General Knowledge & Current Affairs

July 2020 - 1st to 5th

1. Pak Army appoints Nigar Johar as 1st female Lt. General

  • Pakistan Army has appointed Major General Nigar Johar as 1st female lieutenant general. She is the 1st female officer to be promoted as Lieutenant General
  • The officer has been appointed as 1st female Surgeon General of Pak Army

2. ADB becomes “Observer” for Network for Greening the Financial System

  • The Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) has been joined by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an observer. ADB has joined the network to fulfil its corporate strategy “the Strategy 2030” goals such as building climate and disaster resilience, enhancing environmental sustainability, fostering regional cooperation and integration, tackling climate change, and strengthening governance and institutional capacity
  • Network for Greening the Financial System is a group of central banks and supervisors who are inclined to share best practices and contribute to the development of environment and climate risk management in the financial sector

1. GoI approves Special liquidity scheme for NBFCs/HFCs

  • The Government of India has approved the Special liquidity scheme of Rs 30,000 crore for Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFCs)/ Housing Finance Companies (HFCs).
  • The scheme has been launched with a prime objective of improving the liquidity position of NBFCs/HFCs via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will offer funds for the Scheme by subscribing to government-guaranteed special securities issued by the Trust. An unconditional and irrevocable guarantee would be provided by the Government of India, to the special securities issued by the Trust

2. SAP launches Global Bharat program for Indian MSMEs

  • The Global Bharat program has been launched by the German technology firm SAP India. The programme has been designed to equip Indian micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with digital technologies in order to make them globally competitive
  • SAP India will also provide MSMEs access to their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software under the Global Bharat program

  • It will complement the Indian government’s vision to empower the MSME sector by offering them access to the global marketplace, digital skilling for the workforce and transforming business processes

3: Union HRD Minister launches “Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020”

  • “Drug Discovery Hackathon” has been launched by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ˜Nishank’ and Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
  • The hackathon is a joint initiative of MHRD, AICTE and CSIR, and supported by partners such as CDAC, MyGov, Schrodinger and ChemAxon. Drug Discovery Hackathon is a first of its kind national initiative which has been launched to support drug discovery process

1. GoI, Govt of TN & World Bank signs agreements for Housing projects

  • Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and the World Bank has signed an agreement for two projects of worth $250 million. These projects would be executed to help low-income groups in the state of Tamil Nadu get access to affordable housing
  • The two projects includes $50 million Tamil Nadu Housing and Habitat Development Project, and $200 million First Tamil Nadu Housing Sector Strengthening Program. The $200 million and $50 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will have a maturity of 20 years including a grace period of 3.5 years

2. GoI declares entire Nagaland as “disturbed area” for 6 months

  • The Government of India has declared the entire Nagaland as a “disturbed area”. The declaration has been made for a further period of six months i.e. till end December
  • Supporting the declaration, Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned in its notification that the area comprising the whole Nagaland is in a disturbed and dangerous condition and hence the use of armed forces for “the maintenance of public order” is necessary

3. Karnataka government launches portal “Skill Connect Forum”

  • Karnataka government has launched a portal called “Skill Connect Forum” to connect job seekers with employers on a common platform. It also provides job seekers information on available jobs
  • Any individual can register on the portal by uploading their details such as qualification, skill sets and other details. In the same manner, employers will also register on the portal which will match the requirement and availability

1.HDFC Bank launches ‘e-Kisaan Dhan’ app for farmers

  • HDFC Bank has launched the ‘e-Kisaan Dhan’ app for farmers all over India. Through their mobile phones, the farmers will be able to access the services, both banking and agriculture

1. IIT Gandhinagar develops AI based tool to detect Covid-19

  • Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based deep learning tool for detection of Covid-19 from Chest X-ray images
  • This online tool indicates the probability if a person is infected with Covid-19, which can be used for quick preliminary diagnosis before the medical test

2. IIT Kanpur develops teaching setup ‘Mobile Masterjee’

  • IIT Kanpur has developed a classroom-to-home teaching setup ‘Mobile Masterjee’. It will be very helpful for students in rural India
  • The setup can record the lectures or instructions by the teachers while using their available smartphones. It can also capture the videos of the classroom lecture in many positions

