists, the stranded ship, MV Wakashio currently lying at Pointe d’Esny in an area of wetlands near a marine park, is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island
  • The incident is being considered as one of the most terrible ecological crises that Mauritius has ever seen

2. Russia becomes 1st country to register COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Russian President, Vladimir Putin has announced that a COVID-19 vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use
  • Russian Ministry of Health has given regulatory approval for what it claims is the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute
  • Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine
  • The vaccine has proven efficient during tests, offering enduring immunity from the coronavirus
  • Many scientists within the country and abroad are skeptical, however, questioning the choice to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of individuals

3. Lebanon’s Govt resigns over deadly Beirut port blast

  • The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Hassan Diab and his entire government has resigned, in the wake of the major blast in Beirut that has triggered public outrage, and anger at the Lebanese government for their failure to prevent the disaster
  • President Michel Aoun has ordered Diab government to stay on caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed. Diab served as the PM from 21 January 2020 to 10 August 2020
  • 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.

4. Israel successfully tested “Arrow-2” Ballistic Missile Interceptor

  • Israel has successfully tested its advanced missile defence system, “Arrow-2′ ballistic missile interceptor
  • The Missile test was conducted in the test site in Central Israel over the Mediterranean Sea
  • The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) of the United States of America along with Israeli Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries conducted the testing
  • The Arrow-2 interceptor engaged a Sparrow target missile which stimulated a long-range surface to surface missile, performed the planned trajectory and destroyed the target
  • The system will serve as the top tier integrated Israeli shield built to withstand various missile salvoes
  • It is a multi-layered system designed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing, US-based industry
  • It has been designed to defend the short and mid-range rockets and long-range missiles were introduced in March 2000

1. KVIC to set up Silk Training cum Production Center in A.P.

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will open the Silk Training cum Production Center in the tribal village of Chullyu in Arunachal Pradesh
  • This would be the first Silk Training cum Production Center in the state
  • Machinery like handlooms, Charkha, Silk reeling machines and warping drums would be installed in the training cum production Center
  • KVIC has transformed the dilapidated school building into the training cum production center for Eri Silk, and has also selected the first batch of 25 local artisans of Chullyu village to begin the training with
  • With the launch of Silk Training cum Production Center, the state would soon be bustling with spinning and weaving activities. The center will boost the great potential of silk production and other activities of village industries in the village

2. Assam Govt to starts “Orunodoi Scheme” for women’s empowerment

  • The Assam government would provide Rs 830 per month each to 17 lakh poor families under the ambitious “Orunodoi” scheme, to financially empower women
  • The scheme would be the biggest scheme in Assam. A sum of Rs 280 crore has been earmarked for the new scheme
  • Under the “Orunodoi” scheme, there would be economic criteria and “those who have certain movable and immovable assets including land, big houses, vehicles, electronic gadgets, and most government and semi-government employees, would be excluded”.
  • Rs 830 per month aid would mean an additional annual income of Rs 10,000 to the poor households to meet their medical, nutritional, and academic needs besides to meet the additional spending during various festivals
  • The priority would be given to households with widows, divorced, unmarried or separated women, and disabled persons


1. RBI announces ‘positive pay’ feature to help avert cheque frauds

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced to introduce a mechanism of ‘Positive Pay’ feature for all cheques of value Rs 50,000 and above
  • This feature helps to avert cheque frauds. The limit of Rs 50,000 will cover approximately 20 per cent of transactions by volume and 80 per cent by value
  • Positive pay is a fraud-prevention system offered by most commercial banks to companies to protect them against forged, altered and counterfeit checks

1.Skyroot Aerospace tests upper stage rocket engine “Raman”

  • Skyroot Aerospace, a Spacetech startup has successfully test fired an upper stage rocket engine “Raman” .
  • With this, Skyroot Aerospace has become the first Indian private firm to exhibit the potential to build a homegrown rocket engine
  • “Raman” is a 3-D printed rocket engine which has been named after Nobel laureate CV Raman
  • Skyroot Aerospace expects to launch its first rocket, which can hurl satellites of 250-700 kgs, into a lower earth orbit by December 2021
  • These developments from the private players has become possible after the union cabinet’s approval of private player participation in space in June 2020

