General Knowledge & Current Affairs

June 2021 - 20th to 31st

  1. Nikol Pashinyan elected as Armenia Prime Minister
  • Armenia’s acting prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, kept power in a parliamentary election that boosted his authority despite being widely blamed for a military defeat last year in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. Nikol’s Civil Contract party won 53.92% of the votes cast.
  • An alliance led by his rival, ex-leader Robert Kocharyan, came second with 21%, according to the results based on ballots from 100% of precincts counted. Kocharyan was Armenia’s president from 1998 to 2008.

  1. India was fifth largest recipient of FDI in 2020: UN Report
  • As per the World Investment Report 2021 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), India was the fifth-largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in the world in 2020.
  • The country received USD 64 billion FDI in 2020, which is an increase of 27 per cent, over USD 51 billion inflows in 2019.
  • The United States remained the largest recipient of FDI, although, the FDI inflow to the country decreased by 40 per cent, to $156 billion, in 2020.
  • China was the second-largest recipient with USD 149 billion FDI. The global FDI flows decreased by 35 per cent in 2020 to USD 1 trillion from USD 1.5 trillion in 2019.
  1. India’s official Olympic theme song ‘Lakshya Tera Samne Hai’ released
  • Ahead of the Tokyo Games, the official Olympic theme song for the Indian contingent was launched.
  • Mohit Chauhan has composed and sung the song titled “Lakshya Tera Samne Hai”. The Games will open on July 23 and over 100 Indian athletes have qualified for the event so far.
  • The event was organised by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and attended by its President, Secretary-General, Deputy Chef De Mission, Sports Secretary and DG Sports Authority of India (SAI). Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was the chief guest at the event.

 

  1. Raghuram Rajan named in Tamil Nadu economic advisory panel
  • The Tamil Nadu government named Nobel laureate Esther Duflo and former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan as part of a five-member Economic Advisory Council for the state.
  • The other members in the council are former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, development economist Jean Drèze and former Union Finance Secretary S Narayan.
  • The five-member team was put together by finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, who was an investment banker in the US and Singapore before he entered politics. Based on the recommendations of this Council, the government will revitalise the state’s economy and ensure that the benefits of economic growth reach all segments of society.
  1. World’s first-ever genetically modified rubber planted in Assam
  • In Assam, the world’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber plant has been planted by Rubber Board, at the board’s farm in Sarutari near Guwahati.
  • The GM rubber sapling was developed at the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), in Puthuppally, Kottayam, Kerala.
  • This first of its kind plant has been developed exclusively for the northeast so that they can thrive in the climatic conditions of the region..
  • The need to develop the GM rubber plant was felt because Natural rubber is a native of warm humid Amazon forests and is not naturally suited for cold conditions in the northeast.
  • The crop is currently planted on an experimental basis and once the trials are over, the new crop will greatly benefit farmers as well as give a big boost to rubber production in the country.
  1. India and World Bank signs USD 32 million loan for Mizoram
  • The Government of India, along with the Government of Mizoram has signed a $32 million loan agreement with World Bank for Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project.
  • The project aims to improve the management capacity and quality of health services in Mizoram, with a focus on the benefit of under-served areas and vulnerable groups.
  • The project will strengthen the governance and the management structure of the Department of Health and Family Welfare (DoHFW) and its subsidiaries, improve the quality and coverage of services delivered by the state government health systems, and invest in a comprehensive Quality Assurance program which would enable quality certification of health facilities.
  • The Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project will benefit the people across all eight districts of the state. It will also benefit health sector staff, specifically at the secondary and primary levels, by strengthening their planning and management capacity along with building their clinical skills and competencies.

