General Knowledge & Current Affairs

July 2021 - 1st to 10th

  1. World Bank expands Coronavirus Vaccine Funding to $20 billion
  • The World Bank has announced additional funding of $8 billion for Covid-19 vaccines, for developing countries. With this, the total financing available for the Covid-19 vaccine reaches $20 billion.
  • Earlier the World Bank had announced $12 billion for the same. This funding will be used over the next 18 months till 2022 end
  • World Bank Group President David Malpass has also called on countries with surplus doses to release it for use by developing countries and requested vaccine manufacturers to prioritise the available doses for such developing countries that urgently need them.
  • Further, the Bank also provided over $4 billion for the purchase and deployment of Covid vaccines for 51 developing countries, half of which are in Africa.
  1. China is certified malaria-free by WHO
  • Following a 70-year effort, Chinahas been awarded a malaria-free certification from WHO – a notable feat for a country that reported 30 million cases of the disease annually in the 1940s.
  • China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Regionto be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades. Other countries in the region that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982), and Brunei Darussalam (1987).
  • Globally, 40 countries and territories have been granted a malaria-free certification from WHO – including, most recently, El Salvador (2021), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), Paraguay (2018), and Uzbekistan (2018).

 

  1. Digital India completed six years
  • Digital India initiative has completed its six years on 1 July 2021. Digital India is a government’s flagship scheme to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 July 2015. In the past 6 years, the government has launched many digital initiatives like Direct Benet Transfer, Common Services Centres, DigiLocker and mobile-based UMANG services.
  • With the help of Aadhaar, Government has provided digital identity to 129 crore people of India. Jandhan bank Accounts, mobile phones, and Aadhaar (JAM)helped the government in providing benefits of the different schemes through digital platforms.

2. President Kovind laid the foundation stone for Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural Centre

  • President Ram Nath Kovindlaid the foundation stone for Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural Centre in 
  • The cultural centre will come up at 52 sq meter nazool land in front of Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow and have a 25-ft high statue of Dr Ambedkar.
  • The centre, to come up at a cost of ₹45.04 crores, will also have an auditorium having a capacity of 750 people, library, research centre, picture gallery, museum and a multi-purpose convention centre.
  1. Cabinet Reshuffle: 43 leaders take oath as ministers
  • The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expanded its council of ministers. The names in the cabinet reshuffle include several new entrants as well as existing ministers who will be reassigned.
  • The swearing-in ceremony of 43 Ministers was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on July 7, 2021. In total, 15 Ministers were inducted into the Union Cabinet and 28 Ministers were inducted as Ministers of State. This is the first cabinet reshuffle since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) retained power in 2019.
  • The Union Cabinet can have 81 members, as per the rule. There were 53 ministers in PM Modi’s cabinet but a series of them, including Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, resigned hours before the names were announced

1.  Pushkar Singh Dhami to be next chief minister of Uttarakhand

  • Pushkar Singh Dhami will be the next chief minister of Uttarakhand. 
  • He will be the youngest CM of Uttarakhand. 45-year-old Pushkar Singh Dhami, an MLA from the Khatima constituency in Udham Singh Nagar district.
  • He will replace Tirath Singh Rawat, who resigned from the post. Dhami was elected by the state leaders during the legislature party meeting in Dehradun.

2.  India’s first maritime arbitration centre to be set up in Gandhinagar

  • The Gujarat Maritime University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) in GIFT City to set up the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC).
  • GIMAC will be the first of its kind centre in India to manage arbitration and mediation proceedings for disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector. It will be part of a maritime cluster that is being set up by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) at GIFT City in Gandhinagar.
  • There are over 35 arbitration centres in India. However, none of them exclusively deals with the maritime sector. The arbitration involving Indian players is now heard at the Singapore Arbitration Centre.
  • The idea is to create a world-class arbitration centre focused on maritime and shipping disputes that can help resolve commercial and financial conflicts between entities having operations in India

1. Government keeps interest rates on Small Savings Schemes unchanged for Q-2

  • The government of India has announced that the rate of interest on Small Savings Schemes for the second quarter (July-Sept) of 2021-22 will remain unchanged as the last quarter (April-June) of 2021-2022. It must be noted that the Government notifies the Interest rates for small savings schemes on a quarterly basis.