1. Kiren Rijiju launches “NADA App” for athletes

  • Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has launched the National Anti-Doping Agency’s first mobile app named as “NADA App” which aims to bridge the gap between NADA and the athletes by offering easily-accessible information on various aspects of the sport, prohibited substances as well as dope-testing
  • The NADA app is expected to act as a one-stop guide for all anti-doping and medication-related information. It also offers comprehensive information on commonly-prescribed medicines

2. Ravindra Jadeja named India’s ‘most valuable player’ by Wisden

  • India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was named as the country’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) of the 21st century by Wisden
  • He made his debut in 2009 and represented India in 49 test matches, 165 ODIs and 49 T20Is as of 2020

3: Two-time Olympic badminton champion Lin Dan retires

  • Former world number one badminton player and the two-times Olympic badminton champion from China, Lin Dan has announced his retirement from the sport
  • During his 20-year glorious national team career, he won the Olympics singles titles in Beijing in 2008 and the 2012 London Games

1. Legendary comedian Carl Reiner passes away

  • Legendary comedian, Carl Reiner passed away. He was a prolific writer, comedian, director and actor
  • He had a run as a movie director with such films as “Oh, God!” (1977) and “The Jerk” (1979). He won several Emmys awards in writing and producing

2. Former Mizoram Assembly speaker Upa Rokamlova passes away

  • Former Mizoram Assembly speaker, Upa Rokamlova passed away. He became the speaker of the Mizoram Assembly in 1990
  • He joined politics in the early 1980s after he left the teaching profession and was instrumental to the signing of the historic Mizo Peace Accord in 1986

1. Former RBI Governor C Rangarajan conferred with 1st P C Mahalanobis Award

  • Chakravarthi Rangarajan has been conferred with the first Prof. P C Mahalanobis Award in Official Statistics for lifetime achievements for his contribution in providing solutions in the issues related to the estimation of national income
  • The award has been instituted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) from 2020, and will henceforth be awarded annually for the outstanding and meritorious contribution of an individual for the development and promotion of official statistics

2. Siddhartha Mukherjee & Raj Chetty honored as ‘Great Immigrants 2020’

  • Indian Americans Siddhartha Mukherjee and Raj Chetty have been included in the list of 38 immigrants named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as ‘2020 Great Immigrants’ honourees for their contribution in mitigating the COVID-19 health crisis
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee has been honoured for using “his communication skills to educate the public and build awareness about COVID-19 through forums and his widely read essays.” Raj Chetty made into the list for launching “a real-time data tracker to measure the economic impact of the pandemic and assisted decision-makers as they implemented new public policies.”

1. India’s first Plasma Bank to be set up in Delhi

  • The Delhi government will set up a first-of-its-kind ‘plasma bank’ in the country to treat COVID-19 patients
  • It will be set up at the Delhi government-run Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and doctors or hospitals will have to approach the bank for plasma if a COVID-19 patient needs the same. The plasma bank will start its operation by 2nd July 2020.
  • The Delhi government will encourage those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma

2. Continuous Galvanized Rebar Production Facility inaugurated in Punjab

  • The “Continuous Galvanized Rebar” Production Facility has been inaugurated by the Union Steel & Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan at Mandi Gobindgarh in Punjab
  • The newly launched facility will support the much-awaited need of supplying galvanized rebar to the construction industry. The facility has been considered as a step in the direction towards making of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat

1. India celebrates National Doctor’s Day on 1st July

  • The National Doctor’s Day is celebrated in India every year on 1st July. Indian Medical Association (IMA) celebrates the day every year to recognise the invaluable work done by doctors and physicians and thank them for their dedicated service
  • The theme for National Doctor’s Day 2020 is “Lessen the mortality of COVID 19” and includes awareness about asymptomatic hypoxia and early aggressive therapy. The day also marks the birth and death anniversary of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ro

2. World Sports Journalists Day 2020: 2nd July

  • World Sports Journalists Day is observed globally on 2nd July every year to acknowledge the work of sports journalists & to encourage them to do better at their work
  • The day was established in 1994 to mark the 70th anniversary of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). This year 2020 marks the 96th anniversary of AIPS

