General Knowledge & Current Affairs

October 2021 - 26th to 31st

1. Shavkat Mirziyoyev re-elected as President of Uzbekistan.

  • Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the incumbent President of Uzbekistan has won a 2nd five-year term as the President of Uzbekistan. He is a member of the UzLiDeP (Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party).
  • Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in 2016 following the death of Islam Karimov, the first post-independence president of Uzbekistan.

2. Indo-Canadian Anita Anand appointed Canada’s defense minister

  • Indo-Canadian Anita Anand became just the second woman to be appointed Canada’s minister of national defense as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet.
  • The ministers were sworn in by governor-general Mary May Simon in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. She is the first woman to serve as defense minister since Kim Campbell in the 1990s.

3. France launched Military Communications Satellite “Syracuse 4A”

  • France has successfully launched a state-of-the-art satellite namely ‘Syracuse 4A’ into orbit which was carried off by Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, in French Guiana. It is designed to allow France’s armed forces across the globe to communicate swiftly and securely. The satellite can survey its close surroundings and move itself to escape an attack.
  • Syracuse IV produces a throughput three times higher (1.5 Gbit/sec) than Syracuse III by operating in two bands: X and Ka. Three satellites are to be placed in orbit: the second in 2022 and the third on an unknown date.
  • The total cost of the Syracuse IV programme is EUR3.6 billion (nearly USD4.2 billion). Syracuse IV is the first French military satellite with the ability to detect other satellites that are trying to gather information from it or to destroy it.

4. South Korea inaugurated World’s Largest Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Plant

  • The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of South Korea held that the ‘Shinincheon Bitdream Fuel Cell Power Plant’ at the Shinincheon Bitdream headquarters of Korea Southern Power in Seo-gu, Incheon has been completed and inaugurated.
  • The power plant is operated by South Korea’s independent power production company, POSCO Energy and Doosan Fuel Cell. It has a capacity of 78 MW constructed in four stages from 2017. The project cost about 340 billion won ($292 million).

1. Invest India elected as President of Geneva-based WAIPA

  • Invest India, a young startup within the Government of India has been unanimously elected as the President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) for 2021-2023.
  • Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency to help investors looking for investment opportunities and options in India.

2. NITI Aayog launches “Innovations for You” Digi-Book

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched a Digi-book named “Innovations for You”. The sector in focus in this Digi-book is Healthcare.
  • “Innovation for you” is an initiative of Niti Aayog to share success stories of Atal Innovation Mission’s Startups in different domains.
  • The Digi-book was launched with the aim of serving as an encouragement for upcoming entrepreneurs in order to work on the path of creativity and imagination for addressing some of the pressing challenges in India. It also aims to showcase the best innovations and entrepreneurs to bring them to the forefront.
  • These start-ups have been leveraging technologies such as AI, IoT, ICT and others for providing socially relevant solutions to health issues like neonatal & child care, mental health, dental care, anemia and monitoring human vitals.

3. R K Singh launches the Green Day Ahead Market (GDAM)

  • The Union Minister of Power & New and Renewable Energy, R K Singh has launched a new market segment, “Green Day Ahead Market (GDAM)”. This makes India as the only large electricity market in the world to implement a GDAM exclusively for renewable energy.
  • The launch of the green day-ahead market will deepen the green market and will provide competitive price signals, besides offering an opportunity to market participants to trade in green energy, in the most transparent, flexible, competitive, and efficient manner.
  • The new initiative will open the renewable energy sector to enable anyone to set up the capacity and sell it to distribution companies and industries.
  • Meanwhile, the electricity generation and distribution companies will be able to buy or sell renewable energy through open access.
  • The market-based competitive prices will provide another option to renewable generators to sell power as well as accelerate the renewable capacity addition towards the government’s vision of building India as a sustainable and efficient energy economy.

1. India’s 1st State-Wildlife DNA testing analysis lab inaugurated in Nagpur

  • Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, inaugurated India’s 1st State government-owned Wildlife DNA testing analysis laboratory at Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  • On the occasion, he also launched 3 Fast Track DNA testing units in Mumbai & Pune under the Nirbhaya scheme.
  • At present, there are 2 Wildlife DNA testing laboratories at Dehradun & Hyderabad, which are fully owned by the Central Government, whereas the newly launched is the 1st in India to be owned by a state government.
  • The labs will be exclusively dealing with cases registered under Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The labs were developed at a cost of Rs. 53 crore under Central Government’s Nirbhaya Scheme.

2. Goa became the 1st state to achieve ODF and Electricity for each household

  • Goa has achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF) and Electricity for every household. The original ODF protocol was issued in the year 2016. According to it, a city or ward is notified as ODF city or ward if not a single person is found defecating in the open, at any point of the day.
  • Goa has also become the first state to provide tap water to every household under the “Har Ghar Jal Mission”. Apart from that, Goa achieved a 100 per cent target to provide free ration to the poor and needy. It has also completed 100 per cent first dose of covid-19 vaccination.