  1. PAN to be declared ‘INOPERATIVE’ if not linked before June 30, 2021
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had recently extended the deadline to link Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar number to June 30, 2021, due to the difficulties posed by the ongoing Covid pandemic. So now as the deadline is fast approaching, here are some guidelines which must be kept in mind.
  • As per the new Section 234H of the Income-tax Act 1961, which has been recently introduced during Budget 2021, the PAN cards which are not linked to Aadhaar after June 30, 2021, would be declared “inoperative”, as well as a penalty of Rs 1,000 may also be imposed. On the other hand, the person will be considered as an individual without a PAN card.
  1. Finance Ministry allows HFCs above Rs 100 cr to use to SARFAESI law
  • Ministry of Finance has allowed housing finance companies (HFCs) with asset size of over Rs. 100 crore to recover the dues using SARFAESI law. This move is expected to be a shot in the arm for thousands of small HFCs, as it will facilitate quick recovery of dues and encourage these companies to lend more.
  • Earlier HFCs with assets over Rs. 500 crore (and notified by Finance Ministry) were allowed to use SARFAESI law to recover dues. Currently, there are nearly 100 HFCs that are registered with NHB.
  • The top-10 HFCs account for 70-80 per cent of the assets of the housing finance industry. SARFAESI Act 2002 allows banks and other financial institutions to auction residential or commercial properties (of Defaulter) to recover loans.

 

  1. Sumita Mitra honoured with prestigious European Inventor Award
  • Indian-American chemist Sumita Mitra has been honoured with the European Inventor Award 2021 in the ‘Non-European Patent Office countries’ category.
  • She was the first to have successfully integrated nanotechnology into dental materials to produce stronger and more aesthetically pleasing fillings.
  • The award, one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes, is presented annually by the European Patent Office (EPO) to recognise outstanding inventors from Europe and beyond.
  1. KK Shailaja awarded prestigious CEU Open Society Prize for 2021
  • The Central European University (CEU) Open Society Prize for 2021 has been awarded to KK Shailaja, the former Health Minister of Kerala. The award was presented to her in recognition of “her determined leadership and community-based public health work, saving lives during the pandemic”.
  • She demonstrates to the world that determined leadership, community-based public health and effective communication can save lives. CEU was founded in 1991 by George Soros, a Hungarian-born political activist and billionaire philanthropist based on his vision of a unique institution that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders “to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law”.
  1. NTPC wins recognition of India’s best employers among Nation-Builders 2021
  • For the first time, NTPC won recognition as India’s Best Employers among Nation-Builders 2021. It has been recognized as the ‘Great Place to Work’ for the 15th straight year by the Great Places to Work Institute. It has been ranked at 38th. It was ranked 47 last year.
  • It also won its first-ever recognition of India’s Best Employers among Nation-Builders 2021. NTPC, a Maharatna Community and Public Sector Unit work under the Ministry of Power.
  • The PSU has also won the CII HR Excellence Role model award in March 2021. It is the highest award in the field of people management in the country.
  • The ‘Great Place to Work’ certification is recognised worldwide and is considered the gold standard in identifying and recognizing great workplaces with high trust and high-performance cultures. It is the most definitive ‘Employer of Choice’ recognition certification that the organization aim to achieve.

  1. Montek Ahluwalia named member of World Bank-IMF High Advisory Group
  • Former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia was named a member of a high-level Advisory Group formed by the World Bank and IMF.
  • The group will be jointly led by Mari Pangestu, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu and Lord Nicholas Stern. The group was formed by the World Bank and IMF in the face of the dual crisis posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
  • Mari Pangestu is Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank. Ceyla Pazarbasioglu is Director, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund. The group will also include Gita Gopinath. Gita Gopinath as an Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF.
  1. British lawyer Karim Khan sworn in as ICC’s chief prosecutor
  • British lawyer Karim Khan was sworn as the new chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. He pledging to reach out to nations that are not members of the court and to try to hold trials in countries where crimes are committed.
  • He has defended clients at international courts including former Liberian President Charles Taylor & Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.
  • Khan, a 51-year-old English lawyer, has years of experience in international courts as a prosecutor, investigator and defence attorney. He takes over from Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, whose nine-year term ended.
  1. Tadang Minu becomes 1st Arunachali Woman to be appointed in AIBA
  • Arunachal Pradesh woman, Dr Tadang Minu, becomes the first in the state and the second Indian woman in the country to be appointed as a member of the Coaches Committee of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
  • She has been appointed by AIBA for her enormous knowledge and experience in the field of boxing.
  • Dr Tadang is currently the HOD of Physical Education at Rajiv Gandhi University(RGU) and is the chairman of the Boxing Federation of India’s Women’s Commission for two years.