2. GST collection dips below Rs 1 lakh crore in June

  • GST collection dipped below Rs 1 lakh crore in June after staying above that mark for eight consecutive months.
  • Centre mopped up Rs 92,849 crore GST for the month of June of which CGST is Rs 16,424 crore, SGST is Rs 20,397 crore, IGST is Rs 49,079 crore (including Rs 25,762 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 6,949 crore (including Rs 809 crore collected on import of goods.
  • With eased relaxations following improvement in the overall Covid-19 situation in the country, the government expects GST revenues to rise from July 2021 onwards.

1. Invest India won the most innovative Investment Promotion Agency 2021 award

  • Invest India has been awarded the world’s most innovative Investment Promotion Agency 2021 by OCO Global. OCO Global is a leading authority on foreign investment and offers a range of economic development services, products, and unique company assessment tools.
  • Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

2. Korean Air wins Air Transport World’s Airline of the Year Award

  • Korean Air has been announced the winner of one of the most prestigious honours in the aviation industry: Air Transport World’s (ATW) 2021 Airline of the Year. This year’s award is even more meaningful to Korean Air, as the global industry has been suffering from the unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • The company’s excellent leadership, its ability to remain operationally profitable through the industry’s worst-ever crisis, its strong commitment to health safety customer service excellence, and its remarkable relationship with employees.”
  • The judges also noted the airline’s “transformational strategic deal to incorporate Asiana and create a larger, more global flagship carrier. Korean Air plans to continue to strengthen its position in the global aviation industry and aims to become one of the world’s top 10 airlines after successfully acquiring and integrating Asiana Airlines

1. Federal Bank gets RBI nod to re-appoint Shyam Srinivasan as MD & CEO

  • Federal Bank shareholders have approved the motion to re-appoint Shyam Srinivasan as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the lender for a period of three years.
  • His reappointment will come into effect from September 23, 2021, to September 22, 2024. Srinivasan took over as Federal Bank MD & CEO in 2010 and has been at the helm since then.
  • Srinivasan is among the few foreign bankers who chose to move to smaller Indian banks after fairly long, successful stints in foreign banks (the others include RBL Bank’s Vishwavir Ahuja and DCB Bank’s Murali Natrajan).
  • Over the last decade, Srinivasan has been at the helm of Federal, the bank has transformed into a mid-sized private bank with a strong focus on retail business, including gold loans and funding small and medium entrepreneurs.

1. Flipkart partners with PhonePe to digitize cash-on-delivery payment

  • Digital payments platform PhonePe has partnered with Flipkart to launch a contactless ‘Scan and Pay’ feature for Flipkart’s pay-on-delivery orders.
  • Using PhonePe’s QR code solution, the Flipkart customers who earlier opted for cash on delivery can pay digitally through any UPI app at the time of delivery.
  • While on one hand, the new feature will help in reducing personal contact as well as ensure safety, on the other hand, it will drive contactless payments for customers who are traditionally more comfortable with cash on delivery.

2. Bajaj Allianz General ties up with Bank of India to offer insurance products

  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and Bank of India have entered into a corporate agency agreement for the distribution of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance’s products through the bank’s network of 5084 branches.
  • As a part of this agreement, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance will be offering a bouquet of personal lines of products such as motor insurance, health insurance, home insurance, travel insurance along with a commercial line of products like engineering insurance, marine insurance to bank’s customers

1. State Bank of India celebrates 66th Foundation Day

  • The oldest commercial bank in the country, State Bank of India, SBI, is celebrating its 66th year on 1st July. SBI descends from the Bank of Calcutta founded in 1806 through the Imperial Bank of India.
  • The Bank of Madras merged into the other two presidency banks, the bank of Calcutta and the bank of Bombay to form the Imperial Bank of India which in turn became the State Bank of India on this day in 1955.