3. Maharashtra became 1st state to pass its own Wildlife Action Plan 2021-30

  • During the 17th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL), the government of Maharashtra approved its own Wildlife Action Plan (2021-2030), which will be implemented over the next 10 years.
  • Maharashtra became India’s first state to pass its own Wildlife Action Plan. The board has also approved the extension of the boundary of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, in the Chandrapur district of the Vidarbha region, by around 79 sq. km.
  • The plan has suggested integrating climate change adaption in wildlife conservation. “To develop a Climate Action Plan for the Coastal Region of the state in sync with the ‘State Climate Change Action Plan’ with special emphasis on ‘Climate Change Adaptation’ (CCA) and ‘Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR)’,” the plan states.

4. Uttarakhand gets country’s largest aromatic garden

  • Uttarakhand gets India’s largest aromatic garden in the Nainital district. The research wing of the Uttarakhand forest department inaugurated the biggest aromatic garden of India in Lalkuan of Nainital district.
  • Established in an area of over 3 acres, the garden has 140 different species of aromatic species from across India. The project was initiated in the year 2018-19 after approval of the Research Advisory Committee in June 2018.

1. Union Bank, CDAC join hands for cyber security

  • The Union Bank of India (UBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad to launch a 1st of its kind initiative on Cyber Security Awareness.
  • CDAC will assist UBI in educating its employees & customers with awareness on Cyber Security & tips to protect themselves from Cyber fraud. The Bank has previously launched an e-book & an online game ‘Spin-N-Learn’, as a part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October).

1. Mark Zuckerberg changes Facebook’s name to Meta

  • Facebook is now called Meta, in a rebrand that focuses on building the “metaverse,” a shared virtual environment that it bets will be the successor to the mobile internet.
  • The name change, the plan for which was first reported by the Verge, is a significant rebrand for Facebook, but not it’s first. In 2019 it launched a new logo to create a distinction between the company and its social app.
  • The name change comes as the world’s largest social media company battles criticisms from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, algorithmic decisions and the policing of abuses on its services.

1. Viktor Axelsen and Akane Yamaguchi won Denmark Open 2021

  • Danish Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen won the Men’s’ single 2021 Denmark Open Badminton held at the Odense Sports Park, Denmark.
  • He defeated world number one Kento Momota of Japan. Akane Yamaguchi of Japan won her second title in the women’s category defeating An Se-young (South Korea).

2. Fabio Quartararo wins the 2021 MotoGP World Championship

  • Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo became the ‘’2021 MotoGP World Champion’’. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) secured second and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), finished third.
  • Fabio Quartararo is the sixth-youngest rider to clinch a premier class world title, aged 22 years, 187 days on race day of the Emilia Romagna GP.

1. India’s first Radio over Internet Protocol system inaugurated in Kolkata

  • The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SPM) in Kolkata has become the first Major Indian Port to get a Radio over Internet Protocol (ROIP) System. The ROIP was inaugurated by Vinit Kumar, Chairman of SPM, on October 25, 2021.
  • SMP, Kolkata has been constantly maintaining its pivotal position in Indian Major Ports for the past 152 years. ROIP system is a long-range marine communication solution, to aid especially during storms and inclement weather.
  • Using the ROIP mode of communication, the vessels at Sandheads can be directly communicated via Radio, from Kolkata. The solution shall cover the entire Hugli River Estuary from Kolkata to Sandheads, and will have base stations at 4 Locations: Kolkata, Hugli point, Haldia and Sagar Pilot Station.

2. GAIL to build India’s largest green hydrogen plant

  • State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd will build India’s largest green hydrogen-making plant as it looks to supplement ‎its natural gas business with carbon-free fuel.
  • GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Jain said the company is looking at building a 10-megawatt (MW) electrolyzer capable of generating 4.5 tonnes of green hydrogen daily.
  • The firm has already floated a global tender to buy the electrolyzer and is hoping to get delivery in 12-14 months. It will be double the size of the one announced by state electricity producer NTPC.

3. CBSE launches Veer Gatha project in schools

  • CBSE launches Veer Gatha project in schools to raise awareness on Gallantry Awards. Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have been asked to prepare projects and engage in activities based on the Gallantry Award winners.
  • The Veer Gatha project aims to raise awareness about the brave acts and sacrifices of the Gallantry Award winners among school students. The Veer Gatha project is being conducted from October 21- November 20. The projects can be interdisciplinary & in various formats such as poems, essays, etc.