2. Indigenous AUM Photonic System developed to monitor Air Quality

  • Air Unique-quality Monitoring (AUM) Photonic System has been indigenously developed with the prime objective of real-time remote monitoring of air quality
  • The system has been developed by Prof. Rao Tatavarti, Director of Gayatri Vidya Parishad-Scientific and Industrial Research Centre & GVP College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam along with the support of Department of Science and Technology’s Clean Air Research Initiative.
  • The system is portable, compact, low powered and economical. It works on plug and play system and do not require any setting uptime
  • It has the capability to identify, classify, and quantify various pollutants simultaneously (of orders of less than one part per billion) including meteorological parameters, with very high precision, sensitivity as well as accuracy

1. Max Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

  • The Red Bull racer, Max Verstappen has won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
  • Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton finished the race at second postion while another Mercedes racer Valtteri Bottas finished third
  • This was Red Bull’s first victory at Silverstone since 2012

2. Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2020

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix 2020 held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain
  • This was his 4th win of the season and the 88th win of his career
  • Max Verstappen (Red BullNetherlands) came second followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) at third

1. Former WWE wrestler James ‘Kamala’ Harris passes away

  • Former wrestler James Harris, who was also known as “Kamala”, passed away
  • Harris fought with the greatest superstars in sports-entertainment history including Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Andre the Giant
  • “The Ugandan Giant” was a unique character who operated both in and out of the ring in a memorable way
  • James Harris wrestled in the Mid-South, World Class Championship Wrestling, WCW and WWE. Harris began his career in wrestling under the tutelage of wrestler Bobo Brazil in 1984

2. Veteran sports journalist GK Menon passes away

  • Veteran sports journalist, GK Menon passed away. He worked with the Indian Express and The Times of India and ended his freelance career in the early 1990s
  • He played cricket at the club level and also was an active member of the Shivaji Park Gymkhana in Dadar, central Mumbai
  • He was manager of the 1952-53 Bombay University team which won the Rohinton Baria Trophy by beating Delhi in the final at Bengaluru

1. ACJ Journalism Awards 2019 announced

  • Journalists Nitin Sethi and Shiv Sahay Singh were declared winners of the Asian College of Journalism’s (ACJ) Award 2019 for Investigative Journalism and the K. P. Narayana Kumar Memorial Award for Social Impact Journalism, respectively
  • The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony by Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organisation(WHO), at the inauguration of the Class of 2021
  • Nitin Sethi is a journalist in the Huffington Post. He won this award for his six-part series titled “Paisa Politics” published by The Huffington Post India
  • Shiv Sahay Singh is a journalist in The Hindu. He received the award for his story titled “Death by digital exclusion: On faculty public distribution system in Jharkhand” published in The Hindu

2. Forbes magazine released “The Highest-Paid Actors Of 2020” list

  • Forbes magazine has released “The Highest-Paid Actors Of 2020” list. Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar is the only Indian star to be listed among the top 10 world’s highest-paid actors of 2020
  • With total earnings of $48.5 million. Akshay is placed in sixth place on the list. Most of his income came from product endorsements
  • The list takes into account the earnings between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020
  • The list has been topped by Wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne Johnson, for a second straight year, with the total earning of $87.5 million. Johnson is also known by his ring name The Rock

3. Sudha Murthy, ITC’s Sivakumar bags Gramodaya awards

  • Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murty and Group Head of Agri and IT Businesses of ITC Ltd, Sivakumar Surampudi are among the winners of the Gramodaya Bandhu Mitra Puraskaras
  • The other winners include Padma Bhushan Vijay Bhatkar, Padmasri SP Verma, Vilas Shinde (Director, Sahyadri Farms), Koosam Rajamouli, Former Sarpanch of Gangadevipalli in Telangana, Brig Pogula Ganesham, Founder of Palle Srujana, and Govinda Rajulu Chintala, Chairman of the Nabard
  • Gramodaya Bandhu Mitra Puraskaras instituted by Gramodaya Chamber of Commerce and Technology (GCOT), a not-for-profit organisation founded by the alumni of Osmania University
  • The awards recognise “Yeoman service rendered by individuals and institutions to provide succour and uplift the vast majority of our population dependent on agriculture and allied activities for livelihood”.