2. Indian Overseas Bank becomes the second most-valued public lender

  • Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)has become the second most-valued listed public sector bank (PSB) with a market capitalization of over Rs 50,000 crore. As Street discounts privatization of the state-owned lender, its shares have appreciated nearly 80 percent on the BSE in the past month.
  • IOB stood with an m-cap of Rs 51,887 crore, pushing PNB (Rs 46,411 crore) and BOB (Rs 44,112 crore) to third and fourth position, respectively, as per data available on BSE.
  • In the past month, the market price of IOB has zoomed 57 percent, as compared to a 4 percent decline in PNB and a 5 percent gain in BOB share price. The bank plans to come out of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework by focusing on recovery, low-cost deposits, and less capital-consuming advances.

3. Axis Bank tie-up with AWS for powering digital banking services

  • Axis Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to power the digital transformation program of the country’s third-largest private sector bank.
  • As part of the agreement, Axis Bank with help of AWS will build a portfolio of new digital financial services to bring advanced banking experiences to customers, including online accounts that can be opened in 6 min& instant digital payment.
  • This will help the bank increase customer satisfaction by 35 percent and lower costs by 24 percent.
  • To date, Axis Bank has deployed over 25 mission-critical applications on AWS, including a Buy Now Pay Later product and a new loan management system to support it, Account Aggregator, Video-Know Your Customer (V-KYC), and WhatsApp Banking

4. RBI announces change in Government securities auction methodology

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced a change in Government securities auction methodology for benchmark securities.
  • They noted in the latest update that on a review of market conditions and market borrowing program of the government, it has been decided that benchmark securities of tenor 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, 10-year, 14-year tenor and Floating Rate Bonds (FRBs) will be, henceforth, issued using the uniform price auction method.
  • For other benchmark securities i.e. 30-year and 40-year, the auction will continue to be multiple price-based auctions, as hitherto. The above arrangement will continue till further review, note the bank.

5. RBI imposes monetary penalty on 14 banks for non-compliance

  • The RBI has imposed penalties on SBI, Bank of Baroda, IndusInd Bank, Bandhan Bank, and 10 other lenders for contravention of various regulatory norms, including on lending to NBFCs.
  • The penalty imposed on the 14 banks totals Rs 14.5 crore, with a maximum Rs 2 crore fine on Bank of Baroda.
  • The central bank imposed Rs 2 crore penalty on the Bank of Baroda, Rs 1 crore each on 12 other banks, and Rs 50 lakh on the State Bank of India.
  • RBI imposed Rs 1 crore penalty each on Bandhan Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Credit Suisse AG, Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, Karnataka Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, South Indian Bank, The Jammu & Kashmir Bank and Utkarsh Small Finance Bank

1. India ranked at 10th position in ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index 2020

  • India has been ranked as the 10th best country in the world in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020, released by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • The GCI 2020 is the fourth edition of the annual index and ranked 194 countries. The GCI measures the commitment of countries to cybersecurity at a global level.
  • India ranked at 10th position, with 97.5 points to rank among the top ten best countries in the world.
  • The United States has topped the GCI 2020.
  • The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia is tied in the second position
  • Estonia was ranked third on the index

1. Indian-origin American Abhimanyu Mishra becomes youngest-ever chess Grandmaster

  • Indian-origin American Abhimanyu Mishra has become the youngest-ever chess Grandmaster in the world. At 12 years, four months, and 25 days, he obliterated the long-standing record held by Sergey Karjakin, who was 12 years and seven months old when he attained the title.
  • Three years ago, India’s R Praggnanandhaa had almost surpassed him but missed the opportunity by a whisker.

2. Norway’s Karsten Warholm breaks men’s 400 metres hurdles world record

  • Karsten Warholm, a 25-year-old athlete from Norway, broke the long-standing world record in the 400m hurdles during the Bislett Games. Earlier the record was held by American hurdler Kevin Young for 29 years.
  • His mark of 78 seconds was set at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, which was finally broken with an official time of 46.70 seconds by Warholm.

3. Mary Kom, Manpreet Singh to be India’s flag-bearers at Tokyo Olympics

  • MC Mary Kom, the six-time world boxing champion, and Manpreet Singh,the men’s hockey team skipper, will be India’s flag-bearers at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, announced Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
  • Bajrang Punia, a silver medallist at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships, will be the flag-bearer at the closing ceremony on August 8.
  • In a first, India is having two flag-bearers — one male and one female — at the upcoming Tokyo Games to ensure “gender parity”.The IOA has communicated the decision in this regard to the Organising Committee of the Games.