  1. Airtel, TCS partner for 5G network solutions
  • Bharti Airtel and Tata Group have announced a strategic partnership for implementing 5G network solutions for India, which will be available for commercial development from January 2022.
  • Tata Group has developed an O-RAN (open-radio access network)-based radio and non-standalone architecture/stand-alone architecture (NSA/SA) core and has integrated a totally indigenous telecom stack, leveraging the capabilities of the group and its partners.
  1. India and Fiji inks MoU for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors
  • A virtual meeting was held between the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, GoI, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar with Dr. Mahendra Reddy, Minister of Agriculture, Waterways & Environment, Government of Fiji.
  • During the meeting, both the ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and allied sectors. This MoU will further strengthen the multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries.
  1. Jio and Google Cloud to Collaborate on 5G Technology
  • Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited and Google Cloud are embarking on a comprehensive, long-term strategic relationship with a goal of powering 5G in enterprise and consumer segments nationwide.
  • In addition, Reliance will also take advantage of Google Cloud’s scalable infrastructure thereby enabling its retail business to achieve better operational efficiency, modernize and scale for growth, and deliver better performance and experiences to customers.
  • As part of the partnership, Reliance will also augment its compute workload for retail business taking advantage of Google’s AI/ML, e-commerce, and demand forecasting offerings.

  1. SBI General Insurance and IDFC First Bank tie-up for bancassurance
  • SBI General Insurance, one of the leading general insurance companies in India, has signed a corporate agency agreement with IDFC FIRST Bank for the distribution of non-life insurance Solution.
  • Through this agreement, SBI general insurance will access the IDFC first bank’s larger customer base resulting in wider penetration of its insurance products through the latter’s digital-first approach.
  • Under this strategic agreement, SBI General Insurance will offer insurance products such as health, personal accident, home, motor and travel along with the commercial line of insurance products such as property, marine and engineering insurance to the bank’s customers.
  1. SBI Card partners with Fabindia to launch Fabindia SBI Card
  • SBI Card, the country’s second-largest credit card issuer and Fabindia, a retail platform for a wide range of handcrafted products by the artisans of the country, have joined hands to launch an exclusive co-branded contactless credit card named “Fabindia SBI Card”.
  • The card is designed with curated benefits and privileges to offer a rewarding shopping experience to its premium customers and comes in two variants — Fabindia SBI Card SELECT and Fabindia SBI Card.
  • The introduction of the new Fabindia SBI Card further bolsters our premium portfolio, reinforces our commitment to enable our customers to embrace digital payments and contribute to the country’s digital economy.

  1. Bengaluru ranked as one of the Top 5 technology centers in Asia Pacific
  • Bengaluru has emerged as the top five technology centres in the APAC region while Hyderabad is ranked in the Top 10 list, a report by Colliers titled ‘Growth Engines of Innovation: How Asia Pacific Technology Hubs are Reshaping Regional Real Estate’.
  • The report ranks the most attractive technology submarkets within major APAC cities, which should serve as a navigation tool for technology groups, as they plan their expansion.
  • Beijing, Shanghai, Bengaluru, Shenzhen and Singapore currently rank as the top five technology centres in APAC; they offer a compelling balance of infrastructure and talent for occupiers and are well-positioned to deliver future growth and investment opportunities for owners.
  • Other cities are developing strengths in specific areas of technology, e.g., Seoul and Hong Kong in fintech, while new centres such as Hyderabad and Sydney are emerging.
  1. Jamsetji Tata tops inaugural list of Top Philanthropists of the Century
  • Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, Indian pioneer industrialist and founder of the Tata Group, has topped the inaugural, EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century list, which ranks the world’s 50 most generous individuals in the last century.
  • As per the report, the total donations made by Mumbai-based Jamsetji Tata is estimated at US$102.4 billion. He is the only Indian among the top 10 list, compiled by Hurun Research and EdelGive Foundation.
  • The only other Indian in the list of 50 global philanthropists is Azim Premji, former chairman of Wipro. He is ranked at 12th position.
  • Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates ranked second with donations worth $74.6 billion. They are followed by Henry Wellcome ($56.7 billion), Howard Hughes ($38.6 billion), and Warren Buffett ($37.4 billion) respectively.