1. DIAL develops online “AIR SUVIDHA” portal for international passengers

  • The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has developed a web portal named ‘AIR SUVIDHA’ for India-bound international passengers
  • The online forms have been developed in collaboration with various state governments, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

2. Mumbai becomes 1st city in India to have female icons on traffic signals

  • Mumbai’s Dadar has become the first city in India to have women symbols on traffic signals and signage
  • Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has installed traffic signals that display female icons sporting triangular frock, a shift from the default representation of men

3. Goa’s Harmal Chillies, Moira bananas, Khaje gets GI tag

  • Goa’s traditional festive sweet dish ‘Khaje’, spicy Harmal Chilli and Myndoli Banana (Moira Banana) has obtained Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indications Registry
  • The Bicholim based All-Goa Khaje Producers Association (AGKPA) applied for the GI tag of Khaje through the department of science and technology in 2019
  • Myndoli Banana Growers Association, Ibrampur, Pernem applied for the GI tag of Moira bananas
  • The Harmal-Pernem Chilli Growers Association had made the application for the GI tag of Harmal Chillies

1. World Biofuel Day celebrated on 10th August

  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas celebrates the World Biofuel Day on 10th August every year
  • On the occasion, the ministry also organized the webinar with the theme “Biofuels towards Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
  • The World Biofuel Day is observed every year to aware about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels. The day also highlights the various actions taken by the Government in the Biofuel sector

2. World Organ Donation Day: 13 August

  • The World Organ Donation Day is observed globally on 13th August every year
  • The day is celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and motivate people to donate organs after death
  • The day provides an opportunity to all to come ahead and pledge to donate their precious organs because one organ donor can save up to eight lives
  • Organ donation is retrieving a donor’s organ like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and pancreas after the donor is deceased and then transplanting into another person who is in need of an organ.

1. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala becomes new executive chairman of Capital India Finance

  • Former NABARD Chief, Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has been appointed as executive chairman of the Capital India Finance Limited.
  • Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has served as the chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for over six years
  • He was appointed as the chairman NABARD in December 2013 and demitted the office on May 26, 2020
  • Capital India Finance Limited (CIFL) is an integrated financial services platform and provides customised financial solutions to Indian Corporates for their growth and working capital requirements among others

2. PESB selects Soma Mondal as next chairman of SAIL

  • Soma Mondal has been selected by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as the next chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). She will be taking charge when the present Chairman Anil Chaudhary
  • Mondal had taken over as Director (Commercial) of SAIL in September 2018. Prior to this, she was Director (Commercial), NALCO, Bhubaneswar which was history in making as was NALCO’s first-ever female director

3. Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi assumes charge as DGNO

  • Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, AVSM, NM has become the Director General Naval Operations (DGNO).
  • He is a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare and was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 01st July 1985
  • The alumnus of National Defence Academy Khadakwasla, has served on frontline warships of the Navy as Signal Communication Officer and Electronic Warfare Officer
  • He has commanded INS Vinash, INS Kirch and INS Trishul. He has also served as the Executive Officer and Principal Warfare Officer of Guided Missile Destroyer INS Mumbai.