1. K V Kamath named as chairperson of NaBFID

  • The government of India has appointed K V Kamath as chairperson of the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID). He is a well-known banker in India and is the first head of the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • NaBFID is a newly set up development financial institution (DFIs) in India. It has been set up for infrastructure financing as per the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) Act 2021. The authorized share capital of the NaBFID is Rs one lakh crore. The initial paid-up capital of NaBFID is Rs 20,000 crore.

2. Baldev Prakash appointed as MD & CEO of J&K Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Baldev Prakash as Managing Director and CEO of J&K Bank for a period of three years from the date of taking charge or April 10, 2022, whichever is earlier.
  • The actual date of appointment of Baldev Prakash as MD & CEO of J&K Bank will be announced by the bank subsequently.
  • Rajesh Kumar Chhibber is the present Chairman and Managing Director of J&K Bank. He assumed charge of the bank in June 2019. The government of Jammu & Kashmir holds a majority shareholding of 68.18% in the bank. The headquarters of J&K Bank is located in Srinagar.

3. Centre approves reappointment of Shaktikanta Das as Governor of RBI

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the reappointment of Shaktikanta Das as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) for a further period of three years with effect from December 10, 2021.
  • He assumed the charge as the 25th governor of RBI on December 12, 2018, for three years. Before his appointment at RBI, Das served as a member of the 15th Finance Commission. He is a 1980 batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre.

1. India, UK and Australia to jointly launch IRIS initiative at COP26

  • India, Australia, and the UK in collaboration with small island developing states (SIDS), have planned to launch a new initiative “Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS)”, on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP26).
  • The IRIS platform aims at creating an infrastructure that can withstand disasters and lessen economic losses in island nations. The IRIS initiative will be launched with initial funding of $10 million from Australia, India and the UK. ‘

2. PM Modi attend 16th East Asia Summit virtually

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has participated in the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS) through a video conference on October 27, 2021, during which he re-affirmed India’s focus on a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and the principle of ASEAN Centrality in the region.
  • The 16th EAS was hosted under the Chairmanship of Brunei. This was the 7th East Asia Summit for Prime Minister Modi.
  • The Summit ended with the adoption of three Statements by EAS leaders, which includes, Mental Health, Economic recovery through Tourism and Sustainable Recovery.
  • The members of EAS includes 10 ASEAN member states, and India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.

3. Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue commences

  • Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) 2021 is being organized as a three-day online event on 27, 28 and 29 October 2021.
  • IPRD 2021 will focus on the theme ‘Evolution in Maritime Strategy during the 21st Century: Imperatives, Challenges and Way Ahead’. It will focus on eight specific sub-themes.
  • The National Maritime Foundation is the Indian Navy’s knowledge partner for IPRD 2021. It is also the Indian Navy’s chief organizer for IPRD 2021.
  • Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) is the apex international annual conference of the Indian Navy. It was first conducted in 2018.
  • IPRD aims to review both opportunities and challenges that arise within the Indo-Pacific.

4. GoI reconstitutes seven-member Economic Advisory Council-PM

  • The Central Government of India has reconstituted the seven-member Economic Advisory Council to the PM (EAC-PM). Bibek Debroy continues to be the Chairman of the Council. EAC-PM has been reconstituted for a period of 2 years.
  • EAC-PM was set up in September 2017 with a term of two years and it replaced the erstwhile Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC).
  • Other six members of EAC-PM: Rakesh Mohan, Poonam Gupta, TT Ram Mohan, Sajid Chenoy, Neelkanth Mishra and Nilesh Shah.

1. Kotak Mahindra Bank tied up with IndiGo to launch ‘Ka-Ching’ Credit Card

  • IndiGo and Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) entered into a strategic partnership for the launch of a co-branded credit card named ‘Ka-Ching’. The credit card was launched under IndiGo’s 6E Rewards programme and linked with it to enable the members to earn rewards by using the card on IndiGo and other merchants.
  • The co-branded card will be available in 2 variants such as 6E Rewards and 6E Rewards XL by offering exclusive travel benefits for domestic and international travel.

2. HDFC Ltd and India Post Payments Bank partnered to Offer Home Loans

  • HDFC Ltd and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) made a strategic partnership to offer HDFC Ltd.’s home loans to 4.7 crore customers of IPPB through its wide network of 650 branches and over 1.36 lakh banking access points. The partnership helps to promote affordable housing in the remotest locations of India.
  • Under the partnership, IPPB will offer home loans for customers in unbanked and underserved areas through nearly 1,90,000 banking service providers including postmen and Gramin Dak Sevaks.