4. Jaipur to get India’s second-largest cricket stadium

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)released a financial grant of Rs 100 crore to the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), which will be used to build India’s second-largest cricket stadium.
  • The facility, which will be second to the recently inaugurated Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, is set to be built in Jaipur. The construction of the new stadium is likely to be completed within 24-30 months from commencement.
  • Meanwhile, an amount of Rs 290 crores has been estimated to be spent on the construction of the second-largest cricket stadium in India.
  • This amount will be sourced from; Rs 100 crore from the bank loan, Rs 100 crore from BCCI grant, Rs 90 crore from RCS funds, sale of boxes, seats & sponsorship. The proposed stadium will have a spectator capacity of 75,000

1. India’s oldest running newspaper, Mumbai Samachar, turns 200

  • On July 1, India’s oldest running newspaper, Mumbai Samachar, will enter its 200th year. The Gujarati newspaper, with its office located in an iconic red building at Horniman Circle in Mumbai’s Fort area, was first published in 
  • It was founded by a Parsi scholar Fardoonji Murazban, who had experimented with various other publishing options before landing on this successful print run.
  • Formerly called Bombay Samachar, in Gujarati, the paper has always run as Mumbai na Samachar. It started as a weekly edition, primarily covering the movement of goods across the sea and other business news, such as the sale of property, and passed through several hands until bankruptcy turned it over to the Cama family in 1933.

2. J&K ends 149-year-old darbar move tradition

  • The LG Manoj Sinha formally put an end to a 149-year-old biannual tradition of shifting offices between summer capital Srinagar and winter capital Jammu. The administration served notice to employees to vacate the ‘Darbar Move’ related accommodations in three weeks in Jammu and Srinagar.
  • Administration canceled the residential accommodation of “darbar move” employees in Jammu and Srinagar, implying the employees will remain stationed in either Jammu or Kashmir.
  • Dogra monarch Maharaja Gulab Singh is believed to have started the tradition of shifting the capital in  The tradition was continued after 1947 by J&K’s political class, as it acted as a major bridge and a space for interaction between two diverse linguistic and cultural groups of Kashmir and Jammu regions.

3. Antarctica hits a record temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius

  • The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, recognized a new record high temperature for On February 6, 2020, the Esperanza station (the Argentine research station in Trinity Peninsula) experienced 18.3 degrees Celsius.
  • According to the UN agency, the high temperatures in Antarctica are a result of a large high-pressure system creating “fohn conditions”, which are downslope winds creating significant surface warming.
  • The previous record for high temperature was 17.5 degrees Celsius, recorded on March 24, 2015, at the same station.

1. India records a current account surplus of 0.9% in FY21

  • According to the data released by the Reserve Bank of India, India reported a current account surplus of 9% of GDP in FY 21. In FY 20 there was a current account deficit of 0.9%.
  • The reason for the Current Account Surplus in FY21 is a sharp contraction in the trade deficit to US$ 102.2 billion from US$ 157.5 billion in 2019-20. India has seen a Current account surplus for the first time in 17 years. 

2. Paytm launches ‘Postpaid Mini’ to provide small-ticket instant loans

  • Paytm has announced the launch of Postpaid Mini, small-ticket loans that will give users the flexibility to access loans ranging from Rs 250 – Rs 1,000, in partnership with Aditya Birla Finance Ltd.
  • The product is an extension of its Buy Now, Pay Later service, driving affordability amongst those new to credit. These small ticket instant loans will give flexibility to users and also help manage their household expenses to maintain liquidity during the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
  • Paytm Postpaid is offering a period of up to 30 days for repayment of loans at 0 percent interest.
  • There are no annual fees or activation charges, only a minimal convenience fee. With the launch of Postpaid Mini, the company will offer access to loans ranging from Rs 250 to Rs 1000, in addition to Paytm Postpaid’s instant credit of up to Rs 60,000.
  • This could help users pay for their monthly expenses, including mobile and direct to home (DTH) recharges, gas cylinder booking, electricity and water bills, shop on Paytm Mall, and more.