1. CII organised “India@75 Summit Mission 2022”

  • Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME), Nitin Gadkari has addressed the “India@75 Summit Mission 2022” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) via video-conferencing
  • The summit was focused on ˜reinventing technology in India’. The MSME Ministry and Industries should be made import substitutes, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous

1. A book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’ released

  • The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar unveiled an e-version of the book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’. The book chronicles Shri M Venkaiah Naidu’s three years in office as the Vice President of India. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has completed three years in office on 11 August 2020
  • The book comprising a collection of speeches by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. The over 250 pages book is the third series of the book and has been published by Publications Division
  • It provides a glimpse of his efforts and outcomes as the Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Apart from this, the print coffee table version of the book was also released by Union Minister of Defense Shri Rajnath Singh

2. A book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” by Dalai Lama

  • The Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, will release a new book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” on climate change with German environmental journalist, Franz Alt in November
  • The Dalai Lama in the book calls on political decision-makers to fight against deadlock and ignorance on the issue of climate change and to stand up for a different, more climate-friendly world and for the younger generation to assert their right to regain its future

1. Flipkart partners with the U.P. Government’s ODOP scheme

  • India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart has signed an MoU with One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme of the Government of Uttar Pradesh
  • The MoU will bring the artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme into the scope of the “Flipkart Samarth” initiative. This will provide artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme a momentum to expand their business online as they face social and economic challenges
  • The Flipkart Samarth initiative will offer various services to artisans, weavers and craftsmen such as training, dedicated space in Flipkart’s fulfilment centres, constant seller support along with cataloguing guidance and visibility on the platform

2. A.P. government signs MoU with US Based IT Firm “Boston Group”

    • The Boston Group has signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to set up an IT company in Visakhapatnam
    • The new IT company stated to be installed in the state according to the MoU is expected to create 250+ jobs in the IT sector
    • The employees of this centre would be deployed in the R&D on Learning platforms and leverage advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cyber Security and Human Resources.

1. BSE partners with Akola-based bullion associations

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Bombay Stock Exchange with Akola, Maharashtra-based bullion trade and industry associations namely Akola Sarafa Association and Akola Sarafa Va Suvarnakar Yuva Sangh
  • The partnership will seek to enhance cooperation between the BSE and physical markets represented by the two trade bodies in various areas like knowledge sharing, education and training, events as well as explore areas of mutual interests
  • The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) will conduct various activities such as seminars and awareness programmes on price-risk management for bullion traders and jewellers
  • These programmes will help them in shifting to more organised forms of trading. BSE will also aware them about effective hedging tools like derivatives contracts, especially ‘options in goods’ and hence enable them to face a volatile market

2. CCI approves formation of joint venture between HAMCL & HL

  • The proposed combination filed by Keihin Corporation, Nissin Kogyo Co., Ltd., Showa Corporation and Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd has received the approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
  • The two companies have filed for the formation of a Joint Venture between Honda Motor Co. Limited (HAMCL) and Hitachi Limited (HL)

1. GoI bans import of 101 Defence items to boost Atma Nirbhar Bharat

  • The Ministry of Defence has announced a list of over 100 items that would be banned for import beyond the time indicated against them
  • The government has prepared a list 101 items on which there would be an embargo on import to give a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self Reliant India Movement).
  • 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

2. ICG’s fourth Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sarthak’ launched

  • An Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Indian Coast Guard has been launched and re-christened as Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarthak’
  • Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) has designed and developed the Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sarthak’ which is the 4th in the series of five OPVs
  • ‘Sarthak’ has been built indigenously and is designed in such a way that it carries a twin-engine helicopter, four high-speed boats along with one inflatable boat for swift boarding and Search & Rescue operations
  • It will be deployed extensively for EEZ surveillance, Coastal Security and other duties
  • It is 105 meters long and fitted with state-of-the-art Navigation and Communication equipment, sensor and machinery
  • It displaces approximately 2350 tons and has been propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines. It has been designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots, with an endurance of 6000 Nautical Miles

3. Raksha Mantri launches Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation

  • The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) has been launched by the Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh
  • The NIIO, a three-tiered organization, will enable its end users to interact with academia as well as industry for the promotion of innovation and indigenization for self-reliance in defense, with the help of its dedicated structures
  • The twin aspects of innovation and indigenization would be brought together by the Naval Technology Acceleration Council (N-TAC), which will also offer apex level directives. It also includes a working group under the N-TAC, which will be responsible for the implementation of the projects
  • To fulfill the objective of induction of emerging disruptive technology in an accelerated time frame, Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC) has been established
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