1. Sanjay Dwivedi appointed as Director-General of IIMC

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Professor Sanjay Dwivedi as the Director-General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).
  • He is presently serving as the Registrar of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal

2. India appoints Indra Mani Pandey as new envoy to UN bodies

  • The government of India has appointed, Indra Mani Pandey as the next Indian envoy to United Nations bodies and other international organizations in Geneva. He will represent India in more than 25 important organization of the UN in Geneva including World Health Organisation (WHO) and therefore the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
  • India was appointed as the chair of the executive committed of the WHO in 2020 at the World health assembly. The previous envoy to these UN bodies in Geneva was Rajiv K Chander who has completed his three-year-team

3. GoI extends KK Venugopal’s term as Attorney General of India

  • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of KK Venugopal’s term as the Attorney General of India. His term has been extended for a period of one year with effect from 1st July 2020
  • ACC has also approved the reappointment of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for a period of three years. ACC has also appointed Chetan Sharma as the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) for Delhi High Court

1. 36th ASEAN Summit virtually held in Vietnam

  • The 36th edition of the biannual ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)  Summit 2020 was held via video conferencing in Hanoi, Vietnam. with theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”
  • The main focus of the summit was on the COVID-19 epidemic response, post-pandemic recovery and further cooperation with partners

2. New Zealand cancels the APEC Summit 2021

  • New Zealand has cancelled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • This summit to be held in Auckland, New Zealand. The 2019 leaders’ meeting was cancelled by Chile due to violent anti-government protests and the virtual APEC meeting of 2020 is being hosted by Malaysia

1. India slips down at 77th place in accounting money in Swiss banks

  • Swiss National Bank (SNB) has released ‘Annual banking statistics, 2019’. According to the latest SNB data, India has moved down three places to 77th rank in terms of money parked by its citizens. However, many neighboring countries are below India in the list.
  • Among them, Pakistan is ranked 99th, Bangladesh 85th, Nepal 118th, Sri Lanka 148th, Myanmar 186th, and Bhutan 196th. India-based branches, accounting for just about 0.06 percent of the aggregate funds parked by all foreign clients of Switzerland-based banks. While Britain holds the first place in this list with a share of 27 % of the total deposits

1. Swiggy partners with ICICI Bank for Digital Wallet

  • Swiggy has launched its digital wallet ‘Swiggy Money’ in partnership with ICICI Bank to provide users with a single-click checkout experience. Swiggy has used ICICI Bank’s ‘insta wallet service’ built on its cloud platform which allows the Foodtech to create a digital wallet instantaneously for customers
  • The service shall also be open to customers who do not bank with ICICI, who will, however, be required to provide details of a government ID to the bank

2. India-Bangladesh forms LPG joint venture

  • India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement for the formation of a 50:50 Joint Venture Company (JVC) for LPG business in Bangladesh
  • The agreement was signed between the RR Holdings Ltd., Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, the holding company of Beximco LPG of Bangladesh, and IOC Middle East FZE, Dubai, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The JVC will help in reducing the import cost of LPG and provide it to the people of Bangladesh at an affordable price

1. Sachin Bansal’s startup “Navi” launches new instant lending app

  • Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal’s financial services startup “Navi” has launched a mobile app ” Navi lending” to provide instant personal loans targeted at consumers in the middle-income segment

1. Fitch cuts India’s GDP growth forecast to 8% from 9.5% for FY22

  • Fitch cuts India’s GDP growth forecast to 8% from 9.5% for FY22, in its June update of Global Economic Outlook report. Fitch retained its projection of Indian economy contracting by 5 per cent in the current fiscal
  • Meanwhile, Fitch projected the Indian economy to grow 5.5 per cent in 2022-23

2: Care Ratings forecasts Indian Economy to contract by 6.4%

  • Care Ratings has forecasted Indian economy to contract by 6.4% for the financial year 2020-21. The rating agency has slashed the GDP growth rate of Indian economy citing continued restrictions in the economic activities due to the lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • It also expects that the positive growth will come from only agriculture and the government sector
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