4. Amazon launches its first Digital Kendra in India in Gujarat

  • Amazon has launched its first Digital Kendra in India in Surat, Gujarat. Amazon Digital Kendra was inaugurated by Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • Digital Kendras of Amazon are centers that will provide micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)the opportunity to learn about the benefits of e-commerce.
  • MSMEs can visit the Amazon Digital Kendra and avail of third-party services including training on the benefits of eCommerce, GST and taxation support, shipping and logistics support, cataloging assistance, and digital marketing services.
  • The company has focused on enabling sellers to reach customers across India and globally, and has made significant investments in technology, logistics, delivery infrastructure and digitising payments that collectively helped more customers and businesses to come online

1. Rafael unveils Sea Breaker AI missile with 300 km range

  • Israeli defence electronics company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has unveiled Sea Breaker, a 5th generation long-range, autonomous, precision-guided missile system, which can precisely target sea and land targets up to a range of 300 kilometres.
  • Sea Breaker features an advanced imaging infra-red seeker, which can engage stationary or moving targets in a diverse range of land and marine environments.
  • Sea Breaker can be launched from naval platforms, varying in size, and from fast attack missile boats to corvettes and frigates.
  • The land version is a central part of the shore defence, based on Rafael’s highly mobile SPYDER launchers. The battery architecture supports standalone launchers, or operation as an integrated solution, with a command and control unit (CCU)and various sensors, based on customer requirements.

2. Indian Army chief to inaugurate war memorial for Indian soldiers in Italy

  • Indian Army chief General MM Naravanewill embark on an official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy, during which he will be meeting his counterparts and the senior military leadership of these countries.
  • The highlight of the visit will be Gen Naravane’s inauguration of the Indian Army Memorial in the famous town of Cassino, Italy. In the Battle of Monte Cassino during World War II, over 5,000 Indian soldiers laid down their lives while fighting to save Italy from fascist forces.
  • Nearly 50,000 Indians were enlisted for Italy’s liberation between September 1943 and April 1945. Both the UK and Italy are important partners for India in the fields of defence, healthcare, aerospace, education, clean technology, renewable energy and information and communication technology among others.

3. Army inducts 10m bridging system developed by DRDO

  • The Army inducted the first production lot of 12 Short Span Bridging System (SSBS)-10m, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in association with Larsen & Toubro Limited, the production agency.
  • The SSBS-10m plays a crucial role in bridging the gaps up to 9.5m as a single span providing a 4m wide, fully decked roadway, ensuring faster movement of the troops.
  • The project involved the development of two prototypes of 5m SSBS on Tatra 6×6 chassis and another two prototypes of 10m SSBS on Tatra 8×8 re-engineered chassis.
  • This bridging system is compatible with the Sarvatra bridging system (75 m), where the last span required covering gaps less than 9.5 m.
  • The DRDO has developed a range of bridges for the Army that have already been inducted.

1. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates the Co-WIN Global Conclave

  • The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated and addressed the Cowin Global Conclave,
  • The global meet was participated by representatives from 142 countries. The Conclave was jointly organized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), and National Health Authority (NHA) with an objective to extend the Co-WIN platform as a digital public good to the world.
  • India has offered its indigenously developed cloud-based Cowin platform to be made open-source so that it is available to any and all countries.
  • The CoWin Global Conclave served as a platform to share India’s learnings and experiences with regards to planning, strategizing, and executing the world’s largest vaccination drive through Co-WIN

1. ISRO gives nod to the parliamentary panel to implement satellite TV classrooms

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)has given its nod to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education to provide technical assistance for satellite TV classrooms in the country to bridge the learning gap due to COVID-induced lockdown.
  • ISRO scientists have appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Education and made a detailed presentation about the proposed satellite TV classroom for students.

2. Facebook Launches newsletter platform “Bulletin”

  • Facebook has announced a set of publishing and subscription tools named Bulletin, aimed to promote independent writers in the US.
  • The bulletin will include support focused on the creation of content, monetization, and audience growth. It also aims to integrate its existing tools to support writing and audio content — from podcasts to Live Audio Rooms in one place.
  • Facebook is pushing to compete in the fast-growing email newsletter trend, as high-profile journalists and writers have left media companies over the past year to strike out on their own
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