  1. Max Verstappen wins 2021 French Grand Prix
  • Max Verstappen (Netherlands-Red Bull) has won the 2021 French Grand Prix. This race is the seventh round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.
  • With this win, Max Verstappen has 131 points and now leads Lewis Hamilton (119 points) in the Formula One drivers’ title race, after seven matches. Lewis Hamilton (Britain-Mercedes) stood second and Sergio Perez (Mexico- Red Bull) stood third.
  1. Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will be first trans athlete to compete at Olympics
  • The New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is poised to make history and headlines, as well as significant controversy, after being confirmed as the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games.
  • The 43-year-old, who will be the fourth oldest weightlifter at an Olympics, is regarded as a genuine medal contender in the women’s super heavyweight 87kg-plus category in Tokyo.
  • But while her inclusion has been welcomed by trans groups, it has also been questioned by those who believe she has unfair advantages in strength and power, having gone through male puberty before transitioning in 2012.
  1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce becomes second fastest woman of all-time ahead
  • Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became the second-fastest woman of all-time behind 100 metres world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner when she clocked 10.63 seconds at a meet in Kingston.
  • American Griffith-Joyner still holds the women’s 100m world record of 10.49 seconds, set in Indianapolis in 1988, as well as the three fastest times ever, with 10.61 and 10.62, also in 1988.
  1. Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown breaks 100-meter backstroke world record
  • Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown breaks the 100-meter backstroke world record at the South Australian Aquatic Centre with a time of 57.45 seconds from the previous mark of 57.57 seconds set by American Regan Smith in 2019.
  • Emily Seebohm finished second in 58.59 to qualify for her fourth Olympics.

  1. Tahira Kashyap Khurrana announces new book ‘The 7 Sins of Being A Mother’
  • Filmmaker-writer Tahira Kashyap Khurrana has announced her upcoming book about motherhood, titled “The 7 Sins of Being A Mother”.
  • This is her fifth book and the second she wrote amid the pandemic. Last year, the filmmaker had released 12 Commandments of Being A Woman, which she finished writing during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
  • The writer has also penned books like Cracking The Code: My Journey in Bollywood and Souled Out.
  1. Harsh Vardhan unveils ‘My Joys and Sorrows – as a Mother of a Special Child’ book
  • Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has unveiled Krishna Saksena’s book “My Joys and Sorrows – as a Mother of a Special Child”. It is the epitome of the bravery and endurance of a mother, in the best tradition of Indian motherhood.

The book is full of beautiful photographs, including some black and white ones which have historical significance, not only because some of them feature public personalities but also because it chronicles the domestic as well as the professional context of the times.

  1. International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice
  • International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice is observed globally on 21st June. This day bring awareness about solstices and equinoxes and their significance for several religions and ethnic cultures.
  • The International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 20th June 2019 within Resolution A/RES/73/300.
  1. International Olympic Day: 23 June
  • The International Olympic Day is held on June 23 each year. The day is celebrated to encourage more people to participate in the Olympic Games and spread awareness about the event and promote the Olympic Movement.
  • Based on the three pillars – “move”, “learn” and “discover” – the National Olympic Committees are deploying sports, cultural and educational activities to encourage participation regardless of age, gender, social background, or sporting ability.
  • The Olympic Day 2021 theme is “Stay healthy, stay strong, stay active with the #OlympicDay workout on 23 June.”

  1. World’s Third-Largest Diamond Unearthed in Botswana
  • 1,098-carat diamond has been discovered in Botswana, by Debswana Diamond Company, a joint venture between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company De Beers.
  • The newly discovered diamond is believed to be the third-largest gem-quality stone ever to be mined in the world. The stone has been presented by Debswana Diamond Company to the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
  • The largest diamond to be recovered to date is 3,106 carat Cullinan stone in South Africa in 1905, followed by the 1,109 carats Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.
  1. Karnam Malleswari appointed 1st vice-chancellor of Delhi Sports University
  • The Delhi government appointed former Olympic medalist weightlifter Karnam Malleswari as the first Vice-Chancellor of Delhi Sports University. She is the first Indian woman weightlifter to bring home an Olympic medal.
  • She created history at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 by lifting 110 kilograms and 130 kilograms in the ‘snatch’ and ‘clean and jerk’ categories. She has also been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award and Padma Shri.

