General Knowledge & Current Affairs

July 2020 - 26th to 31st

1. Hichem Mechichi becomes new Prime Minister of Tunisia

  • Tunisia’s interior minister, Hichem Mechichi has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of the country
  • He succeeded Elyes Fakhfakh, who resigned over allegations of a conflict of interest. He has a month to form a government
  • As well as being the interior minister in the outgoing government, Mechichi has been a counsellor to President Saied, handling legal matters
  • He has previously been chief of staff at the Ministry of Transport and also served in the Ministry of Social Affairs.

2. IMF Grants $4.3 bn to South Africa to fight COVID-19

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved USD 4.3 billion to South Africa in emergency funding, the largest amount given to any country to fight the coronavirus pandemic
  • The funds “support the authorities” efforts in addressing the challenging health situation and economic impact of the COVID-19 shock”.
  • South Africa is the worst-hit country in the continent with over 4,50,000 cases

1.DST launches programme for India-Russia S & T cooperation

  • India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme has been launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) of the Russian Federation
  • The programme will strengthen the Science, Technology and Innovation ties between India and Russia
  • DST will fund up to Rs 15 Crores to 10 Indian SMEs/Start-ups for a period of two years
  • The programme has been launched with the primary aim of connecting Indian, and Russian Science & Technology (S&T) led SMEs and Start-ups for joint Research and development (R&D) for technology development as well as for cross-country technology adaptation

2. Fleet of 5 Rafale multi-role combat jets arrived in India

  • A fleet of five French-manufactured Rafale multi-role combat jets arrived in India
  • Rafale Jets landed at the Ambala Air Force base after covering a distance of 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux

  • Two Sukhoi 30 MKIs escorted the fleet of Rafale jets after they entered the Indian air space. The fleet, which comprises three single-seater and two twin-seater aircraft, would be inducted into the IAF as part of its Ambala-based No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’.
  • Government of India signed a Rs 59,000-crore deal with French aerospace major Dassault Aviation on September 23, 2016, to procure 36 Rafale jets
  • Rafale multi-role combat jets are considered one of the most potent combat jets globally and will provide India’s air power a strategic edge over its adversaries in the neighborhood
  • The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021

3: HRD Ministry to be renamed as Ministry of Education

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development has been renamed as Ministry of Education
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the change in the name of the ministry. The HRD Ministry is currently headed by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank
  • The name change was a key recommendation of the draft New Education Policy. The HRD ministry name was adopted in 1985, during the tenure of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, as it was changed from the Ministry of Education

1. Guwahati gets manhole cleaning robot ‘BANDICOOT’

  • Guwahati Development Department Ministry has inaugurated first manhole cleaning robot ‘BANDICOOT’ to ensure minimal human involvement to clean the sewers
  • Guwahati is the first city in the entire Northeast region to get a manhole cleaning robot.
  • Guwahati is the third city in the entire country to procure this innovative technology to clean manholes after Gurugram and Coimbatore

1. RBI signs $400 mn currency swap with Sri Lanka

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed an agreement for extending a $400-million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka
  • This currency swap is used to boost the foreign reserves and ensure the financial stability of the country, which is badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The currency swap arrangement will remain available till November 2022.

  • Sri Lanka was set to enter into an agreement with the RBI for a currency swap worth $400 million under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework.
  • In the swap arrangement, a country provides dollars to a foreign central bank, which, at the same time, provides the equivalent funds in its currency to the former, based on the market exchange rate at the time of the transaction
  • The parties agree to swap back these quantities of their two currencies at a specified date in the future, which could be the next day or even two years later, using the same exchange rate as in the first transaction

2. IRCTC & SBI Card launches Co-branded Contactless Credit Card

  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and SBI Card has launched a new Co-branded Contactless Credit Card on RuPay Platform
  • The card was revealed by Union Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal
  • The newly launched card aims to ensure a safe, convenient and improved travel experience for the rail passengers
  • The new RuPay credit card is empowered with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which will enable users to expedite their transactions at the POS machines by just tapping the card on the machines instead of swiping
  • The card will reward frequent railway travelers by offering them maximum savings proposition on their travel together with exclusive benefits

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 “Lyfas 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. Jamie Vardy wins Premier League’s Golden Boot award

  • Leicester City striker, Jamie Vardy has bagged the Premier Leagues Golden Boot football award after netting 23 goals across the 2019/20 season.
  • He beat Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22 goals), Southampton Danny Ings (22 goals), and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling (20 goals) to scoop the prestigious individual award.
  • Jamie is the first Leicester City player to claim the award and is only the second Englishman after Harry Kane to take the crown in the last 20 years.
  • Manchester City’s Brazilian keeper Ederson won the Golden Glove award after keeping his 16th clean sheet of the season against Norwich City to beat Burnley’s Nick Pope to the award.