3. MeitY Startup Hub and Google tie-up to launch ‘Appscale Academy’ Programme

  • MeitY Startup Hub, an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and Google have partnered to launch ‘Appscale Academy’, a growth and development programme, to train early to mid-stage startups across India.
  • The programme focuses on the emerging startup ecosystem in Tier II and Tier III cities of India to provide them with the help needed to build scalable app solutions.
  • Appscale Academy will focus on helping local early to mid-stage startups build and scale a range of world-class apps across domains, including gaming, healthcare, fintech, EdTech, social impact, and others.
  • Applications for the Appscale Academy will be open till December 15, 2021. Out of the applicants, 100 startups will be selected based on defined qualitative and quantitative parameters by a panel of industry experts, members of MeitY Startup Hub, and Google Play.

1. India-UK conducts maiden Tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’

  • The Armed Forces of India and the United Kingdom (UK) are undertaking the sea phase of the maiden Tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’ off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea from October 24 to 27, 2021.
  • The harbor phase of the seven-day exercise was held in Mumbai from October 21 to 23, 2021. The exercise Konkan Shakti 2021 aims at further strengthening the cooperation between the two countries.

2. India-UK conducts maiden Tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’

  • The Armed Forces of India and the United Kingdom (UK) are undertaking the sea phase of the maiden Tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’ off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea from October 24 to 27, 2021.
  • The harbor phase of the seven-day exercise was held in Mumbai from October 21 to 23, 2021. The exercise Konkan Shakti 2021 aims at further strengthening the cooperation between the two countries.

3. Rajnath Singh chairs Ambassadors’ Round Table for DefExpo 2022

  • In a major outreach to the friendly foreign countries as also to the defense manufacturing industries of the world, Raksha Mantri, Rajnath Singh has chaired the Ambassadors’ Round Table for Def Expo 2022, in New Delhi.
  • DefExpo 2022 will be Asia’s largest defense exhibition. The Round Table was aimed to brief the Ambassadors of foreign missions about the planning, arrangements and other details of DefExpo 2022, which will be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat between March 10-13, 2022.

4. India successfully test-fires “Agni-5” ballistic missile

  • The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) carried successful test-firing of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5 on October 27, 2021, from APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
  • Agni-5 is a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which uses a three-stage solid-fueled engine. The missile can strike targets at ranges up to 5,000 km with a very high degree of accuracy.
  • The indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile, Agni-5, is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17-meter long, 2-meter wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes.
  • The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one ton. The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’.

5. Indigenously-built ICGS ‘Sarthak’ dedicated to the Nation

  • A new Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Sarthak’ has been dedicated to the nation on October 28, 2021. It will be based at Porbandar in Gujarat.
  • The indigenously built ship was commissioned by the Director-General of Indian Coast Guard, K Natarajan, at Goa. ICGS Sarthak is commanded by Deputy Inspector General MM Syed and has a complement of 11 Officers and 110 men.
  • ICGS Sarthak is fourth in the series of five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) being built by Goa Shipyard Limited for the ICG, to boost maritime safety and security of India.
  • The 105-meter-long ship displacing 2,450 tons is propelled by two 9,100 kilowatt diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots.

1. Tsitsi Dangarembga receives Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2021

  • The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2021 has been awarded to the Zimbabwean author and a filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga for a “new Enlightenment”, a work on violence in her country and all over the world by Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, an association of German book publishers and booksellers.
  • Dangarembga is the first black woman to win the German Peace Prize. She has won the PEN Pinter prize 2021. Her debut novel, Nervous conditions were the first to be published in English by black women from Zimbabwe.

2. “Global Climate Tech Investment trend” report: India ranked 9th

  • In accordance with the report ‘Five years on: Global climate tech investment trends since the Paris Agreement’ by London & Partners, and Co, India ranked 9th in the list of top 10 countries for climate technology investment from 2016 to 2021. Indian climate tech firms received USD 1 billion in venture capital (VC) funding in this period.
  • The report analyzed the trends in the climate sector since the 2016 United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris, France. The list has been topped by the United States (US) with USD 48 billion which is followed by China USD 18.6 billion.

3. Karnataka tops State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2020

  • Karnataka has topped the State Energy Efficiency Index 2020 (SEEI), scoring 70 points out of 100 on the back of several initiatives to improve energy efficiency in the state. Rajasthan is on second rank followed by Haryana on third.
  • Last year i.e in SEEI 2019 ranking, Rajasthan was on top. The State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2020 was released under the Ministry of Power.
  • State Energy Efficiency Index is released by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE).
  • The SEE index, assesses the states in four categories of Aspirant with a score below 30 points, Contenders with a score between 30-50, Achievers with a score of 50-60 and the Frontrunners with above 60 points score.
  • SEEI 2020 has assessed the performance of 36 states and Union territories in energy efficiency (EE) using 68 qualitative, quantitative, and outcome-based indicators aggregating to a maximum score of 100 across six sectors.
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