  1. SEBI reconstitutes Four-member Takeover Panel
  • Markets regulator Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has reconstituted its four-member Takeover Panel.
  • The Takeover Panel looks into the applications that seek exemption from the mandatory open offer that an acquirer needs to make to minority shareholders.
  • SEBI had first constituted this Takeover Panel in November 2007, under the chairmanship of former Bank of Baroda chairman K Kannan.
  1. LIC introduces Technology Platform ‘e-PGS’
  • Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has launched a centralized web-based workflow-based IT platform called “e-PGS”.
  • The new technology platform, e-PGS, has been designed to provide a centralized collection and payment accounting with a high level of bank integration. It has been designed to provide very innovative features of seamless and integrated banking with automatic reconciliations.

This system is capable of providing comprehensive self-servicing capabilities through the customer portal. On this portal, corporate customers will be able to view their data, initiate actionable processes and lodge & track claims

  1. Mawya Sudan becomes IAF’s 1st woman fighter pilot from J&K
  • Flying Officer Mawya Sudan has become the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to be inducted as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). She is the 12th female fighter pilot to be inducted in the IAF.
  • The 24-year-old Mawya hails from Lamberi village near the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu division.
  • Mawya was commissioned as a fighter pilot at the Airforce Academy in Hyderabad on June 19, 2021, during the Combined Graduation parade ceremony. She will now undergo rigorous fighter training for over a year to become ‘fully operational’ as a fighter pilot.

2.India successfully test fires subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay off Odisha coast

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the subsonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ on June 24, 2021, from an Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha’s Balasore. This was the eighth test flight of the missile. The first test flight of Nirbhay was held on 12 March 2013.
  • Nirbhay is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile indigenously designed and developed by DRDO.
  • The missile can be launched from multiple platforms and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • Nirbhay is a two-stage missile and can engage several targets in a single flight.
  • The missile has a length of 6 metres, a width of 0.52 metres, a wingspan of 2.7 metres and weighs about 1500 kg.
  • It has a strike range of about 1500 km.
  1. India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier to be commissioned in 2022
  • The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has informed that India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-I), is planned to be commissioned by 2022.
  • Once commissioned, the carrier will be rechristened as INS Vikrant, in memory of India’s first aircraft carrier.
  • The IAC-1 carrier is being built at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Kochi, Kerala, under a public-private partnership.
  • It comprises nearly 75 per cent of indigenous content from design, to steel used in construction, to key weapons and sensors.
  • The IAC-1 will undergo a series of sea trials before it gets inducted into the Navy.
  • Vikrant is 262 metres (860 ft) long and 62 metres (203 ft) wide and displaces about 40,000 metric tons (39,000 long tons).

  1. 9 Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable to be hosted by India
  • International Energy Forum (IEF) announced that India has agreed to host the 9th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER9).
  • The 9th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable will be held in 2022. Dates of this conference will be announced later and it will take forward the understandings reached in the previous meeting in Abu Dhabi during 2018.
  • The decision of India to be the host of this Energy Roundtable came after a virtual meeting between IEF Secretary-General Joseph McMonigle and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
  • Chief executive officers of Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum Corp, in addition to senior officers from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, were also present at the meeting.

  1. ISRO, NOAA-led multinational project endorsed by UN body
  • UN body has endorsed a multinational project called “Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Coastal Observations, Applications, Services, and Tools (CEOS COAST)”. CEOS COAST programme is co-led by ISRO and NOAA from the US.
  • This programme aims to improve the accuracy of coastal data on the basis of satellite and land-based observations. Its pilot projects are uniquely capable of using Earth Observation technologies to meet several of the 17 UN-designated sustainable development goals for the Ocean Decade initiative.
  • NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The themes of these projects include disaster risk reduction and coastal resilience among continental shorelines and small island nations.
  • The CEOS COAST has been working collaboratively with stakeholders in industries such as agriculture, construction, and commercial/recreational fishing to support all forms of decision-makers from parents deciding which beach to take their kids to, to sailors navigating the coast, to policymakers taking action on climate change and more.
  1. Microsoft Officially Launches ‘Windows 11’
  • Microsoft officially launched its new Windows operating system ‘Windows 11’. It is being called as the “next generation” of Windows.
  • The release comes nearly six-year after the current latest Windows Operating System ‘Windows 10’ was launched in July 2015.

Windows 11 is special because it focuses on a new user interface, a new Windows Store, and improvements to performance, including a center-aligned Taskbar and Start button.

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