2. Haryana to host 2021 Khelo India Youth Games

  • Haryana will host the 4th edition of the Khelo India Youth Gamesin 2021.
  • The announcement was made by the Haryana’s chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju via video conference.
  • The Games will be held in Panchkula.
  • Haryana has done well in all three editions of KIYG. While they came second in both 2019 and 2020 editions (200 medals in 2020 and 159 medals in 2019) Haryana won it in 2018 with 102 podium finishes (38 gold, 26 silver, 38 bronze).

3: Indian team’s 2018 Asian Games silver medal upgraded to gold

  • The silver medal of the Indian 4A—400 mixed relay team’s 2018 Asian Games, Jakarta has been upgraded to gold
  • The medal was upgraded to gold following the disqualification of Bahrain squad that finished first in the 4A—400 mixed relay final
  • The Bahrain squad was disqualified as Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain has been handed a 4-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for failing a dope test
  • The Indian quartet of Mohammed Anas, M.R. Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv, who finished second behind Bahrain in the 4A—400 mixed relay final have now become the first winner of the event.
  • Indian runner Anu Raghavan has moved from fourth place to bronze medal position in the women’s 400 m hurdles following the disqualification of Kemi Adekoya of Bahrain

1. Two-Time Oscar Winner Olivia de Havilland passes away

  • Two-Time Oscar Winner, Olivia de Havilland passed away at the age of 104. She was born on 1st July 1916, in Tokyo, Japan
  • The actress, who starred in blockbusters like Captain Blood (1935), The adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Snakepit, The Heiress
  • She unchained the Hollywoods contract system which was later called “De Havilland Law”.
  • On March 13, 1946, Olivia won an Oscar award for the movie ‘To Each His Own’ under the category Best supporting actress. Again in the year 1949, she won the second Oscar award for the movie “The Heiress”
  • In the year 2008, Olivia was honoured with, National Medal of Arts and France’s Legion of Honor (Légion d’honneur) award after two years

2. Child welfare activist Achyuta Rao passes away

  • The founder and President of Balala Hakula Sangham, P Achyuta Rao passed away due to COVID-19. He was a well-known child rights activist and had founded Balala Hakula Sangham in 1984
  • Rao is known to have helped prevent child marriages, incidents of child sexual abuse, and child labour
  • Rao recently filed a petition in Telangana High Court demanding that mid-day meal be served to students in government schools since they have not been able to access it due to the pandemic-imposed lockdown

3. Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha passes away

  • Folk musician and Padma Shri awardee, Sonam Tshering Lepcha passed away. He was born in Kalimpong, West Bengal in 1928. He started his career as a soldier
  • He travelled to various parts of Sikkim and complied with a wide range of Indian folk and traditional Lepcha songs and played folk music on All India Radio in 1960. He was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of folk music

1. Kala Narayanasamy honoured with President’s Award in Singapore

  • Indian-origin nurse, Kala Narayanasamy in Singapore has been conferred with the President’s Award for Nurses for serving on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Kala Narayanasamy, who is the Deputy Director of Nursing at Woodlands Health Campus, has been conferred with this award for utilising the infection control practices that she had learned during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, in the current pandemic
  • The President’s Award for Nurses in Singapore recognises the efforts of nurses who have shown sustained outstanding performance and contributions to patient care delivery, education, research and administration

2. Sunil ydv SS honoured with Karamveer Chakra Award from UN and ICONGO

  • The founder of SS Motivation, Sunil ydv SS was honoured with “Karamveer Chakra Award” by Global Fellowship Award instituted by United Nations and International Confederation of NGO (iCONGO) at the ReX ConcLIVE hosted in IIT Delhi
  • He received the award for his relentless contribution to society through his Telegram channel “SS Motivation.”
  • He addresses social issues and motivates people every day through his channel. The awards he won last year include Rastra Prerna, Iconic Personality of India, Incredible Indian Icon and Humanitarian Excellence

3. India’s first solar ferry “Aditya” wins Gustave Trouve Award

  • India’s first solar-powered ferry, Aditya has won the prestigious Gustave Trouve Award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating
  • The ferry was adjudged the world’s best electric boat in the category of ferries designed for paid passenger service
  • The Aditya, from Navalt Boats, is a sun-powered commuter ferry that is one of the great stories of the future of electric marine propulsion
  • The ferry belongs to the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) and has been plying on the Vaikkom-Thavanakkadavu route in Alappuzha district since January 2017

1. Electric potter wheels distributed under “Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana”

  • Under the “Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana” of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Union Home Minister Amit Shah distributed 100 electric potter wheels to 100 trained artisans in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  • The step was an effort to empower and associate the marginalized potters’ community
  • During the distribution of electric potter wheels, the minister assured the potters stating the arrangements made to help potters to sell their products, including tie-up with the Railways and proper marketing channels

1. Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrated on 26th July

  • Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed on 26th July every year
  • On this day, the country remembers the extreme valour, sacrifice and exemplary courage of Indian soldiers during the 1999 Kargil war
  • This year India is celebrating the 21 years of victory in Kargil war
  • It was in 1999 that a high altitude mountain war broke out along the peaks of Kargil near the Line of Control, the de-facto border that divides Kashmir between the two nations

2. World Nature Conservation Day: 28th July

  • World Nature Conservation Day is observed on 28th July every year. World Conservation Day is celebrated internationally to increase awareness about the best practices to protect 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.

1. President Kovind appoints Anandiben Patel as the Governor of MP

  • President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has appointed the Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel to discharge the functions of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh
  • She has been appointed as the former MP Governor Lalji Tandon passed away recently
  • Earlier on June 28, Patel was given the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh during the absence on leave of Governor Lalji Tandon. She has served as the former Chief Minister of Gujarat, she was the first female chief minister of the state

2. Paytm Money appoints Varun Sridhar as CEO

  • The investment & wealth management subsidiary of Paytm, Paytm Money has appointed Varun Sridhar as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company
  • He will replace former MD and CEO Pravin Jadhav who resigned from the startup due to differences with the management of Paytm

3. Hardik Satishchandra Shah becomes new Private Secretary to PM Modi

  • SBI Cards and Payment Services has appointed Ashwini Kumar Tewari as its new Managing Director and chief executive officer
  • 2010-batch IAS officer, Hardik Satishchandra Shah has been appointed the Private Secretary (PS) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on co-terminus basis
  • He is currently serving as a Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
  • Before moving to the PMO last year, he worked as the PS to Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar

1. ILBS organises “2nd Empathy e-Conclave” with AAI

  • Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) has organised “2nd Empathy e-Conclave” in collaboration with the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
  • The conclave was held on the occasion of “World Hepatitis Day”. The theme of 2nd Empathy e-Conclave is “Keep your Liver Safe in COVID times”.
  • During the conclave, ILBS highlighted the importance of healthy liver as well as the features of “Empowering People Against Hepatitis: The Empathy Campaign which has undertaken several innovative initiatives across India to reach out to diverse populations
  • The event featured the participation of Speaker of Lok Sabha, Om Birla; Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad; and Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan

2. India-Indonesia Defence Ministers’ Dialogue held in New Delhi

  • Defence Ministers’ Dialogue between India and Indonesia was held in New Delhi
  • The Indian delegation was led by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while the Indonesian delegation was led by Defence Minister General Prabowo Subianto
  • During the defence ministers dialogue, General Subianto was honored with ceremonial Guard of Honour

1. “Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India” authored by Viral V.Acharya

  • The book titled “Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India” authored by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Viral V.Acharya
  • The book is published by SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd. The book portrays his quest to restore financial stability in India and offers a concrete plan for sustained improvement

2. “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World” authored by Dr. S JaishankarSadaknama

  • The former diplomat, and current Minister of External Affairs in the Government of India, S Jaishankar, is releasing his new book “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”.
  • The book was published under the HarperCollins India publications
  • Jaishankar writes in the book that India has had to struggle mightily to gain influence in a domain that could have come more easily earlier as its foreign policy carries “three major burdens” from its past

1. CSIR, UBA-IIT Delhi & Vijnana Bharati signs tripartite MoU

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan-Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (UBA-IITD) and Vijnana Bharti (VIBHA), New Delhi has signed a tripartite MoU with CSIR
  • The signed MoU will offer access to CSIR rural technologies for UBA. It will also lay the foundation for cooperation as well as joint action in the area of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) for rural development of India

2. PFC signs agreement with IIT-Kanpur in smart grid technology

  • Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology- Kanpur for Training, Research, and Entrepreneurship Development in Smart Grid Technology.
  • The agreement was on a virtual platform. The objective of the pact is to provide support to IIT-Kanpur in developing infrastructure for research and development on smart grid technology

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

  • Digital wallet company, MobiKwik has launched “” UPI link service that allows users to send and receive money from any UPI payment app
  • This single link created using can be shared anywhere to send and receive money and will work seamlessly on mobile as well as desktop

1. HRD Minister launches India Report- Digital Education June 2020

  • “India Report on Digital Education, 2020” has been launched virtually by the Union Minister for HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
  • During the launch, the minister stated that report highlights the innovative methods adopted by Ministry of HRD, Education Departments of States and Union Territories to ensure accessible as well as inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps
  • India Report on Digital Education, 2020 comprises of various initiatives taken to provide remote learning and education for all by taking schools to the students.
  • Some of the initiatives are as follows: DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, Online MOOC courses, On-Air Shiksha Vani, DAISY by NIOS for differently-abled, e-PathShala, etc

2: . Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur tops Niti’s aspirational districts ranking

  • Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh has topped the list of aspirational districts in Overall Delta Ranking by government think-tank Niti Aayog for the February-June 2020 period
  • Ri-Bhoi (Meghalaya) and Bahraich (Uttar Pradesh) have been placed at the second and third positions
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